Chapter 40: In almost every OtherWorld LN, there’s magic and crafting
There was a commotion when I showed up with Niera at the forge. She’s really popular, huh?
Taking a look at her, she’s not wearing her breastplate, though she does have a leather armor on in case of hooligans who want to pick a fight. She has a sturdy body that’s not lacking in femininity, though her shoulders are a bit broad, and her hair is let down today. She is attractive, overall, and with her friendly personality as well as her fame, it’s little wonder the smiths are excited that she came by the forge.
Well, it’s only the young apprentices who are fan-boy-ing over her.
Nars, the senior apprentice half-Kobold who’s knowledgeable about all the ores, approached her too, but instead of getting all excited, he politely asked her how her sword and lance were treating her, and if she’d like them to do maintenance on it.
So Niera had a lance too…
Jetsom and Ossan, though they greeted Niera, made a beeline for me.
Ossan has a look of a mixture of curiosity, relief, and slight anger on his face.
Uuu… You really aren’t aware of how many people you rely on until you do something stupid and they all scold you for it, one after another.
It seems like when I first met them earlier today, the rumor about the destroyed gang hadn’t circulated around to non-Guild and non-Adventurer people yet. But they heard about it shortly after I left, and figured out pretty quickly what happened.
After I bowed and apologized for making them worry, Ossan and Jetsom ask to see the katana blade.
Jetsom saw it last night, but it’s not like he had good lighting so it’s understandable that he’d want to see it again.
Ossan’s face twists as he looks at it.
“Hmm, it is interesting after all. But what kind of crossguard would it take? It would be a shame to ruin such a simple shape with a typical crossguard and pommel, huh?”
As expected of a craftsman. He’s already trying to figure it out.
“… Hey, Jun, I thought about it before, but you really have no problems with patterned steel, huh?”
? I don’t know what Jetsom’s talking about, so I just say,
“… Right. It’s common in my hometown.”
“Ah, no, it’s just, it’s really hard to get patterned steel to channel magic through smoothly. If you do it poorly, the magic will get stopped up in various places. But yours really have no problems at all. Maybe it’s because you use mana forging?”
Eee … I have no idea, sorry.
Jetsom closes his eyes and channels magic through the sword. His eyes pop open.
“Eh? This one’s different? Did you make it with two different ingots?”
“Yeah, the inner part is a softer steel, and the outer part is a harder steel.”
“This is amazing!”
Is it really that amazing? Even if they hadn’t seen it made in this shape before, it should be obvious that having the outer steel hard so it can hold an edge while the inner steel is soft so it absorbs the shock would be a good idea. Hmm… I guess a lot of foreign swords aren’t like that, huh?
“Oi, Gustav, this sword, just with steel, has a dead core! Without any magic ores mixed in at all.”
Umm … what?
“The steel on the outside channels magic through it quickly, while the steel on the inside channels it slowly. It’s great for reducing the amount of magic when you’re using a magic sword with an enchantment that only triggers on the surface of the blade. Usually, to do this you have to mix crimonite in while alloying, having the alloy be completely molten until you quench or finish, so it’s usually only used for casting. The crimonite recedes from the surfaces, making a core that magic flows through slowly, but this is amazing! A forged sword with a dead core, and without crimonite, the other ores that will remain effective when you alloy will increase in number!”
So only cast swords would have this kind of ‘dead core’? Cast swords aren’t bad, but … meh. Forgers are always a little biased against them, and I’m no different. Their only great quality is that they’re made fast and the same for every mould.
That aside, did no one think to try this kind of thing with just steel before? I mean, if poorly made patterned steel had hiccups in it when you channeled magic, it’s because of the different steels in it, right? I wouldn’t imagine that NO one would think to try something like this, using two completely different ingots to forge. I mean, I’m sure there were western-style swords that people had put together similar to this in my home world? Well, it wasn’t for magic reasons.
Maybe because they had another way of doing it, or because it’s not really that big of a problem, they just never bothered. I mean, it only reduces the amount of magic used by a small portion. Well, in an endurance match, that little bit might be a big margin you need.
“Nn? It’s not just the ingots in the whole of the sword. The surface too, the edge channels faster than the rest. Oooo! There’s a clear line you can see between them? Ahhh, is that why it’s curved? Wow, this is just steel?”
Ossan is speechless for a second as Jetsom plays with the katana blade. Oh, Jetsom’s tail is wagging happily, and his ears are twitching in excitement.
