Reincarnation of the Swordmaster Chapter 16

Assassin (3)

“This is interesting.”

His lips curved into a smile beneath his robe. He spoke as if he were enjoying himself.

“Normally, I would have killed you, but I’ll change the method. It’s better you spill how you know about this.”

“Give it a try.”

As soon as he finished speaking, Asher moved. His steps were nonchalant, yet swift. In an instant, he closed the distance to the nearby assassin.

“…!”

The assassin staggered back in shock, but Asher pressed forward, grabbing his arm and snapping his wrist. He slashed at the elbow and stabbed an artery. Twelve now. Only six visible to the eye.

The rest seemed still unable to grasp the situation, stupidly staring at him. Fools.

He walked again, bending. Eleven. Only then did the other assassins hastily conceal themselves.

“Thinking of hiding now? It’s too late for that.”

With a ground-shattering pace, Asher accelerated. The shadow-engulfed wall trembled. Eyes filled with horror appeared, and Asher crushed them.

Crack!

A harsh metallic sound rang out. Asher twisted another’s arm as the assassin barely managed to block. As Asher aimed for the heart, the assassin’s body turned into shadows and disappeared.

However, Asher, unflustered, spun around and threw his dagger. It pierced the forehead of the assassin who had moved behind him. Asher kicked the falling corpse and muttered,

“Did the lord of the land permit you? Seems your god is indeed bothersome.”

“How could you…”

His voice, unable to be suppressed, echoed. He naturally threw the dagger as if he had predicted the move. Asher tilted his head.

“That’s because I’ve dealt with this annoyance too many times. It’d be foolish not to get used to it.”

Asher stepped back as the assassin launched from the wall at the exact spot he had stepped. Asher then moved his foot.

Crack.

The kicked assassin’s neck broke, leaving him sprawled near a trash can, his movements ceasing almost instantly.

“I didn’t say I didn’t know. I just chose not to say because it makes dealing with you easier.”

He lectured calmly. Now nine. One of the assassins shouted as if spitting out,

“…This guy has no weapons left! Kill him!”

The darkness moved. Centered around him, a group of about six assassins charged, dagoghc thrown with eyes ablaze with determination. As they closed in, Asher raised his hand. Suddenly, a sword appeared in his grasp.

The assassins halted in fright, but it was the worst choice. The sword drew a smooth circle, and severed heads flew through the air.

“Now three left. That was simple.”

Asher remarked with an unamused expression. Too easy. It seemed even the assassins were soft during peaceful times.

Asher tossed his sword into the air. As the assassins’ eyes followed the sword, Asher flicked his wrist slightly. Two daggers sprang from beneath his wrist, and he threw them straight. The assassins collapsed.

“Better than I thought.”

Asher, satisfied, grasped the sword and tapped his wrist guard. Proven useful in sparring, but it was different in actual combat.

That concludes the test. Then, the last one left. As the assassins died off, a man in a robe watched, clapping with a smile.

“Impressive. To think you could kill all our assassins with such clumsy tricks.”

“Clumsy, you say.”

“Yes.”

The man nodded. He stopped clapping and drew his sword.

“A little trick is impressive. I’ll commend you for that. To kill all our kids with just tricks and grabs, without using proper swordsmanship. Is this the desperation of a weakling? Impressive!”

The man laughed heartily and thrust his sword toward Asher.

“But that ends here. No matter the trick, a clumsy skill is still a clumsy skill. Ultimately, it will fail under the might of great swordsmanship.”

The man charged, shadows swallowing up his sword, blotting out vision. Like a beast of darkness, he ferociously aimed for Asher’s neck.

Clang!

Swords clanged, Asher twisting to thrust his blade. The man parried with a rugged swing, his sword wobbling in an eerie dance, obscuring its form.

“Tch.”

Asher clicked his tongue and stepped back.

“Ha-ha! Even someone from the outskirts cannot comprehend this great swordsmanship!”

