Hour Empty Child
In the clear blue morning, after the party quest which ended triumphantly—and releasing themselves from the ‘Hunt the World’—Kudo and Hinota have never felt more released from pressure before until now. A breath of fresh air wafted over their tired souls from yesterday’s fights.
After their tired souls were reinvigorated from their sleep, the two excitedly hurried on over to the Adventurers’ Guild Hall, where they will take up on their Crafting’s Test.
After signing some documents, such as promising that they will not use their acquired Crafting Skills for anything else other than their purpose, such as creating weapons to hurt civilians and not monsters, and making Potions that does the opposite of their purpose to heal the drinker.
Once the duo signed them up, they took on the Crafting Test, issued by the Guild Master of the Adventurers’ Guild.
They required an intense knowledge of the Crafting Skill, such as their usage and history. And though it took them longer than they expected, they completed the test with ease. Though, their version of ‘taking longer than expected’ exceeded the Guild Master’s expectancy, since ordinary Adventurers would take hours to finish, and Kudo and Hinota only took about half an hour.
Because of the day before, after they finished the quest, Kudo bought some books about the Crafting Skill history, and they studied little by little in the course of the night.
With their eyes showing a faint blackness under their eyes, they aced their tests. The Guildmaster took their red-colored Growth Crystals and bestowed onto them the right to learn a Crafting Skill.
It was amazing. To Kudo’s eyes, he sees the Guild Master focus his mana into their Growth Crystals, making it glow like the very sun itself. Apparently, the Guildmaster has a great role in administering the rights to learn skills onto the Adventurers’ Growth Crystal, making his role incredibly important.
Finally, they attained the right to learn a Crafting Skill. They bowed in respect to the Guildmaster and offered their goodbyes since they won’t see the Guildmaster for a while.
Because soon, it’ll be time to leave.
They plan to head to the next city after learning their Crafting Skill to get a better grasp of the market and sales. They also plan on getting more powerful quests as Klein did not have any powerful quests for their future.
As they rested easily in the Adventurers’ Guild hall, they gazed at the new feature of attaining the right to learn a Crafting Skill:
They gained the knowledge to appraise equipment and items.
Basically, Adventurers who passed the Crafting Test are allowed to appraise the equipment and items. Just like checking out their internal stats, they can check out the stats and information regarding items and equipment—a valuable skill for any Adventurer to use for their Adventure.
Kudo and Hinota sat on their usual table at the Guild hall and looked at the status screen of Kudo’s sword, which they finally know the real name of Kudo’s sword.
Name: Iron Bastard Sword
An item created using simple iron. Its tough and durable blade can block most attacks, though compared to other swords, it’s lacking in sharpness which dulled its damage. The size is perfect for one and two-handed battle stances.
Requirements: [Level-1] [STR-5]
“Ah~ It looks so cool!” Kudo expressed his joy as his eyes glimmered at the sight of the new menu screen.
“The attack power is pretty low, but that’s expected of only a level 1 sword.” Hinota assessed it, then she asked: “Kudo, what does this word in brackets—‘Normal’ mean?”
“It means the Grade of the equipment. It shows them how good they are. There are 5 known so far, each ranging from lowest to highest: Normal, Rare, Unique, Ancient and finally Dragon, the highest known Grade so far.”
Kudo explained the Grades of the equipment, getting Hinota to realize a fact in her mind.
“Then, that means my katana is higher.”
Kudo spoke in astonishment as Hinota unsheathes her katana and places it onto their table. Kudo gazes at the keen katana, nicked and scratched from their battles together.
Kudo spoke softly as information regarding the katana opened up, revealing the stats of the weapon.
Name: Flamver Katana—The Sword of Love and Justice
An outstanding katana, forged by the flaming hot passions of the Flamver Blacksmith! Its fiery blaze made the katana incredibly powerful, capable of slashing through enemies in one slice! The only way this katana could ever be wielded to its maximum is by a user whose inner fire could burn the entire world!
Requirements: [Level-5] [STR-10]
Looking at the powerful-sounding description, Kudo was flabbergasted.
“T-That’s quite an inspirational description.”
“Please… don’t say anything.”
