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Author: EnroItzal Original Source: Scribble Hub

“Ouch…” Lyra winced as she walked the sparse streets with her hand gently rubbing the top of her head. “That was merciless,” she groaned at her walking companion, Erin.

“This is entirely your own fault,” Erin directed the blame back at her. “Although I may enjoy the arts of the bedchamber, the word “bedchamber” is there for a reason.”

“You could have just told me if you don’t want to… yeesh.”

“I did.”

“With that kind of voice?” Lyra tittered. “I thought you were just being coy.”

Erin shot Lyra a glare, her ears and tails stiffened in place.

“Okay, I’ll be quiet,” Lyra immediately said at such a sight.

In the fraught yet imperative silence, the duo arrived at the only smithy in the town. Erin easily spotted Sven who was working as hard as ever at the forge. With all the hammering and fire sizzles, it was impossible for Erin to tell by scent or sound if Aedan was lazing about in the shop or not.

Sven noticed the two approaching as he finished quenching a tempered blade in a tub of cold water. His face lit up like the eve of a festive season at the two’s appearance. “Good morning, lassies. So the rumors were once again true?”

Erin frowned. “What rumors? There are new ones?” She looked to Lyra who had an indifferent reaction.

“It isn’t new but it’s just not attested. A new couple is born in the town. The Fox-kin is besotted with the Stellar Lily of our town. ”

“Stellar Lily?” Erin’s frown deepened. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Lily is how we refer to the ones who had that sort of orientation. Stellar is… well, I don’t think I need to tell you what stellar means.”

Erin nodded with a difficult expression. She understood perfectly and she couldn’t deny that rumor, not after the nights they spent together. She had heard of the whims of first infatuations where people are merely in love with the idea of love rather than the partner themself. She was afraid this was her circumstances and her fear was further accentuated now that her relationship became a public topic.

Sven suddenly laughed. His brawn throbbed with his guffaw. It was faint but Erin’s ears heard the small click of a tongue from Lyra.

Is she embarrassed at the sight of a half-naked man or is she jealous at his display of thews? Hmm, probably the latter.

Perhaps noticing the absence of amusement in Lyra’s expression, Sven ceased his laughter. “Settle down, lassies. As a Dwarrow, I can vouch that this town isn’t one to believe every whispers the winds brought them. It’s nice to be among people who aren’t gullible. I think that’s why there are no bad rumors about us Dwarrows.”

More like it’s because your father is the Guild Master, that’s why.

“Anyways,” he said and brought out a pair of sheathed swords.

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Erin creased her brows in wonder. One was a broadsword and another one was a war knife except it was the size of the average sword. It was a saber with an odd choice of design, so to speak. However, Erin’s questioning expression wasn’t a result of the queer-looking saber.

“Something wrong?” Sven asked.

“Two?” she returned the question.

“Well the silver was more than enough for one sword when melded with steel. So, I took the liberty to make two. At least now you’ll have a spare and a slightly wider array of weapon choices.”

“But I—”

“It’s okay, Lassie. I’ll be charging the rate of one. The silver was your material.”

“I see.” Erin smiled. “Thank you, Master Sven.”

“Thank you too, Lassie. And drop the master, I’m just a humble smith.” Sven then gestured at the swords. “Well? What are you waiting for? Go ahead and give them a few swings.”

Erin obliged and drew the broadsword first. The blade caught the morning sun and bounced onto Erin’s bewildered face. She was fascinated at the craftsmanship. Distancing herself from the forge, Erin danced a lethal cadence with her new sword. Since it wasn’t composed of only steel, the sword was lighter than its appearance suggested, which was fitting for Erin’s current physique.

As for the saber, it was even lighter than the broadsword and it had a slightly longer reach. Erin found herself more at home with the saber of an unconventional design rather than the broadsword she was supposed to be much more accustomed to.

Hmm… there’s still much to learn about my own body.

Seemingly riveted by the design, Lyra approached Erin and traced her finger across the blade. “This is… This is Fae’s craft.”

“Aye, it is.” Sven nodded with pride. “My father had the honor and good fortune to learn smithery under a Druid, which he then passed it on to me.”

Oh my god! There’s even a Druid?

“As expected of the Guild Master,” Lyra complimented.

After giving a thankful smile to Lyra, Sven shifted his gaze to Erin. “Right, about the sword I have loaned you..”

“Ah.” Erin immediately bowed.

“Erin?”

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“Lassie?”

Her sudden reaction baffled the two.

“I’m sorry. I wasn’t able to take good care of your sword, Master Sven.”

Realizing the reason behind her bow, Sven laughed with his head reeled back. “You Faes really are amiable. And the regulars at Merry Night say you were kinda brash. They must be drunk then.”

Remembering her minor outburst in the diner, Erin could only offer a cramped smile.

Lyra looked away as she struggled to hold in her laughter.

“You do not have to worry about the sword. Aedan told me all about it.”

“Eh? But I—”

“I understand you broke it in a fight for your life against a monster. You came out victorious and breathing. The swords and weapons I made— I didn’t make them for senseless killings.” Sven brushed his hand across the broadsword and saber he forged. “I made them for people who know how to treat them right. My sword may be lost but it has done its duty. I’m sure if it had a soul and will, it would not blame you. It would have departed pridefully.”

“Master Sven, I know how much it cost to forge even a knife. It’s inexcusable for me to lose your sword and not compensate you for it.”

“Most people would jump on the opportunity to rid themselves of debts but not you.”

“I’m not most people.” Erin responded resolutely.

“I can vouch for that.” Lyra grinned.

Seeing Lyra’s small grin, Erin knew she wasn’t thinking of anything decent. She would have reprimanded her had it not been for Sven’s presence.

After giving a few more words of gratitude and paying the appropriate price— after a semi-lengthy discussion, Erin asked Sven a question she had been holding back from asking for quite some time.

“Tail armor?” Sven repeated Erin’s question.

Erin waited anxiously for the Dwarrow’s response. She had asked Lyra beforehand but the latter had no knowledge of such an armor. It wasn’t because it didn’t exist but Lyra’s knowledge was only to this extent.

“Hmm… I have been meaning to ask, do you always have three tails?” Sven asked with his head canted.

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Erin froze at that question. In truth, she had forgotten about her numbers of tails. She hesitated on how to answer the question. She didn’t want the truth to be revealed but she didn’t want to lie to Sven either. She had lied a lot out of necessity but she hated every instance of it.

“Can’t say?” Sven gauged.

“Um… well…”

“Ah, it’s okay, lassie. It’s fine if you’re not comfortable with talking about it.”

Erin could only smile apologetically.

“As for tail armors… I’m aware that some Beast-kin used tail armors but don’t Faes use spell armors for that?”

“Ah,” Erin muttered in response. That thought had crossed her mind but the Mana consumption rate just wasn’t feasible if she was plunged into a drawn-out battle.

“She had some special circumstances,” Lyra explained for her.

Although Erin was grateful, she couldn’t help but wonder how long that excuse would fly.

“Well, you don’t need to tell me that. You’re giving me business and I’m taking it, end of story.” Sven clapped his hands together. “However, that is a troubling request.”

“How so?” Erin asked.

“The measurements of tail armor needs to be incredibly specific. Therefore—”

“Then she won’t be getting a tail armor,” Lyra stepped in before Sven could finish his sentence.

Erin was at a loss for words. Lyra’s possessiveness was getting out of bounds and Erin intended to reprimand her. However, Erin remembered just how sensitive her tails could be under certain circumstances and Lyra did her a huge favor by speaking out. Erin was not looking forward to having a male she barely knew for a few days touching them. She wouldn’t mind if it were women or girls though.

“Understandable,” Sven read the mood and retreated with his statement. “So, what else can I do for the two of you pretty lassies?”

There was one other thing she wanted, or rather, one thing she had to do but it wasn’t something to be asking from a blacksmith, and that was sparring. It was less of a habit but more of a necessity to get a firm grasp of her new weapons. She could wait until she reached the forest but with the saber in her hands, she wanted to test it out as soon as possible.

