Lorist awoke the next day from the ear-piercing sound of wood being sawed. As he opened his eyes, he saw the young girl lying asleep beside him, grunting and furrowing her brows occasionally with the trails of her tears from the night before still visible on her face.
Carefully drawing his arm out from beneath the girl's head, he put a blanket over her and got out of bed naked. After putting on his sleep robe, he went to the window and saw the cooking lady's son sawing away at the logs. Hmmm, this guy is pretty hard-working. It's pretty decent of him to start working that hard this early in the morning.
He had completely released the tension he had from inheriting the title and the family dominion on the young maidservant, Irina, the night before. Currently, Lorist felt a mystical clarity and eagerness within his mind.
He silently stepped into the washroom to take a short shower and freshened himself up. After he dried himself, Lorist got into his garments and went to take his sword for his training.
However, when he arrived downstairs at the living room, Lorist was baffled by the sight before him. Where are my swords? They're not here!
Lorist had discovered that the two swords he had placed on the blade rack was no longer there. Only the ornamental sword that was used during the inheritance ceremony yesterday was in place. This is weird, who would take both of my swords away?
He went to the end of the corridor and knocked on the door of the guest room. Shadekampf yawned as he opened the door as he had slept rather late after drinking with the three chief supervisors last night. Knowing that he was the confidant of the new family head, the three supervisors tried their best to get on his good side. Shadekampf on the other hand talked about Lorist's likes and dislikes and couldn't help but drink to his content, causing him to wake up relatively late due to a hangover.
Upon knowing that Lorist's swords went missing, Shadekampf was stunned awake from his hangover and quickly aided in the search.
Lorist asked, "Where's Patt?"
Shadekampf said, "He's been gone since dawn because you just announced the formation of a new defense unit for the family..."
Patt shouldn't have taken my swords, he has his own after all. What would he do with mine? Just as Lorist was thinking, the sound of sawing resounded near him again.
Oh, I should go ask that sawing guy. Lorist and Shadekampf went to the yard and Shadekampf asked, "Eidelwoke, have you seen anyone else who've entered our building?"
Eidelwoke thought for quite a while before he stopped sawing and said, "I think Mistress Pesha did..."
Pesha? What did she come here for? Lorist hurriedly asked, "Then, did you see her take anything away?"
Eidelwoke nodded and said, "Yes, she took both of your swords with her. I could recognize the scabbards..."
Now, why would Pesha take my swords? Just as he was wondering, Eidelwoke said, "Mistress Pesha has been wanting to have a personal weapon crafted for her use, however she was unable to procure any good materials and there wasn't any weapon in the family armory that suited her needs. I think she took your swords to Old Smith Alba..."
Upon hearing that, Lorist punched the wall in anger as he thought, what's the meaning of this, Pesha actually dares to take the swords of me, the new family head, and have them used as materials for her own weapon? She's clearly looking down on me. The reason Lorist called her 'Sister Pesha' respectfully was because that was what the original owner of the body remembered her as. But that didn't mean that the current Lorist, a transmigrator, was afraid of her. If he let this incident slide, then would anyone still take him seriously as a family leader?
"Bring me to see Old Smith Alba," said Lorist to Shadekampf in a cold tone.
Lorist was very clear about how much money and precious materials he had used to make his two swords. For example, each Metal-eater Rat teeth that was among the materials of the swords cost one small silver each. Lorist had spent almost ten gold Fordes on nearly a thousand of them and used them to increase the hardness of his swords so that it would be strong enough to be able to withstand strikes from blade glows without prior infusion of any Battle Force. His friends all knew that even though his swords didn't look fancy or amazing, the cost involved in their making greatly exceeded that of most other priceless weapons.
Back in the days when he had just gotten used to his new life in Grindia, he was very confused about the Battle Force ranks of this world. According to his common sense, the ranking of precious metals should start from gold being the most precious, followed by silver, bronze and lastly, iron. However, why was the Iron rank placed above Bronze rank instead? Shouldn't it be the least rare metal of them all?
