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S.C.S Chapter 423: Next Generation

Upon hearing Hawk Eye’s question, Ian locked gazes with him for a moment, yet remained silent.

“Not convenient to say??” Mihawk instantly inferred his meaning, so he turned his body, fluttering his cloak, and prepared to leave.

He was not the kind of person to press others, and if Ian had any reservations, he saw no need to press the matter further.

But as he turned to depart, Ian suddenly called out to him.

“Telling you won’t make a difference, my master is none other than koshiro Sensei!” Ian said with a smile.

He had been reluctant to speak of it before, not wanting to disturb koshiro’s secluded life, but upon seeing Mihawk’s depart, he realized that he seemed to be the kind of person who does things his own way, and even if he were to share this information, he wouldn’t broadcast it everywhere.

Furthermore, Mihawk’s age seemed to be around the same as koshiro’s and both were in their forties, both belonging to the same generation. Mihawk may have even heard of his master’s name.

But what Ian did not anticipate in the slightest, was the moment koshiro’s name was mentioned, Mihawk whipped around, and his gaze fixed intently upon him.

“koshiro?” Mihawk’s voice couldn’t help but rise in pitch. “You are Master koshiro’s senior disciple?!”

“Master… senior disciple?!” Ian was momentarily stunned. Holy cow, the weight of that statement was truly staggering!

“You… you know of my master?” Ian asked of Mihawk in disbelief.

Mihawk gave a nod of affirmation as he reminisced on his past, “Yes, during my formative years, I had the privilege of training under the tutelage of my senpai, Koshiro, for over a decade.”

Ian struggled to find the words to express his confusion, “But…but…”

It was hard for him to reconcile the stark contrast between the sword styles of Hawk-Eye and Koshiro. His master was a purist, steeped in traditional and classical swordsmanship, while Mihawk’s style leaned heavily towards Western swordsmanship, which could be seen from their clothing. So Ian couldn’t believe that these two were brothers in swordsmanship.

Mihawk seemed to have noticed Ian’s confusion and shook his head, “There’s nothing strange about it. Our teacher only taught us basic swordsmanship, and then let us develop on our own. The pupils of the dojo all went on to have their own distinct variations of swordsmanship, you just need to know that Koshiro is my senpai. “

He couldn’t help but let out a small sigh as he lowered the brim of his hat, “I never thought that even the disciples of Koshiro-senpai have grown so strong.”

“To whom will I pass on my sword techniques in the future?”

After hearing Mihawk’s explanation, Ian also understood. It seems that this is the case. When Koshiro taught the three of them, he also only taught them basic sword techniques, which feels a bit like a tradition.

“It turns out…he’s a shishou (talented, skilled or educated Martial Master)!” Ian said with difficulty.

‘Can it be any more arduous? Before, we fought as equals, but in the blink of an eye, my station has plummeted.’

This is preposterous! Ian’s teeth ache with vexation, why does it suddenly feel awkward?

After realizing that Ian was as his own apprentice, Mihawk didn’t leave, he strode towards Ian’s ship with a look of intention to indulge in a drink. Ian, with no other choice, followed behind him.

“What’s going on here?” Ace and the others had not heard the discourse between the two, they only sensed something was strange. why did Ian become somewhat reserved towards Mihawk?

Reiju and Robin, with eyes on Ian, wanted to hear his explanation. Honestly, when facing Mihawk, the pressure was overwhelming. Those sharp, hawk-like eyes were always so discomforting. Mihawk was supposed to have left, but how did he return to the ship so abruptly?

“Ahem!” Ian, feeling somewhat oppressed under their gaze, could only clear his throat and offer an introduction:

“Allow me to reintroduce, this is my “uncle”! The Shichibukai’s Hawk-eyes, Dracule Mihawk! He and my master were once brothers in apprenticeship…”

“… ” The two beautiful women were left at a loss for words upon hearing Ian’s introduction.

Is this like a deluge at the Dragon King’s Temple?

