Evening. I met up with Taku and after contacting Magi-san beforehand we visited 【Open Sesame】. We spoke with the Clerk NPC and had him call Magi-san who had been working in the workshop in the back.
"Hey, Yun-kun and Taku-kun, it's unusual for you two to visit together. Did you come to have pair-rings made?"
"Certainly, it's unusual, but I don't want any kind of pairing with Taku."
I denied it flatly and briefly explained what I have come for.
"One of the reasons of coming this time, is to check on the Blurite Ore's research and to replenish the samples."
"Thank you, Yun-kun! With the ones I got I was able to grasp the method, but I wasn't able to make too many ingots yet."
"Then, I'll pass you some new ore."
I deposited the newly acquired Blurite Ore with Magi-san.
"Yup. I'll be able to make Yun-kun's weapon with these."
"Good for you. Looks like you'll get a new weapon."
Taku had happily hit my back, but, most likely there won't be much opportunities to use it, I ended up thinking.
And, I spoke of another issue I have come with.
"Another reason, is that I want you to take a look at something."
Saying so, I took out the unknown items I acquired from the hard mining point on the back of Grand Rock and the broken pickaxe.
"I acquired these items today at a certain mining point——【Layered Coal】 and 【Fragment of Land Emperor Turtle's Shell】. And, I broke my pickaxe on the same mining point."
What I placed on the table were 13 pieces of 【Layered Coal】 and 2 【Fragments of Land Emperor Turtle's Shell】. Since the remaining ore I mined was known, I didn't take them out.
Taking the items in her hands, Magi-san broke into a joyful expression and heaved a sigh.
"Yun-kun, why do you always bring items I really want at with such good timing, I wonder. You're troubling Onee-san here."
"Is what Yun brought in that good a material?"
Taku asked in my stead, in response to which Magi-san thought for a moment before answering.
"It's more like an intermediate material. A material that can be mined in many of high level zones. If you use Iron Ore and 【Layered Coal】 for refining, you can make Wootz Steel. It's a material that provides high durability, ATK and DEF, and is easy to handle."
"I heard of weapons made with Wootz Steel. If I'm not wrong, they're exhibited on 【Crafting Guild】's auction. I saw someone bid on it."
"Indeed. Just as you say, Taku-kun, it was exhibited only once in the past. Its distinguishing feature was that it had an unique pattern on the surface. Well, it was me who made it though."
"As I thought, Magi-san was the one who made it."
"Just once I made a weapon from Wootz Steel after many attempts, but it was my disgrace as it was too ordinary. I was forced by Cloude to sell it on auction since there wasn't enough goods that stand out, you see."
By the end, Magi-san's voice was tinged with resentment.
Considering the flow of their conversation Magi-san was probably involved with it, I thought, and it was spot on.
Since I hardly used metal weapons I didn't have much knowledge about then, but I muttered a simple question.
"What's Wootz Steel in the first place?"
"Ahh, Wootz Steel is... you could call it fantasy's Damascus Steel."
"O-oh. Well, I did hear of it somewhere, I think."
I was satisfied knowing that Wootz Steel was another name for Damascus Steel.
"So, Yun-kun, will you sell this to me?"
"From what I'm hearing, it doesn't seem like anything I can handle with my current 【Craftsmanship】's level, so I don't mind."
Then it's decided, and with that said I was able to trade 【Layered Coal】 at quite a high price.
"Hey, if you have 【Layered Coal】, sell me a Wootz Steel sword!"
"Unfortunately. My pride won't allow making a half-assed weapon like the first one I made. So, wait a little longer. I need time to grasp the trick to making Wootz Steel."
"Well then, we need to gather a lot of 【Layered Coal】. Yun! We're going to fetch some for my sake!"
"Don't be silly. My pickaxe's broken and all..."
When saying so, I turned my gaze towards the tip of the broken pickaxe, Magi-san had made a daring smile as if she was waiting for this moment.
"Fufufu, let me introduce a wonderful commodity to you, Yun-kun! A three-set of pickaxes made from black iron for any situation!"
She said so and what she took out, was a pickaxe made of black iron which was harder than iron. There were small, medium and large pickaxes which had weight and shape making it easy to use in each situation, even the handle was well thought of.
I lifted the black pickaxe's wooden handle and felt its heaviness, but there should be no problem with using it.
"Looks good, I want them."
"Then how about 500kG for the set?"
"I'll buy it."
Since it wasn't particularly expensive, I decided to buy it. Rather, it was an essential expanse for collecting 【Layered Coal】. Still, I felt like inflation had come seeing as 500kG seems cheap. The times where I struggled to earn 1000G felt nostalgic.
"I'll give these to you now in that case."
"I don't have enough on hand to pay in full, so I'll pay 250kG in advance and have Kyouko-san deposit the rest in the store next time."
"Yup, got it. Well, even if I don't get it, I can always deduct it from the consignment I have with you, Yun-kun."
Magi-san joked around, but I instructed Kyouko-san the NPC to make the payment for the pickaxe through the menu.
"Still, why do you have a pickaxe ready at such a good time?"
"Because these are spare pickaxes I made for myself. I said it earlier right. 【Layered Coal】 can be gathered in various high level zones, that is. In order to mine in those areas you need a pickaxe made from black iron."
