I’m an idiot, Tetsuko thought, letting out a sigh of frustration and anger in her mind as she stared at the people lining before her. I’m a huge idiot… All because I was childish and too proud at that time…
After Alonso had thrown her out the window, a few people had seen her stuck in the sword. No one dared to touch the sword of their lord though.
Tetsuko didn’t mind. It was fun watching the sunrise in this other world. I think the only time I did this was when I was a brat… It’s beautiful, but just like back in my world…guess some things don’t change, no matter where you are…
And so Tetsuko remained where she was, using the stone as a sheath.
When a young guard patrolling saw the glass under the window, he figured out what had happened. Unlike the others, however, he wasn’t afraid to get closer to Tetsuko. With a sleepy face, he put one hand on the handle and pulled the sword from the stone.
Tetsuko refused to move even one inch.
She didn’t like the idea of someone so weak wielding her, even if it was only to carry her for a moment. So, in a childish and mischievous fit, she poured her energy on the tip and didn’t let the man pull her out of the stone.
When the sword didn’t budge, the man became annoyed. He put the other hand on the handle and tried again.
It made no difference.
Tetsuko refused to move.
The guard got angry and put the foot on the stone and tried again. Same thing.
Another soldier saw and came to him. “Step aside. Let a grownup take care, kiddo,” he said, pushing the first guard aside.
He couldn’t pull Tetsuko either.
No matter how much he tried, he couldn’t even loose Tetsuko.
“Help me!” he screamed in a strained voice.
The young guard grabbed the guard cross and pulled.
It made no difference.
When they grew tired, they gave up.
The few people watching decided to try too. But Tetsuko refused to let anyone pulled her out of the stone.
They’re too weak to wield me, she thought, somewhat enjoying watching the struggle.
But her childish pride had its cost.
She suspected the rumors about an unyielding sword on a stone would pique peoples’ interested. But she never imagined it would stir them so much. And along with them, came strange rumors.
Some are so stupid I wonder how anyone in their right mind could believe, Tetsuko thought, sourly. I can’t disagree about the strongest sword, but why wielding me would make anyone the strongest swordsman in the world?
Or why would pulling me give anyone the right to become a king or a queen? That’s more than stupid. It borders on the insane. Like a sword could give the right to rule others… unless by force…
But the rumors were the least of her problem; Tetsuko no longer had time for herself. It’s been days since I practice controlling my energy… other than to stop people from pulling me, I mean…
From dawn to dusk, there wasn’t a moment without at least one person trying to pull her. Except for Alonso and Enrique, everyone who worked or lived or had access to the castle had tried to pull the sword at least once.
Some of them even try four or five times a day every single day… why they have so much free time? Don’t they work?
Tetsuko had become more and more frustrated.
But her luck hadn’t abandoned her completely.
Almost a week after being in the stone, after thousands of hands touching her, Tetsuko found a moment of peace; Alonso was finally strong enough to train again.
Guess a week away from Dale’s energy from me made him better, the soul in the sword thought as her wielder walked in the training yard.
Despite not even glancing at her, the lord’s presence was enough to drive away even those deluded people stop trying to pull her.
Even if it’s only for a short time, I can rest…
But instead of letting her mind drift into that trance, she watched her wielder train.
It’s not as bad, but he’s still using half his mind to keep the control over his soul, the sword thought as she felt the energy flowed through Alonso.
It was a good thing for her; if he hadn’t become a puppet, it meant he could still fight out of his own free will.
But that’s only good for me if he stops being afraid of me… But if he’s using half his concentration to maintain his soul, he’ll be weaker in the battlefield… I don’t want someone weak wielding me…
Alonso closed his eyes, raised the blunt one-handed metal blade, and breathed deep. He held it in for a moment. Then, when he exhaled, he brought down the sword with both hands.
Then he raised again. And brought it down, putting his more strength as his muscles warmed up.
He raised brought the weapon down again and again. Until his arms were trembling and he could no longer lift the sword.
It’s amazing he has recovered to the point of swinging a weapon after everything. I could’ve sworn he’d be like Nicolas in the brief moment the bandit was back to himself
But even so, it’s not enough… Even he can tell…
It was plain on her wielder’s face. Instead of the joy of being able to swing a sword again, he was frustrated by how tired something so simple had made him.
Even from that distance, Tetsuko could see; when Alonso used the blunt weapon as support, he was gripping the handle with so much force her knuckles were losing the color.
Enrique was standing near the weapons, observing. But when Alonso thrust the sword in the ground, he went to his lord’s side, the concerted stamped on his face, even though he tried to hide it.
“I’m fine, Enrique. The healers said I could,” Alonso grunted before his retainer could say anything.
“I know, my lord. But, please, take it easy. You’re still recovering. You were almost dying out of starvation. It takes longer for your body recover from that. And the healers haven’t been able to determine the cause of your constant pain,” he said the last part in a low voice so only the noble heard.
