Professor Ingurdel praised Yi-han in his mind after seeing the latter kick up dust, covering Dolgyu's face in the dirt.
– Achieve victory by hook or by crook.
On the battlefield, there is only life or death.
The same could not be said about nobles that cared about maintaining an image of elegance and grace, but for swordsmen risking their lives in battles, only results mattered.
Hence, Yi-han's action was praiseworthy and not disgraceful in the slightest.
It was also worth noting that he had pulled it off in front of all his peers.
They were still in their teenage years where passion often gave way to reason and pride was valued above all else.
Not to mention nobles, even knights would hesitate to use such despicable means, and out of pride, they would hold back on using them.
However, Yi-han didn't hesitate for even a second before taking action despite his lineage being the noblest out of everyone present.
It was a behavior that could only be seen by someone that understood the true nature of swordsmanship, and it reflected his will to sacrifice anything for his cause.
Dolgyu cried out loud at the ambush.
He felt dizzy as dirt entered through his nose, eyes, and mouth.
'Damn it, what a dirty trick!'
He was angrier at himself for falling for the trick than at his opponent for using it.
He had been told countless times before at his estate while learning the sword that he could be met with such attacks!
Dolgyu had been under the impression that Yi-han would fight fair and square as he was a noble from a distinguished family.
'I'll quickly put an end to this!'
Yi-han stepped forward to attack Dolgyu while his balance was off.
Although he had trained in the sword for quite a long time, the same could be said about Dolgyu.
In fact, he might have put in even more effort than Yi-han and undergone even harsher training.
Just by looking at his form, Yi-han could tell that Dolgyu wasn't an easy opponent, and if he had to fight him straight-on, the result of the battle would be up in the air.
Then what should he do in this situation? The answer was to create an opportunity that would secure his victory.
…Having said that, this strategy of kicking up dirt wasn't something that Arlong had come up with.
Nevertheless, Professor Ingurdel who was in the dark about all this praised Arlong for his teachings.
'He must have learned that trick from his master.
He must be one hell of a swordsman!'
Dolgyu kicked the ground and performed a somersault in order to make space between himself and Yi-han.
However, his hurried movement lacked any semblance of elegance, and he ended up losing his balance, which resulted in him rolling on the ground.
Yi-han had not expected his opponent to go this far either.
'Why's he being so serious about this? I mean, I did cover him in dirt and all, but still…'
Since he was from a knight's family, Yi-han had thought Dolgyu would find it beneath himself to roll on the ground like that.
The others who were cheering for Dolgyu were shocked by this as well and fell silent.
However, Professor Ingurdel alone clapped his hands.
“Excellent, young ones!”
Dolgyu removed the dirt on his face with his sleeves, but he was still a mess because of the earlier roll.
His eyes, on the other hand, became sharper and fiercer than ever before.
Yi-han clicked his tongue.
'But I guess it wasn't for nothing.'
Blood should have rushed to Dolgyu's head by now.
Not only did he get plastered by dirt in the face, but he had also been forced to roll on the ground.
During a fight, the side that becomes angry would often make mistakes.
When both sides were evenly matched, it all came down to psychological warfare.
While letting out a shout, Dolgyu rushed toward him.
'What a brilliant fight!'
Professor Ingurdel was once again in awe.
Previously, it had been because both students were willing to go to any lengths to win.
Now, it was because of their skills in wielding the sword.
He knew that they were the most outstanding students among the freshmen, but he didn't expect them to be this skilled.
First of all, when it came to Dolgyu from the Choi Family, his mastery over the Mountain-Moon Style led to rhythmic attacks that were both quick and sharp.
The jabs from his wooden sword shot forth toward Yi-han, generating whistles as they cut through the air.
Normally, there would be a bit of delay after stabbing and slashing, but Dolgyu managed to maintain his speed all the way through.
This was only possible as he imbued mana into his sword.
Blocking a jab was hard enough.
Blocking a jab imbued with mana was an ordeal that most freshmen would be unable to endure.
However, Yi-han from the Wardanaz Family wasn't an average joe either.
Dolgyu became more and more agitated as his attacks continued.
Each time he attacked, he had to throw his body forward and thrust his arm out to generate momentum, followed by a flurry of footsteps designed to prevent counterattacks.
Though it was fast and powerful, it used up a lot of stamina, and Dolgyu was already feeling out of breath.
On the other hand…
his opponent was steady as a rock, using minimum movement to block and change the trajectory of the stabs.
It was as if he could see through all the attacks.
'Damn it all!'
It felt like he was trying to stab a needle into a boulder.
What demoralized him even more was the sight of his opponent dealing with the attacks effortlessly, something which should not have been possible even if his moves were being read.
'Are my attacks not strong enough? Why isn't he showing any signs of getting tired?'
Dolgyu felt tortured inside.
However, unbeknownst to him, this sentiment was being shared by Yi-han.
'He's gasping for air.
But why isn't he stopping?'
The Blue Cliff Style that he practiced was designed for heavy swords, with each swing carrying weight behind it.
As Dolgyu was constantly moving about, it wasn't easy for Yi-han to land a hit on him, and the only advantage he had over his opponent was his stamina.
Not only had Dolgyu rolled on the ground, but he was also in an excited state, making his movements much more exaggerated.
And more than anything…
Yi-han didn't get tired even as he constantly imbued mana into his sword.
Ever since his first attempt at magic, he had been trying to grasp how much mana he had, and he was constantly surprised by it.
'…I've been injecting mana into the sword for quite a while now.
