Chapter 6: The Tail and The Shield
I showed my ID at the gate and entered town. The town was quite lively, most probably because it was not too dark yet.
The population density was not as high as in big cities such as Tokyo, but it was crowded like a small shopping street in a rural area.
Most of these people were ordinary humans, but 10% of them had ears and tails. Those ears looked like cat-ears and dog-ears. I tried to appraise them, and they came out as cats and dogs.
I felt reluctant to appraise someone who I did not know without permission, but I didn’t have enough information about this world. I wanted to collect valuable information without being suspicious. Therefore, I began to appraise everyone as I walked deep in the town.
My investigation showed that all people on this road were either humans, cats, dogs, or rabbits. The ratio of the number of people was, humans / cats / dogs / rabbits = 90% / 4% / 4% / 2%.
The average status was 10. The INT was around 7. The average of AGI and STR of 30 was a little higher for those who seemed to be adventurers. However, I noticed individual differences in DEX. People who looked like wizards had about 30 in INT, but the other values did not seem to change much.
Most of these people had about 30 HP, but many had only about 8 MP. The average number for their levels was around 5-10. I noticed that the HP of someone who seemed to be an adventurer had three digits, but the maximum was only 183. Was it a difference in level or a difference in physique prowess? Both were a possibility. People who had bows and arrows usually had a high DEX. The MP at around 20 was also a little high, most probably because of their level.
For a person who seemed to be a witch or wizard, the HP was about 60. While the AGI, STR and DEX were on par with ordinary people. On the other hand, the INT was close to 30. Moreover, the MP was about 20-30 like an adventurer, but was it that useful? Well, as long as they had a wand and could invoke magic, then they could be relatively good magic users.
These people skills were not that impressive. Almost no one had Magic Qualities or Material Arts Qualities. Adventurers had the skill Swordsmanship 1-2 or Magic Qualities 1-2, and most ordinary people had no special skills other than Life Magic. In fact, almost everyone in this town had the Life Magic skill. I didn’t have that one. And I could only find two people who had a magical attribute at rank 2. Most wizards and witches had only one attribute, and the few who had two attributes, none was higher than rank 2.
It seemed that no one had more than three magical attributes as skills. People could start noticing me if I continued to increase the attributes. But, on the other hand, it wouldn’t be so strange because I had Magic Qualities in the first place. I didn’t want to keep hiding my skills separately.
I arrived at the Guild while I thought about my skills and stats. I was going to report the result of my first request.
Well, it was a request that did not require a specific order.
「Hello, Sally-san. I’ve collected the Zunana grass. 」
「Yes. Please put it here. 」
I spoke with Sally-san. She replied with a bright smile on her face. After all, the customer service and attitude of the receptionist of the Guild was immaculate. She treated me respectfully.
「Yes. Here it is. 」
I took out about 200 Zunana grasses and put them on the counter.
「There are so many of them. But did you bring Dokuzunana too? 」
「No. I appraised them in advance, so these are all the good Zunana grass. 」
「Eh… Please wait a moment. 」
Sally brought a box from the back and put the bunch of Zunana grass in it.
「…! They are all Zunana grass! You even collected 203 of them! How did you find them! It doesn’t look like you bought them either!! You said that you appraised them in the first place, but you had no appraisal skill in your stats, right!? Do you even have a magic tool!?」
Sally-san leaned over me and shouted with all her might.
「I do have a similar ability, so I can tell just by looking at the Zunana grass from a distance.」
「That’s amazing! You can even live on Zunana grass alone, did you know that!? And what kind of appraisal do you have!? I do remember you didn’t have one when you first came here!」
「Please calm down. My appraisal is…It’s not displayed in the status for some reason, maybe I can only use that when hunting medicinal herbs.」
「I apologize. I’m just feeling a little distraught. Anyway, I accept your herb collection. 203 Zunana grasses will be 6090 Tael.」
After saying those words, Sally-san gave me 6 silver coins and 9 bronze coins. I received them, threw them into the item box, thanked her with a weird smile, and walked away immediately.
「Thank you. Excuse me.」
「Yes. We look forward to seeing you again…A nice face, a polite attitude, but vastly mysterious…」
I felt like Sally said something when I left the Guild, but I couldn’t hear it well. Well, if it were something important, she would call me out loud. But she didn’t, so it was not a big deal.
I made 6090 Tael in just one day. I had now 7440 Tael including with what I had before. I could buy a shield even if I paid the accommodation fee. However, I could only afford to buy a shield this time. Anyway, I should buy it regardless and put it in the item box. I had nothing to lose. Besides, I could prevent an attack with a shield even without a sword. As for offensive, I could attack with magic in the meantime. To use magic, I just had to imagine it, and I didn’t need any particular mental unity. I could still fight with a shield and magic alone.
I went to the inn and paid the accommodation fee for 2 consecutive days. There seemed to be no discount because the inn was originally cheap.
I didn’t know the route from the inn to the blacksmith’s store. But, I knew the route from the Guild. So I went back to the Guild and headed for the blacksmith’s store from there. I didn’t hesitate and tried to trust my memory. I didn’t get lost this time.
I opened the door and entered the blacksmith’s store. Last time, the owner was by the door, but this time, he wasn’t. Instead, I could hear a strong metallic sound.
「Excuse me! 」
「Shut up! I can hear you, so wait a minute! 」
There was no customer service at the blacksmith. Well, it was terrible as well last time. When I appraised the dwarf, I found that STR, DEX, and HP were actually high. His name seemed to be Dveragh*. Since I had nothing to do, I observed Dveragh-san’s blacksmithing. It seemed that he forged by using a furnace. I thought that he would forge the shape after beating the metal and plunge it into water to cool it down, but he didn’t do it that way.
