The next day.
Now I don’t hate camping, but you know, there’s just no beating the comfort of your own home.
After getting a good night’s rest, it’s time for me to thoroughly prepare for my trip to the Great Forest.
Of courses, there are bases in the Great Forest that other adventurers have built for the purpose of gathering resources, but that’s no reason to neglect my own preparations. So, first thing’s first, I’ll have to drop by the Digger Arms Shop to get my armor repaired. It was damaged during the spar with Schieber-san, so I better get on that.
“Excuse me.” [Ryouma]
There was no one tending to the counter when I got there, so I called out, and the shopkeeper, Darson-san, emerged after a short wait.
“Looks like you got back in one piece.” [Darson]
“Yes, fortunately.” [Ryouma]
“How did the prototypes do? Were there any problems?” [Darson]
“They were great. I’m here to ask you to repair my armor.” [Ryouma]
“Repair? Did something happen?” [Darson]
Darson-san asked when he heard me mention repairs.
“I sparred with someone I met along the way.” [Ryouma]
“Oh, a spar.” [Darson]
“Yes. This last trip showed me just how inexperienced I still am.” [Ryouma]
“As usual, you don’t talk like a child at all. Alright, let me see that armor of yours.” [Darson]
I opened my Item Box and took out my armor, then Darson-son examined it curiously.
“Oh? Your opponent was pretty good, huh. Your opponent used a spear of some sort, or maybe something similar. I see he used magic too. Most likely the wind.” [Darson]
“You can tell that much?” [Ryouma]
“Once you’ve been in this business for as long as I have, you’ll more or less be able to figure out stuff like this. Still, he got you good… There aren’t many people who can pierce through the hide of a hard lizard this cleanly. The abdominal part has been cut open too. Did you fight someone famous?” [Darson]
“Yes. Schieber Gardak—” [Ryouma]
Before I could even clarify that that was the former knight commander, Darson-san turned to me with a jolt.
“The former knight-commander!? What are you doing fighting with a bigwig like that!?” [Darson]
“We happened to be going to the same place, so it just ended up like that.” [Ryouma]
“Ha… Well, no wonder then. You fought the former knight commander, after all. Come to think of it, I heard that the previous head of the ducal family and the knight commander dropped by your store. Is that true?” [Darson]
“Yes. We happened to meet at my destination, so they gave me a ride back on the dragon. They went to the duke’s home yesterday, but they definitely dropped by my store as well.” [Ryouma]
Now seems to be a good time, so I better explain to him the events that happened during that last trip.
“Haa~, what a strange series of events, but I see that you’re working as an adventurer properly. Getting cursed sucks, but I’ve been plenty reckless myself back in the day, so I can’t really scold you, now can I?” [Darson]
“I agree that I got lucky this time around. Once things have calmed down a bit, I’m gonna go practice dealing with curses.” [Ryouma]
“That’s probably for the best. Be sure to talk to me if anything happens, though. I don’t know anything about lifting curses, but it doesn’t seem to be affecting me right now, so I’ll lend you an ear if you need it.” [Darson]
“Thank you very much. In fact, there is one thing. I’d like for you to continue facilitating the communication with the craftsmen involved in the development of new equipment. I’ll be leaving town more frequently, and there’s the nature of my curse too, so if you could do that, it would be a huge help.” [Ryouma]
“In that case, just leave it to me.” [Darson]
“I’ll leave it in your hands then. Oh, by the way, the former knight commander and royal court magician that I mentioned earlier will be dropping by here, so please give them the prototypes. As for the expense――” [Ryouma]
“Wait just one second.” [Darson]
Darson was shocked, and he looked at me with bloodshot eyes.
“D-Did you just say that Lord Gardak is coming? Here? To my store?” [Darson]
“As I mentioned in my story earlier, we were moving together, and I happened to tell them about those equipment. I’d hoped to get their assistance for testing and promotional purposes in case a proper product is released, but I guess it was a bad idea, after all?” [Ryouma]
“Of course… not! How could it possibly be a bad idea!?” [Darson]
Woah, he’s really pushing for it. Well, it’s good that there’s no problem, but… Why is he so intense?
“Darson-san, by any chance, are you a fan of Schieber-san’s?” [Ryouma]
“Of course… I am! In fact, almost all the men of my generation are admirers of Lord Gardak. Back in our youth, Lord Gardak wasn’t the knight commander yet, but he was already traveling all over the country, establishing all sorts of tales of valor.
I even met him once when he was still active and I’d just become S Rank, but I was a nervous wreck, and there was the ceremony too, so i wasn’t able to talk to him properly.” [Darson]
Oh my, looks like this is quite the serious fan we’ve got here. Well, it’s good that there aren’t any problems.
“I guess we should’ve dropped by yesterday then.” [Ryouma]
“Nah, if he came out of nowhere, it would have just been a repeat of the past. I appreciate the heads-up.” [Darson]
“I see. In that case, good luck.” [Ryouma]
“…Yeah. It would add prestige to my store too if the knight commander were to become our patron. So I’m gonna give it my all to make sure Lord Gardak is fully satisfied!” [Darson]
Darson-san pounded his chest and made a hearty smile, then as though he remembered something, he suddenly said.
“Oh, right. The armor craftsmen have a request. It’s about the fabric used for the blade-resistant inner vest and cloth armor. They want to go beyond researching just the slime threads and research the weaving techniques too.” [Darson]
“So they don’t want to just study the material, huh. I like their spirit. I’m willing to invest, but I’m not going to open my wallet without a proper plan.” [Ryouma]
“They haven’t reached that stage just yet, but they want to research a weaving method from the north known as ‘Stris Weaving’. If possible, they’d like to get some craftsmen that know about it.” [Darson]
According to Darson-san, the textile produced by that weaving technique is thick, soft, and durable so as to be able to withstand the harsh winters of the north. Its rich colors once made it highly valued by the northern nobles, and it was used to tailor flags and military uniforms.
However, that particular weaving technique was complicated and took much time and effort to produce textile. Compounded by the lack of successors, very few craftsmen are able to use that technique today.
“So, in other words, it’s one step away from becoming lost technology. That’s a point for concern then, as the northern nobles might want to monopolize the craftsmen learned in it. There could be unforeseen consequences if we try to recruit them recklessly. I’ll check with the duke first, so let’s put that on hold for now.” [Ryouma]
“Alright, I’ll tell them that. It will take a long time anyway even if they were willing to share their knowledge. Our craftsmen don’t think they’ll be able to produce results right away either. They just want it for reference at least. It’s a craftsman’s nature to be curious about other methods.” [Darson]
“That’s true. I also become curious whenever there’s knowledge pertaining to slimes and magic, so I can relate.” [Ryouma]
“Wait a sec, we were in the middle of talking about your equipment, weren’t we? Let’s get back to that. What should I do with this? I can repair it, but honestly, you’re better off just replacing it. It’ll be cheaper too. If there’s nothing wrong with the prototype, then we can take that approach too. In which case, you can just leave the disposal to me.” [Darson]
“Please repair it. It might have only been a year, but I’ve used it for quite a while and have grown attached to it some. Even if I decide not to use it, I at least want it to look nice.” [Ryouma]
“Let’s do that then.” [Darson]
“How much will that be?” [Ryouma]
“It’ll cost you 4 small gold coins.” [Darson]
“I’ll leave it to you then.” [Ryouma]
I paid with a pouch of gold from my Item Box.
“Thank you for your business. You can come back three days later to get it.” [Darson]
“Alright. Thank you again.” [Ryouma]
Now then, onto the next store.