Book cover of “Academy’s Genius Swordmaster“ by Zeom

Academy’s Genius Swordmaster

  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Status: Completed
  • Language: English
  • Author: Zeom
  • Uploaded by user770097
Ronan's life had been a series of squandered opportunities and deep regrets. Each decision led him further into a web of despair, until his existence seemed like a shadow of what it could have been. Just as he believed his futile life was ending, an extraordinary twist of fate granted him an unprecedented second chance. Suddenly, he found himself b... 

A Somber Tale (1)

The battle had concluded on the third evening.

The rain showed no sign of stopping yet. The raindrops pelting the skin felt more like lashes than water.

"Cough… Cough…"

Struggling to catch his breath, Ronan lifted his head. The once chaotic battlefield now lay silent, with only the sound of rain filling the air.

As his gaze widened, the landscape before him seemed like a scene transferred from hell itself.

The wasteland stretching to the horizon was mostly covered in a charred, reddish hue. It was the color of blood mixed with mud.

Upon the sticky ground were scattered fragments that had once composed humans. Puddles that had formed here and there carried the floating corpses of those who had been blown apart.

Apart from him, there was no sign of any living beings in motion. As he wiped his blade against his clothing, a voice echoed from behind.

"To think there was such a strong human, Amazing."

Despite the fierce downpour, the voice was clear. It sounded like the deep resonance of a cave filled with flowing lava. Ronan turned his body with an expression of disgust.

"You aren't dead yet?"

[It's an evident failure on Ahaiyute's part.]

About five strides away, a massive figure of a human sprawled out. This was the culprit behind the carnage. The giant referred to himself as Ahaiyute.

With a height easily surpassing 4 meters, the giant's back bore two pairs of wings. Its appearance resembled the concept of angels, frequently depicted in religious art.

He had an oval-shaped bald head with distinct facial features. His white-tinged muscular torso was riddled with scores of deep and lengthy scars.

Blue blood oozing from wounds formed puddles around the giant's center.

[Indeed. Not yet.]

Ronan's grip on the hilt tightened. If it were possible, he would have torn Ahaiyute to shreds with a mere thought, but he no longer had the energy for that.

This single being had vaporized ten legions of the empire.

With each flutter of his four wings, storms raged, and with each swing of his light-forged spear, hundreds lost their lives. The innocent lives lost before the final battle were beyond counting.

[However, my end is near. Ahaiyute has been defeated, and soon they shall return to His embrace.]

"Well, good riddance. Stepping on dog shit on your way out wouldn't hurt. You damn sticky mess."

Thunk!

Ronan picked up a broken dagger and plunged it into the giant's chest. Despite the attack, the giant didn't rise, indicating a likely fatal blow.

Ronan perched on the giant's shoulder. While rummaging through his pouch, he muttered curses under his breath.

"Hey, you bastard."

The expensive pipe he had bought with a lot of money was completely shattered. He tossed the broken pipe at the giant's face and stood up.

"Yeah, your friends, do you know that they're dead?"

[Friends?]

"Yeah, the guys who came down with you."

[Are you referring to Nirvana and Duaaru?]

"I don't know their names… Anyway, they're dead."

Twenty days ago, three giants descended upon the land. The reason remained unknown.

They wreaked havoc to the extent that the continent's map needed to be redrawn. Ahaiyute was the last remaining giant. "One was fried alive by a hot-tempered red dragon, and the other one was sealed for eternity by an oldman called Lorehon. I don't know what you guys were up to, but it's all over now."

Ronan wanted to see the giant's face twisted with despair.

So he refrained from mentioning that the Red Dragon Navar-Dorje and her tribe suffered devastation akin to mutual annihilation, or the peripheral information about the Archmage Lorehon sacrificing his own soul as a conduit for a sealing spell.

However, the response he received didn't fulfill his expectations.

[It's fortunate.]

"What?"

[The fact that there are no more strong individuals like you. You can no longer stop us.]

Ronan slowly drew his sword. The gleaming tip aimed for the giant's throat.

"…How do you know that?"

[The children of the Star share their senses with one other.]

"Seriously… What a damn annoying one to the end. What do you mean there are no strong ones left?"

I'm Still here. Ronan didn't bother adding those words. He knew if he were to fight this monstrosity again, he could settle the matter within a day. However, Ahaiyute knew everything.

[I know that your time is nearing its end]

"Huh."

[Strong one. Don't conceal the truth with shallow tricks.]

The sword trembled slightly, but Ronan showed no sign of it. He pushed the sword's tip into the giant's throat.

Tough skin tore as blue blood gushed out. Ahaiyute continued nonchalantly.

[I'm quite glad. If… you had realized your skills earlier and put your all into training, you would've become a large obstacle for our long-cherished wish…]

"Enough with the chatter. It's getting tiresome."

[You're an exceptional human. Be proud. The tale of the man who shook the sky and plucked stars could truly transcend the horizon of tomorrow. However…]

He spat out like a wedge.

[Your world will ultimately be consumed by the starlight.]

Thunk!

Ronan's sword drew an arc.

"If you're alive, answer me! Is anyone here?"

Ronan yelled, holding a hand to his mouth. No answer came.

Ahaiyute died without a whimper. The blue blood flowed like a river, not seeping into the soil. Ronan kicked the giant's corpse and stood up.

He began to wander the battlefield, searching for any possible survivors. Death existed wherever his gaze landed. Avoiding the fallen corpses was no easy task.

Hush.

Scanning through pale faces, Ronan clenched his teeth. Most of them were familiar faces. Comrades from the disciplinary unit that shared life and death. Ronan muttered with bitterness.

"Foolish bastards."

The disciplinary unit was a special force composed of criminals. The underbelly of an army that made patriotism a duty. The epitome of inconsistency, even in their discipline.

