Dream Life Vol II Chapter 70: “One Day at the Blacksmith’s Guild”

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 I thought Scott might be kidnapped and came up with a countermeasure. And to put it into action immediately, I ran into Bertram’s workshop.



“Bertram! I have something to talk about! It’s about liquor!” (Zack)



 I shouted at the entrance of the workshop, and Bertram, his eyes changing color, immediately came over to me.



“You’re talking about liquor! What kind of talk?” (Bertram)



 I told him what Nicholas had told me, and then added my own thoughts.



“…In short, Scott’s in danger, and so is this village. This is a critical time for the brewery to get off the ground. If Scott vanishes, my goal of making the best sake will be delayed by ten, no, twenty years. So, I need a favor.” (Zack)



 Bertram listened to my words and made a difficult face.



“A request. I’m a blacksmith. What can I do?” (Bertram)



“Well, this is something only Bertram can do…” (Zack)



 I started talking about my idea.



“I want you to ask the dwarves of Ars. If Scott should leave the village against his will, I would like you to ask the dwarves of Ars to make a declaration, they will not buy any liquor that is sold elsewhere.” (Zack)



 Bertram makes a dubious face.



“What does that mean? It’s true that we won’t be able to make the liquor in this village, but they might be able to make it elsewhere. Are you really trying to tell them not to buy it?” (Bertram)



“No, I’m just trying to keep Scott from being forced to make it elsewhere. As long as Scott is with us, I don’t care if they make liquor elsewhere.” (Zack)



“I understand that, but it’s none of Ars’s business… I’m sorry to say this, but it doesn’t matter who makes it, it’s still liquor.” (Bertram)



 I nodded my head in agreement but quickly countered.



“That’s true. Even if Scott leaves here, there won’t be any immediate impact. Especially for the Ars guys, there shouldn’t be much of an impact until three years from now when the liquor they’ve been stocked is gone. But beyond that. Do you think Scott will be able to make the same liquor elsewhere anytime soon? If he does, there will be a gap in years.” (Zack)



 Bertram nodded a little.


 I harden my expression, trying to complete my thoughts.



“Though there are more important things than that.” (Zack)



 “What’s important?” he looks at me.



“Ah, I’m sure you know about the current liquor compared to when we first made distilled liquor. I’m just about to check the scent, but I can still tell which is better.” (Zack)



 “Yeah, sure,” he nods.



“If things continue as they are, we can make even better liquor in less than ten years. No, I will teach you how to make it. In another five years, you will be able to drink those liquors. And when we do…” (Zack)



 Bertram clapped his hands.



“Oh, I see. You’re the only one who knows the real taste. In that case, it’s best to make it here… I’ll put in a good word with the Ars guys. The man in charge of brewing in the village of Rathmore is in danger. To prevent that, I want you to publicly state that if Scott is kidnapped or leaves the village unwillingly, you will not buy his liquor, no matter where it comes from.” (Bertram)



 I nodded, saying, “Yeah, that’s good.”



“If they do that, they’ll be able to drink delicious liquor in a few years. Is it okay to say that?” (Bertram)



“Yeah, in at least five or six years, we’ll be able to produce a small amount of the 12-year-old liquor. I’m not very confident, but it should definitely taste better than the current one.” (Zack)



“Then it’s fine. I know a lot of guys who are not very talkative and are very loyal. They’ll do almost anything, especially for the liquor from this place.” (Bertram)



 I was relieved to hear his words.



 That was the first time I noticed.


 That Wilhelmina was behind Bertram.


 She looked at me with a strange face.



(Oh, shit. I was so preoccupied with Scott, or rather with brewing, that I didn’t notice that she was definitely suspicious of me. Of course, she would, if a kid of ten or so is very passionate about the subject of brewing… Well, what should I do?) (Zack)



 Bertram nodded his head as if he knew what I was thinking.



“You don’t have to worry about Mina. Sooner or later, she will notice. She’s already attached to this place before you came back here.” (Bertram)



 He laughs at that, but I can’t bring myself to laugh with him.


 Looking at my face, Bertram adds further.



“She’s my apprentice, you know. And she’s a big drinker, too. She’s not going to tell your secret lightly, Isn’t that right, Meena?” (Bertram)



 Mina nodded slightly,



“Yes, I’m sure. Somehow, I knew that Master Zack was no ordinary kid. He didn’t have the face of a child when he talked to Master. And if you’re talking about good drinks, I’d like to join, fufufu!” (Mina)



 I scratched my head and decided to laugh and cover it up.



