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Thomas awoke the next morning and stretched his body carefully to work out any knots that might have developed in his muscles. With soft groans, he worked and stretched his body until it warmed up and felt comfortable. With that done he went over to the bag he'd gotten the previous day and pulled out his second set of clothes and set it to the side. In the room, there was a small basin of room temperature water and a rough cloth. He used them to give himself something like a sponge bath.

Once he was clean he pulled on the new outfit and smiled to himself. This outfit definitely looked a little better than the cheap linen clothes, but the more important point was that the clothing was thicker and a little tougher. It would help protect him from random sparks while hitting hot hunks of metal. The pants were made of a thick dark brown cloth and had several pieces of leather stitched to the knee, front and back thighs, shin, and calf. The shirt was made of a similar material with leather patches covering his entire pack, pectorals, and abdomen. It was some sort of soft padded armor, the kind that was easy to mass produce, cheap, and not very effective.

After slipping on the same simple leather shoes he had worn the day before Thomas packed his stuff and made his way downstairs. After turning the key to his room over to Martha he had a nice breakfast. The meal consisted of orc bacon, eggs from some bird he had never heard of, and a bowl of porridge made from a wheat-like plant. All-in-all he thought it was a rather tasty breakfast, especially the orc bacon.

With breakfast finished Thomas left The Swans Nest and made his way over to Rock's Armory. He wanted to show up early to show his enthusiasm to get to work. It didn't take more than a few minutes to walk over to Rock's and enter the building. It was just the same as yesterday, of course, even down to Belle standing behind the counter. When she saw Thomas walk in with a smile on his face she just arched an eyebrow and gestured to the door leading to the smithy in the back.

Nodding to her Thomas walked into the smithy and greeted Rock, "Good morning Rock! So what are you going to teach me today?"

Rock, and the other three blacksmiths, were already hard at work at their forges. Rock hadn't given Thomas a specific time to be there, but he had still come immediately after his breakfast. Rock looked over to Thomas and smiled, "Today I'll teach you how to make a sword." Rock gestured for Thomas to come over to his forge before beginning, "I'll tell you what to do and you just follow my directions okay?"

System Notice: Blacksmithing Tutorial. Follow the directions of Rock to unlock the Blacksmithing skill.

Thomas nodded and walked over to the anvil near the forge to get closer to Rock. Meanwhile, Rock picked up two metal bricks and held them out to Thomas, "These are just standard iron ingots, but if you ruin them you're paying for them! Now toss them into the crucible and pump the bellows until they liquify."

Thomas did as he was instructed, tossing the ingots in and pumping the bellows. It was a bit easier to handle the bellows today thanks to his increases in Power and Endurance. They weren't huge increases but they definitely helped a little. He didn't even need to use 'Serenity' as it only took about fifteen minutes for the ingots to melt from the sweltering heat of the forge. Once the ingots were liquid, Rock called Thomas over, "Set one of the sword molds down and pour the metal into the mold."

Thomas knew exactly what he was doing, making weapons in this was pretty efficient, even if he found the weapons made from molds to be a little weak. They were still good for mass production though! After setting down a mold, Thomas used the handle attached to the forge to tilt the crucible and pour the yellow glowing liquid iron into the mold. Once the mold was filled, without needing to be reminded, he tilts the crucible back and fetched two more ingots to throw into it. Why only two? It was a small crucible so that's all it could hold, a real waste in Thomas' opinion.

Rock watched as Thomas went back over to the bellows and began to pump them again. Curious he asked, "What are you doing?"

Thomas had observed just a little the day before, when he wasn't wallowing in self-pity from his sore muscles, so shrugged his shoulders and explained, "It takes about fifteen minutes for the ingots to melt, it also takes about fifteen to twenty minutes for the iron in the mold to solidify enough to be handled. So why waste the time standing around doing nothing?"

Rock couldn't help but grin. What Thomas was doing is what any seasoned Blacksmith would do, multitasking! Rock watched as Thomas finished melting the ingots. After pouring them into the mold he let it sit while he moved over to the first one he had poured and used a pair of tongs to pull the still hot metal from the mold. Rock handed a hammer over to Thomas, "Use this hammer to work the edges of the sword into a good shape."

