"Think it over again? Are you suggesting that we break our vow?" Deep creases formed on Randelhoff's forehead.
"That's right," Hoffman replied unhesitatingly.
"Hoffman!" Randelhoff yelled. It was as if he were berating him, saying 'How could you even suggest that!?'.
"I know how important our vow is."
"Then why?" Randelhoff asked.
"Why did we make that vow in the first place?" Hoffman asked.
"Don't you know?"
"I know far too well why. I was there when we made that vow. It's all because of Inarius."
The true meaning of their vow, 'We will never make equipment for outsiders', was to never forget the humiliation they'd experienced at Inarius's hands, and to not forget the tragedy of that day.
Also, it was a vow that they'd never be controlled by anyone else ever again.
"However... if I were forced to pick between revenge and our vow, then I'd pick revenge."
Hoffman's eyes were filled with various emotions. There was fury and a desire for retribution, yearning and sadness for his deceased family, regret and pity for his own life, etc.
"Revenge on Inarius? Where did that come from all of sudden?"
"Look at those dragon materials. Don't you see those as swords, axes, or spears that can pierce Inarius's hide?"
"Mr. Kang Oh," Hoffman suddenly said. .
"Yes?" Kang Oh replied. He'd been holding his breath and watching how things went.
"You said that you could procure this quantity of dragon materials every month. Is that right?"
Hoffman stared at Randelhoff. "If we get a steady supply of dragon materials, then I can create the best equipment; equipment capable of slaying a dragon."
As a blacksmith, this was his only way of getting revenge; creating a weapon capable of slaying Inarius!
"Which is more important: revenge or our vow?" Hoffman asked.
"If revenge is possible, then who cares about our vow."
They'd experienced so much pain at the hands of Inarius and his experiments. Not only that, but they'd lost countless family members and brothers too.
Thus, the dwarves would do whatever it took to get their revenge, no matter the cost. That's just how much they wanted vengeance on the dragon that wronged them.
"I agree." Hoffman gritted his teeth and his body shook.
"But breaking our vow won't kill Inarius," Randelhoff said.
"I know, but it gives us the chance to get revenge. I'll create the finest equipment."
"But who will use that equipment to kill Inarius? You? Me? The entire tribe? We could be killed, or even worse, captured. Do you want our descendants to become Inarius's slaves?" Randelhoff asked question after question.
"That's something to think about after I've created the weapons." Hoffman wouldn't back down.
"I'll kill Inarius." Kang Oh intervened.
"I'll use the equipment that Mr. Hoffman creates to kill Inarius." Kang Oh quickly clarified.
"Are you serious?" Randelhoff stared at him.
"Yes. I'll be sure to kill him. But I can't give you a specific time frame."
Kang Oh's belief was unwavering. 'No monster exists that cannot be defeated!' One day, he'll be able to defeat a dragon too.
'I have to get them to work for me.'
Thus, he'd offered to kill Inarius for them.
"Chieftain!" Hoffman stared at Randelhoff with a passionate gaze, pressuring him to make a decision.
"Hoffman, why did we make that vow in this place, where no other intelligent life forms live?"
"Keeping your oath is important. That oath gave us the strength of will to live in this barren wasteland. What if we were to break our oath? One day, our descendents will forget about what happened to us, the enslavement and the tragedy we faced, and someone else will be enslaved."
Hoffman couldn't refute that. He was right. Back then, they had all felt the same way when they made that oath.
'Is it not going to work?' Kang Oh assumed that he wouldn't be persuaded.
"But..." Randelhoff continued.
'But?' Kang Oh listened attentively.
"You're right. If we had to break our oath, then it'd be for revenge. Indeed, revenge is more important than our oath."
"I haven't forgotten about Liza, Hoff, and all the others who died!"
Liza and Hoff were Hoffman's dead wife and son. Unfortunately, they had died at the hands of Inarius's minions.
"Chieftain..." Hoffman got teary-eyed at the fact that Randelhoff hadn't forgotten about his family.
"However, this isn't something that I can decide on my own. Book."
"Yes," Book immediately replied.
"Gather the entire tribe. We'll discuss this as a whole. Every single one of us has to attend!"
"Understood!" Book left Randelhoff's room.
"You guys wait a little. We'll let you know what we decide," Randelhoff stared at Kang Oh and Man Bok, and said.
"Hoffman, if our brothers disagree with us, then there's nothing I can do."
Hoffman nodded his head.
"We've gathered everyone."
Book returned, and brought Hoffman and Randelhoff with him. Kang Oh and Man Bok were left alone in Randelhoff's room.
"How do you think it will go?" Man Bok asked.
"I hope they agree to our terms."
"They probably will."
"Yes. I met several dwarves here while trading with them. They still bear the scars of losing their loved ones or closest friends."
"Victims don't often forget what they've lost. Especially if what they've lost was extremely important to them. And there's nothing more important than family and friends."
"Whereas the perpetrators are quick to forget."
"Then things should turn out well."
Man Bok was spot on.
