༺ Aisha Dragnov (1) ༻
A few days later, at the entrance of the Kelloy Mountain Range.
In the village at the foot of the mountain range, Vera observed Renee as she healed the beastkins.
Renee was swathed in pure white divinity as she healed the wounded. At that moment, her appearance was irrefutably that of a Saint.
Since they left the Great Woodlands, she had become particularly radiant.
Did she gain confidence in herself by saving Aidrin?
It must not have been easy to sit in the same posture and continue to examine patients, but Renee treated them with a smile all throughout the procedure. As Vera stared dazedly at the sight, the final patient had left before he even realized.
Vera quickly wiped the blank expression off his face when he heard Renee calling out to him and then approached her.
“Thank you for your hard work.”
“No. I’m doing this because I enjoy it.”
“What? I just did the bare minimum.”
An embarrassed expression flashed across Renee’s face. Vera continued in response to Renee downplaying her own efforts.
“It wasn’t just the ‘bare minimum.’ The Saint being able to laugh while taking action for the sake of others is praiseworthy.”
Renee held her breath as she drooped because of the words that stabbed her weakness. She heaved a brief sigh in response to Vera’s supportive attitude.
It was a sigh regarding the lack of progress in her love life. It had been over a month since they departed from the Holy Kingdom. Yet, despite the dramatic event, they have not become closer at all.
Why are you so devoted? Such a thought flashed through Renee’s mind, ‘If I were to say I would ascend to heaven, right here, right now, wouldn’t Vera kneel reverently in an instant?’ but carefully shook her body, and instead inquired.
“What about Sir Norn and Hela?”
“They went to investigate Dovan. I sent them because someone might know this person around the entrance of the mountain range.”
Come to think of it, I should find that person as well.
Renee belatedly recalled their plan to find a blacksmith who could process Froden before entering the kingdom, and spoke with a troubled expression.
“…I should have asked Sir Friede for more details. It’ll be difficult to find someone with only the name Dovan.”
“Isn’t there a reason only a name was given? He must be well-known.”
“But still, Sir Norn and Hela will have a difficult time.”
“You are considerate…”
“Don’t do that.”
Renee sighed again as worry settled on Vera’s face.
‘Is she tired?’
Renee’s mind was distressed due to a matter that Vera was completely clueless about.
“Dovan is said to have established a blacksmith’s workshop on the summit that can be seen after crossing two mountain passes.”
Vera nodded his head, loaded the carriage with baggage, then turned to Renee and spoke.
“We should arrive by nightfall.”
“That’s fortunate. Are we departing right away?”
“Yes, it seems that we have no choice if we would like to arrive before sunset.”
“Yes, then everyone, please endure just a little longer.”
Renee said that with a subtle smile. The words that she would always say, telling them that she was sorry they always had to go through such hardships for her sake.
“It’s what we have to do.”
The same blunt reply came back as usual.
The preparations for the departure were complete. After some time passed, the carriage departed with a ‘thud-!’ vibration.
Renee fiddled with her fingers while rolling her head due to Vera’s presence beside her.
In her mind, it was necessary to determine a topic of interest to converse with Vera about.
They were unable to make progress in their relationship due to the unfavorable situation in the Great Woodlands. Wouldn’t it be for the best if they were to become a bit closer during this time when they could just sit back and relax?
A long worry ensued.
What should I bring up? What topic should we talk about?
Topics related to the Holy Kingdom or the people she healed weren’t allowed.
If she brought up such a conversation, that jerk’s praise would make her head throb again.
‘Tales about the past?’
This won’t do either. Vera hates talking about his past, so the atmosphere would just become awkward for no reason.
While she was worrying for a long time.
Renee’s face brightened as she came up with a conversation topic that seemed excellent.
“Vera, are you going to use ‘Froden’ to forge a sword?”
Renee asked because she recalled his sword broke in the battle with Gillie.
She overheard that he was using a spare sword, but vividly remembered the roughness in Vera’s voice.
