Chapter 286 - Myriad (1)

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“Let’s go to the Holy Kingdom together.”

“….”

“You look like you don’t like what I said?”

“No, it isn’t that…”

Airn was speechless as he heard Vulcanus’ words.

Honestly, he was surprised. This dwarf wasn’t such an active individual. He liked staying in his room all day, and except when absolutely necessary, he would never come out, and recently it had only gotten worse.

He couldn’t help but wonder if Vulcanus really wanted to accompany him to Avilius.

‘Since it is a rare chance where a lot of Sword Masters gather, he is probably looking for inspiration?’

He thought about it, but shook his head.

If that was the case, he didn’t have to go with Airn. It has been a long time since Airn went out into the world, and so he wanted to take a leisure walk.

It would have been more convenient to ride a griffin with Kirill than deal with this man.

Was this man influenced by Airn’s words when he said that he experienced growing up through his experiences in the world?

Recalling that, Airn shook his head. He had no idea what the real reason was, but that couldn’t be it.

But surprisingly, it was right.

“I plan to experience the world with you, bump into all kinds of people, and then look back on myself.”

“…”

“It is true that I was influenced by you. You are younger, but you are a man worth watching and learning from. At this point, I thought it wouldn’t be a bad idea to try improving myself using your way.”

“…”

“Brat, why aren’t you talking? What is with your face?”

“No, that…”

Airn’s expression was perplexed.

Vulcanus was someone who set high standards for not just him, but for others as well. And that person was putting away his own path and decided to follow the path of another person, and even acknowledged it out loud. This was unexpected.

Even an apprentice in the smithy seemed to be at a loss of words as he heard it.

But Vulcanus didn’t care.

“Well, it isn’t shameful to say something like this. After spending time with you, anyone would feel the same. I, too, sincerely think so.”

He knew it. He was the type to not listen to others.

That was because of his innate personality and partly because he prided himself on being at the top of his line of work.

In fact, no matter what kind of great guy he was, he knew that Vulcanus wouldn’t bow even to a king of another nation.

And complimenting others was something completely unimaginable.

That was the great thing about Airn.

He was a good and gentle influence which opened a door for Vulcanus, who was the strictest and haughtiest dwarf.

Many people paid attention to Airn’s swordsmanship talent, but… this was his greatest strength, according to Vulcanus.

“I’ll be honest. Thank you. You inspired me a lot, and that allowed me to want and experience the wide world outside my narrow mind. If it wasn’t for you, I would have been a mess. So, to say the least, it is a bit much… but now I plan to donate my talent.”

“Uh?”

“For those who participate in the festival. To all the swordsmen working hard to subdue the demon and devils… I plan to support them with swords equivalent to numbering swords.”

“…”

“It’s not for my name, Airn Pareira; it will be done in your name. By the way, your refusal is rejected, so don’t talk shit.”

“Uh, uh…”

The expression of the apprentice who was listening to it grew more serious. Now it looked like his soul was escaping from his mouth.

It was worth it because he knew his mentor better than anyone. In fact, even Vulcanus had to think a lot about this before he said it out loud.

Right from selecting a master to making the sword, it had been a process that was normally done once every two years. Ignoring it, he was trying to provide his creations to many people on a single occasion.

Right.

All of this was his gratitude to Airn.

It was to support a hero who strove for a dream that most others would ridicule.

It was to support his will so that it could spread a little more widely and strongly on the continent.

Did he feel it?

Airn, who couldn’t speak for a moment, smiled and said.

“Thank you. I mean it.”

“…”

“I feel like I have been given a gift more valuable than anything I ever received. Thank you.”

“… I don’t think you need to be that grateful.”

Vulcanus shook his head.

This was a human he loved, and he felt like he, too, was finally moving in a better direction…

He couldn’t help but feel like Airn was an old-fashioned young man, each time he saw him being calm.

No, not an old man. This was the appearance of some high-ranking priest who had been around for decades. Of course, he could do nothing about it.

‘Well, it would be unreasonable to expect youthful vibrancy in this one.’

Vulcanus sighed as he thought that.

And said something else.

“Ah, and yes. Ilya Lindsay’s sword is complete.”

“Uh? Really? For real?”

“…”

“Th-can, I see it? No, maybe Ilya should be the one to see it? Ah, but I am curious, ugh, isn’t it right to control myself? What do I do? Ah…”

“…”

“How is the sword? It would be nice, right? No, it isn’t that I doubt your skills, Mr. Vulcanus, but still, what is… uh, so… that… I am not able to speak right!”

“… enough. Stop talking.”

Vulcanus shook his head.

The apprentice behind him also shook his head. And the two exchanged glances thinking the same thing.

‘Yeah, he is this kind of man.’

‘Right, he is like this.’

He looked calm and cool for everything else, like a seer practicing control over his mind.

But when it came to his lover, he was stupid.

“… I made it so much better than you can imagine, so don’t ask more.”

“Um, yes, no. but…”

“Shut up.”

“Yes.”

“Aren’t you curious how your sword is doing?”

“No…”

“…”

“…”

“Let’s not talk about it.”

Vulcanus turned away his head in a cold manner.


Ten days after visiting the forge, Airn set out on the journey to the Holy Kingdom.

With Vulcanus.

Normally, he didn’t plan on moving with a huge group, and Kirill had a task back at the Duchy. And maybe his family would come when the festival started on the Griffin.

And even Lulu vanished.