"We accept your terms. We'll craft the dragon materials into equipment. You can do whatever you want with them," Randelhoff said as soon as he returned.
"Thank you." Both Kang Oh and Man Bok's faces brightened.
"In exchange, you have to keep your promise."
A quest popped up.
Inarius is known as the Mad Dragon, the Evil Dragon, and the Black Winged Calamity.
His nest is located underneath the well-known Istan Cliff.
However, killing a dragon, an adult dragon at that, is near impossible.
Remaining Time: 365 days.
Minimum Requirements: Brother of the Black Hammer Dwarves.
Reward: Become the Black Hammer Dwarves' unconditional savior.
If you exceed the time restriction, then you will become the Black Hammer Dwarves' mortal enemy.
[Due to your high closeness with the Black Hammer Dwarves, the quest has automatically been accepted.]
Kang Oh widened his eyes. "Huh? 365 days? Chieftain, this doesn't look right."
"What? How do you expect me to kill a dragon in a year?"
"You want us to wait forever?"
"No, I'm saying that 1 year isn't enough time."
"I know. I'll extend the time limit if I see you preparing and getting stronger."
"You said you'd kill the dragon for us, so keep your promise. If you want the equipment, then you have to work for it. You can't trick your brothers like that."
"I'll definitely take him down one day. But please give me enough time to prepare."
"Ah, and please return the Fire's Heart to me. You said you'd return it to me when you discovered its secret, and a blacksmith skilled enough to handle adamantium was born."
Kang Oh hadn't forgotten about the Fire's Heart, an SS-rank sword that he'd let the Black Hammer Dwarves borrow. There was no way he could forget about it. After all, it was worth a fortune!
"Understood." Randelhoff nodded his head. "Bring the Fire's Heart here." He ordered Hoffman.
A short while later...
"Here." Hoffman passed him the fire-shaped blade.
"Oh, my child. You've finally come back to me!" Kang Oh hugged the sword and rubbed his cheek against it.
"Don't you have something to give us too?" Randelhoff asked. He must be referring to the dragon materials.
"Oh, of course. Here you go." Kang Oh passed Hoffman the dragon materials. However, he kept the dragon's blood and dragon's heart piece for himself.
He planned on keeping the piece until he amassed six of them, and dragon's blood was more valuable to a mage, an alchemist, or a healer like Eder.
"Please speak to Mr. Man Bok regarding how many pieces of equipment you'll make and what kind."
Kang Oh's role was to provide the raw materials. Processing them and selling them was the dwarves' and Man Bok's responsibility.
Man Bok and Hoffman replied simultaneously.
"And I'd like to ask you about my demon sword. You said that you could handle adamantium now, right?"
"Then please make me a demon sword."
"Are you going to use it or sell it?"
"I'm going to use it."
He was only capable of wielding demon swords, so having even one more would be a huge boon.
"Do you need it right away?"
"No, not really."
It wasn't really urgent. He had Ubist and Blood after all.
"In order to become a Master Blacksmith, I need to leave behind a masterpiece for the future generations. I plan on using the adamantium, dragon materials, and other precious materials that Mr. Man Bok provides me with in order to create the finest demon sword." Hoffman explained his aspirations.
That was welcome news. Hoffman was planning on creating the finest demon sword this world had ever seen.
"But I don't have the skill to properly create such a blade yet."
"So you're asking for more time."
"How much time do you need?"
"I can't say. But I feel like using the dragon materials will put me one step closer."
"If you're not willing to wait, then I can make you a demon sword right away. Of course, I'll give it my all."
"No, it's fine. I'll give you as much time as you need. But I need to tell you something. I'm a Demonic Swordsman, so I can only wield demon swords."
Hoffman tilted his head. 'Why is he telling me this now?'
"You said you'd make a weapon that'd allow me to slay a dragon. But the only weapons I can use are demon swords."
"Please make me an unparalleled demon sword, one that will allow me to kill Inarius."
Hoffman nodded his head, his eyes blazing with determination.
With this, his business with the Black Hammer Dwarves was over.
* * *
Cyndia, Muhawk, and the Church of Death's paladins visited several churches, and asked for their assistance in finding Mayanes Jigon and Orga. Then, they came to Altein's northern Adventurer Guild.
"Branch Manager, we have two people we'd like you to find for us this time." Cyndia was immediately allowed a face-to-face meeting with the branch manager, and went straight to the point.
"Who are they?" the branch manager asked.
"Jigon and Orga!"
"What about Krishan?"
"We dealt her."
"They might be even harder to find. You see, Jigon and Orga don't have their eye-catching wings," Cyndia said.
"But we have their faces instead." Muhawk passed him two pieces of paper, each with a drawing of their faces. The Divine Dragon, Gainus, had used his magic to show them exactly what they looked like.
"I'll give the adventurers the quest. But will the reward be the same as last time?"
"Yes." Muhawk pulled out the mithril gemstone.
After that, the quest was put up on the guild's quest board, complete with a picture of Jigon and Orga's faces.Previous Chapter Next Chapter