I Became the Youngest Disciple of the Martial God
[Translator – Jreaming]
[Proofreader – Gorm]
I was born into House Bednicker, but unfortunately for me, this family was insane.
They judged people based solely on their skills and accomplishments, and the direct bloodline was no exception.
Their tendency for exclusion was extreme even when compared to the other houses. It was so extreme that the family head would even send a collector after his own son.
But what was a collector?
“Hieek! I didn’t do anything!”
The servants standing around the room all screamed and fell into panic. One servant went pale as if he had just seen a ghost, while another looked like they might froth at the mouth and collapse any second.
It was a natural reaction if you had heard a rumor or even a crumb of information about the collectors that roamed House Bednicker.
Bednicker’s executors, the teeth of the Lord of Blood and Iron, hunting dogs... They were called a lot of names, but most regularly, they were called collectors because their mission was to collect things.
And the things they collect are usually souls.
It was obvious that my tendons would be cut if I just stayed still like this.
What did I do the first time I encountered this situation?
—C-c-c-collector?! A collector came?
—Th-there’s no way that’s true...! I am a Bednicker! There’s no way my father, the family head, would...!
Well, I tried to deny reality and then ran away. In the end, I was caught by that old man and collected.
Meaning, my arm was cut.
That was the role of a collector.
House Bednicker was also called the Great Martial House, and due to this, they were very exclusive with the family’s secret martial art. If one were to leak the house’s secret art to outsiders, they would be killed, of course, but so would everyone near them.
I had been treated quite decently by the house before the Blessing Ceremony, and thanks to that, I obviously knew some things about the martial arts of House Bednicker.
This was probably what those old men of the house were displeased about. The Council of Elders had decided that I was unfit to learn the Bednicker martial art, and they had made it so that I couldn’t use it ever again.
I thought they went too far, but the Council of Elders thought this was very generous.
Since, in most cases, those who are “collected” have their tendons cut in all four limbs or are just killed outright.
Of course, this treatment was not because I was of the direct bloodline. It was because I was still young and hadn’t gotten strong yet.
What should I do about this...?
I obviously had no intention of just closing my eyes and becoming a victim.
If I became unable to use my right arm, my strength would be decreased by at least 30 percent in the future. The external body was especially important for the Strongest Technique in History.
On the other hand, how can I overcome this situation?
My options were a bit awkward since my body’s current condition was like this. On top of not having a sliver of internal energy, it would be impossible to try and escape from the collector with this unrefined body.
Even if I were to run as fast as I could, I would be caught within three breaths.
Why did it have to be when I was 15 years old?
Although I wasn’t panicking, it was difficult to imagine a worse situation, considering the circumstances.
I let out a deep breath and looked at Kayan.
Even though I’d been silent for quite a while, he had waited patiently. Maybe he was giving me the last mercy he could give as a collector. Or maybe he was just looking at a rat he had already caught.
Even if it was just to buy some more time, I started to talk.
“Sir Kayan. It’s been a while.”
“Yes. Have you been well?”
Have I been well?
There was no way he couldn’t see my bound, bedridden state.
“You look quite hale, but have you already gone senile?”
“...Nothing.” I tried to recover the situation. “Looks like you came here in a hurry. Have you eaten yet?”
“I’ve eaten a little. I tend not to eat much before work.”
“Have you been guided around the mansion? I’ll call a servant for you, so take your time looking around the garden...”
“Thank you for your generosity, young master, but I wish to focus on my work for now.”
It didn’t work at all.
I was trying to buy some time to think up a plan, but that wasn’t seeming too promising either. I hadn’t expected much, but he truly was a target that seemed difficult to weasel away from with words alone.
No, if I had even a week’s time, this situation would be so much better.
Now, my only option was to just keep talking, so I did so.
“I see. But as you can see, my situation is like this. It’s quite late, so you can work tomorrow...”
“If I may be impertinent, young master.”
Kayan looked at me before turning his hand. When he did, a sharp dagger appeared from his sleeve.
One of the servant girls screamed, but Kayan didn’t seem to react as he continued to talk in a calm manner. “I, Kayan, have never delayed my collection for even a single day.”
Of course you haven’t. This old man wasn’t called the Collector of Blood and Iron for nothing.
After saying that, Kayan stepped toward me.
It wasn’t quick, nor was it dragged out. He looked just like an official focusing on his work.
Really? Was my tendon really going to get cut as soon as I returned to my past?
As that possibility suddenly started to become a reality as he stepped confidently toward me, my head quickly cooled.
I continued to merely look up at Kayan from my bed.
As I did so, the old man with no blood or tears stopped and looked at me. Although it wasn’t made obvious, he’d probably expected a different reaction from me.
In that short instant, I thought up a quick plan and opened my mouth. “I am not your collection target.”
The hand reaching out to me stopped.
“The one who decided on the collection was the family head. Defying that decision is the same as defying the will of the family head.”
“You’re wrong. The family head only makes the final decision. The ones who decide both the collection target and the severity of the punishment are the family’s Council of Elders.”
As I said that, the old man’s face shifted for a second, but that change disappeared faster than it had appeared.
“It is as you say. It was also the family head’s decision to hand over that authority to the Council of Elders. In the big picture, it is no different than an order from the family head himself.”
“What about in the small picture?”
“You are persistent in picking at my words. Nothing will change even if you stall for time.”
“Suppressing me is easier for you than blowing your nose. You can do it whenever, so do you have to be so hasty about it?”
“As I told you, I have never delayed a collection for even a single—”
“A single day, yeah. But there’s still some time left before tomorrow starts.”
Kayan quietly eyed me. It was difficult to guess what he was thinking, but I had no choice but to hope that this old man’s caution became the snare that caught his foot.
