A Demon Lord's Tale: Dungeons, Monster Girls, and Heartwarming Bliss Chapter 121
Crafting a Sheath
Editors: Sebas Tian, Speedphoenix, Joker
A few days had passed since I realized that my trusty weapon had taken its growth in an unexpected direction. And as such, I found myself sitting cross-legged with an array of the materials I had harvested from the Wicked Forest laid strewn out on the table before me.
The specific table in question was one that I used exclusively for the purposes of crafting. And as one could likely assume based on the fact that Zaien was situated nearby, the purpose of the activity I was about to engage in was to craft the blade a sheath. And while it was unable to voice its thoughts on the matter in the most literal sense of the term, my greatsword seemed to give off an air of happiness. It was definitely in a good mood. I guess it must be happy that it's got someone to hang out with right now. What a nice, sociable person this sword is.
Defeating the creepy stalker that had chased us through the Wicked Forest seemed to have greatly furthered the sword's growth, as it had become able to telepathically communicate with me even when I didn't have a grip on its handle.
Analyzing the weapon immediately gave way to the fact that a lot about it had changed since its creation.
Race: Magic Weapon
Crimson Blaze III
Self Repair I
A crimson greatsword in the shape of a katana synthesized by a demon lord named Yuki. This blade despises sin and those who commit it. Through its blade, which only grows sharper and more powerful as it bathes in blood, Zaien convicts sinners of their crimes and delivers their sentences itself. Zaien has developed a clear will of its own as a result of being wielded by its creator. Equipping this weapon leads to a drastic boost in its wielder’s stats.
One of the most obvious changes was in the way that the information was presented. The UI elements associated with Zaien's stats used to be akin to any other item, but now, its status page much more closely resembled that of a living creature's. The specifics had also gone through quite the amount of change.
The first thing that made me raise an eyebrow was the sword's race. Magic Weapon? How the hell is that a race? Then again, demon lord doesn't exactly sound like a race either, so I probably shouldn't be too surprised.
As far as its numbers went, I had no idea what to think. I couldn't tell if they were high or low because I didn't have anything to compare them to. None of the other weapons I had analyzed had ever shown either their offensive or defensive values. But unlike MP, attack and durability at least seemed like stats that one would expect. While it was true that I could now feel magical energy emanating from the katana-shaped longsword, I had no idea as to exactly when it had obtained it. I knew for certain that it didn't use to house any mana outside of situations in which I channelled my own into it.
Most of its skills made sense. The unique ones seemed like they belonged based on the type of weapon Zaien was. Likewise, I wasn't all that surprised by Crimson Blaze. It didn't seem like all that far of a stretch for the magic circuit engraved into the weapon to be recognized as one of its skills. Wait. Crimson Blaze has a level. Does that mean using it is going to level it up and make it more powerful? Hmmm…
Self Repair was the only skill that left me feeling confused. I had no idea where it came from, but it seemed rather useful, so I wasn't about to start complaining. The skill allowed Zaien to consume its own magical energy in order to fix itself in the case that its blade ever got bent or damaged. Maybe this is why I've always thought that this thing felt so durable. It might've just been fixing itself this whole time.
Man, seriously, this whole stat page is filled with shit I don't understand. Like, my expectations? Yeah, they totally got chucked right out the goddamn window. I'll probably have to do a bit of a more detailed investigation later and test or figure everything out.
Zaien's stat page was so peculiar that it had surprised even Lefi. Upon seeing it, the supreme dragon had heaved an exasperated sigh and said, "Truly, remaining by your side has brought with it not even a moment of boredom."
She had commented that she'd never seen a weapon whose stats so closely resembled a living thing. The dragon knew about intelligent weapons, but apparently, none were anywhere near capable of producing thoughts as clear as Zaien's. Damn Zaien, you rockin' it. Not even the legendary Supreme Dragon has seen anything like you.
