At Judith’s sudden action, Bratt was shocked.
Being grabbed by the collar all of a sudden was one thing, but their lips touching was a whole different thing.
The way she pulled him, made him wince in pain, but the impact of it was so great that he didn’t notice what happened.
‘What? What happened?’
For a brief moment, Bratt shook his head and tried to remember what he was trying to say.
He might not see her for two years or maybe longer, but that wasn’t the problem; he was still close friends with Airn after he hadn’t seen him for five years, and his heart didn’t change.
Of course, now he couldn’t say it. And even though Judith’s lips parted with his, Bratt just looked at her.
And her face was beet red. Not just her cheeks but her entire face, and this wasn’t because she drank alcohol. If it was going to be that way because of a drink, he would have never let her touch it.
‘She is redder than her hair. Will it ruin the mood if I tease her now?’
Thinking about it, he decided not to. And it was the right decision.
Judith, who didn’t know what to do, put her thoughts together and growled.
“From now on, just answer if you understand what I am talking about. Okay?”
“Tell me if you understand.”
Bratt couldn’t figure out if there was a difference between okay and I understand, but he decided to go along with her.
Judith took a huge breath and then spoke.
“Once a year… no, twice a year! Come see me! Even if it takes too long to come and go, you need to come, okay?”
“There won’t be anything to do apart from duels. Going out, drinking, and watching stuff… don’t even dream of that. Think of it as a date for swordsmen. Okay?”
“Finally, train hard in your family. If you don’t improve your skills each time, we meet. I-I I am dating you, okay? You need to help me with swordsmanship training, so be strong. At least…”
“This should be enough, because I need to show my teacher that you are great. Okay?”
“Wh-what? Why aren’t you answering?”
Judith rushed for an answer.
Bratt, however, couldn’t help but be shocked. Because all the things Judith said till now were selfish.
There was no reason for her, who wanted things for herself, to take care of Bratt’s convenience.
Judith’s heart was beating like a drum.
After a while, something made her heart beat faster.
Bratt stood up and grabbed Judith’s face with both hands. His lips protruded out like a carp.
Bratt smiled and pressed his lips, but more softly than Judith did.
But it was a little more intense than the first time.
Not long after, they parted. Seeing Judith’s face ready to explode now, Bratt gave his reply.
“Wow! So cool! Bratt!”
Upon hearing the story, Airn had a blank expression on his face while Lulu was moving around excitedly as if she had heard the most interesting story ever.
The names of Bratt and Judith were going around. But it didn’t last long.
Kirill, who had calmed Lulu with a glance, asked her brother’s friends.
“So, what happened? Really, Khun? Khun allowed it?”
The friend sighed a little.
After spending so much time in this place, except for Judith, there were too many men, and this friend was on the verge of turning nervous while speaking about the love story.
For him, Kirill, with her attractive appearance, was a stimulus.
‘If I ask him, will he introduce us?’
He wasn’t sure, but he wanted to make a good impression on her.
Airn’s friend, who nodded, continued to explain.
Of course, Kirill wasn’t interested in him. Regardless of what kind of intention he had, she was only focused on the content that he was saying.
The story stretched like cheese, but in the end, that was the point.
Judith and Bratt got permission from Khun, and they were able to continue their relationship during the training.
Having understood that, she looked at her brother and asked.
“Brother, do you feel something?”
“Airn! Don’t tell me, did something happen with you too?”
“What, did you find a lover while traveling too? Perhaps…”
“Ah! No what! No such things happened.”
“Nothing happened? Can you take responsibility for those words?”
‘What is this girl doing?’
Seeing Kirill corner him like this, Airn began to sweat. He was telling the truth. What thing relating to love could happen to him who only thought about training?
The only people that were around him who he missed were Kuvar, Lulu, Judith, Bratt, and Ilya…
Airn couldn’t think after that.
He didn’t know why.
He was thinking of the people he was missing one after another, but the moment Ilya’s name popped up, he couldn’t think further.
However, Kirill didn’t miss her chance.
“Who did you think of?”
“Just now. You were thinking about someone. Say it out.”
“No. I was thinking of a lot of people.”
“Is that so? How many?”
“No, why are you suddenly asking….”
Airn looked around.
He saw all his classmates who were looking at him with suspicious expressions, his sister who was smiling in a strange manner, and Lulu, who was busy grooming herself.
But these weren’t the only people that he saw.
At some point of time, an existence had settled down near them.
Seeing the smile of Ian, Airn exclaimed.
“Gasp! School master?”
“When did you come…”
“Huhu. Just now. You were telling a pretty interesting story, so I listened quietly. But the way…”
“This is so frustrating that I can’t listen anymore. Even if this goes on for a hundred or thousand days, only my mouth will hurt if I ask you, tch, tch…”
It was frustrating.
Kirill nodded in agreement as she looked at Ian shaking his head.
The classmates of Airn slowly disappeared from there. Since they weren’t training much these days, they thought that if they stayed with Ian any longer, they might get scolded.
Of course, Airn didn’t move.
