Volume 4 Chapter 24
“Aniki, you have received two letters. Both senders do not seem like someone you would know but… they were delivered to the castle as official doc.u.ments.”
At first I was really stiff in the castle but now that I have lived in it for more than a week, I had leveled up to be able to sit on the sofa with my legs crossed while having nice fruit sake.
It does kinda bother me how Supatifila-san who was standing behind would occasionally mutter something suggestive like ‘Iris-sama sure works hard…’
“For me? I wonder who it is from.”
I looked at the sender.
Fregen Dartanel and Gormen Areshik… Ah, I really don’t know these two.
“I do not know who this Gormen person is but I know Fregen quite well. He isn’t someone who would be Aniki’s acquaintance…”
“Hee, what kind of a person is he?”
“It is not much of a good name. I kinda have a hunch that something bad will happen. He has been colliding with my brother quite a lot from long ago….”
What an amazing person. Is he the G.o.d of infectious diseases or something?
Even still, to collide with the prince, he must have guts.
“Can’t you correct something like that with the royal family’s power?”
“That’s right… My father does not really like using authority much but… More than anything, the main cause is this Fregen person’s family, Dartanel holds quite a bit of power.”
“It is frustrating to say it but, yes. This country has the tendency to focus authority in the center and Dartanel family is the head of that. They handle the core of the capital’s economy after all…. Actually, they are also a big portion of why Kudan kingdom could prosper this much.”
I see, so money means power, eh? And they also have the merit of expanding the country.
I guess it would be quite hard to stop that once it goes on a rampage.
“The Dartanel family is a very distinguished family and their previous head was an extremely good person but their current head is more of a greedy person. And also, the next head would be Fregen, who keeps bringing trouble. It hurts my head to think of it.”
“That’s quite a lot of trouble… I thought our territory was having it pretty rough but everyone has it rough, huh?”
“Yes, but Helan territory’s development is certainly the best news as of late. Your father, Toral-dono is also a person of trust and my father also praises him frequently.”
Is that true?!
My father will be super happy when I tell him that.
He is a person full of emotions, after all. Even among that, sadness is more within him so I should let him take it easy sometimes.
“That Fregen b.a.s.t.a.r.d, he probably got the scent of some good business from the prospering Helan territory. Aniki, there is no need to fear. You can brush off all his pushy demands.”
Of course, I will.
My spirit has not gone so low as to yield to lowly threats and my love for my territory has not faded for me to sell it. In fact, I am full of spirit and miss my territory since I have not gone there in a while.
“I feel like tearing the letter apart after hearing that.”
“Yes, sorry about it. But since it is an official doc.u.ment, could you please have a look at it?”
If that is the case, I do not really want to bother Rahsa, so I guess I will properly read it.
‘Respected and affectionate Kururi Helan-dono,
I am in your debt for what you did the other day. I would really love to return the favour so please come to our house tonight. I am really hoping to meet you.’
“…….Or so it says.”
“Directly…. That is unexpected. I thought it would be something about the Helan territory…
Or rather, what? Aniki, do you know him? It feels like you saved his life or something.”
Right? I mean he also wrote respected and affectionate and what not.
Did I save someone on the way to the castle or something? I did greet a lot of people….
“I don’t really remember. I might remember if I see his face.”
“I see…. What will you do? Accept the invitation?”
“No, I will refuse.”
“You will refuse even considering the content of the letter? As expected of Aniki! I wanted you to refuse so it makes me happy!”
Actually, I refused because it seemed like Rahsa did not want me to accept it from the start. I would like Rahsa to feel better than someone who I don’t even remember.
“Hahah, now then, let’s just throw this away. Supatifila-san, please incinerate this. And also, please send a letter of refusal.”
So it is okay to throw it after reading, eh? How honest of him to properly maintain the procedure. Incinerate at that too. Exactly how much do you hate this guy?
Moreover, even Supatifila-san who was ordered to burn it also seemed a bit happy.
I realized this recently but she seems to be happy when Rahsa is happy.
Well, I made Rahsa happy too so her spell ‘Iris-sama sure works hard’ won’t be coming for a while probably.
“The other letter is from Gormen Areshik. I do feel like I heard the name before but let’s open it.”
“What will I do if it’s a love letter?”
“It is probably a guy, are you okay with that?”
