After a deep and dark storm of enlightenment passed, Airn Pareira slowly and meticulously inspected his body.
He moved his limbs and swung his sword. He concentrated his eyes and ears to calculate how much his senses had improved.
As a result, he found something—his present body had grown beyond comparison to the past.
‘This reminds me of Krono.’
A similar thing happened back then. He had a miraculous experience just before the mid-term evaluation, which pushed him from a failure to a top trainee.
‘Exactly how much stronger am I?’
Airn, with his sword on the floor, thought.
No matter how much he had grown, there was no way he could reach something that only 100 people across the continent did.
That would be arrogance and overconfidence.
However, the thought gave him confidence.
At least, Airn wasn’t the kind to shrug his shoulders in front of anyone.
No, he wanted to go beyond and show it to others. He wanted to brag.
It was pretty awkward for him to think like that, but… he wanted to do that.
An idea had popped into his mind.
Clap, he suddenly stared into the sky. A strong will spread in the world embodied with sorcery, and a change occurred.
Ilya, Bratt, and Judith appeared.
Airn looked at them and then calmly asked.
“Fight with me once.”
“With me? Or him? Or is it…”
“Not one. All three at once.”
Judith turned to Ilya with a puzzled expression.
“Did you hear him?”
“Yes. He changed.”
“I know. He used to be very humble, but he seems to have lost that part of him.”
“Who is calling who out here? I only see one person who isn’t humble amongst us!”
“You shut up!”
Judith frowned at Bratt and looked at Airn again.
It wasn’t a bad expression.
Rather, it was a face that liked Airn’s words.
Smiling, she raised her sword. Ilya and Bratt, on either side, took their stances too.
“Even then, it isn’t that I hate your arrogant look.”
“Thank you for your kind words.”
“Enough, raise your sword. I’m tired of waiting.”
“Huh. Actually, I’m kind of curious.”
As Airn said.
He wanted to move his body, but just moving wasn’t enough. He needed a match.
Phew, Airn took a deep breath and raised his sword and thought.
‘It won’t be easy, right?’
The kids in front of him weren’t at the same level as they were in Krono. They were exuding a much more brutal aura.
Of course, it was because of Airn. The kids’ will to fight a stronger opponent greatly strengthened their aura.
‘I don’t think I will lose.’
Airn’s eyes changed.
The dull energy transformed into something strong.
It felt as if a giant made of iron was standing there.
The excited Judith and Bratt stepped forward without cautiousness.
Ilya stared at her opponent with her usual calm eyes.
Airn rushed towards them.
Airn moved first!
The swords collided. Judith stepped back as she struggled while the other two began to move.
The slash Airn made in the center came at a perfect time with tremendous energy.
This was a brutal atmosphere that couldn’t be seen in a battle between good friends. However, the three children were smiling.
So was Airn.
His expression was cold, as if he was wearing an iron mask, but there was a bit of ecstasy mixed in.
It had been a long time since he forgot that emotion, the emotion he felt during the mid-term evaluation.
It was a spark much brighter and healthier than anything like anger, regret, or shame.
Airn could vaguely sense the warmth of the sword and swung it.
After a while.
The results were out.
“Whew… that was hard.”
After attacking three formidable friends, he crawled towards the bed and fell asleep.
During that time.
A huge iron door suddenly sprung up from the center of the world made of sorcery.
“Is this the exit?”
When Airn Pareira woke up and went out to the yard, the iron door was fully formed.
Seeing that, he nodded.
He thought that it was his time to get out.
He asked himself if he was completely done, but he couldn’t nod his head confidently. As for what he achieved with his sword, he was surely successful.
“Then, the question is how do I open the door…”
A tightly closed door with no handles, no keyholes, and no gaps.
And in front of it was a crudely shaped greatsword.
It wasn’t the sword he used for training.
The young man, who remembered the sword, mumbled with a sad face.
“The sword of the man in the dreams…”
It was funny.
Airn had come into the strange world to create his own sword.
In other words, it could be seen as a promise to himself not to follow other people’s paths anymore.
Thanks to that determination, he stopped dreaming of the man ever since he entered the other world.
But now, ‘that man’s sword’ appeared in front of him.
It didn’t just show up, but it also blocked the door, as if it was the ‘key’ to get out.
He couldn’t help but be shocked.
‘… if it were the past me, I would have thought.’
Of course, he wouldn’t have touched it if it was him from the past.
