The shape of the red armor in the furnace was relatively intact, while the large axe started to melt as the melting point of the rosar tin was reached.
‘Just a little bit more.’ Grid gazed at the furnace, not even blinking because he was afraid he might lose the timing.
‘Now!’ He grasped the moment when the big axe was melted down and the shoulders and waist of the red armor started distorting. His tongs went into the blast furnace as the generated heat withered the grass and flowers around it.
“The precious flowers...” Some elves made a pained expression. After all, the elves originally hated the humans' vaunted technology because it damaged nature.
Piaro came down from the 1,753rd tree and spoke some nonsense, “We humans are a weak species, unlike you. We can’t survive naked like you and have to depend on technology. It is also nature’s providence. Try to understand humans rather than hate us unconditionally.”
“Nonsense,” the elves expressed their resistance despite their affinity with Piaro. “Human technology evolved just for humans to survive? No, that isn’t it. Didn’t human technology progress to take away things from others and gain what they desire? We hate humans because they are fundamentally greedy. Their greed isn’t the providence of nature. It opposes providence. You are speaking nonsense.”
“Haha...” Piaro was forced to laugh bitterly as there was nothing wrong with the elves’ words. After all, Piaro had also lived a life of stealing from others and trampling on them. “I see. It was also greedy of me to ask you to understand us.”
“We also know that there are friendly humans. Like our young friend who is coming soon... I think we can trust a small number of humans.”
Beniyaru knew that Grid, Mercedes, and Piaro could hurt all the elves currently present. However, they didn’t hurt the elves. Despite the fact that the elves could have killed them, they forgave the elves. They were quite different from the old humans who had burned the elves’ wild land with their dirty desires, wanting the youth and beauty of the elves.
“Well... there are many types of people in this world. We might meet many people like you in the future. However, I don’t expect much. We don’t have the capacity to deal with all the treachery and suffering we will face until we meet people like you.”
The events were hundreds of years old, but the wounds that humans had dealt to the elves were still prominent. They were still sore and painful. As such, the elves didn’t want to understand humans or to be understood by humans.
Ttang! Ttang! Ttang!
As darkness started to fall on the forest of the world tree, Grid’s hammering was the only thing heard in the awkward silence.
The sounds of Mercedes, Randy, and the Overgeared Skeletons fighting the bear-wolves served as background noise. However, it currently wasn’t as fierce as the first battle because there were only two bear-wolves. Once night approached, no more new bear-wolves appeared.
Beniyaru explained to the puzzled Mercedes, “The bear-wolves are weak at night. They fall asleep as soon as the sun sinks, and new bear-wolves won’t emerge again until dawn.”
“I’m glad.” The legendary knight was relieved. The continuous battle with the bear-wolves was a challenge for Mercedes. On the other hand, the Overgeared Skeletons were disappointed. Their eyes were like ‘⌓ ⌓’ as they looked at the bear-wolves and stabbed. They were eager to continue fighting. After all, they were undead and didn’t have any restrictions on stamina, unlike living creatures.
‘Good!’ Meanwhile, Grid smiled brightly as he placed the two sets of red armor on the anvil and starting hammering. He succeeded in completely separating the black mithril from the ogre bones and the rosar tin, and the black iron plate flashed red. The raw material which made up the inner iron plates of the red armor was black mithril. A skilled craftsman had processed it into a fine form, but it wasn’t perfect.
Grid placed the iron plates on the anvil and started the full-scale tempering and forging.
‘I can’t lose the unique characteristics of the red armor by damaging the red energy.’
The iron plates should be further strengthened and shaped to the ideal form. Grid thought this as he hammered repeatedly at constant intervals. Tens of minutes and then hours went by.
[You are extremely focused, and the Legendary Blacksmith’s Patience skill has been activated.]
[The Legendary Blacksmith’s Breath has been activated.]
[You are extremely focused, and the Legendary Blacksmith’s Patience skill has been activated.]
[The Legendary Blacksmith’s Breath has been...]
[The Legendary Blacksmith’s Breath has risen to Lv. 7!]
Grid received a compensation effect comparable to when he produced the Enlightenment Sword. It wasn’t an effect that could be achieved simply by raising his concentration. He also had to be lucky.
This was the best start. Grid was filled with joy as his concentration heightened.
[The black mithril is filled with your fighting energy.]
“...!!” Grid’s fighting energy had been kept at the maximum thanks to Mercedes, Piaro, and Beniyaru. Grid injected the solemn red and purple aura fiercely into the black mithril. This was the moment when the true value of the black mithril’s characteristic of having ‘a high affinity with any form of energy’ was revealed. Now, the iron plate made of black mithril was blinking purple as well as red.
Would something beyond his expectations be born?
Ttang! Ttang! Ttang… His hammering became stronger as Grid entered a state of nothingness.
‘Is that a human?’ The elves’ eyes were wide open as they watched Grid work steadily. They were amazed by Grid’s dexterity and focused concentration. In particular, Beniyaru was greatly shocked. ‘How can a human...?’
