A Demon Lord's Tale: Dungeons, Monster Girls, and Heartwarming Bliss Chapter 69
A Vacation in Another World Part II: The Weapon Shop
"So uhhh… might be a bit too late to ask, seeing as how we've kinda already turned you into our tour guide, but you sure it's okay for you to hang around us?" I turned towards the hero, who was walking right beside me, and voiced a concern. "Won't your higher ups start getting all pissy if they find out? Since, you know, we are technically supposed to be enemies and whatnot."
The two of us were weaving our way through the city's crowded streets. Lefi, on the other hand, had avoided becoming a part of the masses by once again climbing up atop my shoulders.
"I really would've appreciated you asking that earlier…" My church affiliated companion heaved an exasperated sigh. "But I think that this is for the better. I would probably get in way more trouble for letting you two run around unsupervised, especially if something happened. So I think it's probably best for me to stick around until you decide to go back home."
Wow. Talk about rude. It's not like I'd ever do anything unless someone else messed with me first.
"Oh, and just in case you didn't already know," the hero continued. "I don't live here or anything, so I don't really know the city that well. Don't expect me to be able to show you anything too special, okay?"
"Yeah I got that. But you still know a lot more about it than we do, right?"
"Well… yeah, I guess," she said with a nod. "So is there anything in particular you wanted to see?"
"Me, I want to check out the weapon shop and the bookstore. What about you, Lefi?" I craned my neck upwards and looked at the girl perched atop my shoulders.
"I would prefer an establishment known for the quality of its food. The most ideal candidate would be one that serves sweets." Lefi crossed her arms and nodded as she spoke. You're looking mighty comfortable up there.
"Wait, didn't you just eat like a metric ton this morning?"
"Hah!" Lefi snorted. "You underestimate me, Yuki. That meager excuse for a meal was nowhere near enough to abate my hunger."
Uh huh… Whatever you say then, princess. I rolled my eyes before turning back to the hero. "And there you have it. Food, weapons, and books. Lead the way."
"Hmmm…" The hero brought a hand to her chin. "Okay. Then let's do weapons, books, and food in that order."
"Sure, your call."
And so, before long, we found ourselves inside a store specialized in the sale of weaponry. Most of the stuff that was featured was lined up against or hanging from the walls, but there was also a bargain barrel containing a bunch of low priced junk. Sitting at the counter was a stubborn looking old man. He glanced at us, but immediately lost interest and redirected his attention back to polishing the weapon he had in hand. Fuck. Yes. Oh my god, the atmosphere in here is literally exactly what I expected. This. Is. Hype.
I felt the urge to pump my fists out of sheer excitement, but refrained. Man, this trip has been nothing but a series of exciting encounters. I just keep running into stuff that gets my heart pumping to no end.
The reason that I wanted to visit a weapon shop, despite my inability to use normal swords, was because I wanted to see the difference between my work and a professional's. As with all creative processes, I couldn't improve without looking at examples of high quality items, specifically ones I didn't make myself. I had to know my faults if I wanted any meaningful iteration. As the Demon Lord of Creativity, an entity responsible for making his own weapons, I just had to see what human weapon shops contained.
"This place has got some pretty decent variety," I said.
"It has a good reputation," replied Nell. She too was scanning the walls and ogling the various goods on display. "There was this one time the holy knights brought me to Alfyro for an expedition. This shop is the one we came to in order to figure out our weapon situation."
As an amateur craftsman myself, I wasn't able to tell much about the weapons' quality just by glancing at them. I did, however, have a certain secret weapon that let me circumvent my weakness: Analyze. Through it, I discovered that the worst stuff on the walls had a quality rating hovering around the B area, whereas the best seemed to cap at A+. The stuff that was in the bargain barrels was, as one could expect, inferior. Most of the discounted goods had quality ratings between C+ and E.
The sole exception was a single heavily damaged blade. Curious, I picked it up and examined it in more detail. It was rusted all over and even chipped in places. Both the guard and the handle looked crude, unrefined, and unmaintained. At a glance, it didn't seem like anything more than a piece of junk, a worthless excuse for a weapon that the owner had simply been too lazy to throw away. In fact, that was most likely exactly what it was to anyone that lacked the ability to analyze it for its true worth.
