Chapter 33: There are a lot of MCs that get their Best Weapons Right Away. Well, there are a lot of MCs who Start out with “a” Weapon. And Skills. And an Explanation for what’s Going on.
That is the unexpectedly large amount Inventory’s <Wallet> function has been stuffed with.
After Sir Knight Captain happily completed the sword purchase contract and left, the Vice-GuildMaster and Ossan squabbled over the price that was to be paid to us.
“You sold them at a higher price than expected; isn’t that a reflection of the quality of our goods?”
“Hmph, I was enterprising enough to manage it, so the profit is the Guild’s.”
And the like. Well, I’ll leave the rest of the negotiation to your imagination.
In the end, they split the unexpected profit and we were paid 170,000 ecrue per sword. As I had promised before, I only took 30% for my swords. Ossan and Jetsom seemed like they were going to push a little more on me, but it was the agreement we had reached before.
Though they said that they only made such a hasty agreement due to the time constraint … well, I won’t hear any more of it.
Ossan sighs a bit.
“That Dobin … if he had discussed it with us, we probably could have sold them at 300,000 ecrue, and it would still be a great discount for the buyer.”
We leave the Guild’s meeting rooms and head out through the lobby. This is where I came to register as an Adventurer.
“Oh, hey, since this was a commission … there’s no way I can add it to my card, huh?”
They kept using the words “commission” and “commissioner”, but it’s not really an adventuring request. Well it’s worth just asking at least, right?
“Ah, no, sorry. The commission is for ‘Helward’s Forge’ this time.”
Is what Jetsom said, but Ossan strokes his short beard thoughtfully.
“That’s true, but it might not be a bad idea for Jou-chan to get registered at the Guild for being a Craftsman as well as an Adventurer.”
“Eh? What’s the difference? No, I mean I get the difference… What’s the benefit in doing that?”
“Craftsmen get special services … is what I’d like to say, but not really. The main reason to register as a Craftsman is so that the Guild is aware of you being a Craftsman. For craft-type commissions, a maker or rank of maker is specified and the Guild acts as an agent in enlisting the Craftsman for the commissioner. And for Jou-chan, I think it would be better to register sooner.”
Is there really a need to hurry? I’m pretty unknown, you know. Or like, there won’t be many people who will be happy to hire a female smith without any merit to her name. But Ossan seems to have a better head for this type of thing than I do, so I suppose it would be best to follow what he says, huh …
Taking my “hah” as an agreement, Ossan leads me to the front desk.
It’s not the same receptionist as before.
“Yo, Nel, can you register this Adventurer as a Craftsman? She’s a bladesmith, just so you know.”
“Hm? Oh, Gustav-san. Alright, I can do that, but she’ll have to go through an appraisal you know.”
The receptionist oneesan holds out her hand so I give her my Guild Card.
She places it in a strange, shallow tool that lights up when the Guild Card was inserted.
While we’re waiting, Ossan asks,
“Hm… how long will that take? The appraisal?”
“Let’s see… With Helward missing, the other Master Weapons Appraiser, Pulman-jiji, won’t be available for two days. Would it be ok if we called you back for that? If that wait isn’t ok, we can find someone else, but the appraisal won’t be able to award ranks B and above.”
“How about it, Jou-chan?”
Hm… well I don’t really have any pressing worries about this.
“It’s fine isn’t it? To wait, I mean.”
“Oka~y. Added the Craftsman identification but left the rank blank. Please come back in two days on the Day of Fire, in the morning, to be appraised and for the rank update. Also, please confirm the correct information is on the card.”
The receptionist pulled the card back out and handed it to me.
Ah, what was it again …
“『Guild Card: Activate』.”
Name: Jun Race: Human
Age: 200 Gender: Female
Rank: C Class
Craftsman Rank: -tbd-
I find out later that the cards for Adventurer and Craftsman are different colors. My card, being the dark grey metal, says that my primary job is an Adventurer, but I can also do work for craftsmen according to rank.
The Craftsman card is a light silver metal. Adventurer can be added to it, but then the card-carrier would be considered to have a primary job of Craftsman.
The only other job the Guild backs is Merchant, with a bronze-colored card. It’s not necessary to have a Merchant card to sell items or set up shop in general, and there aren’t that many people who have them. Most people who bother getting these cards are like the traveling merchant I first met, Kali. They’re the people who make a living selling others’ items.
The Guild only acts as a middle man between commissioners and the ones who take the commissions, so they don’t make the job categories more specific like Hunter, or Scout, or Beastmaster as they do in games.
Adventurers often take jobs that don’t matter who takes them as long as they’re fulfilled. They take the jobs that suit their expertise, whether it’s hunting for monster materials, gathering information, exploring, etc. In other words, Adventurers are the jack-of-all-trades, and nobody really cares exactly what you do as long as you can finish your job. Though there are various small exceptions, with regards to Adventurers, the Guild does very little other than making sure commissions are displayed and that finished commissions get to their commissioners.
