Nothing that was in front of her could be seen.
There was no vision, no noise, no smell, and no other senses that she could feel.
It seemed like the impact was much bigger than what she had expected.
Well, at least they had taken care of that bad guy, who was just as terrible as the Greater Devils, which were recorded in the history books of the Holy Kingdom.
‘I might have died if it wasn’t for the breastplate I was given.’
Right. Even in such a serious situation where she couldn’t even feel pain, Ignet Crescentia didn’t think she was dead.
It couldn’t happen. She couldn’t die until she had established her own kingdom.
‘Not like this. It is too unfortunate for my precious life to end here like this.’
But in the back of her mind, she also had another thought…that it was good for it to be like this.
She was someone who had been running all her life for nearly 30 years without taking a break.
She decided to enjoy the rest which had come to her in a long time, to the maximum, and emptied all her other thoughts.
The effort in her mind to close her eyes and the thought that was telling her to smile, all vanished.
In the space of nothingness, where she couldn’t feel anything, Ignet existed quietly, blowing away all her anxiety and worries.
However, such a relaxing experience didn’t last for long.
At the unfamiliar scenery which suddenly came to her mind, Ignet made a strange expression.
‘A pole lamp?’
After seeing herself floating like a ghost, she looked ahead.
She saw the face of herself, when she was young, along with her friends who were no longer there with her.
In the ruins of a slum where everything was collapsing, the 10-year-old Ignet was proudly yelling.
‘Great! I got a job from Grandpa Jack! And he told me that I could work at Uncle Luke’s forge. My earnings will be much better in the future.’
‘Then can I eat two meals a day from now?’
‘Sure. I’ll make sure you get three meals too.’
‘Woah! Ignet is the best!’
‘I love you, sister! I’ll definitely help you when I grow up!’
Five kids spoke to her happily.
She felt a faint scent of nostalgia as she watched the long-forgotten past, but Ignet didn’t smile.
She simply looked at the past with an expressionless face.
And after a while, the scene changed.
Now she had more than ten kids surrounding her. All their eyes were filled with tears.
But 13 years old Ignet didn’t cry.
With a determined expression on her face, she said.
‘Wait one year. I will come back stronger in no time. Here, use this sparingly; you will be able to survive in the meantime.’
‘Can’t you not go?’
‘No. I will be back soon.’
She turned around.
In the hands of Ignet, who had a determined expression on her face, was a letter of recommendation to Krono that was given to her by an unknown swordsman.
She didn’t want to leave either. She also wanted to be with her friends and siblings.
But things weren’t looking good.
The civil war continued, and the work that kids could do had gradually diminished.
The kids couldn’t even beg anymore. In such a desolate atmosphere, the only thing they could get were a couple of kicks to the stomach.
She could manage to earn a little, but it was no longer possible to take care of everything by herself.
And that was the reason Ignet decided that she had to go to Krono.
‘I don’t even need to be a formal trainee. I just have to come back stronger.’
In the chaos the Macan Kingdom was going through, there was nothing children could do.
But if she became a competent swordsman, then that was a completely different story. She could earn enough to feed them all.
Ignet looked around the abandoned house one last time. She could see the faces of the kids still crying.
‘It will be fine. They have enough money to last a year.’
She gave them all the money she had saved, but didn’t feel like it was wasted.
At 13 years old, Ignet was forced to step away from a place she didn’t want to.
Time passed again.
Ignet didn’t seem much different.
She was just 14 and was returning to her hometown.
Unlike before, her face was full of confidence.
Her surprising talent had helped Ignet cross the threshold of the Sword Expert level.
With that level of skill, she thought that she could take responsibility for not just ten, but even twenty or thirty more kids.
However, there was no one in the abandoned house when she returned there after a year.
Her mind went blank for a moment. Bad thoughts flashed through her mind, and her thoughts started tormenting her.
Of course, she didn’t let herself be swayed.
