Step, step. The two young swordsmen gradually moved.
The people who watched the scene quietly exhaled as if they had been holding back.
The conversation between them was quite short, but it wasn’t a mood where they could intervene.
No one was brave enough to casually speak with the heavy pressure around.
“What is he?”
“Yes. Anyone know him?”
“I remember that he stayed at the Cradle of Swords…”
“Ah, me too. It was a huge thing. People said that he looked easy…”
“But what is his real identity?”
Everyone was curious about Airn.
No one underestimated his skills.
Lance Paterson of the 27th batch of Krono just won three battles, and he didn’t even move an inch from where he was standing.
However, they were more curious about the other guy, who seemed to be friends with him.
Then, one person confided his thoughts.
“Maybe him? A person who was rejected in the final evaluation and couldn’t become a formal trainee.”
“Ah, that could be right.”
“Right, the dropouts are known to be very strong too. Right, that could be right.”
“Then he can’t win.”
“Right. It will be difficult against a successful candidate.”
Gilbert, who was listening, nodded.
It was reasonable. Of course, the change could happen within the 5 years gap, but it was improbable.
A swordsman with that talent would have stayed in Krono.
Rather, the one in Krono must be superior.
Therefore, people were sure about Lance Peterson’s victory.
The anticipation they had in the beginning quickly disappeared.
However, not everyone.
“Airn is very strong. Maybe Airn will win? I swear by this sword.”
Lulu pulled out the sword on her waist and slammed it on the floor.
Eyes without any doubt.
Even though a cat’s face is hard to read, people could feel the trust.
Turning their heads, they looked at the center.
Maybe he can win, right?
Once again, expectations rose.
“Is that a pet cat? How is it talking like a human?”
Lance asked, swinging his sword. It was a strange sight.
Airn replied with a grin.
“Yes. I learned a lot.”
Airn stretched out his hand. And a huge object appeared.
Old and crude, but the strange greatsword felt heavy just by looking at it.
Lance Peterson stared blankly at it.
“… that’s great. Magic? No, it must be sorcery. Right, that makes sense. A talking cat, I can’t think of anything other than sorcery.”
“Hmm, then there is no need to prepare a separate sword. Somehow, I couldn’t see your sword… it’s nice that you don’t have to carry that heavy one around.”
“Doesn’t it look like a lot has happened in the past 5 years? Ah, fine, we’ll talk about it later.”
Lance, who said that, swung his sword vigorously.
Terrifying sound, like a gust of wind.
Lance was definitely better than 5 years ago.
In fact, his physique itself was ridiculously large, close to being 2 meters tall.
However, there was something more interesting than that.
It was the face of his opponent.
A face that didn’t know how things came to this.
‘He changed a lot.’
He wasn’t sure about the past, but when he thought about the current Lance Peterson, they had very few similarities.
His parents’ wishes and his interests.
Lance was swept away by erratic things in his childhood and somehow ended up in Krono.
Perhaps if not for being led by Bratt, he might have been knocked out during the midterm.
But not now. Now he was entirely different.
Airn looked at Lance with serious eyes.
‘… you too found your own sword.’
Lance’s will could be felt in the way he held the sword.
The reason was obvious. It was because of Airn.
To the extent that he wanted to exchange swords rather than words with a classmate, he met after five years.
Lance Peterson longed to meet Airn.
In other words, his sword was longing for this very moment.
‘This is what a person who loves swords looks like.’
It felt weird.
Different from him. Yet similar. At least, the will of Lance Peterson felt similar.
Just as Airn did his best to build his sword in the world of sorcery, he could see his opponent also put in a lot of effort.
At that moment, Airn felt a feeling of regret.
‘Battle… I shouldn’t have agreed to it.’
Airn closed his eyes and looked back on himself.
The reason he came to Krono was because his sword was shaken.
It was why he didn’t want to participate in the guest welcoming.
It was because he wasn’t sure about his own sword.
Although it was possible to shake off the suspicions in his mind, his current state was unstable.
That was how Airn judged his condition.
He thought more.
‘Is this really fine?’
The opponent in front of him held an unwavering sword.
