Chapter Eighteen: Barbarian Armor
“Well, if it isn’t our little Shield Hero. It’s been a week.”
Whenever we went back to Castle Town, we only visited the area of town with the shops.
The weapon shop owner was, for whatever reason, staring at Raphtalia in surprise.
“It’s been a while, so maybe my memory has failed me… but you have certainly grown into a fine young woman, haven’t you?”
I had no idea what he was talking about. The old guy was talking nonsense.
“Yeah, and you’ve filled out a little too. You were all skin and bones the last time I saw you.”
“Hey now, watch how you say that!”
Raphtalia was rubbing her hands together and laughing as she answered.
Ugh, that attitude would drive me nuts. It reminded me of her…
“Gahahaha! You really raised her to be cute.”
“Raised her? She just leveled up.”
A week ago, she’d been at level 10, but now she was at level 25. I suppose the levels were having an impact on her appearance.
“Huh… you’re not so friendly anymore, are you kid?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Anyone would look at her and see a cute girl of ten or so. I had been giving her good food lately, so she had put on a little weight, I guess.
She was always complaining about being hungry, so whenever we killed a monster, I’d cook up some of its meat for her. I even worried about the nutritional balance, so I tried to use as many herbs and vegetables as I could when I cooked her meat.
She had stopped coughing. The medicine I’d been giving her must have had an effect.
“What have you been up to this week? Just fighting?”
“One of the innkeepers taught me about table manners because I want to eat properly, like Mr. Naofumi.”
“Guess everything is going well then.”
The old guy seemed to be in a really chipper mood.
Maybe I could use that to get a discount on our equipment.
Keep buttering him up there, Raphtalia.
“So, what can I do you for today?”
“We were looking to get some equipment.” I said, pointing at Raphtalia. She suddenly scowled, and grabbed my shoulders.
“Oh? I thought we were here to get equipment for YOU?”
“I know, I know. Relax, will you? Why are you freaking out?”
“I think you know why.”
“I was just trying to prepare for the wave, but whatever.”
“Huh! Well now, I see just what kind of a guy you are, AND just what the girl here wants to say.”
I had no idea what these weirdos were talking about. We had already decided to buy equipment for me.
“Gotcha! So you’re looking for some defense, aren’t you? What’s your budget?”
“Keep it under 180 pieces of silver.”
Raphtalia said, speaking before I could get a word in.
Man, they were really starting to piss me off. If she spent all my money, we wouldn’t be able to get her any good weapons!
“Right, well… At a budget like that, you’re looking at some chainmail.”
Before I even noticed, this pit of hatred and anger started roiling inside of me. I was suddenly sad, like I’d have to re-buy the equipment I’d already had.
“Well if my little Shield-Boy hates it that much…”
He scratched at his nose, understanding instantly why I was so angry. He started looking around for something else.
“It’s a little tight, considering your budget, but we might be able to manage some iron armor.”
He was pointing to something on the far wall.
There was a full plate of hammered iron. It looked like the sort of armor you see displayed in castles.
I already knew what he would say though: the armor was heavy, you couldn’t move well in it, if you fall over, you can’t get back up, if you fall into a swamp, you’ll die trying to get out. They said all those things back in my world too.
“If you were strong enough, you’d be just fine, but the real problem is that it’s not an Air Wake piece.”
“Yeah, it’s a type of production process that allows the piece to absorb the wearer’s magic power to keep the armor lighter than it really is. It’s pretty impressive, really.”
I guess that meant that, in this world, armor that wasn’t made with Air Wake was pretty much impossible to move in.
But no… He said that if I were strong enough, it would be okay.
But I wasn’t very strong.
“It looks like if you took off the heavy parts, you could make it lighter, and cheaper…”
“You know, I thought you might say that.”
“You know me so well.”
“You could just buy the breastplate, that would be cheap enough, but it wouldn’t protect you all that well.”
“Right, well I do need defense, but if I can’t move than there’s no point to any of it.”
I could be a strong wall, but if I couldn’t move, how would I defend her?
I decided to turn down any armor that would sacrifice my mobility.
What about the Air Wake process? I wonder how much it would cost to have it done.
“Or… If you brought in some materials, I could have something custom made.”
“Nice. I love stuff like that.”
“You looked like you might… I think.”
The owner laid out a sheet of parchment that was scrawled with diagrams and material lists.
“I can’t read it.”
I couldn’t read anything in this world. The shield was translating everything for me, so I never really had to think about it.
The shop owner looked concerned as he explained the process.
“You’ll need to buy some cheap bronze and iron here. Then bring in some Usapil and Porcupine skins, and also some PikyuPikyu feathers.”
“I already have the skins and feathers.”
Raphtalia, looking very pleased with herself, dug in our bag and pulled out the skins and feathers. We had been using them to make our beds warmer at night… But, oh well.
“They look a little beaten up, but nothing I can’t use.”
“And what can you make with this stuff?”
“Barbarian Armor. Defense-wise, it’s similar to beefed-up chainmail, but it’s a lot warmer, and protects a wider area.”
Barbarian Armor… Had a nasty ring to it.
“Also, if you bring in some bones, we can add some magical effects to it. But that can be done later, so just bring the stuff in when you get it.”
“Thanks. It’s a big help. Okay, so we’ll go get some bronze and iron.”
“Yeah! Let’s go! Let’s go right now!”
Raphtalia nearly exploded with excitement. She grabbed my hands and pulled me along.
“What are you so excited about?”
“Because now you’ll get to look like a real Hero. We need to hurry!”
