Reincarnation of the Swordmaster Chapter 51

Chapter 51: Master of the Abyss (4)

“Kyu, a rift has opened.”

The demon spoke hastily, perhaps fearing expulsion.

“A rift?”

“Yes. While being chased by beast-like demons, I saw a small rift. I hurried across and ended up here. It felt so much like the demon realm because of the demonic aura, but it turned out to be the human realm.”

“The rift has closed, though.”

“No, not at all. Such rifts have been appearing more frequently. They’re small so only weaklings like me can pass through them, but progressively larger ones are forming that even bigger beings can use.”

“What a headache.”

If what the demon says is true, there might be other creatures here as well.

Asher tensed his foot, and a strange crunching noise began emanating from the demon’s body.

“Uh, big brother? You’re putting more power into your foot? I think I’m going to die?”

“Going back to the demon realm doesn’t mean you’ll die.”

“Going there would mean death! Brother? Brother!?”

Suddenly, a loud noise erupted from a passage in the darkness. A creature, resembling a human-sized worm, wriggled as it rushed towards them. Asher clicked his tongue and stepped back.

“Oh! Pedro!”

The demon ran with tears towards the monstrous worm, embracing it. The creature also squirmed, expressing its happiness. It was like watching a family reunion.

[It seems we’re being the bad guys here.]

The sword muttered in a sour tone as the demon shouted triumphantly.

“Alright! Pedro! We’re going to beat this bad guy! Go!”

The monster shook its body and charged. Asher sidestepped and drew the golden sword at his hip.

[Wait a moment.]

As a foolish-sounding voice rang out, Asher applied force with his arm. With a rough swing, the golden sword smacked down on the monster’s body.

Thump!

“Pedro!”

“Huh?”

The demon screamed a shrill scream while the monster howled in pain. Asher frowned.

“It didn’t cut?”

[You seem to be misunderstanding something.]

The sword grumbled as if wounded.

[I’m not an ego sword. I’m a sealed being. Do you think a seal can cut something?]

“So, it’s not a weapon?”

[Exactly.]

“Any special powers then?”

[None. It’s sealed after all. If anything, it’s just durable.]

“That’s great.”

It was merely a decoration, nothing more, nothing less. The monster, regaining its senses, twisted its body and charged again.

As Asher readied the golden sword once more, it was clear—this demon-controlled monster was as inferior as the demon himself. Nothing impressive at all.

The escaping demon gazed blankly at the wrecked monster. Soon, a wail mixed with sobs burst out.

“Pedrooooo!”

Seemingly having lost everything, the anguish in the demon’s scream made even Asher pause for a second. Swelling with fury, the demon glared at Asher.

“You! Just you wait!”

Darkness surged up like a wild torrent, engulfing the demon and crashing towards them.

Asher swung his spear to dispel the darkness, though it seemed just a simple shadow with no real power. He halted as guards groaned, rolling on the ground in pain. Aren was breathing hard, visibly in distress.

Asher returned to help them.

***

The guards recovered quickly since the demonic power was weak and had minor lasting effects. However, the mental shock seemed to take its hold as they settled for a rest.

“Humans are fragile. Surviving upcoming battles will be hard.”

Takan muttered indifferently. Asher silently observed him. Sensing the gaze, Takan smiled.

“I said it before. I dislike them. Both the fakes and even more those creatures.”

Takan’s eyes gleamed with intensity as he gripped his spear.

“These beings try to use us, just because they were born in darkness. All my kin, my ancestors died because of this.”

Grinding his teeth, Takan continued.

“I refuse to be used any longer. Those creatures and us are enemies.”

[It’s fascinating how a monster is hostile to demons. How could such a being even exist?]

For thousands of years, the established truths were being challenged right before their eyes. Takan irritably shifted his gaze.

“Why do you look at me like that? It’s a beneficial tale for you humans.”

“It is indeed a good story.”

The number and strength of the monsters were troublesome for humans to handle. But if the monsters were hostile towards the demon race, it meant one less thing to worry about, which wasn’t a bad thing at all.

Asher approached Arenaya, who was gathering her senses.

“Are you okay?”

“Ah. Yes. Thank you.”

Arenaya answered with a faint smile. She was an elf. Normally, she should not have been affected by the power of the demon race, but she was different. She seemed to have endured more than others, but normally, the power of a low-class demon shouldn’t even be able to reach her.

“Now that I think about it, it’s been two years, and we haven’t even had the chance to have a proper conversation. How have you been?”

