“Hm, that should do it.”

Roland and Bernir were standing in a somewhat enlarged underground workshop. Due to the need of creating a new smelter they had to dig up some more space.

This was not such an easy task as the more they dug up, the shakier the foundation above became. Everything required support columns and beams. Without Roland wanting others to get involved he was stuck doing this himself with his assistant.

Luckily Bernir was quite proficient at this. The material they used was special flame-resistant wood that was easy to come by. The dungeon here in the lower area had ash-like trees that could be carried outside. They were very resistant, not much worse than rock but it was still wood which was lighter.

It took them two weeks to expand the workshop to accommodate the building of the new smelter. Roland was also thinking about future endeavors thus he made it a bit larger than he really needed it.

“Finally we can start, let’s bring it over.”

This would not be a regular smelter. Normally a smelter was used to extract metals from ores. This was not an easy process and most regular smelters would only produce metals with lots of impurities.

The smithing equipment in this world went in a different direction than in his original world. There, techniques implementing chemical reducing agents to decompose the ore were used to drive off other elements as gases or slag. Only then was the metal base left behind.

Here on the other hand, instead of more scientific solutions, magic ones were implemented. Anyone that had a class had a little bit of mana in them. A person didn’t need to be a mage to run equipment like this as the lack of it could be counteracted by Elokin’s Fluid.

This smelter that they would be setting up here was the same. In the schematics, there was even a little side section for the fluid tank. This would be something that Roland intended to modify. If it was just sitting in his workshop he could implement his wind turbines that didn’t require him to spend more money.

The smelter was cylindrical in shape with the top part being wider than the bottom part. On the top, there would be a bowl-shaped center with six smaller areas around it. The middle part was reserved for the metals.

This type of smelter would require Roland to already have a ready ingot to be placed there. It could not smelt ores or purify them. The six spots around the main one were for the mana stones, there they would be melted into a liquid state, and then through small passages, they would flow into the middle.

All of this would be done by specific runes that he would need to runecraft into this thick slab. Under the middle part, there would be an opening that would be closed at first. With a crank on the side, it would be opened by the blacksmith and the concoction would flow into the middle part of the smelter.

Inside the bonding process of the metal and mana stone would take place. After going through some of the recipes that he received this process could take up to several days.

This thing would burn through mana, the heat needed to be constant, and the magical runes needed to change the structure of the mana stones and metals they bonded to.

When it was done the smoldering magical metal could be removed from the bottom. Under the smelter, he could place some kind of mold. This could take the shape of a regular ingot or something else. Thanks to this he could even use one of the older bronze weapon forging techniques.

Most of the time he would go with the ingot route as he had to deliver these metals to the other blacksmiths in the city. They would be the ones forging the weapons and then returning them to him for the finishing touches. He would of course save some for his own crafting sessions but he wanted to focus his talents on other things.

Crafting old-styled armor and weapons was not the only way to go for a runesmith. There were far too many magical devices that he could create. One of those were the golems that he had an itch to create.

The runic books that Lucille had lent him were gone now but he had memorized all the parts that were important. With their help, he was finally able to move forward with his golem program. Now the only thing was to build a basic body for his golem and start working the bugs out.

‘I need to get that crystal ball and contact Lucille soon…’

While he and Bernir were assembling the new smelter together he thought back to the promise that he made with Robert. He was required to stay in contact, his brother would probably show up or go back on his vow if he ignored this request.


Bernir wiped some sweat from his brow after hammering the last rivet into place. The prototype smelter was now in place and it only needed the runes to go with it. Due to it being made from separate parts it was better to leave the runecrafting for later.

The smelter was made from very thick specialized magical steel. It also cost Roland a small fortune to buy the resources. The all-around shape wasn’t hard to make but it would take some time till he got his money back.

“This sure is a strange-looking smelter…”

“Well, it doesn’t require any exhaust vents, the runes take care of everything.”

Bernir just chuckled as he had already given up on ever understanding how magic and runes worked. Soon he headed outside and Roland was left here alone. Soon the slow process of runesmithing was started which he needed a whole week to finish.

The smelter was extremely thick and the rune traces needed to be deeply ingrained into the metallic structure. If they were too thin, the smelter would not be able to function for too long. It would require some maintenance later on but with this, it would be able to last for a few good years.

Roland took a step back to behold his newest creation. The whole thing looked like a boiler on four legs with a very thick bowl on the top. Two circular cranks one closer to the bowl part and one below the middle part were also there.

Everything was made from dark-looking thick metal that was not very shiny. In the back, there was one thick black cable that was attached to the bottom of this smelter. Roland was inspired by his old-world electrical sockets which he now used with all of his runic tools.

After connecting everything he could see the runic structures lighting up. Now it was time to test this thing out.

‘Let's try half load for now…’

He placed three tier 1 mana stones on one side of the upper bowl area. In the middle, he placed some scrap deep steel that could be melted down into the new magical ingots.

Just as previously stated the smelter lit up, there were several runes on the side that started glowing brightly as the process was started. The mana stones started melting and the deep steel in the middle as well.

Then the first problem arose as the mana stones were liquefying at a faster pace than the metal in the middle. At first, he thought that this was fine but as the metal continued to melt he could see it.

With the help of his mana sense and his Runesmithing eyes, he could see the mana dissipating into the surroundings.

‘If the mana stones melt before the metal, there will be a big loss to the quality…’

Roland stopped the process as he could tell that if he continued he would only receive a lower product. His mistake was using cheap lesser mana stones along with higher graded deep steel which had a higher melting point.

This problem could be easily alleviated by either placing the mana stones in later or adding a little runic program. Thanks to his current knowledge, injecting a timer into the smelter’s structure was not a problem. He was actually planning on doing this after going through some tests.

