Last High Human 15: Meltdown
To sum it all up, I ended up agreeing to work for the Drunkard, who appeared to be an Ogre. So we’re not at war with the Modoble anymore.
I slept at the Inn. Garland paid it for me, saying that it was a gift.
I didn’t have time to actually feel my bed: I fell asleep right after crashing into it.
I woke up early to the tweets of birds sitting on the window’s frame.
That’s when I realized I almost forgot about Lyshia’s situation.
I walked down the stairs and got welcomed by the disgruntled face of a young Elv with short, light-brown hair, sitting behind the counter. He forced a smile when he saw me walking towards him.
Counter Elv: ”Good morning dear customer. Have you had a good sleep?”
Rhod: ”Yes. Thanks for everything.”
Counter Elv: ”Should I prepare your morning meal?”
Rhod: ”No thanks.”
A delighted smile appeared on the Elv’s face.
Rhod: ”But I will come back for it later.”
End of the smile.
One point for me, none for you.
I politely bowed to the pissed Elv and left the Inn.
Outside, the sun had yet to show up. On my left, the sky was tainted in yellow and blue. It’s still a bit dark but not enough to hinder vision.
According to the Drunkard’s instructions, to find his workshop, I should head behind the stables building, then cross the street. The workshop should be on the left.
I stretched out longly, enjoying the calm and the fresh air. There’s way more Energy floating in the air than there was in my era. I can absorb as much as I want, it doesn’t deplete at all.
Alright, time to get down to business. I turned left and walked towards the stables. The two guards I met yesterday has been replaced by two others. They were talking about the breach of the Sylvarian Barrier and the evacuation order. It seems like more than half of the inhabitants of Madol have left tonight.
I entered the stables and walked to the stalls where our mounts are parked. The same human teenager welcomed me weakly with beady eyes. He was reeking of alcohol.
Teenage Boy: ”Good m’ning… How can I help…”
Rhod: "Hi. I have come to feed our horses.”
Teenage Boy: ”Huu…”
After yawning loudly, the young human walked around a stall. The next moment, the creaking of an opening door resonated inside the stables. I heard the sound of objects being moved around. A minute later, the teeanager came back to me with a bucket filled with carrots.
Rhod: ”Thanks. And hum… What about Lye- Lady Lyett’s mount?”
Teenage boy: ”M’lady feeds him herself once a day, dun worry…”
Rhod: ”I see. Thanks again. I’ll feed the horses and leave right after.”
Teenage boy: ”Take your time…”
After yawning again, he went back to whatever his occupation was before.
I started feeding the four horses parked together. They quietly came to eat their treat, without a care in the world about me. The deceased Beastman’s mount however, while munching on the carrot I was holding for him, kept looking at me right in the eyes. Another weird creature…
Once finished with these four I moved to the second stall, ready for the upcoming battle.
The weak will lose, the strong will prevail.
A carrot in hand, a spark of fire in the eye, I took a look at the second stall in search of my opponent. Which is standing against the wall of the stall, looking down.
Rhod: ”Hey, what’s up?”
Vexia’s horse neighed weakly then sneezed. A bit of yellow matter ran out of his nostrils.
Rhod: ”Hey! Seems like one of them caught a cold!”
Teenage Boy: ”Ah… We have medication for that… I’m goin’ to take it. You can leave while I’m absent if you want.”
The teenager put a hat with a visor on his head then left by the guild’s door in the stables.
I broke the carrots in pieces and fed them to the horse before leaving.
Once outside, I turned left at the corner of the building and walked along it’s side wall, until I arrived at a cross section. Following Drunkard’s instructions, the workshop should be on the other side of this road, in front of me, on my left. But something tells me he mixed up left and right, since the building on my right had a big sign above it’s entrance, with "Ogre Blacksmith” written on it.
I crossed the street and knocked on the door. Right after, some rustling sounds came from inside the workshop. The door slowly opened, enough to see half the face of a male teenager.
Workshop Boy: ”Sorry, dear customer but… We are closed at this time of the day… And hum, could you please come back at a later time?”
Rhod: ”Ah, wait, you are mistaken: I am not a customer.”
The door opened a bit more.
Workshop Boy: ”Could you be the second master?”
