Tetsuko did not need sleep.
She didn’t need food. She didn’t rest. She didn’t need to breathe.
As a sword, she didn’t have a human body.
And yet, there were times when she felt tired. There were times when she was out of air. There were times she lost her consciousness.
Tetsuko didn’t have a human body, but she did have a human soul.
And like any living being, she needed to rest.
When night came, she rested, just like back in her world, when she still had a flesh and blood body instead of a metal one.
However, instead of closing her eyes and sleep, she simply let her consciousness drift away, let her senses stretch as far as they could, catching anything without processing what it was.
To her, the sensation was the same as being in a trance.
It was enough to make her feel rested when the sun rose.
However, one of the last human things she could do as a sword, that brief rest, was no longer possible to her.
As the night came, Tetsuko couldn’t let her mind drift. Not when there was a dark, twisted, and strong coursing inside her metal body.
And the soul in the sword had no idea what to do with that energy. She couldn’t devour nor expel it from her body. It was inside her, like cold blade forever piercing her.
At least it’s not trying to devour me… unlike him, Tetsuko thought, glancing at the nobleman who wields her.
Alonso was on the bed, restless. Despite the late hour, he tossed around and didn’t get any sleep. He panted, sweated, and winced, as if he was in the middle of an intense fight for his life instead of trying to rest.
In a way, he is… ever since he was caught by Nicolas, the soul in the sword thought. If he lower his guard, his existence will die…
Even from her sheath prison that dampened her senses, she could feel the same dark and twisted energy coursing inside Alonso, trying to devour a little more of his soul.
And its objective was clear; it wanted to take him over completely.
But my wielder is stronger than I thought… he’s giving his all, struggling even more than Nicolas…
It had been a few weeks since Alonso escaped the former Sword of the King’s lair with the help from that soldier.
In a struck of luck, the lord’s troops’ camp was still there.
Guess it wasn’t luck, but loyalty…
Enrique had refused to go back without his master. Despite the captains telling him to give up on Alonso at the time and call for a search once they reorganized their troops, the retainer remained there.
And then luck smiled at them; Alonso had managed to escape with the help of a brave soldier who infiltrated Nicolas’ bandits.
I wouldn’t call it luck, Tetsuko thought. It was part of Dale’s plan… though I still don’t get where that soldier comes in…
But either way, thanks to Enrique’s loyalty, Alonso was saved from the brink of death. A little more and his body wouldn’t have lasted, even with food. I bet even Lucky Chaos didn’t plan that.
The moment Alonso was back in his castle, Dale’s energy grew weaker. As the noble received intense treatment, that dark and twisted energy became nothing but a trickle in a river.
Only a seed remained.
But that seed was enough to make sure the nobleman could never rest. Alonso was always in a constant battle for his soul. And if he lost, even for a moment, he would become a mindless puppet, like Nicolas.
Even if she there had some distance from her wielder, even if she wasn’t on his waist, even with the sheath that impaired her senses, she could tell that much.
Tetsuko let out a dry and short laugh in her mind. And he thinks I’m against him…
Once Alonso was strong enough, the healers allowed him to move back to his chambers.
But instead of rest, everything became worse for the nobleman.
That first night when Tetsuko was reunited with her wielder, Alonso began losing his mind.
He couldn’t sleep. He couldn’t find a moment of peace in his room.
Because Dale’s energy inside him reacted to the heavy energy inside Tetsuko.
The seed had grown strong.
Even without Alonso unsheathing and wielding her for a long time, they were connected as swordsman and sword.
That night, Dale’s energy was the strongest. When it threatened to take over his soul, Alonso woke, panting and sweating.
He clutched his stomach with both hands as he turned to the long, thin double-edged one-hand sword mounted on the wall like a prize instead of a weapon.
“Who are you?” he shouted, his face of a madman.
It took a moment for Tetsuko to realize Alonso was screaming at her.
Despite her disbelief, she couldn’t help but feel amused.
I’m Tetsuko, the soul that lives in this sword, she thought, projecting the words with her energy, even with that annoying sheath.
Alonso placed both hands on his head, his expression twisting even more.
“That voice… you… It’s you… you’re the one… trying to take over… me,” he said in a strained voice, the veins popping on his forehead. “I’ve heard it… before… in the forest…”
You’re wrong, Alonso. I’m a sword. Your sword. I’m not the one—
“Shut up!” he shouted, pulling a tuft of hair. “Shut up! Shut up! Shut up! Get out of my head!”
Almost on the verge of tears, the man walked to the sword. He placed both hands on the wall and leaned closer to stare at the hilt.
“I can… sense you… you’re inside me… trying to eat my soul…” He widened his eyes, his breathing even more erratic. “I’m not letting you… you can try… but I’m not letting… a demon like you… eat my soul…”
I’m not a demon. I’m a human… at least I was… but my soul still is, Tetsuko thought, keeping her calm. I’m your sword.
“I won’t believe your lies!”
Alonso unsheathed another sword that was decorating the walls.
In his current state, that already seemed too much effort. Even so, that didn’t stop the nobleman to struck Tetsuko with the blade using all the strength he had at the moment.
