Editors: Templar, Jack Vanatis, genericIntent
Author’s notes: Second chapter to being released, four more to go.
Chapter 19 – Academy Break
After the inter academy tournament, the yearly break from study begins. There is a full month until Regal will need to return to Bluemist Academy for his second year. With no transmission plates, he and his friends have no way of contacting each other either. Not wanting to be apart from Veronica for so long, he takes her home on the last evening to show her where he lives.
“The break lasts for an entire month. If you want to practice together, you can come find me here anytime,” Regal says awkwardly, too nervous to say that he just wants to see her more.
Veronica holds his arm for a short while before telling him, “I will come when I get a chance. I want your help with ‘Cartography’.”
“Is that so… Well, I will, umm, be waiting.”
Piora and Veronica have improved greatly with the ‘Cartography’ skill. Their ability is still incomparable to Regal’s, who has improved even more than theirs have, but the two are unlikely to always be alongside him so they can’t always rely on him to create maps.
After a silent parting, Regal enters his home and sits down in the living area, exhausted. It is only a moment before he decides what to do over the break and his eyes become resolute. Sampson had told him not long ago that he will still only work at the restaurant on the weekends over the break for various reasons.
With nothing else to do during the week, Regal decides on several things to do. The first and most important decision is to create new weapons for himself and the others in his squad to improve their firepower. It is possible to purchase some, but it only costs a fraction of the price to purchase the materials and make weapons customized for each member.
His second goal is to increase his alchemy and martial skills training, as they are currently lacking in power. The last task is additional research in the library on other skills, so that he will be able to recognize more Divine Arts before they are used against him.
Regal learned during class that there are stronger mutated beasts, and especially monsters, that are capable of alchemy as well. He didn’t fully understand the difference between the two until it was discussed in class not long ago as they finished learning about the lower levelled mutated beasts, and lessons on monsters began.
Mutated beasts are enemies that usually have large numbers, travel in packs, and have specific territories. Monsters are different in that they are unique creatures of all shapes and sizes that roam the wilderness. A cautionary fact is that they are always much stronger than a mutated beast of the same level.
After deciding on his schedule and hoping Veronica doesn’t come around when he is not home, Regal double checks his inventory to make sure he has enough ammunition and recovery items before leaving for the public training center.
The very next day, Regal heads to Market Street and finds a small shop that specializes in selling ores and already refined metals. He already has the plan for what he wants to create, so he knows exactly how much of each material he will need.
He considers buying the ores, which are considerably cheaper than the better already refined metals, buts decides against it as he will at best only be able to refine a medium grade metal. Allowing himself to spend more, Regal chooses all his materials from high grade ingots. He chooses almost forty pieces of iron, bronze, copper and steel as well as some clay to form the molds.
“That will be 38 silver,” a man with long curly hair and a brown top hat lazily says after adding up the value of the material.
“Can you do something cheaper? That’s incredibly expensive!”
“38 silver is expensive? We don’t bargain here.”
After a few more failed attempts, Regal ends up purchasing the metal at the store price. He isn’t aware that the price is in fact cheap for metal, and only because they are the lowest tier of metals. The next tier, including titanium, black iron and platinum, would have been at least ten times as expensive.
Placing the new metals in his inventory, Regal leaves for Atelier Gun & Bullet, which is ten minutes down the street. Inside, Aqua is minding the store. She immediately becomes angry when she sees him.
“How long do you think it’s been!? You said you would come see me but you didn’t!”
Regal, not feeling like it has been that long gives her a confused look. “What do you mean? I am here right now.”
“Well… I suppose. But you should have come sooner!”
“I’m sorry, I didn’t think it had been that long.”
Regal and Aqua share some small talk for a while; even though it is mostly Regal listening to Aqua speak about Gold Phoenix Academy, her friends, and a boy who asked her on a date just before the academy break. After that, Regal excuses himself and enters the rear workshop where he finds Tanner working the forge and working on some exotic and complicated gun that he doesn’t understand at all.
After hearing that Regal wants to borrow the forge to craft some weapons with the materials he bought, Tanner quickly finishes up what he was doing and stands back, curiously anticipating what Regal will make.
Regal immediately clears some room on the bench and starts with the first of the weapons, a large knife for each member when the enemy gets too close to worry about reloading. Taking out the clay, he mixes it with water and begins forming it’s shape with his fingers. Once it’s nearly completed, he picks a few specialized tools off the walls to finish its shape before baking it in the furnace to solidify it.
For the knives’ materials, he chooses to only use steel, which is known for being much more rigid with the ability to have a sharper edge than the other basic metals. It also has a lower durability, but that isn’t a concern if Regal maintains everyone’s weapons or they have it repaired at a smithy.
After the metal turns into a liquid state, he pours it in the mold and hardens it with water just like he practiced many times before. The only difference is that with an edged weapon, the metal needs to be ground into shape, as there is no bladed edge upon pouring. Tanner powers a foot pedal grinding wheel that Regal uses to slowly grind the blade into shape, forming the cutting edge and completing the weapon.
