Chapter 21: What Even is the Eye of the Mind? (4)
Bellop stood before Jin, squeezing his wooden sword’s handle as cold sweat ran down his face. His eyes kept darting around as he wiped his forehead with his sleeve.
He hadn’t received so much attention ever since becoming a guardian cadet, which explained his restlessness.
The other spectating cadets could see Bellop’s soul escaping through his mouth already as the staredown with Jin continued.
Everyone couldn’t help but think back on the words the Runcandel boy had told the coward.
You cannot survive within this clan if you continue acting like that.
‘Why did the Young Master tell me such things…?’
Is it because I’m too weak? Or because I’m too timid? Such questions went through Bellop’s mind.
‘Is Young Master Jin trying to humiliate Bellop since he gets on the Young Master’s nerves?’
‘Is he warning Bellop that he won’t survive in the Runcandel Clan because he’s such a weakling?’
‘Young Master Jin is crueler than I thought…’
The cadets were all in agreement.
Nevertheless, Jin’s eyes were fixated on Bellop, and he tightened his grip on the sword.
“Oh! Y-Yes, Young Master.”
Some suppressed scornful laughs echoed amongst the spectators. But the cadets who reacted immediately corrected their expressions and attitude, as they feared Garon would chastise them.
However, nevermind Garon, even Jin didn’t give them a glance and kept his eyes on Bellop.
“I’ve already lost a lot of stamina from sparring against ten cadets.”
“Yes, Young Master.”
Having barely come to his senses, Bellop answered respectfully.
“And you are still unscathed.”
“In spite of that,”
Jin began walking towards Bellop before continuing his sentence.
“I am probably stronger than you right now. Excluding Garon, I would most likely win against anyone here in one last duel.”
Bellop didn’t know how to reply to that, so he simply nodded quietly.
“That is the reason why I want to fight you right now.”
“Young Master, I still do not understand what you… Urgh!”
Jin instantly reduced the distance between the two. His wooden sword flew towards Bellop’s shoulder, but the latter somehow managed to avoid the blow at the last second, despite his panicked footwork.
Following that, the attacks continued nonstop, like an endlessly flowing river. Bellop parried and avoided the sword while retreating.
“Thank you very mu— Urgh!”
Jin suddenly grabbed a handful of sand on the training ground and scattered it in Bellop’s face. As Bellop tried to resist the urge to close and rub his eyes, he tightened his hold on his wooden sword and stood strong.
But Jin didn’t answer and darted towards Bellop again, grabbed his shirt, and slammed his shin into his opponent’s thigh. As the impact resounded, Bellop let out a deep groan and collapsed to the ground.
“I didn’t call you here to have a spar. As I said, I want to ‘fight’ you.”
Jin approached the seated Bellop, who could barely open his irritated eyes and look up to the Runcandel boy.
“I also said that I would ‘most likely’ win. That I would ‘most likely win against anyone here in one last duel’. That means that I’m not 100% certain about it. Wipe your face.”
Bellop used his shirt to wipe off the sand on his face and eyes.
“…Does that mean that the opponent you’re not certain of winning against is me, Young Master?”
“Finally, we’re on the same page. This isn’t a spar, this is a real fight. So it’s time you wipe off that incredulous expression and face me seriously. I could have killed you countless times while you were on the ground.”
“But the only reason I didn’t deal the final blow yet is because I’m showing mercy, for you are incapable of comprehending my intentions. Stand up. I won’t go easy on you again.”
His tone was far too dreary for this to be considered a prank of bad taste.
Jin turned around and began to widen the space between them once again. Bellop lowered his face and let out a deep sigh, before lifting himself up and wielding his wooden sword.
The cadets who were spectating so far began to wonder whether Jin was actually deranged.
No matter how foolish and cowardly Bellop was, the Young Master was going too far… or so thought some of the observers.
Some even expected Garon to intervene and stop the bloodbath that was about to begin.
Nevertheless, the instructor only stood on the side, carefully watching the scene before his eyes.
Seeing his lack of mediation, frustration grew in the cadets’ hearts as they became disheartened. Simultaneously, anger sparked in their eyes. The 7-star knight—who also happened to be a swordsmanship instructor of the clan—couldn’t stop Jin Runcandel.
So what on earth could the lowly cadets even do on their own? Nothing at all.
Yet, they couldn’t stop anger from forming. Anger and dissatisfaction that the training class’s strongest—Jin Runcandel—could allow himself to bully the weakest of the class, Bellop.
Where had the dignity and honor of the Runcandels gone?! Was the act of throwing sand at a cadet far weaker than oneself also part of the Runcandels’ glory?!
All the spectators’ faces twisted in fury and despair as they watched the two extremes face each other.
However, the next moment, all their expressions collapsed into shock and astonishment.
Bellop’s wooden sword was shining with aura. It was pale and dim, but true aura nonetheless. Even with that little amount of aura, a swordsman’s slashing power would increase exponentially and become fatal.
The weakest of the class, the eternal loser. That boy was suddenly wielding aura, so the cadets were shocked and confused.
At this rate, one of the two fighters could potentially perish during this duel.
“Instructor! We must stop them! This is a training class, not a battlefield!”
“Swordsmanship Instructor, Garon Altemiro!”
Jin turned to Garon and yelled at the top of his lungs.
“Yes, Young Master.”
“You must keep what you see today a secret and take it to your grave. You cannot inform any other Runcandel of this incident.”
In the meantime, Bellop put out the aura covering his wooden sword.
