Chapter 36 - The Master

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After the blacksmiths and their apprentices left the castle forge, there were only the old master and the sword.

He looked at every inch of the blade with his good eye, so close he could see his own reflection.

"What's your name?" he asked, placing the sword on the stand on the table. At the same time, he on one of the stools.

Tetsuko stared at the old blacksmith. He can feel me...

"Don't be shy. I'm Baltasar. I'm the blacksmith of the Vidal family even bef0re Lord Diogo's father," he said. "I know there's something in there... a strange energy that is similar to a soul... But I don't know if it's the soul of a human... or maybe the soul of a demon from the Old Age..."

I'm a human... or at least I was, the soul in the sword projected her thoughts to the old man. I was a blacksmith in a different world before I died and became a sword.

"Kaka! Can't believe this!" The old man let out a hearty and jovial laugh that echoed in the forge. "A blacksmith who became a sword? That's one of my dreams!"

What...? It's your dream...?

"Don't you agree? I've been forging swords ever since I can remember. I've always dreamed of creating the strongest sword, but I've always wondered how would be to become one of the blades I created. To be made of metal... living metal... to become a legendary sword like the First King's... People say my mind is gone but they're dead on the inside if they don't have such dreams!"

The only good eye stared at Tetsuko with a mixture of envy and wonder.

I can see that, she projected her thoughts. I have to admit I've imagined once or twice. But I never expected to become a sword for real... And not one of the swords I made...

The old man stopped smiling. "You wanted to work more... You still miss hammering the metal," Baltasar said in a low voice.

Tetsuko became quiet for a moment.

She forced her mind to remember what was like to hold a hammer in one hand and a sword in the other. The weight and the recoil when metal struck metal. The hot sparks shining. The hissing when cooling metal on water. The smell of a forge.

The blacksmith in her missed it all.

Yes, she said at last. There was a lot I wanted to do... Where I come from, we made excellent swords. However, our metal wasn't the best. Then I saw a black foreign metal... It was the most wonderful material I had ever used. I made the strongest sword I could for an annoying swordswoman...

Tetsuko could never forget that sword. During the nights, when her mind wondered, she sometimes recalled those days.

"I get it," Baltasar said in a paternal voice and a gentle smile. "I'm old and have only one eye left, but I still want to make more swords... Especially after seeing you, Tetsuko... A sword made of pure living metal... A sword with a soul, no less... I've seen a lot in these 80 years, but this truly unheard..."

What's this living metal? I know it's a special metal from this world, but I don't know much beyond that, Tetsuko asked, not hiding her curiosity. Ever since she heard that, she wanted to ask, but the people around her either couldn't tell her properly, like Alonso, or were too annoying and she wouldn't ask, like the nobles.

"Even an old man like me can still teach someone," he said in a nostalgic voice.

Baltasar stroked his beard. At the same time, his smile. From the gentle and paternal smile to a wild one. One of a blacksmith ready to talk of what they loved.

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