Lino currently stared intently at the oddly-shaped piece of wood sitting still on the table in front of him. He’d promised everyone a new weapon, and it was high-time he delivered, he figured. While the rest were doing the actual missions, he chose to stay behind in their headquarters and ‘guard it’. In the meantime, he also rummaged through his void world and took quite a few materials that he decided to use in crafting everyone’s weapons. Most of them came from the old man Shi’s generous offering when they met in the Umbra Capital, though some were splurged here and there by Lino himself. The first weapon he chose to craft was a bow as he’d never even attempted to craft one before. In order to get used to it, he’d been crafting simple, crude bows for two days straight now, trying all possible shapes, sizes, angles while abstaining from using any materials that were worth anything. There were three most important things when it came to crafting a bow - limbs, string and handle section, with the latter being somewhat less important than the former two. Limbs played part in not only bow’s endurance, but also maximum speed when combined with the string, which was self-explanatory. Limbs, alongside the handle section also played part in accuracy, making it so that, in the end, all three parts had to be at the very least well crafted for a bow to be useful in an actual battle. Lino figured it all mostly through trial and error; though he’d read some sections on bows from numerous books Eggor had given him, as they weren’t exactly a nominal weapon in the world of cultivators, there were only a few pieces mentioned in the encyclopedia of legendary items. One that Lino had long since etched into his memory was an Ancient-Grade bow with a rather simple name: [Void Bow]. What made this bow special was that it practically had no basic stats, and was entirely defined by two Special Effects, first being ability to literally cut through the fabric of space, practically always being able to fire in front of someone’s face so long as cultivation level was high enough, and second being innate necessity to convert any arrow used into a [Void Arrow]. Because they had to move through the limbo of void, [Void Arrows] could not store any energy, and even then they’d usually end up half-beaten by the time they reached their target.
Naturally, Lino had neither desire nor knowledge on how to even begin to craft something like that. What he wanted to create was a simple, accurate and powerful bow for Shaneine to use. As she was proficient at longbows which usually sacrificed some accuracy and speed for relatively long range, he decided to use [Deadwood] for the limbs. It was a rather sturdy type of wood with some innate flexibility, and could meld well with other materials if necessary. For the string, he decided to use tendons of a somewhat common type of a beast - Horned Ox. He chose so because of the endurance and flexibility of the beast’s tendons as well as the fact that he was actually considering inscribing an array on the string that would further increase the flexibility, for even greater range. For the handle, he decided to use an impure mixture of [Deadwood] and simple [Iron]. The secret would be the array he planned on inscribing: <Explosive Array>. As it name implied, it would further propel the initial acceleration of arrow, and Lino estimated if all things fell into right place, eventual bow’s range would most-likely reach over half a mile, which was truly insane. One has to know that even the greatest of longbows used in the armies had at beast 300m of range, and that was when taking into consideration absolutely atrocious accuracy. As for that, Lino decided to leave it into Shaneine’s hands as, at that range, arrays increasing accuracy simply failed to make any impact.
After he drew up the blueprint, he decided not to wait any longer and began cutting the large log of [Deadwood] with incredible precision and accuracy. Meanwhile, he stewed a few pieces of Ox’s tendons over mild fire to relax them for further proceedings. He planned on taking roughly five hours to craft the bow, and this included giving himself some leeway for rest even. After all, he’d grown quite a lot as a blacksmith since his starting days. If he simply wanted to craft a bow, he’d be confident in being able to craft one within half an hour. However, this wasn’t just any bow, so he had to pay a bit more attention to detail. He’d long since decided to follow Eggor’s creed when it comes to crafting; even if he’d sometimes mass-produce an item, it would never become his calling. Every new item ought to have heart and soul put into it and be unique in any way possible. They all had to serve some form of purpose that no other item - at least one easily obtainable - could. After cutting the [Deadwood] into a singular pole, he smiled with satisfaction before removing tendons from the flame and beginning to carefully prick a singular, fingernail-wide string. He would further thin it out when it came to finishing touches, so it was fine for the time being. It took him almost half an hour to extract a single string which only showed how careful he was not to accidentally damage it and eventually lower bow’s grade. Because [Deadwood] innately had some flexibility, he first cut two holes just beneath the tips and then bent them in a precise angle before driving the string and locking the limbs in place. He quickly tested the bow by pulling the string, and though it felt rather awkward - as he hadn’t processed it or added any finishing touches - the foundation was there. He then proceeded to quickly craft a simple handle, wrapping it tightly around the limbs’ center. The bow was slowly beginning to take the shape, but he didn’t relax.