He had no reason to avoid Ian. No, he was looking forward to this.
“Hello, school master, how have you been?”
“Right, my student. It has been so long.”1
Ian looked at Airn, whom he had last seen two years ago.
Back when he saw the hot flame burning within. A sight he had never seen before.
‘He changed. A lot.’
He felt satisfied.
After a few thoughts, he turned around and said.
“… is it fine to not look at your disciple’s sword?”
Because it reminded him of the first time he came here two years ago. When Ian asked Airn to show him his sword.
But he didn’t ask the same thing now.
Ian turned out with a soft smile.
“I have already seen your sword. I don’t need to see it again. You seem to have another problem, so let’s talk about it.”
Ian’s room, which he hadn’t visited in a long time, was the same as before.
Except for some furniture that was present, there was nothing special about it, and it was easy to think that this was the most comfortable room on the continent.
From Kirill’s point of view, since she was someone who liked to decorate, this room felt too empty.
But Airn and Lulu didn’t care about it, and neither did Ian.
He looked at Airn with deep eyes, and Airn began to unravel his story.
No, it wasn’t that.
Airn thought he was speaking slowly, but he was clearly pouring out his inner feelings at a faster tempo.
Rather, he was spitting it out.
Airn, as if spewing fire, confided to his teacher the troubles he had been harboring all the way here.
After hearing that, Ian stayed silent for a long time, which made Airn nervous.
Was he choosing the words to say?
Normally, anyone would think that, but Airn realized that it wasn’t it.
And there was no reason, but rather, it was just a feeling.
As the silence grew longer, Airn felt impatient, and even Kirill and Lulu, too, felt their hearts rush seeing that.
Ian, who let a little more time pass, opened his mouth.
He drank the tea, which had cooled down by then, and said.
“There is no problem.”
“I mean, there’s nothing to worry about. Did you say you were afraid of the flames engulfing you? That can happen, and I understand that. In fact, excessive competition turns into self-doubt and into a sense of inferiority… There are a lot of people who can’t stand it and ruin themselves. Even in our school, there are so many who fall prey to it.”
“But you are not that kind of a person. Don’t you think so? Seeing as you are aware of it, that itself is good enough.”
Ian drank the tea in one sip and continued.
“If you think it is a dangerous thing, then you were in an even more dangerous state before this. No dreams, no hopes, no enthusiasm… Compared to those days when you lived like an empty vessel, you are so wonderful now. You worked hard, and you did extremely well. And I, as your teacher, only have compliments for you.”
“… But this might not be the answer you want.”
Ian closed his eyes.
It seemed like it bothered Ian that he couldn’t help Airn. Seeing that, Airn felt bad.
‘I don’t want to go back just after listening to his praises.’
Airn’s eyes lit up.
Like when he first met Ignet.
Just like when he asked Joshua Lindsay for additional guidance.
And it was then that a thought struck Ian.
It was a rather ironic sight to be seen as a person who wanted to control water, but Airn was unaware of it.
After a while.
Ian opened his eyes and looked at Kirill.
“… was it Kirill?”
It was strange. The girl, who was full of confidence, was being cautious with her words in front of this old man.
And she wasn’t the only one.
Lulu, who would be bright in her meetings, noticed that Ian was strange.
Even Airn, who was trapped in his own troubles, could vaguely feel it.
Ian acted like he didn’t care.
“I heard you were an excellent sorcerer. I heard that you can summon the legendary animal, Griffin…”
“Then maybe we can ride it together and go somewhere? It isn’t far, but it is a distance I wouldn’t want to walk.”
“Good. Let’s leave then.”
Ian got up and left.
Unable to adjust to this, Airn and his party followed him.
A much larger Griffin from the past was summoned.
The voices of the trainees could be heard.
Either way, Kirill steered her Griffin in the direction Ian said and arrived at a lake outside the castle.
And landed carefully.
Ian jumped off and spoke while looking at Airn.
“What should you do to realize the Heart of water and achieve the Sword of Water?”
“It is a difficult problem that you’ve presented before me. I don’t know how to put it into words. So, I came here to show it in person. Airn, are you ready to watch and learn?”
Ian walked towards the lake and drew his sword, and then he swung it with an indifferent face.
Kirill was puzzled.
This man was too horrible with his sword to be called as someone from the strong three.
She didn’t know much about swordsmanship, but she was disappointed at this.
The sword pierced the lake with a weird sound.
And then it happened.
The sound of something being cut deeply. With that, the water was cut.
Not simply cut, but the lake was split into two as if an ice cube had been cracked open.
There was no loud noise, and no change in the land.
Ian, who was standing calmly, looked at Airn and said.
“How is that? Do you understand it a little?”
“… I don’t get it.”
“Did you see what I cut?”
He stroked his chin.
In the meantime, as if time had moved slowly, the divided lake began to merge into one.
Neither, Kirill, Lulu, nor Airn said anything.
Ian opened his mouth with a bright smile as the waves moved like a sea behind him.
“Then, I’ll have to work a little harder.”2
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