Martha Zieghart was a very proud person.
The reason she failed during her previous term wasn’t because she lacked ability, but because she almost killed the two direct line bastards that had hurt her pride.
Since it became annoying after that for various reasons, she had intended to take it easy in the fifth training ground.
However, there was one guy that still irritated her.
That precocious kid kept being an eyesore.
She wanted to fight him already.
However, she agreed with Rimmer that fighting him when he didn’t even have an aura was dirty, so she held back.
That was why she was happier than anyone else when she heard Raon had acquired an aura, because she could finally get payback for her previous humiliation.
The spar began and she crossed swords with Raon.
His talent in swordsmanship shone even more in an actual fight, to a point that he could perfectly defend himself against a swordsmanship that he’d never seen before.
However, as soon as she started using Titan’s aura, Raon got pushed back as easily as a paper doll.
It was to be expected.
The difference in size and purity of aura was as great as the distance between the sky and earth.
The whole situation was in Martha’s favor, to the point that she could break Raon’s bones whenever she wanted.
Despite knowing that, Raon’s fighting spirit didn’t fade.
His eyes seemed to be taunting her, seeming to say, ‘Come at me as much as you want!’
It was ridiculous.
He looked like an idiotic rabbit that didn’t even know who was holding it by its neck.
Martha smirked and swung her sword down, putting in more aura and strength.
The arena trembled.
Raon withstood it.
He didn’t fall, despite her repeated strikes.
It was annoying.
The way he was trying to climb up high.
despite having the worst talent, made her boil with anger.
‘Don’t resent me for this.’
His limbs might’ve broken, but he left her with no choice.
Pulling out an even more powerful aura, she aimed her sword in front of herself.
It was the posture for Hard Stone.
She was going to pierce Raon’s defense using the energy of a sharp rock.
It was when she was about to kick the ground.
A red flame ignited at the end of Raon’s blade.
A very small flame.
And yet, it was redder and more beautiful than any other flame.
When Martha saw it, a chill went down in her spine.
‘What is that?’
It was creepy.
She was engulfed by a strange anxiety.
‘No, I’m not afraid!’
Martha grit her teeth.
She couldn’t believe she was afraid of Raon, even for a moment.
No, she didn’t want to believe it.
She struck with the training sword, using the Titan’s aura in its dull blade.
At that moment, Raon took a step.
The small flame burning at his training sword created a single line.
A red line drawn from left to right.
The Titan’s aura melted upon touching that line.
The extremely solid training sword was broken in half, flying through the air.
The sound of a broken blade thrusting into the arena floor invaded her ears.
Martha stared at the severed sword, dazed.
“How… How did this hap…”
Her lips and hands trembled in disbelief at the same time.
“Is that the talent you spoke about?”
Raon Zieghart stared at her coldly.
The flame ignited at the end of his sword was already gone.
“A talent that can’t even withstand a single immature strike.
It should be considered pointless.”
Unlike her usual self, Martha Zieghart couldn’t respond at all.
She lowered her head, just like her broken sword.
“Wh-what?! What happened just now?!”
“Th-the training sword, which was coated with Titan’s aura, was severed in a single strike.”
Raon could feel the trainees’ gazes from everywhere.
Panic, distrust, and astonishment.
It looked like they’d even forgotten to breathe.
And Rimmer, who was standing in front of them, was no exception.
His eyes were wide, and his long ears looked even more pointy.
Apparently, severing Martha’s sword in a single strike surprised him.
‘Well, I’m also surprised.’
The power of the first stage of ‘Ten Thousand Flames Cultivation’, the First Flame, had exceeded his expectations to the point that he would’ve cut Martha if he hadn’t controlled its power properly.
‘If it’s already this powerful at two-stars…’
His heart pounded in anticipation for three-stars and above.
He lowered his gaze upon hearing the groaning sound from below.
Martha’s black eyes were burning red.
‘She doesn't look like she will admit defeat.’
That wasn’t an expression of surrender.
Since she couldn’t even properly see how her sword was severed, she wasn’t going to admit her defeat.
“I can’t accept this.”
The words he’d expected came right from Martha’s mouth.
She threw away the broken blade and clenched her fist.
Titan’s aura surrounded her body, creating an energy as solid as an unbreakable rock.
“I knew it.”
Raon nodded and put down his training sword.
“I will make you admit defeat.”
“I will never!”
Martha kicked off from the ground.
