Chapter 92: Some People get Really Irritable when Under Pressure. It’s Best to Avoid those People
I left Woodrest awhile ago, but since it took so little time to talk to Eloise the catgirl receptionist, I can’t imagine Ragnall and Hibiki-chan are done with talking to the wardens at their headquarters.
It’s not like I didn’t go along with them because it sounded tedious, or because I actually wanted to explore Warden’s Post, un.
Fuu… it’s definitely a different world than Nyl City, here in Warden’s Post. Aside from the fact that there are trees and greenery everywhere you look, the air just feels … richer. If I use Magic Sensory, I can see the magic power flitting off plants and flying up into the air.
What is this like… the ocean when plankton and stuff fill the air and it’s all murky, but all that murk is nutrients so other things thrive off it. That’s what it is; it feels like the air is more full of life here.
The air is also buzzing with the cycling of Light Magic. Ah. That’s why it feels so comfortable to me here…
By the way, magic power is being released into the air as free… particles? … while Light Magic is just being released as an aura. But you know, even an aura has some effect… anyway, as a being who is made entirely of Light Magic, this place is comfortable.
It’s not like Nyl City was UNcomfortable, but it didn’t have nearly this kind of plant and animal life, even in the Labyrinth, that I didn’t go down into all that often.
Labyrinth flora and fauna aren’t made of Light Magic but just magic … hm. It’s like, I guess the difference between homunculi and an actual person in Light Novels, if I had to try to explain it. Things that make Light Magic and things that are maneuvered strictly by magic; they’re similar, almost impossible to explain the differences, but at the base, they are certainly different.
For one, Labyrinth plants and animals cannot live long outside the Labyrinth. 2 months, at the longest (according to Lor).
Anyway, although I didn’t notice any bad feelings in Nyl City, when I came here, to this outpost in the woods, un. This is more comfortable after all.
Here in Warden’s Post, the biggest tree is home to the Warden’s HQ, while the second biggest one was the lobby of the inn, Woodrest.
Aside from that, of the main buildings, there’s the stables that’s built with two trees as the main posts, as well as a standalone building that’s a warehouse. And a place where it looks like they produce most of the arms in the town.
… I guess there’s no real need for a store in a place like this, since the Wardens kind of own everything, from what I can tell. If you need to by something, you go to the Warden’s HQ to barter, or to talk to the small Guild kiosk stationed inside.
In that sense, it doesn’t really feel like a town.
However, because there are small cottages here and there among the trees (personal residences, looks like), you can’t say that there aren’t enough buildings to call it a town.
Well then, now that I’ve taken a quick glance around…
Much of this building is open to the elements, but I guess with all the trees, there isn’t going to be much problem with rain.
I just want to take a peek inside, since you can just walk up and take a look inside, but if there are people around, then I’ll want to greet them and ask about using the facilities.
That’s right, I’m checking out the forge (like building).
It can’t be compared to Helward’s forge, of course, but despite being small, the facilities seem good. The feeling is … un, like a good foundation of the basics without any fancy attachments? That kind of facility.
Inside, a gruff-looking beastkin is seated, working away with earmuffs on. Judging by his features… a wolf-type beastkin?
By the way, it’s not strange for beastkin to wear hearing protection in this world, when using things like grind-wheels or working around the forges. The clamor can get a bit too much for them, it seems.
Although I don’t think he can hear me, the beastkin still notices my approach and looks up.
After taking notice of who I was, well, more like, after noticing I wasn’t anyone he knew, he frowned and kind of snarled,
“If ye want to buy or get somethin’ repaired, head over to HQ. We don’t have no time to deal with ye here.”
“Yes, but you see…”
Uh… he’s so hostile. How do I deal with this.
Since I show no signs of leaving, the beastkin heaves a dramatic side, then slightly moves the ear muffs so one of his ears can wiggle out.
As I thought, he couldn’t hear me.
He says angrily, practically spitting it out.
“I was wondering about if you let people use the forge.”
“Ye can go ask that at HQ too.”
At his curt reply, I make a face.
“… Permission at that level isn’t the problem here. You’re busy, aren’t you?”
“If ye can understand that, then ye know that I ain’t got the time for bandying words with you. Yeah, that’s right, we got some freak thing going on, the wardens are patrolling more than usual, the monsters are out more than usual, an’ they got my usual helpers running other errands. There’s more work, less hands, and less time to do it in!”
The wolf(?) beastkin lets out a stressed yell as he tugged at the wild tufts of hair on his head.
Uwaa… somehow, I’m sorry.
“… I don’t suppose you could do with a hand?”
