152-Akagane Workshop

 Before chopping firewood, you need to learn how to do it.
 With Maruishi's words, we came to the workshop where the woodworker of the moonlight tree was working.

'Excuse me.

'Hey, what's up!

 I called out at the entrance and got a loud reply. It was a very husky voice.
 When I thought I heard a sound as if someone was cleaning up, a huge man appeared, over two meters tall and burly.

'It's huge!

'Hahaha! What's with the sudden greeting?

 Hearing a higher voice than I expected, I took a closer look at the huge man and found that he was a woman.
 I've rarely seen a woman bigger than Toka-chan, much less one so muscular.
 Twisted headband and tank top. Her horns, hair, and eyes were a beautiful copper color.
 She laughed off my rude comment and looked at me as if she was assessing me.

'That look, you're the Sukuna, aren't you? You've got a nasty curse. I've never seen anyone with a full-body curse like that before.

'Hahaha ......'.

 It seems like my information has naturally spread throughout the village.
 Well, I don't mind, but...

'Well, whatever. So, what do you want?

'I received a quest to chop wood, and Maruishi-san asked me to come here to learn how.

'Hmm ...... I see, you certainly have a good weapon.'

 The woman looked over my entire body again, then looked at the darkness I was carrying and nodded.

'Oh, that's right. My name is Akagane. I don't need to use honorifics, because I get annoyed when people take me for granted. I'm counting on you.

 I grabbed his hand and felt him squeeze it as hard as he could. I don't know why he's doing that, but I don't want to get into a contest of strength, so I devise a way to get out of it easily.
 If anything, I've been traumatized by the idea of holding his hand as hard as I can. .......

I'm not sure what to say, but I'd like to know what you think.

'No, not really.'

 Akagane looked a little unconvinced, but quickly started walking towards the back of the workshop.

'Follow me! There's no way I'm swinging an axe inside the workshop.

'Yes, sir.

 In the backyard of the workshop where he was brought, there were many logs lying around.
 Some were big, some were small, some were thick, and some were thin. There seemed to be at least three different kinds of trees.

'You've been on a wood-chopping quest, so you know that the Moonlight Tree is deathly hard, right?'

'I've heard that.'

'The moonlight tree is a magical tree that grows by absorbing the moon's magic power. If you make it into furniture, it won't break for a hundred years, and it's a versatile material that can be used for armor. Furthermore, the wood of this tree burns much longer than that of other trees. Well, it's the ideal wood.

'But it's hard and difficult to work with'.

That's what I'm talking about. In the first place, it's difficult to make tools for processing it. You need overheavy metal.

 A familiar name came up unexpectedly.
 Overheavy metal. It was the name of the heavy metal that formed the night darkness I was carrying.

'Since there are few blacksmiths who can refine overheavy metal, it's expensive anyway. A single tool costs close to a million dollars. But it's also true that you can't process Gekkoju without a metal as tough as that.

'Isn't the Gekkoju too strong?

'It's even said to be the strongest after the world tree. As a material, it's seriously top-notch. The bow you used on horseback the day before yesterday, I carved it out of gekkoju.

'Heh, ......, that was a good bow, indeed.

 The bow used for horseback archery that time was apparently made by Akagane.
 It was a very sincere bow with no quirks whatsoever.
 It is possible that all bows are made without any quirks because they are in the game, but at least I was sure that the bow was easy to use.

'Now, look at this one.

 Akagane, who had come to the backyard to chop firewood, rolled a large log onto the stump that served as a chopping block.
 It must have been about two meters long. The log, which did not look like a log for chopping wood, was almost ebony in color.

'So this is the Moonlight Tree log. The more magic power it contains, the darker its color becomes. The closer to black it is, the harder it is. This one is about a hundred years old.

'Oh, ......, so the bow you used had less magic in it?

 I asked, remembering the color of the bow I used at that time, and Akagane nodded, saying that was correct.

Akagane nodded that he was right. 'The one with more magic is sturdier and holds fire better, but it's a little too hard to use as a bow. Now, let's give it a try, shall we?'

'Are you sure?'

'Yeah, I don't mind. Go ahead and give it your all.'

 With Akagane's arms crossed behind me, I pulled out the darkness and set my eyes on him.
 The curse is blocking me from activating my skills, so all I can do now is hit him as hard as I can.

 At the moment of the collision, a heavy sound like a bell striking with all its might rang out.
 Interestingly, the impact did not come back to my hand. It was a strange feeling, as if I had been sucked into the ground through a log.

'Interesting, isn't it? This thing disperses the impact it receives. That's why it's so hard to cut with.

'It seems strong as armor.

'Yeah, it makes for light, sturdy armor.

 As I was enjoying the strange feeling that still lingered in my hand, Akagane suddenly threw something at me.
 It was a jet-black axe that was thrown so that it fell right in front of me instead of where I could catch it.
 It was not a battle axe. In a sense, it was a standard axe, like those often carried by lumberjacks.

 What I saw at first glance was that it was made of over-heavy metal, just like the Kagewumi and Yoigami axes I had been using.
 It seems that everything from the blade to the handle is made of overheavy metal. No wonder it's so heavy.

It's called "Togireuta". There's only a handful of people in this village who can wield it. You know exactly why, don't you?

'Maruishi-san told me about it. ...... It's heavy, isn't it? It's the same reason as my darkness.

That's what I'm talking about. Well, you can fight wielding that metal rod. I think you can use it rather normally.

