“That will be all for today, you should go over the research material that I have provided you before contacting me again. Also, don’t forget to catch up with the basics my friend.”
“I will, until next time.”
Roland turned off the communication crystal on which a smug-looking cat was displayed. The exchange between the two had been going on for several months but he still had so much to learn.
After turning off the crystal ball Roland looked to the side. There on his desk he could see a large stack of papers, books and scribbles. This was all the research material the cat professor had dumped on him.
‘He really did send me the school books this time around…”
Through the months of their exchanges, Roland had continued to improve on the runic diagrams that he was given while taking snippets of knowledge for himself. Finally, for one reason or another, his associate decided to just give him all of the basic rune-related academy books that they usually gave to their mages.
This was quite a pile of knowledge and it required several gale birds to deliver for a span of a month. Now he had a compendium of materials that could fill in the gaps in his runic comprehension.
It seemed that the cat was fed up with Roland asking questions every time the two were talking. Thus he was given some homework to get through the fundamentals first before their partnership continued.
While Roland was knowledgeable with the outer runic components at this point in time he was unable to affect the runic programming. Most of the time he found himself copying pre-existing code that he discovered in runes and then hoped that it would stick.
All of this research material would guide him from the beginning and teach him the inner workings of the runic code. It was quite a stack of papers to go through but luckily with his increased intelligence and his newest skill that allowed him to read multiple pages at once, he hoped to slog through it fast.
“Hey Boss, I’ll be heading out for tonight, see ya in the morning.”
“Try not to get in trouble.”
“Hah, when did I ever get in trouble?”
Roland rolled his eyes while looking through the window through which he could see Bernir. His assistant was using his newly gained raise to go to town and have a good drink.
It was probably not the only thing that he would be getting there but not like Roland was interested in Bernir’s nightlife. As long as he returned when it was time for work, then all was fine.
A few weeks had passed since his new store opened for business and business was booming. He underestimated how fast the adventurers went through lower level magic equipment.
With the close proximity to the dungeon, these items were being used for all they were worth. Many of them got lost in the process of hunting monsters and the runes were being used up quite fast. Some adventurers instead of using the repairs preferred to just put some more gold down and get an improved weapon after using it for a month instead.
It turned out that there were far many more adventurers in town than there were craftsmen. While regular weapons were easy to find it wasn’t the same for the wares he was peddling. So on the first day, he was able to get rid of all the old stock that was piling up in his workshop. Even with the lowered prices, he was able to make nice profits that translated well into future progress.
Elodia was doing a nice job at selling and presenting everything to the new customers. He had written down all the various runes that the items came equipped with and she was able to learn all of the uses of the items they were selling in just a few days. She was ready to fight through the first day as if she knew that there would be such an outcry for the magic weapons.
Even Roland needed to come help as the people were clamoring to get in. He clearly underestimated the worth of a magic weapon that was going for under the market price. There were even a few merchants that he recognized from the city. They were probably intending to sell the items in different cities due to the dwarves.
Since everything was going well, Roland finally decided to raise Bernir’s wages by a bit. Even though it wasn’t that much, the dwarf was quite ecstatic. Now with the hiring of Elodia both of them had the weekdays off while the store was closed.
While both of his workers would have time to spend their hard-earned money and take a break, he would continue with his grind. He needed to inscribe more runes and produce more wares to sell while also improving on his golem and turret designs.
Now after starting his own business he realized that being a regular employee was not the end of the world. Being the owner of a new shop forced him to work even harder if he actually intended to be successful.
While Bernir was in the tavern getting drunk he would be going through runic diagrams and lists of components. While Elodia finally had some time to spend with her family and watch over them, he would be hammering away on the new golem design that would now have six legs instead of four.
“No rest for the wicked, huh?”
Roland gave out a sigh but he was somewhat feeling content with this new situation. While he was not so keen on working for others it wasn’t the same when he was doing it for himself. Everything was under his control and depending on the circumstances he could always decide to take a break when he wanted to.
