The jungle shimmered out of view and I saw once again that the arena I had been taking a test in was surrounded by several people that had not been present when I started. This was the academy all over again. I went up to the desk clerk and asked him for my badge so I could do some shopping. He nodded his head after a second and led me back to his desk.
“Why were those other people watching my dungeon guild trial?”
“All trials are open to viewing by anyone so no accusations of cheating can be made. Usually no one bothers to watch new initiates. However, when you started 5 star level I was required to have a guild officer there to verify the results. Word spread and thus you had several dungeon teams and some guild officers watching your last few rounds in the arena.”
“I see. Will this change anything for me.”
“No sir, at most you might have some requests to join teams that otherwise would not have invited you.”
“Very well then. Thank you for your help, but I must get some supplies and report back to my mentor.”
That last statement was a little white lie, but I hoped it would shut down conversation and allow me to make it through the rest of my day with less interruption. I grabbed the token which obviously enough had a shimmering magical six stars in the color of bronze on it. I headed back to the guild store and bought twice as much as I thought I would need just to be safe. The discount of 30% for my six stars actually helped with this a lot.
I needed to save as much money as I could for the blacksmith. I wanted some decent weapons. I had realized after that last fight in the illusion arena that if I had been forced into melee combat my scythes would probably not be enough to penetrate the lizard’s armor. I would actually make an enhancement spell one of my first priorities which is good because it will also double as the new spell the headmaster would like me to create. I threw one set of materials into my personal inventory and a second set into a convenient Dungeoneer’s Pack. This little beauty acted like a limited inventory. It had several slots for materials and allowed a reduction in weight of 50% for the materials inside. They made some that reduced weight by 95%, but the price started to get really high really quick. I am sure I will have enough for one in the future, but this 50% pack will serve nicely for now.
I headed out of the dungeon guild with my new supplies and ranking and headed for the blacksmith. When I arrived after a few minutes of travel I cautiously entered the sales area and inquired with the clerk if Tom the Blacksmith was available.
“I am sorry sir, but Tom does not just meet with anyone.”
“I have an introduction letter here from Miss Helen if that helps.”
I could see him about to deny me again when a gruff voice from the back interrupted his actions.
“So you know Helen then lad.”
It was a dwarf of huge proportions. By that I mean, he was built and covered in muscles that would make Schwarzenegger envious. He was still under 5 feet tall, but man was he intimidating.
“Yes sir. She is my mentor at Vulcan Academy for melee fighting and recommended your shop as the best place to get weaponry.”
“Well at least she remembered how good I am with weapons. So you’re her protégé then. I tell you what lad, if you can get her to visit me I will give you a 10% discount. If you can get me a date 25% off for the rest of your life.”
Well it seems that Mr. Tom here has a thing for Miss Helen. I need to be careful here.
“Well sir if you know Miss Helen, then you know I will try my best but she is a strong and proud woman with a mind of her own. However, I will try my best to get her to visit. I do not even pretend I have some sort of influence with her that could get you a date.”
Tom was quiet for a moment.
“Aye you are right lad. Even getting her to visit will be good. If you told her about the deal for a date she would likely skin both of us, so why don’t we just forget that little bit.”
“Easily done sir. Now if you don’t mind I am looking for three things, a set of short blades that can pierce through armor my scythes cannot. Second a quality spear to hold a monster at a distance. And finally a recommendation of a distance weapon other than my magic. I have realized that while magic is powerful it might not be the best solution to use in every situation.”
I could see Tom’s eyes get big as I spoke.
“You obviously have put some great thought into this and I have several ideas for you, follow me.”
I followed Tom into a back room filled with weapons. They were hanging from the wall, piled on tables and shoved into barrels. There were weapons everywhere. It was pacifist’s nightmare and a medieval weapon enthusiasts dream all rolled into one sharp and pointy place. In short it was awesome.
“Here is my collection of random weapons I have either made, discovered, or taken in trade of the years. I want you to spend some time looking through it. Wave them around, touch them, play with them, and find the ones that you have a connection with. Then I can customize a set like whatever type you find. These are just melee weapons. I will be working on my idea for your distance weapon in the next room. Take your time and join me when you find the right ones.”
