Inside the lord’s manor, which resembled a gigantic sword in its sharp atmosphere, its owner—Glenn Zieghart—was sitting on the throne with narrow eyes.
‘Come to think of it…’
There was something that the bum called the Ragged Saint had said.
‘There are cases of them having exceptional talent.’
Patrick had mentioned that there were cases of children born with the Curse of Frost being exceptionally talented.
‘Did that talent manifest?’
If that wasn’t the case, then there was no way Raon would still be taking the elixir.
It wasn’t a demeanor he could show to the others as the Destructive King of the North.
‘It was a mistake, a huge mistake.’
There was a time when his emotions were as dry as the desert’s sands, from breaking through his martial arts realm.
Sylvia was born at that time.
He didn’t give her any love, unlike the other children.
He was more like a trainer than a father, as he just raised her by giving her tasks.
As such, Sylvia didn’t get any love from her father nor her mother, and she didn’t get any affection from her siblings, either.
She ended up living like a creaking marionette and left the family with a man she met from the outside.
‘I really didn’t feel anything back then.’
Glenn knew that her siblings’ slander and the subordinates’ revolt were among the reasons why she left, but he didn’t really care.
That was because it didn’t matter to him what happened to Sylvia.
Back then, his only concern was becoming more powerful and making the family bigger and stronger.
And five years after that, he finally realized it after regaining his human emotions when he broke through another hellish wall of martial arts.
The fact that he had made a huge mistake that couldn’t be reversed.
Sending the bodyguards after her, he managed to save Sylvia—and Raon inside her womb—but his son-in-law and the granddaughter he hadn’t even met were mere pools of blood.
He bit his lips from his embarrassing past.
Zieghart’s head of house, the Destructive King of the North, the Sword Emperor.
He was called by different names, but none of them could reverse his past mistake.
He was on extremely bad terms with Sylvia, and it was impossible to recover.
That’s why he resolved to protect his youngest grandson no matter what, even if that would make him hated by Sylvia and Raon as a result.
When he was steeling his resolution, he heard someone knock on the door.
Wiping the exhaustion from his expression, he opened his mouth with cold dignity.
Raon entered the indoor gymnasium, excitement pulsing through his veins.
‘I finally feel warmed up.’
Thanks to the two weeks of constant training, he managed to get up to the level of the middle-tier group.
At that rate, it looked like he would catch up to Burren and Runaan’s level before the test.
‘Let’s start today’s training.’
When he lifted the shoulder equipment, Runaan approached to his left.
She started lifting a weight way heavier than his with a glazed expression, as if she were going to start drooling.
The dumb looking girl is here again.
‘Let her be.’
Since she wasn’t bothering him, he ignored her and kept working.
This time around, he could hear someone sitting down on his right side.
“I… I’m sorry.
Am I bothering you?”
The green-haired trainee with a pocket on his belly was scratching his head.
He was the only one who would speak to him.
‘His name was Dorian.’
He got scared by Rimmer’s instructions each time, but he was fast-footed and tenacious.
“Do you want some?’
Dorian offered him round crackers from his belly pocket again.
Raon unintentionally took it.
When he was about to give it back, he could feel a powerful gaze from his side.
Runaan’s purple eyes were sparkling like a snow field.
It’s my first time seeing that dumb girl with that expression.
‘Does she like crackers?’
Her eyes were fixated on the cracker.
“Do you want it?”
Raon extended the hand holding the cracker towards her.
After thinking about it for a bit, moving her finger like a wild cat, she took the cracker.
“… Thank you.”
Showing her appreciation to Raon and Dorian, she bit the cracker like a rabbit nibbling a leaf.
Her lips drew a soft arc, looking like she enjoyed the cracker.
She was like a cat when she took it, and a rabbit when she ate it, and an idle puppy at other times.
She was peculiar in many ways.
“Erm… Sir Raon?”
Dorian turned his head, after putting the rest of his crackers back to his pocket.
“Can I also train next to you?”
He said he wanted to learn the posture as well.
“If you want.”
His quick progress was thanks to the ‘Ring of Fire’ and his experience from his previous life.
Copying his posture was not an issue.
Waving his hand at Dorian’s expression, he focused on his lifting once again.
When he was stimulating his muscles as much as possible, he could hear Dorian’s equipment moving at the same speed and range, and the same could be heard from his left side, where Runaan was located.
The King of Essence likes the guy that looks like a green racoon.