To think that Grid was able to enter a higher spiritual realm than the elves who had lived for hundreds of years and received the protection of nature and the elementals...? It was an area that couldn’t be seen even by the 12 Te.
‘No, won’t it be difficult even for a high elf?’
What type of life had this human lived? How could he achieve this level in just decades? Beniyaru couldn’t imagine it. Having been trapped in this forest due to old wounds, it was impossible for her to gauge the lives of the heroes living in the present.
The last two remaining bear-wolves were hunted. Then suddenly, the Overgeared Skeletons that were sitting like puppies next to Grid came forward. They picked a flat rock and started to hit it with their swords. The Overgeared Skeletons seemed to be copying Grid’s hammering.
“Haha, these guys want to learn from their master.”
Mercedes and Piaro watched the Overgeared Skeletons with warm smiles. The skeletons looked cute as they tried to copy their master. However, this was a desperate situation for Grid. If he hadn’t entered this trance state... he would probably be yelling at the Overgeared Skeletons to stop once he realized that they were copying him. He didn’t want to see ‘blacksmith’ appear in the list of second class advancement for the Overgeared Skeletons… But what could he do? The water had already been spilled.
The Overgeared Skeletons copied Grid’s hammering, and their posture soon started to resemble his.
The Overgeared Skeletons were silent for once. Now that they became accustomed to the blacksmithing itself, they were learning Grid’s ‘focus.’
[Overgeared Skeleton One has acquired the skill ‘Skeleton’s Patience’.]
[Overgeared Skeleton Two has acquired the skill ‘Skeleton’s Patience’.]
These notification windows passed through Grid’s vision.
‘Okay. A bit more, a bit more...!’ Grid wasn’t aware of them since he was busy hammering the black mithril filled with fighting energy. Meanwhile, an elf approached Beniyaru and whispered, “Kir has arrived at the village.”
The world tree’s illness could be cured! The excited Beniyaru told Piaro, “We have to go back to the village for a while. Will you come with me? I will set aside a place for you to take a break.”
“I will stay here.”
“Why? It is late at night. There is a possibility that ancient species more threatening than the bear-wolf will show up. It could be dangerous for you.”
“I can’t interfere with Master’s work. I will stay here with him.”
“...It seems like his work will continue until dawn.”
“No, it could take a few days. But what does it matter?” Piaro would continue to protect Grid for one hundred years, one thousand years. After speaking, he looked at Mercedes. “Take a break.”
“Then please excuse me. I will take the dawn shift.”
She was once again standing vigil with Piaro… Mercedes was reminded of her training days and became cheerful. After the elves left, Noe and Randy fell asleep. Meanwhile, Piaro and Mercedes slept in shifts as Grid’s work continued.
In the elves’ village, the elves’ faces turned rosy as they gathered under the world tree—the ancient tree that sustained the world. It was because the world tree completely regained its health five minutes after Kir sprinkled on it some water, which he claimed was the only holy water that could cure the world tree.
Well, it was funny to say that the world tree had been in a bad state in the first place. After all, only a few leaves had turned yellow. However, when those few leaves became brighter again, it made Kir’s claim of holy water seem real.
“Is it Goddess Rebecca’s holy water?”
Elves didn’t worship gods. The world tree was the only existence they regarded as great and precious. That didn’t mean they denied the existence of the gods. In particular, they had a great liking for Rebecca, the goddess of light. As Kir explained to the questioning elves, his good appearance, soft voice, and smile gave them confidence.
‘Talking with a merchant will make you bewitched.’ One of the famous laws of Satisfy was being fully manifested at this moment.
“That’s right. I rushed to the Vatican and poured out my life savings as a donation.”
“Doing all of this for us...”
“You are my saviors. I will do anything for you. Now, everyone.”
Kir felt the elves’ attention focused on him. Were there no male elves today? How come men didn’t show up last time either? Kir had these questions in mind as he brought a carriage full of jars toward the elves.
“I still have a lot of holy water left. Taking it will help your health. Please share a toast with me. Shouldn’t we celebrate the recovery of the world tree?”
“Okay. Let’s make a toast.”
The elves’ health wasn’t a concern like it was for humans. Unlike humans, elves lived for a long time and maintained their youth. In that case, why should they drink the goddess’ holy water? Some of the elves thought of this question, but there was no room for them to think about it.
Adept at leading the atmosphere, Kir had already gotten all the elves to hold glasses in their hands.
“To the eternal health of the world tree.”
Kir drank the holy water, and most of the elves followed, causing all of them to get poisoned and experience a terrible pain. This was the moment when the merchant Kir, who had dealings with the Yatan Servants, showed off the power of the Yatan Essence he had secured in large quantities.
“Kukuk! Kukukuk! Kuhahahahat! Is there anything in the world as easy as deceiving old people who don’t know the world?”
Kir’s nice smile had disappeared. Instead, his evil laughter and the screams of the elves, who were now caught by his men, enveloped the village.