“Sorry! My sorcery training is going very well. I want to stay in the estate.”

“I guess so. Do what you feel is nice.”

“Uh! I will come with Kirill later, so don’t miss me too much! And show me your cool side!”

After two years of being together, Lulu was now very independent. Unlike before, she spoke a little less and was often in her thoughts.

It was heartbreaking to see it. Even when he asked her what was happening, she wouldn’t give him a concrete answer. And yet he knew.

‘She’ll be fine.’

It wasn’t a huge concern. He knew it. Their feelings for each other hadn’t changed yet. He was sure that she would be fine, not because he was a sorcerer, but because he was her best friend.

He knew that if there really was a big problem, she would tell him.

Actually, he received a promise that she would lean onto him and depend on him if difficult things came up.

‘I just hope she gets better soon.’

With that, Airn left the estate.

“It’s been some time.”

“Yes. Really long.”

“Tell me if you are struggling. I can understand.”

“What kind of old man do you think I am! Even if a monster comes, I cannot be stopped, so don’t worry.”

Vulcanus tried to show his muscles. Seeing that, Airn laughed.

Actually, it was clear that he trained as a blacksmith, and he would have much better skills than beginner mercenaries.

The battle hammer hanging on his back wasn’t just an ornament.

So, the two walked and a week passed.

“The atmosphere is different from before.”

“Is that so?”

“Yes, surely…”

He wasn’t talking about the expressions of the people passing by him. Of course, people looked darker than before, but it could just be his thoughts. It was inappropriate to jump to such conclusions just by looking at their faces.

However, the number of monsters which appeared much more frequently than before was solid evidence.

The world today was closer to darkness than ever before.

“At this point, the small merchants should be in a mess.”

“Yes, they’ll have to hire more mercenaries… I heard that the amount of traveling has gone down. It is dangerous.”

It wasn’t a worry for them, though.

A muscular dwarf who could take down mercenaries.

A human Sword Master who wouldn’t back down even if hundreds of muscular dwarfs attacked him.

Why would they feel threatened?

Even the clown, who was defeated and had fled, would be scared of them. Thanks to that, they had no worries when they were camping at night.

Of course, there were those who didn’t think of them like that.

A party that discovered them approached Airn and Vulcanus.

“No, the two of you shouldn’t be here at this time; it’s dangerous…”

“…”

“Ah, right. We aren’t bad people; we saw the light, so we came over, and we were worried since you were a small party…”

“Ethan, introduce yourself.”

“Ah, this. Sorry. We… are really not weird.”

“… doesn’t seem to be lying.”

Vulcanus checked the mercenary card and mumbled.

It wasn’t empty words; it was a Gold Card. Of course, not pure gold, just gold-colored, but it meant that he had great ability.

Only those who were knights could receive the gold card. Of course, performance was also necessary to get it.

This meant that the one called Ethan had the skills of an Expert and the credibility of a Veteran at the same time.

Vulcanus, who was alert till then, introduced himself.

“As you can see, I am a dwarf. Vulcan.”

“Ah, I see. Then are you a blacksmith…”

“Prejudice that all dwarfs forge isn’t a good thing… is what I want to say, but I need to say you are true. But be careful of your words.”

“Ah, sorry. I will remember it. Ugh, you people should introduce yourself too.”

“It has been a while, so it’s awkward? Haha…”

Three humans and one elf sat around the campfire.

Naturally, they started to introduce and show the mercenary cards to prove it, and as they showed him the cards, Vulcanus nodded.

Since he couldn’t find anything fake, he nodded, thinking they were fine.

And then they all looked at Airn. It was because he was the only one who didn’t introduce himself.

He nodded and pulled out his own mercenary card, and said his name.

“Nice to meet you; I’m Airn Pareira…”

And as soon as he said his name, he realized he was making a mistake.

‘Oh, I was going to use a fake name.’

As with Vulcanus, Airn’s fame had gone up in recent years. Becoming a Master in his 20s, and his relationship with Ilya was hot news now.

The lovers’ story spread beyond the Adan Kingdom, and most of the people on the continent knew of it.

In fact, unlike when he was young, and people ignored him, now people were interested in him, regardless of their age and gender.

It was inevitable that more attention would be drawn as he climbed up through the ranks of the continent’s strongest. Moreover, he was someone who was known to overcome the trials from the bottom, and was publicly said to be superior to those who had support and an elite path.

The problem was that if he revealed his name so openly, he wouldn’t be able to continue his journey leisurely.

It was for that reason that Vulcanus called himself Vulcan, and chose the name ‘Aron’ for Airn.

‘I should have made another card, but I showed them the silver card I got in Alcantra…’

Airn sighed.

He regretted it, but the secret had already been spilled.

And unsurprisingly, questions were asked.

“A-Are you really Airn Pareira?”

“The rumored… one, right?”

“The one who reached the Master level at 21?”

“The one who defeated the Lindsay family’s daughter in the Land of Proof?”

“UH, uh… yes.”

In the end, Airn had to admit it.

He was never the kind to lie. And it was impossible for him to take back what he said.

But…

The atmosphere was strange.

“Puahaha!”

“Ugh… no, what is this?”

“Wow… you are superb at acting. The best Airn Pareira I’ve met!”

“Uh?”

“The same hair color and the mercenary badge too…. You must have put in a lot of effort, right?”

“Uh? Uh…”

Airn was puzzled at their reaction.

Watching them, Vulcanus shook his head.

‘They don’t believe it.’

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