Falling tears which got rid of heavy emotions.
Ilya and Airn talked about this and that and finally made a decision.
Instead of returning to her family, Ilya was going to continue her training with her precious friend.
A journey to find her new self, to find her sword, and to find what she truly wants.
And knowing that Airn would be there with her throughout the journey, she felt much more at ease.
It felt as if she had met a rescue boat.
However, there was a problem; it was that Airn was with others.
Judith, Bratt Lloyd, an orc called Kuvar, and the cat sorcerer Lulu.
Actually, the last two were fine.
Since they were kind people, there was a high chance that if Ilya explained what happened, they would immediately welcome her.
‘But Bratt and Judith… with them, it is a bit difficult.’
Airn had a stiff expression.
Although they were friends, they weren’t that acquainted with Ilya.
To be honest, they were in a bad relationship.
Of course, with Judith, Ilya had resolved her feelings when leaving the school, but it had been 6 years since then.
Moreover, despite the fact that they met several times at Eisenmarkt, they pretended to not know each other.
Ilya had avoided making any conversation.
In other words… they have become less close than the beginning.
“Will it be fine?”
It couldn’t be seen as she was holding back her expression, but Airn knew that she was feeling nervous.
He looked into her eyes and smiled.
“There won’t be a problem. Because they are good people. If there are some misunderstandings… then we will clear them like swordsmen and resolve it, alright?”
“It is fine. Because I am with you. What can they say if you want to apologize and be with them?”
“It will be fine. Don’t worry.”
Airn answered with a more confident expression than usual, and Ilya nodded.
Finally, after a long conversation, they headed inside.
Perhaps, the others had left the room deliberately, so when they entered, it was just Judith and Bratt.
However, then came an unexpected situation.
“Think about it from our perspective. If we ignored you all this time and then suddenly wanted to be with you, how would you react?”
Instead of Judith, who would normally object, Bratt had a colder reaction.
Airn was speechless at the unexpected response, and Ilya felt nervous at that.
However, Judith was the most perplexed one.
‘This bastard! Why is he this doing this now?’
From the moment Airn went out to meet Ilya, the two of them had expected something like this to happen.
Bratt was the kind who didn’t care about it, but now since he didn’t like it, he said he didn’t accept it right away.
But to say ‘No!’ right at the beginning.
So, Judith opened her mouth.
However, Judith’s words were cut by Bratt.
Normally she would speak again, but from Bratt’s expression, she knew that he was serious.
Instead of yelling at him, she folded her arms to watch what would happen, and Airn, who was with Ilya, also waited for Bratt’s next words.
“You, why do you want to join us?”
“Well, I can roughly guess it. To get encouraged and move forward with the help of someone you trust. To grow. Something like that.”
“Then let me ask you something. Who all do you think you can ‘trust’?”
“Perhaps Airn Pareira, probably, just him alone. Judith and I are certainly not it for sure.”
“Am I wrong?”
Bratt Lloyd kept interrupting her.
But Ilya wasn’t in a position to be angry.
Because what he was saying was true.
“You can’t say I’m wrong. Well, this was expected. If you had wanted to build a relationship of trust with us, then you wouldn’t have called and talked to Airn alone. You would have confided to us all your secrets and shared everything, your reasoning, and the intention to ignore us till now. Isn’t that right?”
“If that is difficult, then you just have to make a separate party with Airn instead of joining us.”
A deadly silence in the room.
Airn and Ilya, as well as Judith.
Bratt’s attitude, which was much harsher than expected, made them sympathize with Ilya, but they couldn’t even move.
In the end, the only person who could unravel the current mood of Bratt Lloyd spoke for the first time.
Perhaps, he too knew that, so he sighed and said.
“Phew… of course, that won’t happen knowing Airn’s nature. He will want to be with both Ilya and us… right?”
Airn, who received Bratt’s gaze, hesitated and then nodded.
And then he turned to the right. Bratt muttering quietly, looked at Ilya.
As if she had nothing to say, Ilya lowered her gaze and bowed her head.
In the end, they went back to where they started.
As Judith, Airn and Ilya were thinking about how to solve this, Bratt, who looked at the three with a serious expression, looked at their faces.
And then spoke softly as if he decided something.
“Fine. We’ll make some way. If you can’t take the first step, then we will.”
“It means that we will tell you our secrets which we find difficult to tell others and only to those who are close to us. So that you can speak about your story to us.”
‘This bastard, he was going for this since the beginning.’
