Chapter 33

 

After Rimmer declared that they would be sparring in a month, the children added fresh fuel to their training by imagining their future opponents.

In order to do themselves justice, no matter who their opponent was, they kept polishing their swordsmanship and cultivating their auras.

However, there were also exceptions—ones that weren’t any different from usual.

Raon and Martha, the two whose opponents had already been decided, didn't change their attitudes at all.

Raon did everything in his power to train, all while Martha remained laid back, as expected of the strongest trainee.

As such, the month passed quickly, and everyone was doing their best.
Finally, the sun rose on the day of the sparring matches.

Since it was an opportunity to prove the might that they had been cultivating for almost a year, and to improve their score with the instructors, the trainees were filled with excitement and nervousness.

Martha, on the other hand, was smiling as she looked to the side—as if she didn’t care about anything that was going on.

‘I can finally get payback.’

She grabbed the forearm that had been struck when Raon countered her eight months before.

‘That was the first time.’

She’d never been hit by someone near her age before, even when she lived on the backstreets—before she joined the Zieghart family.
It was the first humiliation she’d received in her life, so she was unable to forget about it.

She’d been waiting for an opportunity to repay that debt, and eight months later that day had finally arrived.

‘It’s going to end today.’

Unlike Raon Zieghart, who’d acquired aura only a month ago, she’d already had one for three years.
There was no actual point in sparring.

It could look cowardly, but it was a waste of time to wait for him forever when he is simply talentless.

‘I have something I need to do.’

Unlike Raon, she couldn’t afford to be blocked by such a thin wall.
She needed to become stronger as fast as possible because she had someone to save.

 

Whoosh!

 

Martha closed her mouth firmly, clutching the yellow aura emanating from the palm of her hand.

 

***

 

Sitting on the right side of the temporary arena, Raon was sitting down checking his status window.

 

Status Window

Name: Raon Zieghart.

Title: First Victory.

State: Curse of Frost (Six Strands), Decline in Athletic Abilities, Decline in Mana Affinity

Trait: Wrath, Ring of Fire (Three-Stars), Water Resistance (Three-Stars), Perception of the Snow Flower (One-Star), Ten Thousand Flame Cultivation (Two-Stars), Coldness of the Frost (Two-Stars), Fire Resistance (Two-Stars)

Strength: 35

Agility: 36

Stamina: 35

Energy: 26

Perception: 50

 

Not only had his number of traits increased a lot, but his stats had also drastically increased thanks to overcoming his limits during training.

‘Pretty good.’

Raon smiled in satisfaction at the sight of the numbers on his status window, which were clearly different from before. 

“Attention, everyone!”

As he closed the status window, he could hear Rimmer speaking.
After checking every corner of the arena, Rimmer nodded.

“Watching others fight is just as helpful as actually participating.
Try planning your movements for your own spars while watching the other trainees’ fights.”

“Yes!”

“Now then.
First up is Burren Zieghart and Dorian.”

“Yes!”

“Huff!”

Burren stood up confidently and went to the arena.
Dorian, on the other hand, trembled as he crab walked forward.

“Ex-excuse me, instructor?

“What’s wrong?”

“I give up!”

Dorian raised his hand energetically and announced his resignation.

“…”

Everyone shut their mouths as they heard his desperate voice.
They looked like they were wondering what kind of guy he was.

“You didn’t even try, though?”

Rimmer scratched his chin in panic.

“My… My body doesn’t feel good.
I’ve been feeling cold and aching everywhere since yesterday.
Cough!”

Dorian shuddered, lips trembling as he coughed awkwardly.

“Really, it’s true.”

Taking out an ice pack from his belly pocket, he put it on his head.
He really was prepared for everything.

How pathetic.
If the King of Essence’s underling did such a thing, his head would’ve been sent flying!

‘Although, that’s to be expected.’

Raon already knew Dorian was going to act like that.
It was pretty obvious, considering his usual personality.

“Dorian, at least try fighting.
You will be able to learn something even if you lose.
I’ll stop it before you get hurt, so don’t worry.”

“Th-then if you can change my opponent… huff!”

When Dorian raised his head, he met Burren’s eyes and started trembling again.

“No matter what your status was before, you are now a Zieghart trainee.
If you dishonor Zieghart, I will cut your throat right here.”

Burren’s voice was so brutal that it was difficult to believe he was a child.

“Huff!”

Dorian’s jaw dropped and he hid behind Rimmer.

