Chapter 2888: Annihilator Sword School
A shuttle landed in the outskirts of Scabbard City.
Amongst shabby white-walled homes and various cheap and affordable workshop buildings, a single neglected campus stood out from the rest.
Aside from occupying a bit more space than the other lots, the site also featured a large, three-story structure that was notable for its state of disrepair!
The peeled coating, the obvious signs of corrosion and even the partially-collapsed sections all showed that whoever owned this building did not invest any money in maintaining it over the years!
So this is the prestigious location of the great Annihilator Sword School. Ketis mildly said.
Commander Sendra, Angelique Harcourt and a number of other Swordmaidens exited the shuttle and beheld the urban decay.
When Fred Walinski exited the shuttle last, he did not exhibit any shame.
This isn\'t the original campus of our sword school.
When my brother became an expert pilot, he initially founded his school in one of the more central and desirable districts of Scabbard City.
This is one of the privileges that the Heavensword Association bestows to expert pilots and swordmasters.
Back then, we didn\'t worry about money issues at all.
As long as our demands weren\'t too excessive, we could obtain sword coins from many willing sources.
At their level, it was impossible for expert pilots to get broke.
Their amazing skill and strength made them incredibly useful in multiple different capacities.
They could even earn entire mechs as long as they tutored a group of mech pilots!
The group strode forward and stopped in front of a statue that depicted a heroic-looking man.
While the bronze-like metal statue was well-made and resistant to corrosion, that did not stop birds from soiling it and weeds from growing over its surface.
This is my older brother. Fred sighed as he looked at the face of the statue.
Their features bore a close resemblance to each other.
Venerable Trey Walinski was a powerful expert pilot and a dear relative of mine.
He always worked harder than me.
It was no wonder that he managed to undergo apotheosis while I had to train decades more just to push myself to the level of a pseudo-sword initiate.
I have no chance of ever catching up to my late brother in my lifetime, let alone revive our school by myself.
From the way the sculptor depicted Venerable Trey, Ketis could see that the expert pilot oozed confidence.
The deceased expert pilot was a much greater man than his shameless and unsuccessful sibling!
Venerable Dise stepped forward and bowed in a formal fashion.
She showed her respect from one expert pilot to another.
While her movements might not conform to local etiquette, Fred appreciated the gesture.
My brother would have loved to exchange his views on swordsmanship with you.
It\'s a shame he isn\'t able to do so now that his body is buried in a grave.
How did he die Ketis wondered.
From what you have told me so far, Venerable Trey ought to be in his prime of his life before your school lost its head.
Did he perish on the battlefield
Fred grew glum.
I would have preferred that, but no.
The Heavensword Association sometimes gets embroiled in border skirmishes, but we haven\'t entered into any major conflicts for quite some time.
My brother… suffered from a disease that has taken his life.
That was an awful fate for an expert pilot who still had a bright future ahead of him! Even in the Age of Mechs, humanity was still unable to cure every affliction.
Yet technology had advanced so far that people had access to many different treatments.
Common injuries and diseases no longer threatened the lives of ordinary people!
Did your state do anything in its power to save your brother What about bringing him to the Life Research Association The doctors over here are some of the best in the star cluster.
Do you think we haven\'t tried My brother developed a brain disease.
It\'s a very rare condition that is slightly more prevalent in people with his genes.
Out of all of the possibilities, he had to be the one to contract it.
Our school would have been in a completely different state if I was the one who contracted the disease instead!
Obviously, Fred was burdened by a lot of misplaced guilt.
The Swordmaidens gave him some time to regain his composure.
As much as they empathized with the loss, Venerable Trey had already died a long time ago.
The time for condolences was already over.
Let\'s head inside. He softly said.
While the school structure looked like it was a few steps away from collapsing, it was still in working condition.
The electronic lock straightforwardly accepted the interim director\'s code before opening the double doors.
The group entered a foyer room of some sorts where dust and other signs of neglect marked the barren interior.
The large hall should have featured some furniture, but the state of the school was so poor that Fred had sold these assets a long time ago.
There was barely anything of value left in this decrepit structure!
Ketis scrunched her nose as she looked back.
Their footsteps left obvious marks on the carpet of dust.
Couldn\'t you have acquired a cleaner bot or something Even the cheapest ones can keep the dust away.
The school organization is burdened by a lot of debt.
I have tried to keep the Annihilator Sword School aloft for three decades without its swordmaster, and I could have never kept it going if I was any looser with spending what little money I can gather.
I can\'t even power most of this building.
The only working power lines make sure that the security system is up and running.
I can\'t allow anyone to burgle the life\'s work of my brother, though I doubt that any thief is courageous enough to despoil the teachings of a swordmaster.
Not even the cruelest thief in the Heavensword Association dared to steal the belongings of a swordmaster! The status of the latter was too high among the locals!
