In this World Flooded with Monsters
“So is there a reason why you’re training at my store?”
The dwarf Dimros confronted Shirley with a stern look, already numb to the appearance of the mother and daughters.
This was the area behind Dimros’s weapon shop which was usually used for testing his weapons. With Shirley and her daughters commandeering the space to practice their sword skills, it’s no wonder that Dimros would want to come out and complain.
“The guild training grounds are for adventurers only, and this was the only other place that came with training dummies and the other supplies we needed.”
While saying that, Shirley tossed over a few gold coins before picking up the sword she had grabbed from the store.
“Isn’t it fine? We are simply confirming how easy it is to use this new sword I bought just now. There should be nothing wrong with us using this spot.”
“Noisy. And that’s just sophistry……my grounds are for checking a sword’s usability, not training.”
“They’re practically the same thing. If we put the weapons through a light, simulated battle, we will have a better understanding of how useful they’ll be during those critical moments.”
“Honestly…….well, I don’t have any other customers right now anyway.”
Having realized there was no way he was going to be able to convince Shirley to leave, Dimros scratched his head and sighed. It’s a good thing she’s a regular customer who has perused his store for over ten years or else she’d be getting hit right about now. Coming here and expecting this kind of service for free.
“In exchange, try this little one out. I received some interesting prototypes from the Smithing Union.”
The Smithing Union is a guild consisting of mostly dwarven weapon craftsmen. The meet up several times a year to exchange opinions and information, refer apprentices between each other, and distribute prototypes. It’s the kind of organization devoted entirely to the purpose of improving its members’ blacksmithing skills.
Dimros belongs to the union as well, and he occasionally gives Shirley some of the new swords he gets in order to hear her opinions. It’s a great deal for her because if she likes the sword, she would buy it there on the spot.
“Um, can we see it too?”
“Of course. Come, take a look”
“Are you sure? Thanks”
Shirley leaned over and whispered in Dimros’s ear after he so readily gave permission.
“……Is this really okay? I know I already asked this the first time you showed me one of these weapons, but shouldn’t you take a bit more care in keeping weapons still in their prototype stage a secret?”
“You’re right of course which is why I would only show them to people I can trust to keep a secret and who can understand what it is I’m showing them. It’s not the kind of thing I would normally go showing to children.”
“Well don’t worry about it. I’m not going to care if it’s your daughters. Think of it as a small service for a pair of future adventurers.”
Shirley watched Dimros’s small, muscular back in surprise as it lead her and her daughters into his shop through the back door.
Various types of equipment that all appeared to be the prototypes in question were scattered across the room. Swords, axes, spears, canes, gauntlets, and armor were all giving off a sparkling brilliance unique to new products.
“I’ve got others who can try out the axes and spears, so you just need to test out the swords like always. They’re magic weapons crafted with a new alloy and forging method to make them light yet durable……and I’ll have you check this out as well.”
Dimros brought over a short, cylindrical object with a handle that looked like it was shaped to fit in the palm of one’s hand. Taking a closer look, it also had some kind of trigger mechanism peculiar for a magic tool.
“What is this? Is it a weapon too?”
“Don’t play around with it too much. It’s a type of armament we’re calling a gun.”
Sophie and Tio grew confused after hearing a word they’d never heard before as Shirley looked over the cylindrical object……she then gripped the weapons handle in the way she assumed it was meant to be used.
“It’s a relatively newer weapon developed over the past fifty years or so. It has an iron ball inside, and when you pull this trigger here, it causes a miniature explosion with magic that propels the ball forward. The ball is shaped like an arrowhead, and after being fired, it travels at a speed faster than sound. A dangerous tool that can easily kill a person.”
Sophie and Tio took a step back after hearing the details behind the gun. This is a weapon meant for killing people……it actually gave Shirley a small sense of relief to learn that they didn’t have any strange interests.
“But, it’s a lot smaller than the guns I know. The one I saw before wasn’t that much different from a sword.”
“We miniaturized it so it could fit in your pocket. That long one you saw is called a rifle, and this small one is a pistol however the size isn’t what makes this thing special. The reason why this is a prototype is because of what we’ve done to the cylinder. By carving out a spiraled groove, the bullet is given a lateral rotation that increases how far it flies and its penetration power. Give it a try.”
Taking on the invitation, Shirley returned to the practice yard. Walking past the training dummies, she pointed the end of the cylinder towards a rock used for testing out blunt weapons and pulled the trigger.
*BANG!* A high-pitched whine that tears through the eardrums jumped from the cylinder, causing Sophie and Tio to cover their ears with their hands. After slowly turning their gazes towards the rock to see what happened, they found a small hole bored inside.
“Uu, my ears are ringing……hey, it dug into the rock.”
“It looks like it……but it’s so small. Is that all it can do?”
“Yeah, that’s it. That alone would be more than capable of penetrating a person’s body…..it might not look like a big deal to a couple of girls who participated in that sports meet, but it really is dangerous. Don’t play around with it, okay?”
It’s only natural that you wouldn’t find this kind of result impressive when you’ve already seen a bunch of people reduce a rock wall to fine dust with their bare hands, swords, or magic. They’re ten-year-olds with a skewed viewpoint only being surprised by the sound the gun made and not fully understanding how much that small hole would hurt.
“But you surprise me. What makes you interested in a weapon like this?”
“Do I need a reason? I’m just cooperating with the Smithing Union and testing it out.”
Dimros looked a bit disappointed as he took the gun back.
“I’m a blacksmith for adventurers right? If I have the time to make something like this, I’d rather make other magic tools like the arrows that young Leia girl always buys.”
“……That makes sense.”
