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Author's note: Happy valentines day! Have an additional chapter to celebrate it.

Trying a new way to display gear, as it's too troublesome & time consuming to create tables.

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Clang, Clang, Clang, Clang, Clang! Hammering sounds continuously rang out from the smithy as Zaran  worked on improving his blacksmithing skill. For this he did allow the system to help him as it drastically sped up the process but reduced the quality of the produced goods to inferior. Like this he was not only able to increase his blacksmithing skill from advanced level 6 to advanced level 7 in the span of half a day but was also getting increasingly familiar with the resource that he would use to create his level 45 gear.

Something Zaran found rather interesting was that low level resources were both widely available and incredibly cheap, allowing people to easily craft a large amount of gear with very low amounts of gold. However if done with the system everything one created would be of inferior quality, unless either the blacksmithing skill was of a high level or the familiarity with the resource was high.

The availability of the resources was due to how realistic the world was. For every kind of good there was a supply and demand. As low level resources were plenty available all over the world, there were a lot of npc's who made their living with gathering those resources. This caused there to be a huge supply and as a result caused the cost to purchase them rather low. Add to that the influx of players who gathered resources for gold or those who got them as drops and sold them off and there was no shortage of any kind of low level resource. There would always be less dedicated crafters than gatherers and monster grinders combined. Still, while the price had fluctuated during the last few days, eventually it had surprisingly settled down at the initial price.

What players did not know is that there were consortia in the virtual world that assured the prices would stay about the same as they initially were. If anyone was to try to influence the market they would use their wealth to either buy up the good or sell of some of the stock that they had gathered over the years. These consortia existed almost purely for this purpose and the power, wealth and influence they had at their command was far higher than any player would even dare to imagine.

Kirin and Cindarrah both soundly slept while Zaran was working on his gear. Both of them had barely slept since meeting Zaran so the two of them slept as much as they could when they had the opportunity to do so. 

With half a day passed, Florance walked up to Zaran and lightly tapped his shoulder to get his attention. She wanted to hug him, stand on her toes and then kiss his cheek to get his attention but... she was too small for that. Thus she could only get his attention in this way, much to her own dissatisfaction.

Zaran wiped the sweat from his forehead with his right arm before turning around. "What's up darling?"

"Take a break, you have been at it for half a day already. I have seen you eat and drink in the meantime but is it not about time for you to get a decent meal in? Even though it is a game you need to think about your body a little." Florance said with a sweet tone, slightly reprimanding Zaran without him noticing. "I made some food earlier, so... you are going to eat... riiight~?"

"Sure, just let me quickly finish this piece!" Zaran said as he turned around again and hammered away on a black metal gauntlet. A few minutes later Zaran quickly freshened up and followed Florance out to the back of the smithy. She had laid down a large red-white chequered picnic blanket on the grass under the large oak tree at the back of the smithy. On it she had arrayed a large amount of dishes which she had prepared in the last three hours. Zaran had been so focused on his blacksmithing that he had not even noticed that she was gone.

Florance urged Zaran to sit down and took out a round bottle of wine and a few glasses for her inventory and uncorked the bottle of wine. She poured both of them a glass and gave one to Zaran. Then she too sat down and snuggled right up to Zaran. She took one of pasta dishes, took one forkful and fed it to Zaran with a loving expression on her face.

Zaran blushed slightly and happily ate the various dishes Florance had made for him. Unsurprisingly every single one of them tasted absolutely amazing as Florance always had been a rather good cook. In between of feeding Zaran, she made sure to eat some herself. After the main dishes the two of them talked for a while before they went on to the desert. This time Florance did not feed Zaran and just let him eat on his own.

Having finished the desert Zaran let out a long content sigh and whispered in Florance's ear. "That was the best food I've eaten in a long time."

He kissed Florance on his cheek, gently took her chin and turned her face towards him. Looking into her large green eyes for a second, he brought his face closer to hers and gave her a long French kiss, causing a deep red blush to appear on Florance's cheek.

With a complete shy expression on her face, Florance bit the lower left part of her strawberry sweet lips and whispered. "I am glad you liked it."

The two chatted for a few minutes about some unimportant stuff before Florance took out a few different designs for the guild logo she had been working on prior to cooking.

Taking his time, Zaran looked at every design and compared them with one another. When he grabbed one of the last designs he gave a short nod and said "This one, definitely this one."

The design Zaran had chosen was a sideways sword with a handle that was shaped like an upside down crown. On the blade were five characters which spelled out REIGN. Among all the different designs Florance had made this one was by far the most simple one, but was the one that Zaran felt would suit the guild the most.

"Okay, so... what colour do you want the guild patch to be?" Florance asked. One of the requirements of the mercenary guild was that every guild needed a guild logo and that every guild member needed a guild patch that had the logo as this would be an easy way to identify what guild a mercenary belonged to.

"Hmm, grey with silver and black lining for the sword itself, gold with black lining for the crown, green, red, white and brown-gold for the gems in the crown and blood red with black lining for the word 'REIGN'. How does that sound?"

