Suddenly you wake up and feel a sharp sting across your entire body. Looking yourself over, you find yourself badly hurt and bleeding while lying on the grass. Confused and dazed, you clamber to your feet and find yourself staggering through a forest. Where are you now? After what feels like hours, you start to feel faint when you see a young woman in front of you. You see the shock and concern on her face as she rushes towards you, helps you up and takes you to a village…
The New Recruits’ Village has been your home for two years now. In that time, you learned that you have been reborn on an unknown world and that you have a magical ability called the “Forge of Existence”. You’ve been using this unique ability to make a living for yourself as a maker and seller of weapons. You have also taken in a little girl with silver hair and small horns, whom you found out in the cold some time ago. Naming her Yilan, you have allowed her to help out at your shop.
One day, a young woman leading a small group of soldiers comes to your shop. She tells you that she is an inquisitor and heard rumors that a demon came to your shop…
Because I’m an Uncle who Runs a Weapon Shop ( 因为我是开武器店的大叔, Yīnwèi wǒ shì kāi wǔqì diàn de dàshū) is a web novel, light novel series and manhwa published by SF Light Novels (SF轻小说). The story’s hero, Zhaihe, has been reborn in a fantasy world where a war between humans and demons rages on. With the war currently at a tenuous standstill, the demon king occasionally sends his forces to harass the human kingdoms, who have retaliated by sending expeditionary forces, or rather, adventurers. However, Zhaihe is not one of these heroes. Instead, he has established a business of making and selling weapons to adventurers.
One day, the young inquisitor captain Carona comes to his shop after hearing rumors of a demon living in the New Recruits’ Village. Impressed by the craftsmanship of Carona’s sword, Zhaihe decided to go on a journey to visit the sword’s maker, accompanied by Yilan and Carona. In the course of his travels, Zhaihe learns that his body appeared to be that of Leon, a former hero now blamed for the deaths of 300 soldiers during a failed attack on a demon. Leon was said to have died 2 years ago, curiously coinciding with Zhaihe’s first day in the fantasy world.
Later, Zhaihe barely survives a near-fatal encounter with one of Leon’s former comrades, the hot-tempered Senze. At an inn, the spirit of Leon himself somehow takes control of Zhaihe’s body, much to the distress of his friends. With this new lease on life, Leon immediately attempts to find his former lover, Princess Aria Parkovich. Learning that she is attending a memorial at the city of Acasal, Leon rushes there and has the good fortune to meet Aria just as the memorial ended.
The tearful reunion is interrupted by a dragon attacking the town. With the royal mages unable to fight off the dragon, Leon is forced to take action himself, using his skills and magic to get past the dragon’s armored skin. After the battle, a beautiful woman with pink hair, a thin black tail and curved horns on head floats down from the sky. Recognizing her as Scavelier, the demon commander he once failed to kill, Leon grabs her and launches both of them up into the air in an attempt to kill her while sacrificing himself as well. After preventing the double suicide attempt, Scavelier impales Aria in front of Leon and destroys Acasal with a mere gesture, leaving nothing but a barren wasteland. Declaring to Leon that she loves him, Scavelier takes him up to her castle in the skies above…
Zhaihe (斋和, Zhāihé), a 26-year old male human weapon shop manager. He is an easy-going person who remembers little about previous life, but he is determined and cares deeply for his friends. He has the ability “Forge of Existence”, which allows him to create or change objects at will with the right materials and enough magic. For example, he can almost instantly create a sword out of the raw metal and leather provided. During his travels, Zhaihe learns that his body was once that of Leon, a hero now reviled for his sympathy towards demons, the ages-old enemies of humanity. Because of this, he is able to use some of Leon’s once-formidable strength in battle, making him a surprisingly competent fighter despite not having much combat experience. Zhaihe’s current goal is to become skilled enough to create magical weapons personalized for their designated owners.
Yilan (伊兰, Yīlán), a young demonkin girl and weapon shop clerk. Like many little girls, she is shy around strangers but she is sweet, responsible and good-natured. Found and named by Zhaihe after she collapsed from hunger on a cold, snowy night at New Recruits’ Village, Yilan now helps her rescuer at his shop, treating him as her surrogate father. Because of human prejudices against demons and their allies, Yilan often has to wear a hat to hide her horns.
Carona, a female human fighter and inquisitor. Disciplined and somewhat gullible, Carona is proud of her skills as a warrior, having graduated as the best student at the Adventurers’ Academy. Her most treasured possession is her sword, which was crafted for her by the Academy headmaster Melice. In exchange for allowing Zhaihe to examine her sword, she fights against him in duel which he wins by using his “Forge of Existence” ability to stop the sword with one bare hand. Impressed by the skill and personalized magic used to create Carona’s sword, Zhaihe resolves to find Melice and learn her weapon crafting skills to improve his own to make more powerful, reliable weapons. Taking a break from her duties, Carona herself joins Zhaihe in his travels to improve her own fighting skills.
Leon, a now-deceased 24-year old male human fighter. Brave, passionate and troubled, Leon is a powerful hero who doubts the righteousness of humans in their war against demons. At age 6, he was orphaned when his parents were executed by inquisitors for giving sanctuary to a demonkin child. At 11, Leon met and rescued his childhood sweetheart, Princess Aria Parkovich, from a bear. Because Aria’s father wouldn’t approve of a marriage to a commoner, Leon vowed to become a famous hero someday.
Eventually, Leon became part of the first expeditionary force, a group of elite adventurers dedicated to fighting demons and their allies. One fateful day, the demon commander Scavelier appeared out of nowhere and the expeditionary force, along with hundreds of soldiers, launched an all-out attack. About to deal the killing blow, Leon met Scavelier’s eyes and saw her sad, tired expression. Hesitating, he swerved and held back his attack, allowing Scavelier to make her escape. 300 soldiers died in that battle and Leon was blamed for the entire fiasco. At 24, he was murdered by his former comrades and publicly declared a traitor. Leon’s spirit still resides in his former body, but he usually remains dormant.
The overall plot of this story is Zhaihe trying to become a better weapon maker and coming to terms with the fact that his body is that of a known traitor to humans. What makes Zhaihe interesting is how he uses responsibility as motivation for his goals. On his first day as a weapon seller, Zhaihe sold his first sword to an adventurer. After learning that the adventurer died because his weapon broke during a fight, Zhaihe devoted himself to becoming better at making weapons so that his future customers can survive. Carona’s sword gives him another reason to become even better at his trade, motivating him to find experts outside his home village.
A more sensitive issue here is how the millennia-long war has fostered blind hatred and racism in humans against demons and vice versa. So far, the word “demon” also seems to include the various non-human races in the fantasy world such as forestkin (dark-skinned equivalents of elves), beastkin and even dragons. It’s particularly bad because there are inquisitors, such as Carona, who roam the kingdoms in search of demonkin in hiding. While humans hate demons for attacking their settlements, demons and their allies hate humans for their relentless expansion into territories not their own. Both humans and demons are suffering for their mutual hatred and yet they are unable to simply stop fighting because the grudges run too deeply. The most tragic victim of this hatred is Leon, who was murdered by his former friends and declared a traitor after he considered the idea that demons were suffering as much as humans.
Failure is sometimes needed to tell you that you can improve yourself. Never let hatred overcome your life.