Translated by Tianic, edited by Grammarly
[dropcap]S[/dropcap]eeing the burning red liquid coming out of the furnace, I was relieved. Hence I began discussing a detailed forging plan with the Grandmaster.
Since I had found a new way to mine black steel, the output was no longer a problem. As a gift, the Master had promised me his most effort into my dream weapon. We started from scratch, and the cost of forging and manpower was enormous. To make my weapon even close to perfection, I had become the Grandmaster’s assistant. Being by his side, I was able to tell him all the new ideas and epiphanies that ever came to my mind. The Grandmaster also added his ideas based on his abundant experience. Gradually, the prototype took shape.
Folding was a new method that came to me from my memory of Japanese Katana. It took me an entire night explaining it to the Grandmaster. He, well, he then melted the prototype.
“I want to make it perfect!” He said, “Your folding method is an excellent idea, though in this way your sword will be tough and sharp, however, flexibility is compromised.”
“Then how?” I asked. Folding was a thing I merely read in a magazine, I’ve got no more knowledge.
“Relax, I got it.”
After a month’s hard work, my sword had finally taken shape.
“Take a look!” The Master revealed my sword from a pond of a milky liquid, “This is the final work!”
A uniquely-shaped weaponed presented itself in front of me: sleek body, without any blendings. The blade was already sharpened. I could feel its potential destructive power.
I took hold of it with all sorts of emotions.
“I folded the body thousands of times!” The Grandmaster said feverishly, “In the last folding session, I tried a spiral technique which just occurred to me. This way, your sword is both sharp and flexible.”
“Indeed! By spiraling the sword, the body will have little whirls near its edge. In this way, I was able to fold it without any sacrifice on flexibility. It’ll excel in all kinds of assaulting techniques! The back, as you suggested, I’ve added a ling of zigzags, and adjusted the fuller.”
I toyed with the sword and grew excited like there was a fire in my blood.
It was indeed a blade of mine!
“Thank you, Grandmaster!” I said, “Only you can forge such a sword.”
“I can’t take all the credits.” The Master looked at me, “Such a weapon is not a sword, so tell me, what’s its name?”
“I knew you’d ask.” I scratched my head, “It’s a machete, German Machete.”
“Yeah, so, you’ve another item added to your fav list, right?” I abruptly changed the subject for accidentally mentioning ‘German’.
“True.” He didn’t seem to catch it, “As of now the production of black steel is not a problem, so more dwarfs can focus on forging. Speaking of which, your design is impressive.”
Of course, it was. My machete looked quite unordinary though every part of it was filled with Germanic wisdom and inspiration. It was standard weaponry in my previous army life.
“This is a gift,” The Master handed over a dagger, “Same style!”
“Thank you!” I took it over, “I have one more thing to ask.”
“What is it?”
“Can you make me a few more swords?”
“Mo…re?” The Master was stunned and nearly fell over, “I’ll die if I make another sword like this…”
“You misunderstood me!” I helped him straight, “I meant just regular black steel blades!”
I tanned a piece of fish skin and carefully stripped it on the machete handle. I caught the fish from a nearby lake whose meat tasted terrible but had good-looking, absorbent, and anti-skid skin.
“Boss!” Manta envied, “Awesome work! Is there anything you can’t do?”
“Enough?” I said, “Do you have the map I need? To the elf’s.”
“Here you go!” Manta had a map in hand, “But can you teach me how to stripe this?”
“Later perhaps after I come back from Winslet’s.” I put away the map, “I don’t have much time left. I need to head back to DC before my next birthday.”
“I’ll be sixteen by then,” I said, “titled and given land as a nobleman. I’m yet to know which land His Majesty will give me.”
“Better be this land,” Manta laughed, “then we don’t need to pay tax.”
“Don’t be naive! I’m your boss!” I hid the dagger oin my boots, “I have to go!”
The elf land was not far from the Dwarf’s though it took me more than ten days to get there! I was not being lazy, because Manta had screwed up the map.
“Finally…” I lied on the grass and gasped, “Manta you are so dead…”
I stood up and found myself surrounded by several he-elves who readied their bows.
“Peace out!” I stood up, “I’m here to see someone!”
“Elves do not make contact with humans.” One of them said, “You are lying!”
