“I should just activate it?”
“Yeah, do it as many times as you can.”
Bernir and Roland were standing outside in the backyard. Agni was in the background chasing his own tail while the two were performing some tests.
While holding a meter-long iron tube Bernir started to insert mana into it. This tube had a couple of mana stones attached to them and they lit up the moment the runic components were activated.
Bernir could feel that a quick burst of high pressure was released from this tube but nothing besides that. The initial activation made his hand jerk due to the blowback. He looked at Roland as if he was wondering if this was all.
Roland replied while watching his assistant activate this metal tube six times before reaching towards his forehead.
“Six times before the first headache?”
“Yes Boss, ouch this stings, I don’t know how you do it.”
Bernir started to rub his template as a similar sensation of when a person ate ice cream too fast washed over him. He wasn’t sure why Roland gave him this tube but he figured he would disclose the information soon.
Roland took the tube back and inserted something into it before giving it back to his assistant. Bernir peeked inside but couldn’t really make out what his boss placed in there.
“Okay, now point it at the dummy and activate it again.”
After getting a low-grade mana potion Bernir looked at a straw dummy that he had made a day before. Roland ordered him to fashion one made from wood for testing some new items. The dummy looked more like a scarecrow as Bernir didn’t really have any experience in making ones before.
“Sure, activating now!”
He held it out with two hands this time around and also gripped it harder as he was now used to the knockback. The moment he activated this tube again he could see a round marble shooting out of it and going in the general direction of the straw dummy.
The moment this large marble connected with the dummy a small explosion occurred. This caused Bernir to jump back and fall onto his butt while Roland just observed it while standing next to him.
“Hm, not bad… but I think you need some aiming practice…”
One side of the dummy had been blown away by this explosion. Roland was just testing a new weapon that he intended to give to his assistant. Bernir had a meager mana pool which didn’t allow for much runic equipment. Due to this Roland decided to go with the disposable item route, scrolls to be specific.
This design was a smaller version of his runic grenades that he once used against the bandits. That time around he just threw the round casings which had his scrolls inside them. Now he wanted to design a sort of launcher so that Bernir would be able to defend himself from attackers.
First, he needed to test Bernir’s mana capacity and how many times he would be able to use his new weapon. Then he would just need to come up with a design that was easy to aim with. Things like grenade launchers from his own world came to mind but here a person wouldn’t need a trigger but just to inject some mana.
It looked like six shots would be the limit for Bernir before he would need to drink a mana potion. Thus an enlarged cylinder with six chambers for ammo would need to be made. He could always just give Bernir regular spell scrolls for protection, but having a weapon like this would help with aiming and a faster rate of fire.
Roland was a bit surprised that no one came up with such a design. Most people still preferred to just use regular spell scrolls while holding them out against their enemies. Maybe due to the lack of gun-related technology, no one was interested in innovating in that direction. From what he knew only large cannons like on the merchant ship he made the trip here existed.
They were mostly relegated to siege weapons or defenses on castle towers. If you took into consideration that high level archers could outperform modern-day firearms then it made sense. His assistant on the other hand wasn’t so good at throwing bombs, thus something he could steady his aim with could be a lifesaver.
‘I guess no one really cares about making weapons for the non-combative classes…’
“Okay, that should do it. Think we can move on to producing a prototype.”
Roland wondered if there would be a market for such items. This weapon made sense to him who could actually produce the ammo himself. But for an adventurer paying one large silver or more for one mini grenade would quickly bankrupt them.
“Aye boss, but you shouldn’t forget about the guild. Don’t forget the letter arrived.”
Roland grabbed the prototype rod that would be used for the launcher barrel. He wasn’t really sure if he wanted to make it a six-shooter or just a single. Bernir could just pop the grenade in through the top for a quick reload which would simplify things but also make them slower.
He was not someone that had ever been interested in guns that much, so he could mostly just borrow his ideas from the media he consumed and the current world's technology.
“Yeah, I remember.”
‘Did the guild master get those items for me?’
