While the aftertaste of the chicken sandwich which was all bitter lingered, Ardis left the inn behind. His next destination is a smithy.
To find a replacement for his short sword that was broken during the fight with the 『Crimson Eater』, Ardis planned to visit a smithy in the capital before noon and have someone forge a new one for him.
Chezare who appeared coincidentally before his plans. It can be considered to be a fortunate encounter, Ardis paid a small sum to Chezare in exchange for information regarding a good smithy, before heading there.
The craftsman street that had smithies lined up on both sides is a little far from the main street. There were sounds of hammering metal from all over the street accompanied by the smell of molten metal. Clouds of white or black smokes rose from the chimneys, occasionally, there would even be mysterious blue or pink smokes.
「It’s here. 」
It was a single-story house that didn’t stand out at all in front of Ardis. According to the information he’ve got from Chezare, it’s the shop of a 『Blacksmith who will do proper work』.
There wasn’t any signs or banner at the door, so he could only knock the door and wait, however, there wasn’t a single response. Having no choice, Ardis opened the door and entered inside.
Ardis entered a room with no one else in it. It’s probably a room for resting and guest reception. There’s a table in the middle of the room, and countless weapons were hung on the wall as a display of the blacksmith’s skills. It was neither gorgeous nor clean, but it was well organized.
Although there wasn’t anyone in the same room as Ardis, there was a door further inside, and sounds of hammering metal came from inside.
「Is there anyone! 」
To not get overwhelmed by the sounds of the metals, Ardis yelled in a loud voice.
Finally, a young man appeared from the door. It was a thin young man that was taller that Ardis but contrary to his relaxed atmosphere, there’re strong muscles on his arms that are uncovered by his rolled-up sleeves.
「You called? 」
「I’ve got a request. 」
Although the young man wasn’t friendly, Ardis didn’t pay attention to it and conveyed his business.
「Replacement for these swords, I want three of them forged. 」
While saying, Ardis put the broad sword that he normally uses and the short swords that he uses for the sword magic on the table.
「They’re all in a miserable state. 」
While muttering to himself, the young man looked at the swords lined up on the table. Even as he continued, the sound of hammering metal never stopped coming from inside. It was probably that the owner here is still forging in the workshop.
The young man looked to be in his mid-twenties. He’s probably the owner’s disciple or something. After looking over the swords for a little while, the young man sighed shortly and said to Ardis.
「Go home. 」
「I came here for a business though? 」
Ardis’s brows furrowed.
「That’s why I’m telling you to go home. I have no intentions of accepting your request. 」
「I’m saying that, for someone who treats his swords this badly, there’s no way I can accept your request. Look at these, leaving the broadsword aside, aren’t the short swords completely in tatters? To have the blades made from Heavy Metal be in this state, it’s only possible if you never maintained it or used it crazily. And there’s even one completely broken. 」
The young man pointed at the swords in tatters as he reprimanded Ardis.
Of course, Ardis had his own saying of words. He didn’t have any recollection neglecting the care of his swords every day or treating them roughly. Albeit they are swords made from Heavy Metal, it can’t be helped that they broke after fighting against the Three Great Demons consecutively.
「Talking with you is useless. Take me to the master here」
「An amateur like you, there’s no need to cause troubles for my master. You’re being a bother so get out. 」
The young man thought Ardis was an amateur because he looked young, while Ardis insisted to talk with the master. Because of their clashing opinions, their fuss continued for quite a while, before the door inside opened once again and a tough man with considerable age appeared.
「Horst! How much longer are you going to slack! Come back quickly! 」
「Ah, master! 」
It was a man with short hair of grey and white. His brown eyes had a sharp gaze and his voice that doesn’t show his age, it was exactly the image of an experienced and skilled blacksmith.
The firm body and the scars of burns that are dotted around his body tells his experience of swinging a hammer. From how the young man calls him, he’s probably the master here.
「No, there’s a brat here that won’t step down no matter what. 」
「A guest? 」
「No, it’s like he never cared of his swords, and they broke but……」
While listening to the young man’s words, the tough man who is also the master of the store looked at the swords Ardis put on the table.
「Aren’t they totally destroyed? To have swords made from Heavy Metal in this state. 」
The master took the swords into his hand in silence. After appraising it for a while, he threw a question to Ardis.
「Are these all used by you? 」
「Fumu, is that so……」
After scanning Ardis’s stature for a little while, the master took out a sword from one of the shelves and handed it over to Ardis.
「Try swinging this. 」
Ardis who received the sword did as the master asked and swung it.
「Fumu……, then try to slice this. 」
The master grabbed a cleaning cloth that was left on the table and tossed it over to Ardis as he said.
Ardis lightly circulated his mana into the sword, and cleanly sliced the cloth midair. The cloth that was split into two directly down the middle dropped on to the floor with a rustle.
Confirming the cuts on the now two pieces of cloth, the master voiced out his exclamation.
「Eh? What!? 」
On the other hand, the young man’s eyes were big in total shock. To slice a piece of cloth that’s tossed into the air cleanly, only swordsman of the highest caliber can do that
「You’re young yet possessing such skills. With that much skills, the swords won’t get into such a state, right? 」
The master directed his gaze at the short swords that was left on the table.