Long story short, Zaien had gone through a lot of changes, and the reason I'd suddenly felt the urge to make the blade a sheath was related to one of them. Namely, its newfound ability to communicate. Er, wait. It? Should I be calling Zaien a her? It, er, she seems kinda feminine. Hmm…
Zaien didn't intentionally seem to be voicing it, but the intelligent weapon would get all sad every time I tried putting it away. It all stemmed from the fact that Zaien had yet to master the telepathy skill. Its emotions would always be conveyed alongside its thoughts whenever it used it. And oh boy, that shit eats away at me. Zaien gives off a real childlike impression, so seeing it, er… her? Alright, let's try that again. Seeing Zaien get all sad makes me feel terrible. I've taken a real liking to that weapon, and all that does is make it worse.
The issue was that sitting in my inventory made Zaien feel lonely. The only real solution I had available to me was to make Zaien not have to camp out in my item box. Hence, I needed to craft a sheath. Cause, y'know, having a sharp object sit around with its edge exposed isn't exactly the best of ideas.
All of the materials that sat on the table in front of me came from monsters that I had hunted. There was also a bit of fresh lumber, which I had processed ahead of time purely for the sake of today's operations. Admittedly, I didn't know how one was supposed to go about making a good sheath, so the materials I had gathered were haphazard and effectively random. The idea I had in mind was to just kind of swing at it until I figured it out.
Of course, I wasn't great at handicrafts and I didn't have the skill that came with training in craftsmanship. So one might wonder, how exactly was I going to make Zaien a sheath given my lackluster toolkit? The answer to that question was rather simple: Weapon Transmutation.
Weapon Transmutation was capable of creating anything so long as it was technically a weapon. Still, sheaths weren't weapons, so how exactly did making a sheath work? While the answer required some thinking outside of the box, it was ultimately rather straightforward. All I needed to do was weaponize the sheath.
My experiments thus far had proven that such a thing was in fact possible. Both canes and umbrellas with blades hidden inside of them fell within the list of possible crafting outcomes. I had even made a functional ballpoint pen capable of firing needles in the case of an emergency. Of course, it would be dangerous to keep these three items hanging around, so I'd already stashed them away. But the lesson that they taught remained.
Weapon Transmutation was an extremely versatile skill. All it needed to function were materials, mana, and a final form that could act like a weapon. That in turn meant that all I needed to do in order to provide Zaien with a scabbard was craft a weapon that happened to look and function like one.
And that was precisely what I did.
“Okay! It’s done!” I completed my first prototype shortly after getting to work. I wasn't exactly used to or proficient in making sheaths, so it looked fairly rough around the edges, but it was in fact a weaponized wooden sheath nonetheless. The weaponized aspect was the blade that rested in its tip. Hitting the sheath hard enough would cause the aforementioned blade to eject.
My original intention was to craft something more akin to a gun. I wanted the sheath to fire bullets at the press of a button, but there were several issues with said design. The first problem that came to mind was size. Zaien was massive, and its sheath would have to be even larger than it was. Adding a gun-like mechanism would only inflate the size even further. Carrying such a large, bulky thing around simply didn't seem practical.
The other part of the issue was that I needed a clear image of the mechanism I wanted to create in order for me to succeed, and I didn't exactly know the pieces that went into a gun, nor how they had to be arranged. I felt like Weapon Transmutation was in fact capable of creating guns, but that I would personally screw it up unless I had a sample mechanism to look at. Hmm, might as well give it a try later anyway. It's not like failing is going to really waste anything but time, and time is the one thing I have way more of than I'll probably ever need.
I picked Zaien up and sheathed it into the MK-I scabbard.
"Not this one," said the sword. Hmmm… it seems like she(?), actually you know what, screw it. Zaien's hella girly. She's probably a she, so let's just go with that. Anyway, it seems like she doesn't like it.
A part of the problem seemed to be a matter of fit. The sheath was a bit too short, and parts of her blade were still sticking out the top. It seemed a bit too roomy too, since shaking it while she was wearing it led to a bit of rattling.
