Lying on the reclined armchair, Javier frowned and tossed his body.
It was annoying.
Of course it was.
He escorted the rascal Young Master during the day.
At night, he suffered from insomnia every day.
In the meantime, it was natural that he was tired because he hadn’t missed a single sword training in his spare time.
No, it was almost karma.
‘But, did I just sleep more today?’
Somehow, he felt like he had slept longer than usual today.
A satisfied smile arose at the thought.
However, Javier’s smile didn’t last long.
Wake up, will you?”
He heard an amused voice.
The voice was as if they had seen something laughable.
‘Was it a dream?’
No, it wasn’t a dream.
Because I hadn’t had a single dream in years.
Maybe it was because of my sleep deprivation.
Javier tossed and turned in the opposite direction.
But, even that gesture couldn’t stop the voice from being heard again.
It’s time to get up, you sleepyhead.”
What? It wasn’t a hallucination.
There was definitely a voice coming from right next to me.
‘I am a sleepyhead? What is that?’
I dazedly came to my senses.
I’ve been suffering from insomnia for years.
At least, I wasn’t the kind of person who needed to listen to other people’s sound to sleep.
Moreover, you could say that my senses are sharper than anyone else.
But, was there someone else who came inside and talked to me without me knowing?
Javier opened his eyes.
His whole body stiffened without him even realizing it.
If I hadn’t woken you up, you would’ve slept until the sun is on top of your head.” (tl/n: Lloyd said Javier would sleep until noon if he hadn’t woken him up.)
A black-haired young man was standing beside the reclined armchair.
I think he was in his mid-twenties.
He was full of smiles.
The smile looked evil, like the smile of a villain who found a nice toy.
“Lloyd… nim?” Javier murmured unconsciously.
His murmur could be heard clearly.
The man I escorted.
The Young Master—the troublemaker of this land—is acting strange recently, which made everyone wonder what kind of wind was blowing.
Even the way he smiled with only one corner raised looked so annoying.
“You finally recognized me.
Oh my God! What should I do?”
“….” Just by looking at your face, I could tell that you weren’t flustered at all.
“But, why is Lloyd-nim here…?”
Are you waking me up? I spat out unconsciously.
I am confused.
This situation is so strange.
‘Why is this person waking me up?’
It had never happened before.
It seemed completely impossible.
The one who always overslept was that ruffian, Lloyd.
Every morning, the first thing I did after I opened my eyes was waking that man up.
However, why did the corner of his smug grin only get higher?
“Why, I wonder.
It was because you slept here.”
“Me? Slept here?”
“How did this happen?”
“Didn’t you remember what happened last night?”
“Last night, I.…”
“You passed out completely.
You were sleeping like a baby.
Snoring, and then grinding your teeth.
It was like a 3D sound effect played on Dolby Orchestra.”
I can relate with you.
The reinforced concrete lecture is a bit too much.
I thought I was going crazy when I first listened to it.
Even when I was the one who recited it last night, I also felt sleepy.”
… I don’t know anything about this.
I don’t even remember what happened.
I was just sitting on this chair last night.
Nevertheless, my head felt so much clearer right now.
Did I truly get to sleep soundly? It felt unfamiliar yet wonderful.
Still spacing out, I see.
Drink this and pull yourself together.”
The ruffian Young Master held out a glass.
Fresh cold water could be seen sloshing inside the glass.
Gulping the water down at once, I then checked my condition.
While clenching my fists, I could feel the vigor that had never been there before.
When blood runs through the blood vessels on my clenched fists, there’s a refreshing sensation.
The vividness was on a whole different level than when I suffered from sleep deprivation every day before.
‘This is incredible.’
Could it be that I really got a good night’s sleep? Did I overcome that hellish insomnia?
Javier accepted this reality readily.
The body’s condition doesn’t lie.
With his outstanding inspection skills, he decided to believe the truth his nerves told him.
However, there was something that caught his eye out of the blue.
“What is that?”
Javier’s gaze was locked on Lloyd.
To be precise, on Lloyd’s waist.
Lloyd’s waist was in front of him and a wooden practice sword was hanging there.
It wasn’t just that.
Lloyd’s attire was also unusual.
Light and durable leather armor was worn over his everyday clothes.
Leather guards were also tied to his elbows and knees.
He even had a towel around his neck to wipe off his sweat.
No wonder, his appearance looked very earnest.
‘This can’t be happening.’
Javier unknowingly inhaled.