The man roared in laughter, his hidden blade swirling through shadows, aggressively scraping against the wall.

Asher sheathed his sword and drew his spear. He spun a wide circle, creating distance, and thrust forward. The muscle exploded, tearing apart the air. Then, the shadowy sword wavered.

Like a living creature, the sword appeared from behind Asher. Asher ducked, and the shadowy blade, adamant not to miss, twisted towards his forehead. Asher raised his arm guard.

Clang!

Asher again created distance. The man smirked, swinging his hidden sword.

“Oh. You know how to counter? Seems the Swordmaster is really interested in you. I wonder how he’ll react when you’re dead?”

Elation filled his eyes as Asher tapped his arm guard. It seemed perfectly normal. Maybe it served as defensive gear too.

“You’ve learned an annoying sword.”

His opponent’s sword technique was like a shadow.

He had known about this sword style; it was quite troublesome to counter.(egt hidden) Because of its difficulty, almost any swordsman knew of it.

“Ha-ha! Yes! My sword is the sword of a great being! The power of a great hero!”

The man shouted.

“This is the sword style of Motorloria’s founder! None dare oppose it!”

***

‘To think I’d see this again.’

Asher clicked his tongue quietly.

Motorloria’s swordsmanship.

Like a snake from Lephenia, Motorloria was the sword of shadows.

The sword hid its form and moved along darkness, targeting the opponent’s vitals. The distance or form of the blade didn’t matter. The more skillful, the longer the reach, and the blade could freely change its shape.

Because of these features, it was notoriously difficult to face, making it a natural enemy for swordsmen. Some even referred to it as a dark art (暗術).

However, it wasn’t without its drawbacks. Asher grinned slightly.

“It’s tricky to master, but you must be quite talented.”

“Yes! I am one of the great thirteen, acknowledged by the master of Motorloria.”

“The great thirteen, huh? You still call it that. Quite typical.”

Asher muttered. The man held his shadow-enshrouded sword.

“Then die. Though it’s not a bad death.”

“It’s easy. Dying while facing great swordsmanship. Don’t you think it’s the best death for a swordsman?”

“As a swordsman.”

Asher twisted the corners of his mouth grimly.

The man charges. The shadow sword changes form and stabs Asher in the back, climbing along the wall. Although he hurriedly blocked it, it left his front open. The man thrust his sword again.

Clang!

The blow sent Asher flying, striking his wrist guard. The man clicked his tongue and swung his sword again. Shadows surrounded Asher.

“Persistent, aren’t you? It would be easier if you just died quietly.”

“…Why is Motororia targeting me?”

Asher asked, staggering to his feet. The man snorted in response.

“Crazy fool. What kind of assassin would tell their target why?”

“I’m going to die anyway. Can’t you grant a dying lion’s last wish? What business do you have in this small rural domain to come all the way here?”

“Well, it doesn’t matter.”

The man twisted a crooked smile.

“It’s polite to let you be deceived. Originally, we came to this rural area to kill you.”

“…To kill me?”

“Yes. An oracle was given.”

“An oracle.”

Asher muttered. The man bragged.

“At first, I thought I didn’t need to come… But it definitely would have been difficult without me. Congratulations. You’ve earned my recognition. Though worthless, it’s the highest achievement for you. The price is death, though.”

“So, you came to target me.”

Asher steadied himself. His trembling body stabilized. The man smirked.

“Yes. Did you get what you wanted by acting?”

“Enough.”

“Congratulations. It should be a gift worth dying for.”

The man charged again.

“Then die.”

The sword rode the shadow. Asher, seemingly annoyed, suddenly drew his spear.

Clang!

“Ugh!”

The man was thrown back. He looked at Asher in disbelief, spitting out blood.

“Wha-how…?”

“There’s no such thing as purposeless acting. You noticed the act but didn’t know the reason.”

“You…”

The man clenched his teeth and gripped his sword. Asher had already switched to a sword.

