Reincarnation of the Swordmaster Chapter 13

Asher climbed up the middle of the mountain near his domain. He took a deep breath, enjoying the familiar scent of grass. This was the place he always practiced his swordsmanship, his second homeland.

The fluctuations of his turbulent emotions settled. As always, a deep calmness filled his chest—a calmness that remained untouched by any event, totally unemotional.

“Phew.”

He gripped his sword. Although he could have practiced at the training ground in his domain, there was a specific reason he had come out here. As he tensed his muscles, they hardened with a series of crackling sounds.

He couldn’t use aura, but instead, he had gained another, strange power.

As usual, he swung down the wooden stick. His muscles exploded in power. The stick collided with a tree in front of him, shattering it into pieces.

Kwang!

The tree couldn’t withstand the force and lost its form completely. It was destroyed at the base, much like it was struck by a carriage, and fell. Leaves rustled wildly, obscuring his vision until, with a loud thud, it hit the ground.

Asher gazed silently at the fallen tree. It was quite large. It would serve as firewood for several days. It was the kind of tree that would require dozens of axe strikes to cut down under normal circumstances.

Yet, he had toppled it with a single strike. Clearly, it was a power no human should possess.

‘What kind of power is this?’

Asher narrowed his eyes. His previous life hadn’t included such power. Other Swordmasters only awakened aura, not superhuman strength popping into existence like this.

This was a power unique to him. He swung his sword again. With a rough noise, the tree he struck flew beyond the clearing.

Koong!

He stomped the ground, creating a deep imprint, and the aftermath sent winds swirling around. The leaves rustled with a whooshing sound.

‘I really don’t understand.’

This was a bizarre power. Why he had received such a power, he could not tell. Therefore, he couldn’t even show it to Hyban.

But he wasn’t planning to ignore it. Whatever it was, it was his power. Therefore, it was only natural to understand its type and limits.

‘The power seems to utilize the muscles.’

Ironically, even though it was a strength surpassing human capabilities, the actual strain was on human muscles. Every time he used his body to its full potential, his muscles creaked. Even now, after using his muscles just three times, his entire body screamed in protest.

Asher clicked his tongue and massaged his body. His physique was trained. Though it had only been two months, the training beyond his limits had given him muscles more solid than most swordsmen’s, but they barely held up even three times.

He understood the power had its uses, but the cost was too high. Asher closed his eyes and pondered. How much could his previous body have endured?

“Maybe ten times.”

That was the limit, even for a body trained to extremes. And since using the muscles drained them, they were useless in prolonged fights. They were only good for a crucial strike, but that was just it—a crucial strike. If blocked, it became a disadvantage.

Also, in this world, humans surpassing human limits were not rare. In that sense, the power wasn’t very useful.

But Asher smiled.

Trained to the extreme and yet only ten times as the limit? Muscles being drained? What of it? Then, train the body beyond extremes, develop muscles that don’t wear out.

There was a new power to move forward. No need to just tread water anymore. That alone was satisfying to him.

All that was left was to grow his body stronger. Asher swung his sword once more.

***

Returning to his domain, it was already evening. Asher went back to the practice ground. Hyban was waiting there.

“Reika.”

“She’s already gone back. She admires you.”

“Did you talk to her?”

“Yes, interesting.”

“I don’t understand why she does.”

Reika had talent. If she reached the limits of swordsmanship, she could even attain Hyban’s level. Yet, she admired him and wanted to be like him. Asher couldn’t understand it.

“What’s the problem with that?”

“You know that I lack talent.”

“One does not need to have talent to be an object of admiration.”

Hyban’s words made Asher pause. Hyban smirked slightly.

“A child respects their parents. Even if the parents are lesser in some ways, it’s the same. Not just with parents and children, but all over the world. Great kings sometimes receive advice from lowly beggars. A Swordmaster may gain insights from a snotty child.”