Something seemed to come to mind.
My conjecture was then confirmed by Lloyd’s response.
“Have you forgotten already? You promised to teach me swordsmanship if I cured your insomnia.”
The answer was obvious.
Thanks to that, events from last night flashed across my mind.
Last night, I accepted Lloyd’s offer.
It was kind of a bet.
So, what if Lloyd successfully cured my insomnia? What if I fell asleep? Did I promise to teach that rascal swordsmanship?
That was indeed Lloyd’s offer which he accepted last night.
‘So, now I have to teach that ruffian swordsmanship? Me?’
Insomnia had haunted me for a long time.
The joy of overcoming that and achieving a good night’s sleep soon cooled down.
This felt like a huge problem.
“Then, let’s start with running.”
In the training ground, the weather was sunny.
Javier stood on one side of the training ground and said.
“Stand over here, please.”
From now on, Lloyd-nim will be running along the edge of the training ground.
Do you have any questions?”
“No, I don’t.”
“If I have to run, I’ll just run.
“Don’t tell me.
You weren’t preparing to launch a long speech inside your heart, were you?
“What do you mean by a long speech?”
“Are you pretending to be innocent? Why, you know what I meant.
With a stern, solemn, and serious look, you’d say things like ‘Running is the basis of all training.
Powerful swordsmanship and flamboyant techniques must be supported with strong basic physical strength, blah-blah-blah-blah…’, this kind of atmosphere and speech.”
The prickly Javier shut his mouth.
“Then, did you imagine me complaining like ‘I don’t want to do it! Just teach me powerful swordsmanship!’ and then you’d cooly answer me with ‘it’s Lloyd-nim himself who asked me to teach swordsmanship.’, and then proceed to make me run?”
“I’m right, aren’t I?”
I’m not a child.
Then, I’m going.”
Step! Step! Step!
Javier, who remained on the starting line, unconsciously frowned.
‘I thought you’re going to whine about not wanting to run.’
Lloyd’s reaction was too different from his predictions.
He was much calmer than I thought.
‘But, If I make him keep running, he’ll show his true nature.’ That was what Javier thought.
Every human is like that.
When they feel comfortable before they start something, they’ll feel ambitious.
Feeling confident that they can achieve any goal.
However, what if a hard moment arrives? What if they run into a wall that is the limitation of their body and mind?
Curiosity and bravado that were initially there vanish like a lie.
He’ll try to make some compromise with his inner self, which shrieks when faced with struggles.
Just like people who have been on a diet for about 3 days or so.
Or, just like those who declared to quit smoking a day ago.
Their weak nature will manifest.
I’m sure you’re the same.’
The ruffian he knew was especially such a person.
He was a human being who never faced a situation like this, where he had been forced to run. So, how many laps around the training ground will it take for you to run out of breath?
‘You’ll regret the bravado you’ve just shown.
You might call it quits with learning swordsmanship.’
Frankly, that was what I hoped for.
I didn’t want to teach that rascal swordsmanship.
I didn’t have any faith in that person.
He was a human being who got drunk every day.
Every time he did that, he committed all kinds of misdeeds.
Even so, teaching such a person swordsmanship? It was dizzying to think about what kind of accident he would cause using the swordsmanship I taught.
Of course, the hooligan had changed a bit recently.
However, the true nature of a person doesn’t change easily.
That rascal is the same.
Who knows when his old habits will make a comeback?
‘So I’m going to treat you as harshly as I can.
Until you gave up by yourself.
Or, until you can get over it and prove yourself worthy.’
Javier concealed his firm resolution.
With icy eyes, I stared at Lloyd.
Waiting for the moment this ruffian shouted that he’s giving up.
However, things didn’t turn out the way I thought.
“Gasp, gaasp! Gasp!”
Step, step! Step!
Lloyd kept running.
He just silently kept running.
Ten laps, twenty laps, thirty laps, and still counting.
While circling the training ground, he passed through in front of Javier a good number of times.
In the meantime, he didn’t even utter a single word.
Even when his breath was ragged; when his body soaked with sweat; or when his tired legs trembled.
Without any rest, he silently ran at a constant speed.
Little by little at first.
Later on, in a straightforward manner, Javier’s eyes shook.
Lloyd’s mental strength was so incomprehensible that it was hard to fathom the source.
Of course, the secret of Lloyd’s tenacity was actually simple.
‘Because I’ve been through more than just running like this.’
