After reading the directions for prepping the ingredients, Thomas very carefully began. The first ingredient needed to be carefully skinned, so he used his kukri to get the process started then used his fingers to finish it. He carefully peeled the thin fibrous bark off the root until it was stripped completely bare. With that done he dropped the root into the boiling water. According to the directions, the next step was to chop up the next ingredient and add it once the root had turned from white to brown, which would indicate that all of its medicinal properties had been extracted by the boiling water.
Thomas used his kukri to chop up the next ingredient, a flower, into small pieces essentially julienning it. Once it was properly cut he turned to watch the root as it floated around in the water, even taking a moment to reheat the water and keep it boiling hot. It took a few minutes but the root eventually turned brown so he added in the chopped up pieces of the flower into the boiling water.
For the next twenty minutes, he chopped, skinned, shaved, and diced various herbs, flowers, and roots before tossing them into the boiling water when necessary. By the time he was done the clear water had turned into a thick yellow soup that emitted a strong medicinal scent. The next step was to boil the water down until it turned a dark yellow color. He kept using the heat from his hand to keep the temperature of the water high so that it would continue to steam, losing water and concentrating the treatment fluid for the metal plate.
This whole process was to treat the metal plate so that it would become more receptive to mana and allow the formation carved into it to work better. It was a form of transmutation itself technically speaking so he intended to watch the entire process with his 'All Seeing Eyes' to see if he could glean any information about it. Once some more time had passed, and he had a thorough steam bath, the liquid finally turned dark yellow indicating it was ready for the next step. He had, fortunately, not messed up any of the steps so far.
Thomas pulled the iron plate out of his inventory and carefully lowered it into the boiling bath while simultaneously activating his 'All Seeing Eyes'. He watched the iron plate closely as he lowered it into the liquid to see if he could spot any changes to it. Aside from seeing small bubbles form on the plate, he didn't see any changes to it yet. The directions indicated that he needed to keep the water boiling while the iron plate was bathed in the liquid until it once again turned clear. At that point, the metal plate would have absorbed all the medicinal ingredients and been properly tempered for becoming a formation plate.
Thomas watched the iron plate the entire time, occasionally blasting the water with heat from his hand to keep its temperature up. As he watched he began to realize what the chemical bath was doing to the plate. He watched, enthralled, as a small fracture on the surface of the plate slowly closed and sealed. He then saw a very minor dent flatten out. The bath was making the plate more homogenous and perfect, flattening and smoothing out all the surfaces to make a more perfect place to carve the formation.
The book had said this step wasn't completely necessary but was highly recommended for making a much better formation plate that would last longer. Now he could see why it was so strongly recommended. Slowly the dark yellow color began to fade from the water as the iron plate came closer to perfection. The blacksmith who had made the plate hadn't made any major blunders while making it. A small stress fracture here, a slightly too strong hammer strike there, and that was about it.
By the time the yellow color had completely faded from the water, the iron plate had come as close to perfect as it could get and had a gleaming mirror-like surface. Thomas could easily see his somewhat handsome reflection in it, including the striking blue glow of his eyes. He grinned as he let the water cool, there was no way he was going to stick his hand into boiling water to pull out an equally hot piece of metal. Instead, he turned his attention back to the book.
The next step was crushing mana crystals and adding the alchemist's oil to the powder. What he was about to do was technically a form of enchanting, however, it was also different. The pattern he was about to carve was predefined and didn't require him to picture anything as he carved it. From the description in the book, it seemed like the formation he was about to carve was based on the natural laws of the world and would work no matter who carved it as long as they carved it properly.
He pulled ten mana crystals out of his storage ring and set them down next to the mortar and pestle he'd purchased. Technically he already owned a set inside of the portable alchemy kit he'd received previously. He was just simply too lazy to go to the bank to retrieve the whole kit just to collect the two things he needed from it. Besides, buying the set had only cost him an extra five gold more than it would take to collect the portable alchemy kit from the bank.
He started by grinding two of the mana crystals into a fine powder. The book had said that, depending on the size and purity of the chosen mana crystals, it could take anywhere from two to ten to carve out the formation. Thomas doubted he would need ten, but was sure he would need more than two. He still decided to just start with two anyway as he could always grind more as he went along. He didn't have to carve the whole formation in a single go and could even carve it over the course of days if he chose to.
Once the crystals were turned into a fine powder he added a few drops of the alchemist's oil and mixed it with the crystals. The book had said to keep the mixture viscous so he didn't add much oil at all. He then turned to the basin of water and retrieved the iron plate. He used his old linen starter shirt as a rag to dry the iron off so that there was no chance of any water sticking around to cause it to rust. Granted he didn't actually need it to last very long, but if he was going to go through this much work he might as well do it properly the whole way!
Once the plate was dried off he set it on the ground and picked up his chisel. He turned to look at the book and flipped it to the drawing of the formation. It was a lot like the one he'd seen before made of multiple concentric rings with various runes carved between them. This would be the hardest part as he didn't have the proper tools to mark out perfect circles and would have to, normally, freehand the whole process. However, he had a cheat! Well, okay not really a cheat, but an ability he hadn't had much opportunity to make use of.
