"What do you mean he is gone?"

A loud booming voice was heard followed by a sound of shattering furniture. A chair was thrown at a wall and it fractured into many pieces on impact.

This all was happening inside a large room, it looked to be some kind of noble house. There were various paintings and bookshelves in this room along with a big crest that had 'Arden' written underneath.

"Please my lord calm down."

Adam the butler used a handkerchief to wipe some sweat from his brow. He had just arrived at the Baron's office with bad news, his son was missing. The man responsible for keeping watch over him was nowhere to be found and just as him, the boy was gone. The man didn't send in the weekly report as usual and by the time they sent someone else to check there was no Roland to be found.

"T-The report said that the adventurer party that he was traveling with wasn't in the city of Carwen either, they might have just left the city together with the young master."

Wentworth Arden, Roland's father stood there behind his desk. In a fit of rage, he had tossed his chair at the wall, missing the butler but a hair.

"Get out and send more people! And bring me a new chair!"

The butler just bowed while getting out of the room with haste. The Baron moved over to the couch that was to the side and grabbed himself a bottle of schnapps to soothe his nerves. He looked to be quite angry while he drank. He had seen the whole report, the man that was supposed to keep watch was gone.

There were a couple of possibilities, some better than the others. The possibility of the boy just going to a different city was there but the disappearance of one of his men was strange. The Baron smelled some foul play and he was angry that the possibility of his son's death was out there.

"Did he escape?"

The man spoke out before taking a big gulp straight from the bottle while contemplating. He knew well that finding his son would be difficult if he decided to run away. He didn't have enough pull to get the adventurer's guild to give out his location. Only large Ducal houses or the King could achieve such thing, the adventurer guilds around the kingdom were very adamant with there rules. They also had some powerful adventurers that the kingdom wouldn't be willing to go against if push came to shove.

"Or did he perish?"

This was the other option on the table, one that he didn't want to believe in. He shook his head while taking a swig from the bottle again, his chair was already on the way and he needed to get back to work.

Somewhere far away the estranged son in question was sitting in a large moving train. He was looking at the passing scenery with boredom. He had been on the road for a week already, there was no TV or internet here so he was left with staring at the scenery or reading books.

He had already gone through the storage bag that his previous party members gave him. He wanted to go back and throw it at their faces as they left ten small gold coins inside. This was more than he expected, five small gold was the largest sum he was willing to take from the twenty that the girls had.

He couldn't do his rune scribing as he didn't have any materials. Neither would it look good to just do it out in the open in a moving train. He had no books to study up either nor was he feeling sleepy and that was probably due to his sleep resistance skill.

This long journey had taken over a whole week but now it was close to being over. He had seen the scenery change quite a bit through his travels. The Caldris Kingdom's climate wasn't too warm or too cold, you could see many grass fields and forest areas scattered throughout the land.

The more you went in, the more the climate changed. Where he was going it looked to be colder, more of autumn-like weather. He was also traveling into lands with a higher altitude as many rocky structures appeared. While on the last stretch of his travels, he saw the scenery turn rocky and they were going into a mountain range. There was a reason why this city was known for having blacksmiths.

"Now arriving at Edelgard, please take all of your belongings while going out"

The train drove up at the last stretch, the city of Edelgard was built into a large mountain. You could even see some mine shafts sprinkled in the background and smoke coming out of them. He could see this while the train moved through a large bridge that connected two city parts. Under it was quite the large gorge, a fall from here would spell certain death.

This city made him think about dwarfs from some of the fantasy books he used to read back on earth. In them it was always stated that this race liked to build their cities on or in mountains, some even had ones placed deep underground. He was finally here, he didn't need to carry his luggage thanks to his spatial bag this time around.

'I have arrived!'

He walked out half nervous and half excited. This was a new place filled with opportunities that could come to fruition. This was also a place filled with uncertainty which made his belly feel like he had a swarm of butterflies in it. There was no one to greet him here or help him out, he was truly alone. He wasn't lonely though as he was used to working solo, the short time he spent with those three girls was the exception to the rule.


He heard the sound of a large bell. He turned to it and saw two people in robes. The robes were white but due to time they now looked gray. There were some yellow patterns here and there but the most glaring thing was the large yellow sun symbol on their backs. These strange robe-wearing people were close to the exit so he needed to move there. Roland already had an idea of who these two people were.

"Praise the sun traveler, may the Goddess Solaria bless you on your travels, would you like to join us for prayer?"

