Sword Whisperer Chapter 16

< baan="" of="" the="" cho="" family="" (2)="">

When he first entered the test, Baan’s goal was only one thing. To win and make his name known. And through that, take steps towards his dream.

But after taking the test, Baan’s thoughts changed a bit.

He realized through his intuition. If he took into consideration how long the journey on his particular road was, that it would be petty to even call this a turning point.

“Keuk…!”

Weak.

That’s what Baan was thinking when he saw an opponent falling from the stage with his arm cut off.

Maybe his standards were too high. He had the opportunity to match swords numerous times with Cho YeoRyung and others in the Cho Family. But they were part of the high-status Nine Families, and if you take into account that they were the representatives of ‘strength’… it couldn’t be helped that the people here looked weak.

I wonder how this fight would appear to them?

The crowd’s cheering every time he won a battle placed him in a sweet fantasy. Would those of high status, including the King, be cheering for him from behind the fancy golden pillar?

It was a ridiculously optimistic fantasy.

It's not enough. Not like this.

Even he himself knew. What real ‘Knight’ battles were like. Leaving out the duels he saw at the Cho Family, the sight of WooRyong’s battles in the forest was on another level altogether.

Strong enough to wonder if they were even human.

A strength that renders strategy and tactics useless.

He didn’t know what the other Nine Family’s abilities were like, but their battles would be much more incredible.

And so, Baan couldn’t be excited. He had a long road ahead of him. He couldn’t act as though he became a great swordsman by taking part in petty, entertainment-level fights.

As of today, the round of 32 was over. Out of the 7 Cho Family warriors that made it onto the main round, there were only 4 left in the top 16. Baan, Hezelek, Lee Kyung, and the only female in the group, Yu Seul.

And naturally, Baan’s next opponent was Hezelek, who was in the same group.

“…Bad stroke of luck.”

That night, in the pub filled with all the Cho Family warriors, Hezelek gave out a sigh. Just his luck to face Baan in the round of 16 out of the numerous possible opponents. If it wasn’t Baan, he was confident he could survive until the top 4.

“Goodluck, s...o...b..e.” (TLN: s...o...b..e = Senpai, 힘내요 = Ganbatte, in this situation = good luck, best of luck)

Yu Seul patted Hezelek’s shoulder. It was comical to be consoled by the youngest, but Hezelek didn’t even feel like lamenting. What could he do? It was he who was lacking.

He couldn’t blame talent either. There wasn’t one person in their group that didn’t know. That Baan is the one that spends the most time polis.h.i.+ng his swordsmans.h.i.+p.

Baan had the right to be strong.

But I can’t just lose like this.

Hezelek squinted his eyes. Duel. In a duel, Hezelek never got an upper hand against Baan. But duels and real fights aren’t the same. If he fought Baan prepared for death, even Baan…

“Huh, you guys. Are you the Cho Family warriors in the tournament?”

“… It is so.”

“Woah, I had the pleasure of watching your matches. You guys were practically flying. Especially… who’s the guy called Baan? I couldn’t see his face properly in the coliseum…”

“He was here just a moment ago… seems he stepped out for a moment.”

“Is that so? Ah, eat and drink all the meat and drinks you want. I made a killing thanks to you guys!”

As he said that, he slapped the coin pouch on his side and it appeared as though he gambled. It was just as Hezelek was about to say no thanks.

“Yeah? Then I won’t refuse.”

He heard a mischievous but also a slightly placid voice. As soon as he heard the voice Hezelek was startled and jumped to his feet. It was YeoRyung.

“Ms. Y-YeoRyung. What brings you…”

“I had some time left so I came over. I a.s.sumed everyone would be loitering around here. Where’s Baan?”

“…I’m not sure.”

It wasn’t unexpected for YeoRyung to look for Baan as soon as she arrived. She quite liked Baan. No, to be honest, almost everyone in the Cho Family was fond of Baan. For them, who revere strength, they wouldn’t help but become close friends with Baan, whose head was filled with the thought of swords.

It feels like they’re from another planet. Sometimes.

It wasn’t just the Cho Family, but Baan as well. Even when they were standing in the same spot, he looks to another place. It wasn’t a matter of being strong. It was as though something was different from birth, almost as if they were meant to be in different positions…

“Hezelek. Wanna go?”

“Yes, yes?”

“To look for Baan. I came all the way here, so I might as well meet him before leaving.”

To be honest, it wasn’t hard to find Baan. If he vanishes without a word, you just needed to look for a nice clearing to swing a sword in.

It wasn’t different this time either. Backyard. Baan was practicing the Cho Swordsmans.h.i.+p with a longsword. He was so focused, that it didn’t seem like he noticed them. YeoRyung muttered with a peculiar expression and her arms crossed.

“The arc of the sword is perfect.”

There were numerous people stronger than Baan in the Cho Family, but there weren’t many that had a better command of swordsmans.h.i.+p.