Normally Rock would have given clearer instructions, but so far his impression of Thomas was that he was a natural born blacksmith and he was curious about what Thomas would do. For his part, Thomas just hefted the hammer and checked it out. It weighed about seven pounds or so and had a four square inch face. It would do nicely for hammering the edges of the sword. Without wasting time Thomas held the tongs tightly and carefully hammered the edge of the sword.

Initially, he was surprised at how quickly the edge was transforming under the blows of the hammer, but since this was a game it made sense for things to be a bit quicker than in reality. It only took Thomas a few minutes to hammer the flat blank sword until it had angled edges that could be ground down and honed into sharp edges. Rock gestured to a trough of water, the sword was still hot enough to quench, "Stick the blade of the sword into the water. If you hammered it right it should be fine, but if you did it wrong the metal will fracture."

One of the nice things about using this method to make swords is the odds of a sword cracking during quenching were a bit lower than if he'd simply hammered out an ingot into a blade. During smelting, the impurities would either float to the top and be scooped off, or settle on the bottom and not come out during the pour. And since an ingot had been smelted at least once before it had likely already had the majority of impurities removed previously. So without concern Thomas dipped the hot sword blade into the trough of water. Immediately the ambient heat of the blade caused the water to begin to boil and gush steam.

Thomas only quenched the blade for a few seconds to let the metal grow rigid before pulling it out of the water. He hadn't heard any 'tinging' sounds so he was pretty certain the blade hadn't fractured. With a gesture from Rock, Thomas handed the tongs over and let Rock examine the blade for himself. After looking it over Rock nodded, "Not bad kid."

Thomas left the sword to Rock and fetched the second blade he had poured. It had just barely cooled down enough to be worked. A little bit later Thomas had quenched the second blade. Setting it aside he retrieved the first blade and headed over to the roughest grinding wheel. It had the lowest 'grit' so it would take off the most material and help him refine the shape of the blade and its angles.

Thanks to being in a game the initial grinding didn't take very long so Thomas swiftly moved through the grades. Each grinding wheel was a simple seat with the circular stone wheel attached to some pedals that were worked by foot. It was very basic and very easy to use. Thomas took the sword through all the grinding wheels until he had honed the sword's edge. It wasn't razor sharp yet, that last step was usually done by hand.

Rock once again took the blade and examined it. He couldn't stop himself from smiling while looking at the shining blade he held, "Really not bad kid. I think you were born to be a blacksmith!"

System Notice: Tutorial complete. You have unlocked the Blacksmithing skill.
Blacksmithing // Rank 1 // 0/20 Exp // Allows you to forge various weapons, armor, and items out of metal.

Rock looked at Thomas and continued to smile, "Alright kid, you've impressed me. Let's see what you've got! I want you to make as many blades for me as you can today."

System Notice: New Quest!
Rock has challenged you to make as many blades as possible during the day today. The more blades, and the higher quality they are, the higher your reward will be.
Rewards: 25 Exp and 25 Gold per functional blade crafted.
Time Limit: 8 hours
Bonus: ???

After getting the quest Thomas immediately went to grind down the second sword he had made. It didn't take long and when he was finished...

System Notice: You have created a Normal longsword. Quality: Average. You gained 20 Blacksmithing Exp.

Setting the mostly finished sword to the side, it only needed a final sharpening and a handle attached, Thomas went back to the forge to start smelting again. However, as soon as he touched the handle to the bellows a system notification appeared.

System Notice: You have begun Blacksmithing, would you like to use Automatic or Manual mode? This decision can be changed later.

Thomas couldn't keep a shit-eating grin off of his face. Karonite had actually implemented one of his suggestions! In most games, the crafting was either adding specific materials to get a specific item or fully manual. Thomas himself preferred full manual because it gave the absolute most freedom to make anything your heart desired. But he also understood that not everyone was like him. He'd suggested that it be a choice for the players, one they could change at any time. Without a second thought, Thomas chose 'Manual'.