“As always.”

“I suppose so.”

Arenaya chuckled softly.

“About the offer I made previously…”

“I’m sorry.”

Asher shook his head. He had no intention of joining the guard. Arenaya seemed to have guessed as much but couldn’t hide a slight sense of disappointment.

“I see… I really wanted to work with you…”

“You said I resemble your foster father.”

“Yes.”

Asher’s heart grew heavy as Arenaya nodded. What did the elf in front of him really think of him? It was hard for him to guess.

“…He must have passed away.”

“Yes. Unfortunately.”

“May I visit his grave?”

“To visit his own grave. It seemed almost comical, but it was something he wanted to do once. It felt like it might resolve a lot of things. However, at Asher’s words, Arenaya visibly flustered.

“Yes, yes? That would be… difficult.”

“Is it difficult?”

“Ah. Yes! Well, it would be challenging. His remains were cremated…”

“…Even if cremated, there should be some sort of memorial.”

“Well, the ashes were scattered towards the sea… Ah, I need to check if there’s anything unusual happening!”

“Okay.”

As Arenaya walked towards the guards, Asher watched her retreating back pensively.

[She’s hiding something.]

But he couldn’t tell what it was. After all, it was just a body; why hide viewing it?

[Anyway.]

The sword muttered in a regretful tone.

[Such a pity.]

“What is?”

[That elf. A High Elf of the Black Forest? But she has been with humans for too long, losing her own traits. She is now nothing more than a beautiful human with long ears, nothing more or less.]

“Is that so.”

[It’s unfortunate. Why would a High Elf from the Black Forest be here with humans?]

“The Black Forest has been destroyed.”

[What?]

“The elf in front of us is the last survivor.”

If the sword knew about the Black Forest, its history must be ancient. But they had been annihilated, leaving not a single root, turned into ash and vanished.

“Why…”

Gerrun, struck by shock, murmured as he walked by.

“Why would they be at the place where my master is…”

His eyes, which had held firm even when confronting demons, now shimmered with confusion.

“Sword.”

[Yes. What?]

The sword seemed slow to respond, not yet over the shock that the Black Forest had been destroyed. Asher asked,

“The demon mentioned a rift was created. Could the owner of the abyss use his power for that?”

[Possible. The darkness he possessed was meant for that. It serves to gather darkness to prevent the gates to the demon world from opening.]

The guardian of the boundary between the demon world and the human world, that was the owner of the abyss. Without him, the world would have been overrun by demons.

[But it’s funny. In all the epochs I’ve witnessed, hundreds of successors have been there, but none of those fools ever settled it. They always choose successors who can’t possibly achieve it. I have a question. You humans claimed to have conquered the demons, right?]

“The hero did.”

[Ha. Humans defeating demons. Do you really think that’s possible?]

“Why wouldn’t it be?”

[Impossible. If it were, there wouldn’t be any need for the owner of the abyss. Evil exists within humans too.]

Where there is light, there must also be darkness; one cannot exist without the other.

[Unless you kill all of humanity, you can’t rid the world of evil. The more I hear, the more I realize.]

The sword spoke breezily.

[Your world is insane.]

***

After a brief respite, they continued forward. The mood was subdued, different from earlier which had also been serious but now seemed tinged with gloom.

They pressed forward, cutting through the darkness. The lead guard swallowed a groan.

“Demons…!”

– Not again.

The previously encountered demon appeared, boldly pointing a finger at Asher.

– You! Human! How dare you kill Pedro! I must have revenge! Come out!

From beyond the darkness, creeping figures began to emerge; the undulating shadow dogs and a snake that slithered along the ground slowly revealed themselves.

“Rafelay. And some unknown beast.”

The snake hadn’t been seen before, but Rafelay was familiar—a formidable beast. With a grave expression, Asher drew his sword as the demon commanded.

– Go and kill him!

– Krur.

Rafelay hesitated, then glared at the demon. The snake too flicked its tongue, pushing its head forward towards the demon. The demon, now seemingly intimidated, murmured in a barely audible voice.

– Ah, no. Please kill him. I’m begging you…

“A demon, begging beasts.”

Demons, beings meant to command and not to plead, faced an ironic situation. Asher chuckled derisively, and the demon’s face flushed with embarrassment.

– Quiet! Human who killed Pedro! I can endure the shame for revenge!

[Such an interesting creature.]

The sword chucked admiringly as the demon stood confidently with his arms crossed.



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