Thomas made his way through the city until he spotted a guard. After getting directions to the nearest alchemy supply store, he made his way there. His first goal was to make sure he got everything he needed for his formation plate, it was important for him to make one so he could see it in action and emulate it with his 'Transmutation' innate ability. Just reading about it hadn't given him any insight into how to perform it himself. The streets of the city were bustling with life and it made him smile as he walked around. He took the time to stop at any food stand he spotted that had delicious smells wafting from it.
He munched on snacks that had much more flavor than the food at the academy, he'd really missed tasty food. He started to wonder what made the food from street vendors and restaurants in the city so much better than the food at the academy. He decided to try and remember to ask the cafeteria lady what his food was made from at tonight's dinner... well if he didn't decide to eat out tonight!
It took him a good twenty-minute walk to get to his destination. He found himself standing in front of a rather large store that reeked of medicinal, earthy, and stringent scents all mixed together. Even if he hadn't been told the name of the shop or given a description of it, he would have been able to find it by scent alone! He stepped into the shop and walked directly to the sales counter. A middle-aged man with a somewhat wrinkly face and grey beard was manning the counter. Thomas pulled out the book and flipped to the page of ingredients he needed for the formation plate, "Hi there. I need to purchase everything on this list but the mana crystals."
The list in question was mostly plants that Thomas had never heard of as well as Alchemical Oil and the mana crystals. The clerk looked over the list for a bit then nodded, "We've got everything you need. Though it will not be inexpensive to purchase everything in the quantities you need."
Thomas nodded, "If I didn't bring enough with me I can make a trip to the bank to get the remainder."
The clerk stepped out from behind the counter and made his way around the shop collecting various herbs and setting them on the counter. It took ten various herbs to treat the formation plate and by the time the clerk collected everything he needed in the proper amounts, there was a small pile of herbs on the counter. He also set down a large container that contained Alchemist's Oil and a box with a mortar and pestle inside of it. Once everything was gathered he stepped back behind the counter and added up the cost. He looked at Thomas and stated plainly, "Your total comes to 152 gold coins."
Thomas looked over the collection of herbs and nodded. He dug out the gold coins from his storage ring and set them down on the counter in a small pile that glittered. The clerk quickly counted out the money and nodded, "Pleasure doing business with you."
Thomas swept up the herbs and alchemist's oil and stored them all inside of his inventory. It was about time to start putting that to good use. He felt his mana drain a tiny amount with each item he stored, but it wasn't enough to bother him and quickly recovered. He suspected that the mana cost was proportional to the size of the item, and since all the herbs were rather small they didn't cost much to store. Once he had everything stored away he looked at the clerk and asked, "Is there a place you could recommend where I could purchase an iron plate fit for use to make a transmutation formation plate?"
The clerk nodded, "When you leave here head to the right and look for a place called Zev's Ironworks. He'll be able to sell you what you need."
"Will he also have a chisel I can purchase for carving the plate?"
The clerk nodded, "He should have everything you need. We purchase our iron plates from him so he's used to making them and generally keeps a few in stock just in case."
Thomas smiled and waved to the clerk as he exited the shop and followed the directions he was given. It didn't take him long to find Zev's Ironworks. He stepped into the shop and was greeted with a display of weapons and armor everywhere. He glanced over some of them and contemplated selling his techniques to Zev to make a little extra income. Maybe he would later, he was on a mission today and didn't want to spend time on something else. He could always do it later for some extra income.
Thomas made his way to the sales counter and was greeted by a young man that looked like he wasn't past his late teens. Thomas stepped up to the counter and got straight to the point, "I'm looking to purchase an iron plate I can inscribe a transmutation formation into as well as a chisel and hammer for it."
The young man nodded, "Yeah we got all of that here."
He stepped away from the counter and called into the back room, "Herris, got a customer that wants a formation plate and tools to carve it!"
"Be right out!", a deep voice called back from the workspaces in the back of the shop. The young man turned to Thomas and smiled, "Your total for the plate, hammer, and chisel comes to 45 gold."
Thomas set the gold on the counter and smiled. He hadn't expected it to be very expensive and wasn't disappointed. A minute or two later a large burly man with a thick beard came out from the back room and set down everything that had been ordered. The iron plate that Thomas would be inscribing the formation onto was fifty by fifty centimeters and only a few centimeters thick. The hammer was small and the chisel looked nice and sharp. Thomas collected his purchases and stored them inside of his inventory. As expected he felt a distinct difference in the mana cost of storing an item when he placed the iron formation plate into his inventory, though it was still very manageable.
Thomas made his way out of the blacksmith's shop and marked its location in his memory. If he remembered, he would come back here in the future and teach them his techniques so he could make a fair bit of gold off of them in the future. Though if he forgot he didn't think it would be a big deal. He had more important things to do anyway. Like mastering magic for Hekrin. If he managed to get Earth, Water, Fire and Wind magic all up to rank twenty-five he would have four of the five elements needed finished. He was excited by the prospect and expected that his Metal magic would be the fifth element he got to rank twenty-five to complete Hekrin's quest.
Thomas spent some time exploring the city and listening to the bustle of people as they talked and lived their lives. It was starting to dawn on him just how much he had been missing in his single-minded pursuit of Magitech Engineering back in Ulvstad. He should have spent more time among the people and learning more about the world he now inhabited. The NPC's were more than just bits of code here, they were people with their own lives and maybe it was time for him to start treating them better and getting to know them better.
He'd actually already started to do that a bit thanks to his budding friendships back at the academy. He decided to make an effort to become friends with Treena too starting tomorrow. If he could do that then four of the five people he attended lessons with would be his friends. He automatically ignored Brao though, he had no intention of trying to become friends with that guy.
After wandering around and snacking on street vendor food, he made his way to a tailor that a nice aunty had pointed out to him. It wasn't a top of the line shop but had a good mix of quality and price making it rather popular with the local populace. Thomas entered the shop and bought several sets of clothing for a hundred gold. He picked out things in mostly dark colors like black and deep blues. He'd always been a fan of darker colors so that was what he stuck with while shopping. He also got directions to a supply store and bought a wooden wash basin and soap for himself and his clothing. With these purchases, he could use the basin for his showers and washing his clothes. Now he just needed to develop a washing machine spell like his shower spell.
He spent the next hour or so just sampling food and having random conversations with the locals to get a feel for the city. He found that the populace was generally rather happy with their lives. Some even going so far as to praise the king for the good job he was doing protecting them. The most surprising thing he learned, after asking around, was that Duke Von Kedz, brother of the king, was an extremely well-respected warrior that had fought hard for the country and sported the scars to prove it. Sadly, neither of his male children seemed to take after him and would likely not succeed the title of Duke from him. Thomas recalled his one interaction with the Duke's second son when he was looking for a teacher and couldn't help but agree.
From rumors, he learned that the Duke had been terribly afraid of his children being hurt when they were younger and had coddled them and provided them with everything they could ever want. Unfortunately, this had turned his children into spoiled entitled brats that thought everything they wanted should be given to them. By the time the Duke had realized his mistake, it was too late to really change their personalities. Though people spoke about his youngest, a daughter. Apparently, he had been raising her properly and she was looking to be a great successor to him.
Thomas also learned that a person's sex had nothing to do with what position they could attain in the nobility. If a woman was sufficiently powerful enough and proved she had the ability to rule, she could become the next Queen and rule the entire country. This seemed to be the hope of the Duke towards his youngest daughter. Thomas found all of this somewhat interesting but didn't really probe too deeply since he didn't care about politics at all. The great thing about being him was he could easily leave the country of Reykhoten and head for another one if he didn't like the politics here.
After some nice conversations and food, he made his way back to the academy and went to his dorm room. It was still a few hours until he wanted to head out and get his dinner so he intended to get to work on his formation plate. He wanted to at least get it completely carved today. If he had the time he also wanted to test it out, but if he ran out of time he could do it tomorrow. He wasn't in a huge rush, he was just looking forward to having something new to do with his transmutation ability.
Once he was inside of his dorm room he pulled everything out of his inventory and set it all out around his floor. The first step in the process was to treat the iron plate with a mixture of the alchemical ingredients. He decided to use the wash basin he'd purchased for this part, it was large enough to fit the iron plate inside with room to spare. Unfortunately, it needed to be filled with water. Since the water he summoned with his magic would fade quickly he couldn't just use magic to fill it. He was forced to carry the basin to the nearby well and pump water into it. After that, he had to lug it back to his dorm room. If his Power hadn't been as high as it was the whole process would have been a real pain in the ass.
With the basin filled and sitting on his floor, he began the next step. He needed to get the water to a rolling boil and maintain it. If the basin hadn't been made of wood he could have tried using the stovetop in his room, but since that wasn't an option it was time for his favorite thing! An experiment!
Thomas held his hand over the water in the basin and summoned out his mana. He formed his mana into the shape of his fingers and palm and covered his hand with the mana until it was like he was wearing half of a glove. Once the mana was ready he concentrated on changing the properties of the mana. At first, he thought about turning his mana into fire but changed his mind as he got a better idea. Instead, he converted his mana into pure heat and radiated it outward and into the water. As he concentrated the mana on his hand took on a red glow that slowly shifted to orange.
The air began to shimmer as his hand grew hotter and hotter. If it hadn't been his own mana and magic he likely would have burnt his hand to a crisp after just a few seconds. Instead, the heat radiated out and penetrated the water quickly increasing its temperature. As the water and the air around it grew in temperature, Thomas started to feel hot and had to keep wiping sweat from his brow. Even if he wasn't directly affected by his magic, he was still indirectly affected by the results of it. Fortunately, it only took him a very short time to bring the water to a rolling boil.
After releasing his magic he turned to look at the book to double check the directions. The first few steps were crucial so he wanted to make sure he made no mistakes. It was time to make his formation plate and take a step forward with his 'Transmutation' innate ability, no mistakes could be allowed!