Pavar, where Judith spent her childhood, was a seaside town with a messy neighborhood infested with tough men.
Every time she closed her eyes, she still remembered what she had felt then. The fishy smell brushing past her nose and the men waving their fist and the prostitutes fanning their faces with fans…
Of course, not all parts of the town were rough. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be any street travelers.
Judith who was a little kid, had always noticed and moved to places she felt safe.
People walking down the street with relaxed expressions.
The shopkeepers who treated people politely and the shiny cool things in the shop.
Among them, the item she coveted the most was the cake. In the most famous bakery in the town, there was a cake decorated with whipped cream and fruits. It was well preserved in a shelf
Of course, she couldn’t eat it. She couldn’t even look at it for a long time.
For a beggar from a slum, just being on a clean street was a crime. Judith returned to her place with regret and continued to beg. She continued to work harder than everyone.
If she didn’t do it so desperately, she wouldn’t have any food to eat for the day, and if she didn’t get any money, she couldn’t even buy black bread.
Judith’s hand moved. In front of her was an old man who had fallen asleep due to exhaustion. His pocket was secretly emptied. The girl who ran away sighed in relief and was able to safely obtain black bread for the night.
But it wasn’t delicious.
She wanted the cake that looked infinitely more delicious than what she was eating.
Some day she would get it. She would really eat it. The child’s heart was greedy, and a goal had formed.
‘In a way, it wasn’t from then.’
Looking back at the past, Judith had a bitter smile.
Right, she had a lot of things she wanted, a lot of things she couldn’t eat. She was lacking a lot of things and made that her desire. And that gave birth to the poison within her.
She didn’t want to lose.
She didn’t want to be left behind. She didn’t want to go back to the slums again.
Such a mind led Judith to Krono. And it led to her becoming the 4th ranking trainee in the final test.
She became an official trainee, which was difficult for even geniuses to do and reached the level of Expert.
But it wasn’t easy.
Everything Judith wanted to achieve was achieved in the midst of the competition. But she still wanted to overwhelm people and trample on others.
It felt like death the moment she was not cared for… or it was more of an intense stress to the point of death.
It was only with that level of determination that she could barely complete with the real geniuses.
By burning others.
No… by burning herself.
Just like that, she achieved something in the midst of the fire…
“What is this?”
“Is this your first time having it?”
“No, why are you giving this to me so suddenly?”
“If someone gives it to you, it means you should eat it. So aren’t you going to eat?”
Now, she was giving something to others.
“Things are strange these days.”
Khun, an old man with great muscles despite his age, opened his eyes and looked at his disciple.
Although she was a bit taken aback, Judith tried to keep her composure as much as she could and focused on her training.
“Lower the sword!”
Sometimes she did stabs and other times they were smooth movements.
It was graceful swordsmanship which was admirable. Even Khun, who was called one of three greatest swordsmen on the continent, admired it.
However, it was a lie. This wasn’t her skill.
But Judith felt satisfied.
The red-haired swordswoman who hid her power from her teacher said.
“How is it? Is this enough, is it worthwhile to go to the Warrior’s Festival with this?”
“Ah, this is bad! I am a lot stronger than before; can’t you see!?”
“Haa, you won’t admit it! Do you hate praising your disciple so much?”
“Of course. I don’t like it. A cheeky disciple like you shouldn’t be praised often.”
“Ugh. I am so tired.”
Shaking her head, Judith entered the house. Khun still thought Judith’s behavior was strange but didn’t think too much of it and swung his sword.
The disciple watched the teacher through the window.
“I should never get caught.”
She nodded with a firm expression.
It wasn’t known what had happened, but she found herself in a dream. And it wasn’t just her, but her teacher, Khun was also here.
She greeted him like nothing happened and he asked about the Warrior’s festival. To be precise, he teased her about how it would feel to come back broken from there.
And she liked that even more.
It was nice to hear those irritating responses from him.
And a family.
She could have all this without competition… without trampling on others…
For Judith, this was the most precious thing.
The moment she faced the existence who was like her teacher and grandfather whom she had thought she would never see again, Judith stopped thinking about getting out of the dream.
And she lost her reason to go back to Godara.
‘… should I make simple pasta next time? No, it will be a little strange if I do it suddenly.’
Judith’s expression was distorted. It was an expression she never had before.
Words and actions she never expressed.
But she wanted to do it. Contrary to other desires, the advancement of relationship with humans didn’t need competition.
She felt happy but then she realized.
It isn’t too late.
