Solo Swordmaster

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Solo Swordmaster

[Translator –  woni]

[Proofreader – sharlottle]

 

Chapter 87: A Troubling Friend

 

“[He sure is good at being your friend, boss. I can’t believe there’s someone who can get along with you for so long.]”

The two were arguing endlessly about whether food or art was more important.

‘How exactly? He’s as stubborn as a mule.’

“[That’s exactly why. Don’t most people bow as soon as you glance at them?]”

‘What am I, some kind of gangster? How do I threaten people with just a look?’

Despite arguing with her, a part of Limon agreed. But either way, Eugene was quite the stout-hearted fellow.

“Oh, by the way, partner. I’m hungry again after talking so much. Can I order some more food?”

“…Sure. Eat your heart out.”

Maybe ‘thoughtless’ was the better word to put it.

Limon lightly clicked his tongue as he watched Eugene devour another table full of food.

‘He’s a natural artist, this guy.’

“[Because he’s used to starving?]”

‘Because he refuses to read the room.’

“[Being stubborn is a character trait of an artist?!]”

‘Not always, but I’ve noticed many people with enough backbone to step on the gas while everyone else is stopped at a red light tend to etch their name in art history.’

“[That’s not having a backbone!! That’s called insanity! Getting into a car accident gets you into today’s breaking news, not up with the greats!]”

‘Hm, they most certainly die before they get their name out.’

“[What, is being an artist some kind of death match?!]”

‘It’s similar. They prioritize their art over their lives.’

Limon chuckled. It may be different in the modern age, but just centuries ago, the majority of artists were in the lowest social class or considered as such. In those times, only two types of people would have still pursued art: nobles or priests who were guaranteed affluence and social status, or those who were willing to give their lives for their art.

However, only a select few in the latter group became known, and most would only live for a day.

“So, partner, when’s our next performance?”

One such person that would fall into such a group would be Eugene. Even while he was gouging on food, all he could think about was music.

“Hm… I wanted to talk to you about that. I don’t think I can perform with you for now.”

“What? Why?!”

“I’ve got other stuff happening.”

“No way! You still have to perform even with stuff happening!” Eugene cried out firmly as if he was Limon’s debt collector.

How he said it made even Yoo Na-kyung stop to think if Limon was ever indebted to Eugene.

“Still, I’m in a pretty rough spot.”

Limon was obstinate. Yes, the constellations were important. But stopping the attacks on the clan was much more urgent. There was no knowing what might happen if he let the criminals be—what catastrophe might befall the Black Dragon Clan or even the wider civilian populace?

“Just what kind of stuff is it?”

“It’s complicated.”

“Partner, I’m also your partner. I have a right to know why you can’t perform.”

“Is that so?”

Limon thought that Eugene made a good point, so he gave in, giving a rough explanation—excluding the parts about his identity, his connections to the Seven, and the troubles he faced stopping dangerous criminals.

And a brief moment later, Eugene asked with a blank stare.

“So you were able to cheat thanks to a certain rule, but now that it’s gone, you feel stuck?”

“Your summary sucks.”

“I just repeated what you said, partner…”

“Oh? Then yeah, that’s it.”

“[Ugh, that’s not it! Why did you explain it to him like that?!]”

‘I can’t tell him the Seven Dragons Association is under attack or reveal my identity.’

“[Still, you cut too much! Of course, no one in this world would understand that extremely shortened version!]”

“Okay. I got it.”

“[And why is this dude accepting it?!]”

Yoo Na-kyung looked at Eugene like she was staring at an alien.

Oblivious to her, Eugene nodded to himself and patted Limon’s shoulder.

“Don’t sweat it too much, partner. I dunno about the rule, but you only get one shot in life. I’m sure everything will fall back into place soon.”

“I can’t just wait for an opportunity unless I want my company to crumble.”

“You meddled with company funds, too? Hm, that’s a problem.”

“…What in the world are you talking about?”

Eugene tilted his head to the side.

“Hm? Weren’t you saying that you’re busy paying off your debt after losing all your money in a casino, and now you can’t perform with me?”

“How the hell did you come to that conclusion?”

“Well, after being confident you found a way to cheat the system, you got screwed after going all in. And now, you’re trying to find a new loophole. Isn’t that an average gambler or investor?”

“[Puahahahahah!]”

‘…Is this funny to you?’