“Yes. If Dovan is accepting commissions, then I’d like to request a sword.”
“That would be great! Ah, I heard that owning a named sword is a knight’s romance.”
Vera contemplated for a moment and then responded to Renee’s words.
“I’m not sure if I could call it romance. However, wielding it is satisfying because it feels different in the hands.”
“Oh, have you wielded one before?”
“Yes, for just a moment.”
Vera answered, as he reminisced about his previous life.
That person was obsessed with amassing a fortune, and they had only one hobby they spent their wealth on. That hobby was collecting armaments of war.
Vera knew the worth of a good weapon better than anyone else on the continent.
Therefore, he pondered whether he should obtain the armaments he used in his previous life if he were to visit the Empire. The concern vanished, however, with the acquisition of Froden.
The joy Vera felt made him speak with a less reserved tone than usual.
“Personally, I have high expectations for Froden. It’s not a mineral that can be obtained simply out of desire.”
“Is it that precious?”
“Yes, the mineral itself is near impossible to obtain because it is only formed during the mystery of the ice wall at the northern end’s condensation cycle every few centuries. As a result, when it does appear in an auction, it is often traded at a price comparable to that of a mansion located in the heart of the Imperial Capital.”
“…Oh my goodness.”
A startled expression appeared on Renee’s face. It was shocking that a single gemstone, small enough to be loaded onto this carriage, had such value.
“There are very few blacksmiths in general who can handle Froden. You could say that we’re quite lucky Friede knows one such blacksmith.”
“We were truly fortunate then.”
“Yes, if you live in the Kelloy Mountain Range, you’re most likely a beastkin… I’m curious, because none of the beastkin blacksmiths I know are particularly skilled.”
They were uncharacteristically long sentences.
Renee giggled at the liveliness flowing through his words.
I wonder if he’s blinded by love?
Vera’s excited expression made him seem like a young boy, causing Renee to inadvertently think ‘cute.’ However, her face suddenly reddened at the thought that crossed her mind.
It seems Vera loves to talk about swords.
Renee tilted her ear towards Vera’s everflowing words as she firmly engraved that fact into a corner of her mind.
After entering the Kelloy Mountain Range and traveling through two mountain passes, they finally arrived at a small thatched house.
The cheerful sound that resonated throughout the area caught Renee’s attention, and she inquired.
“Is it this place?”
“Yes, judging by the metallic objects lying around the yard, this seems to be the correct place.”
From farming equipment to tools likely to be used for hunting, and even the occasional sword. All kinds of ironware were scattered around the yard of the thatched house.
Vera carefully described the appearance of the thatched dwelling to Renee before loudly shouting inside.
“Is anyone there!”
Despite speaking rather loudly, his voice was quickly drowned out by a metallic sound coming from the inside.
Just as Vera was about to shout again.
“Who is it?”
The question came from someone whose head was peeking out from the backyard, rather than the door of the thatched house.
Vera turned to the direction of the voice and narrowed his eyes upon noticing the figure in front of him.
She was a short beastkin girl, who barely reached his belly. She had blonde hair, blue eyes, and triangular cat ears protruding out of her head. She had a timid air about her.
‘Is it a cat beastkin?’
While he was engrossed in such thoughts, the girl asked another question with a wary expression.
“I asked, who are you? You guys can’t even talk? Are you all mute?”
Vera’s expression gradually distorted because of her aggressive tone.
“Oh, is this the Master Dovan’s forge? We came to request a commission.”
Renee quickly said that as she felt his mood worsen.
The beastkin girl carefully examined Renee and Vera, as well as Norn and Hela who were behind them, and then followed up in a curt tone.
“Wait a minute. I’ll call Master.”
‘Claang-!’ A fairly nimble movement as she entered the thatched house.
“A cat beastkin. Based on the way she speaks…”
“She must be Mr. Dovan’s apprentice.”
Vera’s eyes turned to the entrance of the thatched house once again. The beastkin girl’s curt face, who had just vanished from his sight, was now resurfacing in his head.
