Old Man Gallus’ Whereabouts
Royce had given us his ID, so we were pretty much set to leave for the Beastkin’s Country whenever. Given that, I decided to mull oveor whether or not we had anything to do before actually setting out.
『Oh yeah, we should probably go check in with Old Man Gallus.』
I remember the other blacksmith telling us that he’d be back by the time the tourney started, so I figured he was probably already in town. The blacksmith in question had even promised to tell us when Gallus finally arrived, but he’d never actually contacted us at all.
There was a pretty good chance that he’d purposefully avoided doing so because he didn’t want to bother us because we were busy with the tourney. Given that, I figured we may as well pay his smithy a visit.
『Yeah, I was thinking we could go check to see whether or not Gallus made it back.』
The sun had only just set, so it seemed to me that it was fine to assume that they’d yet to go to bed. That said, it seemed a bit wrong to visit at this late an hour, so I had us pick up a little something to make seeing us worth their time.
Specifically, we went into a bar that happened to be on the way and bought a bottle of the strongest drink they had. It seemed like the best possible thing we could get seeing as how dwarves and liquor went hand in hand. I was a bit worried that they’d refuse to sell it to us given Fran’s age, but apparently that wasn’t actually the case. In fact, it was the exact opposite. The bartender had even given Fran a discount in exchange for a handshake because he’d recognized her on sight.
And so, we paid Zadoh, one of Gallus’ blacksmith buddies, a visit with booze in hand. 
「Hey there. Grats on third place.」
It turned out that Zadoh had actually watched the tourney.
Our gift seemed to delight him. Apparently, it was some pretty damn high quality stuff.
We asked him about Gallus, but unfortunately Zadoh could only say that the old craftsman had yet to show up in Ulmutt.
「I think Gallus is the only one that hasn’t returned. As far as I know, all the other people that went to help are already back.」
「Only Gallus not back?」
「Yeah. He’s probably stuck up in Barbra doing something only he’s capable of.」
「Though, it’s a bit weird for him not to at least send word of the delay seeing how he said he’d return by the time the tourney started.」
We were on our way back over to Barbra anyways, so we could probably just look for him again after heading over. I definitely did want to at least greet him before we headed off to the Beastkin’s Country, as there was no way for us to know when we’d next see him if we just upped and left without checking in first.
There wasn’t really much else for us to ask. We turned around and decided to head home, but Zadoh stopped us before we made our way out the door.
「R-Right, so I wanted to ask you about that sword of yours…」
The blacksmith’s gaze was set on me, and seemed to carry the same emotions it had when he first feasted his eyes on Fran’s Black Cat Set.
Zadoh was a skilled craftsman, so it really didn’t take him much to figure out that I was some sort of magic sword. He’d probably been curious about me to begin with. Him watching the tourney probably hadn’t helped either given how the caster kept going on and on about the fact that I was Fran’s namesake.
「C-Could I see it for a sec? I promise I won’t take too long.」
『Sure, I don’t mind if he promises to keep it short. Make sure you warn him not to equip me though, cause, y’know.』
「Got it. Here.」
「Thanks a bunch.」
「Don’t equip. Will die from curse.」
「Cursed. Only I can equip without dying.」
Zadoh had started moving his hands in my direction, but stopped the moment he heard Fran’s warning. His face reflected a clear sense of terror.
I couldn’t really blame him. You wouldn’t normally want to touch a sword that could potentially kill you if you tried equipping it. It was kinda like how people didn’t really like touching poison, even if it was the type that only took effect if you drank it.
Not to brag, but, there was no way Zadoh wasn’t aware of the fact that I wasn’t just your everyday magic sword. As a result, Fran’s warning came off as all the more real.
「W-Would just touching it cause any problems?」
「A-Alright, good to hear.」
The blacksmith had to have been rather curious seeing as how he was the one that asked to see me. Given that, he actually did end up grabbing me after steeling his resolve.
A switch almost seemed to flip within him the moment he did. He cast aside all his nervousness and immediately began to act as one would expect of a professional blacksmith. That is, he began carefully looking over both my guard and blade.
「Hmmm… I can feel an incredible amount of magical power coming from within your sword. Whoever made its blade did it with meticulous care. It seems to be made out of a pretty interesting metal too.」
Zadoh began muttering as he looked me over.
