219-218 King of the Underground Empire
It is said that the ancestors of our dwarves were the demon race.
A long time ago, the demon tribe lost a battle with each other, and after falling to their deaths, they hid in a cave.
As a result of hiding in the ground for so long, their limbs became shorter and shorter to fit the narrow tunnels, and they became thicker and thicker instead.
After several generations, when our physiques were completely remade, we became an entirely different race that branched off from our ancestors' demon race.
That is what dwarves are.
Like the elves, they are a subspecies of the demon race, the eagles, but they make use of the advantage of living underground, digging holes in caves to extract iron and other minerals for a living.
They use the iron ore they collect to make various weapons and tools.
That is our livelihood.
We have made peace with demons who have forgotten why they fought each other, and they have been our best customers for a long time now.
Digging underground to mine iron, hammering, forging and processing it into superior tools to sell.
This is how the underground empire of us dwarves has flourished.
I'm sorry, but I am the master of the dwarven underground empire.
Those outside call me king, but we do not like to be called that.
But we do not like to be called by that title.
The Master of Dwarves, Edward Smith.
Master Edward Smith is what we call him.
* * * *
A curious visitor appears in my dwarven underground empire.
It's the same one that comes around every time.
Hello, master. Hi, master. As usual, this country is full of square-bored people!
"You were rude from the moment you met him!
An eccentric who continues to roam the earth even though half the blood that flows is that of a god.
It's not just the previous master in our dwarven underground empire, it's also the one who comes to visit us as if he were remembering what happened to his predecessor, and his predecessor, and his predecessor, and his predecessor, and his predecessor, and his predecessor, and his predecessor, and his predecessor.
'You haven't been seen for a few years now and I was relieved to see you. What can I do for you? Don't make me go on a binge like you did the last time you visited me, okay?
Again, such a dull attitude. You're actually glad I came along, aren't you?
Oh, that's not true...?
You demigod........looking right through us...?
Oh, really? So we don't need a souvenir, then?
"Wait a minute!
My attention is drawn to the small bottle that the Bacchus guy is glancing in and out of his pocket.
That's alcohol, isn't it! That's the alcohol you made, isn't it! Very well, I'll accept it gratefully!
But I wouldn't want to give it to someone who isn't going to welcome it, now would I? There are plenty of people to give gifts to...!
All right, all right...! Let us welcome you with the full force of the Dwarven Empire! Hey, somebody! Get ready for the feast!
Yeah, yeah, yeah. You should've started out like that.
Bacchus, the god of sake, is said to be the one who brought alcohol to the world.
He teaches the priestesses who follow him the art of brewing sake and distributes it throughout the world.
The sake made by Bacchus is said to be of a higher quality than that made by his apprentice priestesses.
It is said that it rarely even enters the mouths of demon kings or even the kings of human countries that have already been destroyed.
I'm sure you dwarves love alcohol even more than other races. You cannot resist the temptation of the liquor I make for you.
Kuhn...! I don't have any words to reply, but please don't try to get the whole country drunk again like you did last time, okay? It's too much of an outward appearance to have a nation stagnating on a hangover.
So how about we skip this one?
I know, right? That's why I love these Dwarves. There's no such thing as a bad drinker. Good people!
I feel like I'm being used as a plaything for your body.
Oh well, now he's going to enjoy his souvenir drink without a care in the world!
Don't be a pussy, just get it out!
Don't be in such a hurry. "Don't be in such a hurry, it's all a bit silly if you don't let me make an introduction. Because this is a different kind of sake.
What's that ticklish sound?
What's that ticklish sound?
Don't tell me it's like nothing I've ever tasted before?
I advise you to try one. Try one of these. It's called Nihonshu.
Oh, oh? Cup! Someone bring me a cup!
With the cup I had hurriedly brought in, I received the drink Bacchus poured........
.........What is this?
Hey, sake god. Are you trying to deceive me? Isn't this just water?
What was poured into the cup was colorless and clear.
No matter where you looked at it, it could only be water.
I took the advice of the saints and strained the molasses out of it. You should try it for yourself.
I really felt cheated and drank it.
It was delicious.
'It's not water! Liquor!
I told you so.
It's so clear and yet it tastes like a rich liquor and it clears your mouth!
It's not like the grape wine the Bacchus guy always brings, but it's definitely booze! And it's super tasty!
You should try this beer next time.
What's that whispering? What's with the bitterness?
Even though the taste of nihonshu alone is astounding.
Great job, Bacchus! All these delicious new creations at once!
I knew you were a god!
'I don't take credit for it. No one else in the world knows about it. There is a man who knows about a different world of wine. I have borrowed his wisdom.
Oh, oh? Is that so...?
So, finally, I paid you a visit today. I wonder, King of the Dwarves, if you would be so kind. Would you like a different kind of drink?
Call me master, not king. ...No, there's another kind of wine?
This nihonshu and beer alone is delicious as a dream.
And yet you're going to be exposed to yet another kind of pleasure?
They say it's called Shouchu, whiskey and brandy.
But I think I need a special tool to make them. I came to you for advice. I thought you Dwarves were supposed to be good at making tools. If you ask the saint to make it for you, he'll make it for you, but you can't keep bothering him.
"What am I gonna make? I'll make you anything! We'll make a nice drink, and we'll make it with all the pride of a Dwarf!
That's my drinking breed.
Then we got down to business and Bacchus gave us a detailed explanation of the distillery and what it was all about.
'What do you think? Can you make it?
I feel like I'm in the process of refining iron ore. I guess there's nothing we can't do.
That's the best of the dwarves!
Hmph, I don't feel anything from being coaxed by you.
But when I finish what you asked for, I'll be the first to taste the new brew made from it!
Then we'll give you the ingredients for the distillery.
'Materials? I've got a lot of stuff in my house.
After all, here in the Dwarf Underground Empire, holes are dug every day to extract iron ore, the raw material for iron.
No, we can't be that pushy. We'll have to pay for the materials.
That's the way it is.
That's why I was given the best ingredients from the saints. I hope you can make a distillery out of it.
Ingots placed at the top.
I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the gleam in the metal.
This. Is this....manna metal?
Well, it's the best metal in the world. Not only is it hard and a good conductor of heat, but it doesn't transfer odors. It's all very ideal!
It's the greatest metal on earth, and a coveted commodity among us blacksmiths.
Normal underground digging will never produce it, and it can only be mined in cave dungeons with high mana concentrations!
It's extremely valuable, coupled with the level of danger to diving deep into the dungeon, and the quantity is small.
Even the master of the dwarven underground empire, the eagle, had only ever seen a small lump about the tip of his little finger.
What we have in front of us now........is a fine sized ingot.......!
That's one, two, three, four, five........
A lot of.........?
Um....! Can I only use this to make a distiller...? With this much mana metal.......we can make two or three legendary swords.......!
To the point of tears?
No, but it's a blacksmith's fault for ignoring his client's wishes and only making what he wants to make.
Let's make the best distillery we can, as requested!
But if I have a little bit of mana metal left over, can't I just make a knife or so.......?