I opened it.
‘Respectable and affectionate Kururi Helan-dono’
Again. I am being respected quite a lot these days. Did the society finally come to know of my charm?
‘Acknowledging your skill as a blacksmith, I invite you to the Blacksmith Organization Ten Excellence meeting. I have important talk with you so I would really like it if you were to partic.i.p.ate.
Blacksmith Organization Ten Excellence representative, Gormen Areshik.’
“Ahh, I see. So it is Gormen-san of the Blacksmith Organization. Aniki, don’t you think you should partic.i.p.ate in this?”
“Is he someone famous? Also, what is this Blacksmith Organization?”
“It’s where the blacksmith masters are a.s.sembled in the capital to form an organization. I do not know well but half of the weapons the soldiers use are from Gormen-san’s company, Soul of Iron.”
“Isn’t there quite a lot of soldiers in the capital? Can they keep up?”
“Yes, Soul of Iron is quite the large scale smith.”
There is a place like that? I could see the spectacle of all the good blacksmiths gathering and brushing up their skills… It is quite different from me as I do it by myself so I got kinda excited about it.
“It seems interesting so maybe I will go to this.”
“Yes, I will send a reply then. I am sure they have acknowledged your skill.”
“That would be nice.”
On the day of the meeting, I wore the very n.o.ble-like clothes Rahsa had prepared for me and headed to the meeting place. The clothes really fit my body well so it was easier to move. Did he make it like this so that I can smith even while wearing this?
Won’t it look a little odd, though?–when I asked Rahsa that, he replied with, ‘You’re a n.o.ble so let’s display that ident.i.ty.’
The carriage went on for a while, going further away from the middle of the capital. I guess it would be far from the n.o.ble city.
The driver said ‘We have arrived’ and I looked out to see the place. There was a building different from what I had imagined in front of me. I had imagined a place with soot all over it but… it was a much cleaner, pretty building made of brick.
There was a proper reception inside as well, to which I was also surprised. I had made up a somewhat coa.r.s.e image of it on my own.
I was imagining a place which was surrounded by blacksmiths…. I guess I was taking it too lightly. Glad I wore proper clothes.
“Kururi Helan-sama, correct? We have been waiting. The a.s.sembly hall is deep inside. I shall guide you to it.”
Being guided by a polite lady, I walked into the building. At the hall, members were already gathered and I ended up drawing everyone’s attention. I was an invited guest and it was my first time meeting everyone here so it was the natural reaction but still, I kinda felt embarra.s.sed.
‘So young.’ ‘Slender.’ ‘Wearing good clothes.’ ‘But exactly as we were told.’
I could hear some of them silently speaking.
“So you have come. Please, sit down.”
An old man sitting furthest inside the hall said that. The surrounding people were also old in appearance. There was probably only one man among them who was about 30.
I wondered what would happen now. It made me a little nervous.
“You have my grat.i.tude for coming. You really are a n.o.ble. You are a person befitting of your alias, The Great Dancer.”
“The Great Dancer?”
What is that? Moreover, an alias? Me? Dancer even though I am a guy?…. I guess that one is fine.
“Oya? By your reaction, it seems that was the first time you heard it. You probably do not interact with other blacksmiths much.”
“Yes, I am doing it by myself mostly.”
“I see, I see. Well, everyone with amazing skill has an alias. By the way, I am known as the Iron Brain, Gormen Areshik.”
As I thought, this person is the one who invited me, Gormen Areshik. He looked older than everyone here so I had thought he would be the one but… I am kinda curious about his alias Iron Brain. Does that mean that’s all he has going in his brain? If that is so, he must be quite amazing. Both in a good way and bad way.
“Now then, since The Great Dancer has also arrived, let us begin the meeting. Today’s agenda is, as you all know, to select a person to fill the empty chair of Elder Camek, who pa.s.sed away the other day. This might be your first time hearing The Great Dancer but we have been talking about you for a while after hearing rumours about you.”
The Elder part is the alias, right? If it is an alias, that means that’s the impression that person gave, right? So by elder, does it mean he was always old? I would like to hear more about this, please! Out of personal interest!
