Revenge of Soul Eater Volume 1 Prologue

Prologue

CLANG, CLANG. A wooden sword rolled on the ground, making a dry sound. I looked at my own hands, bewildered. Then, the referee’s voice saying “That’s enough” sounded strangely distant. It was a duel I had to win no matter what. It was a duel I challenged at the age of 13.

However, I lost. My wooden sword was sent flying in an instant.

What is happening now is a trial ceremony. It is a test for children who have come of age (13 years old) to formally learn the style of the illusionary sword.

The opponent was a magically created skeleton swordsman.

He is a weak opponent. More than weak, even a regular imperial soldier could confront him in a one-on-one fight. It can also be said that children who have come of age can face him.

However, no one questioned that. Being an apprentice of the illusionary sword style, it was natural to defeat an opponent of that level. In fact, seven apprentices emerged victorious. Only I lost.

While my mouth trembled, my father’s voice resonated. It was a heavy, cold, and dry voice.

[—–Sora]

[Y-Yes, father!]

[The Mitsurugi family is a family of swordsmen that originated from the master swordsman who sealed the demon god 300 years ago. The illusionary sword style is a style of wisdom that the founder devised with his life. It is a style that can fight legendary creatures such as dragons, giants, and the demon god. Because of this, our family has the important role of protecting the emperor’s demonic gate. Do you understand?]

[Y-Yes, I understand!]

[Those born in the Mitsurugi family have the obligation to inherit the founder’s style. And also, there is the duty to pass on the teachings to the next generation. Those who cannot fulfill these two things are not qualified to set foot in this house.]

[F-Father…]

[You are not qualified to learn the illusionary sword style because you cannot surpass the trial. And those who have not mastered the illusionary sword style are not qualified to remain here. From today onwards, you are expelled from this house. Starting tomorrow, you are not allowed to have the Mitsurugi surname. Pack your things and leave this island. There is no need for the weak in this place.]

He said it in a soft tone that didn’t sound like I had been expelled.

My father—the face of the 17th master swordsman of the Mitsurugi family—had no complications.

His eyes were as if he was looking at stones on the road.

For a father who has dedicated his life to the sword, a person without talent, even if it’s his own son, is equivalent to garbage.

I knew it. I felt that he was looking at me with those eyes. Even as an insensitive child, it seems I have a lot of insight.

I did everything I could to make my father acknowledge me, but it didn’t work.

No matter what I say now, my father’s heart won’t change. It would be useless even if I cry, shout, or bow seeking mercy.

It wasn’t just my father. The eyes of the apprentices on the left and right of my father were cold.

Laughter, insults, pity, indifference…

…And just as my father said.

The curse of the demon god that was sealed by the master swordsman continues to erode this world through the demonic gate.

On this island, there are demons and monsters at a level that cannot be compared to the mainland, and it was solely due to the influence of the demonic gate.

People call it Onigashima. For those living on this island, being weak was practically a sin.

The weak who only hinder others should leave this island immediately—that was the consensus among those present.

I left the dojo, escaping, and packed my things in my room as I cried. The next morning, I left the house as the sun was rising. To be more precise, I was expelled.

“This is my room from now on. Would you mind leaving already? Ah, that’s right. From today, I am the eldest son of the Mitsurugi family, and this is my room. It’s all by order of my father,” said my younger brother, Mitsurugi Raguna, with a smile.

Even though he is my younger brother, he has blond hair while mine is black. As the difference in our appearances could be seen, he is a half-brother from a different mother.

He is also 13 years old, and even our birthdays are the same.

But that’s where the similarities end, and when it comes to talent, Raguna is superior.

Both physically and intellectually. Raguna’s mother is the daughter of an imperial noble, so it could also be said that he has a better pedigree.

Still, it was I who took the position of the eldest son because I am the son of the official wife.

I knew that Raguna didn’t find that amusing. He didn’t try to hide it.

Once again, Raguna’s blue eyes were filled with hatred and contempt.

