We decided to stop by that one dwarven blacksmith’s shop before heading over to Aurel’s manor.
「Oh, hey. It’s that little missy Gallus told me to take care of. You need something?」
「Want equipment repaired.」
We hadn’t really bothered getting the Black Cat Set repaired up ’till now ’cause its self-repair function made it so we’d never really needed it. We technically didn’t need it now either, but the pillbug had damaged the equips so badly that they had still yet to fully fix themselves. We’d also kind of never bothered maintaining the armour in any which way either, and figured we might as well.
The Martial Arts Tournament was coming up, so it’d probably be a good idea for us to have our gear in top shape.
「Sure thing! I, Zerld, will fix it right up. They don’t call me Ulmutt’s best blacksmith for nothing.」
Zerld procured a magic crystal and started setting up a magic circle after spending a bit of time inspecting Fran’s gear. Most of the work seemed rather front loaded, as he instantly fixed it by casting Repair immediately after getting everything ready.
The 100k Golde price tag he slapped onto the service was pretty worth; all Fran’s stuff was back in peak condition.
「That’s that. Hand me your sword next.」
「Well, I just thought your sword might be in tatters given how damaged your self-repairing armour was.」
Oh, right. I guess that would normally be how things go, huh? In my case, all the damage I take gets nullified over time by my Self-Repair and Regeneration skills.
『I-I’m perfectly okay. I don’t need any repairs.』
I thought I was fine, but Fran took me off her back and handed me over to Zerld despite my protests.
（But better to have skilled blacksmith check just in case.）
It seemed that Zerld’s words ended up making Fran feel a bit anxious. She herself wasn’t really all that skilled at discerning my condition, and would normally have no choice but to just believe what I told her.
『Oh well. Whatever works, I guess.』
You know what, it might actually not be a bad idea to get a checkup every once in a while. There was always the possibility that there was something off about me, and I just didn’t notice it.
「Hmmm, this sword is made of quite the metal.」
Zerld looked at me from a bunch of different angles before placing me on top of a table and tapping me a few times with a small hammer.
He continued hitting me with the hammer, and sent vibrations through my blade at regular intervals. It was a sensation I honestly couldn’t bring myself to dislike. I could feel the seriousness and earnestly of the dwarven craftsman’s actions, and it was actually honestly quite a comfortable sensation.
He then put me inside a box full of water and shake it lightly before finally polishing me off with a nice clean cloth.
Wew, that felt great. I only barely managed to refrain from letting out a sigh because of how good it felt. The reason I managed to hold back wasn’t something as mundane as wanting to keep my identity from Zerld. It was instead because I didn’t want to moan in response to getting my blade stroked by another man. I’d rather kill myself.
Fortunately, I was capable of holding onto my will to live because the pleasure I felt wasn’t sexual in any which way. It was instead more akin to what you’d feel when getting a massage. I guess one could say it didn’t really matter which it was, but the part of me that was a middle aged man insisted otherwise.
I’m not quite sure how it happened, but, Fran somehow managed to catch onto the fact that I was internally gritting my teeth and holding myself back.
（Master, something wrong?）
『N-Nah, nothing’s wrong.』
I decided to explain myself to Fran after realizing that I’d worried her for a reason I couldn’t really call anything but ridiculous.
Still, I really had to admit that this felt hella good. Fran always wiped me off as well so I wouldn’t get all dirty and stuff, but she never managed to make it feel this good.
If I had to guess, I’d say that the difference in the sensation stemmed from a difference in skill levels. Reason being that the difference between Zerld’s touch felt like that of a real blacksmith, whereas Fran’s felt like that of an amateur.
「And that’s that. Your blade wasn’t bent or scratched at all, so I just gave it a good old polish.」
Man, that was one helluva polish. Shit was relaxing as hell. I felt like I’d just gone to a super high end bath house, soaked in the water for half a day before getting a massage and sleeping all night. It was like I was totally exhilarated and rejuvenated all at once.
I’d already been in perfect condition to begin with, so that massage had only pushed me further beyond. It felt like I was in absolute peak form and ready to give it my 120%. That said, my stats hadn’t changed at all, so I guess it was more of a mood thing than anything else. I did feel like the internal flow of my magical energy had improved, and that it was a bit easier than usual for me to use skills and whatnot, but I wasn’t sure if that was actually a thing or just some sort of placebo.
「Nn. Blacksmith amazing.」
「Gahahaha. Where’d that come from?」
Fran spoke in a tone filled with admiration as she looked at how shiny my blade had become. You know, I really did feel better than usual. It’d probably be a good idea to do this more often, and not because it felt good!
Okay, well, maybe because it felt good, but you know what? Me being in good shape also means me being able to do more for Fran.
「Sure thing. I’ll do all the maintenance you need, especially seeing as how the tourney’s coming up.」
Not a lot of time had passed despite the fact that a bunch of different things had happened. It was still rather early, so we moved towards Aurel’s manor at a rather leisurely pace.
In fact, Fran had started buying random stuff and just eating it as she slowly walked towards the hill on top of which the mansion was situated.
『These stalls sure are selling a tonne of magic beast meat. I guess that’s just how life goes when you live in a city with two dungeons inside of it.』
Magic beast meat was treated as a luxury good back in Barbra, but here, it was literally all over the place. It was being treated like… well… regular meat.
Apparently many of magic beasts one could find in dungeons meant for newbies were actually edible. I couldn’t help but wonder, was that just how it was? Or was it only because of the deals made with the city’s dungeon masters?
Fran and Urushi pretty much picked up food from every single street stall they came across. I’d been expecting them to do the usual thing in which they buy an armful of stuff, but they didn’t actually do that this time around. Instead, they instantly consumed everything they bought.
It didn’t take long for us to pass through the residential district and lay eyes on Aurel’s mansion.
『Seems like there’s a lot of people around there.』
It looked like 10 odd people were crowded around the manor’s front gate.