Judith, who understood it, nodded.
From the beginning, Bratt was going to accept Ilya.
However, it was hard for him to act as if nothing had happened, so his intention was to close the distance between them before starting their journey.
But why ‘us’ and not ‘me’?
A thought popped into Judith’s mind.
Usually, when one brings up a story, it will be about themselves and not the entire group.
And the question was resolved.
“I don’t usually tell this to anyone… Judith believed in Santa until 14.”
“After becoming an official trainee, she refrained from cursing and always used soft words from her mouth for several months to receive a present from Santa. Of course, the moment she found out that Santa doesn’t exist, she immediately began to swear out loud…”
“Yah! You crazy jerk! If you want to speak! Then tell your own secrets! Why are you talking about other people’s secrets! You fucker…”
Judith got up from the chair by force and grabbed Bratt by his collar.
And she didn’t just grab; she lifted him up.
With his feet in the air, Bratt was still smiling.
Airn and Ilya, who saw that, burst into laughter.
Santa Claus. A famous superstition that there is an old man who gives gifts to children all around the world on December 25th.
However, since it is so famous, kids learned the truth about it when they were young, and when they learned that Judith believed that till she was 14, they couldn’t help but laugh.
Of course, for Judith, it wasn’t funny.
Her face was red and flustered! She lowered Bratt and shouted.
“You speak about yourself from now on! I will really kill if you overdo this!”
“Fine. Don’t worry!”
“.. me too?”
“Right! Did you think this will end with you listening to us?”
“Ah of course! You too Ilya!”
“Everyone is talking to you, so do you think you can stay silent like you did before, and keep your head down!?”
“If that’s the case, then Sword Master or not, you will lose here.”
“… I will tell.”
Feeling Judith’s terrifying energy, Ilya nodded.
It felt like the time when she talked with Judith at the end when she left the school, and there were times when Judith gave out this energy.
The energy of a wild beast which stimulated the fear in the opponent.
It was funny because of Santa Claus, but not anymore.
And it was the same with Airn.
“Hmm. Then let’s start with me.”
Only Bratt Lloyd responded calmly.
Judith’s eyes were saying, ‘Let’s see what you say!’, but Bratt ignored her eyes and spoke longer than they expected.
Memories shared in the Krono Swordsmanship school when they joined, when their younger selves were prospective trainees.
And what happened after that, the experiences he had when he decided to drop out of the school and leave swordsmanship.
He spoke frankly and candidly about his entire life.
He showed himself to others as he was, with nothing to hide.
“… this time, I will go.”
Next was Judith.
Before Bratt’s story, she was so excited she wanted to smash everything. But not now.
And now she was doing her best to unravel her stories, her bad days, and she looked at Airn.
Airn, who smiled, once again told his story to his three schoolmates who heard it again.
And when the three of them were done.
Tears welled up in Ilya Lindsay’s eyes again.
For 6 years after leaving the school, Ilya had been walking in dark and narrow paths.
The eerie eyes and disgusting words of the public around her, and her darker imagination of things, and the fear which grew from it which made her lock up everything inside her for 24 hours a day.
But not now.
In a world of hers that was broken and dark, uncertainty and vagueness were resonating more with the warmth of the light.
And the three of them in front of her, had the most reassuring faces to help her through it.
And so began the story of Ilya Lindsay.
The three of them listened to her with serious faces as she slowly spoke, broken and stranded sentences because of the feeling of being blessed.
6 years from the time of being prospective trainees of Krono.
Finally, the four were reborn as friends.
“Hehe, can we join in now?”
“Hello! Nice to meet you! I am the best cat sorcerer on the continent! Call me Lulu! I made the teddy bear you got! Hehe!”
When all four were done, they came.
The Orc Kuvar and cat sorcerer Lulu appeared with bright faces.
Even though it was their first time meeting, they two treated Ilya without any awkwardness.
And she too, was fine.
“They are normally like this?”
Ilya asked Airn.
Rather than Ilya joining, they now needed to know where they had to go next.
Kuvar and Lulu had no purpose, but the other four, including Airn, did.
This wasn’t a simple trip, but a path to grow as swordsmen.
And that was the purpose of this party, so the next place they had to visit was important.
It was then, Kuvar spoke his mind.
“How about going to see my teacher?”
“Yes. If it is my teacher, then…”
After a moment’s silence, he spoke in a serious voice.
“Airn, your dream… maybe we can know something about the mysterious man.”
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