The front side of the blacksmith's shop was like a bakery in comparison, goods were shown to the customers, but instead of breads, the shop shows swords. The wooden door opened smoothly and as it opened it hits a chime and the blacksmith would respond to it if he wasn't forging swords at the back, if so, he would send his assistant. There was no clanging of metal at the back indicating busy times, so there was no surprise when the blacksmith himself greeted them. He was a small old man in his fifties, his arm muscles just show how invested he was in his trade. He had claimed that he was taught blacksmithing by a master dwarf and that was why his works were all at a high price. It might be expensive, but he was known to deliver his job well that adventurers commend him for his craft. To Freya, price was of no concern, so long as she got herself a good sword.
'Ah, if it isn't milady Freya, I just finished your custom-ordered sword not too long ago. Wait here, I'll be back in a jiffy.' The old man said as he went to the back of the store to get her sword.
'What kind of sword did you order?' Ray asked as they wait.
'A sword where only one side is sharp while the other is completely dull, they call it a katana.' Freya replied. 'I bought the best and most suitable material I could get around and asked the blacksmith to shape it for me, along with enchantments of my liking. I roamed around to find a talent who could forge a sword which would satisfy me and I found this place. From the showcased swords, I could tell that this place right here is the one.'
'What kind of material did you buy?'
'They call it Altune I believe.'
Ray was surprised at her choice. Altune was a metal which excels among other metal. It is known for it's light weight and durability; because of it, people usually make a shield with such material. 'Sure it's light weight, but is it good for a katana though?' Ray asked as usually people who wields katana prioritize sharpness. 'No matter what, your sword's sharpness will be the same as one of those cheap swords, despite the craftsman.'
'What's important,' Freya replied, 'is that it's light enough for me to wield and doesn't break easily. As long as those are covered, I'm fine.'
The old man then went back, carrying with him a sword with white sheath; black and white katana grip. The fact that he juggled it easily and how it looked as if it defied gravity showed just how light weight that sword was, perhaps as heavy as a bottle filled with water. He placed the sword at a wooden stool and took a battle hammer from one of his showcase. He lifted it up and swung down brutally onto that poor sword. The stool broke, but the sword was totally fine. He observed it in his grip and said proudly, showing the sword to Freya: 'Not even a single scratch.'
Freya clapped her hands in amazement. 'What about it's sharpness though?'
The old man pulled the sword out from the sheathe to reveal a fully black blade. 'As you can see, made just like ordered, with only one edge being sharp while the other is dull.' He pulled out a paper from one of his sleeve and cut the paper with the blade to prove its sharpness. It cuts just like a normal cheap sword; sharp but not extraordinary. The paper needed to be held on both ends for the blade to be able to cut through.
Freya took the blade and held it with one hand. She then relaxed her arm and put it at rest beside her waist while still holding the sword. The sword touched the ground slightly. 'The length of this sword is perfect!' She stated happily. 'How much do I have to pay?'
'For you?' The old man scratched his beard. 'You don't need to pay.' Ray was honestly surprised at his generosity; he had heard that shaping Altune was no easy task.
'I'm not exactly poor, so I'll pay, just name the price.'
'Milady, that is not what I meant.' The old man was gesturing for Freya to keep back the pouch of money she just pulled out back into her pocket. 'In truth, I was watching with the crowd while you had a duel not a week ago. When I saw how masterful you were with the sword, I gaped in admiration, I was simply awed. Some reporter questioned me about the detail of your battle and I still feel that I didn't describe it well enough. Your skill with the sword was mesmerizing that it made me speechless. The thought that you will be wielding a sword of my creation alone brings me enough joy and I can't be more grateful.'
Ray had to silently admit, her sword skill was truly astonishing.
'Still, it's no reason for me to not pay. Pride can't fill your stomach.' Freya protested.
'Nay, I refuse.' Said he. 'However, if you insist, then would you please demonstrate to me your mastery in sword? Think of it that; instead of paying me with coins, you show me your skills instead. One can rarely see such elegance in sword mastery.'
'. . . I suppose I'll take you on that. It just so happen that Ray wanted an explanation too about my battle. Though, to demonstrate it properly I'll need some objects to slash.'
Ray and the old blacksmith worked together to set the stage to see Freya demonstrate her skill. Both men wanted to see a magnificent show. To show how eager they were, the old man turned his shop's sign to closed whilst Ray bought from him the sharpest sword in the shop as Freya said she needed it to make it easier to understand. The swordswoman was swinging her sword around to get used to it and as a form of warm up.
'So where should I begin?' She asked.
The both of them had the same question. They wanted to know on how she had managed to defeat her opponent in that duel not too long ago. Although the old man was not a combatant, he could at least know when someone got a magic to defend himself and was wondering how Freya got past of that.
