I'm going to be honest to you guys, I feel like I have given too much expectation for this chapter, and that caused me a few blunders during the writing of this chapter. But I am fine now since this chapter is out. However, this still have my usual 4k words chapter, so... I couldn't deliver what I said the last chapter. Perhaps the next one will do so. Anyway, with that said, onto the chapter.
Location: Louise's room
"Louise, Louise? Wake up already," Ragna shook Louise roughly to wake her up. For a moment Louise considered ignoring him. However, such behavior was not acceptable to her principle.
She slowly lifted her upper body up and stretched. Once the sunray hit her face, she rubbed her eyes to remove the dirt on it. When her vision and mind become clearer, she turned to Ragna.
"Sorry, maybe because of yesterday that I'm still tired. Go outside while I get myself dressed; we got a city to visit anyway."
Ragna nodded and excuse himself. He planned to do that, being claimed a pedophile was the last thing he needed. Ragna shut the door behind him and lean himself against the wall. The hallway was busy as always, students moving around minding their own business. Some of the students do make the occasional glance on Ragna, wondering what he was doing in the hallway. But Ragna ignored them.
The first thing he immediately thought was that this world has no Seithr, or rather the Seithr concentration was very low, not to point of unnoticeable, but not as concentrated as his world was.
Secondly, his arms. Normally one would not concern it. But Ragna's arms were supposed to be destroyed. Yet somehow when Ragna took off his gloves during the middle of yesterday's night when he woke up, he noticed that both arms were normal. Instead of an obsidian black coloured right arm and a mechanical left arm, it was a pair of normal arms, albeit with a collection of runes on his left hand.
Even though this was something he should have noticed the moment he was landed in this new world, he ended up ignoring it for the past 2 days.
Then again, he was busy getting accustomed to this world.
After some time, Louise finally got out of her room. She wore her school uniform as usual. But instead of her usual black shoes, she had a pair of boots.
"Well, I'm ready to go now."
Ragna pushed himself off the wall and proceed to follow Louise.
Location: Tristain Capital City
It took a good hour to reach the city from the academy. The bustling street filled itself with various people from different classes, but mostly are housewives and servants looking for groceries.
But for Ragna, it was a nightmare to pass through the street. "This is so cramped…" He muttered to himself. Louise somehow heard him and looked at him quizzically.
"Cramped?" She effortlessly slipped by another person passing-by while Ragna unintentionally shoved another person with his large body. "This is Bourdonné Street, Tristain's widest avenue. Maybe it is because you are too large."
Well, she wasn't wrong. He was considered large, but there were plenty of others who can tower over him easily back in his world.
"Anyway, do you have any place in mind for us to visit?" Ragna asked as they navigate through the busy streets.
"Well, I was thinking we could part ways for now and reunite at the gate entrance we entered," she handed him a weighted leather pouch. "Here are 10 gold coins for you. You can spend however you like," she glanced at his cloak and frowned at it. "Especially for your coat."
Ragna looked at it and winced slightly. The damage on the coat was far more visible than any of his previous battles. Stitches that were sewn for minor fixes were thorn off and plenty of holes on the cloak were obvious.
"Alright… any place you can suggest for a quick fix?"
"Quick fix?!" She screeched and quickly covered her mouth in embarrassment. She didn't mean it, but his statement caused it. She continued with a softer voice, but loud enough for him to hear. "It's practically falling apart."
"Fine," he conceded and took the pouch of money.
"Anyway, you can find a good tailor with relatively nice price at the north from here," she pointed the general direction and then turned her finger to left. "After 3 stores turn left and there should be a tailor shop there. It's obvious so you should find it with relative ease."
Ragna nodded and left on his own, reminding the girl to be careful with whatever she was planning. A roll of her eyes let him know that she heard him before walking off. "We'll each other in a few hours."
Following the direction that was given by Louise, he made his way to a simple shop with a wooden front and cobblestone walls. It has a large board with unrecognizable letters and worn painting of clothes was hanged onto a large log attached to the front of the stop.
