38 – Captain of the Imperial Guard (3)

Reincarnation of the Swordmaster 

Chapter 38 – Captain of the Imperial Guard (3)

Translated by : betterdays

* * *

“Are you the disciple of Van Ester?”

The sudden question brought Asher to his senses and nodded.

“It’s only temporary, but yes.”

“I see….”

Ariana’s eyes that were fixed onto Asher’s body, were unknowingly shaking. Ash didn’t miss the reaction.

“Why do you look like that’s it?”

Asher’s eyes contained a plethora of maturity and indifference. Ariana thought that he would carry the title with pride like any other, but it seemed like Asher treated it like a chore. Lord Halvark misunderstood the situation as he smiled and approached.

“He’s a very clever kid. It’s no exaggeration to say that our territory can survive because of this child.”

“At this age, he went against a variant Goblin and an entire pack by himself. There must be a reason for Van Ester to have accepted him as a disciple.”

Ariana spoke with a stark face. Asher was used to it. She hadn’t changed her expression since she was young. But Lord Halvark had an awkward look on his face that showed he was confused with Ariana’s personality.

“Lord Halvark.”

“Huh, What’s wrong Ms. Ariana?”

“Can you excuse me for a moment? I’d like to talk to him alone.”

“Well… I see. I’ll come back later then.”

Revereaux stepped outside to let them talk. There was only one elf and one human in the training ground. They just looked at each other without saying a word.

“How come you’re the Captain of the Imperial Guard?”

Asher thought to himself for a moment.

Ariana was from a tribe of elves that had their forest destroyed by humans. She was the last survivor. That’s why she lived with as little human contact as possible. After retiring, Asher hadn’t expected her to stay as long as a year within the Empire. But out of the blue, she had become the Captain of the Imperial Guard.

“Looking at it, is this the first teenage boy who has found my body unattractive?”

Unlike other children, he was a child of his later years, but he didn’t show any kind of physical attraction towards her like the other humans. Whatever it was though, he was still part of the people who had destroyed her kind.

Speaking bluntly, Ariana probably hated him. She had probably only followed Asher in his previous life because she had nowhere else to go.

‘I’ve shown you something unsightly.’

No…. she might have thought it was rather ugly. She knew he was close to the people who destroyed their entire species. Ariana opened her mouth with an expressionless face.

“You must be flustered at my presence.”

“I won’t deny that I’m a little uncomfortable.”

Ariana was the new captain of the Imperial Guard. It was the position that stood atop all Imperial Guards, and there’s a lot that they take care of in their daily agenda. But… it was not a position that allowed them to leave the capital just because of a Swordmaster’s disciple.

Then, there had to be another reason. Ariana sighed and spoke in a somewhat reluctant voice.

“I’ll tell you. I’m here because of Mr. Van Ester’s request. He can’t come in person, so I’m the person he sent instead.”

“Is that so?”

It was his request but Van Ester said at the time of his previous departure that he would explain everything to Asher when he came back.

He was supposed to be here and fulfilling his words, but why did he send the Captain of the Imperial Guard?

“And he left some strange words.”

“…….”

‘This doesn’t sound good…’

Asher immediately started to read into it. He was almost sure of what was to come now.

“Then let’s get down to business.”

At the moment Ariana’s entire demeanor changed. The eyes that contained a plethora of complicated emotions disappeared, and the eyes of the cold and radically rational woman were present.

“Let me tell you one thing first. The Empire doesn’t trust you.”

“Is that so?”

He could understand. Even if Van Ester was a swordmaster, he had disappeared for 20 years. It must have been confusing for the Empire if such a man suddenly asked to avoid responsibilities when he returned, in order to go teach a new disciple.

Asher had recognized the identity of the doppelganger, but the Empire did not see it in person.

A boy who knew about a lower level demon that disappeared 50 years ago? It was strange not to have doubts.

“What we need to tell you is that there are a few secrets even within the Empire. Even if it’s information from Van Ester, you can’t say it recklessly in front of the public. The reason why I came is for me to judge you myself with the eyes of an elf to see where your loyalty truly lies.”

The Elven species was a species that could discern the true nature of things with their own two eyes.

“Van Ester judged you to be a human being… but your swordsmanship.”

Ariana’s eyes shook slightly when she spoke of Asher’s swordsmanship.

