So that was the life of and death of Fael, a member of the Forest Tribes, the sword though after the young man breathed for the last time and the life faded from his eyes the next moment.
After that, he and the elders were branded traitors…
Fael chose to sacrifice himself so the rest of this people wouldn’t die fighting in other people’s fight… But he could’ve never imagined the kingdom would send so many to deal with the ‘traitors’ who let the enemy into their lands. Especially after dealing with the Sand People’s entire army.
But in the end, at least his death wasn’t for nothing. Fael and the others’ sacrifice stopped the tragedy of ten years from happening again…
Or will the kingdom wipe the rest of them afterwards?
But no matter how much Tetsuko thought, she wouldn’t reach a conclusion.
I’m just a sword, after all. All I can do is to be wielded. I cannot change the fate of anything… even my own… To kill or to protect, even that depend on the one who wields me.
Even after dying, Fael didn’t let go of the sword.
That made Tetsuko smiled in her mind.
To die and still hold their weapon… that’s a true warrior. Someone worthy of wielding a sword like me.
She wanted to close his eyes, but without hands, there was nothing she could do except pray for his soul.
Rest, Fael of the Forest Tribe. Rest in peace knowing your story won’t be forgotten.
After she finished praying, Tetsuko looked around.
There didn’t seem to have any sign of life on the battlefield beside the crows circling the skies.
Guess I’ll have to wait until the rats shows up… Wonder if there are scavengers in this world too…?
Tetsuko cursed her lack of control over herself and wondered how much time she would have to wait until her next wielder showed up.
She closed the eyes she didn’t have and awaited…
“This was brutal…” a voice spoke, awaking the sword.
Even from the distance, Tetsuko felt the shock in the boy’s voice.
“And that’s ‘cause the Kingdom couldn’t send the real army after dealin’ with the Sand-Eaters. If they had, this would’ve been a total massacre,” another voice replied.
Three people were walking through the battlefield.
One pulled a shabby wooden cart while the others were bending over the bodies and collecting everything useful.
Tetsuko could see swords, spears, armor, helmets, boots, leather vests. Still in one piece or broken, they picked it up and threw on the cart.
For a moment they stopped. The taller one bent over a body and grunted as he tried to roll the cadaver to the side.
“Will you two stop starin’ like idiots and help me with this shit?” she snapped, and the others hurried to help her.
So there are scavengers in this world too, Tetsuko thought, smiling.
For some reason, the idea was recomforting.
After they managed to roll the dead body, they stripped him of his armor and any other valuable.
Then they moved on to the next body, getting closer and closer to Tetsuko.
They weren’t the only scavenger group on the battlefield.
As far as her sight went, Tetsuko could see many groups searching the battlefields for anything of value.
So that’s how I’m gonna met my next wielder… sold by scavengers… scavengers who’re happy with any piece of metal that’s not broken…
Tetsuko felt a sudden urge to laugh.
I was so picky to whom I sold my weapons back in my world, and now I’ll be sold as scrap metal!
It took a while for her to stop her silent laugh.
Guess that’s destiny for your… and there comes mine, she thought as the scavengers got closer and closer to her.
Then trio had finally arrived at where Tetsuko was.
“Hey, look…” the boy pulling the cart said, pointing at Fael. “Isn’t this the traitor?”
The woman looked to where he pointed. Then her face scowled.
“He looks so… young,” the girl said, walking towards him, bending down to take a closer look at his face. “And handsome… if he hadn’t betrayed the kingdom and fought the Sand-Eaters, he could still be alive…”
“We’ll never know now, will we?” the boy said, stopping the cart and rubbing his shoulders. “That’s a question only the seers can answer. All we know that he caused a lot of deaths…”
“Yeah… all this ‘cause of him,” the woman said, staring down at Fael with a strange expression.
Then, suddenly, she kicked him on the side. Then again. And again.
As she kicked the dead man, her face twisted more and more with rage, her kicks getting heavier and heavier.
With each kick, his head swigged limply.
With each kick, Tetsuko felt a rage boiling inside her.
“‘Cause of him, the Kingdom went crazy… ‘cause of him, the soldiers had to leave our town… ‘cause of him, mom was killed in that alley… ‘cause of him, we lost everything… it’s all his fault!” she screamed, her foot never stopping.
The other scavengers looked in her direction, but no one said nothing.
