Chapter 38 of Re;Blade
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Chapter 38 – The Worshiper
As they climbed down the stairs, there was a loud rattle of chain followed by a deep growl coming from the bottom.
It’s like there’s a beast waiting for us, Tetsuko thought as the nobles from the houses exchanged looks.
Despite the fear on the guard’s face, he kept walking. Everyone followed him and the only source of light.
There was a single heavy metal door at the end of the stairs. He pulled a key from the rest and opened the door, placing the torch on the wall.
As the light shone the inside of the prison, there was another deep growl. Then the rattle of chains again, as if the beast was trying to free himself.
It wasn’t a beast, but a man. However, it matters little how much he struggled. He couldn’t break free from the chains and attack the newcomers.
Even so, Alonso stood before Cecilia as a shield, his hand on Tetsuko’s handle.
The representatives took a step back and the blacksmith apprentice who carried the tray with the prototypes almost dropped everything.
The soldier pulled a leverage on the wall. The chains retracted and dragged the man to the back wall. Then lifted him by the arms until the prisoner wasn’t touching the floor anymore.
That’s an interesting device, Tetsuko thought as she looked the mechanism.
Though Baltasar had explained to her, seeing it was something else. The chain was an alloy of living metal and steel and nearly unbreakable, according to the master blacksmith.
When they were sure the Worshiper was no longer a treat and could only growl and stare at them, the group entered the prison.
Cecilia and Alonso were the last. The Lord was still before her as if a shield. Despite her pale face, she nodded when he glanced at her and entered the prison.
The man in chains stared Cecilia with empty eyes.
“As you all heard, we completed the prototypes made from living metal. Now we need to test if they’re useful against the Worshipers,” Baltasar explained.
“Since when you had this thing in the castle, Lady Cecilia?” one of the men from the noble houses asked. “Why did you keep it a secret from us?”
“There was no reason to tell until now,” she said in a cold voice. “We were trying to figure out a way to kill his kind, but so far the attempts were for naught.”
The man let out a frustrated sigh. “You’re right, my Lady. But if you had told us, we could have brought our prototypes to test.”
“If the ones made by Grandmaster Baltasar doesn’t work, you’re free to test.”
Tetsuko looked at the old man. Instead of having his pride hurt due to the doubt, he had a smile under the beard.
He truly doesn’t care about such things as pride or fame. He just wants to make stronger and better weapons… Just like me… back when I could…
“Let’s test the prototypes now.” Despite his age, his enthusiasm was the same as a kid testing a new toy.
Alonso took a step forward. “I’ll test the sword.”
The blacksmith hid his expression as he glanced down at Tetsuko.
Don’t worry about my feelings, she projected her thoughts to him. I’m not a sword who get jealous. But thank you for the consideration.
Alonso took the sword from the tray and stared at it for a moment. “It’s a great sword, Grandmaster Baltasar. It’s almost like… my own.”
“I appreciate the words, Lord Alonso. I know it’s nowhere a pure living metal sword, but I at least hope it’s as useful.”
Alonso walked towards the chained man.
Though he struggled, there was nothing he could do.
“You’re the one who killed Diego,” the noble said in a low voice.
He poured his Celeste into the sword. At once the blade vibrated slightly, though nowhere near as much as when Tetsuko tested.
That’s good. If it’s like that, it won’t hinder whoever is wielding.
Everyone turned to the blacksmith.
“Why isn’t exploding?” demanded one of the noble women.
“It’s a new technique. I folded living metal with another until they were one. That allows to keep the conductive property without breaking. It’s true some of the benefits of living metal is lost but as a weapon… well, let’s see if it can be used.”
Tetsuko almost laughed. Despite his calm, Baltasar was holding back his urge to shout that. She could tell.
Though the nobles had a lot more questions for the blacksmith, they all turned to Alonso.
The Lord faced the chained man again. Still pouring his energy, he pressed the edge against the target’s leg.
The Worshiper screamed as the blade sliced his flesh and dug deeper. But then he gritted his teeth and concentrated his energy and the blade stopped slicing him.
Everyone but Baltasar seemed awestruck.
Normal weapons can barely cut their skin in a normal situation. This sword will be much useful, Tetsuko thought, looking at the blacksmith. He glanced at her and did his best to hold his hearty laugh.
“How about the arrows?” Faela asked bringing everyone’s attention back to the test. “May I try this time?”
Faela picked the bow and tested the string. Then she picked the first arrow from the right to the left. With a deep breath, she flowed her energy and shot.
Though she aimed at the shoulder, the arrowhead only grazed the Worshiper’s skin and didn’t even leave a scratch.
“Ah… so that concentration was too low… I see, I see,” Baltasar said, more to himself than to the people glancing at him. “Please, the next.”
Faela did the same. This time, however, the arrowhead dug the skin of the chained man. But it was nowhere near that could cause real damage, and most importantly, to stop a Worshiper if they came leaping.
The third arrow, however, dug and stuck into the Worshiper. He screamed and tried to get rid, but it didn’t budge.
That arrow can be fatal, Tetsuko thought. She could sense as the vibration in the metal resisted the evil energy trying to push the arrow away.
Is he doing that, or the energy doing by itself? I know they can control it, but to that point?
As Tetsuko wondered, Faela picked the fourth arrow. As she poured her energy, the arrowhead vibrated, almost as if the metal had a life of its own.
The soldier aimed at the man’s shin and shot. The arrow went through the Worshiper’s limb and the foot fell on the floor.
His screams filled the prison. No one batted an eye, except for the prison guard.
Baltasar was thrilled and couldn’t stop pacing inside the prison.
“Amazing! Can’t believe it can do this much damage! If I had tried to make a normal arrowhead with that amount of living metal, it’d explode like all the others!” he shouted in joy.
The other nobles were too shocked to say anything. Their expression went from disbelief to jealousy.
“Grandmaster Baltasar, why there’s only one of the last arrow?” Faela asked.
“Ah, that was a miss. The amount of living metal, even with the folding technique, couldn’t handle without Celeste exploding,” the blacksmith explained without any regret.
Tetsuko could only smile. To a blacksmith, when heading into the unknown, a failed work meant they had to become better.
“But it does take a little longer. It’s not at once like we’re used to,” Baltasar added.
The woman picked up the last arrow and studied. Then, just like with the others, she prepared the shot. But instead of making her Celeste flow right away, she held back. Only after she aimed, she made it flow.
As the arrow flew, the arrowhead began to vibrate and dug into the man’s good leg.
Before he could scream, the arrow exploded, taking his leg.
This time the scream was deafening.
But no one other than the soldier seemed to care.
Baltasar looked even more thrilled. “Amazing! We didn’t think of that! Perhaps if we take down the purity just a bit, we can make those arrows into true bombs!”
“We can’t do that!” one of the noble women shouted.
“Yes, it’s an absurd! Imagine the waste of living metal!”
As the nobles talked, Alonso, Faela, and Cecilia looked at the bleeding and mutilated Worshiper.
Even like that, his eyes shone with the will to fight.
He’d fight to the death for his God…
They’re more dangerous than they think, Tetsuko thought.
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