Not being able to secure a regular customer, I was scolded a bit by old man Barol for not having the guts. I ignored him while he ranted on and on about how the expenses would increase even more when I have a child. I mean, it’s a misunderstanding to begin with and it’s also being too hasty, you know?
The name Rail Rain spread more and more day by day to the point that I could hear the name from noble customers visiting the shop. It seems like there are several stories about him which substantiate the fact that he is an extremely wonderful person. If he were an acquaintance of mine, he might have been a VIP customer of this shop. Well, that isn’t happening anymore, though. I don’t think the message made it through the elite guard squad to the doctor of the rumors. And it also feels kind of wrong to ask them about it again.
Either way, I decided to forget about it and concentrate on what I can do myself. I went back to my usual job as a blacksmith.
As thanks for guiding the way the other day, I prepared a special training menu for Riot. He was whining about being tired of the foundation trainings, so the timing is just right. And so, while listening to his screams, today again, I started to make swords.
By sunset, Riot began to drag his exhausted body home. Eli and I started to close the shop. The business also went well today and we were able to end the day on a good note. But when I went outside to put the ‘closing for the day’ sign in front of the shop, I saw two customers running fast to try and make it before I close up.
“Oii, ah that’s good, I am glad. We made it.”
One of them was the old man Barol, wiping off his sweat. He had gone straight home after scolding me in the morning but it seems like he has brought a new customer.
“This, is a customer from my place but he came in with a very rare request. I thought you might be able to do it so I brought him here.”
The man who was rudely introduced as ‘this’, was a short, thin man with a big bag on his back. From the scars all over his body, I can tell that he is usually in dangerous places. He also seems very quick and nimble from the way he carries himself.
“I usually buy swords from Mr. Barol’s place so I went to him today, as well, with a bit of a difficult job. And then, he brought me here, saying that he knows one blacksmith who would be able to perform difficult task. Ah, my name is Voltaire. I am an adventurer.”
Rather than being an adventurer, it feels like he is an explorer from the size of his bag. Mr. Voltaire’s glittering eyes also backed that impression.
‘I will go see stuff I have never seen before!’-seems like he would say something like that on a daily basis.
“Nice to meet you, adventurer Voltaire. I am the blacksmith, Kururi. I work in this shop.”
I pointed at the shop behind the pig and raccoon statue. This is my castle.
“It’s a wonderful shop. Can we dive straight into talking about the job?”
“For now, let’s go inside.”
He’s quiet impatient. Or rather, he’s probably the kind of guy who has no interest in things other than his job. Even the ‘it’s a wonderful shop’ was probably just flattery. No one would call a shop with a pig and racoon statue in entrance wonderful! It should be called strange.
“So about the job.”
After welcoming him into the reception room of the shop, he sat down and started talking. But Eli came in with tea so he stopped to take a sip and then started talking immediately after.
“Thank you for the delicious tea. About the job, I want you to make a new kind of sword for me. There’s this dragon called the Life Dragon and there’s a crystal on its back and I want to swing a sword which uses that crystal! I had lost all hope when Mr. Barol said it was impossible. But then he brought me here saying that he might know someone who can do it! Please accept this job!”
Due to his weird momentum and the feeling that it might turn out to be quite a big job, I was perplexed. When I looked at old man Barol, he had an expression which basically said ‘I leave it to you’.
“Life Dragon? I don’t really know about it well but can you actually retrieve that crystal?”
“Is it something of high quality?”
“Then where is the need for Mr. Barol to reject? It seems like an amazing job and a blessing to a blacksmith.”
I think one should always take on unknown jobs. On top of it being fun, it also leads to one’s skills improving. I thrusted the obvious question at old man Barol.
“Hmm, it’s because it will be a sword unlike a sword.”
What is with that cool-sounding sword?
“This guy, he got excited and left out quite a lot of details. The Life Dragon are a very rare species. And it was him, Voltaire, who found out that the scales on its back are crystals. That in itself is a very big achievement. But”
“That crystal is completely useless. It can’t be used as a material to make a sword. You can’t process it. If you try, the crystal will die.”
The crystal will die? Are we talking spiritually or something?
“You look puzzled. Well, that much is natural. You probably never even heard about crystals having life. But there’s no mistake, the crystal retrieved from the Life Dragon has life. It’s a weird crystal, with the dragon’s blood flowing through it.”