Also, I got a large amount of ore in stock now. She said and winked to me. She must have meant that she made it with the Black Iron Ore I brought in.
"Thank you for purchasing Black Iron Pickaxes〜. Now, the 【Fragment of Land Emperor Turtle's Shell】, right. Its my first time seeing this strenghtening material so I don't know what effect it has."
After we finished the trading procedure Magi-san breathed out shortly and looked at the next item.
"Then, how about we try the additional effect on some weak weapon? It's not a good idea to try it on the usually used one."
Since I didn't want to put an effect I don't know on my main weapon, I thought of checking it with an Iron Sword or something but...
"Yun-kun, at times like these you should use this."
Magi-san took out a weapon and raised it in front of me and Taku.
It was the axe Magi-san had acquired previously in the summer camp event which could hold up to fifteen effects.
I was reminded of the existence of the same magic remodelling weapon, the 【Wolf Commander's Longbow】.
"I normally use it to check the unidentified straightening materials. For now——it's a straightening material checker."
Isn't that different from how it's supposed to be used? Taku beside me retorted and heaved a sigh. I agreed that the usage method was different from the original one, but that was one of the ways to use it, I thought.
In the first place, Magi-san had a different battle axe as her main weapon.
"If you like the effect you can have it stay on the item, if the compatibility is bad, you can just erase it, it's waste-less. Yun-kun, can I start?"
"Yes, please go on."
I looked as Magi-san had used the strengthening material, 【Fragment of Land Emperor Turtle's Shell】 on her own remodelling weapon, an axe.
We immediately found out what was the the strengthening material's additional effect.
Stone-Axe Erupter – Volkaraxe 【Weapon】——magical axe carved from cooled down magical metal that's like flowing lava.
ATK+30 Additional Effect: ATK Bonus, Physical Attack Increase (small), Fire Element Bonus (medium), Damage Penetration (small), HP Absorption (minimal), Automatic Recovery (small), Durability Increase (medium)
After checking the stats of the weapon which had a new additional effect added, both Taku and I were at loss for words.
"The new effect is——【Durability Increase (medium)】, huh."
"Nonono, wait, certainly its good that we learned the material's effect is 【Durability Increase (medium)】, but what's with that large amount of effects!"
"That thing is a fraud considering the base specs. Clearly, it can already be used in live combat."
I raised my voice in surprise seeing the numerous additional effects I haven't seen before on the weapon and Taku had enviously looked at the remodelling weapon.
"It just turned like this when I left only valid effects on it. Oh right, I wanted to ask you for enchanting it, Yun-kun."
"Eh? Um, is that fine?"
To do it so simply, I added in puzzlement and used 《Item Enchant》 on Magi-san's remodelling weapon to add 【ATK Enchant】 to it, specializing it further in physical attack.
"Thanks, Yun-kun. What about the remaining one?"
"What about, you ask, I wonder myself."
One material was consumed for effect verification and one more was left. There was no need to decide here but...
"Then why not put it in Yun's pickaxe?"
"By pickaxe, you mean the Black Iron Pickaxe I just bought?"
I tilted my head, puzzled.
"Indeed. It's a tool you'll be using for a long time. Also, even if you do maintenance and grade-up the additional effect won't disappear and this way it won't break in the middle of gathering like this time."
In the first place, there was no point in adding 【Durability Increase (medium)】 into weapons or armour. If someone did put that effect into a weapon, the weapon would receive a limit to how much it can be improved.
In that meaning, it was a good idea to put it into a pickaxe which is not a weapon, but...
"Can it even be added into a pickaxe?"
"Pickaxe is a type of a weapon. Something like a variant of an axes and hammers."
"Also, Yun-kun's kitchen knife I made is also both a tool and a weapon. When I'm attacked during mining I swing my pickaxe to deal with the enemy."
I was convinced by Taku's and Magi-san's explanations.
And then, Magi-san strengthened the large pickaxe with 【Durability Increase】.
"Now, since I don't have enough 【Layered Coal】 to make a Wootz Steel weapon, can you bring me some more? Also, I want to 【Durability Increase】 for my own pickaxe, too."
"Understood. I'll concentrate on mining for now."
"Thanks. I'll give you some extra when purchasing them."
For the time being, I decided to mine for Blurite Ore of which there wasn't enough yet and the 【Layered Coal】.
"I guess I need to go confirm how is Gantz's and others' picking up of 【Climbing】 Sense before we proceed."
Taku stretched his back and a mutter leaked from his mouth.
Since it was the first time we mentioned it, Magi-san made a curious expression.
"Yeah, the place I we got Blurite Ore and 【Layered Coal】 is the cliff on the northern area and the highlands area on the other side..."
When I summarized the explanation about the highlands area and the super-dreadnought mob in it, Magi-san grinned as if she came up with something.
"Hey, Taku-kun. Can 【Climbing】 Sense be acquired easily?"
"Currently, teaching the Sense is centred on a player called Ivan. He's teaching several parties and acquaintances altogether."
"Then, can players with 【Smithing】 Sense be included in that? So we can run an operation for climbing Grand Rock."
Even if they don't climb up to the top, they could mine numerous mining points.
"What do you think?"
"Hm. I guess it's fine? I can hang around to teach and time is needed to examine under what conditions that Grand Rock starts moving."
