Chapter 337 - Link With Evil (1)

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"Please wait a little more, daddy is coming. I'll be home soon…"

A middle-aged man hastened his steps.

He had journeyed to the temple for his daughter, who was suffering from a sudden fever, and thanks to the priest's mercy, he was able to get some holy water despite the fact that it was lacking.

And now, all that was left was to head back home. The face of the man was full of impatience. He saw a crowd of people blocking the path in front of him as he kept walking.

It was a passageway made from expanding an abandoned mine. A huge boulder blocked its way. Seeing the boulder, the startled middle-aged man asked in surprise.

"W-what is this?"

"I don't know. It might have been because of the typhoon which happened a few days ago, or maybe a large monster appeared and…"

"Monster? Monsters in this place…"

"In a world with such cruel times, how can we know what happened here? There are devils and demons in the continent now, and they appear all over the place."

"True. but…"

"It isn't important. The problem is that we can't use this path for a while, and everyone needs to clear out. Phew, how much longer will it take if we go around…"

"…"

At the old man's answer, the middle-aged man turned his head and looked at the tunnel. Just looking at it took his breath away. His heart turned impatient at the size of the boulder, which would be impossible to get rid of even with 30 men gathered.

He remembered the face of his daughter suffering from anxiety. And he wasn't the only one thinking of something similar.

The laid-back ones took a step back, but those who had to move right away were unable to do that.

"Another one is coming… tch, that young man also has a dark expression on his face, he must be in a hurry."

The old man clicked his tongue with a sad expression. He didn't like the expression of the young man.

He knew that the man had a heavy heart. Even the middle-aged man couldn't take his eyes off this young man. Seeing someone in a similar situation like him made him feel stuffy.

But.

A miracle happened.

Slash!

Crack!

"…!"

"…!"

"T-thi…!"

A large sword that they didn't see before was pulled out and swung. They didn't know how he did it. The sword disappeared again, and it didn't even make a sound.

However, they knew two things. The boulder was split in half, and it was the young man who did this.

Looking at the smooth split on the obstacle that had stopped everybody there, all of them had their mouths wide open.

Tup!

Jjjjkkk!

It didn't end there.

The young man put his hands on the split boulder and put force into it, and the pieces were being pushed with a huge sound. The space was wide enough for a carriage to pass comfortably.

"Then, I'll head in first."

"…."

"…."

"…"

The young man in the robe quickly went into the tunnel, saying a word to calm them down.

People began to move in one after another, along with the middle-aged man with holy water. The expression on their faces couldn't help but shine at this.

"… as the number of monsters went up, so did the number of hidden heroes."

The old man standing still mumbled.

Clearly, the world was changing more dramatically than ever before.


When he felt the power of sorcery from Ignet Crescentia, Airn couldn't think of anything else.

Without even thinking considering joining the Holy Kingdom or borrowing the Griffin from Kirill, he just left the estate right away.

And without hesitation, he ran in the direction that his sorcery greatsword was pointing to.

Of course, he wasn't completely panicking. He was impatient and nervous, but not as much as the first time he got the news. And it was enough to find some reasoning in his mind.

Yet, the reason he was heading to the eastern part of the continent and not the Holy Kingdom, was because of his greatsword, which was constantly signaling him.

'The clown and the other devils keep moving. If that isn't it, they are trying their best to mislead the chase.'

If the distance was too far, he couldn't chase them. He couldn't look away even for a moment, so he kept moving. He had to control himself and think about the direction each time the sword signaled it to him.

And that was why Airn chose to move alone.

Fortunately, unlike at the start, he was more relaxed now. It didn't matter if he could do it or not; it HAD to be done at all costs.

At the same time, it was something he couldn't fail at either. To fight the crafty demons, he had to be in his best condition.

No… he would have to take higher steps and build up skills like never before. He had to attain enlightenment within this short period of time and rise to a higher level.

And what was his condition now?

He was anxious.

And unstable.

And fiercer than ever. He was unable to control the anger within him, and because of the hostility which was rising, even the energy of the five elements was cut off.

'I need to start dealing with this. Without the energy of the five elements… I cannot even deal with the clown.'

This was the reason Airn was training in his spare time.

He used the element of water and controlled the flames. Meanwhile, he would constantly use all five of them to build and nurture their coexistence.

A cycle.

One good intention begets another good intention, and that will bring another good one. And that would ultimately make the continent a bright world full of hope and happiness. And this was also related to the 'Will to protect' and opposed the 'Desire to destroy', which was the tendency of the devils.

'Let's never forget the basics. Let's not throw away the will, beliefs and aspirations that we have built till now.'

The reason he was carrying the sword.

The driving force which came to his mind.

In order to not forget any of it, and to get rid of this anguish dwelling within him, Airn sank deeper and deeper.

