A very long time ago, when John Drew focused on psychological warfare and battles, rather than cultivating his skills.
He began to like matches between swordsmen.
However, it didn’t mean that he was always on the winning side.
‘Of course, the gladiator matches are subtler and more complicated than chess.’
The background of the match was different each time.
Chess is played within a limited space of 8 vertical and horizontal rows, but the battle of swordsmen happens in wider places and the environment changes.
Even the limited stage was far freer than chess.
Is that all? There was an incomparable number of methods to use.
Compared to chess which could handle only 7 pieces, the shape of the sword was diverse and the swordsmanship derived was also diverse.
“It is something that the chess masters would hate.”
Although Lulu didn’t agree with it, John held onto the idea until the end.
And Airn, a swordsman, had no choice but to agree with the idea.
It was because he couldn’t come to senses with the tricks John Drew was using, and the man didn’t run out of tricks.
And there was no system of style of John Drew’s swordsmanship.
Similar movements and situations which inevitably occur when using swords.
And after distinguishing them, a trick which works universally is applied.
And then the approach of ‘Why that method works’.
When listening to such explanations, Airn could see the tricks and system behind it.
However, it was difficult for Airn who understood all of it.
It was from then.
Instead of obsessing over it, Airn began to focus on the fundamentals of John Drew’s swordsmanship.
‘What will the trick be?’
It was a means or method or a technique to deceive the opponent.
For example, playing rock, paper, scissors and then putting out scissors only to change it to paper based on the opponent.
The opponent who thinks that it will be scissors will use rock, but will get eaten by the paper.
From the victim’s standpoint, they would explode in anger.
‘A risky method.’
The most efficient would be to use paper from the beginning.
Acting like scissors was going to be used and then using paper was a wrong act, so unless the other person was really deceived, it was hard to win.
So, those who use tricks, hide their intentions more sophisticatedly.
They try to put out paper which is like scissors and add other aid techniques to prevent the opponent from focusing.
Airn started to observe them instead of learning it.
‘This is worth doing.’
Fortunately, Airn’s concentration was sharper now.
All the information was rushing to his mind and even the minute details he would have missed in the past were being registered, a slight change in foot angle, the movement of shoulders, the change of eyes direction and facial expression.
And then he would compare it with the basic swordsmanship.
In doing so, he was able to quickly figure out which movements of John Drew were unnatural and what his intentions were.
It felt like his body was understanding a dozen times faster than being guided by words.
Of course, that didn’t solve everything.
He was able to figure out what point the opponent was planning, but it was difficult to predict the purpose of it.
Because of inexperience.
However, he noticed a strange feeling, and instead of doing his own thing, being nervous and alert made him cope better with it.
Do not be fooled and watch the opponent till the last minute before acting.
And like that, Airn’s sword was looking more stable.
He expressed his gratitude to John Drew, who made it possible.
“Thank you. I managed to learn a lot.”
“Oh! Airn! Did you realize something? Because of that teacher?”
“Yes. It was a huge help. Thank you once again.”
“Why! Then, as Airn’s best friend and the first teacher, I cannot stand still.”
Lulu flew to John Drew’s side and gracefully tapped her hands.
Three gold coins fell from the air.
John Drew was startled, still, he caught them and they were just coins.
A beautiful jewel was embedded in the middle.
‘No, this isn’t a coin, this is the gold coin of the ancient kingdom which was destroyed 700 years ago!’
This was a rare historical item.
Whether she knew or not, Lulu patted John Drew’s shoulders.
“Keep working hard!”
‘… but what did I even do?’
John Drew thought.
He did his best as a swordsmanship teacher and his efforts weren’t in vain when the customers showed achievement.
However, the achievement would come at a later stage.
And Airn here was being faithful to his basics.
It hurt his pride rather than feeling good when he was being complimented.
‘Why do the ones being taught realize what I as the teacher don’t?’
Just what was he even doing?
He wanted to scream out loud.
But he couldn’t.
As said before, the money kept coming out and he couldn’t refuse.
‘… ‘what did you even learn from me?’ I can’t even ask that.’
John Drew had retired from being an active swordsman, but he was still a swordsman.
