Editors: Templar, Jack Vanatis,
Author’s notes: The fourth and final chapter release. I mentioned this a while back, a couple of times actually, but this is the last free release of CotE until Volume 1 is published. I have changed the status of CotE chapters to be a total word count of the books completion (estimated). By the way, chapter 14 is estimated to be half way due to the word count, not amount of chapters.
Big news, we have reached 1 million views!! we actually reached it a couple of days ago. We also had a total of exactly 2000 comments, which makes even me feel slightly OCD over such a clean number. Only another 500 days until we reach 2 million at our current speed!
For now, my mind is weary, so I will have a bit of a sleep, a proper one, not one sitting at the couch with the keyboard across my knees. ^.^
Chapter 14 – Crafting
The school week finishes quickly, and the weekend begins. Regal wakes up early on Saturday so he can go to Atelier Gun & Bullet. Tanner had requested that he come in to earn some money, so he packs a loaf of semi-stale bread along with some fillings and a metal canister of water into his inventory for nourishment throughout the day. With this, he should be prepared for any situation.
He isn’t particularly fond of the bread, especially since the soul forming, but it is affordable and he currently only has twenty silver coins in his possession. The money he has earned over the past six months is about eighty silver coins, but the food expenses and the cost of dying once has already cost him three quarters of them.
When Regal leaves his house, the sun hasn’t fully risen above the desolate eastern mountains outside the city, so the light collected and refracted within the city is still dim, and the street lamps are still alight.
By the time he reaches Atelier Gun & Bullet, Theore’s first floor is much brighter and the stores are starting to open. Tanner is already inside his shop when Regal arrives, waiting for him behind the counter.
“Aqua isn’t here?” Regal ask curiously while looking around the store.
“Aqua doesn’t help out at the shop in the morning during the weekend. Why do you ask, are you interested in my daughter?” Tanner asks sternly.
Regal shrink back away from him, frightened and hurriedly saying, “N-no, I was just curious. I mean, there isn’t any school on the weekends.”
Aqua’s father suddenly break out with a booming laughter, saying, “If you like my daughter, just say so! I will pass on a good word to her for you.”
“T-there’s really no need. She is just a good friend.”
“A shame… Well, follow me out back to the workshop, I have some work for you.”
Tanner leads Regal through the door at the back of the shop and into the area where the forge and all his blacksmithing equipment is. Regal involuntarily takes a step back when the heat from the forge washes over him, before unsteadily entering the workshop.
Against the rear wall is a forge made of an unknown material, which looks like clay but has the sheen of metal. Short flames inside the furnace lick the wood as they burn a deep red and give off a terrifying heat. An anvil and a large trough of water are nearby. Several benches covered in various molds and scraps line the walls while an endless quantity of all sorts of tools are hanging on the wall.
Tanner beckons for Regal to hurry up, leading him to one of the benches where he uncovers a dusty book. He passes it to Regal and orders, “Learn this.”
Minimum requirements to learn the skill ‘Forging/Beginner’: ~ Str 10 ~ End 10 ~ Dex 10 Would you like to learn ‘Forging/Beginner'? Yes / No
Regal hastily accepts and the skill book, worth several gold coins, vanishes from his hands as he chooses to learn the skill. There is only a single skill path in this skill, so the Tier 1 Passive Divine Art, ‘Smelting’, is automatically selected.
The information for ‘Smelting’ immediately melds with his mind and he understands it. This Divine Art allows him to smelt and refine basic metals such as iron, steel, copper and bronze from their base ores.
“Thank you,” he says gratefully to Tanner.
“Nonsense, how can you learn from me if you don’t have the necessary skill. Also, wear these. You can keep them – so don’t get your clothes dirty.” Tanner throws him a loose grey shirt and worn pants
“Umm, I’m a little confused. Why is it beginner?”
“Because it is the first forging skill book.”
“Does that mean there are more?”
