Chapter 29 - Eve of the Storm (2)

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Why is that bastard here? That was what Judith thought when she first saw that person.

Except for the occasional visit to see Airn, that person would always stay alone in the hall, and her appearance raised Judith’s curiosity.

However, such thoughts didn’t last long.

Ilya’s aura gradually became stronger.

Thud!

Judith shut her mouth. She ground her teeth with a distorted expression, and thanks to that, she didn’t grunt out loud.

But that was all.

The red-haired girl was impatient, but she had no choice but to listen to Ilya’s words as she approached her.

“I don’t care if you hate, envy, or despise me or my family.”

“No matter what people like you say behind my back, it doesn’t affect me at all.”

“Right. Nothing will affect me. I’m going to be 1st again, just like the last evaluation. As well as in the future. Always.”

“Family swordsmanship? I don’t need that. Here, I will be learning Krono swordsmanship…”

“… proving that I’m ahead of you guys is easy.”

A quiet conversation unlike usual.

But it couldn’t be ignored.

However, not a single person disputed the silver-haired girl’s words.

Some of the trainees liked to talk behind Ilya Lindsay’s back, and even those people couldn’t say anything to her face.

Judith wasn’t angry about that.

Because she was the same, she wasn’t much different from those backstabbers.

‘Damn it!’

She wanted to calm down.

She wanted to scream at Ilya, asking her why she was blabbering all that shit, and that she would be the one to take the top position in the final evaluation, and that the arrogance of Ilya would come crashing down.

But she couldn’t say a single word.

Bite.

Judith bite her lip.

Her lip’s soft flesh was pierced, and blood began to ooze. It wasn’t dripping, but she could taste the iron.

And the bitter pain which followed. The girl could feel that anger was filling her rational brain.

Taking a deep breath, she came back to her senses.

It was that moment when she was about to open her mouth to swear at her.

“Stop it.”

The boy who intervened was Bratt Lloyd.

The blue-haired boy intervened in the tense situation.

Of course, Judith didn’t care.

“Don’t interrupt…”

“If this continues, both of you will be punished.”

Bratt looked at Judith, then at Ilya, and finally at another place.

The place where the two assistants were. Knowing that they were watching them closely, Ilya lowered the pressure she was exuding.

Phew, Judith took a deep breath and shut her mouth. Her eyes which were filled with dissatisfaction stayed.

The silver-haired girl didn’t seem to change.

With the same expressionless face as ever, she walked away with light steps.

Watching her disappear, Judith trembled in anger. There was nothing else she could do.

“The Lindsay’s swordsmanship.”

Bratt spoke again.

Louder than before. He spoke in a voice that was a little more exciting than before.

Ilya’s steps stopped. She didn’t even know why. It was as if she had to listen.

As the girl stopped walking, Bratt continued to speak.

“Wasn’t it named after taking down the demon king who ruled the sky 400 years ago? The Sky Sword.”

“… and?”

“I want to see. How great it is.”

“I don’t need to show you.”

“Such a pity. If you don’t want to, I won’t force you. But know this.”

With a pause, Bratt spoke again.

“If you don’t use the Sky Sword, I’ll end up taking 1st place.”

“…”

Ilya Lindsay didn’t answer. Pausing for a second, she moved.

To go back to where she was.

However, it wasn’t like she ignored Bratt’s words.

In her heart, after a long time, a spark rose because of another person.

Of course, the hot-headed one was still Judith.

After a moment of silence, Judith took a deep breath and spoke.

“Phew, thank god, phew, like a bastard, hmph, I will definitely, smack you!”

“Speak correctly. And you are wrong.”

“I… that jerk… no, so… phew, you just shut up!”

“I will.”

“Yah!”

Along with Judith, who was wielding her sword in anger, Bratt joined her.

He seemed calm, but his heart was beating much faster than usual.

** *

The conversation between Ilya Lindsay, Judith, and Bratt Lloyd spread among the prospective trainees.

Of course, Ilya’s words spread widely.

Shockingly, not many felt it was outrageous.

Because they knew, although this was an endless competition, the first place of the final evaluation was already decided.

To surpass the Lindsay family, to go beyond the barriers she established was impossible.

All they could do was gossip.

A sad reality.

‘I will change.’

But after Bratt’s words, the children changed.

A boy full of talent wanted to overcome the barrier.

However, Bratt was supposed to be a realist who knew where his place was.

That being said, he just openly challenged the beings in the sky.

And that somehow succeeded in raising the self-esteem of the children.

‘I didn’t come here to lose!’

Yes.

No one had come to the school to lose.

It wasn’t just about surviving.

It was to become official trainees and become the best swordsman.

Bratt reminded them of that fact, which they seemed to have forgotten with time.

Judith made them realize by confronting Ilya Lindsay head-on.

‘More, more can be done!’

