It had been two hours since the item production game started. It was around the time that the crowd was losing interest. While Euphemina had already finished the blade and had moved on to the hilt, I hadn't even finished the outline of the blade yet. I continued to temper the iron.
Thanks to Khan helping me pinch the metal with his tongs, I was able to become more involved in the hammering and forging.
[The Legendary Blacksmith's Patience skill has been activated. Concentration, stamina, and defense will rise to the extremes for one hour.]
A notification window popped up as I was concentrating. At the same time, I was able to exert an aura of sharp concentrating, making my hammer strikes more powerful and elaborate.
The sound of cheering was completely diminished. I forgot that this was Winston's Central Square that contained thousands of people. Even Khan's helping presence became blurred. It was quiet. The only thing that existed in this world was the iron.
Ttaang – ttang –
The hammer and I weren't separate entities. We were fully fused. There was no resistance in the movements of the hammer. It followed my will as if it was part of my body.
The metal made a clear sound as it was shaped like a blade. Then a notification window flashed.
[The Legendary Blacksmith's Breath has increased the effectiveness of your production items]
My spirit cleared and the calm world suddenly changed.
"Erina! Erina! Erina!"
"I believe in Grid!"
The crowd cheered, the birds chirped on the fence, the second hand of the clock tower ticked, and the hammering of Erina were all types of noises that could be heard from the other side of the stage.
My consciousness was dissatisfied as I returned from my own world. It was like reality was intruding.
'I wanted to remain there a little bit longer.'
Too bad. It was the first time since the creation of the Jaffa Arrow that I became so immersed in the production process. If I could remain in that world a little more, I thought I could create a better work.
As I felt regret, Khan's trembling voice was heard.
"I never thought iron could be so beautiful…"
Now I had finished the blade. Then I saw it. It was flawlessly sophisticated, more beautiful than any artwork! The eyes of a legendary blacksmith shouted. This work was more outstanding than the Special Jaffa Arrows.
"G-Great… amazing! To think I am able to enjoy the glory of helping with this work! I think that I was born to become a blacksmith just for this day!" Khan excitedly exclaimed.
But I remained calm. It was because I couldn't ruin the remaining processes.
I took out a minotaur horn from my inventory. It was why I spent a huge amount of 10 gold before the match. I would make a sheath and hilt with this horn. The sheath could be used as a defensive tool depending on the situation, so it was better to have a proper weight and rigidity. The hilt had to be relatively soft to minimize the fatigue of the user.
The minotaur's horn was robust and durable, but it was surprisingly soft. It had the texture of brass casting. In other words, it was suitable to be used for the sheath and hilt.
First, the sheath was designed based on the size of the blade while the length, width, and shape of the hilt were based on an adult male's hand. It was completely practical. The minotaur's horn had an artistic pattern on it, so they showed an artistry without me having to do anything. After finishing the design, I was focused on the production when I heard a tremendous cry from the stands.
Erina had completed the dagger one step ahead of me. The host checked her dagger and was impressed.
"This is a really great work! Making this in less than three hours, I can only admire this wonderful work! Now!"
"What type of work was created that could cause such surprise?"
"Don't look alone. Show it to us!"
The crowd was in an uproar as they were curious about the finished work. After the host confirmed that their curiosity reached the peak, he focused the crowd's attention on the display board installed at the back of the stage.
"Okay! Check it out!"
On the display board, Erina's dagger appeared. It was very sharp yet had a great balance. It was a superior dagger that would be able to exert an exceptional attack power. The handle was made of brass casting with a beautiful pattern engraved on it, making it a beautiful ornament as well.
"The dagger resembles the owner! I have never seen such a pretty dagger. I want to see!"
"That is a secondary matter. The performance is extraordinary just looking at it. I really want it."
The crowd was enthusiastic. Now it wasn't just the men showing a favorable opinion towards Erina, but the female users as well. The detailed information of the dagger appeared.
[Dagger of Bewitchment]
Durability: 60/60 Attack Power: 122~127 Attack Speed: +8%
* There is a certain probability of bewitching the enemy.
* The durability will be quickly consumed when blocking an attack.
A dagger produced using the delicate skills and superior aesthetics of an excellent blacksmith.
The lethal beauty can sometimes steal other people's hearts.
The sharp blade has a high attack power, but the drawback is that it lacks robustness.
User Restriction: Level 100 or higher. More than 200 agility. More than 30 strength. Intermediate Dagger Mastery.
The disadvantage was its durability, but this was a truly excellent dagger. The attack power was incomparable to a common dagger. It also had the bewitchment option. Bewitchment was a powerful skill that turned a target into a non-resistant state for three seconds. It was appropriate as an assassin's weapon.
