“I heard you have a big goal for the world.”
“I heard it from my son.”
It must have been 10 minutes since they had been out for a walk.
Philip Lloyd brought up a new topic. Airn couldn’t think of saying anything. Because he was flustered.
It wasn’t like he was embarrassed or something. However, how should he react when a person like Lord Lloyd, who was able to create a nice place like this, raised a topic like that… It was a bit concerning for Airn.
However, the thought was brief, and he nodded with a serious expression.
“Yes. That is also the reason I hold the sword.”
Philip Lloyd nodded. He walked silently for a while. Airn followed him, taking half a step in the back, but before they knew it, they were in the streets.
Wasn’t it supposed to be a light walk? Was he planning on showing something?
Around that time, Lord Lloyd opened his mouth again.
“The dream isn’t as big as Airn’s, but when I was young, I had similar thoughts. To create a good territory where no one suffers. It is a dream that could be considered as a joke in this harsh world, but back then, there were a few people with similar thoughts like mine. I remember the time we had drinks and clashed because of it.”1
‘Must have been tough.’
He thought about it, but he didn’t say anything. The atmosphere was too serious for him to interrupt.
Airn listened without saying a word, and Lord Lloyd continued.
“When I heard your story from my son, when I heard the things you have been waiting to ask me… I have been thinking a lot. What should I say to this good and upright young man? What should I show him? Nothing came to my mind. But… as I was with you, I thought about it.”
“Walk a little longer; if we go a little further, you will find the street I want to show you.”
As Lord Lloyd said it, Airn had no choice but to follow him. Of course, all sorts of questions popped up in his mind.
What was he being shown?
The beauty of the city?
A medical centre that wasn’t present anywhere else?
He couldn’t help but wish to reach there quickly. Thanks to that, his steps were a little faster, and so were Lord Lloyd’s steps.
However, the place they reached was different from what Airn thought of.
“This is the place I want to show people the least in the estate. And it is a place where I want to solve its problem, but can’t think of a good way right now.”
“Shall we go for a walk? Ah, if anything dangerous happens, young Airn should protect me since I am not good with swords.”
Airn nodded with a bewildered expression and then slowly moved in the darkness of the Lloyd’s estate.
He had heard of it.
No matter how great an estate is, there are always back alleys that are bound to exist. It wasn’t that Airn didn’t experience it; he just never looked at it.
However, he didn’t expect for this place to exist in Lloyd’s estate.
Was it because he felt too impressed? The impact was too great on him when he saw it.
The smell of trash, the puke, and the cracked, broken walks, the eyes of unknown people looking at them through the dark…
Fortunately, nothing happened. And both of them came out of there. However, Airn’s heart was darker than before.
He looked at Philip Lloyd.
What on earth was the Lord thinking when he showed me this place?
“When I was young, I was full of enthusiasm. Even though my parents died early, I was confident. Rather, I thought that I could fully use the vast wealth handed down from generation to generation, and the knowledge I had accumulated at the Royal Academy… it was a little bit scary, but I also had a feeling of excitement.”
“And it wasn’t a bad start. Just lowering the taxes a little, and paying more attention to the security and the faces of people in the state was one of the main things I did. Even with just three years of hard work, the effect was great; I even stayed up all night thinking that if I worked ever harder for ten years, I would become the best Lord on the continent. But…”
Over the years, he came to realize that the world wasn’t that easy.
The emotions behind Lord Lloyd’s words were so bitter that even Airn could feel what happened.
When the taxes were lowered, there were subtle checks placed on them from the surrounding estates.
In order to maintain a smooth relationship with them, they donated grains during the famine, and that made a conflict arise with the peasants.
For them, who was the largest granary of the kingdom, Lloyd’s actions were bound to damage them.
Diplomacy wasn’t the only problem. His decisions had different repercussions from what he thought.
The real world was different from what he was taught in the academy, so when one problem was solved, two or three different ones popped up.
It was a cycle of agony. He ended up working for 24 years. Whether it was eating or walking in the garden, the things that were happening in his territory didn’t leave his mind.
He couldn’t even sleep properly. Until all the problems of the territory were resolved, rest and normal life seemed unimportant.
“30 years have passed like that.”
