Chapter 2 – A peaceful way to use weapons
“Eh? Haa… You want me to make your spears and shields the strongest…?”
“Tha’s right! Or else we’ll be sent a-runnin’ by those guys from the village to the east!”
The men of the village had gathered before me, kneeling down and looking at me with anxious eyes. Next to them was a pile of crude spears fashioned by attaching knives to some tree branches, and lids of pots that looked useless for protection from anything other than a cookfire. It looked like a pile of garbage.
They want me to make these the strongest weapons? Hoho.
“No, that’s a little…”
“Please, we’re countin’ on ya! Those guys from the village in the east, they seem to have got help from a witch who made all their weapons super strong! They’ll kill all o’ us at this rate!”
I don’t understand the circumstances, but apparently this western village is on pretty bad terms with the neighboring village to the east. After a while, it had become a situation where everyone thought, “Aw, let’s just settle it with fightin’.”
However, none of their weapons were anything special, so they decided to appeal to a witch for help with increasing their combative ability so that they could put up a fight.
And unluckily enough, I happened to run into them at that time. That’s what happened.
“Umm, well, it’s not impossible. Making your weapons stronger, that is.”
“Not ‘stronger’! They’ve gotta be the strongest!”
Agreeing with the words of the man who appeared to be their leader, the other few dozens of men surrounding me nodded while breathing strongly through their noses. Ugh, they reek of sweat.
“Making them the strongest weapons is also simple… but there’s one problem.”
“Can you pay for them? I don’t mind making them for you, but it’ll be quite expensive, you know?”
“But the person who made them weapons for those guys in the other village did it for free! So we oughta–”
“Perhaps we should forget that we had this conversation?”
“Well, what will it be?”
“…How much money are we talkin’, exactly?”
I silently held up my index finger.
“Wow! Just one copper!? That’s a bargain!”
“If you want me to strengthen your weapons, I’ll do it for one gold coin.”
“You’ll strengthen all o’ our weapons fer a gold? That’s really quite the bargain!”
“It’s one gold coin per item.”
“That’s not cheap at all…”
“That’s why I said it would be pretty expensive…”
Judging by the number of items in that pile of trash, just strengthening the weapons alone will earn me around eighty gold coins… Oh my, the trash is starting to look like a pile of shining gold. Ufufu.
However, seeing as they were only able to gather junk like this for weapons, this village must be in dire straits financially as well. The men surrounding me were visibly falling into despair.
“C-Can’t you find it in yer heart to do it for less, Witch-sama…?”
“No, I can’t possibly make it any cheaper than this.”
“…T-That’s right! Maybe we could pay ya afterwards! After you make the strongest weapons for us, we’ll run over to the eastern village and loot all their gold! How’s that sound?”
“Ah, I’m sorry. Please pay in advance for strengthening the weapons.”
“My motivation depends on it.”
“But payin’ ahead is really impossible…”
The person who appeared to the be the leader hung his head and said,
“Would you be willin’ to accept somethin’ else of equal value?”
“That would depend on what you have to offer.”
“Seriously!? Alright, you guys! Go bring that! ”
After responding with a hearty “Yes sir!” the people who appeared to be subordinates spread out and disappeared from my sight.
And then they returned while bringing “that”.
I had been waiting for them to return, and what they respectfully offered me was a large quantity of vegetables. It’s impossible for a single person to carry that many. With this many vegetables, I feel like I would be able to live for a month eating nothing else.
“These are pickin’s of vegetables grown in our village! Please take ‘em!”
“…No, receiving so many vegetables would be troublesome.”
I can only imagine them going bad before I could deal with them.
“Please take ‘em!”
I let out a single sigh.
“Let’s forget about this conversation. Not only can you not afford to pay me, you want to give me something like this instead. I have no obligation to strengthen your weapons under such circumstances.”
“…Please wait, Witch-sama!”
The person who called out to me after I made my curt statement was the wife of the person who appeared to be the leader.
The lady spoke to me while turning cold eyes upon the men who were wallowing in despair.
“We have prepared a special feast for you, Witch-sama. Can you not accept that as payment for this matter?”
“When did ya… As expected from my wife!”
The person who appeared to be the leader was pushing his luck.
The lady gave him a stern glare, then turned to me and smiled.
“What do you say, Witch-sama?”
“It depends on what you have to offer.”
I decided to at least take a look, and accompanied the lady to the communal area of the village. It looked like a shabby, run-down building from the outside. It was so bad that I hesitated to go inside.
However, the lady didn’t allow me to escape. Saying, “Please come in!” she half-dragged me into the building.
What was the interior like, you ask?
It was a wonderful dining hall. Freshly picked fruit and vegetables lined the tables and a fragrant smell spread throughout the entire building. It looked like they were still in the process of preparing, as a number of ladies were busily moving about inside.
In an attempt to improve the appearance of the run-down building even a little, the walls on the inside were hidden by curtains. It looked like the ladies had all brought their own curtains as they were of different sizes and materials, but the sheer amount of work that went into the preparation made me feel sympathy for them.
However, there was one problem.
As none of the pots had lids, the food would get cold if we didn’t hurry. In fact, it was already getting cold by the time I arrived. What a pity that was.
Due to that, the situation had become urgent.
“Let’s strengthen your weapons right away.”
After going back to where the men were waiting, I went to work right away.
