Chapter 10


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Only a week was left before the celebration, but the atmosphere in the palace was tense. Primus and Haver pretended that they’d forgotten all the insults they had hurled at one another and ruled the country peacefully, at least in public, but in reality… Everyone felt that they’d had not just a tiff, but a truly horrible argument.

But Hadjar was worried about something else entirely. And it wasn’t the fact that he would be introduced to his future wife again. Maybe she’d grow up to become a real beauty. True, her family had a lot of money, but the Prince still felt like a dog, a pet more than a son. As if his own father had gotten him a ‘b***h’ to ‘mate’ with.

Of course, for a seven-year-old boy to have such thoughts should’ve been impossible, but Hadjar had lived another life before his current one. As a legacy of that previous life, he’d inherited the neuronet, which was acting strangely at that moment.

[The interface is being reconfigured. The upgrade to a new version is complete. The current version is 0.18.1!]

Hadjar didn’t understand what the hell it had reconfigured and where the update had come from. There weren’t even any normal toilets in Lidus, let alone a patch for the neuronet. And yet, the network was miraculously updating itself. Perhaps this was due to the fact that he shouldn’t have had it in the first place.

The Prince had been reborn in a new body, with a new nervous system. His old body had remained in the other world, and the neuronet should’ve been left behind too. So, taking into account the fact that local people not only believed in the existence of a ‘soul’, but had proved it was actually real, then… Most likely, the neuronet was attached to his soul, as a sort of energy component.

And since Hadjar had been training and had managed to get to the sixth stage of the Bodily Nodes by the age of seven (which was an impressive achievement by the standards of the kingdom), the network also developed alongside him, absorbing the energy of, as the locals called it, ‘heaven and earth’.

[Reconfiguration completed. Ability to process new analytical information has been acquired. How should the new information be displayed?]

Hadjar pondered the question and then decided on to the simplest option.

“In tabular form,” he said, deciding to use the format in which the neuronet had initially shown him information.

Immediately, a table appeared before his eyes …



Level of Cultivation:

The Bodily Nodes. The 6th stage.







Energy points:


“F**k…” the Prince said.

The new function of the neuronet more than made up for all its shortcomings.

According to the Master, someone else’s level of development was one of the most important secrets anyone had. And no one could find such information out easily. If you knew in advance what your opponent was capable of in battle, you would have an incredible advantage. That’s why, according to some rumors, special equipment used to identify the level of enemy forces existed.

Hadjar had a clear advantage. He could find out how powerful others were and have it shown to him in great detail, with clear, precise numbers.

This new discovery had to be tested right away!

That’s why the Prince ran out into the corridor, rushing toward the parade ground. The warriors were already training, and the Master was sedately pacing around, supervising them. That’s who Hadjar ended up scanning.



Level of Cultivation







Only allowed on


Energy points


The Prince slammed his hand against his face in frustration and spent another hour trying to find out why the capabilities of the neuronet were so lackluster. It was only able to analyze someone that didn’t exceed his own level of cultivation, or, more precisely, those who were equal to his own level or below it.

“Very well,” the Prince sighed, sitting down on the steps. “At least I can monitor my own progress and recognize those who are stronger than me.”

Despite these ‘clever’ words, he’d hoped that the neuronet could show him more about people at a higher level than his. On the other hand, he still didn’t even understand what ‘Energy Points’ meant. Did this mean that the software was able to calculate the Force of an adept?

Taking into account that, during the demonstration of the ‘Scorched Falcon’ Technique, a message about the ‘2E units’ had popped up, that was most likely the case. This meant that the Master’s single strike had been four times stronger than the whole of Hadjar’s current level.

You couldn’t even call it a one-off trick, since the old man hadn’t looked at all tired afterward.

“Why,” Hadjar shook his head.

His mentors were right—he hadn’t even truly seen the martial arts world yet. The fact that he could do twenty push-ups with a weight of 90 pounds on his back at the age of seven didn’t mean anything. He was no stronger than an ant.

A long and arduous journey lay before him, but Hadjar refused to give up.

No, he was too motivated…

“Your Highness?”

