Tetsuko’s friend is dead. But he’ll never be forgotten
Hope you enjoy the chapter
Re;Blade 66 – The last sword
There was a heavy silence in the forge, broken only by the occasional cries from the head blacksmith and his assistants.
Bartolomeu had an empty expression as he looked at the vase set on the table. He had been like that ever since they brought his grandfather’s ashes.
Anna stood by his side, trying to comfort him. “I’m so sorry for your lost.”
“Can’t believe he’s gone,” Faela muttered. “He looked so alive and full of energy…”
“That was thanks to Tetsuko. He’s been sick for a while… He looked way better after he learned the folding technique, but even his enthusiasm had its limit,” Bartolomeu said. He touched the vase and tears came down. After a while, he shook his head and cleaned his face. “We shouldn’t cry. Grandpa died doing what he loved, what he was born to do. And he left us work.”
With his words, all the blacksmiths in the forge cleared their tears and moved to the crates. Though the hollow swords could be used right now, they still needed some final polishing. According to Bartolomeu, they had no time to do that in the Land of Iron.
As everyone focused on their work, Faela approached him. “Is that okay? Shouldn’t you have brought him back before turning him into ash?”
“It’s fine. This was his will. He had said goodbye to those who mattered back home. Everyone knew this was his last trip. I’m just glad he managed to finish his last sword and died with a smile. Before he met you, Tetsuko, he was just an old man waiting to die. Thank you.”
I’m the one who’s thankful to have met him. I never thought I’d find someone just as obsessed with smiting as me and my father.
“I’m sure he thought the same,” he said. Then he flashed a wry smile. “But there was one last thing in his will…”
What is it?
“He asked me to add his ashes to his last work with your help.”
Tetsuko couldn’t help but chuckle. So he’ll become a sword too, in a way.
“Yes. Can you help me?”
Of course. It’ll be the last thing I’ll do for my friend, she projected to him. One question. Who are you gonna give this sword to? Hope it’s not some useless lord who’ll display that magnificent work as a prize. Just the idea made her energy boil.
“It’s not mine to give,” he chuckled. “He said it was yours. A thank you present.”
“Yes. From the beginning, he wanted to give it to you.”
Baltasar… Tetsuko closed the eyes she didn’t have and held back the tears. Then let’s give it the last touch.
Just like his grandfather, Bartolomeu placed the sword with a soul on his lap and made a cut on the back of his hand, though not as deep.
Tetsuko focused on her energy separated from her metal body. It’s not as strong as with Baltasar since the cut wasn’t as deep, but it’ll be enough to help you.
Together, they added Baltasar’s ashes and made the finishing touches on the hybrid blade. This might be a one of the kind sword. A katana made with barbarian special metal… In another world…
In her mind, Tetsuko couldn’t help but smile. It’s one of the most beautiful swords I’ve seen. After me, she thought, chuckling. Then she looked at the blacksmith. While he worked on the sword, he looked as focused as his grandfather. Baltasar was right. The boy has a lot of talent. If only he didn’t care so much about politics and pleasing lords…
“You plan to give this sword to Anna, don’t you?” he asked after he too was done admiring it.
Yes. She needs a good sword for this fight, Tetsuko projected her thoughts. You dislike the idea of a simple commoner receiving the last sword made by Baltasar instead of a great noble?
He had no expression as he turned to her. Then he let out a weak chuckle. “You’re just like grandpa. I don’t like pleasing lords. I have to. I’m not as skilled as him to say anything I want,” he said, his face tense when he touched the hybrid katana. “I prefer if this sword was used for good than to be displayed on a wall like a prize.”
That’s a great answer, she thought, pleased. Let’s bring the sword to her.
After giving some orders and organizing the other blacksmiths, Bartolomeu sheathed the katana and Tetsuko and went to find Faela and Anna.
They were training in the soldiers’ headquarters, which was empty.
“Where’s everyone?” he asked as he handed Tetsuko back to her wielder.
“Patrolling. Sergio ordered everyone who wasn’t hurt or resting to be on the streets,” Faela answered, placing her sword back on her waist.
