However, Feon, who had been called out, did not back down.
“Leader, please don’t disturb me! No matter how young the aether master is, this little girl who’s disrupting her discipline is…”
“You shouldn’t discipline by trying to pierce your sword in a recruit’s wrist.”
Kiryu’s tone was sharp.
“I told you to step down.
Do you need to be humiliated in front of the new recruits to come to your senses?”
Feon bit his lip as his flailing hands shook.
With a reddened face, he retreated while staring at Judith as if he were about to kill her.
Kiryu, who watched the scene, clicked his tongue inwardly.
‘It’s brave to be ignorant.’
Doesn’t he know that it was a close call?
Kiryu visibility saw that as soon as Judith fixed her sword, her aether was ready to explode.
If he hadn’t stepped in, there would have been a mess.
‘She’s the youngest aether master, and that could’ve killed three people at once.’
Her vigor and spirit were far beyond a skilled veteran.
As Feon retreated, Kiryu looked at her languidly.
“You must’ve been pretty bored.”
“Then it must have been lame.”
Judith’s face tinged with embarrassment like someone had stabbed her in the corner.
Kiryu wasn’t surprised.
Instead, he just laughed.
“The skill test.”
Judith soon understood what he meant.
“…Are you saying you want to test me yourself?”
“An aether master should compete against an aether master.
I hope you don’t mind.”
She had no complaints, but she did have a question.
Judith looked at him with a serious face, but there was no change in Kiryu’s attitude.
“It’s better to do things right.”
There was nothing for her to argue.
Kiryu then took a couple of steps back as Judith held out her sword stiffly.
In the past, she would have given up roughly and backed down early.
It was a mistake, in a way, that it didn’t happen again this time.
The difference in skills with her opponent was too big, so her thoughts became longer.
…She never thought this would happen.
“You don’t have to be nervous.”
It was a statement thrown by Kiryu to relieve tension in its own way, but it was also counterproductive.
Judith felt the nerves all over her body jitter like a cat on drugs.
Are there any knights in the Empire whose name is as known as his?
Kiryu was more famous as the commander of the Red Knights than Count Lwalchmei.
He was the man who stood in the pinnacle of knighthood that many knights dreamed of.
He attended the Royal Military Academy, where only the children of the imperial family and some nobles attended.
In particular, people said that he wiped out the beasts that haunted the west and protected the capital from a dragon.
Although his young age did not allow him to hold a higher position, he was still on the road to a guaranteed career.
‘An aether master who has no fear of death.’
Even Judith was not unaware of the rumors that surrounded him.
The lieutenant of Kiryu approached quietly and took out a gold coin as a start signal.
It was already too late to step out.
In the end, Judith came to a different thought than before.
Now that things have turned out like this, it won’t be quiet anymore.
‘He had to be knocked down quickly.’
If others heard that, they would have criticized her for being arrogant.
But, she was sincere.
She also had the stubbornness to carry out the ideals she put her mind to.
“Then let’s do our best.”
The lieutenant flipped the gold coin.
Unlike before, there was a rush of quick movements from the sword.
The tip flew wildly toward Kiryu’s throat.
It was significantly different from when she faced Feon’s sword.
The slashs that drove them into the corner and the stabs that exploded like lightning were breathtakingly beautiful.
Judith’s amber eyes shone brighter than gold and Kiryu smiled.
‘She’s a piece of work!’
Judging that there was no hesitation, each and every attack was an onslaught.
Judith’s movements were immaculate.
When the aim at the right shoulder was blocked, she immediately moved on to the next move and aimed at the left waist.
There was only a scraping sound from the swords clashing into each other.
Every movement of the sword was as smooth as flowing water.
Needless to say, it had excellent power to penetrate vital points too.
Everything was proof that she didn’t practice in vain.
Kiryu blocked her sword, but she quickly recovered and moved back.
Neck, shoulder, waist, body, and wrist.
It was a knight who targeted her opponent’s whole body and used her sword at a wide range.
It was like shooting an arrow.
‘She’s a genius.’
