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Seeing that Thomas wasn't too upset or flying off the handle from his little trick, Hekrin smiled in approval, "What are your plans now kid? I've taught you all the basics, the rest is up to you."

Thomas thought for a bit while looking at, for lack of a proper name, the portable shop he found himself inside of, "Can I use this place for a bit? I'd like to make a few things and this place has more space than your other shop."

Hekrin nodded and waved a hand around the place, "Feel free. Just pay for any materials you use and anything you break."

Thomas nodded in agreement. He had most of the materials he would need since he bought them previously. The only thing he knew he would be using for sure was some of Hekrin's coal. Since coal was so cheap and abundant he hadn't felt the need to use any of his own just yet. Hekrin left the shop and Thomas took some time to explore the interior and familiarize himself with the place. He was pleasantly surprised to find a large number of materials and tools for all of the different professions that comprised Magitech Engineering. He didn't intend to use the majority of what he found, mostly just the forge area.

Once he felt familiar enough with the layout of the forge area and located all the different tools he would likely be using, he loaded some fresh coal into the empty forge. Once he shoveled enough coal into the forge, he pointed his finger at it and used a small stream of red flames to ignite the coal. A simple modification of the flamethrower spell Fulin had taught him. It was convenient and saved him from needing to use kindling.

Once the coals were ignited he pulled the swing arm above the forge out and hung a crucible on it. He then looked into his storage bracelet and pulled out one of the crates marked as iron. The very first thing he wanted to do was smelt the iron ingots down and repour them after removing as many impurities as he can. He had a theory that the fewer impurities there were in the ingot the bigger the 'heart' would be when he used his 'Transmutation' on it. Waste not, want not, as the old saying went.

After tossing a half dozen of the ingots into the crucible he swung it back over the coals. He paid close attention to the coals to make sure they were catching fire properly. Seeing that they were doing just fine, he walked around to the bellows attached to the forge and began to work it. Though he wanted to work on his 'Peace Maker' right away, he needed to make something smaller and more helpful first.

As he pumped the bellows the temperature in the room increased while the flames reached higher and higher temperatures. Before long the iron ingots within the crucible began to glow orange and slowly begin to deform and then melt. Thomas picked up a ladle and began scooping out the slag floating on the top. The non-iron materials within the ingot would either float to the top or sink to the bottom of the crucible leaving a delicious molten iron center. He deposited the slag in a metal cylinder near the forge that looked a lot like a trash can.

After he was certain that he'd gotten as much slag cleaned out of the melted iron as possible, he pulled out some ingot molds and began pouring fresh new ingots from the now much purer iron. Once the ingots were poured he used the ladle to clean out the slag and a bit of leftover iron from the bottom of the crucible, then tossed in another half dozen ingots to melt down. He might as well do something productive while waiting for the first batch to cool enough to be handled.

By the time the second batch was melted and cleaned of slag, the first batch was cool enough to be removed from the ingot molds. He refilled the molds and cleaned the crucible once more before he set it to the side. He was done melting down and purifying ingots for the time being.

The next step was more out of curiosity than any particular plan. He walked over to the container of coal and grabbed the biggest piece he could see on the top. Unfortunately, coal tended to be broken down into similar sizes so they burned evenly, leaving him without too many large chunks to work with. Still, it didn't bother him much. He could substitute size with quantity.

Thomas held the chunk of coal in his palm and began channeling his mana through his 'Transmutation' ability in an attempt to create a 'heart of carbon'. It was an obvious thing to do. Anyone would want to know what would happen if a 'heart of iron' was combined with a 'heart of carbon' and Thomas was no exception to that. It would either be amazing or do nothing.

As his mana transformed into blue mist and sank into the coal, Thomas willed it to gather the purest carbon and bring it all together. It felt slightly different than when he did the same thing with iron. It almost felt like the coal was... thinner? Like it was full of empty space. It seemed like it was working though as parts of the lump of coal began to turn to sand and slide off. After just a few minutes he was left with a very tiny piece of coal sitting on his palm.

The piece of coal he'd started with was a little bigger than his fist, the new piece of 'heart of carbon' was half the size of his thumb. The new piece of carbon looked like a small black crystal which reflected light off of sides that appeared like they'd been polished. It was actually rather beautiful. The reflecting light gave the small piece a subtle glow. If he didn't know what it really was he might have thought it was some expensive or special gem.

After studying the 'heart of carbon' for a bit, he set it on the table he intended to do his work on. Now, here came the tricky part. How was he going to use this carbon to make his steel? Usually, carbon was introduced to iron through the use of coke. If he was going to use the hearts of iron and carbon to make the purest steel possible then he couldn't make it the usual way. The presented a bit of a problem.