“I-is the situation that bad? Back home, we got some weird rumors…”
“Yes… It’s… awful…” Anna said, panting as she tried to recover her breath.
“You must’ve seen when you arrived. Everyone’s afraid to leave their houses, and with good reason. Those monsters could pop out of nowhere and attack. Now they’re not safe even behind walls.”
“I had no idea…” They grew quiet for a moment. Then Bartolomeu clutched the hybrid katana and handed it to Anna. “T-then this will help save the town. I hope.”
Though she took it, she looked confused. “What’s this?”
It’s your new sword, Tetsuko said.
“What? My?” Anna looked at the weapon as if she didn’t believe. When she drew it just enough to see the blade, she seemed awestruck. Then she sheathed right away and handed back to Bartolomeu, who didn’t take it. “I can’t! This is Lord Baltasar’s last work! Someone like me can’t have something so important!”
“Don’t put yourself down like that,” Faela said. “It’s best for you to have this sword and put it to use. Besides, you’re not someone. You’re my disciple, aren’t you?”
“Master…” Anna clutched the sheath with both hands. Hesitating as if the weapon was something that could bite her, she placed it on her waist with great care. Despite being nervous, she flashed a tiny smile. But it vanished as the sky suddenly became dark. “What’s that?”
Dense black smoke was coming out from one of the chimneys on the outskirts of the castle. It was so intense and thick that when the wind scattered, it covered part of the city. As more smoke came, it blocked the sun, creating a night within the day.
As people looked out the windows, screams echoed throughout the city. Not only from humans. The animals desperately tried to get as far as they could from the smoke, which spread more and more.
Don’t breathe that in! Get inside! Tetsuko shouted when the smoke was coming in their direction. At the same time, the swordswomen and the blacksmith obeyed. They raced to the headquarters and closed the door.
Instead of scatter by the wind, the heavy smoke didn’t go away. It remained above the houses but didn’t go lower than that. Soon the entire city was covered by it.
I don’t know what that smoke is, but I can sense the same energy from the monsters, Tetsuko said, concentrating. I don’t think it’s enough to turn anyone, but it might kill you if you breathe too much in.
“Hope Leo is okay,” Anna said, looking in the direction of her house, but it was impossible to see.
“Damn it! Is that another one of the experiments?” Faela muttered, her face wincing as she thought. Then her eyes widened. “No… It can’t be…”
“What?” Anna and Bartolomeu asked.
“Let’s go to the morgue. We can use the underground passages to avoid the smoke,” she said, turning around.
“Are you mad!? Who ordered you to burn them?” Sergio was shouting at Bernardo.
“How dare you talk to me like this?” he shouted back. “Do you know who I am?”
Sergio grabbed him by the clothes and slammed him against the wall. “You knew that was dangerous! How could you do that?”
He struggled, but he wasn’t strong enough to get rid of the captain’s grip.
“What’s going on?” Faela asked.
“This idiot here’s about to explain!” he said, slamming the former noble against the wall again.
“I had to burn them! We couldn’t handle that many samples! They were rotting!”
“And you decide to burn them? You knew they can infect people!”
Faela, he’s been turned already, Tetsuko said.
The swordswoman drew her sword and cut the man’s clothes, exposing his chest. Though it was faint, the Mark of the Demon was there.
He looked at her and flashed a smile.
“You found out. Took you long enough. But it’s too late now. The smoke will bring the truth and free everyone! The true Gods and the old age will return!” he shouted, pushing Sergio, who slammed against the other wall and fell on the ground.
Before he could do anything else, Faela sliced both his legs.
Bernardo screamed. He tried to crawl away, but she cut his arms as well.
“Sergio, take him to the healer. Don’t let him die. We need answers,” she said, offering a hand to him. “Bart, go back to the forge and help the blacksmiths. We’ll need all the equipment you brought.”
“What are you gonna do?” they both asked.
“Whatever I can.”
Thanks for reading.
Hope you enjoy the chapter.
It’s time to test the new weapons
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