As it was mentioned earlier, the public preferred life-changing stories about the success of people who were at the bottom.
It was for that reason that Ignet’s story spread rapidly throughout the continent. Her swordsmanship had made a woman take up the mantle of the strongest position in the next generation, and her background played a huge role in her gaining fame as well.
It was the same with Airn Pareira.
He came from a noble family but overcame his fear and neglect, which happened for a long time, and finally, he came out as a champion in the Land of Proof.
Against his opponent, Ilya Lindsay, who was one of 5 geniuses of the continent.
In addition, there was a lot being told about him, and numerous reporters, including Hinz, gave out articles.
Those thirsty for gossip continued to pour out stories and wondered for a long time about him even after Airn went back to his family.
And beyond that…
Impersonations began to appear.
‘Well, it could be one.’
Ethan and his party thought Airn was another impersonator and laughed.
Was it because of how he wandered the continent? Or because they thought that Airn was different from other nobles?
There were many unique kinds of Airns.
Just a year back, many mercenaries in their 20s, who were blonde and handsome, would introduce themselves as Airn.
Some even bought a black cat with them. Of course, since they couldn’t speak, people found out the truth quickly.
‘Still, compared to all of them, he feels like the best version yet.’
He looked at the blonde young man.
Warm blonde hair, white skin, a good-looking face, and a tone that wasn’t harsh.
It was the closest to the real Airn. Even the details in the mercenary card. Alcantra was where Krono was located, so he thought this man did a great job playing the role.
“Young friend, no matter how well you play the role, you cannot be without a cat.”
“Yes! The sorcerer cat, Lulu! Who would believe you are Airn without a black cat?”
“Ehh, isn’t it better to not have it? It would be horrible if the cat couldn’t talk.”
“That, well, that’s true…”
“Well, the situation cannot be turned if it can’t talk.”
Airn looked at them with a blank expression.
The three men were discussing among themselves, ‘How close he was to the original?’ without even listening to his words.
And the elf woman seemed tired of the situation.
‘Something… something feels wrong.’
It is fortunate that his identity wasn’t taken seriously. And he should have been welcoming it if they didn’t believe him.
But strangely, he felt bad.
The part where the impersonators increased without him realizing?
Even so, he was disappointed that they couldn’t think of him as the real one.
“What is it, young friend?”
“That… Lulu is concentrating on sorcery these days…”
“So, we aren’t together.”
Everything turned still.
A heavy silence settled in the air. Neither Ethan nor anyone else spoke.
Only the bonfire occasionally crackling could be heard.
And quickly, that silence was broken..
And Vulcanus, who was silent, softly said.
“Like Airn said, he is the real Airn Pareira, and I am Vulcanus, who is out to study the world and make a better numbering sword. The best blacksmith on the continent, Vulcanus.”
“Hehe, no, this, these people have a great sense of humor. Ah! Right, wasn’t there a rumor that Airn had the numbering sword?”
“Right. I heard of it. I think I heard that he uses the numbering sword and the sorcery sword alternatively.”
“Really? I thought that the sorcery sword was made with the help of the blacksmith.”
“Both are wrong. I haven’t been able to make the sword for Airn yet. I am training to make a sword better than the sorcery greatsword.”
“Wow, I didn’t know that.”
“You couldn’t have known. Because I don’t interact much with people.”
“Wah, this young man isn’t bad, but this dwarf is a lot better, right?”
“I know. His acting skills are very great.”
The adventurers exclaimed.
It looked like the blacksmith was trying to mimic Vulcanus, since the sorcerer cat wasn’t there!
It was truly the best they had seen.
And it didn’t seem bad either.
It wasn’t known if they were going to profit from this, because they were all considering this as a joke. But it was still an amazing one!
“I can’t do it anymore. With such a great party, I shouldn’t miss drinking.”
“Ehh, Ethan! Did you bring out your favorite one?”
“If this bastard keeps asking me for more glasses, I won’t give!”
“Brother, I was wrong.”
“Hmm, if I like the taste, I will show you a sword.”
“Oh my! Thank you, Mr. Vulcan.”
“Not Vulcan, but Vulcanus and not Aron but Airn.”
“Ah, right, sorry. I will be careful of it.”
Watching them excitedly drink, Airn stayed silent. There were so many things he didn’t have control of. He was now a fake Airn Pareira, and it was the same with Vulcanus.
Fortunately, the people didn’t show any negative attitudes.
‘No, not that one.’
Airn glanced at the elf.
The elf seemed dissatisfied with the situation and was poking around the campfire with a tree branch.
