Chapter 329 - Coexistence (5)

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“I want to apologize…”

“…”

“Sorry. Before the contest began, I doubted your skills. I was one of those who criticized you behind the others for being given an invitation… I formally want to apologize for that. My actions may have offended you… um.”

Dwight, who was eliminated in the first round, was trembling, trying to say all that he wanted to say. And it wasn’t because of Judith but because of Bratt Lloyd’s pressure.

The sight of Bratt looking at him with those eyes was bewildering and stressful.

‘W-why is he doing that?’

Fortunately, nothing bad happened. After a moment, Bratt continued to have conversations with those around him as if nothing had happened. And despite the entire situation lasting a brief moment, Dwight felt exhausted.

‘The force a quarterfinal contestant possesses…’

After reconfirming the skills of the Dark horse of the contest, Dwight wiped his forehead. And embarrassment bloomed in his mind.

Although she was knocked out, Judith was known to have skills that were on par or higher than Bratt Lloyd.

To such a person, somebody who lost in the first round was nothing to look at, and embarrassment slowly sank it as he realized it.

“Um, so, so…”

Dwight stuttered.

Then he apologized over and over again. However, he was in an awkward spot as he missed the chance to have a good conversation with her. Meanwhile, Judith stared at him constantly, and the pressure he felt rose.

It was the same with the other contestants behind him.

They, like Dwight, ignored Judith in the beginning, so there was no way they couldn’t regret it. They weren’t the first to apologize, but they didn’t mind jumping into the conversation and asking for forgiveness.

Judith looked at them.

She wasn’t giving out aura or her fiery energy.

Rather, she looked at her opponent with cold eyes and opened her mouth after 30 seconds passed.1

“Enough.”

“…”

“Let’s talk about swords.”

“..?”

“…?”

“You don’t have to if you don’t want to.”

Judith turned her head.

It looked like she was upset, but she was actually just shy. This was her first time going through something like this.

Of course, it was true that people who mistreated her without knowing anything about her made her annoyed, but as she saw them come with their heads down and apologize to her, she felt something.

But she wasn’t the kind of person to laugh it out and say it was fine. But she had no desire to shout at them either.

In the end, there was only one topic that could break away from the weird atmosphere. Something she had worked on all her life and what she loved. The Sword.

Of course, if there was no interest from the other side, they could walk their separate ways…

“I-I like it.”

“R-right! It isn’t that we don’t like it! Rather we are glad to talk to talk about it with you!”

“Right! I am someone who likes stories about swordsmanship the most in the world!”

“M-me too… a-and I haven’t said it yet, I am sorry. I am Colt Smith, who competed with you in the second round and lost…”

“Ah, right! I-I am Dwight…. Anyway, this is good. Please give us an in-depth story of swordsmanship…”

“… r-right.”

Judith took a step back and answered.

It was a little burdensome to see these swordsmen excited, but this was much better than how it was a minute ago. Above all, they all loved swordsmanship.

Although the first impressions weren’t good for any of them, they had similarities that made it good enough for them to overlook the past.

“So, this is…”

“Um, what did you do? Ah, right. Like this…”

“R-right!”

“Ahh, this seems like it, but it feels confusing.”

“Huh, I thought you were more of a person who focused just on instinct, but you are amazing in theory too.”

“Ah, so far, I have been leaning towards the old way…”

The story continued to bloom in a friendly way. And laughter blossomed too.

Having discussions about swords with people stronger than them. It was an experience that was difficult to obtain even if a person was ready to give a thousand gold to the contestants who had participated.

Their voices turned stable, and their emotions rose.

Over time, the conversation turned into one way rather than two ways and the discussion changed into teaching.

The swordsmen who had their path blocked would ask Judith multiple questions, and Judith would answer them all with sincerity.

The swordsmanship discussions she had with Bratt proved helpful now.

Seeing her conveying her know-how in ways easier for the others to understand, the faces of the middle-aged ones brightened. Of course, there was a limit to things.

The discussion itself was a huge thing for them, but it was probably not as good as experiencing through a match.

Everyone wanted to see Judith’s swordsmanship, which was different and unique.

They wanted to fight and see the red-haired swordsman’s movements and attacks.

“Uh, that is unfortunate.”

“Right. If this had been a training hall instead of banquet… huh.”

Was he too outspoken?

