I have safely made it through yesterday’s ceremony and party. Today is the 7th of Blue Moon (Sougetsu).
The three of us, the『Element Masters』, have decided to visit the Stratos Smithing Workshop so that I can have the weapons I used in the battle of Iskia examined and repaired, as well as to make improvements to them using the materials that I’ve obtained.
「Welcome,『Element Masters.』It is an honor for the conversation topic of the entire nation of Spada, the newly-promoted Rank 5 adventurer party, to choose to utilize our services. Thank you very much, Kurono-san.」(Regin)
Regin-san, the owner and craftsman of this store, welcomes us with the same kind smile that he was wearing the previous time we visited this place with Simon.
The『Element Masters』became Rank 5 adventurers and broke the previous record for the fastest party Ranking-up held by『Wing Road』by a considerable margin. As Regin says, these facts are well-known throughout Spada.
We haven’t attracted any unwanted attention for the time being as we’re wearing our academy uniforms on this excursion. I’m sure that my black coat, Lily’s black dress and Fiona’s three-cornered hat and witch’s robe became famous as our unique adventurers’ outfits during the parade.
One would normally be happy about becoming more famous as an adventurer, but in my case, there’s a high risk of something troublesome happening, or more like I just have a bad feeling. There’s no use worrying about it now, though. Whatever happens, happens.
「Oh no, it’s just that the『Wrath-Pun’s Right Arm』that you strengthened for me performed incredibly, so I have the utmost faith in your skill, Regin-san.」(Kurono)
「To think that you believe in my skill to this extent. Thank you very much.」(Regin)
But it pains me knowing that I have to tell him that the『Wrath-Pun’s Right Arm』was destroyed spectacularly. I take full responsibility for using it in a reckless way beyond its limits; I’m terribly sorry. I did it intentionally.
Actually, without more Wrath-Pun materials, rebuilding it would be… Well, let’s try asking and see how far we get.
「Excuse me, do you do work with magical staves here? Enhancements included.」(Fiona)
Fiona, who is standing next to me, asks this question. The reason I brought Fiona as well as Lily, who is currently wandering about inside the store, is because they apparently need to adjust their equipment as well.
Of course, as magic-users, the equipment they use are Magic Items or a staff in Fiona’s case.
「Yes. It is not my area of expertise, but I do work with them. Though if it is an Artifact, it may be impossible depending on what it is.」(Regin)
「No, that should be sufficient.」(Fiona)
A blacksmith’s area of expertise lies in bladed or pointed weapons like swords and spears; it’s common for a different kind of craftsman to specialize in handling magical staves. It’s rare for an individual to be able to work with both, but I suppose it’s no different from an adventurer who can both wield a sword and use magic.
Now that I think about it, the prototype rifle I finished off the Sloth-Gil with was made here in the Stratos Smithing Workshop. This gun has had numerous aspects of it such as loading, the shooting process as well as its firepower improved by magic formulas, so it probably falls under the “magical staff” side of things. The rifle has a genuine, completely magic-free firing mechanism, so it is a gun in the truest sense.
In other words, Regin-san has already accomplished the construction of a staff-like rifle.
「Well then, I suppose all three of us will be leaving our equipment with you.」(Kurono)
「Ah, that’s right, Kurono-san, I forgot to tell you. I actually have some knowledge regarding how to train cursed weapons. Neglecting proper maintenance of even cursed weapons will have an effect on their power and durability. And it’s possible that if you anger the will of the curse itself, the weapon will not manifest its power.」(Regin)
I’m surprised to hear that. Regin-san seems knowledgeable about cursed weapons. It’s really possible to anger the will of the curses?
「Goshujin-samaa~ I want to become clean as well~」(Hitsugi)
Well, I can imagine that being the case for you. But learning that even the『Absolute Malice Hatchet「Neck Cutter」』would become angry if not maintained is a surprise.
I did perform basic maintenance, but, hmm. Maybe I should have a professional maintain my weapons from time to time.