'Ah, that.' Freya was quite unsure how to explain it. 'I gave up on cutting him with a wooden sword, so I decided to hit him bluntly.' Both men couldn't quite understand what she meant. Was she implying that she could cut with a blunt wooden sword?
Freya took a paper and threw it up. She then got a hold of a wooden stick and swung it with the paper as a target. She threw one paper up; and when it fell down there was two equal half of the paper. Both men were surprised as there was no use of magic. If anything, the old man even went to pick up the paper and saw that Freya had made a clean cut without any jagged edge, the cut was perfectly smooth. She then picked up the sharpest sword in that store and again threw a paper up and swung the sword. However, this time, the paper was not cut. Which was even more surprising as with that sword; a total newbie should be able to cut iron as if it was cheese. How was it that a sword master failed to cut it?
'Basically, I can cut whatever I want. I can cut with a blunt weapon; and I can make the sharpest of swords blunt if I want it. All of it depends on the way I swing my sword. Now imagine, what happen if I use the swing I used with the wooden stick with the sharp sword instead, it would be even sharper right? The same goes if I use the swing for that sharp sword for the stick, it would be more blunt. That's basically it. I gave up on cutting Dunnford and I decided to just hit him bluntly.'
The blacksmith somewhat got it. In terms of analogy, it was like hitting someone full armored with a blunt battle hammer instead of a sword, as the damage would be greater that way in such case instead of trying to cut. However, Ray still couldn't get it. 'I once tried hitting Dunnford with a hammer before to test the capabilities of his Special Magic, regardless, he didn't fall. How come your attack works?'
'I gave a little variation to it.' She then asked for the watermelon they had bought and told them to put the watermelons inside a helmet each. She then asked each of them to hold the helmet firmly infront of them, with their hand on the top and at the bottom. She then picked up her custom-ordered sword and was wielding it with the dull side. She gave a signal for the blacksmith to be ready and then hit the helmet he was holding. Freya showed to them how there was a dent on the helmet after that and how the watermelon was ruined at one side. 'This is a normal blunt attack.' She then faced Ray and swung her sword to the helmet he was holding. As she was done, it was to their surprise that there was no dent in the helmet this time. However, the watermelon inside was completely crushed to pieces. 'See the difference? The second one was the attack I used. Despite Dunnford's Special Magic to be invincible to attacks from the outside, once I hit his head and delivered the blow to his brain, surely he fell.'
'. . . This is straight up sorcery, without magic.' The old man remarked. 'If I may ask, does all these factor into your decision into using Altune?'
'It matters with the shape actually, that's why I wanted the form to be like katana. I use Altune because it would be easy for me to carry and I thought it would not break easily. Before I decided to buy a sword, I tried using the sword the knights use and they break too easily when I swing it. I got annoyed by it and so I decided that I needed something durable. The enchantment I asked you to use for the was all for durability just so you know.'
Swords used by the knights does not break easily, the blacksmith thought, it must be a monstrous swing then. 'Truly, a master of the sword. That sword must be happy to have you as a master. What will you name it?'
'Hmm. . .' She looked at the sword she was holding and thought of a name based on its colors. 'Celeste sounds good.'
'Since the old man didn't take the money, I might as well register to the guild as a prioritized adventurer.' Freya said to Ray as they were heading back.
'You plan to be an adventurer?' Ray asked. What a waste, he thought as the job didn't pay as good as a merchant. 'For what purpose?'
'I got something which I have to do, something which I can't ignore now that I know the truth'
'What might that be?'
'I'll tell you this: why don't you join me in my adventure? After I feel that I can trust you, then I promise I'll hide nothing from you. I got something to search for and I need to roam to different places: countries, cities, towns, villages, perhaps dungeons and labyrinths. Hence adventurer is a suitable job for it. I might as well use a partner while I'm on it.'
'Why don't you hire guards and use your money to travel instead?'
'In truth, I had wasted a lot of money for my preparation to be an adventurer and I don't really have spare cash of pocket money left.' She said with a laugh. 'Not to mention, this is not something I want to deal with strangers. This purpose of mine is somewhat a secret and I don't want too much people to know about it. Not to mention, I also have a time limit on my sudden quest right now, organizing people would be time consuming. Besides, I think I'll be more free if I go by myself. I can use a partner though. What do you say?'
Ray got nothing to lose really. By travelling, he could allow himself to learn cultures of different races and approach things with an open mind. On the process, he could also learn sword skills from Freya. He also had a motive of his own to travel with her. 'I will consider it carefully.'
Freya looked at the blue sky as she walked, the sun was shining bright and she saw clouds looming towards it. She mumbled to herself:
'The end of beginning;
and The beginning of the end.
Any form of reviews or critics, kind or unkind, is greatly appreciated! Thank you!
Things happens, updates Freya at least once a week at EST Saturday 19:03. (If I don't get the timezone wrong)
Oh hey, speaking of which:
Some stuff arises during the holiday, things I need to deal with.