Chapter 22: Sometimes you Just have to Hit things to De-stress
There were 5 men I hadn’t seen before standing in the entrance of the forge. They were loudly calling for Gustav.
… Is it just my imagination or are they sneering because they know Gustav isn’t here?
“Oi oi, this sword is completely useless. You wanna get us killed, hah?! We’re E rank adventurers, yeah, E RANK. You know what will happen if you cross us?! So hurry up and bring out the guy in charge!”
What’s with the cheap delinquent act?
“Like we said, if you have any complaints, take it up with the shop that sold it to you. Likely they sold you a fake!”
“No no, there’s Helward’s Mark, see? And we have to make sure that shitty swords don’t kill off other adventurers, see?”
Shitty swords? I’m kind of interested in what’s going on. It doesn’t look like anything other than Jetsom’s swords pass for sale in this forge (well, I haven’t seen the owner of the forge, Helward’s swords yet), so I’m having a hard time picturing what would be wrong with the sword.
I move as silently as I can, trying not to attract too much attention, and look at the broken sword in the man who seems to be the leader of this group. With Farsight it’s easy to examine the details just by drawing a little closer.
Uwaah… it might have been a sword at one point. This isn’t a problem with the forging. Or if it was, that was ages ago. It looks like an old sword with a mark newly chiseled in. And poorly at that.
“Doesn’t that mark look fake? For people calling yourselves adventurers, you were scammed quite thoroughly.” I don’t really know what the real Helward’s Mark looks like, though, but Analyze-sensei is saying that the maker is some guy I don’t know name Iorne. Not even Pieta was at fault for this one. I highly doubt this sword came from this forge. Well, I’m kind of getting the feeling that they don’t really care about the sword. They’re totally looking for a fight.
“Tch. What’d you say?!”
Before he could get going, one of the other adventurers tapped Mr. Red-Faced-and Angry on the shoulder with a “Pft.”
“Poro, they have to have a girl to stand up for them.”
“Ah, see, this forge is no good, if they’re hiring women they gotta be desperate! Wahahaha!”
The thugs adventurers all laugh like it’s hilarious. Ha. Hahaha.
Ahahahahaha. Though I’m laughing silently, head bowed forward, my shoulders are shaking.
“What are you laughing for, bitch?!”
AaaAh … even though I briefly thought of just kicking you out; it’s been a stressful day, so if you’re looking for a fight, I’ll go all – well, I won’t go all out since there would be nothing of you left, but I’ll make you taste pain.
Fine then. Let me show you how I fight as a woman.
I crack my knuckles. I hadn’t noticed it until now, but my hands were a bit stiff from wielding the hammer and holing the tongs for so long. It looks like I have no problems with making a fist though.
The man I had smacked hard in the mouth is sprawled on the floor, looking as if he doesn’t know what’s going on. He sits up in a daze, rubbing his chin.
“Y-you bitch, I said we were Rank E adventurers, right?”
He tries to pull himself together and splutters that semi-angrily.
I ignore him.
“You talk too much. Shut up and come at me.”
My voice sounds cold even to myself, but I’m past caring now. To show that I’m confident, I grin, though my eyes are narrow since my feelings of irritation are stronger than my feelings of excitement. Or like, this situation is a pain in the ass.
The man in front of me turns pale for a moment, but only for a moment. Dumbass. Animals have better instincts than this.
“Shit … get her!”
Whew. That felt good. 1-hit KOs are always satisfying, even if they aren’t all knocked out. The conscious guys are unlikely to want to continue fighting though.
Oh, you want to know what happened?
I backhanded the first guy who reached me, then turned and used my wrist to knock the next attacker’s punch away. His punch ended up coming back to himself since I smacked him below the elbow.
Taking advantage of the fact that he was disoriented from hitting himself in the face, I stepped in, grabbed him, and then threw him rather forcefully into the next guy. All that was left was to watch them tumble off into the distance. I didn’t use any judo throws or techniques or anything; I decided to satisfy everything with brute strength this time.
I must be angrier than I thought. I seriously want to instill the fear of my strength in them.
“『… ignemvenideinferno; voraxbestiaignisegredieturetdevorabiinimicosmeosetincendesinignemintorrentibus』『Fire Blast』!”
What a long chant. Impossible, you won’t be able to use it in a real fight.
This isn’t a real fight? Of course it’s not. The level’s too different. There’s no danger even if I let him complete his magic; that’s what my intuition tells me. Oh, that’s right, I should use a chant.
Mm. I have a hard time remembering the chants. I mean, if you don’t need to use something you usually won’t remember it, right? Um…
As the (kind of small) blast of fire hurtle towards me, I give up trying to dummy chant. The result …
The people surrounding me have eyes as wide as saucers. Well yeah, I guess since I didn’t chant and the magic I used doesn’t have any visual effects, it just looks like I smacked the fire out of the air.
Ah, well, that IS what I did.
I just tried wrapping a small barrier around my hand first. I had some thoughts about what would happen if it didn’t work after the fact … but it did well, good job. Looks like I can make mobile barriers.
The person who cast the Fire Blast looks like he just wants to run away. Was it that terrifying to have your attack deflected? The guy I first decked in the chin, however…
“Sh-shit! You, do you think you can get away with –“
“Get away with what? Was there a rule against putting stuck up adventurers in their place? Or would you formally like to duel to the death? You’re welcome to come and give it a try, but you should try to get stronger first, ‘kay?”
I take a step forward, grinning kind of menacingly.
I’ll give the adventurers props for not just running away, but I’m not sure it’s possible to save face after a one-sided trouncing like that. Just give up trying to act tough.