Ace, however, was not so affected and laughed heartily, holding his cowboy hat as he chortled: “Haha, Ian, I never would have guessed your status would fall so quickly!”

Mihawk and Ian set off on their journey together.

Ian gave him a white look, and as he watched Mihawk take off his own hat and put it on the table, and picked up a beer and drank it, Ian had no choice but to walk over, sit down across from him, and asked with some curiosity, “Mihawk, might I ask you about Koshiro-sensei? Despite the many years he has taken me in, he has never once spoken of his own past.”

Mihawk couldn’t help but study Ian closely, sensing that there was more to the young man than merely being Koshiro’s student. Perhaps, he was more like an adopted son.

As Mihawk looked upon Ian with a softened gaze, he began to speak. “In fact, there is not much for me to say. When I was young, my love for the art of swordplay led me to seek out a dojo by the name of ‘Path of Heart’. Unfortunately, my hawk-eyes proved to be a hindrance, and many of my peers kept their distance from me. Only Koshiro-sensei showed me kindness and generosity, always gentle and patient with me.”

Mihawk leaned back in his chair, his thoughts drifting back to a simpler time. “Koshiro-sensei and I began our journey together, with the intent of making a name for ourselves on the high seas. But a certain incident occurred, one that caused a rift between us.”

“It was 22 years ago, the day when the Pirate King Gol D. Roger… was executed!”

Mihawk said a very special time, which attracted all the people onboard to also come over and listen.

“That day, the marines publicly executed the Pirate King Roger in Loguetown, and my mentor, Koshiro and I were there, bearing witness to the entire event!” Mihawk said: “Afterwards, I thought that the era of great pirates was about to arrive, and it would be the most glorious period for us. I proposed to Koshiro that we become pirates together, but he disagreed, he thought that a chaotic era was coming and believed that even if we didn’t actively fight against pirates, we would only be contributing to the oppression.”

“At the time, we could not convince each other, so we parted ways! We each went out to sea and I gradually became famous in this vast sea, but Koshiro disappeared without a trace!” Mihawk sighed: “And the only news I later knew about Koshiro, was a letter he sent me. In the letter, he told me that he got married…and after that, I haven’t had any news from him. If it wasn’t for this encounter with you, I couldn’t dare to confirm it from your sword techniques which reminded me of him.”

“He is now alone!” Ian interjected, catching Mihawk’s eye as he relayed information of Koshiro’s current state: “His wife died shortly after giving birth to his little daughter, he now runs a dojo and has been teaching sword techniques to children.”

“Is that so?” Mihawk smiled and said: “I suppose that’s the life he chose for himself.”

As Mihawk looked upon the sword at Ian’s waist, he couldn’t help but ask, “Now that I think of it, I remember Koshiro-senpai had a famous sword named Wado Ichimonji. He acquired it early on in his sailing days. Why did he give it to you?”

Ian shrugged and replied, “There’s nothing I can do, my sister, Koshiro-sensei’s biological daughter, took it. As her older brother, how could I compete with her for it?”

Mihawk raised an eyebrow in surprise, “Oh? Girls can also learn swordplay?” he asked in surprise, “Didn’t Koshiro-sensei always believe that it was difficult for women to master the art of the sword?”

As expected, Mihawk was indeed a disciple of Koshiro-sensei, for he knew of such matters.

Ian gave a brief explanation without delving deeper, but it was enough for Mihawk to understand that Koshiro-sensei had three personal disciples.

After reminiscing for a moment, Mihawk donned his hat, rose to his feet and said, “Well, I must be off. Now that I know Koshiro-sensei is well, I can rest easy. As for you, Ian, your swordsmanship has already taken a unique path of its own. All that remains is for you to understand your own level. That is something you must do on your own, I cannot teach you anymore.”

Ian nodded, not feeling a sense of regret. Though the world’s greatest swordsman, Mihawk, was present, not learning from him would have been a shame, but as Mihawk had stated, he couldn’t teach Ian much at this point.

As Mihawk prepared to depart, he cast one final glance at Ace, as if he had something more to say…

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