Hearing the words from Ignet Crescentia, Kuvar gulped.
Lulu, too, looked at Airn with tense eyes.
The Black Knights are the third-ranked knights of the Holy Kingdom, Avilius, and they are a bit inferior to the White and Red Knights, which have a long history.
However, it was just the rank within the nation. No one on the continent would ignore the members of the Black Knights.
The Holy Kingdom is the oldest kingdom in the world.
A place that has protected the continent as a sacred shield throughout its long history.
A place that produced the most heroes and defeated the most demons.
Thus, it was a place that was respected all around the world.
To become a member of the Black Knights means to become a member of such a place.
It was no exaggeration to say that it would be a swordsman’s or knight’s greatest honor.
‘But, isn’t this too sudden?’
Airn definitely had talent.
His swordsmanship skills are so great that he can’t find an opponent his age, and he has a nice personality.
Although he is indecisive due to his lack of experience, he’s good enough to consider taking him in from Ignet’s point of view, as experience can be gradually filled.
However, Kuvar never heard of a member being appointed without the proper procedure.
‘She isn’t asking for a mercenary, but a knight!’
Has she still not given up her mercenary captain habits?
Seeing Georg and Anya calling her ‘captain’ rather than ‘commander,’ Kuvar thought that it could be the case.
Airn thought the same.
Ignet, a name he heard a lot.
The continent’s greatest genius, heartless, cold-hearted swordsman. That was the feeling he got from what Ilya Lindsay said and the rumors he heard.
However, there were no rumors about her being a reckless person.
“… I refuse.”
“Sharp as a knife. What is it that you dislike?”
“Rather than saying I dislike…”
“Wait, listen. The Holy Kingdom is a much better place than you think.”
Ignet raised her hand, cutting off Airn, and spoke about the strengths of Avilius.
Airn didn’t care.
Even the lazy noble knows how great the Holy Kingdom is and what it means to be a paladin there.
However, the words which came out of Ignet’s mouth were completely out of line.
“The Holy Kingdom is freer regarding sex than you think.”
“It isn’t a place that emphasizes stuffy, stupid, innocence, and pure white character like outsiders think. It’s often misunderstood, and young talented ones are reluctant to come to the kingdom.”
“… that doesn’t matter.”
Ignet, who said that looked at Georg.
“That guy said that he wouldn’t join the knights because of that.”
“… please don’t talk to me about that, captain.”
‘I can’t figure her out.’
When she killed Charlotte and Victor, there was no one more terrifying than her, but when she joked around, she seemed like an ordinary woman.
Thanks to her relatively young appearance and tone of voice, she actually felt cute.
Fortunately, Ignet’s attitude towards Airn was friendly.
“Hmm. There are many other advantages, but when I say them, they don’t exactly come out smoothly. Please understand that I’m not good at talking. Hmm, so the biggest advantage is…”
If she was socially adept, she couldn’t have continued such a soft atmosphere after killing people.
It was different, and Ignet’s current appearance was clearly far from the harsh rumors.
‘Still, I don’t think Airn will enter the Holy Kingdom.’
Kuvar looked at Airn.
A humble and fragile young man compared to his skills. A person who is so gentle that he wondered about how he lived until now.
And when it came to stubbornness, Kuvar would agree that he was.
What he knew about Airn was right.
And if he doesn’t understand the offer, he would never follow it. No matter who said it.
That was what Kuvar knew about Airn.
At least, until he finds a way to control the iron stake in his heart, he won’t want to belong anywhere.
Then, the important part was how he would reject the offer from Ignet….
“I apologize, but no matter how you try to convince me, I can’t accept your offer. Because I have something to do.”
‘I knew this would happen.’
Kuvar sighed in relief.
It was unavoidable.
Ignet said that she wasn’t talkative, but in her view, Airn was even less talkative.
Kuvar’s heart skipped a beat at the way Airn had conveyed his intentions.
Fortunately, Ignet didn’t seem to be angry.
Still, in the same posture, she sat on the rock and looked at Airn.
And time passed.
And 1 minute.
A short time passed. It should be normal, but it was uncomfortably long, considering it came in the middle of the conversation.
Kuvar was puzzled, but Lulu said with a tense voice.
“She’s looking into him.”
“She’s looking inside Airn. Just like Georg…”
At that moment, Ignet, who looked at Airn, opened her mouth.
“I heard that there was a man with a lump of iron in his heart.”
