A few days after the meeting with Ignet, Airn and his party headed to the Maios Kingdom, one of the 5 western kingdoms.
Kuvar was driving their carriage, so they were moving fast.
And it wasn’t because of Airn’s condition.
The road was relatively good, and one reason was Airn wanted to continue his imagery training which he learned in Derinku.
Airn Pareira slowly closed his eyes in the carriage.
He felt the vibrations on his back and his posture was uncomfortable, but it didn’t matter.
Of course, it would be better if he meditated in the cross-legged position in a quiet place, but he didn’t need so many things to concentrate now.
And as he closed his eyes, the huge lump of iron appeared in Airn’s mind.
When he was with the blacksmiths, it seemed like an iron stake which was as big as a pillar.
A clunky piece of iron that couldn’t be transformed despite the fact that people were trying to change it.
Now, the lower part differs.
It was as if a fire giant had grabbed it tightly, handprints were left on it.
The changes that occurred before the battle with Ignet stayed.
Airn took a deep breath and focused again.
And then it appeared, a flame.
Thanks to Kuvar’s advice.
However, the flame was shabbier than what he created before the battle with Ignet.
He felt sad, but there was nothing he could do.
Because his mind is ever-changing.
Rather, he was fortunate that he managed to progress this much.
Nodding to himself, he moved the flame to the iron.
And from then on, it was a battle of patience.
Focus to the limit, don’t lose the flame and keep going.
Continue to break it until the iron in front of him was dyed in the color of the sunset.
Fortunately, Airn had been succeeding lately. It was because of the increased size of the flame.
In the past, his concentration would run out before he could heat the iron.
However, not now.
Airn clenched his teeth as he came up with a new image.
His tightly willed heart gradually brought in the shape of a hammer.
A young swordsman’s will to refine the man’s huge and solid will which was swaying him.
After a moment of hesitation, Airn hammered it hard.
The sound kept resonating in his heart.
No change, no sign of forging.
It was the same as always.
Blacksmiths too hammered a piece metal thousands of times to make it into the shape they desired.
Airn gave up his doubts, and banged on the iron again and again.
Beads of sweat dripped down his face.
When the morning passed, Kuvar, who stopped the carriage, opened the door.
“Airn, Lulu! Meal… hmm. You’re practicing imagery.”
“Ah, is it time already?”
Airn, who opened his eyes from mediation, asked.
Not just his face, his body too was drenched in sweat. Kuvar who looked at him said.
“Looks like you worked very hard. Any change?”
“Not yet, but it will happen when it needs to.”
Kuvar smiled as he nodded.
Honestly, he was a little concerned.
Meeting Ignet had to be good as Airn managed to ignite the flame, but he was worried because he had seen many people who ruined themselves as they failed to handle the flame.
However, looking at Airn’s current condition, it seemed like he was concerned for nothing.
‘Amazing. He’s calm despite his young age.’
Maintaining oneself was as important as running behind passion.
Suffering and anguish was unavoidable and if one was greedy or impatient with their heart, they would end up burning in the flames they created.
However, Airn wasn’t like that.
He wasn’t losing himself in training, but he was being patient with it.
‘Maybe it’s because of the iron that was already in him.’
Kuvar looked at Airn, who wiped his sweat off with a towel.
He still couldn’t figure it out. How could a young man have such a taboo in his heart?
Well, he would know when the time comes.
With that in mind, he turned his gaze to Lulu.
“It doesn’t seem like she will wake up even if you yell.”
Lulu, too, closed her eyes like Airn.
Her posture was very peculiar.
Sitting on her hips like a human, and her front paws gathered on her lower abdomen as if meditating. (1)
“Do all sorcerers train like this?”
“No. Each one is different…. Perhaps for Lulu this is the most effective.”
“Right. We should have lunch.”
The two of them left Lulu in the carriage and prepared lunch. It didn’t take long.
Airn put the ingredients into the pot and Kuvar, brought in firewood, started the fire and poured water in.
After a while, the stew was done.
For a quickly cooked dish, it tasted quite good and it was due to the sauce that Kuvar added in at the end.
“Just what did you put in?”
“A trade secret.”
Airn looked at Kuvar.
And Kuvar looked at Airn.
After doing that for a while, the two of them smiled and then went back to eating.
A quiet atmosphere unlike the times when Lulu was there.
However, the calmness wasn’t uncomfortable.
The time they spent together, the experiences they had together, and the words they exchanged cleared away any awkwardness they had.
But, this peace didn’t last long.
