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Adolescent Volcanic Wolf

[ Fire/Earth/Beast ]

A common canine type monster found in volcanic regions. Their noticeable feature is their growing mane covered in volcanic rocks.

Adolescent Ruby Wolf

[ Fire/Earth/Beast ]

An uncommon canine type monster found in volcanic regions. Their noticeable feature is their growing mane covered in rubies.

Adolescent Gemstone Wolf

[ Fire/Earth/Beast ]

A rare canine type monster found in deep dungeons. Their noticeable feature is their growing mane adorned with various gemstones.

Hellhound Puppy

[ Fire/Fiend/Beast ]

An uncommon canine fiend type of monster. This type of monster is regularly seen accompanied by demonic beings.

Adolescent Ash Wolf

[ Earth/Beast ]

A common canine type wolf found in dungeons. They are characterized by having a white ashy fur pattern.

Roland was now glancing at the evolution options that he was given. there were five of them, with two uncommon variants and one rare. There was one peculiar option with the hellhound that caused the puppy to stay as a young type.

From what he knew these types of evolution options were a rare sight. They would more or less reset the current monster progress and turn them into a different type. Here his Ruby Wolf would transform into a Hellhound puppy which would change it from a wolf to a dog and also give him a ‘Fiend’ type along with the ‘Beast’ type.

‘A rare type doesn’t mean that it is particularly better then an uncommon one…’

He rubbed his chin while reading through the explanations. There wasn’t much information given about the skills these evolution options would give. Normally he wanted to go for the Ruby variant at first as that was the original type of monster Agni was.

Now there was another option with the Gemstone Wolf which was probably there due to the new mana stone eating skill his puppy gained. The Volcanic and Ashen Wolf types looked like the more generic ones, with the Ashen one even losing the fire type in the evolution.

There was also the option of going with a Hellhound and starting anew. Then when the time came to evolve again there could be some rare options for the Hellhound type. Though these types of monster were considered the more violent type which could pose some trouble down the line.

“What do you think Agni? Ruby Wolf or Gemstone Wolf? or maybe a Hellhound?”

“Bark!”

The little guy started barking and running around. It was clear that he wouldn’t get much out of this baby monster and would have to make the choice himself.

“Let’s go back home for now Agni.”

Roland decided to stall this evolution. He needed to get more information about these advancement options. The mana eating skill wasn’t fully matured yet either so there might be some other evolutionary option if he maxed it out.

There was no rush for something as important as an evolution. There were sometimes options to reset like the Hellhound one but those were super rare. The Ruby Wolf options would not be there again, it was impossible to go around in circles until someone made up their mind. The only thing he could go off of is books or by experience from tamers.

The two returned home to discover a quite drunk Bernir hammering away while shaping some nails. There was also a use for those and a lot of scrap metal to go around. His assistant was also very close to reaching level 50 now which would also let him advance further.

“Ey Boss, w-elcome back. I put the cables where you wanted. Want me to help you undress?”

Bernir noticed Roland walking back into the house as his runic armor was quite characteristic. The half-dwarf’s face was quite red but he was actually able to work in such a state. If he would be able to do the same thing when power tools were introduced was something Roland was afraid of. It was one thing to swing a hammer and another to handle a runic saw that could take out a limb.

“No it’s fine, we’ll connect everything tomorrow.”

“Aye.”

He didn’t bother his assistant as Bernir was clearly working hard to get his level up. Since hitting the 48th level he was tirelessly using his smithing skills to grind up towards this important occasion. It was also getting late after spending most of the day down in the dungeon.

When Roland opened up the door to the house Agni was quick to jump in and go to his spot. He had one right next to Roland’s own bed and even though there was a perfectly fine Dog house outside the puppy liked to sleep here. With time Roland gave in to the whines and barks not being able to fight against the deadly puppy stare.

“Here, catch.”

Roland tossed Agni a nice looking mana stone and the puppy began munching on it almost instantly. Enough time had passed since the last one so it was fine now. After getting undressed it was time to look over some plans.

