Chapter 50: A Mithil Craftsman’s Morning Begins Early

 

(TL: Screaming because I put in the wrong title. Sigh…)

Afterwards, for a short while, I decided to focus my time on my weapon shop and progressed through the requests I had.

For the weapon shop, I continued to hire adventurers for short-term periods in order to compensate for the lack of personnel.

Of course, I considered finding a regular employee soon, and the adventurer guild got back to me at the right time.

That is to say they found someone who was looking for employment.

I heard that the guild was going to hold an interview with that person first before deciding whether to hire them or not.

Either that person was an adventurer who was taking a break like me, or someone who quit completely and was looking for a proper job.

Either way, I was really grateful for the potential applicant.

We couldn’t work efficiently unless we hired an additional two or three people, so even if I hired one right now, it wouldn’t solve our problems immediately. Still, being able to hire someone was an important step towards it.

If the adventurer guild was the one introducing them, we shouldn’t be getting anyone strange.

That trust was a weapon I had built up over the many years I was with them.

 

Of the three production requests I’d received at the same time, the first group to come pick up their finished products were the Golden Fang Knights.

The person in charge and their subordinates waited outside of the shop before we opened. As soon as we did, the subordinates came in and took away the wooden boxes that held the finished products.

「I’ve confirmed that all twenty-five mithril alloy swords are here. Half of the payment will be paid into the knight’s safe-deposit box. Is that alright with you?」

「Yeah. It’s too big of a sum for me to keep here without worrying about it.」

The Golden Fang Knights’ requested swords were to be examined as part of the adoption process for mithril equipment.

To put it simply, they were trying to see what ratio they should get the swords【synthesized】with the mithril at, in order to get the best cost balance.

With five categories from ten percent to fifty percent mithril, I made five swords each, making a total of twenty five swords.

These were going to be used for experimenting. I heard that the plan was to adopt the percentage that had the best value.

Of course, the payment was a sum so large it would make one’s eyes pop out.

Even the swords with only a small percentage of mithril I sell in my shops cost about one small gold coin at least.

I wasn’t exaggerating when I said that the payment was so big I didn’t want all of it left with me, so I used the knight’s financing service and kept a portion of the money in a safe-deposit box.

……Of course, I wasn’t overcharging the knights.

Under the pretext of protecting the market for mithrils, I received orders from the royal palace telling me that it was forbidden to sell them cheaply.

「In any case, it must’ve been a momentous decision for the knights to officially adopt mithril equipment. Will every member of the Golden Fang Knights be adopting them?」

「No, only the troops stationed at Bottomhollow Fort will do so. They will be receiving special equipment just to fight against the demon king’s army. Regular equipment will make them feel uneasy, considering it’s possible that there are other beings among the army that are remodelled humans, like what had become of Hero Falcon.」

The person in charge was being completely serious in his reply.

Hero Falcon, whose final known whereabouts were at the 『Territory of the Demon King』, had fallen by the hands of Demon King Gandalf. He was then combined with a dragon and turned into a composite monster, attacking the Golden Fang Knights he had been allied with.

Whether the hero betrayed his own will or had his mind corrupted as well, we’d never know, and it wasn’t that big of an issue.

The problem was that the robust knights couldn’t even make a dent against him despite them fighting as a group. So, they had overcome that issue.

At the time, I barely managed to escape from Falcon, but that was only because I got lucky after pulling off scheme after scheme.

If we ever end up fighting again, there is no doubt that I’d be killed in the blink of an eye.

「As soon as we finish the inspections, we’re planning to put in an official production order. Well then, please excuse us.」

 

The next person to come pick up their order was Travis, the Black Sword Mountain.

Since he came during peak hours, things became a bit chaotic.

In the eyes of most low-ranking adventurers, the A-ranked adventurer Travis was an overwhelming superior being.

It wouldn’t be strange if many of them looked up to him as an idol.

Of course things would end up like this if he visited so suddenly.

「Yo, Luke. Is the thing I asked you for done?」

「It is, but you know… I’d appreciate it if you came at a quieter time.」

「Sorry about that. It was hard to find time to come here.」

Well, it was true that an adventurer of Travis’s caliber would be busy.

Not to mention, he was tasked with the great task of exploring the 『Territory of the Demon King』, so it wouldn’t be strange if he was busier than I was.

