Chapter 316 - The Limit (2)

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“…”

“…”

The room where the contestants were waiting turned a lot quieter than at the beginning of the contest.

There, the contestants who were watching the match remained silent at the unexpected sight that unfolded before them with serious expressions.

Who was the luckiest among the 128 swordsmen who were participating in the contest?

Most people thought it was Judith.

Although it was true that she had great skills for her age, she was still someone who couldn’t enter the Master stage.

They thought it was natural for her to fall immediately after meeting a Sword Master. In the midst of such thoughts, the first master she was supposed to face, Zakuang, was absent due to an injury.

It wasn’t just that. She came into the Round of 16, and as if she was blessed by the Goddess of Luck, she didn’t meet a single Master the entire time. So everyone thought that she would undoubtedly fail during her match with Ignet.

And the results were similar to what everyone expected.

Judith, who collapsed in the middle of the stage from exhaustion, couldn’t get up.

It seemed like she had lost consciousness, and even when the referee approached her, she didn’t move. If somebody saw her state now, they would think that she suffered a one-sided defeat, but in reality, that wasn’t the case.

One step.

Just one more step.

If Judith’s blow had been a little stronger, Ignet would have been pushed out of the stage.

It didn’t matter if she was the protagonist or not; that was the rule of this contest.

An attack strong enough to push back a Master to such an extent.

It wasn’t a power that originated from Aura.

It was an unknown power that even the contestants who had made it to this Round had never experienced.

Even Camrin Ray didn’t understand this situation.

‘Even though she didn’t reach the Master level…’

‘Giving out an attack stronger than a Master’s.’

‘A flame? It was like a flame. It was unrefined but it was exploding wildly… like a volcano bursting!’

‘It was just a little short of reaching the sun in the sky…’1

It was genuinely something that was so close to coming true.

Next time, once she had grown more, it could actually happen!

And that possibility left a strong impact on everyone.

Seeing the Expert who broke through the limits the world had set, even Jarrot gulped.

“Haha…”

“Wasn’t it said that she was a disciple of Khun for about 2 and a half years? Amazing.”

“I did feel that her sword was different from general swordsmen, but…”

“I think we were all too stuck following stereotypes.”

“Um…”

The level of swordsmanship in the continent had been raised, and the western swordsmen mumbled.

Right. They were more than spectators, more than contestants; they were all equally shocked at Judith’s performance.

What is swordsmanship?

Furthermore, how many stages were swordsmanship divided into?

Such things didn’t exist a thousand years back, but they surely existed now.

It was standardized to a point where anyone with an interest in swords could recite it by heart.

Beyond the level of a beginner who uses a sword for the first time, a sword beginner was one who knows how to use their body properly.

A sword user was someone who deals with mystical powers of their inner universe beyond just physical aspects like their sword and body, and is at a stage to learn the first half of the six steps in aura operation.

‘After that, if one can widen their senses through Aura and freely manipulate the energy of their body through refining their five senses, then the path till the end of a Sword Expert will open. If one walks till the end of that road and completes it by maximizing the six concepts, especially centering on manifestation and concentration… then it can be said that one has reached the level of Master.’

This is the way of the sword and the way of a swordsman made by the heroes who lifted the dark veil from the continent over a thousand years ago.

Although it was known that the Orc races trained their Aura in a different way, it wasn’t much different.

In the end, it is all Aura.

And the Aura Sword, which contains highly refined energy that a swordsman can give out, reigns above all the other techniques.

And everyone believed it without a doubt. No one thought of searching for a different path.

Except for one person.

One of the best swordsmen on the continent and someone who personified the word ‘eccentric.’

Khun.

‘Now… there are two irregularities.’

The Masters, the ones who held their faith in their swords, looked at the unconscious Judith with trembling eyes.

The total amount of Aura within her was insufficient, and the strengthening and hardening steps were also below a satisfactory level. It must have been because the blooming step was incomplete.

Because in order to control the Aura, one needed all their five senses to work at the extreme. In her situation, it was difficult to control her own self, so the woman simply didn’t care about the others.

It could be said that what Judith did now was something that involved a lot of risk. But the cost was clear.

The intensely ‘concentrated’ heat which was capable of melting everything in the world. The energy which exploded so violently.

It was the representation of a barbaric force that couldn’t be refined.

Her swordsmanship was her unique identity that couldn’t be displayed by the modern swordsmanship, which had been polished for over a thousand years.

“Senior Khun raised a monster.”

“I thought he wouldn’t be able to raise a disciple because of his personality, but I guess that wasn’t the case.”

“Breaking past the limits of modern swordsmanship… will that be exaggerating what we just saw?”

“Doesn’t this mean there is another person who deserves the title of the best teacher in the continent?”

“Hm, I don’t know about that.”

One of the swordsmanship school’s masters objected. There was no need to further explain.

It was because everyone knew where the person who fought the first match in the Round of 16 belonged to.

