༺ Demon Sword (2) ༻
A name that was always mentioned when describing Aisha Dragnov.
A name that elevated Aisha Dragnov to the status of greatest Hero at 18 years of age.
Before his very eyes was the sword that gave rise to countless legends, of which no one knew the origin of, or how Aisha Dragnov came to possess it.
Vera was staring vacantly at the sword that once aimed for his life with a shocked expression. Dovan, who noticed his expression, spoke.
“Even if you look at it like that, I can’t produce a sword with these specifications again.”
Vera’s gaze was focused on Dovan.
Dovan faced Vera’s blank gaze and spoke with a grin
“I created this weapon by accident, without knowing how I did it myself. Even if I hone my skills, I cannot make another weapon like this for you because I was unable to analyze the process and left it incomplete.”
He created something he doesn’t even understand himself.
With those words, Vera was able to identify the Demon Sword from his previous life, that left him with numerous questions.
“… Are you creating a masterpiece?”
A masterpiece that a master blacksmith can produce only once in a lifetime.
If the Demon Sword was forged by Dovan, then the Demon Sword must be a sword in the realm of a masterpiece.
Dovan donned a look of embarrassment at that question, and answered while nodding his head.
“That’s right. Isn’t it about leaving a legacy, a mark on the world that’ll remain even if this old body dies? It’s embarrassing, but that’s my goal, and I think it’s attainable.”
As Dovan spoke, his eyes turned to the incomplete Demon Sword. His face began to show traces of bitterness.
“Well, I started with that confidence, but reality dawned on me after trying… it’s not that easy. It’s heart-wrenching to realize that a masterpiece isn’t created just because I wished for it.”
Vera understood Dovan’s words immediately.
In fact, it was easy to understand if one took into consideration the origins of these items called masterpieces.
Pure Blood. The sword of Albrecht, the Knight of Honor. A sword that was completed only after the Empire’s first Emperor melted his own blood.
White Mane. The cape worn by the Archduke of Wintertide. A cape that was completed by offering his body to the Spirits of the Snow Garden.
Vera recalled that information and guessed.
There would be some incident acting as a catalyst for the birth of the sword called the Demon Sword. Only in such an event would that malice-devouring sword be completed.
Vera gathered the information he possessed and assessed how the incident would happen.
‘Dovan is making the Demon Sword.’
Aisha is Dovan’s apprentice. In addition, Dovan most likely dies.
‘That’s probably the catalyst…’
Dovan’s completion of his masterpiece, the Demon Sword, is the event that will trigger his death.
Vera made that assumption before narrowing his eyes and staring at Dovan’s back as he placed the Demon Sword in a corner of the room.
The following morning.
Renee was sitting idly in the backyard before looking up at the approaching presence.
The steps were light. There was no sound of footsteps, and even the sound of breathing was quiet and irregular, as though they were sneaking up on her.
Renee immediately realized whose presence it was.
Aisha’s scream filled the room.
Aisha asked Renee, who noticed her immediately even though she was approaching stealthily, a question while wearing a surprised expression.
“… How did you know?”
“The footsteps sounded just like yours.”
A natural answer for Renee. Aisha, embarrassed by the answer, rephrased the question.
“How can you do that?”
When asked how she could do such a thing when someone with better hearing than her found it so challenging, Renee replied with a small smile.
“You aren’t blind, are you? I can’t see, so I trained because I needed a different way to be aware of my surroundings.”
Aisha opened her mouth and donned an ‘Ah’ expression upon hearing Renee’s response, then nodded her head, accepting that answer as she examined Renee’s complexion.
She then remembered her original reason for coming to visit Renee.
‘I have to apologize…’
Aisha recalled Renee’s reaction to her words the day before, when she made her cry her eyes out and vomit.
Aisha was unable to fall asleep because she kept seeing Renee crying sadly in her head, and consequently lost track of her anger. She spoke in a cautious tone.
“…Um… are you not crying anymore?”
Words that asked if she was doing alright today… Today.
At those words, Renee’s body suddenly began to shake and her face turned bright red.
Aisha tried to apologize again the moment she couldn’t see Renee’s face, who had her head lowered towards the floor.
Renee shrieked, flailing her arms at Aisha.
“That, stop talking about that! No more! Please!”
Renee pleaded in a voice of desperation, feeling as though the dark past she had erased from her mind was returning.
Aisha stood up in surprise at Renee’s expression before responding while nodding with an embarrassed look on her face.
‘I guess she’s alright now,’ was her heartfelt thought.
In response, tears welled up in Renee’s eyes.
“Thank you… Thank you so much…”
Even as she spoke, she grew more and more resentful of herself.
‘Why did I do that!’
Why did I have to get in trouble like this by arguing with a 12 year old kid! Why do I have to feel so ashamed!
Renee’s shoulders slightly trembled.
Aisha noticed Renee fidgeting and managed to understand the situation, ‘As expected, she was a heartbroken woman.’ The tip of her tail wiggled as she sat down beside Renee and asked a question.
“What were you doing here by yourself?”
“Huh? Oh… I’m waiting for Hela to cook me a meal so I can eat.”
