The first round ended.
Although a lot of attention was received since they saw a lot of strong people in one place, it was difficult to say that the people were anticipating something even now.
The really exciting matches would be from Round 16 or so when the battle between the masters would start.
However, if someone asked if there was nothing to see now, then that wasn’t the case.
Starting with Camrin Ray, who began the contest with the first fight, and the Sword Masters who weren’t using their aura. The flow that started there was new.
“Did you hear?”
“The Masters didn’t use their aura at all. There was a talk that they were doing that on purpose to test the young Sword Masters.”
“Ah! Right! I heard that too! At first, I thought that the reporters were exaggerating things again, but after asking around, it turns out it wasn’t nonsense!’
“Right? Even in the banquet hall, the mood seemed weird.”
A day after the first round, all the conversations in the bars and pubs were about the same topic of something happening in the banquet hall. The fact that Zakuang was not fighting against a young person like Judith who wasn’t even a Master made the stories of the quarrel that occurred during the banquet spread around.
“Well, even if Zakuang did that, Judith acted too harshly. And it seems like the pride of both of them was hurt.”
“Actually, it might be difficult for the old people to see them as contenders, I mean, they are juniors by several years, they’re like children.”
“Isn’t this the attitude of a Kkondae? If you are in your late 40s and 50s, they are young Masters.”1
“In a way, it is like that. And what is being done is weird, right? So, should she have decided to bow down and greet Zakuang who pissed her off? That is hard to do, isn’t that why the competition was kept…”
“Eh, no one really knows if what happened was intentional…”
“Anyway, the important thing is…”
A drunken man knocked on the table and smiled.
“… the point is that some of them who were reasonably expected to fall in the round of 32 seems to be much stronger than we thought.”
At that, everyone looked at him and nodded their heads. It wasn’t just one thing.
Everyone remembered what happened yesterday. How strong Bratt Lloyd, Ilya Lindsay and Airn Pareira were and how they took down the opponent Experts.
The styles were different, but all three of them were youngsters who showed off their impressive skills and proved that they weren’t inferior to the other Masters. In particular, the change in Bratt Lloyd was shocking.
A genius who was the fastest Master in the Gerbera Kingdom. But he was lagging in comparison to Airn and Ilya who were at the height of their fame.
In fact, most of them thought that Bratt Lloyd was the weakest of Masters. But such a person showed such a wonderful performance…
‘It is still early to make a hasty decision, but…’
‘These three young people can make a real difference.’
‘I don’t know. We will have to watch more to know.’
‘It seems clear that those guys are the dark horses of the tournament.’
It was truthfully a battle between the existing veterans and the young ones with ambition.
Atthe unexpected match-ups, people felt their excitement inflate and they wanted the next day’s matches to come faster.
However, there was something they overlooked. Judith’s existence.
“Judith? She is lucky. Zakuang was injured during practice…”
“But it seems nice. She won’t meet a Sword Master until the round of 32? Maybe she will go up higher.”
“But to be honest, she felt a little unfriendly. If you are lucky, you should be humble but did you hear her speak? Saying the man was scared and ran away…”
“I heard that too, Jarrot’s reaction to that was amazing, right? Well, they won’t be facing each other yet.”
“It'll be a huge thing when they meet. If it is that kind of person, then the match would be huge. Even the priests would be waiting by.”
‘As expected, everyone will think that way.’
Jet Frost, who was drinking, burst into laughter.
He too wasn’t sure what happened. He only knew that Zakuang was down after an injury during training, at least that was what was said.
However, it is clear that…
‘Just because she isn’t a Master yet, doesn’t mean Judith is an easy opponent.’
He closed his eyes and recalled the past. Her flames were stronger and hotter than the Aura sword of Masters.
Just the thought was terrifying. It was someone he never wanted to face.
‘Maybe, Zakuang was lucky…’
Jet Frost, who thought that, got up and left.
It was so much fun to have more information than others. Mumbling that, he was full of anticipation about Judith.
As time passed, the second round was done. And this time there were no shocks.
The winners continued to win, and the young Sword Masters also secured easy wins. To be precise, everything was decided by one strike of the sword.
This is because, unlike in the first round with 128 people, everyone showed off their Aura Sword now.
“Winner, Camrin Ray!’
“Ray’s aura sword came out!”
“Grey? Isn’t that silver? What does that mean?”
