The inside of the shop was exactly what Damien expected it to be. The walls were lined with various weapons, some that he had never even heard of before, and there was nobody behind the counter.
There was also a door leading further in, most likely leading to the forge. Damien walked up to the counter and run the bell he saw there, hoping he’d get a response, and while he waited he decided to check the weapons on the walls.
Heading over to the swords, Damien picked up a few and tried them out, but he couldn’t get a good feeling from any of them.
Broadswords were too heavy for his fighting style while normal double-edged swords weren’t to his liking. He wanted something similar to a katana but not exactly. Something like a certain sword he had read about named ‘Dawn’s Ballad’ but longer.
As Damien browsed the shop, occasionally taking a swing or two with a sword, a stout man walked out from the back. “Hey, kid! Why’d you ring the bell if you ain’t ready to buy anything!”
Damien turned around and saw the man he assumed to be Vormec and headed over. “None of these swords fit me that well, I’d like to request something custom made.”
Vormec scanned Damien from head to toe before letting out a scoff. “What, are you saying that my work isn’t good enough for ya? If that’s the case why don’t ya just leave?”
Damien was already starting to feel exasperated, but he didn’t want to cause any misunderstandings. “No, sir. It’s just that the design I’m looking for is a bit unique, and I’d like an S or SS rank sword, while these swords are at most at A rank.”
There were a few reasons Damien wanted to have either an S or SS rank weapon.
First was cost. Since he didn’t know how much the average cost of a custom weapon was, he decided to play it safe.
Second was time. It would take him a while before he overtook an SS rank sword in power, so he’d be able to use it for a long time.
And third was durability. He mused that the sword he found in the dungeon was at least a B rank artifact, and he’d pretty much destroyed it in only 2 years of use. His Void Sword Art wasn’t something that just any sword could handle.
Vormec was still displeased but decided to hear Damien out. Especially after hearing of a new design for him to forge. Throwing Damien a light sword, Vormec decided to test him. “Here, boy. Take this sword and show me that you can handle a sword that’s higher than your level.”
He had seen plenty of young masters and misses from powerful families that wanted a higher-class weapon so they could fight above their ranks, but it wasn’t all that simple.
As an artifact’s tier was raised, it would develop certain effects or powers of its own. If the wielder wasn’t careful, they could end up injuring or even killing themselves by biting off more than they could chew.
Dameon was hesitant, though. “No offense, but I’m not sure it’d be a good idea for me to perform my sword art inside the city. Although I don’t know how sturdy it is, I’d rather be safe than sorry.”
Damien then grabbed Vormec by his shoulder and continued. “I’ll apologize in advance for this.”
Vormec was about to flip out when the boy reached for his shoulder, but the next thing he knew, he was in the middle of the grassy plain outside of the city. He could still see the city in the distance. “The hell are you doing boy!” He shouted.
Damien smiled wryly but still entertained the old man. “Sir, I’m showcasing my sword art just like you said.”
Vormec was still angry that he had been transported without warning, but after a bit of thought, his eyes widened. It didn’t take long for him to realize that the boy in front of him had a spatial affinity. Backing away slightly, Vormec watched Damien as he got into form.
Damien faced the plain and decided to put his full power into his attack. He figured that if he impressed this old man, he’d be able to get himself a better weapon.
Taking his stance, Damien made his move. His sword flickered as its blade disappeared, and in the next instant, a large gash that spanned for hundreds of meters appeared in the plain.
‘Void Sword Art First Step: Bladeless’
When Damien turned around, he saw Vormec standing there with a priceless expression on his face. His eyes were wide as saucers and his jaw was open so wide he could fit a fist in it.
A few seconds later, Vormec composed himself and hurriedly spoke. “Boy! Gimme that sword quick!”
Damien, confused about the sudden request, handed the sword to Vormec, who proceeded to inspect it.
“Quick, destructive, bestial.” Vormec started spewing nonsense. However, to him, it was art.
Vormec could see the emotion and intent behind the experiences and attacks of any sword he made, this was why he enjoyed having regular customers rather than mass production. The intent he saw in the weapons he made helped him gain insights into his forgery.
Although Damien’s swordsmanship looked rough from the outside, it was filled with savagery and brutality that he’d only ever seen from beasts. It was a sword whose only motive was the primal thirst for blood and survival. It held its own brand of beauty and elegance.
Vormec was infatuated with the new series of intents he was witnessing and no longer needed to think about his decision.
“Take us back to the shop, boy! I’ll make yer sword.”
Damien smiled brightly as he once again grabbed Vormec’s shoulder and warped them back to the shop. He then spent an hour or so going over the design and materials he desired for his sword with the blacksmith before leaving the shop with an even brighter smile on his face.
The sword would be SS rank and should have cost him around 800 gold, but he had made a deal with Vormec where as long as it was within his ability, Damien would go to Vormec for any of his artifact needs, and he got a discount.
Although it still cost him almost all his money, Damien wasn’t worried about this. He went back to his inn room to wait a week for his new sword to be finished and for his first quest to begin.
Damien also got to keep the sword he used for his showcase, so after a few hours of rest and relaxation using his Zara pillow, he directly warped back to the plains to train.
What Damien was training now was the 3rd step of his sword art. He had the rough idea for a while, but couldn’t implement it due to the condition of his old sword. This mode would be an area of effect type, so it required more durability.
As Damien spent his week practicing, many events were taking place in the shadows.
Within a hideout somewhere in Apeiron, a certain organization was making their plans.
“Leader,” said a black-robed man, “the target will be moving in a week to return to the capital. This might be our last chance to capture them.”
The leader, a middle-aged man who was situated on a throne, fell into thought. They had been attempting to capture the target for many months now but to no avail. They always had guards around them and was a strong individual themself, making it difficult to move.
The leader didn’t want to send any of their upper echelons, but the weaker members weren’t going to cut it. He had to accept that.
“Very well,” he finally spoke, “send a team of 2nd class members and let Adrian lead them. Let’s see how the target tries to escape from a 3rd class.”
The black robes men bowed and left the room. The leader gazed into space, attempting to get a hint at the future, but he didn’t have that sort of power. ‘Whatever this ominous feeling is, I hope Adrian will be enough to handle it. Nothing can be allowed to go wrong this time.’
The wheels of time continued to turn as many figures moved with their own agendas, and a week passed by.
Damien was ready to finally make some progress towards his goals.