The sun set beyond the walls that surrounded the city, and night engulfed the academy city. Apart from a selected few, most of the shops had closed for the day, and only a handful of people were still wandering the streets. The whole city fell into a peaceful silence. A petite figure ran along a path formed by the rooftops of the buildings. The figure was dressed in black that was difficult to see in the dark, moving like the wind along the roof.
And of course, that was the 8 year old Ernesti Echevarria. With the passage of time, his training had evolved from simple jogging into a round trip along the roofs of the buildings in the city. According to Eru, the wide field of vision and the undulating height of the buildings was perfect for training.
He learned from his failure in using the physical boost spell in the past, and further improved it, changing it into a spell with low mana cost, emphasizing just the legs for running. He had become accustomed to it, even strenuous movement wouldn't affect the script. His enhanced legs enabled him to sprint at a very fast pace.
As he ran, Eru came to the edge of a line of connected buildings; the edge was akin to a cliff with the road looming below. He took a deep breath, increasing his mana output. With the fierce reaction, he accelerated like an arrow fired from a bow, closing the gap to the edge in an instant. The moment he took his last step and leapt into the air, he activated another spell ─ by compressing the air, in front of him, he created a dense air bullet. This was originally the basic wind magic, air bullet. Eru exploded the air bullet behind him, using the burst of energy from the release to push him forward.
The instantaneous acceleration threw Eru's body into the air, forming a beautiful arch in the sky. He activated his body strengthening magic in mid-air and cast another spell just before he landed. Another air bullet spell ─ but the area of compressed air was much larger. He didn't fire off the air bullet like before. Instead, he used it as a cushion, landing nicely on the other roof. Eru rolled to reduce the impact, running off with the same speed as before the jump.
The year was C.E. 1273.
It has been 3 years since Eru started his magic training. He practiced daily without rest, accumulating a large amount of mana within his petite body. Normally, a child wouldn't train so intensively in magic at such a young age, so it was not surprising for Eru to have grown so strong. The regimen also trained his physical attributes, which increased dramatically, but it was a pity he couldn't use full body strengthening spells for an extended amount of time. That's why he invented low mana cost spells targeted at specific parts of the body, only using his full strength when necessary. He has also found a way to use other spells while moving at high speeds. This training allowed Eru's outstanding processing ability to improve, increasing his mana pool while decreasing the mana expended.
There was a reason why Eru focused his magic on movement. He didn't spend all of his time on training, making time to play with other kids his age, so his parents wouldn't worry. Despite his reasons, he couldn't deny that playing like a kid again was fun. Eru slowly realized that his body was smaller than others, but he was not too bothered about it. If his growth remained stagnant, however, Eru's lack of weight might become his weakness.
Naturally, Eru plans to continue training his magic, refusing to fail because of his lack of abilities. Even so, his body being so light meant he has to place more consideration in regard to attack power. This was the reason he chose to strengthen his mobility. The speed would both disrupt enemies and increase attack power.
That's right, just like Ushi Wakamaru overcoming strength with skills, the Japanese way. Eh, although I didn't have much choice anyway.
Eru thought about these trivial things as he ran in the dim street during the evening. A normal training route, the daily jogging routine, but something unexpected happened.
"Eh? Someone is coming." A girly voice came from above. A stern voice followed: “Who are you?"
"...Is someone there?" The questions from both parties overlapped each other. Eru has never run into anyone during his rooftop training before, this was the first time he did.
They remained silent for quite a while. They had met someone at a place that was normally devoid of people, so it was understandable to be cautious. One of them was dressed in black with his hood up, a suspicious outfit.
Eru observed the other party. The weak starlight made visibility low, but he could vaguely make out that they were a boy and girl pair about his age. Eru was shorter than average, while the two of them were relatively tall and thin. At a glance, they didn't look younger than Eru, but not much older either.
He couldn't make any headway with this silence, so Eru introduced himself.
"Evening, I am Ernesti, in the middle of a stroll. And you are?"
The two who were wary of this youth in black were stunned by the sudden introduction. Eru couldn't make out the delicate changes in their facial expression, but from the reflection of the moonlight, he knew the young boy squinted eyes.
