“There we go…”


Roland pushed the large log with the propeller connected to it into the hole like last time. This was the last wind turbine which made it the third one that was now in his backyard. Bernir was close by to fill out the hole with rocks and this world's version of cement.

“I think this puts us a bit in the red this month…”

With his expansion continuing through the months that Bernir was hired Roland was slowly burning through his money. Due to the nature of these wind generators he wanted to make them with the best materials, he could afford.

The lumber they were made from was also quite special. The fantasy wood was very resistant and would be unaffected by the elements. There were also metallic parts inside which were mostly composed of deep steel which also had various appealing properties.

The magical alchemistic materials that the copper wires were coated in also weren’t cheap. They would also need to connect them to the four corners of the fence with the runic structures that delivered electrical shocks to any unforeseen guests. Now even more after he made a public appearance in the city and beat up some thugs.

“Should not be a problem after we receive the money from the auction house.”

“Yeah, wish they would lower the margins though…”

Roland was a bit maddened by the high transaction fee that this particular auction house was giving him. There was only one of them in this city and they even increased the margins after finally expanding in size.

This was also one of the reasons a black market started to appear. Bernir mentioned some rumors which they couldn’t confirm but it was quite natural for it to spring up. The information also carried something else, if a black market was being made then the thieves guild wouldn’t be far behind. The city was finally becoming something to be desired which would bring the criminal element over.

“I did spend a lot on that item, the prices here are ridiculous.”

The biggest reason they were close to being bankrupt was the ‘toy’ that he bought. While waiting for the guild to respond to his complaint they had spotted an old runic golem toy. It was about thirty centimeters in height and made from rock but it was somewhat functional.

Its design left a lot to be desired. From what he could tell it was supposed to look like a turtle but the craftsmanship wasn’t that great. The thing looked like a big jagged rock with four legs attached to it and a little head with stones for eyes. The uses were also limited but it could very slowly react to some basic spoken commands.

“Agni didn’t seem to like it that much, I think he thought it was another pet.”

An image from the previous day popped into Roland’s head of the time Agni saw the ‘turtle’ walking through the backyard. The little wolf pup actually tried attacking it after a few sniffs, luckily Roland managed to peel him off the rock turtle without much damage happening.

Now with a basic golem in his possession, he would be able to work on that automated operating system. Regretfully it proved to be quite convoluted and with a lot of lines of code. It would probably take him weeks or maybe months to get through it fully before being able to add his own flare.

The small puppy was still in his unevolved state as Roland was keeping it from progressing. The skill related to mana stones was close to maxing out now so the joyous occasion would probably be happening within this month’s time.

“Okay, let’s wait for this to set. This should be enough energy to run the whole workshop for now.”

Since Bernir’s accident, he was allowed down into Roland’s workshop. All of the runic tools were down there which his assistant was now allowed to use. They would remain down there for now while the dummy workshop was still used for disguise purposes.

Due to this, he decided to let Bernir expand the log shack to the side. If any thieves came around he would at least not be inside the workshop during the robbery. He was even planning to connect the two parts with a tunnel and put in a runic thumbprint of sorts.

With more gear at larger items came the need for expansion. He was going to be working on a prototype golem design that would need more space. The first one would be small and portable but later on, Roland did want to make it at least human-sized.

A group of golems patrolling the premises would probably keep most people away but also paint a bullseye on his house. Only people having things worth protecting would spend so much money and time on costly defenses. It would be clear to anyone outside that there was money to be made by performing a little robbery.

“Excuse me, I have a letter to a Mr. Wayland.”

While the two blacksmiths were about to get something to eat a voice of a young boy was heard from behind the gate. Roland expected this letter to arrive at about this time.

“Please leave your signature here.”

After showing the currier his adventurer card and signing his name he was delivered a letter. On it was the date of the guild hearing that he signed up to. Roland wasn’t wearing his armor anymore, the cat was out of the bag so there was no reason to hide. Soon the boy left and Bernir peeked at the letter.

“W-what’s the date?”

“In three days, you better wash up and put on some good clothes, the guild master might be there.”

Roland chuckled while reading through the contents of the letter. Besides the date, there was also the location which was of course at the guild. He was to show up there with any evidence that could confirm his case.

It took close to a week for this date to be set up. The people from the guild had shown up at his doorstep a few days ago. They had questioned him and Bernir about the day and Roland had even taken them to the spot where his assistant was brutally assaulted.

After getting more information they had left but beforehand they had asked him if he really wanted to continue with the process. He knew that there were ways of clearing this up on the down-low but that wasn’t his aim. Roland didn’t want any money or guild benefits, he just wanted unqualified people like Armand to be punished for their unprofessional behavior.

If the guild master would actually punish him remained to be seen. Nevertheless, he at least wanted to judge his character. By knowing the guild master’s thought process he would know how to act around him. There were a couple of ways this could go.

It was possible that he would just dismiss the whole thing and do nothing. Armand would remain as an instructor and test other recruits as previously. Nothing would change and no one would be punished either.

This was more of a neutral option but the worst would be if Roland got punished instead. Armand was throwing his weight around as if he wasn’t afraid of any repercussions. If the guild master revealed himself to be his uncle or the sort then Roland could be in a heap of trouble.

Then was the option of it going his way. Armand would be removed from his position, maybe even fined. Taking away the thugs guild cards would also be a nice bonus to this whole predicament. In Roland's opinion, they should serve jail time for acting like common thugs and also making the guild look bad in the process. But he carried out some vigilante justice himself so he might also suffer.

“Can’t I wear my regular clothes?”

Bernir replied while Roland was going through the possible outcomes. His half-dwarven friend had a certain lack of items. Clean clothes were one of them, the two men living here together were a little out of their element when it came to fashion and keeping things clean.