Erm… y’know, that blade killed a bunch of people last night… Aaaa. It’s frustrating to think my first katana blade, before it even got a hilt, got its first blood as a mass-murdering weapon. All because of my weakness and lack of self-control. It’s super depressing.
“… Jou-chan. We HAVE to get you knowledgeable on magic ores. I can’t wait to see what you’ll come up with. Right now, though, show me how the hilt and guards should look. What’s this hole in the tang? It’s for attaching it to the hilt, right?”
As both of them bombard me with questions, I notice someone suddenly standing near me.
Niera… why are you getting that excited look too? Stop giving me those looks, I’ll ask now.
“Actually, Ossan, about that, there’s another weapon like this with a longer hilt.”
Ossan stops for a moment, then glances over at Niera.
“Aaah… I see. Alright, let’s go in the back to the woodshop. Hoy, guys, get back to work! Jephtha, come on. We’re setting everything else aside and working on this for the rest of the day. It’s going to get fun!”
Mm… I understand now how much money I tossed aside by refusing to take any more from the sword sales, but earning the good will of this world-renowned forge to a point where they would set aside all their other work to put my work first; I’m pretty sure the amount I didn’t take wouldn’t even be a third of what you’d need to hand over in order to buy this kind of treatment.
In the end we, or should I say mostly Ossan, had made all the parts for the katana hilt. He seems a little amused that it’s made so you can remove the hilt easily. Now that I think about it, most of the swords that we made were just about welded to the hilts.
After we assembled it, Ossan disassembled it. Are? Ossan?
In response to my confused look, Ossan laughed and said,
“Haha, I’m not satisfied. The first one you make is always just a practice run for the second one, you know?”
Un. I understand. It was the same with my first blade for the shipment. Though it was good, the second one was definitely better.
Heck, right now, if I didn’t need a sword immediately, and wasn’t facing pressure from the Guild to start Labyrinth diving so soon, I would definitely remake my katana. There’s no doubt that the next one will be better. I need to experiment more with the clay coating for heat-treating. And I think I may have done some unnecessary steps since I was a little too worked up about making it …
Ah, my thoughts are beginning to wander.
Wood is … definitely different than working with metal. You might think that’s obvious but, somehow … Hm. Maybe it’s some sort of weird magic habit I’ve developed, but I just can’t get as comfortable with working with wood.
How should I say it … when working with metal, when I send mana through it, it’s constantly circulating, and I maintain a steady flow of mana through it. Metal is also easier to just … mould with mana. Wood doesn’t budge. It’s like the difference between sending water through a sieve and sending water through a towel.
Nnn… I don’t want to just leave my skills with wood half-assed though. I don’t care about being able to build a house or a table or whatever, but I’d like to at least be able to make my sheathes and hilts myself.
After drawing up the plans for the naginata and Ossan showing me how to whittle, it was time for the forge to close up. Niera and I came quite late in the afternoon, afterall.
Speaking of Niera, I thought she had disappeared off somewhere, but she was actually outside the forge, just idling by and chatting with the workmen who were headed home.
“Sorry Niera, I kind of just …”
“No worries, no worries. It’s kind of nice to have a day to laze around, and you guys were working on that polearm anyway. Anyway, it’s dinner time, so do you want to grab a bite to eat? Ah, just so you know, Jericho and Kristaf are staking out The Queen Mary’s, so you don’t need to worry about that. The Guild’s already commissioning people they trust to watch for that organization’s activities.”
“Already? That was quick.”
“Weeell, they were planning on doing it before they met you, so that’s just how it went.”
Hm… come to think of it, I haven’t eaten at an actual restaurant ever since I’ve come to this city.
“Alright. I don’t know any places…”
“Ah, I already told Lor we were going to be at The Cave Bear…”
“Oh, ok. So Lor is coming as well? The two of you get along well, huh?”
Seriously, if I hadn’t decided to come along, it would just be the two of them, you know?
“G-g-get along?! What are you talking about, Jun!”
Niera slapped me on the back, really, really hard. Her lightly tanned skin had a hint of red about her cheeks.
Eeeeeeeeeeh. Even though I was just joking …
Currently, I’m at the tavern called The Cave Bear.
It’s a small shop, and there are only one or two waiters. But for being a small shop, it’s pretty crowded.
“Because the food is good and the ale is passable.”
Is what Lor said. Maa, I will pass on the ale, but I will accept the food.
There was no menu, but even if there was I wouldn’t have been able to read it. Niera had called one of the waiters over and asked them what they had in.