The person in the robe called out while waving the bell around. The voice was an older man, next to him stood a second person that was smaller and of the female gender. She was holding a large plate in both her hands and holding it out as if asking for something.

Roland knew about the identity of these people. They belonged to the Church of the Sun, they worshipped the Goddess Solaria. From his more modern point of view, he found people like this a bit strange. Nevertheless, people from this church were granted the acolyte class that could then evolve into the cleric, you could even become a paladin.

A sound of metal dropping on a plate was heard as Roland dropped some copper coins on the collection plate. Even though he never liked churches, in this world they were in a strong position. The class changing stones that were a necessity were actually produced by these people.

No one knew exactly how it happened, the Churches only revealed that it was all thanks to the power of their god. The stones were rumored to be a gift from the gods that allowed people to change classes and grow in power. This church wasn't the only one that was able to produce this commodity, thanks to that the prices didn't go that overboard even though the stones weren't that cheap.

"Praise the sun!"

Roland nodded while passing the two priests that saw their next target behind him, he finally left the train station and went outside. He could see a lot of smoke coming out of the chimnies from this city. Most of the houses were made from rock or bricks, it was hard to spot any wooden structures here as he passed.

His first destination was the adventurer's guild, even though there was no dungeon located next to this city, it still operated in it as in the others. The adventurers here were mostly used as hired muscle and they worked as bouncers, guards and even cleared out some monsters that showed up from time to time. Even without dungeons monsters existed in the wild, so there was always some work to be done.

He asked for directions and headed out, he followed a dark rocky road that would lead him to the guild. While walking he took in the sights, the first thing he noticed was a large number of dwarves. There were also another interesting race that he didn't see before, Gnomes. From what he knew, this race was very creative and intelligent which made them good crafters by default.

In contrast to Dwarves that liked to work with heavy weapons and armor, the Gnomes prided themselves in making more intricate machinery. The magical trains that he was using were apparently invented by the gnome tinkerers. They also worked as normal craftsmen specializing in smaller items like trinkets and magical accessories.

Roland needed to find a new base of operations, from what he could tell he needed to get himself a job at one of the scribing shops. Making magical scrolls was also a business and many adventurers used these one-time magical items for various occasions. While going through the robust-looking city he finally arrived at the adventurer guild.

The guild was slightly different than the previous one, but it had a similar layout with the same job listing notice board. The people inside didn't care much about the small robed figure that entered, his short height wouldn't really raise any eyebrows as there were many gnomes and dwarves sprinkled all over the place.

He got himself a city map which he had to pay but thanks to his steel adventurer ranking he got a small 5% discount. It wasn't much but saving even a copper coin was a win in Roland's eyes.

He looked at this map first, he needed lodging and there were some inns and taverns that he could stay nearby. He preferred the former as they didn't smell like booze all the time and weren't as loud all into the night.

He had walked off the stiffness after leaving the train and it was getting late so he decided to visit one of the inns that were in his price range. He didn't really care about the quality of the bed, he could mostly sleep anywhere even on the floor. Even though he had a lot of coins on him, he didn't want to waste them on lavish living as he didn't know how much money he would be able to earn here.

Roland headed to the closest inn that was marked for bronze and steel adventurers. He was lucky back in Carwen so he thought that he might be lucky this time around as well.

'The Singing Crow Inn'

Roland looked at the wiggly sign that was getting pushed by the wind. The inn was quite large and had four levels to it, he pushed the creaky doors open and was greeted by a nice smell. Inside he saw a couple of patrons sitting on some wooden benches. They were eating food and drinking some beverages, probably alcoholic ones.

While distracted he moved forward, looking for some kind of counter with the bartender or someone that looked like an owner. While going through the crowd of people he felt someone bumping into him.

"Hey, watch out where you are going!"

He was still wearing his robe and his face was slightly covered so not everyone would notice that he was just an eleven-year-old youth. Roland raised a brow as the person that shouted out had quite the high pitched voice. He looked down and saw someone smaller than him with pointy ears.

"Uh, sorry about that didn't see you there..."

The person that he was looking at a more prolonged face, making her look more like an elf than a human. Besides the long ears, her eyebrows were quite long and she had noticeable high cheekbones. This was apparently a gnome girl of unknown age.

"You got eyes, use them!"

"Hey Helci! Stop flirting with the customers and go back to work!"

