Blacksmith of the Apocalypse

Chapter 112: Halls of Stone (2)

He had not known where the fairy had been, but Fin joined the meal as Seth came to the end of his feast. They finally had some quiet time together and they had a lot of things to talk about. They could not before on the journey. Like Puffles new name and Seth´s plans in Ora.

The Ivicer ’s in question actually stood behind at the Inn. It has leveled up a lot in the recent weeks and now needed time for itself to examine the changes it went through. Puffles did not yet want to tell Seth anything but he expected a minor power upgrade once the pet was done with its meditations.

Fin accompanied him on his way towards his shop and they kept talking on the way. Fin also took her time to complain to him about her parents and her people and that damn prince or whatever who wanted to marry her.

Marn, the half-elven blacksmith was surprised when he saw the amicably talking and laughing young man and a fairy enter the shop. Seth had been back earlier than expected. Almost a whole week earlier! How was Marn supposed to explain to him, that his smithy and the golem had suddenly vanished overnight!

”Hey, Marn. I´m back. This is Fin, a very good friend. ”

Seth saw Marn hiding his uneasiness, but the sweat on his forehead betrayed him.

”What up? ” Seth asked concerned. Had the loan sharks come again or something? Had he lost money? As all kinds of thoughts flew through his mind, Marn erupted with the truth. He was a terribly honest person. Keeping such a simple thing from his benefactor gave him unusual amounts of stress.

Seth almost started laughing when he heard Marn ’s concerns. And then he felt a little guilty because he had caused this misunderstanding by not explaining the skill to Marn. It was not the elf´s fault. they could literally see the weight fall off Marn´s heart when Seth told him, that there was nothing wrong.

In the time he was gone, there were a few new weapons in the weapon racks. Seth had told Marn that he could use some of the he had left and that he did. There were a few new uncommon blades that ranged between daggers and short swords. They had increased stats similar to his first tries with and the description also mentioned it was thanks to ”special treatment ”

It was as Seth had suspected. When he asked Marn, he told Seth that it was because of the few elvish smithing ballads he knew. Seth had hoped this was the case so that he might be able to learn them from the half-elf.

Fin was a little disappointed when she saw the location of Seth´s shop, but she was positively surprised by the neat and clean interior and his handsome employee/ business partner.

They closed the shop and sat down in the back to talk. Marn excitedly told him how busy the days were when people found out about Seth´s weapons. Especially the poison daggers were selling like hotcakes. Unlike Seth, the adventurers valued the poison effect quite highly. Slowing a monster and dealing damage over time was often a bigger advantage compared to pure damage. And Seth´s weapon sported good damage on top of it.

The weapons Seth left behind had all been sold and business had calmed down a little, but it was still better than it ever was during the time when Marn ran it alone. Customers would often come in looking for the serpent weapons. Although most left in disappointment when Marn told them that those were sold out, some would buy one of Marn ’s weapons instead.

This made Seth feel a little conflicted when he stored the money in his inventory. He was not like those terrible, ruthless, cutthroat, greedy merchants who lacked any kind of conscience and made young blacksmiths hand over 70% of the selling price. It was Marn ’s decision to give him the money, as he was the store owner and his benefactor.

”Marn, I feel bad taking that much money from you. ” he told him honestly.

”Don ’t be! You are my- ”

”Yeah, I know it does not bother you. But it does bother me. I have a suggestion. You sell your weapons here and I take a 10% fee and in exchange… would it be okay for you to teach me some of your smithing ballads? ”

Seth had expected the elf to react offended. That his ballads were some kinds of trade secret his master taught him and that he could not simply teach them to him, even if he was his benefactor.

”Are you sure that ’s ok? I only know a few and I mastered only one. It´s one of the reasons I left my village. I´m really bad in singing, for an elf… ” he scratched his cheek embarrassedly. Fin in the back almost started laughing. An elf that could not sing!

”That´s ok. Don´t worry. Just teach me! ” Seth ’s eyes were sparkling in anticipation but the tiny voice of obligation rained on his parade.

”Didn´t you want to visit the guild? Fin thinks it´s important if the Vice-master invited you. ”

”I could go la- ”

”The Vice-master is an important person, you know? What if you come late and he simply keeps the quest –reward? ”

Her unbeatable arguments convinced him. He just quickly went to the back; installing the workshop and making Cerberus continue to make scales before saying goodbye to Marn and leaving. They took their time wandering toward the guild and stopped in front of its gates. The entrance was blocked by masses of adventurers trying to get in. What was happening here?

Before they could dive into the horde of people a guild staff approached them.

”Are you Seth, the blacksmith? ” he asked and explained that Venturi had sent him to bring them in via a side entrance.

”What is with all these people? ” Seth asked as they entered the guild.

”it´s because of the new quest. Anyone below B-Rank can take it. It´s about helping in cleansing the city from the curse. ”

”You already have a way to cleanse it? ” Fin asked unexpectedly.

”More or less. Since we know part of the curse the magicians were able to come up with an emergency measure. ” the guild staff smiled but didn´t elaborate any further.

They stopped in front of a big door, the office of the vice- guild master. Inside was a spacious room, filled to the brim with books and scrolls and weird magical devices. It was what you would expect from an old wizard´s abode. Somewhere in the sea of paper was the indication of a desk and there sat Venturi reading a letter.

”oh! You came. ” he said when he noticed their presence and looked up from his letter. Fin stayed outside and Seth made his way using a thin path where he could see the floor between the stacks of books and paper and stopped before the desk.

”Here. ” the mage said solemnly and put a leather bag on the table he had fished from somewhere beneath the table.

”The remuneration for your blacksmithing service. It 55 gold, it should be enough to pay for the maintenance and equipment. ” Seth nodded and took the heavy leather bag. When he put it in his inventory it was described to contain 55 gold.

”Good. Here is the quest reward for the exam and joining the rescue quest. ” he said and put down a much smaller bag. Inside were another 10 gold.

”Well. Shall we talk about the exam grades? You passed. Despite showing a lack of wisdom, you made it up with your performance. Give me your guild card, I will upgrade your rank to B. ”

After taking his card, Venturi shove aside a stack of paper, revealing a magic device to edit guild cards below it. ”There you go. You did this to get entrance to the Halls of Stone, right? Here. ”

The old man also handed him a scroll of parchment. ”It´s a recommendation from me. I´m undecided whether you are fit to be a B-Rank adventurer, but you have proven great skill as a blacksmith. It should be helpful when you look for a dwarven master to get tutelage. ”

Venturi was speaking in a very neutral tone the whole time, but Seth could feel a little kindness when he handed him the scroll.

”Now leave. I hope I don´t have to deal with you ever again… ”

Seth didn´t know what had rained on the vice-master parade. Maybe he got scolded for agreeing to pay him that much gold? Who knew? Seth happily left the office. He could finally enter the halls of Stone! The dwarven district was open for business!

The young blacksmith did not simply rush towards the gates and enter this new realm of possibilities. He still had urgent stuff to do first. One was to meet up with the party and get an objective appraisal of the materials he gained from the wyverns.

He spent some time showing the city to Fin as they returned to the inn, where I found Mike and Mina together with their parents. He invited them to go and appraise the materials at the auction house and they happily agreed to accompany him after the meal.

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