On his way to Hekrin's shop, Thomas stopped at Zella's Fashions and bought himself some fabric. He wanted to make some additional clothing as well as a jacket to wear over his armor. He still had the image of an old-fashioned cowboy in mind and it just felt 'right' to try to emulate it a bit more. He bought a lot of various cloth from the amiable older woman. Thin soft cloth, thick durable cloth and everything in between, including some stuffing. After spending a few hundred gold on all of the materials, he continued to Hekrin's shop.
Once he arrived at Hekrin's place he greeted the old dwarf before heading into the workshop to get some work done. He didn't want to spend too much more time making stuff like this. As much as he loved crafting and creating items for himself it would be better if he could set up a shop to create and sell items to people. Unfortunately, it was impossible for him to buy or rent a place even though he had the money. He simply didn't have the proper reputation with the Reykhoten Kingdom.
The simplest solution to that would be to get his hands on an U.L.T.R.A. from Hekrin's master. With that, he would have the freedom to move around while carrying a full workshop with him. He could go anywhere to get supplies and simply set his shop up outside of any place he was visiting. It sounded like a dream come true to him. He could hunt rare materials and make amazing equipment without being tied down to a single location. Adventure and crafting all because of a single building.
To get that building he would need to leave Ulvstad though, and probably soon. He had all of his offensive gear and a fair amount of ammunition for his Peace Maker. He also wanted to travel in the hopes of finding larger and purer mana crystals to actually be able to power the Magitech pistol he was still working on the plans for. All of this would be possible if he got his hands on his own U.L.T.R.A.
Thomas started to take out various rolls of cloth he'd just purchased and started to cut off sections. On those sections, he traced out various pieces of the pattern that would make up his new clothing. He was intending to make a whole new wardrobe out of somewhat tougher materials that would stand up to the rigors of travel.
The first article of clothing he worked on was the jacket. It was the only piece of clothing he didn't have a proper pattern for so it would take the most time for him to fumble through. He had experience with tailoring in various games but it had never once been his main profession so he wasn't all that great at it. Still, experience was experience and with just a few mistakes during the process, he eventually made a thick stylized duster coat. It wasn't an exact replica and had his own flair to it.
|System Notice: You have created a Normal grade Long Coat. Quality: Excellent. You have gained 179 Magitech Engineering experience.|
One big modification had been a slot in the back that the handle of his short sword could fit through. The cloth he'd used to construct it was thick and durable so it wouldn't easily tear. He'd also reinforced the entire coat by using his 'Transmutation' to fuse the cloth together instead of stitching it together. This had also saved him a fair amount of time and effort in making the coat. With it completed he set it to the side and started to work on other pieces of clothing.
He didn't even consider trying to use his Magitech abilities on the clothing. For one thing, it would have likely killed him, for another if he tried to sew them together while channeling his mana he would probably run out long before he finished. There was also the fact that it was just regular cotton cloth and clothing. It couldn't even be enchanted.
He didn't mind any of this though as he continued to produce various articles of clothing. He didn't need everything he made to be magically enchanted or powerful. It was okay for clothing to just be clothing! Pants, shirts, socks, underwear, he produced all kinds of clothing for himself and used up nearly half of the supplies he'd purchased. He spent the whole day making clothing only taking breaks to recover his mana and eat lunch with Snowlily. By the time the sun was setting, he'd created plenty of clothing that would last him for quite a while in various styles he liked.
Thomas had also gained a fair bit of experience from crafting the various pieces of clothing and found he was closing in on rank one hundred for his Magitech Engineering skill. He was curious if something special would happen when he crossed the threshold. He was tempted to ask Hekrin but he didn't want any potential surprises to be spoiled. He was also done crafting for now so it would be a while before he got more experience to rank up his Magitech Engineering.
He had decided to hold off on working on the actual construction of his next gun until he had better materials. The Origin Steel was an excellent material but he was about to head to a dwarven city. It was highly likely that he would be able to get his hands on a higher tier metal there. If he could turn that metal into an Origin metal as well then he would have the materials to make a truly exceptional weapon. He also needed better mana crystals so really there wasn't much point in doing more than perfecting the design.
Thomas stepped out of the workroom with Snowlily following behind him. He approached Hekrin, "I think I've got everything I need to make for my journey completed."
Hekrin nodded, "Good lad. I got a bit o' bad news for ya. My old master took off and left fer a different dwarven city about a year ago. If yur gunna go find him yur goin' ta need to head ta Kafla in the country of Solvikia on the other continent."
Thomas blinked, "He crossed the ocean and went to another country on another continent?"
Hekrin nodded, "That's right. Old bastard heard rumors 'bout a newly discovered Adamantine mine and made his way there."