The users were convinced.
"The result is clear! Erina definitely won this game!"
Even the Winston residents felt desperate.
"Ah… that woman is a great blacksmith. Grid is a blacksmith recognized by Khan, but is it possible for him to create something better?"
Rabbit and the other Mero Company officials looked convinced that victory was in their grasp. But I didn't shake. Khan was the same.
Khan laughed. "That girl has tremendous skills for her young age. They are excited right now. But it won't be like that in the future. Isn't that right?"
The sheath and hilt were finished. I nodded as they were combined with the blade.
"Of course. I represent the ugly people of the world. I will never stop."
Khan frowned. "Represent the ugly people? What does that mean? You are fighting on behalf of the smithy, the smithy!"
"…Ah, excuse me. I forgot. Now, shall we go and keep the smithy?"
The dagger was completed. I was thrilled to see the information about the dagger and showed my dagger to the host. The host didn't even look at my dagger properly as he spoke to the crowd.
"This team spent a lot more time than Erina, despite having two people. He can't hide the fact that the result of this game is too obvious!"
"Hahaha! Yes! It is shameful for two men to go against a woman, but it has come to an end!"
The crowd agreed.
I scoffed at all of them. "Look at my work and be careful not to have heart attacks from shock."
At that moment. Soldiers armed with swords and spears climbed onto the stage. Then they confiscated my dagger.
As I was confused, a heavily armed knight shouted.
"I have received information that you are working with a criminal called Huroi, arrested eight days ago for trying to harm Winston! You'll have to be questioned about this!"
Was he talking about Huroi who received the 'For the Residents of Winston' quest? He was captured and failed the quest?
'That useless bastard. No… why am I associated with him?'
I resisted. "What are you saying? I don't know that person! Let me go!"
The knight pulled out his sword at my defiance and warned me, "I suggest that you don't resist."
If I did something, this bastard really would kill me. A sword was pointed at my neck! I was unarmed and forced to follow as the soldiers dragged me down the stage.
Khan called out. "What are you doing? Why are you unfairly framing a person?"
The knights and soldiers ignored Khan. Khan eventually ran to where the Mero officials were sitting. Then he shouted to someone.
"Valmont! You cowardly wretch! You know that you won't win the game, so you are trying to finish it in this manner! You aren't afraid of the Winston residents?"
However, Khan's shouting was useless. The middle-aged man didn't respond as if he was just hearing an annoying dog's barks.
Thus, I was brought by the armed forces to the castle.
'This is impossible!'
Rabbit had spent 20 years as a merchant. In the meantime, he had handled numerous excellent products. That's why he was astonished the moment he checked the dagger made by Grid.
'This isn't an ordinary item! Erina's dagger can't be compared to it. We… we lost. I didn't think he would have that much skill!'
Valmont, sitting beside him, muttered in an angry voice. "We lost."
Valmont also noticed it right away when he saw Grid's dagger. His eyes were as good as Rabbit's when it came to seeing spectacular items.
Rabbit bowed. "I'm sorry. I should've been more vigilant."
Valmont forgave him for failing this time. There was no choice. "It isn't your fault. You hired an amazing blacksmith. But the opponent was too strong. It is different from his appearance."
Valmont had declared their victory when he first saw Grid. He guessed Grid was just a lowly blacksmith. But the result was clear and simple. This failure couldn't be blamed on Rabbit. Grid was just an amazing person.
"He disguised himself as a trash person so that he could make his opponent underestimate him… He really isn't stupid. This competition needs to be properly handled. How can I accept this result?"
Valmont wanted the smithy. It wasn't acceptable for a merchant to give up on the profit from the smithy because of a game.
Rabbit tried to persuade him. "But we have already publicly announced this. If we don't accept the result, the public sentiment will be irreversible."
Valmont raised his voice. "You are speaking nonsense. I will absolutely never give up the smithy!"
Rabbit could no longer stop Valmont. How could he be so confident in this bad situation? There must be something.
Then Valmont smiled wickedly. "In the first place, the crowd doesn't know the result yet. Unlike us, they don't have the discerning eye to see that it is a great item. Unless the details are checked, it is impossible to know that Grid's dagger is far superior to Erina's dagger. Sir Philipson!"
Philipson was the knight of Baron Lowe, the lord of Winston, and he was here as Valmont's escort. It clearly showed how great Valmont's current position in Winston was.
Valmont gave an order to Philipson. "Arrest him right away on charges of being the friend of Huroi, who was caught recently. You must confiscate the dagger that he made. This information of that dagger must not be disclosed to the public!"
Then Philipson's soldiers intruded on the stage. They quickly seized the dagger and arrested Grid.
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