The day after a healthy farewell party, where even beer couldn’t be found.
Airn and his party left Partizan early in the morning.
Jet Frost, Glenn, and Hyram saw them off.
“Goodbye! Next time, let’s compete again!”
“It’s upsetting that we couldn’t drink again. Let’s do it again next time!”
“We learned a lot.”
“We really learned a lot!”
“We will visit again. Stay safe.”
The three swordsmen, the cat, and the Orc disappeared like a cloud of dust after saying goodbye with bright expressions.
Jet Frost looked at them until they disappeared.
“Good juniors have left.”
They really were good juniors.
Jet nodded in response to Hyram’s words.
At first, he thought that they were annoying, but at some point he became immersed in their growth and passion.
Because of that he learned a lot too.
In a short period of one month, he realized what he couldn’t achieve throughout his life.
‘It feels like the wall is broken.’
“It has been a while since I’ve trained.”
Jet said that and then turned around.
Seeing him like that, Glenn and Hyram smiled.
It felt good to see the sleeping dragon awaken after a long time.
Hyram thought after Airn and his group left.
‘Ilya Lindsay… the genius who some people call the greatest talent of all time and comparable to Ignet.’
Her talent is so brilliant that even great people would be uncomfortable.
But those three might hold on.
No, it could be a catalyst for growth.
‘I want them to keep their promise of coming back.’
It wasn’t just Hyram who thought that, the others thought the same.
The carriage moved along the path.
The entire carriage was filled with the three swordsmen’s excitement and the carriage moved faster than usual.
Among them, the one who felt the most passion was Airn.
Closing his eyes, he thought of his friend, Ilya Lindsay.
‘The first person who approached me, a loner.’
At the time, Airn was truly isolated.
Because of the rumors of his indolence and his poor physique, everyone there treated him badly.
Even Judith and Bratt didn’t like him.
However, Ilya helped and guided him without prejudice.
Their relationship was the first one that Airn formed outside of his family.
‘In retrospect, Ilya was the reason I wanted to go around the continent.’
He remembered it.
The last thing she said when she spoke about Ignet after the final evaluation.
“Work harder. Otherwise… the gap will widen in an instant.”
After mentioning Ignet who is considered the greatest genius of all time.
She spoke about her ambition to stand up to her.
The check she put on him was a great stimulus for the boy who was nothing.
He didn’t realize it at that time, but Ilya was a benefactor who helped him feel a sense of struggle.
‘I’m going to see Ilya again.’
His heart was thrilled.
Even if they drove the carriage faster, it would take 20 days, but it was hard to control the feeling of wanting to meet her.
His heart was pounding even faster than when he accidentally ran into Judith and Bratt.
He was deep in thought, but he was soon interrupted.
“Hey, hey, hey.”
Airn and Lulu both abruptly opened their eyes because of Bratt’s voice which angrily responded to Judith.
After looking at them. Bratt turned to Judith and asked.
“Are you nervous?”
“What? Wh-What… do you mean?”
“You’re nervous. I can tell by how you’re feigning ignorance.”
“Bratt, what are you talking about?”
Airn asked with a curious expression and Bratt answered.
“You were sucked into the world of sorcery right away, so you might not know.”
“Do you remember what this one said to Ilya back in the day?”
Airn nodded his head.
At that time, he worked for the man in his dreams, but there was no way he didn’t know about it.
The confrontation between Ilya, and Judith and Bratt was such a hot topic that even the instructors were interested in it.
But wasn’t that resolved in the process of Ilya leaving the school?
‘I don’t think it’s something to be concerned about, six years have passed…’
Was what he thought for a while.
But after hearing Bratt’s story, Airn went stiff.
A tragedy awaited for Ilya as she returned to her family.
A sad and tragic story that has yet to conclude.
And even worse were the venomous rumors which followed it.
An incident which would make anyone’s heart break.
Even more so for Airn, who lost his childhood because of his mother’s death.
“… well, I didn’t bring it up to make you feel bad.”
In the heavy atmosphere, Bratt Lloyd cleared his throat and moved on to his main point.
“I understand that this has burdened you Judith. But don’t have that shitty expression on your face for 20 days. I just wanted to say that.”
“You and Airn got that platinum emblem from Ilya right? Even I, a member of the Lloyd family, wasn’t given it. Thinking about that makes me angry. How dare she skip me and give you two those emblems!”
“Bastard, back then you were all depressed and ready to go back home.”
“I wasn’t that upset.”
“Damn it. I saw you go home. All uh uhu huh, crying and fussing. And then your parents kicked your ass and made you come back to school.”
“… that isn’t important.”
Maybe it was because of his low voice, Bratt still displayed dignity.
And now, Bratt had everyone’s attention, when he said.
“We’re going to see Ilya Lindsay because we want to see an old friend, but… I want to finish what we started five years ago.”
