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After walking for a bit Thomas started to notice more and more shops selling various things. Though he was curious he didn't step into any of them, there was no point in window shopping when he had things to do and no money to spend. As he was walking Thomas spotted a group of kids laughing and playing around a low circular table. It seemed like they were playing with a toy of some kind. Curious about what they were doing Thomas squinted his eyes to try and get a better look as he walked towards them.

After staring for a few moments his vision suddenly magnified. It was like he was suddenly standing right next to the kids and watching them from up close. The sudden change in perspective was extremely disorienting causing Thomas to stumble and nearly fall. He came to a stop and closed his eyes while kneeling over with his hands on his knees. Walking while looking so far ahead had made him feel extremely nauseous. After taking a few deep breaths to calm his roiling stomach Thomas slowly opened his eyes. His vision had returned to normal.

Curious about what happened, and attributing it to his 'All Seeing Eyes', he moved over to the side of the road and gripped a support beam for a small canopy of a storefront to make sure he could hold himself up if he got dizzy again. Once he was sure he could hold himself up he once more focused on the kids playing. Again his vision zoomed in on the children like an excellent pair of binoculars. There was nothing special about the kids. They were all young, probably between six and twelve with clothing similar to his own only spotted with dirt.

After looking over the kids he shifted his attention to the toy they were playing with. It was a top that looked interesting, it had no crown. The part that was gripped to make the top spin. Instead, it was simply made of the shoulder, body, and tip. On the very top, inset in the shoulder was a small clear green crystal. Whenever the top would stop spinning one of the children would hold it up by placing their finger on the green crystal, it would glow for a few seconds and when they released it the top would start spinning on its own.

It took Thomas a minute to realize that the toy was powered by mana and that the kids were feeding mana into it to make it spin. How it worked was completely beyond him, but he was pretty sure every one of those kids had more magic than he did at the moment. As soon as he realized that he started to feel light headed. He was forced to stop zooming his sight in on the children and grip the support beam in his hand tightly to keep himself from falling over as his head spun. He once again closed his eyes and focused on his breathing while he waited for the spinning sensation to slowly fade away.

After the sensation finally faded Thomas still felt a little weak and tired, but not like he would fall over if he tried to take a step. He straightened up and looked over at the kids still playing with the magical toy. He was extremely curious about it, he'd never seen magical toys before. Magical weapons and devices meant to deal damage were commonplace, but not something like a top powered by mana. He was still concerned about his dizzy spell though. So before heading over to the kids, he opened his character sheet to take a look.

Name: Thomas Dakrose
Experience Gained: 0 Experience Spent: 0 Experience Remaining: 0
Power: 3 (+) 40XP
Endurance: 3 (+) 40XP
Agility: 7 (+) 80XP
Magic: 1 (+) 20XP
Innate Abilities:
  • Transmutation ( A ) // Rank 1 // 0/20 Exp
  • Quick Learner ( C ) // Rank 1 // 0/20 Exp
  • All Seeing Eyes ( S ) // Rank 1 // 2/20 Exp
Skills
  • None
Abilities
  • None

Thomas noted he had gained two points of experience in his 'All Seeing Eyes'. He guessed that the ability was activated by magic, which meant he was feeling low on mana. He needed to get a firmer understanding of how it worked, but driven by his curiosity Thomas approached the kids and watched them play with the toy from up close. Every time one of the kids would recharge the top he would feel something, though he couldn't put his finger on it right away. Eventually one of the younger kids noticed Thomas watching them play and nudged an older kid next to him while pointing at Thomas. The older kid looked at Thomas with a bit of a glare, "You need something old man?"

Thomas blanked for a moment, sure he was in his thirties in the real world, but he'd made his avatar look like he was closer to his early or mid-twenties. Being called an 'old man' made him feel weird. Clearing his throat Thomas gave his best smile and nodded, "Actually, I was wondering where you guys got such an interesting toy."

The kids glanced at each other, almost like they were having a silent conversation. The older kid that spoke previously spoke up again, "What do we get if we do?"

Thomas fought hard to keep the frown off of his face. Damn kids asking for a bribe! Stifling his desire to just smack the kid Thomas dug into the purse he was given and pulled out a gold coin, it was all he had at the moment and he figured it should be a small fortune to the kids, "How about a gold coin to tell me where you got the toy?"

Thomas wanted to know where the toy came from because it was giving him ideas. As he'd been walking he'd only seen various kinds of horse-drawn carriages. If he could figure out how the top was made to spin by just using some mana he might be able to make something like a mana driven carriage! What's a mana driven carriage? It's a freaking car! Just the sheer possibility of being able to possibly create some form of mana driven vehicle was thrilling to him and would potentially fetch him a large sum if he kept the method to make them a secret. It would take him a while to develop something good, but every journey started with the first step and this was his!