“I didn’t believe it at first. I’ve seen people with grudges, pride, and vanity but I’ve never heard of someone with iron in them. But the moment I arrived in Derinku and saw you, I knew that Georg’s report was true.”
Airn’s breathing became rough. His hands were becoming sweaty.
This wasn’t the first time someone managed to see the iron inside him.
Sword Master Ian, Lulu, and Kuvar managed to see it with their sharp eyes.
Georg’s gaze was sharp too, and he must have relayed the information.
Airn remembered that he was nervous then too.
However, now, he was feeling suffocated.
Her eyes gave him a sense of dread as if he was an animal in a glass tube being observed.
“I got interested. No, it was more than that. It’s a piece of iron, enough to make the arrogant Vulnacus drool… I couldn’t help but want to covet it too. However, there was also the thought that nothing can be done if it wasn’t forged. Right? You can’t do what you want with this metal in your heart. However….”
“Seeing you here, it looks like you haven’t become the ‘master of iron’ yet.”
A fierce fire poured out from Ignet’s sword.
It was an Aura Sword.
A red and dark aura, as if it was lava.
A drop of sweat ran down Airn’s forehead.
Ignet Crescentia’s appearance was all black.
There was no place on her that wasn’t dark. It was as if one was looking at a mirror made of obsidian.
While looking in her eyes, Airn wanted to run again.
He couldn’t raise his sword.
And he felt himself being swayed.
“I will say it again. Airn Pareira, I appoint you as a member of the Black Knights. This is an order, not an offer.”
“… I decline.”
“Didn’t I tell you? You have no choice. It’s very tiring to see you get swept away by the force which you will never control and make…”
“He said he’s not coming, you witch! Airn can overcome it! He’s nothing like you!”
“He’s so nice and so strong, and he’s even getting stronger! Even if you don’t help, he can get over it on his own!”
Ignet turned to the cat, which was talking.
She smiled and said.
“Black cat. I like it. The black color and the cat too.”
“It doesn’t matter if you like me or not! Airn is not going anywhere! If Airn says he doesn’t like it, then accept it and leave!”
“Haha! Georg, oh my. Look at the beast. It’s so fun.”
Ignet said. As if she was happy looking at Lulu, her eyes smiled.
However, Lulu didn’t laugh.
For a brief moment, their eyes met.
But her body was already shaking. Her throat, which was dry from shouting, also went silent, and she couldn’t speak.
Only then did Lulu realize that there was a reason Airn couldn’t speak properly.
It was a great thing to just stand up like that.
At that time, Ignet’s pressure disappeared.
“I don’t like this.”
At her words, everyone except for Anya was puzzled.
She said she was happy a moment ago when she saw Lulu. Now she’s saying negative stuff.
Of course, no one cared about that.
“You act as if I’m doing something wrong? I’m trying to help him handle the steel he can’t handle properly.”
“… I’m trying.”
“I don’t believe that.”
“Sword Master Ian saw me. My parents, my sister, and Kuvar and Lulu here, they all believe in me, so I believe in myself too.”
Ignet’s eyes widened for a moment. It was because of Ian.
Even for her, the owner of Krono wasn’t someone who could be ignored.
However, even that name couldn’t break the will of the Black Knights’ Commander, who is the greatest genius on the continent.
“There you go again. Don’t depend on the power of others. Airn Pareira, all you have to show is your own abilities. It’s no use trying to convince me with a thousand words unless you can prove it.”
“I will prove it.”
“I will prove that I have the power to control the steel in my heart.”
It was because no one expected Airn to say such cool words.
Even more so for Ignet.
The Airn she saw was a child, swaying to and fro under the weight of the sword.
And now, he seemed confident.
“Tell me how you can prove it?”
“There is a knight called Hill Burnett in the Hale Kingdom. His fighting spirit that came from slaughtering numerous demonic beasts is as ferocious as a demon. It was enough to stimulate the iron in my heart.”
“Even Count Crescentia, if it’s possible, I’ll show you that I will not be swept away any longer.”
The silence was even deeper this time.
Kuvar, Lulu, Georg, and Anya looked at Airn speechless.
And then looked at Ignet.
They saw the brightest smile on her face.
As she said.
“Can I take that as you want to fight with swords?”
Airn Pareira nodded and summoned his greatsword. As he said,
“Airn Pareira of the 27th batch of Krono is asking Commander Ignet Crescentia of the Holy Kingdom for a duel.”
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