"I'll organise it with 【Crafting Guild】 as a centre in that case, let's talk in detail later, Taku-kun."
"Feels like its turning into a really big deal."
While I listened in silence beside them, I somehow felt that the operation for conquering the highlands had become really important.
"Also, I wonder if I could ask you, Yun-kun to help me out."
"Well, I need to do some preparations on my side, so we'll speak about that too, at later time."
Magi-san winked to me, and the conversation had ended for today.
*clank* *clank*. I swung the pickaxe at the mining point and dug out the ore.
"Phew, that makes 100 of them. Mining those is quite harsh, these mining points are real hard."
I picked up the ore and looked up at the sky.
Above me, there was the towering rocky mountain and Cockatrices fling in the sky.
"It took a lot of time to gather those."
I accepted the request from Magi-san and continued to dig the mining points on Grand Rock's back and near the cliff.
At first I was worried about whether will Grand Rock roar, but it seemed like it happened only at fixed time and didn't happen when I was mining.
Still, since on the rocky mountain Cockatrices and on the cliff-side Aero Snakes and Bunker Bees attacked me, when fighting back my combat-related Senses level up unexpectedly well.
"The total of ore I gathered in three days is 144 pieces of Blurite and 101 pieces of 【Layered Coal】. Also, 8 of 【Fragments of Land Emperor Turtle's Shell】, huh. Means I was lucky when mining before."
With that said, it was just the third of the total amount of ore I dug up in three days. The other two was not so unusual ore like iron, silver, gems and black iron.
The 【Fragments of Land Emperor Turtle's Shell】 had a low probability of appearing and it was time-consuming to acquire it. Although it was a little disappointing that the drop-rate increasing effect of the 【Fairy Ring】 didn't have any effect, it was possible to collect a significant number of those over time.
"Now, it's almost the time I agreed on with Magi-san, I should go back."
First, I returned to the 【Atelier】 through the portal and from there, went to visit Magi-san's 【Open Sesame】.
"Oh, Yun-kun. Just on time."
Magi-san welcomed me with a wide smile.
"Sorry, it took three days to prepare."
"It's fine, but could you tell me what are we going to do?"
Three days ago, she didn't tell me any details so I once again asked what does she need help with.
"Back then Taku-kun was here you see. I don't intend on revealing this to anyone other than crafters I trust."
She said so and led me towards the workshop. And, inside——
"What is that?! What's with that furnace?!"
What I pointed out when I cried out, was the temperature on the Magic Furnace Magi-san had installed in her workshop. It should have been the same as the one installed in my own workshop, but the thermal power was completely different, it caused the air in the surroundings of the furnace to shake.
If not for the barrier around the furnace which shut away the heat in its vicinity, it would have scorched the entire workshop.
"I'll explain about it now. I want you to help with my smithing, Yun-kun."
"You say 'help with smithing', but I can't make weapons."
My 【Craftsmanship】 Sense allowed for making of accessories and while it could be used for refining ingots, it couldn't be used for crafting weapons which belong to 【Smithing】 Sense.
"Of course, I know that. What I want to ask you, is help with crafting Wootz Steel Ingots. We will strike the metal together——I want you to do joint hammering with me."
"That's right, I will use this big hammer to remove the impurities and increase the quality. And, you will be shaping it with a small hammer, as well as adjusting the position, Yun-kun."
What Magi-san passed to me as she said so, was a Black Iron Hammer for smithing.
Standing firmly, she swung the hammer she held in both of her hands. Certainly, while she changes between the hammers, the metal will cool off.
"So, what specifically am I to do?"
"First, I guess practice? We need to match ourselves perfectly. Also, in order to make Wootz Steel, we need to get used to the temperature in there first."
Saying so, Magi-san moved a step in front of the furnace.
Immediately after, I saw something that made me doubt my eyes.
"Magi-san! It's decreasing! Your HP!"
"Well, that's because the temperature is the highest I can get now."
She had turned around and smiled to me, but sweat appeared on her forehead.
"That's fine, but come back for now!"
I pulled back Magi-san, who had come up in front of the furnace. I also was assaulted by the hot air and my HP decreased faster than hers.
"How did the temperature go up this much?"
"Most of my MP went into the furnace, in addition to that, Fire Fairy increased the temperature and Treant Wood was used to fuel the fire. Though, its strong enough for players to receive damage if they aren't resistant to fire element."
Magi-san had 【Fire Element Talent】 Sense allowing to use fire elemental magic. Still, despite that she needed even higher temperature, what on earth is she making?
"Magi-san, are you really making just Wootz Steel Ingots?"
"Ahahaha, so you noticed after all?"
"Can't you make it with the same method you have succeeded before?"
"I don't want to use the method from before."
She said so and took out a large plate. It was a heavy iron, no, steel plate.
"Earlier, I used this thin steel plate and 【Layered Coal】 to make a one ingot. But, the result was a rough, seven-layered Wootz Steel Ingot.
"Wootz Steel's has characteristic is the unique, beautiful wood-grain pattern because of the multiple layers of metal overlapping. However, the amount of layers on mine was not enough, the temperature wasn't strong enough to allow bending it again."
"Then, the method now is...?"