But now, it didn’t matter. There was no reason to avoid it.
He strode forward and grabbed the hilt of the man’s sword.
He pulled it out vigorously and swung it around to his liking.
“Because I’m tall, this fits my hand perfectly.”
As he unfolded the moves he learned in Krono, Airn recalled the advice he was given.
Build your beliefs, build your will and find your path. So go and create your own sword.
In the past, he misunderstood the meaning of those words.
In order to build one’s own sword, one mustn’t mix anything similar to other people’s sword to his own.
There was a time when he thought like that.
But that wasn’t right.
Overcoming the pain through the love shown by his family.
And dispelling the doubts he had with the trust his friends had in him.
Now, even the man’s sword was comfortable enough for Airn to accept.
‘If only I could continue this without being swept away…’
The one holding and wielding the man’s sword wasn’t the man but Airn.
So now, it was Airn’s sword.
Airn mumbled to himself and raised the sword to the sky.
The same stance the boy showed during the final evaluation of Krono.
However, if the sword at that time was the man’s sword developed by the man’s will, then it wasn’t the same now.
Now, the man’s swordsmanship unfolded through Airn’s will.
In other words, this was Airn Pareira’s sword.
It fell with great power.
Sounds like thunder and lightning struck the ground dozens of times.
With that, the tightly closed iron door, which didn’t seem to open, opened. To be precise, it was smashed apart.
And wind, completely different to the one in this world, began to flow.
The air from outside.
No, not outside, the air from the place he lived.
The young man who felt it after a long time walked forward. He wanted to get out.
He wanted to showcase the results after enduring so much.
But before Airn could cross the iron door, he stopped.
He turned back to the yard.
A moment of silence and worry.
And then mumbled,
“Ilya, Judith, and Bratt.”
No, he wasn’t talking to himself.
The three kids reappeared.
Among them, Judith had the most dissatisfied expression and opened her mouth.
“What! Why did you call again?”
“I feel bad leaving.”
“What? What nonsense is that? Are you out of your mind?”
“Did you call us because you missed us? I’m sorry, but I’m not the real Bratt Lloyd, but an illusion created by your…”
“No, not for that reason.”
Airn interrupted Bratt, and everyone waited for his next words with curious faces.
To those children, Airn spoke with a mischievous smile.
“Before I leave, I want to receive your swords.”
I want to receive your swords?
That didn’t mean Airn expected them to give up their swords.
It was the opposite.
He meant that he wanted to borrow their swordsmanship to make his sword stronger.
Just like how he borrowed the man’s sword a while ago.
Hearing that, Judith burst into laughter.
The other kids were the same.
Judith shook her head as she looked at Bratt.
“I was right! See that? The humble one is gone.”
“I see that.”
Even Ilya agreed.
Of course, they were glad they were here because they wanted to help Airn with all their heart. After all, this was a place where Airn had to grow.
Then more days passed.
Airn’s sword evolved.
Judith’s flame-like swordsmanship was so overbearing that it would make the opponent numb.
Bratt Lloyd’s sea-like swordsmanship seemed capable of defending against any form of attack.
And a butterfly with steel wings, the Sky Sword of Ilya, was a beautiful yet menacing storm.
After taking all three swords, the young man was satisfied.
And spoke to the three.
“Then, I’m leaving.”
Airn finally stepped through the door.
Ilya, Bratt, and Judith slowly disappeared from the world of sorcery.
The young man didn’t look back.
Because he would surely meet them soon.
Of course, not right away.
‘Mother, father, and Kirill.’
Recalling why he was holding the sword, he walked through the dark tunnel.
One step, two steps…
About a hundred steps.
Less than a minute passed, and the moment he finally entered, a shining oval portal unfolded.
Airn finally returned home.
With a fully matured figure, he could no longer be called a boy.
The impression the young man felt when he saw his clean room hadn’t changed at all.
He could still feel the warmth of people from every corner.
It felt like people were still visiting his room.
Of course, that couldn’t be the case.
Airn’s eyes soon turned red.
‘They were still taking care of me.’
He didn’t know how much time had passed. He only counted till 100 days in the other world.
But at least two years must have passed.
Thinking of the family who looked after him for all these years, he felt happy and sorry at the same time.
‘I need to see my parents right away!’
With that thought in mind, he walked towards the door.
A faint rustling sound came from under the bed.
Airn, who had a keen sense of hearing, quickly lowered himself.
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