「That’s probably because the opponent was too tough. 」
「What kind of opponent? 」
「It’s the 『Bell Ringer』, 『Four Winger』 and 『Crimson Eater』. Especially the Crimson Eater that was too tough. One of my short swords was broken because of it. 」
「『Crimson Eater』!? 」
The master and the young man let a surprised voice at the same time.
「C―Could it be……. That the one who took out the Three Great Demons is you!? 」
The young man who seemed in disbelief pointed at Ardis.
「I see. With the Three Great Demons as your opponents, of course swords made from Heavy Metal wouldn’t last……」
On the other hand, the master seemed to be convinced.
「Fine. It’ll be worthwhile for me if you have that much skills in swinging a sword. So? You want me to forge two short swords for you? 」
「Yes, two short swords but, since I’m here already, I want a broad sword as well. So, it’s a total of three. 」
「The materials? It’s Heavy Metal as expected? 」
Even if it’s made from Heavy Metal, it’ll reduce to something like the short swords on the table if the opponent is wrong. With that in mind, Ardis didn’t think of getting another generic metal or steel weapon.
「The base will be Heavy Metal but, I’ve got something interesting. I want you to use that. 」
Ardis proceeded to take out a small leather pouch from his bag. Opening it, there were powder substances that seemed to be giving off sparkling lights.
「C-Could this be……」
This time, it was the master who was speechless.
「Let me take a closer look! 」
As if robbing the leather pouch, he raised it high to examine the light let out by the powder substance closely.
「T-The real one? The real Lesha Powder!? 」
The master’s voice was trembling.
There was a certain gem among the countless types of gem named 『Lesha』. It was the hardest, the prettiest, and the most compatible with mana, it was known as the precious stone among precious stones since the olden days.
But the manufacturing methods were already lost in the long past, the only Lesha found in this era are all raw crystals and none of them are in high purity. That’s why, refined Lesha gems and ornaments or equipment that are made with Lesha have an unimaginable price. Even raw Lesha that hasn’t been processed, it would cost almost ten times the cost of gold.
And Lesha powder refers to the refined Lesha gem that had been crushed into powder. Since the technology now isn’t even able to chip the gem or even crush it, it’s a rare material that has no way to be made in this era.
「I got it coincidentally. Might as well use it in the forging of the sword. 」
Ardis said so without seeming to care about its rarity.
Tools that are made with Lesha powder have their performance raised by a huge margin. Coating the equipment on the surface is fine, mixing it in the base which is Heavy Metal is fine too. Using it in a sword would increase its sharpness, and in an armor piece, it would increase its toughness and defense by several folds.
In this era when it’s no longer possible to process Lesha, to forge something with Lesha powder can be said to be a huge honor for someone who’s a blacksmith, at the same time, it can also be said it’s where the soul of a craftsman lies.
「Is it really fine to use it? Wouldn’t you get a huge price if you sold it? 」
The master asked reservedly.
In fact, even Ardis didn’t know how much the Lesha powder is worth. But it definitely has more worth that it will make the bounty of the Three Great Demons look like spare changes.
But for Ardis, rather than money that he has other methods of procuring, a sword that’s sharper and doesn’t break is more important.
Well, in fact, it’s something he found after subjugating the 『Crimson Eater』. So, he thought that using it to forge the short swords that will replace the ones that broke in that fight would be fitting, such illogical thoughts that would let Ted and the others speechless was unfolding in Ardis’s mind.
「I don’t mind. Please use all of it. 」
「That’s quite the good news. But……, it’s hard to say but……. For me to forge a sword using the Lesha powder, it’ll cost quite a lot you know? 」
「How much? 」
「Hmm……. Mu……. At the very least, one would cost a hundred gold coins. Three would cost three hundred gold coins. And if forging it also requires mana to be provided, we need to secure a magician for a long time too. 」
「Got it, I will pay six hundred gold coins. As for the mana part, I will be the one to do that. I should be better than some unknown magician out there. 」
「Is that so, you have the bounty of the Three Great Demons huh. Well, if you say you will pay six hundred, then I don’t have any complaints. 」
「Then it’s a deal. How long will it take? 」
「Three months……. No, give me four months. 」
「That’s fine. Tell me if you need to forge it with mana. If I’m around in the capital, I will be staying in the 『Seseragi Inn』 in the entertainment district. 」
「Umu, leave it to me. ……To think a day for me to forge a sword with that Lesha powder will come. 」
It seems that the master could no longer suppress something, as his face collapsed into a grin.
「Fu―fu―fu, it really boils a craftsman’s passion! With the name of Schmelz, I shall definitely give birth to a sword that will leave its name in history! 」
Besides the master who seemed to have vigor unbefitting of his age, his disciple of the young man seemed to be stunned from the scale of the talk just now.
「S-Six hundred……. Six hundred gold coins……」
It was a sum greater than his imagination, as he continued to mutter 『Six hundred gold coins』 many times more.