“And the estate still has a lot of problems. There are still a lot of things that can’t be understood just by looking at what you see around you.”
“I wanted to say that the things I have done and the intentions I had behind them are useless… But I didn’t bring you here to make you feel bad.”
“I just wanted to point out that our intentions aren’t all that great to be running at every moment.”
“Don’t you think so too? My situation is one thing, but your dream is so difficult and huge that you won’t find happiness even if you spend your whole life helping people achieve it. It cannot be achieved by individual efforts alone, and it cannot be achieved through the efforts of one generation alone. It is a question of whether or not you can move forward even a little if the efforts continue. But what about your own thoughts and actions?”
“Living day by day as if it was going to be a big deal if everything didn’t happen the way you want, isn’t the right effort.”
“It isn’t the right effort?”
“Yes. It isn’t just enough to embrace something that could be done with efforts of hundred, or thousands or ten thousands of people alone, and being tied to the thought of ‘why not?’”
“Don’t get me wrong, Airn, it doesn’t mean that the troubles and actions which you have been dealing with until now aren’t worthwhile. But what we need to look at is the long term, take a little more time, and move forward. I didn’t spend a lot of time with you, but I can tell. You haven’t had a proper rest lately, right?”
“… I have been trying to relax.”
“Don’t lie. No, it isn’t exactly a lie. But in my opinion, what you’re doing is not relaxing. Sitting comfortably and looking at the sky and lying on the soft bed doesn’t mean rest. Because…”
Even the moment he decides to rest, all the thoughts in his mind burden him.
…The moment he heard Lord Lloyd’s words, Airn had no choice but to erase his rebuttals.
And he walked silently for a while. Unlike the slums, they passed through the clean and tidy square.
A well-maintained street without a single scratch. And then Philip asked as they reached the mansion.
“Airn, are you sleeping well these days?”
“I don’t think so. When I was young, I didn’t sleep well. Even when I would sleep, I was full of anxiety, worry, and tension… when I wake up in the morning, my stomach would ache, and it felt like something unpleasant was filling me.”
“I am a middle-aged man who barely works out for 30 minutes a day… it is a bit strange to be concerned about the health of a Sword Master who is so young, but the face of young Airn looks really tired.”
Lord Lloyd smiled.
His eyes were still sharp.
However, there was a smile of concern and encouragement, warm enough for anyone to feel, and Airn welcomed it.
“I am not bragging, but I am pretty proud of our guest rooms. Today, I hope you can lie down on one of our luxurious beds and get a very good and deep sleep.”
“Can you promise me?”
“…I will try.”
“Haha, Airn seems to try everything. Still, I like this answer.”
Philip Lloyd burst into laughter and took a step forward. Airn thought for a moment and then followed him. His troubles weren’t over.
The words that Lord Lloyd said to him kept running through his mind.
His teachings were no different from Ian’s. It was no different from what he had learned from the clown too.
However, for some reason, this dug deeper and deeper into Airn’s chest.
In the midst of such thoughts, he saw a figure wielding a sword in the training hall.
It was Bratt.
It wasn’t simple practicing. This swordsmanship style and movement were different.
It was a sword which was swung at random as if he was angry. Philip Lloyd, who watched this, approached his son and asked.
“What are you doing at night?”
“I feel lonely.”
“I understand it. After he started dating, my son got a little weird.”
Ever since the eldest son of Lloyd’s found a lover, the house should have been happy, but this guy had been strange…
Irrespective of the grumbling, Bratt swung his sword. Seeing that, Airn shook his head.
After a while, Airn returned to his room after washing himself and then lay on the bed.
It was indeed a very comfortable one, like Lord Lloyd said.
It was something he knew, since he had been staying here for a week.
And realized that he didn’t really sleep this week.
He realized that he only slept for two or three hours. He couldn’t sleep more than that, and his eyes would just open.
Why did Lord Lloyd’s words resonate with him?
He was lost in thought and quietly mumbled.
“Let’s just sleep…”
Airn Pareira closed his eyes.
And after a while, he fell asleep.
And he dreamed.
There are instances where territory has been used interchangeably with estate, so if you guys find estate somewhere, remember in most cases, it means the entire territory and not just the estate. ↩️
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