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Responding to the door’s jingle as it opens, the blacksmith peeks out from the working area. “Ooh. The harem keeps growing.” She comments, seeing the new girl.
The shrine maiden just utters a single laugh, seeing as there’s only one man in this building.
“What’s a harem?” Youmu asks, oblivious to the joke.
“I’ll tell you when you get older.” The alchemist replies, spreading the different materials out on the table.
“I’m not a kid.” She protests, though she doesn’t ask again, understanding that it’s a perverted word.
“How is the ore coming along?” He asks his partner.
“Pure.” The blacksmith makes an ‘okay’ sign with her hand after taking off the glove. “I’ve cast it to an ingot, which I’m keeping solid but soft.” She takes off her other glove and pockets them in her apron.
“Perfect. I’ll start making the handle. Youmu,” he hands her the peaches, “you can extract the juices from these. And Miss Kochiya,” he turns to the shrine maiden, “this is where I’ll have to ask you to wait.”
“It’s alright.” The green shrine maiden assures him. “I’ll try not to get in the way.”
Despite declaring his intend, the alchemist starts working on the cloth he got from the Buddhists. Utilizing small scale alchemy, he unweaves the threads before connecting them in the ends, creating a single long thread. He then cuts the thread into thirds and braid them back together, making the thread thicker.
After that, he picks up a block of wood and starts carving the handle.
The phantom comes walking down the stairs again, carrying a bowl of fruit juice, covered by a piece of cloth.
The shrine maiden, curious about the process, walks into the back room, to watch how the blacksmith treats the metal.
Though, to her disappointment, the umbrella is only keeping the heat of the forge for the time being. To forge a youkai blade, you’ll need special tools, since normal ones will shatter.
Having finished up the shape of the handle, the alchemist wraps the long thread around it, creating a compact tsukamaki style wrapping, leaving the diamond openings over the holes for securing the blade in the handle.
“Alright, Kogasa. Let’s get started.” He declares, picking up the remaining threads.
“Finally!” She jumps up.
He hands her the threads, after making sure they’ve been folded to the right length and secured. She places them on the work table, ready for when she needs them.
The alchemist pulls his hammer from the belt, throwing it up and catching it by the head, handing his partner the grab of the tool. “Don’t you dare hold back.” He threatens her playfully.
“Don’t blame me when you break, you rusty old fool.” The blacksmith takes the hammer, her chosen brother.
The alchemist walks to the corner of the room and takes a seat, resting before going completely motionless.
Kogasa takes another look at the tool in her hand. Having cut off all external connections, Tatara Renkin the Alchemist, exudes power in a way only few can understand, let alone use.
The blacksmith pulls out the bright glowing mithril ingot. With the skill cultivated from years of experience and the raw force of a youkai, she starts hammering. Every swing has a purpose, no movement wasted as she quickly shapes the block of metal, drawing it out into its long shape before putting it back into the forge to reheat.
To speed up the process, the blacksmith closes all exits to the forge, except the chimney, trapping all the heat inside. Every minute or so, she’ll peek into the flames for a few seconds, observing the color of the metal.
The shrine maiden carefully observes every move the blacksmith makes, being dearly interested in weapons crafting.
Youmu on the other hand, has taken an interest in the alchemist’s empty shell, taking the chance now that everyone is distracted to try and sit on his lap, something she’d never have the courage to try if he were awake.
“Sanae. Bring me the juice.” The blacksmith demands, seeing as the mithril is starting to get white again.
“Ah, right.” She snaps out of her little trance and runs out to fetch the bowl.
The blacksmith seals up the forge again and removes her gloves, placing them in the anvil. As the shrine maiden comes back with the bowel, Kogasa takes the threads and submerge them in the juice.
“Do you know what enchantment we want to place on it?” The blacksmith asks.
“Yeah.” She nods. “He told me in detail as we walked here.”
“Great.” She peeks into the forge again. “Then if you could cast the blessing on those threads first.”
“First?” The shrine maiden asks.
“You’ll need to do it three times in total to make the effect permanent.” The blacksmith explains. “Once on the core, which is going to be those thread. Then once on the shell, which is the blade itself. And the one last time on the sword once it’s been assembled.” She picks up the tongs again, getting ready to take out the mithril.
“Okay, I got it.” The green shrine maiden states. She opens the bottle of mild beer and unceremoniously takes a mouthful. With the alcohol in her system, she starts praying.
While the threads are being enchanted, the blacksmith pulls out the crude blade and flattens it, then folds it before flattening it again.
“Ready.” The shrine maiden declares.
Without a word, the blacksmith fishes up the thread and in a single move spreads it across the center of the blade before folding the metal once more. With a few quick yet powerful strikes she seals up the fold, permanently locking the threads inside the blade.
Predictably, the metal itself ignites, burning with a silver flame as the threads are being absorbed.
This doesn’t stop Kogasa, however, as she speeds up, landing hits with surgical precision, hammering out the edge while adding only a slight bend.
Before the silver flames can extinguish, the blacksmith takes the bowl with the remaining juice and pours it over the blade, before quenching it properly in a barrel of oil.
The alchemist, finally able to take control of his body again, places his hand on the half phantom sitting on him, causing her jump away, too surprised to even scream.
“That was a nice surprise to wake up to.” He comments, stretching his body.
“What?” Kogasa asks. She’s been too engrossed in the sword to notice anything.
Sanae couldn’t take her eyes off the sword, so she didn’t notice anything either.
“Don’t!” The little ghost yells, completely red in the face. “Don’t scare me like that!”
He ignores the chance to tease her and instead goes directly back to working. At this stage, neither of the two artisans need to talk to know what the other is thinking.
Kogasa picks up the still hot blade and wipes off the end for the handle so she can safely heat it back up. She removes it before it even starts to get red, however, holding out the end for the alchemist who stands ready with the handle.
They insert sword into the handle, letting the heated metal burn its shape into the wood, making it a tight fit. The two keep pressing against each other, making sure it reaches as far in as it should.
“Perfect.” The alchemist declares as they pull apart again. “Kochiya, if you could please cast the enchantment on the blade as soon as Kogasa is ready.”
“Yeah, sure.” She nods.
The alchemist then leaves the room to fetch the crystals.
He still needs to cut the crystals, so they can be used to decorate the handle. Doing so should help concentrate the power to the wielder’s will by acting as a catalyst. Then they need to imprint a name onto the blade, amplifying and sealing its powers. Then, after securing the handle, they’ll sheathe the blade to finalize the creation.
Choosing a name for the sword is going to be the hardest part. After all, a name is the greatest gift you can bestow upon anything, since that will guarantee it can become a Tsukumogami.
[Write-in] What name should be imprinted on the blade?
Wouldn't it be Chunchunmaru?
2 more updates to go