“…”

“Don’t be too pessimistic about yourself. Talent in swordsmanship is just that—talent. It doesn’t define a person.”

“But.”

He wanted to be a swordsman. To walk the path of the great sword. But he lacked the talent. He couldn’t even start on that path. And yet, to be someone’s goal? Hyban shook his head.

“I don’t know what you have been through, but you needn’t push it away. That child’s respect for you won’t change.”

“…”

Asher remained silent. His mind was cluttered. Hyban spoke with a hint of bitterness.

“Let’s leave this talk here. I told you a few hours ago. I have something for you.”

“Yes. But you know.”

For him, gifts from a Swordmaster held no big significance. Hyban had talent, but Ashar lacked it. Hyban waved his hand dismissively.

“Don’t worry. I know it painfully well. We’ve talked about this. You guys don’t have the talent for swordsmanship. You can only learn imperial sword techniques.”

The sword techniques in this world were those created by legendary heroes. Every swordsman learned these hoping to become great like them.

But Asher was different. He had no talent. Therefore, he could only train in sword techniques created by ordinary humans. Hyban chuckled softly.

“But you, my boy, are not limited to just using swords.”

“Spear skills, grappling, various other things.”

Imperial sword techniques were meant to lay the foundation; they contained no subtleties, thus only named as such but were applicable to all arms. Thanks to this, Asher was reasonably skilled with spears, axes, short daggers too.

“Indeed. That’s your strength. Those who learn other sword or spear techniques can only use that one thing. Think about it, isn’t that strange? After all, aren’t they all just arms? If one is good with a sword, they should be able to reasonably use a spear too, right? But when it really comes down to it, they can’t. Hmm. I’m the same, though.”

“What are you trying to say.”

“It’s simple. If you can use multiple weapons, then you should.”

Hyban tossed something. Asher caught it and saw it was a black wrist guard. It looked like it was made of metal.

“Wrist guard?”

“Try wearing it.”

Though confused, Asher didn’t argue and strapped them onto his arms. They were slightly heavy but did not much hinder movement.

“So, you’re giving me this for training? It seems like it should be heavier if that’s the case.”

“No, it’s something more interesting. Flex your arm and imagine a weapon.”

“What is this…”

Asher closed his eyes and tensed his arm.

A short dagger.

Instantly, a short dagger sprang from the wrist guard.

Swoosh!

Asher quickly twisted his wrist and grabbed the falling dagger. He stared dumbfounded at the dagger. Hyban laughed merrily.

“Fortunately, it summoned something stored inside. You didn’t think of anything strange.”

“What is this?”

“How about that? Doesn’t it seem fun? ‘We’ made it for him. Unfortunately, the original owner died before it was created.”

Asher quietly inspected the short dagger in his hand. Its blade was sharply honed, and its finely engraved ornamentation signified its quality.

“Magic, is it?”

“Yes. Space magic.”

Hyban grinned broadly and explained. He gestured with his chin.

“To put something in, just imagine putting it in. Then it will go right in.”

Following his words, Asher closed his eyes, and with a thought, the dagger disappeared. Asher frowned.

“This is…”

“You’re getting the hang of it pretty quickly. I had quite a hard time.”

“A storage for weapons?”

“Yes. How about it? Useful, isn’t it?”

Asher didn’t respond and imagined again. A sword. Simultaneously, a sword appeared above the wrist guard. Asher grabbed the floating sword.

“Generally, almost every kind of weapon is stored in there. Ah. You can’t put anything other than martial weapons in it. Creating an unrestricted void space is difficult, but it should still be useful.”

“…It’s good.”

It was more than just good. Asher thought of sheathing the sword, and just like that, the sword disappeared. Both the appearance and disappearance of the weapons were fast; the disappearance was almost immediate. He muttered under his breath.

‘This.’

Used properly, it could be highly efficient in combat, switching between different types of weapons and catching one’s opponent off guard.

