Editors: Templar, Jack Vanatis, Orang
Author’s notes: Second chapter release!
Chapter 10: Blood Flint
Regal rides Hades south from Greyhorn Townsend in hopes of finding Piora before she goes too far. He takes a snake-like route to cover more area, but pays most of his attention to the path leading back toward Grand Theore. Despite his increased speed, thanks to Hades, after searching for several hours he still can’t find even a trace of her. Regal tried to contact her through the transmission plate several times during his search, but no matter what he sent, Piora didn’t reply.
Returning to the community late in the evening, Regal returns to their villa, where the remainder of his squad has gathered. Everyone is curious as to where he has been, and why Piora left the squad so suddenly. With a gloomy expression, Regal patiently tells everyone about how he had an argument with Piora, which lead to the latter storming off in anger. Apparently, she was seen leaving the city gate.
“I still don’t believe she would leave the squad just like that,” Aqua says in confusion.
Regal nods his head in agreement before responding, “Indeed, for her to leave so suddenly, no one could have seen it coming.”
“Regal, you mentioned you checked her position through the squad connection not too long before she left the squad and she was at the south gate?” Veronica asks calmly, her expressionless face not giving any clues as to what she could be thinking.
“Yes, only twenty or thirty minutes before she left the squad. That’s why I hurriedly left the town and tried to chase after her. The guards also verified that she had left through the gate.”
“Then I don’t understand. I always try to check up on where everyone is in case something happens. When I checked on Piora, which was only a few minutes before she left the squad, she was in the center of the town, somewhere around the Lord’s mansion. How could she have already left the community?”
Regal is greatly surprised by what Veronica states and lets out a dumbfounded noise. He has complete trust that Veronica wouldn’t lie, so he instead becomes confused. If what she is saying is indeed true, then Regal would have left the south gate before Piora had the chance to. This also means there is no way the guards could have spotted her leaving when Regal was there.
“This means… they were lying?” Regal muses aloud to himself while forgetting about those around him.
“What do you mean? The guards were lying?” Veronica quickly understands what Regal was saying and clarifies him.
“Yes, the guards. There is the improbable chance that they were mistaken, but I don’t believe that to be the case.”
Regal also remembers Piora constantly being averse to the guards and wonders if there was something she knew that could cause her trouble. After a long discussion over how to proceed from here, Regal comes to several decisions.
“Okay, Aqua, please contact your father to get as much information about this community and Lord Solace as he can. For now, we will focus on leveling up as fast as possible. I will spend the next three days before I have to go back to work for the Lord to increase my crafting skill, during which time everyone else needs to raise the level of their martial and alchemy skills as much as possible. Our current strength is insignificant compared to everyone else, so if there is something going on in this community, we need to quickly become stronger or we will be helpless.”
Considering all Immortalis are essentially immortal, Regal isn’t too concerned with Piora’s safety. At the same time however, he knows if he ignores her absence for too long, it will only fuel Piora’s anger, perhaps even leading to her permanently leaving the squad.
Regal is the first to leave, isolating himself in his crafting room. Astore, Kilde, and Veronica leave next, heading outside to increase their skill levels despite the sun already beginning to set on the horizon. Aqua is the only one left in the room, deeply conflicted between the kindness of the guard who helped her try get closer to Regal, and the logical process that was leading them to conclude that perhaps the guards should not be trusted.
Inside the crafting room on the first floor of the villa, Regal is analyzing and understanding the intrinsic hidden qualities of the three new types of crafting items that they had gathered and how they can be used together. After several hours, the three items reveal their mysteries to the discerning eye of Regal. Even if they are low quality items that are of little value, any other crafter studying them would have had to study them for at least several days before understanding their nature as well as Regal. Not even Regal’s ‘Compounding’ instructor introduced by King Tanner Theore is aware of this intellectual genius, as he had Regal constantly crafting various already known tinctures in order to raise Regal’s ‘Compounding – Beginner’ skill as fast as possible rather than focusing on material analysis.
Of the three items, ‘River Kelp (Low)’ has the hidden qualities of both Life and Water. The ‘Water Stone Fragment’ is pure Water in nature, while the ‘Rock Lizard Scale (Medium)’ consists of Hardness, Earth, and Array.
