Wfb

Original web novel by k.linH

Wfb: Chapter 103

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Chapter 103: After Using Something Improperly for Decades, it’s Magical to See it in its Proper Use for the First Time

Currently, Desmond and I are a little bit outside of Warden’s Post, in a clearing.

Hibiki-chan is tagging along, but she’s sitting a bit away from us.

Because she’s the test subject.

Desmond is currently trying to teach me a Light-based detection spell, the one that originally got us talking about Light magic and avatars and stuff. (more…)

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wfb: Chapter 102

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Chapter 102: Just because you have a theory, it doesn’t mean you’ve completely and accurately understood a process.

“It seems that my control over magic isn’t going to reach Jun-kun’s at any point.”

Although shaky, Seimei had properly grasped the method of sensing magic, thanks to Lor’s instructions.

Although chantless and whatever-the-hell Jun’s random manipulation of magic power was is (and probably will forever) remain impossible. Especially the last one.

Unlike Jun, who was someone who was better at acting on senses, Semei was more intellectually minded so his compatibility with Lor in a teacher-student relationship worked out rather nicely. (more…)

Wfb: Chapter 101

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Chapter 101: Learning the Local Customs of a Foreign Land is an Ongoing Struggle No Matter How Long You’ve Lived There

Hm… leisurely bathing in a large bath does feel good.

It had been a while.

With the heat from the bath still coming off my skin, I strolled out of Woodrest.

Inventory is the best. I don’t need to worry about going back to our room to put away luggage~.

My bags of clean clothes are always with me so I can easily change into anything I own at any time.

The only thing I have to worry about is drying my towel. (more…)

wfb: Chapter 100

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Chapter 100: It’s really easy for people to look in a mirror without actually seeing themselves fully

I fled the forge.

Desmond’s thanks regarding his sword Gaoithe wasn’t the reason.

Have you ever been faced with a wolf beastman who looks kind of rabid with red eyes just staring at you with a weird kind of fervor?

Once again, I fled the forge.

Even though Ragnall said,

“Aren’t you going to help Trelzt out more around the forge?”

You bastard, we both know that’s not happening with Trelzt acting like this.

I shot Ragnall a dirty look before I ran off, without giving anyone else a chance to say anything else.

Aaah, that scared me. If Helward gets that kind of devotion towards him everyday, there’s no wonder he ran off to the Labyrinth so ofte… ah, wait, I can’t go picking up his bad habits. I have enough of my own!

Anyway, I’m feeling pretty gross, so let’s go freshen up.

I think I sweat more within the half hour of fixing that sword than I have while forging 30 swords, no, 60. And that’s all without flames.

The mental pressure was also amazing.

It’s not unreasonable to want to run away from people badgering me with questions after all that, right?

If just repairing a broken spirit sword took that much effort, I can’t imagine what MAKING one would be like.

How would you even start? Do you start with an already-forged sword? An ingot? Metal dust?

Ah, no, that’s not the main problem here.

I need to focus more on training my magic, if I want to be able to make a sword like that.

Just now, I felt like I still had a bit of leeway, but I was stretched pretty thin with controlling the massive amount of magic, maintaining the barrier, and pinning the magic engravings on the sword together.

I mull the problem over in my head as I return to Woodrest.

Hm…

First let’s go and change out of my sweaty clothes before I think about it.

I mean, sweat has totally seeped into my clothes, so it’s pretty gross.

As I walk back to my room, Hibiki-chan walks out carrying some parchment.

It’s Hibiki-chan and my room, after all.

Hibiki-chan jumps, her eyes wide.

“Jun-kun! Eh? You’re all sweaty! Were you training?”

She tilts her head to one side, looking me up and down.

“No, I was trying out something new in the forge.”

Hibiki-chan giggled.

“Hehe, of course that’s what it was.”

… What does she mean by that.

Of course I don’t mean for that to be a question. It’s completely rhetorical.

Come to think of it, I’ve been neglecting training my sword recently too, huh?

