Chapter 19 - Winner’s Interview (2)

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Neither a short nor a long amount of time passed. After speaking, Airn lowered his gaze again.

Looking at him, Ian didn’t speak for a long time.

Stroking his chin, he touched the empty teacup.

As he continued to think, Ian opened his mouth.

“So, in summary, you want advice for reconciling with other trainees?”

“Yes.”

“And that trainee is none other than Miss Ilya Lindsay?”

“Yes.”

“Hmm.”

“I am sorry if this was a rude request. Just… since no one has done that, this was the only way I… I am just sorry.”

“No, there is nothing wrong. Really.”

Ian waved his hand.

He was the one who said any kind of reward could be asked for.

There was no way he could tell trainees what a good and disrespectful request was.

But,

“However, this old man is just a little embarrassed. That was all.”

It was the truth.

The school master and the trainee met.

Of course, the reward would have to do something with swords or teaching in general.

However, Airn had a completely different request; even the experienced Ian was flustered.

However, for a brief moment, interest grew in the old man’s heart.

Ian smiled brightly and continued.

“Miss Ilya, you were acquainted with that child. I didn’t know that.”

“It wasn’t like that.”

“Huh? Then? Did you become friends in school? That is amazing too. I personally know her and she has a difficult personality…”

“We aren’t close. Just a few words during self training…”

“Ugh, I didn’t know she would do that.”

Ian mumbled.

They didn’t know each other before, yet they aren’t close friends.

Still, there was a quarrel, and the boy was trying to resolve it.

Ian couldn’t understand the situation at all.

“First, I would like to listen to more of this. I don’t know what the situation is, so I am not sure what I’m supposed to tell you.”

“What should I tell you about?”

“Just tell me everything. How you talked, how she was offended and why you want to reconcile with her. I will do my best to advise you.”

“Thank you. Tha…”

Airn nodded and began to speak.

He wasn’t very good at talking. Sometimes the content flowed without a hitch, and sometimes he would struggle to use the right words.

But it wasn’t incomprehensible. Even in the crude story, there was something that could be understood.

All the trainees had clearly ignored this boy.

Ilya Lindsay didn’t.

While the others had a prejudice against the boy.

Ilya Lindsay didn’t.

Ian closed his eyes and nodded.

‘I can understand why he made such an absurd request.’

He wasn’t sure before. What kind of background this kid had come from.

For Airn, who had been cut away from the world since his childhood, Ilya’s help was very important.

‘Of course, there are some doubts I have but…’

Ian opened his eyes.

Blank expression.

However, he couldn’t figure out how to deal with the boy.

Should he start with consulting the boy’s concern?

He mumbled and clapped his hands.

“Nice. Shall I start counselling the troubled boy?”


After some time passed, the conversation ended smoothly.

Ian’s advice ended only on a general level, but that was appreciated by Airn.

For him, who had his entire life blown away, this was more than enough.

Bowing his head, Airn said.

“Thank you school master.”

“Thank you, all I did was spew some old man’s words.”

“No. It was really helpful.”

“I am glad that I could be of some help to you, but it wasn’t a big thing. I am confident in sword fighting, so I can tell you a lot of things regarding that, but… haha. It has been many years since I passed down advice on anything other than sword.”

Ian closed his eyes, and Airn went silent.

After a while, Ian, who cleared his throat, continued.

“Right. That’s enough talk about Ilya, now get to the point.”

“Yes? The point? What does that mean…”

“I haven’t given you anything yet.”

Wasn’t the advice the reward he asked for?

Airn was shocked.

Ian shook his head with a serious expression.

“Didn’t I tell you? I am confident in my sword, but not with relationships. My conscience doesn’t allow this to be considered as a reward.”

Pressure rose from Ian’s body.

A solemn pressure that only a master could see.

Even Airn Pareira, who was lacking in skills, could feel it.

It wasn’t painful or anything.

It just made him realize how great the short old man in front of him was.

“Enough of that. Let me teach you the sword. I promise to do my best to answer any questions you ask. So, if there is something running in your heart. Don’t hesitate to tell me.”

The pressure grew.

Though it created a force on the opponent, it created a feeling of trustworthiness.

Thus, it created an atmosphere where the other person would confide. In the midst of that, Airn remained silent for a long time. The old man widened as he looked at the boy.