Kudo could tell from Hinota’s blushing face that she was not pleased with the description at all.
“You checked it out before?”
“No, the blacksmith sent it to me, telling me that it’s a 【Rare】 weapon. Though, I never bothered to ask what it meant.”
“Ah...” Kudo nodded as he takes another closer look, showing a look of small anguish. “Mmh, the katana can hardly take much more.”
Kudo could already tell without the stats in front of him that the katana’s nicked blade could hardly handle any more attacks, otherwise it would break immediately.
“Yeah, I have to take it to the blacksmiths in the Blacksmiths’ Guild a few ways from here, but repairing a katana like this would be expensive…”
This was the only way for a weapon or armor to restore their durability, which what you could say is the [HP] of the weapon. Taking it to a blacksmith will help restore the weapon, but in exchange for a quite a bit of jib. Kudo realized what she meant, and bared a huge grin on his face.
“Wait right there, Hinota! Now that we attained our right, we will no longer need to ask for repair!”
“Eh? Why is that?”
Kudo only left Hinota’s answer with a grand smile, leaving her to tilt her head as if a question mark appeared on her face.
After that, Kudo took Hinota out of the guild hall and straight towards the guilds near the Adventurers’ Guild Hall neighborhood.
“W-Where are we going, Kudo?”
Hinota was walking along with Kudo, completely led around the neighborhood where they saw other guilds around them, as well as the Adventurers who took a peek at the duo Adventurers since they became rather famous.
“We’re going to the Blacksmiths’ Guild! I’m going to take the 【Blacksmithing】 skill as my Crafting Skill!”
“E-Eh? Wait a minute!”
Hinota stopped in the middle of the street which led Kudo to turn back.
“I don’t think being a Blacksmith suits you, Kudo…”
“Eh? Why’s that!?”
Kudo seemed to not know the reason for Hinota’s opinion, leaving Hinota no choice.
“Well… I don’t think you might be strong enough to handle such a difficult job.”
“Don’t worry! I can handle anything when it comes to free items!” Kudo proudly pointed at himself with his thumb, showing a dignified expression which led Hinota’s sweat drop.
“So that’s the reasoning…”
Hinota now knows why Kudo is taking such a daunting task of a blacksmith. The 【Blacksmithing】 skill allows Adventurers to make metal weapons and full plate armors, powerful equipment needed for powerful Adventurers.
“And with this, we won’t ever have to ask others to repair our weapons! We can save a lot of money doing this!”
“But, then what about our Medium class armors? The 【Blacksmithing】 only fixes full plate armors and weapons.”
“As long as we’re careful, we can make our Medium armor last before we buy new equipment! The only thing we need to worry is our weapons’ repairs, and I can cover that!”
“Oh… now that I think about it, that sounds like a solid plan.”
Hinota was amazed at how Kudo’s ‘Cheap Farmer’s mind’ led him to make a sensible plan.
“Now, let’s go!”
Kudo led Hinota along as he brought her over to the guild where the Crafting Guilds were most known for:
The Blacksmiths’ Guild.
The appearance was that of a large stove. Smoke was coming out of the roof of the large, rectangle building with square windows, a few open for letting air in. The inside of the building was hot and steaming, and the sounds of grating metal were heard everywhere. Dozens of metal being pounded by strong iron hammers resounded constantly. The heat was provided by the intense molten liquid from forging the metals.
Kudo was already sweating after a minute, though Hinota was fine since she has a powerful internal heat, as they headed inside and saw a man giving out orders to his crafters.
“Hey! Hurry up and make the swords! Our customers are waiting! You three! Is that how you make the iron stronger!? Pathetic!”
The strong looking man, who wore an apron covered in black soot from forging weapons every day, took a glance at the new appearance of people coming in the hall.
“Oh, you two new? What, you want us to make you something?”
The man responded to the two, showing a look of surprise, as if he didn’t expect anyone coming in.
“Are you perhaps the GuildMaster of this guild?” Hinota asked to make acquaintance.
“That’s right. Is there something you want from me?”