"Mix steel and 【Layered Coal】, then bend it into many layers in in high temperature."
For every bend, the amount of layers doubles and, by repeating it you make beautiful Wootz Steel.
"So, Yun-kun. Will you lend me your strength and wisdom?"
"I understand, I'll support you however I can."
"Yun-kun, thank you. Now then, let's start joint hammering practice immediately!"
After saying that, Magi-san took out several ores and began preparations for smithing.
She purchased all the ore I have mined this time for using it as practice material this time.
"I put 【Durability Increase (medium)】 additional effect on mine and Yun-kun's tools, now, let's go!"
Magi-san, holding a hammer and I, holding a small hammer have set up as to face each other in front of the furnace.
The metal inserted into furnace melted and flowed into a mould.
"First let's start with practising something light like normal iron, then fine iron, silver, steel, black iron and then with Blurite."
"Understood. I'm ready any time."
Exposed to the extremely hot air from the furnace, Magi-san had swung her hammer down on the ingot taken out of the mold.
That was the signal for joint hammering.
There was a clear sound and sparks flying the bright red metal. While wiping sweat off my forehead, I struck the metal without taking my eyes off from it and matching Magi-san.
I swung down the Black Iron Hammer striking the iron to adjust it and then, Magi-san swung her hammer down once again.
Thanks to motion assist I knew what timing was optimal, but what was troublesome, was the damage dealt by hot air.
In the workshop, filled with the sound of metal being struck we overflowed with sweat. In the middle of it I excluded everything that disturbed me and concentrated on the heated iron in front of me.
And when it had began to cool down we returned it to the furnace, then once it had turned red again, we took it out.
Beginning with ordinary iron there was no problem with fine iron as well. We somehow managed with silver too, since I worked with it in my own workshop, but the first one was steel.
"Now, let's make a Steel Ingot."
"Magi-san, I don't know how to make a Steel Ingots though."
Magi-san was astonished hearing my words. In one hand, she held an inexpensive blue potion in order to replenish her HP depleted by the hot air, it looked to me like nothing other than a sports drink.
Well, let's leave that aside, about the method of making Steel Ingots...
"Ahh, steel is further refined from Iron Ingots you make from Iron Ore, you see."
Which means that steel is high purity iron with impurities further removed.
"That's why, the basics are the same as for metallic threads. However, a bit more power is needed."
She said so and put the Fine Iron Ingot we made earlier back into the furnace for refining, then struck the melted metal.
Magi-san hit the metal with her hammer and I used mine to reshape it, but because of my low ATK the ingot only rattled and didn't change its form. I put in all my strength to somehow fix it, but after I hit the metal repeatedly, it ended up as a failure.
"cringg*, and at the same time we heard a sound of cracking, the mass of metal had turned into particles of light and disappeared.
"Aww... so there's a difference between mine and Yun-kun's ATK stat. Should I adjust my stats to balance it out?"
But by that amount the work time will lengthen, Magi-san muttered, but our aim was the high-level Wootz Steel. If we compromise in this moment, we won't be able to make a good ingot.
"It's all right, Magi-san. 《Enchant》——Attack!"
I put an ATK enchant on myself, raising my base stats.
Since enchant-type Sense's level has increased, the duration of enchants is longer enabling me to refine a several ingots over the duration of one enchant.
"I'll catch up to you with this. Now, next one!"
"You're right. From here on the ingot crafting difficulty will quickly increase, so we'll have to work hard with repeated practice of trial and error."
Then once again, we returned to refining a Fine Iron Ingot and Steel Ingot.
For the time being, we were able to make a Steel Ingot on our second try, but since Magi-san tried to match panicking me, we didn't proceed to the next ore and instead, continued to make Steel Ingots to match our breathing.
"This is the fourth one. About time we proceeded to Black Iron."
"Haa, haa... agreed. But first, a break."
Since we continued to stand in front of furnace endlessly releasing heat, both Magi-san and I were dripping with sweat.
To take a break, we moved outside the ward sealing off hot air.
Sweating even more than I did, from her face to her neck, collarbone and towards her chest, Magi-san's sweat-covered figure made me unable to focus my eyes. The skimpy cloth also sucked in sweat, making it see-through.
On the other hand, I too was dripping with sweat, but the cloth equipment had become only a little see-through.
While drinking a Blue Potion for HP recovery and re-hydration, Magi-san summoned her partner, Ricœur, a wolf cub who wielded ice element.
"Ahh, cold air from Ricœur feels amazing."
"How nice, I want some ice too."
Flushed, Magi-san was cooled off as she hugged the wolf releasing cold air from his entire body.
Ricœur responded to my mutter with a woof, and made a piece of ice perfect for me to cool my neck with.
"Hyah, cold! But, feels great."
I held the ice Ricœur created and pressed it against my nape, then a sigh leaked out.
Although the cold was comfortable, the ice melted and the water soaked my clothes, feeling a little uncomfortable.
"Uehh, I'm all wet."
"Ahahaha, so you did it after all, Yun-kun."
"Magi-san, did you know and kept silent?"
"I made the same mistake once before. That's why, to cool my body I hug Ricœur like this."
After responding so, we decided to end the break and started to relay to each other what we felt during joint hammering.
"Yun-kun, how was the first joint hammering? Was it hard?"
“Well, it was. I'm worried that I'll hold you back."
“The results you put out were enough, Yun-kun. Also, it's a great help that you're adjusting your position for me to strike the metal easier. Any tips on how to do that?"
She asked me for tips, but there was nothing I could come up with. If anything...
“I guess I'm used to it."
“Used to? This is the first time you're doing joint hammering, right?"
"Yes, but I'm accustomed to matching the movements of others. Well, I guess that's because I don't have the skill to do stuff alone."
With a bitter smile, I spoke of my memories from childhood.
I often played with gamers, Taku, Myu and Sei-nee, but it didn't mean I was good at gaming.
But, I did remember how to manoeuvre in the confusion and match my movements to support my partners in team games.
And somehow, we have become able to win one game in a ten thanks to that.
This time I did the same, I matched my movements to Magi-san's movements who used motion assist and supported her however I could.
“So, in that kind of way I'm used to it, I guess?"
When I finished talking, Magi-san put a hand on her forehead and let out a long sigh.
“Substantial player skill is required for joint hammering, but to think there was such a reason. Come to think of it, whatever party it is, as long as they match their movements they become a force to be reckoned with, don't they."
“M-Magi-san? Are you okay?"
I fearfully called out to her as she continued to mutter to herself.
“If you're tired then how about we end it for today?"
“Ah, I'm fine I'm fine. I just had a glimpse of the lack of your self awareness on your high skills, Yun-kun."
“? Is that so?"
I wonder, which part of my skills is high? Even my Sense build is jack-of-all-trades and without specialization, I should have no especially conspicuous ability but...
“Now! Next, let's get enough practice with Black Iron and Blurite then assess what's necessary for crafting Wootz Steel Ingot!"
Once Magi-san's motivation returned we got down to crafting ingots.
And, with the help of Magi-san's furnace I learned the quirks of the metal and making of the Black Iron and Blurite Ingots, then received some guidance on making accessories.
“That's right, just like that. To make an uniform ring you need to be especially careful when joining the parts. The gem pedestal can be made separately and joined in so it's all right."
“Haa, haa, phew... done!"
The method taught to me by Magi-san was more efficient than what I learned by myself and I was able to create rings made of Black Iron and Blurite.
The Black Iron ring was made simple. The Blurite ring used silver for the pedestal and edge, and made for being decorated with an aquamarine gem, it was consciously designed for a woman.
“Thank you very much."
Black Guard Ring 【Ornament】 (Weight: 1)
DEF+12 Additonal Effect: DEF Bonus
Blue and Silver Mystic Ring 【Ornament】 (Weight: 1)
DEF+7 INT+3 Mind+12 Additional Effect: INT Bonus, Water Element Improvement (small)
I checked the stats of the two rings and said thanks to Magi-san. They had quite good effects. The Black Iron ring had purely defence bonus and the other one, in addition to magic bonus had an additional effect which was inherent to Blurite Ore.
Holding these in my hand, I started looking through my inventory for suitable strengthening material.
“【Black Guard Ring】 has physical specialization. And, the 【Blue and Silver Mystic Ring】 has magic specialization. Then, might as well enchant them so."
“Hey, hey. Yun-kun, are you going to give these accessories to someone as a gift?"
“? I didn't have any such plans in particular..."
In front of the furnace, Magi-san had wiped off her sweat, but the flowing sweat and the clothing clinging to her skin was sensational, so I quietly averted my line of sight.
“Ehh, you're lying. I mean, you don't intend on equipping those accessories yourself do you, Yun-kun."
“W-why do you think so?"
“Well, you averted your eyes when I spoke about it..."
It's a misunderstanding! I thought of shouting that, but I was presented another reason.
“Those accessories don't have unified design you see. Were it something you yourself would use, would have an unified design and decorations with yours, right."
I see, even if someone aligns expensive equipment together, if there's no unity it'll feel incongruous. She had a point, that would make me look like an upstart.
“So, it's for a gift? I thought. Just like back then with me."
While saying so, Magi-san raised the ring made from three overlapping circles she had on her finger, the 【Trion Ring】.
With a small, bitter smile I thought of gifting it and replied.
“Were I to give it to someone, it would be to Sei-nee and Myu. They're my precious family after all."
“Eeh, isn't there anyone else? Like, girls from Myu-chan's party. Also, girls like Luka-chan or Tobi-chan would exchange presents to each other, right?"
In fact, giving them as gifts to Sei-nee and Myu, as well as Lucato and the others would be a good idea, but making one for entire party's worth would be hard, I thought with a wry smile.
“Then, how about giving it to Taku-kun?"
“Why did Taku's name even appear?"
She grinned seeing my reaction.
“In Yun-kun's case, the member of the opposite sex you are most intimate with is your childhood friend, Taku-kun, right. So, I thought the Black Iron ring was for him."
“You're wrong. In the first place, I'm..."
『”Excuse me, is Yun here?”』
A man. When I was about to say it the same way I always do, I heard Taku's voice from the direction of 【Open Sesame】's store."
That moment, Magi-san made a wonderful smile.
“Ohh, a customer for Yun-kun. I'll go to take a look."
Magi-san stood up and headed towards the door leading to the store. After watching her go, I noticed after a few seconds.