While it looked like he was becoming shackled with his new responsibilities he could not be any freer. There was no debt holding him down and his craft gave him something that he could apply in other places. Even if this little business fell through he would still be fine, all thanks to his hard work he had gained a skill that could not be denied by others.
This didn’t mean that he intended his little venture to be a failure. Growing dungeon cities like this were quite rare and he would not be able to fight against monsters like the dwarven union in cities that they had a stronger presence in.
“Before I forget…”
While Roland ended his call with the magic cat he still needed to stay in touch with the person that introduced him to it. This person’s name was Lucille De Vere who came from quite the prestigious count family.
“Good evening Sir. Ro… I mean Sir. Wayland.”
“Good evening, hope I didn’t call at a bad time.”
While Lucille knew about his true heritage he still urged her to call him by his current alias. He had no idea if these magical instruments could be recorded by outside sources. But going by the fact that they had some type of signal that was going between them it was possible that it could be intercepted by a third party.
“The Professor has been talking fondly of you, I never seen him so cheerful when talking about someone else!”
“Huh? Are you sure that you weren’t talking with some other talking cat?”
Roland was a bit confused as the cat never shied away from telling him how incompetent he was when it came to the basics. All the questions he posed were answered in a smug way and he started to slowly fear bringing up things that might make him seem uneducated.
This was also why he was glad that he was given so much research material to work with. With all this knowledge he hoped that the cat would finally get off his back.
“You must be joking, Sir. Wayland.”
Lucille laughed a bit while looking straight at the crystal ball before her. The picture that he was getting on his side was distorted in a sort of fish-eye lens way. This made Lucille’s nose look a bit unflattering but it also gave him a better look into the room she was staying in.
It was clear that she had relocated from the magical academy to somewhere else. This brought up a question in Roland’s mind that he had to ask.
“Did Robert finish his knight training?”
“Ah, glad that you brought that up, Sir. Robert has left for his home not so long ago, at this very moment he might already be there.”
“By home, do you mean the Arden estate?”
Lucille nodded while Roland moved his face a bit to the side. He looked out through the window and towards one of the moons that was peeking out through the clouds.
His ice mage friend was not aware of this but Roland was still worried about the family situation. With his academy life over Robert would be assigned a proper position somewhere.
He could either be drafted into the army and become a commanding officer due to his noble lineage. The other way would be to come under the command of another noble and join their private army, his rank would depend on this higher noble.
The people that went with the first option would have to go through a long period of trials before they were lifted up into a prestigious position. The latter could soar up high in no time depending on who they were working for.
It was also considered far less dangerous to work for another rich noble. Most of the time a person like Robert would just become a personal bodyguard that would just shadow their master from behind. Most work they would put in would be to continue their training while their masters are at the main house.
Depending on the high noble they were serving it could be a very easy position. Even without asking Roland was aware which path his ‘older’ brother would take. It didn’t take much to realize what kind of person Robert was and how he intended to make his mark on the world.
“So, do you know which regiment he intends to join?”
“Ah, so you knew about his decision? Sir. Robert wasn’t sure but he mentioned that he was interested in the cavalry divisions.”
“He really does intend to follow in his footsteps, huh?”
Roland mumbled to himself while Lucille was left with some scrambled audio on her end.
“What was that Sir. Wayland? Some footsteps?”
“You’ll have to excuse me, I was just thinking out loud.”
Roland was aware of his father’s military merits and he too had started out in the cavalry as a knight. He had worked his way up from a newbie knight to the rank of Knight Commander which was the highest title a regular knight could hope for. Then he had pushed towards an even higher ranking as he achieved the noble status.
It would be a hard thing to mirror but Robert could also go through this path. Then he could actually receive his own noble title that would not be under the Arden Estate umbrella. He could choose to either keep the Arden name or to use a different one. With a new name, he would be asked to create a crest of his own and he would receive some land.
“So, did you finish your academy training, will you become a court mage or maybe a free mage, Lady. Lucille?”
Roland shifted the conversation in a different direction. He was mostly interested if Robert didn’t tell his father anything. As an existence that could lead a small army, his father would have no problem of forcefully dragging him back to the estate. Lucille did assure him that his secret was safe with them but Roland was still scared that the information could slip for one reason or another.
