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TL: FoodieMonster007; ED: TheGreatT20 If you see this, you are at the wrong site!

“What kind of a man is this blacksmith?”

The blacksmith’s tent was in the most remote corner of the Freelancer’s Bazaar, at the top of a mountain. As Bok Man-Chun and I hiked up the winding mountain path, I asked about the blacksmith we were meeting to kill some time.

“No one knows his real name, we just call him Old Man Wi. Like all blacksmiths, he’s extremely stubborn and built like a bear.”

“I hope he’s as skilled as he is stubborn.”

“There’s no doubt about that. When he first showed up at the Freelancer’s Bazaar, we all thought he was a fraud, but a few freelancers bought his blades out of pity…”

“And then? What happened to them?”

Bok Man-Chun was a great storyteller, perhaps due to his extensive traveling experience. He always paused at just the right moment to pique my curiosity.

“Unexpectedly, the weapons saved their lives many times. Even though they were cheap, they remained sharp and intact through dozens of battles.” He said, grinning.

“The quality of the weapons must be excellent…”

“Now here’s where the fun part begins. One of the men whose life was saved by the old blacksmith’s weapon went to thank him, and guess what he said in response? Ahem…” Bok Man-Chun coughed and imitated Old Man Wi’s rough voice, “That’s just a cheap blade made by a crackpot, I don’t need any more of your money.”

I laughed at the exaggeratedly gruff voice, “I guess that’s proof of his skills!”

“Hahaha, yes! Anyway, the old man suddenly became famous in the Freelancer’s Bazaar, and countless freelancers lined up to buy weapons from him… Hang on, the road ahead’s kind of dark.”

As we moved further away from the center of the Freelancer’s Bazaar, the dim lamps became too sparse to properly illuminate the street.


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Bok Man-Chun stopped walking, lit up a torch, and then continued, “Where were we… Ah, that’s when the old man started making a certain request of the freelancers.”

“A request?”

“Yes. He promised that as long as one fulfills his request, he’ll make them a masterpiece.”

“Hmm…” The word “masterpiece” intrigued me. There were many blacksmiths in the world, but only a few could claim to be able to make a masterpiece. Even in my past life, I didn’t know of many such craftsmen.

If I had to name one, it would be the person who forged the Blood Demon Sword…

“We’re talking about a blacksmith who calls a quality sword trash, you know? Can you imagine just how amazing his idea of a masterpiece would be?” Bok Man-Chun’s excited voice brought me back to reality.

“It probably wouldn’t be unreasonable to assume it’d be a legendary weapon.”

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“His offer isn’t even limited to swords. As long as it’s made of iron, he can make it. That includes daos, spears, staffs, armor…”

In that case, it can’t be an easy request! “What did he ask for?”

“I don’t know.”


“The men who accepted his request are all dead.”

“……” That’s a joke, right…? I furrowed my brows.

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Bok Man-Chun hastily added, “Erm, maybe not all of them died, but at least, no one revealed the quest details.”

“…Did they swear an oath to secrecy? I’m sorry if this seems rude to you, Administrator Bok, but freelancers aren’t exactly a tight-lipped bunch…”

“They didn’t talk, not because they swore not to talk, but because they can’t talk. Every single one of the survivors has gone mad.”

Hey, hey! Is Bok Man-Chun planning to bring me to a secret location to murder me or drive me insane? “You’re finally showing your true colors. Are you after my fortune?” I asked solemnly, clenching my fists.

Bok Man-Chun immediately broke out in a cold sweat. “N-No, Boss! Please finish listening to what I say first! Old Man Wi also accepts monetary commissions! You don’t have to fulfill his request!”


“It might not be a masterpiece, but he’ll still make you an excellent sword if you pay him well.”

“You should have told me that first.” I relaxed my grip.

Bok Man-Chun cheekily feigned a sigh of relief, “Phew! Anyway, that’s Old Man Wi for you. He’s stubborn, skilled, and knows when to keep his mouth shut. Those are all the qualities you’re looking for in a blacksmith, right?”

“Why is such a man in the Freelancer’s Bazaar? With his skills, finding employment shouldn’t be a problem.”

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“Never ask questions like that, Boss. There’s not a man in this place who doesn’t have a story,” Bok Man-Chun smiled enigmatically, fiddling with the eyepatch over his left eye.

“Doing that doesn’t make you look cool, just cringey.”


When we reached the summit, I saw a tent with two customers standing outside.

“Boss, we’re almost there…”


With a sound like a bursting drum, one of the men standing in front of the tent was knocked into the air and sent flying past me.

“KEUAAAAAK! Fuck you, old man!”

Luckily, the blow wasn’t as bad as it sounded, and the man quickly scrambled back to his feet. “Why won’t you do it? I said I’d pay you!” he yelled.

He’s a drug addict. Upon closer inspection, I noticed that the man’s eyes were bloodshot, his face was black, and he smelled of some kind of medicine.

In a gravelly voice, the person in the tent said, “You’re the one who should fuck off. I’m not selling you anything.”

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The person in the tent was standing in front of a lamp, so it was hard to make out his features, but it was definitely an old man’s voice.

“Damn it! You think you can get away with this?”

“Want another beating?” The old man threatened.

Fearing for his life, the drug addict hurled all sorts of creative insults at the old man before turning and running away.

I whispered to Bok Man-Chun, “Is that old man the blacksmith?”

“From the looks of it, yes.”

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“You didn’t say anything about him being a strong martial artist.”

“How would I know that?”