「Here, exactly what you asked for. The gauntlets have been coated with mithril. As for whether it can be used or not, you’ll have to figure it out yourself.」

「Mm… They’re indeed splendidly made. I have no complaints about the weight too. I’m looking forward to using them in battle.」

「Tell me right away if you’re unsatisfied with anything. Fine tuning is part of the after-service care too.」

 

The last one to pick up their order was Sakura.

She chose to come in right when there were barely any customers left, right before we closed shop.

It’d been quite a while since I accepted her request, but I could finally hand over the finished product.

「I’ve been waiting. Here, this is the katana you asked for.」

「Y-Yes……!」

Sakura held back her high spirited feelings and grabbed onto the scabbard and handle. Then, she pulled them apart, exposing the blade beneath it a little.

The blade was a brilliant red color, wrapped with the distinct shine of metal.

While the colors are associated with flames, the feel of it was ice cold. It felt like touching a sheet of ice.

The properties of the hihi’irokane, which can absorb heat, were pronounced.

Since it could even absorb a dragon’s breath when mixed with steel, a pure hihi’irokane would probably steal your body temperature upon touching it.

A bright red like it’s burning. A katana that wraps itself with flames and absorbs heat. A blade cold to the touch like ice.
Those components should be contradictory, yet they exist together in that katana.

The people of the East find this to be so mystical that they’d try to use it to summon a god. When I thought about it that way, I felt convinced that the katana was a necessary tool.

「Ahh… This is a real hihi’irokane…… Thank you so much, Luke-dono……!」

Sakura was completely overwhelmed with emotion, and her expression showed that she was incredibly pleased.

「I’m telling you this just in case, but there’s no guarantee that it can function as a katana. I don’t know if hihi’irokane can be used for weapons.」

「Yes, I’m aware of that. It’s important for me that the blade is made out of hihi’irokane completely. All the swordsmiths I have asked could not do this, yet you did it so easily…」

「Considering all the work that went into it, I wouldn’t call it an easy task.」

I could only rely on my 【Repair】 skill for the past fifteen years.
Then, I ended up in an extreme situation where I wandered through the difficult dungeon, 『Hade’s Millenium Corridor』.

Those resulted in my 【Repair】 skill evolving, allowing me to process the hihi’ironkane in an unconventional way.

Behind the short working hours spent on it were the great effort and distress I suffered through.

「By the way, since I turned the katana you’ve been using into pure hihi’irokane, what are you going to use now?」

「An acquaintance of mine will be supplying me with a new katana through an intermediary, but until then, I’ve been thinking of using a western sword instead.」

「So you really didn’t bring any spare katanas. Good thing I made these then.」

I took out a pair of katana and wakizashi from behind the counter and showed them to Sakura.

She removed the sheath off with a surprised look, and her eyes went wide.

The color of the blade was light pink, very similar to the color of the hihi’ironkane alloy katana she’d been using until I finished it.

「T-This is……!」

「I 【synthesized】  the steel from your katana together with the spare hihi’irokane ore you gave me and a bit of mithril. Since I turned your old katana into a ceremonial katana, I figured you wouldn’t have a weapon for fighting.」

「Luke-dono…… From the beginning until now, you truly……」

「I got more than enough payment in advance from you already, so I figured I should throw in a bonus.」

I tried to soothe Sakura who looked like she was about to cry any moment, while instructing the adventurer I had hired for the day to close up the shop.

Geez, thank goodness Garnet wasn’t around.

If I didn’t tell her to clean the shop outside, she’d be messing with me right about now.

「……Um, manager? There’s someone here……」

The adventurer who should’ve gone to lock the doors came back with a troubled expression, for some reason.

「Sorry, but it’s closing time, so can you tell them to leave?」

「Um, she’s not a customer. She said she wants to see you.」

I see, that’s what he meant by someone.

I asked Sakura to wait for me in the dining room, and headed to the entrance.

I wonder if the person was here with stock. Or, maybe it’s the person the guild house was going to hire.

In any case, I was going to talk to whoever was standing by the entrance… But I was at a loss for words.

「……Noire?!」

The only person from Hero Falcon’s party that returned alive.

Black Magician Noire just stood there while casting her eyes down at the ground.

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