A/n: The beginning of pt 2
Chapter 86: No Sir, Our Warranty Doesn’t Cover Nuclear Bombardment from Space, Which Appears to be a Valid Reason for Why Your Pile of Bits and Pieces has Stopped Working.
On the well-traveled road through the mountains, a lone Dark Wolf corpse lay in the middle of the mountainous path next to a large covered wagon and a small cart.
It’s a scene where a monster attacked some travelers and the escorts put it down.
A crime scene, with a dead body lying in the middle of the road.
Un… what should we do about this?
“A Dark Wolf won’t sell well in the mountains. The nearest village worth selling it at is still over 2 weeks away. Even with a magic bag, the meat and organs will all go bad.”
Saying so, Orvowel rubbed his moustache.
That’s not a problem if you have Inventory, but …
I’m not a tanner nor a leatherworker or furworker, and we have more prepared meat than needed for the journey tucked away in my Inventory, so un, the wolf isn’t needed.
“Then I guess we let nature take its course. But, it’s not a good idea to leave it, right? Since monsters and wild animals will be drawn to it.”
I said to Orvowel, wiping the blade of my nodachi clean of blood and gristle.
“In times like this, you do … this!”
With that, Ragnall picked up the wolf corpse and threw it.
Ooo … look at it go – not!
“Oooi! What if you hit someone with it?!”
Right when I yelled that –
Ragnall shaded his eyes with his hand as he looked in the direction he had sent the corpse flying.
A giant, red-furred bear rose from among the rocks and barreled towards us.
“Oho? It’s a Red Grizzly! Those are good eating!”
Ragnall licked his lips and moved to unhitch his sword – when all of a sudden, as the Red Grizzly passed a large outcropping of rocks, it gave a snarl and collapsed, careening forwards from its former momentum.
Hibiki-chan – ah, no, Hibiki, as she wanted to be called, emerged from the shadows, flicking blood from one of her long daggers.
“Should I leave it?”
She said, raising her voice a little.
“No no, come on, bring it over.”
As she came to meet us, Hibiki grasped the Red Grizzly by the scruff of the neck, lifting it up and carrying it over, although half of it dragged on the ground due to its size.
Either way, Hibiki has no problems with the weight of the giant thing.
“Hooo… You guys are still amazing. Why did the three of you decide to be MY escorts again?”
Orvowel scratched the back of his head as he gently calmed the skittish carthorse his wagon was attached to.
In this world of magic and sorcery, the three of us – me, Hibiki, and Ragnall – are hero-like cheat existences that can defeat dragons.
Although Hibiki and I are Japanese who were transported to this world while playing VRMMOs, along with a group of other people, so technically, we DID cheat.
Ragnall, on the other hand, is a native to this world. He’s just a regular cheat.
The reason the three of us cheats took a long, but cheaply paid escort quest is because … maa, touring all the various towns before we reach our destination is scenic.
Hai, that’s the reason.
Even though Ragnall insisted on us taking a commission so we don’t waste time, even he wanted to tour leisurely, since it’s the first time in a long time he felt like he could.
And Orvowel is an old companion of another old dwarf I’ve been indebted to, so there was that as well.
We had left Nyl City only two days ago, but this is the first time we’ve been attacked by monsters. Just the monster wolf and monster bear.
And technically, we attacked the bear first.
Apparently, random encounters don’t come so easily in real life. Just two monsters, and we haven’t even seen a sight of any normal animals.
It seems like they tend to avoid places humans tend to be in, after all.
After Hibiki brings the Red Grizzly over, Ragnall slits the bear’s throat open and the sticky, overwhelming smell of blood fills the air.
I stand back a little as it drains out.
Un. I still can’t stand the smell or sight of a lot of blood.
Even though I don’t have a problem with dismantling monsters, I have to wait until the blood is drained.
Although, it seems like we’ll be dismantling it fully later.