"I am Archid, this is my younger sister..."
"Adeltrud... Eh, we were watching the stars... that's right."
Eru looked at the ceiling window behind them; the couple probably came out from there. The sudden encounter surprised them, but it was simply a coincidence. Eru decided to continue jogging.
"I see, sorry to disturb you. I will take my leave..."
"Wa... wait, don't go yet. A stroll, you say? On the roof top wearing that?"
"Don't you think that is strange?"
"Hm, that's true."
Eru could tell they were taken aback from their tone. Even Eru would have been suspicious if he was in their shoes.
"I said it was a stroll, but it is more like special training. That's why, I chose a place where it is difficult to run."
"Eh... Do you really need to run on the roof? That's weird."
A simple matter to Eru, but it was unthinkably strange to them. They looked at each other with scepticism faces and asked while tilting their heads.
"...Hmmm, forget it. That means we are interrupting your training."
"Please don't mind me. Well, I should be..."
"Hey, hey, wait! You said this is special training, so you run around this place every day?"
Adeltrud stopped Eru, who was ready to go. Eru stumbled a bit, and replied "Yes", and took off again. The two of them followed Eru with their eyes, as he disappeared into the shadows... His extraordinary speed surprised them, as they watched Eru accelerate and leap off the edge of the roof. The large arc of his jump stunned them yet again.
"... Amazing, really amazing! What is that? That looks fun!"
"Wah, he is really running! Incredible, he flew off from the edge of the roof!?"
Archid and Adeltrud were excited after Eru left. They were stargazing out on the roof because of some unhappy events, and had an amazing encounter. Their lives changed drastically because of this meeting.
Eru, Archid, and Adeltrud met again the very next day, at the same place. Unlike the encounter before, the two of them seemed to be waiting for Eru. Eru gave up any thoughts of trying to avoid them and greeted:
"Evening. Watching the stars again?"
"Yo. Nope, we are here to see you."
The pair smiled happily, visible even under the faint starlight. Eru wasn't sure of their intentions, but decided to go along with them. He could just run away if things go awry, and pick another running route in the future.
"Erm, do you have to cover your head?"
Archid pointed out. Eru thought it was rude too, so he removed his hood and sat on the roof like they did. "What is this about?" Eru pressed them. He noticed that the two of them stiffened with awkward expressions.
"Eh, your names are Archid and Adeltrud, right? What is it? Why the weird reaction?"
"Eh? Oh, nothing. You... you are a girl!?"
"You moved so fast, I thought you were a boy..."
Eru, whose image takes after his mother, had grown even more adorable with age and was now a 'pretty girl'. The silvery, purple hair that reached just over his chin was cut to shoulder length, swaying in the wind. The dim moonlight failed to hide his face. In fact, the faint light on his smooth skin gave his face a magical air. His pretty face didn't match the amazing movements they saw the day before, confusing the pair. Eru looked at the two children with slanted eyes and said:
"No, I look like my mother, but I really am a boy."
"... No, there is a limit to how much you take after your mother. Are you really a boy?"
"It's true; I have nothing to gain from a lie like this."
"Oh...How... how cute, Ernesti..."
Adeltrud drew closer with her hands for some reason, and Eru stepped back when he sensed the danger. Archid grabbed Adeltrud's collar and pulled her back immediately.
"Eh... Ah, my name is hard to articulate, just call me Eru."
"Ah, you can call me Chid."
"I will address you as Eru, then! I am Ady!"
After the round of introductions, Eru was wary of Ady, who looked ready to pounce on him as he said:
"And, so? What did you want to talk about?"
"Right, after you left yesterday, didn't you jump really high from the roof? How did you do that?"
"Also, please teach us the technique!"
Where did their wariness from yesterday go? Chid was chatting with him like they were old friends. Eru didn't understand why Chid was so excited.
"I can show you, but it will take a long time okay?"
"No worries. If we train with you, we can fly like you one day, right?"
"But you might be stuck at a bottleneck before that happens too..."
Eru warned and started to explain his training in simple terms... the content about magic. Chid and Ady were quite clever, picking up the difficult content at a good pace. Because they understood the content, they frowned at the task ahead.
