Felix and Lino hadn’t ran into anyone else for the following three days. Following Felix’s short outburst, Lino would now occasionally come to a halt when they ran across something interesting and give Felix some time to explore. Meanwhile, Lino himself wound find a quaint spot and lie down, taking a quick nap to recharge his batteries.
The days were quite uneventful, but Felix didn’t really mind. When he wasn’t trying to understand various structures of the ruins, he was attempting to follow his Master’s advice over how he can better utilize his best Martial Art [Frozen Crescendo]. Hollowing out the initial parts and giving them just enough mass to carry on the momentum sounded easy enough, but it required him to pretty much re-write the way he used Qi through pathways in order to utilize it properly.
He didn’t mind, however, as he found it quite fun; up until now, he mostly just followed the instructions within the Arts blindly, never having an idea of changing them. It was also now that he finally understood what his father meant when he would tell him to ‘make the whole Art his own’. The reason why his father could use [Frozen Crescendo] so easily was due to enormous Qi reserves, something Felix simply lacked - not only because of lower Realm, but also differences in fighting styles.
His father was a headstrong type of a man, and it reflected in the way he fought; if he could he’d used the simplest and most effective method over anything else - simply overwhelming the other side with sheer quantity. Felix, on the other hand, was much more of a flexible type; he preferred darting around and firing only when he couldn’t be retaliated against, leading to his Qi pathways being considerably thinner than his father’s, but his general control of Qi actually surpassing his father’s.
Lino didn’t meddle any further into Felix’s Art after the initial assessment; it was something Felix had to do himself, as it was Art meant to correspond with who he was. Lino himself was trying to figure out how the whole mess of the ruins would play out. So far, he was aware that at least three big players entered - Divine Dynasty, Damian and his forces, as well as Major Ava - most-likely as a representative of her Clan.
He was fairly certain there were at least few other forces, and even more individuals altogether, which made it quite a headache when trying to plan ahead. There was also the case of Eggor and Ella - the very reason he rushed over so quickly. If they were still here, Lino wagered they were someplace toward the center rather than anywhere else. He wasn’t really worried about their safety; to say nothing of Ella who has probably gotten much stronger over the past ten years, there was also that old bastard and his items. Those were not something cultivators of Western hemisphere could contend against...
“Woof!” a familiar bark jolted him back from his thoughts; he casually glanced to his left and saw a rather rugged-looking husky with beautiful, silver eyes wagging his tail and tongue at him. Though Lino reacted nonchalantly, Felix was shocked immensely. How did this dog get here?!! He wasn’t with us since that inn!!
“Eh? You found something?” Lino arched his brows, growing intrigued.
“E-eh?! Master, you knew dog was here?!”
“... huh?” Lino looked at Felix with slight confusion. “He was with us the whole time... he left when you sat down to explore a bit.”
“What do you mean he was with us the whole time?! I didn’t see him!! Once!!” Felix cried out. He was completely assured his Master was playing a prank on him and he wasn’t willing to have any of it anymore.
“... eh? You really didn’t see him?” Lino asked, feeling even more incredulous at the moment. “Don’t... don’t tell me your Divine Sense is so weak that this dog can evade it? I mean... the bastard’s got some talent in being stealthy... but... still...”
“... just tell me the truth Master.” Felix said. “I can handle it.”
“But I am telling you the truth...”
“... fine.” Felix gnashed his teeth angrily. “Play your pranks. See if I care!!”
“... but you really look like you care...”
“I don’t care!! I don’t!”
“...” Lino cast another glance at Felix who seemed on the verge of crying and shook his head, thinking how this lad was really quick to tears. He slowly got up and left Felix to that random column they ran across and decided to follow the dog. “What’d you find?” he asked.
“Woof, wo-wo-WOOOF--woff!” a whole stream of barks came out, alongside river of spit. Luckily, the dog wasn’t turned toward Lino.
“Blueprints?” Lino was even more intrigued now. “Interesting... good find, Basketcase.”
