Lino’s eyes glistened in bedazzling light, focused entirely on the shining ring sitting atop the palm of his hands. It exuded deeply violet sheen, smooth to the touch, with a one-winged crest carved out of ruby gem being the centerpiece of the display. For the majority of the smithing involved, Lino had actually done quite little, with Sarah bearing the bulk. He only helped inscribe arrays toward the end and smooth out the surface.

Even so, however, he couldn’t help but feel slightly prideful over the creation as it was derived entirely from his own design. However, perhaps the most important thing that he derived from the crafting process was the realization over just how different jewelry crafting actually is from crafting a weapon or a piece of armor.

“Satisfied?” Sarah suddenly asked. The already tight clothes she wore now stuck even closer to her skin, doused in sweat. She was heaving deeply at the moment, clearly exhausted, yet still bearing a brilliant smile.

“He he, beyond satisfied!” Lino exclaimed. “You’re really a genius at this!”

“But of course.”

“Damn, now I want to put it on your finger even more.” Lino said with a grin.

“Ah, you little ruffian!” Sarah smiled, ruffling Lino’s hair for a moment before sitting down. “You’re too late. My heart is already captured.”

“Tsk.” Lino clicked his tongue inaudibly. “First Ava... now you... why are all the charming women already taken... ah... what injustice...”

“Do you want to rest for a bit before continuing?” Jack quickly asked in order to prevent the conversation from derailing any further.

“Ah, I’ve brought us some ale,” Sarah exclaimed as she took out four jars from her void necklace before taking out a massive barrel. Lino’s eyes immediately shone as his nose perked. “Hm? You recognize the smell?” she asked, seeing Lino’s reaction.

“Is that legendary Dwarven Ale?” Lino asked expectantly.

“Ha ha, right on.”

“Dear god, this day keeps getting better and better!”

“You’re really not pulling your punches today!” Jack exclaimed, unable to hide his excitement.

“Ah... Dwarven Ale...” Edward mumbled with a dreamy expression.

“Alright, alright, pour yourself some lads,” Sarah said. “And enjoy!”

“Don’t mind if I do!” Lino was the first to scoop the jar and fill it to the absolute brim. He then sat down and stared at the bubbling foam for a long while before taking a sip. It tasted... bitterly sweet. He’d only read about the ale, yet all his dreams about it hadn’t been betrayed -- they were even surpassed. “So this is what heaven tastes like...”

“Hey, don’t insult my ale!” Sarah exclaimed, taking a sip herself. “Heavens suck ass compared to this. Anyway, Jack, what are you guys going to be displaying?”

“He he, it’s a secret,” Jack replied, savoring the taste himself. “However, I promise you you’ll be surprised.”

“Indeed,” Edward joined in, his hands shaking as he held onto the jar. “Lino’s really a heaven-sent gift for us...”

“Jeez, as if my ego wasn’t already inflated...” Lino commented. “But, what can I say? It’s completely true. I’m unlike everyone you met before!”

“... yeah, I’ve noticed you’re quite a narcissist.” Jack commented.

“To the point that if the mirrors could speak they would tell you to leave them alone.” Edward added.

“Ah, let the youth be,” Sarah chimed in. “It’s better to love yourself too much than to hate just as much.”

“Indeed, listen to this beauty,” Lino said with a serious expression. “When did a little bit of self-love ever harm anyone? Oh, I mean self-love as in love not as in going to town with myself.”

“... yeah, we got that.” Jack said.

“...” Edward sighed and shook his head.

“There’s a child living inside of you, isn’t there?” Sarah asked with a rather queer smile.

“That’s against the law, though.”




“Yeah, very few people can handle my brilliance indefinitely.” Lino said. “It’s both a gift and a curse.”

“... khm, what do you plan on crafting later?” Sarah asked, switching the topic quickly.

“An arsenal for myself.” Lino replied with a grin. “An arsenal so overpowered that I’ll make people die out of jealousy alone.”

“We only have enough materials for four items, though.” Jack said.

“... I-I know... it... it was a joke...”

“Eh, you can’t swing and hit them all.” Sarah said.

“Khm, anyway, I’ll crafting a thick-bladed zanbato, a spear, a war-hammer and a chain sickle.” Lino said.

“Wow, that’s quite ambitious. Didn’t you say it’s for yourself?” Sarah exclaimed after a short thought. “Can you even use that many weapons?”

