[Translator – woni]
[Proofreader – sharlottle]
Chapter 8: "You have no idea."
"I don't need to see you off, do I?"
"It is fine."
"Alright, goodbye then. Make sure the door's completely shut on your way out, it's broken."
While Limon waved his hand without even looking back, Li Chingwei politely bowed and left without displaying another emotion.
The alley Limon lived in was lonely and bleak, even chilly.
But as if she was walking through a garden, Li Chingwei didn't falter one bit as she effortlessly made her way through the complex, dark labyrinth that was the alley.
"Was that really necessary, Princess?"
A voice called out.
Since when have they been there?
Li Chingwei stopped in her tracks as a masked man in black hakama* stepped out of the shadows.
*t/n: traditional Japanese clothing, worn by samurai.
"I told you not to follow me, Chao."
"Yes, so I waited."
"You know that is not what I meant."
Chao was silent.
Whether he affirmed or denied it, he'd be lying. Of course, remaining silent in this situation was also still disrespectful.
Li Chingwei sighed, giving up on pressing further.
"Do you not like my decision?"
"I dare not argue with the Princess' actions, but…"
Chao's head fell even lower.
After a few moments of hesitation, he bit down on his lip and continued.
"I am unable to understand what you did here today."
If it was any other time, he never would have acted out of line.
His role was to simply escort and serve the Black Dragon Princess. He did not have the right nor the wisdom to interfere with her actions.
But this time, he couldn't help himself.
"Why him of all people?"
"Was it that shocking that I proposed to him?"
"It was not just shocking. The clan elders will not tolerate this."
The elders would froth at their mouths just taking in someone who wasn't part of the Seven Dragons Association as the King's son-in-law.
But what if that person was Limon Asphelder?
They just might come chasing with knives in their hands.
That was another example of how horrible the relationship between the Seven Dragons Association and Limon were.
"Do you really think so?"
Li Chingwei did not agree with the obvious facts. Rather, a faint smile lingered on her lips.
Chao, recognizing that smile, could not hide the bewilderment in his eyes.
"Chao, what would you do if a family member picked up an abandoned gem off the streets?"
"After a thorough examination, if there is nothing wrong with it, I would dedicate it to you, Princess."
"That is not what I meant."
One could say he was hard-headed, loyal, or even both.
Li Chingwei was troubled at Chao's immediate response.
"You wouldn't get angry and tell them to throw it away, right?"
Chao finally understood what the Princess was trying to say, but he couldn't agree with it.
"…A nobody the likes of him… an abandoned gem?"
Li Chingwei's expression subtly changed, as if she'd heard a nonsensical joke.
Looking at Chao with an indiscernible face, she abruptly asked.
"Chao, you are 27, yes?"
"That is correct."
"As I thought. You speak like someone from the Iron Age."
"What do you mean by that?"
"I am not blaming you, Chao. It is just that the people of this era regard the past as merely the past."
Chao was puzzled by her vague explanation.
Bearing a gentle smile, she continued.
"Many others besides you think the same — that a Swordmaster's power is meaningless in this day and age."
Even most of those born at the end of the Heroes' Age would think the same, too.
It had been decades since then. The old Swordmasters were tossed aside for the new Constellations and players.
"That is why you refer to him as a nobody."
Not just because he couldn't grasp the highly esteemed Princess' words, but also because of the deep, somber glow of a quagmire in her beautiful, obsidian eyes.
"But Chao, you have no idea."
Translator - woni
Proofreader - sharlottle
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"You wouldn't know what a Swordmaster really is."
Her eyes were too dark for a young girl.
Li Chingwei slowly raised her head, leaving a frozen Chao. He looked like he'd just seen an incomprehensible wonder.
She looked towards the full moon in the night sky.
"If you knew what a Swordmaster was, you wouldn't have such nonsensical delusions."
"That the reason Swordmasters lost their grace and met their downfall, is because of the Iron Age and the appearance of players."
"…What do you mean?"
"It is not completely wrong. Players are indeed one of the reasons."
Players were astonishing beings. Not only could they use mysterious abilities with little effort, they could also get all treasure from the dungeon that benefited the world.
"Swordmasters wouldn't have fallen as they did if they could enter the dungeon."
The way Li Chingwei put it, the mere inability to enter the dungeon was reason enough for Swordmasters to be disregarded.
