It was one of Jonathan’s usual visits to the capital.
Time had passed quickly. Oceton had long returned, unable to find Emlyn and Millan. Tam had been healing well, and was back to doing physical training and her studies. Deimena and Chadwick were preparing storage and resources for the winter. Peter hadn’t shown up again, apparently busy with whatever worlds he was supposed to influence.
Fall had already come.
Jonathan walked down the capital streets, leading Biscuit behind him. His red coat was fully buttoned. Leaves crunched underneath his feet.
The streets were full of people in coats. Some had scarves to block off the chilly wind that had started coming off the mountain range that curled around the capital, while others pulled their hats down low, red ears and nose exposed.
Stone from the quarries and steel from the mines were the favored building materials. In the windows were panes of glass, which held circular stretch marks with how they had been shaped from blown glass. A grey quarry stone was what paved the city streets, in long rectangular cuts.
Jonathan looked among the shops until he spotted the sign above the workshop.
A three story with a basement was what Jonathan had been told about Norel’s new place. It was definitely an upgrade.
After Deimena had gotten an order from Norel, she had made an offer to the swordsmith he had taken last year for whatever reason. Jonathan had a feeling that it was because of the succession crisis and general instability of Malamut. Alita was far more calm and prosperous, with a decent supply of metals and a rare mana stone found here or there in the many mountains dotted around the country.
Jonathan walked in, called over to the swordsmith, and waited. He found the smell of fire and smoke suffocating. It would also be unwise to interrupt their work.
“Jonathan!” Norel said. He patted the younger man’s shoulder. “It’s good to see you.”
”You as well.”
“What brings you over? Just visiting? Doesn’t look like you have any tools on you today.”
“I was in the capital.” Jonathan glanced around the busy smithy. “However, I’m thinking about getting that anti-magic broadsword.” He knew that if Deimena and Chadwick knew Roscoe was alive, that his current identity was not safe anymore. Leaks, eavesdropping, and mistakes happened.
“Wonderful.” Norel seemed happy at the mention of business, and having his friend get a proper sword finally.
A teenage boy walked into the smith. He held a small stack of papers in hand. A thick leather apron hung from his neck, tied with a belt around his waist. He wore a long earring and seemed to need a haircut. “I delivered the prototype, got them to sign the papers as well.”
“Good job, Kern.” Norel seemed satisfied. He gestured to the boy and explained, “Jonathan, this is the apprentice I accepted a few moons ago.” The smith used lunar months, based on the four in the sky, like most of the continent did to measure time. “He’s been doing quite well despite how late he started in the business.”
Jonathan turned fully to face the interruption. He had a feeling the name was familiar, and the reaction confirmed it.
Kern almost dropped the papers in his hands. “Mr. Jonathan?”
“Don’t call me Mister. I’m not that old yet.” Jonathan studied the kid for a moment. He remembered the farmer and his son now. “How’s your father?”
Norel glanced between the two. “Well! It seems my introductions weren’t needed.”
“We bumped into each other when I was travelling around,” Jonathan confirmed.
Cornelia stood to the side of Kern. Her long hair had been braided and piled onto the sides of her head in two buns. She said hello, and got a head pat from Jonathan. The youngest apprentice of Norel seemed a bit frustrated and she chewed her lip for a moment before she gave up.
“My father is doing well. I’ve been writing to him.” Kern smiled as he added, “I managed to get him to agree for me to be a smith’s apprentice once I turned fifteen.”
A fifteen year old travelled across the continent and became an apprentice of the best anti-magic swordsmith on the continent.
“Good job.” Jonathan couldn’t help but show how impressed he was.
Mainly, however, Jonathan liked that the boy seemed happy; Kern had dropped the scowl he constantly wore. The apprentice favored dark clothing and black eyeliner, but his expression was far more kind.
Jonathan glanced after Cornelia. He was slightly surprised that the girl had given up that early; she tended to be a verbal firecracker.
Norel seemed a bit surprised. There was curiosity in his eyes, but he refrained from asking more. He started sliding his work gloves off, remembering that he needed to discuss some business and sketch out things for a custom sword.
Kern nodded to the two men and followed Cornelia, back to work.
Jonathan and Norel continued to discuss payment, time, and specifications. Jonathan could pay with a jewel or two, which Norel wanted appraised beforehand. Norel had been swindled out of money by fake jewels as he was bad with gems and pricing them. It would take about until spring for the sword to be done as the smithy had a backlog of orders as usual. Jonathan would have wanted a lighter sword when he was adventuring as he had less muscle and was only used to fencing then. Now, the transmigrator wanted something with a bit more weight because that wouldn’t slow him down.
Once they finished their negotiations, Norel sent him off with some extra pastries from a dessert shop across the street. A quick stop at a bookstore found Jonathan a book on sword forms to read through during the coming winter, then he went home.
Another horse was tied to the three trees in a clump outside of the cabin, but he didn’t hurry.
Once he dismounted Biscuit outside of his cabin, he saw why the mare hadn’t enjoyed the ride. It had rained after they left. The ground was now leaf litter, with a layer of mud underneath. Mud squelched under his boots as he untacked and put Biscuit away in her stable. Once his horse was taken care of, he stamped his boots on the small porch and walked in.
I PUT UP THE WRONG CHAPTER LAST WEEK. I’M SORRY. HERE’S CHAPTER 9.