The bald guild master had promised to find him the manufacturing details for mana alloys along with how to build the smelter for it. It had been a couple of weeks since then but only now had word reached them. There was also a possibility that he wasn’t able to procure it and he would just give him the same sales pitch as before.
“I’ll go there today, stay here with Agni and train up those skills.”
Bernir had also finally advanced to the tier 2 Armorsmith class. From what Roland was told the item that he had to make was a half-plate armor. Half-plate armor was similar to plate armor but lacked some parts like leg protection and a helmet.
When asked about the time limit Bernir was surprised. He was apparently allowed to take his time and only when he was done the final product was tested by the class up system. Roland wanted to file a complaint to the people that made this system. He always received a timer and had to rush through things. The reason for that was probably the rarity of the classes that he went for. Bernir chose the most generic one which made the tests quite easy.
It was still a tier 2 class though and with it, Bernir was the proud owner of the Armorsmith class. Now finally he would be able to craft the armors that he always dreamed about. With the added skills this would become easier.
Roland had also taken in some knowledge that Bernir had to offer. He was the son of a dwarven blacksmith that had also been an armorsmith apparently. Thanks to this Roland could learn a couple of smithing techniques that he wasn’t clued in. With this more advanced tier 2 class and heightened dexterity, it was easy to replicate what Bernir was proficient in.
“Aye boss, I’ll use these if anything happens so you don’t need to worry.”
Bernir pointed to his hip where he had a couple of card-sized scrolls. The weapons weren’t ready so the best defense for Bernir were the magic scrolls. Roland wished to miniaturize this grenade launcher as much as he could, make it more portable like a real gun. For that, he needed to further his compression skill.
‘Just too many things to do…’
Roland had been having trouble focusing on one thing lately. Agni needed further training as his level didn't go up much since he evolved into the larger form. He also was working on his golem design and still decrypting the runic code that would be the basis for it.
Then there were his own skills and the defenses for his home, plus he also needed to be making weapons and earn money to support himself and his assistant. At least with Bernir helping him out now, he wouldn’t need to focus on armor as much.
The only downside to this was that the corresponding skills for armor crafting wouldn’t be going up as much. He intended to combat this by making some armor parts together with his assistant, with some help he would be able to create more improvements and do it faster.
‘Wonder if that baldy really got those schematics…’
Roland closed the door behind him while also telling Agni to stay and protect the house. The Ruby Wolf was quite intelligent and could follow simple orders like this. At this point he would not chase after him into the city, nor would he destroy the inside of the house if left alone.
It was truly astonishing how much a being could change by evolving. It was as if a five-year-old child changed into a fifteen-year-old teenager that could be now left alone at home by his parents. This didn't mean that he could leave him there for long, the tamed beast would come looking for his master if he vanished for more than a day.
Even though his face was already seen by the guild members he still was used to covering it up with his helmet. Roland’s armor was repaired and shiny as ever, the mana stones made it look even more expensive.
He hoped to get this fixed with the mana alloy manufacturing method. It would let him be more inconspicuous as this armor made him stick out like a sore thumb. He wouldn’t be surprised if someone decided to rob him one of these days just to get their hands on this piece of gear.
“Welcome Mr. Wayland, the guild master is in his office please wait here for a moment.”
After coming to the guild he was greeted by the elven receptionist lady. The one wearing the glasses was still there but when he glanced her way she evaded his gaze. He wasn’t sure but he attributed this to the way the hearing went and how she tried to sway it in one direction.
He wasn’t really mad at her as she just wanted to protect someone from the orphanage that she was running. Roland was a bit preoccupied with himself so he wasn’t paying attention to how the people in this world had problems of their own. Poverty and lack of food being one of the biggest of those problems.
When you looked at this kingdom and compared it to the modern world that he came from it was similar to a third world country. The nobles were more akin to warlords than to politicians. They could do anything they wanted in their own territory without really having to put up with the commoners.
The only thing that they would be afraid of would be people with higher tier classes. Strength was mightier than the coin in this world. Someone at a very high level could also throw their weight around. Unless they did something drastic no one would stop them.
This privilege only started after you approached tier 3 though and this was also one of Roland’s main goals. Become as powerful as he could and then become free of the shackles that his noble birth was putting on him.
