C252: Melancholy of the Dwarves

I’m Pops Edward of the Underground Dwarven Empire.

Since then, I haven’t been concentrating well on the job.
Since when you ask? There can only be one answer—since my first encounter with the mana metal ingots Bacchus brought with him.

A piece of mana metal as huge as your pinky finger is said to be more than enough to sustain you for the rest of your life. But where in the world did Bacchus retrieve such a huge quantity?!

The thought weighs on my mind so much that I can’t get anything else done.
I’ve been absentmindedly hammering away at work, often accidentally hitting my own finger and crushing my bones in the process.

This is all because I’ve not only seen a lot of mana metal, but I’ve actually processed them myself.
The feeling of processing them was irresistible.
For us dwarves, the feeling of forging metal is an essential guide for creating quality goods.
That’s why my hands will never forget the feeling of making that mana metal still.

It’s hot and sturdy, yet light to the touch as if brushing your hands against a feather.

Ever since then, I’ve become mana metal’s captive.
I made the distiller precisely as the client instructed before, but how blissful it would be to freely create whatever I wanted with that many mana metals.

It’s enough to send me to heaven just thinking about it.

But every time I’m brought back to reality, I feel dejected.
I let out a deep sigh every time I dream about getting involved in processing mana metal again.


“Hey, boys…”

One day, I ask the younger dwarves.

“If you were allowed to use as much mana metal as you wanted, what would you make with it?”
“What’s this out of the blue, Pops?”

Well, I don’t blame them for being wary when asked a weird question.

“Just for fun. There’s no particular meaning behind it, so just say what you think.”
“You’re being weird, Pops… But hm, it’s mana metal, a luxury-grade metal…”

He’s seriously thinking.

“…A-A ring, maybe?”
“Too small!!!”

Be a little greedier!
Then another dwarf proposes his idea.

“Pops! What about a sword?”
“…A sword?”
“But not just any sword! It’ll be a two-handed sword! It’s big and heavy, so it will use all sorts of minerals!”

A two-handed sword. That’s a good idea.
Swords are esteemed ritual tools and weapons that show off the skills of dwarves like us.
So, a two-handed sword that uses a lot of minerals is a bold idea.

“Hah, all your dreams are too small.”

Oh?
Another dwarf speaks up.

“If I were you, I’d use the mana metal to make something even BIGGER and BETTER. That’s right… Full body armor!”
“‘FULL BODY ARMOR?!”

You want to cover your whole body in mana metal?!
How much mana metal would that take?!

It’s evident that it’s going to need more minerals than we’ve ever used before. I’m not sure if the ingots the demigod brought last time would be enough…
Maybe it would be.

“I’m impressed, Dwarf No. 3. Your dream is the most ambitious!”
“Thank you, Pops!”

Yes, a dwarf must be grand in his smithing profession!
I keep dreaming that I’ll be able to create one a luxurious set of mana metal swords, shields, and armor that could become legendary class one day!

“Pops, you have a visitor.”
“What?! Who is it?”
“It’s the same dubious guy who came before.”

It’s Bacchus!!!


Bacchus brought in a wide variety of new brews as thanks for the work we did for him last time.

“Why the dejected face?” asks Bacchus.

Huh? Do I seem that way? Sorry about that.
But I’m pretty happy. Dwarves love to drink, after all.
If the god of alcohol put his heart and soul into making these, they’re bound to taste good. We, alcohol-loving dwarves, are pleased!
…Well, I suppose I’m asking for too much if he brought mana metal as a souvenir.

“…Let’s try them right away.”
“That’s vinegar, by the way.”
“Sour!!!”
“It’s a sake-based seasoning, so I brought it along with the other brews.”

Damn it! I wasn’t expecting a trap hidden among all this alcohol!
Why didn’t he add in some mana metal while he was at it?!

“…So, I came here with another favor.”
“?”
“I have a new job for you.”

?!
Does it involve processing mana metal again?

“It’s about building a ship, you see…”

Pshhhh.
There goes my balloon of expectations deflating in my mind.

A ship?
They’re generally made of wood, so there’s no way mana metal is involved.
And this is more than enough to drastically lower my motivation.

But did you know? Smithing isn’t the only thing we’re good at. We know how to do construction too!
Even though we live in an underground empire and aren’t familiar with the sea, I’m confident we can build a ship that’s better than anything the demons or humans have ever produced.

“No, you don’t have to build it from scratch. I already have a complete one. It just lacks external decoration, and I need your professional help here.”

Excuse me?
It’s probably just some amateur-class ship. Wouldn’t it be better if we built one from scratch?

However, it’s a job introduced to me by a demigod, so I can’t exactly turn it down.
And the alcohol he gives us is delicious.
…He might even reward us with mana metal after the job is done.


Thus, I decided to take on the task of modifying a ship.
It was a strange request to be asked to decorate something that was practically finished. Still, like dwarves, we pride ourselves on working thoroughly.

First, we teleported to the site to see the ship in person.
The man who came to greet us was a lanky guy who looked like the place’s owner.
I hope the requested ship to decorate isn’t some lame fishing boat.

I suddenly began to feel uneasy.
For now, I asked him to show me the ship.
And there it was— much bigger than I had ever imagined.
It’s probably big enough to rival the demons’ battleships!!!

No, more than anything else…
The exterior of the huge ship is made of…

“MANA METAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL?!?!?!”

But why?!

Why mana metal?
I don’t even know how or from where I should start asking! Why? Why? Why?!

Okay, let’s backtrack a little.
First of all, I don’t understand why they used metal for the ship! Metal sinking in water is supposed to be common knowledge and a fact, right?
And yet, this ship is floating.
It floats even though it’s made of metal. Why? Why, oh why?!

No, wait!
There’s more to it than meets the eye!
If I get this excited now, I won’t make it till the end!
Listen up… The most amazing thing of all is that…

It’s clearly made with mana metaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaal!!!

Why?
This is leagues beyond the realm of luxury!

Just how much mana metal was used in the process of making a ship this big?!
I think it’s more than enough to make hundreds of armor, with more to spare!

My lifelong dream…And my goal of creating hundreds of them…
Yet, this ship before me…

Just wow… Wowowowowowow…
Ah, my breathing-
How does one breathe again???

“…”
“Hm?”
“…”
“…H-He’s dead?!”


I don’t know how I got back from the underworld, but I’ve decided to take on the job.
Suppose we dwarves can be involved in constructing a ship made of mana metal to some extent. In that case, we will feel grateful for our profession!

What? You don’t want to leave the job to me because I might die again?
I’ll do everything in my power to make sure that doesn’t happen!
Please!!!
If not, I’ll die of rage!!!

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