Hidden qualities aren’t shown in the status windows at all and that often makes each crafter’s research unique. This means that someone reading another’s research would have a difficult time understanding the notes. Only Regal calls the last hidden quality ‘Array’ in his research, while other crafters, if they even discovered it, may call it something entirely different.
‘Array’ is what Regal uses to define the nature of forming a pattern, each piece having the ability to easily attach to other items and arrange them in the most efficient manner. Regal’s tests showed how the item could aid in the fusion of ‘Amber Flint (Low)’ and ‘Rockdust Fragment (Medium)’, two items that normally would not combine. But when ‘Rock Lizard Scale (Medium)’ is used, the final product in this case is a clear gel-like solution coated in small, earthen brown and blood red crystal shards, forming a scale-like pattern of overlapping rubber-like crystals that seem to protect the gel. This effect happened as a natural reaction, leading Regal to name the hidden quality ‘Array’.
Earthen Blood Flint Item Grade: Uncommon Effect:
The strange scaled substance is called ‘Earthen Blood Flint’ in the status window when Regal inspects it, but for some reason it doesn’t have any description or effects. This typically happens in cases where a new potion is thought to have no useful or obvious effects, but Regal firmly believes that something so strange must have a use.
Convinced, Regal attempts several tests on the substance, cutting it apart, heating it up, mixing it with other crafting items, but none of them bears fruit. He eventually cuts off a small piece and tries joining the two types of crystals with a pair of tools by force when a reaction finally occurs.
Forcing the two types of crystals together uses all of Regal’s strength, but as soon as the two crystals merge, a frightening repulsion develops between the two, and in an instant creates an explosion that blows Regal backwards, shatters half of the glass vials and beakers on the table, and even cracks the table.
Regal slowly stands up in a daze, struggling to keep his balance while looking at his health. He had lost a quarter of his full health from that one explosion!
“Such a frightening effect!” Regal whispers to himself while aligning his thoughts, “Could one of the items have a hidden quality I wasn’t aware of? Or could the combining between different qualities have created a new one? I saw for an instant before the explosion the two crystals merged together, but then they suddenly exploded.”
Aqua, Astore, Kilde, and Veronica rush to the crafting room door to see what had happened. Regal unconcerned tells them, “It was just an experiment, I am alright.” The others nod and head back to their own skill practice, all but Aqua.
As Regal starts cleaning up the disarrayed room, Aqua silently enters the room before lightly coughing to get Regal’s attention.
“Umm, Regal… there’s something I wanted to talk to you about…” Aqua hesitantly says, her cheeks blushing as she fidgets with a broken vial she picked up off the ground.
Noticing her presence, Regal seems a little confused at first before answering, “Sure. Is something the matter, Aqua?”
“Well… So much has suddenly happened that I don’t know how I should say this. But… I’ve liked you for a long time, Regal. You must have noticed!”
Regal, starting to understand what Aqua wants to say gently nods his head, but doesn’t say anything and allows her to continue.
Suddenly blurting out her request at the end, Aqua stares intently at Regal.
“Regal, now that you and Veronica aren’t together anymore… Please… Would you please give me a chance?!”
Tears start to form in the corner of her eyes in fear of what Regal’s answer will be. Regal on the other hand is in a troublesome position. He wants to be able to make Aqua happy, but he truly can’t answer her feelings in the same way. With his squad in such a terrible state at the moment, he also has to become a pillar of support to try keep everyone together. Faced with such a situation, Regal responds as best as he can manage.
“Aqua, forgive me, but I can’t answer your feelings. I care for you a lot, but not in that way. I still love Veronica, so it is difficult for me as well. I am trying to put those feelings away and move on, but until then, I can only love one person. I hope you can understand that, and I truly don’t want you to be upset.”
Aqua’s soul seems to leave her body as she leans against the table in a daze. At the same time she seems to come to understand something and after a moment quietly asks, “How long do I need to wait? How do I know your if your feelings will ever change?”
“That’s something I don’t know. Our endless lifespan makes us Immortalis are something like immutable existences, becoming set in complacency because there is no urgency. However, we still do change, even if at a pace so slow we appear to be in stasis.”
“So you think it will be a long time?”
