The capital of Avilius, the Holy Kingdom where the Warrior’s Festival was being held.
“Will it be fine…”
Amelia Pareira, Airn’s stepmother, whispered.
Even she, who was a novice to the sword, knew his strength well.
But his opponent was Inashio Karahan. While all of the people Airn dealt with so far were experts, Inashio was a man who had been a Master for more than 20 years.
As a parent, it was a situation which would cause worry. And not surprisingly, Harun Pareira was also concerned because of it.
“Since he worked this hard, we have no choice but to support him.”
He managed to say those words. But it was unavoidable that his heart was feeling weak.
He had no desire for his son to gain more fame or rise to a higher position. Rather, his only desire was for his son to come out of the contest without getting hurt.
‘It was fine to lose, so don’t get hurt,’ was what he wanted to say.
When both the wife and husband were looking at their son with the same thoughts.
“What are you talking about! Of course, he will win.”
“No, I am not saying this just to lighten the mood, but because brother will definitely win! Okay? No, don’t look at me like that!”
Kirill had a frustrated expression. It was because both her parents were looking at her as if she was a child.
But, she was sure.
She wasn’t really aware of swords because she was a sorcerer, but it was also for that reason that she understood and was convinced that her brother would win.
And it was the same with her brother.
Her brother’s swordsmanship was special which required mental training as much as physical body training, and in a way, it also happened because he was half sorcerer. So, she knew.
Because she could feel it. Because they were close, she was more certain of this than anyone.
Her brother was now really strong and was incomparable to any ordinary Master.
At that moment, a golden pillar erupted from Arin’s sword. The force from it leaked out for everyone to feel, and the expression of the audience changed as they felt it. Their faces were dark, but it was not because they were under pressure.
It was the same with the Pareira couple.
Even though the distance between the stage and the place where the audience were seated was far, even those who didn’t know about the swords…
…they could feel it.
Their son, the son they were proud of. The fact that he was stronger than they thought.
“I told you! You don’t have to worry!”
“Um… sorry, Kirill.”
“I too, you are normally always like this so…”
“Mother! What do you mean by saying I’m normally… I am no longer a child! And when I was younger, I wasn’t doing such things either!”
“I cannot agree with that.”
Kirill bowed her head.
And immediately looked back up so that she didn’t lose sight of her handsome brother. She mumbled, with sparkling eyes.
“If the stupid cat was here, she would have been better at this.”
Where did that brat go?
Surely, Lulu promised to come on time.
Kirill grumbled a little more. But soon stopped. So did the Pareira couple. All three of them looked at the match as if they were possessed.
Everything happened so fast that they couldn’t see anything, yet they couldn’t take their eyes off him.
And it wasn’t just them.
The first match of the round of 16.
Everyone who was watching the match gasped without even breathing properly.
There was wind.
A powerful, terrifying, and heavy sword which seemed like it would destroy everything was being used to defend against the attacks which came pouring in.
Although the attacks were heavy, there was no gap. Even an ordinary person, no, even an expert could perform difficult movements which were difficult to digest and understand, but they all would reach a point where their balance would collapse eventually.
But now, even though the attacks were heavy, Airn’s movements were slow and steady. The appearance of Airn was similar to a giant in molten iron expanding his territory by pushing inside forcefully.
‘Crazy! He is really crazy!’
He thought that this match wouldn’t be too hard. He had rebuked himself for being deceived by the age of his opponent and when he saw his skills, Inashio even tried to adjust to it.
Even if he was stronger than Devan Kennedy, he was convinced that it wouldn’t be too surprising, and went on the stage with a firm heart.
Airn’s sword and his eyes which were focused on him, kept advancing towards him like a steel giant as if he was fulfilling his desire to deliver the promised ruin onto him.
Inashio Karahan felt that it was difficult to handle.
His form moved left and right continuously.
He avoided, hit, and blocked.
In that small duration, he tried to not give in too much space to the opponent. Instead of stepping back, he tried to turn to the side, all the while glaring at Airn to figure out his weaknesses. His movement was comparable to how a swift snake would move through the bushes.
In fact, his swordsmanship was known to be like that. Moving secretly and swiftly, neutralizing the enemy’s attacks at the right opportunity.
While slipping away by a slight difference, he would cut the body of the opponent with his sword which swiftly brushed past them.
He would cut them.
It didn’t have to be a fatal wound or something. Because even small wounds which get accumulated would eventually bring defeat to the opponent.
It was better to go safe and steady instead of rushing in recklessly.
‘Everyone knows that.’
Taking a heavy breath, Inashio Karahan thought.
Things aren’t going well.
He resisted the heavy pressure of Airn and was busy moving his body trying to not back down. He tried to make up for the loss of space, and even tried to bring in more space by trying to move forwards.
However, everything was in vain. He had no choice but to admit it. This young man’s movements were better than his own.
He was being pushed back just by the basics that the man possessed! That too, it was by someone who was 20 years younger than him!
He felt heartbroken, and he thought that it was horrible and a great injustice. Something he hadn’t felt in a long time. But he still had a trump card which could turn the situation around.