Kiryu now regretted it.
He took it lightly when the lieutenant complimented her that way…
‘Deschamps, that little man.
He’ll definitely make a big deal out of this!’
She was said to be an aether master, but it wasn’t just the aether she could use, but her natural sword skills and senses were the greatest that Kiryu has ever seen!
Even while he was regretting it, the sword still came.
Everyone was watching with their mouths open.
It became clear why he told Feon that ‘she wasn’t being tested’.
Judith’s ways were different from the straightforward sword techniques.
She constantly looked at her opponent’s uncomfortable corners, cut the pulse of his attacks, and tried to take the initiative.
It’s a serpent-like sword.
Once you get bitten, you’ll die.
No other rhetoric was needed.
Kiryu praised her sword without saying anything else, and…
“I have to check something.”
The offensive of the atmosphere then changed.
The strikes that she had ever received or encountered changed its direction and flew.
The movements were as menacing as the claws of a beast.
Judith scrambled to avoid the sword and grasped her position.
A moment ago, she could feel the faintness of life in the sword she had avoided.
The knights who were watching showed admiration without knowing it.
Subsequently, the wielded sword contained more solid life.
Judith stubbornly bounced off from the attack, but it was a mistake for her wrist throbbed.
‘He’s stronger than he looks!’
She had a feeling that he didn’t go all out.
He suddenly wielded the sword more violently, and it was clear that Kiryu favored a method that was radical enough to cut an entire body in half.
Heavy and crude strikes flew one after another while aiming for the head.
It was like pulling a pillar out with force and pushing it down to the ground, and it became more violent as if he did it on purpose.
Judith, who was trying to push in somehow, and Kiryu, who fought to not be pushed, both collided at the same time.
Their eyes met from the front.
Even though the blade was in front of her nose, Kiryu’s purple eyes were fixated on Judith.
A voice filled with certainty came out like a whisper.
“Have you ever played with someone else’s life with the sword?”
Kiryu’s gaze was cold.
Judith felt the sensation of blood rushing to her eye.
She was astonished and embarrassed like a young child who got caught stealing.
It was for a moment, but beyond the pale blade of the sword, the man who looked at her calmly seemed to have seen everything.
She was one step late.
The sound of scraping metal was deafening.
Kiryu did not catch up, instead, he just stared at her calmly.
The tip of her sword trembled slightly and her heart was beating out of control.
She wanted to deny it.
However, she couldn’t.
For a brief moment, many thoughts ran through Judith’s mind.
Leader Jermel, who supported her, Empress Isephina II with a glittering tiara on her head, and Prince William III, who was relieved to know that she was a knight trying to protect him from assassins.
“I didn’t play with…!”
The blade that flew almost cut through her side.
Judith swung her sword vertically and barely blocked it.
It was a dangerous defense.
Her body, which was slanted heavily, stumbled.
The tip of her sword trembled as if it were representing her heart which felt like it was about to explode.
Was the sword this heavy?
It was her heart that was heavy.
“This is the swordsmanship of a swordsman, not of a knight.”
Judith clenched her teeth.
Her heart was burning as if a brand had been imprinted on it.
Her eyes darkened at the meaningless name.
She felt like she had been caught chasing money, and she wanted to run away from that shame.
On the other hand, she also wanted to run and push him while asking how he did not know.
Shock and shame hung on the tip of the sword at the same time.
“You don’t deny it?”
Kiryu came one step closer.
Fearing the man who read her swordsmanship in that brief moment, Judith retreated without realizing it.
‘If you still want a title, land, or gold after receiving this letter of recommendation, you are not a knight, but a swordsman.
Do you want such a life?’
It was a very short moment when Kiryu faced her with the sword.
As rumored, that knight commander, who was supported by his skills, was also amazingly aware of other people’s swords as well.
One after another, the blue blade poured down as if to test her.
Suddenly, Judith, who was on the defensive, stepped back.
The heavy sword shook helplessly.
Kiryu then looked at Judith carefully.