I stand coolly in the entrance of the forge to make sure they actually do leave.
Ah … now there’s an awkward silence behind me. Did I meddle unnecessarily?
“Are you an adventurer? What’s your rank – ah, and I’m Pieta.”
One of the apprentices asked.
I didn’t mention it before, but of the apprentices at Helward’s Forge, there were 2 ossans and the rest are around my age. I’m guessing a bit on the ages, since this is a different world. There’s probably a difference in diet and such, so I can’t tell how many years older or younger the 4 younger guys are compared to me. They’re definitely between 15 – 20 years of age though.
One of the younger guys is the one who asked me about being an adventurer. So this is Pieta after all. Mischievous face with a lot of energy, tousled hair and a reckless attitude … kind of how I imagined him. Ah, just so you know, he’s not asking me about my rank like he’s looking down on me this time.
Actually, what’s with those glittering eyes …?
“C rank. But aside from that, is this a usual occurrence?”
I ignore the murmurs of surprise when I mention my rank. I can’t blame them for being surprised. It’s not just because I’m a girl (though I can’t deny that they probably thought that); such a young person being rank C is surprising in itself. Besides I only became an adventurer today.
“I guess it’s our ‘usual’ recently.”
All the apprentices are saying things with eyes like dead fish. Instead of despair, it’s more like … exasperation?
“It’s because there’s rumors that our Master Bladesmith has died in the Labyrinth so other smiths have been hoping to drive us out of business. By completely destroying us.”
“Yeah, Gustav’s been running around all over making deals and connections with all sorts of people. Without his political connections I think we would have been done for.”
“Yeah, right now they can only try this kind of underhanded tactic using fake reasons to pick fights, so it’s already a better situation than it used to be.”
“Dammit, where is Helward-sama off to right now?”
“Isn’t he just asleep somewhere?”
If you want to take out your competition, it’s easiest to literally take them out. This is the kind of dangerous place it is here, ne? For the situation to turn this desperate just because the head of operations was missing, it makes me appreciate the peaceful life of Japan more. It might be that Gustav is a great person to keep everything together so long.
Master Bladesmith Helward-sama, disappearing for a long time causes a lot of stress for your subordinates.
“Hey, but even with Helward-san is gone, isn’t there still an active smith? He’s pretty good, right? Or is that Jetsom guy also missing?”
I ask just to make sure.
“Nono, Jetsom’s fine. Did you hear about Jetsom from Gustav?”
Ah that’s right, I only know about Jetsom because of Analyze. Thankfully no one seems to notice the discrepancy. One of the other apprentices explains.
“It’s because Jetsom’s status isn’t too good, see. He’s young still, and there’s lots of back talk about how he’s only able to sell because of Helward’s influence.”
“Cheh. Even though it’s an envious blade-making talent. I completely want one of those blades.”
I’m broke though so I can’t buy one. Ooh, looks like the other apprentices’ opinions of me have gone up from me acknowledging Jetsom.
One of the apprentices, a tall man with coffee-colored hair who looked around college-age, similar to Seimei’s age, bows his head.
“It’s because of all these guys aiming for ruining Helward’s forge that all of us apprentices have been in bad moods lately. We’re sorry to have taken it out on you earlier. Since we’re all chasing after Jetsom and Helward’s backs, it’s just kind of frustrating to have someone else come in and earn the approval …”
“Ah, no, I also wondered what the heck Gustav was doing letting an unknown person handle the forge. The forge is sacred, after all. I have no idea what he’s planning with this. Well, if he offers, I’m not going to turn the chance down.”
It’s true; I was confused at this turn of events. Though I was angry about their attitudes it’s not like I didn’t understand. If I felt that their hostility was completely undeserved I wouldn’t have kept quiet. Still, it’s nice that they’re obediently admitting the real reason they were feeling frustrated instead of just insulting me.
The younger apprentices nodded and agreed matter-of-factly. What person would turn down a chance to forge a sword?
The older apprentices just smile wryly.
Ah, youth … that kind of feeling?
Naturally I want to go back to forging my sword, but Pieta and Forin, another young apprentice, have been hanging out over here. At first they said they wanted to help strike, but I’ve already finished the second refining. Despite that, they didn’t go back and help the others tend the forge or strike for ingots. They seem to want to talk about why I knew so much about swords and all the adventures I’ve been on. Even though I’ve only been here about a week. Or like, get back to work!
I’m kind of self-conscious about this, you know? This will be my very first time forging a sword, and I’m half-expecting it to be a disaster. Not that I feel like I can tell them that.
Thankfully the tall man with coffee-colored hair, Kulir (the one who made the heavy sword), has managed to pull them away by threatening to report everything they’ve been doing behind Gustav’s back if they don’t get to work. I suspect part of that “what they’ve been doing” is Pieta’s unauthorized forging of swords.
By the way, thanks to Pieta chattering away I found out that he’s 223 months old, even though he looks younger than 18 years old. Forin is 192. I’m not sure why it was necessary to exchange our ages, but when I said I was 200 Pieta seemed happy about it. I wonder if I look young for my age. Though my Asian looks aren’t too strange in this area, with demi-humans around I imagine no one is sure about anyone’s age.
“Good luck Jun!”
Pieta says it cheerfully, waving wildly as he slowly walks back to the other forge. One of the older apprentices clobbers him lightly on the head.
It’s time to get started on my first sword.
… Right, I’d left the ingot half shaped. Sigh.
[COMBAT MAGICIAN]: (Barrier Armor) – A highly advanced derivative of (Barrier). Wraps designated item in a barrier and moves with the item.