Episode 10: The Blacksmith’s Workshop
Guided by Liscia, they both went towards the outskirts of the village, to the house of the blacksmith.
“Is this the house of the Mountain Clan person?”
“Yes, Yamato-sama. Right next to it is the workshop.”
The house of the Mountain Clan Person was in the outer edge of the village. The building was a rustic-styled house with a workshop integrated, where the smell of hot iron could be sensed.
“The entrance seems quite small, for a house this big.”
“The Mountain Clan People are of small stature, even if they are adults.”
It should probably be correct to assume they were like those small, sturdy people that came out in many fantasy stories. With that being the case, using a big enough entrance for normal humans would be pretty much useless.
“Gaton-san, it’s Liscia. I’m coming in.”
Liscia said that he had been working in this workshop ever since she was a small child, and as the village chief’s granddaughter, she knew him ever since.
And without even knocking, she went ahead and entered after calling out to him. Although, it appeared there was no custom of knocking in this world, in the first place.
“It’s open, let yourself in.”
The workshop owner’s name was Gaton.
From deep inside the workshop, an unfriendly reply to Liscia’s call could be heard. Yamato felt slightly relieve that the person he was looking for was not out.
Leading the way, Liscia guided him to the back of the workshop. It was dim-lit as they entered, but as they proceeded further inside, a hot fire illuminated the room.
“Oh my… this is amazing.”
His thoughts unintentionally leaked as he watched the sight of the workshop.
Unlike the plain and simple exterior of the building, the inside of the workshop was extremely well equipped.
Many well maintained and visible used tools, along with a furnace, bellows, an anvil and many other tools and equipment were in sight. Although this was a different world, being in this workshop, with so many tools similar to those of Earth gave a nostalgic feeling.()()
“I see, so the shape of the tools is almost the same… this is interesting…”
He felt a bit moved. With the main function in mind, developing tools might follow the same evolutionary path in any world so their shape ended up being similar.
“Liscia jou-chan. That guy there, who is he? And what’s with that getup?”
While Yamato was feeling fascinated by the interior of the workshop, with his eyes dancing all over the place, the Mountain Clan old man asked Liscia while feeling suspicious of him.
“This person is a traveler, Yamato-sama. He’s been staying in the village since a few days.”
“A ‘Lost one’, huh? What a strange outfit. Is that a new fashion in the capital nowadays? “
As he heard Gaton’s words, Yamato turned his gaze towards his own appearance. Looking at it closely, his was a strange outfit, not very fitting for this different world.
What he was wearing right now were some casual outdoor Japanese-made clothes. They were Gore-Tex high performance products that one could buy anywhere, normally used while camping or climbing since they were waterproof, but they had a slight glossy look.
And they were clearly different from the clothes from the villagers, knitted from hemp and wool.()
“A ‘Lost one’… Well, something like that. By the way, Gaton-san. I’ve come to ask if you could do me a favor.”
“Hmph, for someone coming for the first time, you sure are a pushy guy, Yamato.”
Despite choosing his words, to be as polite as possible, Gaton was obviously still wary of myself.
I guess with this appearance, this was to be expected…
The truth was, Yamato was just some dubious person with strange clothes he was meeting for the first time. Thus, if the village chief’s granddaughter had not accompanied him, Gaton would have turned him away immediately.
Gaton was famous in the village due to his stubborn personality.
He had been refusing more and more of the village requests after the adults of the village were taken away, that was what Liscia had said to him before coming here. According to her, he now only received the minimum number of requests for everyday necessities.
“I was told you could make ‘anything’ if it involved metal.”
“Hmph! Watch out whom you’re speaking to, young man! The whole Mountain Clan People can… No, myself! there is not a single thing that I cannot make! “
Gaton responded splendidly with a red face at those taunting words. I might have made him a little angry though, he though.
He’s got a lot of self-esteem… truly a Grand Master Blacksmith through and through.
According to Liscia, Gaton was awarded with the title “Grand Master Blacksmith”, which only three people in the continent possessed.
In other words, he was the owner of tremendous skill among all the blacksmiths, enough to earn a place among the top three. He was a stubborn person who was not really interested in honor nor money.