「It’s over. You came back again quite fast, but have you already collected some money?」
「I only have money for a shield. So I came here to get one. I am a wielder of magic, or wizard if you like, so having a shield alone is still useful.」
「Are you going to use a shield and a sword even though you are a wizard? I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being a wizard or not. But trying to be both will prove arduous for you. To put it simple, you’ll have difficulty in fighting with a shield, a sword and a wand at the same time. Don’t forget that you only have two hands.」
Was it uncommon to be like a magic swordsman? Well, I decided to talk honestly. Honesty was the number one virtue.
「I can invoke magic quickly and I can charge it at a great speed. In fact, I can use it without using a wand. It means I can use magic while moving around.」
「Are you a famous wizard? It doesn’t seem like it, young man. Sorry, but I’ve never heard of a wandless wizard performing such fast magic.」
I wondered if it was something that only skilled wizards could do. The speed of magic was due to the original world, on which my foreigner rank was 10. Well, most probably.
「Perhaps, you are right. I don’t remember much of what I was doing before…」
「I see. Well, there is nothing wrong in being strong. But don’t be too proud of yourself. I’ve seen many people die because they overestimated their own abilities.」
He had a kind heart after all.
「Anyway, you want a shield, right? Based on your physique, a small circular shield should be ideal for you. Hold it for a minute.」
He gave me a circular shield with a diameter of about 50 cm. It had something inside to attach it to my arm. I tried to equip it and move my arm, but it didn’t feel quite right.
「It looks a little heavy for you. How about this one? 」
This time, he gave me a shield with a diameter of about 45 cm. It was better than the previous one, but it still felt a little rattling.
「I need to fix the weight. I’ll adjust it to fit your arm, so wait.」
Dveragh-san removed the metal fittings, hit them hard, and then reattached them. Were they removable? I felt it was just right when I tried it on.
「That’s the one fit for you. Do you have the money? 」
「Yes. Thank you very much. By the way, about the sword. 」
I spoke while giving him 5 silver coins. When Dveragh-san received the silver coins, he casually threw them into his pocket.
「Hmm? Do you have a request? I thought you would like a one-handed sword like this.」
Dveragh-san spread his hands and expressed a length of about 1m.
「No. I was wondering moments ago why you didn’t do any tempering on your swords.」
「Tempering? What’s that? I use the fire before I hit it. That’s all.」
Tempering did not seem to exist in this world, or at least Dveragh didn’t know about it.
「Ah, well. If you heat it after hitting it and cool it down immediately, the metal will harden.」
「Ah? Don’t be silly, if you heat it after hitting it once, the metal will be rather soft. So you can’t heat it after hitting it. If you hit it poorly, it will break in a strange way. That’s where you can show the strength in your arms. Well, only about 1 in 3 will succeed.」
Dveragh-san was proud of his skills. Did he take advantage of the fact that it became hard due to the strain created during processing? Actually, what if tempering did not really work in this world? The effect could be a little different from that found in Planet Earth… However, there was also a fifty percent possibility that it could be the same here. If he succeeded in tempering, he could get a stronger weapon. Charge!
「Yes. The distortions in the metal that you are creating are removed when you hit it, but you can make it harder or softer depending on the temperature before cooling down.」
「Hmm. If you say so. But let me tell you this. It will fail regardless of what you suggest.」
While saying that, Dveragh-san put the blade of the sword into the fire, took it out after a while, and plunged it into the water.
「I don’t know at what temperature it should be, but I’ll go with this one for the time being. 」
Dveragh-san took out the sword. I noticed that the sword changed shape and bent to the right.
「The shape is distorted, but it’s hard!」
As he said those words, Dveragh-san repelled the sword with his finger and immediately changed his expression.
「Extremely hard! Unbelievable! This is awesome!」
「Excuse me… 」
After having a good time, Dveragh-san threw another sword blade into the fire and tempered it. He didn’t listen to anything I said anymore. The second sword was also distorted. However, it was hard too. Dveragh-san finally looked to me after a while.
「Ahh, who knew that “tempering” would make the iron harder. The distortion can be manageable depending on how I hit it, but it did become too hard to break.」
「I think it becomes slightly softer if you heat it at a relatively low temperature for a while and then slowly cool it down.」
「I see. Another method is to cool it slowly, but it will take me some time to find out. I will study how to temper it properly today and the day after tomorrow. If I can make a good weapon with this method, I will give you one sword for free. I will close my shop now.」
With that said, he kicked me out of his store. He treated me too roughly even though I taught him how to temper iron. But if I could get a weapon for free, why should I be concerned about the bad customer service? Perhaps, this offer was another sign of Dveragh-san’s kindness.
I put the shield in the item box and went home. Well, I didn’t go home per se. I just went to the inn, which was now my home. After eating a meal at the restaurant next door, I entered the inn. Today I ordered a Gargon set meal and paid an additional 10 Tael. It was good as usual.
I did not know why, but it seemed that my body and clothes didn’t get dirty, even without washing them. I felt grateful because it was probably an adjustment to this different world, but that worried me a little bit. I wished I had a bath.
I fell asleep while thinking about that.
*Dveragh comes from Dvergar or Norse dwarves. The Dvergar are creatures in Norse mythology. They are associated with rocks, the earth, craft and metalwork, wisdom, and greed. The dwarves came from maggots that formed on Ymir’s skin as he was killed by Odin, Vé and Vili. Odin transformed the maggots into dwarves. It is said that dwarves are blacksmiths and built weapons for war between the gods.
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