Reincarnation of the Swordmaster Chapter 40

Chapter 40: To the Capital (1)

Asher sat quietly in the training grounds, his eyes closed. His muscles writhed through his body like living creatures, moving with a life of their own. He modulated the intensity of his strength, tuning the state of his entire body, keeping the sensation of power alive.

Slowly, Asher raised his fist. It moved with the speed of a caterpillar—slowly but surely towards the ground. Finally, his fist touched the earth.

Koong!

The ground shook. Sand exploded outward, and dust rose from the surface. The inexplicable tremor caused people within the fortress to look around in confusion.

“…It’s still awkward,” Asher muttered as he opened his eyes.

He had gained strength after his reincarnation. Whether it was because he became a Swordmaster or due to the reincarnation itself, he had to master this power. A monstrous strength that surpassed human limits, but it was incredibly tricky to control.

“I’ve been in this body for two years now.”

And yet, he was still unable to properly manage his strength. Controlling it was extremely difficult.

A change was needed. Just as Asher was about to raise his fist again, the door burst open.

“…Asher.”

“Why?”

At Asher’s calm response, Raika pressed her forehead.

“You’ve been smacking the floor again, haven’t you?”

“You catch on fast.”

“It would be strange not to notice. Didn’t I tell you to stop doing that?”

Raika gritted her teeth.

“Do you know how much you scared me?”

“And yet, after dozens of times, you should be getting used to it.”

“Damn fool.”

Raika clicked her tongue.

“Just stop for today. There haven’t been scared people, but it’s still frightening thinking something might break.”

“I take that into account when I do it.”

“And yet you still can’t control your strength,” Raika muttered as she grabbed her sword. Instead of swinging it, she simply extended both hands and steadied her breath.

“How does it feel today?”

“The same as usual.”

Raika frowned, as though she was dissatisfied.

“We need a change. Maybe a sparring match would do…”

Her eyes sparkled as she turned her gaze to Asher, who dismissed the suggestion.

“Call Caron, not me.”

“Che, it’s been a year. It’s about time, isn’t it?”

A year had passed since the goblin attack. There had been minor monster attacks since then, but none as severe as the goblins, allowing them to be easily repelled.

The greatest change had been that Asher had stopped sparring with Raika.

“For both of us, there is nothing left to learn.”

The reason Asher had stopped sparring with Raika was simple.

“I can no longer win against you.”

The growth in just two years was unbelievable. Now, Caron was just playing around whenever they sparred. Every bout left a mixture of joy and sorrow on Caron’s face.

But Raika looked suspicious.

“I still don’t think I can beat you.”

“If it were a real battle, it would be different.”

Asher had gained monstrous strength unavailable in his previous life. If it really came down to life or death, he could win.

But in terms of swordsmanship, he could no longer defeat Raika.

“You’ve crossed a line.”

Asher could win below a certain level of swordsmanship, but Raika had surpassed that.

“Even if I were to face Caron… lately, he seems too distressed to bother. He’s been talking with his parents too. Sigh.”

Raika clicked her tongue.

“Let’s leave it. I’ll try to get a sense of it alone.”

Raika grabbed her sword, closed her eyes, and concentrated. In the past few days, she hadn’t been swinging her sword, just quietly tuning her own condition.

“I’m not sure. It feels like it might work, but also like it won’t. My head hurts…”

‘Every time I see it, it’s miraculous,’ Asher thought, aware of Raika’s state. It was a sort of plateau, a slump.

He knew a few among his comrades who had experienced this state. They all struggled, spending nights drowning their frustrations in alcohol.

‘And once they overcame it, they became Swordmasters.’

Their progress matched that of other heroes. Although slower than Lephenia—who was an exception, becoming a Swordmaster in just a year without any stagnant phase—Lephenia was an anomaly among heroes.

‘Swordmaster.’

The ultimate realm of the sword. The pinnacle of swordsmanship.

He had spent his lifetime reaching the brink of this realm, and now,

Just as Asher gazed at Raika in admiration, the door opened. A maid entered and bowed.

“Lady Raika, Lord Asher—excuse my intrusion.”

“What is it?”

“The lord has summoned the lady.”

“Uh… okay.”

Raika followed the maid out.

***

“It’s that place in the capital!” Reika muttered with a dazed face. “I can’t believe I’m going to such a place.”

“Who knows.”

The academy was certainly a good place. There, one could meet numerous people, compete, and grow.

However, Asher’s reaction was subtle. “Why do you react like that?”

“Will you be able to learn something?”

“Of course, I will!” Reika gripped her sword with an excited expression. “It’s a gathering place for all skilled swordsmen, surely there will be stronger people than me!”

“Stronger than you?” Asher chuckled. “I doubt it.”

“What are you talking about? It’s been two years. It’s obvious that a lot happened.”

Reika had never been out of their small fiefdom. The only swordsmen she encountered were the Swordmaster Haivan, Asher, and the first-class swordsman Caron.

Asher answered nonchalantly. “If you say so.”

***

The atmosphere in the fiefdom wasn’t bad. Luke had come to congratulate, and the people were happy, sensing that Reika’s talent shouldn’t be wasted in such a place.

“When are you leaving?”

“In about… three days?”

“That’s pretty soon. You are sixteen now, right?”

“That’s right.”

Asher was nineteen. Going to the academy at sixteen.

“I’ll be treated like an old man.”

“So what. As long as I learn, that’s all that matters. Ah! Right.” Reika clapped her hands as if she had a bright idea. “Asher, how about you go to the academy too?”

“The academy?”

“Why not? It’s not bad. You don’t have anything else to do.”

Asher chuckled. He had already graduated from the academy Reika was about to attend in his previous life. It wasn’t a pleasant memory.

“I’ll follow you.”

“Oh? Then…”

“But I’m not going to the academy.”

They would travel together, but their purposes were different.

“I’ve already got permission from the lord. I’m leaving this fiefdom.”

He had his own goals. The Gate of the Capital’s Sword. It was a year earlier than planned, but it wasn’t a big issue.

“What?” Reika stuttered in shock.

“Leaving?”

“Yeah. Did you think I’d be here all my life?”

“No, but uh…”

Reika stuttered. She seemed to regain her senses and shook her head vigorously.

“Right. You should leave too. It’s a pity.”

“We’ll be traveling together anyway.”

“So it’s you and Caron. Just like that?”

“What about a servant?”

“We’re fine without one. Caron alone is enough for protection, and now that we’re leaving the fiefdom, I need to start getting used to being on my own.”

“Just take it easy.”

Asher left Reika and stepped out of the training yard. He picked a quiet alley and entered.

“Come out.”

“You’re early.”

A man with a weary face, Caius, approached from the darkness. He ground his teeth upon seeing Asher.

“Damn you.”

“You’re the one who said it. Don’t blame me.”

“Damn it. Why did I say such a thing?”

Caius regretted the words he’d spoken a year ago. He massaged his temples intensely.

“This is madness. Damn heroes.”

“It’s been a year, you must have achieved something. Tell me.”

He was soon to leave the fiefdom. He had to know at least something before he did.

“Hmm.”

Caius scratched his head with a troubled expression.

“Sorry, but there’s no information.”

“What?”

“Really. None. It’s frustrating.”

Caius waved his hands.

“You might not know this, but having absolutely no information isn’t common.”

“I know.”

If you had spent a year gathering information, regardless of the quality of the information network, you would have obtained at least some information. After all, the subject of the information was a living being, and living beings leave traces.

But if absolutely nothing was found, that itself was information.

“We did our best though. It’s our first contract from an employer, so we can’t take it lightly. So we started with the ones close by. The Underlord, Swordmaster Haivan. And the Dragon Slayer.”

But no information came forth. Caius frowned.

“Haivan had come to this fiefdom, so you know about him. That guy has left the empire. We don’t know more than that. And the Underlord.”

“The Underlord generally doesn’t come out.”

“That’s true, but until now there was at least some interaction. Now, there’s nothing. He’s holed up inside, not showing even a hint of his nose. But the Dragon Slayer, that guy is the real problem.”

The great Dragon Slayer. He had slain a dragon and had become a count, a lord.

“The Dragon Slayer has a fiefdom. That means normally more information would be available than the others, but that’s it. It’s impossible to approach his fiefdom.”

In essence, they knew nothing. Asher flicked his wrist, and Caius grumbled as if arguing.

“These guys are all heroes. Just by breathing, there should be people around to take note.”

“But there is nothing.”

Asher closed his eyes. After a moment, he spoke.

“Alright. That’s enough.”

If not others, he’d encounter the Underlord. Precisely because he had to. The capital was the headquarters of the Underlord.

Then it was a matter of meeting and finding out personally. Caius groaned.

“This feels useless. You said you were going to the empire?”

“Yes.”

“If necessary, light this.”

Caius threw a bunch of papers. When caught and inspected, it was paper soaked in oil.

“When you light this, it emits a smell only I can detect. I’ll rush over within two days.”

“…Subject’s paper?”

Asher smiled faintly.

“Were you Subject’s heir?”

“…What?”

Startled by Asher’s muttering, Caius blinked.

“How do you know…?”

“I just know.”

“No. How do you know?”

“Good work. Farewell.”

Ignoring the shout, Asher stepped out of the alley.



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