"Isn't that grueling!"
"Eru is so amazing..."
"Didn't I tell you that at the very beginning?"
The stunned duo groaned, then lifted their heads as if they had just thought of something.
"By the way, why is your magic so powerful?"
"... That is because of compatibility, and I have been training for some years."
"Some years... How old are you?
"Eh!? That's the same as us!?"
Ady was impressed. Compared to the explanation earlier, this was more stunning. Chid and Ady seemed to be twins, both of them were eight years old just like Eru. Chid was in high spirits after hearing this, dismissing all of his worries. He had a face that said 'alright, we have to do this' and was fired up. Eru warned Chid who was rearing to go:
"Physical boost is a high spell; you can't use it without starting from the basics."
"Then just teach us magic."
"You are strong, right? You know a lot of advanced spells!"
"You might be cute, but you are also dependable!"
Eru's face began to cramp. This development was beyond his expectations and had nothing to do with cuteness. Their request was troubling; he wanted to escape if it was at all possible. But when he saw Chid and Ady talking enthusiastically about the training regimen, his conscience could not allow him to ignore them.
"Ah... This.... Eh, I understand. I will... teach both of you magic..."
"Great, I knew you were a bro!"
"Wonderful, no wonder you are so cute!"
"You are overestimating me, and this has nothing to do with being cute!? Wait, like I said, magic cannot be learned immediately. You have to start from the basics, understand?"
"I know, I know, don't worry. We will catch up to you in a flash!"
He felt uneasy with Chid, who accepted so readily, but Eru still confirmed the training details with them before they parted ways.
The following day, the twins visited Eru's home. Not at night, but during the day.
Because they had only met under the moonlight until now, Eru finally saw their beautiful black hair and hazel eyes. The brunette twins reminded Eru of Japan, and he felt a sense of kinship with them. Chid's messy hair was short, while Ady's slightly wavy hair reached her shoulders. They really were twins, having similar physiques and strong eyes.
"Welcome to my humble abode, please come in."
Eru gave up resisting and ushered them in. The Echevarria residence was slightly bigger than their neighbours' because of their relations with both the dean and an instructor at Laihiala Pilot School. Chid and Ady looked around curiously as they followed Eru.
Eru's mother, Celestina, welcomed them warmly. Her son, who seldom brought friends home, had two guests with him at the same time. She was a great cook, and showed off her prowess, making her guests feel at home with her snacks and beverages. Ady was really delighted, she hit it off well with Tina and was about to follow her into the kitchen to make snacks, but was dragged off forcefully by Chid.
After the disruption, they went into Eru's room to learn basic magic. Eru's room was very tidy. There were only a table, a bed, and several shelves along the wall. The shelves had textbooks related to magic, along with some storybooks for display. For preschool children, this room was too practical. The twins (especially Ady) were planning to snoop around the room, but were stopped by Eru.
After this episode, the magic lesson finally began. Eru used the magic textbook he liked the most as the teaching material, starting from the fundamentals. He thought that the pair were too confident and believed that because they were 8 years old, they would grow tired of it and give up immediately. But Chid and Ady were surprisingly passionate about their studies. When they started their architect sigil practical session, they displayed admirable control, hitting the bull’s eye after a few attempts.
Eru remembered their conversation yesterday. Did they understand the explanation about magic immediately? That means the twins are excellent. Eru reflected on underestimating them, as he gave feedback to the duo that collapsed after depleting their mana.
"What you are feeling is mana depletion because your mana pool is too small. You should start by building up your mana capacity through training."
"Huff, huff, this is tiring. So... How do we do this special training?"
"Deplete your mana every day. Your mana pool will grow faster than if you were doing nothing. And it will be best to do some exercise, you can train your body and magic at the same time, it's more efficient that way."
"...Oh, that's why you were jogging on the roof tops?"
"Yes. I told you it's not simple."
"That's right, but I still want to do it! I just need to keep this up every day! Isn't that 'simple'?"