Rhod: ”I… don’t know about being a second master but, I will be starting to work at the blacksmith workshop from today onward. Am I at the right place?”
The door slowly opened completely, revealing my interlocutor: a teenager with a strong build, red hair two powerful pair of arms, wearing ragged clothes. But even though his body was well built, I immediately notice how thin he was.
Four-armed Boy: ”Ah, yes! Could you be Sir Rhod?”
S… “Sir”? That’s… arg…
Rhod: ”Yes, that’s me. Where is …?”
Wait, how is the Drunkard named…?
Four-armed Boy: ”Ah, yes, Master is currently out for business. He left some instructions for you to read in the forge. Please follow me, Sir Rhod.”
The boy bowed politely before letting me in. He then guided me in the workshop.
Inside, some weapons, shields, and armors were displayed on racks in very few numbers. Maybe they repair more than they build...
We got behind the counter and went through a door into a very small room, where four or five other teenagers, clothed in rags, are sleeping on the ground. Could the old man be poor…?
We penetrated to another room with a big window, as wide as the wall, and covered with closed shutters. A large table was placed in the center of the room.
Four-armed Boy: ”There it is, Sir Rhod.”
He showed me a paper, lying on the table. Let’s hope I can read it.
“Hi there Rood. I hop u wont comm 2 leyt.
I wont be in the workchop tooday. I have a busy-ness 2 attend somewher.”
… Don’t tell me the old man writes like this, it makes my eyes itchy…
“-There is no thing 2 do yet butt repaire the dented shielde. Shuld take you till toonite. Also, make sur that the slavz are doing some thing. They tend 2 laze around when-never thei can. Also pleez sign the paper, so thei wil also obei u. See ya later.
That’s it. My eyes must be bleeding. But more importantly, did he said “slaves”? Really? Is that shit still existing?
I took a look around me, trying to find four-arms. The boy stood three steps behind me, looking at his feet.
Rhod: ”I’m supposed to sign this. Is there an ink-feather somewhere?”
Four-arms: ”To… to sign…?”
Ah… Four-arms looked at me with despair, but suddenly looked down at his feet.
Four-arms: ”I’m sorry, I- I wasn’t intending to look at you or anything, S-... Second Master.”
Second… Ah, I see… So I will become another Master to them. I hope he doesn’t think that means their life will get harsher...
Four-arms hurriedly bowed to me before taking a thick stick on a table and presented it to me.
I took it, unsure as to what to do with it. One of the extremity is a bit thicker and seemed to be an independent part. I pulled on it, trying to look like I know what I’m doing.
The extremity separated from the stick, revealing a metallic point which looeds like a small arrow head, with a blackish tip.
The slave only brought this to me. Did he forgot to bring an ink pot? Or does this works without ink…? ...Let’s try as it is. If it needs ink, I’ll pretend I forgot because of sleepiness.
I grabbed the stick, pointed it towards the paper and signed it. It really did write without diving the point in an ink pot.
So this era have ink feathers that does not need ink pots, but slavery still exists?
Rhod: ”I have to repair some dented shield. Do you know where it is?”
Four-arms: ” ...Yes… Just right here.”
After sweeping some tears from his eyes, the boy went to the other side of the table and kneeled behind it. After some rustling sound he stood up again, holding a round shield in his lower arms. I moved around the table and stood next to my silent companion. He tried to step back but I grabbed him by the wrist.
Four-arms: "I- … Un.. Understood… Second Master.”
Rhod: ”What is your name?”
The slave frowned before whispering, clenching his fists.
Four-arms: ”I… We’re not allowed to use our names.”
The hell? Old man, you are disappointing me.
Rhod: ”Well I authorize you to use it. And Hogan is not here right?”
Four-arms stopped clenching his fists and was obviously trying not to look at me.
Four-arms: ”I huh… My name is Tetsuo.”
Rhod: ”Well then Tetsuo, what do you think of this?”
I showed him the shield.
It’s made out of a wooden disc with a metallic frame. One of the frame’s portion was a bit bent outward. Mistaking “dented” and “bent”, seriously old man.
Tetsuo: ”I huh… What am I supposed to…?”
Rhod: ”This part of the frame is bent. It sticks outward. How would you repair it? Tell me what you think, don’t hesitate.”