“I’m not lying!” I held up my hands, “I’m looking for Winslet!”
“Winslet?” The elf said, “We have several Winslet’s here!”
“The one who came home recently!”
“You name! Identify yourself!”
“Liar! Kohen Kheda has black eyes!”
I didn’t have a choice but to remove my lenses.
To my surprise, what elf’s place was far from what Winslet had described.
The elves built their shelters as tree houses interlocked by vines. They stood harmoniously and peacefully without too many decors. Such matched elves’ retiring personality I guessed.
Winslet was certainly joyful. She talked a lot on the way.
“There’s my place.” She pointed at a large treehouse, “Mom’s at home.”
“This?” I asked, “It’s so much bigger than the others.”
“That’s where the elders usually meet my mom.”
“Meet your mother?” I didn’t get her, “Your mom is one of the elder elves?”
“No!” Winslet said with a smile, “She… is… the… queen!”
“Queen!? Then, Winslet, you are… a princess?”
“Can’t I?” Winslet floated into the air, “Don’t I look like a princess?”
“En… headache…” To think that an elf princess has been playing with me for years and I’ve been unaware of, it was like a slap in the face. “Then Manta and Dimmock…”
“Manta is the son of the Dwarf King! Steven, he’s also the son of the wingman chief.”
“What… gosh… they’ve kept me in the dark for years! Watch it!” I tried to grab her though she flew away.
“Ouch!” When I finally caught her, I bumped into a door.
“Mom, Cohen is here to see us!” Winslet got away and flew beside the Elf Queen.
“Here you are, Cohen.” The elf queen was beautiful as ever. She offered her hands, “Are you hurt? Let me see.”
“En, don’t bother. I’m OK.” I brushed the dust off my tunic as I dodged her hand. I was still a teenager though my two lives experience has made me far older than that. Being touched on the head by a gracious adult elf was something I felt uncomfortable with, “How are you, Your Grace.”
“Huhhe.” She chuckled, “You’ve grown up, Cohen.”
“Winslet, on your way with Cohen, dinner is ready.” The Elf Queen said, “I have another meeting. You shall see me by tonight.”
Then I spent dinner flirting with Winslet.
“You stopped at Lvl.3?” After a thorough examination, Winslet’s mother asked, “How do you feel?”
“Indeed, I had no problem using any spells under Lvl.3.” I recalled, “Then because my mana is not growing I can’t release anything above that.”
“Are you having trouble doing Lvl.3?”
“Not at all!” I shrugged, “I can easily make several fireballs.”
“I see.” Winslet’s mother frowned, “Give me some days. Let me see what I can find out.”
The queen had left, then I exited the treehouse. It hurt not having a light walk after dinner.
“Where are you going?” Winslet appeared, “Care to see my friends?”
“Sure!” I was free anyway.
Winslet took me near a laguna with a proud look.
“Isn’t the lake you stayed when you were young?” I asked.
“More to that!” Winslet said, “Give it a moment!”
I laid cozily on the grass and stared at the starry sky, “You are waiting for?”
“Here they are, look!”
In the starry summer darkness, fireflies swung their dotted body out of the grass. Everywhere was filled with tiny dots light.
“Shh.” Winslet put one finger on her lips, her eyes lit up, and slowly moved to my side, “Don’t scare them out.”
I can’t deny that such a view was indeed beautiful, but what’s more attractive was Winslet’s eyes. At this very moment, I sighted no sign of blue but joyfulness and happiness.
“Remember the meaning of my name?” Winslet whispered.
“I do.” I said, “It’s those flying things.”
“Stop that. It’s fireflies! They are my friends.”
“I know that.”
“You know nothing, black-eyed dumb.”
“I know,” I said, “Fireflies are your friends, the lake is your friend, the stars, the moonlight, and the breeze are your friends.”
Stunned by her look, suddenly I discovered, she was beautiful.
“I have a song, do you want to sing it with me?”
“What is it?”
“Dark sky dawned, starry night falls,
Fireflies, Fireflies, where’s your memory?
Where the star tears, rose grows,
The cold breeze, cooling breeze, where is my love?
Fireflies, flower dreams, two makes one.
Darkness breaks hearts
No what, nowhere…”
Winslet whispered her song and leaned her head on my shoulder, dreamed away.