Lone entered Grimsley's smithy as he yawned lightly. Soph happily squeezed his hand to help wake him up. She was far more alert than he was, that was for sure.
'I really shouldn't have wasted all of last night trying to make coins... I managed to make four gold coins, yeah, but I have a splitting headache now,' Lone complained internally.
As if to show him that he hadn't overused his mana in vain, a notification filled his vision.
|Congratulations! the host's passive skill [Mental Pain Resistance] has levelled up! It is now Beginner Level 9.|
"Ha-ah... Of course it only levels up after I've woken up and feel like shit after the fact," Lone grumbled.
"What ya mumblin' 'bout at ma smithy's entrance?" the gruff voice that could have only belonged to Grimsley asked in a slightly annoyed tone.
Lone smiled wryly. "Sorry, I had a bad night's sle-" Lone stopped talking the second he caught sight of his short blacksmithing master.
Today, the red-headed man was wearing his hair in a rough ponytail and his eyes were covered by a very thin and fancy looking pair of glasses that had bronze legs and some cogs near their joints.
"What... what are those?" Lone asked with a slight tremble of excitement in his voice. 'Please, please, please don't just be ornamental...'
"These?" Grimsley took the glasses off and shook them about a bit before he put them back on. "Steamforg'd glasses. Ah got 'em at the last hoose gatherin' five years ago fae ma grandpa. The sappy git's a master steamforg'r. The old cunt always hands out bits an' bobs like these when the hoose gets together. Why? Nev'r seen a pair ah glasses afore? Or 'ave ya just nev'r 'eard of steamforgin'? Both're equally daft, so be 'onest with me, Laddie."
Lone grinned lightly. "Caught me red-handed. I've never heard of steamforging before. What's that?"
Grimsley gave Lone a very contemptuous look before he simply sighed. "Well, come on in. Ah'll nae speak tae ya when yer stood in the fookin' doorway."
"Ah, right, of course," Lone replied as he and Soph closed the door and found seats - Lone by the forge, and Soph next to the wall on a sofa.
Soph curled up and closed her eyes. As much as she loved Lone, blacksmithing was of no interest to her. She had fallen asleep yesterday halfway through Lone's lesson, so today, on his advice, she had decided to just get a few extra hours of sleep instead of forcing herself to pay attention. She would have loved to be cuddling a tail or two, but a cushion would do for now.
Grimsley cracked his neck as he reached into a box next to the forge and pulled out a lump of deep-grey - almost black - metal and showed it to Lone.
"Ah told ya plenty aboot metals yesterday, so tahday, ah'll be showin' ya how tae turn this shitey lump ah iron intae a dagger. Process is simple enough, aye, but just watch me then try it yerself. Learnin' fae doin' is far easier than learnin' fae just watchin', in my experiences, at least," the Stone Dwarf claimed as he touched the rim of his glasses with one hand, making a second lens pop out.
After that, he grabbed the chunk of wrought iron with a pair of tongs and then flipped a switch on the forge, making it light up. Once it was hot enough, he placed the iron and the tongs over the roaring flames and patiently waited while the metal started to heat up.
Lone had to hold himself back from asking several questions upon witnessing all of this. 'Wow. Those glasses have a second lens? Where the fuck'd it come from? Is that what steamforging does? That wasn't natural. The forge too. How'd it get lit? There's no way that switch is connected to anything electrical, right? More steamforging? It's still creating tonnes of smoke, so maybe the device can only light and turn off the forge?'
Needless to say, Lone was growing heavily interested in steamforging. He had always liked steampunk stuff, and while this wasn't exactly the same thing, it was damned-near close.
He kept the topic of steamforging in the back of his mind as he focused whole-heartedly on the smithing taking place before his very own eyes.
Lone was amazed at how quickly and expertly Grimsley was crafting this practice dagger blade. 'Traditionally, it took days to make swords, right? Granted, this is a dagger, but come on, he's even attaching the hilt and put an engraving on it! Is it the effect of the Blacksmithing skill? It must be. There's no way he just made a perfect dagger in two and a half hours.'
Grimsley wiped the sweat from his brow as a toothy grin filled his face. "S'been a while since ah last put so much effort in. 'Ere, you can 'ave this. Use it as a reference, now try tae craft yer own."
Lone carefully took the dagger and held it up to his eyes to read the engraving.
'Tae ma first apprentice, dinnae fookin' lose it!'
'He wrote in his accent...' Lone grinned. 'So I'm his first apprentice, huh?' he noticed as he tucked the weapon under his belt. He'd put it in his Dimensional Storage later, but for now, it could sit there snugly by his hip.