Judith’s eyes widened as she bit her lip. And she nodded with an angry expression.
Bratt was right.
She didn’t want to go and hold hands or hug her.
Of course, that wasn’t a bad option, but the important thing would be competing.
And repaying the defeat they faced in the final evaluation.
“No need to worry. Ilya is the champion of the Land of Proof. It’s a pity what happened to Carl Lindsay… but if she got swayed and collapsed, she wouldn’t have risen to this level.”
Bratt looked up as he recalled the past.
How much he had grown.
And how incredibly strong the girl must have become.
She, too, was a genius.
She was one of the two people who showed Bratt what real talent is.
“First, we need to try our best to meet her.”
“… try what! I won’t lose this time!”
“No. To be honest, winning will be hard. Don’t you know what level a champion of the Land of Proof has to be on?”
“I don’t get you, you jerk, you go around breaking down my passionate heart… what are you planning?”
“I’m just talking about being able to close the gap between us. To be honest, winning will be difficult. She’s a champion.”
“This absurd bastard…”
“Fighting again, tch tch.”
Seeing Bratt and Judith fight again, Lulu shook her head.
And went back to meditation. 1
Airn, too, smiled and turned away.
As the scenery outside the carriage slowly passed by.
He seemed calm, but to be honest, he was worried.
He knew how painful it was to lose a family member, and how much Ilya loved her brother.
The words he heard before made his head ache.
The Land of Proof.
The place Ilya had aimed for in the past, but she said that she wouldn’t be obsessed with it.
‘… maybe she didn’t go for that reason.’
Ilya Lindsay, Carl Lindsay, and Ignet.
Thinking about those three, Airn closed his eyes.
She will be fine.
It would be nice to shake off the pain of the past. And smile when they meet again.
He thought that she could shake off the pain since he managed to do it in the past.
After organizing his thoughts, Airn began to practice imagery.
On the 19th day after leaving Partizan, Airn and his party arrived safely in Eisenmarkt, a city in the Khaliad Kingdom.
A city famous for gladiators, they could see a huge number of swordsmen coming and going.
Of course, there were normal people, and merchants too.
“There are a lot of people who seem rich.”
“It also looks like there are a lot of beggars…”
“Haha. It has to be like this. In the Land of Proof, there are many gladiators which makes gambling an easy sport.”
Judith nodded at Kuvar’s words.
She saw similar people when she was a kid.
‘I think there are many who have empty hands…’
She knew that gamblers could have empty hands, and become poor and even become naked.
But they didn’t come here to bet.
‘I’m here to fight.’
Of course, that didn’t mean that she was going to fight right away.
It seemed like it took quite some time just to register a name in the Land of Proof.
So what could they do in the meantime?
“Should we see the skills of the champion?”
Everyone nodded at Judith’s words.
They couldn’t help but wonder.
Rumor had it that Ilya was terrific, but how good she really is was still a mystery.
Of course, the champion doesn’t always fight.
“Precious people! New to Eisenmarkt? Have you come to see the gladiators? The best match is happening today at 4pm, don’t you want to watch it?”
“The best match means…”
“It’s a match between Dame Ilya Lindsay, the champion, and Sir Cedric Cooper, a king-class of the Land of Proof, the 2nd place gladiator.”
“By the way, it might be difficult to find a seat. It will be sold out.”
Seeing the man smile by showing his yellow teeth, Bratt looked at his friends.
There was no reason to refuse. So he told Judith.
“Give him money.”
“Me? Why me?”
“You have a lot of money. Don’t keep hoarding it and use it at times like this.”
“… I’ll pay.”
Airn, who passed through them, paid the price.
It was expensive, but it wasn’t a burden to him.
And they didn’t think of it as a scam.
Since the excellent sorcerer, Lulu, said that it was genuine.
Just like that, Airn and his party got the chance to watch Ilya Lindsay’s game, so they went to lunch feeling excited.
But during lunch their expressions went stiff.
A story about Ilya was spreading around the restaurant.
And they heard it.
Unless they were deaf, they would hear it.
Eisenmarkt’s best swordsmen were going to compete with each other, how can one not listen to that?
However, the information that people were excited about was shocking for Airn, Bratt, and Judith.
Even after eating, when they were walking around the streets to pass time, and when the time was up and they went to sit in the luxurious seats they brought.
The three didn’t speak.
With sharp eyes, they only looked at the stage to make sure that what they heard was true.
After a short period of time, the match between Ilya Lindsay and Cedric Cooper began.
And they witnessed it.
At 18, silver light came out of the genius’s sword.
“… aura sword.”
The champion of the Land of Proof.
Had obtained a title so grand that everyone around would fade away.
Seeing Ilya Lindsay on the stage, the three swordsmen had no choice but to go stiff.
She was meditating before she was interrupted by Judith and Bratt. ↩️
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