Bastard Swordsman Chapter 22

An Unexpected Super Catch

Today, my new weapon is born.

I heard about it yesterday afternoon.

I was on my way delivering a new arrowhead mold for the guild.

When I dropped the mold off at the blacksmith, the old guy told me.

“Mongrel. Your order should be finishing up today. I can hand it over tomorrow.”

The day I learned the blacksmith wasn’t just a random drunkard.

I’d totally forgotten about an order from way back, can’t believe he actually made it.

That day I went straight home and slept with all my might. First sleep without drinking in who knows how long. I was that excited for tomorrow.

“Mmm…oh, Mongrel!? I’m opening up now…yeah yeah, it’s your order. I know. Just got it ready.”

And today. At the blacksmith I received the item.

“Geez…what do you even use a part like this for?”

“Ohh…as expected. Smooth polish…this’ll work…!”

What I ordered from the blacksmith was an iron fishing rod guide.
Rod guides are those ring thingies line passes through on fishing rods. Just the metal bits.

“It’s for fishing right, that?”
“Yeah. Needed for my newly developed fishing rod. Thanks old man.”
“Don’t worry ’bout it. I barely touched the thing anyway. My daughter made most of it during free time after the casting.”
“Wait, you didn’t make it old man?”
“The hell you say. All I make is equipment. Ain’t got time for that crap. Shoulda asked a tinkerer.”

Geez, stubborn old guys who only make longswords are such a pain.

“One day these rod guides will stir up the fishing world. Don’t regret it later!”
“Get it stirring first before saying that. Get a big order and I’ll consider it a bit. Well, don’t expect any inventions from you Mongrel. Bahaha.”
“Just you watch.”

He saw me off while teasing, wearing safety shoes recently put on the market.
Just basic reinforced toe shoes, but apparently seeing widespread use in various fields after Earl Chaos developed and spread them.
If they’re reducing workplace accidents, I’m sure the inventor is happy.

…Honestly, the public view of them as work shoes that also act as protectors feels iffy to me though.

“So this is the fishing rod you made in two days?”
“Yup. Really wanted a folding rod but impossible strength-wise.”
“Why fold it…”
“Thought it’d be compact. But realized it wasn’t worth that much effort, so gave up.”

I’m walking to the riverbank with Raina.

Headed to the spot near Silsalis Bridge. Same place we got river shrimp before.

I’ve brought a rod with metal guides this time.

These metal rings smoothly direct the line.

The line is vertical strands from a skyforest spider. Seems it’s long strands harvested from spiders in some super far forest country or region…probably one I’ve never seen.

It’s surprisingly sturdy for how thin, perfect fishing line I figured.

Had the guild order it, cost a pretty penny. Can’t skimp on fantasy materials when you can’t make synthetic fibers.

The reel with coiled line, the handle you crank to reel in, I carved a large diameter wood one with long rotation for that. No bearings or crap in this world, so no choice. Gotta power through cranking with my strength. Drag? What’s that? Some dragon subspecies?

“You can catch shrimp without something so complex.”
“Well, yeah. But I plan to fish today too… Though the season may have passed for shrimp. If so, they might not be there now.”
“Oh, seasonal huh?”
“Yeah. Let’s try the spot anyway. If no shrimp bites switch to fish with my new rod.”
“Wonder what fish get caught.”
“No clue.”
“You don’t know anything huh.”

With a “that’s life” feeling we arrived riverside.

Rolling rocks on the bottom to borrow bugs, baiting hooks and plopping them where shrimp might be.

“Mongrel senpai, what’s that on the end?”
“This? It’s a lure, well, artificial bait basically. For this rod. Like this…”

Casting the leaded lure far.

The lead weight is the only part of this rod that properly resembles a fishing rod in completeness. Needs some casting distance here.

“Ohh…”

Raina watched impressed as the line extended, but it looked subpar to me. The reel’s definitely the problem. Probably won’t function well without letting out some line before casting.

The lure landed near the opposite bank. Now the appeal of lure fishing begins.

Bait fishing has a ton of still waiting, but this keeps moving.

“So you reel it in, bringing the lure back near.”
“Huh. Went through the trouble of casting over there just to reel it back?”
“But it looks like the lure’s swimming right? Jerking and moving the rod irregularly…makes it move pretty fish-like.”
“Ohh, I see.”

