“You’re already heading up, Oraboni? It would be nice if we could go together.”
“Exactly. What’s the rush?”
Yeon-woo looked from the upset Edora to the sulking Phante and couldn’t help grinning. The siblings were terrifying monsters to other players, but to him, they were like innocent lambs. He felt as though they were his own siblings.
After the Martial King had announced that he had nothing to teach him, Yeon-woo prepared to climb the Tower right away. The truth was that the Martial King still had some things to teach Yeon-woo, but he thought that it was more important for Yeon-woo to learn and experience things for himself. Since he already helped establish a firm foundation, it was up to Yeon-woo to continue building on top of it.
Yeon-woo began to move as the Martial King ordered him to; however, Phante and Edora couldn’t budge because they hadn’t finished creating a Legendary Beast yet. If they simply wanted to finish the trial, they could do so easily. However, a lot was required to create a Legendary Beast, and they didn’t want to give up on it.
While the two remained in the village to take care of their eggs, they planned on catching up on their training as well. When they’d watched the players, the Summer Queen, and the Sword God fight each other, they felt the need to work harder. But they weren’t happy to see Yeon-woo just leave like this. Yeon-woo chuckled as he patted Phante’s shoulder. “I’ll take my time heading up, so you can catch up quickly.”
Yeon-woo put the good wishes of the tribe members behind him and left the village. However, he didn’t head straight to the Tower, but instead, made a detour to the marketplace, pushing past the crowds to a humble smithy decorated with hammers and anvils. Its appearance hadn’t changed much, but now, it was ringing with loud hammering, and heat wafted through the door.
‘I ended up coming here. Should I go back?’ Yeon-woo stood in front of the door, deep in thought. He was at Henova’s smithy once more. He hadn’t planned on returning. The path he was taking was a dangerous one, and he didn’t wish to hurt Henova like his brother had. But he’d come back for a simple reason. ‘I hope he’s doing well.’
He was curious, and he thought that Henova might be distressed by Bahal’s death. Although Henova said he’d already cut ties with him, Bahal had been one of his disciples. He’d opened his heart to Bahal as much as he had with Jeong-woo. The news that Bahal died in a war with the Cheonghwado had already spread everywhere, and Henova would definitely have heard it. Even though Yeon-woo couldn’t confess what he’d done to Bahal, he still worried about Henova.
He had rushed to the smithy, but now that he arrived, he hesitated. He grabbed and let go of the door handle over and over until he finally turned around with a sigh. Nothing good would come of seeing Henova once more.
Creak! However, the door suddenly opened, and Henova appeared, holding a piece of iron. “What’s this? What are you doing there?” Henova frowned.
Yeon-woo scratched his cheek with an awkward expression. He couldn’t leave since they’d already seen each other. “It’s been a while, Henova.”
“Well, I don’t really have anything to give to visitors. Drink this instead.” Henova sat Yeon-woo down and placed a mug on the table steaming with freshly made coffee. Yeon-woo picked up the mug and looked around. Things had changed. The once-dusty table was now full of shiny new tools, and the floor shone as though it had just been cleaned. There were a lot of new weapons.
“A lot has changed.” The Henova Yeon-woo remembered wasn’t neat and tidy like this. Was someone helping him?
Henova sat across him and snorted. “Do you remember the fellas you fought last time?”
“Are you talking about Night Watch?” It was a minor clan that sometimes messed up Henova’s smithy on the orders of Red Dragon. Yeon-woo had warned them to take care of the smithy.
“They sometimes come and clean things up. Why they’re being so annoying, I don’t know. I’m already going crazy from the rumors that I’ve joined them. Crazy bastards.”
It seemed like they had continued to help Henova out without being ordered to. “So, have you reopened the shop?”
“There’s nothing else for me to do, anyway. I started because I was bored.” However, he was working on too many things for someone who was just passing time. Yeon-woo thought it was obvious. Henova was one of the top five artisans in the Tower, although people avoided him because of his relationship to Arthia. Before Arthia, Henova used to make items that were so expensive that hardly anyone could buy them, and even now, he only took small jobs.
“When did you come down?”
“It hasn’t been long.”
“You made quite a ruckus these past few days.”
“Hmph! Why are you being so humble? Just act normal.”
Perhaps because Yeon-woo had come with a heavy heart, it felt like there was a distance between them that hadn’t been there before. Henova hammered on metal like he felt it too, his forehead creased. He cleared the remaining sparks and narrowed his eyes. “If you’ve come just to ask me how I’m doing, go back. You don’t need to spend time here.”
Yeon-woo scratched his cheek awkwardly. It was difficult to ask about Bahal directly, and it was hard to tell what Henova was thinking since he didn’t express himself that well. However, as he thought about it, something else came to his mind: Hanryeong. He needed nine swords for him since the ones he’d found in Intrenian weren’t good enough. “I want to commission a sword, is that possible?”
“I think this much is enough.”