Besides… Although he didn’t tell anymore, he was thinking of establishing a school.
As a swordsman, he didn’t have enough achievement, but he had great ambition to be a swordsmanship teacher.
With that in mind, Airn’s enthusiasm for achieving results in areas he didn’t teach too made him feel good.
‘Fundamentals? Basics? They are good. But I’ll show you that there are tricks to break them down too!’
He was trying to use the deadly trick he had researched and refined!
John Drew was determined as he looked ahead.
Airn who looked at him was startled.
‘Why are his eyes like that?’
They were much hotter than before.
He could feel the passion and emotion which he didn’t feel from John before.
“If it is okay with you, I want to put away everything else and focus on you from today… How do you feel? Are you okay with that?”
“… sure! Thank you!”
Airn thanked him.
He didn’t know the reason.
Why was John Drew looking different? Why did he say that?
He didn’t know.
Airn smiled brightly and said.
“I hope you take care of me in the future.”
“… same here.”
John Drew answered a beat late.
‘He looks more handsome when he smiles. Disgusting.’
10 more days passed.
In the meantime, John gave up his favourite golf, shopping and devoted himself to Airn.
Normally, he would do his best for the customer who would come in, but this time he wanted to convey everything with the heart of a teacher.
Did that work?
Airn’s tricks were improving.
“Woah, it was worth it.”
John Drew looked at his customer.
It wasn’t like John Drew’s entire swordsmanship was covered in tricks.
He was faithful to the fundamentals.
Without huge gambles, only low-risk techniques which wouldn’t be noticed were used by Airn.
However, that alone changed a whole lot.
A person who only knows basics is completely different from a person who knows basics but also uses tricks from time to time.
Even if a few tricks were used, the opponent would end up showing gaps, so in simple terms, Airn’s swordsmanship was more sophisticated than before.
However, not everything was going smoothly.
“But it isn’t easy to find opponents.”
The part where he could test himself by going against an opponent at 100%.
Till now, John Drew and Airn would lower their power and handle their swords.
It was because if they did their best, John Drew was no match to Airn.
‘It is unavoidable. The gap filled with tricks is limited.’
So the skills Airn had learned so far weren’t used in practice.
Listening to the theory, and roughly seeing it and following it is different from using it in real battles.
In order to get the feel of using it in a real match, he needs to compete with someone equal to him.
‘A swordsman to deal with this monster needs to be at King level.’
And there was no way that a person in that level would face Airn Pareira.
John Drew knew of that, but the public didn’t know yet.
During the 3 week training period had two more victories in the arena, but Airn was being undervalued as there was no opponent who was drawing out Airn’s real skills.
In such a place, it was safe to say that no King level swordsman would come to battle with Airn.
No, there is a greater chance of them avoiding meeting Airn. Because it would look inferior to a King level to be seen with Airn.
It was when John Drew was frowning because of those thoughts.
“Master. A guest has arrived.”
“That… he isn’t Master’s guest, but Airn Pareira’s guest. Name is Judith… what should I do?”
One of the three rookies who visited Land of Proof.
John Drew’s expression turned bright at the mention of the name, and then darkened immediately.
Despite being the same trainee with Airn, he doubted that this trainee could keep up with Airn’s skill.
‘I heard she isn’t even 20… there is no way she can compete with this crazy monster.’
That didn’t mean he would kick her out.
He asked the servant to bring in Judith.
After a while.
Checking the red-haired swordsman, he realized how ridiculous the 27th batch of Krono was.
“W-what are you?”
John Drew wasn’t the only one shocked.
Judith, who had come met him after her own hellish training looked at Airn Pareira and said,
“What did you do this entire month? … you seem to have changed? To this extent?”
It wasn’t just the voice.
Voice, expression, anger, frustration, fluster too many complex emotions.
Sensing her pressure, John Drew stepped back sweating. This wasn’t something he could handle.
But Airn didn’t.
He, who had examined his own style after knowing that Judith was coming, asked in a low voice.
“It’s been a long time, should we battle it out?”
“… alright, you jerk.”
Swearing, Judith drew her sword.
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