Chapter 288 - Myriad (3)

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The central part of the continent was known to be the safest region along with the western part, but after the demons came, it had become a thing of the past.

This was because the Holy Kingdom was patrolling and dealing with the monsters, and the soldiers and the kingdoms were focusing on the demons.

The monsters which appeared in the darkness were a problem every night, and the wild beasts became more ferocious under the influence of it.

There was a reason why the number of travelers and merchants went down.

However, it was only a story for the strong.

For a veteran adventurer party with a Sword Expert who had a gold mercenary card, as their leader, such issues weren’t a concern.

“Haaap!”

Kwang!

Ethan, the leader of the party, slashed down his sword strongly. The goblin’s breath was cut into two in a single attack.

It had boasted a height of 2 meters but still couldn’t withstand the Expert’s sword.

Tung!

Puak!

Tang!

Puak!

Ethan wasn’t the only one.

Giovanni, who was the warm-looking one, also seemed strong.

He was steadily blocking the attacks with his shield and handling the mace in his other hand.

And when the chance came, he would act boldly and attack. His actions were befitting a silver rank mercenary.

And what of the Elf magician Jarin?

As well as the wandering knight from a fallen noble family, Kenan Reyes?

Both of them weren’t behind Giovanni either. With efficient magic and clean swordsmanship, they were reducing the number of monsters swiftly.

“Phew, done. Everyone did well.”

“It’s now been four days in a row like this.”

“Ah, so annoying! There’s goblin blood on my blade!”

“Just wipe it then. We’ll be reaching a big city in two days, so let’s rest there for a day or two.”

Finally, the monsters were done.

20 mutant goblins wasn’t a small number, and it wasn’t a situation where they could relax.

And they were too experienced to groan about it.

And the elf magician Jarin, was preparing to create fire despite no one asking her to.

The others also began to move, throwing the bodies into a fire and cleaning up the area…

It was when the cleaning after the battle was coming to an end.

Next to Ethan, who was gasping for air, Jarin walked up and asked,

“What do you think?”

“Uh? What… ah, that friend?”

“Mm, that Airn.”

“No, he isn’t Airn now. That is Aron and his friend.”

“Whatever, what do you think?”

“Are you talking about the skills? It’s not bad. You saw it too, right? He isn’t scared of normal monsters or demonic monsters, and he doesn’t vomit when he sees blood. He has good balance and strength. If it is this much, then he is bound to get silver. Even if he wasn’t using that fake badge.”

“… and?”

“What do you want to hear… no?”

Ethan frowned.

Seeing his expression, Jarin turned her head. No. Well… she walked away, sulking.

The leader who looked at her, burst into laughter.

‘No, she can’t think he is a real master, right.’

He could understand it.

Although she had been working as a mercenary for 10 years, Jarin was a magician, and she didn’t have much knowledge about swords.

When she saw Aron like that, who was calm and laid-back, she might have felt like he really was a swordmaster.

‘It might have been because the first impression was too weird. Actually, even I was shocked…’

But this thought was absurd.

Ethan raised his gaze and thought of Aron’s Swordsmanship.

He minimized his movement, improved on his reflexes, and pressed the opponent with the weight of his greatsword and steady core.

It was nice.

But not surprising.

He smiled and mumbled.

“A famous swordsman or from some royal academy.”

That was all.

That, too, wasn’t a background that could be ignored. No, it was flustering.

Ethan, who was a mercenary since he was young, didn’t have the qualifications for learning systematic swordsmanship. Therefore, there were times when he asked for the help of Kenan Reyes, the fallen noble, but it was impossible to permanently get help.

However, that never turned into jealousy despite whatever the people saw.

As much as he envied the swordsmanship of the knights, the knights, too, must be feeling the same for him.

‘I am an Expert.’

He started from the bottom and had constantly and tirelessly worked before he reached where he was now.

And now, he could even teach others, but the swordsmanship he had was only perfect for him.

Even the knights of the Western Kingdoms couldn’t ignore him. And that was enough.

Although he wasn’t the best, he had lived his life with the sword, and he could proudly look a knight in the eye.

“… that’s who I am, Kenan.”