I started wandering through the menagerie of deadly weapons. I occasionally reached out a hand and caressed anything I found interesting. I wanted them all. I knew I wouldn’t be able to use them, heck I was not sure I even knew what half of them were. However, I was entranced by the sheer number and awesomeness on display. Eventually I found myself in front of the “spear” section. I guess a more accurate term would be the section of pointy things on the end of sticks. Spears, halberds, No-Dachis, Pole Arms, every type of weapon I could think of that was at the end of a stick was here. I finally settled on a boar spear. This fulfilled all of the requirements I wanted and felt right in my hands. It would deal satisfying damage, and the cross bar would prevent the monster that was impaled from getting any closer to me.
Done with spear selection I wandered over toward the swords. So many swords, how was I ever going to choose? I needed something strong, something that would penetrate armor. I started looking through all of the options. Longer swords were cool, but did not feel right for what I wanted. My weapon is something to use instead of magic. Not necessarily a primary weapon, but one that could serve as one if needed. I was used to using my two scythes so I decided I should have two of whatever I chose. I eventually settled on a version of the seax knife. This was a style of very thick knife that was very rugged and still was of decent length. Almost a short sword, but not quite. As I was about to pick up a second one I noticed a section I had not gone through yet.
Between the hammers and axes was a section of military picks. That was perfect. That solid spike should be able to drive through anything. If it can’t then the blunt end on the other side would crush it. I immediately picked up one and fell in love with it. This would be my weapon. I could wield it single or double handed. I will keep the seax knife for close in work or cutting throats. The spear would be kept for medium distance and keeping foes away. This beauty would be for when I just wanted to smash things and create destruction.
Satisfied with my choices I headed toward the door that Tom went through. I couldn’t wait to show him my choices and see what he was cooking up for my long distance weapon. When I entered the new room I realized I was in Tom’s personal workshop. Blueprints and half-finished designs were scattered on tables and walls. In the center I saw Tom bent over something on a large table.
“Excuse me Mr. Tom. I have made some selections.”
“Excellent, let’s see what you have.”
I handed over the seax knife, boar spear and my military pick and explained my reasoning to Tom.
“Excellent choices and I think you have thought it out well. The knife we will make with a sheathe for your upper left arm. That way it will not get in the way of your own scythes. The spear will have to be kept in your inventory and called out when needed. That should work fine as it is not an instant use weapon. The pick we will make a partial sheathe sling for your back or thorax. We will have to experiment to see which works best. That just leaves your ranged weapon. This is what I propose to cover that.”
He dramatically moved out of the way to show me a crossbow. It was larger than a pistol crossbow, but smaller than a traditional sized one. It looked ordinary, but if Tom was showing me it than it had to be special in some way. I just stared at it puzzled for a second.
“Alright Tom you got me. I know if you are showing me this it must be a masterpiece or breakthrough of some sort but all I can tell from my uneducated view is that it is a big pistol crossbow.”
“Excellent, that is exactly what I hoped for. If you can’t tell then others won’t be able to either. This may give you an extra edge with surprise someday. This lad is my C.ustom E.lemental C.rossbow all I.nclusive L.ight version. I call it C.E.C.I.L. for short.”
“That is an amazing name for a great crossbow, but I still do not know what it does other than something with the elements.”
“Well, it can shoot either regular bolts or if you can infuse your mana into it to shoot magic bolts.”
“Does that mean as long as I have mana I will have ammunition?”
“Exactly lad, and if you run out of mana you can always switch to regular crossbow bolts.”
“Is it just a magic arrow or will it have the attributes of the type of mana I put into it?”
“Well this is just a prototype so it only works with fire, ice, nature, and lightning magic right now.”
“That is still amazing though Tom. Are you sure I can have the prototype?”
“It is no problem. I have the plans and I can make another at any time. Just remember to get Miss Helen to visit.”
The next two hours were spent customizing everything to my size requirements. When everything was said and done I had beautiful new weapons in custom sheathes, a magic crossbow, and was only out 50 gold coins and a promise to get Miss Helen to visit the weapons shop. I think I did pretty well today. I have all the supplies I need and now have the weapons to use in case my mana expires or in case my scythes cannot do damage.
All that’s left now is to pick up some lunch and then report for my afternoon training with Miss Helen. I only have 45 minutes until the start of the session. I wonder what she is going to have me do? Whatever happens I know it will be effective, I just want to know if I am going to survive it.