Tanner’s chest heaves as he laughs aloud, “Of course there is. What do you think ‘Forging’ is it?”
“No, I mean, I have the ‘Cartography’ skill and there is no beginner part of that.”
“’Cartography’ is a basic crafting skill. All that involves is making maps. ‘Forging’ is one of the advanced crafting skills, requiring the mastery of using metal to create and repair an endless amount of weapons, armour, and gun components just to name a few. ‘Tailoring’, ‘Cooking’, ‘Carving’, and ‘Carpentry’ are also advanced crafting skills.”
Regal’s curiosity becomes piqued, and he asks, “How many skills do these advanced crafting skill have?”
“They have four: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, and Master. There are also countless crafting and miscellaneous skills that can supplement them. ‘Forging’ can be used with ‘Guncraft’, ‘Bullet Casting’, ‘Engraving’, ‘Glass Blowing’, and ‘Steel Hands’ just to name a few.”
“Wouldn’t most of that be included the four advanced skills of ‘Forging’?”
“No – the path of forging is endless. Also, crafting skills are mostly passive Divine Arts, so there aren’t as many active Divine Arts as there are in martial or alchemy skills.”
“What level has your ‘Forging’ reached?”
“You sure have a lot of questions, don’t you? Focus on what you can do instead. Now, come here and I will teach you to smelt ore.”
Regal moves closer to the forge and feels like his eyebrows are going to burn off from the heat. Tanner grabs a piece of rust-colored wood and throws it into the forge before billowing air in with a foot pedal to stoke the flames. The rust-colored wood is from an ironwood tree, the wood from which, burns at the perfect temperature for smelting basic metals.
Talking a fist sized lump of ore from a pile next to the forge, Tanner places it in a metal tool with a large cup, a crucible, at the end of a three foot handle. He then begins to explain the process as he demonstrates for Regal.
“First you will need to melt the iron ore by holding it in the flames like so. Then, once the ore is molten, dip the base of the crucible in the water, cooling the metal enough that it is no longer liquid. Lastly, and most importantly, drop the iron onto the anvil and use the hammer to beat the impurities out of it.”
“Your strength is low, so you will likely need to place it back in the forge several times before you can refine it enough to become pure iron. Once you do refine it enough, and its color changes to yellow, heat it into liquid again and pour it in this ingot mold here. Lastly, use the tongs to submerge it in the water to cool. Just remember the three processes: Melt, refine and pour.”
Surprisingly, Tanner only needs to hit the ore six times before all the impurities are removed. Regal knows that with his strength it will take many times more swings from the hammer.
Aqua’s dad pokes his head out the door to check on the shop before returning to watch over Regal refining his first iron ore.
Regal picks up one of the ores, checking its information as he does.
Iron Ore A raw ore of iron.
He carefully follows the process of melt, cooling the molten ore in the trough of water before placing it on the anvil. When he picks up the hammer, he finds that it is much heavier than it appears. His arm shakes a little as he raises it above his head.
Regal swings the hammer down onto the ore, creating a crisp sound that makes Tanner nod his head approvingly. He repeats this process over and over again, ignoring the slow drain on his stamina as he does so.
After striking the ore ten times, the bright orange metal dulls to a murky grey. Tanner instructs Regal to put it back in the forge and repeat the ‘melt’ process before he can continue to refine it. He has to repeat this three times, until the ore becomes a dull yellow color.
The final process is the ‘pour’. Regal melts the refined ore again and pours it into the hardened clay ingot mold. He scoops some water in a ladle and pours it over the mold to set the metal into a solid form. Removing the ingot from the mold, he then picks up the ingot with tongs and submerges it in the trough, burning his skin and stinging his eyes in a baptism of steam.
Pulling out a dull grey ingot of iron, now cool enough to hold in his hands, he checks the item information, which has changed.
Iron Ingot An ingot of refined iron used store as a crafting material or trade. Quality: Low
“Hrmm, not bad for your first try. Beginner’s luck,” Tanner says while inspecting the Ingot.