“…”

“That is me, understand?”

“What bullshit is it? Are you drunk?”

“How can you talk like that to a leader?”

“You should act like a leader to be treated like one. Stop talking shit and come eat.”

“Oh, food!”

Despite Kenan’s remarks, Ethan’s expression was bright. He couldn’t help but be that way. The food was fine originally, but after Aron joined, the quality of the meal improved.

And it never disappointed them.

Just one bite, and he looked at the blonde man in admiration.

“Wow, really delicious! How can this be! Is it different meat?”

“It is because I am good at controlling the fire; you can never cook like that by yourself.”

“No, I was speaking to Aron; why are you mad?”

“Because we did it together.”

“Together! Hah! Aron must have done it alone. Before Aron came, your meat was tough as the sole of a shoe.”

“Stop it before I bake a real shoe and put it in your mouth.”

“Well, this is delicious. Is this the power of love?”

“Power of love. Ilya and I like beef the most.”

“Haha, doesn’t Miss Lindsay come to meet you? I heard that the Lord is stupid for his daughter.”

“I heard it too. Maybe he’ll come after you. Just in case your story reaches Adan.”

“It is fine. This much wouldn’t piss him off.”

“Puah! This friend has such guts! Eh…”

Aron smiled.

They didn’t call him Airn, but he was the kind of person who treated anyone gently. And they liked it.

There were no concerns, and he didn’t feel introverted here. He worked for his stay like in the past.

‘When I arrive at the Holy Kingdom, we will go separately… if it is fine to be together for now. As long as the friend is fine.’

Wouldn’t it be possible to strengthen their bond through a spar?

He thought. Their styles and weapons were different, but if they could spar…

When he was in the middle of thinking that.

“No, I was looking where the meat went, but Jarin ate it all. What is with this elf?”

“Bullshit. Elves like to live in the forest; they don’t eat meat.”

“What shit is that? I am good. Where are you goi…”

“Ah, just stop, everyone. Even without a single cup of alcohol, all you talk about is nonsense…”

“Then you come up with some nice topics.”

“Uh? How about the Warrior’s festival?”

“The Festival?”

“Yes. Who will win it?”

Kenan spoke in a soft voice.

Everyone was interested, even Jarin.

‘Well, there isn’t anything to talk about.’

Ethan nodded his head.

They were mercenaries who had lived their whole lives closer to fighting than most others.

For them, ‘who is the strongest?’ wasn’t a topic that could ever be boring.

In fact, there were countless debates over who was the best of the top three swordsmen, and also about whether the Runtel king had fought Ian.

In the meantime, a contest was held to determine the best warrior for the next generation.

Indeed, for swordsmen and mercenaries, it would be a crazy topic.

“Wouldn’t it be Camrin Ray of the Ray family?”

“Ugh. He’s strong; Camrin Ray is strong.”

At Giovanni’s words, Ethan nodded.

Since the tournament was to showcase the next generation of the continent, the age limit was under 60.

This limit meant that those of the top 3 of the 5 strongest in the continent couldn’t enter the tournament.

Considering that, Camrin was a strong contender.

He was part of the second generation of the members of the Ray family, and a monster who was known to not be any worse than the people in the top 10.

Thanks to that, most of the people from the western part of the continent thought that he would win.

“But the Black Knight’s commander? There is a rumor that the competition was arranged to show off Ignet…”

“But isn’t she too young? She is in her early 30s going against Masters in their 50s…”

“But you can’t let it pass. She is the greatest genius of all time.”

“Well, I think she’ll be in the top 4. But…”

“But?”

“It is impossible for Camrin Ray and Ignet to win. The victory will come from the southern swordsmen. I am sure.”

“Tch, back to this, this local pride.”

“No, I mean it!”

Kenan Reyes was furious at Giovanni’s sarcasm.

Although his family had fallen, he was proud of the southern nobles. That was why he was against the stories of the west and central swordsmen.

The southern swordsmen lacked reputation, but he believed that they were very skilled.

“Honestly, there is nothing wrong with old people in their 70s or higher. I admit it too. I heard that old ones are obsessed with alcohol and women and didn’t practice properly. But the younger generation is different. Have you heard of the southern swordsman?”

