Roland was sitting with a cup of tea in his hand. It looked like he was in a small dim-lit room. He was taking a sip of some kind of black tea that was still giving out steam.
There was only one small table, one chair, and a small single-person bed squeezed inside of here. This made the young man recall some of the old dorm rooms that he used to stay in back in another life. That time he used to hate it now it might have been something that he looked back to fondly. It was a simpler time, no monsters or evil cults were lurking in the darkness to get him back in those days.
On the small table lay a box, a music box to be exact. It wasn’t exactly in working order any more as the springs and screws that kept it in place were laid out on the table. This was the very same item that he had bought at the auction house.
He was now examining it after getting a place to stay for the night. The inns in the city were still jam packet but the adventurers still evaded the ones that cost a bit more. They would rather spend the night in the stables while spending the rest on food and alcohol. Then the following day they could spend the rest on health potions for the next expedition into the dungeon.
This cycle continued till the adventurer in question either made enough money to rent themselves a room or they perished while trying. Not many adventurers could afford a home like Roland did, gathering up a hundred small gold coins would be something that would take years. Maybe if someone were lucky to find themselves a magic blade to pawn off, they could speed up the process.
”This is a bit unexpected, I guess the answer was right under my nose…”
Roland picked up a part of the music box that had runic patterns on it. Lucky for him this item was of that variety and not a regular enchanted one. The weapons and armor that were auctioned off were mostly regular enchanted ones instead. He wasn’t sure but maybe the drops in the dungeon were of that type of magic equipment.
What he was holding was just a plate of metal made from deep iron. The runic structure was condensed on it which made it look smaller than whatever he could make. This item was certainly made by someone that was more skillful than he was. That didn’t mean that he wouldn’t be able to recreate it, with his debugging skill this would prove rather easy. The only problem would be improving on the design with his own knowledge.
Roland expected to find some kind of special device or an item responsible for this music box working. This he did but instead of one, it was a combination. The small plate that had the runic components in them also had a socket. This socket contained a marble-like item, an item that he was familiar with.
‘A slime core, huh?’
This slime core was the magical mineral that was apparently able to store mana inside of it. There was a specialized runic structure around this socket that kept the slime core inside of it. He had examined it before dismantling the music box. What he saw was a siphoning effect that funneled the mana from the surrounding area into this slime core.
This core worked as some kind of generator or battery. It was constantly discharging the mana it had stored back into the runic structure. Thus the music box was able to function, the button on the side that activated it just moved some parts and connected some runic traces.
There was also one mana stone present to purify the mana from the surroundings. It was directly connected to the slime core, probably allowing it to work more efficiently by being in closer proximity to the ‘battery’.
From how it looked the runic components only needed a little jolt of magic at the start before they would work on their own. Besides the slime core, there was deep iron involved. He could clearly tell that the runic components were not deteriorating that fast.
The small rune design and its simplicity gave the item longevity, even when constantly turned on it was working just fine. It looked that if the magic rune didn’t pass a certain threshold of mana usage, the runic components that it was composed of wouldn’t break down.
At least not when made from this deep iron. If this was some kind of other metal with a special mana gathering attribute was unknown. He would need to test it out on other metals to see if there was a difference.
“Well, this clears up a couple of things. The person that made this was probably an experienced runesmith, you don’t see many runes at the high grade.”
This rune was of the ‘high’ grade which was something rare. Most of the items out on the market were of the intermediate grade, while high and above were hard to find. This was also why the wares that he made sold quite well. Probably the craftsmen weren’t willing to give away the knowledge of their designs to just anyone.
Thus most runesmiths ended up with average knowledge and made average grade runes. Improving on the design was a lot harder without a lot of trial and error. This would be a time-consuming process, it could also be costly if something went wrong. Badly connected rune components could be volatile, even explode.
Roland was just happy that he could skip that process with his debugging skill. If he didn’t have it he would probably be still stuck scribing low-level runes. Maybe he would have to go work for some kind of runesmith that was willing to share their knowledge with him.
