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Thomas was rather concerned over the extreme reaction Rock was having to his creation of the pseudo-magical kukri. As far as Thomas was concerned it was no big deal, but it seemed like it was an extremely big deal to Rock. Thomas carefully patted Rocks wrists while Rock continued to hold him hostage, "Rock. Calm down, it's not a big deal. But if you want me to teach you... I'd need a stronger guarantee than your word that you won't spread the methods I teach without my permission."

Thomas wasn't an idiot. If Rock was this excited then Thomas knew what he had to have done was unprecedented. He was also aware he wasn't the only player with Blacksmithing experience. Thomas was very aware that several other people in the crafting lifestyle community considered him to be their rival. For his part, he didn't care who was better, he only cared that he got to make cool stuff. With Rocks excitement, he knew this could be profitable, but with his 'rivals' out there he also knew the monopoly on this wouldn't last indefinitely. Best to strike while the iron was hot.

Hearing Thomas's reply Rock eventually started to calm down a little and released his death grip on Thomas's shoulders, "Sorry about that, but you clearly have no idea just how big of a deal this actually is! My family has been filled with blacksmiths as far back as we can remember and never has there been a story of anyone creating a magic weapon without magic! It should be impossible! And yet..." Rock looked over at the kukri sitting on the table, "Proof sits right before me that it is possible."

Thomas walked around Rock to the table and stroked a finger over the belly of the kukri, "I can teach you what I did to make this. But before I can do that I need something to prevent you from teaching others and spreading it for the time being. I think you agree that if we were to flood the market with pseudo-magical items, they would lose their value." Thomas turned to look at Rock seriously, "So, we need something more binding than just our individual words."

Rock nodded along as Thomas he spoke, agreeing with him. He rubbed his short hair with his hand as he thought about the last part, "Well... we could get a scribe to create a binding contract for us."

Thomas tilted his head quizzically and asked, "Binding contract?"

Rock nodded and gesticulated with his hands, "It's a special contract created by scribes. Once the terms are written the contract is signed in blood by us, binding us to our word forcefully. If either of us breaks the contract the clauses covering compensation automatically kick in. For example, if there was a clause saying I had to pay you a hundred gold for breaking the contract the contract would force me to find you and hand over the money, regardless of my will."

Thomas nodded and looked closely at Rock, "I'm willing to sign a contract, so we should discuss terms."

The discussion took the rest of the day as they bartered back and forth over what they would each get. In the end, Thomas agreed to teach Rock the two methods he'd used to make the Kukri a pseudo-magical weapon. Rock agreed to give Thomas 25% of all sales of items using the techniques Thomas was going to teach him. At first, Rock refused such a high percentage, but when Thomas informed him that his two techniques could to applied to any weapon or armor made of metal, Rock caved and agreed to the 25%. Regardless Rock was still going to make a fortune, a magical grade item could easily sell for ten times more than a normal version.

With their agreement reached and the day coming close to ending, Rock immediately left to hire a scribe to create the contract that the two of them would sign tomorrow. Thomas spent the remainder of the day, a little more than an hour, to begin work on creating a sheath for the kukri that he was going to use as his main weapon for a while. Not that he had much use for a weapon at this point, he'd yet to even see a monster in AoG.


Arriving at Rock's Armory the next morning Thomas was 27 gold poorer after a night at The Swans Nest, but his 'All Seeing Eyes' and 'Serenity' had gained a bit more experience due to his relentless nightly grinding of them. Stepping into the storefront Thomas was greeted with the sight of the mountainous Rock waiting impatiently for him instead of the cold and somewhat beautiful Belle. Well, she was there, but Rock immediately charged over to Thomas with the contract in his hand and shoved it under Thomas's nose, "Here's the binding contract! Hurry up and check it, then we can sign it and you can show me your techniques!"

System Notice: New Quest!
Rock is determined to have you teach him your techniques. Sign the binding contract and help Rock complete a magical weapon to receive your reward(s).
Rewards: 500 Exp
Time Limit: 10 hours
Bonus: ???

Belle chimed in from behind the sales counter, "He's been awake all night and waiting for you impatiently here since the moment the sun began to rise."

