Chapter 6: Sword art [2]

The Author's POV Entrail_JI 2806words 2023-08-30 02:22:44

Chapter 6: Sword art [2]


With bloodshot eyes, I continued going down the rope.

I don't know how long I had been down here, but I presume at least two days had passed since I started going down.

My hands which were riddled with blisters started bleeding all over the rope leaving behind a red trail during my descent. My muscles spasmed every minute making me almost lose grip of the rope on a couple of occasions.

It felt as if I had gone back to the past where I would monotonously be typing on the keyboard with no sense of purpose.

I just kept going and going and going, until my sense of time and reason left my body. Even the pain slowly subsided making it seem as if I was a robot.

Sadly like any other powered object, robots tend to run out of batteries. And that's precisely what happened to me.

My vision grew blurry and my hands slowly lost grip of the rope.

It seems like I have died again huh?

Oddly enough it didn't feel the same as my first death, where I only felt endless coldness and loneliness.

This time a warm sensation enveloped my body making me feel extremely comfortable. It felt as if I was back in my mother's womb under the constant nourishment and protection of my mother. It didn't feel bad……

-Dong! -Dong! -Dong!

Suddenly I heard the loud sound of a bell tolling, causing my mind to spin and my eyes to shoot wide open.

"What just happened!"

Abruptly sitting up straight, I found my body drenched in sweat. Touching my body in a daze I noticed I was on top of a small bed with the bedsheets damp from my sweat. Looking at my hands I couldn't see any trace of the previous gruesome scene from when I was climbing down the rope.

Glancing around, I finally took notice of my surroundings. I was inside a small room with what seemed to be a Japanese tatami-style floor. The room was rather empty, and aside from a small tea table and a large ancient clock that constantly tolled in the corner of the room, there was no other furniture.

"You up kid?"


Snapping my head to the right, where the voice was coming from, a middle-aged man sat next to the tea table preparing some tea. His carefree movements and his calm demeanor when preparing the tea, blended with the tranquil surroundings.

The aroma coming from the tea filled the entire room prompting me to momentarily relax. But not for long as I immediately jumped out of the bed and warily look at the stranger before me.

Jet black hair, deep black eyes, and a stern but yet kind-looking face.

"Relax kid, I'm not gonna do anything to you"

"Who are you?"

I warily asked without letting my guard down.

If not for the fact that I was sure that he was not there when I was previously checking the room, I wouldn't have been as wary as I was now.

A master

He was definitely a master beyond my level.

Only someone who was leagues above my level could suddenly appear out of thin air without me noticing.

Smacking his fist in his hand, as if he was reminded of something the stern-looking middle-aged man looked at me and spoke "Ah! that's right! I haven't introduced myself yet have I?" Lightly smiling, he extended his right hand towards my direction "A pleasure to meet you kid my name is Toshimoto Keiki"

Instantly my pupils dilated, and my mouth went slack.

"Bu-t but b-ut how? Aren't you already dead!"

My speech stuttered and my body trembled as I looked at the man before me in shock.

"Hey, kid don't be like that."

Laughing bitterly at my reaction, Grandmaster Keiki calmly put down the teapot and blew on the teacup in his hand.

"fuuu…Yes technically I could be considered to be dead but…someone intruded my home waking up the remnant soul I left behind when I passed away"

"R-remnant soul!"

Once an expert reached a certain rank, they could learn an ancient Chinese technique known as {Soul division}. Its main purpose was to split a soul and attach it to an object, allowing a person to for a short moment of time interact with the initiator of the technique. To better summarize the technique, it was basically a live recording that you could interact with.

It had no attack power, and apart from inheriting the memories of the initiator, had no other feature.

Knowing this, I managed to put the two and two together and managed to recompose myself.

"Cough…Sorry about that"

Amused by my odd behavior Grandmaster Keiki laughed out loud and said "Hahahaha no worries no worries, I had expected this kind of reaction to happen once someone found my resting place."


"Scuse me?"

Confused. Grandmaster Keiki raised his eyebrow and looked at me who was reaching for his hand.

"My name is Ren. Ren Dover"

"Ah! that's right! How rude of me, I still had not asked for your name…a pleasure to meet you, Ren!"

Gripping my hand, we both looked at each other and shook our hands.

"Please sit down"

Gesturing for me to sit down next to the tea table, Grandmaster Keiki took the porcelain teapot and dumped the contents that were in it.

"Green or black?"

