Reincarnation of the Swordmaster Chapter 24

What They Believed

“Doppelganger?”

“What is that?”

The soldiers murmured among themselves. Balbalka, or rather the doppelganger’s eyes, wavered. But soon they steadied and he gritted his teeth.

“Speaking nonsense! Those things were driven out of this world a long time ago. Speak sense!”

“Cut the act.”

Asher said, sliding his hand into his coat.

“Yeah. There would be no way to recognize you. Except there is one way, but you seem to have erased it all within the village to prevent that.”

Asher pulled a small envelope from his coat.

“Take this.”

Asher opened the envelope. Ash-gray powder spread around the room.

“Lead powder treated with dried birch bark. It’s your favorite, isn’t it?”

“You! You! You!”

Balbalka flailed, but Asher’s grip was as firm as steel.

“A doppelganger is a creature that imitates humans. Ultimately a derivative of magic, an existence that should not exist in this world. No matter how much it mimics humans, it cannot change its own magical essence.”

Thus, the doppelganger had studied methods to hide its magic, and had achieved some success. This allowed people to detect the presence of a doppelganger.

“Aaaaaah!”

Balbalka’s form twisted. His arms bent and his facial features distorted. The soldiers’ faces turned pale.

“Crazy.”

Caron clenched his teeth. Magic, darkness began to creep up.

– Damn it.

A sticky voice echoed. The doppelganger shook off Asher’s hold with a more intense backlash than before. It grimaced in its twisted form.

– You all forget with time but why do you still know?

“There are those who still remember,” Asher stated.

Balbalka’s form gradually distorted back to its original shape. The shape was human-like, but his entire body was pure white, and what seemed to be his face only had huge eyes and a mouth.

“Aaaaaaaa!”

“How! How!”

The soldiers panicked. Borolus screamed. Caron was horrified.

The doppelganger glanced at them and then turned its gaze back to Asher.

– You did well. Human.

Magic mixed with murderous intent oozed out. Asher dusted off his hands.

“Goodbye. Creature.”

***

‘Is this the second magical being I’ve seen in this life?’

The first was Umpert. However, it was immediately repelled by Haivan before he could observe it properly. Asher stared blankly at the doppelganger.

Nothing had changed from the past. Its body and the shape of its eyes were all the same. The doppelganger twisted its mouth at Borolus.

– Goodbye. My proud son.

“…Ah! Aaaaaah!”

A sane Borolus screamed an anguished yell.

“What have you done with my father!”

– Your father? Ahh. That foolish and naive man?

The doppelganger sneered.

– By now, only his bones might be left.

“…Die!”

Borolus, losing his mind, drew his sword. The doppelganger rushed at him and grabbed his neck.

“Young master!”

“This evil creature!”

The soldiers held their spears but couldn’t rush forward as the lord was held captive. The doppelganger shook Borolus’s body with an annoyed tone.

– Imitating your father was quite annoying. I always wanted to kill you. Ahh. But there was one enjoyable thing.

The doppelganger laughed.

– Killing your lady. That was a lot of fun, son.

“…Aaaaaaah!”

As Borolus screamed, Caron rushed forward. He closed the distance in an instant, slapped away the hand holding Borolus, and kicked. The doppelganger was slammed into the wall and Borolus slumped down.

“Father… Remya… You…”

“Regain your senses, Lord Borolus.”

Caron drew his sword with a stern face. It was his first time facing a creature, but there was no time to be flustered.

“That’s not Lord Balbalka. It’s a creature.”

The enemy of humans. The doppelganger slowly rose. Borolus’s shaky eyes found focus, and he clenched his fist.

“…All soldiers, arm yourselves!”

Clang!

Sounds of weaponry echoed. The soldiers, with tense faces, pointed their spears at the doppelganger.

“That’s not my father. Kill this creature that dares to mimic nobility!”

Borolus spat blood.

“Kill it!”

“Uwaaah!”

The soldiers charged, gripping their spears, rushing towards the enigmatic creature. They were brave, but the doppelganger mocked them.

– Daring to point your weapons at your master?

“Die, monster!”

A soldier thrust his spear. The doppelganger scoffed, swinging its white hand swiftly. The spear shattered on impact.

“Aaack!”

Shards embedded in a soldier, who rolled on the ground screaming.

– I am a being born of magic.

While the doppelganger took on a human appearance, it was no weakling. Among monsters, it might be lower-ranked, but still a monster. Ordinary humans were nothing more than playthings to kill.

The doppelganger gleefully soared towards its next target. A soldier, pale-faced, swung his spear, but the creature easily dodged and grabbed his head.

– Bohem. I’ve always wanted to do this to you.

Crunch.

The head hit the ground, blood splattering. He seemed not to be dead, still twitching, but unable to move.

“This, this devil!”