It was because Airn, who was done eating, summoned his greatsword.
‘… really, amazing.’
Watching Airn who was devoted to his swordsmanship training without missing a single day, Kuvar admired it.
Of course, he knew how sincere Airn was.
However, as he devoted himself to imagery training to the point of sweating profusely all morning, he couldn’t help but still admire that he did physical training.
‘Not only is his mind made of steel, his physical strength is also like steel.’
Kuvar watched Airn for a moment, and closed his eyes.
And focused on the five spirits surrounding the world.
It cannot be compared to Airn’s flaming passion and steel will, but it was true that he, too, felt stimulated after meeting Charlotte, Victor, and Ignet.
No matter how lazy he was, he wanted to try.
As he nodded, it was time to use the power of a spiritualist.
“Give me food.”
“What are you doing? Give me food. You cooked a special fish dish.”
Lulu, who woke up from meditation, interrupted Kuvar’s concentration.
Kuvar opened his eyes and looked at the black cat in front of him.
Her scratching her stomach with her paw, strangely stimulated Kuvar’s temper, but he decided to just give her the food.
The hands of Kuvar, a fortune teller, a second-rate spiritualist, and a first-rate travel guide were busy.
Nearly a month has passed. In the clear autumn weather, people’s clothes were becoming thicker.
Meanwhile, Airn and his party almost reached their destination, Lation, one of the cities of the Maios kingdom.
One of the two oldest Kingdoms after the Adan Kingdom.
The thought of entering the city with the most swordsmanship training, made Airn’s heart swell in anticipation.
‘There has to be a lot of good swordsmen.’
Before traveling, he was holding his sword for his family.
But not now.
Families are important and something that can’t be replaced by anything, but the idea that only they represent his life has long disappeared.
It was a change that came from meeting many people.
And he expected more changes.
Many swordsmen boasting that their history is comparable to members of Krono can be found.
And many many swordsmen showed off their greatness.
What would their beliefs and thoughts be?
What kind of swords were they holding in their hearts?
He would find out in a few days.
Airn, who calmed his mind, started practicing imagery.
Slowly raising the iron, flames, and hammer.
Unfortunately, the forging hasn’t progressed.
No matter how much he hit the hot iron, there was no change in shape.
Nevertheless, he devoted himself to practicing, not because of his persistence, but because of his achievements elsewhere.
His swordsmanship skills were changing and increasing.
‘How did it happen? Is it because I sharpened the sword of the man in my dreams?’
It was a plausible assumption.
The swordsmanship that Airn learned today was a combination of Judith, Bratt, and Ilya’s swordsmanship with a surprising amount of power.
However, he couldn’t erase the crude feeling, perhaps due to the swordsmanship of the man.
In a way, his swordsmanship felt like the iron stake in his heart.
However, as he continued to hit the iron stake to change its shape, Airn thought that he had no choice but to use the man’s swordsmanship.
‘That doesn’t solve anything.’
What the imagery training gave him was a possibility.
Rather than giving immediate ability, it felt like the wall which had been blocking him till now, opened a little.
Another effort was needed for him to grow, which meant he had to meet another limit and surpass it.
And Airn would welcome it.
When Airn smiled confidently for the first time.
“We will stay here today.”
A city located three days away from Lation.
The party who entered found a place to stay.
It was because the sun had set.
As usual, Kuvar quickly found a decent inn and got a room for a reasonable price.
He told Airn, who ordered dinner.
“I’m going to the bathroom.”
“I wonder, do cat’s use human bathrooms?”
Lulu jumped up and hit Kuvar on the top of his head.
The Orc frowned.
And Airn was left alone.
It wasn’t awkward. Since the two of them were so free spirited, there were many cases where he was all alone.
He thought about Lation’s swordsmen and waited for the meal to be served.
As soon as he got deep into thought, he heard the sound of a chair falling.
Airn turned his head.
This was the first time since he met Trent that he was startled by such a disturbance.
Such things were common in inns and pubs.
Regardless, he wondered who was quarrelling.
He got up from his seat and looked at the woman pointing at the men on the other side who looked bewildered.
And his expression hardened.
The red-haired woman yelled.
And her face was very familiar.
Just then, he heard someone call his name.
Surprised, Airn turned around.
And he was shocked yet again.
A young man with blue hair and a noble atmosphere.
Bratt Lloyd, who had grown incomparably taller than before, was staring at him with a blank expression.
Editor’s Note -
(1) - Just to add some more clarity, her front paws were in a position close to prayer hands but upside down and they were by her lower abdomen.
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