She made up her mind in an instant, and she went around to inquire about them and was able to find some news.
And again, her face went stiff as she heard about the children.
Some were dead, some were alive.
However, there was no news of where most of the living ones were.
A kid who would never steal was now a member of the Thieves Guild.
Someone who never hit others and would always be the one beaten, was now hitting others and extorting money.
She couldn’t find the innocence even in the youngest ones.
Ignet, who was contemplating for a long time, eventually gave up on meeting them and headed west.
And then, she reached out to the common people whom she had met in Krono. Her classmates who had been eliminated due to their lack of talent.
‘I will become a mercenary.’
She didn’t think her old friends were all that bad.
If they had started out in a better place, they wouldn’t have turned out so crooked.
Right. A life of hardship that was too difficult to bear had pushed them into the abyss.
And so, to change that, she just had to make a better world.
She had to be the one who punished the greedy and who had to get rid of the scumbags.
If she could create a livable world, then the same thing wouldn’t happen again.
The mercenaries she would create would be for this purpose.
‘Ignet, of course, since you have your skills, we should do it together.’
‘Haha, I am already looking forward to it? Won’t we be super famous?’
Most of them joined. And most of them were good people with strong beliefs.
Though it was upsetting to think about it, the truth was that, they were far more capable than her old friends, and the 14-year-old Ignet’s heart was filled with anticipation.
Together with them, she wanted to make the world a better place.
It wasn’t until 10 years had passed did she realize that it was just an illusion.
‘I’m not going.’
‘What am I going to do in a place where there are no rights and life is just full of duties? Honor? I don’t need anything like that. I like the way it is now.’
‘Captain, congratulations on your achievement. But we plan on staying as mercenaries. It seems unreasonable for us to become members of the Knights, and moreover, it’s not just any Knights, but that of the Holy Kingdom.’
‘Well, if the captain leaves, it won’t be as good as before, but we have already made enough to live a lifetime.’
At the age of 24, Ignet had become a Sword Master, something that only a 100 people had achieved in their era.
However, she wasn’t disappointed at their response. Maybe it was because she didn’t expect much from them at that point.
In the same way as before, Ignet nodded her head.
‘Eat well and live well.’
She knew that things had changed at some point.
The amount of money that came as the reward was more important than the nature of the request. And along with that, as time passed, they were becoming more sensitive about the safety of their own lives than their initial goal.
For those who had lived for many years as mercenaries, Ignet’s beliefs and intentions were bound to be something that was rather distant.
But it was okay.
Ignet, who left the mercenaries on that day, thought.
‘I knew it would turn out like this.’
But she still didn’t resent her childhood friends.
She didn’t resent her colleagues, whom she had been with for the past 10 years, for settling with what they had.
They were all too young, and she had already realized it.
There weren’t many people in the world who had great ideals, and there were even fewer people who could keep up with them.
It didn’t matter, though.
Woong, seeing the intense light of the red aura on her sword, she vowed.
‘I just need to do my best.’
There was no need to depend on others.
Because she had the power to change the world on her own.
There was no need to convince others.
It was enough for her to walk this path on her own.
What she needed wasn’t the trust and persuasion of her colleagues, but rather, she needed to give orders and instructions as a king.
‘Let’s go together, captain.’
‘Me too, Anya too!’
‘Why? We can’t tag along?’
‘Sure. Do whatever you want.’
‘No, I will keep following the captain… why are you acting so cold…’
‘But I like the cold captain too! Hurray!’
And these thoughts were the reason why she wasn’t happy when Georg came with her.
And also why she didn’t laugh at Anya’s words.
Sure, they were with her now, but nobody knew what would happen later.
And there was nothing more tiring than focusing on an individual who never knew when they would get tired of others.
It was for that reason that, the 24-year-old Ignet was able to move without hesitation.
At that moment, a terrible darkness spread inside where she was, and an unpleasant voice resounded in her head.
‘What will happen in the end after you run so hard?’
