156. Deciding to Return Home
—In that world, master swordsmen have a class called Sword of Swords. It is a title universally recognized by swordsmen. Their number ranges from one to twelve with the summit being hailed as the [Sword of Swords].
The man positioned as number one is without a doubt an exceptional warrior. Having reached the summit of the strongest, he is said to be crazy about the sword. Each and everyone one of his sword techniques has either been unreasonably inherited or forged through his own hands. It’s said that if he were to wield his power on a battlefield, then, regardless of the time period, the roots establishing everyone’s general perspective would be overturned.
For him, something like cutting metal is only the beginning.
Vast Mai: a technique for striking those beyond the reach of his arm and sword.
God’s Swift Step: a space covering technique more commonly known as the space transversal method.
Roar of the Thunder God: a technique that severs enemies far and wide into two, splitting them from top to bottom.
Slashing Waves: a technique that shreds a target to pieces through killer intent and spirit.
Migration: the ability to soar across the heavens and Earth through refined posture and footwork.
Sword Incantations: a technique for freezing enemies in place through a reiki jinzuu curse.
Soundless Restrained Sword: a technique for springing out at enemies from the shadows.
Phantom: a recreation of the world’s legendary swords through magical illusions.
Of course, publicly, none of that is known. Just like with magic, that collection of extreme techniques has been hidden from society.
That person, whose name is praised by the sword, also happens to reside beside the Yakagi household. He is the fourth Sword of Swords, the Kuchiba style Phantom Sword of Kurikara Dharani, Kuchiba Kiyoshiro. Among Japanese swordsmen, he is considered the strongest.
—I was merely chasing the back of my brother-in-law and it just happened.
Kuchiba Kiyoshiro himself spoke those words. It was his answer to Suimei when he, long ago, asked him how he became so strong.
The brother-in-law he spoke of was Suimei’s father, Yakagi Kazamitsu, the former head to the magical Yakagi household in the Association. He was a man praised as the Orient magician, a man who demonstrated immense talent since a young age. He flew around the world, valiantly resolving various mysterious calamities and mysterious crimes. Yet, despite following a path of righteousness, he succumbed into being enumerated as a Majin within the Greed of Ten.
Kuchiba Kiyoshiro recklessly chased such a back with nothing but a sword. Yet, it’s because he did sp that he reached the top of martial arts world, that he was able to carve his name into the summit of swordsmanship since long ago.
Right now, before Suimei’s eyes, he’s casually wrapped in a kimono and seated on a cushion. He rests an arm atop of a raised knee but is unsettled. He wants to get up and lunge into action. It’s an uncontrollable zeal reminiscent of a young man’s, one with a roughness that won’t wear away.
Anyone who sees his face would assume he’s a young man. His features are much too youthful to belong to a middle aged father with a daughter in her teens. Regardless of how anyone looks, he only appears to be a man in the late half of his twenties. If no one were to introduce him, he could pass himself as an older brother.
In truth, he’s already beyond the prime of his life, treading into his forties. By no means is he a youngster. Despite the playful smile on his face, his eyes carry the dreadful firmness of his age. His black hair is tied behind him and a sword wound is on his face. His body is thin, but firm with muscle
“—sensei, , you still haven’t changed a bit.”
“I still can’t match my nii-san-in-law.”
Such a phrase is calmly returned to Suimei’s polite greeting.
At any rate, Kiyoshiro refers to Kazamitsu as anii-in-law. From the start, he had always loved Kazamitsu as a brother. That the mothers of Suimei and Hatsumi were sisters is nothing more than a fortunate coincidence.
…Suimei and Hatsumi reach the Kuchiba household. The first thing that happens is a reunion between parents and child in the house entrance. Hatsumi and her mother, Yukio, embrace one another while her father, Kiyoshiro, crudely strokes her head. After that, all four enter the house and proceed for a Japanese styled room.
Suimei and Hatsumi sit together across from Hatsumi’s parents.
Hatsumi rejoices at being able to take in the scent of soft rush. “The fragrance of tatami~” With those words, she throws herself atop of the tatami. Her expression is melted of all stress.
Suimei says, “Likewise, I’m just as relieved.”
They maintain a meaningless conversation, but regardless of how much time passes, no one else from the family joins them.
“That reminds me, where is my younger brother?”
“He’s out on an expedition. We contacted him not that long ago?”
Hatsumi’s mother provides a follow up. Her voice is firm, as would be appropriate from the wife of a samurai, of Kuchiba Yukio. “He should be returning home tomorrow. He was beside himself with worry about Hatsumi-san.”
She’s wrapped in Japanese clothing and has long black hair, but distances herself from being Japanese by wearing red eyeliner on her beautiful face. While her temperament is nothing like Hatsumi’s, they are very similar in appearance.
“Fuu,” Kiyoshiro is unable to conceal his mischievous nature. “That said, I wasn’t worried.”
“Ara? Who went running around requesting assistance from everyone after the sudden disappearance of his sole cherished daughter again?”
Modest laughter, “Kusu kusu,” follows Kiyoshiro’s reproach. Yukio’s attitude wards off Kiyoshiro’s roughness like a willow. The two are the same as they’ve always been, a loving husband and wife.
Yukio then says, “Well then, Suimei, did you receive an inquiry from your branch? The whole neighborhood was examined, but you vanished without a trace. The branch was on high alert for about two months.”
Suimei didn’t ask Hydemary, but he had a vague feeling such was the case. A prospective executive for the main office, himself, was involved in an incident. The possibility that the affiliated branch is being targeted would have brought about consideration for vigilance. For the magicians of the Japanese branch, until they could affirm their safety, they would remain alert.
“Fu,” Kiyoshiro’s light expression, throughout that conversation, has been hardening into a sharp sword. “To begin with, the truth has been exposed to Hatsumi?”