Just draining the bear’s blood seems to put us behind schedule, so we have to hurry to make it to the place Orvowel wants to stop at.
Ragnall stored the Red Grizzly into his magic bag.
Compared to Inventory, which Hibiki and I have, the magic bag can only hold … probably two Red Grizzlies at the most, and it doesn’t stop the time of the object that’s in it.
Since it’s like that, we definitely should be storing things with either Hibiki or my Inventory, but … not only Ragnall, but even Old-man Harulf said that we should keep our ridiculous storage skill a secret from Orvowel.
Even his friend said not to let him know … Orvowel must be a formidable merchant indeed.
Once Ragnall bagged the bear, we continued on our way until the next check point.
The sun was just beginning to set when we came to a moderate-sized cabin nestled among the rocks in the mountain.
Orvowel got off his wagon and stretched, saying,
“Leimon, bring the cart around the back, will you?”
“Roger that, Orvowel, sir.”
Orvowel’s young, lanky assistant, a tan-skinned kid, hopped down from their wagon after Orvowel and took the reins, leading their horse around the building.
Ragnall hopped down from our small covered cart behind the wagon, gently patting our horse.
“Hibiki, can you take the horse and cart back around the house? Follow Leimon and have him help you settle the horse in. Jun, help me dismantle that bear.”
I hop off our cart and pull out my long knife for dismantling.
On the blade is a simple circle with a flower in it – a Japanese-styled sakura emblem.
It’s my mark that embellishes all the blades I’ve made so far.
Although it was embarrassing at first, I got used to emblazoning my mark on each blade, so now it’s second nature.
My inner self is crying from the chuunibyou when I think about it, though…
Don’t mind it!
“Ah, is it okay to dismantle so close to the house?”
I ask, following Ragnall to the clearing.
Although it’s a proper house, we’re still in the middle of the wilderness. Won’t animals and monsters come looking for food if we dismantle right here? That was the worry when we were out camping, so …
“Yeah, it’s fine. As long as we clean it up, anyway.”
Ragnall gestures to the water trough.
I guess that makes all the difference…
Working quickly, I slit its belly, and then Ragnall takes over, skinning it back from my cut.
After he worked enough away, I started digging out its organs.
… Seriously. It might make me gag, but I’m okay with this, but not blood draining?
I won’t even begin to try to explain my neuroses.
Anyway, not fifteen minutes later, the bear is all cut up.
“We probably won’t need the rest of the skeleton … although some people stew them. I’ll ask if the caretaker wants the innards, so take those too.”
Covered in gore and gristle, Ragnall and I sort through the meats, meat with bone, fur, and innards, before Ragnall tosses the parts he didn’t want to keep off the side of the mountain.
I’m beginning to sense a theme in how he deals with unwanted parts…
Anyway, we picked up after ourselves and headed on into the house.
“Ooh, you two, I hear ya got something tasty for the pot! Come in, come in.”
A large, rotund bear – ah, no, a large rotund man with a full, fuzzy beard and hair all fluffed out greets us inside.
He’s so TALL!
I’m momentarily stunned by his appearance before I move further into the house.
“Ah… the pelt … I wouldn’t mind buyin’ it off ya. Since it’s uncured, how about 10,000ecrue?”
The large man grins as he spots the (slightly bloody) furs I’m holding and makes an offer.
“At this size? 17,500.”
“Gwahaha, a tough one, aren’t you? 14,500. The fur’s all knotted with blood, ain’t it?”
“Then we have a deal!”
The bear-man holds out his large hand with a great big grin that splits his face, and Ragnall reluctantly shakes on it.
Un… I’m not sure about the market price, but I think it could easily fetch 20,000 in the city… well, we’re not in the city, and we don’t want to carry it, so I guess the price reflects that.
“Oi, Usori, Jimisi! Take ‘er to the drying rack! I’ll be makin’ dinner with the meats; you don’t got a problem with that?”
The large man’s eyes twinkle as he looks at Ragnall.