 Akagane said and urged me to take the axe with a look.
 When I saw that, I put the Yojimbo back on my back and tried to lift up the song that was stuck in front of me, but I couldn't lift it at all.
 I wondered why, but I remembered this feeling. It was the same as when I first held Meteor Impact Zero.

'I see. You're still equipped with Yojimbo, so you don't have enough strength value.

'That's right.

 Does that mean that there is a limit range of muscle strength values ...... regardless of whether or not it is equipped? I don't know, but I'm going to assume that's probably what it is.
 After storing Yoimami in my inventory, I lifted the axe again.
 It's a little heavier than the Yoimami. It's a little heavier than Yoimami's, but my strength level can still hold it without any problem.

'Wow, ...... has a very special center of gravity,' he said.

'Oh, you see?

'Yeah, it's almost like a hammer now.

 The whole thing is definitely made of over-heavy metal, and the shape is not that different from a common axe for lumberjacks, not a battle axe.
 However, the weight of the axe was abnormally unbalanced on the blade of the small-looking axe, giving me a strange feeling as if I was holding a hammer.

'Come to think of it, you don't need to equip it to use it, do you?

 In this game, weapons must be equipped as your own property to have any real effect.
 You can get some visual effects, like cutting with a sword, but you can't expect much in the way of attack power.
 Even if it's a legendary holy sword, if it's not your equipment, its performance will be no better than a beginner's sword.

'That's because it's in the tool category. It may look like an axe, but it's not a weapon in the first place. Basically, tools, unlike weapons, can be used as items by anyone.

'Wow, I've never heard that before.

 Haruru said that a blacksmith's hammer can also be used to attack.
 Akagane laughed, as if she knew that I was thinking like that.

'Items in the tools category perform as items no matter who holds them, but on the other hand, there are items that perform as weapons only when held by a dedicated profession. A blacksmith's hammer, a lumberjack's hatchet, a seamstress' needle.

'I see.

 I see, since Haruru is a blacksmith, she can use a hammer, which is originally a tool category, as a weapon.
 In that case, I wonder if there are some items that can be used as weapons only for children.
 I'm sure this is a special case limited to production jobs, but I was a little bit curious about it.

'Then give it back to me once.

'Here you go.

'I'll show you how to chop wood now. It's a little special, so watch carefully.

 Returning to his digression, Akagane said and placed a log on the stump.
 It's a big log, no matter how many times I see it. Normally, it would be about 30 centimeters high at most.
 When I wondered how he was going to split the log, which was taller than him including the height of the stump, Akagane bent his knees and jumped up at once.


 GANG! The sound of metal striking metal resounded, and the axe blade swung down, splitting the log cleanly open.
 The moonlight tree log was neatly split in half by Akagane's hand.

'Hmm, we'll have to repeat this process until it's quartered. It's quite long for firewood, but don't worry, I'll dry it like this before cutting it into pieces. Don't worry, even the Moonlight Tree can be split by ordinary demon tribesmen if you go that far.''

'I see.

 I saw and understood how to do it.
 The difference in muscle strength between Akagane and I is probably irrelevant.
 It was probably being cut by the weight of the song itself.

'Okay, try it anyway. It's hard for anyone to get used to it at first.

 He held the axe straight in front of him, and exhaled softly in front of the bisected log.
 First of all, let's try to split the log as the redwoods did.
 There is no need to leap as high as you can. Jump as high as you can for maximum power at the moment of impact.


 I jumped up lightly and swung the axe down. The axe jumped up lightly and swung down, splitting the log in half with a crisp sound.

'Like that?

'Oh, ......, you're not wasting any power at all. You've got a talent for chopping wood!

'I don't think I need that.

 When he saw me chopping wood, Akagane said that with a rather serious expression.

 Aside from that, thanks to the splitting of a log, I was able to get some idea of the nature of the moonlight tree.
 If I could combine this information with my current sense of movement, I could make the wood-chopping operation itself more efficient.

 The problem was that splitting the wood consumed a lot of SP. At the moment of impact, about 10% of SP is taken away.
 Well, SP itself recovers in a few seconds, but ...... at least, it doesn't recover while you're chopping wood.
 And if you consider that my SP consumption is always reduced by half, it means that a normal person will lose more than 20% of SP every time he chops wood.
 That means you can only break 4 times in a row.
 However, if you take a short break every time you split the wood, you will not be able to make much progress. ...... This may be one of the reasons why chopping wood is not popular.

 But there is a definite advantage. Every time you chop wood, you get a small amount of experience.
 The amount is a little less than what I get from killing monsters in Fierce now. I think I'll be able to level up in a little over a thousand cracks.
 It may be more efficient to hunt monsters to raise your level, but if you can gain experience by chopping wood while searching for monsters, chopping wood may not be so bad.

'I have no problem entrusting you to chop wood in this village. I'm sure everyone in this village has a bottle of the song, but you can take it with you in case you lose it. Give it back to me later, okay?

'Yeah, okay. I'll make a contract with him to make sure he doesn't run away with it.

'Oh, I see.

 After signing the contract at my suggestion, Akagane seemed to return to the workshop immediately.

'Well, I have some work to do, too. You can report to me at the meeting place, but if you need anything, come here.

'Yes, sir. I'm off then.

 Hearing my words, Akagane waved his hand and returned to his workshop.
 I, too, left Akagane's workshop, aiming at the quest destination that Maruishi had marked for me.