Strange tension.

Airn’s answer was quite heartbreaking.

“I am sorry. What I am supposed to ask… I don’t even know that.”

“Hmm.”

The man went silent as Airn continued.

“You may already know, but I have only started training with the sword a month before joining the school. Even then, I wasn’t guided by anyone, I only wielded it by myself.”

“That so?”

“Yes, that’s right. It is… pretty embarrassing, but I don’t even know what I am supposed to want to ask.”

It wasn’t just empty words. That was a fact, as Airn lowered his head all the while he was speaking.

He continued.

“I’m really sorry. It isn’t that I am unaware of how great this opportunity is. I’m sorry that I have no choice but to give such a lousy answer to you.”

“Raise your head.”

“Huh? Ah yes”

Airn lifted his head. And their eyes met.

Like the blue lake, which one couldn’t tell where the lake ended, they didn’t take their eyes off each other. The boy had forgotten that it was rude to stare and kept looking at the old man.

A short time passed.

Clap!

“Ah!”

Ian clapped his hands.

Airn Pareira, who had a blank expression, came back to his senses.

And said,

“I-I am sorry!”

“What are you sorry for? Don’t apologize too often. A good trainee should be proud.”

Of course, he wasn’t saying that trainees should act rude. Ian sipped on his cooled tea.

His appearance was no different from that of an ordinary man walking around a rural village.

The pressure in the room suddenly washed away.

While Airn felt lost, Ian continued.

“I get it. Let’s postpone the reward.”

“Huh?”

“You can come back later when you feel like you want it.”

“Ah…”

“Or I can teach you what I think is needed. Do you want that?”

“No. Thank you!”

Airn got up and nodded.

Ian spoke with a slight smirk.

“Okay. Then you can leave.”

“Yes. Thank you!”

Airn bowed his head and left the room. Though he still looked restless.

Ian watched the boy with a smile on his face.

His expression changed only after the door closed.

‘Really, he really is an unusual kid.’

Flustering.

It was in the past, and even more so now.

He shook his head.

‘Does it make sense for a boy with a sword to reject sword teaching?’

No. Never.

His sword is of great value.

Among the swordsmen, there were many swordsmen who were like the stars in the night sky, but how many people are called ‘Sword Masters’?

Among them, how much would their teachings, which can’t be learned from others or compared with others, be worth?

There is no need to think for long.

‘But he kicked away the opportunity twice.’

It wasn’t exactly a kick.

The first one was a question that had nothing to do with the sword, and the second was just withholding an answer.

But Ian didn’t understand.

But the behaviour of Airn Pareira was too foreign to be considered as an aspiring trainee.

Right, like…

‘It was like he was already receiving good instruction, it looks like he didn’t need anyone else’s guidance.’

“… huhu, what am I thinking?”

Ian smiled.

An absurd speculation. He shook his head and sipped his tea.

Either way, watching the kid was fun.

The individual’s potential cannot be ignored, and it was very interesting in terms of the influence it had on the other trainees.

About 80% of the reason he wanted to remain here was because of the child.

‘Come to think of it… there was one who was as unique as him.’

Ian got up from his seat and looked out the window.

8 years ago, he remembered a trainee.

Overwhelming talent and confidence along with an unpredictable personality…

“Well, the colors are completely different.”

As he finished talking to himself, Ian looked out the window for a long time.


The day after the meet-up.

Around 100 trainees gathered in the auditorium. The children looked at the podium with eyes full of anticipation, and Ahmed appeared.

“As everyone knows, starting today, we will start swordsmanship.”

“…!”

Everyone’s faces brightened.

Obviously, they did.

Except for Airn, everyone had been learning swords long before they entered the school.

For them, the last 4 months were painful.

Those who couldn’t hide their joy clenched their fists and their lips formed into a smile.

Surprisingly, even Ahmed had a smile on his face.

“Looking forward to it? So am I.”

“…”

“As you all know, even the swordsmanship is different depending on the kind of sword one wields. It means that the power of a weak scholar, a healthy woodcutter and a knight’s diagonal slash are all very different.”

Ahmed glanced at the trainees. Every single one, without any exceptions.

And he looked at Airn.

As he made eye contact, he smiled and spoke.

“Everyone move ahead. Fully feel the achievements of the past four months.”

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