“Huhu, let’s head out now.”
One day had passed after the meeting with Airn Pareira.
After a relatively early time, two paladins left the estate. It wasn’t because they were busy. They did make an excuse like that, but the truth was that they cared for him.
They left quickly so that Airn could focus on training which would help him to play an active role in the Warrior’s Festival.
As Gerald’s teacher wished, the young hero decided to participate. And it was for that reason that his teacher was happy.
‘He looks so happy.’
In the past, perhaps he would have harbored bitter feelings towards his teacher, who was acting like this.
What is so great about that man?
Just because he was handsome, his teacher had come such a long way with an ailing body, so he might have grumbled that his teacher was living in fantasy all the way.
But not now.
The moment he saw Airn’s sword, he realized it.
And he was convinced after talking to him.
Seeing his master hold a sword after three months, he even shed tears.
Smiling, he said to his teacher.
“Let’s start. And be careful to not shake it too much.”
“Yes. I will do my best.”
“Haha. Gerald. It is fine. I am really fine. You don’t have to be this concerned.”
“I mean it. I am in my best shape. I want to enjoy the scenery and move on foot.”
But he couldn’t.
Perhaps it was because of the medicine, but the old man fell asleep right away. The slight vibrations of the carriage shook his body, but it wasn’t enough to break the man’s sleep, and Gerald just sat there watching him.
Watching his teacher sleep with a smile, he fell into his thoughts.
As he was comparing the two without knowing it, he mumbled.
“Did I just…”
Compare the two of them?
After the paladins of the Holy Kingdom came to visit, Airn Pareira focused on the sword even more than before.
It wasn’t like he wasn’t training before, but it was because he was more focused on the five spirits till now.
‘I decided to complete it because I want to do well.’
Come to think of it, he participated in a similar event in Eisenmarkt.
As he recalled the past, he thought of the meeting a week back.
Until they arrived, Airn had no intention of participating in the Warrior’s Festival.
He thought it was because he couldn’t find a reason to go there. The chance to make his name known across the world, didn’t it already happen?
And he didn’t care much about it now. To be honest, he was burdened by the rapidly rising reputation of his name.
A chance to meet Ignet, a wall he still wanted to overcome?
That was no problem. It might sound cheeky if he said it out loud, but he was sure that the woman would keep coming to fight with him.
That didn’t need a special day or stage.
What bothered him was that the purpose of the Warrior’s Festival was in line with his beliefs.
‘There are a lot of Masters who have come up apart from me, so they should be shown to the world as well.’
And if the message got stronger because of Airn’s participation, then it wouldn’t be a bad idea.
However, many excellent swordsmen who were known were coming to participate there. The characters were so strong that him not being there wouldn’t even matter.
Then, wouldn’t it be better to focus on training the spirits by himself?
Wouldn’t it be better to focus on the tree and fill the gaps in the Five Spirits Divine Technique, or maybe even take some time for himself, like he had asked Quincy Myers two years ago?
Those were Airn’s honest feelings.
However, such thoughts changed after he saw the member of the Purification squad come for him.
Nevertheless, only the piercing eyes of the unknown hero were completely unchanged.
‘You are amazing.’
‘You should probably realize it by now if you aren’t stupid. You have gained notable fame, so there must be many who want to fight with you, and you must hear such words flow out of their mouths over and over again. You have put in a lot of effort not to fall for that. Pride breeds sloth, and sloth destroys a hero. But… you don’t fall. And you don’t put yourself down either.’
‘But no matter how high you think of yourself, you are much greater than that.’
‘Ah, no excuses. Just shut that mouth and listen.’
‘No, I don’t have to put it in words. Just follow me.’
‘The training hall. I’ll show you with my sword, what I felt for you and what you got with your effort…. I’ll show you what you can display for the continent.’
‘My mind is still clear.’
With that, the old paladin got up from his seat and left the room. He walked towards the training hall. It looked unsettling.
This old man was no longer a Sword Master. As if he had already received the day of his death, he was in a frail state, supporting a broken body with barely enough aura.
But the moment they arrived in the training hall, he swung the sword.
The moment he answered his questions clearly with the sword, it was no longer possible to discourage the old man or deny his words.
“Yours is a sword which gives hope.’
