The peace that had prevailed for 160 years was broken. Now, no one knew when the devils would reappear and cause chaos in their lives.
The Warrior’s Festival was held for that reason. To restrict and sever off the negative thoughts and spread hope in the minds of the people.
‘But it failed.’
Right, the festival planned by Avilius had failed. Ignet Crescentia was supposed represent hope for the continent, but the Heart Demon prevented it. The Holy Kingdom had to make every effort to not let the news of her abduction spread around, but it had still spread despite that.
And this caused great confusion.
And along with that, even greater anxiety.
As the rift grew with each day, more and more demons appeared. In spite of the operation in Godara, other devils began to appear.
Today’s continent was much darker than a year ago
Which was why Lance Paterson was lying.
‘The burden given to the four, to Bratt… it is already too much.’
Four young people who weren’t even in their 30s, was given the duty to take down the Demon King. It would be normally absurd, but the sorcery sphere gave them time to practice. Yet, the pressure and stress were enough for a normal man to crumble.
And now, they had to take more bad news
They had to convey another burden onto the shoulders of those who were already at their limits?
Until the four moved to subjugate the Demon King, he decided to not talk about it. That was Lance’s idea, and it was also what people around him thought as well. And that was what was behind the consideration that Bratt felt for the last three days.
But he realized after feeling the force from Bratt. He didn’t have to care about something like ‘consideration’.
‘Bratt, what kind of existence have you become?’
It wasn’t a feeling of him growing stronger. Of course, it was true that he got stronger but Lance didn’t want to use that expression. He didn’t want Bratt to be evaluated by his swordsmanship or aura anymore.
‘He outgrew hmself.’
Not as a swordsman, but as a human.
Seeing the friend who rose to a higher-level, Lance felt two opposite feelings.
“… you are right. I made you upset. What am I doing hiding things from someone who is the future Lord of the Lloyd estate?”
“Right. A man like me doesn’t need to have things sugar coated.”
“You still have that horrible character.”
“I have a different opinion about it, but let’s move on. Priority…”
“Okay, I will tell you what you asked.”
‘But there will be no consideration.’
He answered Bratt Lloyd with a calm face that indicated that nothing was wrong.
Rumors that something big had happened to the Holy Kingdom were spreading around. As a result, the dimensional rift widened.
Now it wasn’t just the demons that had stayed hidden, but new ones from Devildom were gradually coming in and the number of devils had gone up too.
The most shocking was the last bit of information Lance shared.
Quincy Myers’ downfall.
When Bratt heard that Quincy Myers had lost most of his powers after a fight with a strong devil, Bratt who was calm till then went stiff.
“Right. Sir Quincy Myers…”
“Well, we can do nothing about what has already happened.”
Emptying the bottle, Bratt said, trying to shake off the bitterness he felt in his heart.
Right. It had already happened. Instead of grieving over something which couldn’t be changed, it would be right to work harder for the man. Because the fight with the devils had just begun. Bratt nodded and looked at Lance.
“We need to work harder.”
Bratt emptied the 2 bottles in front of him and Lance pondered on the word ‘we’. They hadn’t seen each other for too long, but they were close enough to not be concerned about such things.
And to prove it, they resumed talking and another topic flew in. It was the story about the sorcery sphere and the conversation was focused around Bratt.
“Have you heard of a man who has won over himself?”
“You bastard, what nonsense…”
As with Judith and Ilya, Bratt spoke of the story again. At this, Lance shook his head. He even asked him to stop talking about all this weird stuff but honestly, he admired the man and listened till the end.
“Um, get up now. I am full.”
“… not drunk, but full?”
“I feel like my tolerance has gone up.”
“Then why bother drinking? Well, it is nice to see you after so long.”
After a few hours passed, the two got up and went their separate ways. In Bratt’s case, he just walked around the street.
Several thoughts came to his mind.
The Demon King.
Quincy Myers and the others who made noble sacrifices during their absence.
But what remained in his heart, deeper than all of that was…
Bratt Lloyd paused for a moment and called his friend’s name. recalling the drinks.
He looked fine today.
But it cannot have been that. The guy was pretending to be fine.
He knew it because he had experienced it once himself.