That bewildering question Lorist had was left unanswered until he attended the knight training course offered by the Dawn Academy. Even though the civilization of Grindia was very similar to that of the Middle Ages on Earth, the main difference was the existence of Battle Force. The lances of the knights in Grindia were also not made of applewood like they were on Earth; the situation of lances shattering into many pieces upon collision as seen on Earth by Lorist from a movie was not possible in this world. Due to Battle Force, the lances in Grindia were more similar to those often seen in video games with the blade in front easily longer than 30 centimeters in length, with some even going up to 60. Upon reaching the Silver rank, a knight would be able to manifest a blade glow and use it to cull weaker enemies easily on the battlefield.
It was when he attended the course that he learned that after the magi invented Battle Force, they discovered a problem. Battle Force practitioners usually didn't have any issues during the first two stages, however when they reached the third stage, they were heavily reliant on weapons. The magi at the time found that common metals were rather bad conductors of Battle Force as they crumbled too quickly after light usage.
Thus, the magi found three types of materials that were suited for Battle Force conduction, namely, Jadebronze, Raresilver and Darkgold. However, the blade glow formed after Jadebronze was infused with Battle Force was rather chaotic whereas Raresilver and Darkgold were exceedingly precious magical materials. Given that the magi themselves didn't have enough of those to experiment with, how would they be able to mass produce weapons for Battle Force practitioners?
That's why the magi started yet another round of experiments and finally found that an alloy of tungsten and Damascus steel was able to withstand infused Battle Force and produce a stable blade glow. The magi thus named that alloy Blackiron and derived the four Battle Force ranks as Jadebronze, Blackiron, Raresilver and Darkgold. Following the end of the magical civilization, materials like Raresilver and Darkgold have faded into obscurity and were nothing but myths of the past. That's why the following generation of people eventually came to know the four simplified ranks as Bronze, Iron, Silver and Gold.
Even though what was known of the magical civilization was often considered mythical, the records on Battle Force research somehow managed to survive the erosion of time and smiths knew that adding tungsten into weapons would allow for blade glows to be stably manifested. As more and more other materials that can efficiently conduct Battle Force were discovered, the craft of forging began to branch off into many varieties. Forging a stellar weapon was no longer as easy as just adding tungsten to the mix.
Sometimes, Lorist felt quite melancholic at the fact that even though the Norton Family dominion was large and vast, there were little to no mineable resource there at all. For the past 200 years, the only place that was discovered to have a copper deposit was the Morgan Hills. However, Charade has once mentioned that given the size of the dominion, there should be more mines just lying in wait to be discovered, since the family has been plagued with problems from the mountain barbarians and the yearly magical beast horde and couldn't spare as much manpower and expense on the forage for resources. Even now, the family didn't even have sufficient materials to craft a single decent weapon.
Pesha's eye for weapons was not bad however, as she had noticed the peculiarity of Lorist's two swords. However, her actions basically amounted to thievery and Lorist was definitely not going to let her off the hook for what she did, especially on his second day as the family leader. This was a form of provocation, and it would set a precedent for her future transgressions against Lorist, who was hierarchically superior to her. It was akin to slapping Lorist straight in his face.
Shadekampf led Lorist to the northwestern corner of the bastide where the smithy was located. A white-haired old man was currently checking out Lorist's swords while shaking his head from time to time. It was obvious that the smith, Alba, was far better at evaluating the quality of weapons than Pesha and understood that it definitely wouldn't be easy for him to melt the weapons down given the equipment he had in his smithy. Pesha was clearly getting more disappointed the more Alba shook his head.
Without saying a word, Lorist took the swords from the smith's hand with a solemn look on his face. Upon seeing the new family leader, Alba quickly paid his respects. Pesha on the other hand gave him a furious glare and shouted, "What the heck are you doing? An Iron rank like you wouldn't need weapons made from quality materials like those. Quickly have it melted down and fashioned into a suitable weapon for me so that I can better protect the family."