“[It is! God, he just called my boss a gambler. What a life worth living.]

‘You’re already dead.’

“[Ugh, stop hitting me with facts like that.]”

‘How about I hit you in the forehead instead?’

 

***

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Translator - woni

Proofreader - sharlottle

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And so, with some elaboration, the misunderstanding was cleared up and Eugene got a better understanding of the situation.

“Uhm, I don’t know what you’re talking about, partner, but I can tell that you’re troubled.”

“[He’s given up on thinking… My god!]”

“All right. As long as you understand.”

Limon shoved a cherry tomato into Yoo Na-kyung’s beak.

He couldn’t be arsed to explain further when it was already hard to explain with all the details.

“But partner… Is that rule really gone?”

“What do you mean?”

“Lots of songs have messy rhythms, but you can still hear what that rhythm is by hearing closely.”

“Now I really don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Don’t think, feel!”

“Who are you, some famous actor from the Seven Dragons Association?”

“Uhmmmm…..”

Eugene pondered for a minute, not sure how to explain in words. Coming up with an idea, he took out an object and handed it to Limon with a smile.

“…What’s this for?”

“You don’t have an instrument today, partner.”

“I meant I don’t know why you’re handing me your guitar.”

“Just take it. You’ll see.”

Limon accepted the particularly heavy guitar suspiciously. He could tell that Eugene would bother him to no end if he didn’t. Unfortunately, he realized his mistake too late.

Eugene shot up from his seat—his abruptness, his slightly parted lips, and that damn grin.

“Hey, are you—?!”

Aren’t you hungry?

…A clear and ringing song erupted out of the restaurant, catching the eyes of a dozen people—from the servers busily carrying around trays, the customers peacefully enjoying their meals, to even the manager yawning at the counter. They all had stumped looks on their faces from the sudden song.

But that did not stop Eugene. Did he not feel people staring, or was he enjoying the attention? With the most delightful smile on his face, he continued singing.

I want to eat a sweet pie.

I want to eat warm soup.

It is the food of my soul.

‘…God-fucking-damnit.’

Limon covered his face. Even the ever-stubborn Yoo Na-kyung, who had admired his relentlessness, couldn’t take the secondhand embarrassment.

Abruptly bursting out singing in the middle of a restaurant? Sure, she could handle that. 

“[But what is this mess of a song?!]”

‘It’s not just me, then?’

“[Of course not! I’ve still got ears!]”

Eugene was still a talentless twerp without Limon supporting him. His lack of technical skill was on full display while singing alone, and his greatest advantage of having sensibility in his music wasn’t delivered very well.

Even forgiving all that, however, Eugene was still hard to listen to. From the tune to the rhythm, everything was jittery.

“[Wasn’t he good at singing, at least? Why is he singing so carelessly now?]”

‘He’s not being careless. Just singing as he pleases.’

“[Oh yeah? What’s the difference?!]”

‘He’s not singing like a mess on purpose. It’s just becoming one because he’s composing and making up lyrics in real-time.’

“[…He’s doing what?]” Her beak dropped to the floor. “[So this is an improv?]”

‘That’s right.’

“[Not a song he made up before?]”

‘Would it sound this bad otherwise?’

“[But why? What, he couldn’t handle his overflowing creative juices all of a sudden?]”

‘He wants me to follow along.’

“[Huhhh?]”

But Limon did not explain further. He simply watched the gleeful Eugene sing. He sighed.

“[Uh… Wait. What are you trying to do, boss…?]”

He put the guitar into position.

“[Eh? You said this was improvisation! That means it’s a song without any notes!]”

Yoo Na-kyung did have a point. Limon’s talent to imitate any performance at a glance was nothing short of a miracle. But that was all thanks to his superhuman senses and physical ability. How could he play the music of a song as it was being created?

She could not bring herself to make sense of any of this.

‘Geez…’

Limon felt the same. He didn’t have that much experience in composition and not a single clue how to support Eugene. But he did not back down. Eugene looked as if he didn’t doubt that Limon would follow his lead—not that he really had a choice when he was singing his heart out.

‘Well, I haven’t had a break recently. It wouldn’t be bad to cool my head by playing along.’

Distraction was viable when nothing came to mind.

Feeling slightly bitter, baffled, and a bit better, Limon plucked one of the guitar strings.

And everyone’s jaws dropped to the floor.

 

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