The Blacksmith and the Swordsman
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Gustav Balling was a so-called master blacksmith.
No, if that fact was the only thing mentioned, it would not be an exaggeration to say that he was a mater. When a man, who was now the present Demon King, took the reign, he presented a sword to the king as a symbol. If only that fact and achievements were piled up, he could be called the greatest blacksmith at the present time.
But at least for Gustav, it wasn’t that big of a deal. Of course, he had confidence in his skill, or perhaps, he was one of the best in the current generation.
However, Gustav wasn’t convinced in himself still. Gustav hadn’t reached the peak of blacksmithing, which was his aim. It might be possible to if he decided to achieve a certain extent, but… Gustav himself felt that extent wasn’t the peak.
Of course, that was true. He had finished a job, but he was far from satisfied. There was no difference in what he had done, so he let out a sigh. At that time, he turned to the boy who came and he opened his eyes wide.
He intuitively felt that the boy was a predecessor. Gustav’s instinct understood that this boy was existence which had reached the peak though the field was surely different.
There was no relation even if the appearance was about ten years old. If the situation was situational, there was a possibility of him respectfully begging for it.
Gustav wondered how that boy reached the peak. The words that could be applied that the boy was far experience than him.
However, it wasn’t because of pride he didn’t beg for it. The moment he saw the boy’s eyes, he understood.
He was a customer. If the boy was a customer, Gustav would be the one who get what he wanted to achieve. Even if Gustav was far away from the peak, if it was blacksmithing, that boy was at level that wasn’t different from his skill.
“Sorry for disturbing you.” (Soma)
“…It’s fine, I have just finished my work. There’s no problem. But what do you want from me?” (Gustav)
The reason why he treated him coldly was because of that. Considering whether the boy had reached his limit, it wasn’t possible for Gustav to respond foolishly. Depending on the purpose and attitude, he intended to give a firm response.
“I’m sorry for being impolite, but in anticipation of your blacksmithing skill, there’s one thing I’d like to ask you. This is the thing…” (Soma)
Gustav exhaled a small breath when he saw the boy trying to pull a sword out of his waist. Perhaps, he thought that he had given up already. That was because he had decided to refuse the boy’s request at that time.
Gustav was originally a blacksmith who specialized in swords. So whatever the boy’s request was, if it was related to sword, he would have listened to him at least. He wasn’t sure whether the boy had noticed his intention or now, but… that was already a matter of the past.
It was because Gustav wasn’t going to forge swords again. That was also the reason why he was stuck in such a remote place and forged a kitchen knife, even though he was confident that he had a first-class skill.
To put it simply, Gustav had lost confidence in forging swords. He had confidence in his skill as a blacksmith, but he was no longer satisfied with the sword he created by swinging his hands.
The sign was there from long ago. In fact, he wasn’t really convinced with the sword he presented to the Demon King.
Even so, he thought that was the best sword he had made until now. He managed to keep going under that impression, but finally, he couldn’t forge it completely since about a year ago.
The reason for it was that the face of the customers showed that they were very satisfied when they received the sword he forged. In a sense, the satisfied-looking face of the customers meant that they were very thankful for the good fortune. However, Gustav, who wasn’t convinced by this fact, was considering whether it was fine to be satisfied with his work.
Furthermore, the customers uttered the same words as if their mouth had been arranged. As he would expect, and… They looked at the blade of the sword, and tried it out. After that, they would say that it was the best sword Gustav had ever forged. He could see from their face that it wasn’t a flattery.
But, that wasn’t the case. That wasn’t his best sword. So, basically, they should say that they weren’t satisfied with his sword.
The customers didn’t feel dissatisfied because their skill wasn’t that good. At the end of the day, that was the main cause why he wasn’t able to make satisfactory swords.
No matter how much he wasn’t satisfied with his work, all the customers say that his swords were the best. Then… he thought about whether he was the one at fault. The truth was there was no future. If this was the peak he thought had achieved, he didn’t think he could make the best sword.
To prove it, all the swords he forged, which were returned for regular maintenance, were as good as new. It wasn’t that the customers didn’t use it. When he looked at the swords, he knew. It was still as good as new.
A sword was, after all, a consumable. When a person used it, it would surely wear out. In other words, the swords were used to the extent that it didn’t wear out. All of his customers were famous people like mighty warriors.
Only then Gustav escaped to this remote place, and he stopped forging swords. Well, there was no doubt that it was an escape.
It wasn’t an exaggeration to say that he had spent all his life before becoming discouraged… before he gave up on himself if he were wrong. So he ran away.
Thus, one year had passed and nothing had changed.
That was why no matter what this boy says, he determined to turn him down.
“First of all, I would like you to look at this.” (Soma)
The moment he saw it, he gasped.
What the boy pulled out was a boorish sword that people could find everywhere.
However, it was a matter of its appearance at the same time. If it was possible to judge at certain degree, he probably wouldn’t say that this happened everywhere. No… it wouldn’t be as intense as the sword shown.
Gustav unconsciously reached for it, and when he noticed, his mouth was opened.
“…May I feel to make verify this sword?” (Gustav)
“Sure, no problem.” (Soma)
And the sword handed over was, after all, a boorish sword. It was as if the boy didn’t need anything else.
Yes, this sword was for slashing and killing the enemies. If that was the case, anything extra was unnecessary.
This was exactly embodied in the sword, but…
“…What a harsh guy.” (Gustav)
As expected, Gustav leaked such words when he noticed it.