After passing through some empty and unused rooms and corridors, they finally reached a traditional-looking hall that should have exhibited the splendor of the Annihilator Sword School.
As it is, Fred had already sold or gotten rid of the banners, the sword racks, the ornaments and any other useless possessions.
A sword school was nothing without its swordmaster.
As long as the founder or only competent practitioner of a sword style was gone, the remaining structure of a sword school was on a timeline.
If the dormant sword school could not find or train another swordmaster, it would eventually have to cease its operations!
This already happened a lot of times in the Heavensword Association.
The number of sword schools who fell and became history was at least a hundred times greater than the number of active and prospering sword schools!
Some of them grew big.
These big schools were easily able to maintain an uninterrupted legacy because they brought up multiple swordmasters.
Even if one of them died, others still remained.
Smaller schools were less able to retain multiple swordmasters.
They also had less students, and whoever they managed to enroll were usually less talented and capable as well.
This significantly reduced the chance of training new swordmasters!
The training of swordmasters is incredibly difficult. Fred Walinski spoke from personal experience.
At our prime, we enrolled thousands of disciples.
While many of them were more casual students, we intensely trained a couple of hundred swordsmen who were very determined to inherit the Annihilator Sword Style.
It failed Ketis asked.
We had too little time.
My brother died too early while our school was just beginning to ramp up.
If we had an extra decade, we might have been able to foster a sword initiate or two, but as it is, the attraction of our sword style quickly faded once we lost our only expert pilot and swordmaster.
The Annihilator Sword School did not empty out instantly.
The casuals left in the first couple of years.
Some even quit as soon as word got out that Venerable Trey was hospitalized!
The more dedicated disciples stuck around longer.
After all, they invested years into training this specific style.
It was not that easy for them to switch to another, especially when they were still young.
Time was precious to them so the sunk cost fallacy had kept them hanging for one or two decades.
Yet… without the guidance of a swordmaster, these hopeful students lacked instruction on how to touch the essence of the Annihilator Sword Style.
No matter how much documentation Venerable Trey left behind, those words were dead and static.
Even I haven\'t been able to master the Annihilator Sword Style, and I received the most instruction. Fred sighed yet again as he approached a single vault at the end of the hall.
I only managed to gain an inkling of understanding by continuing to push myself.
The fact that I only became a pseudo-sword initiate through my efforts is a clear sign that I don\'t have the talent to become a swordmaster.
Ketis wondered what a sword initiate was supposed to be in relation to mech pilots.
According to her speculative guess, a sword initiate was analogous to an expert candidate, but a rank below that didn\'t exist in the mech piloting community.
Fred spent a minute to unlock the old but sturdy vault.
Once he managed to disarm all of the security features, he withdrew a couple of items and placed it on a simple table.
First, he put down a couple of handwritten books.
Second, he unsheathed a one-handed saber and carefully placed it on the table along with its scabbard.
Third, he carefully put down a number of old but sturdy-looking data chips.
Lastly, he put down some official-looking documents.
This is our entire inheritance.
This is everything you need to take over our school and continue our sword style.
Will you accept this inheritance, Miss Ketis
She didn\'t answer immediately.
She first took in the different objects.
The traditional-looking books had to be Venerable Trey\'s personal writings on his sword style.
The fact that he took the trouble to write his thoughts was a sign that his books were truly significant.
The saber attracted her next.
She didn\'t recognize the alloy of the blade, but she could tell it was a good quality one, comparable to her Breyer alloy weapons.
The shape of the saber was shaped in a way that facilitated the process of cutting through annihilation.
Ketis couldn\'t guess what was in the data chips, but she probably figured it contained all of the administration and other boring stuff of the sword school.
Perhaps it also contained additional writings on the sword style.
As for the pile of documents, their value was largely symbolic.
Taking possession of them was a part of the tedious process of becoming the owner of the sword school and granted her the qualifications to become a citizen of the Heavensword Association.
Right now, none of these objects interested her.
She didn\'t even care about Venerable Trey\'s writings on his self-invented sword style.
Instead, she became intrigued by the late swordmaster\'s weapon.
She reverently reached out to pick up the saber.
She brought it close to her face and examined the flat of the blade.
I see you\'ve still taken care of it over the years.
It only needs a bit of polishing to shine again.
The saber is called Shiva.
It is my brother\'s trusty companion.
I am aware that you already possess a weapon of your own, but I hope you don\'t put Shiva in a closet.
Please fulfill the wishes of my brother and keep it at your side.
It longs to be used in battle.
Shiva, huh Good name. Ketis muttered as she tried to sense whether it contained any life.
Surprisingly enough, Sharpie felt there was more to the relic! Without asking Ketis for permission, he jumped outside her mind and entered into Shiva\'s body!
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