Regal gently shakes his head, “Perhaps, but we are still young so we are constantly striving for more. That phenomenon more often takes place with the older generations, and we too may end up like that someday. What I want to say is that, just as how my feelings will change over time, surely yours will as well. I just hope that even if our feelings change, we can continue to stand beside each other as we strive for more.”
Aqua enters deep thought for a while and then sorrowfully says, “I understand. For now, I will continue to wait.”
Aqua gives Regal a genial smile and gets the feeling that a heavy weight has been lifted from her heart. She then goes to leave after stating, “Let’s focus on rescuing Piora first then.”
Regal looks back as he helplessly thinks to himself, ‘Hey, no one said Piora is in need of rescue, we need to find out what’s happened first. And even before that, we need the strength to be able to rescue her if that turns out to be what we need to do.’
Neither Regal nor Aqua noticed that just outside the room, Veronica was secretly eavesdropping on their conversation. She initially came down with the others after hearing the frightening explosion. Astore and Kilde left after seeing that Regal was alright, but Veronica stayed just outside the door when Aqua went in.
Veronica initially was about to leave but she hesitated, not once but twice, before deciding to secretly stay. During her moments of hesitation, her usual straightforward and logic based thoughts were thrown into turmoil. Uncertainty, worry, confusion, and even dismay constantly overturned one another, and led to shocking changes in her expression as she silently eavesdropped on the conversation between Regal and Aqua.
Veronica eventually calmed herself and regained her composure under the pretence of waiting for Regal and Aqua to finish their conversation before entering to make sure Regal is okay herself. This doesn’t last, once Aqua turns to exit Regal’s crafting room, Veronica rapidly fled in a silent panic that she herself doesn’t understand.
Long past midnight, everyone in Regal’s villa are awoken by another frightening explosion. This time however, it is followed by Regal’s triumphant shout.
“Hahaha, I did it! Who would have thought such a thing is possible!?”
All the squad members rush downstairs tired and in a panic to find Regal holding a smoking revolver and facing a hole in the wall large enough for a person to crawl through. On the table behind him, still covered with broken glass from the earlier explosion, are three bullets, each with a suspicious blood red ring on them.
Aqua cries out in tired dismay, “What happened?!” Alternating between looking at Regal’s ecstatic expression and the broken wall.
“It’s the bullets, I call them ‘Blood Flint Bullets’. I couldn’t find a use for the ‘Earthen Blood Flint’ I crafted earlier which created the first explosion, when I had the crazy idea of installing them into bullets. Who would’ve thought that ‘Forging’ and ‘Compounding’ can be combined to construct such a thing?!”
“Urgh, I don’t care. Please be more quiet at night, the guards will surely be coming as well,” Aqua says in dissatisfaction after understanding what happened before turning around and returning to bed.
Veronica also says, “Please do be more careful.” Before leaving, followed by Astore and Kilde saying similar lines.
Regal becomes embarrassed, as in his excitement, he truly was careless. Just as expected, the guards arrived moments later, concerned over the explosion. After Regal profusely apologizes, they settle with a fine of 20 silver to cover a penalty and the costs of repairs.
The new ‘Blood Flint Bullets’ are a strange product that doesn’t register with a status window. The bullets are ordinary .38 calibre rounds bought at any gun and ammunition store. They don’t offer any additional damage on top of the gun’s damage value so are seen as a cheap commodity. These bullets are mass produced by the ‘Bullet Casing’ skill which supplements ‘Forging – Beginner’ and only cost mana to create.
Regal however dismantled several of these bullets with his ‘Forging – Beginner’ knowledge and experience before installing the ‘Earthen Blood Flint’ to give them the hidden quality he deemed ‘Explosion’. When the bullet hits an object, a tiny piece of the earthen brown and blood red crystal shards are forced to fuse under pressure before exploding.
This isn’t a true fusion of two skills, which could be said to be nonsense, but the product has multiple skills imbued in it. He tried to do this with ‘Ice Bullets’ as well, but the ‘Ice Bullets’ naturally broke apart and became useless when dismantled.
The status window for the final bullets shows them to be ordinary .38 rounds, but the effect after firing them is not ordinary in the least. Regal had to paint a red ring around the completed rounds so he could tell them apart from the unmodified .38 rounds.