It was a rather familiar face, as if he’d seen her before.
After some time had passed, Dovan emerged from the house.
The sound of something being dragged. As Renee tilted her head in that direction, Vera carefully relayed the source of the noise.
“…It’s a wheelchair.”
Vera provided more information after observing the elderly beastkin emerge while rolling the wheelchair.
“He’s a bear beastkin. From the looks of it… It seems he can’t walk.”
Startle. Renee shook restlessly as she nodded weakly.
The beastkin opened his mouth shortly after.
“I heard someone was looking for me. Who are you?”
A dignified voice. Renee replied with a faint smile.
“Hello. We came here to request a commission… Would that trouble you by any chance?”
“Oh, you were guests. Please come in. I’m sorry to keep you standing outside.”
Squeak-. Dovan moved aside from the entrance. Renee held Vera’s hand and slowly entered.
The first thing Renee felt as she entered the forge was the scorching heat, as if the entire space was burning.
It was most likely this hot because he had just finished working.
“Will you follow me? This isn’t a suitable place to talk. Let me guide you inside.”
The room was about 10 steps away from the entrance.
After Renee entered the room, the heat she felt from before dissipated. As her expression began to relax, Dovan’s words followed.
“It seems my apprentice has misbehaved a little. Please allow me to apologize on her behalf. She has become rather sensitive because of the situation as of late.”
“No, it’s fine. Um, it must be because humans came to the place where beastkins live.”
“Thank you for your understanding. Please have a seat.”
Renee faintly chuckled at Dovan’s formal words. She thought to herself that he wasn’t quite like what she had imagined a blacksmith would be like.
Isn’t that usually the case? If one thinks of a blacksmith, they would picture a stubborn and short-tempered individual.
Renee quietly apologized to Dovan in her head. She had assumed that he was also the kind of individual she had imagined. She then sat down at the seat she was guided to.
“So, what sort of commission do you have for me?”
“We’d like to request one sword. This man is going to use it.”
In response to Renee’s words, Vera bowed to Dovan and spoke.
“I’ve heard you’re capable of handling Froden.”
“I came here on Friede’s recommendation.”
“Oh, that guy with long ears.”
Laughter erupted from Renee’s mouth. The laugh lasted for a brief moment when she heard him refer to Friede as ‘that guy with long ears’.
“What are you apologizing for? There is no one here who will be offended by that word.”
Renee blushed because of the rising shame and lowered her head. Dovan responded to Renee casually, then turned his head to Vera and continued speaking.
“Yes, I’m capable of handling Froden. If I’m given a deposit, I will do it for you. However, it may take some time, so I ask for your understanding on that part.”
It was a clear and relieving response.
The fact that things were progressing so quickly caused Vera to nod in satisfaction.
“As much time as you need.”
“Do you have a particular type in mind?”
“For now, it would be nice if it’s a straight sword. The length…”
It will be better to make it in a familiar form.
As Vera was explaining his idea to Dovan.
The door of the closed room opened.
The cat beastkin girl he had seen earlier entered.
Vera thought the girl was familiar for some reason. She hesitatingly came in with a pale expression and checked Dovan’s face.
Dovan looked at the girl’s face with a stern expression and spoke to her.
“Aisha, shouldn’t you apologize for your rudeness to our customers?”
Flinch-. The words he heard caused Vera’s body to shudder. Immediately, his head shot up, turning to face the girl.
It was because he belatedly recognized the identity of his déjà vu after hearing the girl’s name.
Vera’s gaze swept across the girl’s face.
Blonde hair. Blue eyes. A sharp-eyed cat beastkin.
She appeared to be slightly younger than he remembered, but there was no doubt in his mind. It was impossible for him not to recognize because he fought against her before.
Vera glanced at the girl and sighed at his own foolishness as he finally realized the girl’s identity.
The Hero with the title ‘Quicksword Master.’
That girl was Aisha Dragnov, the owner of the ‘Demon Sword.’
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