It took several more trips but I finally handed Engra the last piece of honey.
“Thank you, you adorable little girl! Now I just need to make my wine and I won't die.”
“I'm not a little girl. And you owe me armor.”
“Yes, yes.” She held out a small cube and I took it. Knowledge of the cube’s contents jumped into my head. “Keep the upgraded inventory too, as a thank you for being so timely.”
“Thanks,” I said but she’d already disappeared.
Inside the gold cube that was carved with runes I found a Necklace of First Degree Armor and two bracelets with a similar name. Confused, I took them out and studied them. It didn't look any different from a ruby necklace with a silver chain and two matching bracelets, although the metal did shimmer with rainbow-colored light rays as if nearly bursting with magic. Oddly, it smelled like Thanksgiving Dinner.
“Intriguing,” Korren said.
I held them towards her and she leaned in with her jeweler’s eyeglass.
“This is obviously apprentice work.”
“Is it that bad?”
“No. You see, apprentices often have crazy ideas masters would never consider. Most of the time it’s because the masters know better, but every once in a while they'll come up with something brilliant that may not have worked as intended, but does have a unique usage. This is one of those.”
I eyed the armor skeptically. “What do you mean, ‘May not work as intended?’”
“Well, I’m not sure what she was trying, but full body armor usually isn’t confined to a single necklace and two bracelets. Most of the time you’ll want your arms, head, torso, and legs all covered in metal or leather armor. Then that set has its own properties.
“This Necklace has a single property. To teleport the wearer within a 3 block radius, just before they’re struck with a life-threatening injury. And these bracelets throw up a shield that kills whatever tries to injure the wearer.”
“Does that mean I get two saves?”
“No. This a set so they work in concert.” Her brows rose. “Interesting!”
“I was confused. An item like this would surely be the worth the silver to make it, but this isn’t silver.”
I waited for her to continue. When she didn’t I said, “Then what is it?”
“It’s cold steel.”
“I’ve never heard anything so idiotic!” Phenic said. “Using cold steel for armor. That’s... That’s... dumb and wasteful! You use it for a sword blade, for an arrow head. It would burn any Fae who tried to wear it. What would be the point in armor you couldn’t wear? Did she make it as a joke?”
The dark elf studied me. “Well, I suppose if one was human they’d have no issue wearing it.”
I put the necklace and two bracelets on and sighed with relief. Despite whatever Nenvari did to my body to make it not need food or sleep, and despite repeatedly returning from the dead, I was still human.
“Phenic. Here are three more waxes. Did you still want me to collect it or did you need me to switch to something else?”
He glared at the necklace in distaste even as he took the three waxes and gave me my crystals. “I’ll take either wax or honey, now that Engra is gone. One crystal for one wax, four for honey.”
“Oh, and do use a crystal this time.”
I shook my head. “I’m saving them for the fight with Nenvari.”
He snorted. “You think you can use a tool in a fight without practicing with it?”
“I’ll use them when I’m ready to use them. What’s your problem with me anyway? Every time I come back you start a fight with me.”
Phenic disappeared with a pop. This reminded me that there were still many invisible things around, watching me. I shivered.
“Don’t mind him, Miss,” Meeks said. “He’s just dealin' with stress as best he can.”
“What is he stressed about?”
“Hasn’t seen his family in a long time.”
“Then why doesn’t he just go visit them?”
Meeks shook his head. “For the things that live down here, leavin’s not so simple. And that’s all I can say on the matter. Ye ready for some upgrades yet?”
I nodded and handed over my old inventory satchel.
“1100! You’ve done quite well this time.”
“I’m slowly getting faster.”
I waited to hear a derisive comment from Phenic then remembered that he’d just disappeared to sulk or whatever it is black toothed fairies did. And when did I have a memory like a goldfish?
“Ye can get 5 Upgrades now. The next 6 will be 300 each.”
“You’re killing me here Meeks.”
“Ye want the upgrades or not?”
“Of course I do.”
He took out 5 crystals and they shot into my bow, one at a time.
In my head my new fully filled out stats looked something like this:
Battle Miner Kelly Knight
Ore Worth: 100
Death Saving Crystals: 23
Keys: 2 Platinum, 5 Gold
Weapon Charge: 0/15
Weapon Range: 4
Weapon Damage: 2
Armor Teleport Radius: 3
Armor Charges: 1/1
“Hey Korren, how many keys do I need to upgrade my weapon twice?”
“At least 8 platinum, but the more gold keys you have, the more I can afford to give you a better quality crystal.”
I nodded. “Well, I better get on that.”
After waving goodbye to the two I dropped into the mine, ready to test out my new armor.