Dwight, who said it out, later realized it, and immediately shut his mouth. His words could have been considered rude.

Just being taught itself was amazing, and now he wanted something more? Judith giving her knowledge to them without asking anything from them was something they should be happy about.

He didn’t have to pay her anything or owe her any favors, and yet he wanted more? His face reddened in embarrassment.

“Let’s go.”

“…?”

“…!”

However, the words from Judith were unexpected.

Everyone was surprised. It was even more so for Dwight, who went stiff.

The other contestants were a bit worried that he might end up in bad shape because of the words he just said, but instead of being kicked out, she suggested going to the training hall?

And the answer came right away.

“Let’s go right now!”

So it wasn’t just empty words.

In case she changed her mind, they all quickly followed Judith to the training hall.

Watching Judith in the center of the crowd, Airn, Ilya, and Bratt felt curious.


Woong!

‘A lot has changed. Even for me.’

Judith, who moved from the banquet hall to the training hall, thought that as she was teaching the others. Her normal self wouldn’t be like this. She was someone who was selfish.

She had been like that ever since she was a child in the slums. If she accidentally got a loaf of bread, she would eat it by herself till her stomach exploded.

If she couldn’t eat it, she would hide it, and if she couldn’t do that, she would rather throw it away than give it to someone.

She had changed since she entered Krono, however. During the mid-term evaluation, she remembered Airn, who gave up his lead for her.

After becoming a formal trainee, she remembered the face of Bratt Lloyd, who first approached her and suggested sword training.

She remembered Ilya Lindsay, the first one to reach out to Airn, whom everyone ignored. That was how they became friends…all of them. It wasn’t just because she was good.

It was because her heart opened for them, and theirs opened for her.

‘Someday, I hope I can do something for those needlessly good-natured bastards.’

She didn’t say it, but Judith always thought about it.

And now, that kind of heart was reaching out to others.

Whoo!

Whooo!

“Uh, right. A refined movement is good, but rather, we will take a lot of damage if we get caught up in it. The reason we want to develop the Aura Sword is to eventually become stronger, but it feels like the main things have changed at some point.”

“Right. I get stuck, and my field of vision gets narrow. Uh, Judith, thanks to you, I learned something.”

“Thank you! Thanks!”

She couldn’t understand it.

The debts she had to pay were to Bratt, Ilya, and Airn.

Along with Ian, Keria, Finn, Khun, Kuvar, Lulu, and other people from the swordsmanship school who had opened their hearts to her.

The middle-aged swordsman in front of them now, gave nothing to her.

Still, she was giving to them.

… and oddly enough, it felt good.

“Hmm, it is good to have a place.”

“A training hall is more suitable than a banquet hall.”

“Right.”

It wasn’t just Judith’s party. All of a sudden, the training hall was filled with contestants of the Warrior’s Festival.

Devan Kennedy and Ralph Penn were the first, and they were followed by the eastern swordsmen. Soon, the sound of swords being exchanged could be heard from various places in the training hall.

“No! You cannot do that!”

“Look here! Right! Right! No… ha, this is frustrating!”

“Look carefully. Here…”

Inashio Karahan didn’t stand still either.

At first, he complained of being discomforted by people generously passing their know-how, but now he was teaching more passionately than others.

Ralph Penn laughed at the harsh words and the warm deeds.

Despite the raging wind, the atmosphere in the training hall was warmer, and, in the meantime, Bratt, Airn, and Ilya also shared their experiences.

And the others too.

All of a sudden, the contestants were all sharing each other’s knowledge and skills without concealing anything.

“…”

Judith quietly looked at the place.

She still didn’t understand it.

Why did she show favor to people who weren’t lovers or friends?

Why did she help others? Why did Airn smile looking at her? It wasn’t for her, but for her good intentions.

… just like that, she watched the flow of the training hall despite her confused mind, and felt something behind her.

She turned back and frowned.

Jarrot.

The friend of Zakuang, who had a tangled relationship with her.

It was the moment when Judith’s expression was turning into a frown.

“Sorry.”

“…”

“The rude words and actions that Zakuang and I said and did to you. I’m apologizing for them.”

Jarrot bowed his head politely. It was an attitude through which she could feel the sincerity.

It felt like she was hit on the head.

Tears flowed from the eyes of the red-haired swordsman.

  1. ‘opponent’ TT TT ↩️

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