A swordsmanship contest that attracted the attention of people since the event was confirmed —the Warrior’s Festival.
It wasn’t enough that more than 20 Sword Masters were participating in one place, but even those who were likely to be in the top ten of the future had gathered here.
People from all over the world flocked to the holy kingdom to see their wonderful performance.
The Ray family member, Camrin Ray!
The southern deity, Inashio Karahan!
The elite swordsman of the East, Devan Kennedy!
And the pride of the Holy Kingdom, Ignet Crescentia!
The audience would quarrel over the swordsman who would make it to the top and make their hearts pound. Who will win, and who will advance to the top?
It was a contest held in the interest of the people of the continent.
The roster for the quarterfinals were fierce contests and showed very different things from what the public thought.
“To see three of the contestants in their 20s make it here…”
“Can’t we say that it is four people? Ignet is still in her early 30s, right?”
“Judith’s situation was a bit unfortunate. If she hadn’t met a winning candidate, maybe she would have made it here too…”
“I know. Wasn’t she just an Expert? Just what was that blow?”
“Right. From what I heard, it wasn’t an Aura Sword.”
“Well, it was still amazing. This is completely different from what we expected.”
Right. It was entirely different.
However, if this meant that people weren’t looking forward to the next matches, then that wasn’t true. Rather, it was the other way around.
The dazzling performance of the 20-year-old swordsmen who were defeating people in their 40s and 50s!
It was something that best worked with the purpose of the contest.
If one was curious about the future of the continent, then now, it wasn’t too difficult for people to look up to these youngsters. People were enthusiastic about the performance of the young ones who were gifted enough to be part of the ‘Golden age of Swordsmen’ in history.
Stories of Airn, Bratt, Ilya, and Judith were constantly written in articles.
And at some point, people began to consider the fact that Ignet would be winning instead of Camrin Ray.
‘There is one more person who has grown in popularity as much as the young people these days.’
Elf reporter, Hinz put his pen down and took a sip of coffee. The article he was writing was about that person.
Although the person didn’t participate in the contest, he had a greater influence on the contestants than others.
He was already pretty famous, but with everything that was happening, he was gaining even more fame.
‘School Master Ian… what kind of monsters did you raise?’
The Master of Krono, Ian.
A famous swordsman, but even more famed as a teacher.
Krono Swordsmanship School is regarded as the best in the world, beating the swordsmen in the west, and consequently, Ian gained more fame for it.
Considering the good influence he had cultivated and spread across the continent, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to call him the best teacher of the continent.
‘And his fame… will soar to an all-time high after this competition.’
And Airn pareira.
Among the five people who were the hottest topic of the continent now, none of them were swordsmen who didn’t pass through the hands of Ian at a point in their career.
Although Ignet and Ilya were only in Krono for a year…Judith too was under Khun now, but it couldn’t be said that they didn’t receive Ian’s help.
In fact, all three of them, including Ignet, who had great pride, had mentioned that they were indebted to Ian. Not to mention Bratt and Airn. They were the geniuses who represented the 27th Golden Batch.
A lot of people were looking forward to seeing what the two of them would display in the quarterfinals, having defeated Devan Kennedy and Inashio Karahan.
‘Well… most expected Airn to win, but…’
One can never know, especially with this contest having too many surprises.
Hinz mumbled while drinking the coffee.
What are the thoughts of the teacher who is watching this happen? Is he happy with the way his students grew?
Or was he feeling sorry for the fact that one side would have to fail?
It was unknown and couldn’t be imagined. Grinning, Hinz picked up his pen.
He still had many things to write.
At the same time, under the deepening night of the Holy Kingdom.
The old man who was about to go to his favorite disciple’s training hall was unable to do so, and turned away.
‘Will it be fine?’
As Sword Master Ian delayed meeting his disciple, Ilya didn’t stop moving towards Bratt’s hall.
His exact condition was unknown, but she could guess it. Because it had happened once before to her.
‘The thought of wanting to surpass someone turns into an obsession… and there is nothing more painful than that.’
Ilya recalled her past. There was a time in her life when all she wanted was to be on the top. She thought that she couldn’t win against Ignet unless she reached such a stage.
She remembered walking on that thorny road, shunning away helping hands. And she remembered the figure of her lover who stopped her.
‘… I cannot be as good as Airn.’