For him, who used technique to compensate for his falling swordsmanship, it was nothing less than a supreme weapon. But.

“Why create such a grand and useless thing?”

That was the entire translation.

This story is unique to one person. To the majority of swordsmasters, it held no value. Those who handle weapons obsess over the form of the weapon. The form is who they are; it is everything. That’s how they think and handle it. Moreover, those who have mastered one type of weapon cannot use another type. Storing various types of weapons was considered as useful as a picture of a rice cake.

If anything, there might be a purpose to storage, but even that was insignificant. Simply carrying a weapon helped avoid trouble. Essentially, while it had great features, the only person who could truly utilize it was Asher. Hyban chuckled.

“But it will be useful to you. Do you obsess over the form of a weapon?”

“Of course not.”

He lacked talent. He survived only by using everything at his disposal. He handled swords simply because they were the easiest weapon for him to manage; he did not obsess over their form.

Though he walks the path of the sword, strictly speaking, it was different. A sword is merely a simple weapon. His pursuit was something greater. Hyban nodded as if he knew this would be the answer.

“Yes. You are different from us. That’s why it was made this way. It was originally made for that friend.”

“…Were you close?”

Asher was honestly perplexed. Hyban had been friendly, but he hadn’t given him any strong feelings. Not just with him, but it had been the same with all the heroes.

He lacked talent. He was thus worthless to those who had it. That’s how he thought, and that’s how he acted. So, Hyban’s reaction felt awkward. He cared about him enough to create something like this?

“I don’t know. I thought we were close, but… I guess he didn’t feel the same. He kept a distance. But I liked him.”

Hyban murmured wistfully.

“He never complained. He accepted his lack of talent and yet, he never gave up. He just calmly walked his path. It was a kind of state or level in itself. How could I dislike that?”

“… .”

He was wrong. He hadn’t walked calmly. He had despaired deeply before finally surrendering everything. Still, he couldn’t let it go entirely.

Depressing. Asher sighed lightly. Being reborn intensified the fluctuations of his emotions. Asher reached out his hand and a spear materialized in his palm.

“Then let’s practice.”

“Is your wrist alright?”

“It’s fine for a little while. I need to get used to it anyway.”

Asher took his stance. Hyban grinned and drew his sword.

He stomped his foot.

***

A week had passed since then. During that time, Asher sparred with Hyban every day without fail. Thanks to this, he adapted reasonably well to the new weapon.

However, his relationship with Reika was still awkward. The mentor and disciple relationship of teaching and learning remained, but there was a peculiar distance between them.

Asher couldn’t understand her, and Reika felt the same. Unless one of them made a move, the relationship wouldn’t change.

Finally, the Empire came looking for Hyban.

“The Captain of the Royal Knights greets the great Swordmaster.”

The knight bowed deeply. Behind him, dozens of soldiers prostrated themselves with precise uniformity. Reika opened her mouth in awe at the majestic sight.

“They finally came. Annoying fools.”

“The Emperor is looking for you, Lord Hyban. Please return with us to the capital.”

“Tch.”

Hyban scowled. After all, he had once fed on the Empire’s resources. If the Emperor himself commanded, he had no grounds to refuse.

‘Well. Perhaps it’s about time.’

He had been planning to visit the capital anyway, so it wasn’t too bad. He nodded.

“Understood.”

“Thank you, great master of the sword.”

“Hmph. It’s been twenty years, but you haven’t changed. I thought the Captain of the Guard would come instead.”

“He is occupied with other duties.”

“I was curious about who would succeed him. Well, I suppose I’ll see in the Empire.”

Hyban began to walk. He stopped in front of Leveroque and waved.

“It was nice to see you after such a long time. Don’t die before we meet again.”

“Safe travels, Swordmaster.”

“And you, child…”

Hyban naturally looked at Reika. He completely ignored Luke standing beside her. This blatant disregard made Luke clench his fists. Humiliation shook his body, but Hyban paid no mind.