「Mumumuh, Nata-senpai* is the number one for you after all, Goshujin-sama… But Hitsugi won’t lose to her!」(Hitsugi)
The cursed hatchet doesn’t speak other than senseless words of bloodthirst, so I’ll say it instead: Stop using that name. I’m getting the feeling that this girl has been getting more talkative ever since she evolved into the『Black Chain Curse「Iron Cage.」』
In any case, what I’m interested in isn’t Hitsugi’s feelings, but –
「No way~ Goshujin-sama! Please pay more attention to Hitsugi~!」(Hitsugi)
– So noisy. Be quiet for a bit. That’s an order.
「How does it sound, Kurono-san? Won’t you please give me the opportunity to provide you with this service?」(Regin)
「Yes. Well then, we’ll leave it in your hands. Err, there are quite a lot of them, will it be alright?」(Kurono)
「It is not as if I will be rebuilding them from scratch, so they will not take too much time and effort. It would take me less than a week to handle a hundred weapons.」(Regin)
I see, so it won’t be a problem. If my cursed weapons are out of my hands for too long, I won’t be able go on quests. They are my main weapons, after all.
「Now then, I will write down the requests of each person for their weapons. Let me see, I shall start with Kurono-san –」(Regin)
And with that, I unexpectedly end up leaving all of my cursed weapons in his care.
「Goshujin-sama~ Hitsugi is lonely~」(Hitsugi)
Can you stop resisting every time I try to remove you from my hands…?
「Now then, I have received their request, but, hmm…」(Regin)
With the great variety of equipment in front of him that he has brought into the workshop, Regin murmurs as he strokes his chin that has not a trace of a typical Dwarf’s beard growing on it.
His demeanor is only to be expected. The requests that he has received from the up-and-coming Rank 5 adventurer party, the『Element Masters』, are numerous and too complex for a mere blacksmith to handle.
If Regin’s skill corresponded to the appearance of his small shop, he would have meekly directed them to other workshops.
In the first place, it is incredibly rare for a single craftsman to be able to handle normal weapons, cursed weapons and magical staves. A blacksmith capable of this would be equivalent to a Rank 5 Magic Swordsman in adventurer terms.
Regin’s title of『Death Maker』is not just for show. Not even Simon who visits the store often knows this, let alone Kurono.
What he needs to complete this task is not skill or assistance, but simply his equipment.
「First of all, I suppose my workshop alone can manage the witch lady’s items.」(Regin)
He places the two Wands that Fiona brought onto the well-organized workbench.
Both of them are red in color with simple designs, but there is a large difference between them in the power that they contain.
One of them is the『Custom Fireball』that Fiona has been using habitually for a long time. With a single glance, Regin can indeed see signs that it has been well-used, but also signs that it has been well-maintained.
It possesses the ability to always release『Ignis Sagita』spells of a fixed strength, making it very reliable for a new academy student.
But as the『Custom』at the beginning of the Wand’s name indicates, it has had remodeled magical formulas incorporated into it that grant it the ability to release spells with a tremendous rate of fire. Even Regin, who is not an adventurer, can imagine that it is greatly useful against monsters such as Goblins and Slimes that rely purely on their numbers.
The other Wand must also be addressed. Fiona told him earlier with an unconcerned tone that it was something that she picked up, so she doesn’t know its name. But Regin immediately guesses what it is called.
This Wand’s name is『Ruby Bullet.』
It is a highly powerful Wand specialized for fire-element spells developed by the mages of Avalon’s royal palace. Its basic qualities as a staff such as elemental enhancement, casting speed and mana consumption are exceptional, yet it has a distinct user-friendliness that allows even novices to use it.
It can be used by anyone from a novice mage student to a veteran adventurer fighting on the frontlines to skilled knights. When these Wands were officially issued, Avalon would be a step above the other nations when it came to fire-element magic – or so it was thought, but that never became reality.
The cost of creating the Wand. Because it could not overcome this simple and yet unyielding barrier, the『Ruby Bullet』simply became yet another one of the numerous available high-grade Wands.
That makes no difference to the fact that this Wand is a highly powerful piece of equipment. The request that Fiona made is to use the『Ruby Bullet』as materials to improve upon the base of the『Custom Fireball.』
As long as he doesn’t have to reproduce the items’ unique abilities, it is not difficult to combine two weapons to create a stronger one. It is just a simple application of the『Transmutation』smithing technique used to incorporate monster materials into weapons.