Thomas put himself into a rhythm. He had eight hours to make as many swords as possible. It took roughly fifteen to twenty minutes to melt the ingots down and about the same amount of time for them to cool enough to work with. The longest part was grinding, but Thomas felt that if he used his strength and endurance to the maximum he could do it a bit faster. At the same pace he just worked he'd made two swords in two hours. Only making eight swords in the remaining eight hours wouldn't be enough, he wanted to hit at least ten.

With a plan in mind, Thomas began to pump the bellows more furiously to raise the temperature of the coals and melt the ingots faster. To keep his stamina up he used 'Serenity' even if it only helped a tiny bit in preserving it. For the next three hours, Thomas pumped the bellows, poured the liquid iron into molds, and hammered the blanks that had cooled enough until they could be quenched. In that time he managed to get ten blades ready for grinding.

After a short break for a hearty lunch, Thomas went back to work and began grinding the swords as fast as he could while still maintaining care. It wouldn't do to grind a sword's edge completely off! Thomas spent the next four and a half hours grinding one blade after another, though he didn't hit the final grit on any of them. He wanted to complete them all at once before the eight-hour time limit was up.

With all ten sword blades ready for the final grind Thomas worked like a madman and fought every second. His legs were pumping as fast as he could make them go while his usually regulated breathing was becoming slightly ragged. It only took a few minutes to complete the first sword with an average quality. The second, third and fourth swords were all average quality as well. But with those four swords, plus the first one his Blacksmithing rank had increased to...

Blacksmithing // Rank 4 // 10/50 Exp

With only an hour left Thomas had roughly ten minutes per sword for their final grind. He pumped his legs as fast as he could while carefully dragging the edges of the blades over the spinning stone surface. After ten minutes he produced another average sword. After twenty minutes he produced an above average sword which gave him a small bonus of ten percent, netting a total of 22 Blacksmithing Exp for that sword. The next three swords also came out as 'Above Average' netting him another 66 Blacksmithing Exp.

With the final sword, Thomas took as much care as he could, grinding it out until the final seconds ticked down on the quest. Right as the quest timer hit zero seconds the final sword was completed.

System Notice: You have created a Normal longsword. Quality: Excellent. You gained 24 Blacksmithing Exp.
Blacksmithing // Rank 6 // 52/70 Exp

Just as he finished and got the last bit of Blacksmithing Exp Rock walked over and began to examine the ten swords that Thomas had produced. They were still technically incomplete, but the final steps were simple and extremely unlikely to ruin them. After examining the swords for a while, especially the last one Thomas produced Rock gave Thomas a grin and slapped his slumped shoulder, "Well done kid! Especially this last one. You've exceeded my expectations!"

Rock walked over to the small lockbox once again and fetched some gold coins to pass over to Thomas, "I pay 25 gold per usable sword here. Since you produced ten that comes to two-hundred and fifty gold. But since you produced a couple of really good swords I tacked on an extra ten percent making it two-hundred seventy-five gold. Also, tell Belle to take you to The Swans Nest again, you get another night on me."

System Notice: Quest Complete!
Rock has challenged you to make as many blades as possible during the day today. The more blades, and the higher quality they are, the higher your reward will be.
Rewards: 25 Exp and 25 Gold per functional blade crafted.
Time Limit: 8 hours
Bonus: +10% to rewards, Free nights stay at The Swans Nest.
System Notice: You have gained 275 Gold.
 System Notice: You have gained 275 Exp.
Spoiler: Character Sheet
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A note from thomasdarkrose

For those wondering, skills and abilities don't usually tell how much experience is gained or when it is gained. Crafting professions (and similar) do because the experience doesn't come until the product is finished. As for Quick Learner growing, it has a subtle effect that Thomas has not noticed or explored yet so you'll have to hold your curiosity until he explores it further and understands it better. For now, with its rank so low you can consider it to have 'no effect' for the time being.

Also, I took the time to go back over the first few chapters for one more editing pass, everyone annoyed by the tense changes should be much happier with them now!

Hope you enjoyed the chapter!


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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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