I’ve been spending way too much time in forging and smithing…

Even though this is a world with dangers around every corner, I’ve totally been slacking off on my sword practice. I wonder if I’ve gotten complacent with my cheat abilities…

That’s no good. A genius is only mediocre if he doesn’t train!

Both in magic and swords, I’ve been slacking off.

Weird. I was pretty on top of things when I was still in Japan. I trained, did my homework, helped out at clubs, and cleaned up around the house all pretty diligently without neglecting any of it in favor of other things …

In this world, smithing and swords have completely become an obsession, huh?

… Un. I guess it’s hard to imagine that I had nothing to do with swords in Japan. Ah, no, that’s not right. The neighborhood was well aware of Grandfather’s eccentricities and his backyard forge, and I spent a lot of time looking over sword stuff, but the degree of my interest is completely different in this world!

Setting that aside, I ask Hibiki-chan,

“So what are you up to?”

“Un, well, Hibiki was going to go get herb gathering quests from the Guild board in the Warden’s Post Headquarters. I was going to take the time to ask about what they’re used for. Seimei-san said it would be helpful if I documented the herbs that I see on this trip.”

“Ah…”

Right. Although Hibiki-chan can’t use group chat or send items, she can still contact us through [Friend Chat]. Or like, Seimei-san has been talking to Hibiki-chan?

And since when did Hibiki-chan start talking in cutesy third-person? Although I’m happy that she’s not forcing herself to try to act like a grown-up, so I won’t point it out.

I put a hand to my shoulder and stretch my neck as I say,

“Right, good luck then. I’m going to go take a bath, and then maybe I’ll find you so we can do it together.”

I open the door to go into our room, but Hibiki-chan’s standing there with her eyes wide open.

“What is it?”

Hibiki-chan’s eyes stay round like saucers and she tilts her head to one side as she slowly says,

“Th-there’s girls in there right now, you know? I heard the Wardens have round-the-clock shifts…”

Oh? That’s right, the scouts are always coming in at different times.

I remember and nod my head.

“Ah, un. As long as Toel isn’t there, I think I’ll be … fine…?”

Hm?

I tilt my head like Hibiki-chan.

Are…?

As I stand there thinking for a moment, a mischievous smile spreads across Hibiki-chan’s face.

She claps her hands and laughs, saying,

“I never thought I’d ever see someone who was actually cured of their trauma with shock therapy!”

“… You’re thinking too much about it.”

But even while I say that, my face is dark because I was thinking the exact same thing…

Geh. Hibiki-chan’s still staring at me like she’s laughing inside!

“What, you want me to wear clean clothes like this?!”

I pretend to be mad and chase her off, but… now that I’m thinking about it, will it be fine?

Approaching the bath entrance, I take a deep breath, go inside, and…

… there’s no one in the changing area.

Give me back my five minutes of silently freaking out.

I go to a locker-type row of cubby holes with doors, but then I remember I have Inventory, so it’s totally not necessary. As I go to enter the bathing area, I notice a mirror hanging over there.

I didn’t notice it last time… no, it should be “I didn’t notice much last time”.

It’s a clear, silvery mirror, but how did they do it?

I inch in closely to see … mithril, huh?

It’s true that mithril won’t oxidize as fast as silver, but it still oxidizes and it’s mithril.

Who could afford to put a mithril mirror up?!

Ah, right, this one place here.

Let’s see, let’s see… there are also magic arrays on the edge of this large, circular mirror. Does it keep it from oxidizing, or from fogging up …

Using my less intrusive non-attribute investigative magic, [Trace], I carefully probe the arrays without activating them.

Hm … What the hell! It’s a divination tool!

An image of the female Wardens claiming the divination tool to use as a mirror when it’s not being used for its intended purpose crosses my mind.

… I’m honestly at a slight loss for words.

The female Wardens are using a high-end divination tool as a bathroom mirror. What more can I say?

I sigh and roll my eyes a little, looking over the beautiful, smooth, polished surface.

-! Whoa!