Why am I not getting tired?'
Nevertheless, he wasn't having an easy time either as Dolgyu's attacks were extremely ferocious.
Each blow carried significant weight, and he could feel his back straining every time he blocked one.
They were using wooden swords right now.
If they were using real swords, his clothes would've been in tatters by now.
At first glance, it would seem as if he was easily blocking the attacks, but in reality, he was paying a lot of attention to each of them.
The first to crumble was Dolgyu.
He had been holding his breath and enduring the screams coming from his muscles, but his will had been shaken by the sight of his unmoving opponent.
This darned Wardanaz kept blocking his attacks without ever changing his expression as if to say that it was the most natural thing in the world!
The moment they exchanged glances, Dolgyu felt like he was dancing on the palm of his opponent, which was what broke the camel's back.
'Truly unfortunate,' the Professor thought.
Dolgyu had been the first to give up, but Yi-han had been nearing his limits as well, proving the power behind each of his blows.
Had he known this, he might have managed to continue for another while.
Yet he ended up overestimating his opponent's abilities, leading to his downfall.
It was a mistake that came with youth and inexperience.
Furthermore, Yi-han, being a descendant of the Wardanaz Family, exuded a cold pressure unique to members of distinguished families.
His handsome appearance which was like a lifeless sculpture was proving advantageous even in a duel.
With Dolgyu's form crumbling, Yi-han swung his sword, stopping just before his opponent's throat.
“Stop right there! Winner, Wardanaz.”
Professor Ingurdel's voice was soft but firm when he said this, indicating that he would not allow any further action.
The students of the White Tigers let out a sigh of lament.
Dolgyu, who was the strongest in their group, had been defeated!
“I refuse to believe this!”
“It must be because of that dirty trick in the beginning…”
“But Dolgyu also rolled on the ground after that.”
“So what? You blaming him? Is that it?”
Professor Ingurdel ignored the murmurs of the students and opened his mouth to speak.
“These students showed us a brilliant fight today.
But there's no guarantee that the winner today would remain the winner forever, and the same goes for the defeated.
The winner must remember to remain modest, whereas the loser must strive to become stronger.
Now, face each other and pay your respects.”
Yi-han extended his hand while looking at his opponent, half-expecting Dolgyu to glare at him, spit at him, or grab his hand extremely hard.
Based on his behavior before the class, he had a nasty personality.
Now that he had been defeated in what he took most pride in, who knew what he would do?
'If he tries to throw a punch, I'll first hit him with a low kick, followed by a counter.'
Yi-han stared at his opponent with narrow eyes, readying himself.
Granted, Professor Ingurdel was beside them keeping watch, but he had been taught in his previous schools as well as this one that professors weren't to be trusted.
“…It was a good fight.
I apologize for looking down on you earlier.
You are more than qualified to take this class with us.”
Surprisingly, the orc gave him a sincere apology.
At first, Yi-han suspected that he was trying to lower his guard before striking, but there wasn't any sign of that.
'Well, in that case…'
“I'm sure you were just looking out for me.
Let's both forgive and forget.”
Dolgyu grasped his hand and nodded, giving Yi-han a look of respect.
Clap, clap, clap-
The professor clapped at the beautiful scene painted before him.
The other students, however, were still in a daze.
“Why aren't you all clapping?”
Professor Ingurdel put on a serious face and unsheathed his sword, prompting the students to clap furiously.
Clap, clap, clap, clap, clap, clap, clap, clap!
“Are we going to let him go like this after such a humiliating defeat? We should go roughen him up,” someone said coldly.
The others from the White Tigers nodded.
However, Dolgyu shook his head.
“I lost because I lacked training.”
“No! It's because he kicked up dirt!”
“No, I would have still lost even without that.
And if that had indeed caused me to lose, it just goes to show that I was lacking.”
The students were stirred after hearing his words.
As the strongest in the dorm, his words carried authority.
However, a student with blond hair coldly refuted him.
“That's not our business.
What's important is that you tarnished the reputation of our tower.
Choi, you must bear responsibility.”
The voice belonged to Jijel of the Moradi Family.
Dolgyu's expression hardened.
The Moradi Family commanded great authority among the families in the north, and even he couldn't ignore her words carelessly.
“And how am I supposed to do that? I lost because he was stronger.”
If you can't beat him alone, gang up on him.”
Before she even finished, two students stepped forward to stand beside Dolgyu.
“Don't worry, Dolgyu.
We'll help you.”
“Three should do the trick.”
“…Don't you feel ashamed as a knight to gang up on one person?”
Dolgyu raised his voice in an attempt to dissuade them.
Jijel, however, laughed it off.
“Then you should've won.
How can you say that after losing?”
The White Tigers were split into two factions, a faction that supported Moradi's idea, and a faction that thought this was going too far.
But the latter didn't speak up.
“I refuse,” Dolgyu said through clenched teeth.
“You're going to regret this.”
Jijel turned around, no longer bothering with him.
“The coward says he's out.
You three, go stomp on Wardanaz.”
“Leave it to us.”
Yi-han was strong, but in a 3 against 1, the odds would be against him, especially since all three were also trained in swordsmanship.
Dolgyu made up his mind.
For the sake of honor, he would stand on Yi-han's side.
“How dare you, Wardanaz!!”
“…You can come as well if you wish to die,” Yi-han said matter-of-factly.
Seeing his figure, the remaining two students subconsciously took a step back.
Dolgyu, who had come to help, stared at the student on the ground in disbelief.
'What's going on here?'
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