Eru was surprised. He turned around to see Ady, who had caught her breath with both hands on her hips, looking fearless. Her eyes were filled with determination and confidence, and a hint of a smile showed on her face. He looked at Ady, thinking nonchalantly, She is tall and will become a beauty in the future, but she is hard to handle.
"... I see, please work on your architect sigils for now. You will be able to do special training with me after your mana pool grows."
"I don't know when we will catch up to you... But it will definitely be sooner than you think!"
"Of course! Just watch us; we will reach your standards in no time!"
Eru's impression of his first ‘good friends’ was improving gradually.
They are tougher than I thought. I've made some pretty interesting friends.
And so, Eru's training now included the twins, Archid Olter and Adeltrud Olter. His life had gotten livelier.
Eru was not just learning magic. When he had spare time from his magical and physical training, he was also learning swordsmanship as promised from his father, Mathias. This was the standard swordsmanship from the curriculum of Laihiala Pilot Academy. Chid and Ady also joined in.
Of the three, Chid was the most talented in the sword. His build was great for his age, which allowed him to surpass Eru in no time. His stance was proper and would never lose to anyone in a simulation battle.
They practiced the sword along with their magic. Compared to other children their age, the trio was incredibly busy. Eru did the necessary training in order to achieve his goal. He had gotten used to it after such a long time, so he didn't find it intolerable. He felt that he did not push himself hard enough in his previous life, which motivated him to strive harder. Eru realized the biggest motivation for humans manifests from their desire.
But what about Chid and Ady? They harbour the same passion as Eru, living each day to the fullest. Eru's training already surpassed the normal standards; there was no need to burden normal children with this. If they were aiming to be a knight, there was no need to work so hard. But they never complained about it.
'What motivates the twins?' Eru couldn't think of any reason for them to work so hard.
Even with their busy schedule, they didn't only train. They made time to spend with their parents or play with other children around their age. With the largest academy in the nation, the children had plenty of playmates.
The kingdom of Fremmevira had a problem unique to it, which was the existence of the Demon beasts. The situation here was different from the region west of mount Aubigne, the kingdom of Fremmevira shared a border with the Bocuse forest ruled by the Demon beasts. Demon beasts often attack, threatening the lives and property of citizens causing the people to live in fear. Hence, the cities of Fremmevira has strong walls erected around them, protecting the towns and citizens.
─ Everyone in Fremmevira agreed to the construction of the walls, but the playful children found life within the walls to be dull and stifling. To expend their energy, they treated the entire city as their playground, playing around noisily. The sound of the children's laughter could be heard on the streets every day.
It was no different today, a group of kids dashed along the pavement. But on closer inspection, a child had fallen far behind.
"What are you doing... slow tortoise..."
When he heard the jeers of the children, the kid who had fallen behind stopped, panting, and waved his arms while protesting:
"Huff, huff.... It... It can't be helped! We dwarves can't run that fast!"
This protesting child was shorter than the rest; he had a strong and stout body along with short legs, and a sturdy albeit slow build.
"Ah... Batson is slow..."
"What did you say? Damn...!"
"Slow Batson is angry! It will hurt if he gets you...! Run away...!"
The child named Batson was red from anger, running along with heavy steps, but he couldn't compensate for his short stride. The children dispersed with laughter every time he drew near, leaving the lonesome Batson behind.
He clenched his fists in frustration. He was helpless, but being slow was a racial flaw of the dwarves.
Dwarves... a race originating from the northern mountains.
They lived among treacherous, snowy peaks, residing within caves. As time went by, they started excavating deeper and became skilled miners. While refining and processing the rich minerals in the northern hills, the dwarves became experts at all sorts of mineral resources, advancing their skills in crafting with them. They were renowned as the 'crafting race'.
Because of their environment, the dwarves had evolved over time, in order to move nimbly in narrow caves. Their short but stout stature was their most prominent, physical trait. They were also covered in muscles, having double the arm strength of normal humans. They were rugged in appearance; the men had thick long hair, and beards which start growing at the age of ten. By the way, their culture emphasises on how spectacular their beards are and all men take pride in them.
But the isolated dwarves didn't spend their entire history hiding in the north. There were many dwarves who use their skills to set up smith shops all across the land.