Alonso listened with an empty expression. When he recovered his breath, he pulled the sword from the ground. “Find someone to spar with me.”
“But my lord–”
“I said I’m fine, Enrique!” Alonso shouted in a strained voice.
As his voice echoed and died in the yard, there was no way Tetsuko wouldn’t sense.
It’s because of Dale’s energy. The constant pain he has is from fighting the energy trying to consume him. Even right now…
Without him wielding her, Tetsuko couldn’t know the extent of the damage, but Alonso’s condition was worse than she imagined when he was saved.
Even though it was for a short time, the starvation and the degrading conditions of his cell had lefts its sequelae on her wielder’s body.
But, in a twisted fate of events, that had somehow saved him from Dale’s grasps.
That dark energy made the effects of the starvation worse, but at the same time, the lack of nutrients had prevented it from taking over Alonso’s soul.
Now that my wielder’s recovered enough, that energy is trying to consume him again… and part of it is my fault… Lucky Chaos’ energy inside me awakened that tiny seed… even now, they’re resonating… calling for each other…
After a moment, Tetsuko knew. As things went, it could only end in two ways; with him either being under Dale’s control or becoming mad due to the struggle and then dying.
And his talking sword doesn’t help, she thought sheepishly.
“My lord, I–”
“Enrique,” Alonso said in a calmer voice. He took a deep breath before lowering his sword and looking at his retainer. “I’ve been through jail and starvation. After that, I was in bed for weeks… I need to move my body… I can’t stay still… I… I need to do something…”
The adviser stared into his lord’s eyes. Despite the deep concern, he nodded and took a blunt two-handed sword from the weapons’ racks. “I’ll spar with you, my lord.”
Alonso was almost smiling as he positioned himself before Enrique. Despite being a one-handed sword, he placed both hands on the handle again.
It’s just like he uses me, Tetsuko noticed and couldn’t stop her jealousy. How long it’s been since I was used?
Without any sign, the lord charged, trying to strike Enrique on the shoulder.
The retainer raised his sword and blocked the attack with ease, the metal colliding with a dull sound.
Alonso had put so much force he almost lost his balance with the impact. He managed to keep standing, but Enrique didn’t give him time to rest, bringing the weapon down the next instant, aiming at his lord’s arm.
Tetsuko’s wielder dived sideways to escape. Using the momentum, he rolled and then stood up, the weapon ready.
The advisor raced after him and was already by his side.
Alonso raised his sword to block, but when the weapon was about to collide with the lord’s, Enrique stopped.
“In no time you’ll recover your form, my lord,” he said, offering his hand. “But you shouldn’t go too far. It’ll do more harm than good.”
Alonso took a deep breath, the frustration plain on his face once again. But when he looked up, he closed his eyes and accepted the hand.
As they put the swords away, one of the guards rushed in the training yard. Out of air, he stopped before the nobles and made a clumsy bow.
He looks so nervous, Tetsuko thought. Wish that was enough to stop him from getting in line to pull me…
“My lord. There’s… a visitor wishing to speak with you, sir…”
“Who?” Enrique’s face had grown dark and serious.
He had ordered people to not bother Alonso with things like that all this time, Tetsuko had heard from the thousands of people coming to have a go on her.
“L-lord Dale, sir,” the man squeaked in a low voice.
Enrique widened his eyes and glanced at Alonso.
The lord remained still, his face becoming pale by the seconds.
The moment he heard the name, the heavy and twisted energy inside him stirred even more.
Tetsuko felt the same, though her piece of Dale wasn’t trying to consume her.
Only the name is enough to make it more active… But Alonso is fighting it… I know their circumstances are different, but I doubt Nicolas could withstand that.
“Tell… inform him I’ll meet with him soon…” Alonso managed to say after a while. He blinked a couple times, as if trying to gather his thoughts. “I… I need… make myself… presentable…”
The soldier bowed again and turned to leave as fast as he could.
“Offer him our best hospitality,” Enrique said when the soldier was almost out the training yard. Despite his words, his face said otherwise.
The soldier nodded a couple times and left.
“You cannot meet him,” Enrique said the moment they were alone. “I’ll inform you the training was more intense than you imagined and you had to rest.”
Alonso clutched his retainer by the shoulder. “No…I have to meet him myself… He’ll see through the lie and will think of me as weak,” he added before Enrique could say anything. “I have to meet him myself.”
Before he left the yard, Alonso glanced at Tetsuko. After a moment still, he walked to the stone where the sword with a soul was.
Tetsuko stared back. She could sense the dilemma in the man.
He doesn’t want to touch me… at the same time, he doesn’t want to face Dale without me… maybe it’s because of our energies resonating… or maybe Lucky Chaos himself is making Alonso bring me, she thought as her wielder pulled her from the stone.
To the astonishment of those watching, Tetsuko allowed him.