The wolf(?) beastkin lets out a huge sigh. His high, frenzied tension has dissipated somewhere. It seems like he just really wanted to complain. So is he the only smith – weapon, armor, and general blacksmith – in Warden’s Post? Thank you for your hard work.
“If I could, I would, but we ain’t just got money lying around, you know.”
He said, complaining.
Un, that’s also understandable.
“There’s compensation needed for using this place, right? Instead of a payment, help should work.”
I commented offhandedly.
The wolf(?) beastkin eyes me suspiciously.
“An’ exactly why are you so willing to help out? This ain’t just oddjobs, y’know. If ye help out, I’m going to use you for all ye got.”
Why… un, he probably won’t just accept that it’s because it’s my personality trait. We don’t know each other, after all.
“I’m getting rusty myself. It’s difficult to be a weaponsmith on a long journey.”
“Hooooh…. I see. A person who aspires to walk the path of the smith. If ye want to do it seriously, ye should settle down at a forge for several years and be an apprentice. Well, fine then. I’m in a tough spot, so I’m gonna use ye hard! You can at least sharpen swords, right?”
I’m not really looking to be an apprentice, but … un. I did more forging than sharpening, or like, I only sharpened blades the bare minimum, but, let’s see, this will be good practice.
Back in Japan, there were whole houses that made a name for themselves with sharpening technique. To sharpen the blade without damaging the patterned grain on the sword – that is something that takes years of study and many cut fingers.
But truthfully, if you don’t have a fancy blade, western or eastern style, normal sharpening like sharpening a common kitchen knife is enough.
After all, if you have a blade that must be used practically in your life, to keep the edge sharp is more important than aesthetics and value. And this world is that kind of world.
That said, with magic ores and alloys, exquisite sharpening technique becomes elevated from preserving the integrity of a sword, to enhancing the swords performance.
Un, well, for starters, there’s preserving the integrity of the edge of a magic sword. Haphazard sharpening can ‘dull’ the edge, when it comes to being able to channel magic through it. Like… when you bend a straw, although water can still flow, it just doesn’t go through as good.
There are other effects that are unique to certain types of magic ores and alloys that are dependent on the way they are sharpened, and according to Helward, there are also ways of manufacturing magic swords that can be damaged by improper sharpening
But, just like a non-magic blade, if it’s between sharpening so that the magic effect is lessened or not sharpening at all, of course you should sharpen your blade.
The effects of improper sharpening are really only noticeable if you’re a skilled magic swordsman, and if you’re a skilled magic swordsman, chances are you have a magic sword that’s worth enough that you would take the effort to learn how to properly maintain its every detail.
ANYWAY, what I’m trying to say is, although the swords that need sharpening here aren’t the kind that require specialized sharpening techniques, there’s no problem if I just take this opportunity to focus solely on this aspect of a blade.
Although, from how the wolf(?) beastkin was talking, I feel like as long as they’re sharp, he’s not going to care how good of a job I do… maa, I just want to take a look at the swords in this area.
Because most of the people here are Wardens, they’re all armed with similar equipment. The swords are … un. How should I explain it… like a Chinese sabre with its flared end? Although the hilt is more subtle.
They’re also emitting what I can only describe as a ‘green’ magic… I haven’t seen that before, so I’d like to have a closer look.
Un, I’m fine with sharpening swords!
Hoooh… seeing this sword out of the sheath, it’s only very slight, but this beautiful pearly silver color is … there’s moonstone and mithril? Ah, though it’s mostly steel.
Un, all of the swords are like this, so I wonder if this alloy is named… but the short-tempered wolf(?) beastkin has put his earmuffs back on and shut me out.
Guess I’ll just get to work.
I’m not familiar with this exact alloy, but alloys with moonstone added don’t do great well with a larger-grit file, and it definitely needs to be lubricated … un. The only stones I see are finer-grit, and there’s a sweet smelling oil there.
I guess since the items are prepared to be exact, even a novice can’t screw it up too badly as long as they know the basics of sharpening a knife.
Zzzk zzk zzk
Ah, I guess for people with sharp hearing, this kind of high-pitched rasping noise WOULD be painful. Although I knew it before, somehow it only just now dawned on me why the wolf(?) beastkin has the earmuffs on.
Hm, compared to forging, sharpening feels less engaging, especially when you have to do so many. But, maa, there’s definitely a sense of satisfaction when you finish.
Because I can fine-tune the angle and spot the uneven bits at an almost microscopic level with my neutral crafting magic, it doesn’t take me long and I soon run out of swords.
Which means, all the swords in the forge are sharpened.
The wolf(?) beastkin reaches out for another one (his 5th since I’ve been here), but when his hand catches empty air, he looks up in confusion.
