Where exactly is this place…?
I woke up in a state covered by a coc.o.o.n made of thin membrane. Maybe my dream to become a chrysalis has come true. Although I do not remember having such a dream.
As I tore the membrane with both hands, I could see an unfamiliar roof up top. Really, where is this?
Hmm? My memory doesn’t exactly feel clear. My mind is just drawing a blank. I tried blinking constantly and concentrating on my consciousness but my memory didn’t return even then. Where is this and why am I here?
When I looked around me, I discovered another coc.o.o.n. I tried looking into it. There was a person visible through the transparent thin membrane. I don’t even know this person. No, this feeling is more of ‘can’t remember’ than ‘don’t know’. The person inside the coc.o.o.n looked strong-willed and unbelievably beautiful. So beautiful that I could keep on watching forever. Really.
……… I don’t know where this is but I started to feel like it wasn’t such a bad place.
I had no idea when the girl next to me would wake up so for the time being, I tried looking around the building. At first glance, it looks like a normal house but there’s no furniture and it doesn’t feel like anyone lives here. I wonder if it was abandoned for a long time? But it’s too clean for that. I thought someone came periodically to clean the place while we were asleep. I wonder if that person will come by anytime soon? If they do, I would like to hear about this situation in detail. I feel like my memories just suddenly flew away. I just wanted to fill in that portion at the moment.
When I looked outside, the sun had just gotten right overhead. I wonder if it’s about noon.
I had nothing else to do so I just gazed outside.
I could hear people’s bustling voices from afar. There might be a marketplace nearby.
As I was free either way, I left the building and headed towards the way the lively noise came. After walking down a lane for a while, I got out on the main street. As I thought, there was a marketplace there and it was quite lively. There were many different shops on both sides of the road and the middle was crowded with people coming and going.
“Oi. You rich-looking lad. Why don’t ya buy something from me, eh?”
Rich-looking lad… is he talking about me?
“You with the red hair, I am talking to you.”
He pointed at me seeing I was perplexed. Certainly, I had red hair. It seems that I look like I am rich.
“Sorry but I don’t have any on me right now.”
Or so it’s supposed to be. I couldn’t find a wallet even after I searched my pockets.
“Eh, that’s a shame. But, our soft pie is really delicious, ya know? Have some before ya go. You can just come again if ya like it, alright?”
“You are giving me quite the service, huh?”
I received the pie from the nice old man and ate it.
“Well, do ya like it?”
Now that I think about it, was I sleeping inside that coc.o.o.n? And if so, how long? If I am having trouble with remembering anything, it must have been quite long. That would mean that I had nothing to eat all that time.
But, from the looks of it, it doesn’t seem like my body has suffered from starvation. It might be that I took in nutrients in a different way than eating. Leaving that aside to know later, I think I can surely say that I had nothing to eat.
After all, the pie was so delicious I felt like chewing it forever. I put the whole pie in my mouth, making my cheeks swell, and ate it. And before I realized, tears were pouring out my eyes along with a bit of snot from my nose, and I was soaked in happiness.
“Oi oi oi, n.o.ble-like lad, I didn’t think you would like it that much…”
“Hmm? What? Speak after ya finish eating that, alright?”
I decided to do just that. Gulping it down, I requested the old man for another.
“Could I have another?”
That was probably out of the ordinary for the old man. He probably felt quite glad as he kept laughing for a while afterwards.
After he calmed down, the old man started making another pie.
“To tell ya the truth, I just started my business today. I was nervous about what was to come but if a n.o.ble like you likes it this much, I think I can have some confidence in my cooking.”
Hmm? Seems like he just went from rich-looking lad to n.o.ble-like lad to n.o.ble. Am I really a n.o.ble? If not, sorry about this.
“I will definitely pay you back someday.”
“That’s fine. This is from me as a starting celebration.”
I will take your word for it, alright, old man?
I stuffed the second one in my mouth as well, again making my cheeks swell as I ate it. And although my future is much more unknown than the old man, for the moment, I just felt happy.
Expressing my grat.i.tude to the old man, I again started walking down the marketplace.
I thought after I started to walk again that, I wanted to have the pretty girl in that building have that pie too. She would also surely find it delicious and be moved. I did think about going back to ask the old man for one more but that just feels wrong after being treated to two whole pies. No, in the first place, it wouldn’t be a matter if I just had money. That would also contribute to sales for the old man.
If so, then I just need to earn money. I don’t know when that beautiful girl will wake up but earning money won’t do any harm. Alright, I guess I will do it!
Well, although I just made the decision, what did I do back when I had my memory? The old man called me a n.o.ble but what exactly do n.o.bles do to earn money? Will the day when I pay back the old man ever come?
I thought about it seriously for a while but it won’t do any good worrying so I continued my exploration of the marketplace. I don’t have any ulterior motives like being treated again, alright?!