After that, Lone got his own chunk of wrought iron and carefully began to replicate the process of forging it into a dagger's blade.
Immediately, his first lump of iron melted and was wasted. Grimsley didn't say any words of disappointment and simply kept his arms crossed. He scratched his head lightly and said, "'Appens to everyone. It's nae the easiest thing in the world tae judge when the iron's hot enough tae be pound'd intae a blade, so dinnae fret over it. Grab anoth'r hunk ah iron an' restart. We've got enough time left for one more try tahday."
Lone appreciated the dwarf's kind words, but he was slightly distracted by a notification.
|The host has developed the passive skill: Blacksmithing.|
Naturally, he checked this new skill's information to see exactly what passive effects it applied to him.
|Passive Skill: Blacksmithing|
A skill that allows the host to craft with metal 5% faster and 5% more skillfully.
|Mastery:||Beginner Level 1|
'So it does give a speed boost... In fact, it's exactly like the Wood Crafting and Stone Shaping skills, but for metal, instead. I wonder if there's a Metalworking skill to help with harvesting ores too? I don't wanna look like an idiot, so I won't ask, but I should go mining at some point to find out...' Lone decided internally as he picked up his second chunk of wrought iron and brought it up to the forge.
|Congratulations! The host's passive skill [Blacksmithing] has levelled up! It is now Beginner Level 4.|
Grimsley held the shoddy looking dagger-blade up to his face as he inspected it thoroughly. "Rough. Blunt'r than ma bawsack. Weight'd on the end an' the left side of the centre. Curv'd tip. Dented. All in all, shite smeltin', shite hammerin', shite coolin'. Ah piece ah shite fae top tae bottom, but fer yer second try? It's ah fookin' masterpiece, Laddie."
Lone smiled as he took the crummy scrap of metal that vaguely resembled a dagger back from his blacksmithing master. "Thanks. I promise the next one'll be at least three times better tomorrow."
"Ah'm nae made ah iron, so aye, it fookin' better be. Results or I'll give you the long side of ma boot up yer fookin' arse. Anyhoo, it's noon. Wake up yer wee missy and get tae fook. I've work tae do," Grimsley grunted as he tried to hide the prideful smile that was creeping out from underneath his bushy beard.
Lone pretended not to notice that as he gently shook Soph awake and left the store.
Grimsley turned off the forge and slumped down into his chair after the two of them had left. He glanced at his empty mead barrel and sighed. "Ah really wish ah had some fookin' homebrew mead... Ah'm nae sure if anythin' else can distract me, Shana."
He hunched over and clenched his hands together tightly. "Was ah in the wrong? Maybe accepting an apprentice wasnae the wisest ah choices right now... 'E's got talent, aye, but involving 'im with me's only gonna drag 'im intae ma mess... Damn it! If only 'e hadnae shoved that fookin' gold coin in ma face..."
Grimsley laughed dryly as some new wrinkles made themselves known on his brow. "Primals, ye wouldn't mind sendin' me some help, would ye? I'm up shite creek and ma paddle's naewhere tae be fookin' foond..."
Now all geared up and ready to go, Lone and Sophie left Ranton for the Bengon Forest once again after a quick stop to the Amberbark Inn then The Adventurer's Guild.
"Lone, we were curious, what exactly is your plan to rank up?" Sophie asked as they trekked through the farmlands that stretched outwards beyond Ranton's city walls.
Shrugging lightly, Lone replied, "Well, seeing as how they're strong but dumb, I figured I'll only fight with my swordspear. No Bone Armour, no Lightning Bolt, nothing. You keep the other one busy or just kill it, assuming we find another pair again."
Sophie raised an eyebrow. "That's rather simplistic, coming from you."
"They're simple creatures. Besides, what good would a complex plan do me when, from what I know, all I need to rank up is an intense situation with my life on the line? Mind you, if I get smacked about and look like I'm dying, please save me," Lone said a half-jokingly half-seriously.
Sophie smirked underneath her helmet. She brought an armoured finger up to her helmet's faceplate and inclined her head ever-so-slightly. "We shall consider it."
"If you don't save me and I survive, I'm kissing you until you pass out. I'll force Soph to keep you in control while I do it," Lone threatened.
Sophie shuddered lightly. "W-We shall seriously consider it."
Lone nodded as a smirk wormed its way onto his lips. "As cute as ever."
Once again, the girl thanked her helmet simply for existing. It was easily the most valuable piece of her gear since it protected her blushing face from being stared at by the lecherous foxkin walking next to her.
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