With the blueprint finished and saved, Thomas felt completely mentally drained. He couldn't even focus enough to practice his 'Transmutation' and 'All Seeing Eyes' before he flopped down on his bed and immediately fell asleep. He didn't even need to activate his 'Serenity' ability to help him drift off.
The following morning he was awoken by loud banging on his cabin door. Yawning, Thomas rolled out of his bed and shuffled to the door while still half asleep. When he opened it he was greeted by a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed Jessup, "Good mornin'! Get yourself ready. We're pulling up to Ulvstad and will be disembarking in about an hour."
Thomas yawned loudly and looked at Jessup with bleary eyes, "Got it."
Jessup chuckled then took his leave to go about his work. Thomas closed the door to his cabin and began to stretch. The bed in the cabin was comfortable enough but had nothing on his bed back at the academy. He slowly stretched his muscles and let out soft groans as they loosened up. After stretching he felt revived. He double checked that the blueprint for his Peace Maker was still saved. Once he saw it was safe and sound, he made his way out of the cabin and up to the deck of the ship.
He stood off to the side while the crew scrambled around and prepared the crates that were going to be offloaded. Even though Ulvstad wasn't their main destination they were still preparing almost a quarter of the ship's cargo for offloading. Considering the ship was a full-sized galleon, that was a large amount of cargo. By the time the crew had finished prepping the first boat sent from the docks for the cargo arrived. Thomas got to enjoy the sight of the crew working like a well-oiled machine as they used a crane to lower the cargo onto the waiting boats.
While Thomas waited, a man and woman came out of the cabin area of the ship and joined him. A quick check told Thomas that they were both locals. He exchanged polite greetings with them and then continued to wait in silence. Jessup noticed Thomas and the couple waiting and came over to them, "After another load or two we'll get the three of you into the city."
The three of them waited and watched as crate after crate was expertly offloaded from the ship onto the small boats and ferried to the city. It really was a rather impressive sight and showed the professionalism of the crew. Professionalism was something Thomas could appreciate. After a few loads were removed, Jessup once more approached the three passengers to lead them to their boat.
After climbing down a rope ladder and situating themselves, the loaded boat was paddled toward the docks of Ulvstad. Thomas looked at the approaching city and smiled to himself. It had only been about two weeks since he left but somehow it felt like he was coming home after a long absence.
When the boat arrived at the dock, Thomas and the other two passengers were directed to get off first. It would be dangerous to unload the cargo with people in the way. After stepping onto the dock Thomas stretched and took in a deep breath. He slowly exhaled then smiled broadly. He really felt like he was home and it felt great. Since it was still early in the day, he immediately started walking down the main boulevard of the city towards Hekrin's shop.
The familiar sights, smells, and sounds drove the feeling of 'home' even deeper making Thomas's smile grow wider. As he walked he spotted 'The Swans Nest' and determined that he would be staying there for sure while he stayed in Ulvstad. He continued to walk, passing by 'Hyde's Hides' and 'Rock's Armory' as well as the other places he'd worked to gain his Magitech Engineering skill. The level of nostalgia was unreal but comforting.
It didn't take him very long to arrive in front of Hekrin's unnamed store. Thomas opened the door and stepped into the shop to be greeted by the familiar sight of Hekrin sitting behind the counter doing nothing. Seeing the grumpy bearded dwarf brought a wave of emotions that Thomas felt was unwarranted.
Hearing the door open, Hekrin looked up and upon seeing Thomas he frowned before shouting, "Took ya long enough kid! What were ya doin'? Takin' a vacation?!"
Thomas laughed and yelled back, "What are you talking about you old goat! It takes four days just for the round trip!"
Hekrin frowned and yelled back, "What? You can't fly yet? I'm shocked! I figured you'd be there for a couple of days then learn how to fly your ass back here!"
Hekrin tried, and failed, to maintain the frown before he started laughing. Thomas joined in with a laugh of his own while making his way to the counter, "I might learn fast but even then I don't have the mana for a flight that long!"