"ehmm…let's go with green"

Smiling lightly, Grandmaster Keiki added the tea leaves to the brewing vessel and slowly poured hot water inside of the vessel to let the leaves soak and steep in the pot.

As he was watching the water slowly darkening, Grandmaster Keiki let out a sad sigh and a nostalgic looked appeared on his face.

"You know I was once young and foolish like you…back in my time, I lived in a country known as Japan. It was one of the most beautiful places in the world. It had tall and beautiful mountains, pink-dyed springs which were due to the sakura blossoming, wonderful food, and mesmerizing star-filled skies…some even went as far as calling it paradise on earth"

Seeing Grandmaster Keiki reminisce about his past, I immediately sat up straight and paid close attention to what he was saying.

More than me wanting to know more about his past, which I already knew, I paid my full-hearted attention to him because of my respect for him.

Though he may have been a fictional character that I had created, that was then and this was now.

He was no longer a fictional character, and this world was no longer a novel. This was real…and the man before me was Grandmaster Keiki, a legendary warrior that sacrificed his life for the safety of millions.

Looking up at the room's ceiling as he was reminiscing his past, Grandmaster Keiki let out a sad and tragic smile.

"Prior to the disaster, I had a beautiful wife and daughter. Back then I worked as a Kendo instructor and although I did not earn much, I was happy. It was a simple but yet fulfilling life"

"But…then it hit us out of nowhere. Massive earthquakes engulfed Japan creating tsunamis everywhere. It was total chaos as people were killed and homes were lost. The world that we once knew started to crumble. Fortunately at the time when this was happening my wife and daughter were traveling on a plane with me outside of Japan, and thus we were relatively unaffected by the catastrophe, but…"

Suddenly Grandmaster Keiki clenched the teacup he was holding tightly, as his face burned with pure rage.

"Then the second calamity happened!"

Taking a huge breath he tried to calm himself down before continuing his speech.

"Huge black creatures with bat-like wings and sharp horns emerged from the mysterious gates that appeared all over the world. At first, they didn't do anything, they just stood in the air and calmly observed us like some kind of mice inside of a lab. To this day I still remember their arrogant eyes and creepy smiles that took pleasure in our despair"

With his hands trembling, Grandmaster Keiki looked directly at me.

Though he was supposed to be a remnant consciousness I could still vividly see the sadness and anguish hidden deep within his eyes, as crystalline tears flowed down his wrinkly face.

"As soon as they deemed us weak"

His teacup which was already shaking shook ever more fiercely and his expression which was previously still stoic completely crumbled as more tears started streaming down his face.

"Th-ey t-hey t-ook my wife and daughter from me……"

With his body trembling, Grandmaster Keiki, no, Toshimoto Keiki both a father and husband let the tears stream down his face as he mourned for the death of his loved ones.

Watching the frail-looking man break down in front of me, I chose to remain silent and patiently waited for him to calm down. A slight tinge of pain hit my chest, as a part of me felt responsible for this man's tragedy.

Wiping his eyes, Grandmaster Keiki stood up and calmly walked towards me.

"Sorry you had to see that"

"No, I understand"

I shook my head and got up as well

Staring at each other eye to eye for a couple of seconds, grandmaster Keiki suddenly smiled and patted my shoulder

"Good, it seems that my luck isn't too bad."

Walking past me, he slid the shoji (Japanese style door) and walked outside the room as he gestured me to follow along

"Follow me."

As soon as I left the room I was left flabbergasted. An inexplicably beautiful garden stood before me. I felt a sudden loss of breath as I stood there blankly, mesmerized by the scene.

-Tak! -Tak! -Tak!

Lush green plants vibrantly covered the surroundings of the garden and in the middle of it appeared a large transparent pond where koi fish of multiple different sizes freely swam in it. Birds freely roamed and chirped around the cloudless blue sky, and occasionally you would hear the repetitive yet relaxing sound of the bamboo fountain planted in the garden.

The more I walked around the garden the more I was left mesmerized by the surroundings.

Approaching the pond, I could see different colored koi fish which ranged from red and white slightly peeking the surface of the water almost as if they were aware of our presence.

In the middle of the pond stood a small island connected by a small wooden bridge.

Walking across the bridge, once again my breath was taken away.

A miniature stylized landscaped through which rocks, water features, and moss was neatly composed and surrounded by gravel which was raked to resemble ripples in water, appeared in my line of sight.

"A zen garden."

"It's nice isn't it?"

Sitting comfortably near the zen garden, grandmaster Keiki waved his hand urging me to sit down next to him.