“Oh… I haven’t decided yet, pappa wants me to stay at the estate for now. After the incident, he has become overprotective…”
Lucille was still a daughter of a count and also a skillful mage. She had a lot of worth and her close call with death was something that her father was aware of. While most of it was downplayed by Percival and the examiner some info had made it through.
If he knew that his daughter was stuck wandering underground caves for a week, unsupervised then some heads might fall. The fall was apparently downplayed to a few hours and Robert was given a big reward in the hopes of shutting them up. Roland wasn’t sure but probably either contracts or knightly vows were used to keep anyone from telling everything.
With how little nobles cared about the words of commoners and adventurers, the event was successfully contained. The truth would probably never reach his ears and with how Lucille was going along with the lie there would be no reason for him to push the issue further.
“That doesn’t sound so bad, why don’t you join the mage order at the academy, you always seemed like the scholarly type.”
There were a few ways for a mage to make a living. A court magician was given a lot of money but they were required to answer the call of war when the country requested it. A free mage just as the name stated didn’t offer any benefits but gave freedom.
Lucille could join one of the free mage guilds that were in this kingdom. They would help her level up further while requesting some tasks here and there. Adventuring was not out of the picture as some guilds were specifically there to lend out magicians to the adventurer guild.
In Roland’s opinion, Lucille still had a craving for knowledge. While she managed to help him during the monster battles in the dungeon she was not quite ready to become a battle mage. The decision was her to make but with her father getting involved in this predicament.
“I sure would love to work with the Professor… maybe I could become his assistant!”
Roland smiled as Lucille continued to talk. The conversation lasted for about fifteen minutes before the magic was at an end. With his monthly checkup, he was finally free to continue with his work.
“When Robert joins the army he won’t have time for anything, it could take years for him to return home…”
His brother would be joining the army for sure. The knights were used to patrol the borders as well as for monsters that lived outside the dungeons. They would not be given much free time to visit their families and certainly not when they are fresh as Robert was.
With the connection ending Roland got up from his spot and stared at the stack of papers on his desk.
“I think I’ll leave those for later…”
He didn’t feel like going through more archaic books about runs would do him any good today so he moved back into his workshop to get his hands dirty. The way into his underground lair was now behind a bookshelf that he could open by pulling on a specific book.
Before going down, he looked at a certain ruby wolf and gave his head a rough pat.
“I’ll leave the house to you.”
Agni gave out a bark while flopping his tongue out, his tail wiggled while he stood up proudly. It was as if he was telling Roland that he could leave everything to him.
The entrance slowly revealed itself and he went down the stairs. The door that was previously there had been reinforced with a few layers of metal. On the right of it, there was a little glowing crystal that illuminated this dark staircase.
Roland dug into his pocket to pull out a small dark card. On it there were many various tiny runes. The moment he moved this card towards this gem the card started to shine. The red coloring of the gem switched to green and he could hear the locks on the door being undone.
The moment the doors opened he was greeted with his old blacksmithing workshop. The tools were neatly hung up on the sides in an orderly fashion and on one of the benches he could see an unfinished item. It looked like a spider leg made from shiny silver metal with various runic inscriptions covering the surface area.
This whole place was lit up with orange light as bright blue light always reminded him of his old working situation that he didn’t have any fond memories of. After approaching the tool rack he took out a hammer along with a little chisel.
The two items were then used to finish the runecraft on the improved golem leg that he intended to use in the next design.
The hammer lit up in bright blue and revealed many various runic symbols on it. With a gentle tap, he used the hammerhead to connect with the small chisel. A tiny bolt of mana then traveled through this special tool all the way to the golem leg. When the light connected with the silvery metal a tiny runic component appeared on the unworked side of the golem leg.
Late into the night did his dinging sounds continue as the Runesmith worked on his wares. In his mind this was only the beginning, there was so much work to do but so little time on his hands.
So did the time pass for the Albrook city Runesmith and his shop continued to raise eyebrows and cause headaches for his competition...