But I leave all of that behind and go one block over. I meet Lilly and Welf inside a bar that’s lined with all kinds of animal masks, from birds to lions. The three of us sit around the table and clink our mugs together. “Cheers!” Smiles overflow around the table like the bubbly foam on the top of our mugs of ale. We aren’t the only ones having a good time. Clink, clink! Other groups of adventurers at tables around us are starting to enjoy a drink after a hard day’s work. There’s a big red sign that looks a lot like a Familia ’s emblem on the wall that has some kind of insect design. It’s the symbol of this bar: Hibachitei, the Flaming Wasp. Located in a back alley of the business district, this tavern is popular among different groups of adventurers and smiths, Welf being one of them. The bar’s claim to fame is a deep red mead. It’s apparently good enough that people commute here just to drink it. Compared to The Benevolent Mistress, this place is rather cramped. I suppose that’s because it’s on a back street instead of the main road. There are
enough tables, chairs, and other obstacles in here to make it difficult to get around. The inside is a little bit dirty and filled with dwarves and men laughing together in loud voices. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there’s something different about the atmosphere in here. Syr’s place is bright and modern, but the Flaming Wasp feels more like an adventurer’s bar. Some prum girls work their way past us as I share a laugh with Lilly and Welf. “Congrats on leveling up, Welf!” “Mr. Welf is now officially a High Smith, yes?” “That I am…Thanks.” He bobs his head, looking a bit more bashful than usual. But that smile on his lips is all the proof I need to know that he’s attained both his goal as well as the pride that goes with it. Welf had gained enough excelia through our journey into the middle levels and the many battles on the eighteenth floor to level up—going from Level 1 to Level 2. At the same time he acquired the “Forge” Advanced Ability. Lady Hephaistos updated his status, and the announcement of his rank-up was made this morning. He came straight to my goddess’s home to tell us as soon as he found out, a massive grin on his face. From there he went to tell Lilly, and now the three of us are here celebrating it. Welf is now a High Smith—we can’t let this special day pass by without commemorating it. “Mr. Welf, are you now free to mark your work with your Familia ’s brand whenever you want?” “Whenever I want might be pushing it. I’ll need Lady Hephaistos’s approval along with several of the other leaders before I can use that brand. A weak-ass weapon getting stamped would just sully her name.” Now that Welf has joined the ranks of the High Smiths, he’s allowed to engrave the Ἥφαιστος insignia on his weapons and armor.
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- Fall '19
- White Teeth, Eye color, Lilly, Lily Allen, Mr. Welf