That same day, late in the afternoon, Calian opened the vault by manipulating the magic pattern lock.
Old Calian didn’t have a memory of unlocking the vault because he had never unlocked it himself, so Calian could only rely on his own memory of Yan opening it before.
After getting it wrong a few times, he finally managed to unlock it.
The vault was just big enough for Calian to step in. Inside the vault, as he had seen before, there were a few documents and quite a lot of money. After staring at them for a bit, Calian picked up a handful each of gold, silver, and copper coins and placed them in a pouch. He left the cheques in the vault and stuffed the pouch in his inner pocket.
“Sorry. I’ll borrow just a little bit,” whispered Calian.
Yan, who would have asked what part of that money was ‘a little bit’, was already outside; hence, nobody replied to Calian’s words.
In front of Chermil Palace, Alan was waiting for Calian with Yan, holding a black robe. Beside him, Raven stood with one leg bent as if to boast his horsley dignity.
“Raven,” called Calian in delight. Raven responded with a whinny.
Yan handed over Raven’s reins to Calian and asked anxiously,
“Are you sure that you would be alright without me, Your Highness?”
He seemed to have forgotten that Calian would be accompanied by the world’s strongest mage.
Calian nodded firmly and mounted his horse. Alan narrowed his eyes as we watched his student mount his horse with even greater ease than before. Although it looked like a lot was going through his mind, Alan soon dismissed his thoughts.
“Don’t worry about things you don’t need to worry about. His Majesty gave permission, and I will be by his side as well,” said Alan to Yan.
“Yeah, don’t worry. I’ll be back by daybreak tomorrow,” said Calian without warning and Raven took it as a signal to gallop off.
Yan’s eyes looked as if they would bulge out of their sockets.
“Tomorrow? You promised to come back before midnight, Your Highness!”
Of course, Calian was already far away.
Alan pat Yan’s shoulders as if to cheer him up and followed after Calian.
After successfully leaving behind Yan and leaving the palace with Alan’s company serving as assurance to the King, Calian quickly put on the robe that Alan had given him. Its large hood veiled his hair and eyes.
“I used to cover my face for an entirely different reason… this feels a little strange, Teacher,” said Calian excitedly. After all, this was the first time that he had any time to himself since waking up in Calian’s body.
“Are you that excited?” asked Alan.
“Yes, I… was looking forward to this very much.”
He had managed to stop himself from blurting out it’s been a while since I had last gone out. This was Old Calian’s first outing, after all. Alan replied with a smile and nodded.
Calian ruffled Raven’s mane playfully and asked,
“Did His Majesty really give permission?”
“Well, Rumein should’ve gotten the report regarding Your Highness’s outing about now,” replied Alan nonchalantly, as if it were none of his business. It was clear that he hadn’t told Rumein about this.
“I figured as much.” Calian wasn’t particularly worried. He trusted Alan to handle it.
Rumein had indeed just received a report that Calian left the palace, which he simply brushed off with a nod. He also trusted Alan to take care of Calian.
“I’ll be off then, teacher.”
Therefore, Alan – who was supposed to take responsibility for this outing – raised his eyebrows when Calian dropped this news on him.
“Are you saying that you will leave me behind as well?”
“Yes,” nodded Calian without hesitation.
The purpose of Calian’s outing was to purchase some materials needed in order to fight against Silica’s poisonous tea. He was also planning to find Kyrie while he was at it. He couldn’t let Alan come along as all of this required him to act not as Calian, but as Bern.
Calian even put up a show in preparation for his outing. This morning, he dropped the tea and pretended that it was an accident in order not to take the poison. If something were to happen when he was roaming around alone, he at least had to be able to run away. Although it was a method that he wouldn’t be able to use twice, it didn’t matter as he planned to keep drinking the tea from tomorrow on.
“I’ll be back before sunrise,” added Calian.
After a moment of thought, Alan nodded.
“The Mages’ Union headquarters is on Teinansha Street. I will be stalling there, so please come by when your business is over.”
In fact, he had given his permission so easily that Calian was the one who was taken aback.
The spies who were dispatched in Kyrisis had already sent Secretia a map of this city during Bern’s lifetime. In fact, Bern knew his way around Kyrisis better than Old Calian.
Calian nodded confidently.
“Yes, teacher. Thank you.”
Alan did not probe further about what Calian was planning to do, nor did Calian bring up the subject. They split up as soon as they reached the plaza.
Calian’s first destination was Vanensha Street, which was across the Senyu River and to the East.
— clip clop, clip clop!
Since it was in the law of Kyrisis that one must not run on horses, Calian controlled Raven at a trotting pace. The rhythmical echo of Raven’s hooves striking the pavement lifted up Calian’s mood. Calian smiled as he nodded in sync to Raven’s movement.
It wasn’t difficult to find Vanensha Street.
Although it was almost sundown, the street was filled with constant hammering noises; Calian only needed to follow the sound. As he sniffed the metallic scent in the air, he was filled up with a sudden reminiscence.
“Who knew that I’d be so happy to smell this scent again… after I was so fed up with it,” muttered Calian.
Vanensha was a street of blacksmiths. Over twenty shops were lined up along the sides of a small road. Since the Secretian spies never reported on which smithy forged the best weapons, Calian got off Raven and led him by his reins as he walked along the street, carefully examining each shop’s products.
“None of them really catches my eyes,” murmured Calian.