According to his previous plans, he first inscribed <Explosive Array> onto the handle, before taking a small needle, infusing it with sliver of Qi, and inscribing <Flexibility> and <Endurance> arrays on the tendons. As this was practically the hardest part, it took him the longest - over two hours - to finish. After he was done, he wiped the sweat off his shoulder before smiling. During the inscription process, he also thinned out the string so it felt more natural in one’s hand. The last, but not least, he then proceeded to inscribe the limbs with the same arrays, after which he added some adorning patterns along the limbs, adding a tint of color here and there so it didn’t simply look like basic wood. The last thing he did was to add some finishing touches, make sure that the limbs were completely symmetrical, and that the bow could be pulled far enough without any obstructions. Only after he was completely satisfied did he finishing up his crafting, whereupon a flash of purple bloomed out for a moment along the bow’s edges before disappearing. Lino picked it up and quickly looked over its stats.
[Bounding Longbow - Epic]
Projectile Acceleration: +60
Projectile Speed: -20
[Special Effect] - If arrow is fired from 500m and further away, it gains 100% piercing effect regardless of arrow’s quality.
[Special Effect] - If arrow is fired from 100m and shorter, gain accelerating burst of 100% to the initial release, but lower damage by 60%.
Note: A longbow crafted from relatively simple materials, but due to its innate design it was turned into a long-distance death machine. Only Godly Archers are capable of fully utilizing the bow’s advantages.
Though it wasn’t completely the way he imagined, Lino still nodded in satisfaction. If all items he planned on crafting came out roughly like this, it would not only strengthen his group, but also possibly even push him over onto the next realm of blacksmithing - Grandmastery. Just as he was about to take a short nap and prepare himself for the next craft, however, he was interrupted by a relatively strong surge of Qi coming from the yard upfront. As he was the only person who stayed here, he naturally had to be one welcoming the guests. If it had been someone weaker, Lino would simply ignore them, but the Qi released suggested that the person outside is Mythic Realm - and toward its peak, at that. Lino quickly used the towel to wipe the sweat off his forehead before leaving the smithy and going toward the yard. On the way, he changed into simple, leisurely clothes that seemed to be similar to commoner’s.
As he exited into the yard and failed to see anyone in front, he frowned for a moment before he looked up toward the sky, his heart freezing for a moment. There, levitating roughly twenty meters above the ground, atop a glistening, silver sword adorned with gems, a youth slightly older than him stood loftily with his hands behind his back. He wore a strange-looking yellow gown that was tied around his belt, corresponding to his sun-colored hair which was tied into a ponytail. The youth seemed to grow apprehensive for a moment as he inspected Lino, unable to perceive anything from the youth down below aside from the fact that, well, the youth was alive. Or at least he chose to believe that. This gave him a start as that indicate that youth is either really just an ordinary mortal, or at least a full realm and a half above in terms of cultivation. Lino, stared for a moment before his eyes suddenly shone in strange light, causing youth to pull his guard up.
“So cool!!!” however, Lino’s words nearly caused the youth to fall over from his sword. The boy down below began drooling, and the man realized he wasn’t even being registered in the youth’s eyes - it was the sword he was standing atop. “Dammit, I’m so jealous!! Look how damn cool he is!! If, if I could fly like that, look down on the world, swoosh and whoosh where I please, could you imagine how cool I’d look?! That’s it!! I swear, even if I have to re-write the laws of nature, I’ll find way to ride a sword like that in the future!! There’s nothing that can stop me!”
“...” the man atop the sword was at a complete loss for words for a time. He came here expecting a haughty, arrogant and self-centered fool who had been dancing too much around his fiance lately, only to find a... fool. Just a fool. A fool who can’t even use [Flying Swords], something that even [Core Realm] children in his Clan could do easily.
“... you’re the leader of Archangel’s Darkness?” the man suddenly asked, ending Lino’s short-lived daydream.
“...” Lino’s expression stiffened for a moment, and just as the man began expecting a relatively reasonable answer, Lino spoke. “Dammit, I hear it now. It sounds so bad when you say it out loud. Tell me, brother, how embarrassed were you when you said that name? I tell ya’, I made that name up, yet I still don’t dare actually say it out loud! Aaagh, what was I thinking?! I could have named us something cool, like, I don’t know, Starved Gods, but I had to go and get sentimental right then! Ugh, this is too much,” Lino grasped at his heart, falling onto his knees. “I don’t even want to be a father anymore. Imagined if my wife told me to name our kid! I’d scar the poor bugger until he committed suicide on his tenth birthday! I’d probably call him something like Scarred Soul, or Harrowed Heart! Aaaah!”
“...” while man’s thought process was entirely uprooted, Lino’s on the other hand was very, very simple: chase away this troublemaker by acting as stupidly as possible. That was really all.