“Baan... do you think you can win against him?”

YeoRyung asked. As a man, and as a swordsman, it was natural to show confidence… but Hezelek couldn’t answer. YeoRyung understood Hezelek’s position.

“It looks like there are no openings.”

“… To be honest, that’s how it feels.”

“It can’t be helped. Even for me, it’s hard to find openings against Baan. Do you want some tips?”

“Tip?”

“Openings, don’t look for one.”

YeoRyung beamed a smile.

“Then one will appear.”

“… It’s like a riddle.”

“You’ll see during the match.”

“But why are you giving me advice? YeoRyung-nim is probably rooting for Baan rather than me…” (TLN: Nim = honorific = sama)

“What? Why would I? I’m on our warrior’s side ok? I don’t take sides!”

Ah, yeah. Sure. Hezelek swallowed his words and looked at Baan. It was perfect swordsmans.h.i.+p. You can see an opening if you give up looking for one?

Can I win...?

§

She was white as snow. Her hair, brows, eyes, and skin. Even her clothes were white. One couldn’t help but think of the ‘Nahar’, of the Nine Families unless they were from under a rock.

Nahar Anya. That is her name.

“…Do I really have to watch this?”

She was quite petulant right now.

It was a bright sunny day. It would be best to snap up some entertainment in the park but to have to watch b.l.o.o.d.y battles in the sweaty and stench-ridden coliseum upset her greatly.

But YeoRyung pinched Anya’s cheeks.

“Don’t be like that. Our family warriors are on today.”

“Not our family, your family.”

“Are you going to act like we’re strangers?” (TLN: She actually says 남처럼 굴래, 남 which in Korean means other people, as KR families and close friends are almost literally family)

“People are always ‘others’ if it isn’t me. And ‘others’ are always an annoyance. Just like you’re being now.”

“Hehe, Anya is adorable.”

“… I don’t find you cute.”

Anya slumped down as if she was having none of it and peered down at the stadium. Before she entered the Academy, all her older siblings came up to her and said ‘Don’t hang out with the Cho Family kids. They’re crazy as puppies.’ So she wondered why… but to think that puppy-like was this kind of puppy. (TLN: the author put puppy-like 종자 種子which means seed/children of a particular seed/lineage.)

“Ah, it’s them! Them!”

It was then. YeoRyeong jumped up and yelled. The academy students around them wondered what was happening, and saw the Cho Family robes and nodded as if they realized what was happening. (TLN: Author wrote clothes, but I wanted to specify)

In many respects, it was exactly the type of person that Anya didn’t want to be around. But YeoRyeong paid no mind and shook Anya by the shoulder.

“You see that one there? That’s Hezelek, and the other one is Baan!”

“…Okay.”

“Hezelek is um… a nice guy and Baan is super strong. Even I have trouble beating him in a duel.”

“Even you can’t win?”

At those words, even Anya’s half-closed eyes snapped open. Even if the one next to her was an idiot, she was the daughter of the Cho Family. One that was linked to the Family head by blood.

Was it possible for someone not of the Prominent Family to have an even fight with YeoRyung? (TLN: the author wrote 대가문 大家文 which means big family + implied dynasty. In the novel, it means the 아홉대가문Nine Big Families. I’m just turning these into terms because there’s no direct translation that keeps the full meaning)

“Probably a genius.”

“He is a genius.”

To Anya’s words that were blurted out, YeoRyung nodded in agreement.

She wasn’t sure if she could win against him if not for the Cho Family blood. If it wasn’t for the overwhelming physical abilities, then Baan’s sword would fell her before she had a chance to react.

“So, which one are you cheering for? The genius? Or the not-genius?”

The t.i.tles clearly showed that she already forgot their names. YeoRyung paid no mind and answered.

“The weaker one?”

“…Hmm, really?”

Anya propped up her chin with a bored look. Then she realized there were more academy students gathered around them than she thought. It was reasonable considering the seats were for enrolled academy students, but even so, there were too little empty seats. This festival wasn’t that popular… (TLN: author put 재학생 在學生 currently enrolled students)

It was the same for even the Royal family seats. It wasn’t like the times where just a few family members were sitting there just to be polite. She could even see the elites of the Royal Knights off to the side. If she thought about who the elites were escorting…

…That’s how much attention this match has garnered?

Why?

The question didn’t take long to be answered.

The horn roared, the match started, and when the people shouted in excitement, Anya completely forgot her original plans of going on a picnic.

“…That’s crazy.”

Baan thought it was just the ma.s.ses that were cheering.

He didn’t think the truly powerful would be.

He was wrong.

The n.o.ble families. The Royal Knights. The elites of the Academy. The Royals.

They were watching him.

< baan="" of="" the="" cho="" family="" (2)="">

양치기자리

Author’s words

Protagonist Characteristic 1: Everyone is paying attention, but he alone thinks it isn’t happening.

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