‘There they go…’
It was about ten in the morning and a group of knights was moving out from Albrook city. He could see a nice-looking carriage in which his new noble ‘friend’ was occupying. This was clear by how close his half-brother was sticking to the carriage.
‘What do I do now…’
Roland had a decision to make, it didn’t seem like Robert would be betraying him. The vow was made, by how seriously Robert took this whole knight business it didn’t look like he would go back on it.
There were of course ways to break such vows, ones that didn’t result in the vow taker getting any debuffs and curses. Though they were extremely costly as they required the help of rare items or people with rare classes to remove. Thus being betrayed by his brother wasn’t out of the picture just yet.
Then there was the problem with his younger sister Lucienne that could find him when she got older. Her being an oracle or deviner was not a sure thing yet. Many events could transpire during one's life which could take his sister in a totally different direction.
‘Does it even matter at this point?’
Roland turned around while heading back into the adventurer guild. There was a new thought going through his head, one that would end this all. It was just to go tell his father everything and be done with it.
At this point, his class path was already cemented. It would be hard for his father to salvage this situation and force him to turn into a knight at this point. His class was also special, so it would probably be seen as a boon for the whole Arden estate.
The problem with that was that his money-making capabilities were too high. He could very well see himself being locked away in the estate smithy working the whole day just to make money for the family.
Then there was the whole assassination attempt. He didn’t expect his father to do much about it as the only witness was eaten by a bunch of dungeon monsters.
Assassination attempts and nobles went hand in hand. Unless the heir was set in stone there would be tension between the siblings. Some even saw it as a trial between the youths, the one that remained would have proven themselves as the best person for the position.
He was not a knight or a mage, if he proclaimed that he did not wish to inherit the estate then there was a possibility that his siblings would just leave him alone. After talking with Robert he saw that there was a possibility of co-existing with his family members.
Even though he might be able to somehow move past that assassination attempt. This didn’t mean that he wanted to be involved in noble affairs. It would still be a big pain in his posterior to have his overbearing father looming above him.
‘I’ll just wait, no use getting involved just yet.’
He decided to not reveal all of his cards. There was still a lot of time for him to build up his operation. Even if his sister came looking for him it would probably be at least five or even ten years from now. If she was even allowed to travel was also up to debate.
She was still a woman and in this world noble women had one main purpose, to produce heirs for the man of the house. Would this special class be enough to save her from this fate remained to be seen.
Even with that, girls of noble birth were still expected to be married by the age of thirty. It was seen as strange if a woman by that age wasn’t able to produce at least one child. There were a few exceptions as always but this required a lot of personal strength.
Something like this existed for the commoners as well but mostly for the farmer and laborer side. The lady adventurers didn’t adhere to these norms and could more or less do what they wished.
It was actually quite a common occurrence for the women adventurers to be girls that run away from a forced marriage. The adventurers guild offered them an escape but they needed to take a big risk. Not all of them ended up in a favorable position after the years, some even returned back home to live an easier life.
‘Glad I wasn’t stuck in a girl’s body when I came to this world.’
The doors of the adventurer’s guild opened up and a Roland in a set of armor walked in. Now with no nobles remaining in the city he didn’t care about being seen. His brother that he was hiding from had also seen through his disguise.
The only thing he would try to avoid is being recognized as a noble. His resemblance to Robert was there but there were enough differences for most people not to notice. Even Lobelia wasn’t able to piece it together so it would probably be fine.
“Welcome, Mr. Wayland.”
Elodia called out to Roland while moving out from behind the counter.
“The guild master has informed me about everything, I’ll be showing you around today.”
Today was a somewhat special day. His contract was signed and he needed to start his work. Elodia here was to show him the way towards all the affiliated adventurer stores. Some of them were directly here while others were sprinkled through the city.
“Let’s start with the shops inside the guild.”
“Yes, I’ll be in your care.”
Roland nodded while Elodia took out some kind of file. In it were probably all of the information about each shop.
The first one was built to the side of the adventurer’s guild and could be accessed by one of the doors in the back corridor. This was also the side that Roland and Elodia made their way in.
On the inside, he could see various bladed weapons and armors alike. This was the back of the shop so they weren’t as neatly placed or organized. He could see a few people carrying these items from here to the front of the shop where they would probably be presented to the buyers.
“This is the main guild shop, you can come here and take any wares for enchanting.”
A rough-looking man looked at them. He was wearing a bandana over his head and had a scruffy beard to go with it.
“Good morning Mr. Russel, let me introduce you to Mr. Wayland.”