(It’s true, I’m a bit lax when it comes to the subject of alcohol. Well, if Bertram says I can trust her, I guess it’s okay…) (Zack)





~3rd Person Perspective~



 In Ars, the Royal Capital of the Kingdom of Caum.


 There is a building that stands out from the rest of that royal capital.


 It is a two-story building made of stone and brick, and has an atmosphere of quality and solidity, as if to show the reason for its existence.


 Yes, this is the headquarters of the Guild of Blacksmiths, which has branches all over the world.


 On the second floor of the headquarters was a large conference room where large meetings such as the general assembly were held.


 The central dwarven blacksmiths living in Ars were gathered there.



 The large conference room, which could easily accommodate a hundred people, was filled with the masters who had been summoned by Ulrich Drexler, the head of the Blacksmith Guild, on an emergency summons.


 Most of the attendees did not know the reason for the emergency summons and were speculating amongst themselves.



“Was it an attack by the demon folks? I haven’t heard anything about an attack on Fort Tower.” (Dwarf)


“No, I heard that the people of the Merchant Guild have been messing with us again, looking for concessions…” (Dwarf)


“I heard it is more important than that. It seems to be top-secret information that only a few people in the Blacksmith Guild know. There’s something fishy going on here…” (Dwarf)



 An elderly dwarf entered the large conference room, where a murmur dominated the room. His face is covered with a beard, and it is hard to make out his face, but his deep wrinkles, thoughtful eyes, and overwhelming presence quickly quell the murmurs in the conference room.


 He, Ulrich Drexler, the head of the Blacksmith Guild, slowly ascended to the podium, which was raised one step higher than the others.


 He looked around the room with a serious expression on his face.



“Listen to me! We received some very serious news last night.” (Ulrich)



 Ulrich broke off his words and looked around the room once more.



“Some of you may have heard this news from Bertram in the village of Rathmore.” (Ulrich)



 Hearing the name of Rathmore Village and the sorrowful face of the Head Artisan, the blacksmiths are shaken.



“The news is that our lifeblood, the scotch, is in danger. If this continues, we will not be able to drink scotch in a few years…” (Ulrich)



 Then there is an outcry in the conference room.



“What? We won’t be able to drink Scotch?!” (Dwarf)


“What’s going on, Ulrich?!” (Dwarf)


“I can’t drink barley ale or wine anymore, it’s too weak. …What am I to do?!” (Dwarf)



 The blacksmiths, who were usually calm and collected, were on the verge of panic, screaming hysterically.



“Calm down!” (Ulrich)



 Ulrich calmed everyone down with a gong he had trained them within his workshop. The confused masters realized how bad they looked and quickly regained their composure.



“I understand how you feel. I almost dropped my liquor mug when I was reading the letter. It’s been decades since I’ve almost dropped my liquor mug… However, it was such a shock to me.” (Ulrich)



 The masters could not hide their surprise that Ulrich, the bold leader of the dwarves, had confessed that he had been upset. Ulrich, who loved to drink so much that he would not drop his drink even if a dragon breathed on him, was horrified that he almost dropped his liquor mug.



“Here’s the information from Bertram. ‘Scott, the chief distiller of Rathmore Village, is in danger. If we lose Scott now, we won’t be able to drink Scotch in a few years…’” (Ulrich)



 Ulrich goes on to tell the dwarves what Zack told Bertram.



“…In other words, if Scott leaves the village unwillingly, the production of scotch will drop dramatically. And the quality of the scotch will go down as well…” (Ulrich)



 The dwarves were disappointed and angry at the same time, but they were all heated up by what was said next.



“…that’s not all. According to him, in a few years we will be able to make even better liquor, the best we Dwarves could ever hope for. That guy’s crisis is imminent…” (Ulrich)



 To which they replied, “What’s the cause? Who is the reason? “Ready your weapons!” The conference room shook with the sound of voices that were not like those yelling in the workshop but were really angry from the bottom of their hearts.



“Calm down!” (Ulrich)



 The place calms down again with a shout from Ulrich.



“There is a way. But first, I want to confirm something.” (Ulrich)



 Ulrich glares sharply into the conference room.