The wind turbine would be getting connected tomorrow so he needed to go through some things. At this point in time, some months had passed since his new assistant had arrived. Even though he didn’t want to reveal his secret lair below his house it was inevitable that it would be.

It was clearly obvious that he was doing runecrafting somewhere in his house. Even with some sound-canceling runes to keep the noise of his smithing away from prying ears it was easy for Bernir to figure things out. The decision was made to show his assistant his secret workshop that he had now locked behind a special magic magnetic lock.

By being able to focus on studying the runes he started to crack the code slowly. With time he hoped to not need to look at other people's work or use his debugging skill to just steal the working designs. With the knowledge of the magic programming language he wanted to construct his own magic, maybe even make something new that never existed in this world before.

‘If I can’t install any mine runes for now, I could go with a normal alarm system…’

Roland was still on the fence on what to do instead of the mine approach. It was too deadly with his puppy and new assistant around. He needed something different, maybe something that could tell the two apart from unwanted guests.

‘I could make something akin to a photocell alarm system.’

With some knowledge of his old world, he came up with one of the classics. By placing some light sensors around the fence he would know if someone passed through it. He recalled one of the popular movies, where the hero had to evade many red laser beams that would trigger the alarm. It was an easy solution and could be placed around the fences away from his assistant and puppy.

‘I wonder if I could make some automated magical weapons…’

Then there was another thing that he wanted to do. His land was fenced up in a square shape. At each corner, there was a smaller tower made of hardwood. Thanks to Bernir that was good at building things the fence had been redone to actually be proper.

Roland was thinking about placing magical devices at those corners which would turn them into sort of defensive towers. It would be easy for him to connect the alarm system to this sort of attacking device. It would only require some mana from his generator to run. He could also use a reusable scroll system that didn’t use up much of his mana reserves in the generator.

The difficult task would be for it to actually hit a moving target. Creating a magic device that shot fire arrows in random directions wouldn’t work. He needed to use something different, something that could be guided.

‘There are special self-guiding spells… That could work… for now…’

There were variations of his favorite magic arrow spell that guided itself onto the target. If he also inscribed it in the highest grade it would actually be quite accurate. He wanted the towers to react to the intruders and aim themselves but he would need to stick to the basics for now. Maybe if he figured out that golem operating system he would be able to put it in his defensive towers.

‘I don’t think thieves will expect getting chased by magic arrows the moment they set foot here… that will probably require more wind turbines. I’d also have to reinforce the house walls, even with guided arrows they can still hit the house...’

With more intricate spells the requirement for mana was also there. If he wanted to make everything work he needed to build more. Otherwise, he would have to somehow include scrolls into the circuit. With more moving components there was always more that could go astray during the activation process.

‘Okay… let me draw up some schematics … but first…’

Before moving on with his work he peeked outside his workshop. He saw his puppy drooling into the large pillow that was his bedding.

‘The beast is asleep… I can work in peace.’

Roland gently closed, removed himself from the room Agni was sleeping in and moved back into his workshop where he could focus on his work. There was also the idea of reusable wands or runic plates that he wanted to mount into his armor, placing it somewhere around his forearm area.

This was for easy access while also was there to allow him to point with his hands at the target. Most of the spell would be on the plate while the discharge rune that created the spell outside would be on his palm. With this, it would look as if he was actually casting spells even though he would be just activating separate runic structures on the added components to his armor.

Most of the strain would fall on those reusable parts while his glove would only degrade just a little bit. Thanks to it already being from deep steel the damage would be minimal. The reusable components on the other hand could be made from cheap iron or steel.

With that in mind, he got to drawing. He had made some previous iterations but he was focused on leveling up his new puppy so he didn’t progress much.

‘I’ll use a lesser bolt of guidance spell in this design… doesn’t puck as much of a punch but can be cast repeatedly without much damage to the equipment.’

His penmanship had increased by leaps and bounds after reaching tier 2. His dexterity was now doubled and he had access to the upper tier scribing skills that were slowly leveling up. With this, he was able to draw up multiple runic schematics within minutes.

Regretfully his little leveling cheat had plateaued with time. Even common grade runic schematics didn’t give him that much. By this point it would be faster to go into the dungeon and massacre some tier 2 beasts in the lava region. He was strong enough to even take on multiple of those now, which left his debugging trick in the dust.

