Reincarnation of the Swordmaster Chapter 14

Assassin (1)

Sunlight streamed in through the window. Bathed in the light, a boy with ash-gray hair slowly rose from his bed.

“……”

He had the face of a boy, but his expression and body told a different story. His face was gaunt as if it could crumble any moment, while his body was compactly muscular.

“…This body has been adapted for half a year now.”

The boy, Asher, smirked wearily as he got up. He strapped on black wrist guards and went out of the room.

***

“Did you come?”

“Yes.”

In the training yard where swords were being swung, Raika waved her hand. Asher nodded in response and waved his hand. Suddenly, a dagger flew out and he caught it in his hand.

“Phew. It’s always fascinating to see.”

“How far did you get today?”

“Up to here.”

Raika waved her hand, the sword creating afterimages in its path. In an instant, four or five afterimages were drawn in the air. Asher nodded in approval.

“Good. You’ve improved a lot.”

It was unbelievable that it had only been half a year. To think she could exhibit the swordsmanship of Lephenia to this extent. At his remark, Raika tilted her head as if she didn’t quite understand.

“Is it really that amazing?”

“If we are speaking purely of swordsmanship, no one your age reaches this level.”

“I don’t see it. After all, every swordsman I meet seems stronger than me.”

“That’s unusual.”

The swordsmen Raika knew were few; Asher, the knight of the domain Caron, and the Swordmaster Haivan.

Caron was a renowned knight; he was an exception. There was also a Swordmaster among them. Since she kept meeting powerful individuals, it was natural she doubted her own abilities.

“Your standards have become too high.”

“Even if they are high… isn’t it true that they are all stronger than me?”

“The outside world isn’t as strong as you think. In fact, there are many who are weaker.”

Even during the eras of war and heroes, it was so. Now, in times of peace, it was even more so.

“……”

Suddenly, three months ago came to mind.

Before Haivan left, he had shown him the secrets of the world. As he killed a demon chasing him, he said,

‘These creatures have been following me. To kill me, or perhaps for something else, I’m not sure. They must be trying to silence me. You even mistook me for a being of darkness and tried to kill me.’

A black aura moved. The magnificent black light burned the darkness, crushing the demon. With a scream, the demon vanished.

‘What is talent? What is the world? The known truths are lies, and deceivers abound. Now, child resembling a friend from the past, what will you do?’

Will you just watch the world, or will you step in among them?

‘I am now going to the empire to announce this fact. And I will look for the vanished hero. If you have thoughts, come find me. I will tell you everything next time. The choice is yours.’

With those words, Haivan had left. Due to this, Asher had spent a couple of days unable to leave his room. After that, he simply wielded his sword again.

‘The hero, Ian.’

When the world was burning during the demon king’s rage. A comet-like figure who appeared and defeated the demons.

Asher knew what kind of person the hero was. Thanks to being the captain of the guards, he had been significantly involved and had shared many drink sessions, creating a fair level of familiarity. The hero he knew was strong and a bright human being, like a hero from a fairy tale.

However, the eternal peace of fairy tales had not come.

‘Didn’t manage to defeat him?’

He wasn’t there when the hero killed the demon king. Because he was guarding the empire. Thanks to that, he didn’t know what had happened there.

‘I don’t know.’

The hero had also vanished twenty years ago, last seen. Haivan was searching for him. The hero, having abandoned his domain and country, where had he gone?

There were many questions. If the hero had not defeated the demon king, why had there been peace until now? Why did the disappearance occur precisely twenty years ago? But for now, those were unknowable things.

He flicked his wrist. The dagger swiftly attacked the air.

“Still, the task remains unchanged.”

Asher muttered lowly. Whether he unraveled the secrets or discovered unknown truths, he would wield his sword. That was one thing that would never change.

“Worried about something?”

“Eh, somewhat.”

About a month after Raika and he had a vague relationship, it returned to normal. Perhaps she had reached some conclusion internally, as she treated him as before.

“How’s the lord? He seems busy lately.”

“They’re training soldiers. It seems the Swordmaster left some words. Because of that, the soldiers are practically dropping dead.”

No more threats were directed at him. After all, being temporarily accepted as a student by a Swordmaster meant that doubting Asher was akin to doubting the Swordmaster. Furthermore, since he had also spoken to the lord of Raberoc, his foundation was practically secure.

“And the young lord?”

“Luke? My brother is… um…”

Raika hesitated, then made a disgusted face.

“He’s a bit strange.”

***

“AAAAAAAAGH!”

Crash!

A glass shattered. A young girl and her mother trembled in a corner. Luke had screamed furiously.

“More alcohol! Bring more!”

“Yes, yes!”

A middle-aged woman, grabbing her daughter’s hand tightly, hurried to the kitchen. Luke, his face turning red and white, fidgeted agitatedly.

“Damn it…”

If coming to the village tavern and venting his anger used to calm his heart, recently it seemed to worsen instead.

“Here, here it is!”

The middle-aged woman hurriedly placed the drinks on the table. During the process, a few drops of alcohol splashed onto Luke’s hands. His face twisted instantly.

“You bastard!”

“Kyaaah!”

Crash!

Luke kicked the table. The alcohol bottles flew and struck the middle-aged woman’s head. Luke, breathing heavily, kicked the woman who had fallen over.

“How dare you! A lowly commoner spilling alcohol on me, a noble!?”

“Aaah! I’m sorry! Please spare me!”

Her screams echoed, but Luke did not stop. With a sadistic expression, he continued kicking her stomach. As she doubled over, crying out, the kitchen burst into tears.

“Waaaah. Mommy!”

The daughter, weeping, hugged the woman being beaten.

The small body could hardly cover half of her mother’s, but she tried desperately to shield her.