“Show me the sword technique. That was the request of the Empire.”

“I see.”

There was no reason to refuse. It was something he had practiced with due diligence for over 50 years and it was the Empire’s very own swordsmanship. Asher lifted the sword. Seeing him raise his body and get into stance, Ariana bit her lips quietly.

Ariana was surprised when Van Ester had returned. For the man who disappeared for twenty years, he came back with many pieces of news and donations for the Empire.

But she was all the more surprised to hear what he said aside from all of these things.

The one he has taken on as a disciple. He was incredibly similar to her father. A boy of few words and lacking talent in the sword.

Ariana stared at Asher as he gripped his sword roughly. Her eyes were shaking and trembling in disbelief.

‘Someone who is like him? It’s not possible…’

After his death, she had fallen into despair and grief. So she became a captain of the guard as if she were escaping reality and taking up his mantle. But out of the blue, a totally unrelated boy to her father, popped up out of nowhere.

‘Don’t be ridiculous.’

It was kind of an inferiority complex. Ariana stared at Asher waving the sword in a rhythmic pattern with her shaky eyes. She was surely going to keep an eye on this boy now. If she was asked why she was following him around so closely…

She would just use her position as collateral and say that she needed to as the Captain of the Imperial Guard.

Her fierce gaze was directed at Asher, and the sword moved unrestrained.

At the same time, Ariana’s pupils dilated.

***

The sword’s movement finished and stopped moving. In fact, there was no such thing as delicate swordsmanship in Asher’s movements. Imperial swordsmanship only contained simple straight and curved movements that focused and emphasized on minimalistic movements.

She didn’t know what to say as she looked at the movements.

It was ‘his’ swordsmanship. Asher put the sword in its sheath and turned to Ariana..

“Did you confirm it?”

Ariana was silent. Words barely came out after repeating the opening and closing of her mouth.

“You.”

She was just looking at Asher with enchanted eyes.

“…What’s your relationship with Gun-Seong?”

“Sorry?”

A mysterious look was directed at her. Asher’s look suggested that there was no swordsman that was known by that name in history.

“No, it’s nothing….”

Ariana shook her head shaking as if she had come to her senses. She looked embarrassed as if she had said something that she shouldn’t have mentioned.

“…I’m sorry, I need to take a break. I’ll see you in a bit.”

Ariana bowed slightly and left the training ground. The figure disappeared after stumbling awkwardly.

“What‘s that supposed to mean?”

Asher muttered.

***

Asher was sitting in a vacant lot in the middle of town looking at a house.

It was the place where he had lived in his previous life. The house where he was born, where he grew up, and where his family had lived. But now a bakery was in the lot of land.

‘The flow of time is brutal to everyone.’

Asher knew that complaining about how much had changed due to time, was pointless. What was his old family doing these days? His sister would’ve died too by now. His nephews and nieces should be in their middle aged years by now. What about grandchildren? Footsteps suddenly could be heard, breaking Asher out of his daze.

“Are you all right?”

“Yes, I’m sorry to have troubled you.”

When he turned around, Ariana was standing there. Her apologetic pupils were still shaking. Asher came to his senses after seeing his adopted daughter like this.

“Then let’s talk.”

Asher went back to the estate with her. Lord Halvark seemed curious, but he did not ask any questions and let Asher return to the training ground.

“…….”

There was silence again. But it was a different silence than before.

Ariana was restless and unable to stand still. Glancing at Asher, her lips felt glued shut. She continued to open and close her mouth, trying to formulate her words.

Asher knew the consequences that would likely come even if he told Ariana of his true identity. There would be a lot of problems to follow even though he really did want to talk to her and tell her everything.

‘I didn’t expect showing my swordsmanship to change her perspective so much.’

It seemed that nothing would be helpful if the situation stayed silent. Asher gave up and finally spoke first.

“May I ask you a question?”

“Wha-.. Oh yes.”

When Asher spoke first, Ariana’s expression was relieved. Asher asked with a sigh.

“How did you become Captain of the Imperial Guard? You’re an Elf. Such a position would mean nothing to you, wouldn’t it?”

Ariana’s face was incredibly confused when she heard the question.

It was something that Asher didn’t understand. She was dedicated to searching for the traces of the elves species. He was sure she would have left the Empire by now in search of other elves.