"It truly is…" I replied as I sat down on the ground beside him.

Silence enveloped us as we both calmly stared at the zen garden before us. It was strange but yet relaxing at the same time.

"You know I was really surprised when I first saw you…"

The first to disrupt the silence was grandmaster Keiki, who with a smile plastered on his face continued to look at the garden before him.

"Ever since my death, no one had ever been to this place, and rightfully so, as I made sure to hide this place from the prying eyes of those greedy bastards…"

"Of course, even if they did find this place out of pure luck, I made sure they wouldn't be able to enter. I'm sure you know that the rope was a test right?"

With a smile on his face Grandmaster Keiki glanced at me, which made me recall the traumatizing experience I had gone through before.

'Of course, I know! I'm still being haunted by the rope to this day!' I cursed inwardly as I smiled and nodded.

"Yes I remember"

"Kukuku, you're so easy to read kid."

Laughing out loud, grandmaster Keiki continued "You see I put that rope there as a test to determine if someone was worthy of waking up my soul. If you had climbed down but quit after an hour you would've never been able to find this place. Even if you spent a day going down the rope you would've never been able to come here. Once you are able to firmly go down the rope for two days without falling only then will you have the right to have an audience with me"

Looking at Grandmaster Keiki I could faintly see a trace of admiration in his eyes as he looked at me.

"4 days 3 hours 22 minutes, and 41 seconds. That's how long you've been going down the rope. Even as a remnant soul I was shocked by your sheer determination"

I kept smiling, but my eyelid couldn't help but twitch at his statement 'Of course I kept going down, it's not like I wanted to die after just being reincarnated!'

"Even if you kept going because you wanted to live on, that still counts as determination. Moreover, you were never gonna die in the first place as it was just an illusion"

Seemingly having read my thoughts again Grandmaster Keiki lightly chuckled, causing me to smile in embarrassment

"Getting back on the topic, the reason why I created the rope test was to determine if someone is worthy enough to inherit my sword art. Someone with no determination can never hope of inheriting my [Keiki style]."

"The [Keiku style] is a sword art that focuses on monotonous but perfect slashes. If someone cannot practice the same monotonous motion like swinging the sword in the same direction for more than half a day straight, they are not worthy!"

Standing up Grandmaster Keiki walked across the bridge and stopped before a tree.

Placing his hand on the sheath of his katana he took a deep breath.

Soon after, his figure slowly blended with the surrounding scenery making it seem as if he was one with nature.


Out of nowhere a small gust of wind passed by causing a couple of leaves to fall from the tree.

The leaves which were blown away by the wind slowly descended near where Grandmaster Keiki was.


All I heard was a clicking sound before all the leaves around Grandmaster Keiki split into eight identical pieces causing my jaw to drop into an 'O' shape.


With another click, the katana that seemed to have never left the scabbard returned to its original position.

"The [Keiki style] is the art of perfection. When you manage to repeat the same motion every time with no margin of error, that is when you will have finally mastered the [Keiki style]"

Closing my eyes I tried to keep my composure.

My heart was beating like crazy, and my blood boiled. 'That was insane! Holy sh*t! How in the world did he even manage to cut those leaves so perfectly without even moving! I want to do that too!"

Looking at Ren's sparkling eyes, Grandmaster Keiki let out a chuckle.

"Do you wish to learn?"

Disrupting me from my thoughts was Grandmaster Keiki's stern voice.


Without a second thought, I nodded my head enthusiastically.

I was waiting for this moment!

"Very well"

Seemingly having made his decision, Grandmaster Keiki peacefully smiled.

Slowly he walked up to me and tapped my forehead

Immediately I felt my mind turn blank as a flood of information rushed into my mind.

Watching me getting overwhelmed by the information Grandmaster Keiki smiled as his body slowly became more and more transparent.

By the time I managed to sort out all of the information inside of my brain Grandmaster Keiki was already almost fully transparent.

Startled I immediately got on my knees and paid my respects

"Thank you! Thank you! I will make sure to carry on your art and spread your name across the world!"

Grandmaster Keiki let out another smile, as he mumbled something inaudible before he disappeared and scattered into light fragments.

Nodding resolutely I stood up. Though his last words may have been inaudible I could already tell what he wanted to say.

"Keep low until you're strong enough…"

Letting out a deep breath, I took one last look at the surroundings and engraved the scenery inside of my head.

Paying one last respect, I quickly walked towards where the exit was.

"I know"

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