“Yeah, that’s how it went.”
With those words, Kiyoshiro unfolds his arms and spreads his sleeves, as if displaying a ceremonial combat suit. He then sighs out in resignation and says, “So it’s like that. Well, it was getting to be time… it’s a difficult topic to broach, but now seems to be right.”
“Both father and mother went too far keeping silent about this.”
Hatsumi, on the other hand, puffs out her cheeks in frustration. She had never been told Suimei was a magician. Her anger at her parents for keeping it secret isn’t the slightest bit unreasonable.
The way she expresses her sullenness at Kiyoshiro and Yukio by swelling her cheeks, however, is a full display of her childishness. While her current behavior differs from her usual overreaching attitude, she’s a child when before her parents.
Kiyoshiro gives a wry smile at his daughter’s behavior.
Both Kiyoshiro and Yukio react upon hearing from Suimei that he and Hatsumi went to another world.
“You don’t… say? Isn’t that quite the heavy burden?”
“So it’s like that. This is going to be an extraordinary tale…”
They are told about their abrupt summonings, their battles against the mamono of that world, and the various things that happened to Hatsumi. Naturally, both of them are furrowing they eyebrows by the end.
Kiyoshiro is half in doubt. “…That’s quite the unexpected story your asking us to believe.”
The women of the family then speak.
Hatsumi says, “Everything of Suimei’s story really is true.”
Yukio says, “This is Suimei-san after all. Just that is enough to give his words merit.”
Kiyoshiro says, “Yuki, you’ll accept anything.”
“You really think so? Compared to Kazamitsu-san, doesn’t this still have a long way to go? That’s right, back then, we saw him go against the flow of time…”
“Yeah, now that you mention it, something like that did happen.”
All of a sudden, the two reminisce about a transcendental mystery.
Suimei and Hatsumi are both amazed beyond words. Even though they were summoned to another world, they discover that the people of their fathers’ generation are beyond anyone they’ve ever met.
The two exchange glances. Their foreheads are covered in wrinkles just like Kiyoshiros and Yukios’ were moments ago.
“Sheesh, Kazamitsu-brother-in-law-san was practically soaring. You’re just blundering around in all sorts of ways.”
Suimei moves forward, rising up onto a leg, at the disgraceful remark. “No, you can’t blame this on me. If you’re going to say I messed up, then how did I mess up?”
Kiyoshiro, however, disregards him as he turns back to looking at Yukio.
“Fufufu, that’s true.”
“Yu- Yukio-san too…”
“This is their daily behavior? So, Suimei, don’t trouble yourself trying to jump in between them.”
A point where Suimei had no choice but to thrust his neck forward did occur. Regardless, in this case their summoning was something entirely done to them. Conversely, he felt that he should instead be praised for finding a way back home.
“In other words, Hatsumi was also caught up in a summoning. I would have been troubled if you hadn’t been there. You were a big help.”
“Not at all…”
Did he pick up on my emotions?
Kiyoshiro corrects his seated posture and bows his head. The gratitude covering the face of Suimei’s uncle makes him self conscious, but Kiyoshiro’s expression returns to smoldering with skepticism upon raising his head.
“…Your truly not lying?”
“Do you think I’d lie with such a serious expression?”
“A fair point, but your story is just too much.”
Certainly, anyone would doubt a story about going to another world. This reaction isn’t unreasonable. So, how do I get him to believe I’m telling the truth? No, can I even get him to believe me? Would it still sound strange if I compare it to tales about being spirited away? Putting it like that would give credibility to that world’s existence.
Kiyoshiro is a man who moved together with the magician that was Suimei’s father. To a certain extent, he is knowledgeable about magic.
“…Beyond the shell of the world, another world spreads. It’s crazy, but not absolutely impossible. Places that resemble Hell, polarized places like Mars and Venus that reach such extremes, humans can’t survive there, I believe you could imagine going to those places by chance.”
“Fumu… when you put it like that, it sounds plausible.”
The issue of getting Kiyoshiro to believe him alleviates. Still, his sullen expression remains. However, getting him to believe any more than that would require taking him to the actual would.
“Fuu,” Kiyoshiro groans. “By the way, were you two the only ones who’ve returned?”
“My friends who were also summoned decided to stay behind. Instead, three people from over there came with me.”
With those words, Kiyoshiro grins for some reason. It’s one that reeks of disgust.
“Yes, what is it?”
“Those three you brought with you, are they all girls?”
Yukio covers her mouth with a hand at Kiyoshiro’s question. From behind it leaks refined laughter.
Suimei, on the other hand, is at a complete loss. He can’t make any sense of the question.
“What do you mean?”
“You really are my brother-in-law-san’s son. Do doubt about it.”
“No, saying I’m my father’s son…”
“Yes, you undeniably are Kazamitsu’s child.”
Both Kiyoshiro and Yukio are convinced. Suimei glances to Hatsumi on the side for support, but she stares at him with rebuke. Regardless, The heck did that even come from? He can’t make any sense of it.
Afterwards, Suimei informs Kiyoshiro that he will be bringing Lefille to the swordsmanship dojo the next day. He then returns home alone.
T/N: Hahaha… this was way too delayed. I’ve no excuses, but that’s no reason you still can’t enjoy it. These past few months were super busy. I would like to promise about getting more out faster, but whenever I do such promises, they always backfire.
 The distance between opponents
 Spirit/Aura Jinzuu curse (Jinzuu is the name of a river, it might have shinto connections)
 Kurikara=dragon, Dharani=buddhist chant believed to grant protect
 正道にありながら魔に堕ちし十人(Greed of ten)にまで数えられた魔人だ。
 A type of grass, Juncus Effusus
 そう言うな……で？ その例の厄介ごとってのは？」