‘No? I admit it, you are amazing. To create a country where everyone is respected, and without any civil wars or tyranny and a land devoid of unreasonable persecution! Even I, who is already dead, cannot help but admire the fact that you have the skills to achieve it.’
Ignet looked at the clown demon with an expressionless face.
With her eyes which didn’t feel anything.
But with eyes that seemed to be even colder than hers, the clown who became a corpse, continued to speak.
‘But, after doing that, what is left for you? Loneliness? Or maybe you think you can rest? Huh! My friend, I assure you. There will be no left by your side at the end. Ahh, right. And there will be dozens of carriages which will have their wheels broken while following you, because of course, they wouldn’t have any choice but to do so, isn’t that right?’1
Ignet didn’t deny it.
It was the same with her childhood friends and the mercenaries she was with.
She only nodded on the outside, but no one had sympathized with her ideals.
But it was common for people to fall behind, saying that it was an impossible goal and that they wouldn’t even be able to witness it.
Perhaps, the Black Knights, too, would be like that after a point.
And maybe, Georg and Anya were the same too.
When she came to her senses, the thought that she might have to walk that arduous road alone came to her mind.
However, Ignet didn’t suffer under that thought for long.
She smiled and raised her aura. And then, he sword cut the clown.
Ignet thought as she looked at the Devil’s corpse.
‘I have no time for leisure.’
She was fine with herself.
No matter how strong the devil’s curse was, she wasn’t weak enough to succumb to it.
But the others would be different.
Recalling the last words of the clown, she turned impatient.
‘Maybe more than half of them were dyed in that darkness…’
‘You need to get up quickly.’
She had to come to her senses and recover her body soon.
She would have to get rid of the darkness, which must have increased, and walk out of this dungeon.
Without her own power as the commander, even the Black knights wouldn’t be able to manage. Ignet concentrated and forced herself to wake up.
Meanwhile, another thought came to her mind.
She knew that she was the only one who could rescue the exploration members…
‘So why did I even rush forward to protect the others then?’
She shouldn’t have let it happen.
Rather, she felt that she needed to have done the opposite. Even if the other two were used as shields, she needs to preserve her stamina. She had to do that…
Her vision was back to normal.
Ignet Crescentia looked to her left and right and tried to stand. But it wasn’t possible.
She frowned and tried to move her upper body again.
Anya and Georg stopped her.
“No, captain! Rest more!”
“You cannot move now. Captain, please lie down a little longer.”
“What is it! Stay still, captain!”
“I need to get up… if I don’t, the devil’s curse will affect the others…”
“I know what you are thinking. But it is fine, calm down… take a look around.”
“The situation isn’t as bad as you fear.”
She was already frowning.
She wasn’t aware of the things that were happening around her. After grasping her own condition, she sighed.
‘Well, I cannot do anything right now anyways.’
It was then, Geog said it was right to focus on rest.
But she had no intention of staying still. Knowing her condition was just as important as understanding the state of the exploration team.
Her sense of responsibility as a King awakened her senses.
Her sensitive eyes quickly scanned the people around the dungeon.
Surprisingly, things were much better than expected.
Some were controlling their mind through meditation.
And some were wielding their sword to escape from their anguish.
And it was the same with a lot more.
Everyone was devoted to one thing or another; their faces weren’t as dark as Ignet thought.
And not just the face.
The dungeon itself wasn’t dark. It was thanks to the light.
A strong, but not blinding light… a golden light which warmed them all.
Ignet Crescentia thought as she felt a faint aura emanating from Airn’s body.
‘… I think I know.’
The reason she threw herself in front of them.
Realizing it, she closed her eyes again.
Georg and Anya nodded their heads once they looked at their sleeping captain.
‘Dozens of carriages which will have their wheels broken while following you’- This probably means that, although Ignet will achieve her goals in the end, almost everyone who she cared about would either abandon her, die, or would be broken as a result. ↩️
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