“Harrow Boar, Jumping Sheep, and Queensend Duck today. No fish. We won’t be able to whole-roast the duck for you, because those portions have already been claimed, but we do have a portion of the sheep stewed and a boar roast already going.”
“Mm… I’ll have the sheep, a steak please. Niera … did you want duck stir-fried with seasonal vegetables as usual?”
“Yep! Jun-chan, what about you?”
“Um… could you recommend something for me?”
The waiter, a slender and petite woman, nodded.
“How about a portion of the boar roast? Most people like it with our special sauce.”
So it seems these shops have more special-of-the-day type menus. I guess that makes sense. The restaurants in this world would probably be more like the small, family-run shops back home. Unlike the big, corporate shops from back home, it’s not like they would be able to have everything on hand all the time, and they would have to try to sell things that could go bad soon, so it’s no surprise that the menu could change daily. Though it was a little weird that you could also choose how they cooked it.
Maybe it’s just a bad stereotype that I thought food from this world would be hard bread and unflavored, tough meat, like from some dark age long ago from my home world. This world’s food culture has long since surpassed that level. The delicious street food by itself should have indicated that, but I was still surprised with the meal I got.
When it came, my portion had a very large amount of boar meat, crispy on the edges and tender in the middle, with a sauce I didn’t recognize slathered on top. It was a little sweet, but more savory. It wasn’t a tomato sauce, but that’s what it reminded me of. Next to it was potatoes, smashed and a spice blend mixed in, and then stewed root vegetables. According to the waitress, the vegetables were stewed in with the sheep, and so they had a meaty flavor. There was a piece of bread too, and it’s a soft, yeast bread. But the crust is a bit hard and flaky, so like French bread?
Un, the food is good. I still miss the soy sauce flavoring and rice from home, but tasty food is still tasty. And anyway, I’ve never been too picky.
In a few months my view might change, though. I heard it’s easy for Japanese to feel homesick about food in a foreign country. It’s true that if I could, I would like to eat rice once in a while, but as for anything else, I wouldn’t know how to cook it. Back home, I would peel vegetables for Grandma, but if it came down to seasoning and the proper way to cook things … forget it. I tried those experiments before.
Aaah… but I should stop distracting myself with the food. Because currently, Lor is sitting there, rubbing his temples with his index finger like he’s tired and his head hurts.
I’m very sorry.
“Ok. Tell me how you’ve been using magic again.”
“Um.. like I said, I just imagine what I want it to do, and then manipulate the mana by visualizing how I want it to move.”
Oh, he just made a face like he wants to yell something but he’s trying to control it. Niera watches the two of us, clearly amused. Dammit, just because you’re not involved you think it’s funny… I’m going to be sure to start teasing her about Lor after this.
Finally Lor just heaves a giant sigh. Looks like he’s finally come to terms with it.
“Well, it’s not like this kind of thing is absolutely impossible, but it’s not easy for a Human to be able to control mana like that. Actually, even Elves, and the races closer to the Fae, have a hard time. To be able to manipulate magic raw like that, normally only races like Devas or Elementals that are close to being magic themselves can do it. At least to the kind of degree you’re able to.”
I see… I think? Well, at least Lor is now just quietly accepting that things are the way they are instead of getting irritated over how impossible it is.
“But, how to say this, you’re not really casting magic. You’re manipulating it.”
“Erm… what’s the difference?”
“Manipulating it is a hell of a lot harder, because you have to be capable of interacting with it without calling an element as an intermediate.”
Oh. Oooh… so, could it be, the reason I can’t cast fire magic is because I don’t know how to “cast” it through an element?
“Um, Lor, just to be sure, the elements are Fire, Water, Wind, Earth, Light, and Dark?”
“Air, not Wind, but yes. And there’s also Unattributed. Even though it’s magic technically not cast through an element, it’s still cast in the same manner.”
“What of Healing Magic?”
“Magic for healing … It doesn’t surprise me that you’d be interested in that at all… Healing magic is extraordinarily difficult, because it’s a composite magic of Water, Earth, and Air.”
That does sound difficult. Even though in games it’s just under Light Magic or Water Magic …
“Ah, I guess we should really be teaching you how to cast magic. If you’re already so close to that side, you’ll probably end up being a formidable sorcerer or wizard.”
I’m not entirely sure what he means by “that side,” but I guess I’m an existence that’s closer to magic than others? But, maa, I’m ok with just using my abilities for crafting … not. Of course I will gratefully learn magic!
<T/n: Thank you AB and CL for you donations!>