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Black slime drooped down from novak’s head down to his toes.
Suddenly the slime parted at Novak’s waist, his ankles, and his neck causing four distinctive items to form. Respectively these items were pants, shoes, a helmet, and a long sleeve shirt. The shapes were rough and gelatinous, but Novak slowly hardened the majority of the outfit while leaving the soles of his shoes and the joints of both his pants and his long sleeve shirt softened. It seemed like a functional set, but Novak frowned and released the goop.
“This won’t work.” He muttered.
Novak was in the process of prototyping. He couldn’t expend a large amount of mana to create a semi-permanent item so instead he settled on making temporary items that depended on his [Slime Manipulation]. Currently Novak could maintain three states for the slime: Aqueous, semi-solid, and crystalline.
Using two of those states Novak’s current prototype was an attempt to correct the issues of a semi-permanent suit of slime he’d created. That suit in particular had been crafted into an actual item and cost Novak the majority of his regenerated mana to complete… the results were bad to say the least.
[ You’ve created an Unknown Suit of armor. Awarding +10% Experience towards Unorthodox Craftmanship and displaying item stats.
[Item Name: Unnamed Item.
Durability: 100% .
Attributes: P. Def + 30 M. Def + 15.
* This suit will repair itself by 1% every minute.
* Agility and Dexterity are set to 0 while equipped.
Description: An immobile suit of armor made out of hardened slime, extremely vulnerable to flame.
Weight: 25 lbs.]
The armor looked like a medieval armor Novak had once seen in a museum, and the slime’s replication was actually quite similiar… but given that Novak didn’t have an actual understanding of the suit’s structure the slime had only managed to replicate the suit’s outer appearance and not its functionality which resulted in a suit that was more like a sarcophagus than an armor.
Its defensive stats were phenomenal for an item made out of slime and aura, but Novak couldn’t move a single step while wearing it so what was the point? Fortunately he discovered that if his cores re-absorbed the slime used to make the suit he could salvage 75% of the mana used to make it; however a loss of 25% mana was significant so he quickly learned to save mana where possible.
Novak wanted to make something durable and capable of withstanding piercing blows and slashes, and in his mind plate armor was the best option, but sadly none of his prototypes were working well. The prototypes he came up with were either too difficult to breath in, too immobile, or too soft. Layering slime didn’t work either because of comfort and breath-ability issues and the weight of the armor would also increase dramatically when layered.
He sighed. It seemed slime alone would not suffice for making armor the same way it had for making a weapon. A large spool of [Aberrant Thread] lay next to Novak and he turned to face it.
He’d made the spool out of hardened slime and then generated [Aberrant Thread] to place on it but as of yet he hadn’t been able to use it, and the reason was simple. Novak didn’t have any tailoring skills which made the thread ornamental at best. Novak’s only saving grace was that his cores produced the thread in a manageable form, but since he didn’t have any tailoring skills that would allow him to automatically convert the thread into an item he’d have to learn first. He sighed. He’d have to log onto the forums to watch some instructional videos.
“Well. I’ve got time to kill anyways.”
Elsewhere Axalot’s voice rang out over a phone call. There was a slight unease to it. “Are you sure?”
Elise hesitated for a moment, “Mostly…” She answered.
“Mostly isn’t good enough…can it be contained?” Axalot responded.
“It can but… it’s a ticking time bomb, I had two of our elite scouts go into the lowers levels to figure out the strength of Matthia’s creature.” She paused.
“…The scouts were both at this shard’s level limit yet we lost contact as soon as they entered the purple membrane below. We’ve only recently received information that both of them were defeated and forced to respawn.”
Axalot was quiet. “What did they see?”
Elise gulped. “… their reports mention that past the purple membrane there was nothing but tendrils for at least another ten floors down.” She inhaled deeply. “The walls of the lower levels all had deep fractures and scorch marks indicating that the lower levels had undergone catastrophic damage, but these scorch marks were barely visible because of the creature’s numerous tendrils…
…We’d believed that Matthias had failed to collapse the lower levels bu…”
Axalot interrupted. “If Matthias succeeded then why are the floors still standing.”