Ragnall waves a hand.
“As long as we’re not paying.”
“Gwahaha! A true mercenary! Yer the White Devil, ain’t ya?”
Ragnall only gives a wry smile and a shrug.
Oya? I haven’t heard that name. Ragnall’s former mercenary friends only called him a white monster.
And everyone else always called him the Moneygrubber.
I’m not really sure which is better…
“You an’ that lass go get yourself cleaned up. Expect a great meal!”
The bear-man raised a fist and flexed his muscles.
Though I don’t know what that has to do with cooking … maa, I’m expecting something delicious, since Ragnall and Orvowel couldn’t stop praising the tastiness of Red Grizzly meat.
The one thing I’ve been extraordinarily grateful for is that the food technology isn’t lacking one bit in this other world.
It may be a world of magic and swords, but this world is surprisingly modern in many places.
I made my way to the bathing room the bear-man indicated, all the way in the back.
Orvowel had told us this was a waystation so I expected just a big, shed-like building, but it’s surprisingly like an inn. There’s even a separate bath for girls and guys.
Yuck… gore-stained shirt and pants…
I quickly strip my top off, since it’s a complete, bloody mess.
Even though I’ve learned how to dismantle, I’m still clumsy as all heck, and I get queasy handling it.
Even now I’m a little … guh.
Anyway, that’s why Ragnall did most of the delicate work.
As I’m about to start stripping off my pants, all of a sudden…
Hibiki stands there.
Her skin is flushed from the bath, and although she wrapped herself in a towel, her breasts are large enough that… uooo-! Bad!
I quickly look away.
“M-my bad, sorry, so, hahaha, ah, it’s, ah, um, it’s a group bath, huh!?”
Ah, my voice cracked, and I have a weird tension, huh?
Uh?! Wait a second, being topless is a problem now, isn’t it?!
ARGH! Why is it that the second I hit awkward situations, I suddenly become clueless on how I should act?!
Do I just not have enough experience as a girl?
Well that can’t be helped! I was a Japanese high school boy in the other world, after all!
My stupid one-man boke-tsukkomi comedy act in my head gives off a cold atmosphere even in my own head.
An uncomfortable silence descends upon the changing area.
Hibiki tilts her head.
“… Should this be something you should get used to…?”
No, wait, haaaa?!
Of all people, HIBIKI said that?!
“Um, I was a guy, you know?!”
“But you’re a girl now? And… it seems like there’s more group bathing than single bathing in this world…”
“Nonono, wait. Even so –“
“… It does seem like a complicated situation.”
“That’s not the problem. Hibiki. I used to be a guy. You want me to bathe with you?”
I glance over my shoulder.
She tilts her head. She thinks about it. She turns red.
“N-n-no! It’s not like I’m okay with guys seeing me! I just – uh, um… I’m just used to you as a girl?”
“That makes only one of us!”
Ahh… I’m defeated.
“A-anyway, I’m going to take a bath now…”
Thankfully, there are no other women in the waystation bathing area. I postpone the problem of communal baths for now…
A hearty smell is coming from the large, open room in the waystation building.
This room takes up most of the building, and Ragnall, Hibiki, Orvowel, and Leimon were all seated, lounging about.
There’s also a 6-man party of people who look like adventurers sitting near them.
Only us two groups here at the waystation, huh?
The room kind of looks like a Norse mead hall, and it seems that it’s the common room, the dining room, and the kitchen all at once.
The big bear-like man is roasting bear meat on a spit over the main fire, and behind him, in a fireplace, a large pot of something is sizzling over that fire. To the sides of the fireplace are two stoves and four pots going.
Even this high up in the mountain, with the dusk chill beginning to settle in, the temperature in this room is hot and cozy.
“What are all of you talking about?”
I ask as I go to sit down. Next to Ragnall. On the opposite side of Hibiki.
