Reincarnation of the Swordmaster Chapter 18

Handling (2)

“We don’t know the reason… But the gods have delivered it as an oracle, and we prepared… Then they disappeared, and we reached out to the world….”

“Hmm.”

Asher flicked his blood-stained hands. Wiping them with a towel, he gazed at the blood-covered man in front of him.

“It was twenty years ago.”

The day he died was when the heroes vanished. He knew quite a few heroes, too.

Could there be a connection? Or not? Thinking about it, Hyban also vanished twenty years ago.

He probed further, but the man knew no more. Even resorting to torture only evoked screams of genuine ignorance.

‘Why did they disappear?’

The reappeared Hyban said he left to uncover secrets. Not all would have done the same. But then, what were they striving for by disappearing?

“…Was targeting me also part of an oracle?”

“Yes… a new oracle was issued six months ago… It ordered to kill everyone related to the previous era….”

“Six months ago.”

That was when he had reincarnated. His mind grew cluttered.

“And….”

“And?”

“An oracle was issued to kill you, a clear and distinct oracle from the previous one.”

“…….”

Asher narrowed his eyes and stared at the man. Targeting him. So, the gods knew about the reincarnation.

“Huff. Huff….”

The man gasped for air, chained up. Fear pushed his mind to its limits.

“Please… now….”

“Hmm.”

Asher stroked his chin. He clumsily held onto the chain.

“Fine. I’ll give peace.”

Asher raised his sword. The man’s eyes widened, and he flailed.

“Are you going to kill me?! Liar!”

“I never promised to save you. You misunderstood on your own.”

“Ah! Ahhhhh!”

“An assassin begging for his life is useless.”

Despite the man’s frantic struggles, Asher silently lifted his sword.

***

It was already getting dark. People were winding up their work and beginning to head home.

“Oh. You’re back?”

Reika brushed off sweat as she spoke. Asher nodded.

“Yeah.”

“Took you long? Anything wrong… the smell of blood.”

Reika approached, then stiffened and stepped back.

“What’s with the blood smell….”

“Does it smell that bad?”

“It’s dreadful.”

Reika grimaced.

“It’s more noticeable since it’s not a scent from around here.”

“A bath… won’t remove it. As a knight, you ought to emit the smell of blood.”

“What happened?”

The village was quiet. No incidents had occurred. There was no reason for Asher to be reeking of blood. Asher gave a slight smile.

“Just various things. Where’s Luke?”

“He’s probably at the village tavern. He should be coming back soon.… Not planning to talk?”

“You know well. It’s too early for you to know.”

If one day Reika experiences the harshness of the world and feels the misery thoroughly, maybe then he could tell her. But for now, she was fragile. She had sufficient physical strength, but her mental growth hadn’t caught up.

“It’s the village. I should head back. See you tomorrow. Since I rested today, tomorrow will be more rigorous.”

“…Wait.”

Reika blocked his path with a stern face. Asher said he was going to follow Luke’s order. And he returned smelling of blood. Reika clenched her sword.

“I can’t just let you go.”

“Are you worrying because it’s your brother?”

Asher chuckled. She wasn’t going to stop him. Reika shook her head.

“What are you talking about? I don’t care about my brother. I’m worried about you.”

“…….”

Asher was momentarily taken aback. She worried about him, not a family member.

“To be honest, I don’t care what happens to my brother.”

Her affections for Luke were minimal. Ordinarily diligent and well-behaved, Reika had always found the trouble-making, villager-tormenting Luke disagreeable. That frustration had exploded the last time when teasing Asher reached its peak, and now they no longer greeted each other when they met.

But she didn’t care. Reika had plans to leave. For someone planning to wield a sword, this lordship was too confined. Although her parents worried, she was the oldest daughter and had no inheritance rights. Being sold off to another lordship as a spinster would be better than staying here.

“Asher. I understand how you feel. But you are a commoner. If you cross a noble, neither I nor our parents can easily protect you.”

Reika said with worried eyes. Even though the class system had weakened, the name of nobility lingered. On the contrary, as it weakened, they tried to uphold their authority, so the punishments became even harsher. If Asher caused physical harm, it would either lead to slavery or death.

She liked Asher. Whether it was a fledgling romantic feeling or admiration for a knight, she was not planning to leave him alone.

“…….”

Asher remained silent. Neither affirming nor denying. Just as Reika was about to speak again, Asher muttered.

“Not a bad feeling, then.”

“What?”