However, his face wasn’t dyed in fear anymore. He seemed dispirited yet furious.
“Is this what you truly wish to happen, Young Master?”
“So you are able to use aura. In that case, you shouldn’t hold back and make the most of it.”
Jin versus Bellop.
The two of them had a short staredown. The cadets who were complaining all shut their mouths and watched the inevitable clash as cold sweat ran down their cheeks.
Bellop was the first to make a move. He instantly zoomed across the field and appeared before Jin with surprisingly agile movements.
Jin blocked Bellop’s heavy wooden blow.
As their swords got tangled, the battle came to a standstill as it became one of strength. The veins on their arms bulged as their muscles contracted, and the wooden swords trembled under the equal pushing forces.
“If you wanted to duel me, you’ve made a grave mistake, Young Master.”
Jin’s wooden sword began slipping and cracking as Bellop coated his sword in aura once again.
“You should’ve challenged me… before dueling the others!”
Jin’s sword broke under the pressure. Immediately, time slowed down for Bellop and the other cadets during the short instant when Bellop’s shining wooden sword dug into Jin’s shoulder.
The wooden sword had completely cut through the shoulder and was about to reach Jin’s heart. As he saw the blade dig deeper and deeper, Jin caught sight of Bellop’s expression twisting into despair.
Despair for having gotten on the wrong side of the youngest Runcandel.
In addition, despair for cutting down Young Master Jin who had taken good care of him for so long. Bellop’s innocent eyes were filled with such hopeless thoughts.
“As if I’d let you!”
A sudden heavy blow hit the side of Bellop’s sword. The Runcandel Hand-to-Hand Combat Technique, Deflect Strike. It was Jin’s strong palm.
As the sword flew away, the recoil shook Bellop’s body. Having lost his balance and footing, Jin swiftly grabbed him from behind and choked him.
The other cadets didn’t realize what had happened in that short moment, omitting a few top-class cadets like Mesa Milkano.
‘The fuck?! Are you for real? He’s nuts!’
Mesa couldn’t believe what she saw. Although her spar with Jin had astonished her earlier, it couldn’t compare to the shock she received from seeing Jin’s current superhuman movements.
Bellop couldn’t do anything but struggle for air as he got choked from behind. As the other cadets stood up to stop him, Jin released his arms on his own.
As he coughed and gasped for air, Bellop turned around to face Jin with a displeased look.
“Why did you stop? You said you wouldn’t go easy again. Don’t stop, Young Master! You won this fight, have you not?! Are you satisfied now? Is it fun messing around with others, huh?!”
Bellop’s pent-up anger all burst out.
Jin shook his head.
“If it’s not fun, then why…!”
“Having to push you beyond your limits is also unbearable for me. Unbearable and agonizing.”
“What do you even know about me! Why do you torment me like so?”
“I don’t know much about you. But there’s one thing I know. Being considerate… is something you can only afford once you’ve become an extremely powerful figure.”
Bellop froze. He then recalled the words Jin had told him before the start of the fight.
You cannot survive within this clan if you continue acting like that.
“You’ve probably realized just now, but you’re weaker than me. You’re also kinder than me. I like that aspect of you. But you cannot survive in this hellhole by being a bootlicker.”
As Jin spoke, the other cadets couldn’t even utter a sound.
In consequence, Bellop’s weeping and tearful sobs echoed around.
“Bellop. Bellop Schmitz. Look at me. Lift your head and look into my eyes.”
He raised his head and their eyes met.
“I truly wish from the bottom of my heart that…”
Jin paused and placed his hand on the boy’s shoulder.
“You gain enough power and strength to protect that good-natured and kind heart of yours, along with the others here. Lastly, I’m sorry.”
Bellop nodded at his words. Actually, it looked more like he was shaking his head. No, nevermind. It was a mix of both movements.
Thus, Jin couldn’t figure out whether it was an affirmation or a denial. The boy with tears running down his face walked towards the other cadets.
Suddenly, the servants carrying large pots of crude dishes appeared at the training ground.
“Eh…? The atmosphere seems a bit… Should we come back later, Instructor Garon? Young Master Jin?”
As the servants hesitated on what to do, Bellop spoke up.
“Please go get your serving on your own today, Young Master.”
Jin chuckled awkwardly.
“Alright. In fact, I’ll bring your portion too today.”
As lunchtime came to an end, Garon quietly approached Jin before the afternoon training session began.
“So, you’ve awakened Bellop Schmitz. The boy has outstanding talents, but his heart and mind were a bit weak, so I wasn’t sure what to do… I am grateful to you, Young Master. It must’ve been a great stimulus for him.”
“Don’t run your mouth thoughtlessly. Awakened him? His heart and mind? No matter what my intentions were, it must’ve been a traumatic experience for Bellop.”
“Your actions and behaviour today were befitting of a Runcandel. Please do not worry too much about that. He is but a guardian cadet. He is not worthy of your pity, his soon-to-be master.”
Jin stared at Garon, before letting out a small sneer.
“Swordsmanship Instructor of the Guardian Cadets, Garon Altemiro. The only field you are allowed to judge and evaluate me in is swordsmanship. Do not overstep your boundaries and keep those impertinent opinions to yourself.”
Garon felt his stomach drop as Jin stated his point.
‘The Black King Mercenaries I met before once described him as a young overlord… and sure enough, he’s one terrifying predator.’
Garon smirked and immediately lowered his head.
“My sincere apologies, Young Master. As you have ordered, I shall take today’s events to the grave.”