Chapter 57 – The First Smithing Practice and the Boat Trip
Eiji decided that his apprentices would be allowed to do the whole process from the beginning.
The first in the order were Katharina, and then Dante.
After fixedly gazing at the metal hammer, Katharina smiled broadly.
Her eyes were suspiciously getting wet.
I wonder if it’s due to her being happy from holding a tool for the first time. – Eiji thought.
While lightly hammering the anvil, which had nothing on it, she made sure of the sensation.
– With this I’ll strike and craft things, won’t I?
– That’s right. But before that, let’s hold the fire tongs first.
– Ah, yes.
– Using this pair of fire tongs, grip the lump of iron and put it into the furnace.
– Like this?
Once Katharina carefully grabbed the material with the pair of firetongs, she inserted it inside the furnace.
Using the fire shovel, Eiji stirred the charcoal inside and placed them on top of the iron.
– Hey, pull the right string. We need the watermill to operate and deliver the wind.
– Uwa, Uwaa. The charcoal is turning red! What’s more, it’s becoming hot.
Gigigi – the creaking sound of the wood was heard as the watermill began to rotate.
Being confused with each mechanism, Katharina showed a surprised reaction. For Eiji, it was an enjoyable experience.
Despite the furnace shining dazzlingly, she watched the flames with her serious pupils.
Her usual remarks fell silent, and her face directly expressed the scene before her eyes.
– Master, the front of the furnace turned hot at once, didn’t it?
– That’s because we built the fire, you see. Well then, try to pull the iron using the fire tongs. The iron has probably turned red, hasn’t it? Let’s prepare for the hammering.
– Yes, please!
Katharina placed the iron lump on the anvil.
The iron lump was radiating deep red and emitting heat.
For a short moment, she stared at the heated iron while remaining silent.
The metal hammer, which was held in her right hand, was raised silently overhead.
And then, produced a big sound—-
The metal mallet swung downward.
Holding a large mallet, Eiji took the charge of being an Aizuchi.
The hammer was thrown off at his whim and thoughts.
The lump stretched and hardened, changing its shape freely.
Interjecting his words from time to time, Eiji continued to adjust the iron’s form even though he was stretching it with a large hammer.
Usually, a skillful master would hold a small mallet, whereas, his disciple would use a big one.
However, for only this single day, Eiji decided to do it reversely.
It was so as to learn the joy of making everything.
What’s more, it’s possible to create an item using a large hammer as long its making is simplistic to a certain degree, just like it would be possible with the spring hammer and the water-powered one.
Her movements are good – Eiji thought.
He understood that it was thanks to her genuinely swinging with the pickaxe every day.
Because the lower part of her body and her shoulders area growing balanced, the mallet won’t shake when swung.
Forming the shape of the angular lump, the iron turned rectangular and showed a smooth surface.
After making a hole with a chisel, the shape will be adjusted so as to to give it a pattern.
Only this part of the procedure was to be carried out by Eiji.
It took them about 30 minutes.
The time was slightly short, but a mallet was created as the result.
Eiji could understand that she was excited with her first set of works.
Katharina’s expression was spellbound and her eyes became empty.
Her posture of wiping the sweat with her arm was charming everywhere.
As soon as Katharina deeply exhaled her breath, she sighed as if getting burned.
– I’m deeply moved….
– Katharina, was smithing enjoyable for you?
– It was the best. It became hot, making it impossible for me to think. And when I started to swing the mallet with no obstructive thoughts… the item was done before I noticed.
– You did well.
– Ehehe….thank you. Master, ah…
Katharina, who was praised, turned bashful, as she smiled like getting embarrassed.
Nihehe – after she bent her mouth, she stared at her own hands.
Once Eiji checked, he noticed small blisters appearing on her hands due to the repetitive hard labor.
These were hands of a good-working person.
She noticed his sight.
– Ehehe, my hands don’t look girlish, do they?
– They are hands of a laborer, so they’re fine.
