As Thomas slept in his bed peacefully, Hekrin was wide awake inside of his workshop. The whole room seemed to waver as heat blasted out of the forge. The temperature of the flames inside of the forge had reached a height that Thomas could have only hoped to reach. At the same time, if Thomas were to enter the room he would instantly be reduced to ashes by the heat.
Within the room, Hekrin barely seemed to notice the heat at all as he looked over his work. In his left hand, he held a pair of tongs that tightly gripped an ingot that glowed bright white. In his right hand, he held a hammer that Thomas would have given his right arm to own. The hammer was mostly made of silvery metal with engravings covering every side of it that was inlaid with a golden metal. Each of the inlays seemed to carry profound meaning to them.
As Hekrin lifted the hammer the muscles in his right arm bulged while veins pressed up against his skin. The motion was slow and deliberate as if he was lifting something unimaginably heavy. As the hammer reached the peak of the swing, Hekrin poured mana through his arm and into it. As the mana flooded into the hammer a bright red magic circle appeared in front of the hammers face. As the magic circle and the hammer slammed into the ingot there was a sound like a massive thunderclap that shook the whole room. Magical wards on the walls, floor and ceiling came to life to contain the sound of the hammer hit.
At Hekrin's level, the force of his blows would easily be loud enough to keep the entire city awake and make the weaker citizens quake in fear. He might be a jerk most of the time but he was at least smart enough not to piss off the entire city while he worked.
Despite the force behind the hammer blow the metal ingot only barely deformed. Thunderous explosions resounded over and over again as Hekrin swung his hammer and smashed it into the ingot. Despite the thunderous physical power and swirling magical power behind each blow the ingot barely deformed even after hundreds of blows. Hekrin didn't seem to be bothered by this at all and continued to hammer away at the ingot.
After nearly an hour of non-stop hammering the ingot hadn't shown any signs of cooling off and was growing smaller. If Thomas had been there to observe he would be shocked to see that Hekrin was using brute force and magic to compress the ingot into a smaller and smaller form one blow at a time.
Hekrin was working on a bit of homework for Thomas to take with him on his journey. Thomas was his first and only apprentice and he was determined to do everything in his power to make Thomas into the greatest Magitech Engineer in the world. He didn't think it would take too much effort. Thomas had shown surprising growth and ingenuity in the field. Once he had enough experience, Hekrin knew he would rock the entire world. Just the Peace Maker had been impressive, once it was a real Magitech weapon it would be devastating.
As Hekrin worked the ingot continued to shrink in size and slowly take on a spherical shape. Once it became a perfect sphere, Hekrin dropped it into a bucket containing a special alchemical solution. The solution hissed and bubbled for far longer than the heat from the sphere would provide. Hekrin left the sphere in the solution while he cleaned up his workshop. He'd spent the last six hours hammering on the ingot non-stop.
Once the shop was clean he stood in front of the solution and just watched it boil. As time passed the level of the liquid in the bucket slowly decreased until it was all gone. The sphere had transformed from glowing bright white to glossy black. Hekrin plucked it out of the bucket and slowly examined it. The metal no longer looked like metal at all. The surface was deep black and glossy giving it the illusion that it was trying to draw all light into itself. Despite only using a hammer Hekrin had made the surface of the sphere perfectly smooth and round.
After his examination, Hekrin pulled out an intricate looking box and opened it to set the sphere inside. When he closed the lid there was a distinct click followed by magical circles glowing for a moment. The box was completely locked and would require a special method to open now. Hekrin stored it away and smiled to himself, "It's all up to the kid now. Hopefully, he's smart enough to stop by one more time before he leaves the city. It's up to fate now."
Hekrin stepped out of the workroom and made his way to the second floor of the shop. There were only a few hours left until daylight and he'd been working all night. A nap for a couple of hours would do him some good. With his attributes it wouldn't be impossible for him to work on something for a month straight but at his age, he liked his sleep.
As the sun rose, Hekrin climbed out of his bed and prepared for the day. The morning was always his favorite time of the day. As he unlocked the shops door it immediately burst open as a parade of kids came charging in. The oldest one, looking about twelve, looked at Hekrin and asked, "Old man! Anything new?"
Hekrin laughed jovially and gestured to one of the displays nearby, "Right over there ya little bastard."
All the kids cheered and went over to look at the new toy that Hekrin had made. If Thomas had seen this sight he would have thought aliens had body-snatched Hekrin. The old dwarf went over to the display case and pulled out the new item within it to show the kids, "I heard one of the otherworlders talkin' about somthin' like this."
The item was a small arena shaped like a hemisphere. Hekrin explained, "This is fer the tops. Ya charge 'em up and let 'em fight it out inside of it. The first ta get knocked out of the arena or run out of energy is the loser."
The kids ooh'd and aah'd as they looked over it. They'd been having their tops fight for a while but this would make it a lot more fun. The oldest once again spoke up for the group, "How much old man?"
Hekrin smirked, "One gold kid."
The kid eyed Hekrin as if trying to tell if the old man was lying, "Fine. At least you don't overcharge!"
After accepting the single gold coin from the kid the whole group cheered and ran out of the shop to put their new purchase to use. Hekrin laughed and walked over to stand behind his shops counter. The whole scene would have shocked anyone that only superficially knew Hekrin. That included Thomas. Hekrin rested his chin in his hand and watched over his silent and empty shop.
A short time later Hekrin smiled as he spotted Thomas heading for the door to his shop thinking to himself, "Good choice kid."