Reincarnation of the Swordmaster Chapter 54

“Go mad!”

Crocus spat out harshly as he waved his hand. The darkness that had consumed the surroundings obeyed its master’s will and swirled violently, engulfing the charging Asher.

“Screech!”

However, it was ineffective. Asher, emerging from the darkness, displayed no sign of madness on his face. As always, with a blank expression, he charged toward Crocus.

“Ugh!”

Crocus barely dodged the swirling sword and waved his hand again. The darkness turned into sharp thorns, raining down like spears.

Rain of darkness. Even a single drop could rob one of their sanity, turning them into a madman.

“Sorry to say.”

“…!”

Amid the downpour, Asher spoke.

“This doesn’t affect me.”

Squeak!

“Ugh!”

Crocus failed to dodge a spear thrown at him, slicing through his forearm. Blood splattered everywhere. Crocus contorted his face in pain.

“…How! How! Why!”

As Crocus stamped his foot, the darkness surged like a tidal wave. As it enveloped Asher, the emotions it contained shook his mind like a waterfall.

Denial, madness, hatred, anger—the plethora of negative emotions marauded through his mind. Yet, Asher accepted them all and took a step forward. Emerging from the tidal wave of darkness, Asher’s face remained unchanged, utterly composed.

[This is something.]

The sword muttered as if astonished.

[To withstand the power held by the master of the depths?]

The master of the depths’ power was the darkness. Those who came in contact with it went mad, losing their intellect and acting on instinct alone. Heroes were no exception. Thus, the master of the depths always started at the top when ranking powers.

An absolute power that none could deny. That was the established theory.

Yet, it didn’t affect him.

“…This cannot be!”

Crocus, denying this reality, unleashed the darkness again. It swirled and engulfed Asher. Asher closed his eyes.

Intense emotions were felt. A storm of emotions surged. Despair. Sorrow. Emptiness. Each one strong enough to drive a normal person mad, their overwhelming power making the human ego feel as insignificant as grains of sand.

But he endured. Like a fortress that had stood firm for thousands of years, he blocked all emotions and maintained an unshakeable iron will. Asher opened his eyes. The darkness had cleared, and Crocus’s figure was visible.

[The power of the master of the depths is to manipulate the mind. In other words, if one is mentally complete, they can let it pass without effect. But I did not expect anyone to actually achieve this.]

The sword chuckled incredulously.

[It’s unbelievable. I’ve met countless swordmasters, countless sages, but none like you.]

“It’s nothing special.”

Asher picked up his sword. Yes. It wasn’t anything spectacular. The reason he could endure was simply because he was foolish.

Because of his foolishness, he couldn’t give up appropriately. Because of his foolishness, he couldn’t let go of despair. Because of his foolishness, he couldn’t put down his sword.

His reason for enduring was just that, nothing more, nothing less.

[Maybe it’s not just foolishness. Anyway, it’s remarkable. Unless it’s a demon, no one can touch your mind.]

Ignoring the sword’s words, Asher charged forward. He closed in on Crocus. Confused, Crocus flailed his arms, and Asher struck him with the flat of his blade.

“Kyargh!”

With a scream, he was sent flying to the other side, hitting the wall and moaning in pain. Asher sheathed his sword and muttered,

“I wish you’d just pass out from this.”

[It’s not that easy in reality.]

“Ugh….”

Crocus groaned as he tried to rise. Asher clenched his fist. He couldn’t kill him. If the master of the depths died without the proper rites, darkness would spread across the world.

Therefore, he quickly knocked him out. Asher kicked off the ground, shooting through the air like an arrow, closing on Crocus.

Thud!

But this time was different. The punch thrown was blocked by something invisible slowly undulating around Crocus’s body.

“Damn.”

Asher clicked his tongue, stepping back. This time was different. The darkness around Crocus started to take on a darker, more ominous hue.

“I wanted to suppress you in your panic.”

“Well… I don’t know why, but my power doesn’t seem to work on you.”

Grrrr.

A sinister beastly noise was heard. Beyond the darkness, slowly, creatures began to appear. Black hounds and peculiar mists materialized.

[Demonic beasts?]

“But I am a hero!”

Crocus rolled his foot, and the darkness violently dispersed in all directions.

