Reincarnation of the Swordmaster Chapter 8

Training (3)

“Every mealtime is a struggle.”

Leika said with a blank expression. Asher, spinning his sword, replied indifferently.

“What is?”

“What do you mean, what? Mother keeps prying! Why does your face look like that? Are things going well? Like that! It’s killing me.”

Leika screamed, clutching her head.

She loved to eat. Gastronomy was one of her pleasures. But now, she couldn’t even enjoy that pleasure. She would hastily eat and leave, in fear of being questioned by Venesia.

“I feel like I’m going to be sick… I couldn’t even eat properly… things are getting dangerous…”

“Really?”

Asher closed his eyes.

The lady of the manor, Venesia.

The person who had raised this body since infancy. The reason he could work and not be expelled was all thanks to her.

“Things are going well.”

“What?”

“No, this talk. Enough complaining, grab your sword again.”

“Okay. Okay.”

Leika grumbled but obediently picked up her sword. Although she complained verbally, she practiced with passion when asked. That was her nature.

“You said there was a blockage yesterday, right? Let’s go through it again.”

“Alright.”

Leika steadied her breath and swung her sword. Her speed of thrusting, drawing a trajectory straight ahead, was so fast that it was difficult for an ordinary person to follow. However, Asher sharply remarked.

“Too fast.”

“Isn’t it good to be fast? It makes it hard to respond.”

“It’s okay when you’re dealing with less skilled opponents. But if your opponent uses a broadsword or focuses on strength, you’ll be at a disadvantage. Try something simpler.”

Asher picked up a thick club and stood in front of Leika, gesturing with his hand.

“Come on.”

“Ew…”

Despite making a disgusted face, Leika instinctively took a stance. She’s learned well. She grumbled and swung her sword.

“Whoosh!”

As she thrust her sword, Asher stared intently at the tip of the blade.

She was inexperienced, but talent was an absolute measure. The speed she displayed was something he could never match, even with a lifetime of training.

But that didn’t matter. Asher swung the club. The weight overpowered the speed, crushing forward. Leika hastily covered her head with her arms, tumbling to the ground with a dull sound.

*Gasp!*

“Like this. No matter how fast, if the posture reveals the trajectory, it ends with overwhelming power. If your swordsmanship focuses on speed, Rephenia’s style isn’t suitable.”

Rephenia’s swordsmanship was about illusion. It involved misleading movements to bewitch the opponent. Focusing only on speed was to miss the point.

Leika spat out.

“Thanks to you, I can really feel it. It’s all good but…”

The color of her spit was red. Blood mixed in indicated mouth injuries. She grimaced and got up.

“Can’t you go a bit easy?”

Asher was an excellent teacher. Even Leika, who had never been trained by anyone else, could recognize that.

As a captain of the guards, he was well-versed in instructing others. Explaining weaknesses, suggestions for improvement, and strengths, he was practically ideal. There was just one problem.

“Still, she’s a noble lady. What do you expect her to do later covered in bruises? She won’t be able to marry.”

“Complaining now after asking to be taught? Don’t worry; it won’t scar.”

“I know that. But these wounds make mother worry. There’s a limit to how much I can cover up.”

Leika grumbled. However, Asher had no intention of teaching differently. Imprints of pain had to be etched into the body for lessons not to be forgotten. That was one of his philosophies.

Yet, that wasn’t the only reason. Asher’s foundation was shaky. Due to actions of the original owner of this body, there was no real affection for him.

That’s why he summoned those with goodwill. Asher gripped his sword.

“Then, that’s enough training for today. Do the rest by yourself.”

“And you?”

“As always. The same.”

Asher began waving his sword.

A flawless, impeccable swordsmanship.

As Leika watched, she was speechless. The more she learned about the sword, the more she realized that such skill wasn’t easy to achieve.

Impeccable swordsmanship. No flaws, no gaps to criticize. That was Asher.

‘How can you say he has no talent?’

Leika thought to herself. Unaware of his reincarnation, that was the only conclusion she could draw. Yet, she also thought it might be possible.

After morning training with Asher and taking care of chores, by evening when she returned, Asher was as dedicated as in the morning. Excluding sleeping and meal times, it wasn’t an exaggeration to say he was always holding a sword.

To her, Asher seemed obsessed. It wasn’t that he swung his sword to achieve something; it seemed he lived only to swing his sword.

It was both awe-inspiring and alienating. But one thing was clear. He was a different kind of human.

“Why do you try so hard?”

As Leika asked, a chuckle escaped her. A reason to try. As if there was such a thing.

Asher said calmly.

“Just because.”

“Just because?”

