༺ Lunia Arden (1)༻
She stood tall and proud with her tough and imposing physique. Her back was so straight that it looked like she was being supported with a thick stick and her long black hair reached all the way down to her waist.
The buttons of her jet-black suit were all undone except for the few around her chest, which thus revealed her voluptuous lines, but she gave off a dignified aura that overshadowed it.
It was as if that word had been made solely for her sake.
The monster slowly crumbled to the ground after the sword pierced through the head of the horse all the way to its rider.
The Grade 1 demonic beast, ‘Dullahan’, that had been pushing Alicia to her limits died in the blink of an eye. Even though it was a surprise attack, only someone like Lunia who was at the level of a semi-Unique Grade Knight would be able to defeat such a sensitive monster in one strike.
She was the contemporary heroine, Lunia Arden.
Her bluish brown eyes, elegant set of facial features as well as her physical characteristics all the way up from her legs – even from a glance, it was easy to spot the similarities between these two sisters.
However, they gave off a totally different atmosphere. It was as different as a tiger and a rodent.
Unlike the innocent and warm look on Alicia’s face, Lunia looked so sharp and cold that the chilliness seemed to affect the surrounding air.
Lunia opened her mouth without even hiding her animosity against her younger sister, Alicia.
“That was pathetic. Why did you not fall back after seeing the Dullahan? Why didn’t you scout the enemy beforehand? And most importantly, what was with that miserable attack?”
She coerced Alicia with her voice. The coldness of her expression and the contempt in her gaze were so intense that no-one would be able to forget it after receiving it even once.
“Stop. The result of your actions are all a part of your responsibility. A few words of apology are not going to be enough. Be aware that your carelessness was what endangered the soldiers who had followed you out of trust.”
Alicia shrunk and instinctively lowered her shoulders when the back of Lunia’s sword struck her arm like a whip.
“A swordsman of Arden must stand tall at all times.”
They seemed more like a higher-up and a subordinate of the military instead of sisters. In truth, that indeed was the base culture of the Arden household.
Well, they were actually more like a group of gangsters than the military.
“But still… to think there’s someone unwilling to help their comrade in distress.”
Lunia turned her sharp glare towards me. She might have noticed that I was watching Alicia while pretending to have my hands full.
However, she soon turned away from me as if she didn’t want to bother quibbling about it.
After a while, several female swordsmen wearing suits neatly lined up in front of her.
“Captain. We have finished dealing with the nearby demonic beasts.”
“Shall we chase the ones that are running away?”
Those swordsmen that followed Lunia Arden around looked like armed gangsters wielding weapons but they were the elites of the Arden dojo.
Jennie the Rapid Sword, Sirin the Duel Wielder, Lena of the Rippling Sword, Mei the Sword of True Darkness, and Milia of the Illusionary Sword.
They were the Five Swords of the Arden family who were each at the level of a Grade 2 Knight. Each and every one of them were either stronger or as strong as Alicia.
“There is no need to chase after them. We’re going back.”
“By your will, Captain.”
The five swordsmen lowered their heads without raising any questions about Lunia’s command. Then, they gave a comparatively warmer greeting to the intimidated Alicia.
“It has been a while, young miss.”
“H, hello. Sisters…”
That was when Lunia tapped on the ground with her scabbard as if she wasn’t content with something, as they immediately re-addressed her using a different title.
“Do you have any injuries, Junior Sister?”
“I, I’m fine. Senior Sister Jennie.”
After making sure they were calling each other using the right title, Lunia turned around. While the security guards were almost done inspecting the nest of the demonic beasts, Alicia fidgeted with her hands before carefully walking up to her.
“W, what brought you here?”
“That is classified information.”
“T, then how long do you plan on staying…”
“That is classified information.”
Their conversation was followed with a heavy silence. This was how their conversation always went.
“Of course, I didn’t come to see such a pathetic side of my kindred. It’s a shame I do not have any other choice.”
This time, Alicia didn’t shrink her shoulders because she knew she would receive a fierce strike with the back of the sword.
After turning her back to Alicia, Lunia clomped her way towards me along with a ferocious vigor.
“I am the head disciple of the Divine Arden Swordsmanship, the First Captain, Lunia Arden.”
Hmm. Because of her formal explanation of herself, I had to do a matching introduction of myself.