Roland looked to the old man that was clearly checking him out.
“This is the Runesmith? Isn’t he a bit… young?”
It was clear that his age would be a problem. Most craftsmen started out after getting their first tier, 2 class. This mostly happened in their early twenties while at about thirty they would start becoming proper masters at the craft.
“Don’t worry Mr. Russel, when it comes to runecraft then Mr. Wayland is very distinguished.”
The old man glanced at the runic gauntlets that Roland was wearing and just nodded.
“It does look runic…”
It was clear that this man here would not really be able to appraise the runes for their worth. He was more of a normal worker that just hung around in the shop.
“Mr. Wayland is free to take the items from here so be sure to accommodate him.”
“If it's the order from the top, then I can’t do much about it.”
Russel just shrugged and finally left to go tend to the shop.
“I must apologize for Mr. Rusell’s behavior.”
Roland didn’t care much, respect had to be earned and not given freely. After the runesmithing goods started popping up he would probably change his tune.
While they were here Roland picked up one of the blades and looked over it. With his appraisal skill, he was able to see the grade and the materials that the items here were made from.
“Would it be enough for me to make a list of requirements and someone picking them up for me later?”
There were quite a bit of weapon and armor parts in here. It would be quite troublesome if he needed to go through each one by himself. He was not willing to enchant blades of lower quality or that were made with non-magic-resistant metals. Someone would need to go through all of these and pick out the ones that were worth investing time into.
“That wouldn’t be a problem.”
“Great, my assistant will bring you the list and you can also give him the goods… Or perhaps you could just send someone to deliver them to my house directly?”
Bernir would be utilized as an errand boy to his fullest potential. Though now after he also became a tier 2 armorsmith Roland was feeling bad about making him do such tasks. It would be much better for Bernir to practice his craft and not waste time by constantly going on fetch missions into the city.
“House delivery? Think that wouldn’t be a problem.”
Elodia nodded while also writing something down. Soon they left the adventurer guild and headed towards the city. There he visited a couple of shops and smithies. After going through a few he noticed something.
‘Not a dwarf in sight…’
The craftsmen and craftswomen were all from other races. He wasn’t sure if this was a coincidence or if the guild master was just trying to usurp the union’s grasp on this city. Albrook was still young; it would probably take a few more years for everyone to entrench themselves.
This was something only a big company like the adventurer’s guild could do. Not even the dwarven union could just outright ban anyone involved with the guild, they would go bankrupt. The dwarves were dependent on the adventurers, who went through weapons fast. The armors also needed constant repairing.
Not that this meant that there weren't ways that they could make it difficult for the guild-run shops. Dropping down the prices and offering discounts for everything would quickly spell disaster for the guild-owned shops.
The other revenue stream would be the nobles and their military organizations. They were quite large but with so many dungeons everywhere the adventurers took up quite the bulk of their operation. Unless there was some kind of war effort in the background the union depended on adventurers to sell their wares.
Finally, they were at the last store, after this Roland would be finally able to go home and resume his work.
“This will be the last spot. The person inside is also both an armorsmith and a weaponsmith.”
“Oh, does Mr. Wayland know this shop?”
Roland was standing in front of the store that he visited a few days ago. It was the same one that he picked the shield up for Robert.
“I’ve been here once.”
Soon the two entered the store and were met with a lack of customers. This was also something that was the same in all the other stores. It was clear that the dwarven union was making it hard for all the other craftsmen to make a living.
From what Roland could tell this was a basic tactic to get rid of their competition. The union had vast resources, with this it was easy to undercut the other craftsmen that needed to make a living to survive.
Through this, it was also clear to him how the guild master managed to get this many stores to sign a contract with him. They had no other choice and probably had no love for the union’s tactics.
“Be right with you…”
After entering the store he could hear a dinging sound. It was the sound of metal hitting metal. This shop had its own smithy on the other side and it was clear that someone was working. After a few minutes of waiting the store owner that he saw a few days ago finally showed up.
“Oh? Well isn’t it Mr. Runesmith ...hm?”
The large woman looked a bit sweaty. She stopped for the moment as she saw Roland before her, this time around he was not wearing a helmet.
“Not bad, I’ll give you an eight and a half. Maybe in a few years, you’ll be a nine but you’d need to be taller to get a ten.”
His previous score of six was raised after his face was seen. He was already quite tall but the woman was still a few centimeters over him. Roland didn’t think that he would be able to grow any more than this, which would leave him as a nine.