He does this four more times, creating four more weapons that are twenty inches long with basic leather grips. If it wasn’t for the curved blades and jagged rear edges to catch enemy weapons, they would almost be short swords with their size. The light of the forge glistens menacingly off the knives, reflecting the deadliness of these simple looking weapons.
Jagged Severing Blade A large combat knife crafted with the sole purpose of killing. The weapon’s blade is extremely rigid and lacks durability, but its sharpness and murderous aura are above average. Requirements: ~ Lvl 5 ~ Dex 19 ~ Str 11 Weapon Type: Knife/Single Handed Item Grade: Rare Damage: 19 – 21 Durability: 32/32 Abilities: ~ Has a 20% chance of causing a ‘Bleeding’ status ~ 40% of damage from martial attacks negated when blocking with the rear of the blade. Durability will decrease for every attack blocked.
Regal stares at the knives before turning to Tanner and saying incredulously, “They’re all of the rare grade!”
“Of course!” Tanner’s laugh resounds loudly, even attracting Aqua’s attention at the front of the store.
“What do you mean, of course?”
“Do you know what defines the weapon or armor grade when crafting?”
“I don’t. Is it the quality of materials and how well it’s forged?”
Tanner sighs before continuing. “Perhaps I didn’t teach you well enough then. You learned so fast that I must have missed it. You are partially correct, but item grade is mainly defined by how unique, and often practical, the weapon you craft is. You could create a legendary grade weapon out of iron and copper if you were good enough.”
This news stuns Regal. He simply made the weapon per the design as he envisioned it – how he thought it would be best – but he had no clue that was the deciding factor in the weapon grade.
Excited about the new information, Regal hurriedly starts creating guns for each member of his squad. For Astore, a handgun with a smaller ammo capacity, but much higher damage, similar to that of a hand cannon. For Kilde, another handgun, but lightweight so he can move around easily. Piora gets a pair of handguns focused on firing speed, which when used by her fast attack flame alchemy could create a large barrage of attacks.
Veronica’s weapon is different, a rifle with a requirement of level 7 to equip. As a person with a high amount of Divine Arts for controlling the battlefield, a high firepower weapon she can use from a distance with increased accuracy and a slight knockback effect for controlling enemies will be useful.
For himself, Regal makes a normal revolver that doesn’t excel in any particular category, but is slightly better than standard.
The knives only took him an hour to create all of them, but the guns take him five hours straight for each one. He has to return the next day to finish them all. He uses the basic design for each weapon, but alters all the gears, springs and body parts, even adding a few based on his understanding of how the guns work and how best to improve them. He also uses the best material each time, reinforcing important parts of each weapon.
Once the job is finished, Regal sits down wearily as Tanner inspects the weapons. Regal has already inspected each one after making them, but not a single one came out as rare quality. They are all uncommon, a single grade above ordinary. At the same time, they are still customized for each squad member and how they fight best based on Regal’s experience with them.
Astore’s Heavy Ironplate Revolver: 24 – 29 Damage Kilde’s Compact Revolver: 19 – 22 Damage Piora’s Swift Cycle Revolvers: 14 – 16 Damage each Veronica’s Deryu Ordinance Rift: 36 – 41 Damage Regal’s Compound Revolver: 20 – 24 Damage
After the exhaustive task of creating the weapons, the remainder of the academy break seems to pass by faster than Regal realizes. Veronica also comes to visit him, arriving at his house five times. He wasn’t home for the first three and after waiting an hour, Veronica decides to leave to focus on her training. The last two times, she comes late at night when Regal is almost guaranteed to be home.
The first time someone knocks, Regal stumbles over his feet and makes a loud clatter before opening the door. No one would come visit him aside from Veronica as he hadn’t told his other friends where he lives yet.
Veronica stays unusually close to him while they are practicing ‘Cartography’ together and copying some old maps she brought. Their shoulders were touching one another, and despite being nervous, Regal felt incredibly happy.
The first visit by Veronica was also when he passed the new weapon he crafted to her, explaining it and reminding her to let him know whenever it needs maintenance. She was happy to receive the weapon Regal crafted, briefly showing one of her rare smiles.
Regal’s training in his martial and alchemy skills show significant results, each improving by three levels, with his ‘Combat Knife Proficiency’ breaking through the third tier and permanently adding fifteen points to his health.
His study in the library on the Divine Arts of various skills shows the least results over the break. Regal fills half a notebook with descriptions, including the alchemy formula diagrams, but only manages to memorize a quarter of them.
Regal returns to Bluemist Academy for his second year, making sure to get there early enough that he can hand out the weapons he crafted to everyone before classes begin. Astore and Kilde accept the weapons gratefully, promising to do their best for Regal. Piora is extremely surprised, and vehemently refuses his gift at first, but gives in after a few words from Veronica. All of the members need to level up once, twice, or three times in Veronica’s case, to use them, but once they do, exploring the second and even the third floor of Theore Substructure will become much easier.