“I am the worldly disciple of Eight Trigrams Spearmanship, Korin Lork.”
Lunia stared directly into my eyes.
Yes, I know.
I knew what she wanted to say but I couldn’t tell her the real identity of my spearmanship.
In the current era, there were only two people apart from me that were using this specific spearmanship. There were only a few people that could notice its true identity just by seeing it, but there might be problems in the future if I talked about the name myself.
“Don’t worry if you don’t want to talk about it. What is your relationship with our fool?”
“Umm… I’m her friend.”
“A friend? …… Take this.”
After slight hesitation, Lunia took something out of her pocket and handed it over to me.
The outer packaging had the unique decoration of a bee. I knew what it was since I had been sending a few of them back home because of the letters of my sister.
Honey bomb candies.
Its characteristic was the explosive bomb of sugar that showed the extreme limits of sweetness and numbed your tongue.
As expected of sisters, their tastes were exactly the same.
“Let us return.”
Lunia Arden commanded the security guards as if it was the most natural thing in the world.
“It seems that young miss… I mean Junior Sister has been healthy.”
“It looked like she even gained some weight.”
The Five Swords casually talked about Alicia while following behind Lunia. The reason they were so carefree despite the conversation concerning the one and only competitor of the successor candidate they were loyal to was partially because they knew how upright Lunia Arden was, but there was another reason.
Someone like Alicia Arden would never be able to contend against Lunia Arden.
Even though the Sword Emperor personally chose Alicia as a successor candidate and gave her the demon-slaying sword on top of that, Alicia had been unable to display herself as a suitable future successor of the Arden household.
Ever since ‘that incident’, Alicia Arden grabbed the attention of many people, but at the same time, that caused her to break. The weak-minded girl was not suited for the path of a killing sword.
Lunia Arden scoffed at her junior sisters that were following from behind. She didn’t feel the need to correct their thoughts because of how pathetic her foolish sister had been.
“In any case, do any of you know about that boy?”
“Do you mean that boy called Korin, Captain?”
Jennie and the other swordsmen of the Five Swords showed doubtful looks on their faces after hearing her question.
“That boy was just a Grade 5 Knight though, was he not?”
Jennie replied as the only one who bothered to ask questions about Korin’s identity, but Lunia frowned in response.
“That can’t be. Were the grading tests of Merkarva Academy that unreliable?”
Lunia knew how that boy had been relaxed despite fighting against a horde of monsters.
It looked like he was barely holding on with the rest of the monsters while leaving the Grade 1 demonic beast, Dullahan, to Alicia, but Lunia Arden knew how that couldn’t be any further from the truth.
Korin’s gaze had been on Alicia from the start to the end, and the group of monsters around him weren’t even able to attract 20% of his attention.
He wasn’t just a little bit more experienced than others, and that wasn’t something that was achievable through training. Korin had the sensitiveness and a compulsive behavior that could only be polished through actual battles.
The habits that were formed from extreme situations where it was either ‘kill or be killed’ weren’t easy to remove.
Even if someone was to throw a rock at him in the middle of his sleep, he would probably use the same move.
‘And that spearmanship.’
It looked simple at a glance but Lunia had practically mastered the Arden swordsmanship and could thus see the destination of that spear. Those spear moves were like the preheating process that was there to let him reach and accomplish something in a higher plane. In that sense, it was similar to the Arden Style’s Domain Severance.
‘Is he looking into the domain?’
If he was, then that would mark the appearance of the first Spear Saint in 80 years. There was the request she had gotten from the Academy, so Lunia decided to observe him whenever she had time.
It was a short encounter. Her younger sister was still disappointing, but her friend was quite decent.
If that boy continued staying next to her sister…
A rare smile faintly appeared on Lunia’s lips.
It was out of expectation that she might be able to see it again this time.
My friend circle has increased massively to the previous iteration.
I usually listened to lectures with Jaeger and Lark but the lunch was random. Sometimes I ate at the cafeteria, and sometimes I ate at the kitchen which was open to the students.
That was usually only when Marie brought some fresh ingredients for lunch but quite surprisingly, Yuel also sometimes brought precious mushrooms from the forest.
On days where I had lunch with Yuel, we would go to the library immediately after the meal to start the lecture on the Ogham alphabet.
