After making his way out of the U.L.T.R.A., Thomas went into the back of Hekrin's shop and made his way to Hekrin's usual spot. As he had expected the old dwarf was just idly standing behind his counter waiting for customers that Thomas had never seen. When Thomas stepped into the storefront, Hekrin looked up and cocked an eyebrow, "Ya done kid?"
Thomas nodded, "I got something made up that I need to test. It's too dangerous to test it near people. Is there a place we could go where I could test it? Oh, and I think it will be pretty loud too."
Thomas glanced out the window and could see it was almost dusk. He'd worked through the majority of the day and hadn't stopped to eat anything. He didn't intend to stop to eat right now either. Hekrin stroked his beard before he nodded, "I know a pretty safe spot. I'll take ya out there. Ya got me pretty curious kid."
"Ah, before we go, there's one thing I need. Got a long piece of string?"
Hekrin looked a little confused but hopped off his stool and looked through a few cabinets before pulling out a ball of twine, "Will this work kid?"
Thomas nodded, "Perfect."
"Whatcya need it for?"
Thomas laughed, "Safety. I don't want to be holding what I made in my hand if it explodes!"
Hekrin tossed the ball of twine over to Thomas. After he caught it he stored it in his inventory and gestured for Hekrin to lead the way. Together the two of them strolled out of the northern gate of the city and made their way out of the city towards a thick area of woods. Since the area was woodland there were no farms or people nearby making it a good spot for Thomas to test his weapon. He'd only made a single shot, which he was partially regretting, but he needed to make sure the gun worked before committing more materials to it.
Hekrin led Thomas to a small clearing a little way inside of the woods. Thomas looked around while activating his 'All Seeing Eyes' to use both his night vision and magnification to scan the surroundings for signs of anyone nearby. His vision brightened as if he was standing under the sun at noon while it zoomed in and looked through gaps between the trees. As he looked he honestly wished he could see through the trees to make sure no one was nearby. Sadly his vision did not comply with his wish.
Once he was as sure as he could be that the area was clear of people, he opened his inventory and retrieved the loaded Peace Maker. The moment he retrieved the revolver there was a loud exclamation of shock from Hekrin. Thomas glanced over at the dwarf only to see Hekrin as still as a statue with greatly widened eyes that stared at the weapon in Thomas's hand. Seeing Hekrin's gaze so fixated on the weapon he slowly lifted his hand and watched as Hekrin's eyes followed the movement.
Stifling a laugh, Thomas began to move the revolver in various directions and watched as only Hekrin's eyes moved to track the weapon. The longer it went on the harder Thomas found it to not laugh at Hekrin. The grumpy dwarf was more like a cat at the moment. Finally, Thomas could hold it in no longer and began laughing uproariously. The sound of his laughter broke Hekrin out of the trace he'd been in. Realizing what had happened Hekrin was immediately embarrassed and pissed off at the same time, "What are ya laughing at kid?! What in the nine hells did ya do to the heart of the mountain ta make it like that?!"
Thomas took a bit to calm down after the sight of 'Catkrin'. When he could breathe and speak properly he became a little more serious as he explained the entire process to Hekrin step by step to create the 'heart steel' that the revolver was made of. Hekrin listened closely and engraved every word that Thomas spoke into his memory. When Thomas finished speaking, Hekrin took a deep breath and slowly let it out before he said, "Kid, you do some crazy stuff. No dwarf would ever dream of sullying the heart of the mountain by turning it into steel. But from what ya said it sounds like the material ya used.. carbon ya called it? Seems like ya made that as pure as the iron. If I was you though, I would never show that ta any other dwarf. I honestly don't know if they'd worship ya as a god or lynch ya on sight. Even standing here I feel the desire ta do both to ya!"
Thomas took Hekrin's warning seriously and made sure he wouldn't forget it. Though steel was nice, he was hoping to move onto a better metal before too long. Besides, this revolver was only a prototype and proof of concept. It had no real magic and he'd not infused it with any intent as a Magitech Engineer. This item was pure engineering. If it worked though, he would be a lot closer to making what he really wanted to make.
Hekrin looked at the gun again, there was still a hint of his previous emotions in his voice as he asked, "So, what is that thing anyway? Ya told me what it's made of but not what it is. It seems kinda like my Magitech Tube but it's very different."
Thomas held up the revolver, "It's not completely finished yet, the handle still needs to be finished and I need to create more ammunition for it, but before I finished it I wanted to test fire it and make sure it's working like it's meant to. This is modeled after a weapon from my original world called a revolver. Like your Magitech tube, it's designed to fire a projectile, six of them in fact. Though this one is powered by Firestone, not magic. If this works I can move on to something different that's not a complete copy of something in my world."
Thomas spent some time explaining the way the revolver worked to Hekrin as well as what he hoped was about to happen. Hekrin listened with rapt attention and when Thomas finished speaking he frowned a bit, "So that thing is just made from pure engineerin' and some enchantin'? It's not a true Magitech item then. That's not what I was hopin' for kid."
Thomas nodded in understanding, "I know Master. This is just a starting point, a stepping stone, toward what I want to create. I'm still relatively new to this world and still learning to rules of it. Though a lot here is like my old world, not all of it is and I want to know if this will work before I move onto something else. I promise that I will make something more worthy of your inheritance, Master."
After reassuring Hekrin, Thomas summoned up his metal magic while holding the cylinder of the revolver so the metal could form a block around the handle of the revolver and hold it like a vice. His original intention was to use the metal magic to hold the revolver while pulling the trigger from a distance with the twine. Looking at the block around the handle he came up with another idea. The shape of the metal block slowly morphed into the shape of a hand. It was a rough shape, only the index finger was separated while the other three fingers were just a blob of metal. It was like the fingers were covered in a mitten.