“I-I actually completed the Crafting Test and gained the right to learn the skill. I would like to learn the 【Blacksmithing】 skill, please…”
Kudo’s voice was low as he began to talk. Thanks to his experience, he was able to talk to strangers a little bit better, but he was still hesitant.
“Eh? You!? But you look so…”
The GuildMaster takes a glance at Kudo who spoke up and analyzed Kudo’s body.
“…I don’t think you can handle this skill, young boy.”
“How come the both of you are saying this to me…? I would still like to learn!”
Kudo, having been depressed from getting the same comment, shouted back with a nearly frustrated tone as the Guildmaster of the Blacksmiths’ Guild ‘s head jerked back from his response.
“A-Alright. It’ll take a while before you can learn it. It takes approximately 3 hours, and you need to pay the Learning fee of 70,000 jib. See, it’s not easy to get that much money—”
“Here you go.”
“That was fast!”
Though the Guildmaster explained in a way that showed difficulty in getting the Jib, Kudo has already put his hand up with the bag that contained the necessary jib to learn the skill.
“W-Wow… you’re really serious, huh?” The Guildmaster was surprised which was then replaced with a beaming face. “Alright then! Boys, listen up!” The Guildmaster shouted to his crafters. “I’ll be taking my time to teach this fledgling some basics! Someone take over!”
The Guildmaster’s loud, booming voice rang out the hall, catching one of the attention of a young boy wearing the same apron on his chest with a white bandanna on his head.
“I’ll take over, Boss.”
“Alright. Then, you. What’s your name?”
“My name’s Kudo Braven.”
“Then, Braven-kun, follow me.”
With that, the Guildmaster nodded to his apprentice as he led Kudo away.
“Hinota, go ahead and do what you like since this will take a while.”
Before getting led, Kudo turned his head and spoke to Hinota before he left her behind. Hinota remained stood as she watched Kudo disappear to learn his new Crafting Skill.
Hinota spoke to herself as she starts to wrack her brain about the concept of Crafting Skills.
About two hours set in after Kudo has paid the learning fee, he started to watch the process of blacksmithing from the Guildmaster. The Guildmaster was creating a simple double-edged iron sword.
The process took a while, but the Guildmaster was an expert on creating weapons, so the process for him was quicker than most people. As Kudo watched the entire process, he starts to hesitate whether he could actually do it, and how much time was consumed by making one weapon.
This is taking longer than I thought…
Kudo expected that making swords was simple and wouldn’t take so long, yet it took 2 whole hours for an expert to make one simple sword. How long does Kudo have to spend to make his own sword? These questions filled his mind as the Guildmaster finally finished his product.
“Whoo! Now that’s a good looking sword if anything!”
The Guildmaster finished off by using cold water in a large metal basin, cooling off the heated sword which gave out an intensely hot steam. The Guildmaster yelled out as he pulled the cooled sword out, revealing the new naked blade to Kudo.
“You see, young boy, this is how you make the sword in the traditional way.”
This was the first time he heard it.
“Hahaha! What I showed you just now was how ordinary blacksmiths create swords. It’s very time-consuming and takes a lot of work. However, it is needed to learn how it is all made. But for us Adventurers, it’s a little different.”
The Blacksmith Guildmaster explained as it peaked Kudo’s interest.
“What do you mean a little different?”
The GuildMaster gave a wink as he showed his excitement on his face by putting the naked blade down and pulling something out of the benches. They were in a private room where the Blacksmith GuildMaster shows the ropes to new blacksmiths. It was a simple gray room with a forge in the back of the room and it had no ceiling, revealing the crystal blue sky which showed the intense sun, leaving the smoke created by the forge to be let out.
What caught Kudo’s attention is what the GuildMaster picked out. He put on a small contraption that resembled a rounded object with legs that helped it stand, similar to a cauldron with no opening on the top. In the middle of the object was a barred gate, and if Kudo looked closely, he could see something shining on the inside of the object.
“W-What is that?”
“This is a portable forge.”
“T-This small thing!?”
Kudo’s widened as if his eyes popped out. How could something so hot and heavy be turned into something so small and… easy to carry.
“Hahaha! Pretty shocking, ain’t it? But that’s the truth. If you still can’t believe me, I’ll show you!”