With this skill, he had attained a degree of freedom but this also caused him to have some holes in his basic knowledge. Was this battery structure something hard to make? It didn’t look out of the ordinary. He was a classical case of someone that started running without having learned to walk properly first.
Roland had placed the piece of metal to the side and got ready to go to bed. With this, he had something to look forward to. He had also ordered a basic forge to be made at his home, the building company luckily was able to do that. They would place it in the log cabin for now while his secret workshop remained underground.
There he was planning to build his own furnace, one that was composed of runes. Through this he could only do after completing his runic generator design. Now after looking over this toy it was finally a possibility. First, he would need to get his house back, he would also need copper wire and magnets.
This was something he would need to create an electric generator, this was a device that converts mechanical energy into electrical power. How this worked was common knowledge from his old world and it wouldn’t be that hard to produce with his current skills. The hard part would be to harness this electrical current to then produce mana.
He also needed it to produce more mana than there was introduced into the runic structure. Without that the generator idea would fall flat. The first prototype would probably be quite crude but he needed to test if this thing even had the merit to be improved later on.
He had copper and magnets in his workshop already. He had gotten a few strong ones for his refrigerator design; they sealed the doors quite nicely. While thinking about the next few days he went to sleep. Before anything could be done he needed his house to be in working order.
The following day Roland woke up early, he visited some shops to try and buy anything that could help him with the future mana generator design. One of the problems would be placing wires along his house to deliver the mana to all of his appliances.
The ethereal pathways had a very limited range, so he would need to actually attach them to his generator. The people of this world did make wires for fences so he would be able to just buy that. Those wires were thicker than electrical wires but that would just make it easier to inscribe the runic traces on them.
They would also deteriorate quite slowly with only runic pathways on them, without runic components that had a spell structure the metals didn’t suffer that much damage. He could also place more than just one pathway for the mana to travel through the cable. This was all still only theoretical as he still needed to make the devices capable of using these cables. Those would mostly be power tools like a drill or a belt grinder.
This would have to wait till he got his hands on some better crafting utensils. For now, Roland used his time to check the shops for anything useful. The rest of his time was spent down in the dungeon, leveling up to level 75 was still very much on his agenda. It wouldn’t hurt to have a tier 2 class sooner rather than later.
So he did, this time venturing to the levels below. What he found were more skeletons that were on fire along with more slimes. He was sure to hunt the latter ones more as the slime cores could be used for his generator. Roland wasn’t sure how many of them he could use but he could hold on selling them until he figured out that part.
Those two weren’t the only monsters that he found down there. He was facing another common creature that he had faced before, it was a giant rat. This was a variation of the old foe that was dark crimson in coloring.
|Crimson Giant Rat [ L 14 ]|
The only difference between this one and the ones he saw back in the city of Carwen. These ones were of higher level and also somewhat fire-resistant. For him that was over level 70 this thing wasn’t much of a problem. With a couple of stabs from his arming sword, the monster fell. It was quickly replaced by another one, these large rodents rarely wandered around alone.
‘This is good practice…’
Roland used this chance to train himself when fighting multiple opponents. The trick was not to get yourself surrounded. This was easier in these corridors as he just needed to move back while not letting any of the monster rats pass him on the side. If he wasn’t careful he might find himself up against a wall. That was still better than being surrounded, at least he wouldn’t need to watch his back.
|You have gained 7 experience points|
|You have gained 8 experience points|
|You have gained 6 experience points|
He made quick work of the large rats that were about the size of a middle-sized dog. They were kind of a waste of time as the experience he was gaining didn’t even go over 10. None of these critters had any mana stones in them either and rat teeth or claws didn’t sell for all that much.
‘I need to get to the lower levels, I won’t get much experience unless I face off against lower leveled tier 2 monsters…’
This was a fact that he already knew. Ever since attaining his third tier 1 class leveling up had gotten hard. Even after battling tier 2 monsters and all of those bandits he wasn’t rewarded with that much. Using his time to craft high tier runic equipment would bring him better results. He was also running low on the crafting schematic exploit that let him get to this point so fast.
