A tall, thin man named Joshua grinned, “Martin, I think we’ve been fooled. There is no way this guy could have made that sword of a hundred skills.”
“The Sword of a Hundred Skills?” Abel turned to look at Zach, who had been showing off his present ever since he’s got it.
Zach was kind of embarrassed. He started rubbing his palms together, made quick eye contact with Emily and said, “the topic just came out of nowhere during my conversation with Emily. These three guys won’t believe that my brother had forged a sword of a hundred skills for me, so we started arguing”
Abel’s father always told him how grounded and mature his older brother is. But as he looked at his older brother, deeply trapped in the romantic spell of Emily, and losing all his dignity. Abel was speechless
“That sword was just my practice piece,” Abel explained faintly.
Thins got kind of tense after Abel said that. The three other guys didn’t know how to respond, but the looks on their faces were very worried. This was a sword of a hundred skills. Who the hell would ever call it a “practice piece?”
“Which forging masters did you learned it from?” Emily looked at Abel with her big, sparkling eyes.
“Oh, I learned it from Master Bentham,” Abel replied, meanwhile trying to be polite to the person who could very well be his future sister-in-law.
Martin interrupted, “Master Bentham is very well known in the Duchy. How long have you been following him?”
Martin, Bob, and Emily were in shock.“My God, that’s incredible,” they all said simultaneously.
“Ok. Even if his teacher is Master Bentham,” Joshua said with a sneer, “do you believe that this kid can make a sword like this?”
“Hey, don’t be rude!” Emily called Joshua out. Both Joshua and Zach were trying to please her, and she knew that much at least. That being said, it’s not right to have a go at someone else’s little brother. Also, she thought that Zach was an honest man, which meant that this accusation was all the more offensive in her eyes.
Joshua glanced at Abel and snorted. He said in a threatening voice, “Abel, you shouldn’t claim the work of your teacher.”
Zach was starting to get irritated as well, “Joshua, you better stop that nonsense talk right now. You wouldn’t want to make me your enemy.”
Martin stood up and separated the two, “Hey, if you really want to know who made this piece, there’s a Giant Hammer weapon store nearby. It’s easy. We can just go there and have someone examine it for us.”
“Of course,” said Zach as he turned to look his little brother, to which Abel responded with a cool nod.
“That’s a lot of faith coming from you, Zach. If you’re so confident in your little brother, why don’t we make a bet on it?” Joshua laughed out loudly.
After saying that, Joshua took out the big sword on his back. “I don’t know about that one right there, but the one I have here, this is a real piece made by Master Bentham. If your brother’s sword is not the work of Master Bentham, I’ll give my sword to you. If it is, though, you give that sword to me instead. Are you on, Zach?”
Martin intervened, “Let’s not escalate the situation. Guys, we’re just going to have an authenticity test. We don’t have to make any bets.”
Even Bob, who had remained silent during all this time, came forward and tried to calm down the tension, “We are all friends, aren’t we? If we’re going to bet on something, how about the loser pays for the dinner tonight?”
Joshua said, “You chickening out, Zach?”
Emily, unlike the others, was not aware of how serious the situation was getting. She was getting too thrilled by the upcoming match.
“I’ll be the judge,” she volunteered, “Whoever the loser is, he has to give up on what he has betted on, okay? If not, I’ll let him have a taste of my punishment.”
Looking at the overly excited Emily, Martin and Bob could not help but sigh. Women made men do stupid things, don’t they?
Abel was starting to frown a little. Ever since they met for the first time, Joshua had been contradicting everything that he said. If no one told him, Abel would have just guessed that Joshua was an enemy of Zach.
“Sure, I’ll bet,” Zach said angrily. He had enough of Joshua making fun of his little brother. In front of Emily, too. What a dirty way to gain an advantage over him.
The Giant hammer weapon shop was a shop specialized in selling weapons and armor. When customers come in, the first thing they would see would be the huge counter made entirely out of ironwood. Because of how big and heavy everything was in this world, only ironwood could suffice to hold the weight of the items for sale.
“Welcome, lady and gentleman, to the Giant Hammer Weapons Shop, I am the store manager, Ted. Is there anything you are after?” Asked a thin, middle-aged man.
“Ah, yes, Mr. Ted, we are here a heavy sword examined. Please, have your best appraiser come here and help us take a look at it.” Said Joshua in an unbearable hurry.
