The Runesmith

Chapter 26 Examining scrolls

“Sign here on the dotted line.”

“Is my name enough?”

“Yeah that’s fine, the contract mostly just reacts to your mana and not your actual name.”

Roland wrote his name into the contract that went through some changes. He managed to get the Gnome to agree to keep his true identity a secret. He also didn’t mention that he was from a noble house. The most important clause though was the one stating that the gnome couldn't undersell his work.

There was a minimal price negotiated while taking into account what the scrolls were selling in the auction. Any other items he created would be negotiated further but he didn't feel like the gnome was trying to rip him off, at least not too much he still wanted to make a profit.

He wouldn’t be surprised if they knew that, how far the gnomes identification skill was able to peek was unknown. He himself could only use it on certain items and he would mostly just get the general name. He couldn’t analyze people well either, if he looked at Zilyana the only info he got was that she was a ‘Sun Elf’

This was the default elven race around here, besides Sun Elves there were also Moon Elves that were similar looking too dark elves from most stories. For one reason or another, these two races didn’t get along with each other.

The woman rolled up the contract after it was finalized. He had finally accepted the offer and his life as a contract worker had begun. Luckily he didn’t really have to make that many scrolls and should be able to do his research as well. He was even going to receive a personal assistant if he did well.

He was led down into the basement, he didn’t occupy any of the rooms closer to the manager’s room. The place he received was a bit dim and had a very dungeon-like vibe to it. He had gone through some dungeon training against goblins, so he was fine with places like this.

“We weren’t really using this one, that’s why it’s a bit dirty…”

Zilyana said while opening the door and showing Roland in. There wasn’t much inside this room. Some empty boxes in the corner along with a wooden table and some chairs. The cleaning lady would come soon and some furniture would be carried over as well.

“Here is the key, don’t lose it.”

He was handed the key, he would be able to come to this place whenever he wanted and even work through the nights. The Gnome manager knew that some craftsmen liked to work hard, a bed would be supplied for him. Roland was thinking about moving from the inn here. He didn’t need to pay for rent but the air was kind of stale.

“You can start working tomorrow, Welcome to Exeor’s Magic Emporium’s staff~”

“You can call me, big sis from now on!”

The elf struck a pose by placing her hands to her hips while looking at Roland. He just looked back with narrowed eyes while replying.


He almost forgot that he was an 11-year-old kid. Which had its pros and cons.

Roland also asked if the manager was the owner of this store and if the store was named after him. It was revealed that he was only someone akin to a regional manager of a larger company. It had a lot of chain stores strung throughout the city and the main one was in the capital city. When he asked the elf about the gnome’s full name she just smiled at him without revealing it.

Roland was getting the facilities and the basic materials. He wouldn’t be getting the research materials though, that was on him. He returned to the first floor and bought out every single runic spell that he could. With the contract in place he felt like he could invest in his future more.

He didn’t inform his new boss about his unique skill. Even if the gnome saw his status screen, the name ‘debugger’ probably didn’t ring a bell. He got some new spells that did various things. The orb of light spell felt similar to his fire orb spell as it just produced a light of a different color.

He made sure to find spells that worked similarly. So if he already figured out how to produce the fire arrow spell, he wanted to get his hands on a water arrow spell or an earth arrow spell. He could then compare the schematics and see if the parts or runes were similar.

This store had a limited variety of these spells. This forced him to search them elsewhere. Luckily the manager had supplied him with an armband that would hide his status. He would seem like an ordinary mana scribe to everyone else.

After a day of searching, he had managed to find a couple of elemental variations of the mana bolt spell and the mana arrow spells. Surprisingly there were none of the basic lesser runes of those two spells. Probably the runesmiths creating these deemed those two spells below them.

He returned to the inn after a full day of running around town. The energetic half-gnome girl was running around the inn again. He was glad that she was still alive, he was slightly worried that she might have wandered into the woods again. He hoped that she had learned her lesson but he didn’t really have the time to be her nanny. She had to make her own decisions.

The next day Roland returned to the store, his ‘office’ was now filled with some boxes that had blank scrolls in them. There were a couple of higher quality inkwells that were supplied and some sketching paper as well. He brought some of his own crafting utensils from the inn as he was already used to the quill he was using. He closed the door behind him and walked around the place before taking a seat at his new desk.

