The contestants who were waiting in the room were filled with silence as usual. They couldn’t help it. During the first and the second rounds of the contest, nothing too special happened, but after that came continuous surprises.
The result of this match was also surprising.
Inashio Karahan, who became a Sword Master in his 20s, and was famous in the Southern part of the continent had collapsed.
Was it because he showed poor skills?
No, it wasn’t that.
Similar to the match of Bratt Lloyd vs Devan Kennedy, was he swayed under the pressure of the opponent’s spirit?
It wasn’t that either.
Did he succumb to their skill?
Was he pushed back by the opponent’s force?
The pure gap between the two. It drove the Southern deity into defeat and led Airn Pareira to victory.1
Camrin Ray of the Ray family, closed his eyes to remember the final part of the match.
Aura Shield was an advanced technique that most Masters couldn’t do…even the paladins who were blessed by the Gods have a tough time pulling it off.
Something like that was done so effortlessly.
It didn’t take a long time for Inashio Karahan to use his trump card. In that brief moment, the amount of Aura Airn raised and refined was…
‘It won’t be easy…’
He closed his eyes and then opened them to look at the screen.
He looked at the face of the young Sword Master. However, the eyes of that person weren’t that of an inexperienced Master.
Who were those eyes looking at?
Was it for him or Ignet?
As he thought about all those things, he heard the sound of someone jumping up from their seat.
Among those who made it till here, she was the only one who was still an Expert. And with a cheery voice, she said.
“Now it is time for me to show myself!”
It didn’t feel like she was shocked by what she saw or burdened by her own opponent.
With that, the red-haired swordsman left the waiting room and went up the stage.
And the magic screen showed Airn Pareira having a flustered expression. It was a funny situation.
However, no one could smile at it.
‘What is she up to?’
‘… I am curious.’
‘Seems like a weird kid?’
Where the heck did that confidence come from?
Although these were the common thoughts of most of the contestants, they weren’t ignoring the skills of Judith.
At the age of 22, she reached the limit of Expert.
Considering that most Masters reached the Master level in their 50s, she had a bright future.
It could also be said that these young people were showing the purpose of the contest.
‘Even if that was the case, to show that face in the Round of 16…’
Maybe it is because she has something hidden?
It was an absurd thought.
No matter how strong an expert was, it was still an expert. And clearly, the difference was felt in the 1st round.
Although the Sword Masters didn’t use aura, the Experts couldn’t hold a candle to them.
Yet, the reason why the contestants were curious about Judith was because she was different from the others, and she was here despite the gap between an Expert and a Master.
And especially because her opponent was the Black Knight Commander, Ignet Crescentia.
The woman got up from her seat. Wearing the black knight’s armour as usual, she looked unshakable.
However, something felt different.
Ignet’s expression in this match was different from the matches she had before.
Seeing the back of her walking away, Jarrot mumbled.
“Damn it. What was that…”
He didn’t like it.
Judith, whom Ignet Crescentia seemed to consider at a high level, and the contestants who were concentrating on the screen seeing her that serious.
Even more annoying was that they could be one of the contestants who would go against her.
Jarrot was looking at the situation wide-eyed.
As he looked at the young swordsmen climbing onto the stage, he thought.
‘Zakuang, what happened to you?’
‘You are a fool.’
‘Fool. A fool. A person full of shortcomings.’
‘Wait, why are you suddenly swearing?’
‘Compared to the other talents. Like Ignet, Ilya and people like… Airn.’
‘If you are aiming for the position of one of the ten swordsmen, you will be furious when you hear that, but if you are aiming to be the best in the continent, learn to accept defeat humbly. Compared, to the impeccable swordsmen who lack nothing in any way, you on the other hand, are lacking in every way. You don’t seem to know that you are a fool because you are too proud of yourself. So, I will have to explain it to you one by one.’
The words which came after that were enough to break Judith’s heart.
Too proud of herself?
That was true, but rather, she realized that everything her teacher Khun said was true.
Not to mention the 6 steps of Aura operation, there were many more things which Judith lacked compared to real geniuses like the sophistication of her swordsmanship, and the stability in movement.
Even compared to her lover Bratt, right now, she was desperately running for a position at the top.
‘However, just because you have a lot of flaws doesn’t mean you are weak.’
‘What? You have been swearing at me all this time…’
‘It means that you don’t have to try and be perfect in all aspects. Humans who lack talent but are greedy like you and me should know this. We should know what we are good at. No, not what you are good at, but what you are the best at. And without listening to another, we should grind it, polish it further and further, and cling to that one thing.’