“What do you mean that’s not your name? What’s your name then?!”
“... w--woof... woof?”
“You can’t remember? Whatever. We’ll just stick to Nonsense then.”
“Fine, fine, I’ll call you Non then. What does that even mean...”
Non led Lino through the numerous winding roads, blocked off with towering boulders and hills, before finally coming to a halt in front of a narrow entrance leading into the ground itself. Lino quickly scanned it with Divine Sense and found no trace of life inside. Non was the first to enter, followed shortly after by Lino.
Though narrow, Lino was able to wiggle himself through with a bit of effort, finally landing into a spacious room after a few minutes. As there was no source of light, he took out a torch from the void world and lit it up; he couldn’t help but sigh, feeling how cruel it was that he couldn’t externalize his Qi... even to just shine some light.
The room was actually perfectly squared, with only a few dents in the walls ruining the symmetrical perfection. It comprised of only a bed, a couple of tables and chairs as well as a shelf in the corner. Ignoring everything else, Lino casually walked over to one of the tables that had several sheets of papers spread about. Non himself walked over and leapt onto the bed, snoring sounds filling the room shortly after.
Lino examined the first paper in great detail; the sketches depicted a sort of strange device, with two wheels at sides attached to a massive log of wood - shaped sort of like a battering ram. The wheels were attached slightly before one end of the log, with the other end flattened with the floor. Additional components were sketched out at the sides, some depicting chair-like structures and one even depicting a massive, thigh-thick cannon made of alloyed, mithril-cast steel.
“... eh?” Lino exclaimed softly, confused. “What the fuck’s this supposed to be?” he put the paper into the void world. No matter what it was, it was still a good reference material of nothing else. Moving onto the second blueprint, this one was much easier to understand - it was a shield. However, it was by no means a simple sort of shield.
The design was quite tricky, depicting four layers in total, not to mention that the shield was supposed to be at least fourteen meters tall for some reason. “Isn’t this more akin to a freaking wall...?” Lino mumbled as he traced over the other parts of the blueprint. What interested him, however, far more than the shield were the arrays he came across by the end. He immediately began studying them in great detail, exclaiming in shock when he realized their complexity.
Arrays that are inscribed on items are generally divided by their complexity - however many lines and layers they had. From Basic, Advanced, Intermediate, Distinguished, Masterwork and Perfect. Those were at least the divisions Lino was aware of. He himself had complete mastery over Basic Arrays, and was nearing complete mastery of Advanced arrays. He only dabbled theoretically into Intermediate stage, though he had no confidence of actually inscribing one onto a weapon.
Looking at the complexity of arrays depicted on the blueprint, Lino estimated that they were actually a whole tier above Intermediate - being at least Distinguished. There were four in total, all entirely focused on defense as far as Lino could decipher them. In reality, he was only able to recognize a few lines among literal thousands of them.
“... studying this will be a nightmare,” Lino sighed, stocking the blueprint away. “I’ll have to ask that old bastard to give me some references when we meet. Otherwise... I might literally die before figuring out anything.”
He then quickly picked up the last blueprint that was on the table and was immediately shocked; it wasn’t written in the Oreb Language! It was actually written in a much more modern language - though that ‘modern’ was really just comparatively speaking, as Easton Language was still at least a few hundred million years old... meaning it was considered a Lost Language and was no longer in use.
However, it was still much better than Oreb Language, as scholars had managed to piece together a few hundred words altogether, making it somewhat easier to understand documents and Artifacts from the Eastonian Kingdoms. However, perhaps the greatest difference was that Easton Language used the same numerical system as the contemporary language - meaning Lino was able to more or less figure out the final stats of the item depicted in the blueprint, which was actually a spear, making him somewhat excited. That excitement, however, waned quickly.
[Cursed ??? ??? Spear - Ancient Legendary Artifact - Blueprint]
Requirement: Level 1800
Requirement: Strength - 1,000,000
Requirement: Primordial-tier Cultivation Method
Requirement: Dragon’s Blessing x4
Requirement: Dragon Guardian, Cursed Child, Warmonger, Sinner of the Seven Seas -- Titles
Damage: Strength & Qi amplification --- 6000x (???)