“…It’s the creature.” Elise responded. “A number of the creature’s tendrils are holding up the lower levels, yet there are still an innumerable amount to spare… given its strength I don’t think we can injure it by collapsing any structures, let alone defeat it…
The only good news is that as long as the creature’s core remains sealed and we don’t venture into the lower levels everything should be okay, but…”
“I know it sounds crazy, but something feels off... I think we should join forces with the other guilds, together we might be able to overcome it…”
There was an uncomfortable silence before Axalot responded.
“How do you expect that I convince the rest of the guilds to aid us? Should I tell them to join hands because one of my lieutenants said, ‘something felt off?’ At best they’d thank us for giving them the opportunity to rob us of potential training ground.”
Elises’s heart skipped a beat and she immediately regretted her words. “Y-you’re right boss.” Elise’s discomfort felt palpable, and the constant silence on Axalot’s end only made it worse. After some time he finally he spoke, and Elise jumped to answer.
“What of the train killer?” He said.
“He should be dead.” Elise quickly responded.
“…Good. Then keep the quarantine in place and if you need anything contact Suchyt. Continue exploration of the lab as normal and gather resources where possible.” There was another brief pause. “Do not involve the other guilds, and have our men keep a look out for the train killer. He might inform others about this place… if necessary goad him into contractual silence.”
The call dropped before Elise could say anything else and her feeling of unease grew with more intensity… she remembered the empty incinerator room.
“…He should be dead… right?”
Unbeknown to the Red Axe Devils Novak was not dead, in fact he was quite alive and after spending some minutes on the forums and on the popular video tutorial website “BookTube” Novak found himself holding two knitting needles. The needles were formed out of hardened slime and Novak used them in conjuction with his aberrant thread. The needles overlapped one by one and slowly formed a square shape.
The knitting was exhaustively slow and Novak made several mistakes in the process of learning but in the end after several hours…
[You’ve made an uknown scarf. Awarding +10% Experience towards Unorthodox Craftmanship. Displaying stats. ]
[Item Name: Unnamed Item.
Durability: 100% .
Attributes: P. Def + 3 M. Def + 3.
* Warm and Cozy: This scarf is exceptionally soft and fluffy. Perfect for cold climates.
Description: A passable scarf made by an extremely focused beginner out of uncommon material. This item is extremely vulnerable to flame but otherwise it is extremely durable.
Weight: 0.375 lbs. ]
[You’ve performed a difficult task without system aid. You’ve gained the skill mastery, [Beginner Knitting]. +5 Dexterity, +15% cloth item production speed.]
Novak looked at the scarf in his hands with a sense of accomplishment but soon the smile that adorned his face turned into a frown.
“…How the hell am I supposed to make armor with this.”
Novak saw a problem with his item crafting method. The process of making the scarf alone had taken Novak several hours… sure the process was cathartic, but he’d never admit that to anyone. Plus, after his battle with the [Aberrant Anguilliforms] what he needed wasn’t catharsis. What he needed was an item, or several items, that would help him avoid death. Sadly his knew scarf was not such an item.
He’d spent an hour or two watching videos detailing real life processes for creating armor and clothing, but after seeing the result of his application of one such skill he felt his efforts were for naught. He disappointed, but suddenly he recalled a a phrase he’d heard far too many times throughout his life and grinned slightly.
“No flower ever grew in a day…” He muttered.
He’d hoped to be able to adapt the processes he’d learned to the game world but the tragic reality was that old production methods like knitting were highly inefficient for producing products quickly… but Novak decided that he’d stick with it, it was all he had after all. At least his slime cores made producing items cheaper since he didn’t have to hunt for slime or [Aberrant Thread].
Suddenly Novak looked at his slime cores and a thought came to him.
“Dexterity is supposed to help with player control and flexibility… and [Slime Manipulation] in combination with [Usurper’s Core] make my core’s and my slime act as an extension of myself… so maybe.” If his cores and his slime were both able to adapt to his will quickly enough then…
Suddenly Novak’s slime core’s started spinning rapidly in place and as it did so Novak kept the principles of knitting thread firmly within mind, then he imagined the slime within his core replicating the process while it produced thread.