‘… right, but there is no problem now.’
Airn looked away and smiled.
After letting it go, he, too, listened in to the conversation.
“Before I went to the Land of Proof, can I tell the story of the 101st swordsman who helped me train?”
‘Do we need to move together?’
‘Then should we not? You aren’t exactly the shy type.’
‘How can we believe in people who pretend to be others.’
‘No, it isn’t that I don’t know that. And it’s not like they have any bad intentions. Aren’t they just travelers who came up with concepts to joke around with?’
‘And you know. These days, the central part of the continent isn’t any less dangerous than the other parts. From my point of view, those people don’t know how dangerous the roads are these days. I think it was the first time they have come out so that they could see the Warrior’s Festival, but if they meet the wrong monster in that state, they will die. Do you want them to go through that?’
‘The destination is the same; let’s just go, okay? If there is a problem in the middle, we can kick them out right away.’ 1
The elf magician of the party, Jarin, wasn’t comfortable with their current companions.
Despite understanding Ethan’s words, she didn’t 100% agree with them.
She thought that the jokes were fine, but she what she didn’t like was why they were holding on to the fake mercenary cards.
‘They look fine on the outside, but we never know what they are planning.’
She felt the need to be wary. Of course, she wasn’t too worried.
Because she wasn’t someone who would get stabbed in the back like an idiot.
And it was the same with the others.
Not to mention Sword Expert Ethan, and the other two were also silver grade mercenaries.
‘Right. If you think that way, I am being too cautious.’
Jarin looked at the blonde man. His physique was good.
And to sell the concept that he was Airn Pareira, he carried a great sword that could be used, and despite its weight, it seemed like he wasn’t too bothered.
However, looking at his gentle appearance, it didn’t seem like he was bad, and he didn’t seem like the kind of person to have the experience of cheating others.
‘Rather, if I have to take care of him because of how stupid he is, it would be stressful to have…’
But most of her worries disappeared after three days had passed since they were accompanied by the self-proclaimed Airn.
“I have been here before. The foot at Katan’s table is good. If that is fine, let’s go there.”
“I’ll pick some firewood.”
“I will make dinner.”
There was no immaturity in his actions.
She thought he was from a city. And being born in the central part, it was natural for people to know more about the cities around.
However, she didn’t even dream that he would be able to handle the camping situations and would always find things helpful for the party.
And the food was good. Even compared to Giovanni, who was in charge of the cooking.
Ethan, who gulped with a bite, had a brooding face and was wide-eyed.
“Eh, what is this? I didn’t know it could taste this well. Did you work on it?”
“Yes. Around 2 years ago.”
“Isn’t that tough? Isn’t it hard to carry the spices separately?”
“I worked hard. There are people who enjoy it.”
“Ilya? Ah.. puaha. Right… What am I to do if you joke when eating? I spilled it.”
“It isn’t a joke, but I’ll give you another bowl. Ah, Jarin, another for you?”
“… I am done.”
Seeing the fake Airn looking at her and smiling, Jarin turned her head coldly.
Right, it wasn’t good to be involved with him. But that joke was so bold that it didn’t sit well with her.
But because of how unexpectedly the joke was said, it was hard for her to hold back her laughter.
‘How can he joke around like that?’
He was such an unpredictable human.
When she was thinking that, Jarin’s ears moved. And her expression hardened as she used lighting magic.
Beings… cursed ones, appeared from the shadows.
They were skeletons.
They shouldn’t be moving since they were dead, but they were, because of the demons which wandered the world. They had made them unable to rest due to the magi.
It didn’t happen much in the past, but in recent times it had been too much.
‘Those things. I couldn’t even eat properly…’
Jarin swung her staff to create fireballs, four of them. And others were faster than her.
There was no sign of tension on their faces, and they moved swiftly. No matter how many skeletons were there, it wouldn’t be a problem since their combat power wasn’t too high.
There was absolutely no situation where an Expert would be shaken.
The problem was the two people who had joined them recently.
The energy of monsters was different from the demonic monsters that had appeared.
And they saw a lot of people unfamiliar with that, freezing when they came in contact with it, so Jarin looked back.
The dwarf was seated comfortably.
It was the moment when she was about to yell at him for acting like that.
The elf had to turn her head again. She looked forward and saw her party members fighting the skeletons.
No, it wasn’t just them.
One at a time.
Despite being unfamiliar with the sword, it seemed clean and disciplined. It was the imposter.
While she stared at him blankly, the dwarf just mumbled.
“What is so shocking? A Master should be able to do that much.”
Jarin had nothing to say to the words of the dwarf. 2
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