The Uncle and the Feast
While waiting for me to arrive into town, the entire town had become impassioned.
Ludao was killed by the bandits. The Barkers had been toppled. The magic beast had vanished.
The bandits had been tied up neatly. Like beads on a string, they slowly headed into their prison.
Based on Uncle Bone’s announcement, I had been cast as the great hero who had saved the entire town.
Despite me trying to reject them, the town still held a feast. The property found when the Barker house was searched was returned to the original inhabitants of the town. The liberated peasants sang, and the whole town regained its exuberant vitality.
The center of the plaza was lit up brightly. Everyone sang and drank their fill.
I really did not enjoy this kind of gathering, but it was difficult to refuse such grand hospitality.
The reason I did not want to participate is simple. I could not show my face, so I could only watch them eat and drink. Strong scents from the delicious food before me assailed my nostrils. I could only swallow my saliva, and tell myself to be still like a lake that is a perfect mirror.
But to speak frankly, my appetite wasn’t too great either.
“Raise your glasses, everyone! Many thanks to Lord Masked Hero!”
“Thank you, Lord Masked Hero!!”
A spate of cheerful echoes came forth.
I could not show my identity, so I had no way of rejecting the nickname. Fortunately, no one had seen me take off my cloak and scarf. This kind of baseless nickname did not matter.
On the other hand, Ka Luona and the inspection official had already talked things over. Afterwards, the town would have direct jurisdiction over itself. The law would gradually return to normal. Though because the reinstatement of tax collection is leading to the numbers of travelling merchants to decrease, the flourishing quality of the town is much stronger than before.
The banquet was in full swing when I asked Uncle Bone in a quiet voice:
“Are we going back to the blacksmith shop? I am not suited to being a hero. You didn’t forget that you were going to teach me about forging, right?”
“Of course this old geezer hasn’t forgotten.”
“Ladies and gentlemen!”
I raised my glass and stood to speak.
“I just happened to pass by this place, and because of my beliefs in courage, I drew my sword to help. Everyone, you do not need to worry. After you have taken back your authority, you are the upright original inhabitants! From now on, please eat of your own strength. Have the courage to continue on living! I believe that all of you have experienced bitter hardships, so that you can build a better tissue. At the same time, just because you have endured bitter hardships doesn’t mean that you can harm others! I have no more words! Have a wonderful night everyone!”
“OOOOOO Lord Masked Hero!!”
“Everything is so lovely! Cheers, everyone!!”
“Don’t stop the music and dancing! Today, let’s get plastered!!”
The sounds of cheerful laughter went on forever.
This is good.
I took a rope and tossed it to the people in hell, but I won’t pull them out. What I just did here was laying down the rope, but for them to escape the abyss of suffering, it depends on whether they’re willing or not to climb out. It is all their choice.
There is a verse inside Faust.
“Is it love? Or is it hate? Revolving around our selves.
Between bitterness and happiness, the alternation of the two cannot be conveyed in words.”
Full of love for the future, flooded with hate for the past, bearing both hardships and joys while surviving,
I believe in the recovery ability of this little town. If I hadn’t beaten away the bad people, the bullied people would’ve survived happily. There would be a time when they would become used to their positions as slaves. If it was like that, I would’ve had no clue what to do. I’ve done what needed to be done, but the battle has just begun. Moreover, it wasn’t a fight that I could intervene in.
“Uncle Bone, what did you say about forging?”
“Let me take a look at the sword at your waist.”
I took off the black tachi and presented it with two hands.
“This sword has a very high degree of completion.”
“But what you’re saying is that it still hasn’t reached total completion.”
Uncle Bone started a fire, then took my sword and placed it on the stove.
“I haven’t made any weapons since long ago, but since you saved the town, I will fulfill our agreement.”
He raised the hammer, and began to forge at a dazzling speed/
Ping pang pang ping. The sounds of hammering were incomparably ear-piercing, but gradually it became harmonious. The tune became very wonderful, like dewdrops sliding off the leaves of a willow by the lakeside into the wader. Pusu, pusu.
I had never seen this technique, so I was dumbfounded.
Uncle Bone turned back to me:
“You should not have been a forger for more than five years, no?”
“Yes. I just started making weapons two years ago, and I opened my own weapon shop.”
Uncle Bone put down his hammer.
“It’s really sad that this old geezer could never to catch up to you even if he made weapons his whole life. Your genius is incomparable.”
“But your hammer technique from just now…”
Uncle Bone smiled bitterly and shook his head.
“Forging metal is a feast. Just like a banquet, there must be liveliness and festivities. It needs life. Forging metal isn’t just for removing impurities, but is also to give the weapon a soul.”
Uncle Bone nodded his head seriously.
“Good weapons have souls.”
I stood to the side in deep contemplation. Uncle Bone suddenly spoke in realization:
“Right, I still haven’t asked you why you wanted to go travelling.”
“The first time I saw my companion, she was carrying a sword that was better than what I could make. I planned to go find the forger and learn their techniques.”
“Better than your black sword?”
“Yes, I only made that by accident. Her sword is the real deal.”
Uncle Bone gave a long sigh.
“It’s the principal of the Hero School, Maylise, isn’t it.”
I was shocked.
Seeing my surprise, Uncle Bone forced a laugh and said:
“If it’s a sword better made than this one, it could only be that person. That person is a genius, you need to be careful. She is very old and difficult to get along with.”
“But seeing your forging skills, you should be able to make a sword that is not inferior in any aspect. Why don’t you make weapons?”
“My wife used a sword I had made to commit suicide.”
To this, I couldn’t really say anything
“I’m sorry about that. Could you teach me your forging techniques?”
“You are a forger. You need to fumble around about this small matter yourself. Since you want to go find Maylise, however you say it you want to become a stronger forger. Her level is not just a little higher than yours. If you can’t do this, then Maylise probably won’t accept you.
When the protagonist of Osamu Daizai’s Right and Smile, Serikawa, paid a visit to the teacher Saito, Saito just asked the maid to hand him a note, with only three words, “Spring Autumn Seat”. Serikawa wanted to asked for more details, but he didn’t think that behind the screen, an eavesdropping Saito would yell out: “Solve it yourself!”
As expected, the master teaches the juniors this way.
Thinking this, I couldn’t help but respect Bone.
I returned to the feast, but the feast had already ended.
Little Elan had eaten till she was very full and was happily nestled against Little Hairball, dozing off.
The girls of the village were surrounding Ka Luona asking all sorts of questions, like how she takes care of her skin, how to enter the Hero Academy, the kind of life at the school. Ka Luona’s smile was very happy.
Mademoiselle Specter was perched on the rooftop, looking at the boundless, starry sky. I didn’t know what she was thinking.
Tomorrow, I will start on a new journey.