The Guild lists Craftsman as a separate job because of the difference in which commission are handled. Commissioners usually have specifications for Craftsman Commissions. The fee to make a commission for a Craftsman is larger because the Guild must sort through their data and solicit the Craftsmen themselves. The Guild also takes a larger risk, because they assure the quality of the Craftsman according to the commission. That’s why an appraisal is necessary of the Craftsman’s skills when they register.
Merchant is treated the most differently of the bunch, and Merchant Cards are the most difficult to get. Tons of references, strict observation, submitting reports every moon phase on what you’ve sold, to whom, and where … there’s a lot of stuff that’s left unsaid about Guild backed Merchants. All that I really understand is that there’s a lot of risk with the Merchant Card, both for the Merchant and for the Guild.
Anyway, after I confirm my Card and thank the receptionist onee-san, I catch sight of a familiar person walking briskly across the lobby.
He looks like he’s pulled a few all-nighters, but it’s Lor crossing the Guild’s lobby area.
That’s right, I had a few questions about fire magic and stuff.
I wave him down.
Uwaaa … his eyes are kind of bloodshot, aren’t they?
“Oh, it’s Jun. What is it? Did you need anything from the Guild? I’m just temporary staff right now, but if I can help …”
“That’s, I had a few things … um, before that, are you alright?”
Lor stifles a yawn.
“Yeah, I’m good. So?”
“Um, yes, well some things have happened and I’ve had Craftsman added to my Guild Card.”
I feel a bit bad for asking, but
“Um, Lor, it’s not pressing or anything, but I had some things about magic that I was wondering about, but … um. Is there a good time for you?”
“Let’s see … I’m a bit busy now, but tomorrow around the Returning Watch I should be fine.”
… Will you really be ok? You’re counting in time to sleep, right?
Watching him walk off, well, kind of wobble off, I paid the fee to update my Guild Card (just 800 ecrue this time) and left with Jetsom and Ossan.
“So you know magic as well. Was that one of the Adventurers you came to the city with?”
“Ah, yeah. He helped me out a lot.”
That’s not untrue. He taught me what was mostly common sense.
“Heh … so you know the Learned Wizard. In this city, he’s considered the magic encyclopedia. The Guild often seems to want to work him to death because of his expertise. He’s mostly interested in medicines, so I’m sure Dobin-san’s been taking advantage of that, with the lab space they rent out to him in the back of the Guild Hall.”
Uwaah. If the Vice-GuildMaster has his sights on him, then I guess Lor’s sleep-deprived state is to be expected.
“That Dobin …”
Ossan said, sighing again.
“Those swords were worth at least 500,000 ecrue.”
Ah … Ossan can’t let it go. He has a merchant’s spirit too, huh.
Frankly, I’m satisfied with the amount I got. From the beginning, the greatest amount I’ve ever had was 30,000 ecrue, so 612,000 ecrue is quite the windfall. I can now prepare to go into the Labyrinth-!
Speaking of which …
“Um… Ossan, Jetsom … now that we’re done with the shipment …”
“Oh, that’s right, that’s right! According to the agreement, we need to start teaching Jou-chan about magic and enchanted ores!”
…! Not that-! No, I mean, that too, but … I can tell I’m making a complicated face, but I can’t help it.
Ossan laughs hard.
“Just kidding. Jou-chan wants to forge that sword from her country badly, right?”
Yes, that! I nod wordlessly.
Jetsom grins and adds,
“I’m curious too, what kind of sword it is.”
“Well, let’s go back then.”
It’s all I can do to keep from skipping there.
Aah, I definitely caught it. Grandfather’s disease for katana.
I’m slowly choosing bits of steel that has been refined once. Though they offered me ingots that have already been prepared, since this is a katana, I can’t have that.
Of course I wish I could have tamahagane, the steel made from iron sand that they only sell to reputable sword smiths in Japan, but even I understand that it’s just because I want to imitate the Japanese masters.
Strictly speaking, it wouldn’t make a huge difference. Actually, tamahagane is only REALLY still used as a dedication to the ways of Ancient Japanese swordsmithing. Some modern steels are getting popular to be used in katana smithing.
Even so … tamahagane … Ah… one day I want to try smelting my own.
But right now it’s all about the sword.
I have to be careful choosing the steel pieces I will be using in my folded steels for this katana. I’m concentrating … a little too hard on this task, if the side-glances from the apprentices in the forge are any indication.
As I begin to hammer and fold the metal, a strange sensation suddenly surges through me. Almost before I knew it, the presences of everyone else in the forge had disappeared.
It feels like the metal is singing to me, flowing through my head and echoing through my core. A strange ringing seems to shake through my skull.
Shin. The heart of the sword.
Kawa. The skin of the sword.
Without one there is no strength. Without the other there is no resilience.
Should you fail with one, or the other, all essence will be lost.
Through repeated adversity shall their steel both be forged:
Combine the two, as inside and outside is one.
Shape it, straight as the pride of its soul.
The tip pierces as the herald of keenness.
Without the trial of heat it shall not become.
Though overheating is but meaningless torment.
From fire to water will the shape give.
While earth will the sharpness protect.
Come into being.
What time is it now?
I’m not sure how long I’ve been at it. But, well, the forge is dark except for my forge.
