Act 5: The Sword of Dream Fulfillment
16:00, Dragon-Belly Forging Mountain, Toro Eastern Region
The Black Dragon Mountain Range was like a massive rock serpent cutting through more than half of the Sword Scar Continent. The mountain range started from the South East at Dragon Spike where Toro, Eastern Jin, and the Demonic Territory shared a border, and ran all the way to the North West of the continent. At one of the mountains in this mountain range, black and red smoke as well as white and grey ash clouds were a common sight 24 hours a day. This particular mountain was tall with an extremely wide crater that made it look almost like a cylinder instead of the conical shape of most mountains. Further, the mountain had many cave openings across its length which made it look almost like a multi-storied building from afar. This mountain was the Dragon-Belly Forging Mountain, a volcanic mountain that had been transformed into a massive artificial furnace by the blacksmiths in Eastern Toro.
Each of the caves in the mountain was assigned to a blacksmith according to their ranks. Blacksmith Apprentices worked in the higher caves where the heat was lower while Grandmaster blacksmiths worked underground almost at the core of the volcano. As for the external middle caves, they were mostly for experts and masters in smith-work.
“This fellow, he actually ran away to Milele as soon as he got a new set of weapons. What a slippery brat!”
In one of the underground caverns within the mountain, an old man who was only wearing a brown skirt made of animal hide was busy at work while complaining to the air. Although he was old, the man’s back was like a fortress and his arms were like canons. Each time he swung his hammer, the air vibrated and split apart leaving a trail of fire due to the sheer speed and power of his swings. The item he was forging stood no chance at all and it could only obediently get in shape. This was the might of true blacksmith.
This old man was Jua Fisi, Waya’s father as well as the man who had forged Mwana’s silver Instant Sword. For a long time, he had been trying to recruit Mwana as an apprentice but the latter was far from interested. Before Mwana left for Milele, his mentor Jua Urembo had tasked Fisi to forge a set of weapons to match Mwana’s current martial path. Fisi had readily agreed but at the condition that Mwana visit the mountain and take apprenticeship under him for a while but who knew the brat would disappear to another town as soon as he got the weapons!
“Weh! I was tricked. I can’t fall for that brat’s words again.”
“…but alas, I hope you use them well kid. They might just be imitations but I am confident that my work would not sully Jina Kufana’s name.” Old man Fisi spoke to himself once again as if he was directly addressing Mwana.
Anyway, it is normal for old people to speak to themselves.
What the old man was referring to was the Three Swords of Jina Kufana. Historically, Jina Kufana was one of the greatest swordsmen in Toro’s history. He was a legend and much of his success in his heroic tales was attributed to his 3 legendary swords: Sunset, Noon, and Moonlight.
The old man Fisi had forged new weapons for Mwana and even strengthened Mwana’s previous Instant Sword with the three legendary swords as inspiration. In Mwana’s practice of the Demon Sealing Portrait, he needed a pen and the Sunset Sword was that pen. The Sunset Sword was a golden sword with a black groove running through its center from the handle to the tip. The handle of the sword held the ink which would flow through the groove all the way to the sword tip when activated allowing the sword to double as a pen.
In addition to its multipurpose nature, the sword was forged using rare Magellica metal born at the heart of a star. This type of metal would only reach the planet after it was ejected during solar explosions. The explosions caused mass solar matter ejections and while most of that solar matter was reabsorbed into the stars as a result of high gravity, some of it still escaped. If the explosion was powerful enough, the matter could be ejected so fast that gravity was not able to act on it before it left the gravitational field. The matter would then cool in the vacuum of space as it hurtled off towards faraway worlds and fell through their atmospheres like meteorites.
The other new item that old man Fisi had granted Mwana was his first personalized forging hammer. Mwana was indeed worthy of it as he had already earned his first ranked blacksmith tattoo. This hammer was given the name: Timboroa, the Moonshine hammer. Although the hammer had a massive hammerhead, it had a very short handle wrapped in strong reeds. The color scheme of the hammer was a silver-blue metallic hue that would glow blue at night. This was because it was made of malleable Moonshine minerals and metals. As a result, at some specific times during a day’s 24 hours, this hammer could actually change shape! This was the nature of Moonshine rocks, metals, and minerals. The transformation property of the hammer was actually shared and inspired by Jina Kufana’s Moonlight Sword.