“Then, I’m sure you can make “this” right? “
Taking out the crossbow along with a single bolt from the cloth bag, Yamato placed them on top of the table. It was a compound crossbow, and his personal masterpiece brought from Earth.
After that, he asked if he could reproduce it. Wondering if the Mountain Clan People were skillful enough to recreate this crossbow.
“This is… the crossbow and the bolt are quite bizarre… hmm, this looks like a sort of mechanical device…”
To his surprise, Gaton guessed how the crossbow worked quite quickly.
While speaking to Liscia, Yamato had discovered that the crossbows had not developed that much in this world. Therefore, the mechanism they used was a primitive and hard to use one.
That was the reason why no one in the village could understand how his crossbow worked at first. But after he explained to them and they tried to actually use it, they finally did.
But Gaton instantly saw through the crossbow mechanism, which should be so unusual in this world.
As expected of the Mountain Clan People… No, it might be that Gaton is really amazing.
Yamato felt astonished by that fact. By the amazingness of this person called Gaton, who guessed correctly on this weapon from a different civilization.
However, he was somewhat expecting this to be the case the moment he saw the tools Gaton used in this workshop. He had the hope that if it was this old man, he would be able to.
“But no matter how much I tell you, seeing is believing. I’ll launch a bolt for you to watch.”
After asking Gaton to prepare a metal plate he deemed unnecessary, he had him place it hanging against a pillar, then he hurriedly came to see the mechanism of the crossbow in action.
“So it really was a device to pull back the bowstring… but why it has to have such a complex metal shape… ohh, so that’s why! A mechanism so that even powerless people can pull back the string…. and what’s more, even faster and further than usual…”
Looking at Yamato’s movements as he prepared to fire, Gaton guessed the principles behind the crossbow, one after another.
All of his guesses were spot on.
His instant understanding of the mechanism using the principle of lever, and the ergonomics of this crossbow was truly frightening.
Oh… It really was worth my time coming here
He finished his preparations while thinking how reliable this Mountain Clan Person seemed, whose gaze was placed at the crossbow. After quickly checking the surroundings, he turned towards the target, the metal plate hanging on the pillar.
“Hey, wait a moment Yamato! With a metal plate of that thickness, the arrow will bounce off, it will be dangerous! ”
“It’s fine. Just take a look! “
Without minding Gaton’s words, the trigger of the crossbow was pulled.
The tension of the strongly lever-principle drawn crossbow was released at once. And the fired bolt flew at a terrifying speed.
An intense metallic sound that made you want to close your ears echoed in the workshop. It was the result of a crossbow bolt, flying at hundreds of kilometers per hour, coming in contact with a tough metal plate.
“Oh, what is this!? “
The Mountain Clan craftsman Gaton gave an excited voice while looking at the sight before him. This old blacksmith’s interest had risen after hearing such a sound.
“No way, for such a small bow to penetrate this metal plate used for armors… and it even stuck to the pillar behind it.”
With the crossbow test finishing successfully, the crossbow bolt splendidly penetrated the metal plate without fail.
“The arrow penetrated the metal plate so easily.”
At this unbelievable sight for them, Gaton and Liscia were astonished, while their eyes were wide open. They never imagined that this small weapon had that much power.
“I want you to mass produce this crossbow, to be used to protect the village.”
Yamato honestly told him the purpose of his visit.
He wanted to help the children, those children exposed to the wild beasts in the forest and the poverty they were currently experiencing, and help them become independent. So, without trying to bargain, he told him everything honestly.
“From what I can see, the materials used are iron and timber, right? Since those materials are readily available, I believe mass producing it is possible.”
The blacksmith Gaton took the crossbow handed over to him, and said, while checking the parts. He said that even the complex mechanical parts were no problem for his skilled hands.
“But what about ‘compensation’? What will you… what will Yamato be paying in return? “
Gaton started to negotiate.
Is this what Liscia meant by him not interested in honor and money or…
The Mountain Clan People were a stubborn craftsmen race not interested in money, jewels or honor.
Even if nobles or kings asked them to work for them by using their power, they were not swayed at all.