He bowed to the King of Essence.
This is the first respect I’ve received since I woke up.
Raon wanted to tell him that it wasn’t directed at him, but since it would be annoying, he didn’t say it.
‘There are two children around me.’
Five Weeks In.
Raon passed the middle-tier in the daybreak sprint and caught up to the middle-upper tier.
During that evening’s training, another person was added to his group, on top of Runaan and Dorian.
Ten Weeks In.
Raon was the fastest among the middle-upper tier, and one more trainee was added to his group that evening.
Fifteen Weeks In.
Raon caught up to the highest tier.
The six people next to him also improved drastically.
* * *
Four months had passed since the fifth training ground’s temporary training had begun.
Rimmer kept instructing various kinds of training, and the difficulty kept increasing as well.
Training began before daybreak and continued into the evening, and even the children from the upper-tier, who had excellent stamina, were starting to show their exhaustion.
Of course, the training was fundamentally the same.
Everything was up to the trainee’s decision, including the daybreak and afternoon training that Rimmer instructed, and the independent training that happened in the evening.
Rimmer and the instructors never scolded anyone for giving up or skipping the independent training.
If trainees asked for a posture or advice, they thoroughly taught them, but that was it.
They never told them to work harder, nor to work out more regularly.
At that point, they seemed more like observers rather than instructors.
Leaving twelve- to thirteen-year-old children to decide everything was an innovative way of teaching.
In fact, the collateral and recommended children, who were proud of their abilities, didn’t do their best.
They completely skipped the independent training.
They seemed to believe that they could become official trainees without going through all that.
However, there was one person who made them change their mind.
The infamous boy started to change the fifth training ground for the better.
When training first began, Raon’s stamina was at the lower-tier.
He managed to run until the end of the first sprint, but he couldn’t catch up to the middle-tier, and his face had become as pale as a dying man.
But he kept running.
He managed to withstand training that made even those with better stamina give up.
When it came to the independent training, he was the first to start and the last to leave.
He wasn’t just panting but breathing out white steam as he trained, and he showed results the next day.
His stamina, strength and agility all improved drastically, that he had gone from the lower-tier to tenth among the one hundred sixty trainees in ranking.
The children that saw it happening right in front of their eyes were speechless.
The collaterals, the children from vassal families, and the recommended children didn’t take it easy anymore.
They started to do their best and didn’t skip independent training.
Raon, who was a laughingstock, had become their rival.
Of course, that wasn’t the case for everyone.
Burren and the collaterals that followed him still believed that training their stamina to that extent was unnecessary and practiced the sword and fist that their families had taught them.
And time passed, with everyone doing their best in their own way.
* * *
[Translator – Kyangi]
[Proofreader – Harley]
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* * *
Raon exhaled violently while sprinting during daybreak.
His stamina and agility had increased a lot, but it didn’t change the fact that running at full force exhausted him.
‘But something did change.’
The countless children that were running ahead of him weren’t there anymore.
Thanks to his improved stats and the ‘Ring of Fire’, there were less than ten trainees ahead of him.
It’s been so long, yet you still have so many insects ahead of you.
‘You should say that it’s amazing how fast I’ve improved.’
Wrath was the same as always.
He was always complaining, asking him to hand over his body.
‘I thought I could catch up to them soon enough, but those two are certainly different.’
Raon caught the sight of Runaan and Burren running the farthest away.
He knew it already, but they were on a whole different level from the other children.
They were born with the best talents, had a strong willpower, and were properly educated by their family to never become lazy.
There was a twisted side, but it wasn’t strange considering they were just twelve-year-old children.
‘Shall I run a bit more today?’
Raon kicked the ground, making the best of his ‘Ring of Fire’.
He felt like his lungs were being torn apart like paper, but he used the ‘Ring of Fire’ to support himself and kept running.
The highest tier children glared at him as Raon outran them.
Burren and Runaan looked back, hearing the wind coming from behind them.
Burren frowned deeply, and Runaan’s eyes sparkled like a cat having found a jewel.
They turned back and started running again, as if telling him to try following them.
‘They are certainly different.
Raon lifted his corner of lips as he watched their backs.
‘The remaining time should be enough.’
Considering the rate at which he had been growing, he estimated that he would pass them in stamina, strength and agility before the test occurred.
Although, if they used their aura, it would’ve been a different story.
The children from the direct line, the collateral line, and the vassal families—including Runaan and Burren—had all learned how to train their aura.
On the other hand, despite cultivating the ‘Ring of Fire’, Raon didn’t have a single speck of aura inside him.
‘I do need to learn it…’
When he thought about learning aura, he was perplexed.
‘The one I used before isn’t too bad.’
The cultivation technique of the shadow aura that he had learned in his previous life was pretty decent.
It could be learned quickly, it was deceitful, and it was so sharp that it was excellent at assassination and fighting people.
He couldn’t become the best with the shadow aura.
Since he decided to live as a warrior instead of an assassin, he had to learn a better cultivation technique for his aura.
‘And I’ll need accomplishments for that.’
The Glenn he’d seen and the Glenn he’d heard of were the exact same.
A cold-blooded person who only thought of his family, he was strict with rewards and punishments.
If he graduated first place in basic training, he was certainly going to reward him accordingly.
‘My goal is clear.’
In order to return Sylvia to where she belonged, to learn a better cultivation technique, he had to train harder.
What are you doing? Stop being satisfied with outrunning those insects and catch up to those two.
I can’t bear to see them running ahead of the King of Essence.
Wrath’s turbulent anger agitated his emotions.
A new message appeared as Raon kept running and withstanding it.
Stamina has increased.
Raon nodded as Wrath boiled with his anger.
‘And I should make effective use of him, too.’
“That’s it for today’s training.
Do your independent training now if you want.”
Rimmer left as soon as the afternoon training ended.
He was humming and murmuring that he was going to drink.
Burren exhaled in irritation, watching his back.
‘I really don’t like him.’
He knew Rimmer was called the Sword of Light, but he behaved like a good-for-nothing.
He was just lying down watching when he was supposed to instruct, and he wasn’t interested in the independent training, either.
Despite that, he was going to evaluate Burren to see if he could be an official trainee.
He looked like a grasshopper that only knew how to jump around.
“Lord Burren, aren’t you going to do your independent training today?”
While he was frowning at Rimmer’s back, Krein and the other collateral children approached him.
They had become rather close by now.
“I’m going to.”
Burren nodded and grabbed his wooden sword.
The pleasant weight in his hand made him smile.
Burren and the other collateral children spread out and started to train their swordsmanship.
Because he was so focused on it, Burren only stopped once the sun had completely set.
‘I feel the most comfortable when I’m training with a sword.’
His irritation died down when he trained the swordsmanship his father had taught him.
“That’s it for today.”
“Thank you for your effort.”
At Burren’s command, the children bowed respectfully.
Despite being the youngest of them all, he naturally became their leader with his position as a part of the direct line and his amazing talent.
“Follow me if you want to train further.”
After putting down his wooden sword, he entered the indoor gymnasium and frowned.
Raon was training his strength with equipment, and a few trainees—including Runaan—were next to him.
Burren breathed out his boiling anger.
What annoyed him the most wasn’t actually Rimmer or the other instructors.
That boy, who he hadn’t been paying attention to because he was of the lowest rank, was becoming increasingly irritating.
‘Why is she next to him?’
Runaan was as talented as he was, and was a daughter of Sullion, the strongest vassal family.
He couldn’t understand why she would stick to Raon.
He’d thought of her as his rival, yet she was just following Raon around.
That fact was making him boil with anger.
Moreover, some of the recommended children that he’d thought well of were also following Raon around, which annoyed him even more.
“Please don’t mind them.
They are just impaired birds flocking together.”
“Even the best vassal family is just a vassal family, after all.”
“They can’t even do anything together.”
The collaterals sneered at Raon and Runaan, but Burren didn’t laugh.
It was a fact that Runaan was way more talented than the collaterals behind him.
Burren clicked his tongue and entered the gymnasium.
Sitting next to Raon and Runaan, who were training their lower bodies, he started lifting a weight heavier than they were.
“Amazing, Lord Burren!”
“How is he lifting that much…”
Everyone in the gymnasium exclaimed and clapped their hands.
Despite receiving gazes filled with admiration and amazement, Burren’s expression stiffened like the bark of a tree.
Raon and Runaan kept training without even taking a glance at him.
Burren dropped down the weight violently and stood up, but the two didn’t even turn their heads.
As if they were competing with each other, they were only focused on their own equipment.
Burren’s face grew as red as an apple.
He slammed the door open and left the gymnasium.
‘Let’s see if you can still make that face after I end up in first place by an overwhelming difference!’
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