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“The realization of breathing is slower than the Heart Sword…”
Kraugel had reached the point where he could read and exploit the breathing of the target. The basic technique of the Sword Saint was acquired only now.
“It is amazing. You learned to run before walking so you didn’t know what was possible.”
NPCs weren’t aware of the existence of the system and couldn’t understand players who benefited from the system. Kraugel was forced to smile bitterly at his master who was clicking his tongue. It was a pity that he couldn’t say anything.
The deeper his relationship with Kirinus became, the more he thought of Grid.
‘Has he been fighting this type of gap for a long time?’
The NPCs were an artificial intelligence, not living human beings. Nevertheless, Kraugel respected the NPCs. It was a type of role play, a way to increase his concentration and endurance by maximizing his immersion in this world. Yet from the time he met Piaro and after studying under Kirinus for more than two years, Kraugel’s perception underwent a major change.
At the very least, in this world, the NPCs were accepted as real humans. They felt precious. He now fully understood Grid’s wrath that resonated throughout the world after losing the blacksmith called Khan.
‘At that time, he must’ve been having a really hard time?’
Kraugel was lost in thought for a while before his expression stiffened. An unidentified, suspicious person was suddenly standing right behind him.
“It is a shame.”
Kraugel was unable to turn his head as the voice entered his ears. It was a voice that remained in Kraugel’s memory from six years ago. Kraugel used his genius memory to immediately identity this opponent.
‘The underground association of the tower!’
“I had expectations when you became a Sword Saint but you haven’t even achieved the basic training, let alone transcendence. Isn’t it an embarrassment to call yourself a Sword Saint in this state?”
“Who are you?”
The surprised Kirinus stepped forward. Even the best spearman on the continent was late to realize the presence of the suspicious man. The man holding the spear emitted hostility and Kraugel tried to say, ‘He isn’t the enemy.’ However, he was unsuccessful.
“Hoh, you have a great foundation.”
The mysterious man showed interest in Kirinus and pointed his finger at a specific part of Kraugel’s body. Then…
[You have been affected by the ‘silence’ state!]
[Resistance has failed. This will last for 3 minutes.]
Kraugel was unable to speak. At the same time, most skills were forbidden. Kraugel was surprised at encountering this for the first time but he soon recovered his composure. He was the supreme person because he didn’t become confused by the various situations he encountered.
‘Master, I’m fine.’
Kraugel’s strong willpower was contained in his eyes. He intended to convey his will to reassure Kirinus but it wasn’t delivered. Kirinus couldn’t afford to look at Kraugel. His feet sank deep into the stone floor as he blocked the suspicious man’s sword.
“Why are you doing this?”
“Don’t talk nonsense and focus on the fight. I want to measure the level of this era.”
The man ignored Kirinus’ question and warned in a rather excited voice. His mouth revealed below the hood of his robe was clearly smiling.
“There won’t be a chance!”
Kirinus’ anger reached its limits. It was natural to be angry when this person suddenly appeared, inflicted harm on his disciple, and treated him like a child. Unlike his anger, his spear didn’t show any emotions. Kirinus’s spear contained the same extreme flexibility as always. The spear handle encircled the mysterious man dozens of times.
The mysterious man was startled. He wasn’t surprised by Kirinus’ spear techniques. The mysterious man stepped back from Kirinus, blocked the sword coming from behind him, and uttered an exclamation of admiration. His sword was trembling madly from the shock.
The eyes of the mysterious man were focused on Kraugel.
“You opened the heart before the completion of the skill and body?”
Kraugel’s blood was clogged from his pressure point being hit and he couldn’t answer. The mysterious man had intended for him to not use any skills, let alone speak.
“How interesting. You aren’t following Muller’s path but you are self-studying. Therefore, it is impossible to complete the ‘skill’ and the ‘body,’ but you reached the ‘heart’ with your talent.”
The interest of the mysterious man returned to Kraugel from Kirinus.
He thought this person had become a Sword Saint too early because he thought Kraugel was following Muller’s progress, but what was this? This was perhaps a talent equal to Muller.
‘A talent that emerges once in a thousand years.’
He would confirm if it was true.
“Stop! Your opponent is me!”
Kirinus stretched out his spear as the mysterious man approached Kraugel. His spear swayed like bamboo in the wind and was fast and unpredictable. However, it didn’t work against the mysterious man. The mysterious man twisted his sword and the tip of the spear was buried in the ground.
“Don’t disturb me.”
The mysterious man’s interest in Kirinus had cooled down in a short period of time. He was a capricious person.
‘What is this power?’
Kirinus was surprised by the swordsmanship and hurriedly pulled the tip of his spear out of the ground. He used the repulsive force to swing it like a whip, aiming the spear at the mysterious man’s lower half. The mysterious man’s actions were faster.
“It has been confirmed.”
The man stepped on Kirinus’ spear and reached for Kraugel’s head. He grinned and stabbed at Kraugel’s pressure point with his finger.
“Kraugel!” Kirinus screamed because he misunderstood that this monster had inflicted harm on his disciple.
Surprisingly, the one who reassured him was the normal Kraugel. “I’m fine. He isn’t an enemy.”
Kraugel could finally open his mouth and he politely greeted the mysterious man. “Master, I greet you.”
“You know who I am?”
“I remember you from six years ago.”