‘I will not be satisfied with just surviving the final evaluation!’

‘I will win! If it’s with the realization I got from the sword dance, I have plenty of potential.’

‘I will win!’

Everyone’s eyes changed.

Trainees who pursued more realistic goals decide to aim for something higher.

The heat radiating from their bodies was incomparable to before. The winter didn’t seem to cool their raging will.

And the hottest one among them was the eldest son of the Lloyd family.

‘Can I?’

After the conflict with Ilya Lindsay, he asked himself that.

Was it possible for him to keep his words?

After much deliberation, the conclusion he came to was, ‘it’s worth a try’.

After the talk with Ian, he definitely changed.

His narrow way of thinking had opened up, and his rigidity turned flexible.

As a result, he was able to take in the strengths of others around him.

Even from the nasty Judith.

‘… I’m fired up.’

A sense of struggle.

In fact, he didn’t like the sayings: will to win, the spirit to win, or the spirit to fight.

It was because he thought that such excitement would only disturb his cool head and hinder his efficient growth.

But now, he doesn’t think so.

The explosive power in his chest was driving him to attain something. He didn’t want to see the future, but he already knew the results.

“Bratt! This part here…”

“You bastard! Let’s fight!”

“Sir Lloyd? What do I do in this case…”

Bratt Lloyd wasn’t the only one who noticed the change in his heart.

Even the trainees around him noticed how Bratt changed.

The current Bratt was shining so bright that it impaired their vision.

Suddenly, lots of children were surrounding Bratt.

The situation was different with Ilya, a genius.

Unlike her, who built walls around herself to walk her own path, Bratt embraced everyone.

He helped them and got help. The bright and hopeful atmosphere continued to grow throughout the Sword Hall.

More than two months have passed.

Bratt recognized his own growth.

‘Not bad.’

People who didn’t know the situation might call him arrogant.

But that wasn’t true.

The eldest son of the Lloyd family knew his position and effort.

There was no need to deliberately demean himself when he knows where he stands.

Which was why he never thought of challenging Ilya Lindsay. Because she was above him, and that was the truth he decided to accept.

But now, he wanted to move on from that thought and try his hand at a higher position.

’Nothing has been decided. Even those who were worse than me can surpass me.

Judith, Airn Pareira too are stronger than me.’

Right, he and they were all below Ilya Lindsay because they thought so.

His face full of confidence looked like the sun.

Obviously.

“Hmm.”

The light didn’t shine everywhere.

No matter how bright the sun is, there will always be shadows. And there would always be those who reside in the shadows.

And Airn Pareira was there.

After Bratt Lloyds remarks, the interest people had in Airn disappeared.

The trainees completely excluded him from the competition.

With overwhelming potential, no one doubted his success.

However, it was true that his skills were lacking.

In case of a real battle, he wouldn’t be able to defeat anyone from the class B or higher.

Even some in class C could defeat or lose to him. That was their evaluation.

In short, Airn was now recognized and not recognized at the same time.

His future was bright, but the skills he displayed made the light face away.

Thanks to that, Airn Pareira was being treated as a lone person. Who didn’t get caught up in the fiery competition.

But it was fine.

Airn preferred this kind of atmosphere.

He didn’t get any realization from Ian’s sword dance. Even when he drastically reduced the time he wielded the sword, he was comfortable. Even if he was investing his time into meaningless meditation, he didn’t care what was happening outside.

There has never been a better environment for him to concentrate.

In such a calm atmosphere, Airn, who was lying on the bench, got up.

And picked up the sword.

It wasn’t meant to practice right away.

He just changed the way he meditated.

After maintaining the posture for about 30 minutes, he opened his eyes and nodded.

“Well, this is the right one.”

Confident voice.

It was rare.

Airn wasn’t the kind to have confidence. He was never sure about anything.

For him, where everything was unknown, to say something firmly meant he was sure.

It felt good.

Airn thought quietly.

‘What I want to do is reproduce what I saw in the dream, the man in my dreams.’

The old house he saw in his dreams, the small yard and sparse weeds growing out, the blowing wind, everything seemed important, which was why he thought lying down would be the right position to meditate in.

But that wasn’t right. The only thing he wanted to do was resemble the man, the sword of the perfect man who trained every day.

If so, he had to take a close look at the man’s stance too. Meditating while holding the sword was the right choice.

However, that alone wouldn’t complete everything.

‘I need something more.’

The direction he headed was right.

But that didn’t feel like enough. It felt like there was something more he had to do.

Of course, there is nothing to gain by thinking about it.

If he hastily knocked the closed door on his path, it would only hurt his hands.

Airn, who abandoned his obsession, raised his sword again.

And it was the moment he was about to go back to meditation.

“What? Meditating again?”

The boy opened his eyes at the voice which came from behind.

Looking at the face of the person who stopped him from training, Airn spoke in a calm voice.

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