After reeling it in once, the lure returned to my hand. Since scent doesn’t draw prey in lure fishing, you have to induce bites with movement. So you can’t just dangle the rod and stare blankly like bait fishing.

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“Well, just keep repeating that.”
“Since the lure’s fish-shaped, you’re aiming for bigger fish than it right?”
“Right. The hook’s a bit big and sturdy for that too.”
“…”
“Wanna try some Raina?”
“Yes!”

Seemed interested after hearing me explain. Nothing better.

“Hold it here, and the line like this. Rod goes like so, like that.”
“L-like this? Umm, how should I hold it? Kinda unsure.”
“No, grip it like this.”
“Oh.”

With the reel pretty jury-rigged even to me, it is tricky I guess.
Guide her hands-on for a bit and seems Raina got the gist, starting to cast the lure.

“It flew!”

Nice cast. Won’t understand saying that so staying quiet.

“So reel it now. Oh, watch my shrimp rod too please.”
“Got it. Woah, tugging, it’s tugging!”
“Really!? Get it, get it!”

After waiting a while on the normal rod then carefully lifting, it was…

“A crab huh.”
“Eh!?”

The catch was a crab a bit bigger than a saw crab.
Maybe 10cm. Pretty nice size. Explains the strong tug.

“Shrimp season’s over already I guess…”
“Maybe so. Don’t like crab?”
“No I do. I like eating them grilled. But I wanted shrimp today too…”

Saying so while rapidly cranking the reel.
Not clicking jackjack but clattering garagara, please appreciate the rod’s quality from that sound.

“I told Artemis about when we ate shrimp before.”
“Oh yeah?”
“Some hadn’t eaten it surprisingly. Sheena-senpai and Natasha-senpai had some big kind before apparently. And the ones who hadn’t wanted to try it. So I thought I’d catch some and let everyone eat this time but…”

What a good kid. Hope she stays sincere like that.

“Well, can’t know without fishing first.”
“Yeahhh…oh?”
“Hm? What’s up?”
“Feels heavy somehow…ah, rod’s bending near the end…!?”
“Woah, got one!? A hit!?”
“Really!”

My new weapon’s rod is bending as it’s pulled.

“Crap senpai! It’s super heavy!”
“Keep the rod up! Slowly, reel slowly…!”
“Oh, uh, senpai…!”

Worried it’s too big for Raina’s strength, I held the rod with her hands from behind but…

…Hrm, this dull, steady stability. And utterly still, vibrationless line.

That’s um…yeah…

“Snagged bottom…”
“Oh no, did I do it…?”

Well if you say you did it then you did it. But also hard to tell a beginner not to.

If there’s a positive spin here…you “hooked the earth.”

Obviously futile to fight it, and crossing this river bed is a no-go.

So, yes.

“That’s what my trusty bastard sword is for!”

Snap the line and retire. Retrieving the lure is possible if the water level drops and it turns up relatively intact but…that’s unrealistic!

“Uu, Mongrel senpai…sorry…”
“Nah don’t sweat it. Lure fishing is flaky. …But wow, so bottom snags huh. It’s tough.”

Lures and line aren’t cheap either. If it keeps snagging the bottom…might be prohibitive for casual hobby fishing.

…Wait, if so was this new rod pointless?
No no, too soon to give up…

“Oh! Raina, the shrimp rod’s tugging!”
“Yes! Oh!”

And when Raina lifted the rod…it was a crab about the same size as before.

“…The river shrimp moved away I guess.”
“Maybe so huh.”

Lure fishing ended quick snagging the planet, and shrimp fishing didn’t yield a single shrimp, just crabs pounding in.

The haul was 23 crabs. Raina and I caught a crazy amount but she didn’t seem to like crab much. Doesn’t look too excited with these results.

…Alright. I’ll whip up the best crab dish to cheer her up!

Leave it to me Raina! I’ll guard that smile!
Well, gotta purge the mud first, so tomorrow or day after!

“Well, that’s how it went today.”
“Ugghhh…”
“Chin up Raina. Fishing goes like this.”
“I’m so sorry…”
“Don’t sweat it.”
“It suuucks…”

The more earnest and responsible she is the bigger the gloom from stuff like this I guess.

Well, try not to fret too much. Old guys are surprisingly tolerant of young’uns’ failures.


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