What do you need to be strong?
It was a question with an easy answer. In particular, depending on if the sword was being learned recently, the easier that question was to answer.
It was because, just like in most fields, beginners have a much greater scope of growth.
Simple running increased their stamina, and lifting something heavy would increase their strength.
Since there are always individuals who are superior to normal people present everywhere, it would be easy to find instructors and follow their words and improve swordsmanship by listening to them.
A novice swordsman who has improved his skills through practice and combat, grows into a skilled swordsman.
However, such pleasures do not last forever.
The amount of training required to develop stamina and strength increases exponentially after a point.
No matter how many times someone does training, there are many movements that simply cannot be perfected.
The aura, which was exponentially growing in the past, would reach stagnation and dealing with it would be even more painful. And it would hurt so much that it would feel as if their head was going to split.
And everyone was the same.
It was the same whether it was a criminal or a genius.
The only difference was the timing and the level, but the true identity of oneself inevitably follows the swordsman, just like the ordeals of a Hero.
It doesn’t get better no matter how hard they try, and it doesn’t get better no matter what they try.
Even if the sword was all that was thought about, it would be nothing but suffering with no answer.
So, some settle down, and some of them just give up.
As with those who reached their ‘limit’, they end their long journey because they think they can’t continue anymore.
But not Ignet Crescentia.
Although she possessed more talent than anyone else, an inevitable moment of stagnation came for her as well.
It was a solid wall that didn’t break even after clashing against it a thousand times. And even with days of deliberation, she found no clear answer. It was the first real limitation she had ever encountered.
But she didn’t give up.
As if she wasn’t facing a wall, she continued to practice.
She found each thing through which she could change and grow, thus laying the groundwork for her eventual leap forward.
If she was a little lazy, and if she hadn’t known about her shortcomings, she wouldn’t have been able to realize anything from Airn’s story.
But Ignet wasn’t like that.
The story of the growth of the character called Airn permeated into her mind and heart.
It wasn’t just the simple story of his, but his story of trust with the precious people in his life, which widened her narrow horizon.
Her self-righteous thoughts changed.
Her feelings about the accident, which had been stained with distrust, had also changed.
Watching Airn break through a wall he never could overcome, with the strength of his friends, made her realize what she lacked.
She remembered what she had been ignoring all this while.
The moment she remembered those who were with her, her body was wrapped in a flaming aura.
The light emanating from her was as intense as the sun.
However, that wasn’t all.
As time passed, the ruthlessness of burning everything away faded, and a warm and splendid majestic light entered its place.
It was closer to the energy of a leader rather than a warrior, an energy that enriched those behind her.
Airn watched Ignet in awe.
He didn’t know what she was doing or if she had attained realization.
All that he could infer was that something he had said had influenced her.
That alone made him feel a little bit of pride in his heart.
However, a flame, thicker than that, hotter than the one covering Ignet’s body, raged in his heart.
A feeling of not wanting to lose.
Of not wanting to be left behind.
It didn’t matter if it was belief, will or if it was the hero’s path.
It was a thought and a promise that he fully embraced as a ‘swordsman’.
Airn Pareira summoned his sword. Something which he himself didn’t realize he had done, and put strength into his grip. And strength into his eyes.
A deep breath escaped from his mouth as he watched Ignet Crescentia, someone who had been his ‘target’, for a long time.
Joshua Lindsay looked at Ignet without saying a word.
It was amazing. It wasn’t easy for a Sword Master to break down a wall.
Although it wasn’t as much as her, even Joshua was in a state of enlightenment.
Perhaps, tomorrow he will be stronger than today.
However, he didn’t think about himself.
Not with the eyes of a swordsman, but with those of a Lord.
No, with the eyes of a father.
He looked over at Ignet and Airn. Rather, he looked into the latter one for a longer period of time.
A deep and long silence lingered around them.
Not a lot of time had passed.
Eventually, Ignet Crescentia opened her eyes.
The flame around her body faded. However, the red light in her eyes was still shining.
That was a testament to the fact that she was different from a moment before.
Joshua Lindsay knew that better than anyone.
Congratulations and a brief thanks. It was unavoidable.