Thomas activated the Magitech Engineering Blueprint System that he'd unlocked when he first became a Magitech Engineer. He hadn't used it since the beginning and now was the perfect time to make use of it. With the system activated he found himself looking at his list of options. He smiled and selected the 'New' option. Once it activated he looked at the drawing of the transmutation circle and could see it and the 'screen' at the same time. This made it exceedingly easy for him to trace the transmutation circle and make it into a blueprint in his system.
Once the entire circle had been traced into the system he saved it and then selected the 'Load' option to get the three-dimensional view of the transmutation circle. He had to resize it a bit to fit perfectly over the iron plate, but once it was in place it gave him a perfect pattern to work with. Thomas laughed and got his chisel and hammer ready, it was time to start the carving process!
He dipped the chisel into the mixture of mana crystal powder and alchemist's oil before he began the process of carefully carving out the pattern for the transmutation circle. He activated his 'All Seeing Eyes' to get a better view of his work and make sure he was leaving a proper unbroken trail of the mixture behind as he slowly chiseled out the outermost circle of the pattern. The book had said to work from the outside towards the center so that's exactly what he did. At this point, it was starting to get dark out so he also activated his night vision mode and continued to do his work.
After carefully carving for less than half an hour he needed to grind up more mana crystal and add alchemist's oil to it to continue his work. Thanks to the magitech blueprint system he didn't have to worry about making any mistakes in his work other than a slip of his hand. To prevent such an accident from happening he took his sweet time and followed the pattern exactly. By the time another three hours had passed, he'd used up all ten mana crystals and an additional four more. He suspected he'd used more than the expected amount because he'd moved so slowly and made sure there were no breaks in the deposits he was leaving behind. So much for thinking he would use less than ten earlier.
Before beginning his work on the final section of the transmutation circle, the very center, he sat back and closed his eyes. He cleared his mind and activated his 'Serenity' to recover the mana he had spent from using two modes for his 'All Seeing Eyes' at the same time along with his stamina. He wanted to be at peak condition when he carved the very center of the formation. The book had warned that he would be losing mana as he carved the core of the formation and that the mana he involuntarily infused into it would bring it to 'life' and make it work.
Once he felt he was back in peak condition he opened his eyes and activated his 'All Seeing Eyes'. If there had been anyone around to observe him they would have been shocked by the sight of his blue glowing eyes in the dark of his room. There was something otherworldly about the blue glow of his eyes floating in the darkness. Unaware of this though, he activated his night vision mode as well so that everything in his sight was as bright as day even in the near complete darkness of the night. He took a deep breath and dipped his chisel into the mixture, it was time to finish.
Thomas carefully leaned over the formation plate and set his chisel down. With gentle and deliberate taps of the light hammer, he carefully began to carve out the center of the formation. He could feel a small portion of his mana flow out of his body and through the chisel into the formation with every tap of the hammer. It was like the world was demanding that he pay a price in mana for what he was doing. Slowly he carved out the most complex section of the formation, making sure that every little bit of material removed by the chisel left behind the trail of mana crystal shards and oil.
Over the course of half an hour he carved out the center of the formation and as he got closer and closer to the final stroke he kept a close eye on his mana. So far he'd used over thirty percent of his total, if he hadn't been passively regenerating it over time he would have lost even more. He dipped the chisel into the mana crystal mixture one last time as he prepared to carve the final line that would complete the center of the formation. He wiped the sweat off of his face and focused as he began to carefully tap the chisel with his hammer and carve the final line.
As he tapped the chisel one last time to connect the final line all of the lines and runes on the formation plate began to glow with a gentle blue light. Thomas let out a sigh of relief, the glow was a sign that the formation had been completed successfully. He smiled with pride in a job well done until he felt the mana inside of his body violently surge. He nearly panicked as his mana flew out of his body and was absorbed greedily by the formation plate. The formation plate glowed brighter and brighter as it devoured his mana at a rapid pace. In less than a minute his reserves were down to under twenty percent!
Panicking, he pulled two of the mana potions he'd previously purchased out and drank both of them one after the other. He couldn't risk running completely out of mana and passing out before the formation plate had absorbed what it needed from him. It was a very odd feeling to have mana from the potions surging into his body only to be pulled out of it right after by the formation plate. The mana potions he had were weak and not very effective for someone with his Magic attribute. Two wasn't nearly enough so he kept pulling mana potions out and downing them one by one. By the time he'd drank six of the seven he had in his storage ring, the formation plate finally stopped gorging on his mana.
Thomas gasped for breath and trembled. It was very taxing on his body to have mana surging into and out of it continuously and made his whole body feel sore. He stared at the formation plate as it continued to glow for a few more minutes but, eventually, the glow began to fade and what was left behind was a completed formation plate.
|System Notice: You have created a Magical Grade Shaping Transmutation Formation Plate. Quality: Excellent. You have gained 366 Magitech Engineering experience. You have gained 91 experience.|