< a="" genius="" appears="" (2)="">
It wasn't a normal week.
Baan haven't had a day's respite from migraines. The body was fine, but taking in months or years worth of memories in a week wasn't easy.
But Baan didn't complain even once. A migraine from swordsmans.h.i.+p. It was an extravagance he couldn't even imagine.
It was a hundred times better than having migraines from memorizing the names of herbs. And not to mention it was the sword techniques of the Cho family.
Baan hugged his sword whenever he slept. And because of that, he had less chance to train Oban's sword, but it was ok. Oban's stab was alluring, but the Cho family swordsmans.h.i.+p was better.
— Cho family members are born with unimaginable strength.
It was what GintNell said. The babies of the Cho family can strangle snakes, and can beat a wolf with their bare hands before p.u.b.erty.
So their swordsmans.h.i.+p has evolved in a way to accommodate such strength.
Just like Jensen's downslash, they too minimized the air resistance on the blade. The reason was different. Jensen's downslash was to use the gravity and weight, the recoil fully through the blade.
The unnerving straightness of the Cho family swordsmans.h.i.+p was to make sure their overflowing strength would not break the sword.
You could think of it as doing Jensen's downslash from every direction from every position. From Baan's perspective it wasn't completely foreign. At least the downslash was adhering to the Cho family sword techniques.
For someone like GintNell that didn't know of the voices of the sword, it was reasonable for him to think of someone like Baan as a genius.
"…Ah, Sir GintNell."
"Do need for the sir. That is a central cultural thing. We, the east, do not need to follow such pleasantries. Just Mr. GintNell would do."
"Yes, Mr. GintNell."
"It seems as you've finished the basics. Do you think so as well?"
"…Yes. I can say that I've gotten a feel for what the Cho swordsmans.h.i.+p is like."
GintNell was astonished at Baan's words. It was the first time seeing someone learn sword techniques at this rate. Even for someone with the basics, it isn't easy to learn a new sword technique.
"But Mr. GintNell. I have a question."
"What is it?"
"The Cho family power… where does it come from?"
GintNell answered without hesitation. Baan wasn't satisfied with that answer.
"Then, is there any meaning to me learning the Cho swordsmans.h.i.+p? If I don't have that power, isn't this all for nothing?"
"…Yes. You could think of it that way."
GintNell looked around for a moment. Numerous people were each sweating all around them. He glanced at Baan and asked.
"Will you go on a walk with me?"
They climbed the mountain behind the Cho family manor. GintNell walked along the half-paved road and quietly said.
"That is what I thought in the beginning. With the conditions so different, would it make sense for me to learn their sword."
"…Do you have a way?"
"You probably heard of Ki. Do you know what that is?"
"Yes…but, I don't know what it is exactly."
"That's normal. Ki is something that puzzles you more as you try to learn about it."
GintNell took out his sword. The well sharpened blade seemed as though it were emitting the sharpness. GintNell aimed his sword toward the setting sun, and looked back at Baan.
"Baan. Do you think it's possible to cut the sunset with one sword?"
"…I would like to think that it's possible."
"I think it's possible."
GintNell swung his sword. It was a superb downslash. Comparable to Jensen's downslash. He swung up, sideways, and stabbed. The arc proved that he has spent a lot of time training.
"I've cut empty air for quite some time. Just like many other swordsmen. Sometimes I cut straw, sometimes animals. Human heads often. As you cut more and more… there will be a moment when you'll be able to see the border. The things you can cut, and the things you can't."
"… Is Ki the power that lets you see the border?"
"It is a strength that lets you cut things you could not."
GintNell stopped his sword. The sunset was unscathed without any sort of blemishes.
"I made a promise when I was young. That someday I will cut that sunset. But… it's still too far."
And it was that moment. GintNell turned his body and extended his sword towards a rock nearby.