“Hmph. I’m finally free from calling an incompetent like you my older brother. Sora, even though you are my father’s son, you are a disgrace to the Mitsurugi family. Never show your face again. But don’t worry. I’ll take care of things as the eldest son. I’ll take good care of your fiancée, Ayaka,” Raguna said.

[Raguna, you…!]

[Haha, you have that look like you want to hit me at any moment. Well, go ahead and do it if you want. However, I’ll fight back. Do you think an incompetent like you, who couldn’t even defeat a simple weakling, can do anything against me?—Soul Equipment!]

The moment he shouted, a sword appeared in Raguna’s hands. A magnificent two-handed sword that shone in gold. How many times have I seen that gleam?

Every time I saw it, it reminded me of the overwhelming difference between us, making me feel miserable. This sword should be called another Raguna.

Humans have another being in their hearts and deep in their souls.

This is called Anima, the secret of the illusionary sword style. It is to recognize, control, and manifest Anima.

It is known as soul equipment. Raguna knows this secret at only 13 years old. Not only Raguna. My fiancée Ayaka and the other five apprentices also have knowledge of this.

It is very rare in the history of the illusionary sword style for those who have mastered this secret to be so young.

A golden generation where talents are present, collide, polish, and grow.

This generation shared the expectations and interests of people throughout the island—except for one person who hasn’t reached soul equipment.

“Hmph. Your legs are shaking. We haven’t even started fighting. Well, it doesn’t matter. If we continue, I would only be bullying the weak. The illusionary sword style is a style of wisdom and protection. The eldest son of the Mitsurugi family should be kind to the weak. Here, take this.”

Raguna threw three gold coins on the ground. With that money, one could live easily for three months.

“I would like to say to pick it up—but I suppose you also
have your pride. You can’t be seen as a beggar in front of me, can you? Don’t worry, I’ll leave. After I’m gone, take your time and pick up the money, dear brother. Hahahaha!”

After ridiculing me, Raguna walked away. I watched his back, clenching my fists, but my mouth and legs didn’t move; they were frozen as if in place.

The three gold coins thrown by Raguna shimmered in response to the morning light, visible before me…

After parting ways with Raguna, I headed towards my mother’s grave.

I didn’t pick up the money. It wasn’t because of what Raguna said, but because of my pride.

However, as I made my way to the grave, I couldn’t help but lament internally.

And at that moment…

“Sora,” a voice called out my name.

A cold voice shook the lobes of my ears, like the wind that swept across the meadow.

My dejected heart recognized that voice.

Upon looking, it was a girl with shimmering black hair waving in the wind, standing next to my mother’s grave.

It was my fiancée, Ayaka.

“Ayaka, you’re here,” I said.

“Yes, there was something I needed to apologize to Shizuya-sama for,” she replied.

“…Apologize to my mother?” I asked.

“Yes, she asked me to become your strength, but I couldn’t do anything after all. I came to apologize for that,” Ayaka said, her eyes filled with loneliness.

Ayaka, my fiancée and apprentice, had a talent comparable to Raguna’s.

Yet, she had a humble personality, despite her talent. How many times has she helped me?

She aided me in my training, even staying with me late into the night.

She also insisted on going to the town for a change of mood during our lessons.

No one was willing to accept this engagement, as they all saw Ayaka growing stronger and more beautiful with each passing day.

Some went beyond jealousy, and Raguna also spoke boldly to her.

However, Ayaka didn’t care about any of that, always wearing an unwavering smile.

There were not one or two times that I was glad to be able to marry someone like her.

One of the reasons I tried to be strong was because I wanted to be a man worthy of Ayaka.

When my father talked about expelling me, I had high hopes that Ayaka would want to come with me.

But…

“Sigh…” Ayaka sighed, and my hopes wavered.

“Ayaka…?” I questioned.

“Despite what I did for Shizuya-sama, this is the result in the end… Oyakata-sama, too. If he was going to expel you, he should have done it much earlier. That way, I wouldn’t have wasted my time,” Ayaka said.

