The Great Training Grounds.
Arriving on time, Shirone saw Rian waiting for him.
The two stared at each other’s swords without moving from their spots, as if the battle had already begun.
“Let’s get started.”
Rian’s weapon was also a longsword.
The subversive and vigorous swordsmanship of the Ogent family was originally more suitable for greatswords rather than longswords… Until Schema came about..
Therefore, the reason why they chose the longsword was because it was more suitable with Schema, not for consideration towards the opponent.
Rian carefully observed the Stillness Encompassing Movement learned by Shirone in the beginner level of swordsmanship.
His center of gravity was better than before.
‘Is that really possible?’
Rian, who discovered Rai’s genius traits in Shirone, suddenly had a thought.
‘That guy might really not have learned swordsmanship.’
‘But… How can you be so calm when you’re holding a real sword for the first time? Aren’t you afraid of death?’
Rian also feared death. Therefore, he trained endlessly in order to gain the courage to face it.
‘No matter how talented you are, catching up to me this quickly is impossible… So how?’
Of course, Shirone knew.
As a beginner, he couldn’t flexibly control this life-and-death duel as well as Rian could.
Therefore, he developed a special training.
‘If you can’t beat fear, then simply understand it.’
It’s called ‘jumping off the cliff.’
Human beings were capable of jumping off cliffs if they didn’t imagine what would happen after.
‘Fear exists in the future, and the future is just an illusion that doesn’t exist yet.’
Like a dictator of absolute power enjoying a dinner calmly before a rebellion, Shirone imagined himself standing on a cliff.
His body remained in the air when his right foot stuck out in front of the cliff as his left foot followed.
‘You’re not falling until you fall. You’re not dead until you die.’
Understanding the essence of danger, Shrione knew that that cold intelligence was sometimes scarier than a warrior’s bravery.
And the cool-headed consciousness of Shirone boosted the Spirit Zone’s sense of stability drastically.
“Here I come!!”
Rian was approaching before Shirone knew it.
There seemed to be a flash of light in front of Shirone, and it was definitely a whole different level of swordsmanship compared to his meager level.
‘But… I can feel it.’
Recognizing the trajectory of the sword through synesthesia, Shirone calmly titled his upper body.
Rian stared in shock as his sword was dodged, both of his eyes opening wide.
‘He’s looking at the sword?’
To dodge a real sword required one to stare at it, which was something most trainees couldn’t do.
However, swords were also infinite.
As the number of attacks gradually increased, Shirone’s synesthesia began to develop blind spots.
The moment the blade cut his chest, the Spirit Zone suddenly wavered.
Shirone’s heart sank.
At this rate, he would be beaten.
Contrary to expectations, however, Rian still continued with his big attacks.
Thanks to this, Shirone, who predicted the next trajectory, jumped away to avoid the danger of death.
If Rian had slashed at his side, the duel would have ended then and there.
However, Rian continued to make big moves as if he didn’t realize Shirone was taken aback.
Only then did Shirone realize.
‘My understanding of swordsmanship is quite lower than I expected.’
Although Rian was skilled at using techniques, he didn’t seem to be putting much thought into his attacks.
Shirone realized he had overestimated Rian’s skills.
It was dangerous to let your guard down, but to label the enemy as too strong was also a mistake as one would become too defensive.
When Shirone suddenly changed his strategy and launched an offensive, Rian got staggered.
As such, dozens of combinations rained down on Rian, and due to the tension, his defense started to drop.
‘Damn it! This is not happening! This can’t be happening!’
‘Those are definitely basic swings… But why are they so hard to block?! I can’t even clearly see the attacks!’
Rai suddenly came to his mind.
The detestable face that overpowered him with one hand and sneered at him in a match two years ago.
“Don’t make me laugh!”
“I’m gonna become the best swordsman in the world!”
Shirone thought it was strange.
He acknowledged the spirit of Rian, who continued to fight back despite fighting a losing battle, but in this way, his only ending would be death.
‘Does he not want to live? Why are you being so stubborn? Does he even think?’
At one point, Shirone realized that he could no longer read Rian’s movements.
Predicting a swordsman who emptied their mind and swung blindly was quite difficult.
“I won’t lose! I’ll definitely surpass you!”
As Shirone’s stamina bottomed out, Rian realized he had a chance at victory.
Shirone had saved his stamina as efficiently as possible, but there was still a huge difference between the two. Shirone’s sword began to feel heavy.
“This is it!”
Rian, who came running with his longsword hanging down, swung it up towards Shirone’s chin.
Shirone responded by swinging his sword down with all his might.
With the sound of the clashing blades, a sword soared into the sky and embedded itself far away from the training ground.
The two who breathed in harsh, rugged breaths stared at each other.
[Translator – Anwen]
[Proofreader – Enigami]
Rian lowered his gaze first.
He saw Shirone’s sword pointing at his stomach.
‘Just before our swords clashed…’
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Shirone swung his wrist and struck Rian’s sword from the bottom.
In addition to the force brought about by Shirone’s swing, Rian, who was also low on stamina from having to block the continuous strikes from Shirone, eventually lost his grip on the sword.
‘Is that even possible?’
It was not a technique Rian could attempt with confidence.
His sole purpose was to win, and due to his cool-headedness, Shirone won the duel. However, he did not relax.