Because I was only looking at the surface quality of the divination too- ahem, the mirror, I neglected to notice that I was standing, naked, in front of the mirror.

The girl in the mirror flushed bright red, and my cheeks feel hot.

I’ve… never actually seen myself after waking up in this world without clothes.

Actually, come to think of it, except for that first time when I went to The Queen Mary, I haven’t had a chance to look in a mirror.

Or maybe I was unconsciously avoiding mirrors.

I can’t help but look around to see if anyone’s coming, like I’m doing something bad, before I step up to the mirror.

Ugh… My cheeks are still bright red just looking…

Cough.

Even though there’s probably no point to them, based on my size, I think chest wrappings are in order… for my own sanity.

Ah, no, I, who avoids looking down even when I’m doing my business, am going to take a good look this time.

… As I thought, there really is no big difference to my face. The gloss to my skin is brighter, but I think that has something to do with acquiring magic and my current healthier lifestyle and eating habits.

Two months seems like enough time for the change to be noticeable, right?

My stature really didn’t change that much either. I might be tall for a girl back in Japan, but in this world I definitely don’t stand out. I’m just about average, for a human girl my age.

Which means if I was still a guy, I’d be on the short side, huh? Well, all the gamers are on the short side. Taku, who was tall for a Japanese man, was just about average in this world.

I look over my arms and legs next.

My limbs were also long and slender to begin with, but you could say that I’ve actually gotten a little more muscular over these last few months.

The muscle is a lot more defined so I’m kind of happy, but I don’t know… it’s not really a question of a girl’s arm or a boy’s arm.

It’s clearly the arm of a person who does manual labor for a living.

Although my hands are still slender and delicate-looking.

I don’t really understand why muscle development sticks but the development of calluses doesn’t.

I mean, with all the forging I’ve done you’d think that my hands would get rougher and more like a man’s hand, but it hasn’t changed.

It seems like my lifestyle has definitely had an impact on how I look, huh? I, who had always wished for some obvious muscles but was unable to develop them, am happy that there’s some kind of results from the physically intense lifestyle in this world.

Which is all well and good, but …

I gloomily stare at my waist, shoulders, and neck.

Just like before, when I first looked waay back when I came to this world…  they’re really womanly, huh?

I mean, with changing genders it’s to be expected that the hips and chest are different, but actually my hips, chest, and butt are only slightly more padded than they used to be.

The actual obvious differences, other than down there, are in the tight waist, narrowed and gently-sloping shoulders, and the slender neck.

Even though I have a basically-flat chest, it’s not possible to see through that I’m a man at first glance even with clothes on.

Well, I’m not one, anymore.

Dammit, it’s the game’s fault! Because it scans you with your clothes on, it apparently ‘beautifies’ your physique automatically, by 5% if you’re a man, 15% if you’re a woman!

Although I only found out when Seimei-san told me a little while ago…

And I kind of hate myself a bit, because I thought that my face isn’t really all that out of place on this body.

Dammit. Was Masaki telling the truth when he said people mistook me for a girl sometimes back in Japan, even after we entered high school?

I seriously want to know, why the hell was I not aware of it?!

While I’m staring bitterly into the mirror, I hear giggling and talking from outside the changing area.

Crap! People are coming this way!

Inventory, towel!

“Oh~, we’re not the only ones!”

“Ah, it’s the swordsmith girl that was terrorized by Toel last night. Don’t worry, Ms Swordsmith, Toel’s still on duty!”

“Ahaha… thanks.”

I’m relieved, Toel’s still on duty…

Because Toel isn’t here, despite the other women who are coming in, bathing is pretty uneventful.

I mostly keep my eyes to myself, and most of the women who are coming in are tired from a night shift, so outside of greeting me they don’t really pay me any attention.

Somehow, I’m beginning to wonder why I had made such a big deal out of it before.

…I don’t want to believe that Toel’s “shock treatment” worked, but…

Haa…

The bath actually has a good feel to it, now that I notice. I like the smell of the hot water in cedar bathtubs, and the Wardens put in medicinal herbs in the water so it’s really nice to soak in.

