Waking up the next morning, Thomas had a slight change of heart. After thinking about it a bit he decided to spend the whole day working at Hyde's Hides. He would turn in the quest to Hekrin at the end of the day and begin the next quest the following day. Today, Thomas intended to spend the day making a few things for himself out of the fourteen boar hides that had been made into leather. He'd left them just sitting around inside of Hyde's workroom, but now was the time to put them to good use and at the same time, earn himself the last bit of Leatherworking experience he needed.

With his plan set, Thomas enjoyed a nice breakfast and a chat with Martha before making his way to Hyde's Hides for his sixth, and last, day working there. After greeting a yawning Teena, Thomas went into the workroom and greeted Hyde as well. After an exchange of pleasantries, Thomas informed Hyde of his plans and got the okay to use the workroom for his own purposes. Thomas collected his fourteen pieces of decent leather and set them aside to peruse through Hyde's collection of patterns.

Thomas wanted to make three things for himself. The first was a belt with a secret sleeve that he could store his bank card inside of. He needed to make sure the card was safe and protected until he found something better later. The next thing he wanted to make was a more comfortable and sturdy pair of boots. The pair he had purchased was okay, but it lacked good grip and was a bit thin. Lastly, he wanted to make a pair of forearm protectors to go beneath the metal ones he had purchased. They wouldn't add much protection, but they would add comfort and some shock absorption. They could also be worn daily without looking too 'aggressive'.

Thomas selected a simple belt pattern that was a little over 60mm wide. The cards for the bank and adventurers guild were both about the size of an old-school credit card. So the belt had to be a little wide in order to fully conceal the bank card. The next pattern he selected was for a relatively nice looking pair of boots. They didn't fully meet his criteria, but he could modify the pattern slightly to get the look and functionality he desired. His only complaint is that there was no rubber for him to make the soles out of, he would need to use hardened leather for the time being. The final pattern was a very simple set of arm guards that would take very little skill to make. They didn't need to be fancy, just functional. Though Thomas did intend to add a second layer to thicken them up a bit.

The belt was exceedingly simple to make. It was really just a long straight piece of leather. After cutting it out, attaching a simple buckle, and punching some holes in it using a hammer and hole punch, all that he had to do to modify it was glue a small piece of leather to the inside of the belt to create the pocket. It barely took him half an hour to complete.

System Notice: You have created a Normal hidden compartment belt. Quality: Excellent. You have gained 69 Leatherworking experience.

Thomas couldn't help but give a small immature chuckle at the amount of experience he gained. Satisfied with the belt, Thomas immediately slipped the bank card into the sleeve and swapped out his current belt for his new belt. He felt a lot more secure with the card hidden away and secured. Of course, he would have to find a private area to dig the card out when he needed it, but other than that it would work quite nicely. He had thought about trying to slice into the leather to split it open so he could just slide the card in that way, but the leather he had was just too thin.

Since the boots would be the most time consuming, Thomas skipped them for now and got to work on the arm protectors. Thomas started by cutting out two large rectangular pieces and four thinner strips to act as the straps for the protectors. He did this twice so he had enough to make two for a matching pair. Thomas first glued the two larger pieces together into a single piece, simply doubling the thickness of the item. While the glue set he also glued the four straps onto the larger piece, two on each side. With the glue in place, he used a thick needle and thread to sew each of the four straps on as well to make sure they were completely secure. As good as the glue was, he wasn't only going to rely on it to keep the straps from being ripped off.

It took him two hours, mostly spent shoving the needle through the leather, to complete both arm protectors. They were truly simple, with no aesthetically pleasing designs on them, but they would do their job for the time being. Nodding in satisfaction, Thomas checked the completion notice.

System Notice: You have completed a Normal pair of arm guards. Quality: Excellent. You have gained 138 Leatherworking experience.

Thomas let out a content sigh as he looked at his character sheet. That final 138 experience had put him just barely over the limit to get to rank 25 in Leatherworking. He passed the 250 experience mark by just 4 experience! Thomas sat down and let out an even deeper sigh, there was still a little more than half the day left to work, he'd only taken a total of three hours to make the arm protectors or arm guards as the system called them. He still had the rest of the day to make his boots, but it wouldn't take him that long. After they were done... yes, he decided he would ask Hyde which restaurant was the best in the city and treat himself to a decadent meal!

Salivating over the idea of eating something made by a professional chef, Thomas got to work tracing out the pattern for the boots he intended to make. After he traced the pattern out he began to sketch the changes he wanted to make to modify the boots more to his liking. The first problem was that the soles of the boots were too thin and flat, they had no tread on them at all! So Thomas traced out a second, and third, copy of the sole and sketched out a tread pattern onto the two copies. Since he couldn't use rubber and a mold, he would just have to make the tread by hand! After he was satisfied with the tread pattern, he repeated the process for the second boot.

After that was completed, Thomas began to modify the front portion of the boots. All the designs for shoes he had seen in Hyde's collection of patterns were the kind that you just pulled on. Thomas didn't like that, the boots he had felt too 'loose' like they would just slip off if he didn't pay attention. So he modified the front portion to add a split and a tongue as well as eyelets for him to use for lacing the boots up. He would just use thin strips of leather for the laces. As he worked on the design he turned to look at Hyde, "Do you have any coloring dye so I can change the color of these boots? Also, something I can use to harden a portion of them a bit more?"

Hyde looked up from his work, he'd actually changed to a new set of armor that he was painstakingly engraving, "Sure, that's easy. What color are you wanting?"

Thomas thought for a moment, then shrugged his shoulders, "Black." Yes, black. Black goes with everything.