She remembered all the letters but still wasn’t sure with the meaning, interpretations and applications, which was because the woods had been burnt down before she could hear anything proper about them.
“I have a mission. With good pay.”
Another surprising fact was that Dorron would also come from time to time. Was it from friendship and a sense of camaraderie that was created during the time we fought together? It would be great if that was the case, but it obviously wasn’t for this money worshiper.
In his eyes, it seemed that I was a decent teammate of the same industry. He would sometimes offer doing a mission together whenever there was a difficult mission that paid well.
After recovering all of his swords, Dorron was back to being one of the top damage dealers among freshmen. He was experienced and saw many things in the world, so working with him was always very comfortable.
To be honest, he was very helpful in the last iteration as well.
In any case, I realized once again that my relationships had broadened by a lot compared to how tiny it was due to Park Sihu’s disruption.
“Korin. You know, for your mandatory course, they were looking for a helper from the 2nd year students. I attended as the assistant thanks to Professor Josephine’s help, and you know what? That druid girl—”
Especially because of how people like Marie, who had been impossible to see in the previous iteration, often came to me. I constantly felt pride for saving a girl from the temperamental acts of that stupid Park.
“Oh right. This is a potato pie. I put minced lamb inside and baked it together. Have some when you’re feeling hungry.”
As expected of someone who was known as the potato-sunbae by the freshmen, Marie always brought a bunch of stuff whenever she came for a visit.
Like how grandmas living in the countryside prepared tons of stuff for their grandchildren, Marie always prepared a large amount of food which was enough to feed 3~4 people.
“It’s too much though…”
“Reaally? Umm, should we eat it together then?”
I would always say it was too much to eat by myself and Marie would stay back to help me finish the food. These days, I would pretty much always eat dinner with her and thanks to that, I didn’t have to go to the cafeteria at night.
“Wait. This lamb. Don’t tell me…”
“Can you tell? It’s a fresh lamb that was butchered just today!”
I heard there were less than 20 livestock except for chicken that were being sent to the Academy. Even though Merkarva Academy always gave away food for little to no return, they were still quite eager to reduce the cost by reducing the menus and stuff.
Considering that, having fresh meat instead of a frozen one was remarkable, but for some reason, it was actually common for Marie to bring fresh meat.
“Actually, Professor Josephine told me to help with butchering the livestock. I’m helping out so that I can practice controlling their blood and drawing them out clean.”
A terrifying scene of Marie snapping the neck of a lamb and extracting its blood appeared in my mind. But in any case, it was true that the best way to learn something was through consistent practices.
“I’ll bring beef next time! They said they’ll be sending three later! Do you like braised ox-tails?”
I immediately held onto her hands. Senior Marie looked a bit surprised but she didn’t shake my hands off.
“Please call me anytime. I’ll go wherever you tell me to.”
“Y, your hands…”
“I, I will bring them so can you please… let go for now?”
Marie lowered her head and used her other hand to lower the visor of her cap. Her tiny hand twitched inside my hands but I could feel the faint and stern grip.
Didn’t she just ask me to let go of her hand?
“H, hmm… Your hands are big, aren’t they?”
“I am a guy after all.”
“Mhmm…! They’re very rough, and there are a lot of scratches… I can feel your hard work.”
Despite telling me to let go of her hand, she was observing mine while touching every part of it. Since she was a clever mage herself, she seemed quite intrigued with the hands of a knight.
“They’re just like my dad’s hands!”
“Nn. They’re like the hands of an adult.”
I was indeed an adult. Marie was sometimes very sharp and on point.
“Very cool… and mature…”
That was when the voice of a 2nd year student reached our ears.
As soon as Marie heard Isabelle’s voice, she let go of my hands in fright and hopped her way to Isabelle before she could say anything.
“H, hello Isabelle! Have you had dinner?”
“Uhh, yeah… by the way…”
“I didn’t do anything!”
“I didn’t. Do. Anything!”
“Bye Korin! See you later!”
Hmm. I didn’t know much about kids these days.
Like, it had been a long time since I last played with girls. Because of the disruptive actions of Park in the last iteration, I didn’t have any girlfriend in the past 3 years.
There were some suggestive atmospheres and relationships but… it’s all because of that stupid Park that I didn’t get to make any girlfriends.
That had to be the case…
Anyway, Marie would probably reappear out of nowhere tomorrow like always.
