The pair opted to have their monthly meeting at Mura’s forge, instead of their regular restaurant. Mune carefully made his way to the forge, avoiding his regular route so he was not noticed. The rumour mill was constantly turning in the district, and any information that indicated shops were working together could cause a large amount of discontent. The two men had avoided rumours due to people having learned of their childhood friendship, but no suspicion was raised as long as they were seen together in public places.
Sitting on the floor of his room, Mura showed the chest to Mune. They sat and looked through its contents. Mune took some time to read through the first scroll before looking to his friend.
“I had heard stories of such a craft during my travels. From what I remember, the whole idea of channelling human emotion into an inanimate object was disregarded as false folklore.”
Mura nodded as he considered the chest. “Whoever put together these scrolls took a lot of effort to do so. To keep the information in such an elaborate chest means the art was held in high regard.”
“That is true. Nagahei may have not been able to use the information, so it got left in his pile of discarded materials.”
Mura retrieved the swords he had found, and showed them to Mune. “He tried to use it. You can see the engravings. Other scrolls had it written that the quality of the weapon was strongly linked to the emotion used.”
Mune shook his head. “When you are creating your weapons, what do you think of as you hammer them into shape?”
“I do not think of anything. I focus on preparing the weapon in time for the customer, which keeps me motivated.”
“That is surprising. I know that when I am angry at something or frustrated, I hammer harder than I otherwise would.” He gave his friend a considering look. “I do not mean to offend, but the events in your life would push others to their limits.”
Mura stared at the chest, deciding if he should share the fact that his mind had been discontented recently. “Such things may sit in the back of my mind, but I certainly do not imagine someone I dislike as the raw materials I am forging into a weapon.”
“Good man. You are a better than me in that regard. Let us look at some of the other scrolls.”
The pair continued to read through the scrolls, discussing some of the things that they read. As Mune read, Mura retrieved the swords he had tried to create using the information contained in the chest. The two objectively considered Mura’s failed attempts, looking at the break on the broken sword to consider if the metal itself was of bad quality. The folds within the blade looked like glass. The other sword had continued its degradation, with the rust eating holes in the blade.
“These are unprecedented, Mura. Glass would have melted in the heats we use to forge and temper the blades, so to have remained in the blade past that point… It is unheard of.” He nodded to the rusted weapon that had been placed to the side. “As for the rust…”
Mura completed Mune’s sentence. “It is unheard of, I know. But since I tried the methods in the scrolls to create them, there has to be some merit to what is in the scrolls.”
Mune picked up another scroll, and spent some time reading through it. “One instance here describes channelling blood lust into a weapon. To create such a weapon could be disastrous; in the hands of the wrong person, it could create war for the sake of it.”
“It could be that such weapons were destroyed. The scrolls say that though you could channel emotion into the sword, it does not say that it makes them indestructible.”
“Some of the emotions discussed as being channelled are unbelievable. Self-doubt, self-loathing, depression… Someone may be tempted to give such weapons to an enemy. Could you imagine a weapon eating away at an enemy’s mind, until they lost their will to fight, or even their will to live?”
Mura thought about the possibilities. “I do not deny that I would have considered such things once, Mune. I would certainly have given such a weapon to Mitsaki, if he had not died in the battle with Hidetoyo. The bullies from my childhood are far away now, so it is unlikely they will ever cross my path again. There are no ill feelings for me to channel.”
Mune looked at his friend, seeing the terrible damage to his face. “I am thankful that you have such inner peace. Achieving the success you have, in spite of the challenges life has placed in your path, shows you are a person of considerable resolve.”
Mura gave a smile. “Thank you for the kind words.”
Mune placed the scroll back into the chest, then stood and stretched. “It looks to be a long day tomorrow. The orders seem to have picked up recently. I may need to consider a new apprentice to assist with keeping up to speed.” He nodded to the chest. “We should read through the rest of the scrolls. Maybe bring one you consider more important than others to our next meeting, and you can share your thoughts with me.”
Mura also stood, picked up the chest and placed it back in its corner of the room. “I shall do so. Even if we cannot find a way to use this, there may still be useful information.”
“You would need to be careful there. You know that the other smiths would be quick to notice a sudden change in your creations. They do not get to have their own forge in Kyoto if they do not have a falcon’s eye for their craft, and how their competition compares to their own handiwork.”
The two bid their farewells, and Mune descended the steps and exited into the night. Mura quickly made his way to bed, though the ideas put forth by the scroll and his friend played on his mind until he fell to sleep.
– X –