When Thomas stepped into Rock's Armory, he waved to Belle behind the sales counter. Belle looked him over and gave him the cold shoulder. Thomas was used to her attitude, but also slightly confused by it. At the end of his tenure here she'd seemed a little nicer. Since it didn't really matter all that much Thomas dismissed the thought and instead asked, "Is Rock still in the smithy?"

Belle just nodded her head in confirmation, not bothering to even speak to him. So Thomas decided to just ignore her and headed into the back of the shop to talk to Rock. When he arrived in the smithy the blacksmiths were all finishing up their work on various pieces of equipment. Judging by the number of weapons and armors in the smithy it seemed like Rock was stocking up in preparation for a firesale. Noticing Thomas, Rock waved at him and exclaimed, "What brings you here? Coming back to make something else that's utterly crazy?"

The other blacksmiths chuckled at Rock's question, but there was also a gleam in their eyes like they all hoped Thomas would teach them something new. Thomas just shook his head and laughed, "Something like that I guess. I've got something I would like you to make for me."

Rock shrugged his shoulders, "As much as I hate to say this, wouldn't it be better if you made it yourself?"

Not wanting to hurt Rock's feelings or potentially lower his reputation with the man, Thomas shakes his head, "That old goat Hekrin has me learning Tailoring now so I simply don't have the time. And since I know the best blacksmith in the city I figured I could ask him to make it for me."

Thomas didn't actually think he was blowing smoke up Rock's ass. Judging by the way Rock acted to the creation of pseudo-magical items and the generous terms of their contract, Rock would soon be known as the number one blacksmith in the city. Thomas had no intentions of staying here for the long-term. He intended to make his way to the capital and hopefully open a shop there so Rock would continue to be the number one blacksmith for a good long time, hopefully.

Rock chuckled at the flattery and shook his head, "All right, just tell me what you want."

Thomas took Rock into the finishing room so he could use the table there to draw out the design as best he could remember. X-acto knives weren't exactly complex in design. The most difficult part would be the collet that the collar would tighten to hold the blade in place. Thomas decided to go with the more complex design to give Rock another item he could sell perpetually. If the knife was made as a solid piece people would use it as long as possible and resharpen it until it couldn't be sharpened anymore.

However, if the blades were disposable and easily changed out then people wouldn't really care and would likely continue to come back to buy new blades over and over. Repeat customers, that's how a business made money. As Thomas drew out the design he explained to Rock the basic uses for the item. It wasn't a weapon, but a tool that could be used by just about any profession that needed sharp cuts. Thomas drew out the shape of the standard blade, but then also drew out various variations that could be used for many different applications.

After seeing what Thomas wanted him to make, Rock understood why Thomas didn't have the time. It would only take a couple of hours at most to make a piece of iron into one sharp knife, but Thomas wanted to start a whole new industry! Well, maybe 'industry' was a little grand, but Rock listened as Thomas explained and even drew out a plan for a mold to make multiple blades at the same time. Since the blades were so small hand forging them was out of the question, and Thomas knew that he couldn't design a ten-ton press, yet.

Looking over the designs, Rock rubbed his head and sighed, "This is ridiculous. What the hell kind of world do you come from to design things like this?" Shaking his head Rock continues, "Nah, don't tell me. I don't think I could take it." Looking over the designs he comes to a decision, "I can do this, but it will take me at least a week to create everything and make the first of these things."

Thomas sighed and nodded. Turning to Rock he asked, "Then could you please make me a simplified one, I only need it to last a couple of days while I learn Tailoring. Just a handle with a sharp-as-possible angled blade will be good enough for now."

Rock nodded, "I can have that done by tomorrow afternoon." Rock turned to look at the plans Thomas had sketched out, they weren't perfectly detailed, but they got the idea across. It would be up to Rock to perfect everything, "Looks like I need to have another binding contract written up."

Thomas laughed and shook his head, "Don't worry about it. Just consider it a gift. I'll be more than happy with the profits from the sales of pseudo-magical items. How is your progress on that anyways?"

Rock grinned broadly, "We're going to start sales of the items in a couple of more days. We're building up stock but only intend to release a few pieces at a time to keep the price from falling too fast. You'll have your first share of the profits a week after that."

Thomas nodded and returned Rock's grin. Like repeat business supply and demand was also a core tenant of running a profitable business, "I'm looking forward to it. For now, I'm going to get dinner and some sleep."

After saying their goodbyes, Thomas went to The Swans Nest and did exactly as he said. 

Laying in his bed at The Swans Nest, Thomas opened his character sheet and browsed through the information in it. He was happy with his growth but wondered how much faster other players were growing through combat. Looking at his available experience points, Thomas could raise all of his attributes to fifteen at the same time. Now wasn't the time to do that though. Instead, he focused his eyes and used his 'All Seeing Eyes' to stare at the boring ceiling. It had been days since he'd last had time to grind the ability and he wasn't going to risk missing out on it again.

Just over an hour later he was finally running low on mana and canceled the ability. Despite how long he'd used the ability for it had only ranked up to six, which was rather disappointing. At this rate, it was going to take him forever to get it to a high rank. He was sure there was more to the ability, he just had no idea what. With his grinding done, Thomas once more opened his character sheet and quickly dumped 600 experience points to increase each attribute to fifteen. He braced himself for the expected pain... only to feel a nice warm current of energy flowing through his body and nourishing it.

Feeling the warm current flowing through his body, Thomas relaxed and let out a sigh. Now, this is how leveling up should feel. He left his mind drift into a state of 'Serenity' and slowly sank into a deep sleep.

