Chapter 309 - Dark Horse (1)

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“Uh, is it finally starting?”

“I would have never been able to see such a sight in my lifetime…”

“You shouldn’t be so excited already!”

“Well, I came all the way from the east to see this!”

Right now, on the morning of the first round of the Warrior’s Festival, the 128 selected people were contesting.

People from all over the nation were anticipating great things.

Since ancient times, the most interesting spectacles have been centered around fighting.

Even those with the lowest level could come and see people like experts and Sword Masters, and this competition was truly grand enough to attract the entire continent.

Thanks to that, the capital of the Holy Kingdom was now overrun with tourists, and even though accommodation was prepared beforehand, due to the influx of people, the unfortunate occurrence of homelessness occurred.

In addition, support from the Runtel Kingdom was also asked for, and those who couldn’t enter the stadium were given a magic screen to see the match.

‘Shouldn’t as many people as possible be able to see it? That way, the words will spread more widely and swiftly and everyone on the continent will be able to engage in their livelihood with peace. They’ll start realizing that they don’t have to be afraid of devils anymore.’

For this decision, everyone praised the Holy King.

The purpose of this festival was that, but the most important thing was that those who came from afar would inevitably be upset. And because of that, the magic screens were placed for those who would become sad or upset.

“I am saying, Camrin Ray…”

“Inshio Karahan…”

“Uh, are you ignoring the people from the east? Devan Kennedy and Ralph Penn…”

“Considering that the Holy Kingdom proudly held the contest, the Black Knight commander cannot be ignored…”

Of course, most of them only had their own preferences. They couldn’t know much more than what they heard. They could only guess based on the information given so far.

And that trend would probably continue until the end of the match.

It wasn’t known if it was intentional, but most of the matchups were rather odd.

“The opposing swordsmen are also strong, but since they are experts… they cannot bring out the skills of the winning person.”

“Right? It takes a certain amount of trouble for the true skill to be brought out, so the first day seems too obvious.”

“Well, it’s exciting to be able to see dozens of Sword Masters.”

“Right. We should be satisfied with that… ah! It is up!”

All the procedures were done, and the matches seemed like they were beginning.

8 swordsmen were up on the stage.

The first and second rounds had a lot of people, so four matches would be done at the same time. Therefore, the audience focused their eyes on the screens.

And most of the attention was directed to the 3rd stage.

It was because Camrin Ray, the most promising winner was there.

“The Aura of the Ray family changes color, right?”

“I did hear that. And he is famous for that flair of his. Not just in swordsmanship, but the operation of aura too… It is said that the reason the color of the aura changes is because of that family’s vision. Well, idiots like us don’t have the eyes to see it.”

“Still, for us to finally see that swordsmanship is more than good enough.”

“Ahm, don’t be like that… ugh, it is starting now!”

As the hand of the referee went up, the matches finally began. Camrin Ray’s opponent was a Sword Expert. Perhaps it was because of the fact that a formidable man was in front, the expert seemed nervous even on the magic screen.

Of course, there were a few people whose hearts went out to him. But most of them were looking at Camrin Ray alone.

However, something unexpected happened. Camrin Ray continued to fight without using the Aura sword.

“Winner, Camrin Ray!”

“What?”

“Why didn’t he use the Aura Sword?”

The audience was puzzled. Of course, as the man in a swordsmanship family, he surely could defeat the opponent easily. However, those who were expecting a stylish appearance had no choice but to feel a bit disappointed at this sight.

And after that, this continued.

“Winner Devan Kennedy!”

Devan Kennedy was known to be the ‘light’ of the eastern part of the continent.

“Winner, Ralph Penn!”

Ralph Penn, his rival, was strong too.

All the other veterans who were called ‘winners’ didn’t show off their aura swords and they obtained victory through their swordsmanship alone.

It was then that the audience began to feel something strange. The fact that this was done to give their opponents a chance.

No, it was a kind of bluff to show the gap between the swordsmanship of a Master and Expert.

What was all that? Actually, the difference was surely huge, and everyone could understand that, and it was natural to think they were confident or looking down…

And such opinions began to flood in.

The 101st swordsman, no Sword Master Jet Frost who was listening to it, thought.

‘They aren’t wrong.’

A Master is Master because of the Aura sword.

And it was right for them to be proud of it. The fact that with the aura sword a Master could knock down the opponent with a single hit is what differentiates them.

But is that all?

There were those among the participants who built a name for themselves as a Master for 10 to 20 years. And all they were going to do was just show off their swordsmanship?

No.

Jet Frost nodded as he watched the new swordsman come up.

He was much younger than the previous people, and it was an age at which it was safe to say that he was younger than all the participants who had appeared so far.

The genius of the Gerbera Kingdom, Bratt Lloyd.

‘Bratt Lloyd’s first…’

He looked up at the screen.