“A great one at that! Even if my power doesn’t work on you, I won’t lose easily!”

Grrrr.

Click.

The darkness parted, and one by one, demonic beasts emerged, each of them staring at Asher with their unique shapes. With outstretched arms, Crocus shouted.

“Go!”

Unleashing the beasts, his figure seemed more like a minion of evil than a hero.

***

Crash!

As Asher dodged an attack from a creature bearing teeth, another with wings swooped down with its claws outstretched. Twisting his body, he avoids the trajectory and violently shakes off both arms. The struck demonic beasts were sent flying mercilessly.

Groan!

A creature resembling a boar charged. Asher slightly rolled his foot and jumped over the boar, bringing down his great sword. With a squelch, it fell.

“So many of them.”

Asher stepped back, muttering as one after another, the number of demonic beasts totaled eight. Crocus, seemingly exhausted, gasped for breath.

“Die! A lowly swordsman who handles pathetic skills, you can’t defeat me!”

The eight demonic beasts. Each one was at the level of the previously encountered creature, and among them were three that he didn’t recognize.

“…Could the master of the depths also summon demonic beasts?”

[No. These were summoned by twisting his power.]

The sword began to speak in a serious tone.

[It’s different. These aren’t originally his, he’s forcibly summoning them.

“There’s a huge burden that comes with that number. Probably, this is the end.”

“So, getting rid of these is the end?”

“Perhaps.”

“Eight, huh?”

Asher unwittingly chuckled. Facing numerous demonic beasts and defeating evils trying to crumble the world, it seemed definitely something a hero would do. Such ordinary swordsmen shouldn’t have to deal with entities like this.

But there were no heroes here. Only his own body was present.

Asher drew his sword.

[Are you planning on doing this?]

“Who else is going to do it? The collapsed guards behind me? The children screaming as they’re dragged away? Or maybe the goblins?”

There was no resolve or sense of justice. He simply proceeded because he had to.

[Oh man, you’re really set on dying.]

The sword grumbled, but its tone wasn’t full of complaints; rather, it held a hint of excitement.

[But remember, only those who have overcome adversities have truly shone in history. There are unknown demonic beasts as well, right? I’ll assist you.]

“Thank you.”

He regulated his breathing and controlled his muscles. The demonic beasts hesitated then moved slowly.

Kieeek!

And then, they charged. Asher quickly dodged. As he avoided an attack from Raphelai, from behind, a pig with a mouth half the size of its body lunged at him.

Kwaduduk.

He thrust his sword to block and kicked the ground, leaping into the sky as a winged beast, similar to a hawk, swooped at him. He bent backward to dodge its talons.

[That one has wings but is weak against the wind. Even the slightest breeze can disrupt its balance and knock it down.]

As soon as the sword finished speaking, Asher drew his greatsword. Gathering strength in his arm, he swung it. As he swung with all his might, the wind violently spread around. The hawk was caught off-guard, its wings flapping wildly, but it couldn’t maintain its balance.

Kieeek!

Asher pierced through the hawk’s neck and landed. Now, seven. As soon as his feet touched the ground, something bubbled up like a mist, rising to engulf him.

Kwaang!

He narrowly dodged, and the ground where he had been almost burst open. Suddenly, a sharp tinnitus rang out, Kieeeeeeeek!

“Argh!”

The ringing shook Asher’s head, and he covered his ears. From afar, something bat-like shrieked sharply.

Kuoooo!

The pig charged. Asher, facing an open maw big enough to fit him, dodged swiftly, though his left arm got bitten.

“Damn it.”

He kicked, sending the pig spinning away like a stone shot from a catapult. Asher frowned at his bitten arm. The flesh was torn, and bones were exposed. If it were a normal human body, it would have been severed.

Buuuuu!

Without giving him a moment to rest, a massive beast, like an ogre, charged at him. Its size was as large as a house, causing Asher to retreat in fright.

“How am I supposed to handle this?”

[Just hit this one.]

“What the hell…”

[Trust me for once.]

“Damn.”

Asher clicked his tongue and swung his right arm. The beast, hit lightly, vanished like mist.

“What was that?”

[It’s big but weak. More of a scarecrow than a threat. Quite gentle by nature.]

“……”

Six left. As the bat opened its mouth again, Asher moved his feet.

***



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