Kudo couldn’t believe that you can make a whole weapon out of something so small. Yet, here it was.
Using the materials needed to make a weapon, the Guildmaster used some pliers, an iron hammer, an anvil, and some Ores.
Ores are a type of rock that contains minerals needed to make precious metals for weapons and full plate armor. The ores are extracted and then refined to make iron for metal weapons and full plate armor. They are refined into ingots, bars made of whatever the Ore is made of. For example: An 【Iron Ore】 can be refined into 【Iron Ingot】, therefore used to create Iron weapons and armor.
The Guildmaster showed the process to Kudo by inputting the Ore into the forge inside of the empty slot and closed the barred gate. Then, he puts his hand onto the handle of the forge. The handle rested on the sides of the forge, and the middle of the handle had a strange grip that was studded with several crystals that shimmered under the sunlight.
The Guildmaster gripped onto the crystals and instilled his mana into the forge. The crystals started to glow, along with the crystal in the deep darkness of the forge, making the forge light up and become heated in a glorious flame.
“Whoa!” Kudo shouted after seeing the forge suddenly inflamed from the core.
The Guildmaster ceased his mana input, making the forge cease firing up as well. He opened the barred gate, and used his pliers to take the Ore out—
Or it would have, but the Ore was not there anymore. Now, it became a long bar of a beautifully gray Iron.
“T-The Ore from before changed into a full Ingot!? In that short amount of time!?”
“Hey, we’re still not finished yet! Pay attention!”
With a stern voice, the Guildmaster chided Kudo into silence as he went ahead and moved the small anvil to his side. Using the pliers, he carefully placed the iron bar, which was still heated from the fire, and hammered the 【Iron Ingot】 with his hammer.
Pound. Pound. The Guildmaster’s stern face was shown as he furiously pounded the Ingot with intense strength. Kudo could now see the reason why the requirements for accepting the 【Blacksmithing】 skill needed to have 15 [STR] stat.
As he pounded the ingot, Kudo could see the shape slowly changing into that of a thin blade. The Guildmaster’s hands slowly guided the ingot into that of a single double-edged blade. The handle was left naked, and the blade itself was still heated up even after it changed its form.
“With this, the design process is complete! Now to add in some materials!”
Kudo asked but the Guildmaster remained quiet. He only took out something from the benches underneath the table which was a fanged tooth. To Kudo’s eyes, he could see that it was from a Dauntless Wolf that the item came from.
The Guildmaster then throws the tooth into the forge and placed the naked blade into the forge itself. Kudo’s eyes widened widely as he sees the Guildmaster place the entire long blade into the forge, despite that the forge was too small to fit a whole blade inside.
“C-Could it be that the forge has its own dimension?”
“That’s right. The forge is made so that blacksmiths like us can create weapons and armor easily without constraint. Able to repair and make items easily in a battle is crucial for Adventurers. Of course, it takes time when you’re creating a masterpiece—always remember that.”
Leaving that last piece of advice, the Guildmaster closed the barred door and placed his hand on the studded handle again. The forge became inflamed once more as Kudo’s eyes widened as they reflected the beautiful fire that was being made.
“First you make the Ingots for the equipment. Then, you forge the sword however you like in whatever image you prefer, and then complete the complete image of your sword as you heat up with your mana. This part’s important because how much mana and how much focus you put into your imagination creates a more powerful equipment.
The fire ceased once more which got the Guildmaster to reveal the finished product. Kudo’s eyes began to show glints of excitement as he sees the same blade as before, only this time it was complete.
The sword’s blade was glimmering from the shining sunlight reflected on it, and the hilt below the blade was already tied up in a comfortable cloth for easier gripping.
“Us blacksmiths create weapons and armors with magic. By offering up a material, which was full of mana components, we can create various weapons and armors that suit every Adventurer. Of course, we can only make metal weapons, but since metal weapons are always popular—we’re always in business!”
The Guildmaster finished with a grand smile that formed on his face as Kudo was nearly about to explode.
“Then, let’s get you to learn this skill!”
After two hours passed, outside of the Blacksmiths’ Guild, Hinota remained sitting near the guild’s entrance, waiting for Kudo to come out.
