Chapter 243: Time for the hammer.
“Level 129, it’s close to 130…”
Roland muttered to himself while looking at his status screen which hasn’t changed much since his last level up. His new tier 2 Runic Engineer class hasn’t seen much use since he got it and it was only level 4 and soon to be 5. Due to all the work, he did prepare the new runic items he was gaining experience but not at a rate that would matter.
There were a few skills that he acquired that had gone through rapid growth. His Stress Resistance skill that he just acquired after gaining his new class was already level 4, it was the same for his Resilience skill. The two were getting a lot of usage during his latest endeavor, the latter saw a boost each time he activated his eye of true skill. He had also gained a follow-up skill that made things easier.
Pain Resistance L2
Increases resistance to pain.
The Pain Resistance skill was actually something that wasn’t easy to unlock. A person needed to put their body through a lot of continuous pain and suffering. It was mostly acquired by intended means by putting people through torture or found in victims like prisoners.
‘If someone peeked at my skills they might think that I’m some kind of budding masochist…’
Thanks to pain resistance he could not force himself to last through the runic eye of truth. Along with Resilience, his recovery was boosted and he could quickly recover to restart the process faster. Thanks to leveling up these skills he was able to go through the divine enchantments without a problem and even attempt to work on the spatial rune.
His main goal now was to get to level 150 and for that reason, he needed to abuse his body. With the real threat of the abyssal cult peeking over his shoulder, a need to advance further was there. However there was a problem, should he wait to reach the level cap of his current class or attempt a tier 3 change instantly after he reached the minimum requirement?
Due to him using up 75 levels on three tier 1 classes to unlock his Runesmith Lord class he had some wiggle room. Getting the higher tier 3 stat multiplier would make him a lot stronger and he would also be given even more stat points for each level up. Yet he would be giving up the potential rare skill of the Runic Engineer.
This class was an unknown factor and something probably unique to his situation. It gave him the vibe of being something that he brought over from his original world. In this new one that was filled with fantasy beings and magical contraptions, Engineers didn’t really exist. They were replaced by craftsmen or artisans, the class names were closer to the medieval times.
‘But perhaps I’m just overthinking things…’
The only true out-of-place term that he had was the debugging skill that was clearly only possible by someone that had access to modern-day computers and programming languages. If he was right then perhaps the special level 50 skill at the end of his new class would be quite worthwhile, the one that he received from the Runesmith Lord was really worth the wait.
‘I guess I should focus on getting to 150 first and then I’ll decide. To level up faster I need to go down to the dungeon, luckily Bernir said that he finished the pathway while I was out.’
“Hey, Bossman here it is!”
“Thank you Dyana.”
“No problem, that’s what you pay me for, I just wonder if Agni will really want to wear this.”
Dyana brought over a lot of various pieces of equipment, it was a silver barding made for his Dire Ruby Wolf. After the increase in size, he had enough strength to finally wear some protective gear. It was made from durasteel and would cover all the critical parts like the underbelly that was prone to injuries. It would also be outfitted with some runic spells to augment Agni’s fighting style.
“It’s from Lobelia, she said to pass it on and to not peek inside. I hope these aren’t love letters from someone…”
“I’m not Bernir.”
“Good, wouldn’t want to beat up my boss for Elodia’s sake!”
Dyana laughed which also brought a small twitch to his face. He didn’t know if he should just be glad that people were relaxed enough around him to make jokes like this or cry that he wasn’t taken seriously anymore. This envelope contained information from an underground intelligence guild that existed along with the thieves guild. After paying a lot of money he intended to get all the information about the current events in Reeka and any cult movement that he could. He had received some basic information but he required a detailed report of the whole situation so that he could finally put all of this to rest.
“Then I’ll go make those golem parts, I also have some blades for you to go through boss, I’ll leave them at the usual spot.”
The large cow-girl made her way out while her oversized chest bounced around with each movement. Even Roland had to make an active effort not to look, with the help of his parallel thinking trait, he was actually able to peek without his eyes moving to give it away. It was the perfect ability for a peeping Tom and probably better suited for the trio degenerates that now roamed Albrook together.
‘Are they getting bigger? Could she be … ‘
Roland shook his head to get the unnecessary thoughts out of his head. The family life of his workers was not something he should concern himself with. He would also support them with proper parental leave. What he needed to focus on now was the new information that he was given, he quickly popped the seal on the thick envelope and started reading. Only after he was finished was the letter thrown into the furnace for disposal.
‘Good… They shouldn’t know about my involvement…’
His heart was pounding while he was going through the letter. What he wanted it to focus on was the Solarian Inquisitors and the Golden Order. It seemed that both Loreena and her grandfather that was one of the few High Inquisitors had survived. With them not falling into enemy hands, they could not be brainwashed to reveal his secret.
There was nothing specific in the information about the battle that took place only about the aftermath. Most of the flying ships that the church used had been destroyed after a massive magical explosion. The intelligence guild believed that the cultists somehow blew up the entire area after victory was not possible. Some strange occult magical circle was spotted that produced a pillar that reached the sky.
‘So they really did it… perhaps that monolith had some sort of self-destructing feature?’
Roland wasn’t sure, if the relic could have been destroyed from a distance, why didn’t they just do it? Perhaps there was some kind of limit on the range of the church and figured out a way to block it? The cult could have also attempted to get it back and only went with the atomic option after a defeat.
‘The important thing is that Loreena was spotted later in Reeka, they had managed to get everything under control and are now examining the underground where the thieves guild is… but that’s about it for the report…’
After their escape and the massive explosion the golden order apparently pulled out from the forest. They had suffered a lot of casualties and only the strongest members had survived. With the help of the tier 3 paladins, it wasn’t hard to quell the monster uprising in the city but at that point, the damage was already done. It would probably take years to recover losses, and get new workers and merchants on board. Most of them would probably flee to other cities and perhaps even to the mainland.
‘This might even affect the whole Valerian Household… the duke allowed a cult to exist under his nose, the other dukes will see this as a chance. Though Arthurs's brother will take the brunt of this attack, if he was competing for the duke position this will probably exclude him from the competition…’
Roland knew that Duke Alexander Valerian had many offsprings. These young lords would be forced to compete against each other for the duke’s spot in the future. With a blunder like this and all the bad press, whoever was stationed in Reeka would have a hard time bouncing back.
‘His biggest mistake was abandoning the common quarters… even with the nobles and merchants surviving, if there is no labor force to work they can’t do anything.’
Would commoners answer the call to come back to work when they were treated as disposable goods? Even if the merchants tried to entice people with money and good contracts, everyone would think twice before going to a danger zone like that. It would probably take some time before anyone decided to risk it.
Roland shrugged while looking at the smoke coming out from his furnace. After hearing that his acquaintances from the golden order had survived another problem arose. While the cult would probably shift their targets toward Loreena as the person responsible for this debacle. This didn’t put him in the clear just yet. The woman knew that he was able to somehow go around the relic and he had proposed using runic mages to investigate it. It wouldn’t be strange if he was on the church watchlist now.
‘That inquisitor is a problem too…’
He recalled the person that knew his own father. The old man was strong and apparently related to Loreena as he referred to her as his granddaughter. Roland had no idea of knowing what these two individuals would decide to do. Would they just shrug him off as being lucky or turn to him for help? If they used magic for questioning he would not be able to lie and have to reveal his special skill. He would then be turned into a human detection device to disable cult relics.
‘The problems only keep increasing… ‘
For the time being, he decided to not worry about the small things. The city he was in was slowly preparing to counter the abyssal cultists. Even a priest of Sister Kassia’s level would be able to tell if any strange rituals were taking place so they couldn’t do anything in the open.
The thieves guild was already combing the underground tunnels for any potential secret lairs and giving information to their associates. With some luck, this would go away without him needing to involve himself anymore. He only needed to act as a normal craftsman and develop new divine runes that might aid him and others later.
