Blacksmith of the Apocalypse

Chapter 117: Puffles Appetite

Fin was happy that Seth would stay for another 2 weeks, instead of suddenly vanishing in those dark rabbit holes the dwarves called their home. Seth had talked to her about the idea that she could join Mina´s party on quests while he was training under Tored.

Fin actually agreed to this idea, she like Mina, but it was not because of that. The fairy had set her Min on following Seth, even if he returned to his homeworld. For this, she needed to be stronger to level up further. She had mentioned it to Seth, but she was not sure whether Seth was aware of the difference between his home and other worlds. Urth was a lot more dangerous than other worlds.

A world during its transition of the apocalypse was a lot less predictable and the beasts were a lot stronger than they would be in the already pacified worlds. This was the reason Oris were buffed, it was necessary to survive in their world. Fin needed to be strong enough to compensate for this, if she wanted to keep following Seth.

——–

Seth had a head start for his task as he already owned a shop that had gained a slight reputation thanks to the poison weapons and his recent quest. Marn was a big help in the beginning. It really reminded Seth of the time when he just started.

Under Marn ’s guidance and the , Seth quickly got used to using a normal forge and kept making steel weapons because he did not want to waste any better material to get used to the new method. Seth also decided to abstain from using Charon´s Obol. It was not a big restriction, but it meant that he was unable to make the bone weapons.

Being forced to use the normal forge had an unexpected advantage. Seth could continue working, while Cerberus could make more scales at the same time.

Seth used this chance to have Marn teach him the elvish smithing ballads he knew. The ballads were very similar to . One needed to sing during the forging process while infusing one´s voice with mana. It was not as easy as to randomly singsong the text. Not only needed the intonations and melody correct, but one also needed to time the song itself over the whole duration of the forging.

Marn explained that it was like a conversation with the spirits and requesting them to imbue the material with their power. The half-elf only knew the most basic one that appealed to the weakest sprites of the four main elements.

Their effects depended on the synergy between the elements and the material used. Earth could strengthen the durability and defense of metals; water did the same on leather and wood. This also meant that bad affinities would lead to little effect.

Asking a water sprite to bestow power onto metal would normally lead to a failure. Marn explained that the ballads of the elves distinguished themselves from others because they could not only be used during forging but applied to all crafts.

Marn could not help a lot, as he had little talent in this discipline, which was why he opted to look for a dwarven teacher instead of staying with his people. Seth had to depend on the blueprint skill to try and learn how to sing… Marn soon fled from the shop as demonic cacophonies left Seth´s throat and made his skin crawl as if an ant had invaded his body.

Seth soon stopped practicing these songs. It was to preserve Marn´s sanity and because the results had spooked him. He would have understood to simply fail, but the third dagger he made:

Although his proficiency in was slightly rising it was not worth messing with demonic power he did not know. Even if he knew them; he was not sure he wanted it.

Although Seth had a lot of steel to splurge with, it did not mean that it was a cheap material. All the weapons were solidly uncommon and the shop was doing reasonably well. Still, Seth didn´t like to do all this work, for so little proficiency.

Instead, he decided to invest some money. He wanted to use better materials, but the current forge was not able to work with rare metals. This meant he had to purchase a better one. Just because he had to use normal equipment, didn´t mean he could not upgrade. Tored workshop was really high-end. Marn was a big help in this, as he knew the fitting craftsmen.

But the half-elf did not come back after he left in the morning of the fourth day. In the evening, Seth had a stack of different blades on the table of the workshop. They had no handles yet, but he used the opportunity to get used to different shapes of weapons he planned to make in the future. It was now, that Seth realized that his clerk went missing.

”Marn? ”

Seth looked for him in his room, but he was not there.

——–A few hours earlier——-

Marn left the shop to visit a mason on the surface layer of the shopping district. It was the branch of famous dwarven siblings, one was a mason and the other an engineer. They were known for their work when it came to blacksmith and masonry tools.

He never bought anything himself, but he had yearned for their products. It had been his dream to own some of their products for a long time. And now Seth had told him to get good tools and facilities for the smithy, no matter the prize. It was his chance!

The half-elf had just entered the first underground layer when he felt a sharp pain and his eyes went dark.

It was a cold torrent of water that rudely woke him up from his involuntary slumber. He was tied to a chair in a dark room but he could make out a small shadow before him.

”We meet again, Marn. ” the figure spoke solemnly

”Mr. J? But why…? I paid my debt. ” Marn´s mind was still dazed and he could only slowly form words.

”That´s because I asked him to. ” suddenly another figure in the darkness spoke. A dim light illuminated the room and Marn was able to see who spoke. It was an elf. Clad in an expensive-looking green robe, with an arrogant expression and long pointy ears.

”M-Master Lyris? ” the face of the elf turned into a disgusted grimace.

”I am no longer your master. You dare you! How could you turn your back on me and our craft? And to make matters worse you went to learn from those- those dirtcrawlers! ”

His serious mask was lifted and he was livid. Not only did this youngling have the audacity to run away, he even stubbornly held onto his attempt to learn from one of those mineralmidgets! He had paid Mr.J to make his life hell, but what happened?

Not only did the debt not work. Even the people that were supposed to maim him, so he would have to give up blacksmithing, kept disappearing! It had come to a point, where Mr.J sent his bounceler to simply kidnap the elf to appease the elven master ’s fury.

Marn could only look at the man who had once kindly taught him the basics of blacksmithing with sorrowful eyes.

”What choice did I have? My dream was always to become a great and respected blacksmith like Master. ”tears started rolling down the half-elf´s cheeks.

”Master knows that I have no talent for our ballads. No matter how well I sing or execute the ballad, the sprites only passively answer my pleas. And no higher spirit ever answered. How am I supposed to get anywhere like this?! I – I- ”

”It simply means you are not worthy to be a blacksmith. You should have accepted it and changed your class, instead of spitting in my face like this. A disciple of Lyris ran off to rather learn from a stonesmoocher! You have turned me into a joke! ”

”You are a joke. ” all three heard a voice from the door. Marn looked up and saw Seth ’s distorted figure through his tears.

”A not very good one at that. ” he threw the bouncler into the room. His face was bloody and disfigured, but he was alive. Seth would argue that the blood was his fault, but he would argue that he looked better now than before.

”Marn, what are you doing? We really don´t have time for this. I need that new forge. ” he stepped forward and started cutting the ropes that bound the surprised Marn. The other two had been stunned by the young man ’s sudden appearance and watched him speechlessly.

”What do you think you are doing?! ” it was Lyris who had found his voice again.

”Taking my employee back. You elves have some weird customs for a reunion, but I don´t appreciate you interrupting his work. ”

Seth really didn´t feel like getting pulled in their little sob story. He just wanted to get back home and was glad if he could fob this elvish master off without much talk. Seth had no idea how to find kidnapped people and spent the last hour running around and talking to people who might know something.

The only silver lining was that elves were rather rare in Ora, so he found some clues after paying off several stall owners for information. The description of the attacker fit J´s bounceler and Seth simply came here to try his luck. Who would have thought that he would crash some weird elvish drama?

”You dare?! Do you know who I am? I am- ”

”Yeah, Yeah, Master Lute or whatever. I don´t care. Don´t approach my clerk again, got it? ”

Seth knew, that there was no sense in talking with people like this. So, he did the best he could for his own peace of mind. He tucked Marn under his arm and left, completely ignoring the huffing and puffing elf.

Before he left, he turned to Mr. J ”And you… Don´t listen to this elf anymore. If I find you messing with my shop again, I will turn everything you own to ashes. ” it was not a threat, but a promise.

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