Maybe if he got his hands on some tier 3 runic schematics he would be able to progress faster once more. The problem with that was the rarity and exorbitant prices. The only realistic way of getting them would be buying something with a tier 3 rune in a store or at the auction.

The prices for common-grade armor and weapons were already steep. Something at a higher tier was not something he could afford at the moment. At least not while he was spending a lot on building his turbines and defensive systems.

‘That should be it, think we will need a lot more copper wires to get to all the towers...I’ll just tell Bernir to fetch it tomorrow.’

Roland yawned while stretching, it had gotten late into the night and it was time to sleep. Agni noticed him leaving the workshop and was fast to tackle his leg.

“You should probably go do your business…”

He let the puppy outside while he himself went to take a bath. Time continued to tick and it was the next day. Roland always got up quite early thanks to his sleeping resistance skill. Bernir on the other hand was a deep sleeper, even more after drinking through the day.

“Hey, wake up. I need you to fetch something from the market…”

The sun was already up so Roland didn’t have any bad feelings about waking his assistant up. His foot kicked the door to the log cabin that was now used as Bernir’s new place of lodging. It was also his smithy that was slowly getting new and better equipment made by the half-dwarf himself.

“Is he still sleeping?... If you go now I’ll give you money for that wine you were drooling over…”

After the sentence was uttered he could hear a strange loud thud in the log shed. This was quickly followed by a lot of metallic tools falling over and him hearing Bernir shouting some profanities.

“I’m up… I’m up!”

‘I should dock his pay for pretending to be sleeping…’

Roland waited another minute to see a half-dressed Bernir coming over to meet him. The moment he opened the door the smell of spirit-filled Roland’s nostrils. This was something he was already used to and other dwarven workshops were quite similar.

“Finally you’re up, here go pick these things on the market. If you can barter down the prices you can buy that wine of yours…”

“Thank you, boss!”

Roland thought that Bernir would be a bit dejected that he would only get the wine if he bartered well enough. It seemed that it was enough to just give him a chance at getting it for him to be happy.

While Bernir was packing up Roland decided to work on his magic arm guard design. There were enough steel plates in place for him to make some prototypes. With the ethereal pathways skill also leveling up it was a lot easier to connect them to the main armor. The two parted ways and started the day off early.

Bernir hefted up his backpack and looked at his workshop while smiling. It just took him a few months but now he felt like he really could be a proper blacksmith. The person that had hired him was an oddball but also a good person.

After locking up the log cabin and saying his goodies to Agni that was nibbling on his morning mana stone he left. Bernir was not provided with a working runic bicycle so he needed to do his work on foot. Roland didn’t deny him one outright; the problem was in Bernir not having enough mana to last him towards the city. Even mana stones didn’t alleviate this issue much so he was left with his own two legs.

It was still only a thirty-minute walk so Bernir just used it to take in the sights and think about what he could craft next. One of the reasons he was so excited today was not only for the wine but also that he was close to reaching level 50. His boss had promised to show him some of his runic items if he managed to pass into the second tier.

“Mornin’”

“Good morning.”

Bernir greeted the gate guards that already knew him. There weren’t that many half-dwarfs in this city with huge backpacks like his. Since getting his new job he was a lot happier thus his more extroverted personality came out. Thanks to this, getting good prices at the market was easy.

While Bernir was trying to haggle down on the price of the copper Roland ordered a group of five adventurers was walking down the street. One person from the group then came to a stop while glancing towards the market.

“Isn’t that…”

“Hey Garlen, what are you doing, get a move on.”

“Wait Devyn, look at that…”

The two men exchanged some glances and both of them started looking in Bernir’s direction. Soon a smirk appeared on both of their faces while the other three adventurers went over to see what was going on.

“Well well… isn’t it our little Bernir… Awfully chipper isn’t he?”

“That he is… reckon we should remind him of how we treat old friends…”

The group of men moved to the side into a lonesome alley while keeping watch over the market. What they were up to only they knew but it didn’t look that it was anything peaceful...

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