Translated by Tianic, edited by Grammarly
Characters in this chapter:
- Cohen Kheda: The main character.
- The Grandmaster: Dwarf, the best weapon forging master.
- Manta: Son of the dwarf king, Rescued by Cohen from hunters at his youth.
- The Elf Queen: Leader of the elf clan, Winslet’s mother.
- Winslet: A she-elf, daughter of the Elf Queen. Cohen rescued her from bounty hunters in her youth.
As black ores were burning red and taken out of the furnace, I relieved and started discussing detailed forging plan with the GrandMaster.
Since I had offered a new way of mining black ore, the output obstacle was lifted. As a gift, the Master promised me the best black steel blade he was able to craft. We worked from scratch, and the cost of forging and manpower was enormous. To make my weapon even close to perfect, I made myself part of the project by adding suggestions that ever came to mind. The Master also added his ideas based on his wealth of experience within the years. Gradually, the prototype took shape.
Folding was a new method I recently came up with according to my memory on Japanese Katana. It took me an entire night explaining it to the Master. He, well, he then melted the whole blank sword.
“I want to make it perfect!” He said, “You folding method is a good idea, though in this way your sword will be tight and sharp, however, the flexibility is compromised.”
“Then how?” I asked. Folding was a thing I merely read in a magazine, I’ve got nothing else except for that.
“Relax, I got it.”
After a month of hard work, my sword was finally done.
“Take a look!” The Master revealed my sword from a pond of 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 it over and gazed at the black sword with lots of emotion.
“I folded the body thousands of times!” The Master looked feverish, “In the last folding circle, I tried the spiral method which just occurred to me. This way, your sword is both sharp and flexible.”
“Indeed! By spiraling, the body of your sword will have a little swirl around the edges. This way, I was able to fold it without any sacrifice on flexibility. You’ll excel in all kinds of assaulting techniques! The back, as you suggested, I’ve added a string of little saw, and adjusted the fuller.”
I moved around the sword and grew excitement like 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, another item added to your fav list, right?” Accidentally, I mentioned German, so I hurried and changed the subject.
“True.” He didn’t seem to catch it, “As of now the production of black ores is not a problem, and we’ll have more focusing dwarfs on the forging. Speaking of which, you 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 stupefied and nearly lost his balance, “I could die to 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 sword’s handle. I caught the fish from a nearby lake whose meat tasted terrible while the skin was absorbent and anti-skid and looking good.
“Boss!” Manta envied, “Awesome work! Is there anything you can’t do?”
“Enough?” I said, “Did 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 can skip the tax.”
“Don’t be naive! I’m your boss!” I hid the dagger on my calf, “I have to go!”
The elf land was not far beyond though it took me more than ten days! I was not a lazy bone. Instead, Manta 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!” Under their thread, 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 and removed my lenses.
To my surprise, what elf’s place looked like was far from what Winslet has shown me.
The elves built their shelters as tree houses interlocked by vines. They stood harmoniously peacefully without too many decors. Such matched elves’ retiring personality I guessed.
Winslet certainly looked joyful. She talked a lot on the way.
“There’s my house up front.” She pointed at a large tree house, “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 leader.”
“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 fell 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 while dodging 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 could make several fireballs.”
“I see.” Madam Elf fawned, “Give me some days. Let me see what I can find out.”
Her Majesty 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 anyways.
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 hurried and said, “One moment!”
I laid cozily on the grass and looked at the starry sky, “You are waiting?”
“Here they are, look!”
In the starry summer darkness, fireflies swung their dotted body out of the grass. Everywhere were filled with tiny lights.
“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 view was indeed beautiful, but what’s more attractive was Winslet look. At this very moment, I sighted no sign of blue but joy 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,
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 head on my shoulder, dreamed away.