While Thomas was plotting to himself the kid scoffed, "Just one coin? Miser! The spinner itself cost five! Give us five and we'll tell you where we got it!"

Thomas couldn't help thinking, "What the hell?! A gold coin is usually ten to one-hundred silver in most games. Where the fuck did these kids get that kind of money? Or... is a gold coin not worth that much in AoG? Maybe they're ripping me off?" He had no way to argue with the kids. He should have checked some of those stores after all to get an idea of what a gold coin was worth. Now he was paying for that mistake. Grumbling to himself Thomas fished four more coins out, just this piece of information was going to cost him half of what he had!

Thomas held out the five gold coins but didn't give them over yet, "Tell me where you got the 'spinner' from."

The kid nods and points further down the street at a somewhat run down looking shop, "We bought it from old man Graveljaw. If you're going to his shop, be careful! He's a crotchety old dwarf."

Thomas nodded and dropped the five gold coins into the kid's outstretched hand, "Thanks, kid."

His business with the kids finished Thomas walked down the street and directly into the shop that had been pointed out to him. The interior was rather small for a storefront, the majority of the building being dedicated to a room in the back. The storefront section was filled with glass covered shelves packed with all kinds of different items. Many of which Thomas couldn't even begin to guess the function of. Before he had a chance to take a good look a deep gruff voice yelled at him from the sales counter, "If'n ye aint got money then get out kid! This aint a place fer lookie-loos to waste time!"

Ignoring the rough tone, thanks to the warning of the kid, Thomas turned to look at the dwarf standing behind the counter. He looked similar to the many dwarves that Thomas had seen in multiple games. Though all he could see at the moment was the dwarves head of thick red hair and an even thicker and longer beard hanging down to beneath the counter. Thomas once again put on his best smile, this dwarf was definitely an NPC but he hadn't forgotten the warning of the AI and was determined to treat the dwarf as he would another person, "Sorry to bother you Mr. Graveljaw. It's just I saw some kids playing with a 'spinner' that they said they bought here. I found it to be a pretty marvelous thing and was hoping I could learn how to make things like that."

The dwarf scoffed, "What makes ye think I'd be willin' to teach some random human about tha sacred art of Magitech Engineerin' eh?"

So that's what it was called? Magitech Engineering? Thomas grinned broadly. He'd played games previously where there were Engineering professions. They weren't the straight up most powerful, but they could have some seriously interesting and surprising items that could definitely come in handy in special situations. No one ever ignored Engineers, they almost always had the right tool for the job. It was even more exciting thinking about adding magic into the profession to make the tools even more impressive. With all of that in mind, Thomas continued to smile, "I don't know about being worthy but I am truly and honestly interested in learning Magitech Engineering."

The dwarf eyed Thomas up and down. It was pretty obvious that Thomas wasn't lying, since he wasn't. The dwarf gestured for Thomas to come closer while glaring at him with his beady coal black eyes, "Show me yer hands boy."

Thomas almost wanted to laugh. He'd gone from 'old man', to 'kid', to 'boy' in a matter of minutes. Holding in his chuckle he walked over to the counter and showed his hands to the dwarf. The dwarf grabbed both of his hands by the wrist and examined his palms for a few moments before scoffing again, "Ye want ta be learnin' Magitech Engineerin' with such soft pitiful hands? Ye think it be a joke or somethin' any fool offa tha streets can do?" The dwarf released Thomas's wrists and stroked his long red beard, "I aint teachin' ya nothin' until ya can prove ya can do it." A malicious light seemed to emanate from his eyes, like he'd thought of a plan to get rid of the pest in front of him, "Go down tha street ta 'Rock's Armory', tell 'im I sent ya ta learn Blacksmithin' from 'im. Don't be comin' back until ya get to at least rank twenty-five in blacksmithin' ya hear?"

Thomas was really having a hard time not laughing in the Dwarfs face. He could easily tell that the dwarf just wanted to get rid of him, but to send him to learn Blacksmithing of all things? It should be known that Blacksmithing was one of his favorite things to do in VRMMO's and something he would have tried to do without the old goat of a dwarf sending him to do it. Still, he needed to put on an act, so with great effort, he tried to look downtrodden and nodded, "If you say so Mr. Graveljaw. I'll head over and learn blacksmithing right away!"

System Notice: New Quest!