At first there was no result but soon knitted [Aberrant Thread] started to flow out of his slime cores. The process was extremely slow and mentally grueling for Novak, but within two hours he was able to produce what he’d decided to name an [Aberrant Thread Scarf], it was identical to the first scarf he’d made.
Whatsmore, the mana cost of the item had been about 10% of his total mana which was the same mana cost as producing enough [Aberrant Thread] for an [Aberrant Thread Scarf].
[You’ve innovated upon your production methods. The skill mastery, [Beginner Knitting] becomes [Unorthodox Knitting]. Bonuses changed to +5 Dexterity, +5 Willpower, and +55% cloth item production speed (while using slime cores, otherwise the bonus reverts to 15%).
Although the skill [Unorthodox Knitting] is a mastery its passive effects can still be increased by utilizing mana. The increment in passive effects is dependent on the amount of mana consumed.]
[Your Unorthodox Craftsmanship level has been raised to two, and you have learned to automatically produce the item [Aberrant Thread Scarf]]
Seeing that his experiment had fantastic results Novak was overjoyed and kept on testing the possibilities of his cores. Many of the processes to handle threads were actually rather simple… they were just very time consuming and repetitive when lacking an industrial machine… but to Novak his cores were just that, so what hat Novak wanted now wasn’t just knitted aberrant thread but a complete fabric.
If he was right he’d be able to use knitted thread to make himself sturdy leggings and other items upon which he could build the foundation of an armor, but he knew that if he used knitted materials the resulting armor would look like something his grandmother had made so he decided to test his cores’ capabilities as production machines.
To create fabric he’d need four lined up rows of thread pulled tightly end to end this thread would be called the “warp”, and then he’d need the ability to consistently introduce and pull one thread horizontally across the four, and that thread would be called the “weft.” From there the warp threads would cross downwards and then repeat. Other than that the weft would be pushed back in order to keep the entire item bonded into a single fabric.
It was a simple but difficult process to undergo without a machine… but as the threads were produced directly within the seemingly endless space used to store slime within Novak’s cores all he needed was a little mental awareness and he could position them at will. Granted he couldn’t actually see within his cores, but as they spun and spun he got the feeling that they were doing as he wished… quickly enough he got his first result at a cost of another 10% of his total mana. It seemed his production speed had increased phenomenally.
[You’ve produced a fabric from [Aberrant Thread] and your [Unorthodox Craftmanship] has been raised to level three. +5 dexterity. You may now automatically produce fabrics from your [Usurper’s Core] with available threads or materials.]
[Item Name: Aberrant Fabric
Description: A fabric made of an exceedingly rare thread. The fabric is durable like spider silk but very warm and soft. It can be sold at a high price. This material is vulnerable to heat.]
Novak smiled, a very bright smile.
Unbeknown to him he was growing excited, far more excited than he’d been in a very long time and his hands and his cores quickly got to work on the many ideas roaming through his mind. Time passed quickly for Novak, but he was not aware of it, and roughly a day later he sat before a completed set of armor.
He was hungry, tired, his eyes were bloodshot, and he’d consumed his mana several times over in his trance — which likely contributed to the hunger nawing at his stomach –, but as he stared at the beautiful set of black and white armor he’d created he hardly cared. He was only one step away from completion and he’d just finished a wait of exactly 100 minutes in order to store up his mana… all he needed to do now was use it.
A voidlike black aura slowly rose out of Novaks body and accumulated like a cumulonimbus cloud, then it shot forward encompassing the entirety of the armor before him. Novak’s mana quickly drained, 450, 400, 300, 200… the mana surging forward in the form of his aura seemed to drain him of his mana endlessly and he for a moment feared he feared that he’d run out of mana before completing his armor, but as his mana lowered to around 60 it slowly stopped, leaving him with 17 mana points.
Following that several system notifications popped up before Novak and his eyes opened wide.
“… Hell yeah.”