Reincarnation of the Swordmaster Chapter 23

Things forgotten by Humanity (5)

He Killed the Woman His Son Loved. Far from a hero, he acted like a villain as Charon sealed his lips. Boros shook his head.

“Father is not a hero now. He’s merely a monster of power.”

Boros opened the door.

“Please leave. Miss Reika is in the next room. Father won’t stay quiet, but… I will handle it.”

The door closed with his self-mocking words.

“But still, he is a son to him, he listens to me to some extent.”

***

“Really…”

He killed the woman he loved. An act the well-known Balbaca would never do. Charon murmured with shaky eyes.

“Why would Lord Balbaca…”

“Why indeed.”

Asha tapped on his wrist guard. A dagger appeared in his hand.

“What are you trying to do?”

“Check.”

Asha took the dagger and opened the door. Charon hastily blocked Asha’s way.

“Are you thinking of going to Lord Balbaca now?”

“Do you think that’s Balbaca?”

“Then, you’re saying it’s someone else? I have seen Lord Balbaca before.”

Though it was twenty years ago, he remembered the basic shape of the face and voice clearly. The current Balbaca had no differences from the Balbaca of the past.

“There can’t be someone that similar. If anything had changed, Lord Boros would have noticed first.”

“If it were a human.”

Even if a person imitated another, they couldn’t mimic their memories.

“But if it’s not human?”

“What…?”

“There are monsters. If Umphert devours dreams, this creature devours memories.”

Monsters that posed the greatest threat to humans among the dangerous demons and alien beings.

“I thought all were driven out, but some remained.”

Charon stepped back and his eyes grew wary. He gripped his sword in one hand.

“Who are you?”

“Same question as Reika.”

His answer was predictable.

“What do you think?”

Asha grabbed hesitant Charon’s shoulder and pushed. Charon stumbled back like a child.

“It doesn’t matter who I am. I have no intention of harming you all. Isn’t that what’s important? I have one question for you, loyal knight Charon.”

Asha pointed his finger to the room where Reika was.

“Who’s more important to you, the lady or me?”

“It’s the lady.”

“Then go. Go and protect your lady.”

Asha passed Charon and exited through the door.

“I’ll deal with the other guy.”

***

Asha arrived in front of the lord’s room and pushed the door.

Balbaca was seen drinking.

“Ah? Oh, it’s you.”

Balbaca’s face was red as if he were drunk, and he nodded his head.

“So, did you get an answer? What did he say?”

Asha didn’t respond. He just walked over to Balbaca and picked up the glass of alcohol he was drinking. Balbaca furrowed his brow slightly.

“What are you trying to do?”

“Behemonia, vintage of the year 43.”

It was an expensive alcohol. A favorite among heroes, and occasionally enjoyed by him as well.

“I used to recommend it often. But you refused to drink such expensive liquor till the end.”

Asha poured another glass of the alcohol. Balbaca’s face began to distort.

“Are you mad?”

Balbaca rose abruptly.

“Get out now.”

“What right do you have?”

“…You must be really mad.”

Balbaca rang a bell on the table. The sound of the bell spread outside the room.

“Fine. Enjoy your last drink at least, I will allow that.”

“No.”

Asha held the glass.

“You have no right.”

“What are you babbling about…”

“Aren’t you tired of pretending? You’re not Balbica, are you?”

As Asha moistened his throat with alcohol, Balbaca’s expression hardened. At the same time, the door opened.

“Lord!”

“Did you call me, Father?”

Soldiers and Boros came in. Balbaca slammed the table.

“Get rid of this man immediately!”

“Asha? What are you doing here?”

Boros was bewildered. Simultaneously, Asha grabbed Balbaca by the throat.

“This…!”

“Lord!”

Balbaca clenched his teeth and the soldiers screamed. Their lord was being threatened by a servant from another domain. Boros shouted roughly.

“What are you doing!”

“Dealing with a fake.”

Asha thrust his blade forward, and red blood flowed from Balbaca’s neck.

“Hating humans while being similar to humans. Don’t you think it’s strange?”

***

Charon sat dumbfounded in the room. After a few minutes, life returned to his eyes.

“I can’t just sit here.”

He staggered up from his chair and entered the room where the employees of the Iralak domain were.

“Lord Charon?”

“…All of you, come out.”

“Huh?”

“All of you, leave the castle and wait outside the gate. This is an order.”

“Yes, yes.”

The employees nodded reflexively. Charon went back out and entered the adjacent room where he initially was. Reika was lying alone on a large bed.

“Please wake up, Miss.”

“Uh… what?”

Reika opened her eyes and was startled to see Charon.

“Why are you here?”

She got up and looked around.

“…And why am I here? I remember I was leaving after I had my meal.”

“There’s no time to explain, Miss.”

Charon picked up Reika.

“We have to leave.”

“Wait, what are you doing!”