He snatches his earmuffs off, letting them dangle on his wrist, and looks around wildly.
“You, ye know that it doesn’t matter if ye do it fast if it ain’t done right?! There ain’t no point in working faster!”
He gripped the sword, yanked it out, and glared at the edge. Slowly the anger fades away from his face.
“Ah, no. I see. I underestimated you.”
He glanced over at me, actually looking me over instead of the initial look he gave me before, which was only to determine whether he knew me or not.
“Un, well, it doesn’t make any sense to work faster than I can, but it also doesn’t make any sense to work slower than I can, right?”
I waited until after he checked the swords to say that, because it can only sound like some upstart’s foolish pride if I said it before he could confirm that I had, in fact, done a proper job.
The wolf(?) beastkin let a huge grin spread over his face.
Oooh, his tail is wagging fast now. I guess he’s pleased.
“Wahaha! Oh, I did have good fortune today, after all! I had to repair all the armors by myself, so regular maintenance was delayed. I was really troubled about how I’d get stuff done before ye came along! Ah, excuse me, let me get you some tea.”
So that’s how it is.
A much happier wolf(?) beastkin went to a corner of the forge area and puts the kettle on.
Of course, he’s putting the kettle on the FORGE… ma, whatever.
Fumu. Tea is pretty ubiquitous in this world… although Nyl City did prefer fruit juice-type drinks, boiling herbs in hot water for health and taste is in common practice.
Although tea leaves are rare and expensive, at least in Nyl City, so it’s usually herbal tea.
“Sorry for just assumin’ you were an apprentice. Young lads like ye always think they’re more than they are, so I just assumed.”
“No, no, it’s okay. Things seem hectic, and it looks like no one else maintains their own equipment.”
“Ye got that right! Gah, even though I told them it would be better to do their own maintenance… well, it’s just the young runts that just joined the Wardens who don’t do it. Even though it’s the standard issue sword, ye think they’d still treat their partners better.”
Fumu fumu. I can appreciate this guy’s way of thought.
“Speaking of, my I ask if that metal has a name? I haven’t seen that exact mix of materials before.”
The wolf(?) beastkin raises his eyebrows as he pours water from the kettle into clay mugs.
“Hoooh… ye noticed. So yer a swordsmith, was that it?”
“Hmph. That’s my own special blend of moonstone, mithril and steel. I call it brightsteel.“
I understand the naming convention, since it’s mostly steel and the luster of the moonstone amplifies the sheen, but … isn’t it a bit simplistic?
“I see. I’m curious as to why moonstone was added. It can’t be just because of the sheen. Even though there’s only a little bit, it should still affect the structure … no, that’s why you avoided a straight blade.”
The wolf(?) beastkin looked at me in amazement as he handed over the mug of tea.
Oh, it’s the style where you just put the herbs in the bottom and pour water right over the top – in other words, the lazy man’s way of brewing tea. Well, the herbs are edible, after all…
“You can tell that much… well, yeah, it did take me a long time to perfect the blend… but ye know, the elves love them their magic swords. The problem is, the Wardens aren’t exactly known for their deep pockets, if ye know what I mean.”
“I see… so the moonstone can amplify the effects of the mithril in steel?”
“Hm… oh, what the heck. Not just that, but it makes the feel of mithril in the alloy smoother.”
Um… I see. Moonstone does help smooth in alloys where the metals don’t really like to mix, but because it also adds a foreign, non-metallic substance, it will also become more brittle. It must have taken this wolf(?) beastkin a long time to reach the ideal proportion of ‘smoothness’ versus ‘brittleness’.
By the way, the moonstone in this world is a little different from the moonstone in my old world. Most of the properties of the gems are different, I guess because of the addition of magical properties.
“I see, so you can produce high quality magic swords for lower cost. It was a good design. I have learned a lot just by seeing it.”
The wolf(?) beastkin laughed at my words.
“Wahaha, I suppose I should have realized you already knew about the moonstone, seeing as ye took care not to add too much more stress to the blades when ye sharpened them. Ah, yeah, as you might have suspected, I do have to replace them more than normal steel swords, but what can ye do. Anyway, ye bought me a few hours today, so I’m grateful.”
He finished with a half-complaint, and then his thanks.
“Oi, you. What happened to coming with me to talk to the Wardens at HQ?”
“Oooh, Ragnall. You’re done already? I thought it would take longer, so I took my time.”
… Actually, I kind of forgot. Tehe.
<a/n: Thanks anonymous and Ashthrack for your donations!
Sorry for the delay. House projects interspersed between writing sessions made me lose track of how much had happened in this chapter, so I got confused. There is another Cursed chapter>