“Cheating isn’t wrong. It’s true that the Imperial swordsmanship isn’t worth much. It’s also true that Motororia’s swordsmanship is the swordsmanship of a great one.”

But that doesn’t mean you’re strong.

Motororia’s swordsmanship is indeed a nemesis to a swordsman. But he is not just a swordsman. He’s a warrior. A warrior who survives the battlefield using everything at his disposal.

Asher had seen many heroes and knew well. The man had talent. That was clear. He probably received enough praise to be called a genius. A talent that didn’t compare to his.

But he had killed plenty of such before.

“Then try facing this worthless swordsmanship.”

“Yiik!”

The man abruptly got up. The shadows flickered and enveloped his sword. He charged. Asher met him with a simple downward strike.

A very simple overhead strike. A movement so basic, even a three-year-old could perform it. It was the despised Imperial swordsmanship.

“Wha?”

Yet the man was overwhelmed. It was as if a massive wall approached him. He barely managed to block it but was crushed by the force.

“Argh!”

The man scrambled backwards. Asher slowly approached and raised his sword again.

Another simple overhead strike.

Yet again, the man was overwhelmed. He hurriedly executed sword techniques, but they shattered under the simple linear attack.

“I can’t…”

The man murmured, crumpled on the ground.

This can’t be happening. My swordsmanship, beaten by mere Imperial swordsmanship.

Refusing to accept reality, the man stood up. He spat harshly and swung his sword. And shattered again. He bounced off like a ball and hit the wall.

“Ah…”

The man looked at Asher with vacant eyes.

Why am I losing? My swordsmanship is that of a hero. Not something derived from human-created swordsmanship like the Imperial one. Why can’t I win? This doesn’t make sense.

The man stood up again, shakingly performing his swordsmanship. This was everything he had, the culmination of his life, his pride.

The shadows wrapped around his sword, and he furiously swung it. But it shattered again.

“Ah.”

The man crashed to the ground.

It has been a while since I purely used Imperial swordsmanship.

Rubbing his arms, Asher thought. He always fought by twisting techniques or using the terrain. He rarely faced someone with just swordsmanship.

“This can’t be.”

The man lay crushed, mumbling. His robe was torn at this point, his face visible. The man cried out pathetically.

“This can’t be! This doesn’t make sense! Just! Just beaten by mere! Imperial swordsmanship!”

“The Imperial swordsmanship exactly is just that.”

Asher nodded agreeably. Imperial swordsmanship is weak. There’s no advanced tricks or complex movements, just the simple direction of force.

“And you couldn’t even handle that.”

No matter what secrets a sword technique holds, in the end, it is a human who wields it. If they are consumed rather than utilizing it, it’s nothing more than a fancy dance. Dance moves cannot beat even lowly swordsmanship.

“It seems your training period was short. At most three years? And even then, you were probably half-hearted. If we talk about actual time, it’s probably less than a year. You would’ve lost even to Reika.”

At this, the man flinched. It was true. He had talent. That’s why he was adored by everyone, getting drunk on it. He never seriously trained. And this was the result.

‘I have to run…’

The man swallowed. His mind, now cold, soberly assessed the situation. He had to escape. He did not want to die yet.

Darkness surged around the man, enveloping and then disappearing him.

“Hmm.”

The man had disappeared. Probably went to the guild. Asher approached the place where the man had been. Darkness still lingered, fluttering and obstructing the view.

“These guys make it a nuisance when they decide to run.”

Unrestricted teleportation from a specific area. Even if it’s a divine power, it should be moderately usable. This was too much. Thanks to that, the influence as a god disappeared, leaving only the power to issue oracles, but that was a story unrelated to him.

Dealing with gods is the work of heroes, while dealing with humans is his.

Asher grabbed the darkness.

“Silly child.”

He chuckled. Space movement is certainly tricky, but not without ways to suppress it. However, Asher did not catch the man. Catching a few assassins wasn’t his goal.

“Marina. Show the place where you’ve reached.”

Then, the darkness expanded.



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