Thomas looked at Rock and all of a sudden he felt like the tall muscular man had become a kid impatiently waiting to open his presents on Christmas morning. Laughing lightly at the sudden mental image of Rock in cartoon pajamas jumping around excited, Thomas accepted the contract and began to read over it.

The terms were exactly as they discussed. Thomas would teach Rock, Rock wasn't allowed to teach or in any way spread knowledge of the techniques to anyone else without Thomas's permission. Thomas would receive 25% of all sales of items made using his techniques. Thomas was not allowed to teach any other blacksmiths in Ulvstad his techniques or to create and sell items that Rock produced, effectively giving Rock a full monopoly on the sales of pseudo-magical items until some other otherworlder taught them to another blacksmith. If Thomas violated the contract he would be permanently forbidden from not only practicing blacksmithing but from even teaching others. If Rock broke the contract he would have to compensate Thomas by giving him all of the profits made from the sales of items using his techniques, as well as having the techniques wiped from his memory.

There were other minor details, but that was the gist of the contract. The punishments were harsh, but neither man had any intention of breaking the contract as both of them would profit heavily from the sales of the weapons and armor produced by Rock. There was one clause where Rock was allowed to teach the blacksmiths currently employed by him, but only after they signed a binding contract themselves.

Confirming the contents of the contract both Rock and Thomas slit the tips of their fingers with a sharp knife and dipped a quill into their blood to sign the binding contract. Once both signatures were on the piece of paper it gently floated into the air while emitting a soft white light. As they watched, the contract split into two glowing white lights and entered their chests, permanently binding both men to the signed agreement.


None of the other blacksmiths, or the apprentices, were in the smithy today. Rock had sent all of them home leaving only himself, Thomas and Belle in the entire building. Rock was taking this very seriously so he didn't want to risk any of the other blacksmiths witnessing the lessons Thomas was going to give. As for Belle, she wasn't a blacksmith and would be running the storefront for the day so she wasn't a concern.

Upon arriving inside of the smithy Rock's eyes immediately lit up with a fervent light, "Alright! No stalling! Teach me!"

Thomas laughed and nodded, despite no other blacksmiths or apprentices being in the room, two of the forges were lit and ready for use, Rock hadn't wasted any time making preparations. Thomas began giving out instructions and demonstrating what he was doing. Heating the metal, hammering it out into a longer and thinner bar, then the process of folding, making sure Rock knew to clean the scale off of the metal before finishing the fold so it would have a good weld.

Thomas took Rock through each step of the process folding, forging, quenching, grinding, tempering and finishing the grinding. At the end of the process, Thomas received 513 blacksmithing experience and 128 regular experience for creating a magical rarity, perfect quality, kukri. Rock, on the other hand, was nearly brought to tears at having crafted his very first magical weapon. Rock thanked Thomas profusely, though Thomas eventually calmed him down so they could eat a late lunch before finishing the weapons.

After lunch, they both went into the finishing room and Thomas walked Rock through the process he used to attach the handle to the kukri. Rock watched, flabbergasted, as Thomas smeared the excellent glue all over the tang of the kukri and the inside of the handle. Unable to take such waste Rock smacked the back of Thomas's head and scowled, "Why are you wasting so much glue?! Just a few drops are more than enough to bind the wood to the handle permanently!"

Rubbing the back of his head Thomas scowled at Rock, "How was I supposed to know that? You wouldn't even tell me what the glue is made of!"

Rock grumbled and shook his head, then did as he'd said and only used a few drops of the glue to spread a very fine layer of the glue onto the tang and wood of his own kukri. Thomas watched, and learned, apparently the glue was as good as, if not better than, epoxies in the real world. With the gluing done Thomas walked Rock though chiseling then filing the handle into an ergonomic shape. Finally, at the same time, they both proceeded to finalize the sharpening and polishing of their kukris. With both kukri's complete they each flashed with a soft blue light. The worshipful look on Rock's face as he looked over his kukri was priceless.

System Notice: You have finished creating a Magical Kukri. Quality: Perfect. You have gained 344 Blacksmithing experience and 86 experience.

Rock eventually turned to look at Thomas with a glowing smile on his soot-covered face, "Thomas, thank you. It's always been my dream to be able to craft a magical weapon. I just didn't have the head, or patience, to learn all that magic mumbo jumbo. With this, my dream has come true! Thank you!"