Hekrin chuckled and nodded, "I know kid, I know. Still, with how fast ya learned the other professions and Magitech, I expected ya to be back a week ago. It's nice ta see you can't do everything instantly. So how'd your lessons go? I assume since you're back you did what I said?"
Thomas nodded as he replied, "I got Fire, Earth, Water, Wind, and Metal all up to rank twenty-five."
Hekrin stroked his beard and nodded, "The elements of life and metal eh? Not bad kid. What elements do ya have an affinity for?"
Thomas smirked, "All of them."
Hekrin's beady black eyes widened a bit as he asked, "Seriously?"
After Thomas nodded, Hekrin let out a sigh and shook his head, "Damn otherworlders are crazy." He continued to stroke his beard as he asked, "If that's the case kid, why did you focus on those five elements?"
Thomas leaned on the counter as he narrated the majority of his experience at the academy. He started from the beginning and when Hekrin heard about his letter being activated at the examination he clicked his tongue but said nothing. Thomas narrated his story but kept out the parts that he needed to keep secret. Thomas liked Hekrin but was unsure if he could trust Hekrin with the secret of his changed race. The prejudice against Unholy magic was firmly ingrained in society and Hekrin might react negatively. Thomas simply couldn't risk that.
When Thomas finished his story, Hekrin nodded in approval as he said, "You might not realize it kid, but you had an excellent teacher. Getting the elements of life to combine takes a lot of effort if you don't do it early on. There's nothing wrong with not doing it, but there's also no reason not to do it. Sadly, many teachers simply focus on teaching only the elements they have an affinity with and only accept students with a similar set of affinities. So 'Elemental Magic [Life]' means ya go those four up to rank twenty-five. Why did ya choose metal for the fifth?"
Thomas shrugged his shoulders as he answered, "At first I used it just because it was fun. The more I used it though, the more useful I found it to be. Creating weapons out of thin air made diving into the dungeon a nice experience. I also figure I can use it to take useful tools on the fly if I find there's something I need but don't have on hand."
Hekrin nodded in approval, "Not bad kid. You met my expectations. You ready to learn the final lesson on Magitech Engineering?"
|System Notice: Quest Complete!|
|Hekrin Graveljaw wants you to learn at least five elements and get them all to at least rank 25. Don't return to his store until you have!
Rewards: Hekrin will teach you the final step of Magitech Engineering, 10,000 Experience, Reputation with Hekrin Graveljaw locked at Maximum permanently.
|System Notice: You have gained 10,000 experience.|
Thomas was only momentarily surprised at the amount of experience he received. It only took a moment to realize he'd finally completed a massive quest line that took him almost two full months to complete. Thinking of it that way, ten thousand experience actually seemed rather small...
Thomas nodded to Hekrin, "I'm ready."
Hekrin hopped off of his step stool and lead Thomas into the familiar back room. Inside he saw every tool he would need to make his revolver and felt excited by the prospect, however, his lesson with Hekrin would have to come first. Hekrin led him over to a small table and started getting out various supplies and laying them out on the table. It didn't take long for Thomas to realize that Hekrin had prepared all the materials necessary to make a grenade.
Hekrin turned to Thomas and grinned, "Since I knew ya would be back I went ahead and just got all of this ready for your return. You'll be makin' a true Magitech grenade this time." Hekrin took a deep breath and looked seriously at Thomas, "Magitech Engineering is the flawless combination of technology and magic. Just enchanting an item isn't enough for this. As I'm sure you learned at the academy, magic requires intent and knowledge of an element. To make a proper Magitech item you need to use that knowledge as well."
Hekrin gestured to the pieces of the grenade, "When you assemble the grenade I want you to infuse your mana with fire as your intent, just don't actually convert your mana completely into the fire element or you will set the Firestone powder off. When you combine your magical intent with the design intent of the grenade the two will combine and bring forth even more power than either could alone. There is one thing you must keep in mind. Your mana must be infused into every single piece and once you begin you must not stop or the intent of your mana will dissipate. Only when the item is finished will it be locked into the item."
