What happens when two blacksmiths meet?
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Re;Blade 64 – Blacksmiths
“What a complete waste of time!” Baltasar complained as they headed to the forge, coughing.
“Take it easy, grandpa. All that formality is necessary, you know that,” said Bartolomeu, the Grand blacksmith’s grandson. “And please, be careful with your words. We’re not at home. The nobles here won’t be so lenient.”
“Fuck them. I don’t care nor have time to worry about pleasing them. I’m here to hand over the weapons. Now it’s done, I can do what I want.”
While Faela laughed and Anna flashed a wry smile, Bartolomeu sighed and shook his head.
And what do you wanna do? Tetsuko asked, eager to know what the blacksmith was thinking.
The old man coughed and flashed a juvenile smile. “You’ll see. But first, let me show you the new weapons I developed. You won’t believe what I came up with!”
You worked on new weapons since then?
It had been a little over six weeks since they parted ways after the Worshipers’ expedition.
“Of course. There’s no way I could stand still, especially now, when people need strong weapons,” he said, his eyes glowing.
Tetsuko couldn’t contain her excitement as well. What did you come up with?
Bartolomeu rolled his eyes while Faela and Anna chuckled.
“When two blacksmiths meet,” the swordswoman muttered.
“In my defense, not all of us are like that,” he said. “I just can’t believe grandpa found someone as fanatic about blacksmithing as him. I never thought the day would come. And especially when the other blacksmith is actually a sword…”
“I know what you mean,” Anna said. “Even after talking to Tetsuko, it still hard to believe a talking sword exists.”
“Please. You’re all children who saw nothing of this world and think you know everything,” Baltasar said. “There a lot you couldn’t even dream. I’m old and I haven’t seen much. Don’t close your minds to the impossible, children.”
They said nothing else as they followed the Grand blacksmith to the castle forge.
You said all that, but I’d have a little trouble to believe right away in a talking sword if I wasn’t the said sword, Tetsuko projected her thoughts only to him.
“Guess I’m the crazy one,” he said with a smile, confusing his grandson and Anna.
Faela looked at the sword on her waist and understood what had happened. “Lord Balthasar,” she said after a while.
“I’m not a lord. I’m a blacksmith. Blacksmiths don’t need titles. Real ones, at least.”
All we need is skill, Tetsuko completed his sentence. He looked at her and smiled.
Faela chuckled. “Forgive me. Then Balthasar, may I ask how Lady Celia managed to supply all those weapons? I know it costed a lot more than we imagined to stop the worshiper’s invasion and the kingdom hasn’t sent their part yet. Even the Lord of Iron couldn’t fund everything so fast.”
“It was Afonso. He sent money for the weapons, saying it’d help you.”
“I see…” She was surprised, but then she smiled. “I had no idea the situation would become like this, but he imagined it. He’ll be a good lord.”
“Something rare these days,” Baltasar added, not bothering to keep his voice down.
“Grandpa!” Bartolomeu whispered in a hushed voice, looking around. “Careful what you say here!”
“I’m too old for that,” he said, getting a laugh from Faela.
Anna flashed a sympathetic smile at the grandson.
“Finally! Why the hell is the forge so far away? This is a waste of time,” Baltasar complained as they entered the forge.
Though it was nothing compared to the main forge at the castle of the Land of Iron, this one was big and had everything a blacksmith would need.
“Not bad,” he said, checking the tools.
“Thank you, sir! It’s an honor to hear that from the greatest blacksmith in the Kingdom,” said the main head blacksmith. His assistant nodded, their faces showing their enthusiasm. “We’ll be honored to learn anything from you!”
“Listen up. I don’t have time to teach you anything. That’ll be up to my grandson. But if you wanna learn a thing or two, pay attention,” he said, his voice completely different from before.
This is where he belongs. Not at a meeting pleasing a stupid lord.
The blacksmiths at once fixed their posture, afraid to miss anything.
Tetsuko smiled. They’re true blacksmiths. Those back at your land were skillful, but they didn’t have the soul of a blacksmith. It was more like a job to them, she projected her thoughts to Baltasar.