The child mentioned just now... Batson Termonen was one of those dwarves. His parents had a smithy in Laihiala Academy City, the reason why he was playing with the local children. The games of children revolved around chasing each other or hide and seek, especially so, for a city surrounded by walls. Batson didn't know how tough it was to live in such an enclosed environment with his short stride. He was also mocked for his appearance by the kids in the neighbourhood.
The children making fun of Batson were long gone. Batson gave up, heading home in disgust.
"Weird. Are you alone? Where are the others?"
The fuming Batson heard someone talking to him and saw the trio when he turned his head. The one in the middle was especially short, like a valley between two mountains. It was the trio Ernesti, Archid, and Adeltrud.
"It's Eru. You guys are probably looking down on me for being slow, too."
The three of them were baffled by Batson's response, but quickly understood the situation. The dwarves might be slow, but they were also very strong. This means Batson would be incredibly strong in a fight. He wouldn't lose against multiple enemies if it came to a dogfight. Batson had an argument with someone, and achieved overwhelming victory in the ensuing fight, which was the reason for the current situation.
As Eru watched Batson walk away, he felt like pulling a prank and laughed mischievously:
"Ah, he was bullied again... Alright, let's go after those guys, everyone."
The twins listened to Eru's suggestion and answered indifferently:
"I'm fine with that, but how? We are fine, but Batson can't keep up."
"Right, that's why we will bring him along. Just treat it as normal training, with Batson as training weights."
"Oh! I get it!"
"Let's go, let's go!"
Chid and Ady understood what Eru was saying, and stood on either side of Batson. They didn't consider how Batson felt and grabbed his arms.
"Eh? Hey... Hey! What are you..."
"Well, let's start our jogging exercise for the day!"
Chid and Ady started moving on Eru's command, ignoring the confused Batson. They treated Batson like cargo and carried him. This technique could only be used after learning 'limited physical boost', allowing them to use strength above their physical limit. Batson was stunned by their amazing speed, unable to resist.
"They must be at the central square! Let's attack!"
"Like I said, what's happening...!?"
Laihiala Academy City was roughly divided between the school campus and the urban zone. In the heart of the urban zone, there was an open space known as the central square to everyone. It was filled with stalls during the day and was the gathering point for all the children.
"Hey, will that guy catch up?"
"There is no way, he's too slow..."
"That's right; it will hurt like hell if you get hit by him!"
"Relax; just run away if he shows up. He is slow, you can get away easily."
It was the kids who made fun of Batson earlier. The group used some boxes as stools, biting into fruits they bought from a stall. They were gleeful from their successful revenge. Suddenly, they heard a loud scream from far away.
"Out of the way!"
"Where are you going?! You guys better...!"
They noticed a familiar voice, which surprised them. Wasn't that Batson, who they were just jeering at? The one person they want to avoid? The group searched for the origin of the voice, and saw Chid and Ady carrying Batson by the arms and approaching fast. They panicked and screamed:
"Woah, what... what are you...!?"
"Ah, found them. Now, Batson... launch!"
Eru pointed out the target, while Chid and Ady threw Batson with a mischievous smile without slowing down. With a running start and a powerful throw, the short but heavy Batson flew through the sky. The group of children had slow reactions, watching Batson as he arced through the air, slack jawed. When they realized they were the landing point, the kids scrambled to get away in a panic.
"Eh! Wah, idiot, don't come here!"
"Woahhhh, quick... hide..."
But it was too late to run. They were hit directly by Batson's rock, hard head, the force smashing the boxes into pieces. They fell all over the place under a cloud of dust. It was so chaotic that the masterminds, Eru and his friends, felt guilty as they looked at each other.
"...Did we... go too far?"
"Yeah... Right on target."
"Hey... I have an idea. I think we should get out of here."
"You three! Don't run!"
Batson shrugged off the broken boxes and stood up among the debris. As expected, the first to recover was the tough Batson, the rest of the children were still down. Batson was furious, sprinting towards the trio with a speed beyond any dwarf. The moronic three ran immediately.
"Goodbye, see you later!"
"Shut up, stay where you are!"