He stepped away from the table and walked over to the wall to select a hammer, he needed to perform a test. Once he selected a hammer with a decent weight he carried it over to an anvil. He pulled the iron ingots he'd fused with his 'Transmutation' out of his inventory and set it on the anvil. It was time to find out if his 'weld' was just surface deep. He lifted the hammer and brought it down with as much force as he could muster. The head of the hammer struck the welded ingot with a loud crash and left a dent in the iron a few millimeters deep.

Thomas lifted the hammer and observed the damage done. There was no sign of the weld splitting, but it had only been a single strike. He lifted the hammer again and struck the ingot in several different areas in an attempt to break the ingot into two pieces once again. Even after hammering at it for several minutes there was no sign of the ingot splitting. Thomas smiled and set the hammer down. It looked like using his transmutation to fuse the two ingots together had worked perfectly.

He stored the fused ingots once again and turned to look at the little piece of carbon sitting on the table. Here was the issue. He was certain he could fuse the carbon with the iron, that didn't seem like it would be too hard. The problem was, he needed to spread the carbon out evenly throughout the iron in order to make steel. He walked over to the ingots he'd poured not too long ago and removed from the molds. He needed more iron 'hearts' to work with.

He hovered his hand over the ingots to see if they still radiated heat. Feeling nothing he picked up one of the ingots and started channeling his mana once again. It took time, and several breaks using 'Serenity', to convert the half dozen ingots into iron 'hearts'. When he was done he had a line of glittering pieces of iron of various sizes sitting on the table in front of him. Just from a visual check alone, he could easily tell that his guess had been correct. Using the iron he'd purified in the crucible had produced larger 'hearts' for his use.

He made sure his mana was at its peak as he picked up two of the hearts and used his 'Transmutation' to fuse the two pieces together into one larger piece. He was unaware of it but if any dwarf, even Hekrin, saw the 'hearts' sitting on the table so casually they would likely faint from shock. Once the two pieces were fused together he reshaped them from their natural crystalline look into a solid ingot.

The next step would let him know if he could make steel from the 'heart of iron' and the 'heart of carbon'. He picked up the small piece of pure carbon and set it on top of the ingot of pure iron. He set his hands on either side of the materials and thought for a moment. There were many different kinds of steel and he needed to get the proportion of iron to carbon just right to produce the steel he needed for the Peace Maker. After wracking his brain for a bit he decided to go with 0.5 percent carbon. This would make the steel much harder and in the real world would make it a pain to machine. He didn't intend to machine it though.

Now, obviously, steel was made with more than just carbon and iron, things like Chromium, Molybdenum, Manganese and even Phosphorous were contained in mixtures for different kinds of steel. He had none of these to work with though. Hopefully, the game wouldn't be too detailed on making the steel with the proper ingredients. It could take him a while to find them if they even existed. Let alone if they had different names. Since he didn't know enough, he simply decided to combine iron and carbon and see what he ended up with.

Thomas started to channel his mana and use his 'Transmutation' ability on the two items. He had to be very careful this time, he wasn't merely combining the two items into one. He was trying to evenly spread one throughout the other with a very specific percentage in mind. His mana turned from white into blue mist and began to infuse into the two materials. He kept his mind focused as he pictured the carbon spreading out within the iron. To create the steel he wanted it needed to contain a total of just one half of a percent of carbon that was spread evenly throughout the entire ingot.

He maintained his focus as the carbon slowly turned into sand then became particles too small for his eyes to see. He badly wanted to activate his 'All Seeing Eyes' to magnify his sight and watch more closely. He didn't simply because he worried about his mana reserve and didn't know if he had enough to use both abilities. It could even potentially ruin what he was trying to do making all his effort to this point useless.

The only other thing Thomas could see were tendrils make of his mana sliding through the ingot as if stroking it. It was impossible for him to tell exactly what was happening. He broke out into a sweat and started to breathe a little heavily as more and more of his mana drained out of his body and into his work. He hated how much of it he could feel going to waste, but there was nothing he could do to stop it yet.

As he watched the ingot slowly changed. It was subtle and hard to notice at first, but as the change became more obvious he started to notice it. The once bright silver surface of the ingot became a little darker as more carbon was introduced to the iron. It lost none of its mirror-like quality and continued to retain a subtle glow about it. Once the entire ingot had grown a little darker the mana tendrils faded away.

Thomas stopped channeling his mana and let out a deep breath. Creating this single ingot of steel had taken almost all of his mana and left him on the brink of passing out. He supported his weight on the table and looked at the steel ingot with a silly grin on his face. He had no way to confirm it, but he felt like he had succeeded. It was almost like he had an intuition about it that told him the ingot he'd made was perfect.

After he caught his breath he picked the ingot up and began to examine it. Aside from the iron becoming darker, there was really nothing to specifically tell him that it was steel. He just... felt it was. With a grin on his face, he started to plan his next steps. It was time to start working on his Peace Maker.

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thomasdarkrose

  • Georgia, USA

Bio: Just your average self-employed American with some spare time that enjoys reading, and now writing.

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