The Swordsman's Secret

another world

Callisto is a skilled swordsman with a dark secret. After years of being subjected to his father's harsh sword training, Callisto finally embarks on an adventure of his own. However, his secret gets exposed to a single childhood friend, threatening his life and his future. His friend, Hiro, must also make some important decisions. He's been offered a place alongside the most trusted royal guards in the palace, but he also feels an obligation to protect Callisto and keep his secret from ever being found out by anyone else. Callisto is one more slip-up away from being exposed and permanently banished from the kingdom he loves. Can Hiro guard the secret? Can Callisto keep it forever?

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Chapter 1
Screams of agony pierced through the night from the hut on the hill. The sword master's wife was finally giving birth to her baby after a long and hard pregnancy. The village doctor rushed up the hill urgently, knowing that her life could be in danger tonight. He had seen many too many deaths recently, what with the sudden appearance of more monsters in the land. The sword master had been busy training the youth of the village while his wife was bedridden and great with child. The doctor suspected her pregnancy was not average and hastened his pace in fear. He didn't bother knocking at the door but burst into the room. He followed the dim lighting to the main bedroom where the young woman lay languishing in her labor. Her face was slick with sweat and pale from the strength she was exerting. Blood was already pooled around her. The doctor put on his best straight face, though the pool of blood didn't bode well for the struggling woman. "Doctor! Help her!" The sword master cried out to the man, fear lacing his voice for the first time since he was a child.  "Calm down, Ezbero. I'll do what I can, but your wife will have to do the work to get the baby out." "He must be very strong and stout already!" Ezbero exclaimed with a smile of excitement. Another groan from his wife drew his attention back to the present moment, and he squeezed her hand encouragingly.  "Alright, madam, let's see how things are going." The doctor knelt down in the pool of blood and spread her knees gently, checking to see if she was progressing to delivery. "Good news!" He exclaimed. "I can already see the baby's head! He's almost out! You can do it, madam. Give a good push, and I'll help pull him out." The sword master's wife took in a shaky breath and with a grunt bore down. Her breath gave way to a weak shriek of pain as the baby slid forward and into the doctor's waiting arms. "Congratulations, Ezbero! You have a baby girl," the doctor smiled faintly at the sword master, knowing his news wasn't what the new father wanted to hear. "A...girl?" Ezbero blinked a couple of times in surprise. The doctor held the baby up, showing her little naked body to her father. "Oh, well. She's a pretty thing. Like her mother." The sword master gazed down at his beloved wife, already thinking about how they had plenty of time to have more children and a son who would surely be the strongest boy in the village, no! The kingdom! His wife suddenly drew in an agonized breath and cried out again in pain. Blood erupted from her body, and the doctor began to scramble in a panic. He thrust the new baby to her father and focused on the task at hand. The mother panted and cried, her cries weakening and her face paling as she continued her struggle. "Doctor?" Ezbero looked at the doctor worriedly. The baby was out now. Why was his dear wife still struggling? Why was she so pale? Why was there so much blood? The doctor was working on something on her lower body, grim as blood speckled his face. He said nothing to the worried father, only worked methodically. He had seen this condition only a couple of times in his life, and he knew all the blood being lost was not a good sign.  Suddenly he urgently called, "Push, madam! Push!" The young mother's eyes flew open, but she seemed to not be looking at anything. Her eyes glazed as she exerted the last of her strength. A strong cry rang out from the doctor's arms as another baby was born. Ezbero, however, was gazing down into his wife's lifeless eyes, still wide open and bloodshot from her hard labor. "Doctor?" He whispered. "What is going on? DOCTOR!" He yelled louder, realization hitting him as he stared at the pale, chalky face forever frozen in the horror of her pain. "I'm sorry, Ezbero. She...gave her all. For these babies. Cherish them, sir. They are her gift to you." The doctor sadly straightened the blood-soaked legs of the deceased woman. "You were supposed to HELP HER! She's DEAD?! DOCTOR! ANSWER ME!" The sword master would have grabbed a weapon and cut the doctor to pieces right then and there if both men weren't holding a baby. "She had a hard pregnancy. This was always a possibility. I'm sorry, Ezbero," the doctor said again, feeling that words were useless now. He raised his head from the child he was holding and looked at the sword master, who was shamelessly weeping over the woman he loved. He hesitated to hand the child he was holding to the lone man. Two newborn babies for a rugged man like the sword master to manage alone? With only a single maid in the home to help? The doctor couldn't leave things like this. "I'll be back soon, Ezbero. I'll find you a wet nurse for the babies. A young servant girl gave birth to a baby six months ago. I'll bring her here to help you." The doctor rose with the second baby in his arms. "Wait, doctor," the grieving father gazed at the bundle in the doctor's arms. "That one. The one that killed my beloved wife. Is it a boy?" He asked hopefully. All his hopes and wishes now lay in that one tiny bundle of blankets in the doctor's arms. He did and didn't want to know. But mostly he wanted to know. "This one is also a girl, Ezbero. That one is fair like her mother. This one has your dark hair." The doctor watched the sword master cautiously. The man's face darkened, and he gazed at the bundle in the doctor's arms with growing hatred. "No. It's a boy. That one is a boy. I will raise him as a boy, and if you EVER say anything about the truth, I'll come and personally cut your body into unrecognizable pieces during the night. The day you breathe the truth about that baby's identity will be your last day alive." The sword master stared mercilessly at the doctor still stained in his wife's blood. The doctor shivered and nodded. "I understand, sword master. I will keep the secret. However, when he reaches the age of 12 or 13 years old and begins to become a woman, if you need any help, I will offer whatever help I can." The death intent in the sword master's eyes dissipated and he nodded flippantly. "I'll deal with that when the time comes. I need two wet nurses. I'll have a maid for each of my children to help me raise them. Find a trustworthy maid for my son. One who fears for her life and would not dare to defy me." "As you wish, sir. I'll also send some help to deal with your wife's body. Congratulations on your twins, but I'm also sorry for what you have lost." The doctor moved over to the sword master and laid the second baby in his arms. The young father looked coldly at the second baby, but then his eyes flashed with excitement. This will work. He will have a son and a daughter. Not all was lost so long as he was careful.

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