Hyde nodded and went over to a cupboard and fetched out a few corked bottles. He set one that was pitch black down first, "This is Alchemist Dye. Just a few drops will turn a fair amount of leather black so be very careful using it. It also stains like a bitch so be extra careful using it or your skin will turn black for weeks." He set down three more bottles, each with a muddy brown liquid inside, "This is a hardening solution. Spread an even coating on the leather you want to harden and within five minutes it will be three times as hard as before. However, it only works once so if you want even harder leather you'll have to start with leather that's already been hardened in a more traditional way."

After thanking Hyde, Thomas looked at the bottles. The dye was nothing special in his eyes. It might be more potent than real-world dyes, maybe, but it was still just dye. However, the hardening solution was a different story. The description Hyde had given made Thomas think of his own Transmutation innate ability. Alchemists were known to be able to transmute things so maybe this bottle was liquid transmutation? Thomas rubbed his chin as he contemplated, then with a smile came to a conclusion. While the hardening solution was at work he intended to observe it as closely as possible with his 'All Seeing Eyes'! Maybe he could learn something.

Setting the potions aside, for the time being, Thomas began the work of cutting out and cleaning the edges of the leather pieces. He was very careful when it came to the pieces that would make up the treads on the boots, he couldn't afford to get them mixed up and waste time trying to sort them out. With every piece cut out and organized, Thomas first started with the hardening process for the pieces that would make up the treads on the boots.

Thomas opened one of the bottles of hardening solution and immediately gagged. The smell of the solution was utterly rancid. He had no words to describe just how utterly disgusting the smell was. Just opening the bottle made Thomas want to wash himself clean and scrub his skin for a week straight to get rid of the scent. Fighting the urge to vomit up his breakfast, Thomas began to apply the hardening solution to a tread piece with a brush. As soon as he coated the piece he corked the bottle to try and keep the rancid scent from growing thicker and then focused his eyes on the piece while activating his 'All Seeing Eyes'.

He focused his vision to his absolute limit, and immediately felt his mana beginning to drain as a consequence. Even so, his vision zoomed in on the piece of leather like a low powered microscope, allowing him to see the process taking place. He couldn't see on a molecular or even a cellular level, but he could see enough. The solution was sinking deep into the pores of the leather and rearranging the structure from the inside out. It was hard for him to tell for certain, but it appeared like the solution was rearranging the structure of the leather on a fundamental level. The reorganization made the structure more orderly and firm, linking things together to make a firmer foundation. The best analogy Thomas could think of was, if the leather was concrete then the solution was adding rebar to the concrete to reinforce it.

After watching the entire process from beginning to end, Thomas didn't really glean anything super exciting. However, he did feel that if he learned enough about his Transmutation innate ability that he would be able to repeat the process and harden leather with just the ability. And honestly, that would be fucking amazing because he would never need to smell such a rotten scent again!

With his observations over, Thomas took a deep breath and grimaced as he reopened the bottle and began using the contents to coat the remaining pieces of the tread to harden them all. Despite his unadulterated hatred of the scent, Thomas still took his time to make sure every piece was coated properly. Meanwhile, Hyde was glancing at Thomas every now and then and smirking. Over the years Hyde had become immune to the scent of the solution, but seeing the utter disgust on Thomas's face amused him to no end. It took everything he had not to laugh at the otherworlder and his reaction to the scent.

After every piece was coated in the foul liquid, Thomas gratefully sealed the bottle with its cork and moved on to the bottle of black dye. Fortunately, the bottle of dye only had a somewhat astringent scent that was nowhere near as offensive as the hardening solution so it was significantly easier to work with. After carefully dripping a single drop onto one of the smaller pieces of leather, Thomas watched in fascination as the dye seemed to have a will of its own and cheerfully spread out to dye the entire piece. The dye didn't manage to completely change the piece black, it was more like a single coating of paint that couldn't quite cover the natural coloring of the leather. Thomas dripped another drop and the black became darker, after the third drop the leather was pitch black.

Thomas spent the next twenty minutes or so carefully dripping the dye onto each piece of leather that would make up his pair of boots. He only stopped when every single piece, even the laces, had been dyed pitch black. The dye was exceedingly effective and Thomas could only marvel at how easily Alchemy could produce such magical results. He was honestly looking forward to learning the profession and making such useful things for himself in the future.

With every piece dyed black, Thomas began the assembly process. He used a combination of glue and stitching to piece the boots together. It took Thomas nearly an hour to finish the first boot, but when it was done he was very happy with the result. The boot was high enough to go past his ankles and had a look reminiscent of a military boot. The tread on the bottom of the boots was aggressively angled and would give him excellent traction even in slippery terrain. With the modification to the front piece of the boot, Thomas would be able to lace the boot up and tighten it nicely to his foot, he would no longer have to wonder if his boot would slip off.

It took another hour for Thomas to finish the second boot and get his notification from the system.

System Notice: You have created a normal pair of boots (modified). Quality: Perfect. You have gained 148 Leatherworking experience.

With his work finally completed, Thomas slipped on the new pair of boots immediately. Walking around with them, they were slightly uncomfortable on his feet. He would need to make some padding for his feet on the inside, and it would take some time for him to break in the leather. Still, they felt a hell of a lot better to him than the previous boots he'd purchased. They felt a lot more secure on his feet and he could feel the difference in his walking from the tread gripping the floor of the workroom. The tread wasn't nearly as 'sticky' as rubber, but it was a lot better than nothing. Smiling and content, Thomas turned to Hyde and asked, "So Hyde, what's the best restaurant in the city?"

A note from thomasdarkrose
Spoiler: 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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