Until just now she was in front of the furnace and both her skin and clothes were wet with sweat. Going in public in such a state, let alone in front of a man would be bad, I felt.
I chased after her in a rush, but she had already entered the store.
“Hey, Taku-kun. Would you like it if you received a present from a girl?"
“Eh, ha, well, I guess so."
She had folded her arms under her breasts and leaning forward she asked Taku in a form of a counter-attack. As expected, this isn't good! I thought, and forced her to stop.
“Magi-san! Don't go in front of people in such strangely erotic state!"
“Aah, yes yes. Sorry."
“Seriously, stop that!"
For Magi-san's body's safety! I shouted in my mind as I pushed her back to the workshop.
Then, when I turned my gaze towards Taku, he had heaved a regretful sigh.
And, he turned his gaze towards me.
“W-what is it."
“No, I'm just thinking that you're covered in sweat too, Yun."
“?!! D-don't look!"
I hugged my own body as to block his line of sight.
“What is it? I just got curious as to what you're doing there in the back."
“We're just making ingots at smith's furnace!"
By the time I answered so, sweat disappeared and my equipped clothes dried naturally returning to its original state. Magi-san who also returned from the workshop seemed to have groomed herself and her sweat too, disappeared.
“Sorry. I wanted to see Yun-kun's reaction and ended up teasing you a bit, Taku-kun."
“Suddenly being greeted in such appearance gave me a serious shock."
“Really, stop with that. I nearly got a heart attack."
I turned limp inside, but Magi-san seemed satisfied seeing our reactions and smiled brighly.
“Well then, let's listen to what Taku-kun has to say."
She said so, and once again asked Taku for the reason he had visited 【Open Sesame】.
“So, what did you come here for, Taku."
“No, I went to 【Atelier】 searching for Yun and told 'went to 【Open Sesame】', I came to ask about the situation with Wootz Steel while at it."
“If that's the case, we plan to work on it after we get used to joint hammering with Yun-kun. However, I probably won't be able to make a sword immediately."
Knowing that, Taku was satisfied and didn't pursue the matter any further.
“Taku, why where you looking for me? Did something happen?"
“The timing of the next roar in the highlands has been found out."
“Seriously? Heck, only a few days have passed since then!"
Learning the rules behind these kinds of things usually takes over a week, they are working way too fast.
“The prediction is, that it's going to happen five days from now on, from three o'clock in the afternoon to six o'clock in the evening."
“Why do you even know that?"
“Verification mania players found out that flowers in the highlands peripheries change colour every day. We confirmed that the flower colour slowly changes in order from blue to yellow, orange and to red."
Verification maniacs are amazing, I was genuinely impressed by them. To discover something like that based on highlands flowers, I take my hat off to them.
“So, I came to ask Yun to adjust his time to be there at the time."
“Well then, to match it we'll aim for being able to make a Wootz Steel Sword."
Taku said what he came to say and although I was about to see him off, I called out to stop him.
“...Taku. Wait a moment."
“What is it? Yun."
I returned to the workshop to take 【Black Guard Ring】 and insert additional effects with the strenghtening materials I had on hand.
In order to give it highly-versatile effects I used 【Sting Bee Queen's Wing】 taken from Queen Bunker Bee and 【Fragment of Land Emperor Turtle's Shell】 taken from the Grand Rock, furthermore by using 《Item Enchant》 and at expanse of INT stat which Taku didn't use, I enchanted it with ATK and DEF.
Black Guard Ring 【Ornament】 (Weight: 1)
DEF+12 Additonal Effect: DEF Bonus, ATK Enchant, DEF Enchant, INT Cursed, All Bad Statuses Resistance (small), Durability Increase (medium)
It was a Black Iron ring with five bonus effects and one negative one. Normally it could hold only four additional effects but I balanced it out with cursed.
I forced it on Taku.
“Take this for now."
“This looks like a general-purpose accessory for a swordsman. Well, even if INT decreases it's not a problem. Though, there are actually bad status resistance-specialized pieces of equipment."
“If you don't need it you can give it to someone or whatever. I intend to give one to Myu and Sei-nee too."
“I didn't say I don't need it. In that case, I'll take it with gratitude."
This time, Taku left 【Open Sesame】.
When he had left I looked towards my left where Magi-san was, and saw her grin merrily.
“W-what is it?"
“No, I just thought that in the end, you passed it to Taku-kun."
It was a fact that I passed it to him, but when making it I had no other intention other than leveling up my 【Craftsmanship】 Sense.
But, I felt like denying too strongly here would mean something else to her. Good grief, I heaved a sigh, which had already become my habit.
Once Magi-san's rampant grinning had subsided, I turned towards her again.
“Now, that's enough for a break, next let's get to the main objective, Wootz Steel. First we'll make layers by bending the metal, creating distinctive patterns."
“Okay, I'll do my best."
Although there was a small uproar, we have crafted a variety of things as preparation for crafting Wootz Steel Ingot.
“The steps for making it is applying crushed 【Layered Coal】's powder on the Steel Ingot and fusing it in the heated furnace. Then, its stretched out by hammering, then once again coated, and a repeat of fusing."
Stretch it out as if making candies in order to make enough layers for Wootz Steel.
“Well then, let's begin!"
