Chapter 330 - Coexistence (6)

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‘Damn it.’

Jarrot, the Southern Tiger and one of the predicted winner contestants, was standing in the corner of the banquet hall with an uncomfortable expression.

The reason was clear. It was because of the four people, including Judith.

He had no choice but to do so. His brother-in-law Zakuang didn’t even appear in the first round and withdrew. Although Jarrot advanced to the quarterfinals, he showed an unsightly appearance in his match against Ilya Lindsay.

Judith, on the other hand, showed an incredible performance. She pushed Ignet, who ultimately became the winner of the contest, to the end of the stage.

‘… it was not luck.’

Looking at Judith, walking around the banquet hall, Jarrot sighed.

He couldn’t help but admit it. She was a strong one. Despite being an expert, she was fully qualified to receive the invitation from the Holy Kingdom.

It wasn’t just that. Even if she faced Zakuang, the red-haired swordsman would have been able to defeat him without much difficulty.

Zakuang would’ve definitely been in trouble. No, it would’ve been impossible for him to win.

He was arrogant during the contest, but now that it was over, he felt sober and thought about it reasonably.

Judith was much stronger than them.

Bratt Lloyd, Ilya Lindsay, and Airn Pareira, who were all her age, were also stronger than them.

And the fact that the juniors who were 30 years younger than them were surpassing them caused unbearable frustration and anger within him.

He could understand the emotions of Zakuang, who had left without a word. Despite the fact that they were the ones who picked the fight, Jarrot felt angry each time he saw Judith.

Even so, he stayed in the banquet hall because he was afraid of people ridiculing him for running away if he left.

The southern tiger looked at the red-haired swordsman with a vicious gaze, as if he was looking at a life-long enemy.

What started to change his attitude was the conversation between Judith and the contestants who lost in the first round.

“Well. The people there, where are they going?”

“Are they going to the training hall?”

“What? Training hall?”

“I heard it too. A swordsmanship debate is in full swing… No. it would be correct to consider it as a one-sided swordsmanship lecture.”

“Is that so? It’s good to be humble. Those people all cursed each other behind their backs.”

“Yes. But that isn’t important. If the explanation cannot be done with words, then going to the training hall is better since that means they’ll be learning properly, right?”

“Um, yes. Is there anything wrong with it? Judith won’t know until a lot later that those idiots had looked down on her.”

That was what he said, but the man who had been eliminated in the 3rd round couldn’t hide his expression.

Shouldn’t people stay hidden? Like… shouldn’t their skills be hidden for them to be considered interesting?

If the ones who were learning could understand how an Expert pushed a Master to the end of the stage, then they would receive a gift that was bigger than anything that they had ever gotten.

“… Ahem, the air here is stuffy. I should go for a walk.”

“That so? I was thinking the same thing…”

In the end, all the swordsmen went to the training hall with various expressions.

Among them, Devan Kennedy, Ralph Penn, Inashio Karahan, and even the young ones like Airn were present.

And all of them were sincerely sharing their know-how.

Lavishly, without hiding anything.

Jarrot, who initially followed them with a smile, looked at the people in the training hall with a blank expression.

And then looked at one person.

He kept looking at that person, and suddenly said…

“I am sorry.”

Without realizing it, he approached Judith and spoke politely.

He felt ashamed.

He was someone who had lived twice as long as this girl.

As if arguing with her wasn’t enough, despite the misunderstandings that occurred, he kept getting angry at the sight of her because of his pride.

He kept thinking about avenging Zakuang.

But Judith wasn’t like that.

She offered forgiveness to those who mocked her.

That goodwill spread among the 120 swordsmen, breaking down the thick walls in their hearts.

Everyone was smiling.

Everyone seemed happy and joyful.

It was all thanks to Judith.

It was a miracle and a gift that the youngest contestant here, a 22-year-old girl, had done this.

‘I had a heart of trash.’

As soon as such good intentions reached his heart, he couldn’t stand by his previous actions anymore.

It was pathetic that he had such a heart and intentions that were inferior to someone who had lived in the slums. He wanted to run away in shame.

But he couldn’t do it. In order to not be the same as Zakuang.

In order to not turn into a coward, he lowered his head and said.

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

“…”

At that moment, tears flowed from Judith’s eyes.

It was an apology from the guy who had been growling at her throughout the contest, but she knew that it couldn’t be a lie. She also knew that he said it with sincerity.

She realized that the good intentions which came from her would return to her like a harmonious cycle.

She understood then why Airn would constantly smile. It was good to pass such feelings on to others. It was okay to give things to the world.

Things that he shared would go round and round, and, one day, they would flow back to Airn. At that moment, a spark flashed in Judith’s eyes.

Pah!

Suddenly, people entered her field of vision. Some of them were vigorously wielding their swords, and some of them were giving others advice. There were people who were smiling and watching the others, and people who were contemplating it alone.