Ragna entered the shop and was greeted with a chime ringing, before a women's voice telling him she was coming to attend to him. She had blond hair that was tied up into a bun and light skin. The woman looked younger than her voice sound, looked almost like Louise's age and she had a youthful expression. Her green dress fluttered slightly as she made her way to attend to Ragna.
"Welcome to Asha Tailor, how may I -" she gasped and observed Ragna's entire ragged clothing before ran towards him.
"What in the world happened to your clothing?!" She exclaimed. Examining the damage, she muttered incoherently before glaring up at Ragna.
"What kind of scuffle had you participated that damaged it to this extent?!"
Ragna winced slightly at her screeching and glared back at her. "Look girl, if you have time to scream like it's the end of the world then you got time to help me fix this right?"
The girl took a step back and quickly composed herself. "I am sorry about that, let me properly introduce myself," she replaced her expression with a nice smile. "My name's Asha. What makes you come to my establishment? There's plenty of other tailors out there who are better."
"Well, my friend, Louise told me I can find a nice tailor here."
Asha was surprised by the mentioning of the name. "Miss Louise send you here?"
Ragna nodded to confirm it. "I see, then you are in luck. She was a frequent customer and I tailor-made most of her clothes," she gave a prideful smile to Ragna before walking to the counter. "Since you are a friend of Miss Louise I can give you a discount."
"Are you sure-"
"She usually sends some of her servants to have their uniform repaired or take a tailor-made uniform," she interrupted Ragna. "So yes, I am sure to offer you the discount."
Seeing there was no way to convince her, Ragna resigned and took off his coat. "Well, I mostly want this to be fixed. The rest I'll get the needed items to fix them."
He handed her his coat and as soon as it was in her hands, she nearly fell due to the unexpected weight. "Is the coat that heavy due to these excessive belts?"
"I won't call them excessive. It does help me with balancing in battle."
She merely nodded and placed the coat at the counter. "Do you want me to fix the rest of your clothing? I have a robe as temporary clothing for you."
"How long would you take to fix them?" He does not want to wait for more than a day for his usual attire to be fixed and forced himself to walk in a robe in the public.
"It would only take about 2 to 3 hours since there aren't many urgent projects for me."
"Might as well."
"Perfect," she smiled and pointed at a small room with a mirror in it. "The robe is in the changing room; I'll give the price to you once I have repaired it."
Location: Kramer's arms
The first thing Louise noticed about the weapon shop Montmorency was it was horrendous. The place smelled like rotten wood and rusted metal and the aesthetic of the place was unappealing.
But she had to endure it since she was planning on buying a cheap yet effective weapon for Ragna.
'He may not need it, but it'll be assuring for him to have one.'
The next thing she noticed was the shopkeeper in the shop was looking at her suspiciously. The old man with a pipe examined her for a moment before he panicked suddenly, "My lady! My noble lady! All of my wares here are real and reasonably priced! There's nothing criminal here!"
She nearly laughed in sadistic humor, but she pushed it away quickly. She could recognize it, the influence.
'Rule of Steel… Rule of Steel…' she repeated in her mind. "I'm here as a customer today."
"Oh…" the man relaxed and owlishly blink. "That's rather odd for a noble to buy swords."
"Why is that?" Louise asked suspiciously. While it's true nobles rarely buy swords that doesn't mean they never.
"Well… priests wave sacred staffs, soldiers wave swords, and nobles wave wands. Isn't that the rule?" The man asked.
Ah. "I'm not the one who would be using it. It's for someone I know."
"Very well, any specifications milady?" The shopkeeper asked in a cheery voice, trying to come off as friendly as possible.
"As long as it is under 200 old gold budgets," she told him simply while looking around the wares.
The man turned to his warehouse, mumbling incoherent words that Louise couldn't make out of. Not that she was paying any more attention to him for now.
She examined the room looking for more swords, many looked as mundane as the others, with only a small deviation of imperfection. Then there was a barrel of rusted swords. She wondered why these words were still in the shop even though they were practically useless.