“I don’t have a preference, but it must be sturdier than average.”
“So, the sturdier the better?”
“Why don’t you look for a club then, why are you asking for a sword?”
“But I want it to be sharp as well. It has to be at least a high-level sword.”
“What? A high-level sword?”
“Is it too difficult? Mm. I heard that you were one of the top five artisans from Seseung-nim. I guess it’s harder for you now, considering your age.”
“You bastard! Why the heck are you talking about my age? Are your eyes just for decoration? Can’t you see these muscles?”
“They’re so small that I can’t really see.”
“Are you for real?”
The distance between them shrank as Yeon-woo mischievously teased Henova as he had done in the past, and Henova jumped up and down as he shouted in anger. When Yeon-woo explained that he needed nine swords, Henova’s expression was incredulous. “What? Nine?”
“I guess it’s too much for you.”
“You bastard, will you get it through your brain that I’m not that old? Why do you need so many? Are you trying to set up a store?”
“Then why so many? You can’t even handle swords properly!” Henova looked at Yeon-woo suspiciously. He’d seen many players in his lifetime, and although Yeon-woo was rather skilled, he was hardly a master. He didn’t know why Yeon-woo would need so many high-level swords of different types. Besides, Yeon-woo already had Vigrid and the Magic Bayonet, which didn’t fall short even when compared to other artifacts. When Henova’s eyes passed over them, it seemed like Yeon-woo had been taking good care of them, which meant that he was using the skills Henova had taught him.
“Just because I need it. But I guess it’s too much to ask of you.”
“You bastard, you still….” Henova clenched his fist and trembled as he rushed to the furnace and lit the fire. The kid still had the amazing ability to make someone feel extremely annoyed. Henova set up his pipe and calmed himself. It would only hurt him if he let himself be affected by Yeon-woo’s words. Not to mention, the kid had been gone so long, but he hadn’t even asked how Henova was doing. All he’d done was tease and insult him. The kid hadn’t changed at all. Breathing out the smoke, Henova slowly said, “Are you in a rush?”
“The faster the better.”
Yeon-woo looked confused. Henova frowned in response. “Come back in ten days, you fool.”
Yeon-woo’s eyes widened. Making nine swords, especially high-level ones, wasn’t an easy task. It was difficult to even finish one in a day. “Is that even possible? You’re probably behind on other jobs too.”
“Hmph. What I prioritize is up to me. I’m the one who gets to decide what I make first, who’s going to give me shit? If they don’t like it, they can just take it back.”
Yeon-woo smiled ironically because it was just like Henova to say this. He was also grateful that Henova was helping him like this. “I’m grateful.”
“Hmph! Are you really?”
“Also, since you’re already going to make them, I’d like to request for another Sword Breaker. It won’t make much of a difference if I add one more commission, right?”
“You bastard!?” Henova grabbed the back of his head.
“Hey, don’t get too enthusiastic. You’re at the age where too much excitement is bad.”
“Ughhh. You bastard, you really won’t quit.” Henova ground his teeth, bite marks appearing at the end of his pipe stem. He asked a few detailed questions about the ten swords, and Yeon-woo narrated what Shanon and Hanryeong told him from the Black Bracelet.
Henova got out paper to draw out some designs, and Yeon-woo was able to ask for specific features. The sun had already set by the time they were done.
“Sheesh, you said you didn’t have a preference, but why do you have so many requests? I’ve never seen such a picky guy.” Henova shook his head looking at the paper full of marks. However, his expression was slightly strange. Other customers only asked for artifacts with the best options, but each one of the swords Yeon-woo asked had a unique style. Also, they weren’t simple high-level swords. If he managed to make them exactly to Yeon-woo’s instructions, they would be monstrous.
At the thought of making something interesting, Henova’s hands began to itch. Usually, only masters or high rankers asked for these kinds of swords, and he wondered how Yeon-woo got the information.
“Is ten days really enough time?”
“Ten days and two more! There’s a lot of strange measurements. Come on.”
“Yes, sir. Understood. Thank you. As for the fee…”
“Leave it somewhere there and get out of here.” Henova lit a fire as if he was already planning to make the sword and waved at Yeon-woo to leave. Yeon-woo smiled slightly and left a pouch filled with rare jewels on a nearby table. Everything in Intrenian was valuable, and the jewels were more than enough to cover the fee.
‘It’s a relief he seems to be doing well.’ Yeon-woo breathed a sigh of relief to see that the death of Bahal didn't effect Henova. As he was quietly opening the door to leave, Henova spoke. “Oh, also.”
Yeon-woo paused and looked back. Henova was focused on a piece of metal and didn’t even look at him. “You don’t have to come and make a mess in the future. At my age, farewell is normal. Don’t bother me by coming next time.”
Yeon-woo’s eyes widened slightly. He bowed and quietly left the smithy.
That night, Henova hung a sign on the door: “Closed. Not accepting orders for the time being.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter