Oukoku e Tsuzuku Michi Chapter 411
「Aah, so tired……」
Talking with Leopolt for an extended period of time always wears me out.
This time was particularly exhausting since he had many complaints and serious issues to discuss about.
「In that case, we could wait until tomorrow to do this.」
Sekrit mutters beside me.
「Don’t be ridiculous. Your arm was finally completed, so I want you to get it attached as soon as possible.」
Immediately after the meeting with Leopolt, I received notice from Balbano that Sekrit’s artificial arm had been constructed.
「Knowing him, he’ll definitely meet expectations.」
「I wonder about that. Well, if I can walk straight, I’ll consider it a godsend.」
Sekrit’s gait is still shaky, yet she’s somewhat walking ahead of me.
When she realizes, she quickly lowers her pace to match mine.
So she’s excited after all.
It’d be nice if the finished product is something beyond our expectations.
Sekrit and I walk into the basement of a certain building.
It’s where Balbano was working on the artificial arm.
「Oh, you’re here.」
While the matter is not particularly secret, Balbano said he would make more progress if he worked underground, so we requisitioned a personal workshop for him.
He isn’t fond of the sunlight like Brynhildr, but for a different reason.
「Then let’s begin.」
Urged by me, Sekrit decisively removes the clothes on her upper body.
Almost like she would lose if she felt embarrassed, Sekrit revealed her glossy brown skin, large breasts and faintly colored nipples without hiding a single part of her body.
Balbano was not affected when the wonderful pair of boobs popped out.
In fact, I was the one who had to stick my hand in my pants to adjust the position of my dick, which was starting to become engorged with blood.
「It doesn’t look like your body has changed.」
He proceeds to take Sekrit’s left arm…… the stump of an arm, and unwraps the bandages covering it up.
「What is it? How can I attach the arm if your arm is wrapped up?」
Sekrit scowls before turning to me.
「Turn around for a bit.」
I do as she says.
I should respect her wishes if she doesn’t want me to see.
From behind me, I hear the voices of Balbano and Sekrit, as well as the sound of metal rubbing together.
「This is what will be attached to your arm.」
「What’s that? It’s not even one third the size of an arm. You’re not thinking of putting that worthless thing on me, are you? At this point, a regular stick seems better than that.」
Sekrit sounds unhappy.
「Oh, quit whining. You’ll understand once I put it on!」
I hear Balbano’s voice and some metal shuffling, then Sekrit’s agonizing cries.
「Guh…… uuu…… higyih!」
「I guess it hurts at first. Bite down on this.」
Sekrit’s voice becomes muffled.
「Nnmh! Nnnnnn――!! Nn!! Nh……」
「A little more…… and it should fit perfectly…… hrng!」
Sekrit lets out an especially loud scream after I hear Balbano exert his strength.
I could feel Sekrit’s flexible body arch backward.
「Hey, you’re not cheating on me with my back turned, are you? I’m against this kind of play.」
I hear Sekrit chuckle.
Did I distract her a little?
Jokes aside, I’ve heard that considerable pain comes along with attaching artificial arms.
「Alright, it’s done.」
When Balbano exhales, I turn around quickly.
「Isn’t it strange?」
I couldn’t help mumbling.
The artificial arm attached to the left arm of the naked Sekrit…… doesn’t look close to what I expected. It was a bizarre object with short metal rings connected together.
Just like she said, it wasn’t longer than a third of a normal arm.
「That thing won’t do any good. This won’t be deserving of squeezed fruit juice, much less high-grade liquor.」
Sekrit sends a piercing gaze at Balbano.
Besides anger, I can also see disappointment and sadness in her eyes.
No matter what she said out loud, she was still looking forward to it, so I feel bad for her.
「Eei, so fussy! Just be quiet and sit down!」
Balbano waddles to the side and brings over a large box.
「What I attached just now was the joint part which connects the arm to the body, of course it’s going to be short!」
Balbano takes out several arms from within the box.
「If a metal arm was constructed in one piece, and that arm was to hit a wall or something, the impact would travel straight to your bones and be excruciatingly painful.」
Balbano pushes the short arm fitted to Sekrit as he explains himself.
「This here is a base. The artificial arm will be installed using this as a foundation.」
Balbano pushes hard on the metal rings.
Normally, such an act that digs into a wound would cause Sekrit to faint in agony, but the rings merely contract and doesn’t appear to hurt her.