But I did get the stuff I got. It seems like I get treated if I am n.o.ble-like. I should remember that.
As I advanced along the main street, the crowd of people slowly started to get lesser and lesser.
After crossing the section where they sell food and clothes, I seem to have reached the section of where artisans gather. There were also shops which had leather goods and metal works. This is probably where they make the stuff and they sell it in that crowded place. While there were shops where there was a lot of disciples and it was lively, there were also shops where one person was slowly and silently doing their work.
There wasn’t anything here I fill my stomach with but weirdly enough, I kinda felt calm here.
At the same time, while I was feeling comfortable, I also felt this excitement in my heart as I walked through the place. Exactly what is this excitement? Will a gamble start out of the blue? It doesn’t seem like it.
And at last, my ears caught something decisive.
‘Clang’ ‘clang’-the sound of metal striking metal. Here within this sector, it seems like the smiths gather here. As I went close, I could see smiths enthusiastically hammering iron here and there. My heart beat faster. I thought I might just have been a smith.
I can’t help but feel that the hammers these smiths in front of me are using will feel very familiar in my hands. Also, judging from how I can tell that that man is not really good, I might just be a smith.
“Sorry to bother you while working. I would like to ask, am I a blacksmith?”
“Huh?! I don’t know! Mm, what, you a n.o.ble? Please, don’t get in the way of my work!”
Seems like I asked a weird question. I guess he wouldn’t have known, if I was a blacksmith or not. But, they all do think I am a n.o.ble, huh. Well, I probably am a n.o.ble then.
For a while, I went around looking at their workplaces. To be honest, there were too many who were lacking practice. Or so I thought. I don’t have confidence. It’s just that I feel like that.
After having seen them all, I found the best one working at the middle of that place. An old man. Seems like he didn’t have any disciple as he just kept working on his own.
“Do even n.o.bles feel like wanting to see this every once in a while?”
Apart from saying that, he just went on with his work silently. I feel calm watching him work. And it also makes me want to hammer swords.
I don’t know how long I was watching as I forgot the time. Before I realized, there was a swordsman standing beside us. From his atmosphere and his figure, I can tell that he is strong.
“Mr. Barol, I would like my sword fixed.”
It felt like they knew each other.
The swordsman noticed me.
“No, a rare guest. I think you don’t need to worry.”
“Yes, I am just watching.”
I agreed to the old man’s opinion.
“I see. Then I would like you to accept my request. Here.”
The swordsman gave the old man called Barol the sword he was carrying along with its sheath. Although he had trouble, the old man took the sword and drew it.
A double-edged sword. From just one look, I could tell that it is probably a very excellent sword. In the sword’s body, the name of the blacksmith was carved in. It read ‘Kururi Helan’.
“Would you look at that-people sure get first cla.s.s goods when they are top rate adventurer, huh? To think I would be able to see the Kururi series with my own eyes.”
The old man’s face was filled with happiness. And that happiness was lost soon after.
“However, again, swords always turn out like this when you use it.”
It was also quite natural for the old man to feel sad. Even though it was such an excellent sword, the sword was in terrible shape, with a crack running through the middle.
“I do think I know how inexperienced I am. However, against a black dragon, I had no choice but to sacrifice the sword.”
“I wouldn’t say you’re inexperienced. If you were to be inexperienced, then 90% of all adventurers would be incompetent. However, it is also true that you can’t get through that coa.r.s.eness. To bring the lost Kururi series to this state.”
“…..I am sorry.”
They both could have this conversation because of their love for swords. Although the old man was scolding him, he did acknowledge the swordsman’s strength and the swordsman was also properly listening to the old man. I felt like that was the ideal form of the maker and the user.
The old man put the sword he was making on hold for now and inspected every nook and corner of the requested sword.
And, after thinking for a long while, he finally opened his mouth.
“No, I can’t fix it anymore now that it’s in this state. At the very least, not with my skills.”
“Wha?! If the best blacksmith in town, Mr. Barol can’t fix it, who can?”
“There probably isn’t anyone who could in this city. The percentage is low but if you really want it fixed, you have no other choice but to go to the capital. If needed, I can write you a letter of introduction. It’s the Kururi series after all, I also feel bad about giving up like this.”
“Uuu… after all the trouble I went through to get a hold of it. I ended up wasting it.”
“Seems like it.”
The two were clearly disappointed.
And so, I was thinking.
That-hmm? I think I can fix it.
How should I bring it up? It seems to be quite a famous sword so they probably won’t let me touch it that easily. However, I might be able to get some money this way. If I can, I would be able to let that girl in the coc.o.o.n eat as many pies as she wants.
If so, I had no choice but to speak up.
“Shall I fix it?”
I was glared at by the swordsman. Well, that’s still within the range of what I expected so I won’t glare back or anything.
“n.o.ble lad, you mustn’t say something so rash.”