Thomas's eyes sparkled at the mention of Adamantine. Seeing the look in Thomas's eyes, Hekrin shok his head, "Keep dreamin' kid. Ya ain't ready ta work with Adamantine, not by a long shot. Ya won't even be able ta work Mithril properly until ya got at least a hundred Magitech Engineerin'!"
Thomas sighed to himself. So working various materials required specific ranks in an appropriate skill. That make perfect sense to him. The reason for the sigh was that at least part of the surprise of reaching rank one hundred in Magitech Engineering had just been spoiled for him! He specifically didn't ask Hekrin what happened at that rank to avoid this! Hearing Thomas's sigh and taking it as a sign of disappointment, Hekrin spoke up, "Don't worry kid. Ya will get to the point ya can work with anythin' before much longer. Honestly, yur goin' up the ranks of Magitech Engineerin' faster than anyone I've ever known. What are ya at now anyway?"
Thomas opened his status page for a moment to check and replied, "I'm up to rank eighty-five."
Hekrin's eyes widened, "Damn kid! It took me nearly six months ta get that high and you've been doin' this fer just about a month. Yur a monster!"
Thomas shrugged his shoulders, "Not really. I just got a bit lucky and did a lot of repetitive work."
He didn't bother mentioning how much time and effort using his 'Transmutation' innate ability had saved him. Without it he was certain it would have taken him a lot longer to get as high of a rank as he had now. There was also the influence of 'Quick Learner' to take into account. It was fairly obvious that the ability was giving him a boost to his experience gains. He'd just been unable to figure out exactly how much. He was also pretty certain that it made it easier for him to learn new skills and abilities. Though he had no solid proof of that and likely wouldn't be able to find any. After all, everyone had different levels of skill and for all he knew the system would reward people if they had the proper ability.
Thomas decided to change the direction of the conversation, "So how do I get to that Kafla place?"
Hekrin stroked his beard as he spoke, "Yur goin' ta need ta pick a port ta leave from. Kafla is off in the East across the ocean. Yur best bet would be ta head South into Kjersia ta the port city of Utstad. From there ya can find a ship headin' fer Solvikia. Then yur gunna have ta ask fer directions. I dunno exactly where Kafla is, jus' that it's by the mountains."
Thomas made a note of the directions Hekrin had provided him. Not only was he going to visit two whole new countries, he was even going to cross the ocean and make his way onto a whole new continent. He had no delusions that he would be the first player to do so, but he was sure it wasn't all that common yet. The world of AoG was a massive place, Karonite had advertised it as being a quarter of the size of Earth. This made it one of the biggest open world VR games ever.
Thomas finished writing his note and looked at Hekrin, "Is there anything else I need to know?"
Hekrin shook his head, "Nah. Kjersia and Solvikia are decent countries. Jus' don't do nothin' ya wouldn't do here and ya should be fine. Er. On second thought. Don't go pissin' off no nobles in Solvikia. Over there the nobles are practically royalty and can do whatever they want ta commoners like you."
Thomas sighed. He had enough issues with nobles as it was. The last thing he needed was a group of nobles that were all stuck up assholes. Fortunately, he didn't intend to deal with any of them directly. He just needed to avoid them to the best of his abilities. He'd be travelling as quickly as he could so that would help him avoid the nobles. That was the best eh could hope for.
With his notes written and at least part of his journey planned out, he left Hekrins shop with Snowlily following along with him to The Swans Nest. Tonight would be the last night he stayed at the inn. Tomorrow he would look for any requests at the guild that led south toward the city of Utstad. Hopefully, there would be a merchant caravan looking for guards or something. If not, he'd just travel alone with Snowlily.
At The Swans Nest, he had a nice dinner with Snowlily. She still fought against eating her vegetables but bribes of juicy meat won the debate. Honestly, he had no idea if she should be eating vegetables or not. From his observations there was no issue with her eating them, she just seemed to be more carnivorous and interested in the juicy slabs of cooked meat that came on the dinner plate. Thomas had no argument against that. The meat was his favorite part as well, he just enjoyed the meal as a whole.
Once they finished eating they went up to their room. Snowlily gracefully hopped up onto the bed and lay down to relax. She spent the majority of her time sleeping and relaxing. She was still a puppy so this was to be expected. Thomas removed the majority of his clothing and gear, storing it all inside of his inventory. He looked down at the snow white puppy and smiled, "Tomorrow we're leaving the city. We're going to be traveling for a while to look for someone. I'm sure we'll have a nice adventure along the way."
Snowlily lifted her head off of her paws and looked at him. He would have sworn that she was smiling at him. Thomas smiled back at her. After joining her in the bed he relaxed and went through his nightly grinding. He was hoping to unlock a new function for his 'All Seeing Eyes' soon. Once his mana was low he closed his eyes and drifted off to sleep using 'Serenity'. Tomorrow was going to be the start of a new adventure.