Reincarnation of the Swordmaster Chapter 12

Swordmaster (4)

“Wow. This is a fine sword.”

Hyban marveled as he handled the sword. He was currently browsing through the armory in his territory. He muttered contentedly, “This should be much better than the rest. Perhaps it’s because peace has lingered too long. The places I visited on the way here didn’t even realize their weapons were rusted.”

“It was my father’s last wish that we retain at least minimal arms…”

“This should be good enough. It will hold up for a while.”

“Hold up?”

“Just wait and see; don’t ask. Just make sure not to neglect our defenses.”

“Even if you say so…”

Reverock scratched his nose in response. Hyban spun a sword in his hand, sensing its well-balanced weight as he nodded his head, “Good. Let’s go with this today.”

“Are you doing it today too?”

“Yes.”

“I… don’t really understand.”

Reverock sighed. Hyban had been staying in the domain for two weeks now. Up to this point, his only notable activities involved clinging to Ashton and Rayka — albeit in a rather aggressive manner.

“I know Rayka is talented. But I’m not sure if she’s of interest to a swordmaster.”

“She’s certainly interesting to watch. However, my interest isn’t necessarily in her.”

“In Ashton?”

Reverock furrowed his brow. It was hard for him to comprehend.

“That child.”

Seeing Ashton after a long time, he had changed significantly. Having briefly learned swordsmanship himself, he could vaguely gauge the level of Ashton’s skills.

The boy, once utterly useless, had suddenly reached a remarkable mastery with the sword. What differed even more was his attitude towards it.

Where the old Ashton had viewed him with hostility and distrust, the current Ashton showed warmth and affection, much like the way his father once saw him. Hyban stroked his chin.

“Yes, I’ve pondered over your story. After all, a person doesn’t change so easily.”

That’s why I tried to kill him.

Reverock stumbled backward as Hyban murmured those words. Hyban waved his hand dismissively, “But don’t worry. It wasn’t in the way you think. Whatever the case may be, he can’t perform such swordsmanship if he isn’t human.”

“What have you been doing all these twenty years?”

Reverock swallowed and asked. Hyban gave a hollow laugh, “Just watching the world go by.”

***

“I really dislike that person.”

Rayka muttered with a glum expression. Slowly moving his body, Ashton sighed and stretched his muscles.

“Why so? He’s a swordmaster. Shouldn’t you show some respect?”

“You don’t look at him with respect either, Ashton.”

“That’s because.”

He’s already reached that state. Or has he? I’m not sure anymore.

Ashton grimaced wryly, “Anyway, there’s no harm in you learning. There’s much to learn from someone like him.”

“You’re my mentor, not him.”

“You’re not a proper mentor, are you? Ask Hyban to take you as a disciple. He might teach you.”

It’s a meeting between similar kinds. Hyban might have an interest in her. Although his focus is currently more on Ashton, who’s like a mutant, he’ll likely vanish in a few days anyway. Rayka bit her lip, “…You’re the one I aim to reach.”

“What?”

Ashton froze. Rayka’s face was serious.

“I want to become like you.”

Her eyes were laden with admiration and respect. Slowly, Ashton opened his mouth, “…It’s no use aiming to be like me.”

“Why?”

“Because we’re different.”

That was the truth. Rayka had talent, Ashton did not. The gap between their abilities would never close. However, Rayka scraped the ground fiercely, “That doesn’t matter. I want to become like you because I want to.”

Her eyes blazed as she looked at Ashton. He shook his head, “There’s no point following someone like me…”

“No, that’s not true.”

Ashton hesitated as Rayka spoke with determination, her lips trembling slightly, “You’re my mentor. Regardless, that’s my choice. Talent or anything else doesn’t matter. I respect you as a person.”

Ashton’s swordsmanship, his approach to the sword, each aspect deeply embedded in Rayka’s mind, became a benchmark for her. She blurted out, “So please don’t belittle yourself. I might not understand others, but I respect you. Please…”

Her words trailed off. Silence hung in the air. Ashton looked at Rayka with a complicated expression. He was nothing. That’s what he thought. Then why was such a talented girl looking at him with those eyes?

‘I don’t understand.’

In his long life, he had never experienced such regard before.

The door opened. Hyban entered, a spear slung over his shoulder, chuckling as he surveyed the atmosphere, “What is this, a lover’s quarrel?”

“It’s not.”

Ashton picked up his sword. When the mind was cluttered, there was only one solution. He charged at Hyban.

***

Ashton had no intention of becoming Hyban’s disciple. Given Ashton’s stern attitude, Hyban also gave up halfway, pausing briefly to ask for a sparring match instead.

That wasn’t a bad idea for Ashton. Although he sparred with Rayka, the gap in their basic skills was too wide. If he didn’t move his body properly, it would rust. He agreed, and since then, he had been sparring with Hyban daily.

The swords moved. Each strike measured the distance as they collided. Suddenly, Hyban’s sword flashed brilliantly. Ashton twisted his body to dodge and struck back. Hyban countered by spinning his sword to deflect, pouncing like a spring.

Barely avoiding by a hair’s breadth, with no unnecessary movements, the routine continued. They both took a brief distance, and Hyban exclaimed in admiration,

“Well, for a fledgling, to be above me in pure technique…”

“It’s all I’ve got.”

Ashton swung fiercely like a wolf. In the next moment, Hyban flicked his wrist, bending the sword like a curve. Leaving behind an afterimage, it struck the air. Ashton quickly assumed a defensive stance.