「It’s a device with powerful springs and various mechanisms to disperse the load. Quite a bit…… well, unless the same amount of force to break an arm is used, it should be resistant to a certain amount of pushing or pulling.」
Sekrit pushes her arm against the wall to confirm its effects.
A tiny bit of expectation returned to her face.
「The most important part, the arm…… is here.」
Balbano takes out three different arms from the box.
Sekrit and I both raise our concerns.
「Three of them?」
Balbano proudly throws out his chest.
「That’s the reason for the joint. If the arm was attached directly to the body, it would require complicated adjustments and plenty of pain everytime, but with this model……」
One of the arms was matched up with the metal ring part.
There was a crisp click and the artificial arm was completely fixed in place.
「It won’t take more than three seconds even with one arm. Just pull down this lever if you want to remove it.」
「I can put it on or take it off by myself? That’s pretty nice.」
Sekrit’s eyes sparkle.
As expected of Balbano.
I knew he would come through.
If one word can be used to describe the attached metal arm, it would be ‘crude’.
I don’t know if it was because her weight was kept in mind, but it’s more slender than a normal arm, with no over-the-top parts, and is well-constructed down to the palm and finger joints, making it indistinguishable from an artificial arm if covered with long sleeves and a glove.
It looks like a fine piece of work that’s sturdy and practical, typical of a dwarf’s craftsmanship..
「This arm is an all-purpose type made to handle tasks from daily living to harsher movements. It doesn’t have any outstanding features besides being durable, but if I must say……」
Balbano circles around in front of Sekrit.
He doesn’t hesitate to approach the half-naked Sekrit and shows no reaction when her ample breasts jiggle.
「Stay quiet and watch…… err, it’s here.」
I’m getting irritated, just like when the arm was being installed, and for some reason, I seem to be getting aroused too.
No, let’s not think about that.
「If you pull this small lever――」
The hand of the artificial arm makes a soft click and curls up into a fist.
「And if you push it back down……」
The same sound was made and the hand opens up.
「It can grip onto objects!?」
I unconsciously exclaimed.
An artificial arm that can hold things is unheard of.
「The lever can be used to adjust the grip strength to four different levels. You can hold something softly or grip something tight. I could have subdivided the range into more levels, however, the mechanisms would become more complicated and there’s a higher chance the arm would breakdown.」
「No, that is plenty. How wonderful.」
Sekrit’s face becomes serious as she tests out her arm by grabbing the broom and cloth next to her.
She’s clearly smiling on the inside.
「Onto the next thing.」
Balbano unequips the all-purpose arm.
Sekrit was slightly saddened.
The arm he presented was incomparably more dangerous-looking than the previous one.
Three sharp claws grew out from the area right above the wrist.
「As you can see, there is a set of claws attached. That part is made of a special alloy so you don’t need to sharpen them. The arm was made under the assumption that it will be used to hit things and shock absorption mechanisms are already in place, so you won’t feel any pain to your arm even if you swing it violently.」
「That’s rather terrifying.」
「It’s a combat-specialized arm. In other words, it’s not suited for normal use.」
Its appearance is way too vicious.
With three claws of at least 40 cm in length, seeing just the silhouette would make anyone immediately think of a monster.
「Fufu, this is nice. I would have liked something capable of holding a sword, although this is more convenient in melee……」
Sekrit swiftly swings her claws up and down, then after flipping backwards, lunges in a scooping motion.
Her movements are superb.
There is absolutely no unsteadiness.
Having the artificial arm is enough to return her center of gravity to normal.
Sekrit is beaming.
「Next is this.」
What Balbano put forth last was literally an arm.
「So this is dwarven engineering.」
It was an ordinary arm, with nothing unusual attached to it.
There was no difference to a real arm.
「The touch of it feels…… the same.」
「I’m impressed with how similar it is.」
When I tried touching it, the softness of the skin replicated the sensation of a normal human arm, though it has a certain coldness from the lack of blood circulation.
Its form is perfect and even the color of the skin matched the rest of Sekrit’s body.
If the base was hidden, no human could tell whether it was real or prosthetic.
「What material did you use? It’s so close to real skin……」
I suddenly get a bad feeling and pull my hand away. Sekrit also stops moving.
「……you didn’t use real skin, right? I know it’s not hard to obtain if you simply go to the site of a battle.」
「What kind of person do you guys think I am!?」
Balbano goes on to explain the materials he used, however, I didn’t end up paying much attention since the only one I recognized was coal.