At first, he pulled out the sword as a joke, but the more he faced Judith, the more his enthusiasm and interest aroused.
‘It was only a light provocation, are you mentally weaker than you look?’
Where did the spare time of dealing with Feon Grande go? Suddenly, the struggling opponent seemed strange.
Is it psychological pressure?
But even considering that…
‘It’s been a long time since a gemstone has arrived.’
A small smile formed on the corner of his lips.
The difference was so subtle that almost no one saw it.
Judith relentlessly tried to stab Kiryu’s body.
It was not difficult for Kiryu to grasp that she was confident in stabbing.
The more she was cornered, the more she revealed her hand, and Judith’s stabs came one after another.
The outward slashing action also increased.
Judith, who had avoided the sword a few times in the beginning, soon ignited a fire in his pride, so he straightened up his blade and slashed.
A bloody pounding sound reverberated through the auditorium like thunder.
The game slowly began to tilt.
The atmosphere was skillful and constant in pressuring the opponent.
Judith’s sword, on the other hand, became heavier like a sinking ship.
One thing was for sure.
In the eyes of the knights watching, they were all monsters.
That was said about Kiryu, who’s a leader, but now they’re saying that about Judith too.
They were both two aether masters, and yet, they (the other knights watching) felt a huge gap in skills in themselves.
Interest, favoritism, and jealous eyes followed the two.
Some felt a faint sense of defeat even before shuffling the sword while others looked at them with ferocious eyes.
The senior knight, Feon Grande, who faced Judith first, was one of them.
Feon watched the match between the aether masters with fire in his eyes and his fists were trembling.
‘I’m going to lose as this continues.’
Judith soon realized that she was overheating, but it wasn’t easy to relax her hand that was holding the sword.
‘You have to relax.’
Losing is not very pleasant.
That didn’t change even if the opponent was the commander of the Red Knights.
It was then, the door opened and an unexpected face appeared.
“Come in, Leader Jermel.”
“I’m sorry for being late.”
Judith almost dropped her sword.
It wasn’t the time to look away, but Jermel shook her nerves in an instant.
Her heart skipped a beat and she felt like she stopped breathing.
“Why didn’t you come a little earlier? Right now…”
In an instant, the tip of her sword collapsed.
The accident happened in the blink of an eye.
Kiryu’s sword passed through the side of Judith’s neck, and Violette’s scream broke out.
Her finger that missed the sword felt like it was going to break, but what was more painful was her neck.
Kiryu freaked out and pulled back his sword, but it was already too late.
His sword grazed Judith’s neck and it cut off her hair.
Besides, the cut will leave a sharp scar on her neck.
Judith staggered while clutching her burning neck.
“Are you okay?!”
Grey hair fluttered in the breeze.
At the same time, Kiryu drew back his sword and approached her.
His strong arms supported her in an instant and he hugged her.
She could suddenly feel him.
Since they were close, there was a unique scent and it was mixed with the smell of blood that was getting thicker.
It was so mysterious that she couldn’t describe it.
What caused the collapse?
Was it because of his strong arms that wrap around her waist?
Could it be because Kiryu implicitly evaluated her sword?
Or maybe it was because Jermel, who blew her head away before, appeared.
“Deschamps, call the priest!”
Unlike Judith, whose head was going mad, Kiryu’s actions were swift.
Judith’s throat was bleeding incessantly.
The red blood flowed over the finger that covered the wound.
It continued to spread over her grey uniform.
Kiryu then looked nervously at her state.
‘What was it?’
It wasn’t a very deep cut, but it’ll be normal to feel sore.
Except, Judith’s gaze was fixed on another person.
‘…Are you watching Jermel?’
The wound may have hit a nerve, but it was still something to not be lightly overlooked.
But Judith’s reaction was too flat.
Her shaky pupils were only fixed on Jermel.
Kiryu felt an unstoppable impatience.
“Prince, Your Highness.”
Don’t worry and go.”
Prince Eden waved his hand without saying more.
As soon as permission fell, Kiryu picked up Judith.