Some of them were looking at the interaction between Jarrot and herself, and a few others were looking at Jarrot with anxious expressions.

All of it these scenes felt precious to her. Her mind might change in a few days, but for now, she believed in it.

As she felt the warmth from them, the flame made her heart hotter.

‘Don’t let go.’

‘Uh?’

‘Don’t let go of your relationships.’

’…’

‘Take a different path than me. Don’t let go of your friend and lover. Don’t let go of the bond you have with the people in Krono, and don’t sacrifice all your ties for the sake of the sword. Be greedy. But do not let go of anything; hold onto them all with greed.’

The intentions of her teacher…the words she thought were from a greedy man, came to her mind. His words meant something different now.

Her blurred vision was cleared. Judith smiled, and there were more and more intense tears.

“Uh? Uh?”

“What? You, what did you say to make her like that?”

“No, I just apologized… really, I didn’t do anything.”

“Then the reason to cry… no, she is laughing.”

“…”

“…”

“I cannot understand. It is hard for me to understand.”

Jarrot put on a puzzled expression.

Bratt Lloyd, who had been running in a hurry, tried to grab him by the neck, but he saw Judith’s weird expression and asked a question.

His lover seemed different, and he couldn’t jump to conclusions. Either way, Judith smiled. And it didn’t stop there; she began to laugh.

Most of the swordsmen there looked at her.

She wasn’t embarrassed. She gently wiped away her tears with her sleeve and reached for Jarrot.

“Let’s shake hands.”

“…”

“I spoke a little rudely at that time. Sorry.”

“…I am really sorry. If I meet Zakuang, I will let him know it too. I hope the two of you get along too.”

“I hope so too.”

She felt the warmth in the hand she was holding.

The flame in the training hall, which made people forget the cold weather, was a lot better than the heat and pain she grew up with.

Seeing Judith standing in the centre, Airn thought about coexistence again.


The banquet was over. At some point, the venue became the training hall, but now it was over anyway. The contestants of the Warrior’s Festival went their separate ways leaving behind their regrets.

Of course, the relationships they had made there wouldn’t end like this.

“Will you really come?”

“Why would I lie? I have no enemies either. And I was thinking about going to the East Coast for a while.”

“Well, nice.”

“Haha, fine. Don’t forget to introduce me to a nice woman.”

“No, when did I even say… besides, isn’t she a bit too young for you?”

“Ahem, maybe….”

“…”

Inashio Karahan, Ralph Penn, and Devan Kennedy seemed to want to continue their friendship, and they exchanged friendly conversations and disappeared.

It looked like they were heading out to drink. It wasn’t just them. The others also seemed to gather three or five of their close friends and moved.

Jarrot, the only one left, went to his room, and it seemed like he would leave Avilius the next day.

He was looking for Zakuang, but his mood was like the others. He was happy but was a little remorseful too.

“I think it is more comfortable for us to be together after all.”

“Hm. Right.”

Airn, Ilya, Judith, and Bratt.

These four people greatly contributed to the success of this contest. The training hall was now quiet since all the people had left. It felt like the truth that the contest had ended was sinking in.

“I don’t know if there will be a place like this another time… but, if there is one, I think I want to do better.”

After a brief silence, Judith said that.

It wasn’t her usual harsh tone. While she was proud of her strength, this time, her heart felt warm.

There was no doubt that Judith was different. The first thing she did was to try to get along with others and to express her thoughts honestly…

“I feel like I caught on to something like half-enlightenment. Perhaps there will be an achievement after meeting a Master; what should I do?”

“What?”

“If I get stronger here, if I grow this quickly… can this world handle me?”

“It’s unfortunate. If the contest was held a year later, the winner would have been different.”

“The lovers are starting to resemble each other.”1

“Right. Bratt, did you do something to Judith?”

“No…”

Airn and Ilya looked at Bratt after they Judith’s confident words.

Bratt felt bad because of it.

It was Judith who spoke, but it was him who was getting attacked. It was so absurd that he couldn’t say anything.

But there was no need to worry.

The rebuke for their questions came from a black-haired swordsman who approached them.

“That will be impossible.”

“Um?”

“Ignet…”

“…”

“Impossible?”

“Right. One year isn’t enough, and Bratt Lloyd, you are a cheeky one. Not calling me with the last name the Holy King gave me, do you have a death wish?”

“No.”

“No?”

Ignet, who spoke to Bratt, sat down.

Until she spoke, they could hardly feel her presence, but the moment they looked at her, they could feel her pressure weighing them down.

But they didn’t feel burdened by it.

Bratt Lloyd.

Judith.

Ilya Lindsay,

And Airn too.

Everyone looked at the Black Knight Commander without feeling any pressure.

Smile.

She smiled and said something that didn’t sound like her.

  1. AHAHAHAHAHAHA ↩️

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