By the way, the kids, who were left behind were caught by the adults, and were lectured for breaking the boxes.
Some distance away from the central square and the residential area was a shopping mall. There was a building double the size of the surrounding ones. It emphasized sturdiness more than appearance. This was the smith shop 'Termonen Workshop'.
Batson chased Eru and the others all over the streets, and finally ended up here. Compared to Eru and company, Batson was on the verge of dying from exhaustion after the chase.
"You... You guys... are too fast..."
"Thanks to our daily training."
"Huff... how did you train to be so good..."
Eru smiled casually. In terms of stamina, Batson had the edge, but he couldn't match Eru and his magic.
"Ah... forget it, I don't care anymore."
Batson was exhausted and felt that all of this was just silly. He gave up, laid on the ground with his limbs spread out, and finally caught his breath after a long while. He gave a contented smile and laughed softly.
"But it was fun smashing into them head first."
"Hey, hey, we can do it again if you like."
After a short while, Batson stood up calmly and pointed to his house.
"Eh, alright. Want to visit my place? I'm thirsty."
Maybe it's because they were near the workshop, but they could feel the heat even from outside. Batson's craftsmen parents were probably working in there.
"Oh, I have never been to your place."
"Yeah... You will get hit if you disturb them. Don't be too rowdy."
The trio entered Batson's home, and saw his father and a few craftsmen working in silence. Batson's father had a long beard and a wide body; it was easy to tell that he was a dwarf. His punches were no joke.
Opposite the work tables was the shop front with the finished merchandise on display. Batson explained about each one of them with pride.
"Look, all of these are made by my dad."
All sorts of metallic equipment could be seen, from swords, lances, shields and armour to woks and pots. As expected of a dwarf craftsman, they were made delicately. Every one of them was a masterpiece made to the perfect size and colour.
"Woah... Your place is selling lots of stuff."
Eru browsed the merchandise curiously while Ady followed him. Chid grew excited when he saw the weapons, such as swords and lances. Batson was extremely pleased when they praised his father's work.
"Hey Bat, do you craft things too?"
"Ah... my dad seldom lets me touch metals, but I can do carpentry. I am a dwarf after all; even my dad praises my work!"
After hearing Ady's whimsical query, Batson pointed to an item at the corner of the shop. There were some simple wooden household items there. They looked plain, but the workmanship was good and durable. Batson's skill was clear, and the trio was impressed. At this point, something in the corner attracted Eru's attention.
"Can you make 'magic staves'?"
"... Magic staves? I can make them if there are enough materials. I made these to earn some pocket money."
In order to use magic, humans have to use external 'crystal catalysts' to convert mana into physical phenomenon, and a magic staff is the most common example of that. Simply put, the crystal catalyst is attached to the end of the staff for ease of use.
Most staves are made from trees called 'white mist'. Because the wood from these trees are an excellent mana conductor, it is a popular magic ingredient. The plain staff crafted by Batson was also made from that.
"When practising magic, I always felt that..."
Eru's shifted his gaze to the staff on his waist. It was the magic item he had been using since the very beginning. It was shorter than most staves and fits well with his small stature.
"What is it? Something wrong with your staff?"
Eru twirled the short staff wand in his hand and smiled at the confused Batson:
"Don't you think a magic staff is unwieldy?"
Besides Batson, Chid and Ady were puzzled by Eru's comment. They had gotten used to using the staff as a tool to use magic and had no complaints. They didn't understand what he meant.
Eru thought it didn't feel right because of the memories of his previous life. Because he remembered the world where science was king, he felt that this was awkward and primitive. Strictly speaking, magic staves are items used to cast spells. Apart from 'strengthening' magic, human spells are usually 'shot', releasing powerful effects. Eru assumed that a magic staff was a type of 'projectile weapon'.
Eru recalled a scene from his past in Japan... a room filled with models. Among these collections, he owned an airsoft gun, a realistic looking 'Winchester M1894' rifle, which left a deep impression on him. Firearms, especially rifles, resembles magic staves. The correlation made him think that there was a way to implement the shape of the rifle onto a magic staff.
"For example, the knights fight with a sword and staff in each hand..."