And the one who found that was Mr. Voltaire and he also wants to swing a sword which uses it.
As I imagined, Mr. Voltaire is more of an explorer than an adventurer.
From what I hear, the job seems to be very exciting but I can’t even say that I will do it that easily. I can’t really go and say something baseless like ‘I can do it!’ to something old man Barol is saying is impossible.
“It seems quite hard. Do you even have the crystal at hand, in the first place?”
“If you accept, I will go get it!”
“Mmm, I can’t really say anything. Unless I see the object, at least.”
Seeing me be reluctant, Mr. Voltaire’s glittering eyes started to look dejected. He was in the middle of being disappointed.
I feel really guilty.
“So you say it is hard too, eh? I thought you would surely go ‘I can probably do it!’ or something.”
“No, no, you overestimate me.”
“A sword unlike any other sword–only one person has been able to do it till now. I don’t know where he is but they say he isn’t here anymore.”
Don’t tell me…… that is…
“The guy with the same name as yours, Kururi Helan. That’s the person. Seems like he made a sword with mana inserted into it. Even after 3 years now, that sword has style and mana flowing through it. I have heard that it feels more like a living thing rather than a sword from the people who have seen it. Isn’t it truly a sword unlike any other?”
Exactly how many legends does this Kururi Helan has to himself? I can see right through why old man Barol brought this up.
He is trying to light a fire in my heart as I have this feeling of opposing Kururi Helan. And, as a result, it did light a fire in my heart. I will do it.
“Mr. Voltaire, I will accept this job!”
“Really?! Thank you so much! Then, let’s slip into the dungeon first thing in the morning. We will go retrieve the Life Dragon’s crystal together.”
Yes? No, no, no, no, no.
It is your job to do the collecting, Mr. Voltaire. And mine to make the sword. Right?
“In terms of battle strength, I am not even a match for the Life Dragon. It’s impossible for me to collect it by myself. But even though I say that, I don’t have the kind of gold to make other adventurers accompany me. And so, Mr. Kururi, let’s go together!”
He came looking up at me with really radiant eyes. What a bomb of a customer, this is.
But I did say I will accept.
“Eli is supposed to go get the third bronze statue tomorrow. Who will look after the shop if I go out as well? Ah, I so want to go! I want to go but, I can’t. Sorry, Mr. Voltaire.”
“That’s no problem. Leave that to me! Of course, you don’t need to pay me, either.”
The lavish old man Barol put a stop to my plans.
“Then it’s settled!”
Mr. Voltaire looked at me with eyes filled with the most expectations today.
This is already……
“I understand. Tomorrow morning. We meet up here, alright?”
And like this, I ended up sneaking into a dungeon even though I am a smith.
I even received heartless cheering from Eli, saying ‘go have fun~’.
I thought it would be nice if Mr. Voltaire would hesitate and go back when it comes down to it but he came right on time with his usual glittering eyes.
By the way, old man Barol was also here. ‘Leave the shop to me’ was his parting message.
Kururi and Voltaire went into the dungeon. If things go well, they should be back on the same day. Eli left to get the 3rd statue after the pig and the raccoon. Because ‘Eli and Kururi’s Blacksmith’ got a hold of noble customers using the bronze statue effect, bronze statues were secretly booming in the streets. Amongst all that, the one statue which caught Eli’s eyes was a cow standing on its hind legs. Because it caught Eli’s eyes, the owner of the shop suddenly raised the price and so Eli went today to object and reduce the price.
And like this, there were only old man Barol, who isn’t the actual owner of the shop, and Riot, who also faithfully came today to practice, in the shop.
And unusually enough, the amount of customers visiting the shop that day was low. The two of them who knew the usual prosperity felt this weird silence take over the shop.
Old man Barol started thinking things like the attracting customers effect doesn’t work if Eli and the bronze statues aren’t here as a set.
Even young Riot started thinking things like the attracting customers effect doesn’t work if Eli and the bronze statues aren’t here as a set.
And without the two ever knowing about this miraculous alignment of thought, only time passed by.
Just past afternoon, the fourth customer of the day came in through the door. This was the first time one could count the amount of customers with only one hand coming in by this time of the day.
“Oohh, if it isn’t the doctor Rain Rail!”