Crafting materials have five grades, according to Tanner. They are: Poor, Low, Medium, High, and Top. Someone who has just begun training in ‘Forging’ or many other skills will often create a poor quality product, if not a failed one. Regal can’t help but reminisce Veronica’s map when thinking about a failed product.
Tanner leaves Regal to continue to refine iron ores shortly after, leaving the workshop to mind the store.
Regal continues to refine the iron ore all morning, pushing through the exhaustion. He only stops working when wiping the sweat off his face, drinking water. He constantly pours water over his head too, trying to cool himself down in a workshop that feels like being in the furnace itself.
Regal refines and creates thirty low quality and four poor quality iron ingots by the midday. He is about to sit down and eat the food in his inventory to replenish his hunger when the door to the workshop violently swings open.
“Regal, you’re here!” Aqua strides in, unperturbed by the heat of the furnace, with a large smile on her face.
Regal quickly uses his rag-like shirt, which is already drenched in sweat, to wipe some of the soot and grime combination from his face before greeting her back.
“Father said you were doing well back here, but I didn’t think you were doing this well. This is your first time doing any ‘Forging’, right?” She gazes at the pile of iron ingots off to the side with amazement.
“Yes, this is my first time ‘Forging’.”
“Of course, mmhmm, nothing less than the Regal I know. Anyway, I brought you some lunch.”
Regal wants to ask her exactly what kind of exaggerated image she has of him, but doesn’t get the chance to before a bowl of warm chicken soup is placed before him. Chickens are one of the livestock bred and raised in the higher levels of the city. They are rarely found in the wilderness, as harmless animals are nearly always eaten by the mutant beasts or have become mutated themselves.
He feels slightly awkward as Aqua remains next to him and watches him eating intently, but such thoughts vanish with the first spoonful. The soup has fragrant spices mixed in with the broth to give it a thick taste, and the meat melts his tastebuds as he chews it. Compared to the food he usually prepares and eats himself, there is a qualitative difference that can’t be described with mere words.
Seeing his delighted expression, Aqua smiles equally as cheerful before leaving the workshop. Tanner enters shortly after with his own bowl of soup. He boasts about his daughter’s ‘Cooking/Beginner’ skill, which after four years has reached level 61.
Once lunch finishes, however, Tanner begins directly instructing Regal in ‘Forging’, forcing him to work twice as hard as before. Regal isn’t allowed to take a break, except for water, until the light within the city begins to dim and Tanner closes the shop.
The next day, Regal arrives at Atelier Gun & Bullet in the morning and the pattern of the day before is repeated. The only difference is Aqua brings several leek and potato pastries for lunch, and she stays longer to talk with Regal.
Having gone through the soul forming, Regal, for the first time, asks Aqua questions about herself. He discovers that she goes to Theore School 111, the eleventh school on the first floor of the city, which is only two or three miles away from Regal’s school.
Her school also teaches the same alchemy skills as Regal’s. He assumes this is due to the world, or some other system, deciding on the syllabus of what is to be taught.
Regal wants to learn more about her, but Tanner comes into the workshop and tells Aqua to go mind the shop.
By the end of the weekend, Regal has created 181 low quality, 12 poor quality, and 3 medium quality iron ingots. His ‘Forging/Beginner’ skill also reached the bottleneck before level 10. Aqua and her father are dumbfounded to hear how fast Regals’ skill has levelled in only two days. Tanner pays Regal a little extra than he originally intended due to his dedicated efforts, a total of three silver coins for two days work.
Regal isn’t stupid either. With the pattern of how fast he gained levels in ‘Cartography’, his inherent skill ‘Future Sight’, and now ‘Forging/Beginner,’ he understands why he seems to have little to no talent in martial or alchemy skills. His talent lies in crafting and miscellaneous skills – a completely unprecedented talent never before seen in the world.