You know, now that it’s actually quiet enough to notice these details this time.

I think it would still be awkward going into a bath with the girls from The Queen Mary and Hibiki-chan, but as long as they’re not into invading my personal space, I think I’ll be fine bathing with women from now on.

… Grandma, I wonder if it’s alright for your grandson to think that…?

Although I guess it’s ‘granddaughter’ now.

That image in the divi-mirror is 100% girl, although I still don’t like to admit it.

Even though I’m getting more muscular, should I be happy about that now that I’m really a girl?

I mean, when I was a guy I wasn’t into muscular girls, but do my preferences in girls as a guy matter in how I want to look as a girl now that I’m girl and not a guy?

Back in Japan, although I thought I had grown out of being recognized as a girl by high school (whether that’s true or not), I was at least aware that I was more on the androgynous side of things.

You know, being slender, being called a “beanpole”, all those types of things. Although it died down a little when we got into high school.

Because of that, I might have been overly concerned with becoming more manly-looking, like wanting to put on muscle and grow a few more centimeters

And it’s not just how I looked, you know?

I was into “manly” things as a kid, like wanting to be a hero of justice, looking up to samurai, and of course the swords, and all of that.

You could even say that everything I did was probably influenced in some way by my image of an ideal man.

When you think about it like that, can it be helped that I’m confused about things? Not just the physical change, but about where I want to go with my life.

What do I want to be as a woman, looking at it from the perspective of a guy?

I, who have not lived as a woman, who have not survived 16 years as a woman through the awkward ages of puberty, who only knows how men look at women, am I really capable of making a decision like that?

Of course I understand I’m probably making too much out of it, that men and women aren’t really all that different mentally, but it’s not that easy to come to terms with.

I feel like, rather than as a man or woman, I’d rather be seen as a “swordsmith”…

I sigh and stretch before getting out of the bath.

Being a woman is hard… well, I guess it’s more like suddenly having my gender swapped?

I still don’t know what I want to do with my new(ish) womanhood, but at least I’ve finally let go of the regrets of things I left undone as a man.

Worrying about whether or not I can actually be a woman while also clinging to living my ideals as a man; it was a really futile anxiety, wasn’t it?


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<A/n: Thanks Calavante for the donation!
The results of Toel’s shock treatment was planned. The introspection on the meaning of gender and identity was not. Jun’s growing! *shock*
Although Jun still has growing up to do in the future too, so (s)he just has a working theory for now >

wfb: Chapter 99

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Chapter 99: The Way Something is Made is Sometimes More Important than What it Is

“And here I thought you were learning some common sense…”

Ragnall sighed as Desmond took up his sword and looked it over with a slightly panicked, no, quite distressed face.

I bowed my head towards Ragnall, saying,

“No, well, even I understood that there was something wrong with the way I did things.”

“So even though you knew it, you did it anyway.” (more…)

wfb: Chapter 98

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Chapter 98: Sniping Great Minds Works in a Fantasy Setting Too

*Clang. Clang. Clang.*

“… As I thought, this place calms me down the best.”

“D…did something happen?”

Inside the forge, Trelzt, the forest wolf beastkin at Warden’s Post handed me a cup of tea, heated by forge as usual.

“No… well, nothing.”

We had just finished the maintenance on the wardens’ swords that were left there.

Aside from some sharpening, there was a lot of hilt and grip maintenance. (more…)

wfb: chapter 97

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Chapter 97: People who grew up with siblings tend to be more used to dealing with intrusions to personal space than people that didn’t. Although their methods of ‘dealing with’ differ from person to person.

“Oh? Sir Ragnall. Pardon me for the intrusion.”

Ragnall, relaxing in the men’s side of the bath, shook off the feeling that he had just heard something like a scream of despair from the women’s side of the bath, and looked up from where he was shoulder deep in the bath.

That deep elf Adventurer had come into the baths.

