Reincarnation of the Swordmaster Chapter 22

Things forgotten by Humanity (4)

“Whatever it is, there’s nothing you can do.”

The Bellaturia family was a count’s house. Even though small, it was incomparable in size to the Irock domain.

Had Balbaka remained gentle as before, a rejection wouldn’t have been too problematic. The Balbaka of the past was kind and gentle.

But now, it didn’t seem like it would end that easily.

“Wouldn’t this be beneficial for you too? If you were to form ties with the count’s house, you could further expand your influence.”

“Stop joking.”

Karon gritted his teeth.

“Neither I nor the lord desired political strategies.”

“It would be a good thing from the domain’s standpoint.”

“Do you see our lord as someone who seeks power?”

“That’s not it.”

The Halvarke family has traditionally had little desire and was satisfied with what they had. Luke was somewhat an exception, but Reberock remained the same.

“Our lord is satisfied with protecting his domain. He would not sell his daughter for power.”

Karon’s face twisted.

“More than anything, I wish for the young lady to walk the path of the sword.”

“She has the talent.”

“Talent? That’s not the word. The young lady stands above that. If she continues to strive… she could become a great person.”

Karon said dreamily, lost in thought. A great person. A Swordmaster.

Karon was a talented swordsman. That’s why he could recognize what kind of talent Reika possessed. It was terribly frustrating.

“That such talent is wasted in a place like this.”

Karon clenched his fist.

But Karon’s anger changed nothing. Over the next few days, Balbaka continued to approach Reika, attempting to make contact.

Boros tried to halt him, but Balbaka was the lord of the domain. He wouldn’t listen to his son. Reika’s expression darkened day by day, and Karon’s face reddened along with it.

In such a situation, Asher made his way to the village below the castle. There was something he needed. As he walked through the village, he saw the misery of its people.

It seemed more like a slum than a count’s estate. Nowhere could one find a person in good health. The grand appearance of the castle starkly contrasted with its surroundings.

If the area near the castle was this bad, one could only imagine the outskirts of the domain. Suddenly, someone blocked Asher’s path.

“Hand over your money.”

A boy, nearly in his mid-teens, was holding a knife, trembling as he thrust his hand forward, clutching a younger child at his side.

“I’m going to stab you.”

Asher stared at the boy intently. The boy hesitated, gritting his teeth as he slowly approached. He tensed the hand holding the knife.

“Just stop.”

Boros, with a somber face, grabbed the boy’s arm. The boy startled, dropping the knife.

“My lord…”

“This person is a guest of our domain. I have a duty to protect him.”

Boros pulled out a few coins and placed them in the boy’s hand.

“This should be enough to buy medicine for your brother. Karon, go.”

“Th-thank you, my lord…”

Karon bowed repeatedly, grabbing his brother’s hand and hurriedly running off. Boros gave Asher a wry smile.

“It’s quite the sorry sight. You said your name was Asher, didn’t you?”

“Yes.”

“I apologize. The situation isn’t at its best, leading you to witness such a scene.”

Asher was a servant, yet Boros, a noble, was respectfully using formal language.

“I think your apologies are due to someone else.”

“Ms. Reika… you mean.”

The future father-in-law of his son seeking his fiancee was despicable conduct, even for a barbaric and arrogant noble.

Boros silently shook his head. Asher spoke softly.

“Bellaturia. I am the master. Trust from you. Loyalty from me. From the bottom, I will support you all.”

Out of context and irrelevant, yet Boros was not just alarmed but seemingly amazed. His eyes sparkled.

“How do you know those words…”

“That was something Mr. Balbaka often used to say.”

Those were perhaps the clearest words to describe Balbaka. He thought ruling a domain was not about governing its people, but supporting them.

“It seems to be a bit different now.”

“……”

Boros grimaced silently. As Asher started heading back to the castle, he suddenly turned back.

“Lord Boros. May I ask a favor?”

“Yes, please do tell.”

“There’s something I need, but strangely it’s not sold here. It’s not that hard to find either. Could you perhaps procure it for me?”

“What are you looking for?”

Asher specified the item. Boros looked perplexed.

“Why would you need those?”

“It’s a personal necessity.”

“Um… It’s nothing too troubling. I should be able to have it ready by tomorrow.”

“Thank you.”

Asher bowed and started to return to the castle.

***

“Balbaka, coveting beauty and despising commoners…”

Asher muttered as he roamed the gardens of the castle. If spoken in the past, everyone would have laughed it off as nonsense, but now, no words could be more appropriate.

Asher touched a blue rose. A rare variety that required meticulous care, this rose held the same value as a gem of the same weight. Known as a symbol of wealth, it was a favorite among arrogant and greedy nobles.

The garden was filled with such blue roses. Asher pressed his hand against one. The rose broke.