“Well… there is no need to worry.”
Because he wasn’t the only one who had grown.
A faint smile appeared on Bratt’s face as he moved.
Lance Peterson was a genius.
That was an undeniable fact.
In the final evaluation of the Krono Swordsmanship academy, where only the most talented people get selected, he got 5th place. What did it mean to be in the top five of the Golden batch? It meant that he was born with talent and that he was not lacking at all. In fact, he climbed up to the Expert level very quickly and was sure to become a Sword Master in the future.
But he wasn’t satisfied with it.
He had to take care of his heart which kept getting attacked by his inferiority each day, and ironically, the biggest reason for that was Krono which gave him his bright name.
Thinking of the people who had climbed so high that he couldn’t even touch them, Lance closed his eyes.
‘It makes no sense.’
He knew that the world wasn’t fair to everyone. Many people were suffering from the gap between their desires and reality.
Everyone feels that their work was the best. And what’s more? Lance’s ideals were even higher when he grew up with such strong people. This made his present humbler.
He couldn’t show that to Bratt
It was because he could see it in those eyes. The weight of emotions the man must have been feeling.
‘He must have felt it a lot harder than me.’
Bratt Lloyd was also a genius. He was someone who was known to be a very rare gem and couldn’t be compared to Lance.
But he too wasn’t satisfied. He struggled to control the negative emotions which were greater than joy.
Being friends with someone like Airn… Hanging out with Ilya…
Talking with people who were known to be the geniuses of the present, clashing swords with them…
How much anguish had he gone through to get rid of those thoughts?
‘I cannot even begin to imagine.’
Lance Peterson contemplated the path his friend had taken.
Trapped in the final evaluation of the school.
The bittersweet feelings in the Land of Proof.
Defeated at the Warrior’s Festival once again despite laying his pride down.
But the man didn’t collapse. Rather, when he saw Bratt today looking relaxed, Lance knew that finally, Bratt was seeing only himself.
And Lance trained.
‘Thank you Bratt.’
Even though he reached a level which couldn’t be reached by other experts …
…this friend of his didn’t ignore him. He didn’t give him measly pity or consideration. The time he spent in the sorcery sphere, the achievements he got at the end, they were all were revealed without taking out or adding anything.
For a moment, his emotions intensified. As a result, his sword moved in a rough pattern.
It felt like his heart would collapse when he saw the level of his friend who had risen higher than before and the sense of entitlement boiling inside him was destroying him. He wanted to sit down and rest. He wanted to run away.
But he didn’t.
Instead of being fed up with the inferiority, he struggled to move ahead.
‘I need to overcome it with ease. I need to deal with this.’
Because Bratt believed in him.
Because Bratt had shown him.
Once again, Lance calmed himself and his breathing along with his shaky mind and he picked himself up.
And the single sword strike continued with slight gaps in between.
The feeling was different.
It was no coincidence. It was no illusion. Something different had happened within him that he couldn’t see. Startled, Lance Peterson looked at the hand holding the sword.
Gulping, he swung the sword in the same manner he had before.
The sword strike now was a lot calmer then when he was emotionally riled up, but it didn’t have the feeling the one before had. Lance felt the momentary realization he got and stopped swinging. He wanted to scream for not understanding it.
With all his ability, he pushed all his emotions into his sword.
‘Who said the realization doesn’t come twice?’
He would hold on.
He would overcome it. He wouldn’t give up. Even if it meant that he had to struggle.
Even if he couldn’t reach it, he was going to walk on the path of the sword.
Lance Peterson, who had strengthened his will, continued to train.
And looking from afar was Kirill Pareira, who seemed both happy and sad.
The top three swordsmen on the continent… No, now there were only two. Julius Hul and Ian were leading the continent’s forces and trying to drive away the darkness spreading throughout the continent.
But not Joshua Lindsay. He went to the capital of the Holy Kingdom for a while to heal from the wounds he suffered in the battle a month ago. Ilya was able to enjoy the happiness of the reunion as she was out of training.
A daughter who took away his pain.
A child who was as lovely as his most beautiful wife.
But the words that flowed from her were mighty.
“I will end it… what brother started.”
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