“Who are you people?” the old man suddenly asked, finally noticing us.


This old man is as hard as a thousand-year-old rock that has withstood being eroded away, was the first thought that came to my mind when I saw the old man up close. After decades of working with metal, his body appeared harder than any metal I’ve ever seen.

For some reason, he looks familiar? Have I met him somewhere before?

The old man had several tattoos on his shoulders and arms. One of them, a red dragon on his left shoulder, resembled a certain symbol from my previous life.

That tattoo can’t possibly be what I think it is, right…?

As I stood there dumbstruck, Bok Man-Chun stepped forward and greeted, “Hello, Master Wi. Your reputation spreads far and wide, and when we heard about it, we specially came to see you.”

“Stop spouting crap and just tell me what you want.”

“…Uh, we would like to purchase a weapon from you.”

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“A weapon… I suppose it’s for this young man here.”

The old man meticulously scrutinized my entire body. His gaze was tired, but sharp as a well-honed blade.

At that moment I was sure. This old man came from a family I knew.

I nudged past Bok Man-Chun and stepped toward the old man, asking, “You said that you would make a masterpiece if someone completed a task for you. Is that offer still valid?”

“B-Boss! What…”

“Shut up,” I coldly silenced Bok Man-Chun.

“……” For a moment, Old Man Wi was taken by surprise. However, he soon came back to his senses and rubbed the back of his hand across his tired-looking eyes. “Haven’t you heard the story? All of the freelancers who accepted my request are dead,” he said.

“I know. They either died or went mad.”

“And yet you wish to attempt it?” The old man gave me a skeptical look.

“Yes, but…” I scratched my cheek and pleaded, “The request itself isn’t the problem, but do you mind if I postpone it till later? I have an important exam in a few days and it might be a bit difficult to do anything right now.”

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“…What? Puhaha!” The old man burst out laughing.

It was only a few minutes later that he started taking me seriously. “Stand up straight and look at me,” he said.

Our gazes met. A raging flame burned within the old man’s eyes, as if they were trying to burst outside. He was evaluating me, just as he would a sword. It was an ability that every master craftsman possessed.

I did not look away, and after some time, a light of surprise flashed across the old man’s pupils. “Strange… This is really strange. Huh.”

The old man stared at me for a while longer, before shaking his head and saying, “Go away, I will not allow you to take on my request.”

“Am I not good enough for you?”

The old man nodded. “You’re an unfinished sword. You’ll likely reach unimaginable heights in the future, but right now…you lack both durability and sharpness. You’re a blade that can break at any moment.”

He had a point. As one would expect from a blacksmith, he compared me to an unfinished sword, implying that my martial arts skills were still lacking and that my physical refinement was not complete.

However, there were things he could not see with his limited perception.

“I’m already pretty durable.”

Old Man Wi shook his head. “In my eyes, no, you are not. I don’t want to break an unfinished sword with my own hands. Tell you what, as a reward for showing me something new, I’ll give you one of my better swords. When you consider yourself a polished blade, you can come back to me and I’ll tell you my request.”

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He thinks highly enough of me to invest in my future. It’s even an investment with no strings attached, because he won’t come looking for me or reproach me if I never go back to him. Although I’m a little disappointed, I like his attitude.

Normally, I would try to persuade him, or even torture him, but I can tell he’s a stubborn old man who won’t give in once he makes up his mind.

I nodded and agreed, “Alright, I’ll go home today and return when I’m ready.”

“I look forward to it. Before you go, let me bring you your sword.”

In truth, what I needed most right now was a good quality sword, not a legendary one made of Meteor Iron. My martial arts and status were not yet adequate to handle a weapon of that caliber. A normal sword crafted by Old Man Wi was perfect.

“The name of this sword is Moon Shadow (月影). I hope you like it.” Old Man Wi handed me a sword.

It had a plain black scabbard with no pattern, not even the usual stitching. However, the moment I touched it, I knew that it was amazing.

  • Moon Shadow… I like how that sounds, too.*

“I’ll be back soon.”

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“See you again.”

I bowed to the old man and turned to leave.


I looked down at the foot of the mountain, only to see dozens of lit torches moving around. The drug addict who had run away earlier had come back in full force.

“Set the tents on fire, grab everything inside, and surround the old man so he can’t escape!”

At the drug addict’s command, the torchbearers scattered and formed an encirclement around us even as they scaled the mountain. Not only did they outnumber us by more than ten to one, from their swift movements, they were all martial artists.

“How dare you do this in the Freelancer’s Bazaar…” Killing intent flashed in Bok Man-Chun’s eyes as he drew his sword.

Old Man Wi also stepped out of his tent, wielding a large dao.

I raised a hand to stop them, saying, “The two of you, please stay here.”

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My heart was pounding and my whole body, itching for battle. When I thought of those uncouth freelancers in my previous life, I desperately wanted to test my mettle against them.


As I drew Moon Shadow from its scabbard, it hummed pleasantly. Wow, this is even better than I thought.

I looked back at the old man and smirked, “Let me show you what kind of sword I am now.”

“I’m afraid you might break…”

“Don’t worry, that won’t happen.”

I stood at the forefront, ready to engage the army of freelancers.

Translator’s Note: In case anyone was wondering, I’m using the term “freelancer” instead of “mercenary” as the term “nang-in” translates directly to “Wanderer/Ronin”, and these people take up any job that pays, not just ones that involve fighting.

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Chapter 33: The Freelancer's Bazaar
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Chapter 35: How Did You End Up In A Place Like This?