I hadn't been planning on making the best sheath ever. Zaien was a longsword. Her size made it impossible for me to make use of the sword drawing techniques one would often perform with a regular katana. As such, the sheath probably wouldn't see that much use. Chances were, I would chuck it in my inventory or simply drop it on the spot after drawing her. But while I wasn't going for perfect, the first sheath I had created had turned out a little bit too subpar. Alright. Round two! Let's go!
I ended up producing a good number of scabbards, but none had made me think that it was the one. Zaien seemed to think that she had wasted enough of my time. Each time I pumped out a sheath, she would say that she found it satisfactory, or that she liked it, but the words she spoke directly into my mind were always tinged with dissatisfaction.
There was always the option of calling it quits if I felt like we weren't getting anywhere, but that was the last thing I wanted to do. I made Zaien. She was basically my daughter. Her sheath was the first thing she had ever fussed over. It was my job to see to her happiness. Not doing right by her would make me a horrible father.
The sheaths I had produced so far had led me to learn an important lesson. Zaien and I had different tastes. Not all the sheaths I made had been failures in the truest sense of the word. One had turned out fairly badass. It was made of wyvern scales and looked exactly like something you'd see in M*nster Hunter, but she hadn't liked it. Hmmm… Zaien's pretty damn girly. Maybe the problem is that everything I've made so far appeals to a more masculine aesthetic. I guess I should try crafting something that's a bit more feminine.
I grabbed a mat off the desk and immediately tried putting the idea to work. The result looked as follows:
Demon Lord's Experimental Sheath: A scarlet sheath made for a weapon named Zaien by a Demon Lord known as Yuki. There is a blade embedded within the sheath's tip. As this sheath is fairly sturdy, it will not break unless put under serious pressure.
I picked the newly formed sheath up and gave it a good stare. Ooooohhh. Not bad, if I do say so myself.
Its shape wasn't anything impressive. It was fairly simple, but because I'd made so many other sheaths before it, it had actually turned out quite well, craftsmanship wise. I had made it out of a pink shell, and as a result, the whole thing was coloured in a pretty scarlet. It looked like it would go fairly well with Zaien's crimson blade. Hmmm… The only problem is that Zaien's handle is just made out of regular wood, so it looks a bit out of place since all the pretty colouring suddenly just turns brown. Maybe I should tie a ribbon or string or something around the handle. That'd probably make gripping it easier too.
“What do you think, Enne?” I called Zaien by her new nickname, which more or less sounded exactly like the latter part of her full name. The pet name was one that I had chosen in part because Zaien seemed like an odd thing to call a girl in public given its meaning, and in part because Enne looked much more feminine and therefore matched the blade's own preferences.
The sword spent a few moments feeling her surroundings after being placed within the sheath before sending me the telepathic equivalent of a nod.
"It's really nice," she said.
Heh. Looks like it was just what the doctor ordered. You can really tell she likes this one. Well, that's the power of pink for you. Girls and pink go hand in hand. I knew making it more feminine was the right idea.
It appeared that the sheath was just the right size. Zaien didn't seem to rattle about when I shook it. Woo! All parameters met!
"Mwahahahahaha!" I nodded in satisfaction and began giving myself a metaphorical pat on the back. "How terrifying. My sense of beauty is absolute, for I am able to captivate even children with ease."
For I can see their desires with my mind's eye. This too is another step down the path of the Demon Lord of Creativity.
“Is something wrong…?” asked Enne.
"It is but a trifling affair. I am merely basking in the terror of my own talent.”
I knew that if any of the dungeon's other residents were around, they would have started cutting in with their retorts and silly complaints the moment I started getting carried away. But Enne, whose people skills were still in the midst of development, simply replied in a way that conveyed a hint of amusement.
TL Note: I haven't 100% decided on En or Enne. Enn has been suggested, but I personally don't like it. Enne looks the most feminine, but people who miss the bit on the pronunciation are probably going to think like it's Ennie or something… En works well with the fact that she's taciturn. But… Blech. So yeah, I've ended up going with Enne for now.