After the changing room incident, it’s still a little awkward for me…
“The things Numinor, that is, the waystation’s manager, wanted to buy from us, is all. On top of the usual things he needed replenished, like lye and salt and the like, he was looking for a better kitchen knife…”
Orvowel’s eyes twinkled as he looked at me.
“… And? You have knives, right? So that’s not a problem.”
Or like, don’t look at me for that, Orvowel-san!
“Hohoho, although that’s true, I don’t think they could compare to YOUR blades.”
Achyaa… so it really was that after all.
Although Orvowel is a round, happy dwarf with a handsome moustache, somehow I can picture him rubbing his hands over “treats of gold”.
I suppose all merchants have to have that kind of fixation on money, but leave me out of this type of thing!
It’s been established ever since I came to this world that I have a warped sense of money, and I’m not too eager to have the cutthroat merchants I’ve met swindling me over prices.
No middlemen, please! I have enough trouble figuring out how to sell my blades.
Ragnall quickly stepped in.
“Forget it, forget it, Orvowel. You don’t have the kind of coin needed to trade that girl’s weapons – or fund a country for a year.”
… Eh. I HAVE improved on making reasonable swords, you know…
But it seems that my early transgressions of making ridiculous, legendary-type magical weapons is still going to be mentioned from now on as well.
Ah, just so you know, it’s not like I was some genius sword smith or something in Japan. I was just a sword otaku, but somehow getting cheat-like magic abilities seemed to feed off my sword obsession, and … a lot of things happened. Anyway, I’m being regarded as a master bladesmith now, for some reason…
While I’m sulking, the conversation moves on without me.
“Hohoho! I heard she’s quite the generous sort if the mood suits her, so I couldn’t help it. But truthfully, getting such high quality goods would only go poorly for us in the future.”
Orvowel laughed lightheartedly.
Nn? What did he mean? If he sold my swords, that would only be another item he could take in profit from, right?
Although I have no intentions of providing them for him.
“Since I can’t bring that quality of blade every time, my reputation might drop. Thieves might start targeting us too, see.”
Orvowel winked at me.
“Those things … would most likely be only … short term?”
Hibiki said timidly.
“Un, that’s true, but in the end, for traders like us, who take such long routes and go to such remote towns, that kind of trouble is best avoided, ne?”
“In the end, you’ll sell Manager-san a knife from your stock, right Orvowel? Just so you know, if I forge anything, I don’t have an interest in having anyone sell them for me.”
Unless I sold them to a weapon store, I guess. But I definitely don’t want someone else negotiating the price for me. I mean, the price will go up if I have someone doing that, right? It’s not really worth it… even if you say that, at the prices my swords go for, the added cost from a middleman would be negligible… un. I don’t like it.
Perhaps they are correct in saying I’m useless when it comes to selling things…
“Excuse me, they say you’re a smith?”
From the side, the other party of adventurers suddenly cut into our conversation.
Uh… although right now I’m an adventurer who’s on an escort quest … well, this is real life, so it’s not like I have to switch class jobs or something.
“Yes, that is correct.”
The one who’s asking is a young man, skinny and awkward looking. I wonder if he’s younger than me, or if he’s just naturally scrawny looking.
That young man heaves a sigh and says,
“What a relief! Hey, so my sword got broken, but could you possibly fix it?”
Well, I guess that’s also a smith’s job, but …
I ignore Ragnall muttering something about summoning a dragon to kill a slime.
“I’m not sure what I could do, but –“
“Well, see, just take a look.”
Before I could subtly try to refuse, he holds up his sheath and pours the sword out onto the table in front of me.
POURED. His SWORD out.
The sword is in so many pieces it’s a little difficult to count exactly how many. It looks like it shattered when he hit something quite hard. But even then…
“Just asking, but were you guys hunting frost trolls?”
“Eh? Wow! How did you know?!”
Because only something like that would freeze a steel sword cold enough that it could shatter into a million pieces like this.