“Well, time to get to work.”

This was still his job so he decided to perform his main task of scribing by recreating his staple runic fire arrow spell. He was able to scribe it down within an hour and had enough mana left to make another one. The contract stated that he was to make a minimum of ten common grade spell scrolls a week. He was of course allowed to make more of them and would get a bonus accordingly.

Roland wasn’t only interested in the money though, he wanted to progress. Increase his levels and also to find out how these runes operated. The problem was that to progress he needed money and lots of it. He managed to get a temporary sponsor but it was on him if he proved himself as a sound investment.

He brought out a scroll that he had bought, it had the runic frost arrow spell on it. He also had a runic gale arrow scroll. He took out a pencil and some paper and activated his debugging skill.

You have created the schematic for the Common Frost Arrow Rune [ Highest ]
You have created the schematic for the Common Gale Arrow Rune [ Highest ]

He received 2000 XP for each schematic. He had also tried making schematics of lower grades to see if he could stack more experience. He made an intermediate one of a common rune for 1000 XP. When he went for the perfected one, he was rewarded with another thousand. The trick didn’t work, there was some kind of cap on gaining experience from making schematics.

He had spent his first working days scribing the minimal number of runic scrolls while using the rest of his time on creating schematics of the various runic spells that he got from the other stores. They were mostly of the common grade which caused him to level up faster.

He wanted to stick all of the made schematics to a wooden notice board so that he could look at them while doing his research. He abandoned this notion as he didn’t want to leave a board with multiple ‘highest’ graded rune schematics out in the open. This would give away his secrets right from the get-go.

He was sure to include a clause in the contract that there wouldn’t be any spying devices or people watching over his room. Still, he didn’t know if those contracts were 100% safe so he would keep those schematics in his storage bag for now. When he needed to do some research he would just take them out.

He was doing this now. He placed all of the elemental arrow spells that he had gathered. The schematic that he was the most familiar with was in the middle while the two others were to the sides. He could instantly see that some of the larger runic symbols were the same.

‘That’s probably the component responsible for the whole ‘arrow’ part of the spell.’

He glanced at the other two spells. Besides the middle rune that was identical in all the other spells, there were four other symbols. Each of these ‘runes’ was composed of smaller parts and they all connected with each other to form a complete spell schematic. He just needed to figure it out. This was easier said than done.

‘I wonder what will happen if I rearrange some of these components…’

He had all the correct pathways on the schematics. What would happen if he replaced one of the fire arrow runic symbols with one from the gale arrows? Could he produce a new spell? Would it blow up? He had multiple attacking spells to work with, he could exchange the components with each other as if he was playing with legos.

‘Well, there is only one way to find out…’

He began his first test. Combining the gale arrow with the fire arrow. The spells weren’t that different, they both produced elemental arrows. The gale arrow was a lot faster than the fire arrow but it lacked the added fire damage that the other spell had.

Firstly he drew a schematic while replacing the last runic symbol from the fire arrow spell with the one from the gale arrow. He only needed to place the pathways in the correct order and to make it a closed mana circuit to finish the deal.

He instantly moved his head closer to examine his creation. The most glaring thing he saw was the mass of red after he connected the largest runic component at the end. His debugging skill was telling him that it wouldn’t work. He didn’t get a prompt that he had created a new spell either.

He wasn’t deterred; he started dissecting all of these spells into parts and his research continued. Thanks to his debugging skill he was saving a lot of time. He could only imagine how many blank scrolls and magic ink he would have to burn through if he did all of this manually.

You have created the schematic for the Lesser Smoke Arrow Rune ‘Lowest’’

In the end, a combination pattern that worked was made. He created a lesser runic spell by combining higher grade runes with each other. He theorized that combining two elements with each other wasn't such an easy thing. This might have been tier 3 territory as he was hoping for something like a frostfire arrow but got a glorified smokescreen instead.

There were a lot of problems with this particular rune. After combining two perfect schematics he was left with a barely working one. His debugging skill showed him red lines everywhere and even some of the components needed replacing.

He had somehow managed to graft these two spells together. He shoved quite a bit of parts together while hoping for the best. His experiment showed results but the spell he created was less than stellar.