Four-arms frowned again and after a couple of seconds he grabbed the shield and looked at it up-close.
Tetsuo: ”Well I… It’s definitely not much bent. Hammering it carefully would be enough. I think.”
Not bad. But not perfect.
Rhod: ”Correct. But before hammering it, we will need to heat it up to soften it. What about we do it together?”
Four-arms suddenly looked at me with sparkly eyes.
Tetsuo: ”Yes! Please!”
Good kid. Those are the eyes of passion!
I asked him to start a fire in the forge while I unscrewed the frame from the wooden disc. We then waited for the bent part of the frame to turn red. Seeing how the slave was happy to help, I asked him to do the hammering. It looked like I offered him the best present in the word.
It only took us an hour to repair the shield. Once finished, Tetsuo shyly thanked me before leaving the forge to open the workshop.
When he came back in, the other slaves are with him. They lined up in front of me.
Rhod: ”Hi? What is it?”
Tetsuo: ”The review, Second Master.”
The other slaves frowned when hearing about the “Second Master”.
Tetsuo was on the far left. Right next to him was a girl with four arms too. She had the same red hair and tough body as him. Maybe they were brother and sister. While Tetsuo looked 15, she looked more like 18 or 19. I had yet to know from what race they came from.
Next to her stood a very short girl, with abnormally white skin and black hair in a bob-cut. I'm pretty sûre she belonged to the Snow Women race. How rare…
Then came a haughty looking Elv with very short hair. No special features on him. He stood next to an impressive individual: fierce looking face, as tall as my two meter height, and possessed lizardish arms, hands, legs and tail. A proud member of the Desert Sprinter tribe. Like the name suggested, they specialized on speed movement.
The last slave was a… A girl.
What is it with her…?
Her ankles was chained to her wrists and she wore a heavy looking mask. Even though she was around 1.65 meters, her body build was thin as the Snow Girl. She may collapse anytime. I mean, she trembles…
Rhod: ”Review or not, it doesn’t change the fact that I don’t know what i’m supposed to do with you all.”
Tetsuo: ”Well huh… We usually receive our tasks for the day during the review… Second Master.”
The sparks disappeared from his eyes, replaced by the same tired expression on his face.
Rhod: ”Got it. Well then let’s make it easy for us all. Tetsuo, you know everyone better than me, place them at the task they are the most fitted for.”
Tetsuo nodded politely then started whispering to the others. After a minute, they all left, except for Tetsuo.
Tetsuo: ”Anything I can do to help?”
Rhod:” No… Or wait, yes. Tell me their names and what the others are going to do.”
Tetsuo: ”Understood. My sister’s name is Shina, she takes care of the reserve. Daën is the Elv, he should be cleaning the counters. Jin is the one with reptilian features, he is able to count fast so he is at the counter. Tsubaki is the Snow person. She follows my sister around. She huh… is too young and toweak to help yet. And huh… The girl with the mask is Hilda. She’s… She’s a Fury.”
Never heared of that race.
Rhod: ”What is her task?”
Tetsuo looked at me with surprise.
Tetsuo: ”Ah, yes. She is filling crystals with magic.”
The four armed girl, Shina, suddenly entered the room, bowed briefly and spoke to me energetically.
Shina: ”A customer wants to meet you… Second master.”
Huh… Such hate in her eyes.
I left the two together in the room and welcomed the customer.
Clothed in rich military clothes, the blond woman politely nodded to me. She put a broken rapier on the counter and shook my hand with vigor. The way she stood, spoke, and the look he gave to me all reek of vigor.
Vigorous Woman: ”I heared Hogan found someone to tend to his shop! Anyone is better than him. I broke my rapier during a clean-up mission yesterday and I need it either repaired or replaced for tomorrow morning. What can you do and how fast?”
I inspected the pieces of the sword in hand and took a close look at them. The blade was made of a good iron, but broke since the blade still had a lot of impurities inside. Rapiers are meant to pierce, not to slash.
Rhod: ”I will need to melt the whole blade before putting it back together. I can also try to reinforce it.”
Vigorous Woman: ”So I need to replace it for tomorrow, right?”
Rhod: ”No need actually. It can be ready before the night.”
Vigorous: ”Really? Very well, I will come back before the night falls then. Have a nice day!”
And… she’s gone. What a storm!