It doesn’t really matter as long as I know he didn’t peel the skin off a human corpse.
「This arm is not tailored for fights. It’s quite easy for the material to fall off if force is applied, so use it with care. I genuinely didn’t want to make such a fragile arm, but I can understand the feelings of a woman with a lover who wants to get back her arm…… I’ll make an exception.」
Sekrit turns shyly in my direction before shaking her head and then offering her hand to Balbano with a provocative expression.
「What are you doing? Aah, right. I intended to make the arm hairy, although I saw that your entire body was completely smooth. While it was still strange to me, I decided to complete it without the hair.」
「I would have strangled you had you turned it into a hairball. ……anyways, it’s an excellent product. I feel I should also thank you.」
「No need. I’ll just take the booze this guy promised to give me.」
Sekrit was persistent and continued to ask Balbano.
「Then why don’t you give my breasts a squeeze at least? Or maybe you want to suck on them?」
「Argh, let me go! If you want to seduce me, come back after you grow some hair under your arms!」
I couldn’t help laughing at the scene.
Normally, I’d go crazy with jealousy, however, I can tell this time Sekrit was the one hiding her embarrassment.
Sekrit, unhappy that I didn’t get jealous, stretched her arm at Balbano…… then froze.
「Hey. Did you construct this arm with my arm as a model?」
「That’s right. It’s a perfect copy.」
Oh yeah, Balbano was closely inspecting Sekrit’s right arm during the initial measurement stage…… wait, I realized what the problem was.
「It has a fatal flaw.」
「I can’t let that go! The center of gravity and shape is perfect! Tell me which part is not right!」
Balbano bellows at Sekrit, confident in his own handiwork.
Sekrit promptly extends the arm.
「The thumb of the left arm is on the left.」
There was a brief moment of silence.
「……I’ll fix it later.」
Apparently Balbano copied Sekrit’s right arm exactly.
Nevertheless, it’s quite a feat to stabilize her center of gravity in spite of the error.
「Now, let’s get to the good part.」
Balbano speaks up as if trying to cover his mistake.
「That’s good enough already.」
The trio of arms – all-purpose, combat, and everyday use – makes a complete set.
He’s done a fine job.
「What do you mean!? There’s nothing interesting about ordinary artificial arms!」
Technically, those arms can, by no means, be called ordinary, but the tone of his voice suggests he has something even more amazing in store.
Sekrit also looks at him with anticipation.
If she was shown such incredible products already, of course she would have a greater amount of expectation if told something greater existed.
I’m getting all kinds of bad feelings though.
「First is this!」
Balbano takes out an arm that is bulkier and cruder than all the previous ones.
It’s also made of a different material as a dull oppressive lustre is emanating from the arm.
Most notable is the hole in the center of the palm.
「……hey, it’s unusually heavy.」
「You don’t swing this around. Well, just try it out.」
Balbano points to the far end of the basement.
「Aim your arm at the barrel over there. Once you take a solid stance, press the button at the base.」
The moment Sekrit pushed the button, a thunderous roar and a tremendous shockwave struck my body.
After a puff of fire and smoke, the barrel exploded into pieces, and even a large hole was created in the wall behind it. A trail of smoke was left between the arm and the wall.
The recoil sent Sekrit flying, so I had no time to worry about what just happened.
My body reacted immediately, leaping to catch Sekrit in midair and then making a sliding landing on the ground.
「Are you alright?」
Sekrit was stunned, but she instantly grasped the situation when she saw the destruction that resulted.
「A cannon!? Y-you’re kidding me!! I thought you were a capable man, but I guess I overestimated you!!」
The enraged Sekrit points the arm at Balbano and presses the button repeatedly.
「It can only fire one shot. Perhaps I put in a little too much explosives…… I’ll adjust it, so give it back.」
Sekrit, probably still disoriented from being in close proximity to the blast, staggers before tossing the arm cannon at Balbano.
「……I’m getting nothing but bad feelings.」
Sekrit’s premonitions come true as Balbano takes out an arm that clearly was not in the shape of a normal arm.
There was a slender cylindrical-shaped vessel attached to the bottom of the arm.
「You carry this on your back and attach the hose to the arm.」
A large backpack was strapped to her back and a long hose connected to her arm.