+20% of Qi added to Strength
+1000% to <Universal Stats>
+1000% to <Elemental Resistances>
+1000% to <Universal Resistances>
+1% to <Void Displacement Discipline>
+0,001% to <Void ???>
-50,000 to Agility
-30% to Attack Speed
Special Effect: ??? throw ??? ??? 6000% Qi, ??? ???
Special effect: ??? ??? ??? ??? damage ??? 50% ???
Special Effect: Void ??? ??? ??? 500% ??? ??? 20% ??? ???
Special Effect: [SEALED]
Special Effect: [SEALED]
Special Effect: [SEALED]
Note: Spear ??? ??? ??? blacksmith ??? ??? era ??? ??? [Hellbound Emperor] ??? ??? ??? to ???? ???? ???? Devils. ???? ???? ????
Lino felt cold sweat break out in droves from his back; this isn’t a spear, this is a weapon of mass fuckin’ destruction!! Forget the fact that Lino had no clue what half the stuff meant when it came to bonuses, just the fact the way damage was calculated terrified him. He’d never seen it before, the fact that the weapon had no base damage in and of itself -- it was entirely derived from one’s own prowess. It meant that the weapon was as strong as its wielder was; for instance, if someone had just 40 Strength and 40 Qi in the numerical values, damage would total out at 480,000!! It was completely insane!!
Then there were requirements... Lino simply lost any desire to look any further after seeing the first two - Level 1800 and one million Strength. It simply wasn’t something that he was able to comprehend; his own strength, reigning supreme at over 4000 could be considered a heaven-defiant anomaly considering his Level, yet he was nothing in comparison.
However, Lino quickly gleamed that this wasn’t just another spear, even back then; it was clear that it was pretty much forged for just one person - the Hellbound Emperor, though it was Lino’s first time hearing of such figure. He could only imagine the terror of battles fought on that scale. Just a single swipe of this Spear was enough to probably decimate at least 2/3 of the entire Western Continent, if not to raze it entirely. Simply put - this weapon didn’t belong to this world.
Then there were also the strange, Void amplifications; what intrigued Lino the most was the seemingly abysmal increase of 0,001% to <Void ????>. However, his gut feeling was telling him that this option alone was more important than everything else on the list combined. He’d long since come to realize that anything having to do with the concept of Void was by no means weak; just looking at his own Void World he gained from the Primal Spirit, he knew Void was anything but just ‘extra pocket of space to store the stuff into’. The mystery behind it ran much deeper, however, Lino as he was now was ill-equipped to even begin understanding it.
He simply stored the blueprint into the void world and sighed. Thinking back to those items he’d seen in the compendium of items, Lino realized that there were some stark differences; this Spear was focused entirely on simple concept of destroying whatever lay in its path. It had little to no utility outside of fighting. Most experienced blacksmiths would even agree that it was quite crude and simplistic when compared to some more complex and nuanced designs, especially the Ancient Hammers which could increase the crafting speed by threefold. Perhaps that was also the reason why items like these weren’t added into the compendium; after all, given enough time and proper resources, mostly every good blacksmith can create a destructive item meant only for killing.
Still, Lino felt this spear wasn’t as simple as it appeared on the surface. Pure destruction was one thing, but pure destruction that could not be withstood? That was a concept well beyond the notion of simply being a ‘good weapon’ or an item suited for a compendium of crafted items. He sighed lowly and leaned back onto the chair, feeling a sudden itch to craft something himself. After all, it’s been almost ten years since he last crafted an item. In his heart, soul and mind, being a blacksmith was always his first and foremost goal and dream. Everything else - including the whole Writ business - came second. Soon... I’ll also have to replenish pretty much everything. I’ve got no decent weapon or armor to speak of... even my only Soul Creation was destroyed... haii... that hurt more than being unable to train for ten years...