The two were still awkward, and they probably would never get close to each other for the rest of their lives.
Ignet turned her head, and Airn’s figure caught her eyes.
With a firm grip on the great sword which he had taken out, he was looking at her without even thinking of hiding his feelings.
Ignet, who was happy, burst into laughter.
With a smile on her face, she looked at Airn.
“Join the subjugation squad within three years.”
“Why aren’t you answering? Not confiden…”
Airn stopped her. It was disrespectful and couldn’t be shown to a commander of the Holy Kingdom. However, Ignet didn’t care about it.
Airn Pareira smiled and then spoke to her.
“Within 1 year, I will return with Khun’s approval.”
A little past midnight.
Returning to his room, the head of the Lindsay family sat on the chair in the dark room.
There was no need to turn on the light. He closed his eyes and remembered what had happened.
The match with Ignet was unexpected, and her skills were better than he had thought… but in the end, he ended up liking her story.
And another was Airn Pareira.
And the awakening of Ignet.
Unable to hold back, Joshua sighed.
His heart was tired. As a senior swordsman, watching the two grow, he knew that the two would leave a mark on the continent, and that was something he couldn’t help but feel happy about.
At least as a swordsman.
However, he wasn’t just a swordsman.
He was a father who had lost his son. A weak and lacking family head who somehow wanted to find someone to put the blame on.
Because of that… he couldn’t be that happy to see Ignet growing so fast.
The problem was that there wasn’t just one such genius.
At first, he thought it was awesome.
At the age of just 23, he achieved the status of Sword Master.
Right now, he was higher in skill than Sevion Brooks of Palanque, which meant that Airn wasn’t a beginner Sword Master.
‘He’s much stronger, much more stronger than I thought.’
He remembered what happened 10 years back.
The shock of seeing Ignet, who had challenged the Lindsay family when she was below 20 years of age.
Who could stand up to that same woman now? Who was confident enough to go against her?
At least, in her own generation, there wouldn’t be a rival.
He thought of Airn.
Even during the atmosphere during the match time, that man didn’t hesitate.
He didn’t yield and just burned more ferociously.
Seeing the young man exerting such an influence which helped Ignet, Joshua began to worry about his daughter.
Carl Lindsay was blocked by a genius called Ignet. And he wasn’t capable of growing after that.
Ilya was standing in front of Ignet. No, Ignet was too strong for her.
Even if it wasn’t Ignet, there was Airn Pareira, who had talent, passion and tenacity, which rivalled her.
Will she be fine?
Will she really be fine?
Joshua bit his lip.
He had a frown on his face, and his eyes had turned wet.
He hadn’t seen his daughter for the past two years, but before that, he watched Ilya very closely.
Every time he saw his daughter carrying an unbearable weight on her shoulders, he lost his smile and couldn’t help but think of his son.
What should I do?
He asked himself. Joshua Lindsay, an experienced swordsman, wasn’t an experienced father.
In the storm of intense emotions, he clenched his fists.
Blood dripped from his palms to the floor.
And then came a sound.
Despite only hearing a knock, he knew who it was. His daughter.
He wiped the blood on the floor and his hand, and calmed his expression.
He put on the face of a father who loved his kids.
And looked in the mirror.
‘This should be enough.’
Disguised as calm and relaxed, he spoke, and Ilya entered the room.
He saw her face and felt the emotions inside him rising.
‘… she is different.’
His daughter was different from 2 years ago.
No, she was different from the daughter he saw a week back.
“I want to consult you about some concerns.”
She was confused. Ilya was still wandering in the dark.
However, the steps she was taking now were not meaningless anymore.
She was clumsy and slow and still a bit lost, but she wasn’t broken like before.
She had the confidence to speak about it.
“.. I see.”
And before long, all the worries of Ilya came out.
Thoughts about her brother.
About the views and words of others.
About her thoughts and swords and friends and Airn.
And herself…herself who had seemed too shabby to her.
Hearing that, Joshua closed his eyes.
His mouth felt dry.
As a novice father, listening to his daughter’s concerns and giving advice to her after many years was most nerve-wracking.
Fortunately, he had something to say.
Drinking a glass of water, he opened his mouth with a more reassuring face than before.
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