– You mean so? It doesn’t sound cute.
Katharina looked sad, which was a rare sight coming from her.
Even though she had her heart set on becoming a blacksmith, as expected, it probably wasn’t possible for her to completely abandon her thoughts of wanting to be pretty.
As if trying to console her, Eiji took Katharina’s hands.
– Master’s hands are much more rugged than mine. Both fingers and palms are full of blisters.
– That’s right. Once you swing with a hammer every day, your hands will become like this whether you put gloves on or dislike it. That’s why, if you grow attentive of that, it will be your loss. Rather than that, shouldn’t they make you proud as a laborer?
– Proud, you say?
– Yes. They are the proof of your good work.
Katharina gazed at her hands.
Clenching them firmly, she put her power into them.
The proof of my good work? – she muttered with a small voice.
– I, don’t mind!
– Then, I think it will be fine.
– Oi, Master. The two of you seem to be quite in good moods, but, just when are you going to teach me?
– Good grief, I guess taking care of my disciples’ feelings is also part of the master’s job. Hey, Katharina-san, switch places with Dante, and do some observational study from behind.
– Understood, Master. *Sound of sticking one’s tounge*
Sticking out her tongue toward Dante, she switched places with him.
I wonder whether or not she wanted to craft more items – Eiji thought.
– Hehee, so is it finally my turn? Good grief, it’s not good to only wait.
– Did you understand how it works from the observation? Since Dante is a strength-type of person, let’s use a somewhat larger steel material.
– Aye, leave that to a huge guy like me. With my power, even 10 kilos will be light.
-……..The anvil alone weighs this much. 
– How about you think a bit more before speaking?
– Shut up. It’s about one’s spirit, spirit. I’ll show you what I’m capable of.
Holding a pair of fire tongs, Dante quickly inserted the steel material inside the furnace.
Doing one’s best is probably a good thing.
There were unusually many of small misses in his conduct, nevertheless, his movements themselves were quick.
Tagging next to Dante, Eiji added some pieces of advice.
– Strike it while it’s hot, and operate with the tongs so as to properly adjust its shape.
– The iron is still hard, so if I do so, won’t it become considerably soft?
– There’s too much heat.
– When you add too much of heat, the carbon will fall out, making the iron become soft at the time of cooling it.
– Say that earlier!
– I think you were the one who told me not to say anything when you’re concentrating.
– Ain’t you mumbling there?! You don’t feel well, I guess?
– Hey there, be silent.
Was it perhaps due to Dante being boisterous?
The atmosphere, which was tense a while ago, fell silent and was now filled with an enjoyable one.
Dante moved skillfully.
He swung well with the small mallet while quickly adding his power to the iron. It didn’t seem like his boast of strength was far from the truth.
There was still a need to correct its shape, but the item was made even faster than the one made by Katharina.
Speed is also one of the abilities needed.
Provided his skills improve in the future, Dante will probably become a laborer who can surpass Katharina’s delicate job in terms of speed.
– Well then, I think Pietro has made it several times up to now, but will you try it again?
– With pleasure!
With all the new disciples finished, it was Pietro to be last in turn.
Having made nothing but arrow heads til now, his handling of the mallet was more precise than the rest.
The right timing of the heated furnace, the right time to take out the material, Pietro understood well when to pay attention to various points.
The experience, which he gained during the last half a bit year, was actually showing its fruit.
Katharina, Dante, and the rest were first going to memorize his work so as to follow after Pietro.
By teaching the other disciples his own experience, Pietro will be able to reconfirm his possessed skills.
A system where a lack of knowledge and imperfectness were supplemented by Eiji had been developed.
– Well then, shall we test out the things you’ve made?
– Uwa, mine feels somehow unbalanced. It that really my product?
– Mine’s way too light, I guess.
– In my case, it’s just right.
Every one of them held and lightly swung with their mallets while checking them.