Only a smith and arms dealer will know.
"Sorry it took a while lady," Louise turned around and saw the arms dealer walking out with a heavily decorated longsword at the size of mail. It has a short handle with a handguard.
"Is it to your liking? It seems to be the current trend as of now."
"Any reason as to why?" Louise inquired as she examined the sword in more detail.
"It seems that there is an increase of thievery on Tristain's city streets lately…"
"Could be a random thieve that knows how to break into a nobel's estate," Louise quickly responded as she gave the man back the sword, shaking her head as she doesn't want it.
"I would like to agree, but there is some thief mage that calls themselves 'Fouquet the Crumbling Dirt' who managed to do it," he took the sword back and turned to his warehouse. "Now the nobels are feeling shaken by this, so they begin to arm their servants with weapons."
"I see, nonetheless, go get another weapon, preferably a large one," she shooed him, and the man grumbled a little.
He left the warehouse just as soon as he got in and presented another sword. It was a splendid broadsword of around a mail and a half in length. The handle was made for two-handed wielding and was lavishly decorated with jewels. A mirror-like blade reflected light with an irresistible glow.
"This is the best thing I have," the arms dealer pridefully stated. "Rather than say it's for nobles, it's more like something nobles wish they can wear on their waists, but that's something reserved for very strong men. If not, wearing it on the back isn't half bad."
Louise's eyes glinted at the beautiful sword. Perhaps it would fit for her familiar and mentor as not only it is large, but also beautiful. She could imagine Ragna charging into the battlefield with this sword, bringing inspiration to his allies with its beauty, and strike fear with its prowess.
"How much is it?"
"Well…" the man stroked his chin for a moment, staring at Louise oddly. "… It's made by the famous Germanian alchemist Lord Shupei. It can cut through metal like butter because of the magic-infused in it! See this inscription here?" The shopkeeper proudly pointed at the words on the handle. "You can't get this cheaper anywhere else."
"Well… I'm a noble," Louise held her head up high, trying to be superior and prove her nobility.
At that, the shopkeeper bluntly gave the price. "Two thousand écus, or three thousand new gold coins."
"What?! You can buy a holiday home with a garden with that!" A wide eye Louise shouted in shock about the price.
"Well, a famous sword can cost around a castle. Compare that to this price, a holiday home is considered cheap."
"I… see…" she mumbled disappointingly, her lack of skill in bargaining made her realized how lacking she was in terms of anything other than magic.
'Maybe you can just blow him up with your failure of a spell. Take the sword and run, make it look like an accident.'
'NO!' She shouted in her head towards the influence. 'I'm a Nobel, I don't rob like a common robber.'
Ignoring her negative mood and current dilemma, the arms dealer only waved his hand dismissively. "Come on… even standard broadswords cost at least 200 new gold coins."
"I'll… look for someplace with affordable price then. Thank you for your service," the young Nobel glumly left the store, knowing her quest for a weapon for Ragna would end terribly.
However, just as she turned around, a man's voice and distinct noise of metal clanking can be heard from a pile of rusted swords. "Don't just go with a grumpy face little lady!"
She looked around in confusion, trying to find the voice. "I can help you with getting a good sword. Just look into the pile missy and you'll find me."
She approached the pile of swords, ignoring the groaning of the arms dealer. Once there, she couldn't find any person nor any tiny creature like imps at all.
"Down here. Are your eyes meant for decorations only?" She felt offended but does so regardless. In the pile, she found a rusty, damaged sword with a mouth-like handguard, with the screws on it being the mouth joint.
"… It's a sentient sword," she mumbled in awe. She has always thought that it was a myth, a legend of the Ancient Era. But witnessing it on her own was a once in a lifetime experience.
"Yeah he is, an asshole through and through," the arms dealer seethed through his teeth, seemingly more frustrated at the situation at hand.
"Well good to know I'm an asshole to you! What you gonna do sleazebag?" the sword taunted with a toxic edge.
