[Talisman of Void]

Effect: Instantly teleport anywhere within 100,000km of the current location.

Lino casually stuffed a whole stack of the talisman -- and many similar to it -- into his void world. There were shielding talismans, speed talismans, flying talismans, attacking talismans... all neatly stacked within a warehouse-like building made out of jade stone. Though they looked like stacked platforms, just by touching them he was able to scale them down till they fit the palm of his hand.

Looking around the dusted room, he nodded smilingly before leaving, finding himself back at the central square where a giant, red flag fluttered in the faint wind. Realizing he’d gone through all of the buildings around, he sat down and took out a gourd of wine to wait for Hannah as his mind drifted off onto his next crafting project: a shield. He’d only ever crafted one way-back-when in the Umbra Kingdom, and most of his last battles had shown him there were a lot of situations where he could use one.

The problem was that he was stripped of materials as he had virtually nothing inside the void world save for the smallest flickers of the [Divine Stone] that he was saving for the future project he had in mind. Just then a fluttering figure appeared in his view, seemingly cascading down the sky with the wind, her robes and hair fluttering back. She landed gently next to him and sat down, taking the gourd away from him in a swift motion.

“What’d you find?” Lino asked, taking out a new one.

“Talismans mostly,” Hannah said. “This place looks like it was ripped from the Sect Grounds, as it’s eerily similar to the Talisman District within my own sect. You?”

“Same,” Lino replied. “They’re fairly good, but I was expecting a bit more, you know?”

“I know!” Hannah exclaimed in frustration. “This shithole has yet to be discovered, yet what do we get? Some protective talismans for children? Man, Titans were sure as hell cheap.”

“... you do realize that those talismans could probably fetch a huge price if we sold them to peeps under Level 900, right?”

“Eh, I’ve got enough money, I don’t need that.”

“Speak for yourself.”

“Right. I forgot you were as poor as dirt.” she smirked.

“I had actually planned to open my own smithy here when I first arrived,” Lino said, smiling bitterly. “I was gonna hole up and just... craft. And, you know, earn some gold. I still want to do it someplace. If only the world would leave me the fuck alone...”

“Eh, smithy’s a whole lot more complex than just guys crafting,” Hannah said. “I mean, you have to find contractors for the materials, you have to always keep up with the crafting equipment, you need to be able to both mass-produce goods and deal with exclusives, you need a lot of departments dedicated to a lot of things... honestly, if I were you, I’d just become a maverick smith.”

“Yeah, you’re probably right. But, you know... there’s still something about having the place, you know? To have people lined up outside for miles just to get what I created... right, I’ve been meaning to ask you, you got any extra materials I could use for crafting?”

“What do you want to craft?” Hannah asked, turning toward him.

“A shield.”

“... aren’t you unkillable enough?”

“Can never be that, dear.”

“... sigh, I pity the fools who fight you,” she said as she reached into the void ring on her finger and started taking out piles of materials while Lino’s eyes bulged, nearly popping out of their sockets. “These are all my spares, the rest I’m saving for myself. I’m waiting till you get a bit better.”

“... filthy bitch.” Lino mumbled under his breath as he reached into the pile and started throwing stuff about, trying to figure out the best combination.

“Hey, aren’t you the one always saying ‘if you got it then flaunt it’?” she asked.

“Yeah, but I meant stuff like, you know, ass and tits, not empire-deep pockets of freaking wealth! This is just heartbreaking! You’re not even a damn smith!”

“What kind of a shield do you plan on crafting?”

“Probably a vanguard one,” Lino said, already having settled on a few materials nad having them put away. “As I’m quite awkward while fighting with a shield in hand. I’d much prefer a huge wall I can whip out and defend against whatever they throw at me.”

“So I won’t be able to wield it?” Hannah asked.

“Uh, I don’t know. How high is your Strength?” Lino asked curiously.

“Around 13,000, why?” she asked back.


“... w-what’s with that look in your eyes? How high is yours?”

“Around 35,000.” Lino replied.

“... you are like thousand Levels below me, aren’t you? What the fuck?!”

“If that’s how you react to my Strength, then you don’t want to hear my Vitality.” Lino chuckled.

