Hidden Strength
Cover 3
Kanji うしろ手の強さ
Rōmaji Ushirode no Tsuyosa
English Hidden Strength
Release Date September 5, 2009
Chapter 3
Volume 1
Arc Fugitive arc
Related Episode Episode 03
Chapter Guide
Chapter 02
Chapter 04
Volumes and Chapters
Chapter 03 Images

Hidden Strength (うしろ手の強さ, Ushirode no Tsuyosa) is the third chapter of Mizuho Kusanagi's Akatsuki no Yona.

As Yona sleeps after their escape from the palace, Hak recalls how he came to be Yona's bodyguard after first refusing to ever take the position. Having one day protected Yona from Kan Tae-Jun as he tried to court her, Hak had given in and agreed to the job when he decided the emperor was no coward as everyone claimed. Saddened to think that such a man is no longer with them, Hak vows to keep his promise and look after Yona.


Having successfully escaped Hiryuu Castle, Hak and Yona stop for a rest in the mountains; Yona is exhausted and numb over the idea of Min-Soo sacrificing himself for them, and falls asleep demanding Hak not die. Watching her drift off, Hak quietly scolds the late emperor for leaving her alone in a world she is not prepared for, and questions what they should do next.

Mundok scolds Hak for talking out of turn

Hak scolded for speaking ill of Il

Remembering back to three years earlier, Hak recalls a day he visited the palace for a meeting of the five tribes. He was scolded by Son Mundok for purposely skipping the meeting because he didn't want to listen to the "bubbly emperor" rant on, and was fighting with his adoptive grandfather when they were approached by Il himself. Worried that the emperor might have overheard him, Hak quickly greeted Il, who told him that both he and Yona missed his presence at the palace. After calling the emperor a liar, Hak was struck by Mundok, though Il merely smiled and remarked that Hak's honesty was one of his best traits. Continuing, the emperor asked if Hak would like to permanently stay at the palace as Yona's bodyguard, though Hak refused, walking away as he claimed the job was too tough and that it would be impossible to do without wielding weapons, which Il would disapprove of.

Yona reconciles with Hak

Yona apologizes to Hak

As he mentally noted that he would never want anything to do with royalty or nobles due to their conspiring and disloyal personalities, Hak thought through how he hated coming to the palace because the princess drove him crazy, just as Yona ran up and hid behind him. Revealing herself to be hiding from the Fire Tribe's Kan Tae-Jun, Yona was scolded by Hak, who told her to stop playing pranks on people. Yona, however, revealed to Hak that she was actually running from Tae-Jun because he was attempting to court her, much to Hak's amusement. Hak noted that Tae-Jun was likely trying to play nice with Yona to get to the throne due to Emperor Il's lack of a male heir, and advised her to just tell Tae-Jun the truth (that she had her heart set on Soo-Won) if he bugged her again. Blushing, Yona denied her interest in her cousin, though Hak saw right through her and grew annoyed, coldly leaving her and telling her to deal with her own problems. Later that day as he sat complaining to Mundok and trying to convince the elder to let them leave, Hak was approached by Yona, who offered him fruit in reconciliation and apologized for making him angry by appearing weak and helpless.

Hak stops Tae-Jun's advances

Hak stops Tae-Jun's advances on Yona

The following day, Hak was sitting outside the palace listening to some guards complain about the emperor's incompetence in politics as he mused the emperor's previous offer to be Yona's bodyguard. Smiling and mentally telling the king to give up, Hak was interrupted in his daydreaming by Yona's voice, which carried over the courtyard as she demanded Tae-Jun stay away from her. Tae-Jun replied that Yona was simply adorable for trying to resist him, and continued to persuade her to travel to a villa with him as the nearby guards questioned whether or not to intervene for Yona's well-being. However, one of the guards recognised Tae-Jun as a Fire Tribe noble, and decided not to approach due to his status, leaving Yona alone and struggling against Tae-Jun's advances. Trying to convince himself to also stay away, Hak eventually grew tired of Yona's unhappy cries and approached the two, drew Yona into his arms and asked Tae-Jun who gave him permission to touch "his princess". Tae-Jun questioned the action and accused Hak of lying about their relationship, though Hak replied that he and Yona pledged their love to one another at a young age, and vowed to marry; Yona, albeit flustered by Hak's words, caught on to the act and confirmed Hak's statements. Shocked at Yona's confirmation, Tae-Jun reminded the duo of status as a Fire Tribe noble, though Hak quickly rebutted by informing Tae-Jun of his own status as a Wind Tribe noble, specifically the Wind Tribe's general and first in command; he also added that he had been personally assigned by the emperor to be Yona's bodyguard.

Incredibly angered, Tae-Jun had moved to draw his sword on Hak, though was stopped by Emperor Il, who appeared at the man's side and grabbed the blade before it could be unsheathed. Joking about the act Hak and Yona just put on after Tae-Jun left, Il stated that he was happy that Hak finally agreed to the idea of being Yona's protector. Smiling over the fact that the king caught him out, Hak vowed to guard Yona with his life, noting that he agreed to the idea after seeing that the king was no coward as everyone stated; the man's hands were still raw and bleeding from when he grabbed Tae-Jun's blade, despite his efforts to hide the wounds.

Watching over Yona as she sleeps against a tree, Hak questions if the emperor is still watching over them, reaffirms his will to protect Yona, and promises Il that they will one day return to Hiryuu Castle.

Characters in Order of AppearanceEdit

Abilities, Weapons and Items UsedEdit

  • Sword