I guess, like she’d said, I really did just look like a normal villager. Not that the Barbarian Armor would make me look classy—but it would be better than nothing. We visited the blacksmith and bought some bronze and iron.
I guess the weapon shop had some agreement with the blacksmith, as I got the materials for a lower price than I had been expecting.
And that guy, too, kept saying how he’d lower the price for me because Raphtalia was so cute, and so charming, and so on. The blacksmith was looking down at her and smiling, and when she noticed she smiled back and waved her hands at him.
It made me want to start a lecture on the Lolita complex, and how prevalent it appeared to be in this world.
“Well, that was easy. We got the stuff.”
“You’re such a hard worker, little Shield-Boy.”
“Sure, but I think that your friends all have a Lolicon. I’d like to point out two or three of them.”
“Lolicon? What are you talking about?”
“You don’t know? I thought my shield would translate it for me.”
“Nah, I understand. I just don’t think I know anyone who falls for little girls.”
“Everyone kept saying they’d lower the price because of how cute Raphtalia is.”
“Hey now… You mean, you really don’t know?”
“Now, now… No need to go into all that.”
Raphtalia was vigorously shaking her head.
The old guy sighed heavily, like he couldn’t believe what he was hearing, then narrowed his eyes and sent them in my direction.
“I’ll have it finished for you by tomorrow. Do me a favor and wait until then.”
“That’s fast. I figured it would take at least a few days.”
“That’s how long I take for people I don’t know, but you? You’re my little Shield Hero. “
“I suppose I should thank you.”
“Ahaha, now I’m embarrassed.”
Now I just felt stupid for expressing my gratitude.
“Fine, and how much does order-made armor cost?”
“Including the price for the metals… I can do it for 130 pieces of silver. I’ll even throw in modification options for that price.”
“You mean the bones? And I just need to bring them in?”
“That’s right. Then I’ll modify it for free, but I can’t go any cheaper on this.”
“That’s fair. Sounds fine.”
I took 130 pieces of silver from my pouch and passed them to him.
“By the way, what weapons can we get for 90 pieces of silver?”
“You mean for the lass?”
The sword she’d been using was now fully sharpened. And we still had the old, rusty one. I took it out.
She unsheathed the sword at her waist, and laid it on the counter.
“We’ll trade these in too, if we can.”
“Well, well, looks like you took good care of it this time.”
“My shield did.”
I’d developed a habit of putting the sword into the Sharpening Shield when we slept, so it was always fresh in the morning. It stayed very sharp.
“That’s a nice Shield you got there. I want one for myself.”
“Yeah, but I can’t use any weapons.”
My attack power was so low that I was basically just a defense wall.
If he was cool with that, then I’d have given him the shield right then. Not that I could, had I wanted to.
“That makes things tough.”
He let out a vulgar, deep laugh that really got on my nerves. I changed the subject.
“That old, rusted sword looks a lot better now. This shield has some amazing skills.”
He looked impressed, and turned the blade over in his hands, inspecting it.
“Right… hmm… I guess I could probably bear to part with a magic iron sword.”
I remember hearing of it. It was better than what she had now.
“I’m sure that it is treated with a Blood Clean coating, right?”
“Ah, sure. I’ll do it for free. Besides, I can see how hard you’re working.”
He was a nice guy. Thinking back on things, he’d helped me, consistently, from the beginning.
I gave him my heartfelt thanks.
“Sure kid. Your eyes are looking the same as they did when we first met. That’s good. You’ve shown me something good.”
He looked pleased, and he passed the magic iron sword to Raphtalia.
“Anyone can be stronger if they have stronger weapons. But if your abilities aren’t up to the task, you have to feel bad for the poor weapon. I know that you two won’t put this to waste. Good luck, and keep it up, girl.”
Her eyes were shining when she slipped the sword into the sheath on her belt.
“All right then, come back around this time tomorrow.”
“Thank you so much!”
“Get out of here.”
So we left the weapon shop.
Once outside, we saw how high the sun was in the sky and realized it was time to get lunch.
Nothing I ate tasted of anything, but I still got hungry.
After all the shopping, we had 10 pieces of silver left. A whole week of work gone, just like that!
Oh well. If the new weapon was that much better, then I could think of it as an investment. And there are plenty of ways to make money.
“Hey, want to go to that restaurant we went to last time?”
“Sure, and you can eat whatever you want.”
“Oh stop it! You know, I’m not a little kid anymore.”
She had been so happy all day, but her mood switched on me almost instantaneously.
Why do kids always have to act like they are adults?
I guess she was a entering her rebellious phase.
“Fine, fine, I get it. But you want to eat though. So let’s go.”
“Mr. Naofumi, you just don’t listen, do you?”
“Whatever, you don’t have to pretend to be an adult. Come on… I mean, you want to eat, don’t you?”
“So what? You think that you’re all powerful, and you can just be nice to me and everything will be great? I don’t need your charity!”
Oh geez… another angry kid.
We went into the restaurant with the kid’s meal.
The staff had gotten a lot nicer. They led us to a table.
I wonder if it was because of the haircut I’d given Raphtalia. It was pretty bad the last time we came here.
“I’ll have your cheapest lunch. She wants the kid’s meal with the little flag on it.”
The waitress looked at the menu, and then back and forth from Raphtalia to me. She looked like she was in an awkward position.
“Actually, I’ll have the cheapest lunch too.”
“Oh, yes. Right away.”
“What’s gotten into you? You really don’t like it?”
“I told you, I’m just fine.”
Oh well, I would just have to let her do what she wanted.
That was my responsibility when you got right down to it. And I had told her that she could get whatever she wanted.