She lived most of her life with a narrow mind. She didn’t think that she would be able to communicate with others with such gentle and innocent feelings like a child…she didn’t think that she would be able to understand the feelings of others.
But she was going to try.
Even if she would come out as inexperienced, she was going to do her best for Bratt. Her friend. In order to alleviate the suffering he must be going through…
When she was thinking about that, the atmosphere changed suddenly. To be precise, the air around Bratt’s training hall changed.
It was like being stuck in a thick fog. But it wasn’t real fog. It couldn’t be since it was currently late autumn.
It was an artificially created environment. In other words, this was Bratt’s doing.
‘I saw it once before.’
When she thought of the fight with Devan Kennedy, everything came to her mind. It was a surprising technique that blocked the opponent’s senses by mixing the soft muddy Aura into the air.
… no, it wasn’t just that now.
This time it was a bit different.
It spread out in the same way as then, but… at that time, it only acted to block information; it didn’t create such a feeling.
What Ilya was feeling right now…
It felt strange…as if the swordsman called Bratt Lloyd had filled the space around him with his senses and his entire being.
As she stood there with a cramped feeling, it felt like he was looking at her from all sides, and it was increasing as she moved to the training hall.
The flow changed.
The energy which filled the room vanished. No, it was more focused in the center and spread quickly. It was like water being spread out as thin as paper.
Ilya could feel it. The speed of water increased little by little along with the density.
‘… maybe I was worried for nothing.’
Ilya Lindsay smiled, approaching Bratt, who was sitting still.
She thought it was funny that she was concerned.
Why did she think that the most mature person of the group would be suffering?
He wasn’t suffering.
And it was the same with him in the past as well.
No, maybe it was a little painful, but he was leading himself into a healthy direction for his own growth, unlike the fragile Ilya of the past. And that gave her a sense of relief.
‘… but just in case, I will keep an eye on him.’
The silver-haired swordsman smiled, and quietly looked around and used her senses to guard all her sides.
It wasn’t easy with Bratt’s energy all around her, but she did it with her best effort. So that her precious friend could be safe in his world of enlightenment.
So that the match was fairer.
Until the night deepened, the sun rose, and the dawn hit. She stood still, sweating profusely.
At the same time.
Airn, too was immersed in his own meditation. Instead of swinging his sword, he was wrapped up in his thoughts.
One of his best friends and an opponent who was stronger than Inashio Karahan.
He couldn’t afford to be distracted. Even if he was publically known to be stronger, an unknown variable could arise. In his head, he nodded, playing the simulation with Bratt.
… ironically, that began to change little by little, thanks to Bratt…thanks to the teachings he received from Bratt’s father.
What Bratt had done in the previous match… his Aura that spread wide. The extension of his energy and the wider and more diverse change it had on the area around him.
As his stagnant heart pounded, he began to feel frustrated. Airn, who regained a sliver of his clouded self of uncertainty, began to harness the energy of the Five Spirits again.
It wasn’t that he was ignoring his friend.
He respected him. So, he tried to bring out the emotions that were buried in him and return to his usual routine. Just like how he didn’t stay stuck on Ignet.
He couldn’t cling to Bratt to defeat him.
Airn Pareira, who took the center spot, searched for enlightenment in the various things which passed through his mind, and his actions followed where his mind took him.
It was growing up, getting bigger and bigger.
The tree that was growing in the constantly circulating and expanding water. It was just a span, just one span, but it couldn’t be called meaningless. It was because those little growths gathered were what made him who he was today. 1
The blonde swordsman finally woke up.
He raised his head and looked at the red-haired woman in front of him.
Apparently, it felt like she was staying here to protect his enlightenment. He smiled, asking.
“Why are you here? Won’t you go to Bratt?”
“It’s a strategic plan.”
“I came here to find out if there are any weaknesses.”
Was she really here for this reason?
Airn couldn’t know.
The important thing was that she stayed here and protected him. Airn smiled deeply and stood up, saying,
“Then, shall we go?”
“It isn’t an opponent I can beat if I move slowly.”
“I guess that’s true.”
There was no weird expression or grumbling on Judith’s face.
And after a while. The Round of 8 of the Warrior’s Festival began.
Span - the distance from the end of the thumb to the end of the little finger of a spread hand. Honestly, I'm not sure how this makes sense logically because, if I recall, the tree is already much bigger. It might be grass that is growing rather than a tree which would kinda make sense given the length. ↩️
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