“... you know I do. Mine’s 6,000. Yours can’t be higher than 20,000 right? I mean, back in my Sect, one of the Elders is a Body Cultivator and he’s Level 1360 with Vitality of 25,000. Yours can’t be higher than that!”

“... try three times as high.”

“... oh, go to hell. That’s just unfair.”

“... hehe, feels good to be on this side for a change. Alright, I’m gonna start crafting now. Do you wanna watch or explore further?”

“I’m actually quite interested in your process. Need any help?”

“Nah, it’s my time to show off. Just sit back, relax, and get horny.”

“Hah, it’s cute you’re thinking I’m already not.”

“... yeah.”

Lino slowly took out the whole improv-smithy from his void world, carefully putting parts around until they were lined up perfectly for him. Putting a whole swath of materials -- eighteen in total -- on three separate tables, he quickly started fire in the forge using his strongest flame, [Lunar Scorch], that he became able to use by himself after becoming the Soul Exalted.

The fire burned brightly and warmly as he began melting away at metal while drafting out arrays on a few pieces of parchment and grounding several herbs into a liquid reminiscent of water, only slightly thicker. He also did a quick design of the shield despite the fact that he already had it inside his head just to look at it with an outside eye and see whether he could fix anything; the shield came up to nearly three meters in height and half that in width, but he quickly realized he’d have to be careful with the material distribution as he couldn’t let the weight grow too large.

However huge his Strength stat was, only he knew the sheer amount of weight his weapons and armor imposed upon his body. If he stacked too much on top of what was already there, he’d most-likely end up burying himself.

Meanwhile, Hannah observed the process from the side; although she hadn’t told him, she’d often look-in on the smiths back in her Sect, and she was currently comparing the two, quickly realizing that despite the fact that Lino was much lower level than them, he was actually better. His movements were quicker and smoother, his awareness was more than a few layers above theirs, and his overall speed could put them to shame.

Her shock, however, grew hundredfold once Lino began inscribing arrays. Hannah understood Array Inscription almost like an exclusive branch of the blacksmithing that some of the smiths in her Sect specialized in, yet Lino seemed almost as though he was just randomly doodling on the material’s surface rather than inscribing arrays.

His hand moved freely around as though he wasn’t worried about making a mistake, brushing away at the shield with such confidence that Hannah finally found the source of that boundless ego he had. Her expression mellowed as she looked into his eyes which burned with endless passion, with drive she’d never seen in him before today. While he certainly looked maddened and excited while fighting, the feeling he gave off right now was entirely different; it was of true happiness and joy derived from doing something he loved, something he wants to do rather than something imparted upon his shoulders.

Unlike the smiths she grew up around, who merely looked like anyone else doing their job, Lino almost seemed like a child with his favorite toy in hand, dancing about the item, hammering away, inspecting the last inch of the creation for any flaw he might come across. His face suddenly lit up as he inscribed the last array, and Hannah quickly closed her lips together as she still had some remnant of dignity to keep in front of him.

“And finished!” Lino exclaimed looking at the massive hunk of rectangular metal in front of him, seemingly too huge to be held up by a single person. “Come, you check out its stats and grade it from 1 to 5.”

“... that’s weird, but alright.” Hannah shrugged and walked over, grazing the shield’s still-cooling surface gently before looking at its stats and exclaiming softly.

[Imperishable Guardian -- Epic]

Level: 400

Requirements: Strength [26,000]

Requirements: Vitality [15,000]

Requirements: [Will]

Durability: 500,000,000

Defense: 30% of base ‘Vitality’ of the Wielder

+300% to Vitality

+250% to Strength

-60% to Speed

Special Effect [Guardian] -- infusing Qi directly into the core triples the shield’s size, giving the ‘Reflect’ option to it for 30 seconds -- the shield’s weights doubles for the duration

Special Effect [Imperishable] -- if Wielder’s life is in danger, the shield will automatically come out and create a spherical barrier with 10,000,000,000 durability for 2 minutes. Half of the damage done to the barrier goes into restoring wielder’s Vitality

Note: A Continental Masterpiece on the brink of making a wielder an immortal, yet reserved only for those who can see past the concept of weight.


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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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