His biggest advantage against other runesmiths was his high degree of customization. While others stuck to the premade runes to a fault he always looked into them and tried to make them more efficient.

The problem here was that the smelter was really large and thick. It would take too much mana to change the runic program each time he found another magical metal.

That’s why he came up with another solution, plates or cartridges. These would look like cards with runes on them. Each one would have a pre-programmed timer for every metal that he tests.

Roland didn’t know much about other runesmiths and their techniques but he had a theory with this smelter. Probably the runesmith or their assistant would need to place the mana stones at the right places and at the right time.

This would mean that either he or Bernir would need to watch over this process and lose hours of their time if he did it the old way. With these cards, his assistant could just slide it in and go on his merry way. The cards would be small and easy to alter as well.

‘First I’ll need to test out these recipes that I have.’

The recipes that he was given gave him the timing of when he needed to place the mana stones on the smelter. The time that was required for the metal to stay inside the middle part was also included. Some of them required him to get other magical ingredients to sprinkle before the first crank was turned.

‘This will take a while to figure out…’

Roland brought out a notebook to take some notes. It was time to test the limitations of this smelter. Later in the day Roland finally turned the lower crank and looked at the hot red metal in liquid form pouring down into his ingot tray.


Lesser Aether Deep Steel Ingot

There it was, his first creation. Every metal that went through this process had the ‘Aether’ prefix. It seemed that the process was successful but how well this compared to an item imbued with mana stones the old-fashioned way only time would tell.

His analyzing skill was not yet fully matured. If it was he could tell at a glance how high the mana saturation of this metal was. The only thing he could go off was the ‘lesser’ part.

“I guess this will be enough…”

It was time for a test and for that he called Bernir over. It was not required for them to make nice-looking weapons like a dagger from this, a paddle would do.

Reminiscent of his old days, he had Bernir hammer a similar deep steel ingot into a paddle wand shape. He did the same to the new aetheric ingot. After making sure that the two were of the same weight and shape he began the runecrafting process.

When it was finished he was left with almost two identical wands with the wind arrow spell on them. The only difference was that one of the wants had a spot for a mana stone on it while the other didn’t.

Back on the outside, it was time to give these two a test. First would be the mana usage which would be easily tested.

Roland took aim into the sky and fired off a couple of wind arrows. The birds were spooked by the green bolts of energy and quickly scattered to the sides.

Soon he discovered that the mana usage was around the same. Surprisingly the paddle with the mana stone lost out by about 10%.

‘The aether wand is probably better saturated, if I placed another mana stone on the other one it would equal out.’

Roland was sure that the reason for this was the mana stone in question. If he added another one or a tier 2 one then the mana stone wand would probably edge the aether one out.

It seemed that even with this technological improvement there was still use for the old models. While the Aether metals could be further improved and didn’t suffer from the exposed gems that could be destroyed. The mana stone variant could be customized a lot more.

The ingot that was made also took on the qualities of the mana stones. If he combined mana stones from fire-based monsters it would gain bonuses towards that element. It was locked to this bonus and would actually work worse on opposite elements like ice.

This was not really much of a drawback as most weapons stuck to one theme. There weren’t that many crazy people like him that infused their weapons with multiple elemental spells.

The armor that he had made would mostly be considered a failed item as no one besides him could use it. He was someone who lacked any elemental affinities but made up for it with a large pool of mana.

Thus he didn’t really care if the mana stones contradicted with each other too much. There was always a base quality to each tier of mana stone which should be the same with these aether metals.

‘Great, now comes the boring part…’

With the first test being successful it was time to go through it again. He would need to start mixing metals, mana stones, and everything else to create the best ratios. He already felt bad about selling a lesser aether item but not like he had enough knowledge and resources to get a higher tier just yet.

Starting off with lesser mana stones and slowly building up to the common ones. On these, he would probably remain for quite some time. This smelter was a tier 2 item, it was only made from common runes and he would need to study it.

Then in time, he hoped to achieve a breakthrough. When he was younger he managed to create common grade runes even when he only had a tier 1 class. This gave him hopes for doing the same here.

The time continued to pass and Roland continued experimenting with the new smelter and his favorite alloy, deep steel. With time he was managing to improve on the lesser type of aether deep steel.

This would also be his main experimentation resource. With a lot of scrap metal in his workshop, this smelter was the perfect tool to produce recycled parts.

While the young Runesmith was working hard on improving himself other forces were working in the background. At a certain place, a group of short bearded men was discussing some business.

“So, how bad do ye think it be?”

“Ah am nae sure, this human Runesmith is not known to me n’ this ...”

There was a large wooden table next to these four dwarves. On it there were a couple of bladed weapons, some looked to have mana stone attachments.

“Bamur, you’re th’ magic expert ‘ere, whit do ye think?”

“Ah am an Enchantsmith not a Runesmith, Dunan. How should ah know!”

“Just look at it, you old fart!”

The two dwarves started fighting and finally, the one named Bamur picked up a longsword. It was a runic item with a characteristic blue mana stone attached to the bottom of the hilt.

“Th’ craftsmanship is amateur at best, mah apprentice could mak’ a better sword than this.”

“We know that, how aboot th’ runes?”

“Th’ runes on th’ other hand, th’ mana flow… it’s a very unfitting combination. Whit kind of idiot would put such pristine runecraft on a failed product lik’ this?”

The old man shook his head while placing the weapon on the side. It was clear that this group of dwarves was discussing the new competition that came to the city.

“Aye, that’s what ah feared, we might have to ask for some help from th’ union but for now we shall wait.”

A note from Kuropon


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