Reika struggled, but Charon carried her outside the village where the employees were waiting.

“Miss?”

“Are you here?”

Karon had set Reika down. Reika frowned, adjusting her clothes.

“Why suddenly like this?”

“We must leave. This place is dangerous.”

“What about the strategy?”

“The strategy is not the problem.”

“No. Wait. What about Asher?”

At Reika’s words, Karon hesitated.

“Why is Asher not here!”

“…He stayed.”

“What?”

“Damn.”

Karon cursed. It wasn’t something to be said in front of his master, but he was past the point of caring.

“Stay here.”

“Hold on! Karon!”

Karon rushed into the castle.

***

Boom!

Karon smashed through the door into the lord’s chamber.

What he saw were soldiers and Boros.

And Asher, holding Balbaca by the neck with a sword pointed at him. Stunned by the unimaginable scene, Karon blurted out.

“Mad.”

“Ka, Karon? Why are you here?”

“Hello.”

Boros stepped back as Asher waved. Balbaca screamed.

“He’s here to kill me too! Subdue him!”

“Haap!”

The soldiers instinctively thrust their spears forward. Karon clenched his teeth and drew his sword.

Clang!

“Argh!”

“Ah!”

The soldiers reeled back as their hands were struck by the sword, dropping their spears. Karon held up both hands.

“I am not involved.”

“Not involved? What nonsense! Aren’t you their servant!”

“…….”

Unable to retort, Karon closed his mouth. He glared fiercely at Asher.

“What are you doing!”

“I told you. I’m dealing with a fake.”

Asher responded nonchalantly, causing Balbaca to grind his teeth.

“He’s truly lost it.”

“I don’t understand, Asher. Calling my father a fake.”

“Do you see him as real, Lord Boros?”

“At least you don’t look sane to me.”

Boros frowned.

“You don’t think you can threaten a nobleman and get away with it.”

“If this is indeed the real Balbaca, then yes.”

“Do you think I can’t tell them apart?”

Boros scoffed. He had suspected as much himself.

“One can mimic an appearance. But how do you explain the memories?”

Balbaca, even after becoming a monster, retained his full memories, his recollections. That’s why Boros had been convinced that Balbaca was not a fake.

But Asher did not let go of Balbaca’s neck.

“From the past, those called great but powerless have fallen. People thought they merely changed over time because they retained their complete memories.”

But it wasn’t so. Most of them had a reason.

“A creature that mimics human appearance and devours their memories. Once, they were the most threatening demonic presence to humankind.”

“What are you talking about…”

Boros trailed off, his eyes beginning to waver.

“Could it be…”

“What are you doing!”

Balbaca shouted roughly.

“Subdue this man! Kill him! Kill him!”

But the soldiers did not move. Boros, too, held his sword but only bit his lip, rooted to the spot like a mighty tree.

“Do you doubt me!”

Balbaca gritted his teeth and clenched his fist.

“You! Rayban!”

One soldier flinched as Balbaca screamed harshly.

“When your mother was ill and suffering, I supported everything. I stood by you, helping you through the hardship. And Barnia! When your wife gave birth to your son, I personally visited!”

Balbaca looked around at the soldiers.

“Cron! Have you forgotten who helped you when you were almost crippled by a wolf! Bohaim! Who stood vigil for your father’s dying moments!”

At Balbaca’s pointing, the soldiers staggered backward, hesitating. Balbaca shook violently.

“I remember everything! I am your lord! Are you doubting me!”

“Because you have become strange.”

Boros muttered glumly. Balbaca sneered.

“Is it because of the woman you brought here? You are a noble, son. You should marry a woman befitting your status.”

Balbaca’s voice softened.

“When you were young, you wanted to see heroes. So, I took you to them.”

“I remember.”

“Yes, I too remember. It was a very vivid event.”

Balbaca declared powerfully.

“They said you looked like me. That you would one day become great. All the heroes adored you.”

The grip on Boros’s sword began to loosen.

“How could a fake remember such things? I am Balbaca, the great of Bellaturia…”

“No.”

Asher tightened his grip on the neck.

“Choke!”

“Similar, yes, but they never said you’d be great. They said you’d be a devoted man.”

“What?”

In a moment, Boros’s eyes wavered.

“Not everyone adored you. Walters snorted that you were frail, Haiban suggested you should become his apprentice and then you hit him, Lephenia pretended to be uninterested outwardly. Secretly, she sent you an artifact.”

“Come to think of it…”

Boros muttered, reassessing his memories, and they aligned.

“How could you know that.”

“You mimic a person’s appearance and eat the memories of those around them.”

Asher mocked. Balbaca stuttered as he was still held by the neck.

“Wh, what nonsense. I am…”

“A child’s memories are twisted and distorted.”

Memories are not complete. They are distorted by individuals and diverge from the truth.

“Isn’t that right? Doppelganger.”



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