"Your wish is my command." Florance said with a slight chuckle.

Talking for a few minutes more, Zaran stood up and went back to the smithy. Florance picked up the dishes, wine bottle, glasses and picnic blanket and put them in her storage ring. She dusted the dirt of her clothes and left for the market as she needed to buy some thread, a few needles and some cloth to create the patches.

Clang, Clang, Clang, Clang! Day soon turned into night as the hammering sounds continued to ring out from the smithy, the amount of resources Zaran had available continuing to dwindle.

This time Zaran did not create mainly leather gear, but used purely the ore he had bought, reinforced black iron, reinforced red iron and normal reinforced iron. He would mix and match it in his gear to make his and  Nuvahn's new set of armour aesthetically pleasing. He turned off the assisted crafting and started working on his gear for real.

For gauntlets Zaran created simple studded gauntlets, the surface of the gauntlets created completely out of the reinforced black iron and the studs out of normal reinforced iron. The fingers of the gloves were made out layered iron plates. As for boots, these too were made from the reinforced black iron and consisted of layered iron plates, each layer added on top of the previous one, giving the boots a very aggressive feel, complementing the gauntlets very well.

The leggings had been created with a rather simplistic design. He had used the most simplistic design he could think off and then added a few plates on top to make them a little less plain. One of the hardest pieces to create was the chest piece. First he had to create chain mail and then add very tin plating on top of the chain mail. He also wanted the chest plate to look as if it were tight so he added a barely noticeable additional curve to the sides and upper part of the chest plate, accentuating both the sides and chest area. The plating did not cover the full armour however and a small part of it was still visible at the sides of his legs.

The final piece of the gear and the hardest to create was the helmet. He used a sleek design, where the nose of the helmet was very sharp and pointy. To make sure he would still see almost as much as without the helmet and have his eyes protected, the whole area of the helmet that covered his field of view was created out of a completely black crystal that was infused by magic to function as glasses.

Having created a double set of the armour Zaran reforged his own greatsword with the new materials and then created a completely new one for Nuvahn. Compared to creating gear through the system, just the two sword and the ten pieces of armour had taken him a full day. Florance had made him food three more times but had not made as much and they had not spent as long talking during and after the food.

Florance herself had more than enough work as she was intent on making a fair amount of patches before posting the recruitment notice. She wanted to have about a hundred patches ready and with every patch taking her a ten minutes even with the system assisting, she had more than enough work to do.

Letting out a deep sigh, Zaran washed up and inspected his new gear.


Reinforced iron gauntlets (Superior)
Requirement: level 45
Durability: 200/200
Defense: 200
HP: 150
Strength: 15


Reinforced iron boots (Superior)
Requirement: level 45
Durability: 200/200
Defense: 200
HP: 150
Strength: 15


Reinforced iron leggings (Superior)
Requirement: level 45
Durability: 200/200
Defense: 350
HP: 300
Strength: 30


Reinforced iron chest plate (Superior)
Requirement: level 45
Durability: 200/200
Defense: 500
HP: 500
Strength: 45


Reinforced iron helmet (Superior)
Requirement: level 45
Durability: 200/200
Defense: 150
HP: 100
Strength: 10


Donning the armour, Zaran felt a surge of power course through him, as well as an increase in his vitality. He stretched a little to see if the armour was a good fit and made some small adjustments where necessary. 

"My my, doesn't someone look fancy now." Florace said in a teasing tone while handing Zaran a guild emblem patch. "Equip this."

After equipping the patch, the patch merged with his armour and was proudly displayed on the upper right side of his chest. Now it was time for the last piece of equipment he had created... The greatsword! Zaran took it out and a pleased expression appeared on his face. It still looked the same except for it was heavier and far stronger.


Gigenkai (Masterpiece)
Requirement: level 45, can only be equipped by Zaran.
Durability: 150/150
Attack: 350-400
Weight: 70 kilograms
Additional effect: Causes anything hit to suffer a slight knock back.


Stepping out of the smithy Zaran intently practiced the three first moves of Dance of the Butterfly until he got familiar enough with the new weight of the sword, which only took a few short minutes. 

Storing his sword into his storage ring again, Zaran walked up to Florance and hugged her from behind. "Hey gorgeous, you almost done?"

"Hmm, almost." Florance muttered, still working on patch after patch. 

"By the way, I've yet to ask but what is your level?" Zaran asked. If Florance was not near their level she would not be able to tag along for the time being.

"Oh I am level 45, how about you?"

"48, really close to 49." Zaran responded. "When my disciple Nuvahn gets on we are going into the sewers to finish up a quest for me, do you want to come along?"

"Do you even need to ask? I'll need to buy other clothes for it first though, no way in hell I am going into sewers dressed like this." Florance said with a haughty tone, causing Zaran to chuckle, to which Florance pouted and let out a cold harrumph. Seeing this, Zaran chuckled again and gently pressed his lips onto hers. 

"While you continue working on the patches I shall try to master the metamorphosis skill."

Taking out the metamorphosis scroll, Zaran sat down and soon found himself lost in reading.
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NianKaraz

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