Just as he was getting disappointed, one smithy finally caught Calian’s attention. Unlike other shops, they only had weapons without shields and armours. The quality of their goods was quite decent even at a glance. Calian stopped in front of the storesign that read ‘Roten Smithy’.
“Welcome! Are you here for a sword?” greeted the boy who seemed to be working at the store.
Calian nodded and handed him the reins. He slipped a coin in the boy’s hand and entreated,
“Don’t try to pet him. Better off just take him and tie his reins to a post.”
The boy gulped nervously. How cute, Calian thought, and slipped him another coin.
Calian patted the boy’s head.
“He’ll be well-behaved as long as you don’t try to touch him, so don’t worry.”
After sending the boy away, Calian entered the shop and looked around.
A middle-aged man who seemed to be the owner of the smithy stepped into the shopping area. He seemed to forge the products himself – his thick, muscular arms were glistening with sweat.
“Are you looking for anything in particular?”
“Do you have a sword for a boy around seventeen years of age? It can be as long as an adult’s, but I’d like for it to be light. The kid hasn’t held a sword in a while.”
The man stared at Calian questioningly.
He talked as if he were asking for a sword that was for a child much younger than him, yet his voice sounded nowhere near as old as seventeen.
However, he knew better than anyone that prying too deeply in a place like this could immediately reduce his lifespan.
The man nodded.
“Yes, please wait just a moment. I will bring some out for you.”
When the man disappeared deeper into the shop, Calian studied the other weapons that were on display.
Just then, a small knife about the size of one span of his hand caught his eye.
It had no handguard for the purpose of hiding it in one’s clothes and its sheath had a leather belt attached to it so that the user could buckle it around their arm.
Calian reached out his arm and picked it up. Although it was just a knife, he could tell by the grip that it was well-balanced. When he drew the knife, its sharp iron blade gleamed under the light. Calian’s face lit up with satisfaction.
“This should be enough for me.”
Calian had not asked the owner for his own weapon. It was for Kyrie, whom he had encountered on the way to the horseback riding show, to use during practice.
Even if Calian were to use a sword himself, he wouldn’t be able to use one that is forged using common iron as it wouldn’t withstand his aura for long.
‘I guess the same goes for my body right now too,’ he thought.
He recalled the cry of his sword that shattered on the day of Bern’s death.
Of course, it would be safe and sound right now, but Calian would never be able to see that sword again; Bern’s sword was a precious sword that was passed down the royal family of Secretia for generations.
Thinking about his sword also reminded him of the mage who shattered his sword and killed Bern. He was covering his face with a white mask. Calian’s lips stretched into a wide smile.
‘It hurt really bad. You can bet that you’ll get what you deserve if I see you again.’
“Here you go, sir.”
The voice of the owner snapped Calian back to reality. He had brought three long swords. Although they were supposed to be on the lighter side, Calian couldn’t even pick them up with just one hand.
‘What a mess,’ Calian pushed away the self-deprecating thoughts.
He held the sword with both hands and lightly swung it around, carefully examining it everywhere.
Since it would be Kyrie’s first sword, he had to take extra care. Its centre of mass was well-balanced. So was its pliability and sharpness.
‘Even though it seems like a normal smithy, he’s highly skilled.’
The owner became more and more puzzled. This mystery customer whose face was veiled under a hood – who, at that, seemed like just a boy – was examining the sword like a sworn professional.
The manner in which he was pinpointing the crucial features of each sword was even stricter than that of a high-class knight. And yet, he couldn’t even pick up a sword properly.
“I’ll take this sword and this knife.”
While the owner was in deep confusion about the customer’s identity, Calian picked out a sword. The owner himself would have chosen the same sword.
Calian took out eight silver coins and paid for the sword and the knife.
“Did you forge all the weapons in this shop yourself?”
“Yes sir, I did.”
Right away, three gold coins were placed atop the counter. The owner’s eyes widened in shock as the amount was worth almost four times more than what Calian had just paid.
“I need a sturdier sword and a guardless dagger. They can both be average-weight.”
“Is it for the wielder of this sword to use when he gains more experience in using a sword?”
Calian nodded and added,
“You are indeed correct. He is very tall and deals heavy blows, but he isn’t slow. I want him to use both of them for a long time, so I’d like for them to be durable and carefully forged. Will you be able to do that for me?”
The owner memorised the description of the sword’s wielder and eagerly replied,
“Of course. Is there a name that you would like to engrave onto the sword?”
“No, nothing like that.”
“Yes sir. When would you like them done?”
“I should be the one asking that. As long as they’re well-made, I don’t mind waiting.”
The owner hesitated for a moment and said,
“Then I will find the best materials to forge a sword that will satisfy you. Could you stop by again in about a month?”
“I’ll do that. If it happens to amount to more money than expected, I will pay more when I come by.”
“Yes, thank you.” The owner bowed lightly. He handed the knife to Calian and brought the sword outside to mount the sword onto Raven’s saddle.
At that moment, Calian could swear that he saw the whites in Raven’s eyes. Calian frantically waved his hand around and took the sword in his arms instead.
“No need, no need. I’ll do it myself.”
Thanks to this damn horse that’s only obedient to its owner, Calian had to struggle with all his might tying the sword onto the saddle. He buckled the leather belt that was attached to the sheath of his knife around the inside of his forearm and climbed onto Raven.
His next destination was a shop that sold something a little more special.
Original Translation: Wordexcerpt
Edited By: Tani Andris
Let me know if you spot any mistakes!