Thomas listened closely and sort of understood what Hekrin was trying to convey. Hekrin stood back and quietly watched Thomas. Feeling slightly nervous, Thomas stepped up to the table and looked over the parts for the grenade. Even the 'pin' of the grenade had already been enchanted so he really only had to go through with the assembly.
Thomas picked up one of the metal hemispheres and began to channel his mana. A white glow surrounded his hand as his mana moved. He focused his intent onto the piece of metal and urged his mana to sink into it while thinking of fire. He felt that his mana wanted to convert to the fire element but prevented it from doing so with sheer willpower. It was harder than he thought to think of fire without converting his mana directly into flames. His mana slowly turned red before it began to sink into the metal hemisphere.
He picked up the leather sack that would hold the Firestone powder and set it into the hemisphere while he continued to channel his mana. Soon his red mana sank into the leather sack and it began to glow with a gentle light. Hekrin remained silent and just observed Thomas's every action. The next step was to fit the upper hemisphere of the grenade into place, as he did so he infused more mana into it. He felt his mana slowly decreasing but had plenty to finish the job. Once the upper half of the grenade was fit in place his mana infused it and it began to gently glow.
Each piece added took a bit more of his mana to maintain and Thomas felt grateful that he'd bumped his mana up as high as he had. For the next step, Thomas picked up a funnel and fit it into the opening of the thick leather sack. This next step was potentially the most dangerous. Sweat appeared on both Hekrin and Thomas' foreheads as Thomas picked up the container holding the Firestone powder. He very carefully poured just a tiny amount of the Firestone powder into the funnel and let it slide down into the leather sack.
The two men waited to see if the small bit of powder would ignite from Thomas's mana infusing the grenade. After a short amount of time passed Hekrin let out a deep breath and wiped the sweat from his brow. Thomas slowly and carefully poured some more of the finely ground powder into the funnel and let it slide down into the leather sack. Thankfully there were no accidents and all of the powder found its way inside of the grenade.
With the most dangerous part of the grenade now infused with his mana, the remainder was a simple matter. He picked up the 'pin' for the grenade and stopped. Putting the pin enchanted to set off the grenade into it while he was channeling mana into the grenade seemed like a TERRIBLE idea. Thomas set the 'pin' back down and looked at Hekrin as he asked, "What do I do about the enchanted pin?"
Hekrin smiled, "You're smarter than you look kid. Believe it or not, enchantments only work with unattributed mana. Because your mana is currently set to the fire attribute the enchantment will reject it and not work."
Thomas stopped for a moment to think about that. It actually made a lot of sense. He had always just channeled his mana directly into items to make the enchantments work. He'd always used 'unattributed' mana for them. Thomas grinned and picked the 'pin' back up and carefully placed it into the top of the grenade. His red mana surrounded and infused it. As Hekrin had said, his fire mana had no effect on the enchantment carved into it. Thomas could actually feel the enchantment rejecting his mana actively.
With the scariest parts of assembling the grenade completed without issue, the remainder was rather simple. He applied the leather straps designed to hold the grenade together and glued them in place while his red mana continued to infuse them. As he applied the last strap to finish the grenade the whole thing flashed bright red for a brief moment before it returned to normal. His mana could no longer permeate the grenade and was actively rejected by it so he stopped letting it flow. Before he could check his remaining reserves a couple of notices flashed in front of his eyes.
|System Notice: You have created a Magical grade Fire Grenade. Quality: Excellent. You have gained 203 Magitech Engineering experience. You have gained 50 experience.|
|System Notice: You have gained 50 experience.|
|Item Type:||Fire Grenade|
|Description:||A basic grenade made using Firestone as the source of explosive power and infused with the Fire element to enhance its damage. Deadly to anything with an Endurance attribute below 60 with diminishing returns against targets with 60 or more Endurance.|