“Dorian, it’s just a spar.
Stop thinking that it’s scary.
Look at it as showing what you’ve done so far.”

“Al-alright.”

Dorian’s shivering subsided a little thanks to Rimmer’s reassuring voice.

“Burren, you should stop being so serious, too.
Honor is great, but there are many other things in the world that are more important.”

“……”

Burren didn’t respond, but he seemed to realize he’d gone too far as he softened.

“Hmm…”

Raon narrowed his eyes as he watched Rimmer, who was smiling between Burren and Dorian.

‘That worked.’

His advice actually worked for both sides.
It was proof that he’d been properly watching the trainees, despite looking like he’d been playing around all the time.

‘Is that what a teacher is like?’

If something like this had happened in his previous life, when he was raised as an assassin, the instructor would’ve cut both of their throats.

Calming them down and helping them properly display their skills seemed like something a real teacher would do.

“Then, prepare yourselves.”

With all problems solved thanks to Rimmer, Burren and Dorian faced each other.

“Begin!”

As soon as the signal to start was given, Burren ran towards Dorian and swung his sword.

Since he was using aura, his speed was incomparable to the previous duel.

“Hiee!”

Dorian screamed and twisted his body.
Thanks to that, Burren’s sword missed him by a hair.

“Stop running away!”

Burren frowned and swung his sword again, keeping Dorian busy moving his feet and flailing his training sword.

“Argh!”

Even though Burren swung his sword more than five times, Dorian kept running away.

“How long are you going to run?!”

Burren kicked the ground while knitting his brows.
He closed the distance in an instant, using his real ability.
He’d been hiding it

“Uah!”

Dorian tried to quickly move his body away, but it was too late.
Burren’s training sword already touched his waist.

 

Smack!

 

With a powerful noise, Dorian’s body was sent flying to the right.

“Awwh! Su-surrender!”

Dorian grabbed his wrist and shouted, writhing in pain.

‘His body is as flexible as always.’

Raon snickered, watching Dorian lying on the ground.
His talent wasn’t bad since the speed of his feet and aura control didn’t lose to a member of the direct line.

Although, it was obviously far from being enough to face Burren.

“Burren, you still can’t control your emotions.
If you fought him as you should’ve, your sword would’ve touched him in less than five strikes.”

“… You’re right.”

Burren nodded silently, stepping back.

“Dorian, why do you keep running? You can do it, I’m telling you.
If you faced him instead of running away, you could’ve lasted longer.”

“I-I’m sorry.
But I’m sc-scared…”

“You might be scared, but if you can’t get over it now, you won’t remain standing during a real battle.
You must overcome that fear if you want to become a swordsman.”

Unlike Burren, Dorian was preached at for a while before returning to his place.

“Next, Runaan and Krein.”

“Yes.”

“Yes!”

Runaan and the collateral Krein walked into the arena.

Krein was the son of a rather influential collateral and was one of Burren’s underlings that had picked a fight with Raon before.
His abilities were pretty decent, but he was no match for Runaan.

“Begin.”

As soon as Rimmer lowered his hand, Runaan and Krein ran towards each other.

“Haa!”

Krein attacked first.
Gritting his teeth, he swung his training sword horizontally.

“……” 

While maintaining her usual expression, Runaan swung her sword, which was exuding a white coldness, upward.

 

Clang!

 

With the sound of a lump of metal being crushed, Krein’s sword flew away and thrust into the arena’s hardened ground.

Despite swinging her sword late, Runaan had successfully parried the attack.

“Kuh…”

Krein stepped back with trembling hands.

“Stop.”

Rimmer walked into the arena while scratching his chin.

“Krein, you are too nervous.
You are putting too much force on your wrist and hand.
You should be more relaxed upon wielding a sword.”

“I… I’m sorry.”

“And Runaan.
It was a nice use of the principle of attacking first despite starting late, but your aura didn’t reach the tip of your sword.”

“Okay.”

Runaan nodded innocently.

“Good job.
Next…”

 

* * *

 

Reaper Scans

[Translator – Kyangi]

[Proofreader – Harley]

Join our discord for updates on releases! https://dsc.gg/reapercomics

 

* * *

 

The spars continued until sunset, and only two people remained.

“Raon Zieghart, Martha Zieghart.
Come forth.”

“I thought I was going to die of old age while waiting.”

Martha’s black eyes glittered in excitement.
On the other hand, Raon stayed placid as he stood in front of her.

“Eight months was such a long time to wait.
Let’s get this over with.”