“Yes. Unlike those whining brats, maybe they can become better,” he whispered, smiling.
“Enter,” said the head blacksmith when someone knocked on the door.
“Here are the weapons, sir,” said a guard, bringing a few crates with other soldiers. They placed it in the middle of the room and then left.
“Here’s what I’ve been working on, Tetsuko!” Baltasar exclaimed, not containing his excitement as he opened one of the crates.
She could only look in wonder. Inside the crate were many swords. However, it was a normal one. It was one of the strangest swords the former blacksmith had ever seen.
It looked similar to a barbarian sword, but it was hollow in the center. It only had the edge, the tip and metal links connecting each side of the blade.
Everyone inside the forge looked on without any reaction. They didn’t understand. The only one who did was Tetsuko.
Amazing… It’s the purest living metal you’ve achieved!
Baltasar flashed the juvenile smile. “Yes! It’s nothing like you, but it’s the closest I’ve managed in my whole life.”
“These hollow swords… Are they useful?” Faela asked what everyone was thinking. “They don’t look sturdy.”
Instead of insulted, the Grand Blacksmith looked like a kid eager to play with his new toy. “Why don’t you try yourself?”
She took one of the swords and raised it. “It’s light… Too light,” she said, swinging. Despite the weight, it made the same sound as if she was swinging a regular sword. Then she touched the edge carefully. “It’s sharp… If they’re as strong as those swords back in the mining mountains, no one will complain.”
“I don’t know about that. We haven’t found anyone to test it. But I assure they’re stronger,” Baltasar said with pride.
How did you come up with this?
“I used the arrowheads we made.”
With only that Tetsuko understood.
You planned to fill this hollow sword with regular metal and increase the living metal proportion.
“Yes. But when testing how thick the edge should be, I found out it was just as strong without the regular metal filling. The only problem is—”
The chance of the sword getting stuck on something, Tetsuko completed the sentence. The edge might be sharp, but the inside wasn’t.
“Yeah. That’s when I thought of those links. They’re sharpened as well.”
As he spoke, Faela touched it lightly, pulling her finger right away. “Yeah, it is. If this gets stuck on anything, it’ll cut it.”
“Yes. And it’s just as resistant as a regular sword.”
The castle blacksmiths exchanged looks. “Is that true, sir? With all due respect, sir, a heavy sword could crush it,” the head blacksmith said.
Baltasar flashed another juvenile smile. “Why don’t you try?”
“I know you’re the best blacksmith in the Kingdom, but I also have my pride. I believe in my work.”
“Just don’t blame me if your sword breaks easily.”
He went to the wall and took one of the heavy swords. With great care, he held it before Baltasar.
He leaned in closer to observe. “It’s a good sword. The metal as well. But it’s lacking on the balance. You wanted to make a sturdier sword but that cost the balance. Someone could lose control if they swung too hard. That’s dangerous for a heavy sword.”
The head blacksmith took the words with difficulty. “I-it’s as you say. But this sword can take a hit better than most in the region.”
“You look confident.”
Baltasar turned to Faela’s hand and smiled. She did the same and raised the hollow sword. The head blacksmith grabbed the handle of his sword with both hands and held it sideways. The forge became completely silent as everyone waited. Faela took a deep breath and swung. There was no spark as the metal met metal. The strange sword didn’t slice through the heavy sword, but it dug deep. When she pulled it, there was a gash almost to the center.
The head blacksmith couldn’t say anything as he looked at his weapon. He looked desolate and dropped his shoulder. Then he took a deep breath and lowered his head to Baltasar, “Please teach me.”
“Master!” the other blacksmiths called out. Then they all looked at the old man and lowered their heads. “Please.”
“I can’t teach you. But my grandson can. He’ll give you a little lesson about the new folding method we’ve been using,” Baltasar said and all the blacksmiths looked amazed. “But I need something in return.”
“Anything!” shouted the head blacksmith.
“I need to use your forge alone.”
Thanks for reading.
Hope you enjoy the chapter.
Why would a master blacksmith want to use a forge alone?
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