“Oh, I’ve never heard of it.”

“Then listen now, brat.”

“It isn’t like I want to listen…”

“First, Jarrot of the Macan Kingdom.”

And Kenan talked for a long time.

Jarrot, the tiger of the south, and Jakuang, the king of the southern mercenaries who were close to him.

The legendary story of the two Masters in their 50s. Giovanni frowned. He knew this story very well.

‘The problem is that this brat is too proud of coming from the south.’

To be precise, it was for this reason that Giovanni didn’t want to talk about this.

It was fine that the man was proud of it, but this was too hardcore.

He praised just the southern ones and would constantly undermine the people of the other areas.

Basically, he hated everything else other than his former place.

Ethan had heard it many times as well.

‘He’s normally like this, but it is even worse today.’

He sighed.

Without realizing that people were losing interest, Kenan kept talking. And no one could stop him.

Ethan glanced at Jarin. She nodded and tapped Kenan on the shoulder and then slapped his chin as he turned.

Pak!

“Kuak Uh?”

“Shut up.”

“No, what was…”

“I saved your life three months ago; pay for it like this.”

“…”

“Nothing to say? Then stay quiet.”

‘No, I didn’t mean for her to do that.’

Ethan was puzzled.

Because Jarin was a good support, everyone received her help at least once. That was when she could proudly stop Kenan too, but he didn’t think she would handle it like this.

“Such fun friends.”

“Do you know? Kenan is the best version when he gets hit by Jarin?”

“Did you hear that? I make you look cool.”

“Uh? Ah, thanks. But it hurts…”

Still, it was a good atmosphere.

The dwarf frowned, and Giovanni was irritated; Jarin slapped someone, and Kenan laughed despite being slapped.

It was weird but fine.

Ethan looked at Aron, who was sipping the tea. And wondered.

Who does this friend, Aron, think is the most capable and strongest person in the festival?

“What do you think?”

“Uh?”

“The Warrior’s festival. Who do you think will win?”

“Um…”

“Is it difficult to pick one? Then guess who you think would do well.”

“Yes, I am curious.”

“Is he going to say, Airn Pereira?”

Giovanni told it as a joke. Even if Airn Pareira was one of the geniuses and hottest topics on the continent, his opponents were all on different levels.

There were monsters among the participants who had lived twice as much as him.

And he was too young of a Sword Master to shine among them despite the numbering being 200.

Even compared to Ignet, he was six years younger.

“Ignet Crescentia.”

“Um.”

Soon he answered, and everyone nodded.

Because of the young age, and what she had been through, she was talked about a lot, and she was the only one participating from the Holy Kingdom, and was getting a lot of support too.

Although the winner was vague, she had the qualifications to be a contender for the title.

“Ilya Lindsay.”

“Uh?”

“Hmm…”

However, the next name didn’t bring in good reactions.

Ilya Lindsay.

A woman with talent comparable to Ignet and someone coming from the western part.

But she was just 22 years old, and too young to take the title, and hadn’t been discussed about too much after her loss in the Land of Proof.

And that wasn’t the end.

“Bratt Lloyd.”

“Judith.”

“And… Airn Pareira.”

… three more names.

They were all quite famous.

Bratt Lloyd, the genius young master from the Gerbera Kingdom, and Judith, who was one among the best in Krono.

And Airn Pareira too.

But…

‘Compared to whom Giovanni and Kenan mentioned, they are still too young.’

That ran through Ethan’s head.

But why?

Aron’s absurd answer.

He couldn’t speak that out.

“…”

“…”

He wasn’t alone.

Giovanni, who seemed to joke around, couldn’t think of speaking anything.

Kenan Reyes, who was furious before for ignoring the southern swordsman, stayed silent.

And Jarin, who still didn’t like Aron much, looked at him.

Like.

‘He is speaking what he believes is the truth for him.’

Ethan looked at Aron’s face.

It was still good and kind. He thought about his strong swordsmanship, which looked like it wanted to hold the burden of everyone.

And such a person now,

Looked different.

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