Tetsuko felt the energy inside her boiling out of control.
Then she concentrated that energy onto the woman.
Stop, she thought, the energy turning cold inside her. No matter how much you blame him, do not insult the dead. Do not insult Fael of the Forest Tribes, my wielder.
The woman finally stopped kicking the dead man.
Panting and sweating, she took the hair off her face.
Then her eyes ended on the sword that Fael still refused to let go.
The woman stared at Tetsuko for a long time, not moving at all.
“Hey… look at that sword,” the girl said when she noticed Tetsuko.
“How did a monkey get a sword like this?” the boy asked, reaching out to get it.
“Wait!” the woman shouted. “Don’t touch that sword!”
The boy froze and looked at her, frightened.
The woman bit her lips as her siblings stared at her.
Ignoring the kids, she pushed the boy’s hand aside and leaned closer.
With difficulty, she opened the rigid fingers and snatched the sword from Fael’s cold hand.
The woman stood up, staring at Tetsuko intensely.
She turned the sword around, examining every inch of the blade.
She can feel me, the blacksmith realized. She can’t tell there’s a soul in this sword, but she can feel this energy inside me.
Tetsuko tried to pour that energy that had grown calm into the woman’s hand.
But once again, she didn’t feel the stream inside her move.
It doesn’t obey my will…
“Doesn’t matter where the traitor got it,” the woman said at last, walking towards the cart. But she never took her eyes off Tetsuko. “Probably stole from some stupid noble that died trying to make a name for himself.”
She looked around, checking if anyone was looking in their direction.
The other scavengers went back to their work, pretending they weren’t staring.
But Tetsuko noticed some still stared at her.
The woman pulled a filthy from the cart and cleaned the blood from the blade.
Then she picked one of the leather clothes they looted and wrapped it around Tetsuko before placing the sword under their loot.
Her siblings still stared at the woman’s strange behavior.
“That blade is more valuable than all we got so far,” she whispered, glancing around to make sure no one was listening. “It’ll attract unwanted eyes.”
The boy widened his eyes and walked to the cart. He shifted a few pieces of armor to hide Tetsuko even further.
“No one will see it now,” he said, proudly.
The woman showed him a weary smile. “Good idea.”
“Better hide the handle too,” the girl said. “It was no jewelry, but it’s too elegant for a simple blade.”
She pulled a cloth and wrapped around the handle.
Everything went dark to Tetsuko.
So those are my new owners…
For her, as long as they used her or sold to someone who would, she was satisfied.
I prefer someone strong, but a sword is made to be used, she thought.
Those were the words she lived by in her previous world.
She hated fixing misused swords, but she hated even more maintaining clean and unused blades.
Those blades that had never been used for what they were meant for, serving only as decoration for some stupid samurai and accumulating dust.
Tetsuko closed the eyes she no longer hand and enjoyed the rattling of the cart as the scavengers’ siblings continued their search for anything useful.
“Hey, this fight was too weird, wasn’t it?” the girl’s voice echoed asked after a while.
“Yeah, it was,” the woman answered. “My soldier friend said they were supposed to send at least 2000 people to fight with the monkeys to hold the Sand-Eaters, but at the last minute, they received orders to stay put. Somethin’ ‘bout reports of other invaders so they couldn’t move.”
“Other invaders? On this area?” the boy’s voice didn’t hide his fear.
“How can that be? Around here, people can only come from the Vale or the Forest. No one can cross those mountains,” the boy said in a strained voice after he got the cart stuck.
“It wasn’t around here. My friend said there’s been reports of invaders from every side. So they stayed put, knowing the monkeys would die. But then they were surprised by the Sand-Eaters crossing the Forest unscathed.
“I still can’t believe the monkeys let them pass without fighting them,” the boy said.
“Thanks to that, the fortress lost its commander,” the girl said.
“Yeah… The army’s gonna send a new commander for that. Things will change around here.”
“Why? I doubt the new commander will be any different from the old one.”
“From what I heard, it will,” the woman said in a heavy voice.
“As long as there’s still fights around here, we can make a living.”
Tetsuko heard all and didn’t care.
Even if she did, there was nothing she could do to change anything.
But something inside her was bothered by those words.
Guess thanks to Fael’s memories, I’m not completely an outsider…
Well… All I can do his hope my next wielder is someone like him.
I’ll kill the enemies before them.