But even so, she was certain. The real cause behind the Swordmasters' downfall was not just that.
"But the biggest reason is because we are now in a time of peace."
Sure, there may have been international disputes, but wars and conflict nearly disappeared entirely.
"After we entered the Iron Age, the world became plentiful. There was no longer any reason to fight one another as the dungeon provided us with wealth and progress.
Even the Seven Dragons Association, hellbent on overturning the world, had risen to join as a member of this era.
That was how great the benefits of the dungeon were. So great, it'll intoxicate the masses and make them forget the brutal past.
"That is why you have come to think like that — that human weapons like the Swordmaster are no longer needed."
Players gave various benefits. But Swordmasters only knew how to fight. The more the two were compared, it was inevitable that people would start to look down on Swordmasters.
"You have no idea what a foolish thought that is."
Were Swordmasters unnecessary in this time of peace?
It was something only those drenched head-to-toe in the complacency of peace would think.
The way Li Chingwei saw it, it was no different than claiming the military wasn't necessary since wars were unlikely to break out. If something were to happen, no one would be able to take action.
Of course, it wasn't completely hopeless.
"But there's Monarchs."
"Monarchs… Indeed. They, too, have undoubtedly reached the peak of human performance."
The ten who reached level 100.
Their power was magnitudes above the other players.
Just one of them could cause the rise and fall of an entire nation.
If Monarchs and Swordmasters were equally superhuman, it was only natural that people who provided the world with great wealth and abundance would be considered over those who could only swing a sword.
And with ten of those Monarchs, people naturally turned their backs on Swordmasters, treating them as relics of the past.
"But do you really think they can replace the Master of Swords?"
To Chao, who had seen a Monarch's power before, it was obvious.
He changed his answer.
"…Monarchs are superhuman."
No matter how strong Swordmasters were, they could not be stronger than the Monarchs.
"It is as I said. You wouldn't know what a Swordmaster really is."
As if she'd already known what Chao's answer was going to be, a bitter smile lingered on her face.
"But you will soon come to find out."
Why Swordmasters couldn't enter the dungeons, and why there were only 13 of them over the course of a millenia.
Why, after hundreds of years of fighting, the Seven Dragons Association called Limon the 'Master of Swords' in awe.
Why Li Chingwei put herself in danger at this time to meet Limon in person.
Why Limon was trying to stay as humanity's last shield amidst his downfall.
How absurd it is to compare the Monarchs to a Swordmaster.
Who the enemy they should really be wary of is.
Not many people knew these things. But in time, they would.
Rather, they'd have no choice but to.
"Talent stands out, and those standing behind the king cannot overpower him."
That was why Li Chingwei had come to this place.
Excusing the marriage proposal, she was already in a tangled situation in the Seven Dragons Association. And yet, the only way to save the day was to win Limon's heart.
And now was the only time that was possible.
"Just what is a Swordmaster, for you to speak of him with such reverence?"
As expected, Chao could not understand the Princess' stance.
She turned around to face Chao's troubled look.
Thinking about the alley she walked through, with Limon's house at the end of it… she silently spoke.
Limon strained his mouth as he yawned.
He finally turned off the TV he'd been watching for 10 hours.
Getting up from the sofa, he scratched his head.
"Ah, fuck. This is boring as hell."
The following days after meeting the Black Dragon Princess, all Limon did was binge dramas, watch the news, and read comic books. He basically just laid around at home all day.
He'd call his friends if he had any, but those he called as such were six feet under a long time ago. He didn't have the money to go shopping or traveling, either.
That was the most boring thing he could do. With the visual acuity and reaction speed of a Swordmaster, winning any game was a simple task.
"Maybe I should go visit Seo Yongchan, that little shit."
Meeting his victim who got him suspended for assault.
If Kang Jungsoo heard of this, he'd go beyond pissing his pants to clinging onto Limon's pants string for dear life.
Of course, Limon didn't care whether or not he cried. Kang Jungsoo getting stress-induced gastritis was just part of the process.
Would he see that cow head of his again if he visited Seo Yongchan? More importantly, how would that cow head react to Limon?
'Oh, maybe I should tell Kang Jungsoo to visit instead. It might work if I tell him I'll do it if he doesn't.'
It was then, while Limon was caught up in his own thoughts.
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