The Novel's Villain - Chapter 20.34
Chapter 54: Test (3)
Up until now, anything the Front Lines Group set their eyes on collapsed without exception. However, she could use the present crisis as an opportunity to get rid of any debts accrued. No matter what Lee Jinwoo did, the current circumstances would end up becoming a matter that served as an insult to the entire clan. That is what Hayeon thought.
As for the engagement… for all she knew, the engagement was merely pretext to approach them. No, she was sure of it. That proud and pretentious man had no reason to think twice about doing something like that. Although her first impression of him wasn’t bad… she shook her head.
Lee Jinwoo said he would learn everything in one hour rather than a full year. Those were sword techniques she herself only comprehended after five full years of bone grinding efforts. It was the result of combining her ability as a talent — her natural talent as a warrior — and an amount of effort that would make anyone vomit blood. Ordinary fighters could spend ten years and they would not be able to properly digest the techniques. It was the result of giving it her all to follow the words of the swordmaster.
She received the title of the youngest knight due to that result. It was unthinkable that a young master who never once held a wooden sword would be able to surpass her. When she saw his dozing figure, she could not help but get angry.
Jinwoo stiffly accepted the sword. Everyone chuckled at Lee Jinwoo; only his bodyguards remained wooden.
Hayeon snorted. She could not hurt him physically, but she thought of hurting Jinwoo’s self-esteem as much as possible.
It was at that moment…
Hayeon’s eyes swelled the moment Jinwoo moved his body. It did not take long for her expression to turn into astonishment. Even she, who had seen many accomplishments and had never let her emotions agitate her, was left captivated. Her jaw dropped open.
It was his stance. She saw the divine form that she longed to achieve. A shock so large sent shivers down her spine. There was no way. In a single hour, he had…
‘No! It has to be a coincidence!’
She tried hard to deny it. If she did not, it felt as if a Simmah would come to her. She turned her gaze and examined the face of the swordmaster. As expected, the swordmaster’s expression was also one of bewilderment. It was the first time in her life she had seen an expression from him.
It was all because of Lee Jinwoo.
She clenched her teeth, letting out a deep breath, and stared at Lee Jinwoo. He smiled leisurely. She could barely mutter a word.
“…Come,” she said, warily.
“Then, excuse me.”
She would not let her guard down. She would prove that everything had been a lie, just fluke. The instant she tightened her grip on the wooden sword, Jinwoo’s figure seemed to blur and the tip of a wooden sword shot towards her chest.
She swiftly flicked and deflected the blade and brandished her own. The transition was swift. It was improbable for the human eye to discern. If one did not know the fundamental sword techniques, they would never be able to block this attack.
Hayeon quickly stepped backward in surprise. Jinwoo’s wooden sword narrowly brushed past her collar. It was the technique she had shown him. No, it was much more refined than hers — a crisp, clean, and beautiful transition. She saw the ideal she had always wanted to perfect, always wanted to arrive at.
Hayeon sensed the edge of her blade shake, but she quickly rushed to swing her sword. It contained the entirety of the fundamental sword techniques essence. The knowledge she had from wielding a sword since she could walk and the effort she had put in could not be replicated with a single moment.
There was no impatience in Jinwoo’s sword. Moving with composure and grace, he faced Hayeon’s sword. The more she clashed blades with Jinwoo, the more appalled she became. It was as if he was absorbing her swordsmanship and experience, then reinterpreting it to fit his body and applying it right away. Before she knew it, the ineptitude and roughness displayed in the early stages of the fundamental sword techniques disappeared without a trace and were reborn as something that fit Jinwoo’s body perfectly.
Her consciousness dimmed and her composure trembled.
‘This is… talent?’
A talent that could not be overcome. That is what it was.
‘I am… I am…’
For Hayeon, Jinwoo was an enormous wall. She felt futility, despair, and on one hand, fear in the face of that talent. He had grabbed the sword for the first time in his life today. She had been sure to confirm it. The result of checking his skin, muscles, and veins was that he was an average man who had never held a sword.
What if he had trained in the sword earnestly? What would the result of combining that monstrous talent with effort be? The words of the swordmaster resurfaced in her heart.
She forced herself to restrain her trembling hands.