The doppelganger approached the shouting soldier.

– Hello. Kron.

The white hand struck the soldier’s chest, and the armor split.

It was drawn. The soldier vomited blood and collapsed.

“Stop!”

Karon charged with his sword aimed. The sword traced a diagonal line as the doppelganger flexed its arm. With a clash, both were repelled several steps backward.

– How dare a mere human.

The doppelganger cackled and swung its arm. Its arm whipped through the air like a whip. Karon took a deep breath and maneuvered his sword.

Crack!

The moving sword struck down all the flailing arms. Karon lunged toward the exposed chest, pulled his arm, and exploded his muscles.

Crash!

The doppelganger, stabbed at the end of the sword, rolled on the ground. Karon gripped his sword with both hands.

“I am a knight of the great Lord Reberok.”

Karon was a top-tier knight, not quite a hero but rare in human comparison.

“Monster. You are no match for me.”

Karon said confidently.

– Really do you think so?

And the monster mocked Karon.

– You know nothing. What monsters are, why they are feared by humans.

If all they had was brute force, they would have been called beasts. But that was not the case; they were monsters, receiving the most fear from humans.

The doppelganger lunged at Karon. Karon caught the sword and chopped down. The doppelganger grabbed Karon’s arm.

– It’s not my fault.

Karon twisted out his grabbed arm and turned his sword. He re-gripped his sword whirling through the air and sliced at the doppelganger’s neck.

Crack!

Blood splattered. The doppelganger clutched its sliced neck and retreated.

– It’s not my fault.

“Suddenly talking nonsense.”

Karon ignored the doppelganger’s muttering and chopped down his sword. The doppelganger’s arm was sliced and blood splattered.

– Sorry. Sorry. I’m really sorry. It’s my fault, forgive me.

Karon paused, as if struck. His face went blank, his movement ceased.

“…How could this be.”

– Brainwashing is a great excuse, isn’t it? Allowed to betray or even kill your own allies.

“Shut up! Silence!”

Karon charged with a scream, losing his composure. The doppelganger dodged the frantic sword strikes while continuing to mock Karon.

– You are no knight. You swore loyalty to Reberok who shelters you, but what must he really feel? Does he trust a traitor or doubt and suspect?

“Shutuuup!”

Karon chopped down with determined eyes, his movements simple enough for a novice to dodge. The doppelganger caught the sword.

– I am the monster. The fear of you all.

A white arm moved, crushing Karon’s armor. Karon vomited blood and collapsed on the floor.

– Relish the fear, humans.

The doppelganger spread its arms. Magic surged and spread around. The soldiers, driven mad by fear, banged their heads. Boros gritted his teeth.

“…Monster!”

– Why so? My son.

“Don’t call me your son! Filthy monster!”

– But I am your father. Son.

The doppelganger chuckled.

– Didn’t you call me father? Even if I go mad, even if I commit brutalities, even if I kill your beloved woman, you thought of me as your father. You never doubted me, though I only looked like him but acted differently.

The doppelganger mocked Boros.

– Ultimately, you judge people by appearance and memory. And I wore your father’s face. Therefore, I am your father. Fool.

“…….”

Boros tried to speak, but his throat seemed blocked, his mouth would not open. The doppelganger swung its hand and opened a window.

– Farewell, my son.

The doppelganger left through the window.

***

How much time had passed? The soldiers’ groans gradually subsided. Boros barely regained his senses.

“I am… their master….”

He had to take care of the soldiers. Moved by a sense of duty, he approached the injured soldiers. Though unconscious, none seemed dead.

“…….”

Monsters have no affection; it was all mockery. You are all worthless, Boros bit his lip.

He gathered the soldiers and called for people. Those from outside gasped, but there was no time to explain. He looked at Karon.

“It’s not my fault…”

Karon continuously muttered incomprehensibly as Boros turned his gaze elsewhere.

“…Gone?”

He panicked. Ashea was nowhere to be seen.

***

– Annoying.

The doppelganger grumbled as it left the village and walked through the forest. Reika appeared at the entrance, but his mood had cooled and he had no intention to bother her. He strolled through the forest with a bored expression.

– To stealthily wait twenty long years in this detestable place.

It wasn’t a short time for a monster like him. He had wanted to throw everything away and return many times. But he always stopped right before acting.

Because he, too, was but a monster commanded.

When it was finally time to reap the fruits of his patience, he could never have guessed it would end this way.

– It’s all that guy’s fault.

That human who knew his identity, his unraveling methods, and even his characteristics. The doppelganger muttered in puzzled tones.

– How does a young one know?

“I remember you.”

A voice came from beyond the bushes as the doppelganger quickly swung his hand. The wind pressure rose and the bushes were pushed aside. The owner of the voice appeared.

– You.

Ashea was walking towards him.



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