“…Huh? Wasted time?” I asked.

“Let me tell you, Sora. You may have thought that maybe I would want to go with you, right?” Ayaka said.

“N-No… well…” I stammered.

“From your reaction, I can see that you did think that. Fufu— there’s no way I would do that,” Ayaka said.

Carefully. Directly. Ayaka shattered my expectations.

“I am the fiancée of the eldest son of the Mitsurugi family. But now that you’re expelled, that is null and void. I never hated that you tried to become strong… but that doesn’t mean I like you,” Ayaka declared.

“What…?” I murmured.

“I’m saying terrible things. But I don’t want you to get the wrong idea. It’s possible that by leaving the island, you might misinterpret it and lean on my family. I’m telling you this directly so that it doesn’t happen,” Ayaka explained.

“W-Wait,” I pleaded.

“Sora, the feelings I had for you were sympathy, not affection. I wonder if they will increase now after what happened. I can’t like someone who is inferior to me,” Ayaka stated.

“Wha—” I gasped.

“I don’t know how you’ll live in the future. Because you don’t like giving up, you might want to become an adventurer or a soldier to improve your impression. But I think it’s better if you give up the path of the sword. I don’t think the your father will welcome back someone who was expelled, even if they’re from the Mitsurugi family. And even less someone who can’t handle a weakling. Just drop your sword and live peacefully. Shizuya-sama will surely understand,” Ayaka concluded.

As Ayaka spoke those words, her eyes glistened in the light, and from her mouth came the word “Goodbye.”

Then, she turned her back and started walking away, never once looking back.

…After that, it was as if she didn’t remember how or where to walk.

I noticed the sea breeze blowing at the pier. In my hand, I held a one-way ticket for the boat to the mainland.

And in front of me stood a pair of siblings, a brother and sister, with sorrowful faces.

The brother’s name is Goz Cima. He’s a person who has taken care of me since childhood. He has a physique and face as big as a bear, and a strong temperament.

The sister’s name is Cecil Cima. She, too, has taken care of me since childhood. She was like an older sister who always walked behind me. I remember it as if it were yesterday.

Especially after my mother passed away, she took care of me as a replacement.

If anyone would come with me, it would be them. Unlike Ayaka, perhaps they would join me.

But as I looked into the eyes of the two standing at the pier, that hope vanished like foam.

“It’s truly a pity about the test. It should have— no, you couldn’t show your strength, Sora-dono. I’m deeply sorry. I hope you can find a good teacher on the continent. Huh? What about my future? By belonging to the Mitsurugi family, I can only follow Oyakata-sama’s instructions. Don’t worry about me. Please take care of yourself. Stay healthy always,” the brother wished me sincerely.

“This is a bento. Eat it on the boat. Also, I’ll take responsibility for Shizuya-sama’s grave. So, you don’t have to worry. Uh? What will happen from now on? Ah, well… actually, I kept silent because I thought I shouldn’t interfere with the test… but the other day, I heard from Oyakata-sama about becoming his lover, so I will be by his side…” the sister blushed as she spoke.

The brother wished me well and prayed for my good health.

The sister blushed at the thought of becoming my father’s lover.

Neither of them want to come with me. Being dismissed by the two of them, I boarded the boat and left Onigashima.

The siblings waved their hands goodbye many times, then turned around and walked away.

I watched their backs. My clenched fists were still trembling.

…Compassion, huh? It would surely be a mistake to hold resentment for that.

I should be grateful for those who came to bid farewell to me, someone who was stripped of his position as the eldest son.

Indeed, no other acquaintances came to say goodbye.

But no matter how much I told myself, the trembling of my hands wouldn’t stop. The tears that flowed from my eyes wouldn’t cease.

Someday, I will definitely return. I will come back with the power to fight on this island.

I repeated those words in my heart. To the two who were leaving. To my younger brother who cast me out. To my nullified engagement. And above all, to my father who didn’t show his face.

I repeated the same words. Over and over again.


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