“Well? It is the most basic color? It doesn’t seem like anything great has been shown so far?”
As the audience said that, the opponent expert was defeated in the blink of an eye.
It seemed difficult to expect something from the Expert who was standing with a bewildered expression. People thought it would take a little more to bring out Camrin’s real skills.
It wasn’t just him.
A feast of aura swords kept coming out!
As if waiting for the moment, the audience began to cheer at the Masters for showcasing the skills they had and that left the Experts frustrated.
Some Experts were ones who were unable to overcome the wall of Master, so the sight pissed them off. And for some it represented hope and they thought they could learn something and cross the wall.
But every few people paid attention to the losers.
Whatever the purpose was, this was an arena where only the winners could survive and climb up and win. They cheered for the ones who had the skills to win right now, and not for the future.
It was a common thought that those who made it to the round of 32 would have.
Finally, the match between two Masters took place.
“Who? Ah, Devan Kennedy and Bratt Lloyd?’
“Right! Devan Kennedy the strongest of the east and one of the contenders for the winning role and the star of Gerbera, the dark horse of the contest!”
The man who was eating a chicken leg spoke with excitement.
The saliva splashed all over, but no one cared. It was because they too couldn’t hold back their anticipation because of the match.
Of course, very few thought that Bratt would win.
Devan Kennedy wasn’t strong like Camrin Ray. It was also said that he was slightly weaker compared to Inashio.
However, that also meant that he was closer to winning over this man.
People’s attention was now focused on Bratt Lloyd, and it wasn’t to know his results but the opponent’s level.
And it wasn’t just the audience.
Even the contestants who were close to winning paid close attention to Devan. Through the two, they tried to infer the power of the young Sword Master and create a new plan for future matches.
All of a sudden, the young people became the centre of attraction of the contest.
“Devan Kennedy and Bratt Lloyd are on the stage!”
And the third round started.
From the round of 32, only one match would happen at a time, so all the concentration was just on that match.
Anyone would feel nervous about it.
So did Devan Kenndy.
He was an experienced veteran, and he was familiar with noble people. Even if he had an ordinary bloodline, he was treated like a noble, but the amount of pressure he felt was weird.
His gaze then turned to the young man. There was a brief silence before he spoke.
“I've heard stories of the Lloyd family's eldest son boasting a brilliant power. But I didn’t expect that to spread across the continent so quickly.”
“It is an exaggerated thing.”
“It is always a pleasure to meet good juniors. However, winning is different. Don’t complain about the lack of mercy in my sword.”
“I will do my best.”
After the formal conversation, the signal fell. And the fight began. Immediately afterwards, Bratt pulled out his sword in an elegant motion and stepped forward.
It was a gesture to strike the swords lightly, and it also meant that he wanted to have a good match.
Devan Kennedy too did the same.
Unless it was a junior like Judith who changed the flow of the banquet, Devan didn’t have any ill feelings for a junior like Bratt, who was a well-known noble.
A warm smile formed on his lips. However, that expression was easily broken.
A sharp aura from the sword flew past his sword.
Devan Kennedy, who was startled by it, took a step back. It was an unstable posture as if he had not anticipated this at all. Bratt was the opposite. As if he planned to do it front the start, he naturally continued the follow-up attack.
The blue aura moved like a snake and tenaciously, sullenly, it aimed for the opponent’s vital point.
The aura sword exploded from Devan’s sword as well.
A brilliance of white and blue auras collided three times and both of them retreated 5 meters.
The middle-aged man who gained his form used his aura sword again.
And he was prepared to counterattack the opponent’s advance.
An unexpected move!
Startled by the spit towards his face, he turned to the side. He was more afraid of this than the sword coming at him, and his balance was broken once again.
Thanks to the fact that he widened the distance between them quickly, he got out of the attack zone, but there was still a setback in his counter and a lot of aura seemed wasted.
There was an unpleasant silence.
Devan Kennedy whose face went stiff said,
“I thought you were a polite junior, but I was wrong.”
Bratt Lloyd answered right away.
“If you care too much about manners rather than victory, I will end up winning.”
His face was full of venom and earnestness as he prepared his form.
- Kkondae is an expression used in South Korea to describe a condescending person. The slang noun kkondae was originally used by students and teenagers to refer to older people such as fathers and teachers.↩
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