‘Airn Pareira…’

‘That kid is amazing.’

‘An existence that has already reached a realm that even I cannot evaluate.’

‘I have no choice but to just watch and admire.’

The young Sword Master, Airn Pareira, who proved that he was strong enough for others to give up on evaluating him.

There was a period of silence among the people as they thought of him.

Bang!

On the stage, the sound echoed.

Bang! Bang!

Kwang! Bang!

It continued to ring and echo.

It was Judith. The sound of her smashing her fists into the floor. It wasn’t too loud. Having exhausted most of her energy, she didn’t have the strength to even properly clench her fists.

Blood was running down her fists, which subsequently turned the stage red. It was like a child throwing a tantrum.

However, the contestants who saw that, felt goosebumps on their bodies.

‘She was really…’

‘…thinking of winning.’

‘Crazy girl…!’

The competitive spirit, the fighting spirit, her longing for victory, and her anger from defeat.

They were all essential elements for the growth of a swordsman.

Of course, there were some people who were free from it, but most swordsmen practiced to rise above others. And this was an incredible motivator for people.

However, such emotions were nothing in front of some existences. Beings who were far above them in skill and power.

Ordinary people would fall into despair when they see a huge mountain that was impossible to climb.

Since such existences lived in a world different from theirs.

She bowed her head and didn’t look up.

‘Damn it!’

Judith couldn’t do it.

Rather than giving up because the tree was tall or the mountain was impossible to climb, she thought it would be better to climb one mountain at a time and then look at another mountain to climb after that. She truly believed that.

To do that, she couldn’t be bowing down like this.

“Phew. Phew.”

The red-haired swordsman got up and walked ahead.

Her hand was still dripping blood, and a red haze was rising from her shoulders and above her head. Even the sword she was holding was making her look scary.

In fact, some people even trembled as they watched Judith on the magic screen.

“Next time… I’ll reach you.”

“…”

“So, be on your toes.”

It was a cheeky remark thrown at the candidate who was expected to be the winner of this festival.

But no one was taken aback by it.

“… I look forward to it.”

Ignet Crescentia accepted it with a smile on her face.

Judith passed by her with an expression that said she wasn’t happy and went down the stage slowly. However, the place the red-haired swordsman headed for wasn’t the treatment room.

It was the place where the contestants who were waiting for the next match were sitting.

“What?”

“Why here?”

“…”

‘That brat, what is she up to?’

All the contestants were on their toes. It was even more so with Jarrot. Jarrot was close to Zakuang, so he was concerned about this Expert that they made fun of. The one who was walking towards him, looking so different from the past.

It was strange.

Of course, there were a lot of people who were worried. She was the only Expert in the Round of 16, and they were all on edge after looking at her formidable attack.

And Judith’s appearance right now wasn’t normal.

She was completely exhausted, and just one bump on the shoulder would send her falling.

But no one ignored her. They were even embarrassed to make eye contact with her.

Then there was the heat.

It was still burning wildly, and it seemed like a flame that wanted to cover the whole world.

Only Bratt Lloyd could handle it.

“Win.”

“…”

“Whether it be a cowardly move or something which makes others laugh… don’t mind it. Win. Round of 16 and the Round of 8 too.”

“…”

“Then, bye.”

Judith left the waiting room after tapping Bratt on the shoulder.

Despite that, the room stayed silent.

And Jarrot’s face was clearly shocked, but he said nothing. Instead, he released his anger on his next opponent.

“Jarrot, Winner!”

“Winner, Ilya Lindsay!”

“Winner, Camrin Ray!”

The rest of the matches finished quickly.

Jarrot and Camrin Ray won easily, and Ilya, too, defeated her opponent without much effort.

Her match was great, but not many people were surprised by this anymore. At this point, it felt obvious.

Three of the four people in their 20s did an amazing job, so it was strange to feel shocked at just her performance anymore.

And then came the final match of the Round of 16.

Ralph Penn, a man from the east, vs. Bratt Lloyd, the best dark horse.

The audience looked forward to this unpredictable match, and Ralph Penn was also burdened with the interest of thousands of people. He wasn’t able to calm down.

It was because of Judith. He was sure that even he, who devoted his body and mind to the sword for decades, couldn’t beat her.

It felt like his stiff body couldn’t relax.

“…”

Bratt was the opposite.

A stream of water that flowed calmly and leisurely.

It didn’t work even if he tried to force the speed of the water down, and sometimes it felt like a frustrating wave.

All that was thanks to what Judith told him.

Whop!

His wildly exploding emotions created multiple waves before finally resulting in a tsunami.

The eldest son of the Lloyd family had a determined expression on his face and raised his sword.

“Come on.”

“…!”

A lot of time passed, and the result was out. Bratt Lloyd won.

Ignet Crescentia, who was watching it till the end, headed to her training hall with a strange look.

  1. Referring to Ignet. ↩️

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