「The biggest problem is the Fairy ojou-ch – no, Lily-san’s request…」(Regin)
There is a blueprint in Regin’s hands. Lily requested that he build the Magic Item detailed on it.
Its name,『Fairy Ring』, makes it evident that it is an item with the ability to brainwash people. A clearly illegal item.
However, when Lily handed him the blueprint, Regin heard a message delivered to him directly inside his head.
「Since you are known as the Death Maker, you’ll be able to make this, right?」(Lily)
Regin regrets that the Mind Protection that he cast on his own mind has grown weak due to the long time he has spent living a peaceful blacksmith’s lifestyle.
That Fairy who is adorable only in appearance has seen the monstrous urge to create that exists within him.
Only he and his wife understood what lurks in his heart, but now that has been unexpectedly leaked.
「It is a prototype model, but I can’t cut any corners… For this, I’ll have to borrow some equipment from President Mordred. Well, I still have to manufacture guns and I was thinking of discussing things with him anyway, so I suppose this is the perfect opportunity.」(Regin)
As he comes to a decision, Regin finally faces the will of the curses.
「Cursed weapons really are excellent.」(Regin)
An ambitious smile of old appears on Regin’s face.
The nine Nameless weapons are lying against a wall in front of him. They are the weapons that he performed repairs on just a few days ago.
The reason the contestant that Kurono faced in the first round of the『Cursed Carnival』was driven crazy by the Nameless longsword is because Regin strengthened its malice himself.
Though the Nameless weapons possess curses of the lowest grade and Regin had done enough work that they would likely be fine to use for another year without maintenance, the nine weapons before his eyes now have chipped blades and other signs of wear.
Regin would never have imagined that they would be used in a battle against a Rank 5 monster immediately after being released from Mordred’s collection case. The fact that none of them have been broken is quite an achievement.
「Hmm, hmm… all of their curses have grown stronger. That either shows just how fierce the battle at Iskia was or how talented Kurono-san is.」(Regin)
What is amazing is not the『Blackening』magic that Kurono uses to cover the cursed weapons in black mana and force them to obey him. Using mana to Enchant a cursed weapon is the simplest way to control them. Of course, the amount of mana required to do this increases exponentially with the strength of the weapon’s curse.
The vast amount of mana Kurono must have to be able to command the powerful curses with Blackening alone is certainly one of the talents that he has been blessed with. But this alone wouldn’t necessarily lead to the curses growing and evolving.
「Well, I suppose this one would not be damaged from a single battle.」(Regin)
The『Haunted Grave』that is stained black all the way up to its blade by Kurono’s Blackening is releasing an invisible, intimidating aura as if to show that it isn’t on the same level as the Nameless weapons next to it.
No, that isn’t the only thing Regin feels. If he listens carefully, he can hear an evil melody sung by the beautiful voice of a woman coming from the blade.
「Not only does it make corpses move once more, it can even cause them to evolve into powerful Undead monsters in certain cases. Interesting. It seems that it has some powers that are still hidden.」(Regin)
Like many of Spada’s people, Regin watched the victory parade. He immediately comes to the conclusion that the Nightmare that terrified the crowd that was gathered there is something that evolved under the influence of『Dead Revival.』
Even appraisal through magical methods does not reveal all of the power that curses could be concealing. How much of that power can be drawn out depends on the user. Regin cannot help but to anticipate that Kurono will be able to unleash all of the powers contained in the『Haunted Grave.』
There is nothing that he can do for the time being other than to carefully sharpen the weapon’s blade, however.
「Hmm, this one needs quite a bit of repair.」(Regin)
On another workbench is a greatsword whose blade is made of a monster’s fang.
It is the『Hungering Wolf Sword「Evil Eater」』that has inherited the Characteristic Ability of the Rank 5 monster,『Chaos Eater』, and the malice of a Werewolf who died in the depths of despair.
It possesses its original Evil Eater ability and the monster fang is an exceptionally sturdy material, but the blade currently has a large hole in it. It looks as if another enormous fang has pierced through it.