He knew why these men, who usually babbled and fled, would charge headlong into such a monster.

"Did you think you all were strong because I was? Huh?"

Ahaiyute was formidable. Arrows that barred the sky, self-proclaimed knights' Holy Spears, and even Shullifen, the Sword Saint, hailed as the Empire's Greatest Swordsmaster, did not land any critical blows.

Only Ronan's blade could sever the giant's flesh and suck blood from it. Even the swords of the disciplinary unit, which were unable to perceive mana, let alone use Aura, were oddly effective against the giant. Nobody, not even Ronan, could figure out why.

Yet, within the battle where the fate of the empire was at stake, social status became meaningless. The Grand General discarded the original plan and formulated a new strategy centered around Ronan.

In the end, the disciplinary unit became the most crucial force, guarded by ten legions. The ragtag misfits, with lungs filled with wind, didn't hesitate to elevate their comrades to heroes. They fought through being torn apart and shattered, ultimately proving the Grand General's judgment right.

"These damn idiots…"

Ronan opened his eyes wide and gently closed the eyes of his fallen comrades, one by one. Their eyelids, hardened like the bark of an old tree, were tough and rigid. How many times had he repeated this task?

"Huh?"

Suddenly, Ronan felt a faint, dizzy spell rising from his solar plexus.

Thunk!

The ground he had been lying on abruptly struck his cheek. His vision spun as if he had been drinking. Ronan grumbled as he fell over. "Oh, come on."

His body wouldn't move. Even though rain whip-like raindrops were lashing at the side of his face not pinned to the ground, he felt nothing.

Ahaiyute's words about the remaining time echoed in his mind. He knew as well. His worn-out body had reached its limit a long time ago.

This phenomenon was a sort of declaration of what his body could no longer do. It was saying it wouldn't play along with the likes of him anymore.

"Cough!"

An unexpected cough burst out. It was a cough mixed with crimson blood. Amid extreme tension, the senses that had been numbed slowly began to return to Ronan. Leading the charge was agony.

"Yo… you…"

If he was going to die anyway, he wanted to die looking at the sky. Ronan exerted all his strength to flip his body over. The sky appeared, crisscrossed like a diaper. Neither the sun nor the moon nor stars were visible. Only occasional flashes of bluish lightning flickered through the growling clouds.

"Even till the end… this is absurd."

Feeling even more agitated, Ronan closed his eyes. Now, he just wanted to die quickly. The days he had lived seemed to float and sway in the darkness.

[It's truly fortunate for us. You wasted your talents in obscurity.] Once again, those bold words brushed through his mind. They were infuriating, but true.

Most of his memories flowed like a stream of wasted moments or scenes where he wasted time like a fool. Ronan himself had squandered the shining talents, no one else.

"Should I have attended the academy too?"

Understanding his talent came quickly. Exceptional ability wasn't something that could be hidden like poverty or a cough.

His only family, his sister, had earnestly wished for him to receive proper education. She raised him with love and care, saying he could undoubtedly become a great person.

Ronan disliked that and left home. It was bothersome.

For the next three years, he wandered the continent like a stray dog. As with most crimes, Ronan also ended up in the punitive unit for a moment of anger. More accurately, he turned himself in.

The military life turned out to be surprisingly tolerable. In a unit that granted discharge after surviving three years, Ronan remained for seven.

They provided food and shelter as long as he wielded a blade. He had no compelling reason to leave. Though various offers for recruitment came his way, he rejected them all.

And this was the result.

The giants' invasion took everything away. The rascals he fought alongside for seven years, his caring sister, the nations and villages he encountered on his journey—all turned to ash. If he had properly learned swordsmanship and dedicated himself to training, would the outcome have been different? Could he have protected them?

He didn't know.

It was a meaningless contemplation.

With closed eyes, Ronan relaxed his body. He felt his soul gradually leaving his body. Someone had said death is nothing more than a deep slumber…

His mind…

Fading…

Dull…

[Is anyone… there.]

A human voice reached him.

"I'm here!"

Ronan jolted up from his position as if propelled. Mud splattered off his back and neck. He focused all his senses on his hearing and strained his ears. Once again, the voice reached him.

[… I'm injured and can't move. Is anyone there.]

"Damn it, I'm here! I'm right here!!" It was a woman's voice. Judging by how the sound seemed to resonate directly in his mind rather than through his ears, she was likely using telepathic magic.

"Keep talking! I'm coming now!"

Ronan, who had roughly determined the direction, rushed forward. Despite smashing his face into the window multiple times as his legs gave way, he didn't care. The only thing that mattered was the fact that there might be a survivor.

[Here is…]

The voice grew fainter and fainter. Whatever the reason, it was clear that someone was fading away. Ronan increased his speed. Any traces of regret or stained ideals had long been cast aside.

He soon arrived in front of a pair of leaning rocks. The two rocks faced each other like a roof, creating a structure under which he could avoid the rain.

"Ugh… ugh…"

Every exhale was accompanied by dripping blood. Ronan wiped his mouth with his sleeve and entered the space between the rocks. The owner of the voice was lying inside.

"You are…"

And the moment he saw her face, Ronan had to swallow a sigh that rose up to his chin.

"General."

A familiar face.

"Ronan…"

Struggling to raise her head, the woman spoke. Her voice was raspy, her throat was dry, but her former dignity remained unshaken.

A stature taller than most generals, matted dark hair covered in blood and mud. In contrast, her skin was so pale it was almost pure white.

Ronan repeated the words as if he was under some sort of enchantment.

"Grand General Adeshan."

Despite having aimed for the idols of every imperial soldier, Ronan didn't bow. He had no arm to salute her with.

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