New chapter of Re;Blade
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Re;Blade 65 – Last request
“Would you have done that?” Baltasar asked Tetsuko as the head blacksmith and the other left.
After Faela took the sheath from her waist and placed it on the table, she too left. Then there were only the Grand blacksmith and the former human in the forge.
I honestly don’t know. If it was someone more skillful than me, I’d probably let them use my forge. But I’d want to watch.
“To learn anything you could,” the old man completed the sentence with a chuckle.
Yes. I’d never miss the opportunity, Tetsuko projected her thoughts.
“Me too. But I guess they know my reputation as a teacher. Since I won’t be here for long, they’d learn a lot more with my grandkid.”
Is he good?
“He is. He has the talent to surpass me one day, but sadly he worries too much about the outside world and prefers to kiss nobles’ ass than stay in the forge,” he said, sighing.
You sound sad he’s not like us.
“I am. He’s got too much of his dad and not enough of his mom.” Baltasar closed his eyes and shook his head. “But there’s no time for this.”
Tetsuko grew quiet for a moment. You’re dying.
I’m sorry, my friend.
“Don’t pity me, Tetsuko. I got enough of that from everyone. I should’ve died a while ago, but talking and learning the folding method from you gave me a few more months. The most exciting months I’ve had in a while.”
Tetsuko couldn’t help but chuckle. You sound like my dad. Even though he was almost bedridden, when he thought of a new sword, he gained strength to lift a hammer.
“Sounds like someone I’d love to talk to,” said Baltasar, smiling. But it vanished. “I need your help, Tetsuko.”
“I need to finish one last sword before I die.”
He walked to one of the unopened crates. Unlike the others, this one was small and long. He opened and showed the sword to Tetsuko.
She couldn’t believe when she saw it. You’re trying to make a katana?
Baltasar flashed the childlike smile. “After I heard your stories, there’s no way I couldn’t try to make one. But they’ve all been a failure. Nothing close to the swords you described.”
Tetsuko couldn’t help but laugh. It’s amazing you got close to making one with only descriptions. The soul in the sword looked at the unfinished work and then at the crates with the living metal frame swords. You haven’t slept in how long?
“I don’t need to sleep. I can do that when I’m dead.” The old man let out a crackle.
Death isn’t something fun.
“Didn’t you die laughing?”
Tetsuko couldn’t help but smile. I guess. But I’m not a normal person.
“Do you think there’s anyone besides you in the continent of Halboor who’d call me normal?”
You’re right. We’re two weirdos.
“Correction. We’re true blacksmiths.”
Even after death.
“Then, please, Tetsuko. Help me finish this sword. It’ll be my last work, my friend. With this, I can die in peace.”
You don’t need to ask. I’ll teach you how to make a katana.
“I need more, my friend. Just like you did with Alonso. Guide my hands and together we can forge the best sword after you.”
I don’t know if I can but I’ll try.
“Thank you,” he said, bowing his head.
There’s no need for that, my friend.
After everything was ready, Baltasar sat with Tetsuko on his lap. He closed his eyes and placed her edge against the back of his right hand. Without hesitating, he pulled the sword, cutting himself. “Is it enough?”
Tetsuko concentrated on the cut. She could feel her energy on the wound. Yes. I think.
“Good.” Without hesitating, he did the same on his left hand. “Now let’s get started.”
In her head, Tetsuko took deep breaths as she focused on the energy left on the cuts on the blacksmith’s hands. Unlike with the worshiper, where she moved the woman’s arm, she wasn’t touching Balthasar’s blood directly.
It’s gonna be harder, she knew as soon as she made the energy filled the hands and try to move as it belonged to her. It’s like I’m trying to hold a hammer with a numb hand…
“You don’t need to control me, Tetsuko. I’ll move and you’ll guide. Show me how and where to strike.”
The soul in the sword cleared her head. Just like when I did with Alonso. I didn’t tell him where the Grand priest’s attacks were coming from. I showed him through my energy…
Baltasar closed his left eye and stared at the unfinished sword before them with the right one. Despite his age, he raised the hammer, holding it above his head.
Tetsuko didn’t say anything. There was no need for words between them. The energy was enough for the blacksmiths to talk. She showed him the way and he struck just as shown.
Each time he struck, the sparks flew, the sound of metal on metal echoing in the forge.
I missed this, Tetsuko thought, the memories of her old life coming to her. It’s not my hand but it’s the closest I’ll ever be from holding a hammer again.
For a moment, she wanted to cry for what she had lost. But she pushed those feelings aside. She could do that later. Right now, she wanted to help her friend fulfill his last wish in life.
Though those were her honest feelings, she couldn’t help but enjoy them. When he told her, Tetsuko believed it would be painful for her to be on a forge, to be guiding the hand, to be almost touching but at the same time, too far away from the hammer. However, she could feel it. It was faint, but each time Baltasar brought the hammer down, she felt it. Neither of them spoke as they work. Neither wanted to. The sound of the hammer on metal was a song neither wanted to break. Again and again Balthasar struck and folded the metal until it slowly gained the shape of a katana. They had no idea how long it took; in that forge, it was impossible to tell if it was day or night. But after a long time, it looked like the katana Tetsuko used to make, however, there was something special on it. It was a mixture of both forging styles.
With the soul in the sword’s guidance, the blacksmith sharpened and polished it. Then he placed a living metal grip wrapped with leather strips. To finish, he wrote Tetsuko and his name side by side in a vertical way.
Then it was finished.
It’s a barbarian katana, Tetsuko thought, and couldn’t help but laugh. The old her would never even allowed herself to think such thing.
It’s done, my friend. The greatest sword this world has ever seen after me.
There was no answer. The old man had a peaceful smile on his lips, but his eyes were empty.
The greatest blacksmith of the kingdom, Baltasar, was dead. He left the world at peace and fulfilled.
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The last sword of the greatest blacksmith in the kingdom
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