Each of them tilted with their heads as they couldn’t be fully satisfied with their initial job; nevertheless, glad smiles resurfaced on their faces.
Unlike their workmanship, gaining the experience of making the first tool for themselves may have been more delightful.
And then, Pietro’s mallet was a quality item that could withstand practical use.
– You did it. This experience will come in use.
– Uhehe. It’s thanks to master’s guidance.
Pietro, indeed, smiled joyfully.
Gently brushing, while disheveling, Pietro’s hair, Eiji stood in front of the furnace again.
– Well then, Shall we add some adjustments? Detach the hammer’s grip and lend me its head.
Eiji grabbed the mallet’s head with the firetongs.
The pupils immediately moved and peeked sincerely at Eiji’s hands from each angle so as to steal his skills, even if it was just a bit.
Eiji too, didn’t say anything unnecessary.
Dante’s mallet, as well as Katharina’s, while considering each user’s characteristic, Eiji adjusted the shape.
Every time the red-scorched iron produced a sound, the mallet was sorted out into the desirable shape.
His movements were flawless.
Because there were no useless moves, the quality of his conduct was precise and faster than anyone else’s.
– Amazing…..it’s forming splendidly….
Katharina murmured, as if being deeply impressed.
There’s a functional beauty in a shape that allows a simple use.
But even without that, one can understand how touching something is from its appearance.
While you can understand from just the look, manufacturing an item is actually a tough task.
Even if one can grasp the beauty of a picture, it doesn’t mean that the person can draw it beautifully.
For creating beautiful things, a mass of experience is required despite perceiving their beauty.
Pietro, Dante, and Katharina watched, with respectful eyes, how Eiji was sustaining the heat from the furnace and wiping the sweat from his forehead while continuing his work.
– Fuuuu. As expected, I’m tired. Then, should we it try one more time?
– Incredible. What’s this? Is that really the same hammer from before?
– Ahh…..it’s pretty…..
– As one would expect, Master is amazing.
Observing reactions from each of them, Eiji confirmed that their words were most likely genuine.
– A mere and small adjustment of details can greatly influence the flexibility of application. That’s why, by no means should you forget about the small details.
Yes – hearing their nice and vigorous reply, Eiji nodded.
All that he was supposed to say was told, and today’s work concluded.
– How’s that? My hammer. It’s probably magnificent.
– Fufun. Mine’s is much easier to operate.
– That’s because it’s a one-of-a-kind-item. It’s just natural for its owner to use it the easiest.
– My hammer…..kukuku.
– Ahh……my body is on fire!
Looking at his hammer, Dante put a bold smile on his face, and turned ecstatic.
His posture, which resembled that of a villain raising his voice, on the contrary, looked like that of a child, making Eiji feel pleasant.
Once Katharina clasped her body to her breast, she twisted it in a wriggling manner.
Seeing how her hands pushed up her voluptuous chest as it shook with a jiggle, Eiji quietly averted his eyes.
By no means will he lose to such temptation.
And neither his heart will sway.
It’s because this workplace was a sanctuary for him.
That was unexpectedly close – Eiji thought.
The three other pupils, whose presences were usually low-profiled, were now stirred with excitement.
Watching that, Eiji agreed while nodding deeply.
From now on, they were going to increase their own special purpose tools, as well as their labor.
As soon as they do so, the labor efficiency in the workshop will soar up.
By teaching them skills that will allow them to possess their own specialization, they will probably be able to separate things reasonably into distinct parts.
Originally, there have been many blacksmiths who became independent in their own field of expertise.
Saw smithing, plane smithing, it won’t be strange even if there are blacksmiths categorized by the number of tools alone.
Looks like I can have expectations in them – Eiji thought.
The wind blew.
It was a strong wind that blew from downstream to upstream.
The river that was proud for its abundance in water continued to flow while generating tiny sounds of water.
The closer you go near the center of the river, the deeper the water level becomes.
Eiji watched the transparent water from the riverside.