The Master distracted the Prince from his thoughts. Having noticed his disciple, he’d walked away from the warriors and approached Hadjar.

“I was sure you wouldn’t let yourself miss class because of the holiday.”

The Prince blinked a few times and berated himself for his laziness. He really had been planning to miss out on training… However, he no longer had any such plans. Not because of his instructor’s words, but because he’d realized his own weakness.

“Change clothes and get to the training grounds,” the old man hurried him.

The Prince followed him and, after a few moments, was practicing the basic sword technique enthusiastically. Moving from one rack to the next, he fought his shadow, dodging attacks and punches while throwing out his own.

He rarely sparred with someone. None of the warriors could keep up with Hadjar’s talent, nor his hard work.

The Master had said that it was a rare phenomenon for a seven-year-old child to be able to start exploring the Mortal technique of the sword. Most warriors were only able to master the main basic skills by the time they turned sixteen.

Many of the warriors present, if put in front of a practice dummy and given a sword, despite their strength, wouldn’t always hit their intended target. They wouldn’t be able to control the sword like an extension of their body.

Tap, chop, pierce, rising slash, strike on the way down, dodge, parry, sword drawing and sheathing it back—all of these were intertwined in a single web. And if someone else needed years to understand all these basics of handling the ‘King of Weapons’ (which the sword was), Hadjar… had known how to do so from the very beginning, all thanks to his instincts.

And so, the years passed.

Five years, to be exact.

And if someone performed a hundred strikes, Hadjar performed a thousand.

If someone made a thousand attacks, Hadjar made ten thousand.

If someone drew their sword five hundred times, Hadjar did it five thousand times.

He trained ten times harder than ordinary people because he knew that it was the only way he could achieve his goal in this world. And while the rest of the kids his age had to be forced to train, he would go to the parade ground every day, refusing to take a break. He made his father proud but worried his mother.

“Your Highness,” the Master called.

The Prince stopped practicing and turned around.

The old man was carrying a wooden dummy to the parade ground. One that he’d never brought in before. It was the size of an adult and had nine red circles on it, denoting targets to aim for with the sword.

The targets were the throat, heart, joints, abdomen, center of mass and forehead. Most sword strikes should be aimed at these points on the body.

“I haven’t missed for a year,” Hadjar got angry because the dummy babies practiced with had been brought to him. The Prince ignored a few envious glances that were cast his way.

“That’s with a stationary opponent, my Prince,” the Master smiled in a slightly bloodthirsty way.

He put the dummy down, then put a wooden sword it in its hands and placed his own hand on the dummy’s back. A moment later, Hadjar saw the dummy begin to spin on its own, without any mechanisms, his mouth open in shock.

“Please, your Highness, go right ahead.”

Hadjar approached the dummy cautiously at first, and then more confidently. He’d kept his weighted wooden sword used in training. Assessing the speed of the dummy’s rotation and the maximum distance it could reach, he rushed in to attack.

He moved, almost touching the sand with his chest as he used a lightning-fast strike, cutting the dummy with an upward slash. Such skill and speed drew astonished gasps from the audience. No one could believe that a seven-year-old boy was capable of such a feat

A breath later, lots of giggling followed the gasps.

The Prince was amazed. Even the paint on the targets had been left untouched. His blow had struck the broad side of the dummy’s sword. However, he hadn’t just been blocked, but also parried, and the Prince received a painful poke to his chest as a result.

Collapsing on the sand, he growled, sounding like a small wolf, jumped to his feet and rushed in to once again attack it.

Thrusting with his sword, Hadjar moved his wrist, making the tip of the blade twist as he lunged. This time, he easily bypassed the dummy’s attempt to block him and almost managed to reach its throat, but then the dummy moved. It lowered its sword slightly, changing the trajectory of his own sword and, with its free hand, tripped him up, once again knocking the Prince down.

The Prince jumped up again and doggedly resumed his assault. Every time, he came up with something new to try. He’d dive under the punches, but then he’d just get pushed away.

He’d go around the blocks, but he’d end up knocked down.

Hadjar was furious, he even ended up using ‘One with the Sword’ and reached out with it toward the enemy, when he was within range, but he only managed to leave a small scratch on the wooden blade.

