Rooftop Sword Master - Novel - Episode 8
*Dun Dun Dun Dun!*
*Insert Horn Noise Here*
“Aghhhh! Why! Why! Why! Fucking hell!”
Se-young got up in a fit of rage, kicking at the air above his bed with bloodshot eyes.
In short, people are anxious when seeing things for the first time. Eventually, after encountering the same scenario over and over again, the feeling of unfamiliarity fades and disappears entirely. Similarly, fear and worry typically stem from the unknown, inexplicable, or unsolvable.
Se-young overcame these two emotions in a single week. At night, he set an alarm that coincided with the mysterious sound. During the day, he stared at the unmoving sword and wondered Where? and Who?
Was it scary?
The pounding of drums echoing through his brain, the roar of battle cries, the sound of horn blasts. What about the fire, which haunted his roof like a ghost?
The answer to that is: Prolonged exposure erodes fear.
Is it possible to surprise someone in the same place, at the same time, every single day?
Can it even be considered threatening anymore?
Thus, the only thing left for Se-young to feel was a tightly wound ball of irritation and annoyance. And that ball was getting squeezed more and more by the day.
Se-young’s patience and reason finally snapped.
Se-young kicked open the front door with slippered feet and marched towards the sword in the middle of the roof. His face was distorted with anger and annoyance, the dark bags that encompassed his eyes seemed to reach all the way down to his chin, and his reddened eyes were ready to drip blood at any moment. He hadn’t slept properly in over a week.
Though the fluttering fire which spread across the rooftop was at knee-height, Se-young walked through the flames without hesitation. Even in the dead of night, the bothersome sounds persisted.
“Shut up! Shut up!”
Se-young kicked at the two-handed sword, without observing any noticeable back and forth motion.
The recoil from the blow caused Se-young to lose his balance and tear his pants as he staggered back.
Se-young stood up out of the flames with a crumpled expression. He felt like he was hitting a wall. After failing his initial goal, Se-young went back into the house and began to rummage through his boxes. When he returned to the roof, he was carrying a small camping hammer.
Se-young lost his temper and screamed at the top of his lungs into the quiet night, swinging his hammer at the handle of the sword from the right. At that moment, a quiet “tick,” much like the sound of a toothpick breaking, rang out peacefully, and the head of the hammer snapped off.
There was no resistance, only the feeling of recoil. A tendon in Se-young’s forehead tensed as he squinted incredulously at the hammer, whose head had been blown clean off, leaving only the handle.
Se-young opened his eyes, slapped both sides of his face, and went back into the rooftop room. This time, he returned with a shiny black baseball bat.
Se-young grinned as he slapped the bat against the palm of his hand.
Let’s see if you can endure this.
It had been left in the corner for several years, but the bat was an expensive one that Se-young obtained after bargaining extensively with his father and mother. The bat was made of aluminum, but the surface was coated with a titanium plating.
Se-young gripped the bat with both hands and raised it above his head.
The target is the blade’s hilt.
So aim for the guard section.
Because it was such a large sword, the hilt – the section of the sword with the handles – was almost at Se-young’s eye level.
Se-young screamed and swung the bat.
*Ting! Bang! Whoosh!*
A variety of completely different sounds rang out almost simultaneously. Se-young swung the bat at the sword vertically. The bat bounced back like a spring and slammed into Se-young’s forehead. He passed out without a sound. As if listening to a rhyme with no flow, the last thing Se-young saw was an incomprehensible scene where the bat he had just swung was suddenly rushing towards him.
[Around ten to twenty minutes later]
Se-young fluttered his fingers as he began to regain consciousness and rose from the ground. On his forehead, there was a fresh red lump the size of a ping-pong ball. The ringing in his ears took a few moments to subside. Regardless, he clenched his teeth and rushed towards the sword with a stumbling gait. He reached out with both hands and grabbed the handle of the sword.
“Today, one of us is… ”
At that moment.
Se-young, whose anger was momentarily undercut by surprise, froze with his grip around the sword. The flames that were spread all over the roof began to swirl in a vortex, and the two-handed sword started to sink into the crack like it was being sucked in. The situation took place so fast, there was no time for Se-young to react.
At that moment, there was a powerful burst of light in Se-young’s head, as if a camera flash had gone off right in front of him.
Se-young stumbled. The intense glare and accompanying pain felt like he was right in front of the sun. That phenomenon was only the beginning.
*Flash! Flash! Flash!*
A series of disorienting flashes seared through his head, embedding the image in his brain like he was seeing it with his own eyes. Additionally, the brightness of each flash only increased with each successive round.
Se-young gripped his head and screamed. In reality, he was stumbling around while still touching the handle of the sword. Rather than Se-young gripping the sword, it seemed as if the sword was the one holding on to Se-young, no matter how hard he struggled.
The scene in Se-young’s mind changed.
“Uh uh … uh ah ah ah!”
The black of his pupils shrank as Se-young continued to scream at the gradually increasing agony until only the whites of his eyes remained. In between flashes of pain, unknown scenes and landscapes began to pop up like parts of a panorama. The sights and sounds were coming through someone else’s eyes and ears. It continued endlessly like the scene was being played back tens or even hundreds of times faster.
People and places drifted in and out of the scene. Sensations that were different from the sound of drums, battle cries, and horns overflowed in Se-young’s head. He could sense each rising and setting of the moon and sun, even as the seasons changed faster than the speed of light.
Little boys and girls grew up and became old and wrinkled. Strong men and women gained grey hair and bent backs. A few trees turned into a forest and large rocks were worn down and disappeared. The sun and moon rose and fell hundreds, no, thousands of times. The colors of the sky and earth crossed paths many times.
Se-young, who had been twitching and convulsing, knelt down.
At that moment, Se-young’s back was bent in the opposite direction, like he was having a seizure. A frenzied cry of pain erupted from Se-young’s mouth.
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