“And so, by chance, we were able to get a sword you made in our hands… And this sword was such a rare beauty. I could feel vivid energy from the sword and most importantly, it was delicate and gorgeous. On top of that, we got to know the person who made it is a young n.o.ble. It might have been selfish of me but I immediately decided to give you the alias, The Great Dancer.”
“So that is how it came to be… It is an honor receiving such a nice alias.”
I am so glad it wasn’t Youngster. If there is an Elder, I can’t deny the possibility of it happening.
“And so, this is the sword which gave us the deep impression at that time. It is a sword you made, correct?”
The sword Iron Brain held out… It was a sword I had made. It is not like I can remember all the swords I made but I definitely remember the ones where I curved my name on. By the way, it seems like one should call each other by their alias here so I should learn from it.
“Yes…. that is… right.”
“That’s quite an inarticulate way of saying it.”
Inarticulate? I mean, that is true. Surely, it was a sword I gave to someone but it wasn’t that well made. I feel like it is a sword I made when I didn’t get much sleep. In the first place, I did not make it with the intention to sell so I didn’t make it all that good. If such a half-a.s.sed sword of mine gets judged, to be honest, I kinda feel more embarra.s.sed than happy.
“No, hahah, I see. It is good then. I am glad I came.”
“Yes. It is difficult to reach this level without natural talent. Do you have a teacher?”
“Yes, his name is Donga. He is an obstinate person who truly has the spirit of an artisan. Do you know him?”
“Hoo, so Dogan is your teacher. I have been his teacher so naturally, I do know him. Among my students, he wasn’t that good but he was weird in a good way. I can see his genuine love towards smithing from you. To give birth to a dragon–that is quite the achievement, Dogan.”
What a weird turn of fate. To think teacher Dogan was Gorsen-san’s student. And also that he wasn’t that good–kinda makes me want to object as his student. But he probably knows teacher Dogan way better than me. The fact that he still remembers him means…..
So that means this person is the teacher of my teacher. Doesn’t that make him a really amazing person?
“Even he does not have an alias. Can you comprehend how amazing you are from that?”
“Means I am better than teacher? I do not really think that is the case, though…”
“How many years do you think I have been in this world? Dogan does enter a group of people in this world but is definitely not one of the top. The top, that is truly someone among these ten–that is what I think.”
I wanted to hear that from my teacher but I guess my teacher’s teacher would be good too.
“The ones at the top will decide what will happen of smithing from now on. Protecting as well as advancing smithing, is something the people present here should do. And thus, I can’t pick an unskilled person. I think you are worthy of one of these 10 seats. I wanted to hear your and the others’ opinions about officially inaugurating you to your position today.”
The explanation of the situation had ended and we were not entering the main topic for today.
I will pull the business world of the blacksmiths as one of the top?! Even though I had not even opened my shop, a dream like talk came fluttering in.
“May I speak?”
Gormen-san and I were at the two ends, facing each other, and there were 3 people on the right and 4 on the left. A man in the prime of his life raised his hand.
“Go ahead, Kabuki”
“I am against The Great Dancer’s addition to the ten excellence.”
“Hou, you always give clear opinions. Please, let us know the reason.”
“Yes, to be honest, I had approved of it before coming here. However, after looking at the sword once again, it kinda gives off a feeling of youth… It is a great sword and honestly, it is a kind which even I can’t make. However, when compared to my swords, I think it is inferior. I want to keep this place a place where only people the same as me or above exists. Sorry for being selfish.”
“No, it is an important opinion. The Great Dancer, do you have anything to say to this?”
Of course I do. He said it politely but I was being insulted as an artisan.
“It might come out as an excuse, and it is not like I really want to enter the ten excellence but that sword is not finished well. It was my naivety to let it get out to the world as a half baked sword and I will learn from it. Let me say this again, it is not like I want to enter the ten excellence. However, it would be troubling if one were to judge me by that sword alone. My skills are still evolving day by day. That sword is not my grand sum of skill.
I think I said pretty much everything I wanted to say…
I did not really know how amazing of a place this is but if one were to ask me if I want to join then, honestly, I do not. It seems like a bother.
“I am glad you are clear with your opinion as well. To think you can make swords greater than this… if that is true then that is amazing. Depending on that, you might even jump straight to the top…”
“Only if that is true. Youngsters always tend to exaggerate themselves. Please consider that as well.”