I ignored the men who were jumping with joy, took out my staff, and cast a spell on the pile of shabbily made weapons.
The results appeared immediately. A soft, sparkling light enveloped the weapons and started to change their structure. By the time the light disappeared, the weapons had been reborn in a completely different shape.
“T-This is! Amazin’, Witch-sama!”
The men were ecstatic after looking at the weapons that had been remade.
The crude spears that had been made by attaching knives to some tree branches were reborn as halberds with beautiful blades that looked like they were made of ice, and the ordinary pot lids obtained an intimidating shape that looked like they could be used to batter the enemy to pieces by themselves.
That’s right, the pile of trash turned into a pile of treasure. It’s understandable that the men are so moved.
“Incidentally, these strong weapons are all lighter than they appear. You’ll realise that when you pick them up. However they have one drawback–”
“Alright! Now we’re sure ta win!!”
Ah, they’re not listening to me at all.
“Right, men! We’re going to give them folk from the eastern village a beatin’ right away! Afta’ me!”
The men moved to pick up the weapons.
“Pick up them weapons! Don’t let Witch-sama’s work go ta waste!”
Saying that, they gathered at the gate.
“Thankee, Witch-sama! We’ll definitely win and come back!”
After bowing to me once, they ran off towards the eastern village.
I was left behind there by myself.
I didn’t foresee this outcome.
As they are using the strongest weapons and shields, at the very least, I would have liked for them to go about it more carefully. At this rate, they might end up using them wrongly. Perhaps it would be better to go and stop them.
I was hesitating.
“Witch-sama. We have finished preparing the venue.”
“Ah, I’m on my way.”
Oh well, it should be fine. It’ll probably end up the way I expect even if I leave them alone.
“Witch-sama, thank you so much. Now the village will become peaceful.”
“Not at all. I didn’t do anything that great.”
I shook my head while loading my plate with food. The only thing I did was alter the weapons a bit. It’s not something that requires gratitude.
“By the way, this is your reward.”
Saying so, the wife of the person who appeared to be the leader gave me a wrapped package.
“That contains ten gold coins. It’s the rest of your reward.”
I took a peek inside. As she said, there are ten golden coins inside. Ufufu.
I took off my tricorne and bowed to her.
“Thank you very much.”
“We should be the ones thanking you. At last, peace will come to both the villages.”
“Now, please eat.”
“You’re right… It looks like I don’t have that much time.”
This is why I wanted to properly explain it to those guys before coming here. Oh well, it doesn’t matter. I picked up my knife and fork and lightly cut my portion.
The men returned quite a while after that. I had eaten my fill, left the communal area, and had just taken off on my broom when they arrived.
Their attitude was clearly different from when they had left the village.
They weren’t carrying the spears or shields that I had made, and incidentally, there were about twice as many people compared to when they left. They saw me sitting on my broom with my legs swaying below, and shouted at me.
“What’s the meanin’ of this, Witch-sama!?”
“The spears and shields all broke afta’ one hit!”
“Don’t mess with us! This is a scam!”
“Return the coin!”
“Return our knives and pot coverins’!”
“And them branches too!”
“What’s the meaning o’ this? Explain yourself!”
“Just as you asked, I created the strongest weapons for you. Are you dissatisfied?”
“We’re more than only troubled! When we were about to fight, we saw the folk of the eastern village had the same weapons!”
The leader of this village shouted that.
“Did you trick us, Witch-sama!? They looked good, but they were so darned brittle! The spears and shields crumbled to pieces the moment we clashed!”
The leader of the other village also shouted that.
Oh, that’s terrible.
“No, the more powerful something is, the more brittle it becomes. Isn’t the same true for gemstones as well?”
That’s what I told them.
“Besides, if the strongest spear and strongest shield clash, of course both of them will be destroyed. Both are the strongest, after all.”
Seeing me making light of the situation, the leader of this village said,
“But Witch-sama, you hid the fact that the weapons were brittle from us!”
“No, you lot were just too hasty and left before I could say anything.”
I had initially planned to explain that the weapons were brittle, and then allow the two villages to have a decisive fight, but because they ran away without listening to me, I had to hurry and eat quickly. How can they make up for this?
“Speaking o’ which, Witch-sama, yer the one who provided the eastern village with weapons?”
“Hmm? Didn’t I mention that?”
Indeed, a few days ago I had visited the eastern village who were at odds with this village. I had used the same method to convert a similar pile of garbage into the strongest weapons.
Oh well, putting that aside for now.
“I properly completed the work that had been requested of me. I have also received the reward, so I’ll be leaving now.”
I gently accelerated my broom and began to move forward.
The abuse that came flying at me from below increased in intensity, and a few of them even threw stones. Not that any of them hit me.
“Well then, farewell~”
What actually happened, was this.
The dangerous request to make the strongest weapons was not my only task. In fact, it would not be wrong to call that just one of the methods to achieve what was originally requested of me.
To be honest, my original task was to “confiscate the weapons from the men of the two villages who were on bad terms”.
That is why I used my magic to remove the weapons from the hands of the men.
It looks like the men are on better terms now that they have me as a common enemy, so it’s two birds with one stone. However, they lost some money, their knives, and pot lids as payment for that.
Even then, that is a cheap price to pay for being able to end the fighting in a peaceful manner.
I could still hear the complaints from the crowd that was becoming distant.
Behind them, I was able to faintly make out the forms of my clients from both villages waving their hands at me.