“No reason at all.”

It was the same as when he first held a sword. He knew he lacked talent. It was hopeless to see the end through effort alone. He had been despairing, but that didn’t mean he stopped.

Just to live.

Swinging the sword was akin to breathing. If there was a difference, it was in the sword’s tip—the last point he could reach by stretching his limits. That was all he aimed to achieve. At this, Raika’s eyes twisted in confusion.

“…So that’s why you’re strong?”

“I’m telling you, I’m weak.”

“Are you going to keep spouting nonsense? Where does it seem like you’re weak?”

“Hmm.”

Asher narrowed his eyes. He was weak. That was an undeniable truth.

But more than that, the world of today was even more fragile.

‘Is it because it’s peaceful?’

The previous generations had been the age of heroes. Everything that threatened humanity had fallen by the hands of heroes.

Thanks to them, humans found peace, but a sword never wielded would only dull. Even this village, in a past life, had focused three times more on military might.

The same was probably true elsewhere. It wasn’t bad, but something lingered—an indescribable, sticky sensation—and Asher closed his eyes.

Thunk.

Before his thoughts could continue, the door opened. A maid entered and bowed to her mistress, Raika, who frowned.

“I thought I asked not to be disturbed during training.”

“I’m sorry, miss.”

“Leave, now. Later…”

“Don’t be too harsh. She was just guiding me here.”

At the incoming voice, Raika shivered.

Her eyes widened as she looked at the newcomer. An elegantly aged middle-aged woman and a knight stood there.

Raika moaned, “…Mother?”

Venecia smiled quietly. The maid slowly closed the door behind her.

***

“You might say you’re fine, but…”

Venecia took a step forward; Raika involuntarily stepped back. Venecia looked at her with a kind but stern gaze.

“I came to check on you because I was worried, as a mother would be.”

“Ha. Haha…”

Raika laughed awkwardly.

Watching them, Asher thought:

‘She finally came.’

The only person who currently showed him any favor was likely the lady of the house. Depending on her judgment, he could end up a slave or be banished.

However, she had not come to see him for some reason, and he couldn’t go to see her either. A private meeting with his employer? Ridiculous.

So, she brought Venecia instead. If her only daughter was found battered, she would have no choice but to come. Even if it meant exploding in anger, Raika would become a shield.

And she had come. Asher stared blankly at Venecia.

After finishing her conversation with her daughter, Venecia looked his way. What emotion was carried in her gaze? Anger? Suspicion?

Their eyes met, and Asher flinched.

“Hmm. Hmm. Asher. It has been a while.”

She cleared her throat and straightened her posture. However, her body flickered unsteadily as if she might rush over to fuss over him.

“…”

What was this? It was strange. His heart itched. Asher bowed his head. As he did so, Venecia gasped and hurried forward.

“Are you hurt? Do you have a fever? Let me see.”

She touched Asher’s forehead with her warm hand. Asher reflexively stepped back, and Venecia recoiled at his reaction.

“I’m sorry. That was too forward of me.”

“Oh, it’s not that.”

Asher shook his head. ‘Why is this happening?’ He couldn’t control his emotions. Whenever he saw those warm eyes, his hands moved on their own. Taking a deep breath, he spoke.

“It’s been a long time, Lady Venecia.”

“Lady Venecia? There’s no need to be so formal when it’s just us here. No matter what you turn into, I raised you. Speak as you used to.”

She looked at him with warm eyes.

“Call me mother.”

In her gaze, there was only one thing: a parent’s affection for their child.

“Ah.”

That moment, he realized. He had never received a parent’s affection in his life.

His childhood home was poor, and like most peasants, his parents didn’t look at him with love but saw him as labor that could be useful.

Sending him to the academy was also an act tinged with such emotion, believing he could secure their old age.

It was no different when he joined the guard. There were eyes of ridicule, awe, and admiration, but no affection. The same applied when he was fostering children.

Except for a few, no one understood him, and that few didn’t offer him affection as a child. The quality was different.

It was ironically now, for the first time, that he fully received a parent’s affection. Asher clutched his chest at this foreign sensation. Venecia, alarmed, shouted at the knight.

“Caron! Summon a doctor immediately!”

“There’s no need. Moth—er.”

His mouth was dry as if he had swallowed something bitter. It wasn’t a bad sensation. He smiled.

Venecia, with a stern face, signaled to Caron. Caron, though showing displeasure, quietly retreated to a distance where no sound could be heard.

“…There must be some problem. Talk to me. I will listen as best as I can.”

“I… I have lost my memories.”

His smile was bitter. What would she make of this? His throat felt dry.



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