Giving the stuck-up young lady a look, Lorist started to feel really annoyed. "On behalf of my late elder brother, I will forgive this error of yours, Mistress Pesha. Also, before the men of the Norton Family all die out, there will be no place for you to defend the family, so you better remember that."
"What are you saying? How dare a trashy Iron rank like you talk to me in that tone? Give the swords to me. Also, the reason I went to see you in the morning was to tell you to let me lead the new defense unit that you just formed. Patt isn't qualified for that position as he has only just broke through to the Silver rank not long ago..." commanded Pesha in a really obnoxious manner.
"Fuck off to whence you came! Don't just stand there and block everyone's way!" shouted Lorist, full of rage.
"Alright, you think you can simply do as you please because you're the family leader? Let me teach a shitty Iron rank like you the power of a Silver rank. I will make sure you remember it," roared Pesha unyieldingly as she drew her sword.
Shadekampf hastily attempted to stop her and said, "Mistress, don't do it. Milord is..."
Wham! A crisp sound rang out as Pesha gave Shadekampf a harsh slap on the face. "Buzz off! Know your place!"
As a saying went, before hitting a dog, one must first gain the agreement of its master. Despite knowing that Shadekampf was Lorist's personal attendant, her act of giving him a slap signified a huge disregard for the authority of the family leader. It seems that she is used to behaving as she likes in the family, thought Lorist, enraged, as he decided that he would definitely put her into place and see if she would dare to piss him off in the future as a mere Two Star Silver rank.
Even though the smithy was at the northwestern part of the bastide, Lorist and Pesha's argument had attracted a lot of attention from surrounding passers-by as numerous servants and soldiers had started to gather around the area. Lorist understood that if he didn't harshly reprimand her for her actions today, his authority as the family leader would definitely fall apart in no time.
Lorist slowly drew his sword and said, "Come, as long as you can take three of my strikes, you will be the one who calls the shots in the bastide in the future."
"Three strikes? You really think too highly of yourself. Let's see how I rough you up..." scoffed Pesha as a blade glow manifested on her sword before she waved it as she rushed over.
Clang! The sword in Pesha's hand instantly broke into two while Lorist had his longsword pressed onto her neck.
"You... You're just relying on your superior blade!" said Pesha as she fervently tried to deny the results of the duel by using that as an excuse.
"Fine, I won't even use a sword. Come," said Lorist as he sheathed his longsword back into its scabbard and tossed both his swords to Shadekampf before he found himself a 1-meter-long wooden stick which he wielded in place of a sword.
Pesha then rushed into the smithy, rummaged around for a large two-handed sword and once again manifested her blade glow and swung it in Lorist's direction.
Pang! The wooden stick clashed into the two-handed sword mid-air and knocked the latter flying off into the distance before it was once again pressed against Pesha's neck.
"Aaah!" Pesha let out a sharp scream which started Lorist. During his bewilderment, she took the opportunity to go back into the smithy before coming back out with a pike and had its point aimed for Lorist...
With but a slight movement of his body, Lorist evaded the pike and swung his wooden stick and knocked the pike out of Pesha's hand. However, she scrambled around for an axe once again...
Losing his patience, Lorist evaded the axe swing and used his stick to strike Pesha in the neck. The axe-holding, red-haired demoness gradually lost her balance and fell towards the ground face-first...
When she regained consciousness, she noticed that she was sitting on the floor with her back against the wall. Alba, who was in the middle of his work, said, "Mistress, even though I'm also an Iron rank trash, even I can tell that the family leader's swordsmanship is superior to yours by several magnitudes. You are far from being his match. According to Shadekampf, the family leader had challenged over 3000 Silver ranked swordsmen without a single loss at Morante City and is known as Iron Locke, the Silver Undefeated..."
After giving Pesha the lesson she deserved, Lorist started to make his way back with Shadekampf. Just as they turned at a corner, they saw Supervisor Kedan, who hurriedly paid his respects and said, "Milord, are you heading to Wildnorth Town now?"