“Who are you?”

“I am Asher.”

Asher responded. Suddenly, Balbaka, scowling, scrutinized Asher.

“What are you doing in here?”

“Do you not remember? I was with the young lady when we met the lord.”

“What? …Ah, a servant of the Irock family.”

Balbaka nodded, though his expression showed no real recollection.

“Do you know who I am?”

Balbaka asked, with confidence and a show of arrogance.

“I know you. Balbaka Bellaturia. A hero of the past.”

“Yes. I am a hero. A great person. Forming ties with me would be an honor for your house.”

Balbaka’s sinister tone hung in the air.

“Go tell him. Lord Balvarka wants Leyka Halvark as his concalfa. Marrying me would be a better deal for your family than with her unworthy son,” he said through his expression.

“That’s a rather mercenary statement for a hero,” Asher remarked.

Balvarka snorted, “That is the way of heroes.”

“May I ask you something?”

Asher’s voice was somber, “Speak.”

“On my way here, I saw thieves running away from the territory of Bellaturia, including women and children. Do you know what that’s about?”

“Yes, those were thieves who fled my city. It seems my search party failed to find them.”

“Why did they run?” Asheria asked.

“They couldn’t live in my city—they said. The ungrateful lot,” Balvarka spat the words, his face contorting.

“Peasants running away from nobility. They should all be executed if caught.”

“Is that so,” Asher chuckled quietly.

‘I am nothing. Just a captain of the guard. Without them, I wouldn’t exist. That’s what nobility is—a pathetic status that can do nothing by itself.’ Someone had told him that long ago.

And that person no longer existed in this world.

“May I ask just one more thing?”

Asher’s eyes flickered toward Balvarka.

“What is your name?”

“What nonsense is this?” Balvarka scoffed.

“I am Balvarka of Bellaturia. The lord of Bellaturia and a great hero,” his voice unwavering.

“Balvarka Bellaturia. Understood,” Asher smirked lightly, standing up.

“I shall convey your message.”

***

“No!” Karan slammed his fists down on the table, wood splinters flying everywhere.

“How could this be! Lord Balvarka demanding to have the lady!”

As time passed, Balvarka’s intentions became blatantly obvious. Boros, who had been a strategic match, had long been forgotten.

And today, he had even summoned Leyka to his chamber alone. Karan grasped his sword tightly.

“I cannot just stand by and watch!”

“What will you do then?” Asher scoffed as Karan appeared ready to storm into Balvarka’s room.

“Start a war? Lord Leberock would be thrilled.”

“And you would just stand by and watch?” Karan yelled, drawing his sword.

“I am a knight sworn to our lord. I cannot stand to see her toyed with by that old man!”

“You are indeed loyal,” Karan initially called Balvarka a great hero, and now he simply referred to him as an old man. The visible change in his feelings made Asher smile.

“There are no heroes left from the past.”

Karan clenched his teeth and walked toward the door. As he was about to forcefully open it, it swung open from the other side.

“…Lord Boros?”

“Hello.”

Balvarka’s son, Boros, entered with a gloomy face, glancing briefly at Karan.

“Are you going to see my father?”

“…Step aside.”

Karan looked down on Boros with disdain.

“There’s nothing for me to see in an heir who cannot even protect his betrothed.”

“This engagement was not my choice.”

“That is what you call an argument?” Karan’s muscles tensed. Boros murmured again.

“Nobody wanted this engagement but my father.”

“…Why.”

“Why indeed,” Boros looked back at Karan.

“Have you met my father before? Does he seem the same to you now as he did then?”

“…”

Karan could not respond. Boros answered alone.

“No. My father is not the hero he once was. He changed completely twenty years ago.”

Asher silently listened to their conversation. Boros looked out the window at the houses.

“Look at the village. People are starving to death, trembling in the cold without homes, while my father desires more jewels. He overworks the people and raises taxes.”

Boros clenched his fist.

“My father now is merely a monster.”

“…”

“People still have hope. They cling to the image of the great lord, the great hero, thinking he will come to his senses. And one by one, they die.”

Boros scoffed.

“It’s a futile hope.”

“How could the great hero…”

“Hero?” Boros laughed bitterly.

“Ever since I was born, my father always said, ‘Son, I swear on my name, on my soul, you will marry the woman you love.’”

Such a statement was nearly impossible for a child born to nobility, yet because Balvarka followed through, he was called a hero.

“I believed those words. Even though my father became strange, I believed they were true, not lies.”

As a hero, Balvarka had sworn it. Boros had believed it to be true.

“Five years ago, I met a woman from outside. She was not of noble birth, but she was kind and good—a woman everyone could love. I brought her to the domain to show my father.”

Boros spoke calmly.

“And the next day, she was dead.”



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