Someone called out from the back which made the small gnome girl grit her teeth before moving away. She was carrying a plate with unwashed dishes that looked oversized in her small hands. Roland shrugged and moved over to the bar counter where he requested a room to stay in. The pricing was a bit higher here than at his first in but he attributed it to this being a larger city in which people probably earned more.

The door creaked open and he was greeted to a small room with one bed and a table with one chair next to it. These items were made from wood in contrast to all the stone and brick buildings. He tested out the mattress that was again just some straw stuck into some cloth.

He smirked to himself while thinking that he was already used to bad sleeping conditions like these. He sat down on the chair and started unpacking his belongings. He placed his quill along with some other materials for drawings on the table. He could finally draw the schematics for that Lesser Fire Orb Rune.

You have created the schematic for the Lesser Fire Orb Rune [ Highest ]
You have gained 1000 experience points

It took him an hour to finish up with this schematic, he was getting better at redrawing those diagrams. This rune was also something he drew from his memory and not while looking at a weapon with his debugging skill. He memorized it during his class trial and was even able to achieve the Highest sub-grade.

He rubbed his eye with his knuckles while feeling tired. The bumpy train ride and lack of sleep were slowly getting to him. He placed the sheet of paper next to the other two schematics while looking down. In his mind, he felt like he was cheating the system. He could just draw from memory and get large amounts of experience from it. He would need to spend a few days fighting monsters to get the same number of XP as he did now.

Roland looked at each schematic, he wanted to abuse this leveling shortcut to it's fullest. To maximize on it he needed more runes to work with but he also was thinking about other possibilities. Namely, creating his own diagrams while analyzing the old ones he had.

He nodded to himself while rubbing his chin, he needed to slowly analyze these three schematics, he needed to find similarities in them. If he could figure out what these three runes had in common he might be able to find a pattern. He would then be able to perhaps create his own custom runes.

From what he was able to ascertain all of these runes possessed traces. These magical pathways carried the mana that a user inserted into the rune to create an effect. From his perspective, the whole rune was some sort of closed circuit that when given energy activated the given spell effect it was programmed for.

There were several components scattered over these schematics buried deeply into the runic symbols. He had seen them during his trial while scribing the fire orb rune. He had followed the book's instruction to recreate them but he didn't fully understand their purpose. He was like an assembly line worker that assembled an item without knowing the intricacies of the parts he was working with.

He tickled his nose with his quill while thinking that he wouldn't figure out much from the schematics about those components. He would actually need to experiment with the parts themselves while scribing to actually get anywhere. The thing he could do was try to relocate these unknown elements on the sheet of paper and see if his debugging skill reacts in any way.

Roland sighed out loud as he already needed to spend at least an hour redrawing the diagrams. Now he needed to do it while adding random parts and he had no way of copy-pasting as you would in a computer program. He also had the idea of cutting out parts he drew on paper. He would then try relocating them over completed schematics while replacing the other components.

He tried doing it by drawing some of the rune parts onto a smaller piece of paper and placing it over another element on the fire orb rune. His Debugging skill didn't activate it seemed that it had to be drawn on one piece of paper as a whole.

"Well, that got me nowhere, before going to bed let me copy over all of these modules and try to organize them..."

Roland looked at his quill and frowned, he really needed a pencil for this kind of work. The quill was sometimes messy and required constant refills of ink. He didn't really have time to buy any scribing materials back at his old city, everything happened fast so he only brought over other necessities, like food, water, and clothes.

His work continued into the night, redrawing the single parts was a lot easier without drawing all those magical pathways. He had no idea what they represented yet but in the future, he would try designing the simplest rune possible and then start experimenting.

Roland believed that if his debugging skill was working with these components then maybe they were used similar to parts you found on a circuit board. Resistors that were used to control the electric current could be used to control the amount of mana used in a rune. Maybe on the detonation rune parts like these were used to make the explosion smaller. If he knew which ones to remove he could create a larger detonation.

Transistors that amplified a charge, maybe if he found something similar to them he could increase the output on some of these spells. Memory elements could have pre-programmed modules with the actual spell effects in them. If he figured out how those worked then the path to making his own custom spells would be open to him.

There were many possibilities but they would have to wait till tomorrow as he was now dead tired. He also needed to check the stores in the city to either find a place to work or try doing it himself. He had a reason to believe that selling his scrolls would be difficult by himself so he wanted to find a regular job first.

He blew out one of the candles that he had brought with himself, tomorrow he would finally begin his new life in this place.

A note from Kuropon

Support "The Runesmith"

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