Chapter 35 - Just apprentices

Start from the beginning

"I... I don't see any other metal," one of the youngest blacksmiths said when the silence became unbearable.

"Yes... me neither..."

"I-It's hard to believe..."

"Bring the scale!"

The apprentices at the back struggle to be the first, but one was faster and brought the measuring device to her master.

With great care, he set the sword on one side, which moved down the moment he let go of the sword.

Another blacksmith placed a few perfect cubes made of metal on the other place with great care. He only stopped when the device was aligned.

So that's how they measure weight here, huh? Interesting. And those metal cubes... They are made of pure metal like me.

"It the same weight..."

"W-we can't be sure yet! Bring the rods!"

The moment the woman spoke, another apprentice rushed to give her two metal rods, a long and a thin. The boy gave to her master and walked away with his head down to join the other apprentices at the back.

The blacksmith held the long rod over Tetsuko's blade. She closed her eyes and remained still.

The moment the room was dead silent, she struck the long rod with the smaller one.

A metallic sound resonated inside the sword, making it vibrate.

Ah... she can check the purity of the metal by sound, Tetsuko exclaimed when she realized.

Amazing... I had heard of blacksmith could do that. Father said it wasn't possible, but I did saw him listening to a sword once... I could never do it though...

The blacksmith moved the rod along the blade, doing the same thing a few more times, listening to the sound until she was satisfied.

To Tetsuko, it sounded the same no matter where she tried.

It feels nice. Like goosebumps running through my body.

When the woman finished, she looked at the sword awestricken.

"It's... pure living metal..."

As her words echoed in the room, the heavy silence was back. A few moments later, everyone whispered.

"How did that man manage to wield a sword like this...?"

"Is he a skilled swordsman?"

"From what I heard from Lord Vidal, they were equally skilled."

"That makes no difference. How many times we've seen a true master swordsman fail at wielding a pure living metal sword?"

"She's right. It's not about skill. There must be something else... something that prevented this blade from vibrating..."

"How about the handle? Maybe it's a conductor to the energy. This might be enough to stop the vibrating from going out of control."

As they murmured in agreement, one of the blacksmiths stepped forward. He raised one of the hammers on the table and brought it down on Tetsuko's handle.

What a crude method of taking a sword apart. As expected of barbarian sword maker.

He took apart her handle and her hand guard and each blacksmith took their time analyzing each item.

After everyone had one had taken a good look, they exchanged glances.

No one dared to speak.

They can't believe it's normal, Tetsuko though, smiling in satisfaction.

"I don't see anything special..."

"Yes... nothing as conduct..."

"I-it's not possible! For how many centuries we've been trying to make a pure living metal sword?"

"Yes... for a thousand years... ever since the First King used one to end the Old Age..."

"And yet that thug who only knows how to swing a sword found one? And he can actually use it when all the others we made failed?"

"It doesn't matter now how he got it... We need to know how this sword is stable in order to make weapons..."

"Yes... we need weapons like this for the fight against the Worshipers of Chaos..."

"We can't! It's not possible!"

"You're seeing one before your eyes!"

"I refused to accept! There's got to be something we're not seeing it!"

The moment she spoke, the woman blacksmith reached out her hand to Tetsuko's base.

Before she could close her fingers around her, the soul in the sword made her energy go on the opposite side.

No matter how much the blacksmith tried, she couldn't lift the sword.

I don't know about this living metal, but you're right. There's something special with this sword. And it's me. Try to realize that.

Instead of noticing the soul, the blacksmiths tried to lift her. Tetsuko refused to allow anyone of them lift her again.

"See? There's something wrong with this sword! It happened the same thing with my brother!"

As the blacksmiths' discussion became more intense, the door opened with a bang. Before anyone turned, a strange and loud laughed echoed.

The blacksmiths stopped talking as an old man with one eye opened entered the forge.

Though the top of his head was bold, the rest of him was hairy. With bushy beard and messy hair, and his skin pale for years working indoors, he walked with a cane to the table where the sword was.

"Grand master..."

"G-glad to see you're feeling better..."

"W-we wanted to call you, but–"

"Shut up, yer brats," he said in a grumpy voice. "I know y'all think I'm just an old man whose time is long gone. I don't need yer to kiss my arse!"

"O-of course not, master! We'd never do that!"

"Yes! W-we all respect you and everything you taught us..."

"Shut up. I was listening to you lot. Can't believe you need to test if the blade is pure! Guess I didn't teach you enough!" He came closer and stared at the sword with an impassive expression. Then he flashed a wild smile. "This sword has something special inside. That's why it can be used. If you can't even tell that, get out."

"But master, it shouldn't be possible."

"Then this sword doesn't exist. We're all seeing an illusion. Guess yer lot are just as senile as me!" he said, not holding back the sarcasm.

All the blacksmiths and apprentices refused to meet his eyes. When the old man focused his attention on Tetsuko, his open eye shone with fire.

At once the soul in the sword could tell. He's a true blacksmith. One I can learn from...

"Put the sword together," he ordered to no one in particular.

All the blacksmiths hurried to obey him.

When Tetsuko was back to the former state, the elder blacksmith reached out to her.

When he closed his fingers around her handle, she could feel all years of holding metal the man had passed.

Withoutthinking twice, Tetsuko let the man raised her.

Re;BladeRead this story for FREE!