Did he have the right to hold a sword against such a man?
It was when he was thinking.
“Tell me when you are ready.”
“Without regrets, let’s do our best.”
Let’s do our best.
The moment he saw the sincerity of those words, Airn took a stance.
The thoughts shaking his ground vanished.
Is wishing for Airn’s best.
To be in perfect condition. To unleash the efforts he had built up over the last 5 years.
Against such a young man, it was impossible. It’s not wrong to raise a sword with feelings of doubt.
‘Don’t think of anything else.’
At least for the duration of the battle, pour the heart out.
And stared at his opponent.
“… what? Looks like something changed?”
Lance, who was swinging his sword, stopped.
His smile was gone. With a serious expression, he asked again.
“You look a lot better than before.”
“Shall we start?”
“Okay. The match starts from the moment I count to three.”
And Lance Peterson counted. One, two,
Lance Peterson stepped forward as soon as the word fell.
With a heavy charge, the confrontation between the trainees of the 27th batch began.
“He went first!”
The swordsmen who were looking at the battle with sweaty palms were shocked.
They couldn’t help it.
Lance Peterson had never attacked first, so they thought it would be the same this time.
They were wrong.
There was no leeway, unlike before. Rather, overflowing tension turned their mouths dry.
Anyone who saw what happened 5 years ago would be the same.
Lance, who knew Airn’s past, bit his lip.
‘Before that crazy sword strike comes out, I need to attack!’
He still dreams of that sword.
The image of a guy who wasn’t supposed to be good step forward and take a weird stance.
The way he slashed his sword roughly in the hall.
Even Instructor Karaka, who had a stable face at all times, was shocked.
This mad man in front of him shouldn’t be given an opening.
The battle had to be finished quickly!
Great sound resounded throughout the hall.
The strength of the impact made it hard to believe that it came from two swords colliding.
Receiving the attack, Airn’s body was pushed back.
Those who saw Lance Peterson’s power were shocked.
But it wasn’t done.
Correcting his stance, he moved in for another attack.
A diagonal cut from top right to bottom left.
The strongest right-handed attack a person could do.
It was the same.
No, this time, Airn was pushed back a lot more.
Lance Peterson’s superiority was definite.
But he didn’t smile.
Rather, it was a serious expression.
It was because his opponent’s skills were superior to his.
‘I used my strength and spread the distance!’
Lance recalled the past again.
Airn was a genius. That was definite.
Unless one was a genius, one couldn’t perform ridiculous swordsmanship.
But, not a complete genius.
The result of confronting him was proof of that.
Compared to Ilya Lindsay, who was perfect in every way, Airn had clear advantages and disadvantages.
And now, he was doing nothing but getting pushed back.
Of course, he didn’t expect Airn to be the same as five years ago.
He must have put effort into his sword too.
He was the best hard worker of the 27th batch, so considering the amount of sweat that Airn had to shed for that, his growth could be amazing.
But still, Lance Peterson had no plans of going easy.
‘Besides… weird. Something feels familiar!’
Lance Peterson had just restored his strength after the attack.
Airn had a defensive technique that draws soft arcs and clears out the opponent’s offense.
It reminded him of someone he knew. It felt like he could remember it with just one more push.
However, he couldn’t think.
The opponent was coming in.
Lance Peterson took a defensive stance. To be honest, he was more comfortable defending than attacking.
There were only two people in the 27th batch who could break through his defense.
It looked like Airn was trying to attack straight in like Lance did.
‘I will not back down!’
Lance Peterson hunkered down.
Dodging and backing away wasn’t his kind of defense.
He would stay still like a mountain and then aim for the gap. That was the sword Lance had built over the years.
If you want to get close, get close.
Airn’s sword fell for him.
And fell again.
Three hits in an instant.
Lance Peterson’s body swayed to and fro smoothly while defending the attacks.
With disbelief, he looked at his opponent.
A much stronger offense than he expected?
But even more shocking was that his swordsmanship, too, felt very familiar.
One of his classmates, he was sure it belonged to a classmate.
And then he recalled the face of the cheeky red-haired brat.
‘Is that even possible?’
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