System Notice: Quest Complete!
Rock is determined to have you teach him your techniques. Sign the binding contract and help Rock complete a magical weapon to receive your reward(s).
Rewards: 500 Exp
Time Limit: 10 hours
Bonus: Maximum Reputation with Rock Brickson.
System Notice: You have gained 500 experience.
System Notice: Your reputation with Rock has reached the maximum.

Thomas couldn't help but smile and shake the enthusiastic Rock's hand over and over as the man bounced up and down with joy. Rock really seemed like an overexcited kid right then. Once Rock calmed down they spent the rest of the day discussing the finer details of the processes and the reasoning behind Thomas's techniques.

The process of folding the metal made the most sense to Rock, after all, over the course of his career he'd had many weapons fracture, or even shatter, because of hidden impurities in the iron. Folding the metal to spread out the impurities and have them less likely to cause trouble was an easy concept to understand. The tempering process was a bit harder for Rock to comprehend. None of his weapons had ever had an issue from not being tempered, something Thomas attributed to the game system. Despite not understanding the need for tempering Rock only had to examine the magical kukri in his hand to be convinced to keep doing it, even if it added a chunk of time to the forging process.

By the time they were done with their discussion, the sun was beginning to set. Thomas left Rock's Armory and headed over to The Swans Nest for his usual dinner and laundry service, losing yet another 27 gold in the process. He was now beginning to worry about his slowly declining funds. It would still be at least a few more days before he would gain any of the profits from Rock's sale of items using his techniques. Once they were on sale though, they would have a hard time keeping them in stock until competition appeared.

Rock had explained that his cheapest items were generally daggers selling for around ten gold each, magical daggers could easily be sold for 100, or more, gold each netting Thomas a good 25 gold per sale minimum. The more expensive the weapon the more gold Thomas would make from the sale, and that didn't take into account custom orders or sales from the normal kukris. All of this would take time though, and looking at his remaining funds Thomas only had enough saved to last him six more days at The Swans Nest.


Retiring to his room, Thomas opened his character sheet and looked over his growth and available experience points. With a happy grin, Thomas immediately spent 490 experience to bump each and every attribute to ten leaving him with 304 experience. With each attribute costing 110 experience to increase he only had enough left to bump two attributes one point each, or one attribute by two points. He stared at his character sheet as he tried to decide what to do. Right now he was at the 'peak' of human limits, the very next point would push him to become superhuman.

After contemplating for a while, Thomas decided to spend the experience to increase both his Power and Endurance up to eleven. Those two attributes were the most helpful with the heavy work of Blacksmithing and he only had tomorrow to finish getting to rank 25 in his blacksmithing to complete the grumpy dwarf, Hekrin's, quest. He immediately spent the experience and both attributes crossed the threshold.

System Notice: Congrats on breaking through the limits of humanity. Prepare for the upgrade...

For a brief time after reading the system notice, he was confused until the pain began to course through every nerve in his body. Thomas felt like electricity was running rampant through his nervous system. Laying on his bed his body began to convulse and spasm continuously. He could barely breathe while he was forced to listen to the sounds of his muscles tearing and his bones cracking. Every bone, muscle, and tendon in his body cracked, ripped, or tore apart and reformed moments later, reforging his body into something beyond human.

The pain was so earthshattering that Thomas felt as if even his soul was being ripped apart and put back together over and over again as his body was reforged by the system. He felt like he was suffering in agony for years while only a few minutes passed. By the time his body stopped tearing itself apart and putting itself back together his bed was drenched in sweat. The moment the pain ended Thomas lost consciousness.


Spoiler
: Character Sheet
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A note from thomasdarkrose

For those of you wondering about the timeline so far for the quest:

Day 1 - Got the quest to become a rank 25 blacksmith, worked the bellows for the day.
Day 2 - Used molds to create longswords.
Day 3 - Made the twin dagger and first kukri.
Day 4 - Made the Magical Kukri.
Day 5 - Finished the Magical kukri, negotiated with Rock.
Day 6 - Taught Rock how to make magical items.

And before the comments come in, yes, I did take some inspiration from wuxia/xianxia/cultivation novels for the scene at the end, but this is obviously not that kind of novel. I take inspiration from many sources, so don't be surprised to see things like this from other sources in the future.

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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