When Thomas awoke the following morning he felt relaxed and stress-free. His whole body felt good, it was the first time in two days that he hadn't woken up with an aching body and he was reveling in the feeling. After climbing out of his bed he checked himself over and found there was no difference to it after increasing his stats. Rubbing his chin he contemplated what he had read on the forums previously. If he kept his stats balanced it seemed to keep his body balanced. So if he overbalanced his stats in one way or another it would change his body?

It seemed to fit with his experiences. When his Power and Endurance 'greatly' exceeded his Agility and Magic he had become a muscleman that any warrior would likely want to be. However, after he brought his stats back into balance he had slimmed down and had a lean, but still powerful, look with his muscles no longer looking like inflated balloons. So, if a high 'strength' set of stats made his muscles big and powerful, and a 'balanced' set of stats gave him a balanced body, would cranking up his stats for a more mage-like build make him look skinny?

It seemed to fit the pattern, which meant there were visible signs of how someone was increasing their stats. He doubted it would be a hundred percent accurate, but he should be able to differentiate between what people were going for based on looks. If only to a certain extent. None of it really mattered though so after dressing Thomas went to the dining room to enjoy himself a nice, warm, and delicious breakfast. One of these days, after finishing his quests for Hekrin, he would have to go around trying more local food. 

After arriving at Zella's Fashions, Thomas got back to work making more of the women's uniforms. There weren't many left to complete so he figured he would just switch to the men's uniforms after that. As Thomas began work on the next uniform he suddenly had a thought and wanted to slap himself for not thinking of it sooner. He might not be the best tailor, but couldn't he increase the accuracy of his stitches if he used his 'All Seeing Eyes' like a magnifying glass? Granted, he could only use the ability for about an hour before his mana would run low, but if he used it for the important parts wouldn't that increase the quality of his work?

With that thought in mind, Thomas immediately got into his work. After tracing and cutting out each piece of the pattern he focused his sight and activated his 'All Seeing Eyes' to zoom in on his work. With his magnified vision, he could easily see the individual threads making up the fabric which allowed him to guide the needle with, literal, pinpoint accuracy. He meticulously focused on every little detail, which caused his work speed to plummet while his work quality rose.

Thomas remembered he once heard a saying about the three options for making something. Fast, cheap, or quality. When making something you could only have two of those three options. You could have something fast and cheap, but the quality would suffer. You could have something of quality made cheap, but it wouldn't be fast. You could have something of quality made fast, but it wouldn't be cheap, and so on it went. Right now he felt like he was doing cheap and quality so his work would definitely not be fast.

For the full hour he could use his 'All Seeing Eyes', Thomas focused heavily on sewing the hems of each piece of the outfit. He didn't finish putting any of them together and just did the hems. On the bright side, he gained himself a little more experience in his 'All Seeing Eyes' and the hems looked extremely well done. While letting his mana recover on its own, Thomas began to sew the pieces of the uniform together.

System Notice: You have created a Normal cloth skirt. Quality: Perfect. You have gained 71 Tailoring experience.
System Notice: You have created Normal cloth spats. Quality: Perfect. You have gained 71 Tailoring experience.
System Notice: You have created a Normal cloth blouse. Quality: Perfect. You have gained 106 Tailoring experience.

After finishing the uniform, Thomas scratched his head and sighed. He was happy that he'd managed to get the uniform to a perfect quality with his meticulous use of 'All Seeing Eyes', but it really didn't seem worth it. Yesterday the excellent quality uniforms earned him 228 tailoring experience and took a bit over two hours to create. He'd spent nearly an extra hour on these to make them perfect quality and only gained an extra twenty experience! That was the very definition of 'inefficient'.

Grumbling to himself, Thomas brought the completed uniform over to Zella to turn it in for the repeatable quest. He decided that while increasing the rank of his 'All Seeing Eyes' ability was important, it just wasn't an efficient use of his time right now. After accepting the uniform Zella examined it and let out a small exclamation of surprise before looking at Thomas and asking, "Why on earth did you waste your time making something like this so perfectly?"

Zella's question felt like she was pouring salt into his wounds. Thomas sighed before answering, "I was practicing something new. I won't be doing that again for a bit."

Zella shook her head and handed out the money for the uniform to Thomas, "See that you don't."

System Notice: Quest Complete, Repeatable Quest!
Zella has requested that you make uniforms for the budding guild 'Heaven's Harmony'. You may repeat this quest until the order has been finished.
Rewards: 100 Exp, 25 gold per uniform completed with a grade of 'Above Average' or higher
Time Limit: None
Failure: For each uniform below 'Above Average' quality you must pay for the cost of materials.
System Notice: You have gained 100 experience.

Why did Zella react in such a way? Simple really. It made perfect sense to Thomas. He had essentially wasted a whole hour to make the uniform into perfect quality. But what did that really matter for the uniform? It was just a simple set of clothing meant to be worn. It wasn't made of magical materials to help out a spellcaster, and it provided no bonuses what-so-ever, it was simple cotton cloth! Even if it was perfect it made very little difference in the end. Sure, the seams might be harder to tear and the hems may not fray as easily. But so what?

A little dejected over the waste of time and feeling no sense of accomplishment at all, anymore, Thomas returned to the back room to begin work on the last female uniform. This time he was determined to just make it a little faster and only strive to make it either above average or excellent. In this particular instance aiming for perfect was just a complete waste of time.

: Character Sheet

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About the author


  • Georgia, USA

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

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