Sword Life (Part 1)
Dominic lay on the ground and was barely conscious as his wounded body produced blood that surrounded him. He moved his head a little and winced as the pain from the shock of taking the blow had him reeling. Still, he pulled more strength from within and looked for his swords, only to find that it was shattered with the blade fallen to pieces and the handle near his hand.
“S-Seta…?” he thought hopefully in a weak voice.
He was pleased to hear a response in his mind say, “I’m fine, but that shocking. He put so much into that punch that I couldn’t muster enough power to fight it back.”
Dominic sighed and muttered, “At least, you are not…”
He didn’t finish the sentence because he didn’t like it and the Destiny Sword understood it very well.
“It takes far more than that to destroy a Sacred Spirit as powerful as me!” she said confidently in his mind.
He grimaced when he suddenly heard a loud carrying voice that sounded familiar.
“Hey! Sword Titan! Can you hear me?”
It was the voice of the War Titan, Nara Simhara, who stood at the same spot as before and was not making any move to approach his fallen foe. Instead of making direct contact, he seemed to be keeping his distance in anticipation that his foe was baiting him into approaching unguarded.
“I don’t know if you can hear me or not, but listen anyway!” he said arrogantly in a loud carrying voice. “You fought well and but the weight of your fist is weak and the result is this.”
He waved his hand towards the lying form of the Sword Titan casually without care.
“Anyway, do your best to strengthen the weight of your fist so that I become convinced to join your little group,” said Nara with a sarcastic tone in his voice.
Dominic was sickened by those words and he gritted his teeth as anger slowly rose to the surface.
“How… How did my life become such a failure…?” he muttered in a deeply hurt voice.
Dominic Rutherford, as he was known in the present, and he carried the honourable Sword Titan title, but he was once called Steve Stone. He was the only son of the Stone family, which was filled with people that had a history of conquering Labyrinth Towers. Due to this, they were really rich and he enjoyed a good time with his parents.
One day, all of a sudden, his parents decided to challenge a Labyrinth Tower that they recently discovered near the Ashtra Kingdom. They did not possess any experience in such an area, so they called in people from their relatives and journeyed to conquer a Twin Labyrinth Tower.
That was the last time Steve last saw his parents as the news of their accidental death from the collapse of the tower spread a few days later. He was confused at first because he was only eight and he did not seem to understand the significance of their deaths. People gathered at his house and allowed him to play with their kids while they discussed about why his parents went in the first place when they were so rich.
They soon found out the next morning when the Debt Collectors arrived at their doorstep. As it turned out, the Stone main family had stacked up a huge debt that equalled their current assets. It seems that Steve’s parents found out about this recently themselves and decided on a risky adventure into a Twin Labyrinth Tower to save themselves from being broke.
“What’s wrong everyone?”
Steve had asked that question as he entered the living room where all of them sat silently with a serious atmosphere circling around them. He had given up playing with the kids and wanted to find out what was happening, which led him to walk right when matters were getting really serious.
“You see, son, you have a lot of debt to repay,” the debt collector said smoothly to Steve and began to explain in simple words so that Steve could understand.
Once the debt collector finished, Steve looked puzzled as he did not understand clearly. He did understand, however, that his family owed a lot of money to these strangers.
So, he innocently said, “I’m sorry, but my parents away. I don’t know how long they’ll be, but they’ll look after this stuff.”
The debt collectors looked at each other silently in surprise until one of the relatives said sharply, “Your parents are dead, kid! They’re gone forever and they’ll never return! Get it?!”
Those words shocked Steve into silence as the true meaning of those words sunk into his mind. He took a step backward in shock and his eyes widened as the realisation that his parents were gone hit him like a block of stones. He fell to his knees and began to cry endlessly as a stream of tears burst out of his eyes.
It took his relatives a few minutes to settle him down and help him recover a little. Once he did, he was forced into handling the adult operation of the debts that his family had horded since generations. It seemed the debt had increased greatly with each generation passing it onto the next until it fell onto Steve’s head.
Beside him, his relatives were giving him suggestions and ideas on how to tackle such a matter. Steve was confused about all the suggestions and he asked for a very simple one. Thus, they combined their different suggestions and gave him a simple solution.
“State that the debt on your parents is not your responsibility to clear because you’re just a kid.”
They said that in the event of the death of family heads, the debt must be carried onto the next head. Fortunately, there was the chance to appeal to nullify the debt because the next head was just a kid. Steve’s relatives told him to feel reassured that the judge would side with him and nullify the debts since his only family died.
Those words caused the Debt Collectors to lightly show their anger as they slowly released their energy in a threatening manner. His relatives did the same and they were matched by how angry each of them felt for the other.