“Don’t hit Mommy!”

“…”

In a sudden moment, Luke raised his hand, but then lowered it. He fiercely kicked the chair away and stormed off. From behind, a sobbing sound continued.

He came out cursing under his breath.

As he walked out, he could feel the stares from around him, and he scowled at the light in their eyes.

“What are you looking at, you bastards!”

The gazes shifted away. He stomped off, and once he turned into an alley, Luke chuckled spitefully.

“Like dogs.”

It seemed everyone despised him.

Useless wretch. Useless wretch.

These words drilled into his ears as he clenched his fists and his eyes flickered fiercely.

“……”

Luke knew himself well. He wasn’t exceptionally talented like his brother, nor was he gentle-natured like his father. If it weren’t for his nobility, his character alone would have gotten him beaten and chased away.

But that was okay. He was a noble’s son after all. No matter how much trouble he caused, as long as he didn’t kill anyone, there would be no expulsion. Besides, there had been worse garbage than him in the past.

Asher.

Even to Luke, who was garbage himself, Asher was the real deal. He neither knew gratitude nor his own standing, spreading mess around like a dog in heat.

Seeing him, Luke felt relieved.

There’s someone worse than me. No matter how much I mess up, I’ll still be better than Asher.

It was a grim consolation, but Luke was satisfied with it. It was good to know there was someone lower than him.

However, one day Asher changed.

He stopped causing trouble and only wielded his sword. At first, Luke thought it was an act, so he provoked a fight, not intending to kill, just to teach him a lesson and bring him back to his trashy ways. But instead, Luke got beaten and chased away.

Since then, Asher truly seemed to have changed. He received recognition as a swordmaster’s disciple, possessing remarkable swordsmanship. The worst trash of the domain had gotten his act together.

So who was the next trash? Luke snickered.

He had become the absolute bottom.

“Damn….”

His eyes shook fiercely. It’s all your fault. If you had remained trash, none of this would have happened. I would have lived contentedly.

So, everything that happens from now on is your fault. Luke giggled as he staggered deeper into the alley, to a place no one within the domain would enter.

“…Come out.”

“You’ve come in less than three months. Quite the impatient lord.”

Startled, Luke spun around. A figure cloaked in black stood there. It was as if he was there but not there, his presence barely perceptible.

“You’ve called us, meaning there’s someone you want dead.”

“…Yes.”

Luke nodded. He knew this was madness. Yet, he was at his limit. To salvage his shattered pride, he said,

“Kill Asher.”

Luke smiled distortedly.

“Asher.”

The robed man smiled faintly. His voice sounded younger than expected, maybe in his mid-twenties. He toyed with a purple flower in his hand.

“You speak of the boy from the rumors.”

“Yes.”

Luke swallowed, nodding.

“If there’s someone to kill, come find us, you said. You weren’t lying, were you.”

The man who appeared before Luke three months ago, a week after Hybain left, had spoken those words. Luke had been drowning in his inferiority, drinking away, when the surroundings suddenly quieted, and the mirage-like figure appeared, surprising Luke.

“We are an assassins’ guild, and we will be staying here for a while,” he had said, ostensibly seeking permission from the domain’s lord.

Logically, a being of the underworld would have no reason to seek such permission from a domain’s authority; that’s the nature of the underworld. If permission was needed, it should have been the lord, not Luke.

However, Luke, not realizing this, was pleased. It made him feel truly recognized as the heir of the domain. So, he granted it.

During that process, the man had said. If there’s someone you want killed, come find us. And now, three months later, Luke had come to him again.

“A disciple of a swordmaster. Quite the serious request.”

“Does that mean it’s impossible?”

“Maybe.”

“…Just a small guild from the outskirts, unable to kill even a kid?”

The man paused as he touched a petal, then said with a smile tinged with amusement,

“By the way, I haven’t said our name. Haven’t you heard of Motorolia?”

“Mo, Motorolia?”

Luke’s eyes widened. He had heard that name before.

A guild that appeared fifty years ago, its origins and activities shrouded in mystery. Yet, they had expanded their influence foolishly fast, becoming the world’s largest assassins’ guild within just twenty years.

“…Why would that guild be here?”

“You’re quite the foolish lord. Think about the timing. We came here three stk=”three months ago. What do you think that’s about?”

Luke swallowed hard. Three months ago. In that moment, he realized.

“The swordmaster…”

“That’s right.”

“Why.”

“Do you want to hear it?”

The figure’s smile curved silently in the dark, making Luke flinch and shake his head.

“No.”

“Good choice. You wouldn’t want to end up unable to hear anything at all.”

The man chuckled. Luke’s body trembled. The man plucked a petal off.

“Alright.”

“What?”

“I’ll accept the request. Killing a disciple of a swordmaster—it was in my thoughts.”

“Good…!”

Luke muttered with suppressed ecstasy. Finally, that man would disappear from the world. Nothing fundamental would change, but that was enough for Luke.

“The schedule is for tomorrow.”

“That soon?”

“The sooner, the better, right?”

“Good.”

The sooner, the better. Luke agreed, swallowing again. Now was the time for the crucial part of the conversation.

“So, the price is…”

“There’s no need for a price.”

“…No need?”

“That’s right. You’ve probably heard rumors about us.”

“I did, but I never thought they were true.”

Motorolia had a rule that the first request in any region was accepted without a price. It was a rumor known amongst a few. Luke had been skeptical, but he hadn’t expected it to be true.

“So, prepare. We’ll send the location this evening.”

“Got it.”

Luke nodded vigorously and ran down the alley. His excited form prompted the man to mutter softly,

“The price has already been paid. A very costly one.”

The man laughed as darkness enveloped him. Soon, the alley was left empty.



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