"Why not get melted you piece of scrap metal!"
"Sound good to me, why don't you try it dumbass! I'm tired of this world anyway."
The arms dealer, in his rage, slammed the counter and marched towards the blade. "That's it! I'm doing it now you scrap metal!"
In a panic, Louise immediately raised her free hand. "Wait! Stop! I'll buy it!" The man stopped in shock. "Just name me the price."
"… well, 100 Ecu will do," the man waved her off, signaling her he doesn't care.
Nothing more could be said; thus, she counted each piece of gold and gave it to the man. Once the transaction was done, she was given a sheath. "If he gets noisy just shove him into it."
Louise nodded and left the store without a word, sheathing the sword.
"Well, at the very least I got something for Ragna."
"Yo girly," the sword prodded out of the sheath with his handguard mouth, startling Louise. "I haven't got your name yet you know."
"What a rude sword, why don't you tell me yours first?"
"Alright, then. The name's Derflinger, but you can call me Lord Derf! Remember that."
"With an ego too…" She mumbled before clearing her throat. "I'm Louise Le Blanc De La Valliere, a pleasure to know you, Derflinger."
The sword scoffed at her long name, immediately earned the ire of Louise. "A bit too long for me, I'mma just call you girly from now on."
Before Louise even retort the sword, he fell back into his sheath. Sighing, she went back to the main street and towards the entrance she came from, hoping she could find Ragna waiting for her.
Location: Asha's Tailor
Ragna looked out to the window once more, feeling someone was watching for some reason unknown. Sighing, he turned back to Asha, who was focused on sewing his tattered clothes.
Her hands weaved around the clothes with the needle-like a graceful dancer. With an intense concentration, she barely paid any mind to Ragna watching her movement.
The woman snipped off the extra thread and inspect the fixed clothing. A few minutes of inspection and she smiled proudly.
"I can proudly say it is done!" she presented the newly repaired clothes to Ragna, who inspected it. He could barely see any stitches and any old stitches that he used to make a quick fix were gone. "I made some adjustments to the clothes to be more durable than before. But I got to, your fabrics are tough, and I never seen them before."
"I never know what they are made before at all, so I can't really tell you what it is."
"Oh, that's too bad," she said but not even sound disappointed at all. She returned Ragna his clothes, gesturing him to the changing room.
A few minutes later with some clothes ruffling noises, the man in the red coat left the changing room and shown to look much more presentable. His clothes no longer looked like it went through a battlefield.
"Not bad," she inspected Ragna's new appearance and impressed by it. "Now I look at you, you definitely are more handsome than before." Hoping for more reaction, she gave a charming smirk.
Ragna, for his part, didn't react to it. "Well, I can thank you for that. I really have a lot of trouble trying to get it looked like its original form." He straightens his coat and smiled at it.
"Then I am happy to help with more fixing. It'll be 150 Ecus for the repair work."
Ragna opened the pouch he had with him, counting them pieces by pieces in quick succession. It almost felt like how he used to count his count when he was barely scraping by.
Especially when Tao was around to eat up all the restaurant's food.
Once counted, the woman thanked Ragna for his patronage. Ragna nearly left the shop before the woman stopped him.
"If your clothes get torn apart again, visit me," she leaned forward with a good-natured smile on her face. "Treat me to lunch as compensation next time."
"Sure, just give me some time to save some money. I don't want us to end up in a dine and dash," both of them chuckled at the joke before Ragna waving her goodbye.
Once Ragna left, he traced his move back to the entrance where Louise and he came from. As he made his way back, if he turned around he would've noticed a patch of distinct red hair among the crowd following him.
Ragna noticed Louise standing by the gate by herself hugging a sword in her arm. She looked deep in thought, or perhaps daydreaming, as she had an unfocused stare on the crowd.
Once he was near Louise, he greeted her with a tap on her shoulder.
Snapping out of her reverie, she quickly greeted him back and looked at his new appearance.
"Now that's more presentable. You don't look like a beggar now," she snickered lightly when Ragna's expression looked like he was offended by the comment.