Aisha nodded her head at Renee’s words, remembering the stupid-looking yellow-haired woman she saw the day before.
“You two must be close then?”
“That’s… right. I’m grateful to her for always helping me.”
A small smile formed around the corner of Renee’s lips. Although, her face was still dyed a shade of crimson.
Renee, realizing that it was time to change the flow of the conversation, quickly followed up with another question.
“How about you? Have you eaten yet?”
“In that case, would you like to eat together? Hela is very skilled at cooking.”
An invitation to have a meal together.
Aisha continued to contemplate those words for a while, but soon responded, thinking ‘Why not.’
A vacant lot in the backyard with a garden.
Renee asked Dovan for permission and began eating there. With the presence of Aisha beside her, she recalled the story she heard of the day before.
‘A war orphan…’
A child born of a conflict that broke out when the Beastkin Empire was torn into five branches.
As Renee recalled that, she suddenly felt anxious inside.
Are you starting a war? After barely being freed from Haman, and finally being safe, why endanger yourself by going back in harm’s way?
It was a thought that Renee couldn’t comprehend, and only frustrated her.
Renee was a person who couldn’t understand the irrational greed that would make someone willingly pay the price for another war.
She was a person who valued those who were immediately victimized by war over the astronomical gains of war.
So Renee, who couldn’t understand war, felt sympathy for Aisha, who lost her parents as a result of being a victim of the madness of war.
The words that came out naturally began to take a softer form.
“Is it good?”
Even though it was a word that was said as nonchalantly as possible, Renee, who sensed the excitement inside, ‘Pfft’ laughed and added.
“Eat more if it’s not enough, Hela always cooks a lot so there will be leftovers.”
“…I’m not criticizing you.”
“That’s a relief.”
Once again, Renee laughed.
Aisha looked back and forth between Renee and Hela, and suddenly asked a question.
“But you know.”
“Are you a noble?”
It was a natural question for Aisha.
From the material of the clothes she was wearing to the attitude of the people she came with, and the attitude of the woman herself who took it for granted.
All of those things, in Aisha’s eyes, resembled the nobles that occasionally visited.
Renee briefly panicked at Aisha’s words, but soon calmed down and answered.
“No, I’m not a noble, but my father’s a merchant. He… is running a business that’s a little big. So there are people who help me.”
It was a fake identity.
It was an identity created to avoid the severe backlash if she was caught pretending to be a noble, since the Saint couldn’t reveal her status openly.
When Renee recited to her the pre-established identity, Aisha nodded her head slightly, and continued her reply in a much more comfortable voice than before.
“That’s good, I would’ve been in a bad mood.”
“I don’t like nobles.”
Renee’s head tilted.
Aisha swung her legs around while staring Renee, and added.
“The aristocratic jerks are always harassing master. They’re always annoying him to join their side, and one time they all came to fight in front of the house.”
Renee’s head nodded. It was because something about those words came to mind.
‘The rude customer was a noble.’
The ‘rude customer’ Dovan spoke about the other day. Their identity must be aristocrats.
‘So Mr. Dovan was an important person.’
‘Dovan is a master blacksmith who will be treated with the utmost respect anywhere in the continent.’ Renee recalled what Vera said, who had a rare look of excitement, then smiled and added.
“Mr. Dovan is an amazing person, isn’t he?”
“Of course he is!”
An answer close to a cry. Aisha suddenly stood up from her seat and added the words.
“Master is a great blacksmith who can even craft a masterpiece!”
The words that followed were full of pride.
Aisha believed that Dovan would definitely complete the masterpiece.
That he would create a grand masterpiece which would go down forever in the history of the continent.
Isn’t he a cool person who’s always so full of passion and talent?
Isn’t he a good man who always thinks about me, takes care of me, and teaches me countless things?
My master is a great man who deserves to be respected, so he will surely complete the masterpiece.
“I hope so.”
“That’s not it. Master will definitely complete the masterpiece. No matter what.”
Aisha repeated her words confidently at Renee’s response, then, tightly clenching her fists, added words full of determination.
“So I have to help master complete the masterpiece, and for the sake of that, I’m stopping the bad people from harassing him.”
Renee felt Aisha’s passionate voice and the affection contained within, causing her to smile.
It seemed like a really great relationship.
Renee recalled her wish for Dovan, who said harsh words that contained affection, and Aisha, who showed affection only for Dovan even though she was so grumpy, to be happy at any cost.
“I should at least pray for you.”
“I should at least pray for Aisha to drive away the nobles so that Mr. Dovan can complete the masterpiece.”
“What, are you a religious person?”
Flinch. Renee’s body trembled.
What should I answer?
When Renee was just laughing because she struggled to come up with a response to being called a religious person, Aisha shook her head and spoke.
“Your life is something you should carve out for yourself. You should keep that in mind.”
Renee ingrained the 12 year old girl’s advice deep in her heart and picked up her spoon again.
“Then you should eat lots today so you can cheer up, right?”
“Alright, give me one more bowl. If what you’re saying is true, it’s worth eating.”
As she uttered those words, the tip of her tail swayed gently. The moment Hela took Aisha’s bowl…
– Are you there!
They heard a cry from the main entrance of the forge.
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