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At the same time, he looked at the boy. Gustav was glaring at him, but the boy shrugged his shoulders as if he knew the reason why Gustav looked at him and said such things.
“Aah… how was it?” (Soma)
Well, the boy might actually know. He said it while displaying a face that said he knew it.
Therefore, Gustav asked only what he wanted to hear without explaining the details.
“How long hasn’t this been repaired?” (Gustav)
“Well… I haven’t been able to do so for at least a year since I got it.” (Soma)
“…No wonder. You’re really a harsh one…” (Gustav)
The sword blade that Gustav looked at while groaning at the same time was beautiful despite of such words. At least, most people would say the same thing.
In spite of that, Gustav didn’t say anything else. And the boy himself seemed to understand it well. They were countless small cracks on the sword blade that were almost invisible to the naked eye.
In addition, when he lightly turned it around, the sound changed slightly depending on the location. The inside was slightly bent to the extent that it didn’t appear visually.
If that was the case, it was highly likely the sword blade would break if it was left unattended. However, it was considerably in a terrible condition if he tried to use it as a sword. With this, it might not be possible to return to its original sharpness.
This sword was a good sword. No, it wasn’t enough to say that it was a good sword. It wouldn’t be a joke to say that it was a high grade product.
However, the crack was deadly.If it was an inferior product, it wouldn’t be a problem to fix it even if it cracked a bit, but since it was a high grade product, there would be a considerable difference in the outcome. That was especially after the boy had used this sword until now.
Yes, the cracks on the sword didn’t make the sword unusable. Perhaps, it was there because the boy was using it to the fullest.
He might not be able to forge this sword if it was only by himself.
When that thought came into mind, Gustav had loosened his mouth without knowing it. At the same time, he wanted to beat his own stupidity. Was it because he tried to overreaching too much?
He had never seen anything more than his own swords. Although he should know that his swords weren’t the best, he seemed to misunderstand on his own when he was told that his swords were the best by the people who had considerable skill which made him eventually discouraged. Yes, he should realize that those customers weren’t the best customers.
There might have been another reason, though the discouragement was a disappointment. No one would understand or make up for losses, and… he couldn’t find what he wanted anywhere.
However, it was a similar matter anyway. Seriously, there was a ridiculous degree of idiocy in him. He was asking himself how much he knew about everything. Rather than arrogance, it was more on the idiocy.
However, it wasn’t possible to conceal the still loosening mouth while reprimanding oneself in this way. The boy seemed to know that he was a blacksmith. It was obvious that the boy was asking him and showed him the sword because he understood its state and his blacksmithing skills.
This sword was certainly a very good sword, so it must require considerable skill to take care of it. Instead of destroying his half-hearted skill, he would end up destroying his own business. The reason why the boy couldn’t take care of it because there was no one who could do it.
So the boy asked him to repair it, and… and he was honestly happy that it could be done. However, he couldn’t say that he could do it perfectly even if he did it seriously.
At the same time, this made him think a little. This sword became like this because the boy was using it, but at the same time, the sword couldn’t reach him out. When he looked at this sword, he could see it clearly.
Then, Gustav wondered how much things the boy could do if he forged a sword as best as he could for the boy who could use this sword until it turned to this state. Such a thought remained in his mind.
After seeing this sword and the boy, Gustav noticed one thing. He was so sure that the boy never pulled out his true power.
After all, he was a blacksmith. Consequently, his swords were all about the customers.
He surely had committed errors. For those customers, his swords were definitely the best. It was just that Gustav was a fool because he misunderstood things.
That was why he was convinced about the boy. If he could forged a sword for this boy, it would surely be a masterpiece that he had never seen before.
Nonetheless, it was Gustav’s selfish convenience. There was no way he could tell the boy that he would forge a sword for him.
“…So? Is this what you want me to repair?” (Gustav)
“Hmm. I’ve seen a lot of blacksmiths, but you’re the only one who can do that. I’d be happy if I could ask for it…” (Soma)
Gustav was also happy when the boy asked him, but he didn’t nod in a hurry. Even that could be said as a pointless self-importance, he didn’t want to be looked at cheaply.
Therefore, Gustav solemnly nodded as if to display an air of importance.
“I don’t mind if that’s your request. As you can see, this is such a remote town. So, I have no reason to decline your request.” (Gustav)
Strictly speaking, that was a lie. Certainly, that place was a remote area but it was also the farthest place from most wars, partly because of the nearby Elf Forest. It wasn’t unusual for people to come to a place like this to make requests to the top craftsmen. Well, it was also possible that some people were hiding here, and there were also those who were being drawn to this place.
The fact that Gustav was allowed to live here had something to do with that, but… in short, it was a pointless pretension. Although it was a matter that would have been easily revealed if the other party knew such circumstances, it seemed that the boy didn’t know his circumstances.
Gustav was relieved.
“Is that so? That really helps.” (Soma)
“Well, me too.” (Gustav)
He pointlessly nodded again, and… while doing so, he looked at the boy’s appearance, and his eyes squinted slightly. Now, when he looked at the boy again, it was obvious that he had reached the boundary which he couldn’t reach. That was surely in swordsmanship.
When he thought about the atmosphere when the boy held the sword earlier, and the atmosphere when he was in front of the sword, he didn’t think that he thought wrongly. He thought that it was a pity that he couldn’t forge a sword for that boy.
“…By the way, I have something to consult with you.” (Soma)
In the meantime, the boy opened his mouth and asked something that Gustav didn’t expect.
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