Late at night, the gym was quiet.
It wasn’t because of the time. It had been like that since July had started. Most of the flames that were burning in the hearts of the trainees during the admission had extinguished.
Of course, it wasn’t their fault.
The training, which was difficult for even adult soldiers, continued for the students day in and day out.
With the sweltering heat of summer added to that, it was strange that people were still training.
And one of those strange people was Judith.
The girl with red hair cut to her shoulders started training more.
“Hmph! Hmph! Hmph! Hmph!”
She was training her lower body using bands.
As if that wasn’t enough, she was lifting a bar that had heavy disks on both sides, making herself look intimidating.
At first glance, she would look like a cute girl of 12 years.
Well, Judith is a genius.
Krono’s school instructors selected and chose only the gifted people on the continent, and she had both talent and the body for it.
Nevertheless, she never rested and continued the rigorous self-training every day.
The band she was using didn’t look out of the ordinary.
However, it was a band with high resistance magical power that no ordinary person can use.
Yet that girl kept on pulling it.
She didn’t even stop despite being tired. She endured the pain even when her body felt like it was on fire.
Because the quality of the muscles changed depending on whether the training was done once or more.
Judith quit using the band after breaking her own record.
“Ahh! Sigh! Sigh! Sigh!…”
She flopped down onto the ground.
Her head was dizzy, and she was becoming nauseous. But she had gotten used to it.
Rather, a sense of accomplishment that she got from taking that one extra step made Judith feel happy.
Happiness turned to satisfaction, and satisfaction soon turned into comfort. Having achieved what she wanted, it was natural that she felt at ease.
Let’s stop with this much for today.
It was the moment when she was about to get up with a smile.
“Hmph! Hmph! Euk! Euk!”
A loud noise came from the side, making Judith frown.
It wasn’t because she hated the sound.
The man gasping was doing heavy squats, and it was natural that he felt nauseated after training his lower body.
Judith had also experienced it countless times.
The problem was the person, not the sound. No, to be precise, it was the mental power that person showed.
She mumbled his name with a frown.
Judith couldn’t understand him.
Even when he entered the school, he had the most trashy appearance.
A deadbeat noble who is older than her and hadn’t accomplished anything, yet the man lived a life without any problems.
Which was why Judith ignored him. As soon as she looked at him, she didn’t want to get close to him, and when she did, she wanted to grab his neck.
At first, she thought that he wouldn’t be able to show anything in the mid-term evaluation.
It was because she knew how harsh the environment in the school would be.
‘However… he is still here.’
The deadbeat noble, Airn Pareira, was a stubborn one.
Even though his physical condition was far inferior to others, he participated in the training and tried to move ahead.
However, no matter how hard he works, the progress was slow. The things he learned before entering the school weren’t enough to push him up in the ranks.
Which made it even harder for Judith to understand.
‘How can he keep moving forward with that body?’
He was a lot better when compared to the initial admission.
He had strong muscles on his body, and his overall physical abilities, including stamina, had dramatically increased.
It was an outstanding achievement that one wouldn’t be able to believe unless they saw him with their own eyes.
However, compared to Judith, Airn was far behind.
It meant that even if the both of them were training for the same amount of time, Judith had consumed more of her mental strength.
Physical and mental strength weren’t separate concepts.
It is only natural that people with more physical strength are more flexible mentally.
But Airn didn’t seem like he would be satisfied until he finished the day exhausted.
Judith was shocked.
And upset too.
‘Am I more weak willed than the guy who is known to be lazy?’
The red-haired girl clenched her teeth. Her hair was drenched in sweat, but the hair looked like it was on fire when it fluttered.
Even Judith was aware of it.
No matter what kind of person he was in the future, Airn was no longer lazy.
At the time, she felt respectful towards Airn Pareira’s mental state. A spirit of steel.
But she couldn’t admit it.
She didn’t want to admit it!
Thinking so, she got up from the ground.
Glaring at Airn, she continued her training.
That day, Judith only came out of the training room after Airn left.
A smile crept onto her face as she fell asleep after showering.
A little earlier than Judith fell asleep.
After a hard day, Airn laid down in bed.
It didn’t matter to him that he left the training room earlier than the red-haired girl.
It was because he wasn’t competing with others.
Complete the sets and rest at set times. That was all he needed to do.
‘Ilya said I was doing good. Don’t be too conscious of others and move at my own pace.’
That was right.
The man in his dream, too, only cared about his training.
Airn, who remembered his appearance once more, thought of someone else this time.
She was unbelievably strong for a 12-year-old. Her overall abilities, such as endurance, strength, agility, and flexibility, weren’t comparable to his own.
And that strong child kept looking at Airn these days.
Of course, Airn wasn’t dumb. So he knew what those eyes looking at him meant.
‘She is starting to get conscious of me.’
It wasn’t just her.
Along with Judith, Bratt Lloyd, who was excellent, and the other children with outstanding talent were looking at Airn.
And even those trainees who were in the lower rank were wary about Airn.
It was a completely different atmosphere from the early days of admission, where people disregarded and ridiculed him.
He lived his entire life having people point their fingers at him.
Even Airn knew about the slander and gossip which went around his back.
However, he didn’t plan on changing himself. At first, he didn’t like it, but then he began not to consider the words.
He was that kind of person, and he was sure that he would live his entire life like that. And that feeling of desperation continued until the age of 15.
But, no more.
The wandering knight Bran Somerville, whom Airn never met, had recognized Airn’s hard work.
The high-ranking noble, Bratt Lloyd, had turned wary of him.
The unmatchable Judith, who never cared for anyone, was trying to compete with him.
All of these were like miracles that he had never imagined before.
‘Let’s stop thinking.’
Airn shook his head as he lay on the bed.
To be honest, it wasn’t a bad feeling.
But he wasn’t sure how he was supposed to feel.
The door to the boy’s heart was too narrow to enjoy positive evaluation for the first time in his life.
On the other hand, there was a lot of fear.
Which was why he decided to think about other stuff.
‘Why am I helping you? Well…’
‘I don’t like it when people form opinions on others without really knowing about them.’
‘Don’t worry about what is happening behind you. No need to worry about me either. Shall we run again?’
When asked why she was helping, that was Ilya’s answer.
It wasn’t a convincing answer.
She wasn’t the kind to care about other people.
Neither did she have a burning sense of justice or sympathetic personality.
Airn was the kind of person who could tell what a person was like by looking at their eyes.
It felt strange how she was considerate of his situation.
There should be another reason…
After thinking for a moment, Airn shook his head.
Another problem which had no answer.
Besides, he wasted half an hour thinking about useless stuff. He shouldn’t have done that.
For the past few months, he had been deeply aware of how vital rest is.
In addition, in the case of Airn, there was another thing.
The unknown man appeared in his dream.
Thanks to that, the boy was able to strengthen his mentality constantly. He was able to greet the morning with the same spirit as yesterday.
‘It is hard to fight the urge to hold onto a sword, but…’
A little longer, and then he would be able to hold it again.
Airn closed his eyes as he touched the sword pendant his younger sister had given him and fell asleep.
The next day.
The dream he had was different than usual.
He greeted the morning with a different heart than before.
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