The warriors, tired of watching his fruitless attempts, went back to sparring, and Hadjar continued charging the dummy.

He attacked it a hundred, possibly even two hundred times. He didn’t care about the bruises and cuts he was receiving, he wasn’t planning on going to the feast until he’d defeated the dummy.

And, after he’d once again been thrown to the ground, he suddenly noticed one small detail.

The dummy didn’t move.

Yes, it waved its long, wooden arms around, dealing very painful blows, but… it wasn’t moving its body. The dummy was stationary, buried in the sand, while Hadjar jumped around it like a crazed insect. It was like a stream trying to cut through a rock.

But would the stream even do that? Would it try to break through the mountain, spending billions of years on such a stupid endeavor? Or would it simply overtake the rock and continue forward?

The wind blew.

Hadjar hadn’t heard the wind for a long time, but right then, he thought he could discern a little more of his old friend’s ‘words’ than before.

Once again, the same as five years ago, he stood on the sand and listened to the world around him, looking inside himself and trying to feel what he saw there. He tried to feel what had brought him this new inspiration he’d been waiting for while training hard every day.

The warriors stopped to watch again, able to feel that something strange was happening.

The Master opened his eyes slightly. He hadn’t hoped that Hadjar would be able to defeat the dummy.

The Prince, shocking everyone at the parade ground, put the sword back into its cloth sheath. And so, the seven-year-old boy went toward the dummy, unarmed. It swung its sword, aiming at his unprotected forehead, but it failed to even touch a hair on his head.

Hadjar made a subtle movement with his feet, moved his center of gravity and walked away from the impact. He dodged the blow smoothly and calmly, like a leaf floating in the spring wind.

The dummy aimed its next attack at his stomach, but it once more struck only air. Hadjar spun on his heel, dodging the blade by a hair’s breadth, as it barely missed his back. Then he slipped forward and stopped near his enemy.

His sword flashed and the dummy froze a moment later, as Hadjar’s blade had struck all 9 of the vital areas, drawing paint from each of them.

“Congratulations, your Highness,” the Master applauded. “Now you can truly be considered ‘One with the Sword’.”

The Prince was breathing heavily, but he was happy. He now knew what was missing from his swordsmanship; he hadn’t been controlling his own body properly.

Before, he’d used to make a dozen unnecessary moves, whereas now he knew that he really only needed one. He’d to make five different attacks, but now he could smoothly position himself and make just the single, necessary attack.

“Really?” Hadjar asked, sheathing his sword.

“I’ve told you, my Prince, that the world of martial arts is deeper than the boundless cosmos. And if you were to compare a thousand swordsmen who are ‘One with the Sword’, you wouldn’t find two with the same level of skill.”

The Prince nodded, understanding what the man was saying. There was always a mountain higher than the one you’ve just climbed. There was always a practitioner who would be better than you. All these stages and steps gave only an approximate direction to follow, while one’s power depended on the person themselves.

“I’ll admit, I’m surprised you were able to grasp the basics of the Footsteps Technique so quickly, despite the fact that I haven’t taught them to you yet.” Then the Master looked around his domain—a sandy parade ground. “I sometimes feel sorry for you, my Prince.”

Hadjar raised an eyebrow in surprise.

“If you’d been born on the outskirts of the Empire, or in some strong clan, your name would’ve been revered in the entire valley, in as little as a hundred or two hundred years. I’ve lived a long life and will soon go on to my eternity, but I’ve never seen a swordsman as talented as you,” the Master shook his head. “Apparently, that old saying is right: luck is also a strength. And despite the fact that I’ve had the opportunity to teach a genius, I’ll never get to see him bloom and conquer the glory he deserves.”

The Prince wanted to argue that he still had a chance to join ‘The Black Gates’, but then Elizabeth appeared on the stairs.

“Hadjar, the feast has almost begun and you’re not dressed!” The Queen called out to him and turned toward the children of the nobles. “You shouldn’t linger either.”

“Yes, my Queen!” the kneeling warriors shouted in chorus.

Hadjar looked at his Master who was taking the dummy back to the warehouse. For some reason, he had the strange feeling that he was seeing the old man for the last time.

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