‘This isn’t going too well…’

He could spend months and years doing it like this. The debugging skill was aiding him but he was only randomly combining the runes with each other. This could allow him to get some new spells but he wouldn’t really understand how. Also, the whole process was too random and time-consuming.

His main goal was to figure out the way these runes worked. He already knew that they were similar to circuits and programs. They followed some kind of binary language and maybe there were even parts that had complex algorithms working in them that were responsible for the spell’s shape or power output.

He managed to produce this spell within a week after randomly combining the larger runes with each other. The detail in drawing these schematics also played a big role in everything. If he missed one important section the debugging skill didn’t activate, he then had to go through the entire thing to find the part he missed.

Roland finally decided to perform some live tests. He took the lesser runes as the base for his next experiment. It was the fire orb rune and the light orb spell that were quite similar. Both produced a sphere of light that varied in brightness and the element used.

He had isolated some elements that he thought were responsible. He got to work but he wasn’t aiming to create proper schematics. No, he wanted to use the supplied scrolls for his research.

The way the runes started was all the same. They always had the same element there that was responsible for absorbing mana from a user. It varied in size, being larger in the common grade runic spells.

A craftsman needed to close the whole circuit onto this element. You also had to fashion additional magical pathways around all the runic symbols that weren't visible to the naked eye. These pathways were a bit thicker than the rest and their purpose was to siphon mana into this starting component. It was more or less akin to a power input or power plug. While the person inserting mana was seen as a big battery.

The mana would be gathered through all of the pathways and focused through this power input. The other ‘traces’ would then carry the mana into the other rune parts. Sometimes it was quite linear while other times the mana was distributed to multiple of them at once. Just like in series and parallel circuits, the way the mana flowed changed depending on which circuit type was being used.

He also made a distinction between the mana flow and the mana pressure in the whole circuit. This pressure was akin to voltage in a battery. It would push the mana energy into the traces and be responsible on how large the flow was.

In a series circuit type, this mana voltage would be split between its components equally and it also would cease to work if one of the parts was hindered in any way. In a parallel circuit, it wouldn't lose this pressure but it would use up mana faster. This was some of the basics, now he continued as he needed to figure out the rest of it.

‘I think this one might be something similar to a resistor.’

He glanced at both the spell diagrams of the orb spells. He focused on something that he believed looked like a resistor. The fire orb one was smaller in size than from the regular orb of light. His first test would be to replace the two with each other to see if the orb of light spell dimmed.

He went to scribing and completed the altered version of the orb of light spell. To his satisfaction, this little test worked. The spell activated and the light was indeed dimmer which proved his theory to be correct.

The ones he was working here were probably fixed resistor types as he didn’t think he could alter the resistance mid spell activation. There were also variable ones, as their name stated they were in place to resist the injected energy that was mana. If he installed a variable resistor on a spell, then depending on the quality of the material he might be able to switch it on the fly to get a stronger spell effect. It could also blow up in his face if he lowered it too much though.

‘That’s one down, now to find all the other basic ones.’

Inductors, capacitors, amplifiers, fusees, and more. If he managed to distinguish between all of the basic circuit components that were in these magic runes he would be able to alter the spells. What kind of changes he could bring he wasn’t sure, removing all of the resistance from the circuit would probably make the spell unstable.

If he wanted to connect the various runic spells that he had he needed to know this. Maybe if he knew where to remove or add the basic rune circuit components he would be able to correct all the badly made schematics he tried to combine. The fix could be really easy, maybe he only needed to add another resistor to make a working Firegale arrow spell.

Roland needed to get the basics down first before he moved on to the real meat and potatoes of these runes. Then he might be able to figure out the inner workings of the ‘motors’. The components that were storing the spell programs inside!

He gave out a sigh, understanding this would be hard. Luckily he had a lot of time on his hands. He had signed a three-year contract and was getting charged less for these materials. His experience was increasing at a rapid rate but the higher his level became the harder it became to level it up.

His hand moved to his stiff neck, he had spent the whole day working. He didn’t feel tired, this was more interesting than he anticipated. He was slowly discovering how this magic runic language ticked and it was making him all giddy. He just needed to stick with it and maybe in due time, he would finally be a proper runic scholar.

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