With a simple thought, he was able to make the index finger move in a trigger pulling motion. Seeing that, Thomas laughed and looked at Hekrin, "Looks like I didn't need the twine in the end."
The rough metal hand was holding the revolver steady as it gently floated over Thomas's upraised palm. Hekrin looked at it and just shook his head, "I didn't send ya to the academy ta learn spells kid. Who needs spells when ya got Magitech Engineering?"
Thomas simply answered, "Me."
Thomas turned back to the metal hand and moved his hand out of the way as he willed a metal spike to shoot out of the bottom of the hand and sink into the ground. The metal spike would anchor the hand to the ground. He wasn't sure if he could keep the hand floating while he stepped away and felt it was better to be safer than sorry. Later, he would need to experiment with remote control of his summoned items. At least as far as keeping them airborne. He knew he could maintain items from a distance if they were on the ground, but had no idea if he could maintain control of their floating from a distance.
After he made sure the mock hand was firmly in place and wasn't likely to move much, he turned to look at Hekrin, "We should take some distance. If this thing fails and explodes I don't know how powerful the explosion will be."
Hekrin stroked his beard in contemplation as he asked, "How much Firestone did you use kid?"
Thomas pulled one of the steel bullet casings out of his inventory and showed Hekrin how much he'd filled the shell. Hekrin seemed to get lost in thought for a moment before he replied, "Even if there was a catastrophic failure, that much Firestone ain't enough to blow up that revolver thing of yours."
Hekrin nodded, "The heart of a mountain is already stronger than regular iron. If ya really did make it into steel then I ain't sure just how strong it has become. Ain't nothin' like it existed before."
"I see. Still, we should at least step back a bit, just in case."
Hekrin nodded in agreement. Thomas stepped behind the revolver and made sure it was aimed at the thickest tree on the edge of the clearing. Once he had it aimed he pulled the hammer back until it gave a satisfying click. As it did he saw the engraving for his enchantment and groaned in disappointment. Hearing him Hekrin asked, "What's the matter kid?"
Thomas gestured to the revolver, "I was so concerned with safety that I completely forgot that the enchantment needs to be powered for the gun to fire."
"That's not an issue kid, I can power it from a distance."
Thomas sighed in relief, "Thanks, Master."
Now that the gun was prepped, the two of them took some distance moving about ten meters away from the revolver. Thomas felt his connection with the metal magic waning and felt that if he moved further away from it his connection with the spell would break and the gun would fall to the ground. Thomas turned to Hekrin, "Power the enchantment please."
Hekrin lifted his hand and Thomas could clearly see Hekrin's pure white mana flow from his hand to the gun. Once Hekrin's mana met with the gun the firing pin of the hammer emitted a small flame. Seeing that everything was ready, Thomas took a deep breath, "Moment of truth..."
The metal hand moved to Thomas's will and squeezed the trigger. The hammer slammed forward. The firing pin and the small flame on the tip of it pierced the thin sheet of metal separating it from the Firestone powder. The Firestone powder instantly ignited and released a burst of energy. With a sharp crack akin to a whip, smoke and flames were ejected from the sides and barrel of the Peace Maker.
The crack of the shot being fired echoed for a moment before dead silence descended on the forest. The sound hadn't been as loud as a real gun, but it had still been rather loud and sharply pronounced. Every animal in the forest seemed to feel an instinctive fear of the sound and had gone completely silent.
After a few moments passed, Thomas walked over to retrieve the revolver and dismiss the metal hand. He very carefully examined the revolver with his 'All Seeing Eyes' set on their maximum magnification to search for any signs of damage, such as stress fractures. Hekrin remained absolutely silent and just stared at the gun as Thomas examined it. After a thorough search, Thomas was unable to see any signs of damage to the weapon.
Letting out a sigh of relief, he rotated the cylinder around until the chamber holding the cartridge was aligned with the cylinder door. He opened the door and used the ejector rod along the barrel to eject the spent cartridge. He then examined the cylinder's interior as well as the cartridge itself for signs of damage. Aside from the hole he'd expected to see in the back of the cartridge, there were no other signs of damage. Thomas let out another breath and looked at Hekrin, "It looks like it worked, there doesn't seem to be any visible damage to the revolver."
Hekrin looked over the revolver for a moment before gesturing toward the tree it had been aimed at, "Let's see what it did."
Thomas agreed and they both made their way over to the tree to look for the shot that had been fired. Thomas had aimed the gun so it didn't take them long to find the slug. It had sunk less than three centimeters into the tree before coming to a stop. Thomas carefully pried the deformed slug out of the tree, "Looks like it needs more Firestone powder to penetrate any deeper."
Hekrin examined the deformed piece of lead and copper in Thomas's hands a huffed, "It's not too shabby for a first try, I admit that much, but it still ain't Magitech Engineering kid!"
The truth was, Hekrin was very impressed by and proud of his apprentice and inheritor. The kid had only taken a couple of days to make such a fearsome weapon and it was only using regular engineering principles. If the kid could add Magitech Engineering principles into it, the weapon would truly become fearsome.
Thomas smiled at Hekrin and the two of them made their way back to town. If would shortly be full night time and Thomas was both hungry and tired. Tomorrow he would need to make some more rounds with various amounts of Firestone powder inside of them to see which was the best. He also, really, needed to finish the handle of the revolver. There was still plenty of things for him to work on and he was really looking forward to it all!