Regal continues creating these bullets for the rest of the night, including .48 rounds for Veronica’s ‘Deryu Ordinance Rifle’. The larger bullets mean slightly more ‘Earthen Blood Flint’ can be used. Regal highly anticipates seeing the results that a large rifle with a knockback effect will have when the bullets modified with ‘Earthen Blood Flint’ are used.
When morning comes and everyone gets up, they find Regal still in his workshop, now with two hundred bullets lined up on an empty table. Regal calmly accepts food made by Aqua while asking her to go to the market to find and purchase more ‘Rockdust Fragments’, ‘Rock Lizard Scales’, and the ‘Bullet Casing’ skill book if it is there. Regal doesn’t have to work for the Lord over the next two days and rather than rushing into the dungeon, he plans on making an intrinsic upgrade to the strength of his squad through crafting. He almost entirely gives up on saving money to purchase a furnace, and plans to spend the rest of it on creating Blood Flint Bullets.
Aqua returns two hours later and takes a large quantity of items out of her personal inventory for Regal. Enormous piles of ‘Rockdust Fragments’ and ‘Rock Lizard Scales’ of both low and medium quality appears in front of him and nearly frightens the soul out of his body.
“Aqua… there’s so much I won’t have enough ‘Amber Flint’ now. Why did you get so much, were they cheap?”
“Not really. I thought you wanted a lot so I used all the money you gave me to get as much of each as I could. Here, I also got this,” Aqua takes out a ‘Bullet Casing’ skill book from her inventory and handed it directly to Regal. “We were lucky, I heard a small-time trader passed through yesterday and brought a plethora of skill books. I can only imagine how much profit one must make trading skill books.”
Regal was glad she found the skill book but his direct concern is with how much Aqua spent. He had given Aqua nearly all of his gold as he didn’t know what prices were like, but didn’t expect her to spend it all and get such a frightening quantity of materials.
“I won’t have enough ‘Amber Flints’ at this rate. Here, go sell these and with the remainder of my gold, buy as many ‘Amber Flints’ as possible.”
Regal tearfully takes out half of his low and medium quality ‘Iron Ore’ and hands it over to Aqua along the all the gold he has left. He already knows the value of ‘Iron Ore’ and ‘Amber Flints’ so he knows that even if Aqua spends it all, the quantity won’t be more than either of the other two items. He worries that the ‘Amber Flints’ will number barely half of the amount of each of the other other materials depending on the current market price.
Aqua happily accepts the order before quickly leaving the villa again while Regal picks up the new skill book.
Bullet Casing Mana crafting a series of bullets from the most basic to more complex constructions. No additional work is needed as bullets are formed from pure mana and the natural essence of the world. Minimum requirements to learn this skill: ~ Lvl 10 ~ ‘Forging - Beginner' lv. 50 Would you like to learn ‘Bullet Casing'? Yes / No
Regal immediate selects ‘Yes’ and the new skill is added into his personal stats under the crafting section. It appears as ‘Forging – Bullet Casing’, as if to show that it is a supplementary skill that requires ‘Forging – Beginner’. It also only has one branch of Divine Arts, so the first item Regal learns in ‘Basic Ammunition’
(Tier 1) Basic Ammunition - Summon basic small caliber rounds with mana. Small caliber = .18 - .38 Basic Ammunition Cost: 10 mana Bullets summoned: 20 rounds Effect: None
Now that he doesn’t have to rely on purchasing standard bullets, despite how cheap they may be, he can easily bury himself in creating Blood Flint Bullets.
Regal had thought Veronica, Astore, and Kilde were out practicing their skills for the day, but as he was busy compounding the ‘Earthen Blood Flint’ and separating the crystal shards from the clear gel, Veronica soundlessly approaches and catches him by surprise.
“V-Veronica, what are you doing here?”
“I have come to help.”
“Yes, I wish to help you make those bullets.”
Regal is about to mention she doesn’t have the crafting skill necessary for the work, but suddenly questions himself whether such a strange product truly needs them. As long as he does the main part, it is true that she could be of help.
“Okay, I need you to cut out and remove the crystal armor-like shards from this substance. Separate them into piles of two brown and two red shards, be extremely careful not to press them together too tightly or they will explode. Once I am finished with the bullets, I also need you to paint a red ring around the bullet tips and place it with the finished ones.”