Though, she wasn’t bored. In fact, she was using all this time to surmise her own role in their party.
Kudo was about to take on a Crafting Skill that is beneficial to both of them. So, in that regard, Hinota should learn something as well. But what? What can she learn other than 【Blacksmithing】? Should she become a clothier? An alchemist? Surely she wouldn’t be a woodworker, since she and Kudo do not need any bows and staves, and can just buy a bow for Hinota to use.
As these thoughts filled her mind and caused her to be concerned, Kudo walks out of the building and notices Hinota deep in thought.
“Hinota? I thought you left by now! Learning 【Blacksmithing】 takes a while you know…”
Kudo walked up to Hinota as she turned around, replacing her thoughtful expression with an annoyed pout.
“You took too long! And of course, I would stay here—what will happen if you fainted over there? It would really inconvenience them if you do that because you couldn’t handle it!”
“Hey, do you really think that less of me!?”
Kudo’s sweat dropped from hearing Hinota’s lack of faith in his stamina.
Hinota showed her concerned look from before, getting Kudo to notice.
“Kudo, what kind of Crafting Skill I should take? Is there any suggestions?”
That’s right. If Hinota cannot make a decision regarding adventuring herself, she could only ask the expert that taught her everything. Though, what he answered her was shocking:
“I can’t tell you that.”
Hinota widened her eyes as they practically begged him to answer it more in detail.
“Hinota, I picked 【Blacksmithing】 because I wanted to help repair our weapons and make armor to sell. Other than that, I also like it because I always thought making weapons was really cool!”
Kudo showed his excitement on his face as he revealed his Skill menu, and showed it to Hinota.
【Blacksmithing】 Lv. 1 (Proficiency: 0%)
Blacksmithing is the art of creating destructive weapons and protective armors. Depending on the skill, created weapons can become sharper, and armors can withstand a powerful blow or two. Learning this skill, one has the inherent ability to repair weapons using the portable forge, and is able to disassemble other discarded equipment back into Ingots.
Hinota was impressed at the first sight of the Crafting Skill up close.
“And I just realized that by taking on this skill, it’s more exciting and helpful than I thought! Hinota, I want you to feel the same way. If I just told you what to pick, I don’t think you’ll really like it, even if it’s something useful.”
“But…” Hinota trailed off. Her tone of voice was slightly quaking. “What if I pick a useless skill that none of us wanted?”
“Knowing you, Hinota, there’s no way you’ll pick something useless!”
Kudo clenched his fist in total faith for Hinota who couldn’t help but blush from his faith in her abilities.
“Geez… you shouldn’t rely on me so much. I’m still…”
“Hinota, you’re an expert too! You’re no longer the girl who had trouble against goblins. You’re now a [Rank C] Adventurer, so you should have faith in your decisions.”
Despite that she didn’t get the answer she was looking for, Kudo’s words and support made her realize just how her opinions matter to him. Hinota subconsciously shared a faint smile as she realized her role.
“You don’t have to pick it now; you can take your time realizing what suits you best.”
“Then, let’s head back to the inn and get something to eat. I’m starving…”
Kudo rubbed his stomach as Hinota also heard his stomach rumbling.
After they came back to the inn and enjoyed their meals, Kudo would try out his new skill when they reach the new town when they can find some Ores to use. As Kudo rests peacefully in his room, Hinota was not in the inn at all.
She, in fact, got out of the inn when the sky has succumbed to the moonlit night, where every civilian and Adventurer alike were about to head in to sleep.
Of course, the guilds are active even in nighttime because there might be Adventurers who would come at night. They can only stay up until 2:00 am, so Hinota took the chance to look for a respective Crafting Guild that she might be interested in.
Back at her household, she would never even consider taking a Crafting Skill since her family had blacksmith and clothier servants ready to make her weapons and armor. However, after seeing Kudo’s excited face after he received his own Crafting Skill, she wanted to replicate the same feeling for herself.
“Hah… none of the Crafting Guilds speaks to me. It’s as if there’s no skill out there for me.”
Try as she might, Hinota just couldn’t get herself motivated taking up any Crafting Skill available to her. She stood by a random building in the guilds’ neighborhood as she was overwhelmed by her thoughts.