The Kabuki is definitely not accepting me but I can respect how he does not sugarcoat his words. Iron Brain said it too but I guess he is an honest person. Not a type I hate.
“I approve of him.”
Closest to me, on the left side of the table, the man who looked like 30 revealed his opinion.
“So you approve, Zeni Geba. You don’t often display your opinion so it is quite unusual of you.”
(TL note: Zeni means money in j.a.panese and Geba means die Gewalt (power) in German, so the t.i.tle can be translated into “Moneypower”.)
Zeni Geba?! Are you really okay with that?!
I mean, it does sound kinda cool but they are calling you Zeni Geba, you know?!
“Youth is a strong point. That fact that he can make even better swords, whether that is true or false, the fact that he can make that sword at this point is important. I greatly approve.”
“There is also that way of looking at it. Certainly, we are lacking youth here. The only one here who is lively is probably you, Zeni Geba. And it is also true that the others, including me, tend to think one-sidedly.”
After that, there was a opposition of opinions between the opposing Kabuki and the approving Zeni Geba.
Iron Brain seemed to be on the approving side but because of his position, he had to stay neutral and thus, the situation came to a 4v4. As if the Iron Brain liked the meeting to be heating up, whenever it was about to calm down, he poured more oil.
Is it just me or do they look like they are having quite fun? Honestly, it is a situation where I alone am left out.
“Everyonee~ It is about time we have lunch~”
The young, receptionist lady came in carrying food and everyone obediently abided.
“With his a.s.sets, there is a rumour Zeni Geba is about to buy the position of a n.o.ble. And so, maybe he is happy about another n.o.ble joining.”
It looks like the Iron Brain can naturally scoop out a person’s thoughts. Zeni Geba’s cheeks got a little red while he was having lunch.
“Ah, yes yes, I did not yet tell The Great Dancer all about the ten excellence yet. As we are giving you such a position, of course a compensation befitting of it is also there. We have a foundation and from there, quite a lot of money is provided. Half of us here are refusing it but really, quite a lot of money is divided every year. Well, since The Great Dancer is a n.o.ble so it might just be about spare change to you.”
Money?! A good amount of it?!
“……….After how much time?”
“Oya? It seems you’re interested. Of course, all the time while you have the position. As long you go mad with your skills and don’t go mad yourself, we don’t really expel anyone either.”
“Is that so? You can never have too much money. I am the next head of the Helan territory, even if it just some spare change, I can use it properly.”
“I see, I see. It looks like The Great Dancer is quite talented. The prince also seems like a person who has it together–this country’s future looks bright. I can die in peace.”
Don’t say such things. But, him saying all that like he was having fun also kinda looked cool.
“Now then, since our stomachs are also full, let’s get to the conclusion. Saying that we will have a look at your other swords at a later date, let’s put out our opinions for now. I like the meeting heating up but I do not want it delayed.”
“Then, let’s go with majority rule like always.”
“Right. Let’s go clockwise starting from me. Iron Brain, approve.”
As I thought, he approves.
After that, unexpectedly, Kabuki also turned to approve. Even though he was initiating the opposition.
The person after that, and the person after that, and eventually everyone present there unanimously agreed.
……What exactly was the pa.s.sionate discussion a while ago?
“And there you have. As you heard, the whole place unanimously wants to welcome you. Lastly, if you were to also accept, we would officially make you a member but….”
The progression was so fast that honestly, I became a little perplexed.
But, I am being acknowledged and… also, money? Seems like I will get a little money too… not like I really want it but… No, really.
I also want to restore my honour from the half-a.s.sed sword too so…
“It is an honor. Of course, I will gladly accept.”
“Very well! Well then, the Ten Excellence meeting is now over! Suspended! We will send the authorized proof later so wait a few days.”
As the Iron Brain announced ‘suspended’ with an unthinkable volume judging from his age, everyone left the place at full speed. They didn’t even exchange greetings as they were leaving.
As expected of artisans!
The only exception among them, Zeni Geba, came to talk to me.
“The Great Dancer, if you are okay with it, how about coming to my company later? You can have a look at how easily I earn money and also something interesting.”
“Yes, I will gladly come by.”
I also made a light acquaintance so it was a fruitful day.
Having thought about it now, did I become quite the artisan?
The day when I will think I was correct to choose this path might be really close by.