She dashed at him from the left, from the front this time.
Her movements were stiff, yet fast and heavy.
Along with a shout of concentration, she thrust her fist.
Raon chopped down her fist with his elbow.
The immense shock twisted Martha’s body.
But she didn’t stop.
She grit her teeth and kept punching.
Raon drew a circle with his palm.
Smoothly blocking her fist, he kicked at her abdomen.
It was a direct hit, yet Martha only groaned without stepping back.
Her strong willpower suited the sturdy aura.
“It… it’s not over yet!”
Martha bit her lip and thrust her fist.
Despite her panic, her fist still went along the proper trajectory.
The martial arts of a prestigious family seemed to shine, even at a time like that.
‘But that’s not enough.’
It was a quick and precise strike of a fist, imbued with a powerful aura, yet nothing more.
She lacked training, by far.
Dodging the fist aimed at his forehead, he struck her back with the edge of his hand.
The impact reaching her through the Titan’s aura made her drool.
After flinching, she counterattacked even faster.
The savagery didn’t match her elegant figure.
‘She is pretty tough, at least.’
She was counterattacking despite being hit repeatedly by a fist that would make an adult swordsman fall.
Her willpower and body’s durability weren’t at the level of a trainee.
Martha stomped on the ground.
The sand on the floor rose up and obscured his vision.
Before he could sense her presence, her fist was swung at his right side.
The strike felt like a rock thrown by a trebuchet.
His whole body trembled each time he blocked it with his elbow.
She wasn’t going to miss the opportunity that she’d created with so much difficulty.
Holding her breath, she kept striking relentlessly with her fist.
After twenty swift strikes, when Martha stopped for a moment to catch her breath, Raon’s fist struck her abdomen.
Martha grabbed her belly and stepped back.
Her eyes were filled with distrust.
“Despite what you said, your fists aren’t really impressive.”
Raon shook his hand and elbow, which he’d used to block Martha’s fists.
Laughing at Martha, who was in panic, he turned his wrist.
* * *
[Translator – Kyangi]
[Proofreader – Harley]
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* * *
‘The defense of the ‘Ten Thousand Flames Cultivation’ is also excellent.’
Probably because his image was a flame that wouldn’t be extinguished, the aura from the ‘Ten Thousand Flames Cultivation’ was also effective in defense.
Martha raised her head while biting her lip.
Titan’s aura was gathering up in her clenched fist.
The special technique ‘Single Point’ consisted of concentrated aura in a single spot.
Her talent was indeed excellent for her to be using that at her age.
The rage was gone from her expression.
Her eyes, once filled with anger, were emitting a clear light once again.
“I’ll admit you’re strong.”
The energy gathered in her fist formed into a proper shape.
It was the proof that she’d attained the rank of Sword User.
“I will admit my defeat if you can overcome this!”
Martha dashed forward like a bear hunting its prey.
It was as heavy as a rock rolling down the mountain.
Raon sighed lightly.
He took a step and thrust his fist, using the energy from the step.
The rotation, starting from the ankle, went up through the femoral muscles and reached his back.
At that moment, his fist was imbued with explosive power.
The fist containing the flame of the ‘Ten Thousand Flames Cultivation’ shattered the lump of brown aura and twisted Martha’s arm.
As the Titan’s aura was shattered into pieces, he was able to see Martha’s bloodshot eyes.
Swept away by the tornado created by the blow, she bounced back and faltered like a reed in a storm.
After shaking her head, Martha fell backward with her eyes closed.
Despite having fainted, her fist remained clenched.
‘That’s some amazing willpower, at least.’
It was difficult to believe that sort of willpower belonged to a child that was almost fifteen years old.
That was more surprising than her ability or talent.
How did Martha…?”
The trainees that followed Martha, as well as those who were against her, were unable to raise their dropped jaws.
Burren glared at Raon as his clenched fist trembled.
Runaan looked as blank as always, but she was exhaling cold steam from her gaping mouth, which seemed to mean that she was excited.
Rimmer, who had been stunned for a moment, ran up to Martha to check on her.
I should be scolding her, but she fainted.”
Rimmer clicked his tongue after checking her condition.
“That’s it for today.
When you return, think about what you were lacking today.”
“Then, except Raon, everyone leave.”
“Because I have something to give you, and also have some preaching left to do.”
With a grin, Rimmer ran to the infirmary over the wall.
As Raon blankly stared at the wall Rimmer had jumped over, Burren approached him.