My mind feels a bit hazy. This time the Craftsman’s Trance was a little stronger than usual … I sat back on my heels.
I’m tired. I haven’t been this tired since I first came to this world.
The weight in my hand suddenly jolts me back to reality.
I clean off the blade in my hand, then hold it up.
The light from the forge’s embers glints seductively off the edge.
“Dammit, it isn’t good at all.”
I sigh, turning it this way and that to look at it better.
“No, it’s a katana, but … hm… it could definitely be better…”
Despite saying those dark words, I can’t help the grin that’s splitting my face.
I mean, this is my first “true blade”, you know? My first katana.
“Hahaha, shit, it really isn’t good at all.”
I laugh a little like I’ve gone mad. There’s this intoxicating feeling in my chest.
… Hah …
I’m really glad there wasn’t anyone in the forge right then. I kind of lost myself there for a bit.
Taking a deep breath I look at the blade again.
No, it’s not a bad blade, but I’ll need to be careful on the form for next time.
I wasn’t really sure exactly how the blade would curve when I quenched it, so I feel like I got lucky this time. There are a lot of things I will need to reflect on.
It was probably too much to hope I’d be able to forge something on par with Sanjo’s Crescent Moon right away.
No, I get it, but you still kind of hope for it …
Anyway, it’s still a good katana.
But I swear I can do better!
Squinting carefully at the clock in the forge, it’s … oh, it’s already past the Midnight Watch?! Arara … I may have greatly inconvenienced the forge doing this.
As I was thinking that, a rustling sound came from the back of the forge.
Carrying a lantern, Jetsom walked out.
“Oh, I thought the sounds of forging had stopped. How was it?”
“Ah, well … there’s some merits … and demerits.”
“It’s hard for me to think that there’s something you can’t make.”
He drew closer, clearly curious.
“Well … like I said, I’m not a Master Bladesmith in my hometown…”
Jetsom stared at me in disbelief, but took the blade I offered out to him.
Though the light was meager, with just the lantern and the dying fire of the forge, it’s not too hard to tell that it’s definitely not the same as the swords we’d been forging.
“… Ah, I see now. The style of swordplay you’d use with this type of sword would certainly be impossible to mimic with a broadsword.”
He can see that much already, huh … Well, as a swordsmith you’d naturally know a little bit about swordplay, so it’s not that unexpected.
“Right? It’s not like I refuse to use a different kind of sword, it’s that I can’t really use a different kind of sword.”
As Jetsom looks it over, he tries to give it a swing. Ah, careful. Because the balance and shape is different, it would be easy to mishandle if you’re used to broadswords. And by mishandle, I mean it’s easy to cut yourself.
While he’s doing that, I cough and meekly say,
“Um … I’m sorry about going so late into the night.”
“Ah, it’s fine. You helped us out a lot this time, and well … it was kind of hard to call out to you.”
Apparently I looked like I was possessed when I was forging the katana. … I want to blame Craftsman’s Trance, but I suspect that it was mostly just me concentrating too hard, so I don’t say anything.
Ahh, it’s not good though, greatly inconveniencing people like this by working over time in a borrowed work place.
Though I sharpened the naked katana blade, I still want to take the time to polish it properly and show off the hamon pattern from the use of ashes and clay in the heat treatment.
Ah, of course the pattern is suguha, that is, just a straight line. It was too embarrassing to try to make the first blade all fancy when I wasn’t sure what the resulting quality it would be.
But that’s a discussion for another time. The katana’s hilt and handguard will have to wait until tomorrow too. It’s late after all, and I don’t want to keep Jetsom and Pieta, who Jetsom woke up to douse the fire and clean the forge, awake any longer. As it was, it was well past Midnight when I hit the streets, the naked blade by my side simply wrapped in a linen.
Hm? I could have left carrying it to <Inventory>? Well, yeah, but … … … I just want to carry it with me, ok?
Because I’m currently bunking in what can be considered the night-life area of the city, I hadn’t noticed before but the industrial part of the city goes dead at night. I guess it’s because there are only forges and warehouses and that kind of establishment here. Even places like Helward’s forge, where the apprentices and other personnel live in a dormitory out back, have extinguished their lights and are just about motionless by the Midnight Watch bells.
Since laborers have to wake early every day, it’s to be expected that they also turn in early.
The many visitors to the red-light district are probably Adventurers with no set schedule or rich people who like to play around.
So thinking, as I move closer to The Queen Mary’s, the streets get more alive. Light magic stones illuminate the streets where shops are still open. They’re mostly seedy-looking taverns and greasy-looking fried food stalls so far, but as you get closer to the brothels more of the Light magic stones are shaded in red-glass, shining red haloes down on women standing on the streets trying to get your attention.
Hm? I was certainly expecting an increased amount of people as I got closer to the brothels, but isn’t this a bit too many?
No, it’s not necessarily that there are too many people. The fact that they’re all just standing, gathered about, is what’s worrying. And the place they’re gathering around is …
A bad feeling wells up in the pit of my stomach as I push through the crowd towards The Queen Mary’s.