Along with Magi-san's instruction the hammer was swung down for the first time and thus, we began crafting a Wootz Ingot.
Hit by the large hammer several times, the Steel Ingot had expanded on the furnace, turning into a steel plate nearly three times as large.
When it had turned red in the heated furnace it was taken out and 【Layered Coal】 was applied evenly on its surface. It was returned back to the furnace and when it was confirmed it had melted, Magi-san and I quickly fused coal in with our hammer and large hammer. Then, we bent the softened steel plate on the anvil.
And, we struck the bent metal surface evenly with our hammers to fix it back to the shape of an ingot before stretching it out to a steel plate again.
Stretching the steel plate thin we applied 【Layered Coal】 evenly and fused it in, then folded it to create a distinctive pattern on the Wootz Steel, and when we repeated folding five times——
“!! Yun-kun, abort! We're aborting!"
Saying so, Magi-san stopped swinging her hammer and grasped my hand to drag me away from in front of the furnace.
“Yun-kun, look at your status!"
“Eh? ...hey, I'm dying?!"
I focused on work too much and forgot about the accumulating damage caused by furnace's heat. At that rate I would probably die in the middle of it.
“Here, Yun-kun. Let's wipe off the sweat and think of counter-measures. I think it would be dangerous for me too if I remained like that."
I wiped off the uncomfortable sweat with the towel Magi-san passed me and looked at the mid-crafting Wootz Steel Ingot. Since it was bend and not yet rejoined, the metal had cooled down and became just a piece of steel, causing it to be treated as a failed product and disappear.
“I'm sorry. Valuable Wootz Steel materials disappeared because of me."
“It couldn't be helped. In fact, if Yun-kun died the crafting would have failed anyways. But in that case, we need to get some fire element resistance. Since I'm using accessories which increase my statistics for crafting, I don't have any open slots I can use."
“In that case, I have something good."
I took out a single container and opened the lid. Inside, there was pale red cream.
"This is a cream temporarily increasing resistance to corresponding element——【Element Cream】. Its effect lasts for about two hours."
We have discovered that it lasts longer than 《Element Enchant》 when we tried it together with Taku.
“Oohh?! That's handy! And it has a sweet scent, too."
“I mixed a little bit of honey in it."
“Onee-san is impressed by this very feminine thing you've made."
Saying so, Magi-san took the cream in her palm and with accustomed movements she covered her face and neck, as well as other exposed parts like arms.
I too covered my body thinly with cream and when I stood in front of the furnace, the decrease of my HP was reduced.
“Still as hot as ever, but it seems like we can work for a long time now."
“You're right. This time, we'll make the real thing! Let's do our best!"
Once again she took out the materials and we started making Wootz Steel Ingot.
The steel was stretched into a plate and after applying 【Layered Coal】 the plate was bent and coal was fused in.
We then repeated it making two layers from one, then four from two, eight from four, sixteen layers from eight layers, quickly increasing the number of layers of steel. The more layers there were the hardness and strength of the metal had increased making it difficult to process. We stretched it and bent using the weight of the heavy Black Iron Hammer.
And finally, we have completed it.
“Done! Sixty-four-layered Wootz Ingot!"
“Woahh, it has a beautiful wood-grain pattern."
The Wootz Steel Ingot made from a Steel Ingot had great toughness and durability after being folded many times.
“Thank you! It was thanks to Yun-kun that we made it!"
“T-that's not true... I was only helping out."
Magi-san held my hands and shook them strongly to convey her gratitude, but I got embarrassed having told so from the front.
As she moved closer to me, her chest and the scent of the 【Element Cream】's she had used, as well as the lustre of her skin wet with sweat were all bad for my heart.
“Yun-kun, you're always so humble."
“Now! From here on is where Magi the smith shows her skill. I'll be making a sword out of this Wootz Steel Ingot."
“Magi-san, I'll help you until the end."
“But, for Yun-kun to help means..."
“I'll manage the furnace's heat and use ATK enchant for support. Also, in case fire resistance drops off in the middle, won't it be necessary to use a fire element enchant?"
I want you to make a sword in your best state. Magi-san had perceived my feelings and nodded strongly.
“Well then, please do. Pour your MP into the furnace and maintain the current temperature."
“Understood. And, 《Enchant》——Attack!"
I cast a physical attack enchant on Magi-san and standing in front of the Magical Furnace, I held my hand out to it.
Pouring my own MP, I fuelled it to maintain the heat.
Moreover, do your best furnace's Fire Fairy, I said and passed a light candy I took out from the inventory to the fairy as well as inserted the Treant Wood Charcoal that was piled up beside the furnace.
“Smith Magi, going in."
Then, Magi-san sat down in front of the furnace and after heating Wootz Steel Ingot in it, she swung down her hammer.
The Wootz Steel Ingot made by bending the metal was softened by heating it up and reshaped, making its form closer to that of a long sword.
I cast physical attack enchant on Magi-san to assist her in working smoothly. Also, I also repeatedly cast 《Element Enchant》 to compensate because 【Element Cream】's effect had expired long ago as I watched the sword being completed.
And, the last swing had come down, the long sword forged from Wootz Steel has been cooled down with 【Water of Life】.
“Did it succeed?"
“For now, yeah, I guess? What's left to do are small details like making a handle and sheath."