“We want a good drink. That’s a fact. Whoever makes it, it will be good. I don’t deny that either. We don’t care if Scott is kidnapped, or who makes it anywhere, as long as we get a decent drink. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of you here think so, too…” (Ulrich)



 Here he cut off his words again.


 He looked around, and many in the audience nodded.



“Bertram has written. ‘Scott alone will never be able to make better liquor outside the village of Rathmore. Also, there is a secret to making it better.’” (Ulrich)



 Then the question was asked, “What is the secret?”



“I can’t tell you, that’s why it’s a secret! And when it comes to liquor, Bertram can’t be wrong. If he says they can only do it there, he must be right.” (Ulrich)



 Everyone nodded in agreement.



“We have to do what we have to do. Bertram said, ‘The Guild, or rather all dwarves who love to drink, should work together to protect the distillery in Rathmore.’ Those who have objections to this, is there anyone here?” (Ulrich)



 Ulrich said and glared at the audience.


 The dwarves all nodded their heads in agreement.



 Later, there was a serious discussion in the main conference room on the matter of protecting the Rathmore Village distillery.



 The staff of the Blacksmith’s Guild outside the hall could not hide their uneasiness at the barrage of angry shouts at the beginning of the meeting, followed by a large meeting that lasted for several hours. The staff members were not happy about the meeting, because it was unusual for dwarves to hold such a long meeting without drinking. The staff members were secretly exchanging private conversations with their colleagues, wondering how much danger was imminent, given the ominous situation.



 And then the meeting, unthinkably long for dwarves, was over.


 Ulrich Drexler, the head of the guild, looked somewhat tired, which was unusual for him. He gathered the guild officials and ordered them to send out a statement of the Blacksmith’s Guild to the whole world.





~Zack’s Perspective~



 I didn’t give much thought to the consequences of my request to Bertram.


 Later, in the city of Pericritor on the way back to Doctus, I heard about a statement from the Blacksmith Guild.


 Its content was as follows.



 “All dwarves belonging to the Blacksmith Guild hereby declare. In the event that the brewing techniques of the village of Rathmore have been ruined by dishonest means, we will not purchase any spirits produced thereafter, regardless of whether or not there is any evidence of involvement. Furthermore, if the wrongdoer is identified, the Dwarves of the Blacksmith Guild will not do any business with the country, city, or organization to which the wrongdoer belongs. This is not a mere warning. No matter what organization, our guild will always carry this through… We will not make any compromises when it comes to alcohol. —Ulrich Drexler, Master of the Blacksmith Guild.”



 I was dumbfounded when I read the statement. At that time, I accidentally dropped the sword in my hand.


 I had no idea it would be such a big deal.



(I had underestimated the Dwarves’ obsession with alcohol. I had no idea that a statement would be issued in the name of the Master of the Blacksmith Guild.) (Zack)



 The Master of the Blacksmith Guild is as powerful as the king of a country. The manufacture of weapons, the foundation of national defense, and the production of daily necessities… Furthermore, mercenaries and adventurers who entrust their lives to weapons will leave the country, and it will become a dangerous land overrun with monsters. If the Blacksmith Guild were forced to withdraw their best dwarven blacksmiths, the country’s national power would surely decline within a few short years.



 I later heard that the royal family of the Kingdom of Caum was trying to pull Scott out of the country in order to pocket or control and control the dwarves in the country. By taking control of the dwarves’ beloved liquor, they hoped to use Scott as a bargaining chip against the stubborn dwarven blacksmiths.



(An effective move, to be sure, but it’s just liquor… Though it’s almost like it’s an important resource. …Was the move I made a good one or a bad one? I hope it won’t be any more important than this. …But who is Bertram? I heard he’s an old friend of my grandfather’s, but I can’t believe he has enough contacts to run the guild…) (Zack)



 After the release of the Blacksmith Guild statement, there was very little talk of anyone trying to pull Scott. It seems that the higher-ups tightened up on them because if someone did something poorly and they were unable to do business with the Blacksmith Guild, it would be a huge problem for the very foundation of the country and the organization.


 Instead, the offer to give up distilling technology to the Lockhart family became more and more aggressive, since it was a legitimate means to an end.



A/N: My view of dwarves seems to be falling apart more and more (laughs).


But a real drinker has to love his drink this much…




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