The old man said with a tone as if he was comforting a child. Seems like he was trying to speak for me before the swordsman got angry.
“I understand. My head is currently in a strange state but I do know that I will have to take responsibility for my words.”
“Then what? Are you trying to say that a sword-the lost Kururi series at that-can be fixed by a youngster like you when even Mr. Barol couldn’t fix it?”
The swordsman said in his usual high-handed tone. He probably hates people who jest around. And at this moment, in his eyes, I probably look like someone like that.
“I am saying that. After all, it can’t be fixed by anyone, right? Then letting me handle it is the same as abandoning a dead sword, right? Will you try letting me handle it, knowing it would have gone to waste either way?”
“The percentage is low but I could find someone who can fix it in the capital. I can’t possibly leave it with you.”
“Ahh, geez, you’re stubborn, aren’t you? If you leave it to me, I will fix it in an hour. In fact, I will even take only two pies as the cost. How about it?”
“Hmm, that just makes it way more suspicious, I can’t leave it to you. Mr. Barol, that will be it for today. The next time I come by, I request you have that letter of introduction.”
“Ah, I understand. Shall I take care of the sword?”
“I would like it if you do.”
“Alright, got it.”
The swordsman left. He still hadn’t calmed down.
“He loves swords way more than your average person. Saying something like that bluntly, that also after his sword just broke, surely he would get angry. I don’t know what you were planning but even if you are a n.o.ble, you can’t do whatever you like.”
I was warned once again.
Eh, am I at fault? Is that so?”
“But, I can fix stuff I can fix…”
“Stubborn, aren’t you? The fact that you have been seeing my work all this time means you probably do have some knowledge about swords. However, I can’t have you do a job like that suddenly. In the first place, are you even a blacksmith?”
Uuu…… I can’t say anything ’cause I don’t remember anything.
The old man had an expression like ‘see? What’d I tell you?’.
“You probably don’t even know the Kururi series.”
My voice came out this time.
“But I can tell it’s a good sword with just one look.”
That is the truth. I could clearly tell that it was a good sword even at its battered state.
“Of course. Anyone would be fascinated seeing the Kururi series. Even a child.”
Is that really so? I wouldn’t know. I don’t have any memories after all.
“Even as it is, it’s no good when the sword is in that state. But even then, it’s a Kururi series. You know, Kururi series is the series of blades made by the legendary blacksmith Kururi Helan. As most of his swords are very unique, any average blacksmith will just end up ruining the sword if they try to fix it.”
“Oho. He must have been a very amazing person. You said something about it being lost a while before.”
“Of course he is amazing. Although he left very few swords in this world, all of his swords are of national treasure level. He was a blacksmith n.o.body knew but he suddenly rose up in name and then suddenly disappeared 3 years ago. The story that he is dead is most likely. There are a lot of rumors going around but I don’t know what the truth is. One theory even says he was a n.o.ble. What a joke.”
Oho?-my voice came out once again.
“How many are there in the series?”
“3 G.o.d level swords. 10 heaven level ones and 30 holy ones. Those are the only ones clearly known to be built by Kururi Helan. The one he brought in just now is one of the holy ones, Amatsu.”
I just went like-Oh, I see.
If that Kururi guy was alive, he would have been really rich-what a waste.
“Well, that’s fine. If you won’t let me fix it, then let me help with something. I want to buy a pie when I go back.”
“I am not taking disciples.”
“No, not disciple. Any simple job would do.”
“What a persistent n.o.ble, you are. I don’t have any job I can entrust you to. The sword I was making just now, try finishing that. After all that boasting, surely you could do that much?”
And so, I was entrusted with finishing up the sword Barol was making.
Hmm, this might be rude but that level of a sword isn’t well made. I would have liked to start from scratch but I might be chased away if I complain so I guess I have no other choice but to finish this up. I just need to have enough money to bring back some pies. He will probably give me that much if I finish this one.
I was able to do it even without thinking about how to finish making a sword. It was strange. Even though I couldn’t remember a bit in my head, my body just moved on its own. Even without thinking anything, before i realized, the sword was done. The base wasn’t good but I think I did quite a good job with the finishing. I felt like I could have a good battle with that Kururi Helan guy Barol was praising.
I was about to go report that I was done to Barol but it seems like he was watching beside me all the while. Just like I was concentrating, it seems like he was also concentrating.
“Well? I am done with it.”
It felt like his soul was sucked out of him.
“Hey, I kinda feel bad saying this out of the blue but..”
His soul hasn’t come back yet, huh?
“I am fine with just enough money to buy some pies so, could I get some? I did your work too.”
“Ahh… take it. I have a safe in the back. Take all you want……”
Barol took the sword I finished on his hand and looked at it like his soul was drifting even further away.
Even when I told him ‘I will just take enough money for some pies and leave, alright?’, he just stared at the sword with his mouth wide open.