With these three items, [Instant Sword, Sunset Sword, and Moonshine Hammer], Mwana’s path in mastering the Demon Sealing Arts would be much easier. With a sword, pen, and hammer in hand he would seal all evil in his path.
Over in Milele, maybe Mwana was affected by the old man Fisi’s thoughts and curses that he started sneezing uncontrollably. At this time, he had separated from Kia and went outside the town to pick up his dog Fana and his aunt’s spiritual tortoise. The two fellows had played at the animal park all day so it was time to go home. At this moment, the difference between pets or ‘kept animals’ and ‘free animals’ became clear as many people also came to pick up their pets from the park alongside Mwana. Some of the ‘free animals’ started to doubt the White Wolf’s propaganda. Maybe being a pet was not so bad.
As for Kia, instead of returning to the inn, she had taken a detour to visit one of the Information Centers in Milele in order to find out more about the flower she was looking for. So far, the clues she had about the whereabouts of the flower was the Undead Marsh and Dragon Heart Island, However, she did not know exactly where she would have to search in these two places in order to find what she was looking for.
“The Sword Path is long and winding, like a great river. There is almost no end to this path.” Mwana spoke his thoughts out loud as he walked back to the town with his pets.
For no particular reason, he had just thought of the swords the old man Fisi had forged for him. The old man had even helped him somewhat in designing some electromagnetic plates for his Azama in the Magic Student realm. Mwana somewhat felt guilty for running on him but he could not miss the opportunity to come to Milele. It was not just for the Magic Competition but also the Infinity Magic Library.
The library was his hope especially as his sword path had stagnated! While his late father’s Sword Dragon Mantra was an amazing and even godly technique, maybe it was for that reason that Mwana could not advance much with it.
“Its level is too high above me. I am barely making progress even though I have been at if for years. At this rate I will never be able to cross the Sword Farm.”
The Sword Farm in question was the farm around the Sword Elder’s hut back in Jua village. In order to get the elder’s council, the requirement was that one had to cross the Sword Farm with their own power. According to the White Rock Academy vice-head’s suggestion, Mwana should have absolutely sought out the Sword Elder’s mentorship in order to progress further. Not only was the Sword Elder a Void Rank warrior, he had also been his father’s mentor. Through the elder’s training, Mwana’s father was able to rise to the rank of a Sword Grandmaster while still a teenager! In Mwana’s eyes, that was almost an impossible accomplishment. The gap between an ordinary swordsman and a grandmaster of swordsmanship was almost as wide as that between an ordinary magician and Magic Grandmaster.
The most common levels of swordsmanship recognized across all orthodox sword schools in the Zika world were:
- Sword Apprentice
- Great Swordsman
- Sword Master
- Sword Grandmaster
Apart from these levels, there were even rumored ranks coinciding with the Lord, King, Monarch, and Emperor ranks in the traditional Ruler System of the Purple Mist Star. However, although such ranks were very impressive, the true heroes that only existed in legends but had never shown themselves to the world were: the Enlightened Swordsmen – Sword Sages, the Holy Swordsmen – Sword Saints, and the highest attainable level of swordsmanship, the absolute peak – Sword God.
Nevertheless, in the present Zika world, how high one could rise in the sword path was severely limited. It was the same for other proficiencies whether it was magic arts, spiritual arts, psychic arts, and even ordinary martial arts. The world laws and energy paths in this world had long been damaged. However, this was not something Mwana could even think of yet as he was only a Swordsman in rank.
“Aiiiiiii, I am only one rank from the bottom?! I have to change that no matter what. I hope the library has what I need. If I don’t improve, I might as well be a dog!” Mwana thought while silently berating himself.
From the side, Fana who was walking happily while wagging its tail turned to look at Mwana with a suspicious look, ‘Why did my fur tingle? Is this fellow cursing me?’
This time Mwana hoped that the library would have a solution. The place rumored to possess infinite halls would not lack sword manuals and books on swordsmanship would it? Mwana did not think so. If he could find simpler but more diverse sword arts, he was sure that he would overcome his stagnation and even improve his practice of the Sword Dragon Mantra. His goal was to at least attain the skill and expertise of a Great Swordsman before he returned to the Jua village in order to clear the Sword Elder’s test.