‘My sword… is a snake.’
Inashio took a step back and mumbled to himself.
Right. It was the snake. He didn’t care one bit if others looked down on him as someone who was sneaky and untrustworthy or if people spread things about him.
On the contrary, he attained enlightenment. Beyond the simple slippery evasive movement of a snake, the deadly poison of the snake was also put into his sword.
The moment his sword cuts the opponent’s skin, the aura which entered the body would quickly spread and crack the body.
‘It doesn’t matter if the wound is deep or shallow. All I need to do is touch them. Right. As long as I can touch….’
And that was the problem.
Inashio Karahan looked at his opponent. He did his best to find the gap in the opponent’s movements…even the slightest gap could be taken advantage of.
The opponent…the way he moved and the way he stood, it was full of balance and stability, and he continued to firmly block the attacks.
It seemed that the opponent wouldn’t be shaken even if Inashio gave his all to every attack of his.
The moment he made up his mind regarding that, the snake seemed to take root on the ground and show a tougher appearance.
Yes, it is not in the usual way of a snake.
If the fangs of the snake couldn’t approach the enemy in a normal way, he would try using the body to reach them. The man who had a poisonous heart began to pour out a formidable power into the sword…
An unusual and unpleasant sound resounded throughout the stage. It wasn’t just strengthening the Aura Sword.
And when he gave more energy to the sword than he could handle, the sword of Inashio changed from green to black-green.
The blade trembled with a scream and gave out a dangerous feel.
Airn didn’t feel impatient despite seeing that.
He didn’t push ahead to corner the opponent nor did he retreat back in fear.
Slowly, using the spirit of the tree and earth, his energy took root in the ground and turned into a thousand-year-old giant tree.
And it didn’t end there.
The energy of steel filled his greatsword.
It wasn’t an energy refined by fire. But a clunky, heavy energy which represented in full the heaviness iron would have and with that, he drew a circle.
Immediately after that, Inashio’s attack flew in. His sword, which couldn’t handle his own energy, was destroyed and the metal fragments scattered with aura on them.
In the process, the hand which cast the technique was injured, but the power of the blade shards which was shot ahead was extreme.
A loud roar which seemed to tear the ears apart swept through the stage. Everyone In the place covered their eyes, and those who were watching the match on the magic screen frowned.
Some talented people jumped up from their seats to stop the flying fragments. Jet Frost was one of them.
But the result. There was no need for that.
Not a single fragment went through.
The slightest aura. Everything from the opponent was blocked by the golden shield through which even the fragments couldn’t break through. Seeing the aura energy of Airn made up of such densely refined aura, Inashio burst into a chuckle.
He drew the spare sword he had on the back with his left hand, but he had no courage to wield it.
And he said,
“I admit defeat.”
“It’s my loss. You have won, Airn pareira.”
After being polite, the man left the stage without another look to the back.
The referee, who came up late, called out the winner’s name, and at the same time, the audience who were too engrossed in the match, started chanting Airn’s name.
“Airn Pareira! Airn Pareira!”
It was truly madness.
For those who didn’t know of the sword and for those who knew the sword too, the result of this match came as quite a shock.
In addition to being stronger than expected, he even blocked Inashio’s trump card. It wasn’t just overwhelming the opponent with the basics, but Airn showed off the Aura Shield which is said to be exclusive for the Holy Kingdom’s Paladins!
This was a much more difficult skill than Aura Sword.
Unlike putting energy into the sword, it was several times more difficult to form a refined Aura in the air. It wasn’t just that. Compared to the Aura sword which had a shape close to a line, the Aura Shield was round. In other words, the amount of aura required was vastly different.
So, everyone was shocked.
It was an unprecedented event which was bound to make the audience excited!
However, for Airn Pareira who did all that, he wasn’t excited by their reaction.
At first, his gaze was focused on one person, and he didn’t let himself get disturbed.
It was upsetting, but the person wasn’t Inashio, who was his opponent for the match. Rather, it was his close friend, Bratt Lloyd.
‘Do you know what bothered me the most when I was obsessed with Ignet for a long time? Even if I was coughing up blood, the fact that the other person wasn’t conscious of me hurt the most.’
He remembered what Ilya told him the day before.
The first thing he felt was awkwardness. For him, who still had a long way to go according to his thoughts, the fact that he was becoming someone’s target didn’t feel right.
‘But Bratt is being serious, and I know that.’
And that was the reason Airn was showing his best. Inashio Karahan was indeed a formidable talent, but more than that, it was proper to respond to Bratt’s sincerity.
He raised his sword in the hope that he could do his best for his precious friend and continue their relationship in the future. He was firm-hearted.
‘I see you, Bratt.’
That was the only thing he could tell Bratt with the audience watching.
He must be watching Airn too. And he hoped that he would feel the sincerity that Airn’s eyes held.
It was when he was trying to relay that.
“Move away, bastard.”
“From now, this is Miss Judith’s stage.”
Another precious friend of his, who climbed onto the stage, talked with a smile.
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