Sweat dripped down my forehead as I hammered out a sword on an anvil. It was a magnificent one. It was three feet tall, and yet, it felt light as a feather. The steel glowed red-hot with edges as sharp as razors. 

I finished hammering it and dunked it in oil. The liquid boiled and steamed. Quickly, I yanked it out and set it gently on a table. Turning around, I tore off my heavy gloves and dropped them in a bucket. In the bucket were fourteen other pairs of gloves. I was still trying to find a pair I liked, and I still haven’t found one yet. 

The door opened and a woman popped her head through the door. Her eyes watered from the heat, but she stayed. I was impressed. Most people could barely stand a hundred degrees in the steel room, and now it was almost a hundred fifty. 

“You must be the new assistant,” I said. The woman nodded. I looked her up and down. She was built like a sequoia tree, with sturdy legs and arms. As I shook her hand, I could feel callouses and blisters. 

She introduced herself. Her name was Anna. Just Anna. Anna had been hired by my boss after firing my other one. Just like gloves, I was trying to find the perfect assistant. And the new one looked ready for the job. 

I gave her a tour - showing her the stations, work tools, anvils, and of course, the bucket of gloves - while she asked questions. “What do you specialize in? What’s your technique? How do you prefer to shape the swords?” Then she noticed the one that I had just made and said curiously, “Who’s that for?”

I hesitated. In all truth, I didn’t know. The boss wouldn’t tell me, but I supposed I didn’t care. This sword, in particular, was raking up big bucks. Already, I was planning to buy a better hammer from Dashel’s Hammering, the best place to buy a good hammer. It was run by the redcap Dashel Grims, who was a nasty one. Last time I visited his shop, he refused to help me find the best anvil he provided because he was waiting for someone who actually had a bit of fame. Me, I wasn’t very well known.

When I didn’t answer, Anna looked me straight in the eye and repeated her question. I decided to answer truthfully. “I don’t know.” 

Anna stared at me. “You mean that you’re making one of the most incredible swords in history and you don’t even know who it’s for?” I cringed. The way she said it made my actions seem ridiculous. 

Then, the door opened again. Now, the boss stepped into the room. He was less resistant to the overwhelming heat. He coughed and wheezed, and just managed to croak, “Is the sword ready?”

By now, the sword I had been crafting was cooled and I set it into the handle. Anna handed me a clean rag and I wiped it down until it was spotless and gleaming. Sheathing it in a leather pack, I handed it to the boss.

The boss took it and ran out of that room as fast as he could. Anna rolled her eyes and after a minute, opened the door again and ushered me to follow her. I stared at her, stunned. Although we humans can’t read minds, like satori can, I could tell what she was thinking.

“You want me to follow the boss?” I asked. Anna shushed me and nodded. Despite all of the rules that went against this, my curiosity to see the customer who deserved such a beautiful sword trumped the guilt. I sneaked out the door and peeked around the door. The boss was walking down the hall with the sword in his hands.

Anna and I trailed the boss for a good half mile before we saw the actual customer. I almost shrieked in surprise but managed to stay silent.

It was a chimera. To be more exact, the chimera. The Dark Prince. The Evil Champion.

Prince Burlington. 

February 02, 2020 01:58

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