“It was something he used to be.”

“Who is he?.”

“Oh, my father. Of course not my biological father but stepfather. My father was a human being; not an elf.”

It was supposed to be a secret, but for some reason Ariana thought she could reveal it to the boy in front of her. Ariana continued with a longing expression on her face.

“He was the Captain of the Imperial Guards. He was a person I am proud to call my father. That’s why I walk along his path.”

“…were you two close?”

Asher asked with a slightly stiff face. He had thought Ariana had always resented him. Ariana shook her head slightly at the words.

“No, well.. I don’t know. I couldn’t express myself to him. Besides, he would have always treated me with compassion, I was always scared of myself saying something wrong though.”

“If I were him, I would have definitely raised my child with compassion and love no matter what.”

Ariana was slightly surprised at Asher’s prompt response. She then, actually slipped a small smile from the corners of her mouth.

“Thank you.”

It was just a simple consolation, but the boy in front of her resembled her father…..It felt as if it really was him.

“Hmm- I’m sorry. I was mistaken because your image overlapped with his for a moment.”

“Did you admire him?”

“Yes.”

Ariana, nodding firmly, Asher’s feelings became complicated.

“It was something closer to respect though.”

It wasn’t that Asher had asked for respect. In fact many people blatantly belittled him for being untalented and trash relying on dirty tricks instead of flamboyant swordsmanship. However, Ariana found respect in someone who willingly chose the thorny path over giving up like anybody else would have.

But Araina’s feelings were actually slightly different than just that. It was a clear feeling of yearning. It was the eyes of someone who saw him and wanted to walk the same thorny path.

‘How come?’

He was  a man of no talent. Society clearly despised people like him for even holding a sword.

Come to think of it… Reika had the same expression as Ariana..Why? Why show such respect to such a hopeless individual.

He was confused as to why they would defy society’s standards when they were individuals whom all would be amicable towards whether beauty or fame with the sword. Nothing like Asher.

“…Let’s get down to business.”

“Yes.”

Araina’s expression became serious as she did a complete 180. It was the voice of someone who carried responsibility for the Empire.

“Let me tell you what Mr. Van Ester has to say.”

***

“Let me tell you first. This is a secret that few in the Empire know. If it’s known to the outside world, the Empire will send a group directly after you knowing you were the one to speak about it.”

“I see.”

Asher nodded silently. He used to say that to a lot of individuals as well, when he was in her position back then.

“As you know… Ian the Brave is gone. He threw away his land and his people; disappearing without leaving a trace. At first, there was confusion but it was limited to only within his territory….But…gradually something strange happened.”

It was the demon that Van Ester had shown Asher a while back.

The townspeople of Ian’s territory were placed under a large-scale nightmare.

They had died one-by-one in their sleep.

It was a clear abnormality.

“The Empire had sent a search party. While things were starting to look a bit better, High Count, Van Ester had come back with grave news.”

“The Devil may have returned.”

“Oh, you know about that.”

“I’ve looked into it on my own.”

Asher spoke briefly as it bewildered Ariana. Asher actually knew more than she had thought.

Succubuses, Vampires, and even Doppelgangers had started to appear in various parts of the Empire

Ariana continued with a stiff face.

“But that’s not the biggest problem.”

“What is the biggest problem then?”

“Starting about twenty years ago, the heroes have almost all disappeared without a trace.”

“I know about that.”

Asher was told by the assassin he had tortured from the Motorola Assassins . Specifically, almost exactly half of the heroes have disappeared since his death.

It was something that people living in the present like Reika never would have thought to happen. If they knew this, the Empire might have gone into panic a long time ago. However, even as the old heroes were gone, new ones were popping up around the continent.

“It would have been fine if they left for a fixed amount of time or retired….”

Ariana continued with a sad face.

“But…This time they’re gone completely without a trace.

Chapter 38 – Fin


Patreon Goals : 6/10 (current schedule 2 chapters per week)
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Patreon Link : https://www.patreon.com/re_sm

Published by betterdays

Just a KR to EN translator trying to get these series published/completed. I have a patreon for Possessing Nothing setup right now. Chronicles of the Heavenly Demon and Reincarnation of the Swordmaster will hopefully have a patreon at a later date.

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