Ah, I guess fighting an ice drake would do it, too.
It’s kind of hard to tell if the reason the sword broke was because the craftsmanship was poor, or if this man’s magic swordsmanship was poor.
In this world, circulating magic power through your weapon is common sense, and would more or less protect decently made weapons. There are even spells to harden your weapon against trauma, or sharpen it momentarily in battle…
But because the … “sword” is in this sort of state, I can’t tell if it was made poorly so magic can’t be used efficiently. Actually, I can’t really tell what kind of sword it is.
Which makes me ask…
“What… exactly do you want me to do with this?”
“Well, like, you can fix it, right? Get the pieces back together somehow?”
“… Just to be sure, you want a sword for … cutting things with, right?”
I mean… yes. I COULD put an iron band around it and weld it together, but I don’t think you can call that a sword anymore. It would just be an object for bludgeoning.
Ooooh boy, he’s completely serious.
“At that point, it’s not even a sword anymore. I’m telling you, it’s better just to get a new sword.”
Thank you, thin-faced girl adventurer-san. It was hard for me to come out and bluntly say it myself.
“Eeeeeh!? Then what do I do? We’re still two days out from Nyl City!”
“And I don’t want to go back to the city before we’ve finished our commission just because you bought a cheap sword to begin with. Let her piece it together, and at least you’ll have a fine bludgeoning weapon for a bit.”
The more sullen, more muscular adventurer man said that, with a very pointed look.
Achyaaa… it seems they’re in a bit of a bind.
I look the shards over.
“I suppose I could melt it down and reforge it … the steel is … decent, I suppose. Just so you know, though… it would be kind of expensive. 25000 ecrue.”
“Eeeeh?! I could buy a new one for that price! I’m providing the materials, you know?”
The younger guy complained.
I suppress the urge to make it cheaper. I mean, I’m basically making you a new sword, you know? I even have to resmelt the steel!
I can’t say anything but, “Sorry, that’s how it is.”
The thin-faced girl furrowed her brows together.
“Aren’t you just taking advantage of us because we have no other option than to have it repaired if we want to go on traveling?”
Ugh. This is …
I’m a bit troubled as to how to respond. 25,000 ecrue is actually too cheap, according to the pricing rules Helward-san, my forging teacher in Nyl City, laid out for me.
Although the man who owned the sword and the thin-faced girl are upset, the others in their group are saying things like, “Serves him right for being cheap at the beginning.”
I’m not sure what to do…
I want to say something like, “Well then, I won’t do it. I don’t need the money,” but something tells me that might make things worse…
“Hibiki. Show them your dagger.”
Ragnall said, all of a sudden.
Hibiki’s usual twin daggers are mithril and galvorn made, but she does have a slightly longer dagger at her side. That’s the one Ragnall’s referring to.
The delicate, ice-blue blade began emitting a subtly cold aura as Hibiki slipped it out of the sheath.
It’s one of those blades that even normal, untrained people can recognize to be near legendary-grade.
Because the material to make it was part of an ice drake’s fin…
The adventurers’ eyes widen in disbelief as they stared at the dagger Hibiki laid on the table. Even the ones who were sitting in the back, keeping out of the conversation, leaned forward a little, their eyes riveted on the dagger.
As for the young man and the girl … they’re too intimidated by it to even think about touching it, huh?
Ragnall chuckles and says,
“She made that, you know? 25,000 ecrue is a huge discount for you. Anyway, if you don’t like it, Orvowel has some cheaper swords for sale… he’s a sundries trader, you know.”
Right after Ragnall said that, Orvowel quickly leaned forward.
“And not just swords. Travel gear, maintenance kits, preserved foods for traveling… If there’s anything you need, feel free to take a look!”
I am always amazed at the spirit of merchants.
<A/n: Thank you Ellipsis and Caleix for your donations!
I am working on the “cover” to this second part. One of the things I’m fighting with is getting back into drawing more regularly.>