Asher smiled faintly. That smile surprised Reika. It wasn’t the contrived smile he usually wore, but a genuine one.

“Asher?”

“No. Just odd. Is this what pure goodwill feels like.”

His smile turned bitter. Asher gently pushed Reika’s shoulder away. Overcome by the strange atmosphere, Reika snapped back to her senses and exclaimed, “Asher, I….”

“Don’t worry. I know my place and have no intention of getting directly involved with the nobility.”

“Then just come back. I’ll talk to our parents later and take care of it…”

“No, Reika. I said I wouldn’t get involved directly.”

He turned away. His smile was different from before. Reika shivered. A chill ran through her.

“There’s no law saying psychological violence is less than physical violence.”

***

“Hahahaha!”

Luke staggered down the street, uncaring of the disapproving glances from the villagers heading home, his mood was that good.

“Hahaha!”

By now, he must be dead. Luke grinned. He knew Asher had been different for months now, but even so, his opponent was a renowned assassin. Even if Asher was strong, he was out of his league. He couldn’t have survived.

“Kuk-kuk…”

Ah, I feel so good. It’s the first time I’ve felt this good in my life. He didn’t even worry about cleaning up afterward or what would come next.

“Great.”

He entered his castle and made it to his room. He locked the door and lay down on his bed. He closed his eyes.

“You were here.”

Just as he was about to drift off to sleep, a voice came from beside him. Luke quickly jumped out of bed.

“You! You! What!”

“Calm down, young master.”

A figure emerged from the darkness. Luke’s pupils dilated upon seeing the face.

“Asher?”

Why? He should be dead. Luke’s face filled with denial.

“Why…?”

“Why? It seems like you mean I shouldn’t be here.”

Asher stepped forward with a grin, Luke stepped back.

“Why do you behave like this, young master?”

His whisper-like voice echoed around the room. Luke trembled.

I’m going to die. The terror of death overwhelmed him, then disappeared.

“No, it’s just… a scare. You hardly ever come out to the village.”

Luke forced a brazen laugh.

Yeah. There’s no evidence. Assassins don’t discuss their clients. Even if they did, they couldn’t touch him.

He was a noble, and Asher was a commoner. Luke boldly shouted.

“How dare a commoner enter a noble’s dwellings? Get out! I’ll make sure you’re punished later!”

“Punishment?”

Asher did not erase his smile but muttered.

“It’s nothing. I went to where you were today and was attacked. When I asked who it was, your name came up.”

“Really?”

These useless things!

Luke cursed internally. Assassins were so careless with their client’s names!

‘Motoroliar is full of trash.’

Although he was quite shocked, Luke composed himself and contorted his face in anger.

“Are you saying I hired such assassins!”

Luke clenched his fist.

“How dare this nonsense!”

Without the assassin, there was no evidence. He could suppress it with his power.

“Insulting a noble! I’ll speak to my father tomorrow and have you driven out of this village!”

“Young master.”

Asher called him softly.

“Do I look like a fool to you?”

The atmosphere thickened, sticky with emotion.

“Uh…?”

Luke couldn’t grasp the situation and dumbly voiced his disbelief.

“How dare…”

“Let’s stop this, young master.”

Asher slowly approached Luke.

“I don’t want to have a pointless argument with you. There’s no need, and it’s not worth it.”

The intensity of the emotions grew stronger as Asher approached.

“Ah… uh…”

“You are nothing to me.”

Asher pushed Luke’s chest, and he fell back onto the bed.

“I also wish to be nothing to you.”

The venom, the murderous intent, clung stickily to Luke. He gasped for air, as fear clouded his vision.

“Do you understand?”

“Heugh! Heugh! Heugh!”

The murderous intent faded. Luke clutched at his chest, gasping for breath, as liquid streamed down his face and nose, his gagging repeating.

“Ugh…”

Asher watched him dispassionately.

“You will become the lord of this village. And I will leave this place. Our dealings end here. We need no further relationship.”

For example, one that involves life and death.

Whether or not Luke understood, his face grew even paler.

“Save, save me…”

“No need for that.”

Asher gently stroked Luke’s head.

“Let’s just be indifferent to each other. Like passing a bug without any interest. Do you agree?”

Luke, sobbing, nodded repeatedly. Asher withdrew his hand.

“Good.”

He stepped back. His figure gradually became hidden by the shadows.

“We had a contract. I won’t come to you anymore. And neither should you. But if you break it.”

Asher’s last words lingered before he disappeared.

“I will come back.”



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