As long as he doesn’t know it.
If the other person didn’t know that this was a dream. If only she could…
There was no need to suffer anymore.
The black cat appeared as Judith thought that.
“It’s not a good thought.”
“I did tell you before, Judith. The guest given to you is ‘getting out of your dream’. Staying here won’t change anything.”
“Are you listening, Judith?”
Judith stood up without answering. She grabbed her sword and opened the door as she went out.
Lulu, who had suddenly been left alone, looked through the window at Judith.
She looked happy fighting Khun.
“… in the end, you will have to make the choice.”
The black cat who watched them for a longer time disappeared with a bitter look.
She was worried, but not anxious. There was no need for her to intervene.
‘Because there was a helper for that.’
Lulu recalled the old man’s appearance and returned to her seat and rested.
She usually slept for more than two-thirds of the day but it wasn’t because she was a cat.
Lulu who returned to the form of a dragon, fell into a deep sleep.
A month had passed.
Khun was still training. He swung his sword day and night, and Judith looked at him with delight.
“Why are you looking at me like this?”
“You are making a strange face.”
“I’m not! My face is just on the weird side.”
“Are you in your right mind? You are calling your own face weird to not lose a fight?”
“No matter how weird it is, it can be better than teacher’s.”
“Huh, when I was your age…”
And the fight began. The grumbling teacher and disciple.
It wasn’t bad. This was what she had always wanted, and Judith was happy as she swung her sword and looked at Khun.
The number of doubts decreased, and the number of swings increased even more.
The dream was still sweet.
A year had passed now.
And Khun suddenly asked.
“Why isn’t he coming here?”
“… Uh? Who?”
“Who? Your lover.”
Judith, who was wielding the sword, stopped and then moved again. But it was not as natural as before.
“Well, he must be busy.”
She wanted to change the topic. But she couldn’t remember anything else, and her heart pounded.
She remembered the fact that this place wasn’t real and that this was a dream, and it made her uneasy. She felt nervous and annoyed as she thought about it.
“Hmm, well. It has been more than three years since I met Keira.”
“Hahaha. It really has been a while.”
“Is that so? Should I go to her then?”
“Uh, I… I am stuck with my training, can you help me with this?”
There was an unnatural change of topic coupled with a strange attitude.
Khun stayed silent and watched his disciple…
“…. Sure. Let’s see it once.”
Without any other question, he responded to her request.
Of course, it wasn’t smooth.
Relentless words, actions, and battles followed!
Judith sat down exhausted.
“Ah, I might die!”
She wasn’t tired.
It wasn’t like she didn’t work her body but trying to act something out and hide her skills was more difficult.
“That isn’t something you should say to your disciple.”
Ridicule came out again. Judith had had fun despite being exhausted and another fight ensued shortly after. They fired harsh words at each other.
But it was fine.
Despite her temper on the outside, she was smiling inside.
The dream still went on and it was still sweet.
The year had passed.
Unlike usual, when it was always noisy, today’s mealtime was quiet. Only the sound of tableware could be heard and even that would went silent soon.
Soon silence came. The teacher and disciple didn’t talk.
Feeling all sorts of bad emotions, Judith looked down. She couldn’t make eye contact with her teacher. She didn’t want to talk. At least not now.
However, that wasn’t possible.
Khun who looked at his disciple, finally said.
“Now go back.”
Judith’s stomach churned.
She knew that she would get caught some day.
She knew in her head that she couldn’t stay here forever. Someone who already passed had to be relieved of their burdens. That was what should be done.
… but she couldn’t do it.
Judith, who raised the energy of flames within her slowly raised her head.
With blazing eyes, she looked at Khun
Looking at him facing her calmly, she said.
“I have something to say.”
“Yes, you do.”
She nodded and got up as she grabbed the sword.
She remembered the past.
How had she always got what she wanted?
The moment she should that.
A huge energy surged from her red sword.
“With a spar.”
“We have to spar. If I defeat teacher I will stay here. Until I want to.”
Listening to his disciple, the teacher looked up. The flames from Judith were touching the ceiling.
It was rough compared to a Sword Master’s aura. But it was more intense than an ordinary master’s.
Arguably, it didn’t amount to much when it came to control, but in the eyes of Khun, it was worthy to be called an ‘Aura Sword’.
Khun opened his mouth.
“Congratulations on becoming a Sword Master.”
“Let’s take this outside.”
The teacher got up and went outside.
The disciple followed him.
After a while, the two aimed for each other.
And the fight began.
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