He wanted to immediately lay on the ground, but he couldn’t let Rian nullify his hard-earned victory.
And in the next moment.
“Dang it. I lost…”
Rian passively admitted his defeat.
“Ah, I lost. I lost again.”
His malice disappeared, and instead, Rian just scratched his head roughly.
He trained past his limits and fought as best as he could, so he didn’t have any regrets.
“You won. I have nothing else to say, so you may now kill me.”
How could someone be so immature?
“Are you kidding me?”
“You think I’ll survive if I kill you? What a ridiculous thing to say.”
“What do you mean? We fought with our lives on the line, and there was a clear winner.”
“Young master, you’re the only one who laid your life on the line! I just fought FOR my life! What makes this ridiculous duel more absurd is that this only started because you hid from training, and then blamed me for snitching on you.”
Rian was taken aback.
After a fierce battle, even if there wasn’t a heartwarming atmosphere, shouldn’t there be at least some passionate emotions left?
“Hey, you jerk! Who put the blame on you? It was because of that petty, mannerless attitude of yours! Despite the fact we had met for the first time that day, you should have had at least a small pinch of loyalty!”
“What did you just say, you punk?”
Shirone could not put up with it anymore.
He turned a blind eye to it considering his life was on the line, but since the problem was now solved, he couldn’t keep his temper in check.
“You call that loyalty? Did you ever consider the position I was in? I had to choose between the Lord’s son and a teacher assigned by the Lord! Yet you asked me for such a favor despite knowing that?!”
“Huh? Of c—”
“If you want loyalty from me, then you should show you’re worth it! You should be ashamed of yourself for putting that much pressure on a servant! You should have stepped in front of your swordsman instructor! Isn’t that a true act of loyalty?”
Rian pursed his lips in embarrassment.
Shirone figured Rian out as he did not argue or make excuses.
He was not someone to make up stuff. He just didn’t speak because he had nothing to say.
However, hating that attitude more, Shirone stopped nagging and sat down.
“Sigh! I almost died!”
Rian stared at Shirone carefully.
The boy who overcame the fear of death and pushed him back was long gone.
Who was he? It was obvious that he was a genius, but he wasn’t Rai.
Unlike his brother, who wielded a sword with one hand accompanied by a smile, this boy gave his all against him.
“Hey, what’s your name?”
Shirone raised his head. From his sitting position, Rian looked bigger.
“My name’s Shirone Arian.”
“I’m Rian Ogent.”
It was funny how two people from different social stratas introduced themselves, but that wasn’t what shocked Shirone.
‘Does he think I wouldn’t know the name of the family’s youngest son?’
Irrespective of that look on his face, Shirone’s head raised higher as Rian approached.
A hand the size of a cauldron lid was shoved into his face.
“Let’s be friends. What do you think?”
It has been a year since Shirone first started working under the Ogent family.
By the time Shirone turned 16, more than 7,000 books from the Great Library were taken out.
Temuran was blown away by Shirone’s amazing speed, but Shirone already predicted that much.
This was because it was natural that as the number of books to classify decreased, efficiency accelerated.
Constant velocity was only a theoretical concept, yet every event in this world was influenced by acceleration.
Therefore, even if the start was slow, as long as one didn’t give up and continued to work hard, one could achieve their goal much quicker than expected.
Of the 850 historical books that he targeted, only about 200 remained.
The average number of books he read per day was over three, and in a few months, the Core of Knowledge that Shirone dreamed of would be completed.
In addition, he experienced swordsmanship and understood the essence of fear.
Thanks to this, the durability of the Spirit Zone had also increased dramatically.
Therefore, the one year he spent here was fruitful and valuable… However, none of the benefits could compare to making a good friend.
“There are an extreme amount of books. Do you think my family has read all this?”
Rian, who became Shirone’s friend after the match, spent the freetime he had in the library.
Infact, unlike his size, he was affectionate and winsome.
He fit the role of youngest son of a noble family.
“Of course. The family leader and the young master often stop by the library.”
“Tsk, smart people are lucky since they have so much to read.”
Rian, who was sitting on the floor, started rummaging through books.
Shirone came down from the ladder and picked up the books. After doing so, he began to nag.
“Don’t throw them around so carelessly. If you damage anything, I’m the one who’s going to have to pay for it. Probably with my life.”
“I don’t like that either. Does it make sense that books are more important than human lives? Even if you burn the library to the ground, I’ll protect you, so don’t worry.”
“Just stop doing what you’re doing, then nothing bad will happen, so the solution is just to be careful.”
Playful words never came out of Shirone’s mouth.
But that was who Shirone was.
He was firm and strict, but he wasn’t cold.
Rian liked that about Shirone.
“It’s fun to be with you, but it’s stifling to be stuck in the library.”
“Why are you even here? What about your training?”
“Basic training only. I told him I wanted to study in the library.”
Shirone’s body shook.
“Then you should hurry up and study! What are you doing?!”
“I’m bored! I’m bored! I’m bored!”
Rian was lying on his back, flailing his limbs about as he acted like a baby.
Regardless, Shirone turned away and went to his desk.
He wasn’t particularly worried about Rian’s laziness.
If Shirone’s tendency was water, Rian’s was fire. A fire that grows out of control once it burns.
‘He just needs a trigger!’