“You want to give the sabre a few actual swings?” Sven suddenly said.

“You can tell?” Erin returned the question with surprise smeared all over her face.

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Sven laughed. “People like you are dimes a dozen. Always eager to try out their new blade at the earliest moments possible.”

“Perhaps I can be your sparring partner, then?” Lyra volunteered herself.

“Thank you but you’re not suitable.” Erin said blatantly.

“I’m being underestimated.”

“It’s not about underestimating. You use a bow, I use a sword. How would that work?”

“I’m handy with a sword, I’ll have you know.”

Erin gave Lyra a brief scrutinizing glance. “Yeah, no,” was Erin’s instant assessment of Lyra’s skill with the sword.

“Settle down, lassies. I have a solution.”

Erin raised an eyebrow. “You do?”

Sven nodded. He turned to the shop entrance’s direction and yelled, “Aedan!”

After a short while, a languid boy with short red hair emerged from the shop. “Yes?” he asked in a tone befitting of his lethargic conduct.

“Eager customer,” Sven simply said and tossed Aedan a sword with dull edges.

“Get someone else to do it?”

“Like who? You’re the only one here, Aedan.”

Aedan groaned with his eyes rolled.

“Come on, it’ll be quick and it’s good exercise for you to prevent any rust on your skills.”

Aedan bounced his gaze between Erin and his brother, Sven. His eyes fell to the saber in Erin’s hand. He then pointed at the Fox-kin. “I’m fighting her?” he asked with a frown.

Erin and Lyra had the same reaction as the younger Dwarrow.

Sven shrugged. “Who else?”

“I’ll die, you know?”

“You are being rude, Aedan. Miss Erin here is a nice lassie. I’m sure she’ll hold back unless— you didn’t say anything rude to her yesterday, did you?”

Instead of looking away and threw an excuse, Aedan looked Sven straight in the eye and said, “only the truth.”

Sven sighed. “Aedan, we talked about this. One of these days, you’re going to find yourself buried in a shallow grave.”

“Well, at least it wouldn’t be too hard to find me,” Aedan retorted.

Sven sighed again. “Lassie, I hope you will go easy on my brother.” He bowed slightly.

“I’ll do my best.” Erin said. While she didn’t think Aedan would be the ideal sparring partner but half of her simply had enough dealing with his antics and boorish gestures. This was her chance to vent her frustration even though it was petty for her to do so.

“I didn’t know Aedan could fight,” Lyra said.

“Maybe about half the town would say the same thing as you,” replied Sven.

“I may not be fond of that brat but— will he be alright?”

Sven grinned. “I’ll let you be the judge of that.”

Erin and Aedan distanced themselves a few yards away from the smithy. There was no grass or any trees near the forge as it would run the risk of starting a wildfire. The vast emptiness was perfect for a simple spar. However, the impending spar was anything but simple.

In her full set of protective garbs, Erin brandished her newly acquired saber. “Just want to let you know, this is very personal.”

Aedan gazed at the Fox-kin who had more than a head advantage in terms of height. “Is it too late to apologize?”

Erin stifled for a brief moment before bursting out laughing. “Wow, you’re really low.”

“I am a Dwarrow.”

Erin chuckled. “Sure you are.”

“T-that brat!” came the jealousy flare from the side lines. “He made her laugh!?”

“You do this often?” Erin asked, ignoring Lyra who was staring daggers at Aedan.

Pursuing his lips, Aedan answered, “not too often, thankfully.”

“Well then, I’ll let you have the first swing.” A grin crept up to Erin’s expression.

“Pardon me for saying this but… you look kinda different than you did a few seconds ago.”

To that statement, Erin’s grin widened. Even before her current life, this was something being said to her more times than she could count. She became a different person in battle and she wasn’t one to shy away from this fact. Only behind a blade, she felt truly alive.

Aedan sighed, again. “Please go easy on me.”

“As I have said, I’ll do my best.”

On the sidelines, a certain woman was biting her lips while chanting under her breath with the words, “break a few bones at least.”


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