“This is Ms. Dyana, she is one of the blacksmiths working with the guild, some of her wares were on display at the main guild store.”
“I see that you are already acquainted with Mr. Wayland here, he will be working with us.”
“Oh, he will?”
Dyana got closer to where Roland and Elodia were and quickly delivered a smack to Roland’s back. Luckily for Roland, he had enough strength to tank this hit without falling down on his face.
“Great, maybe some enchantments can make me sell something, I’ll be counting on you, handsome.”
He just nodded while the large woman became more handsy. Roland could even feel something soft press into his side as the woman got closer.
“So what do you need? Swords? Axes? Maybe spears or armor? I can make it all.”
The woman possessed both the armorsmith and weaponsmith classes and was close to level one hundred. By the looks of the wares here he would have to agree that she was a better blacksmith than he was.
“I would need items made from deep steel or similar metals that can resist mana degradation in the runes.”
“Mana degradation huh?”
The woman finally let Roland go while she started thinking. Most regular smiths didn’t really care about things like that as they just used the best available metal. It didn’t particularly need to be good for enchanting as long as the weapon could kill monsters.
“How about these?”
Dyana handed Roland a longsword which he then quickly checked with his analyzing skill.
|Deep Steel Longsword||High||A sword made by a competent craftsman...|
He could even see the dimensions, the whole sword was 120 centimeters long while the bladed part was at 105.
“It will do for now…”
Roland mumbled while looking at this sword but his words were taken a bit more seriously than he had thought.
“Hey kid, what do you mean it will do for now?”
When he looked up to the woman that was all smiles previously he could see her maddened face. It seemed that she took his comment badly as if he was mocking her craft. Craftsmen that were proud of their work certainly were not good at taking criticism.
“I apologize, this is a fine sword. I didn’t mean it like that.”
“Then how did you mean it?”
“It’s made from materials that are limiting to my craft, have you ever heard of a rune forge?”
“Rune forge? Isn’t that something that those midgets like to use to get their alloys?”
“Yes, Something like that…”
Roland quickly started explaining. This was a guild run store and he had already discussed a few things with the guild master. What he was getting here at, is that he wanted to produce special ingots for the blacksmiths that were working with him.
They would then produce wares from these fantasy metals that wouldn’t require external mana stones like the sword that Dyana gave him here.
“Ha ha, I see now, should have said that sooner! Sorry about that.”
Dyana laughed some more and started vigorously patting Roland’s back. He was really forced to tank those heavy hits but thankfully Elodia was here with him.
“Ms. Dyana please stop, Mr. Wayland looks uncomfortable.”
“Oh, does he now? He looked happy just a minute ago.”
The two women started glaring at each other for some reason while he was left standing in the middle. He coughed into his hand to get their attention.
“... I’ll be sending a list over to the guild to gather some equipment for the initial runesmithing.”
The first batch of runic weapons would be made with his traditional mana stone technique that left them on the outside. Then if they are successful in selling them they could introduce the improved version that would also cost more.
With that his visit to the shops was over, a lot of work awaited him and his assistant. With so much to do it might soon be time to expand his business to the next level.
Deep inside of a sandstorm, two vague figures could be spotted. The surrounding area was nothing but sand with no vegetation or water anywhere.
Suddenly a monstrous sandworm burst from beneath the ground charging at the two cloaked figures. The monster opened up its toothy mouth that would easily be able to devour a full-grown man.
The creature descended at one of these figures but suddenly the larger person’s arm started twitching. It expanded in size while turning into something resembling a blade. As the monster descended it was promptly sliced in two pieces by this monstrous sword arm that this person produced.
The sandworm creature fell down to the ground before these two strange figures stopped.
“I hate this place, I have sand in my underwear. How much longer will we be here?”
A female voice could be heard from the smaller figure while the other one that changed their arm into a sword remained silent.
“The high priest was graceful enough to give us another chance, we must prove ourselves.”
“Ye, ye. The high priest, blah blah. This all because of some stupid kid, I hope he suffered a painful death.”
"I agree, that child dared to desecrate the holy artifact, he deserves to suffer, his death... was not certain..."
"Not certain? What are you on about? There is no way he could have survived a stab from my blade!"
The woman screamed out in a maddened rage which was mostly silenced by the continuous sandstorm.
"Calm yourself and focus on the task at hand."
The woman gave out a sigh while walking through these sandstorms. Even though the winds were strong enough to fell a tree these two seemed to be just fine. Soon the monster corps was swept away by the sands as the two vanished within the desert storm.