The arms supported her knees and shoulders felt strong.
Judith became startled at the unfamiliar height.
I can walk…”
“It’s not okay.
Don’t move and press the wound first.”
Kiryu’s voice was dark.
He held her and then hurriedly left the site.
It would have been better if she had just left.
Judith then heard the voice of the man who opened the door.
“We’d better get started.”
“Thank you, Jermel.”
The traitor with a sharp nose and a beautiful appearance held his head high.
Black eyes as cold as the wind, and someone who wouldn’t have blinked at her head.
That man was the same Jermel from the past.
He was different from the man who killed her before.
Knowing that, when she made eye contact with Jermel, her heart collapsed in a blink of an eye.
She felt betrayed, humiliated, and chilled from the top of her head.
Hate and sadness covered her heart.
“Hang in there.”
She didn’t know what would have happened if it hadn’t been for a voice that sounded so tender.
The stronger the smell of blood, the faster Kiryu walked.
Judith gripped her neck and clenched her teeth.
Seeing how her face was turning pale, Kiryu quickened his steps even more.
When the priest arrived, Kiryu was kicked out for treatment.
‘Wasn’t she seriously injured?’
It was common for knights to take other people’s lives.
Nevertheless, her personality was not corrupted enough to be indifferent to such an accident.
Anyone who got cut from a sword will be hurt, and Kiryu didn’t want to hurt others like that.
‘This sucks, damn it.’
He was excited to have such a great fight after a long time.
Even though it was an accident, he thought it was still too much.
All kinds of self-blame went through his mind, and he scratched his head.
When he looked down at his hand, there was red blood on his white gloves.
The smell of blood from a while ago felt suffocating as if it had been caught on the tip of his nose.
Kiryu was tired of waiting, but the door seldom opened.
Eventually, he crossed his arms and leaned against the hallway wall.
Was it a failure of pace adjustment?
Everyone makes silly mistakes.
But it was not easy to understand some of those and move on.
Judith’s sword really fell at once.
Even for those with that skill, it collapsed in an instant like a sandcastle being washed away by the waves.
‘Besides, she wasn’t looking at me.’
She only glanced at Jermel.
That was all, but why?
‘No, you can’t look away in that situation in the first place!’
Kiryu nervously crossed his legs.
His thoughts went round in circles and stopped at some point.
‘Does she know Jermel?’
It was a valid reasoning, but Kiryu immediately shook his head.
That couldn’t be it.
Jermel was a man who had narrow relationships.
He also had an eerie and cruel nature.
In comparison, Judith, who glanced at him, was only mediocre.
Since she was also a commoner, there would be no way for her to meet Jermel, who grew up under a house of the marquise.
Kiryu, who had known Jermel for a long time, was confident that he knew better about him than Judith, who had just become an imperial knight.
What was it then? Did he scare her?
He couldn’t think of any other reason.
‘But no matter what, you can’t just let go of the sword!’
It was a leap of faith.
The ability test was enough.
She was great, however, it was regrettable that the match ended in an unexpected way.
‘Just a little more polish and it’ll be perfect.
Maybe bring her in and train her… No, I think it would be faster if I could just tell her.’
Kiryu, who had been pondering, soon frowned.
‘Wait a minute, Kiryu Lwalchmei.
Aren’t you taking it for granted that she had already been brought to the Red Knights?’
“Leader Kiryu, may I speak with you for a moment?”
The door opened just in time.
Kiryu brightened up and loosened his arms.
“Are her wounds okay?”
“Yes, it’s not life-threatening.
You don’t have to worry about it since it’s being healed with divine power.”
But the face of the priest was not bright.
Kiryu’s heart sank.
“Is there any other problem?”
The atmosphere changed.
“I could feel the energy of a God from that knight.
If it was not an illusion, there seems to be a sign of a stigma.”
The priest tilted his head with a curious face and stared straight at Kiryu.
Kiryu’s mouth then hardened at the unexpected words.
The priest softly spoke the next words.
“God Karnak is attempting to manifest into this world through her.”
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