Hekrin Graveljaw has tasked you with becoming a rank 25 Blacksmith. You may train at Rock's Armory.
Rewards: ??
Failure: Hekrin Graveljaw will refuse to teach you Magitech Engineering.
Time Limit: 1 Week

Thomas was slightly surprised to see a notice from the system, it had been pretty silent since he'd changed his name. It looked like he could still get quests from NPC's though, so that was a pretty good bit of news. It just seemed the quests weren't as easy to spot as they had been in previous games. In fact, there were no visual indicators of a quest being available, in progress, or ready to turn in to Hekrin. It was his first quest though and he was looking forward to it, but with a time limit of one week maybe it wouldn't be as easy as he thought. Thomas still had no idea how crafting actually worked in AoG but he was going to find out very soon!

Thomas nodded to Hekrin and quickly left the store before he pissed off the dwarf on accident and lost the ability to learn Magitech Engineering from him. After leaving the store he looked around and spotted a sign depicting a rock with a sword stuck in it. Walking over to the storefront Thomas saw a sign indicating that he was at 'Rock's Armory'.

After stepping into the building he was greeted with an assortment of melee weapons, armor, and shields all made of metal. Behind the counter was a young woman in a simple dress. She was fairly attractive with her dark hair in twin braids hanging down her back and bright green eyes. Thomas walked up to the counter and gave her a warm smile, "Sorry to bother you, but Master Hekrin told me to come here and learn blacksmithing."

He figured it was best to be straightforward and maybe get some brownie points for calling that cranky dwarf 'Master'. The woman looked at Thomas for a moment and then let out a long sigh, "Damn that old dwarf! Let me guess, you asked him to teach you Magitech Engineering right? Don't answer, of course you did, that's the only reason he sends people here. Can't that old bastard just tell people like you that he won't teach them?! Why does he have to foist you onto us?!"

After her rant, the woman looked at Thomas with eyes of pity and gestured for him to follow her, "Let's just get this over with. Maybe this time we'll get lucky and the person that old bastard sent over can actually work."

Thomas followed the woman into the back of the shop while frowning. He was a grade A amazing blacksmith with decades of experience! They should be happy as hell to have someone like him working for them! Not that he would say any of that out loud. He just had to accept the fact that in this game, this world, he was a nobody with no experience and no credit to his name. This was the one thing Thomas always hated about starting a new game, climbing the ranks from the beginning over and over again.

The woman led him to another door and opened it. The moment the door swung free a blast wave of heat assaulted his skin while the glorious sound of hammers striking hot metal assaulted his ears. Thomas immediately began to sweat from the heat, but ignored it. His attributes were still pathetically low and it was just something he would have to deal with for the time being. The woman walked over to one of the blacksmiths and tapped on his shoulder. After a short whispered conversation between the two, the blacksmith looked at Thomas and frowned.

The blacksmith walked over to Thomas and stretched out his hand, "I'm Rock, owner of Rock's Armory. Belle tells me that Hekrin sent you over?"

Thomas gripped Rock's hand as firmly as he could and shook it. Blacksmiths always appreciated a good firm handshake. Rock was well over six feet tall and wearing loose pants, no shirt, and a thick leather apron. The lack of a shirt combined with the leather apron worked to show off his bulging muscles, earned from countless hours swinging a hammer and lifting heavy metals. His dark hair was trimmed very short to keep it from catching fire and his eyes we dark black. He was a decent looking guy and gave off an honest impression.

Nodding to Rock's question Thomas answered, "That's right. Though even if he hadn't sent me I would have looked for a blacksmith to learn from anyway." Thomas inhaled deeply to take in the unique scent of the furnaces and hot metal, "I've always loved blacksmithing, so regardless of Hekrin I would have found my way into a smithy. There's nothing more manly than working with hot metal!"

Rock grinned at that and gave Thomas's hand a hard squeeze. Thomas kept his face straight while complaining in his mind, "Stop squeezing you're gunna break it!" Finished with the handshake Rock mercifully let Thomas's hand go, "Well said!"

System Notice: Your reputation with Rock has improved.

Oh? Reputation with an individual? Interesting. Thomas gave a large grin back to Rock before speaking up, "So, how can I help out around here?"

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A note from thomasdarkrose

Yes, it's another chapter. Consider the continuous releases an apology for being gone so long. I'm not promising I will release a new chapter daily, but I will try to for at least the rest of the week. We'll see how it goes though! Thanks for reading!


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About the author

thomasdarkrose

  • Georgia, USA

Bio: Just your average self-employed American with some spare time that enjoys reading, and now writing.

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