Kraugel deliberately avoided the words ‘tower’ and ‘underground association’ since he knew that the Tower of Wisdom was extremely reluctant to be associated with the world.
“You are really clever and quick to notice.” The mysterious man was pleased while Kirinus shouted, “Kraugel! Do you know him?”
“Yes, this disciple is indebted to him.”
The red-faced Kirinus snorted. He didn’t like that a mysterious man he didn’t know was Kraugel’s benefactor. The mysterious man frowned. “Disciple? You became the disciple of a spearman?”
“Hah! A Sword Saint has become the disciple of a spearman?”
It was absurd. Who should be angry now?
Kirinus’ face reddened. Now he seemed to be a ripe date. Nevertheless, Kirinus couldn’t blame the mysterious man.
‘He is a master of the previous generation.’
The mysterious man was at the level of transcendence. Moreover, Kirinus remembered something about transcendents.
‘A transcendent can live for hundreds of years. Despite his appearance, he must be an old man.’
This meant he wasn’t someone Kirinus could be prideful towards. This person seemed to have a relationship with Kraugel so it was wiser to observe silently first. Kirinus tried to soothe his heart while Kraugel spoke politely to the mysterious man.
“As Master noticed, I was self-taught and came here. There are many skills I haven’t awakened so I asked to be his disciple. Thankfully, he accepted me.”
“Wouldn’t it be better to follow Muller’s progress?”
The death of a hero was directly related to the world’s crisis. That’s why the hero left behind their secret techniques before leaving. They wanted someone to defend the world on their behalf. It was the same with the mysterious man. The secret technique he left behind was passed down to Muller and developed further by Muller, protecting the world.
“My goal is to surpass Muller so I can’t follow his progress.”
His talent was comparable to Muller but he had a completely different personality. Well, the environment was different so it couldn’t be helped. Muller had quickly realized he was the strongest of all eras and didn’t compete with others. This child was obscured by the shadow of Muller and was destined to spend a long time proving himself.
“Even so, for a Sword Saint to ask a spearman for help…”
This was a major event that would crush a swordman’s pride. All the swordsmen in the world would be distressed. Still, the mysterious man didn’t say anything more. It was because the Tower of Wisdom didn’t get involved with the world. From the moment he entered the Tower of Wisdom, he had vowed that he would no longer intervene in the world. He had been a bit excited and showed an abnormal attitude when he thought Kraugel was his descendant but it turned out that this wasn’t the case. Therefore, he needed to draw the line clearly.
“Well, that’s fine. It is none of my business what you do.”
The mysterious man sent a strange look toward Kirinus, like he was going to eat Kirinus. Kirinus slightly shrank back and wasn’t aware that at this time, the mysterious man was sending a sound transmission to Kraugel.
[Pioneer. The Tower of Wisdom seeks your cooperation.]
Now the mysterious man didn’t treat Kraugel in a personal manner. He called Kraugel ‘Pioneer’, not ‘Sword Saint’, and conveyed the tower’s position to him, the only bridge that connected the Tower of Wisdom to the world.
[It is something called the insane dragon iron. It is a mine born from the influence of Insane Dragon Nevartan and is likely to be a target for all dragons targeting Nevartan.]
‘As expected, it is the Tower of Wisdom.’
The force only watched dragons and were lacking when it came to other news. No, it was more accurate to say that they had no interest. The Tower of Wisdom had no interest in the world and didn’t know the Pioneer had changed.
“Excuse me, Master.”
Kraugel hadn’t yet learned how to send a sound transmission to NPCs. He wanted to say he was no longer the Pioneer and the mysterious man had gone to the wrong place, so he should go back.
[Uhh! Have you forgotten that the tower’s chief is the only one who can leak the tower’s affairs to outsiders? Watch your mouth, even if this person is your teacher!!]
“That isn’t it… oof oof!”
[Just listen in silence! Your teacher has already noticed something suspicious! You can’t avoid punishment if you misrepresent the situation of the tower to the outside!]
Ah, this person… He had the same temperament when Kraugel saw him at the tower six years ago. The man had been so excited that Kraugel was a Sword Saint that he attacked despite the discouragement of the other association members. He was a person with a hotheaded temperament, unlike the other association members.
‘The tower sent the wrong person.’
It was obvious how these circumstances came about. This person would’ve claimed that he could speak well through the sword. Kraugel closed his mouth and looked like he had lost his soul. He couldn’t resist even if he wanted to, so he would let this person have his way for now. Kraugel calmed down and the satisfied man continued.
[In any case, the dangerous insane dragon iron has been discovered and is being used recklessly by a human. Pioneer, I hope you can use your position in the world to search for him. All costs will naturally be handled by the tower and sufficient compensation will be provided.]
Finally, the mysterious man pulled back the hand blocking Kraugel’s mouth. He looked solemn and determined, like a man on a mission to protect the world from the scourge of dragons.
“Um…” Kraugel looked at Kirinus with a troubled expression. Kirinus guessed there was something between the two of them and stepped back. Kraugel received the right to speak and revealed the truth. “Master, I am no longer the Pioneer.”
“I lost in a competition against others and was disqualified from the title of Pioneer.”
“…This is a serious situation where you don’t know what the world will be like. Don’t joke around.”
"It is true.”
“…” The silence continued for a long time. The strange man stood blankly for a few minutes before a vein on his neck bulged. “Why are you only saying that now?!”
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