“I think you need to go buy a new shirt… and new pants…”

Roland glanced at the various stains on Bernir’s clothes. There were also burn marks from some blacksmithing, those sparks and embers sometimes did make it past the blacksmith's apron.

“Maybe I should get someone to come to clean the house each week…”

He wasn’t really that keen on mopping the floors and sweeping them. Bernir also had to work on his blacksmithing class so they minimized house cleaning and cooking.

“Hey Boss, have you ever thought about opening up a shop here? I bet you could sell some of those swords for more than at the auction house. Some of those merchants would pay double for a custom-made sword!”

Bernir was quick to change the subject of the guild visit. After spending some time crafting blacksmithing tools he had grown a need of sharing them. There was a particular need in each craftsman to show off their wares and it was the same for these two.

Even Roland liked his previous arrangement back in Edelgard. His name was known and people enjoyed his scrolls but here he was still someone without a well-known brand.

“A shop huh, I might need to at least hire a clerk best if it's a woman…”

Roland knew that it was always best to have a good-looking salesperson at the forefront of your store. Many of the high-class stores used elven women for this very purpose as they were universally acclaimed beauties by almost all the other races. Bernir on the other hand wasn’t that good to look at but he would probably be good at explaining the items in detail.

“A woman? I could ask some of the girls from the pub, I bet all of them would sell their knickers to get out of working there!”

For some reason, his assistant started drooling while imagining things, probably ones involving bar wenches and him being their boss in the new store. First Roland would have to get things in order here before allowing more people to waltz in.

Bernir was fine but bringing more people bought in more trouble. He would have to come up with some good contracts to keep company secrets, he would also need a name for his company.

‘Wayland Industries? Hm… maybe something not involving my fake name...’

“I’m sure you’d love to give them job interviews.”

“You know me well, boss!”

“Before that, you can go get yourself some clean pants and a shirt.”

Roland tossed some coins towards Bernir as he was serious about the half-dwarf’s wardrobe. He at least had to make him look presentable to the adventurers, if you look more professional then people would take you more seriously.

“Okay boss…”

“Just ask some of those wench friends of yours for a fitting shirt, nothing too fancy.”

Bernir’s and Roland didn’t really have a knack for fashion. Both of them would rather create metal armor or other lighter gear to wear instead of formal clothes. Fancy dresses were more in line with nobles but merchants and high rollers were also using them.

“What are you going to wear, boss?”

“Me? Just the usual but without the helmet this time around…”

He was already known for being a weirdo that used shiny runic armor and wore it everywhere. There was no use of him getting a tunic to this occasion. The armor would also give him some protection in the case of something going wrong. Without it, he was nothing more than a failed mage and a somewhat competent warrior.

If Armand attacked him when he wasn’t wearing it and if he didn’t have any of his items the fight would surely go in his favor after a couple of exchanges. This was his biggest weakness as he heavily relied on his runic items for battle. The only thing he could do was try to minimize them for such an occasion so that he could at least have something to use when in trouble.

There was also another theory he was working on, which involved scribing the runes on his own body. Unfortunately, there was a big problem with the deterioration. The mana would already eat through leather scrolls and burn them up. It would do the same to his skin. He might be able to produce one effect at the cost of his limbs and while giving himself third-degree burns.

At this point in time, it would be better to get the thinnest sheet of magic paper and just tape it to his body. At least he would have a one-time use item that wouldn’t cause him to pass out.

Roland could actually think that putting some adhesive to one side of the scroll and then placing it on his body wasn’t such a bad idea. Thanks to the direct contact with his skin he would be able to set it off at any time he wanted. It would probably be a valid way for a surprise attack after someone destroyed his armor.

“You sure love that armor don’t ya? If only I had more mana…”

Bernir started sulking as he knew that if he asked, Roland would create some runic equipment for him. Being a carpenter and a regular blacksmith his stats weren’t all that great. He wasn’t suited for prolonged magical item use and would probably pass out quite fast if he ever tried to use Roland’s crimson armor.

There were some ways of making mana boosting gear, most of them used special alloys that could actually absorb ambient mana from the surroundings. Then along with the mana stones, they would lower the casting requirements exponentially. They all had a large price attached to them which was several times higher than deep steel he was using. This metal was only resistant to runic deterioration but didn’t add any other bonuses besides that.

“Yes, unless you find me a crate filled with blue mithril you can forget about it. Now, stop stalling, go get yourself that fancy shirt, and don’t come back until you have it.”

Time continued to pass and in a few days, it was finally time to get the hearing over with. Roland and Bernir appeared at the guild together. The half-dwarven assistant had bought a nice-looking white shirt along with some dark pants. It fit on him well and thankfully he was young so his belly wasn’t protruding that much compared to all the regular dwarves.

“Remember, just answer the questions truthfully, if we’re lucky this shouldn’t take more than an hour.”

“Okay boss…”

Roland also forced Bernir to get a haircut and somehow control that scruffy beard of his. He knew that looking professional during a hearing like this could move things in his way.

The two craftsmen entered through the main entrance without really turning any heads. At this point in time, Roland wasn’t seen as anything out of the ordinary and was already known as Wayland the Runesmith.

They needed to wait for a second but in time the glasses-wearing receptionist herself walked up to them.

“Mr. Wayland, please follow me.”

Roland nodded as he and Bernir were led further into the building. This was one of the larger buildings in the city with many side rooms. Inside were various facilities that the guild used to make money but today they would be going into a middle-sized room.

‘I wonder what they will decide on…’

He didn’t have a good opinion of this guild so Roland wasn’t expecting much today. He at least hoped that some justice would be done today. With mixed feelings, he pushed the door open to where the hearing would take place. Inside were already people waiting for them, some known while others ones that he never saw before. It was time to get this over with.

A note from Kuropon

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