The next day, I was heading to the cafeteria to have lunch with my friends when an unexpected person stopped me in my tracks.
Jaeger and Lark shivered like herbivores in front of a carnivore. Their instinct as an organism was telling them to lower themselves before the predator in front of their eyes.
Hua Ran with the same chained nun clothes came to me.
It was about a month ago that we made that promise.
Back when I was suspicious about Marie’s awakening, I had gone looking for Hua Ran at the special dormitory to ask about Lady Josephine’s whereabouts.
I told her I would buy her a meal as a show of gratitude but I had completely forgotten about it.
I actually didn’t mean it when I said that though…
“Guess I can’t have lunch with you guys today.”
“Hmm… Actually, I think I forgot to do my homework.”
“I can help you!”
The two of them ran away in the blink of an eye. They didn’t do anything wrong to Hua Ran but their fear was justified because her aura alone was already in an overwhelmingly different league.
“Hmm… what do you want?”
“Do you want some spicy chicken feet…”
Hmm, judging from her reaction, it seemed that I would probably become one with the spicy chicken feet if I tried to feed her that.
Let’s see. Hua Ran looked like a sharp cat… and cats like fish so…
“Do you want some mackerels?”
Good. It seemed that Hua Ran was fine with fish. In the central streets of the Academy, there were plenty of other restaurants apart from the academy cafeteria. Although most of them were high-class restaurants that were incomparably more expensive than the cafeteria, there were still some normal ones.
“Aunty! A mackerel set and a roe soup for us please!”
Soon came roe soup in a black stone pot and a set meal with grilled mackerel. In addition, there were also 2-people’s-worth of side dishes.
“It’s Eastern style, but it’s a bit different from your place, right? Even apart from the peninsula-style cuisine, there are some oversea-style cuisines here.”
“You know, places that sell raw fish on rice.”
“…Are they tasty?”
“They’re not cost-efficient but they are tasty.”
“…I want to go.”
Did I have to take her there next time? I guess I had to talk about it with Lady Josephine.
Hua Ran put aside the steaming bowl of white rice and was about to pick up the mackerel with her bare hands.
“Are you going to eat that with your bare hands?”
She appeared to be asking why not.
“The bones are going to be stuck in your throat.”
“I can eat the bones as well.”
She probably could, considering how she had the Unbreakable Vajra Body but still, that was not how this dish was supposed to be consumed.
“Let me take the bones out. Wait a bit.”
I used to come to this restaurant quite a lot in the last iteration because both Park and I kept ourselves from feeling homesick with the help of Korean cuisine.
By separating the flesh of the fish into two, I separated them into chunks and skilfully removed the back bone. When I was done removing the small and fine bones of the fish and separated the flesh into nice and edible pieces, I saw Hua Ran gulping in front of me.
“Let’s dive in.”
Hua Ran began eating the mackerel set meal.
The grilled mackerel was moist on the inside while the skin had a golden crust and was more than sufficient for a nice meal.
Besides, it was grilled quite nicely and didn’t smell too much like fish. But that didn’t mean you didn’t have to brush your teeth after eating it!
In any case, watching her eating all the pieces of deboned mackerel was a very pleasing sight. She was only three years old now so I was worried that she might be picky with some food but that must have been my prejudice…
“Why do I have double the pickles from before?”
She directly stared at me as if she did nothing wrong. After that, she raised her bowl of shredded radish salad and nonchalantly poured it into my bowl.
She replied to my gaze.
“I don’t like this.”
“I don’t want to eat this.”
“I can eat this.”
Lastly, she picked up my bowl of stir-fried fish cakes. She seemed rather proud with that ‘We’re even now right?’ look on her face.
Anyway, that was how I spent my life everyday. On the weekdays, I would listen to lectures and go to the training rooms, and I completed missions to clear the 1st Precept on the weekends.
The weapon that I had requested from Ferghus was about to be done as well, and it was about time to deal with the Murderer of the City of Fog.
It was a bit early, but it was the start of the 2nd Arc.
Wanna read ahead? Buy coins here. You can unlock chapters with coins or rather “genesis orbs”.
You can support us by reading the chapter on the Genesis website, and also by becoming an exclusive member.
You should check out the illustrations on our discord server: discord.com/invite/JnWsEfAGKc
You can rate this series here.