Ancient Hero's Sword: A blade once taken up by a nameless hero in the distant past. It was once a powerful weapon responsible for the defeat of many a formidable foe. However, it has long since lost the vast majority of its might. Quality: Immeasurable.
Wow. Holy shit. This reminds me a lot of the ancient stuff in Monster H*nter, the super strong stuff that regains its former power if you succeed at upgrading it.
"Oh?" Lefi, who had been casually glancing around the store, stopped looking around and focused a curious gaze at the weapon in my hands the moment she noticed it. Her tone was filled with obvious interest. "It appears that you have found quite the decent armament."
"Yeah, I know, right?"
This is perfect. I was just thinking that the axe probably doesn't have enough volume to be reforged into a greatsword, so I can just mix this in while I'm at it and boom. Perfect. Weapon Transmutation was a fairly versatile skill. It didn't necessitate that I only worked with a single item. I could fuse as many different things as I wanted, with the only condition being that I had to be able to channel my mana through each raw material. I think I'm still going to be a bit lacking in mats, so I still need to find a couple more. But oh man, I can't wait to see what comes out of this. It should be pretty damn impressive so long as I don't mess up.
I felt the urge to approach the clerk by saying something along the lines of, "Magnificent, human. I see that you truly understand what it means to be immersed in passion," while bringing him the blade, but refrained for reasons that could only be described as obvious.
"Alright, I guess I'm getting this. How're things looking on your end, Lefi? Is there anything you want me to get for you?"
"Not quite. While I do admit that I some of these weapons have piqued my curiosity, I've not caught sight of anything that has me enamoured. I would much rather you provide me sustenance."
"Fine. Orders received, ma'am," I said in much the same tone as would an exhausted soldier before turning towards the hero. "What about you, Nell? You ready to go?"
The hero didn't respond. She was too busy staring at one of the longswords hanging off the wall, completely entranced. Her eyes, which were practically glued to it, were filled with longing. It was clear that she was in her own world, so I walked right up to her before calling out to her again.
"Don't you already have a sword? And a pretty good one at that?"
Her weapon was a holy sword, one enchanted with a spell powerful enough to block out my ability to analyze its features in detail. Swords as powerful as it were likely so few in number that they could actually be tallied up and accounted for. Hmmm, wait a second. That's just a preconception. I mean, that's how it was back on Earth, but that doesn't have to be how it is here. I mean, it is technically a whole nother world. Holy swords might be a dime a dozen. I mean, why else would they ever give something that important to this sorry excuse for a hero otherwise?
"Uhm… well, yeah. I do, but this and that are different, you know?" said the hero.
I can see where she's coming from. I mean, I'd probably feel exactly the same way if I was in her shoes.
"Well, I don't mind if you stare at it a bit more, but don't take too long, alright? We've got places to be."
"G-got it. J-just give me a few more minutes," she said with a stutter.
Aren’t weapons supposed to be a guy thing? I'm pretty sure girls are supposed to just roll their eyes and lose interest when they see swords and stuff… Oh well. She looks like she's having fun, so whatever, I guess.
Editor's note: Hey, guys! Joker here. Looks like Yuki has found himself quite the blade. I know he wants to add it to the axe, but something tells me that the sword isn't going to take too kindly to being transmuted with a cursed axe, much less an axe with that much misery and suffering in it. Or it could be that feeling is the chicken teriyaki sandwich I had from S*bway today. Could be either or, if I'm honest. And of course the hero would enjoy looking at swords. Almost her entire life has been dedicated to being a hero, learning swordplay along with Lord knows what else. She recognizes good craftsmanship, I bet. Wonder if Yuki's going to be the good guy and offer to buy it for her as a thank you for leading them around. Eh, maybe. Or he could just be a giant dick, buy it, then transmute it with the rusty hero sword and the axe. If he's real douchey, he'll do it right in front of her. But I don't think he's that much of a dickweed. At least, I hope not. Well, only time will tell. See y'all in the next chapter!