Saying so she raised the long sword's blade from the water and the rippling, beautiful wood grain pattern had appeared.
Steel's silvery-white and embedded 【Layered Coal】's black made the blade very durable.
Damascus Sword 【Weapon】
ATK+75 DEF+37 Additional Effect: ATK Bonus
Since it was newly-made weapon, there were few additional effects, but depending on the customer's preferences their number will increase.
“Finally complete, huh."
“Yun-kun, cheers for good work. I'll contact Taku-kun through friend call and consult on the additional effects, but before that, I have something to pass onto Yun-kun."
She said so and took out two wooden boxes from the shelf at the back.
Once she quietly opened them one by one, what appeared inside them were weapons.
One of the weapons Magi-san took out was a thick black and shiny knife made of Black Iron. It was a knife resembling a hatchet or an axe. The other one, was a single-edged beautiful blue katana, different from the clunky Black Iron one. It had a straight blade with a hamon pattern on it, the katana pursuing sharpness was made simple, without a collar.
“Magi-san, are these weapons?"
"They're your reward, Yun-kun. Its the thank you gift for Blurite Ore and joint hammering I mentioned before. Thinking of Yun-kun, I had them classified as kitchen knives."
No matter how I looked at it, they were a hatchet and a Japanese sword. The thick Black Iron hatchet had faint traces of similarly to Chinese kitchen knife, but the blade with straight, blue blade looked just like a Japanese sword.
Since it was a reward for delivering Blurite Ore, I guessed that it was made from Blurite Ore as well.
"The one made from Black Iron was made simply with emphasis on durability and attack power. On the other hand, it might be difficult to handle because of its heaviness. The other one, was made from Blurite Ore which is a magical metal, so after completing it holds an additional effect, try checking them."
Meat Cleaver – Heavy Black 【Weapon – Kitchen Knife】
ATK+65 SPEED -15 Additional Effect: DEX Bonus
Dismantling Knife – Blue Dancer【Weapon – Kitchen Knife】
ATK+55 Additional Effect: DEX Bonus, Water Element Bonus (medium)
The Meat Cleaver seemed like it was heavy and had a dull blade, but looked like the type to break things under its weight. It was so heavy it felt like it'll swing me instead.
And, the Dismantling Knife had a medium-level Water Element Bonus so I think its evaluation was quite high. Since the accessories I made out of the Blurite Ingot were low level, it looked like this must have been the difference between crafters, or maybe a water Element Stone was synthesized into the ingot beforehand, I had many guesses on this.
Both weapons had very high performance, in combination with the knife I already have——
——A speed-oriented, ordinary short knife.
——A power-oriented heavy Meat Cleaver.
——With handle that could be held with both one or two hands, the Dismantling Knife with long reach.
I guess it would be good to use each of the three knives depending on the situation, though its difficult to change weapons quickly in close combat. Oh right, I wonder if I can change weapons through the menu while in 【Sky Eyes'】 extension of experienced time. I started thinking about weapon combination with Senses.
“Magi-san, can I try swinging it?"
“Go on. It's yours after all, Yun-kun."
Told so, I timidly took the kitchen knife in my hand.
I held the heavy Meat Cleaver in my hand and swung it slowly. To the right, the left, then again to the right, I swung the knife both vertically and horizontally. Because it was so heavy, my entire body swung in its direction and swayed around, which was its drawback, but since it wasn't a weapon which required fine control it was good for holding in my left hand which wasn't my dominant hand.
Next one I lifted was the Dismantling Knife, it had a lustre similar to that of water reflecting light and could be wielded lightly, like extention of my own hand. However, since I didn't know how to use a sword in the first place nor had any motion assist, it looked like amateur swordsmanship.
“Now, isn't it about time you started your preparations, Yun-kun?"
“By preparations you mean, for climbing Grand Rock?"
Now that Magi-san had succeeded in making a Wootz Steel Ingot sample, she would concentrate on raising her level and adjustment of the Wootz Steel Sword together with Taku.
But, as for what I'm going to do is...
“I heard a lot of players are going to gather in the highlands area. So, it's going to increase the demand for——
"Consumables. But they can buy those in other places... ahh?!!"
I recalled, that although it had gradually began to stabilize, there still wasn't enough of 【Revival Medicine】.
"Won't it be bad if you dawdle here and don't return immediately to increase production? You need to consider a sudden rush and increase in demand."
"T-thank you very much! I'll head back to the 【Atelier】 immediately to take appropriate measures!"
I put away the Meat Clever and Dismantling Knife I received from Magi-san in the inventory and left the 【Open Sesame】.
Since she had seen me off to the entrance, I thanked her for the experience I gained today and dashed back to the 【Atelier】.
The store I have come back to seemed like usual, but once I confirmed sales with Kyouko-san the NPC, it seemed like they were growing slightly.
Since then items continued to sell quickly and I replenished them over a short period of time using crafting skills, finally ending up in a predicament where there wasn't enough materials.
When I was troubled with what to do, the 【Atelier】's regulars who weren't going to participate in the highland area conquest have started to come to sell me the lacking materials directly.
Seeing this connection between players, I felt warm inside.
In the middle of all that, I prepared myself for Grand Rock climbing as well, until the day itself came.