“So, how was it? I was asked if it would be useful for adventurers, so I thought I’d hear the opinion straight from the mouth of an active adventurer.”
Shirley thought about it for a moment before giving an uninterested reply.
“Isn’t it more geared for civilians to deal with goblins, bad bonobos, and wild animals? To be honest, I’d never use one.”
“Like I thought……then it’s usefulness hasn’t changed?”
“What do you mean?”
“We mean this thing’ll have almost no effect against even somewhat strong monsters lassie.”
Putting dragons aside, there are also plenty of monsters with shells harder than iron. Then there are the monsters with fur that nullifies impacts. Monsters that can move faster than sound themselves and thus would easily avoid the attack. The fact is that any monster ranked B or higher is already at a level beyond the common everyman’s understanding.
Even if the bullet is able to dig into the target’s flesh, if it’s something like a bear you’re more likely to just piss it off than actually kill it. There are numerous monster with a high amount of vitality that can continue to fight even with dozens of arrows embedded in their bodies, and there are even those monsters that can survive with a large hole blown in their chests.
Like Shirley said, this could be useful against weaker monsters. However considering the random factor that comes with enemy encounters, relying on guns is too risky.
“That’s why guns are really only used for self defense by VIP’s who live with other humans…….although there are many in the killing business who you wouldn’t want bringing these against anyway.”
The best example of this would be accomplished bandit leaders and rogue magicians wanted for questioning. From the perspective of the adventurers who will be asked to arrest them, a gun is an unusable weapon. An elven archer could easily penetrate an iron plate with their arrows, and when you consider the rate of fire they’re capable of including the magics they can throw into the mix, then a bullet capable of burrowing itself into a rock is nothing.
“An adventurer’s main tool is magic…..even physical fighters use it to strengthen their bodies. It is why I can do this despite my thin arms.”
As she spoke, Shirley picked up a pebble and threw it at the rock she had shot a moment before. After the pebble made impact, the rock shattered, scattering debris across the yard.
“Something like a rock is easy to crack.”
In her mind, Shirley was puffing out her chest in response to her daughters’ respectful stares.
“Well, I’ll ask the other guys for their opinions to be safe, but they’ll probably say the same thing you did. Putting this gun aside, I still need you to test out the new swords I brought in. I gotta tell you, it’s my favorite out of the whole lot――――”
Having seemingly lost interest in the gun, Dimros brought it back inside the store, coming out a second later with his arms full of prototype swords for Shirley to test out.
After checking the usability of every single prototype sword, Shirley and her daughters returned to the inn. Tio wanted to take a nice, long bath after the sweat she had worked up, and Shirley and Sophie decided to join her.
“Mm…….I’m alive again”
“Tio, you sound like an old lady talking like that.”
“But it’s how I feel, so it can’t be helped.”
Shirley secretly nodded her head, understanding how Tio must feel while stretching out her limbs in the bathtub. There’s almost nothing better than relaxing in the tub after a strenuous bout of exercise.
“Besides, you say it too Sophie”
“Eh~!? I’ve never said that before!”
“You did, just yesterday when you sank your entire body into the water.”
“She’s right, you said the same thing yesterday. When the water in the tub was all the way up to your chin.”
“You too Mama!?”
Sophie didn’t look convinced she would say something like that even unconsciously.
“So Sophie gets stiff shoulders even though you don’t move around nearly as much as I do. Like Mom”
“Huh? That’s just what happens when you study as much as me and Mama do.”
“Mm…..that’s not what I was thinking”
Tio’s gaze moved towards her mother…..more precisely, her drowsy eyes were looking over Shirley’s rich breasts.
“A female adventurer told me once when she was drunk that when they’re as big as Mom’s, your shoulders get tired without even having to do anything.”
“…….What are you trying to say then? Would you mind explaining things out to your big sister?”
Sophie slowly slunk through the bathwater, her joyless eyes focused on Tio. Realizing her mistake, Tio gulped and nervously backed into the wall.
“Sophie, calm down. I heard this is all normal at our age.”
“Your excuses are already meaningless!”
With her anxiety over her future driving her forward, Sophie slipped behind Tio’s flank and mercilessly began tickling her sides.
“Mm……..! Stop, Sophie…….! Ticklish……!”
“Fufufu…..! We’re sisters, so I know exactly how weak your sides are!”
“Come now you two; don’t play around in the bath too much. You’ll cause trouble to the people around us.”
Shirley’s daily fatigue fell with the scattered droplets of the bath’s hot water as she watched her energetic daughters. Maybe they were tired from frolicking through the water for so long or maybe it’s because the cold air calmed them down after getting out of the bath, but either way, while drying themselves off with their towels, Sophie and Tio remembered something they wanted to ask their mother.
“Hey Mama, were you against us getting one of those gun weapons?”
“I was wondering about that too. Mom looked a little unhappy about it.”
“She did, didn’t she”
Shirley took a towel and got to work drying her daughters’ hair.
“It isn’t wrong to supplement your strength with equipment, but you cannot rely on that equipment too heavily. I find weapons like those guns that easily empower the people who wield them superfluous.”
Until now, Shirley had seen many adventurers who saw themselves too highly and ended up dead because of it. The magic tools they used made them seem stronger than what they were, and when the user themselves begin to mistake the power of their tools for their own, they often die as soon as that power is taken from them.
“You should always remember that. In order to survive, the only thing you can truly count on is the strength you developed yourself. You can always use equipment to supplement your strength after you’ve grown strong enough to survive on your own.”
This was the first lesson Shirley taught Sophie and Tio, not as their mother, but as the woman teaching them how to fight.