Old man Barol jumped up from his sitting posture, being surprised. Seeing that, Rail felt a bit shy. Rail had come to this place after knowing the approximate location. He immediately understood this was the shop when he saw the pig and raccoon with a sword from the road. Although Rail had overlooked the shop name because of the statue’s impression being too much……
“Ah, please be at ease. I have heard from the elite guard squad. That for my safety along the way, I should buy a sword, they conveyed.”
“Yes, that’s right, that’s right! Good work coming all the way!”
“I am grateful for the offer so I decided to buy one. I don’t have much money on me at the moment so is payment in installments fine?”
“Of course! You can even take one for free. Take one of your liking. My shoulders are feeling great after you looked at them. Really, I would want a wonderful person like you to take a sword befitting of yourself. Every one of these swords are superb.”
Old man Barol went and said some powerful stuff there happily. To him, this wasn’t just a stranger’s shop anymore. He had thought of it like his own grandson’s shop.
“Haha, I can’t do that. Treatment is treatment. This is this. And if it’s a good sword, all the more reason for me to pay.”
“Is that so? Really, you have such a good heart. You don’t need to pay upfront, alright? It’s fine even after you move ahead in life.”
“Thank you for your kindness.”
Rail expressed his gratitude and looked around the shop.
He understood that each one of them were of high quality.
He had heard that this area was not so well off but the swords in front of him were even better than the ones at the capital’s noble city. Is such a thing possible?–such a doubt crossed his mind.
“I thought I had confidence in my eyes to see good swords but I am not quite sure how to judge the swords here.”
Rail had the knowledge that all the best smiths gather at the capital so this was confusing to him. There’s no way there’s someone even better than the smiths at the capital here. Such a fixed idea had clouded his eyes quite a bit.
“Ah, are these not to your liking?”
“Ah, sorry, I have said some very rude things.”
Realizing that the words he said just now were belittling this smith in front of him, Rail immediately apologized.
“You don’t need to apologize, this isn’t my shop, so it’s fine.”
“Eh!? Then who are you?”
“I am just looking after the shop. I am here in place of the owner couple as they had to attend to a urgent task. Just for today. I wanted you and the owner of this shop to meet but what a horrible timing. What bad luck.”
“Is that so? I had imagined that a much more young smith would be operating the shop from the name. So that is the situation, eh?”
Rail felt like the thing stuck in his heart had gotten off. The appearance of old man Barol is so off from the shop’s name that he had been feeling this weird sense of discomfort.
“However, do these swords not look good from your eyes? Not to exaggerate but I do think that the owner of this shop’s skill is something which will make it to history books.”
“Skill which will make it to history books……”
Rail looked at the swords properly once again.
His eyes weren’t wrong.
That’s right, it is not that these swords look better than the ones at the capital’s noble city. It is better without a doubt. It is impossible but such a reality is in front of his eyes, so he can’t deny it.
“It is amazing. My eyes were just clouded. Can you convey my apologies to the owner instead? I wonder how long it has been since I saw such excellent swords…”
Seeing the glitter in Rail’s eyes, old man Barol understood that this man really has the eye to discern swords.
“Even so, what do you mean by how long it has been? Do you mean you have seen swords this excellent before?”
“Yes, I have!”
His words had power. It didn’t feel like he was saying it to show off–Old man Barol was impressed.
“Whose sword was it?”
“This might seem crazy but I have seen the legendary blacksmith Kururi Helan work, with my own eyes, several times. It might sound like a lie but it is undoubtedly true. He is a very important friend so I want to say that his swords are better but none of these swords are losing to his. No, maybe they are even better.”
“Hohhohho, I also have the same opinion. The swords here aren’t losing to the Kururi series. He really is an amazing smith. How about it? I think he is going to return by night so why not meet him?”
“I would like to meet him but I need to leave this city. I will someday, when the opportunity presents itself.”
And in truth, Rail did really want to meet him but if he didn’t leave now, he wouldn’t be able to reach the next city by today. He wanted to avoid that.
“Please let me buy this.”
Thinking he can’t be worrying this long over which to pick, Rail picked a sword.
The price was high judging this area’s economy but judging from the quality, it’s very low. He really wanted to buy another but realizing that that would look shameless, he decided not to.
“Payment in installments. I will take your purchase as a 5 time instalment. Really, it’s okay to pay whenever you can.”
“I can’t have that. I will pay as soon as possible by mailing. Well then, I will head out now.”
Rail Rain gallantly exited the shop. He will probably hurry towards the next city. Old man Barol went outside and saw him off.