Roland pulled out the labyrinth map and started examining it. He was now on the starting section of the third floor. The monster attacks were more frequent here and the corridors were also wider. This allowed the monsters more area to maneuver, there was also a chance of them sneaking up behind a person from one of the side corridors that were passed.
While taking a moment to eat something he looked for the fastest way to the level below. He wanted to take it slowly but these monsters weren’t proving very lucrative. Any of the monster body parts he could sell weren’t worth more than the simplest magic scroll he could make.
Farming them for money wouldn’t be something worthwhile and the experience was also bad. This was still the safest way of leveling up his warrior type skills so he was bearing with it. After eating he ventured forth to do more battling but now if there wasn’t a mana stone or a creature core he would just leave everything behind.
This labyrinth apparently ran ten levels deep, each level increased the monster level by about 5. On the tenth and final level, you would face creatures close to level 50. Some monsters at the second tier could be seen there which meant that most adventurers below the silver rank wouldn’t be seen wandering there alone. At most a full party of steel adventurers could hope to survive down there.
He continued on his way going down to the lower levels. The further down he went the less adventurer he saw. This meant that there would be more loot to find but also more monsters to go through. At the higher levels, a person didn’t run into that many monsters as all the other adventurer parties were taking them out.
At the fourth level, he battled another new monster, it looked like an iguana and could actually produce something akin to a fire breath. This was also the first time that he actually needed to activate his magic shield to defend himself against this flame breath.
|Baby Salamander [ L 21 ]|
It was quite large for something considered a baby. While the rats were the size of a middle-sized dog this one would be akin to a larger breed. It was close in specs to a full-grown wolf and it had some sharp teeth to go with it.
Roland blocked the fire attack with his shield. The activated magic was enough to not make him feel any heat, the flame resistance rune was working just fine. The moment the monster ran out of breath was the time for him to strike. This time around he used his mana thrust rune to skewer the red lizard looking monster. The Salamander wasn’t able to react in time, taking one hit from the torrent of mana was enough to slay this creature.
|You have gained 18 experience points|
The monster’s head exploded into many tiny chunks which bloodied the wall behind it. He could feel that this one had a mana stone hidden in its abdomen. He needed to stick his hands into its guts to pull it out. It wasn’t the best feeling but after having slain many monsters he was used to this sort of job.
He looked at the defeated monster while wondering if there was really nothing worthwhile for him to take from it. At times like these was when he recalled that having party members had its upsides. He wouldn’t need to go through dead monster carcasses at least. Before he could decide on his next move another one of those salamanders appeared. Probably attracted by the stench of blood.
‘Training my shield proficiencies is quite easy in this sort of place…’
He looked to the monster that was ready to breathe out some fire. His shield started glowing in a blue hue that had a slight red tint to it. The moment the fire attack connected with its magical surface it started getting dispersed.
Roland noticed that defeating this type of monster was quite easy if you managed to resist its breathing attack. It remained stationary afterward, probably the usage of mana left its body unable to evade any attacks coming for it in that time frame. If other monsters like this had the same weak point would be something that he needed to find out later.
|You have gained 17 experience points|
After this Baby Salamander bit the dust another one appeared. It looked like he was attracting unwanted attention. He preferred to take the sneaky approach while biding his time but this would also be a good opportunity for gathering experience.
Roland smirked a little bit and used the handle of his sword on his shield. A loud sound was produced to get the monster's attention on it. This one instead of delivering a fire attack decided to charge towards him. Its mouth opened up wide as it tried chomping down on one of his legs.
But the only thing that monster got to chomp down was cold hard steel as Roland delivered a shield bash to its head. With his blacksmith levels of strength, it was enough to momentarily stop it in its tracks.
|You have gained 15 experience points|
With a little poke to the eye socket, the monster was down for the count just like the other ones. The spot he was in was slowly getting crowded by the salamander monster corpses. As it looked this wasn’t all as he heard the shuffling of lizard claws from the distance coming his way.
“I guess the fun starts from this level on.”
Roland looked over his gear that was still in working condition, there was enough juice left in the runes for him to stay here for a couple of more hours. Maybe now he could get those skills up at a more moderate pace.