“A Mountain Clan person always asks for compensation.”
As the phrase meant, they always requested some kind of compensation from their clients. It was not on the monetary or social meaning, it was meant to test the other party’s resolution, in order to accept or decline their work.
Are you willing to pay an equal price?… is that what he means…
From this point onwards, it was the start of the negotiations.
He had to offer suitable items, items appropriate for the Mountain Clan People. This was to protect the village, and the people’s lives.
“I will offer this ‘knife’ as compensation.”
With that as his reason, he pulled out his favorite survival knife from his waist. Piercing the wooden table, he presented it in front of Gaton.
All in order to express that this was his own decision.
“Oh! This… is a really shinny knife…”
Gaton’s expression changed greatly after seeing a knife from a metal which he had seen for the first time.
He was many times more excited than when examining the crossbow. A metal unknown to the Mountain Clan People surely was a treasure that surpassed anything.
“Yamato-sama, you shouldn’t! That is Yamato-sama’s treasured knife.”
Next to them, Liscia gasped, then raised her voice.
She knew this survival knife was Yamato’s main weapon, and that he cherished it after it had helped him survive in this world. She was the only person he had told this was a memento from his deceased parents.
It was also the very same knife that helped him kill the Big Rabbits and the Wild Boar. She was clever to notice that his fighting strength would be greatly reduced by letting go of this.
“Don’t worry about it. If this knife is all that costs for producing several crossbows, the probability that everyone in the village will survive will rise.”
Objectively, this was a bad trade. This survival knife was certainly valuable to part with.
It was a present given to him by his self-proclaimed adventurer parents. It combined the latest forging technology with Japanese swordsmithing techniques, it was the strongest knife made by a famous Japanese Swordsmith. And now that he was transported to a different world, the chance of getting another one was zero.
However, this was a short weapon, only usable for close combat. A dedicated weapon that only one person in the village could wield and master.
Compared to that, it was already proven that the crossbows could be used by children if they trained. So, in the end he decided on the mass production and training, in order for it to be useful for the future of this village.
“Hey, Yamato… do you know the raw materials and the process to make this knife? ”
“Sorry, while I’m interested in smithing, it is not my specialty. But I heard that its crafter used a combination of metals, folding it into many layers.”
Gaton continued to question him, while his eyes were glued to the knife.
“Surely, you’re not referring to these ripples… but to do that, what an amazing skill…”
“There are also stubborn swordsmiths like you back in my country. This is a masterpiece from one of those.”
“I see… I would love to meet that person at least once.”
“Sorry, but that might be impossible.”
He answered Gaton’s questions to the best of his understanding, while he continued to look at the knife, almost as if licking it.
In reality, he actually knew of the raw materials used, but it was a modern allow, forged from the apex of state-of-the-art metallurgic science. It was a material that could never be refined with this world’s level of civilization. That was why he was a little vague on his answer.
“I’ll undertake the manufacturing of this crossbow.”
“Gaton-san! Thank you so much! “
Liscia gave a joyful voice at the reply from this stubborn person. Looking at the exchanges so far, she probably had already given up hope.
“But well, there are some conditions…”
Gaton turned toward me and said while staring straight into my eyes.
“Let my two grandchildren live with you in the village.”
“Your grandchildren… with us…”
Besides Gaton, there were apparently two Mountain Clan children who were helping him with this workshop. He said they were currently doing housework.
“Oh, alright. But I have to tell you I’m a strict person.”
“I raised them, so they are not that weak. We’ll go together tomorrow to the village chief’s house with a prototype.”
“You’ll have the crossbow prototype completed by tomorrow? “
Those last words were an unexpected statement.
He said he could craft and complete the assembling of such a complex parts in just one day.
“Hmph, who do you think I am? Now, you’re being an eyesore. Leave already so I can begin to work.”
Gaton eyes were dead serious, meaning he wasn’t joking at all. Tomorrow would be for sure a day to look forwards to, Yamato thought.
“I’ll be eagerly waiting.”
And thus, the mass production of the crossbow began.
Parting from his favorite survival knife was a bit painful.
However, with this they could probably avoid a food shortage in the future.