“Hmmm, I slept well.”
Bratt’s room shortly after Lulu’s surprise appearance.
As usual, after waking up after three hours of sleep, Bratt got up from his bed. The residents of the sorcery world didn’t actually have to sleep. It was because this wasn’t a place bound by common sense and reality.
It didn’t make any sense to normally say that the time would flow slower than reality and that people from the past could be summoned here.
Nevertheless, the reason he slept was because it helped him in his training.
‘Sleep is important. Both physically and mentally.’
It would have been different if the time allotted to Bratt had been a short number of days.
If that were the case, he was ready to even give up eating so that he could swing the sword a bit more.
However, at least 10 years of time was guaranteed to him, and quality rest was essential for him to succeed.
At least that was what Bratt thought, the concept of relaxation in itself was included because of it.
‘In that sense, Lulu’s gift has been great.’
He thought about it as he washed his face.
At first, he was curious as to what the hell this was, but as a result of his clone joining, his training efficiency had greatly increased.
And it wasn’t just at swordsmanship. The clone helped with a lot of things.
It was now possible to play chess together, and also discuss about things like food while having a meal.
“Are you up?”
“Yes. You were waiting for me?”
“It is a sin to have such nice alcohol alone.”
“Aged ones sure taste good… I would have surely been upset if you drank first.”
And when it came to a drinking buddy, there was no one like him. So, Bratt Lloyd and his alter ego had a good time with each other.
The topic of conversation wasn’t public. At first, it started with history and then to art, music and later changed to politics and economy.
The two shared their thoughts on everything with alcohol in hands.
He really enjoyed it. It was fun. Some would find it terrifying and even disgusting to spend time with their own self like this, but not Bratt.
‘Which is why it is even sadder.’
After taking the last sip, Bratt Lloyd thought about his clone. It was a shame that today was the last day.
Because today was the last day before he entered a new level. It wasn’t a brilliant realization like when he went up from Expert to Master but at the same time, it was something that was superior to it in many ways.
It was to an extent where his other self felt insignificant.
That said, the clown was no longer similar to him now.
‘Bratt, I will give you a quest too. It is to defeat your clone who has equal skills, equal conditions and talent as you.’
‘Break my clone?’ *
‘Yes. If you can do it, there will be a reward which you cannot believe.’ *
Recalling his conversation with Lulu, Bratt snapped his fingers. With that, the alcohol in the body disappeared.
Mentally and physically, he was in perfect condition as he looked at his clone.
The two looked at each other without a word.
The two of them stood in the center of the training hall and slowly drew their swords.
Aura leaked out from the swords.
‘Let’s not hesitate.’
Bratt made up his mind.
The entire experience was very comfortable, and he enjoyed it as if he had got to spend time with his friends. But he couldn’t let this sword go blunt. He had more precious people to protect.
The power of aura rose.
Bratt’s aura rose in response to his will, and his senses turned sharper. His blue eyes shone. Aside from his confidence, he had also grasped a lot about his opponent.
So, he was able to realize something much sooner.
The fact that his clone also looked different from yesterday.
His clone charged ahead, and it was intense enough to make a hole on the ground. But Bratt focused on something else.
His thoughts were accelerated by the tension and the realization which had come last night, and it made the time seem to flow slower. He clearly captured things he couldn’t normally see.
The Aura sword.
At first glance, it looked similar, but his opponent’s blue light beam seemed much more compressed than usual!
He couldn’t draw his sword.
He couldn’t pull it out. 1
Before long, his clone’s sword pierced through his head.
There was a shocking sight of a head bursting open like a watermelon.
Bratt Lloyd scattered everywhere. His body which had lost its head collapsed and soon turned to mist and water.
He didn’t collapse like meat.
The clone turned around. And Bratt who was back to his normal form, said.
“… you compressed the energy.”
“It’s not just that. The energy was compressed to the limit and then released at the moment of impact.”
“It is a bit more complicated, but you’re right.”
“Since when could you do it?”
“From yesterday. Since when could you do it?”
Bratt looked at the clone who asked the question and moved sideways.
A doll similar to himself was there looking at the clone. There were many clumsy things when it came to the form, but the level of energy alone was hardly different from the body.
“I too managed to get it done yesterday.”
“Seriously. Such a sophisticated skill, such speed…”
“… it is absurd for me too.”
And Bratt shook his head. Even increasing the density of Aura wasn’t surprising. A lot of people who dreamt of being a master had tried this and they too could do it to some extent.
What was shocking was that the clone was a step ahead of him.
‘It was like piercing a rock with a strong pressure.’
The concept made sense to him.
However, it was just theory and putting it into practice was different. Bratt respected his clone for that.
“Clone, you are so cool”
“Clone, you are tough too.”
“If you don’t mind, may I ask about the aura?”
“Of course. I am your goal, and I am your helper too.”
“Good. I will let you know. So, let’s try again.”
The two nodded and sat down and spent time admiring each other’s improvement.
There was no question of how the two who were every similar had different paths of growth. Despite having the same personality, even if they were in the same environment, they accepted and understood information in different ways.
Considering something like the flapping of a butterfly’s wings could cause a typhoon, it wasn’t surprising that there was a slight difference. 2
And that was what Bratt Lloyd had misunderstood. He was under the illusion that he and the clone would always be the same.
The illusion that he could be above the clone and that taking it down wouldn’t be so tough.
And he had put in the subsequent effort.
He had done his best living under that illusion.
…it had been two years since he figured out that something was wrong.
He hated it.
He couldn’t stand the frustration anymore on such days. It was inevitable because he thought that today he would have the upper hand.
But it was a mistake, just like the first time.
And the second and third and fourth realizations… the clone was making greater strides than he was. And he was just… himself. To the point where it was impossible to differentiate between superiority and inferiority.
He didn’t think he would lose, but he didn’t think he would win either.
Maybe because of the fear that the current staleness would last forever, Bratt realized how difficult the quest was.
‘I have to go beyond myself.’
That was the task given to him. To transcend himself.
It was a task which went beyond the possibilities given to him and it was only possible by breaking the limits that bound him.
He finally realized that it was close to impossible to do it.
So, he felt disappointed and sad.
But it had to be done…To face the clown and the demon king.
‘… in order to stand proudly by the side of Airn and his friends.’
Bratt mumbled and the clone heard it. He understood it.
But no words of consolation were given. Because the clone knew that it would just make it more brutal.
“Would you like to have a drink?”
Bratt looked at the clone and moved. The clone followed him. The two went to the break room and drank in silence.
‘I need to overcome it.’
Even if he got drunk, he kept worrying.
How could he overcome himself?
What could he do to surpass himself even after putting his best efforts into it?
It wasn’t an easy question, but Bratt didn’t give up.
He never, never gave up.
“…did I fall asleep?”
Judith raised her heavy eyelids and mumbled softly.
It was strange. Although it was a world of sorcery which didn’t require them to sleep or rest, there were times where she had fell asleep unknowingly.
What did she dream about?
It was such a stupid question. There were neither demons nor darkness in front of her. She wasn’t in the City of Godara anymore. She shook her head violently and freed the smell of blood on her with a snap.
‘I don’t have time for this.’
Or for rest…
Even a moment’s rest was a luxury to her. Everything that could be burned had to be burned now. She couldn’t be sure if even the flame which was raised by burning everything would reach her enemy. She was strong yet weak at the same time.
But even so, she wanted to get her revenge.
After thinking that, Judith slashed her skin with her red sword to wake up from her sleep.
But she didn’t.
After a long time, she felt the fresh air and the warm sunlight falling on her exhausted self.
As a result, the unseen turned visible, and a forgotten scenery came to her mind.
Judith stayed silent.
With her mouth firmly closed she held onto the red sword which now seemed like her hand and walked towards the horizon. And the house in the middle.
“What? Where are you coming from?”
…was her teacher.
No, she had a family.
Someone she thought she would never see again.
She thought it could never happen again.
The existence she desperately wanted to see one last time…
She tried calling the man with grey hair with a trembling voice.
Judith didn’t want to wake up from the dream this time.
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