After getting Veronica started helping him, something she seems uncharacteristically happy about, Aqua also returns, stating that there were no ‘Amber Flints’ for sale. Regal sends Aqua off to meet up with Astore and Kilde so the three of them can head to the dungeon in order to harvest the materials directly.
Around lunch a crafter Regal doesn’t know appears to fix the hole in the wall. The process only takes fifteen minutes before the crafter finishes and bids them farewell and hurries off.
Aqua, Astore, and Kilde return in the early evening just as Regal uses the last of his ‘Amber Flints’ from their last trip. Regal is glad they returned in the nick of time so he can continue working consistently with Veronica to make more Blood Flint Bullets. However even with more ‘Amber Flints’, he has nowhere near enough to balance the terrifyingly large stacks of ‘Rockdust Fragments’ and ‘Rock Lizard Scales’ piled up in the corner of the workshop.
The nearly exhausted Regal and Veronica only finish crafting the new ammunition long after dinner and late in the night. Regal’s work had raised ‘Bullet Casing’ to level 12 and unlocked the Tier 2 Divine Art ‘Heavy Ammunition’ which summons bullets from .42 to .91 caliber, only costing more mana and summoning less than the Tier 1 Divine Art.
“Thanks for your help, Veronica, we managed to make much more than I expected. We have three thousand Blood Flint Bullets ready so we will head into the dungeon tomorrow. Can you go and exchange the bullets in everyone’s bullet cases then separate the remainder into four piles? There should be an even number, the skill summons twenty rounds at a time after all. All the larger bullets are for Veronica’s rifle.”
“I will do that. You appear to be extremely tired. Go to sleep or you won’t recover fully by tomorrow.”
Following Veronica’s advice, Regal heads to his bed and falls asleep for the night while Veronica finishes the work. Strangely, once all the bullets are separated into piles, there seems to be four bullets missing. Veronica instantly remembers last night when Regal had three bullets made and passes it off as one being fired and three in Regal’s inventory.
“Hmm, so what are these supposed to be?” Lord Solace frowns as he holds three .38 bullets in his hand while coldly looking down upon the Greyhorn Guard Leader, Bryn.
“They are the cause of the disturbance last night. I had the masonry craftsman Theodore swipe them while he was repairing the walls.”
“This? Surely you checked the status of the bullets. They are ordinary rounds with a red ring painted on them. There is no enchantment whatsoever. Are you turning retarded?”
“Lord, if you will just fire one, I’m sure you will understand. I have prepared a basic revolver for the demonstration,” Bryn hurriedly says after seeing Lord Solace’s mood turn for the worse, quickly passing him the prepared weapon.
Lord Solace calmly places one bullet into the chamber before swiftly aiming the gun at Bryn and firing in a single motion. Bryn is hit with the bullet but instead of a spurt of blood shooting out of the hole, he is engulfed in a small explosion that tears skin and muscle away. Thanks to his high strength and endurance, he avoids being blown away as Regal was, but he still takes a step back from the blast as the damage to his body rapidly vanishes and is restored to the normal condition.
Lord Solace can see Bryn’s health and is extremely surprised to see a small piece removed. The bullet was fired from an ordinary low level gun after all, but to still do a noticeable amount of damage would have been unbelievable to the Lord had he not just seen it for himself.
The Lord’s expression instantly turns from doubt into delight, excitedly inspecting the remaining two bullets to discover what is different about them.
“Call in crafter Theodore, I want him to inspect these bullets and find the method to reproduce them! If we can create something like this, we won’t even need that new crafter anymore. We just need to advertise this and new citizens will flock to us!”
Bryn starts to worry the Lord is getting too excited and quickly mentions, “Lord, it may be best to hold off on that for now. We should make as many of these exploding bullets as possible, but only stockpile them. Before we are to change our original plan and take the kid’s inventions rather than himself, it would be best to wait and see if he can create anything more. A Golden Devil Goose will lay more than one golden egg.”
Lord Solace glares intently at Bryn, seemingly considering his options before setting the bullets down and turning around with a malicious grin, “Very well, let’s not be hasty. Make sure to watch the nest closely. Bryn, this Golden Devil Goose is worth much more than I initially thought.”
“Understood,” Bryn calmly replies before retrieving the two bullets and heading back into town to carry out Lord Solace’s command.