Translated by Tianic, edited by Grammarly
[dropcap]F[/dropcap]lynn was carefully coloring my hair while Carey was toying a pair of blue crystal lenses nearby. Jack and Wilder were stuffing food in a backpack.
“Boss, here.” Jack put his wallet in my pack.
“Isn’t that your life-saving?” I asked.
“I’m offering. Money is worthless if it weren’t for use.”
“OK, but I’m not taking all of it.”
“Stop talking, or I’ll dye your face…”
Flynn will be a great wife.
After some farewell advice, my two mean professors kicked me out. I pulled my hood and stepped on the way.
I dressed as a traveling mage apprentice who aimed to practice my magic knowledge. With the fake eye and hair color, there wasn’t much trouble all the way except for my increasingly sore legs and sagging money bag.
Then I arrived at the dwarf’s grassy and ‘burning’ territory.
The dwarf’s land was a vast valley by the Dark Forest. Scattered villages saw smokes coming out of short chimneys, which reminded me of lunch.
“Bo…boss!?” Manta barely swallowed what was in his throat with rounded eyes, “What brought you here?”
“My legs.” I grabbed his meat and started devouring, “How are you?”
“Not bad.” Manta filled a cup of water, “You came all by yourself? And what’s wrong with your hair?”
I filled him in on what happened during the year during the meal, including, of course, my purpose here.
“Dwarfs make the best weapon!” Manta gave his chest-beating guarantee, “You’ll not be disappointed.”
“Don’t get cocky yet.” I had a big swallow of water to wash down the food, “My demand is special-special, burp…”
“Well, the past year certainly didn’t alter your way of eating.” Manta laughed, his palm landed on my shoulder, “Let’s go meet the Grandmaster, he’s our best.”
Manta and I walked side by side to a lake deep into the valley and stopped at a dwarf neighborhood. This place must be where the Grandmaster’s workshop was.
“By the way, Manta.” As we smiled back at other dwarfs who greeted us, I asked, “Do all dwarfs have a short fuse?”
“That’s a typical stereotype.” Manta glanced at me and said.
Manta has gotten noticeably stronger but unnoticeably taller. He continued and explained, “We dwarfs look things very straightforwardly. For us, something is either right or wrong, there isn’t a third option. All things are valued per se rather than abstractly. We’d better off fighting than wasting time arguing.”
“Impressive,” I smiled and commented, “you’ve learned a lot of new words within a year.”
We walked into the most significant building among the small. Manta started showing me all kinds of weapons.
I took time going through a big pile of dazzling metal and grew ever so disappointed.
“It’s either too heavy, too long, short or light…” I commented and said, “Take me to the Grandmaster, I wanna talk with him!”
“No problem, here.”
As I opened the wooden door, hotness and moist greeted me. There were sounds of hammers banging all around, Manta yelled at a topless dwarf.
“MASTER!” Manta pointed at me, “THIS IS MY BOSS, HE WANTS TO SEE YOU!”
The Grandmaster kept on hammering on a piece of metal without even turning back to look at me.
“What’s your problem? Say it!”
I walked by and noticed a dwarf with a sweaty face decorated by scattered moles. Like all dwarfs, he had incredible muscle.
“I need a weapon,” I said.
“Outside, there are plenty.” He still paid no attention to me, “Your call.”
“I said,” I spoke louder this time, “I need a weapon!”
“Those are not weapons. Those are tools!”
“DANG,” The master dropped his hammer and finally threw me a serious look, “Let’s talk outside!”
I followed and exited the house. As soon as we were out, the Master turned to face me. Before I could say anything, a massive dwarf fist was already flying towards me.
I had to admit, I have seriously considered a peaceful talk. However, the current situation didn’t allow me. By looking at this arm I knew it couldn’t be a joke. Manta seemed not intent to stop him.
(A while later)
“Are you done!” It was the seventh time I smashed the Grandmaster on the ground. My height and bizarre martial arts had given me the edge, “You won’t win!”
He probably realized that too.
“YOU TELL ME!” The master’s face was extremely reddened, “Why are those tools?”
“So this was what pissed you off!” I found myself a spot and sat down, “I thought those were your way of saying hello.”
“Sure.” I said, “What is a weapon? A weapon should be something that’s able to maximize its user’s lethality.”
“These things here will do!”
“Maybe to others, but to me, the ones you have are only capable of leveling my attack damage to a certain degree, which is far less than maximum.”
“What do you want!?”
“I want you to forge a decent weapon for me! It may not necessarily be a thing like you have forged before.”
“If you have one in mind then I can make it!” The master said severely, “But if you wanna fool me by giving me some shitty drawings then you have come to the wrong person!”
“Why on earth would I do that?” I squatted and started drawing on the ground with a twig.
“Long handle, should be a double-handed… but the blade is only about two inches… the head… en? A sword like this, or it’s a one-bladed sword? The Master commented as I drew.
“That’s it!” I looked at my sketch, “Single blade.”
“Your design doesn’t make sense!”
“With a single blade, you can thicken the other side, which makes it capable of fighting against heavier weapons. And it is comparably light in the meantime. Either to attack or to shield, it is more flexible and less power-consuming.
“What’s that line over there?”
“What the hell is that?”
“The sword itself doesn’t have a wide blade; thus when stabbing into the enemy’s body, there won’t be an extended cut. So I need a fuller to make my opponent bleeds faster. It also makes it easier to draw the blade out of a body.”
“What do you want to forge it with?”
“I’m thinking about something flexible and tough.”
“Flexible?” The Master seemed to have accepted my suggestion judging from his serious attitude, “I do have some black steel left but sure not enough!”
“How much do you have?” Manta cut in, “Can you mixed it with other metals?”
“You tell me!” The master yelled, “It’s black steel for god’s sake! How am I supposed to mix it with other metal?”
“Why not?” Manta unwillingly continued.
“Man, I knew you are not smart! Two kinds of metal have different properties, which means the melting and solidifying temperatures are different too. Even the mixture freezes, it’s size will change, you dumbass!”
“You are the Grandmaster.” I stopped Manta from getting stupider, “Can you tell me where to mine this thing?”
“Boss, don’t say you wanna do it yourself!” Manta said, “It’s extra hard!”
“Cut the crap and lead your way!”
“This is it.” Manta pointed at a large white stone, “Black steel is in the stone.”
“Shit!” I watched as a dwarf struck on the stone and went gravely disheartened. The white stone was so hard that even a full strike left only a tiny dot on it.
“You see.” Manta spoke gloomily, “God knows how long we are gonna have enough steel.”
One of the dwarfs has finally opened a white stone, and a few pieces of black ore were there at the center.
“Is this black steel?” I picked one and asked.
“Yeah.” Manta said, “But you still need to refine it to get the real black steel!”
I examined carefully the broken stone and gazed at the cracked edge. Suddenly, a simple idea came to mind!
“Manta, I’ve got an idea!”
I asked the dwarfs to fill a bunch of newly-dug holes with cold water. Manta asked, “Boss, are you entirely sure this will work?”
“Don’t worry. I’m never wrong!”
With my instructions, the dwarfs put a fire under the white stones, and when they were burning red, I told them to push the rocks into cold water. Then a puff of steam popped, they cracked!
“HAHAHAHAHA!” Manta burst out into laughter, “I’m impressed! Boss!”
“This is what you call impressive?” I stroke his head, “Think big, man! Now hurry, we’ll find the Master once we’ve got enough black steel!”