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A note from thomasdarkrose

btw, this chapter officially puts AoG at just over 100k words! YAY!

After parting with Selena, Thomas made his way to Hekrin's to get to work for the day. He was starting to get excited at the prospect of finally being able to see how that top worked. It just might give him a clue towards making a vehicle like a car inside of AoG. Granted it would take time for him to get that point, but every journey began with a single step. As Thomas was thinking to himself he stepped inside of Hekrin's shop to see Hekrin in his usual place, standing on a stool behind his counter.

Thomas smiled at Hekrin and waved playfully, "Good morning, Master."

Hekrin huffed and said nothing as he gestured for Thomas to follow him and hopped off of his stool. Thomas followed Hekrin into the back room. Once there, Hekrin went over to his collection of Blueprints and fished one out to hand over to Thomas, "The is the blueprint for the spinning top. Take a look at it and, if you can, make me five of them."

System Notice: New Quest!
Hekrin Graveljaw wants you to craft 5 Spinning Tops for him.
Rewards: 500 Experience

The quest could be called minimalistic, but Thomas didn't mind. Though he was slightly annoyed he wouldn't be getting paid for it, but since they only sold for five gold it didn't really matter. Thomas accepted the blueprint from Hekrin and took a look at it.

System Notice: Magitech Engineering Blueprint System unlocked. You may now store, design, and edit blueprints.
System Notice: 'Spinning Top' Blueprint has been copied.

Thomas wasn't entirely sure what had just happened, but it seemed interesting. While Thomas looked at the blueprint, Hekrin left the back room and went back to the storefront. Thomas glanced at Hekrin and couldn't help but wonder if Hekrin actually did any work in this workshop. Maybe he worked at night? Thomas shrugged and went back to what mattered, the Blueprint System. Just thinking about the system activated it and caused a display to appear in front of him that looked like a simplified computer screen. There was a list of options on the left-hand side of the screen, many of which were extremely familiar such as 'New', 'Save', 'Load', 'Copy', and so on.

Thomas selected the load option and saw only a single option, the Spinning Top. Thomas selected it and a representation of the blueprint appeared in his vision. After a few moments, the blueprint started to change and morphed into a 3D representation of the top. Or to put it into better terms, Thomas could now view the top as a hologram. Thomas gingerly reached out and touched the hologram of the top, which caused it to move a little. Intrigued, Thomas started touching various parts of the top and pulling it apart. He could examine each piece in detail and see the directions for constructing that piece.

Thomas spent a good twenty minutes going through the virtual system and still felt like he had only scratched the surface. It didn't help that he had no experience with design software of any kind. Still, he could use it to examine the blueprint in real time and even compare the pieces he was working on with an overlay from the system. It would definitely allow him to do precision work, something Thomas believed would be especially important for more complex items in the future. Despite how powerful the system seemed, it didn't really tell him if something would work or not and had no option for testing newly created items. He could construct them in the system but would have to actually make the item to see if it would actually work or not.

After looking through the system, Thomas finally paid attention to the blueprint for the top. It was surprisingly simple, but given that it only sold for 5 gold it seemed logical that it wouldn't be overly complex or expensive to produce. The top consisted of just two pieces. The body of the top and a thin slice of a mana crystal installed into the shoulder. What caused it to spin? Two angled holes on either side of the shoulder that ejected air in opposite directions. The user charged the mana crystal, which acted like a battery, then once full an enchantment would activate and cause air to flow out of the two holes and make the top spin.

It... was rather disappointing if he was being honest with himself. Thinking about it though, it was his own fault for not realizing an inexpensive toy wouldn't be an amazingly complex piece of machinery. Still, he did learn something rather interesting, mana crystals could be used as mana batteries when combined with an appropriate enchantment. He could definitely use that in the future for things.

Thomas got to work producing the tops that Hekrin requested. The majority of the work was simply carving the body out of wood, then carving a cavity for the mana crystal and the two holes to eject air. Thomas didn't waste any more time and selected a square block of wood to cut out an appropriately sized section to carve into the main portion of the top. He used a chisel to remove most of the excess material and finished the main body using files to grind it into a proper shape. Thomas was actually pleased to find that the blueprint system let him overlay the image onto the wood and make it nearly an exact replica. He was definitely going to enjoy that aspect of the blueprint system for a long time.

With the body mostly completed, Thomas used a smaller chisel to carve out the cavity that the mana crystal would rest inside of. Once it was carved he used a small hand drill to carefully drill out the air channels. Thomas lifted the completed portion of the top and smiled. It looked a lot better than it would have if he'd had to do it by eye alone. Thomas set the main portion of the top aside and selected a smaller mana crystal for the next part. With the mana crystal in hand, Thomas picked up a small saw that reminded him of a jewelers saw. Thomas carefully used the saw to cut the crystal in half, then cut it again to get a wafer about four millimeters thick. That was all that was needed.

With the wafer cut out, Thomas had to cut it into a hexagon to make it fit into the shoulder of the top and set inside of the cavity he had carved. Nothing so far had been really all that complicated, but the next part made Thomas smile since it meant learning something new. The enchantment for the top needed to be carved into the wafer of mana crystal directly. Thomas hadn't known that mana crystals could be directly enchanted. However, it did make sense when thinking about it since mana crystal powder was used to enchant other items.

Thomas selected an engraver's tool that came to a sharp point, almost like an ice pick but with a handle that easily fit into his hand. Thomas took a moment to picture how he wanted the enchantment to work. He imagined a single cell battery wired to two microturbines that fire up when the battery reached a full charge. The image obviously couldn't exist in reality, it was far too simple and turbines weren't made that small along with a few other issues. However, it was perfect for the intent behind his enchantment.