Luan Bednicker, who acted like a moron in every way, is acting like he has support from somewhere. What he’s saying might not be mere nonsense...
Hopefully he was thinking something like that.
The silence went on for longer than expected.
This silence was a boon for me, but I couldn’t relax in this situation. Since Kayan always perfectly carried out the orders he received, he would come to the conclusion that his own thoughts about the decision weren’t important.
I needed to disturb his concentration a little more before he could come to that conclusion.
“Sir Kayan. The collection of Bednicker has to be fulfilled in a much more thorough and precise way. It cannot be undone even if you want to. It’s not too late to make your decision after you hear me out. After that, I promise I will take the punishment without any resistance.”
For the finishing blow, I said something that any loyal servant of the house would love...
“I swear it upon the name of Bednicker.”
Although he still remained silent and his face was still expressionless, this should work against the Collector Kayan that I’d seen and heard about in the house.
It had to work.
* * * * *
[Translator – Jreaming]
[Proofreader – Gorm]
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* * * * *
Finally, the hand with the pitch-black glove retreated from me, and the pressure I had been feeling the whole time melted away.
“Please send out all the servants.”
“Sure.” I gave a slight gesture with my eyes and all the servants took the chance to swarm out of the room.
It might be obvious, but none of them tried to stay by my side.
The dagger that had been aiming to cut my tendon disappeared into a sleeve, and Kayan pulled out a pocket watch and glanced down at it.
“There are about four minutes until the day ends,” Kayan said as he looked at me. “Please share with me, young master, the proof that you are not the target of today’s collection.”
At least for now, I’d managed to evade the worst-case scenario: helplessly having my tendons cut.
“I will say this just in case, but if you were just delaying the collection without a clear reason...”
“I will have no choice but to increase the punishment.”
The real persuasion started now.
Kayan Goldan, 68 years old.
Although he was the longest-active collector of Bednicker, his skills were still within the top three.
Due to not making a single mistake in his long career, others sometimes called him the Collector of Blood and Iron.
Kayan had not even remotely expected this. To feel like this while doing his job...
The trash of Bednicker, the sole failure of the Lord of Blood and Iron, the seller of the house sword, the useless child. And on top of all that, Luan Bednicker had absolutely no blessings.
He was a brat born from a great house who brought more shame by being alive than he would by dying.
Kayan didn’t hold any sort of emotion for this boy.
All he’d had was a very faint sense of pity.
However, after seeing Luan Bednicker’s actions after the Blessing Ceremony, that pity had changed into disappointment.
Not receiving a blessing was, of course, a terrible event that could make one consider ending their life.
As one born of common blood, Kayan couldn’t even imagine that despair.
But what about it? It had already happened. It was now reality. One must accept it, because if they could not, they would not be able to take even a single step forward into reality.
However, Luan Bednicker had stood still in that spot, then stepped backward and disappeared from sight.
After that, even Kayan had forgotten about the person called Luan... until he’d received this order.
It wasn’t any sort of special mission. Although it was peculiar because the target was a direct family member, Kayan had done similar jobs in his long career.
Although Luan was a family member, although he was young, Kayan wouldn’t let his emotions waver.
But the trash of Bednicker he’d met for the first time in a while had greeted Kayan with a completely different attitude.
Usually, collection targets tried to deny reality, and a few of them even resisted. Very rarely, there were those who tried to negotiate, but Kayan had never slowed his hand because of the words that came out of their mouths.
“For the Council of Elders to send a collector...” A bloated face and a bandaged body. In this completely defeated state, Luan said, “It means there’s something they want to collect. In this case, it’s probably the hereditary swordsmanship of House Bednicker. Of course, it’s impossible to make me forget a sword art that I have already learned, so they’re probably trying to at least cut my tendons.”
Since meeting Luan, Kayan had constantly been pushed off balance. Now, he realized the reason.
Luan didn’t show the expressions he saw from many others when he collected them.
Luan Bednicker showed no fear.
It didn’t feel like Luan had lost his fear, nor did it seem like he didn’t understand his situation.
Luan wouldn’t have even been able to get Kayan to sit at the negotiating table otherwise.
“Then, should I get back to the main topic? Why do you think the Council of Elders want to retrieve the swordsmanship of House Bednicker from me?”
“As a common collector, I cannot know the reasons behind the decisions of the Council of Elders.”
“I now see that you’re quite proficient in dodging the subject, sir. Then should I say it?” Luan suddenly adopted a serious expression. He changed his voice to imitate an elder as he said, “‘The house’s martial art will be wasted on him. At this rate, he will live and die pathetically’.”
“He has damaged the honor of House Bednicker. He went and sold the sword of the house...” Luan’s face and voice returned to normal. “They might have talked around it, but this is the real reason. They cannot see a future for me.”
Kayan didn’t know if this was the truth or not. Although he had worked as a collector for a long time, there was no way he could know the thoughts of the Council of Elders.
What Luan had just said matched up with everything Kayan had subconsciously thought.
“Then I’ll say this: this collection will definitely be a loss for the future of House Bednicker.”
“What do you mean?”
“To put it simply, you’re trying to cut down a sapling that will grow into a mighty oak.”
“A pretentious declaration.”
“But it’s true.”
At this moment, Kayan’s gaze moved to his pocket watch.
The time had suddenly become 23:59. There was not even a minute left until the day ended.
If he collected now, then he wouldn’t be late.
“I need the swordsmanship I learned from Bednicker.”
“Why is that?”
“Because I’ll create a new martial art based on it.”
And as the minute passed into the new day...
Collector Kayan still didn’t move.
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