Clash!

With a loud noise, Ashton was thrown back, groaning in pain. Hyban tilted his head slightly,

“But your sword skills are unbelievably talented.”

“No, it just doesn’t make sense no matter how you look at it.”

“It’s because I lack talent.”

Gripping his throbbing wrist, Asher stood up. He wasn’t weak as a warrior. But in the realm of swordsmanship, he was a disaster.

Even after reincarnation, that hadn’t changed. He tried using different sword techniques, but it was the same as his previous life. Haiban twirled his spear.

“Is that it for today?”

“I can’t even swing a sword with this wrist.”

“Good, I’ve warmed up too. So.”

Haiban approached with a sly, elderly smile.

“What was that atmosphere about? A lover’s quarrel? Makes sense. You two are exactly at that age. So, what do you think of that girl?”

“It’s not like that.”

Asher clicked his tongue. This guy was too sly. He missed the serious days of the past.

“Why? You’re young, shouldn’t your heart incline that way? She’s quite fresh and cute.”

“No.”

Leika was objectively cute. Probably in a few years, she would bloom beautifully like a budding flower.

But the age difference was too great. Even if his body was young, his mind was old, making him feel like he was looking at a granddaughter. Haiban’s excitement quickly waned.

“A block of wood, are you? Then what is it all about?”

“It’s nothing much.”

Asher briefly explained about Leika’s purposeful actions towards him, and about the talent. Hearing this, Haiban murmured with a complicated look on his face.

“…You really resemble him.”

“If it’s about him.”

“Yes. In the past, there was a guy like you who only practiced the Imperial Sword Techniques, and branded himself talentless.”

“I didn’t despair. I simply acknowledged the reality.”

Haiban spoke bitterly.

“It’s your own prerogative to think that way. We also thought he had no talent. But now… I’m not even sure what talent is anymore.”

Surprised by Haiban’s last remark, Asher looked at him. The Haiban of the past had revered talent. He knew he himself was talented, considering it a blessing. Thus, he often talked about talent.

For him to say such a thing now.

‘What could have happened?’

Asher had known Haiban for over fifty years, and like those possessing talent, his values were solid as a fortress. It was unbelievable that they had changed so much in just twenty years.

“So, I have a suggestion for you.”

Haiban grinned, waving his spear shaft smoothly like flowing water.

“I won’t ask you to become my apprentice anymore. It’s clear that there’s nothing left for you to learn. Instead, I have something to pass on to you.”

“Something to pass on?”

“It’s something I made for a friend who resembled you. He’s already dead, so it’s never been tested, but it should be useful for you.”

“If that’s the case.”

Asher nodded. He was not surprised it was made for his previous self. Gambling on who would teach him something new was common among his peers back then, though no one won.

It probably wasn’t about swordsmanship. It didn’t matter. If there was something new to learn, he had no reason to refuse. As Asher’s face showed his resolve, Haiban muttered like he was disgusted.

“Just like him. Haunted by the sword.”

“Is it urgent?”

“No. I’ll still be here for about a week. Any longer is impossible.”

Haiban laughed heartily, his laughter tinged with madness.

“Is that so?”

Asher stood up and headed for the door.

“Where are you going?”

“Just outside for a bit.”

“It’s probably for your training, isn’t it? You could do it here, why go out?”

“There are things that cannot be shown to others, especially not to you yet.”

Haiban, seemingly uncurious, simply nodded.

“Go then. I’ll be preparing.”

Asher closed the door behind him. Looking at his hands, hardened calluses formed even though he had only trained for about two months. There was no soft spot left to be found.

Clenching his fist, ultimately, all that remained was his physique. He walked outside the castle. As he walked down the road, eyes followed.

Hostile young gazes, admiration, and also suspicion and denial. All kinds of emotions were stored in those eyes. However, they did not approach Asher, having witnessed how he had subdued Luke.

Besides, Asher was different after reincarnation. Emotions rarely appeared on his face now, creating an unapproachable aura, leaving no one to initiate a conversation.

At the gate, the guard stiffened upon seeing him; it was the first time Asher had been looked at with contempt after his reincarnation.

“What’s the matter?”

“I’d like to go out.”

“…Alright.”

At his gesture, the gate opened. Asher stepped outside.

“…Is the rumor true?”

“What rumor are you referring to?”

“That you’ve become the Swordmaster’s apprentice.”

So the rumor had spread. Ashary glanced at the guard, whose eyes filled with jealousy. Asher gritted his teeth.

“…You, a nobody becoming fortunate enough to be the Swordmaster’s apprentice. Do you know how lucky you are?”

At that response, Asher’s eyes darkened.

“Is it luck?”

You all have talent.

Compared to me, it’s not an exaggeration to say it’s a natural gift. You were born with it.

If we’re talking luck, aren’t you luckier? You have talent while I have only my efforts.

Then why do you envy me?

I should be the one envying you.

Emotions spread tangibly, the air grew heavy. The guard’s face whitened as he hastily grabbed his spear. Asher ignored him and walked out, his emotions swirling turbulently in his mind.

‘It’s been a while since I’ve felt like this.’

Except for during his childhood, he rarely felt such turmoil. This was because, over time, like a sandcastle before despair, everything had collapsed.

‘Was it because of what Leika said?’

She had expressed her admiration for him. She said he was her goal. A talented person had said that to someone without talent. And he could not understand it.

‘I can’t understand.’



Want to keep in touch ? Join our Discord : https://discord.gg/wMvrbbTzrG

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *