Reincarnation of the Swordmaster Chapter 45

Chapter 45: The Gate of the Sword (1)

Reika stared into space with unfocused eyes. Caron gently touched her back.

“Miss?”

“Ah, yes?”

“Are you alright? You seemed distracted on the way here. Has something happened?”

“…Something?”

Reika said with an exhausted face.

“There was something.”

“Are you speaking of the Gate of the Sword?”

“…Asher. What the hell? I used every ounce of strength I had and barely made a dent, and he just opens it like that.”

“It must be because he was qualified.”

Caron answered calmly.

“You also did something quite remarkable, miss.”

In his youth, Caron had also challenged the Gate of the Sword and failed to make it budge. Considering that, Reika’s results could be seen as miraculous.

“But it still feels too disproportionate. What is this?”

Caron did not respond to Reika’s complaints.

‘I never thought it would open so easily.’

Caron had suspected that Asher might be able to open it, but he hadn’t imagined it would be so effortless. If the first gate was that easy, perhaps the subsequent gates might have been opened too.

“…Let’s focus for now.”

“Ah. Right. I didn’t have the luxury to worry about other things.”

Reika bit her lip anxiously. Caron soothed her.

“Don’t be nervous, just act as you normally do. There is no way you would fail.”

“You heard the contents of the test, didn’t you? It would be strange not to be nervous.”

The content of this transfer test was simple: land a valid strike against a knight.

The problem was that the knight was highly skilled.

“A knight who has won thirty duels. A rather well-known knight, I hear.”

In contrast, Reika was not even twenty, a noble’s daughter who had barely learned swordsmanship for two years. It seemed impossible for her to pass.

“Calm down.”

Yet Caron reassured her with an unchanged expression.

“I am stronger than him.”

Caron, who had fought and won thirty duels, was unmistakably a knight not to be trifreated lightly.

“And you, miss, have beaten me.”

Talent was what truly overwhelmed experience, age, and skill.

“So proceed with confidence.”

“Tch. Alright.”

Reika grasped her sword and opened the door to the testing arena. Inside, a bored-looking knight waited.

“What is your name?”

“Reika Halvark. The eldest daughter of the Iraak region.”

“You know the content of the test. Land a valid strike against me.”

“Yes.”

“Then draw your sword.”

The knight assumed his stance. Reika held her sword calmly while the knight looked at her and chuckled lightly.

‘Another dreamy girl.’

The knight had seen countless aspirants like Reika, noble daughters who dreamed of being knights, armed only with amateurish sword skills. All of them had come here and left empty-handed.

“Here I come.”

This girl would be no different, he thought. The knight replied curtly and kicked off the ground, rushing towards Reika with swift movements, but Reika stood still.

‘Frozen solid, unable to move a muscle.’

The knight scoffed as he halted his punch, causing Reika’s hair to flutter with the air pressure.

“I’ll give you one more chance.”

“What?”

“Move. Don’t be intimidated, step forward.”

He thought a bit of advice might be fine as he turned back to reset his stance, then charged toward Reika again. This time, Reika still didn’t move.

‘It’s over.’

The girl hadn’t moved. The knight lazily shifted his arm.

‘Huh.’

But it wasn’t that Reika couldn’t move; rather, she chose not to out of panic.

‘…She’s attacking with that movement?’

The fist was close when Reika’s hand moved.

Crack!

“Ugh!”

The knight hit the ground hard, pain shooting through his body, but he had no time to care about his injuries. He looked up at Reika in disbelief.

“What, what…”

The renowned knight couldn’t even react properly, let alone see her move clearly. Reika clapped her hands.

“You said you were giving me a chance. Is it for real this time?”

“What, what?”

“After all, that hardly seemed like your real skill.”

“Right, right. This time for real.”

The knight gritted his teeth, got up, and grasped his sword again.

‘I underestimated her.’

He had taken her too lightly. Unlike the other girls, she seemed to have some cleverness about her.

No more underestimation. The knight heightened his senses and charged.

Boom!

“Ugh!”

Yet it was just like before. As he got close, Reika’s sword moved, and he was struck down again. The inexplicable event left the knight staring dumbly at Reika.

“How can this be…”

He couldn’t even see her movements. Reika was just as bewildered.

‘…Why is he so weak?’

The well-known knight before her seemed weaker than any swordsman she had encountered before.

***

[Really, it’s been a long time. How long has it been?]

“About forty years.”

Including a twenty-year gap, it would be around that time. At Asher’s words, the golden sword rang out again. A clear, charming voice filled the space.

[Ha, has it been that long? I thought it was only about three or four years since I don’t notice the passage of time in here.]

The sword burst into hearty laughter. Joy, unable to be hidden, was evident in the voice.

[Anyhow, it truly has been a while. The last human I saw was you, so it was incredibly boring. Just me stuck here alone with nothing to do and unable to move.]

“It’s still the same after forty years?”

[Of course. No one but you came this far. It used to be different a long time ago.]

The entity before him. A golden sword embedded in the very center of the seventh gate.

Its identity was unknown. Not just a mere ego sword. From the beginning, sixty years ago when he visited this place, it was already embedded there.

How surprised he had been to hear a voice when he had first entered. Learning that the voice came not from a human but from a sword was even more astounding. He had received a lot of help from it, but he still couldn’t forget the shock of that time.

[By the way.]

The sword muttered softly. Its voice, buoyant and cheerful, filled the space.

[You’ve achieved it.]

“Perhaps.”

[I thought so. Someone like you would eventually achieve it. It’d be weirder if someone who reached this place didn’t accomplish it.]