「Would it be okay for me to ask about this magic sword’s source?」
「Yeah. Do you know who made it, or where you found it maybe?」
Zadoh’s questions were more or less the exact ones you’d expect from a pro. That said, I couldn’t actually answer them. I didn’t know who made me, and I didn’t really think it was a good idea to tell him I came from the Marou Plains.
I mulled over it a bit, but ended up asking Fran to play it safe.
「That’s too bad… Either way, it looks to me like this thing might actually be made out of an orichalcum alloy.」
「Orichalcum? Blade made of it?」
「Honestly, I can’t say. It’s not made out of something I’m familiar with, which is why I was thinking that was why orichalcum sounded like it’d be a likely contender. Hold on a second.」
Zadoh walked over to one of his smithy’s corners and retrieved a slightly worn book as he spoke.
「This here is something I just happened to get my hands on during the tourney. It contains notes on blacksmiths from the past.」
The tourney would cause merchants to swarm to Ulmutt, which in turn apparently made it fairly easy to find yourself a lucky bargain or two.
「The thing’s apparently written by the apprentice of a god-tier blacksmith’s apprentice. It talks about the different types of metals god-tier blacksmiths have used in the past, and makes particular mention of one called orichalcum. I don’t actually know what exactly orichalcum is, but the book says it’s the only kind of metal that can survive a god-tier blacksmith’s forging process.」
Huh, so something like that actually existed? I was a bit intrigued by the concept of being made of orichalcum, but it didn’t seem quite right.
Orichalcum was, based on what Zadoh said, apparently a sort of ridiculously durable legendary metal. The reason I didn’t think I was made of it was exactly that, it was durable and I wasn’t. My blade broke literally all the time. The only reason I looked to be in perfect condition right now was because I could regenerate.
「To be honest, that guess was just a shot in the dark. There’s lots of metals I don’t know much about, and there’s no doubt that this sword of yours could be made out of any one or combination of them. I only thought that orichalcum was a possibility because the sword seems to give off a sort of dignity. In fact, it almost seems to bear a presence of its own. It’s possible my feelings come from the fact that it’s some sort of top-class magic item.」
Dignity? Damn man, you be saying some good shit right there. Am I just so majestic he can’t help but notice me? Hell yeah! I mean, I guess that does make decent sense. I may not be a godblade, but there really was a fair chance that I was made by some god-tier blacksmith.
Zadoh finished checking me over, handed me back to Fran, and bid us farewell.
It didn’t take long for us to arrive back at the inn thereafter.
The sun had already set, but there were a few things we had to do before going to bed. Namely, Fran had yet to bathe or eat.
And that wasn’t it either. There was something I wanted to check, something I’d been putting off.
『Well, here goes.』
The thing in question was checking the effects of my Doppelganger Synthesis skill.
I casted the skill expecting to create a couple cloth-covered humans, but was instead greeted by a series of blades.
『Yeah, looks like I spawned swords again.』
「Nn. Many Masters.」
Doppelganger Synthesis seemed to have started spawning swords instead of humans for some odd reason.
I tried casting the skill several times, only to learn that it was indeed possible for me to create human doppelgangers, but only if I focused on it. Likewise, it was possible for me to create both swords and humans simultaneously, a discovery that allowed us to usher in a whole new wave of strategies.
That said, the skill didn’t seem to be working the exact way I expected. For some odd reason, the human-shaped doppelgangers I created didn’t seem quite right. They looked like me, but they also kinda didn’t. Something just seemed… off.
It wasn’t anything too disorienting though, so I ended up just writing it off as a consequence of me becoming capable of creating sword-shaped dopplegangers.
The reason I was willing to write it off almost right away was because frankly, I don’t really care about having a human form. I’d already long made up my mind and decided I would live out the rest of my life as a sword. All that mattered to me was that my human-shaped doppelgangers didn’t suffer any sort of performance loss.
『Alright. We talked to everyone we needed to talk to, and we’ve got pretty much everything ready. You think it’s about time?』
「Nn. Time to go to Beastkin’s Country.」
 I s2g his name was Zerld before. I even double checked it… Maybe this is a different blacksmith buddy?