There was no sound. As if he had cut tofu, GintNell's blade pa.s.sed through the rock lightly. The dark line was the only thing telling of GintNell cutting the rock.
"But rocks have become this close."
"… This is, Ki."
Baan shuddered and swallowed. If it was any other person, they would've stopped after admiration.
But Baan was different. He knew how clean of an arc GintNell's sword drew. How GintNell's sword hasn't slowed down. He saw it with his two eyes.
"Cut and cut again. Swing and swing again. And there will be a moment, when you will know what Ki is without hearing it from someone else."
Then he could make sense of Aidan's words. Ki wasn't something you learned. It was something you take in.
That night, Baan couldn't sleep.
When he finally entered his dreams, Oban was there.
'… Was it like this.'
As soon as Baan woke up, he gripped Oban's longsword and stabbed. He felt as though he was able to feel what Ki was in the dreams, but he didn't have a clue in the real world.
"What is that. It doesn't seem like Cho's swordsmans.h.i.+p?"
"Cho family swordsmans.h.i.+p. The name is too long."
Baan nodded his head to Goad's words. Goad tsked after looking at Baan.
"You're crazy. What's good about being a swordsman that you work this hard. The most you get out of it is losing an eye like me."
"The eye patch fits you"
"Why. You wanna lose an eye?"
"That's a little…"
Goad chuckled. He gripped Baan's shoulder and smiled.
"But if you're going to try, try hard. The world best or something."
"…You're not making fun of me right?"
"Would I make fun of you when we're parting ways?"
At those words, Baan slouched his sword. Goad shrugged.
"It turned out that way. We're all leaving today."
"… Is that so."
"We're not someone that looks that far. Fish have their fish happiness, and birds have their own. You need to fly far. To places that we can't even see."
Baan nodded and looked back at Dolby and Aidan. Dolby nodded without words, and Aidan quietly said.
"When you have time, drop by the village. Jensen will want to see you."
"Are you planning on staying as the Captain of the village guards..?"
"It's a small village. I need to protect it."
"…What was the wish you made?"
Aidan smiled instead of answering. He stroked Baan's head, and quietly whispered.
"I believe. In you."
There weren't many words after. Farewell can't be grandiose all the time, but they left as quietly as their wishes.
WooRyong looked for him that evening.
"Baan. Doing well?"
"Ah, Mr. WooRyong."
"Do you know you're famous in the family? You've finished the basics in a week?"
"That's what happened."
"There's a reason why you talk about becoming the world's best. Hmm… because of that. I wanted to talk to you about something."
"I leave for the academy in two weeks."
"I was planning on going with you to the academy together… but you asked for the teachings of the Cho family, you can't leave right away. I wanted to ask you opinion. Do you want to go together? Or… chase after one year later?"
Baan quickly groaned. If he went together with WooRyong he would be able to benefit a lot. And he wanted to know more about the famous Academy.
But it wasn't possible to leave like this.
"… Ok. I thought that you would make that decision. Then you'll promise to be my HooBae (kouhai) in a year's time?"
"I promise. That I'll see you in a year's time."
"That means you'll be able to pa.s.s the entrance exam easily?"
Baan smiled wordlessly. The smile was enough of an answer. WooRyong left satisfied.
'…Another reason why I need to become stronger.'
Starting from that night, Baan invested most of his day in training. Even sleep became training. Sometimes he hugged Oban's sword, and sometimes it was Lucas' sword. And sometimes it was the Cho family's sword.
Every day was tough. There have been days when he was bedridden from the muscle pains, and there wasn't an area without calluses on his hands.
Even so, he never let the swords leave his body.
The boy who dreamed of becoming a swordsman, become closer to a swordsman day by day. The cut b.u.t.terflies and bees flying by, cut the falling leaves, and cut straw and trees.
And after a year went by.
"…Did I cut."
Baan placed his sword in his sheath and swept away his sweat.
He could cut rocks.
< a="" genius="" appears="" (2)=""> End
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