The current mediation was to continue until his sword signaled him again.

Tup!

But now, that plan was broken.

Airn looked up with his eyes.

He saw the face of a little boy whose hand he was holding. He was probably a child of the slum.

The place where he fell into meditation was a dark alley. As he tried to calm the boiling anger within him, he found himself in a place he didn't fit in.

And thinking that, he said to the child.

"No…"

"Uh, Uk….!"

"This is a precious thing. Besides that, stealing is not right."

Airn released the item from the boy's hand and took the necklace of five elements which had almost been stolen, back into his hands.

This was an item he hadn't figured out yet; he couldn't just let other people take away his things.

And the reason he held the hand of the child wasn't because of the necklace.

Looking at the boy struggling to get out of his hand, he asked.

"How did you get into pickpocketing?"

"…"

"This may be a silly question, but is there no other way than this?"

"… spoken like a true idiot. What else can I even do in this fucking dog shit town?"

"Hmm."

"You didn't think about it right? Enough, fuck. If you don't plan to kill me… just let go… euk., go!"

The kid struggled to escape. And hearing his words, Airn nodded.

His words were right.

Although Airn had an unhappy childhood, he was born into a wealthy family. And that meant that he couldn't escape from this noble mindset.

Doing chores at an inn or in the countryside, and doing small errands like delivering goods. These might be naïve to him.

And even if this kid did try to steal from him, his fault wasn't too huge.

'If this is the only thing I have seen ever since I was growing up alone… If there were only people who did bad things around me…'

Airn thought of his own life.

He was lucky. There was no other way he could say it.

A loving mother, a strong father, and his lovely sister, Kirill.

His lover Ilya, and his dear friends Judith, Bratt, Kuvar, and Lulu.

And countless people other people who were like his mentors.

The environment around him was full of goodwill and kindness. And the reason he was here was not just because of his own hard work, but also because of the help he received from others.

Then what about this child?

From the time he was born, he must have been exposed to unfavorable and harsh environments. He must've been stained with evil, malice, hostility, and every other negative energy. This child probably didn't even realize that his actions were wrong.

And he realized at that moment.

Why he was angry at Ignet's sorcery message.

Why had he been pouring out hostility towards demons?

'They are the beings who create the chain of ill-will.'

For Airn, who realized the concept of coexistence and the virtuous cycle, good and bad couldn't be under the same sky.

"Ah! Please! Stop it…"

"…"

"Sorry! I was wrong! I will never do it again. I mean it… so, please just forgive me this once…"

Airn, who was back to reality, turned his head.

And saw the face of the little boy repeating the same thing, saying he wouldn't do this again.

It was a lie. The boy didn't think he was in the wrong, and he wouldn't stop this either.

But he couldn't get himself to hate the young child.

The one he was hating was someone else far from here, someone whom he wanted to push the end of his sword into.

He took a deep breath and put his other hand into his robe.

"Ack! Uh… uh?"

Clack!

The boy closed his eyes, thinking that the man would hit him with something. Instead, something small appeared.

And with a sweet sound.

Hearing the sound of money clattering, the boy gulped.

"Eat your fill tonight."

"…"

"But can you promise me something?"

"… what is it?"

The child looked wary.

It couldn't be helped. There was no unpaid favor in the world, and the child never felt anything wrong with it.

The little boy with the money pouch gulped. If it was something dangerous, he was ready to say no.

But it wasn't that.

The voice from the man in the robe was much warmer than it was at the start.

"If there is a child you know who is hungry, please help them too."

"…"

"Please?"

The child didn't speak for long.

This was the first time he received goodwill from someone since he was born into this world.

He was wary, doubtful, and shocked by the ray of light that fell onto his emotionless heart…

"… okay."

But since the time hadn't come yet, he nodded his head. Airn smiled and got up and gently stroked the little boy's hair.

He didn't look back.

He couldn't say anything more. The signal had come.

'Let's take the sword out in a place where there are few people and check the direction once again.'

His head was full of thoughts about chasing away the devil, and his heart felt warmer than at the start.

… it wasn't bad.

He concentrated on the signal without hiding the smile on his lips.

Airn hastened his steps.

Puck!

Crack.

"…"

And he stopped.

It was the sound of a blow that came from far and a suppressed scream.

It was a small sound that couldn't be heard by normal people. But with his senses as a Sword Master, he didn't miss it. His breath turned anxious.

Step step.

He walked.

But he couldn't walk fast.

He was afraid of the bad feeling he had, becoming a reality.

He was afraid of how angry he would become if what he thought was turned into a reality.

Yet he still continued walking, and he reached the alley where he had left the boy before.

"…"

Many elders were surrounding the child's body, and were looking at the body with eyes full of malice.

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