“No, well, it’s a communal bath, so…”

So far it was Ragnall in one corner of the large bath and several wardens, a beastkin and elf, in the other. Both of them looked so worn out that he’d been worried they would fall asleep in the tub…

Anyway, with Desmond’s entry, there were 4 men total in the bath.

… Even the notoriously pale-skinned deep elves had darker skin than he did.

What can’t be helped can’t be helped, Ragnall thought quietly. Out loud he asked,

“What happened to the others?” (more…)

wfb: Chapter 96

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Chapter 96: The problem with contractors is that they don’t have any personal investment, so as long as they get stuff done, collateral damage is inconsequential

“You’ve come back after decimating parts of the forest…”

Idra pinched the bridge of his nose. He looks a little conflicted, like he’s glad we were able to find and confirm the presence of demons, but at the same time, Ragnall cut down 3 large trees, and the one I used as a kickoff block has a large dent and a few splintered parts, and it’s totally leaning over in the wrong direction. Which is not straight up.

“Ah… so you knew about that?”

I said, scratching the side of my face lightly.

“Of course we did! We were wondering exactly what kind of catastrophe was occurring when the ground shook and the trees seemed to dance!”

Eh… was it that bad? That was only Ragnall going on a rampage, you know? Imagine what would have happened if Hibiki-chan and I also went crazy.

“Haha, isn’t it fine? There aren’t that many people who could have come out unscathed from an attack by seven demons with just three members. To be quite frank, I don’t believe any other party could have rescued us.”

Desmond, the deep elf leader guy, laughs refreshingly and speaks up in support of the three of us.

Idra frowns, but it’s a light, slightly disgruntled frown instead of an upset, angry one.

“I believe the same thing, but I’m worried about what I’m supposed to put in the report.”

“A little collateral damage has to be expected.” – Ragnall. (more…)

wfb: Chapter 95

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Chapter 95: Nature will totally overtake human infrastructure in almost no time at all if you let it. Just take a look at the mini trees growing through my asphalt driveway.

…It really is eerie.

When we reached the former tree elf “city”, it feels like a ghost town.

Not that it feels like it’s absolutely abandoned. It almost feels like there’s a presence here.

But it’s not a presence strong enough to be from anything living.

So yeah, like a town full of ghosts.

Needless to say, this tree city didn’t look like what Hibiki-chan was expecting.

There was nothing nailed or built onto or into the trees.

Thick, woody vines ran, almost naturally unnatural, around the base of the trees, winding up as a ramp.

Boughs were lowered, as if steps that ran between tree to tree, and branches seemed to be knit together to make platforms.

Not like the trees were forced into their situations, but like they just happened to grow there…  and yet, even though it looks so organic, it also looks orderly.

At least, you can tell it had at one point. (more…)

Wfb: Chapter 94

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Chapter 94: Chapters with a lot of random stuff happening is hard to come up with titles for

My nodachi won’t be much use, but I examine it anyway.

Un. Good.

Katana v3, and several tantos…

Clean, sharp, and ready to go.

As for other supplies, I still have bandages, ointments, and water ready to … actually, because I have Inventory, is there really a worry that I wasn’t able to bring something?

Although that doesn’t help if I’m short-sighted and didn’t put something we needed IN to Inventory, but since we’ve been traveling dangerous roads, I already have a lot of stuff that we will need for investigating the area around Warden’s Post.

Ah, I guess it’s still good to investigate the condition of the stuff we might need. Even if my Inventory has time stop, the moment when you need something is a horrible time to realize it got partially destroyed the last time you took it out.

I quietly stow the rest of the things I was inspecting. Quietly because I’m in the small room Hibiki-chan and I are staying in, and Hibiki-chan is sleeping.

Un, even though I’m not really tired, maybe I’ll take the time to get an hour or two of rest –

Just when I thought that, I hear some sniffling coming from the other side of the room.

Was I imagining it?

I listen carefully.

Un. Hibiki-chan’s breathing has changed from sleeping to awake.

Did she have a nightmare? (more…)