“Someday, you’ll see it too. What path you’ll walk, I don’t know.”

Reika quietly nodded. Then Hyban turned his gaze to Asher, his face breaking into a mischievous smile.

“So, how’s our disciple doing?”

“!!”

The knight, still prostrated, hastily lifted his head, as did the soldiers behind him. Asher sighed at the shock contained within their reaction.

“I told you, I’m not becoming a disciple.”

“But you’ve learned quite a bit anyway, haven’t you? And you’ve received some material things as well. Let’s just say you’re a temporary disciple.”

“I didn’t ask for any of this…”

“Just accept it. It’s not bad, is it?”

“Hmm.”

That should be fine. He had indeed received much. To be exact, too much. Asher slowly opened his mouth.

“What do you wish for from me?”

At that, Hyban flinched. His eyes darkened, but only for a moment. He smirked and whispered in Asher’s ear.

“…”

Asher quietly nodded. Hyban turned around briskly.

“That’s enough talk for now. It’s late today; we’ll leave tomorrow. Go rest now.”

“Ah, that… Yes, understood.”

The knight looked at Asher in confusion but soon bowed. They left. Asher watched Hyban’s retreating back.

It was night now. Asher opened his eyes. The domain was quiet. It was naturally the time everyone was asleep.

He stood up, strapped on his wrist guard, and stepped outside. Heading to the training ground where he always swung his sword, there was Hyban.

“Did you come?”

“Since you called.”

“We won’t see each other for a long time after this. Even if it’s temporary, a disciple should have some private time, just the two of us.”

While Hyban spoke playfully, Asher remained silent. Hyban’s face slowly became serious. He spoke without emotion.

“I tried to kill you.”

“I know.”

Asher nodded. From the first moment he saw him, he had felt the intent to kill, a thick genuine malice.

“But I didn’t. The moment I saw you, I knew my concerns were different. Of course, it’s still strange… but at least you’re human.”

Asher knew he was hiding something. The movements, swordsmanship, values, and mind – none suited that of a child.

But Hyban didn’t interrogate further. He had given Asher much, even things prepared for a close friend. It was too much to simply be kindness. So, Asher asked what he wished for.

“What do I wish for? Nothing much. Just to confirm something. Don’t you find it humorous?”

Hyban laughed. It was a hollow laugh.

“You and that guy both have talent as warriors. You survived on techniques alone. But to have no talent in swordsmanship? Does that make any sense?”

“Swordsmanship is meant to transcend humanity.”

That was not true for any sword technique except for the imperial swordsmanship. At that answer, Hyban laughed again.

“Right. That’s what’s funny. Swordsmanship is meant for humans. But the more you learn, the more you transcend humanity! To escape the bonds of life and live for hundreds of years! What a comedy!”

Hyban laughed loudly. His hollow laughter filled the training ground.

“I’ve traveled the world for twenty years. To find contradictions and experience a changed world. That’s why I took an interest in you. Thanks to that, I’ve somewhat figured it out.”

His eyes, full of longing, looked at Asher. The emotion in them was intense enough to make even the brave tremble, but Asher calmly met his gaze.

“What.”

“How much of what I believed was false.”

Krak.

A beastly sound could be heard. Something flickered in the deepening darkness. Something displeasing and detestable reared up.

Krark.

It laughed mockingly, stretching its body. The darkness expanded, obscuring vision.

“This is what I gained from my twenty years of travel. Whether it’s trying to prevent me from uncovering secrets, they’ve disgustingly followed me.”

“Umperth.”

A monster that feeds on human shadows, a being from hell.

“Ha. I didn’t expect you to know that.”

“…They were supposed to have been driven out of the world by heroes.”

Heroes killed the Demon King. Coincidentally, the darkness was banished beyond this world, ushering in an era of peace. That was the known truth, history he had directly experienced.

“It’s a well-crafted lie.”

Hyban cheerfully stated.



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