Interlude: Mitsurugi Jin

“Leaving the island—are you serious about this, Jin?”

“Yes, Brother. I would not jest about such a matter.”

The young man—Mitsurugi Jin—responds with eyes full of determination to his brother, Mitsurugi Kazuma.

Kazuma sighs softly upon seeing that gaze. He already knew his brother was serious when Jin entered the room saying, “I have something to talk about.”

Jin continues, maintaining his earnest expression.

“As you may have heard, Brother, three Mythical Creatures have been taken down on the continent in just one month.”

“Yes, I’ve heard. They were defeated by warriors who crossed racial boundaries to slay these Mythical Creatures. They’re being referred to as the ‘Pioneers of the Phantom burial’ in various circles.”

“Though our Nanashiki users sneered at them as a mere rabble, given their recent achievements, there’s no questioning their abilities. I would like to go to the continent and lend my strength for the purpose of slaying Mythical Creatures. And to ascertain the true nature of the martial techniques used to defeat them.”

Kazuma clearly hears the unspoken words—If possible, I would like to make that martial power my own.

He sighs softly once more.

“If you know that much, then you must also be aware—their main force is the Kijin tribe.”

At the utterance of ‘Kijin,’ a momentary tension runs between the brothers.

For the House of Mitsurugi, part of the Fangxiang clan, which subdues malevolent spirits and demons, the Kijin are mortal enemies.

The Nanashiki sword is a blade crafted specifically for slaying Kijin.

Naturally, the Kijin also view the Fangxiang clan, and by extension humans, as enemies. Though it would normally be unthinkable for Kijin to cooperate with humans, Mythical Creatures have been rampaging across the continent. Presumably, the Kijin felt they had no choice but to join forces.

Jin sees this situation as an opportunity. Specifically, if he joins the Pioneers of the Phantom burials now, he can closely observe the secrets of the Kijin’s Soul Equipment.

Jin moves closer to his brother.

“Brother, I believe this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the Mitsurugi family as well. If we wield our Soul Equipment and defeat the Mythical Creatures, we could establish a dominant position within the Fangxiang clan. We won’t be used and discarded like shields by the Nanashiki users, like our fathers!”

“Certainly. But neither the elders nor the Nanashiki users would ever approve of cooperating with the Kijin. If we act against their wishes, the Mitsurugi family would be expelled from the Fangxiang clan, and both you and I would be left to die in some forsaken field.”

“I Understand. For that reason, I am planning to run away and disguise myself— No, if they find out your younger brother has run away, they will certainly question your responsibility as the head of the family…”

Jin pondered for a moment, wondering if there was a clever solution.

After a brief pause, he clapped his hands together and brightly declared, “Let’s just pretend I’m dead. Make it look like I died honorably in a fitting battle. To those people, the Mitsurugi family is just expendable pawns. They won’t doubt a false death.”

Listening to his brother’s bold statement, Kazuma deepened the furrow between his brows even more.

“Do you understand the implications? If you do this, you will never be able to use the Mitsurugi name again.”

Even if his younger brother successfully masters Soul Equipment and conveys it to him, thereby elevating the Mitsurugi family to a ruling status, there would be no place for his younger brother in that picture.

Kazuma alone could claim that he devised the power similar to Soul Equipment, saying it’s “a technique he came up with himself”. After all, Kazuma hasn’t left Green Woods and cannot make contact with the Kijin.

However, if it became known that his supposed-to-be-dead younger brother is also wielding a similar power, those aligned with their enemies would definitely notice the secret trick.

When that happens, they will assume that the Mitsurugi family has been in contact with the Kijin and will concentrate all efforts to eliminate them.

And the target won’t be limited to the brothers. The Mitsurugi family does have a small number of vassals and their families. Kazuma, as the head of the family, has a responsibility for their lives as well.

Of course, Jin fully understood all of this.

“I am fully aware. After all, if things continue as they are, I’ll just become fodder for Mythical Creatures. Compared to that, living as a ‘dead man’ seems like a better option.”

Casually saying so, Jin looked down, showing a bit of remorse.

“However, leaving the responsibility of carrying the Mitsurugi name solely on you, dear brother, is something I deeply regret.”

Hearing this, Kazuma let out a sigh for the third time. If apologies were to be made, it should be him apologizing to his younger brother.

Ultimately, the reason his brother plans to go to the mainland is that he understands that the Mitsurugi family will eventually collapse under the current circumstances. In other words, it was due to Kazuma’s incompetence as the family head.

But saying so would just be negated by his brother, and his apologies would likely not be accepted either. Thinking so, Kazuma said, “Wait here for a moment,” and returned to his room.

When he came back, he was holding a long sword in his hands. Seeing this, Jin’s eyes widened.

“Big brother, that is…”

“This is one of the two treasured swords passed down in the Mitsurugi family, ‘Sasanotsuyu’ and ‘Sasayuki.’ This one is Sasanotsuyu. You should take it with you.”1 2

Saying this, Kazuma smiled slightly. He himself hadn’t realized it, but this was the first smile he had shown since their father had passed away.

“I had intended to hand it over to you when your swordsmanship surpassed mine. I hadn’t thought it would happen this way—but given how you are now, our late father would surely approve.”

Upon hearing this, Jin showed a hint of confusion on his face for the first time here.

“Ah, big brother. I am grateful for your sentiment, but… Sasanotsuyu was our father’s sword, a blade befitting the head of the Mitsurugi family. You should be the one to wield it. As for me, the Sasayuki that our uncle used to carry—no, of course, even Sasayuki is a masterwork beyond my skill!”

“It’s fine, take it. This is the least I can do for you, a small token of my goodwill.”

Jin hesitated for a moment before respectfully accepting the treasured sword offered to him. As he felt its weight resonate in his hands, he couldn’t help but bite his lip.

Liked it? Take a second to support WordyCrown on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!
  1. Sasanotsuyu translates to “Bamboo Dew,” capturing the image of morning dewdrops delicately resting on bamboo leaves. In Japanese culture, bamboo is a symbol of strength and grace, and dew represents purity and transience. This name suggests a blade as refined and elegant as bamboo, with the fleeting beauty and freshness of morning dew.
  2. Sasayuki can be translated as “Bamboo Snow,” which evokes the serenity and quiet beauty of snow-covered bamboo. The imagery of snow falling gently on bamboo groves conveys a sense of peacefulness and resilience, as bamboo is known for its ability to bend under the weight of snow yet not break. The name reflects a sword that combines beauty, flexibility, and enduring strength.