‘One strong advantage which can hide all your flaws. That is the direction people like us should pursue.’
“That is right.”
Judith remembered her teacher’s words and nodded.
At first, it was hard to hold back her anger. She wanted to talk back to him and tell him that the biggest weakness was to give up on something without even trying.
However, she couldn’t… It was because she realized how desperate her teacher had to be to use his speed as his main trait. It was something which no one in the continent could do or match up to… his extremely sharpened skill in that area.
‘Your limits are above mine, no, it is safe to say that you have no limits.’
‘There is a limit to the speed a human body can achieve. Physical limitations. As long as we are tied to it, it is inevitable.’
‘But you are different.’
‘What is flaring within you.’
‘It has no limits. You can get it all the time and forever.’
The words from her teacher the day she was defeated by Airn Pareira.
It was then that Judith began to focus on the flames within her.
Even before that, she was defining her style with the flame, but this was the first time she was committed enough to focus on one thing alone and abandon the other things.
She couldn’t become a Master.
And that was why she didn’t need to follow the path of a Master.
There was no need, and she couldn’t afford it right now.
What she could do was concentration and manifestation.
Judith thought to herself, and a fierce fire erupted.
Judith continued to kindle the fire on the stage until she heard the call from the referee.
She fed it with the sadness and resentment she had since her childhood. She fed it with things like the joy of entering Krono and used everything she could as firewood.
There were many things which would help her ignite the fire.
The sense of inferiority which had built up within while she looked at Airn and Ilya during that time. The fighting spirit she obtained because of the sense of inferiority, the poison, the obsession, and the madness which fueled her.
‘Of course, the road you are walking is unstable, and you probably won’t be able to have the same heart against every opponent.’
She accepted that.
Judith couldn’t act the same way to a child on the road. Pouring the heat towards a weak person wouldn’t satisfy her either. It was because her heart wouldn’t agree with such actions.
From that viewpoint, Zakuang was the best opponent to show off her strength.
Every time the man threw out curses by looking at her face, the flame in her heart doubled and tripled. Looking back now, fighting him was the time she felt like she was the strongest.
Looking ahead, Judith nodded.
At that moment, the flame within her grew bigger.
Ignet was such a person.
She was someone who emitted such intense light that it made it impossible for the other person to lift their head around her. But it was something which also set fire to the hearts of those who could endure it.
The sun in the sky burns so intensely that anyone who looks at it, might chase after it or even want to touch it.
It was the best match-up.
From Judith’s body, an unrefined force burst out like an explosion.
The referee who was scared, fell on his butt and got down the stage hurriedly as he announced the start.
At the same time, flames rose from Judith’s sword. The energy that had accumulated and was suppressed was released at once.
The sword in red, which contained immense power turned yellow and white like the sun.
‘I don’t need an Aura Sword or things like that!’
She lacked it.
She didn’t know it well. Not to mention the hardening and the blooming of the senses, she was short of everything that a Master needed. She was too busy taking care of her own body condition to care about the senses to look around.
And to be honest, just controlling the energy which was running wildly. Compared to the Masters who were accustomed to handling the Aura from their hands to their feet and more, her Aura operation was lacking.
But it was violent… and shocking.
The ignorant and savage heat radiating from her harbored emotions along witht the fear that she could destroy everything.
The wild and fearful energy which went against the history of swordsmanship that had been refined over the course of thousands of years, made everyone tremble.
It was the same with Ignet
The moment she saw what was happening on the sword, every little carelessness she had flew away in an instant.
This had to be stopped!
She hardened her face and put strength into her feet. However, she didn’t move right away.
There was a huge overbearing fear of flames which could be felt right away. The time it took for the flame to spread to her was very short.
Judith’s sword with extreme heat collided with Ignet’s Sword.
There was a terrifying roar around them.
Jia Runtel who was anxious opened a magic barrier ahead and yet, the sound was hurting her ears.
Holy King sighed in relief and said,
But the King of Runtel didn’t respond.
What caught her eye was Ignet Crescentia who had barely stopped at the end of the stage, leaving a long trail in the ground.
And then she looked at Judith, the only expert in this round who had now collapsed onto the floor from exhaustion.
“… the world of swords is quite interesting.”
Several people had entered her vision.
Most of them were the old Masters, who had been joking about the juniors in the tournament and making fun of them.
All of them were now standing up.
Not a single person was sitting anymore.
Referred to as deity because he is the strongest in the Southern part of the continent and thus considered a God. ↩️
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