The main castle of the Cho family head felt more like a house than a castle.
In truth, it wasn’t as high as a castle. Just connected by endless houses, and in the middle… the house with the higher roof was the main castle.
“Dolby, are you shaking?”
“… Shouldn’t I be? I would be shaking if I were meeting our Lord, it’s the Cho family lord…”
“Don’t shake. It’s not like we’re going to be punished, we’re going to get rewarded. Why do you need to be afraid?”
Even as he said that it was a secret that Baan’s hands were wet from sweat.
Baan looked at the WooRyong back who has walked ahead. The words he had spoken were still fresh.
--Let’s go to the academy.
--The Cho family will be your sponsor.
Baan was lost in thought. He wondered what the Academy in the capital would be like. Women as pretty as paintings and hearty friends to share beers with. Meeting their swords…
“We’re here. Everyone, do not make eye contact with the Lord until he calls upon you.”
“Father. It’s WooRyong.”
There was no answer. Everyone met each other’s eyes and wondered if he wasn’t inside, but WooRyong kept his head down and peered at the door. And a moment later, an answer came.
The door opened. And as soon as he entered, Baan was surprised by three things.
First. There was no furniture.
If he was to nitpick, there were a few tables, but it was bleak for a castle this size.
Second. There were countless weapons on display.
Even by estimation, there were over hundreds. The walls were for display rather than walls, and servants and maids each had at least one sword on their sides.
And lastly third.
The Lord didn’t have a human body.
Baan unwittingly swallowed. He thought WooRyong was built well, but the Lord was something else altogether. The barren body had giant muscles quivering like mountains and white steam emanated.
Thankfully he had avoided eye contact, if he had made eye contact, the pressure was enough to top his breath. As if meeting a bear in the woods, it felt as though his instincts were screaming.
“Are you the ones? The ones that helped my son.”
“… I am Sionel Village’s Guard Captain, Aidan. It is an honor to meet the lauded Lord of the Cho family.”
“Don’t mind the pleasantries. It was thanks to you that we were able to hit back at the rebels. And I don’t have to prepare a tombstone for y son. You’ve probably heard, so its my turn to listen. So. What is your wish? The captain can go first.”
The Lord was lifting a giant metal block as if they were weights as he talked. Aidan glanced around, and carefully opened his mouth.
“My wish isn’t something to speak in front of others. So, if I could show it in writing…”
“Hmm. Someone with a lot of secrets. Hear. Give this man a brush and paper.”
Even though he shouldn’t have had many chances to use a brush, Aidan gracefully started writing. And once the maid handed the paper to the Lord, the Lord smiled and burst out in laughter.
“Hahahahaha! Well then. Problems bring about more problems. This is just that moment.”
“My wish… can you grant it?”
“I’m Cho MuRyeong, Lord of the Cho family. I keep the promises I make. There’s no need for you to worry.”
Nobody had a clue what went by. Baan and the others just blinked, when the Lord set his sight upon them. He quashed his laughter and asked.
“Ok. Your wishes?”
“If I could have some land and riches I have no more to wish for.”
“Hmm. Ok. That won’t be difficult.”
It was Goad’s wish. He said he's tired of the sword life after the injury to his eye. And Dolby…
“I,… wish to be a ranch owner and lead a carefree life.”
“That’s not difficult either.”
Soon MuRyeong’s face showed boredom. From their perspective, they wondered if they could wish something is extravagant, but from MuRyeong’s perspective, it was nothing more than simple and boring wishes.
Will the last one be any different? Was what MuRyeong was thinking when he looked at Baan.
“I want to become the world’s best swordsman.”
It was exactly the same thing he had stated to WooRyong. Normally, he should have asked for the sponsorship.
But as Baan saw MuRyeong in the flesh, he changed his thought. The ferocious intensiveness enough to make his instincts tremble. By seeing him subdue those around him by just breathing… he couldn’t help but blurt it out.
“For that, I would like to learn from the Cho family.”
After hearing Baan, MuRyeong laughed loudly as he had heard the funniest joke. Even after returning to their room, Dolby couldn’t let go of his bewildered expression.
“What were you thinking when you made a wish like that?”
“… He looked like the strongest in the world. I wanted to learn.”
Dolby shook his head. Once upon a time, he wanted to surpass Baan, but now it wasn’t absurd to think he would never surpass him.
‘… I for sure, want to let go of the sword.’
The injury from Oban still ached. When he thought of the moment when he was gasping for air thinking death was upon him… he couldn’t possibly say he wanted to become a swordsman every again.
But Baan who was on the same battlefield still wanted to become a swordsman. The world’s best swordsman.
Baan placed his hand on Dolby’s shoulder.
“Make the ranch pretty. Later… I’ll visit when I become famous. Yuri should have a baby by then.”
“…Yeah. That’s likely. You too. The… world’s best swordsman.”
To be embarrassed saying someone else’s dream. Baan smiled upon seeing the embarrassed Dolby.
“I’ll do it. No matter what.”
It was the next day when GintNell came to see them. He threw back Baan’s duvet and looked down at him as he said.
“You request the teachings of the Cho Family.”
“Get up. The Cho family’s mornings are earlier than you think.”
Once he washed his face and headed to the training grounds, it was full of people. Upon seeing the strange sitting positions, Baan asked.
“…Why is everyone sitting like that?”
“It’s the lotus position. They meditate in that stance. You trace the arc of your sword, and that of your opponent, and future opponents. And you look inside the arrogance and stubbornness of hidden inside your heart. Think of it as the process of emptying your heart.”
The daily routine was simple. Medication and train. And you add in the Kungfu training and sword training to match the routine of a normal Cho family swordsman.
“The Cho family sword technique is going to be different from the ones you have been using. It may take months to learn the basics. So, don’t rush yourself and take it slow.”
“Yes, I understand.”
Even as Baan said that he didn’t’ intend to keep it that way. The sword he was given had memories just waiting to be absorbed.
[You are holding the sword of ‘A Young Cho Family Swordsman’.]
Owner: Cho JiYeon (1star)
Memory Preservation: Low
Note: It is a longsword made by the Cho family blacksmith. It was specialized for slashes rather than stabbing motions.
[Your current swordsmanship level is 2 star. Memory synchronization adjusted to maximum.]
Once he was at the 2star swordsmanship level, it was easy to absorb a 1star level memory. When he swung Jensen’s sword for the first time, it was hard to achieve the experience of five swings in one swing… but now it was possible to take in fifty, no, more than that in one swing.
It only took a week to put a surprise on GintNell’s rather expressionless face.
“…Truly a genius huh.”
His voice quivered as he saw Baan from a distance.
He assumed he was as good as a greedy stray dog. He only shined because of his ambition of becoming the world’s greatest swordsman, not because he would become one.
But he could no longer say Baan’s want was just a want.
Baan’s sword drew a perfect Cho family sword arc.