‘This shouldn’t take too long…’
His mind went back to the wolf armor that Dyana delivered. Before leaving on his rank-up test he had already created a schematic for the doggy armor. While it would not be comparable to his own it would give Agni some spell variety. The material was Aether durasteel, it would lower the usage for fire spells while also ad buffing spells, just like Roland’s armor did.
Thus he grabbed his hammer and after organizing the various parts, he turned on the forge. After grabbing large tongs from the side he inserted what would be the chest plate for Agni’s barding. It was angular for the purpose of deflecting blows to the side by making them slide. This piece in particular would be able to generate a mana shield, either a regular one or a fire one.
He was not sure how his wolf would handle the activation requirements so for now, he decided to inscribe spells to different parts. The only thing Agni would need to do was to send a jolt of mana down a specific part. This would be a true test for his partner's intelligence, would he be smarter than the average wolf or just activate each spell effect at the same time and cause a mess?
‘Hm… I should probably lower the output to the minimum for the test.’
Roland’s hammer swung continuously down on the heated breastplate and the runes started to quickly take shape. With his current skill level, he didn’t really need much time to perform his work. Yet while his runesmithing skills were constantly advancing, his regular blacksmithing techniques were not. Since getting two competent helpers he started to get less and less need to prepare the various parts himself.
Yet he had not totally given up on his life as a craftsman. He had actually been getting ready to create his new weapon. After going through his recent adventure, the constant switching between his metallic rod for spell usage and his sword was suboptimal. He decided to combine a weapon with a magician's staff into one. For this he needed the large bulky metal clump that was heating up in his smelter.
This would be the base for his next multi-purpose tool, a large runic warhammer. The design of this runic weapon would have one side of it being flat while the other would have a spike. This rear spike would be great for penetrating hard armor while the flat one for bludgeoning damage. Both sides would have their own runic effects to augment them.
The biggest downside of this construction would be the weight but thanks to his armor that was already boosting his stats, he would have no problems with that part. The shaft would be close in length to the magical rod that he used. It would allow him to perform two-handed strikes if he so chose. Then with the help of his enhanced strength, he would also be able to hold a shield in his left hand if the need arose.
‘Hope the retractable shaft won’t compromise the weapon, the Mythril should be enough to keep it from snapping.’
Roland would be finally including more exotic metals into the mix. By going into this new field some of the old smithing knowledge could be ignored. It was possible to go around the constraints of traditional metals. Something made from Mythril could be made paper-thin but it would still protect a person from a bullet shot more than something made from regular steel. Yet even if it wouldn’t break due to the weight, he still needed to balance it out by taking his armor into consideration while holding it.
The giant slab of metal was quickly getting liquified in the runic smelter. The base would of course be made from aether durasteel but there would be some additives. After a long grueling process of testing, he had finally figured out the correct ratio between the various metals. Etherium would be one of the components along with the red Mythril that he had excavated from the dungeon.
Most of the expensive parts would be gathered in the top part of this war hammer. The shaft would be wedged through the hammerhead as a separate part. While it would be an important component of the weapon it didn’t require Etherium as most of the spell effects would go through the hammer’s head.
After the smelting process was done, he would use the usual blacksmithing techniques to hammer the large slab into shape. With his increased stats and techniques he was already miles away from any conventional or modern blacksmith even if they used power tools. This would be the next creation that he hoped would last him all the way until he reached tier 3. Then perhaps with increased knowledge, he would create an improved version worthy of tier 3 magical rune user.
“Well then, this will be very therapeutic… after this is finished I should get to the dungeon and start leveling up.”
While the metallic concoction was mixing up he decided to peek towards another corner of his workshop. There he opened a secret door that looked like a part of the wall. He did so by infusing a small five-square-centimeter tile with his mana fingerprint. The moment the password was given the wall started to shift to the side.
What he was greeted with was a pitch-black tunnel that slowly started to light up. It had been clearly reinforced by mana but also worked by hand by an experienced miner. The lights continued to flicker up to reveal quite the length that this tunnel had.
“I hope it was worth digging this whole place up, it took years but its mostly finished now…”
After a little look, he decided to close the door. First, he needed to get his weapons in order, and then it was time to level up.
I'll be taking a break for a week, so see you next week o/