Right. It was a provocation thrown at the young Masters by the old ones. Saying that they had the ability to overwhelm the opponent without the help of Aura Sword.

And what about this one?

Luckily, this young man had reached the Master level, and compared to his swordsmanship, he wasn’t much different from the experienced ones, right?

Maybe the older ones will have a hard time?

Honestly, the provocation of the older people was rather childish, but it would be difficult for Masters in their 20s like Airn to ignore it. Because the flow was tilting in that way.

“What will you do, Bratt?”

Jet Frost mumbled and then he smiled.

The answer was clear. This wasn’t something he even had to worry about as he knew this young man’s abilities.

The middle-aged people might be shocked now. A confident voice came out and the match started.

And

Kang!

Kang!

Kwang!

“Kuak…!”

“… winner, Bratt Lloyd!”

For the first time since the matches began, something close to shocking happened.

“What!”

“In three strikes… he won?”

“Without the Aura sword?”

“What, how did this happen?”

“I was blinded for a while, but it is already done?”

“No, wait, I didn’t even see… what happened?”

The audience was shocked. They knew it.

It was close to impossible for an Expert to defeat a Master, but if a young Master Swordsman came up and didn’t use the aura sword to defeat the opponent, then things were different.

Even if the young one didn’t win, it would leave a mark in their minds. Everyone thought so.

But…

Bratt defeated the opponent in an instant as if ridiculing everyone’s thoughts and left casually. His gaze, as he descended down, was bitter, which was something Jet Frost didn’t understand.

‘It isn’t his usual form, but now I expect more because of that… something… it’s like a gap has been filled.’

Feeling something like a poison blooming, he laughed.

This was good.

The others must be feeling the same. Bratt Lloyd’s skills were greater than he thought. The fact that the young Sword Masters were people they couldn’t ignore.

And it was the same for others.

“… lost.”

“Winner, Ilya Lindsay!”

Even the youngest Master, Ilya Lindsay defeated her opponent with a single strike.

Kwang!

Kwang!

“W-Winner, Airn Pareira!’

The pride of the Hale Kingdom, Airn defeated the opponent with two attacks.

Neither of them used an aura sword. Ilya won a clean victory with a fierce sword and Airn did it with a heavy sword.

At that point, a commotion broke out in the audience. It was about the Sword Masters in their 20s who had showcased their great talent. Initially, it was a competition they thought would be difficult for young people, but the young ones were dominating.

And the aftermath after the fight was that the next matches felt boring in comparison.

“This, is a lot bigger than I thought?”

“He won’t be pushed, right? To a master in 50s?”

“Ah, that is too much. He just won over an expert…”

“Huut, it looks a lot better than the others, right?”

“Right. I am curious. How far can these young people go?”

It wasn’t just the audience.

Even the middle-aged swordsmen who finished their matches couldn’t hide their shock at the progress of Bratt, Ilya and Airn.

‘I did feel that they were skilled in the banquet, but…’

‘They are even more amazing than what I felt.’

‘Still, there is nothing to lose… and I shouldn’t be careless.’

They were growing vigilant. In a somewhat sharper atmosphere, the matches proceeded and the most anticipated fight came.

Zakuang vs Judith.

Most of the swordsmen were looking at this match which was nerve-wracking.

The result was obvious, what they wanted to see was the process.

Due to the flow of the matches, Zakuang wouldn’t be using an aura sword and Judith’s swordsmanship was considered to be amazing.

In that case, maybe Zakuang would struggle more than expected.

‘This will be fun.’

Inashio Karahan smiled. Zakuang’s fight style focused on aura.

He liked to press down the opponent with force, making total use of his aura.

In that sense, if they were fighting with pure swordsmanship, then he would have a chance of being disgraced. So, he watched with malicious eyes.

Zakuang would be coming up soon.

A few others too were muttering to themselves.

“…”

“…”

“…”

But the man didn’t come. No, in the first place he wasn’t even in the waiting room.

Since there were 100 people no one noticed his absence.

What?

A look of curiosity rose on the faces of swordsmen and the audience, and they all looked at Jarrot.

Because they thought he would know it. But he too seemed confused. Frustrated he said,

“Damn it, why is he not coming?’

Everyone had the same question.

1 minute passed.

Then it became 5 minutes

Even after 10 minutes Zakuang didn’t show up, and the official matches were happening fast and the referee began to look troubled.

“What is this? Zakuang will get eliminated from the match like this…”

“Don’t bother.”

At that moment the red-haired woman quietly stood up and spoke on the stage. And the referee looked at Judith.

Thinking about it, it was odd. Even though the opponent didn’t show up, she was standing still with a clear expression which was difficult for others to understand.

Yet Judith stood there.

The expert grinned like a child and said.

“Seems like he must have run away because he was afraid.”

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