“You may enter now.”
After waiting for a bit he was finally told to go to the guild master’s office. On his way here he spotted someone coming down from the upper level. There were three people coming his way. The moment he looked at them he started to frown, luckily his face was covered by his helmet so they couldn’t see it.
The man in the front was clearly not a commoner. The fabrics and style didn’t match up to what an adventurer would be wearing either. He also had two guards following behind him, they were wearing half-plate armor without any helmets. There was an unfamiliar crest that adorned their chest plate but it also confirmed his suspicions.
‘But not quite, … a butler?’
After taking a moment to look at the ‘noble’ he noticed that something didn’t add up. The clothes were costly but the man didn’t fit the bill. He was more in line with a messenger sent by a noble which made more sense. Why would a noble venture into the adventurer’s guild by themselves and with only two guards?
“What do you think you are doing? Make way!”
Roland was a bit surprised by meeting this group so he had spaced out while walking forward. Due to this, he forgot to move to the side to let them through. Even if these people weren’t actual nobles they were part of their organization. Going against them was close to spitting on the crest that they were wearing.
Even if he didn’t like the treatment he knew that it was better to avoid any conflict. Thus, without replying to the angered ‘butler’ he decided to move to the side and let them through. Though he did show the proper manners the old man decided to give him a few chosen words before moving along.
“Damn uncultured adventurers! At least you are smart enough to know your place!”
The guards that were with this man gave Roland a harsh look before all of them moved along. The man in the middle didn’t look very similar to the butler back at home. That man had style and knew how to present himself. This person on the other hand was overweight and looked like a sleazeball. The clothes that he was wearing were also quite flashy as if he wanted to bring attention that he was part of the noble cast.
‘What was that all about? That crest… it does not belong to the noble house that owns this land...’
Roland stood there in the corridor while looking behind him. The people that passed him didn’t seem to belong to the estate that ruled this city. This was actually the first time that he had seen a worker from a noble house in this city.
Albrook was still in the process of development. More and more people were coming while searching for riches down in the dungeon. The noble house that ruled this area didn’t seem to be that interested in this location. The most important spot was still the super dungeon that was in the middle of this large island.
He turned around and headed up the stairs, the appearance of these people didn’t have to mean much. The most plausible reason that they were here was to give a specific mission to the guild.
If it was an important one then probably some of the higher-ranked adventurers would be forced to take it. These sort of missions tasked by nobles were mostly placed in the hands of the guild instructors. He was not planning to get involved with nobles, the pay might have been good but the dangers could be unknown.
While thinking about what the butler might have wanted from the guild master he knocked on the door.
There was a little pause after he knocked but the guild master was inside. Roland opened the large door and could see a bald man sitting behind his desk while looking at some papers. His brows were furrowed and his forehead was showing a lot of wrinkles. Due to this Roland decided not to poke the hornet’s nest.
“Sorry for the wait kid had to deal with a pompous fool, take a seat.”
The old warrior stopped looking at the piece of parchment and Roland was allowed to sit. He removed his helmet now but he was glad that he didn’t show his face to the worker from the noble house.
“Do you want to hear the good news or the bad news first?”
Roland looked up to the old man that had a smirk on his face while not really knowing what he was getting at.
“Hah, I managed to find a dwarf that is willing to sell those manufacturing secrets…”
He replied as he realized that there was something off.
“But he is a greedy little bastard, here take a look…”
Roland was handed a piece of paper. After he looked at it he realized why this was the ‘bad news.’
“Tell me that this price is in small gold coins…”
“You got a good sense of humor kid.”
“This price is a bit...”
“Your skills are worth much, kid but not that much… if you want us to make a deal you’d have to cover half of that sum…”
Roland started making calculations in his head, of how much he would need to sell to make a dent in this bill. It would at least take four or more years until he could pay up.
“Don’t need to frown that much kid. I can reduce that bill further but you’ll have to do something for me…”
The guild master leaned back while showing off his pearly whites. Roland’s forehead started to show a bit of a sheen as he didn’t like where this was going...