I could hear some sort of fluid sloshing around inside the backpack.
「Pull the lever!」
Sekrit adopts a ready stance and pulls the lever.
Instantaneously, fierce flames spray out from the arm.
Sekrit holds her position and expresses her awe.
Those flames were that fearsome.
「Did you see that!? The fuel is a special substance extracted from coal and the firepower is nothing like the combustion of oil!!」
My gratitude towards the wonderfully constructed prosthetics is slowly disappearing.
If Balbano stopped at the first three arms he showed us, Sekrit would have been indebted to him…… no, her heart might even sway towards him. That would have been good enough.
「Mu, I didn’t include a stop button yet. You’ll have to let it continue spraying until the fuel runs out.」
A few minutes later, the arm ceased emitting the flames and Sekrit leaned wearily against the wall.
「Is there more?」
「Of course. This arm is……」
Sekrit grabs Balbano’s head.
「Tell me what it does first. I’ll decide whether or not to test it out.」
Her smile disappeared and I only felt bloodlust from her.
「Umu, this arm has explosive charges spaced evenly in six locations at the base, which launches the arm itself at high speed――」
「This arm is multi-purpose with a total of 17 functions such as pincers, corkscrew, tweezers, bolt fastener, torch, massager――」
「Mu, that’s surprisingly convenient…… but I’m not going to attach an arm that’s basically a bundle of household goods. Next.」
「The tip of this arm is made of a special highly-durable alloy and uses the power of a mainspring to spin, allowing it to drill holes in especially hard rocks and even iron plates――」
When she pushes the spinning tip against the wall, parts of the stone wall are visibly shaved away.
All of a sudden, Sekrit settles down.
Don’t tell me she’s grown fond of this particular one.
「Don’t forget its appearance is worse than the claws. It’ll do nothing but stand out.」
Despite my warnings, Sekrit doesn’t reply and focuses on whittling the wall.
I’m sure she simply wants to try it out.
「Anyways, the first three you showed us is more than enough. The others are too excessive.」
「Mrrggh…… I still had more. This one is one of my proud creations. It combines the mechanisms of the cannon arm and flame arm, so it only requires turning of this lever to rotate the multiple cylinders and continuously fire the shells, with the speed of 3 or 4 shots a second――」
The object he takes out, which looks more like six thin tubes connected together than an arm, makes me smile.
Something like that can’t be called an artificial arm.
「I want to take Sekrit with me to the battlefield, but not turn her into a human weapon.」
The three arms are sufficient.
Anyways, I should still thank him.
I bow my head at Balbano.
Sekrit looks at me for a split second with mixed feelings in her face, then quickly returns to her work on the wall.
「I appreciate you entertaining my selfish request. Sorry for any troubles.」
Sekrit is still drilling the wall, and the three artificial arms are placed safely beside her.
「I’ll prepare some strong liquor in my room. The three of us can drink together.」
「Sure! I might not stop at one cup after such a job though. Let’s get to it.」
Balbano casually stows away the strange collection of arms and prompts me from behind with his stumpy legs.
「I’ll share a cup with you too, Sekrit. Don’t rewind the spring……’kay?」
「That was fun.I haven’t seen something so strange before.」
Sekrit takes the three arms with her…… as well as the mysterious spinning arm.
In the end, she took a liking to it.
As I walk in front, Balbano and Sekrit talk about something behind me.
I see Celia dash furiously from the corner of my eye.
Fufufu, she must surely be busy as I feel a wholesome sense of engagement unlike before.
Being well-prepared is a good thing.
While I was occupied with the cute Celia, Sekrit and Balbano converse in hushed voices.
I strain my ears to try and find out whether Balbano is devising a way to cheat with Sekrit after getting in the mood from seeing her naked body.
「Can you apply the same engineering that spins this arm and add directional and irregular movements?」
「It’s not impossible, those are just pointless motions to include.」
「No, that’s fine. Make it with the same soft material as the daily-use arm, with this kind of shape and this big…… also make the tip thicker than the rest of the arm. If possible, add metal balls or stud it with bumps all over……」
「I don’t really get it, but I can make it if that’s what you want. I don’t think it’ll be very useful though.」
「Don’t worry about it, please. As thanks, I’ll share some of my cherished alcohol with you.」
I can’t understand what is being said from the fragments I overhear.
Whatever. As long as it’s not about cheating, it’s fine if I don’t know.