The old man was talking about hope. He was feeling happiness through his sword and singing about the future that could come as a result of that hope.
It was an answer which went beyond the level of speaking. It was about swordsmanship and who was truly strong.
Only then did he realize. The purpose and intention of the festival which felt abstract.
And the power of the sword which couldn’t be grasped.
‘… the latter is embarrassing.’
He thought of raising the sword for the world and vowed to devote his life to it. But as time went by, he realized how difficult it was.
He now felt the difference from when he used to speak of such things very lightly.
The current Airn was waiting for the right time to ripen with a calmer and firmer heart.
‘Fighting with unfamiliar people is fun, and it’s not that I don’t know the excitement which comes from the crowd. It isn’t that I am not confident in my skills, but rather because I am confident of not being disappointed even if I lose.’
Despite his confidence, his will wasn’t strong because his ideal was higher than this festival.
But now, it was different.
Like the paladin regained energy after he looked at Airn and his sword… he could give others a little of strength too.
With that, maybe he would realize something a bit earlier than now. The festival wasn’t a competition, but a place for hope to spread.
‘Even if I was short-sighted, it would be right to have courage and go there.’
“Good. Should I try again then?”
Airn got up and clenched his sword.
And he showed everything he had learned so far. No matter how high and grand his beliefs were, the means to unfold them was through the sword, and he would never forget that.
Airn swung his sword.
The basics learned at Krono, the teachings of Jet Frost, and the mind tactics from John Drew.
The sword of heart from Ignet.
The sword of the Holy Kingdom from the Purification squad.
What he learned from getting beaten by Lord Lindsay and so many others.
Finally, starting with the sword of steel, ending with the energy of wood…
No, the Five Elements Divine technique started to cycle.
Surprisingly, there was an achievement.
This progress was so fast that even Airn Pareira, who started training, was surprised.
It was natural.
He had been the one nurturing them all to flow for over a year, and maybe even more.
Like the tree growing in his heart, he was ready to grow up at the slightest chance.
The old man’s words acted as a catalyst for that growth.
A fire was kindled in Airn’s heart, and it happened one after another.
“Young lord, you have a letter.”
[See you from the high place-Bratt LLoyd]
[See you in the Holy Kingdom, and keep an eye on me because I am going to win everything -Judith]
Two short letters which conveyed their intentions arrived at the same day.
Airn smiled. He wanted to see them again.
It had been over six months since he saw Bratt’s face, and he missed Judith very much too.
Since the beginning of last year, he hadn’t even seen her.
‘How strong is she now? I look forward to it.’
A fire rekindled out in Airn’s heart.
Bratt showed tremendous progress recently, and Judith showed amazing signs two years back.
The thought of having an official fight made his heart flutter.
Apart from the purpose of the festival, his heart warmed up to such an extent that he couldn’t understand why he didn’t want to participate before.
However, there was another stimulus, far more important than before.
It was a letter from his lover, Ilya Lindsay.
The content wasn’t long. There was nothing great. Just like Judith and Bratt’s letters, it just said that they would meet at the festival.
And as usual, Ilya’s unique way of expressing emotions felt dry and dark. But he read it over and over again.
And started to work harder on his sword and became more passionate too.
“Um, love is such a good thing.”
Lulu, who had been relaxing for a long time, fell asleep. Marcus, who was still serving his young lord, despite turning old, smiled.
A day went by and then a week passed, and then it became a month. There were now ten days before Airn had to leave for Avilius.
“Young lord Pareira.”
“You were training; the blacksmith asked if he could meet you.”
“Yes? Mr. Vulcanus?”
“Right. It isn’t urgent, so I asked him to come back another…”
To Airn, who was about to leave for lunch, Marcus gave the information. Come to think of it, it had been some time since he met Vulcanus.
Although they were in the same territory, it was because the blacksmith locked himself in the smithy, working on a sword.
‘How can I make him wait?’
Airn scratched the back of his head and nodded.
“I understand. No need for him to wait. I will go to him.”
Marcus bowed and left once Airn was ready to leave for the smithy.
As usual, the people inside were working hard.
Vulcanus was the same.
30 minutes after Airn’s arrival, he opened his mouth while continuing to forge.
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