Tetsuko wasn’t worried at all. In fact, all she did was laugh in appreciation; the attack was enough to make a crack at her sheath.
Thank you, my wielder. I hate this sheath, she projected her words. But there’s no way a pathetic blade like that could even hope to scratch me. I’m the strongest sword in this castle.
For a moment, she wanted to say her metal body was the strongest sword in the world, but she knew better. I haven’t seen the world to say that, Tetsuko thought to herself.
Alonso took her words like a challenge.
With a proper stance, the man struck the mounted talking sword again.
And again. And again.
He hit more wall than metal, but he had struck Tetsuko’s body enough to dent it.
The sword he was using, that is.
If she was a normal blade, it might have dented it too. But even without flowing her energy consciously to defend, Alonso’s attacks were no more than a kid using a stick hoping to break a boulder.
All it did was break her prison sheath.
The soul in the sword waited as her wielder struck her. I should thank him for breaking me free, she thought, growing bored.
When Alonso’s fatigue was more than his blind and misguided rage, he finally stopped.
I’m not your enemy. I’m not a demon. I’m a sword. Your sword, she projected the words as he recovered his breath. All I want is to be used in a battle, to cross blades with a worthy sword, to…
Tetsuko grew quiet. For a moment she wanted to say ‘to cut flesh, to have blood drip from her edge, to take a life and engorge herself with the energy from a living person’.
The words echoed in her mind. Could a person say this? I’m a sword, but maybe part of me is losing its humanity, she thought to herself.
I have no wish to devour your soul, Alonso, she projected to her wielder.
Alonso threw the dented blade aside, the metal clanking loudly as it hit the stone. He struggled, his veins throbbing too much. He flexed his fingers but then took Tetsuko from the mount and drew the sword with a soul.
It was only for an instant. But when those fingers closed around her hilt, she sensed Dale’s energies resonating with each other.
Tetsuko tried to quell it down, but she failed. Even for her, the sudden awakening was too powerful.
Alonso almost lost his consciousness and leaned against the wall.
Cold sweat ran down his sick face. With great effort, he withstood and maintained his consciousness. Despite panting even more, he didn’t think twice before swinging the sword against the stone wall.
Tetsuko flowed her energy and concentrated on her edge in a heartbeat.
With a satisfied smile in her soul, she watched as her metal body sliced through the thick stone as if it were flesh.
Even Alonso couldn’t believe as he stared the deep gash on the wall. Awestruck, he let go of the sword, leaving the blade in the wall. He touched the gash, his fingers trembling.
“My lord?” a low voice echoed in the room
Neither Tetsuko nor Alonso had noticed Enrique standing at the door until the advisor had spoken.
The lord opened and closed his mouth, making no sound as he pointed at the completely motionless blade stuck in the wall.
“That sword… spoke… it’s… a demon…”
Enrique showed no expression. Not even pity. “You should rest, my lord. You’re still recovering.” The man got closer and pulled Alonso away from the weapon.
“I’m telling the truth! That sword can speak in my head! It’s trying to possess me!” he shouted as Enrique made him lie.
“My lord, please rest. The healer said you might have suffered more sequelae than he thinks. Your body and soul went through a lot.”
“But that demon sword—”
“I’ll take care of your sword.”
Alonso nodded weakly, his face paler than ever.
Shit… Enrique might put out of sight forever if he thinks it’ll help Alonso.
Tetsuko stirred her energy, making it circle the edges of her metal body. As the flow became faster, she wriggled free of the wall and fell with a loud clanking sound that echoed in the room ominously until it died.
Enrique stopped midway to the sword, staring at Tetsuko with suspicious.
He turned to his lord, who looked even more terrified.
Damn it… I’d rather he got rid of me than put me away in a dungeon… This way I could find a new wielder.
As she considered her options, Dale’s energy inside her reacted to her agitation, resonating with the one inside Alonso.
Before she could do anything, before Enrique could touch her, the nobleman screamed and got out of bed.
He picked her up and threw her out the window.
As she fell with the shards of glasses around her, Tetsuko laughed. Guess outside is better than to rust in a dungeon.
Her body spun as she got closer to the ground. I refuse to lay on the dirt. I’m a sword, not a shovel.
Once again the soul in the sword made her energy flow faster. Then she threw all at the tip of her sword.
Tetsuko landed in a large rock.
Almost like cutting through silk, her tip went through the stone. If she hadn’t sent all her energy to the hilt, she would have gone through the rock and then the ground.
Well… it’s not that bad, she thought as she checked herself.
Slightly tilted, Tetsuko was half deep in a rock in the middle of the yard the people from the castle used to practice their combat skills.
With any luck, someone good enough will pick and use me, Tetsuko thought as she looked up the clear sky. And now I’m free from my prison sheath.
The commotion had awakened part of the castle, but the soul in the sword didn’t care.
As the people around her whispered, all she did was let her mind drift and her senses expand. If Alonso is no good, I need to find a new wielder, it was the last thought the soul in the sword had before going in her resting trance.