“Shall we make another bet?”

Raon raised a finger towards Martha, who was displaying her aggression.

“What?”

“The loser will obey the winner, who will become the top trainee.
How about it?”

“Obedience? I don’t need the obedience of a dull guy like you, but whatever.”

Martha narrowed her eyes and nodded.
She didn’t even consider the thought that she might lose.

“This is the last spar for today.
Everyone, watch well.
Now then…”

With an obscure smile, Rimmer raised his hand.

“Begin!”

As soon as Rimmer lowered his hand, Martha kicked off from the ground.
With a thud, her face was already right in front of Raon’s.

 

Whoosh!

 

He swung his sword at Martha’s training sword, slamming down.

 

Clang!

 

The impact of two swords clashing scattered sparks in the air.

“Are you wondering why I didn’t use my aura?”

Martha smiled, pushing her sword towards him.

“Let’s try fighting with swordsmanship first.
After that, I’ll make you understand just how powerful an aura is!”

The moment her voice reached past his ears, her swordsmanship changed rapidly.
It wasn’t just the speed and strength, but its path also grew mysterious.

 

Clang!

 

Raon narrowed his eyes while parrying her training sword.

‘It’s a swordsmanship I’m not aware of.’

It was fast, powerful, and mysterious.
It seemed to be an advanced swordsmanship she’d learned during the direct line training.

‘It’s powerful.
However…’

It wasn’t perfect.
It would’ve been better if she used the ‘Combination’ Sword that everyone had learned.

 

Clang! Claaang!

 

Raon blocked Martha’s strikes by using the five postures of the ‘Combination Sword’.

“Did you block all of that?”

Martha’s expression grew dejected.
She couldn’t pierce his defense despite striking dozens of times while using an unknown swordsmanship.

“Every swordsmanship starts from five forms.
If you understand that, it’s not difficult to block.”

Parrying Martha’s swing, Raon approached her and thrust his fist.

 

Whoosh!

 

She stepped to the right and avoided it.
Aiming for an opening, she swung her sword at his waist.

 

Clank!

 

Raon parried the attack by holding the sword vertically, then pushed towards Martha.

“I knew it.”

Martha stepped back while spinning her sword.

“You are talented, I’ll give you that.
But that’s only your swordsmanship.
It’s already been decided what a defective warrior with a weak aura will become!”

A yellow aura surrounded her.
The training ground shook slightly at the aura of earth attribute.

 

Thud!

 

Martha stomped her feet.
As the ground caved in, her training sword pierced through the air.

“Huff!”

He held his sword towards the yellow aura pouring down on him.

 

Slam!

 

Blocking the sword made his legs tremble.
Despite it being the same dash as before, the speed and power were both on a different scale.

“Oh, did you block it?”

Martha’s eyes, seen through the gap between the swords, narrowed.

“Do you understand now? Just how strong a sword used with proper aura is.”

Raon’s wrist and thigh were trembling.
Martha raised her chin and watched him.

“Aura is more dependent on talent than swordsmanship.
With your talent, which managed to create an aura as small as a bean after seven months, you can’t become a swordsman.”

Martha’s strikes gradually grew faster and stronger.
His whole body faltered each time he blocked the blows.

“The aura I’m using right now isn’t my full power.
I’ll give you one last chance, surrender now.
If not, I’ll crush your bones.”

“You talk too much.”

Raon slammed his sword to the right.
With a bang, Martha was pushed back.

“You are so stupid for refusing my last consideration.”

Martha’s voice grew as cold as the northern wind.

“Saying talent, talent every time.
People in this household really love talent so much.
It’s annoying.”

Raon snickered.

‘Talent is important, of course.’

However, the temperament of a warrior was more important than talent.
No matter how powerful a martial art one has learned, or how talented they are, it is useless if the person in question is weak.

“You might think I’m noisy because you are talentless, but I am happy whenever I hear about talent.”

The corners of Martha’s mouth raised.

“That’s why I’m going to make sure to show you what real talent is!”

The brown energy emanating around her grew thicker.
It resembled a sharply ground boulder falling.

“Then I’ll show you the opposite.”

That there’s something more important than talent.

The twilight reflected in his eyes and one red flower of flame blossomed from his sharp blade.

The First Flame of the ‘Ten Thousand Flame Cultivation’.

The flame was the first, and also the one.

Zieghart’s legend was burning at the end of Raon’s sword, the first in over a thousand years.

____

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