Back then, when Asher first reached this place, he was not a swordmaster. That’s why the sword

He was surprised how someone who wasn’t a Swordmaster could have arrived here, but since he himself didn’t know, there was no way he could answer. Although he had doubts, he ignored them as the sword talked in a jovial tone.

“Those who always reach the realm are somehow mad, yes. A bit awkward, but not bad. Good, very good. Haha. How long has it been since we had a Swordmaster?”

“There are quite a few outside.”

There are ten Swordmasters in the empire alone. Including other kingdoms and those outside, there would be even more.

The sword grumbled.

“But they can’t come here, can they? Strange, isn’t it? A Swordmaster should easily be able to enter here, yet you can’t even open the fifth door. From the features you’ve described, you should be a Swordmaster. Something’s strange.”

“I am different.”

That was the doubt Asher harbored.

Asher was different from other swordmasters like Haiban. The aura he had emitted before his death did not change the color of his irises, and he alone had possessed a strange power.

‘Am I really a Swordmaster?’

That question continuously troubled Asher’s mind.

He had reached a realm, but he could not be sure it was the right one, which was why he had come here.

“Ah.”

Realizing the presence, the sword muttered.

“You distrust and deny yourself.”

“…Yes.”

“You always underestimated yourself even before. Yes. That’s why you came here. Alright. I will do as you wish.”

Golden brilliance spread radiantly in all directions. The great power enveloped Asher warmly.

“As one who is nameless, who has forgotten the past, sealed within a sword, I declare you are indeed a qualified Swordmaster.”

The power in the words weighed down on Asher. Holy light spread like waves in all directions. As if a deity was giving a divine oracle, the sword spoke.

“Realize your own worth, master of the sword.”

***

Listening to the sword, Asher felt content. While it might be just an unnamed sword speaking, to Asher, the sword felt transcendent. It held an undeniable truth about swordsmanship and realms, though it was slightly off in other respects.

With a brighter face, Asher continued the conversation with the sword. His longstanding issue was resolved. Just by that, his purpose for coming here was fulfilled.

“I see. Reincarnation.”

The sword murmured thoughtfully. Asher explained that he had indeed reincarnated. The sword, with a sheepish voice, said,

“Well, that’s really odd. I was wondering why things seemed strange. The body is different, isn’t it?”

“I was shocked because you were so calm, I didn’t realize you hadn’t noticed.”

He had wondered how to explain, but the sword had naturally figured out Asher’s identity. Like the god of Motorola thought, he’d have guessed, but it turned out he hadn’t noticed at all.

“I’m a sword, right? I don’t have eyes. All I can sense are auras and souls. The aura was slightly different but I thought it was because humans grow, so I thought that’s why.”

The sword grumbled as if making excuses.

“I’m stuck in here not knowing what’s going on outside. All I know is what you tell me from time to time. Ugh. Anyway, reincarnation.”

The sword seemed lost in thought. Asher waited quietly.

After a moment, as if enough time had passed for a cup of tea, the sword spoke.

“It’s rare, but not non-existent. You know, like those old fairy tales? Where the young man comes back to life and accomplishes what he regretted.”

“That would be just a tale.”

“What happened becomes a legend over time. Most are forgotten, but some are passed down in the form of stories. Most stories and fairy tales you know are actually based on real events.”

In a languid tone, the sword murmured loudly. Though the sword did not know its own identity, vague memories lingered. Every time it spoke, it felt like a very ancient being.

“There’s something strange about you. Rebirth is an act against the flow, changing the course of the river. That’s why only those who are desperate, those who harbor regrets, undertake reincarnation. But you have none of that, do you?”

“That’s right.”

Asher nodded. He did not regret his life. Though he had once despaired, that was a distant memory. Now, he wasn’t faltering.

His life had been satisfying. That’s why he couldn’t understand why he had been reborn.

“Hmm. Hang on.”

Suddenly, the sword’s presence expanded. A massive something seemed to stare penetratingly, causing Asher to reflexively draw his sword.

“Hmm.”

Before Asher did anything, the presence vanished. The golden sword was just as it had been before, stuck in the ground.

“Something strange is attached to your soul.”

“Strange?”

“It smells a bit rotten. Where have I seen this before? I can’t remember.”

After struggling to recall, the sword clicked its non-existent tongue.

“Damn. This stupid head.”

“You don’t have a head.”

“It’s a metaphor. Anyway, there’s something there. I don’t know what it is, but it seems to have been there for a very long time.”

“If it’s been a long time, you mean since before my reincarnation?”

“Possibly. Was someone targeting you?”

“…”

Rebirth before. Asher pondered for a moment, recalling memories one by one.

“There are too many to count.”

“It seems you’ve lived a pleasurable life.”

“That’s right.”

It was the same with Motorola, and if asked to choose among the transcendent beings that had marked him, there were more than a few, whether in goodwill or hostility; more than he could count on both hands. And since the god of Motorola knew of the reincarnation, the other gods probably did too.

The sword sounded surprised.

“I’ll be damned. No need to worry too much about it now. You can’t act on anything yet. It’s just annoying. However.”

“It might be the cause of the reincarnation.”

“That’s possible. How about visiting the elves? They are experts on souls, maybe they can figure it out.”

“My relationship with them isn’t that good.”

Still, it might not be a bad idea to consider.

“By the way.”

The sword murmured, a genuine tone of regret in its voice.

“This is the strangest thing.”

Asher felt the sword’s gaze on him, although the sword had no eyes.

“Why can’t you use aura?”



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