Even the knights, whose main weapon were swords, knew the importance of magic. Right handed knights would hold the long sword with their dominant hand and the staff with the other. If a shield was equipped on the left hand, they would normally hold the staff behind the shield.
"I think it is a hassle to hold them separately, that's why I have been thinking about combining them."
"I don't get it... But even if it can be done, how do you want to go about it?"
As he thought, Eru had a stroke of inspiration. Guns and swords... these two simple terms made him think about bayonets on rifles. It was simply attaching a knife to the tip of a gun barrel, using the rifle as a melee weapon. This concept was brought to this alternate world by Eru.
"Yeah, I just thought of an interesting idea."
Eru smiled gently, making Batson feel a chill run down his back.
Later, Eru returned home, sat in front of a table, and drew the design he had in mind. His focus surprised Chid and Ady who tagged along.
"What is that? What a weird staff."
That was the first thing Ady said after looking at the finished diagram. 'Bayonet'... a rifle that fires spells with a blade mounted upon it, the first 'magic staff' of its kind. For Ady who had only seen normal magic staves, it was very exotic.
The next day, Eru visited Batson's home again with the design in hand.
"Like I mentioned yesterday, can you make a staff like this?"
Batson was at a loss as he stared at the unexpected guest, who had showed up with a design in hand after just one day. He decided to look at the plan first and started confirming the details. Batson made a strange face.
"Eru, what... is this?"
"What? I've never heard of a staff by that name, and the shape... is weird... Why is the bottom so wide? And what is with this protruding piece here?
"Well, this is known as the stock..."
Some things couldn't be explained with just a design drawing. Eru answered Batson's queries and explained them in detail.
"Eh, I will give it a shot."
Batson didn't really understand, but he took the job anyway. He promised Eru he would craft this strange magic staff. Eru was relieved, and felt that this was a good chance to see Batson's artisan skills.
Several days later, Eru visited Batson's place for the third time on Batson's invitation. The unique weapon designed by him was presented in physical form.
The handle resembled the stock of a rifle, thick and slightly bent, but there were no triggers. A crystal catalyst was attached to the tip, the part where the sight of a gun should be. There were no chambers and magazines as it was not an actual gun. In place of the barrel was a short sword fixed in place. This was the bayonet designed in this alternate world... 'Gun staff'.
"The carpentry is done by me, my dad helped me with the metallic bits."
"Did he lecture you? If it was too much trouble, making all of it out of wood would have been fine too."
When Eru visited a few days ago, he heard that Batson's father was very busy. Eru did not want to press him, and just asked Batson to do what he could.
"Eh, for some reason he was very interested when I was making it, and gave me a hand."
Eru nodded in agreement. He thanked Batson and took 'that' in his hand hurriedly. He tried out the size, weight, and balance, the finished product was no different from the design. The dwarves were incredible, their skills were truly astounding.
"Alright, I completed it as you asked... it turned out weird, what do you plan to do with it?"
"It will be quicker to show you."
Eru tried wielding the 'staff' and asked Batson for a place to test out magic. The two of them headed to the yard behind the smith shop, where a few target boards meant to test out swords were erected. Eru aimed at one and slashed at it, casting an intermediate wind spell just before it hit... Sonic Blade. He used the crystal catalyst on the staff to convert mana into physical form, emitting a shockwave from the blade and splitting the target cleanly in half. Eru took aim at the top half that was falling and casted an intermediate fire spell... Fireball. It connected with the target and exploded, leaving a cloud of dust in its wake. The incredible performance of the staff made Eru smile, but Batson was stunned.
"How should I put this? It is too weird and out of this world."
"Eh. Let’s leave it at that. Batson, you did great! Seems that using magic in the future will be interesting!"
"Eh, as long as you are happy."
"By the way, can you make another one for me?"
"Don't be so shameless with your requests."
Eru received the second bayonet staff that he wanted. These two bayonet staves officially named 'Winchester' were kept in a specially made sheath worn around his waist. Eru kept them with him at all times.
The completion of the gun staff, which was suitable for close quartres fighting and ranged combat, was the key to enhancing his mobility and firepower, influencing his fighting style greatly.
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