“You’ve got a lot of nerve to say such nonsense,” said the leader of the debt collectors.
“Of course!” shouted a relative woman as she fired up with anger. “You people come here and attack this poor child a day after his parent died! You are sickening!”
“Is it our duty!”
“Duty? You’re here just for the money!”
“Aren’t you here for the same?”
“A-Are you accusing me?!”
The Debt Collector sighed and said, “Look. Let’s all settle our problems by having the kid decide.” He turned to Steve and asked, “Steve is it? Your family put you in a position that no child should face, but it’s up to you to decide on what to do, Steve. Just remember that if you follow the advices given by your relatives, you will be known as a criminal, otherwise, you’ll be a hero by paying off the debt.”
Those words stung Steve in the heart and the lessons he was taught by his parents kicked into motion. He was a bit scared to see his relatives staring down at him like a pack of hounds ready to tear him apart. On the other hand, these strangers appeared to be friendly and were treating him with great respect. So, it was obvious about with whom he felt comfortable about dealing this matter with.
“I’ll pay,” said Steve simply and stunned his relatives into silence.
The debt collector leader smiled and said, “Good choice kid. Sign here please.”
With those words, he pulled out a piece of paper and held a magic pen out for Steve to grip. Steve took it with a smiling face and was just about to sign when his relatives began to shout at him.
“Don’t do it Steve!”
“If you sigh that document, you’ll be in big trouble!”
“It’s going to cause us—I mean, cause you a lot of problems!”
They then rounded on the Debt Collectors and shouted, “How dare you try and manipulate a kid into sacrificing himself?!”
“I can’t believe such vermin exist!”
The debt collectors’ leader shrugged his shoulders and said, “It’s the kid’s choice. I gave him options.”
At that moment, they heard a scribbling sound and they turned just in time to see Steve signing in a fancy style. While his relatives were shouting, Steve took time to ponder about how sign his first signature and he signed it in a stylish way that he could think of. Once done, he smiled happily as the paper glowed and disappeared into countless particles of light.
“What have you done?!” the men among his relatives shouted in shock.
There was a pop and an envelope appeared before the debt collectors’ leader and he opened it to read the contents of the letter in it.
“Alright! The deal’s been done!” the Debt Collectors leader said firmly as he held the paper in front of him. “I declare that Steve Stones has agreed to paying of all the debt left behind by his family with his own assets. The final value of the transaction leaves Steve Stones with nothing, but his clothing.”
The relatives were shocked and they turned to fix Steve with a look of disbelief on their faces.
“Why…? Why’d you do it, Steve…?”
Steve blinked at him for a moment before he said, “I love heroes and my parents told me that a hero’s job is to self-sacrifice for the greater good. My family did a bad thing by owing people money, so I wanted to make my family look good by doing the right thing.”
His relatives were stubbed by his words and for a moment, no word reached them and what they finally managed to say was, “This kid is unbelievable…”
The Debt Collectors rose to their feet, thanked Steve and left on their way back to their office. The relatives remained frozen to the spot for a few seconds before they started heading off in different directions with distracted looks on their faces. Steve looked after them in surprise as he thought they would congratulate on his heroic deed.
The next morning, Steve woke up to hear sounds occurring just outside his room. Opening his door, he was startled to find that his relatives had packed all of their things as if they were returning to their homes.
“What’s going on?” Steve asked a little groggily.
“Ah? Going home,” replied a woman with a frustrated look on her face as she stared at Steve. “There’s nothing of value here anymore, so we’re leaving.”
“Oh…” said Steve slowly and he remained silent as he watched one by one leave his house.
As his last relative was about to leave with her husband and two children, Steve opened his mouth and asked, “Can I come and live with you?”
He had spoken out of fear of the thought of being left all alone in that house. Without his parents to keep him company in that house, it felt dreadful to live there for him.
The woman turned around and eyed him through furrowed eyebrows with an unhappy expression on her face.
“Why should I do that?” she asked and Steve’s eyes widened in shock. “Why should I let you live with us? You have nothing. Not a single asset and not a single gold coin to save your own life. You are, right now, worthless without the great fortune left by your family!”
Steve was rendered speechless and his mind went into a spiralling web of chaos that stopped his brain from functioning properly. He could not believe what he was hearing and nor could he believe it was coming out of the mouth of someone he actually really liked. She had made him snacks that he really liked and favoured him more than her own children. Now, the harsh reality hit him as he finally discovered that she had been really after his money all along.
“Come on, you two!” she snapped at her children.
The two girls looked at him for a moment before quickly walking after their mother and father. None of the relatives said goodbye and none of them showed any sympathy or sorrow for Steve. They left him in that empty house to tend with the despair of knowing that he was betrayed by people he thought were his relatives.
Steve went into a shock and since that day, he had lost all sense of himself and shut off his own feelings. With no feeling, he had no emotion to show and this made him look like a lifeless doll. There was no hope in him and he lived just for the sake of living until time would eventually sap his life away like it did to his parents.
A few days later, he was vacated from the house and was transferred over to the orphanage. He silently sat in the wagon and watched the streets to find his childhood friends staring as he passed by. They seemed to observe him for a moment before turning around and running away to play with their friends. Steve did not think and he certainly did not care that they did not bid him farewell or anything.
Several hours later, the wagon arrived at the orphanage and he found it to be very loud. It was because the place was lively, rich with energy and had a lot of orphaned children. Those children stopped and glanced at him go along with the person that transported him there. After that, he met the head lady, given details of his room allocation and was shown around the entire orphanage.
The place was very large and was spacious enough to allow a lot of kids to play together. They were having fun and were laughing without any limit because their happiness was immense. Steve glanced around without feeling a single ounce of happiness in himself.
Once he was enrolled into the daily school life, he was bombarded with an immense load of attention.
“Who are you?”
“Where are you from?”
“How much do you weigh?”
“How tall are you?”
“What’s your favourite food?”
“What games do you like?”
Children questioned him endlessly, but Steve responded to none of them. He remained in his seating location and allowed them to question him silently without replying once. Their interest in him soon died down and they did not even show him the slightest bit of attention after that. The ones to show him interest, however, happened to be the bullies.
Like any orphanage, this place also had its own bullies and there were quite a few. There was a group of twelve people that were tall and gangly looking for their small age. With their height difference and large bodies, they towered over everyone and dominated the place. The head lady did not like such thing, but no one dared to report because they knew they will face the wrath of the bullies’ afterwards.
The bullies started targeting him by pulling pranks on him, stealing his clothes and writing nasty words on them. Steve did not care and it did not matter to him much even though he was scolded for grafting his clothing even though it was not his fault. This made the bullies even bolder and they started assaulting him each time he did not care about the orders they issued to him.
“You’re just a loser with stupid principles!” one of the bullies said scathingly.
“You must think you’re some hero to throw away your fortune to do the right thing. It’s what losers do!”
“Losers should behave appropriately and listen to us challengers!”
It seemed the bullies had come to know of what Steve had done with his fortune a while back and it shocked them. They had nothing to begin with in their lives and they found what he did to be pathetic, which was what made them mistreat him so badly.
Steve was left on the ground bleeding from his mouth as the bullies left him there without showing the slightest bit of mercy. A minute later, Steve picked himself up and got himself to his room before sitting down on the bed after locking the door.
“They’ll pay…” muttered Steve quietly in the solitude he was in.
He had remained emotionless and felt nothing for some time, but their aggravating words rekindled a small light in him. Since he was young, he had a strong beliefs and it made him right those that looked down on him and his family. Thus, it made him want to become strong to put those bullies down in their place for good.
So, he started secretly training in the middle of night by moving large objects from one place to another. He did other things like running more than 100 meters to increase his stamina and speed. The ultimate test was, of course, tying a rope across his waist and pulling a large rock from behind from one place to another.
It proved to an extremely difficult task for a kid of his age and his body hurt like nothing he had ever felt before and that included feeling the betrayal of his relatives. Even so, he did it for a strong purpose and he pushed himself to a greater height of increasing his body strength. All the while, he tried to avoid the bullies as much as he could, but he still did nothing whenever he got caught and beaten up by them because he was waiting for his time to retaliate.
Six months passed by and Steve finally felt that he was ready to challenge the bullies for good. He decided to face them off one evening when the bully group were taking a stroll on the playground. The bullies stopped and stared at him in surprise while Steve stood firmly and stared back at them emotionlessly.
“Oh…! Look who it is fellas!” One of the bullies said and the rest laughed.
“Steve. We’re glad to see you because we’ve been feeling bored. Come over here,” said another bully in an attempted friendly voice.
“Come on, Steve. No need to worry. I won’t do anything to you,” said another bully with a strange smile on his face.
Listening to their words, Steve simply walked up to them and stood firmly without moving anywhere. They moved forward to him and saw that he had bruises on his arms, but did not connect it to his training.
“Were you moving mud or something cause’ your hands are pretty bruised.”
“Here. Lend us your hand so we check them out.”
This was something the bullies had done previously and after taking the hand, they would try and crush it with all their might. Previously, Steve would flinch from feeling the pain, but this time was different. So, he obediently lent them his hand and they stared at it for a moment before making wide grin and crushing the hand as hard as they could with their bulky hands.
Several seconds passed by in silence with Steve showing not a single sign of pain. The bullies stared at him in surprise and thinking they did not apply enough strength before, they applied even more strength to no avail. Steve just stood there silently and continued to look at them with an emotionless face.
“What? Don’t you feel pain?” one of them asked with a look of disbelief on his and their faces.
Steve silently shook his head and he let his hand free from their grip much to their surprise. In the flowing movement, Steve stretched his hand and grabbed a hand of one of the bullies and before the boy could do anything, he lifted the boy into the air, swung him over his head and slammed him hard onto the ground on the boy’s back.
The bully released a pained sound and his eyes widened in shock as he did not understand what happened. It did not matter anyway because the shock from the landing made him lose consciousness almost instantly. The other bullies were shocked to see one of them handled like a toy and it made them instantly angry.
One of them to react first shouted and charged at Steve with his fist pulled back before unleashing it as he reached him. Steve did not even glance at him before swinging his body aside to let the attack pass by harmlessly. The next instant, Steve clenched his fist tightly and delivered an uppercut from right under the arm the bully had attempted to hit him with.
His fist collided against the bully’s jaw and the shock of the blow was so strong that it caused the bully’s eyes to roll. His eyes rolled several times and he staggered a step forward before collapsing as he was rendered unconscious.
Steve straightened up and stared at the remaining bullies through his same old emotionless face. Seeing him take down two of their numbers and look the same scared the bullies. Even so, it did not quell their anger of him and one by one, they began charging at him while screaming in rage. Steve continued to stand at his same spot and let them reach him before retaliating against them.
He blocked two of the first attacks and diverted the attacks of four more before unleashing his fist against the one that came at him directly from the front. As the punch connected against his gut, the boy groaned painfully and his eyes widened in shock before he was pushed back by a strong force. He flew into several more of his comrades and together, they flew away, smashed onto the ground, flipped once before crashing to a stop.
Steve took a step back and allowed another fist to sail past him before swinging his arm around and slamming it against the boy who threw it. As the boy turned on the spot from the force of the blow fell down, Steve swung his other arm and smashed it hard into another bully’s face. As the boy was rendered unconscious, Steve turned around and kicked at the next assailant, which sent him flying away for a few meters before crashing to a stop.
In a matter of seconds, Steve had brought down eleven of the twelve of the bullies and left one standing nervously. He was already beaten once, but he somehow was miraculously awake and bore witness to the destruction of his bullying group. Steve, finally bringing down a bully, he turned and walked slowly towards the last of them, who did not have the strength to run because of the fear firming holding him in place.
As Steve reached him, the bully stared at him through wide eyes with fear shown clearly through them.
“How…? How did you become so strong…?” he asked him finally in almost a whisper.
Steve brought his forearm forward and readied to flick the bully in the forehead, but before he did, he decided to respond by simply saying one word.
The bully’s eyes widened further in shock and Steve flicked him hard on the forehead. The force released from the attack was so strong that the bully was sent flying away from him. The unconscious bully smacked the ground, flipped over, smacked it two more times before coming to a crashing stop.
Steve dropped his arm and relaxed by sighing deeply as he stared around at all the unconscious bodies of the bullies. Heaving a deep sigh once more, he turned around and walked back to his room to let their bodies to be found the next morning.
Since then, rumours spread about who had beaten the bullies senselessly and all talk turned towards Steve. The teachers told them to be quiet and tried to include Steve into the classroom, but it sadly failed. By defeating the bullies, instead of being treated like a hero, he was feared by everyone in the orphanage as some sort of monster.
Steve was punished for hurting the bullies and he spent a whole week without breakfast and dinner, but he did not care. He had succeeded in defeating the bullies like he planned and he returned to his normal life of solitude. There was no hope for him to feel and he continued to train secretly just because he felt like it.
He did not know it yet that his life was about to change completely by a fateful meeting on a fateful day as the orphanage was visited by the Sword Titan of that time, Alexander Rutherford.
Hello everyone and thanks for reading this chapter. It felt like almost forever since my last release for this story and that’s because I returned to my other story, Infinity Hero. For some time, I thought I’d write some more for it, but then my mood swung to this and I remembered I still have yet to reach a certain goal I was aiming for. So, I decided to write this chapter out and post it to you all now. I’ll be posting this on my blog soon because I have work to do outside. Life’s just so cruel to me and to my readers eager to know more! Still, I hope you liked this story and will look forward to more as the story continues!
P.S. 350th chapter is next, so is there anything my lovely awesome readers want me to write or so? I’ll happily oblige if I can because you did so much to like my story and encourage me all the way! 🙂