༺ The Lord Is With Us (11) ༻
Delphine cried out, unable to endure any longer.
She tearily turned to Ian. He was silently staring down at her.
She managed to squirm her body around so that she was laying down on her stomach. The stench of the blood-soaked earth invaded her nose, making her increasingly desperate.
She couldn’t lose her swordsmanship. It was everything she had ever worked for. It was more than enough to beg desperately.
“I was wrong… Pl-please have mercy.”
Her eyes trembled in humiliation. Still, just the thought of being unable to wield a sword ever again was far worse than the indignity she was currently bearing.
Faced with silence, she grew more nervous, and her words became increasingly distraught.
“Fo-forgive me… forgive me, please, I beg of you. At the very least, spare my arms…….”
“On your knees.”
Her eyes darted upwards at his voice. His golden irises chillingly pierced through her.
“You won’t kneel after losing a duel where you put your life on the line? At least show me what you’re willing to do to live.”
Her lips twitched. She wanted to retort, but upon meeting his unfeeling gaze, she didn’t dare to disobey.
‘Aren’t I already begging while crawling on the floor?’
‘Didn’t you already shatter my pride?’
‘Haven’t you already broken me to the point I could never even think of standing up to you again?’
At that moment, Ian raised his sword, causing her to flinch and flail her arms in panic.
Her shoulders were shattered and her tendons severed, but it was possible to forcibly move her limbs with mana.
Even while moving using all her might, it took an exorbitant amount of time to drop to her knees as the fear that he would change his mind consumed her mind.
Then, she planted her forehead into the dirt, her face close enough to kiss the ground.
Biting down on her lips, her vision undulated with tears.
She thought she had already thrown away her pride, but that wasn’t the case. Her voice quivered as her entire body quaked in shame.
“I-I was wrong…….”
She grit her teeth, wanting to demand the reason why he was making her go to such an extent even after she knelt for him.
Feeling the blood rush to her head from frustration, she raised her head to glare at him only to be met with the same menacing, golden eyes.
His eyes told her that he would not hesitate to cut her if he was not satisfied with her apology.
She was once again reminded that he would turn her limbs into minced meat, leaving her so critically injured that she would never be able to hold a sword again.
Delphine shivered in fear and quickly shook off any thoughts of resisting.
Then, she opened her mouth.
But this time, her voice was tinged in submission.
“I-I apologize. I didn’t know my… hik… place.”
A sob slipped through, but Ian didn’t seem to care.
He merely stared at her silently. Her voice, thick with shame, continued flowing.
She placed her forehead on Ian’s foot.
It was similar to how a lowly vassal would prostrate before their emperor.
Defeated, all she could think about was how to preserve her swordsmanship, no matter how humiliating her actions were.
“Pl-please have mercy on me. Please…….”
Her sobs soon turned into desperate cries. He kept his eye on her before slowly dispelling the aura from his sword.
With the weeping woman still at his feet, Ian spoke in a quiet voice.
She couldn’t answer through her tears, but he didn’t seem to expect a response. Although he was addressing her, it felt more like a soliloquy.
“You’ve been living in too small a world. The Yurdina family and the Academy are just two, places in the world. There are all sorts of monsters out there.”
The sound of Ian’s blade sliding into its scabbard rang out, signaling the end of the duel.
“Have you ever fought the vampires of the Great Sea? What about the demonic humans contracted to the Evil God? The priests of the dark cults that lurk beneath the Empire, the Holy Nation, and the Ten Kingdoms?”
He turned his back to her.
“If you lose to them, it’s not just a matter of dying or becoming unable to wield a sword for the rest of your life. Pick your battles carefully.”
Delphine slowly raised her head.
“There won’t be another opportunity. Soon, I’ll come to collect the price of your life.”
His words sent a shiver down her spine as her eyes fluttered wildly with fear.
She dropped her head back into the ground.
And with one last statement, the man left.
“Since you’re a noble, I’m sure you have a potion or two. I’ll send for someone.”
‘If a demonic beast comes, good luck.’
With those unspoken words, the sun fell below the horizon.
Delphine Yurdina continued to shiver in place even long after the man had left. She was curled up in a fetal position and mulled over her shame and indignation as blood trickled down from where she was biting down on her lip.
“I’m afraid Ms. Yurdina is refusing to see you.”
The volunteer student on duty notified me in front of the temple.
I didn’t know what exactly had transpired during the time I was possessed, but considering she was in the intensive care unit, it was clear that Senior Delphine had received some ‘treatment’ from the future ‘Ian’.
Thinking along those lines, I wondered if I would become a master in the future since I was capable enough to put someone of Senior Delphine’s caliber in intensive care.
I laughed at the absurdity of my own thoughts.
Masters were unrivaled powerhouses on the continent. Beings who had reached the extreme peaks of their paths, capable of bending the very laws of the world.
Without the ideal conditions, even an army couldn’t defeat them.
And there were only a few who had reached such heights.
The Sword Saint.
The Saint of the Holy Nation.
The Great Witch of the Southern Ten Kingdoms.
Right now, these were the only three masters on the continent.
Once one reached the level of a master, they would be able to live for hundreds of years, and a master only came into existence once every hundred years or so.
Frankly speaking, I didn’t have that kind of talent.
Even Seria and Delphine, the most talented swordswomen I knew, were uncertain to ever reach the level of Master.
If I were talented enough for that, I would’ve already been at the top of my class.
As I stood there laughing to myself, the student slightly backed away with a bizarre look like he was looking at some weirdo.
I quickly came to my senses, but my troubles were still ever-present.
I wondered how I could meet her.
It was obvious he wouldn’t believe me even if I explained my story.
‘Hey, the soul of my future self took over my body for a while, and I need to find out what happened in that time.’
I would be lucky if they didn’t put me in a straitjacket on the spot before sending me to some mental institution.
Thus, there was only a single solution I could think of.
And that was to change Senior Delphine’s mind. And as far as I could tell, there was only one way to do that.
“Can you lend me some paper and a pen?”
The student flashed me a dubious look.
However, likely due to my current reputation in the academy, he seemed willing to listen to my request.
He held out a palm-sized piece of paper and a pen. I quickly scribbled a sentence on the paper, folded it twice, and handed it back to him.
“Can you please pass this note on to Senior Delphine? She’ll know it’s from me, and if she still won’t let me in, I’ll give up.”
The student looked reluctant, but he agreed to try, soon disappearing into the long hallways of the temple.
A few moments later, he reappeared with his face colored in surprise.
He turned to me in admiration.
“What was in that note? Ms. Delphine agreed to see you despite not even letting her entourage in.”
“Hahaha, it’s a secret.”
I brushed his question aside with an awkward smile.
I couldn’t tell him.
How could I ever tell him that the note contained a threat –- A threat that said, “If you don’t want to get hit again, let me in.”?
Compared to persuasion, making threats was simple and straightforward, making them the most efficient way of getting things done quickly.
Sighing heavily, I followed the student as he led me to Delphine’s room.
I could only hope I hadn’t done too much damage.
Warm sunlight streamed in through the window.
The clean, white marble room was a familiar sight by now. I’d been here many times, but this was the first time I was the one visiting.
As brilliant golden hair shimmered from under the sunlight, she was sitting up on her bed while staring out the window with nary a word.
I didn’t have to see her face to know who it was.
We were enemies in more ways than one, but now, I was seeking her help. Clearing my throat, I spoke in a cautious voice.
The woman’s head slowly turned, her crimson eyes meeting mine.
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