When questioned about it, Kurono told Regin that it was damaged when it stopped an attack released by the Greed-Gore. He also said that he even used a defensive spell in addition, so it is easy to imagine just how powerful the attack was.
But as if the weapon’s malicious will is unaware of such circumstances, the blade is letting out a groaning, creaking noise. It seems as if it wishes to devour the enemy before it.
「Hmm, no, as it is, it might actually be…」(Regin)
Indeed, in this workshop is the enemy responsible for the serious damage that the『Hungering Wolf Sword「Evil Eater」』has suffered. The small floor space is largely occupied by a mass of reddish-brown rock and a pile of black sand.
These are the monster materials that Kurono possessed the rights to obtain as the adventurer who defeated the monsters. They are the Greed-Gore’s carapace and the Sloth-Gil’s iron sand.
Even a novice blacksmith who has not yet held a hammer for even a year would be able to tell that the super-hard carapace, possibly better be described as a layer of heavy rock, would bestow tremendous abilities to any equipment it is used for, whether it is armor or a weapon.
The same applies for the iron sand. From what Regin has heard, it seems that the Greed-Gore’s earth-element Characteristic Ability and the Sloth-Gil’s lightning-element Characteristic Ability were both used to gather this iron sand from the earth, but Regin has been working with monster materials for forty years. He is well aware that this is completely different from normal iron sand, in both physical and magical terms.
It is based on iron sand and it does appear to be iron sand, but in reality, it is a new kind of mineral that contains hidden mana. The one who has named it『Greed Metal』is not Regin, but Kurono. The one who slew the monster gains the right to name such things.
This is a wondrous material that was created by the extraordinary event of the Greed-Gore being parasitized by the Sloth-Gil.
From time to time, unique materials like this appear as part of powerful monsters designated as Rank 5. It is because Rank 5 monsters pose the greatest threat to people among all monsters and possess special characteristics that they are treated differently, just like Rank 5 adventurers.
「With this much, even if I invest some of it for the strengthening of weapons, there will be some left over. In fact, even if I make a new weapon from scratch…」(Regin)
Regin wears a problem-solving expression as if truly enjoying himself while considering his options. As he begins to closely examine the red rock and the iron sand –
He unexpectedly almost trips over. No, to describe it more accurately, his leg has been caught.
Glossy black hair has wrapped itself around his ankle.
「Fufu, my oh my, what a lively ojou-chan.」(Regin)
Lightly shaking his leg free of the black hair around it, he gives a gentle smile towards the perpetrator of this prank.
This threatening voice comes from the pair of gloves wriggling around on top of a workbench. There are lengths of hair extending from its fingertips towards Regin’s ankle. Of course, they have not loosened their grip.
「I will clean you properly later, so please behave yourself for now.」(Regin)
With a tone as if he is gently scolding his grandchild, Regin lightly touches the gloves, the『Black Chain Curse「Iron Cage」』, with his fingertip that has the roughness of a blacksmith’s.
For a moment, lines of a red – no, the bright orange color of flowing magma – form a geometric pattern on his index finger.
The only one in the world who can decipher this spell formula is Regin himself. In other words, this is an original spell.
However, the effect of the magic at his fingertip is an embodiment of simplicity.
As Regin hears an adorable voice that sounds like an auditory hallucination, the lively cursed gloves fall quiet as if going to sleep.
「Hahaha, good girl, good girl.」(Regin)
Regin gives a satisfied smile, but as he turns back to the blade in front of him, it changes into a bitter one.
「It seems I should be more careful about touching this ojou-chan…」
The『Absolute Malice Hatchet「Neck Cutter.」』The large hatchet that bears the most powerful curse among all of Kurono’s weapons is releasing an intense red-and-black aura, as if it refuses to be touched by anyone other than its master.
As he stares at it, the aura that is rising from it like steam begins to take the shape of a young girl’s face –
「I’ll wait for my wit to return before I handle her.」(Regin)
Giving a large sigh as he realizes how laborious the request he has accepted will be, he quickly begins to make preparations to get to work.
「I suppose I will be doing all-nighters for the first time in a while.」(Regin)
However, the expression on his face is a bright one. It resembles that of a battle-crazed fanatic finally returning to the battlefield after a long recovery from an injury.