“Wait for a second, I am the referee here,” Emily protested with an “I’m a taking this very seriously” look on her face, “Give me the two swords, you two. I will be in charge of this.”
Without saying anything, Zach took out his sword and passed it over to Emily. Joshua was kind of reluctant at first, but after seeing Zach giving his sword to Emily, he was left with no choice but to hand it over as well.
“You are naggier than a woman,” Emily said as she saw how hesitant Joshua was being. It was weird for a woman like her to say something like this. But anyway, she snatched the swordaway from Joshua.
Meanwhile, Ted just called out a long-bearded old man, “This is the chief appraiser of the Giant hammer weapon shop. All you need to do is to hand the swords over to him. For each piece that you are examining, we will charge you at a price of 2 gold coins.”
Emily took out 2 gold coins and put Zach’s big sword on the counter. “Okay. Can you identify this weapon here, please? We want to see if it is the work of Master Bentham.”
The old Appraiser got excited about that. He didn’t expect to have the chance to examine a piece that could be made by a master forger. He took the big sword and inspected it carefully.
Slowly but surely, the old appraiser’s expression became more and more feverish. He started stroking the blade with his fingers, as though as he was about to make fire with it.
“Whoever’s made this masterpiece, it is a work of perfection.” Murmured the old appraiser, “What witchcraft would you need to make this sword of a hundred skills? Just look at how sharp the edges are! It’s unbelievable.”
The old appraiser was completely lost in his own world. For a while there, he had probably forgotten that he was here to do his job.
“Uh, hmmph,” Emily coughed twice to get the old appraiser the attention again. “Is this the work of Master Bentham, mister?”
“Oh, no. Of course not!” the older appraiser said affirmatively, “I don’t know who’s made it, but it is definitely not the work of Master Bentham.”
“What… how is this possible?” Joshua threw a blank stare towards the ceiling. He figured that something was wrong when he saw the expression on the old appraiser’s face. But the way that the old man denied the piece being a work of Master Bentham. It was almost like the piece was too splendid to made by someone even of that level.
Joshua was getting more anxious by the seconds, “Are you looking this properly, sir?” he said to the old appraiser, “You know, things won’t go easy for you if you don’t tell us the truth right now.”
The old appraiser threw a cold look at Joshua, “If you are not satisfied with what I’m saying, go to the mayor and sue me.Remember this, though. The Giant Hammer Weapon Shop is the property of the city owner. If you want to cause any trouble for him, make sure you are ready for the consequences.”
Emily threw a disgusted glance towards Joshua, who was trying very hard to not lash out at the old appraiser. She picked up the two swords, gave them to Zach, and walked away like she had never known Joshua in the first place.
Before Emily left, the old appraisers suddenly spoke. “Is this a big sword for sale?” He said in a sympathetic voice, “I will offer 1200 gold coins.”
It was a very confusing offer. Emily couldn’t believe what she was hearing, so she asked, “From what I’ve heard, a sword of a hundred skills would cost about 1000 gold coins. Why are you making the deal at 1200 gold coins?”
The others were also very curious. Even Abel, too. Despite having lived two lives, this was the very first sword that he has made. Just how the heck was it so valuable?
“1000 gold coins are for ordinary swords of a hundred skills. The value of the finest ones can be far greater than the ordinary ones. This piece right here, you can say that it is the finest of the finest. With a few strikes, I’m sure that it can easily destroy an ordinary sword of hundreds of skills. Equipping something like this is like having a double-up of one’s sword-wielding ability.
Joshua had lost the bet, and after the group left Giant Hammer’s weapons store, he walked off by himself. He was too embarrassed to stay with the group.
“Hey, Zach, why don’t you shout us the dinner tonight?” Martin and Bob said as they fixed their eyes on Zach’s new sword. Emily, on the other hand, spent a great deal of her time throwing this curious look at Abel. Fortunately, though, she didn’t ask him any specific questions. Whatever Abel’s secret was, she was polite enough to not ask too much about it.
Emily asked, “Abel, can you forge a sword for me? I will pay you money.”
“I only forge weapons for my family.” Abel quickly refused,
For Goodness sake. If he said yes on the spot, Martin and Bob would’ve been his next customers.
“Hey!” Emily cried out as she switched her eyes between Abel and Zach.