As Hinota sighs, she didn’t notice through her deep thought somebody approaching her from behind with a slight gait.
“Hey there! Little miss!”
Hinota heard a slightly high-pitched voice, almost unsheathing her katana that she placed around her waist for protection.
“Ah, I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to frighten you!” The young woman shouted as she put her hands up to calm Hinota down.
As Hinota did so, she observes the woman who nearly scared her. She was a young woman with golden brown hair that reaches up to her neck. But what set her apart from the other girls was that she was wearing a black and white maid uniform. It was a strange getup for Hinota, as she was used to being served by servants wearing traditional robes.
“I saw you outside our guild, so I thought you were thinking about whether to come in or not.”
The young maid said sheepishly as Hinota became surprised. She didn’t think she was in front of a guild. She looked at the building behind the maid, only to see an obscure building that was nearly unrecognizable from a distance. The building was smaller than the others, enough so that their shadows overwhelm the view of the building.
It was strange that it was a Crafting Guild. Hinota saw the sign on top of the building’s doors, seeing two crystals banded together with a mystifying ribbon.
“What guild is this?” Hinota curiously asked as the maid became surprised which then changed into a dispirited look.
“Ah, so you don’t know… figures. Hardly anyone would come to our Enchanters’ Guild.”
“Yes! It’s a new guild created some time ago! We only just moved in… but hardly anyone visited us.”
The maid responded as she slightly pokes her two index fingers together in a sheepish manner. Hinota’s eyes widened to hear that a new guild was created.
“S-So, what do enchanters do?”
“Ah, let me tell you!” The maid quickly changed her tone and attitude. “It’s an incredible Crafting Skill that allows you to imbue power into your weapons and armors!”
Imbue power? As in it makes equipment stronger? Hinota’s eyes widened as she tries to find out more about the skill.
“How can it do that?”
“The 【Enchanting】 skill allows you to use your mana to imbue different kinds of power-ups for your equipment, using a scroll to learn how to imbue an enchantment and then use up materials, such as monsters’ loots, to give shape to the enchantment! It’s a terrific skill, and it hardly spends much mana!”
“No way…” Hinota was left in bewilderment at this supposedly great skill. “Then, how come nobody goes here to learn it? It sounds incredible from the summary alone.”
The maid sighed deeply, making Hinota felt that she might have touched a troublesome subject for her.
“It’s because we mess up on our locations, making our building look so pitifully dark and unwanted. And hardly anyone knows of the existence of 【Enchanting】 in Peranim. We’re lucky to have a funding before we started this…”
The maid sighed once again as she regretted making her decisions that led her to be in this predicament. However, a powerful skill that can imbue power to equipment, and hardly costs only mana and monsters’ loot? Hinota’s mind worked faster than ever before as she made her decision.
“I-If it’s alright with you… can I see more in-depth the 【Enchanting】 Crafting Skill?”
“AH!” The maid responded with glittering eyes and a shocked expression. “You want to learn our skill!? That’s great! Amazing!”
Inhaling her voice, she turned to the building besides them:
Suddenly the maid shouted towards the building, and from that loud shouting, the door of the building opened up, revealing two more beautiful maids; a bigger and more voluptuous blond haired woman and a petite pink-haired maid, making any man that would lay their eyes on them become instantly infatuated.
“These are my sisters! The blond one is my beautiful older sister, Kiya. And the cute pink one is my adorable little sister, Suno!”
“And finally, I am the middle! The manliest sister! The name’s Yuno, nice to meet you!”
Hinota’s arm was taken by Yano’s arms as her eyes glittered like the starry sky. Hinota felt taken aback at how nobody in this town notices these three beautiful sisters living here in this building.
“Please come in!”
“My, my, we caught quite a pretty one~”
“Don’t mess this up, Onee-chan!”
“I won’t, so stop your griping!”
The sisters began to converse easily as they took Hinota into their building by dragging her there. Hinota was worried about some things, but she decided to leave those worries behind as she learns more of this new skill.
Hinota is getting pulled to learn a new Crafting Skill! How will it turn out!?