“I knew you would catch up.”
Burren was smiling, but it was difficult to tell if it was from admiration or anticipation.
“I’m different from Martha.
I won’t give up, even if you run ahead like a rabbit.
I won’t be careless, even if you fall behind like a turtle.
I will defeat you at the graduation exam, putting everything I have at stake.”
After saying that, he left the training ground.
He looked refreshed.
‘He’s definitely changed.’
The egoistic and envy-driven Burren didn’t exist anymore.
He seemed to have come to a realization, as he’d gotten rid of his conceit and replaced it with confidence.
Somebody tapped his shoulder from behind.
When he looked back, Runaan was standing there with glittering purple eyes.
She visibly nodded.
That seemed to mean that he’d done well.
Holding the bead ice cream box tightly, she trotted out of the training ground.
Raon opened his mouth wide.
He still couldn’t understand what she was trying to do.
Shaking his head, he walked next to the platform that the chairs were at.
As he was waiting for Rimmer and sitting on a chair, he noticed a book on the platform.
It was the book Rimmer used as his pillow when he napped.
He tried opening it.
Raon’s eyes widened after seeing its contents.
He’d thought it was just his pillow, but it wasn’t.
The trainees’ strengths and weaknesses, and the way to improve them, were written in it in detail.
He read the information on Burren on the first page.
‘Has exceptional talent but is very conceited.
Changed a lot after becoming a trainee.
Realized what he lacked was willpower and is spending lots of time meditating.
Uses an elegant and systematic swordsmanship, and he also thinks it’s important…’
They were difficult things to notice if he wasn’t watching the trainees closely.
And yet, the book wasn’t just on Burren, but for every single one of the trainees.
‘How about me…?’
Raon read the information written about him.
‘Extremely talented in swordsmanship and fist technique, and has a great mana perception, but is struggling with learning the aura cultivation technique.
Needs to be taught about attributes.
Need to find a way to make him feel the fire…’
The information was too detailed, to the point that it felt like he overdid it.
He’d thought Rimmer was always playing around like a slacker, but he’d actually been observing everything in great detail.
Raon smiled, an unknown emotion warming his heart.
It was the first time he’d ever felt that way, but it wasn’t unpleasant.
‘You know, right?’
But I still don’t like him.
He is still arrogant and irritating.
Wrath had grown even more pessimistic towards the world after he failed to take over Raon’s body.
Back in devildom, there was a time where pointy ears and dwarves came over.
The King of Essence froze every single one of those naughty guys…
‘You really talk too much.’
Raon tapped the flowery bracelet and Wrath shut his mouth.
It was difficult to handle how much he talked.
Kuh! The King of Essence is the definition of reticence.
You are saying that I talk too much, despite being the least talkative one among the monarchs of the devildom.
Just what kind of bullshit is that? Talking too much means…
As he tapped his bracelet once again to shut him up, Rimmer returned over the wall.
He couldn’t tell why he always entered over the wall, despite the door existing.
Rimmer approached him while smiling.
His expression was still filled with surprise.
“It was an excellent aura control, despite it not having been a long time since you acquired it.
However, it was unnecessary to take hits on purpose or throw away your sword.”
Rimmer tapped his shoulder while smiling.
“That’s what an instructor would say.
Personally, I am thoroughly satisfied with that match.
Congratulations on becoming the undisputed top trainee.
This is yours now.”
He handed over the wooden box he had placed in his inner chest pocket.
It was the elixir that Martha had entrusted him with.
Raon bowed his head to Rimmer as he accepted the elixir.
“It was a bet between you two, you don’t need to thank me.”
I’m still thanking you.”
It wasn’t a thanks for the elixir.
It was for looking over his training and giving him various pieces of advice.
Despite being late and slacking, he did instruct him properly when he needed it the most.
In fact, he probably wouldn’t have acquired the ‘Ten Thousand Flames Cultivation’ yet if it weren’t for his teachings.
Since he didn’t have a teacher in his previous life, only animal trainers, he thought Rimmer was worthy of his gratitude.
Rimmer snickered, watching him with a satisfied expression.
“I’ll get going, then.”
“Wait a moment.”
He flickered his index and middle finger together.
“I told you there’s somewhere we need to go together.’
“Somewhere to go?”
“The audience chamber in the lord’s manor.”
Rimmer grinned and pointed to the west.
“The head of house has summoned you.”
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