“He he, the easiest way to beat someone is to drown them in money.” Lino said, licking his lips. “No need to bleed blood or Qi. Just drown the bastards into the grinder of doom!”

“... you’re insane.” Jack commented.

“A complete lunatic.” Edward nodded.

“Yup, there’s something about you...” Sarah said.

“I just hope they turn half as good as the ring...” Lino once again went over the ring’s stats, still unable to truly believe it.

[Ring of Liberation - Epic]

Level: 180

Requirements: 2000 Agility

+40% to Agility

+50% to Hand Speed

+30% to Melee Martial Arts

Special Effect [Liberator] -- momentarily edify physical constitution, improving all body-related stats by 400% for 5 seconds (offense and defense)

Special Effect [Snipe] -- directing Qi into the ring creates a [Phantom Blade] which can be thrown at will, dealing damage equal to 60% of total sum. Each successive conjuring consumes more Qi.

Note: A balance-oriented accessory, offering a boost both to melee and ranged combat; especially useful in the hands of crafty combatants.

However, seeing the stats again, suddenly inspired Lino. A feeling swelled inside his chest, one he couldn’t resist. He quickly downed the contents of the jar and got up, bellowing sharply before shifting over to the furnace and starting the flames again. While the flames bellowed, he quickly took out numerous parchments and began designing the weapons wantonly; in just an hour, he’d designed at least twenty variants of each, before slowly condensing his desires into one design for each weapon.

Finally satisfied, he sectioned off the materials to use for each before getting to work. Deciding on the spear first, he melted the ingots and elongated them, partitioning them into three parts and adjoining them through internal, metal conduits for increased flexibility. For the blade he decided on a balanced approach, aiming to create a spear appropriate for thrusting, swiping and slashing. He also alloyed the shaft twice over to be able to use it as a shield without it breaking apart.

Drawing out the arrays slowly and carefully across the surface while Jack and Edward sharpened and alloyed the blade, he also decided on decorating it slightly, adding a feathered end at the shaft’s bottom and carving out spiraling patterns across its surface, filling them with a slight, golden glitter.

By the time he was done, it was already night. Taking a quick look around, he realized that the other blacksmiths had already left, yet that hardly impeded on his mood. Immediately shifting over from the finished spear he decided on creating the war-hammer next. As he hadn’t crafted one before, he employed Jack’s and Edward’s help a bit more. While he prepared the shaft, the two worked on the head in accordance to his design, Lino joining them only by the end, chiseling out the arrays and patterns.

Both the spear and the war-hammer were quite massive, taller than him at that, impossible to wield for practically anyone except the Body Cultivators. Since he at last decided to finalize his battling style and detail it out a bit more, he designed weapons in a diversifying way -- or, to be more precise, they were designed with a specific purpose in mind.

The same thing occurred once he began crafting zanbato; as he was very picky about the details, he himself handled the entire process with Jack and Edward merely acting as a supply depot for the materials. Thick, wide and long, he had no intention of making it a cutter which is also why he didn’t bother sharpening the edges all that much and instead focused on repeatedly reinforcing the blade’s endurance through numerous layers.

Moving onto the last one, Lino had long since forgotten the passage of time; it had already been three days, actually, since he’d begun crafting. The story about the crazed smith in the local smithy had already spread throughout the city, and every day the number of observes increased exceptionally, though he himself failed to notice it. Chain sickle was a rather unique and rare weapon, one even Jack and Edward didn’t have much experience crafting which is why it took them the longest to craft.

Similarly to the other three, Lino specialized it to the mid-range as he lacked any form of ranged attack besides throwing stuff at people. With that image in mind, he focused on making it quick and silent as well as durable rather than imagining it as a killer weapon; he imagined using it more as a supportive tool than a weapon, but he believed it suited him perfectly.

[Jailing Wail - Unique Rare]

Level: 140

Damage: 13,644-14,311

+60% to Drawing Speed

+60% to Projectile Speed

-60% to Damage

+200% to Durability

Special Effect [Jailer] -- entangling the chains immobilizes the victim for at most 3 seconds, preventing the channeling of Qi.

Special Effect [Reaper] -- successfully killing someone of the same Realm with the weapon permanently increases its damage by 1% (grade increase every 100 kills)

Note: A growth-type weapon, suited only for those who live and die by the hills and dunes of the battlefield. Begins on the weaker end with nigh-infinite potential.


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About the author


Bio: Bad writer, worse painter, terrible singer. Accumulation of all things gone wrong. Rather proud of it, actually.

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