Chapter 24 - Alonso's determination

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The foul smell of rotten food and feces mixed in the air flooded Tetsuko's senses. Even as Nicolas picked the torch and headed to the last door in the prison, it was too much. It smells like death...

But the soul in the sword knew that wasn't the case. She could still sense her former wielder's soul in that prison. It's been a week... he's still alive... if barely...

Alonso was sitting at the corner when Nicolas opened the door of the dark and lightless cell.

Despite the sudden weak light from the torch piercing the darkness, it shone like a sun to the lord. Even so, he didn't flinch nor tremble. All he did was close his eyes and raised his shackled hands to cover his face.

"We can't have this, milord," Nicolas said to the prisoner when he saw the untouched food on the other side of the prison. He picked the tray up and shook his head when he smelled it. "It's been a few days now. You must be starving."

"I am," Alonso said in a weak but dignified whisper.

Nicolas snorted but said nothing.

"Then you should eat," he said, throwing something at the imprisoned lord. "If you don't, you'll die, and it'll be a problem for me."

Alonso raised a hand and tried to catch it, but he was too weak to react in time. The fruit hit him across the face and it fell on the ground, rolling almost outside arm's reach, inches away from the lord's feces.

He picked the apple and his gaze shone with hunger, the droll rolling down the corner of his lips. Even so, he didn't eat the fruit.

When Alonso grew accustomed to the light, he stared at the former Sword of the King. Despite the hunger, the defiance in his eyes was just as strong.

"Then I'll die... satisfied that... I didn't help you at all," Alonso whispered, throwing the apple back. The fruit rolled slowly until it stopped at Nicolas' feet.

Tetsuko smiled in her head. As expected of my former wielder. I've met many samurais who put out a front of strong but showed his cowardliness the moment they lost the high ground.

But Alonso wasn't one of those nobles. Despite not receiving any food or drink for five days, the lord hadn't lost his dignity or pride.

It's amazing he has the strength to refuse food after so long, the soul in the sword thought, glancing at the untouched meal. Your plan failed, my wielder.

Nicolas plan was simple. Instead of torturing Alonso, he let his prisoner starve for five days. On the six, he offered food. But the lord refused to eat.

Despite his determination, the lack of nutrients had its toll on Alonso's features.

The once young noble who looked as if he could be the next Yasuhiro-sama as he led his troops looked terrible. His cheeks were sunken and his lips thin and cracked. The hair was falling in some places and there was a constant pain across his face.

But the eyes remained the same. They still shone with the fire of determination.

He has accepted his death, Tetsuko realized.

To her surprise, that brought some sorrow to her.

Guess I was more attached to him than I realized... unlike the only fight with Fael, I was growing stronger by his side...

If she were a samurai, she would approve Alonso's resolve of ending his life to preserve his name and pride.

But she wasn't. Before she became a sword, she was a blacksmith, a sword maker.

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