He actually did.
In the army, marching and guerrilla activities are strenuous activities that made him very tired.
When he lost his parents and worked part-time jobs, it got even more exhausting.
‘Have you been climbing up and down all day to transport bricks to the roof of a four-story building? Or have you been loading and unloading delivery trucks all night?’
Only those who have tried it know how difficult it is.
The feeling when your body was forced to become mechanical parts.
Feeling endlessly worn out with his muscles feeling like it’s gonna get torn apart.
‘Even though I was out of breath, I kept watching the clock, while holding onto some hope.
I’m sure all of this will come to an end.
Just a little bit more and I’ll get to rest.
However, in reality? Absolutely wrong.
It was really sh*tty.
The time wasn’t even halfway through! Compared to the despair of having to keep moving in the midst of feeling hopeless just to make some money, running like this feels like heaven!’
In South Korea, such things were my routine.
I had to live in such a hopeless situation every day.
With a sense of despair, wondering how long I have to live like this.
Amidst that, I hadn’t given up on making a living.
Let’s make some money.
Let’s eat and keep on living.
I always had to push my limits.
No, I had to move even soullessly, just like a zombie in a state of limbo.
Only then could I not starve.
On the other hand, what about now?
‘All I have to do is run.’
I wasn’t forced to move like a slave.
I ran to learn swordsmanship because I wanted it.
Of course, my body still got tired.
But, it was fun.
I was happy, even if I was out of breath; even when my whole body was drenched with sweat; even when my legs felt like jelly and was unsteady; even when everything in front of my eyes turned black sometimes.
‘This is fine.’
Lloyd kept running.
And, well past the fiftieth lap, he smiled as he passed in front of Javier.
“Huff, huff, huff! The one who is running is me, huff, why are you the one who looked like you had chewed on some shit?”
You didn’t expect this, did you?”
“Then, will you continuously stand there, huff, in silence?”
After that, Lloyd kept running.
It continued like that until Javier couldn’t take it anymore.
“Please stop running, Lloyd-nim.”
“Huft, heuk, why?”
“You’re already limping.”
“I, too, huff, heuk, already know that?”
“That’s why, please take a break.”
Lloyd stopped running for the first time.
“Are you flustered?”
“No, I’m not.”
You never expected this kind of situation to happen.
You’ve probably prepared a bunch of lines like, ‘I’m disappointed by Lloyd-nim’s weak willpower,’ or ‘You have to keep running until I tell you to stop.’ Am I right?”
“As I’ve said before, huft, why do you discreetly treat people with prejudice?”
“I don’t know what you mean.”
“Didn’t you take me as a joke when I asked you to teach me swordsmanship?”
Javier was speechless.
Lloyd stared into his eyes with a face bereft of a smile.
When I saw that look in his eyes, I unconsciously ran out of answers.
In my heart, I felt like I was caught.
“Is swordsmanship a joke? Is that it?”
“Of course that’s not it.”
“But, why didn’t you take my words seriously when I asked you to teach me swordsmanship?”
“With such complacent spirit, can you even teach others swordsmanship?”
I have nothing to say.
For the first time, I wanted to hide in a rat hole.
The Young Master, who I thought of as only a hooligan, kept talking.
“Looking at it, you’ve been checking if I’m qualified to learn swordsmanship.
However, I need to make sure you’re qualified to teach swordsmanship too.
Am I wrong?”
“So let’s get this right.
When you’re going to argue about my qualifications, do some research first on how to teach better, okay?”
Javier bit his lips unconsciously.
I never thought there would be a day when I would be criticized by that scumbag.
The back of my head felt like it had been bashed by a blunt weapon.
I wanted to refute him somehow, but I couldn’t.
‘Because he’s right.’
Without a hitch, Javier admitted it.
It was exactly the same as Lloyd pointed out.
He was only looking at the opponent’s qualifications.
He didn’t think about how to teach swordsmanship better.
He tried to test his opponent’s mental strength when he didn’t prepare himself properly.
I was ashamed to look back on it.
At that moment.
[Javier Asrahan’s favorability towards you has increased by +1!]
[Your current relationship with Javier Asrahan: -28]
[A slight improvement in your relationship with a key character earned you 18 RP]
[Current RP: 29]
A new string of messages popped in front of Lloyd’s eyes.
Tl/n: This chapter is so cute, isn’t it? On the first part, the structure is the same with chapter 1, but now Javier changed position with Lloyd.
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