Behind him, Tanya stood without uttering a word.
The water surface glittered with the reflected sunlight.
Looking deep inside the opposite direction of the river, there was an unfolding forest which didn’t make it seem like one could enter it.
Between them, there was a thin straight path that led to Nazioni city. If one walks it, they could reach the city in several days.
In addition to Tanya, Fernando was standing there.
– Eiji-kun, you really plan to travel with “this”?
– Yeah, I might have told you the minimum of the job, but it will probably endure its first period. Fernando-san made it, so I’m not worried…
– Well, I guess that would be fine. Since it’s the first time, as expected…
– It’s the first time for me to see Fernando-san being anxious like this. Is it going to rain tomorrow?
– Tanya-chan, you’re too cruel.
Fernando, who was always full of confidence when it came to his job, made a hoarse voice, which was rare for him.
In front of Eiji’s eyes, there was a single boat.
It was a newly built boat used for trading purpose, furnished with sail and oars.
After being suggested by Eiji, the boat was built by Fernando and his disciple, Thomas.
Still, besides the fact that it was their first boat ever, Fernando seemed to be quite worried about its possible sinking and overturning.
It will be fine – Eiji said with an easygoing attitude.
He believed in Fernando’s skills to such extent.
Eiji also knew that Fernando had been secretly making many small-sized boats.
The boat was now being loaded with cargo on the riverside.
Mike and Dante, who were in the center of attention, took charge of transporting the goods onto the boat.
In addition to their special products, which consisted of a large amount of processed fur items and wool made during winter, the boat was packed with Eiji’s farming tools, anvils, and bellows.
The anvil was just made the other day. Because its inside was wood-made, it was suited for carrying.
Before, Eiji had doubts regarding trading with a cart.
Beginning with Siena and Tal village, there were other villages at the downstream of the river.
The role of the river water was to ensure that there’s enough of water for agriculture. Despite that, it’s much more efficient to use it for boat transportation.
At first, Eiji’s emphasis on using the boat didn’t receive consents, since nobody in Siena had ever used them. Nevertheless, after a patient explanation, everyone submitted in the end.
Tanya was aiding Eiji from behind.
– Oi, the preparations are done.
– I’ll be there right away! Well then, Tanya-san, while I’m away, please remember about me.
– Leave it to me. Again, I’ll do my best to improve my cooking skills and prepare a delicious meal for you. Eiji-san, please take care of yourself so as not to get any injury or fall ill.
– Tanya-san too, don’t overwork yourself. If anything happens to the child, there will be no end to my regretting.
– I’ll pay attention.
– Let’s go, Fernando-san.
Eiji embarked onto the boat.
Mike and Dante pushed the boat out.
Gigigi – while producing this sound, the boat slowly swayed and advanced little by little toward the downstream.
– I’m off!
– Take care of yourself!
Waving his hand, Eiji continued to watch Tanya, who saw him off for a short while.
Her silhouette gradually turned small.
Finally, the boat went along the river and changed its course, with Tanya’s figure disappearing from his sight.
Eiji faced forward.
The wind blew, it was strong and chilly.
There were no obstructions in the way of the wind which he felt on the river.
On the left and right side, there were riverbeds and sandbars. In front of them, a deep forest continued to unfold endlessly.
Together with the chirps of the birds, the sound of oar rowing in the river was heard from time to time.
Without anyone in the party uttering a word, the boat was advancing steadily.
Eiji’s aim wasn’t just Tal village.
He planned to visit all the villages near the river.
Translator and reference notes:
:: It’s called nihera smile. Here’s how it looks: http://blog-imgs-61.fc2.com/c/h/a/chain001/140210-0222490148-1440x810s.jpg
: Not sure about this one. Also, this and the later discussion will sound strange. mainly because third party people are interfering(I presume Katharina and some other disciples)
: Same as above.
: Their is a superstition saying that it will rain whenever a bad omen appears. In this case, it’s Fernando worrying.