"Hey, I'm not a beggar Louise. It's all torn up from my last fight."
"I know I know." She then gave Ragna the sword that was carried on her arms.
"Here… I thought you can have that," she looked at him expectedly. She hoped he would accept this sword, despite some of the shortcomings.
Ragna tentatively took the sword and unsheathe it to see its rusty blade. Louise became more nervous, fearing for the worse.
"It's… a rusty sword."
Louise nodded. "I… don't have much money so I got this one."
Ragna observed the sword a little bit longer, before taking a deep breath and spoke.
"Do you… have any idea what kind of item you just gotten?"
Her anxiety skyrocketed as he spoke, she immediately tried to form a coherent answer in her mind and stammered out her answer.
"It… it was a sentient sword. It's a type of weapon that is nearly a myth in nature. I… I got it at 100 ecu since the arms dealers want to melt it," her palms broke out into a cold sweat as every scenario was running in her head, all of them worse than another. She truly hoped Ragna would forgive her for even buyi-
"You just got a Nox Nyctoris Louise. Something that doesn't worth 100 ecu."
"Nox… Nyctoris?" Her anxiety mostly subsided as Ragna looked at the sword in fascination, as if he was holding a treasure.
"Hey, I'm not some Nox Noctorus stuff! I am Derflinger!" Ragna widened his eyes in shock, immediately looked at Louise hoping he was not imagining things. His silent question was answered with her nod.
"This… I didn't expect one of you to even speak at all. The ones I know don't even talk. Also, it's Nox Nyctoris."
"Whatever," Derflinger brushed Ragna off and continued. "So, you're my new user or what?"
"User?" The confused master familiar pair asked.
"It's nothing. But what is the thing you're comparing me to anyway? Nox Nyctoris?" This time, it was Louise the one who became confused at the item in question.
"That… where to start..." Ragna places his fingers on his chin while thinking, after a few seconds he decides to start from the beginning.
"Alright, we'll start with what those are. They are semi-sentient weapons that come from where I came from. They are, supposedly ten, now eleven weapons that are converted from Grimoresmade by one of my old comrades to combat the Black Beast, an apocalyptic level monster."
"So, they must be powerful weapons right?" Louise inquired.
"Yes, they are. Each of them with their own unique abilities. I remember my master's Nox Nyctoris is able to cut through anything, even the air itself." It's still a wonder to him how did it work though. Thought for later time… again.
"Well, with great power comes with some sort of cost, right?" Derflinger questioned. Being old enough being allowed him to see a pattern on things in life, especially with power despite not remembering any details.
"Well… to make one of these weapons it requires a large number of souls."
Louise immediately blanched, shocked by the fact that to make such weapons requires mass genocide. Disturbing images flashed in her mind as she thought of such a process needed to do so. She knew some cursed weapons require the usage of dark arts and souls to create them, usually one to a dozen. But if what was Ragna implied…
She felt bile rising up.
"Okay, that's really disturbing! I'm very certain that I'm not being made through that process!" Derflinger exclaimed in shock.
"I'm not saying you are," he knew he screwed up with this one. He has to first diffuse the situation.
"Hell, I'm not even sure you were made the same way as those Nox Nyctores so just calm down both of you. I'm not an expert in this topic anyway so I'm not going into details about them."
Taking a few deep breaths and constant chanting of her mother's phrase, Louise managed to get her bearing together. "That… took a dark turn."
Ragna nodded and apologized to her. The girl quickly forgave him for that and asked him whether he would want to return the sword.
"Don't bring me back there, I will rather be melted than go back to that sleazebag!" the sword protested at the idea to return to the shop.
"Nah," Ragna grinned as he sheathed the sword to silence him. "We should keep it. Better that way than leaving it to someone who knows how to use him. Besides, it's a steal."
Louise chuckled, feeling better thanks to his attempt to lighten the mood. "Alright then, let's go back to the academy now."
They mounted their horses and left the city, not noticing a blue dragon was following them in the sky.