Chapter 1 - The Blacksmith

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Sparks flew every time the woman struck the sword with the hammer, illuminating her hard and empty face.

She barely breathed as she brought the tool down again and again, too focused to care about anything else besides the sword before her.

With the right eye closed, the woman showed no emotion as she worked on the blade. But that was for those who didn't know her.

Behind the pale open eye, there was a burning passion. A passion so strong she lost track of time whenever she worked.

There was no hunger. There was no exhaustion. There was no sleep.

There was only the sword she was creating.

The rhythmic sound of metal against metal filled her soul. That was enough for her.

It didn't matter how the sword would be used. Either to kill or to protect.

A blacksmith should make the weapon, not tell how it should be used, her father used to say when he was alive.

As long as she could breathe, as long as she could move, she would make a sword.

As long as she could make a sword, she had a reason to live.

Because that whom she was. A blacksmith.

Her hands never stopped, always striking the lump of metal, which in a few hours would be a sword, in the same rhythm.

Her hands only stopped when she heard a sound. It was faint and should not be enough make her stop. But she hated that sound too much to keep going.

Without taking her eye from the crude blade, she listened.

A gun, she knew when she recognized the second gunshot followed by a scream.

She squeezed the tool and the yet to be weapon hard, her hands trembling. She closed her left eye, breathing slowly to calm her rage.

When the trembling stopped, she stood up and opened her right eye. With the still hot and glowing metal in one hand and the tool in another, she left her forge towards the sound of the hated gunshots.

"Tetsuko!" a voice echoed throughout her property. "Come out!"

"Take responsibility for what you've done!" another person shouted.

Tetsuko closed her eye and snorted. With those words, she knew whom it was and what they wanted. Without hesitating, the woman went down the small hill where her forge was towards the main house, towards the angry voices.

Three men she didn't recognize stood side by side in the backyard. But she barely paid any attention to them. All her focus was on the weapons they all carried.

"Guns," she let out a low whisper full of rage.

A barbarian and uncivilized tool, she thought before turning her attention to the one in the middle. His clothes were covered in blood. They must've killed my guards... with those damn guns... Without noticing, she clutched the hammer with more strength.

"I'm Tetsuko," she said, coming out of her hiding place.

They turned already pointing the guns at her. But they didn't shoot the woman at sight.

She gave a long and hard silent stared at those weapons, feeling the rage boiling inside her. Those barbaric tools won't replace swords... Even if the naked blade had no handled, she clutched the almost finish katana so hard her fingers hurt and the knuckles lost its color.

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