With the intent held in his mind, Thomas began to very carefully carve a circuit-like pattern onto the wafer of mana crystal. He didn't use very much pressure and instead scraped the tip of the carving tool over the same area multiple times. If he applied too much pressure the tool would easily pierce or shatter the mana crystal wafer. Thomas felt the most comfortable making the symbols for his enchantments look like a circuit board, it felt natural to him. Thomas made sure to carve two channels on opposite sides of the circuit pattern that would be aligned with the two holes drilled into the shoulder of the top.

Once the carving was done, Thomas flipped the wafer over so the smooth side was facing up and applied a bit of glue to the cavity carved into the shoulder of the top. He inserted the carved mana crystal into the cavity while making sure that the channels meant to guide mana and produce the wind forces were aligned with the holes drilled into the top. After securing the mana crystal inside of the top, Thomas carefully wiped off a little bit of excess glue and looked his work over with a smile. The shape and size of the top fit the holograph-like image from the blueprint system extremely well.

System Notice: You have created a Normal Spinning Top. Quality: Above Average. You have gained 67 Magitech Engineer experience.

Thomas wasn't surprised that the top was worth so little experience, its construction was too simple. Discounting the time Thomas spent playing with the blueprint system, it only took him about twenty minutes to make the top. Thomas placed the top down and pressed his finger against the inset mana crystal to channel some mana into it. Thomas felt a small portion of his mana drain into the top before it was full. As soon as the mana crystal was filled with mana, air began gushing out of the two angled holes and caused the top to start rotating. 

Thomas watched the top spin until it ran out of mana and came to an eventual stop. He smiled and went to work making the next four. He took a little more time to make them, using his 'All Seeing Eyes' when constructing them to make sure he didn't make any mistakes. Doing so allowed him to push the final product to excellent quality but, for some reason, he didn't seem to be able to push them to perfect quality. He only earned 72 experience for each top after the first one. The only real consolation was that it pushed his Magitech Engineering up a rank.

With the five tops completed, Thomas made his way to the storefront to inform Hekrin. Hekrin glanced over at Thomas before hopping off of his stool and stepping into the back room to examine the finished products. He even took the time to test one of them. Hekrin nodded in satisfaction and looked at Thomas, "Not bad kid."

System Notice: Quest Complete!
Hekrin Graveljaw wants you to craft 5 Spinning Tops for him.
Rewards: 500 Experience
System Notice: You have gained 500 experience.
System Notice: Reputation with Hekrin Graveljaw has improved.

Thomas couldn't complain about the 'low' amount of experience for such a simple quest and was pleasantly surprised at the increase to his reputation with Hekrin. The nicer the grumpy dwarf treated him, the more Thomas would be able to learn from Hekrin. Hekrin stroked his beard as he looked at Thomas, "There's not really a lot I need made."

Hekrin shrugged his shoulders and walked over to his collection of blueprints to shuffle through them. He selected about a dozen, rolled them up, and stored them away in something similar to Thomas's storage ring. Once that was done he turned to look at Thomas, "You can go through the remaining blueprints and make anything you want from them. Or experiment on your own designs. However, whatever materials you use in the shop you need to pay for."

Hekrin also pointed to a shelf lined with books, "You can also read any of the reference books to expand your knowledge on any subject you need to." After looking around once more Hekrin made his way to the storefront as he said over his shoulder, "Whatever you make, show it to me afterward."

After Hekrin left, Thomas heaved a sigh of relief. No time limit with nothing and no one telling him what to do. On the one hand, that gave him freedom to do whatever he wanted. On the other hand, he had no guidance and wouldn't be completing any quests for experience. Contemplating over that he made his way over to the blueprints and quickly looked over all of them to add to his library inside of his blueprint system. With all of them copied to his library, he started to browse through them for something interesting. Preferably an upgrade to his gear or abilities, he really wanted to spend some time diving into the dungeon to get some experience and have some fun.

Thomas scrolled through the options he had at hand and found something rather interesting, a small wrist-mounted crossbow that automatically drew the bowstring back. He would need to load the bolts manually, but it would still fire faster than a regular crossbow with some practice. The bow was small, made of iron, and could fold so that the whole crossbow could be stored beneath a large shirt sleeve. With the push of a button, the bow would snap out and lock into place while drawing the bowstring back for a bolt to be placed in the slot to be fired.

Thomas thought he could improve upon the design, but decided it would be best to make it the original way first to get some experience with the mechanisms and enchantments. Once he was familiar with it he could go about designing something with more to it, preferably a magazine of some sort to hold the bolts so he didn't have to load them manually.

With his weapon decided he began to look over the blueprints in detail, disassembling the entire thing inside of the blueprint system to see every single piece and how it was assembled. The weapon wasn't super complicated, but it used several linked enchantments to power the mechanisms. Linking enchantments wasn't something he had done yet so he was looking forward to it.

With his work decided on, Thomas started to move around the shop selecting all the materials he would need. He picked up leather, cotton cloth, cotton stuffing, and an iron ingot. The leather and cotton selections would make up the majority of the bracer that he would be strapping onto his arm while the iron and wood would be used to construct the weapon itself. Thomas carried the iron ingot over to the forge and stopped. He spotted the leftover iron from the grenade and decided to use that instead. Waste not, want not. Thomas tossed the leftover iron into the forge and smiled, it was time to get to work!

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A note from thomasdarkrose

If you're interested in supporting me please consider joining my Patreon or donating to the story. If Patreon reaches my goal I can write full time and will write ~150,000 words/month (currently writing about 75,000/month). Anything donated or pledged beyond that will go towards creating art for AoG.

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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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