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Chapter 007
The Smiths Trial Part 2




Having had something to eat and gotten a little bit of rest Ren logged back into Flow to continue his training with the smith Donan.



He found himself exactly where he had logged out just in front of the smiths workshop, before heading inside he ate some bread to make sure his hunger bar was full. Once inside he saw Donan talking with another man he’d never seen before. Donan’s gaze drifted over to the doorway to spot Ren and smiled “Speak of the devil and he arrives.” He chuckled, the other man with him looking over at Ren curiously.



The man carried the looks of a scholar type, neat short hair, glasses and a nice clean set of clothes, he looked to be in his mid twenties to early thirties. Nodding to Donan he headed towards the exit of the smithy but paused before Ren “So you’re the young boy that’s got Donan in such a happy mood hmm?”



Donan let out a grunt at his words “Oi oi, Issac don’t go spouting such nonsense to the boy you’ll give him a big head.”

Isaac chuckled and looked to Ren “He’s just too embarrassed to admit he’s taken a liking to his new apprentice.” Donan almost growled as he stared daggers at Isaac “Well, if you get tired of brutally bashing metal with a hammer feel free to drop by my workshop, it’s just down the street a little ways.” He smiled and bowed his head lightly before leaving.



Ren walked over to Donan. “Who was that?”



Donan just shook his head “Ah.. he runs the enchanting workshop down the way, I had him drop by to do a few things for the next part of your test.”



Ren’s eyes lit up “Enchanting? Like being able to make weapons do elemental damage and enhancing armor and making jewellery that can increase your strength?”



Donan grunted lightly “ahh… I had a feeling you’d be interested in it, hey! You better not be thinking of slacking off on learning smithing after you practically begged me to teach you boy!”



“No sir!” Ren gave a salute “I’m 100% committed to completing your trials sir!”



Donan chuckled “Alright then boy, get over here and we’ll begin, this’ll be another tough one.” He grins and led him over to the anvil he was training on before, the X mark was now gone and in its place runes now seemed to cover the surface of the anvil.



“I had this whipped up especially for you.” Donan grins and handed him a new smithing hammer “Now then, for this trial you have to break the hammer again, but also after your first strike the runes on the anvil here will start to glow, you have to hit them as they appear, if you miss or are to slow with your strike there will be a penalty.” He grins again and stepped back, motioning for him to start.



Ren looked at him curiously as though asking what the penalty was but he could tell by the look the smith gave him that it was meant to be a surprise. Looking at the hammer it had 30 durability, only 5 more than the last one, he should be able to do this easily with the stat boosts he got before but he knew there was some kind of trick with this one and he was sure he wasn’t going to like it.



He felt the weight of the hammer in his hand, with his extra strength it felt so much lighter than before “I can probably knock 2 points off it with each hit now if I’m lucky..” He raised the hammer and slammed it down onto the anvil, instantly one of the runes began to glow a soft blue, he pulled up the hammer and brought its head down onto the rune, upon hitting it a small amount of sparks flew from the point he struck and the next rune lit up.



Time passed as he struck the anvil, every so often when he hit there would be no sparks from the strike, he had to assume that meant he missed the mark and unfortunately there didn’t seem to be a set time the runes stayed glowing, some would remain a few seconds while others would only glow for one second or less even, neither did there seem to be a pattern or order in which they lit up.



He managed to reach his 30th strike without too much trouble but the hammer did not break. “Huh?” He looked to Donan who just grinned.



“What? You didn’t think it’d break more easily than yesterdays one did you? Better pay attention our incurring penalty’s with each rune you miss.” He grinned.



Ren blinked at his words, the penalties! Just what was it? He inspected the hammer quickly…”Wha!?” It still held 20 durability, no it just increased to 22 as one of the runes on the anvil changed to the next. “This hammer repairs itself when I miss!?”



Donan chuckled “That’s it boy, better get cracking if you want to break it.”



“Graaahhhh!” Ren doubled his efforts and began crashing the hammer down onto the anvil, he had to be accurate and swift with his strikes, his arm was tried but unlike last time it wasn’t going numb on him, not yet at least.



“Concentrate boy, fast, strong, precise strikes, when forging the more time you take the more times the metal will cool and need to be reheated, and each time you reheat the metal to continue forging it lowers the quality of the metal, makes it more brittle.”



“Does that mean… if someone could forge a weapon without once having to reheat the metal it would be a high quality weapon?” Ren asked curiously, his eyes not once leaving the anvil as he rained down his strikes upon it, now and then muttering a curse under his breath when he missed his mark.



“Hahah, I’m sure it would be a masterpiece boy, but such a thing is impossible even for a smith that’s completely mastered his trade, I heard of a man that could forge a blade with just 5 reheats though. I’d give my best hammer to meet him and learn some secrets I would.”



New Quest!
You’ve heard rumour of a master smith able to forge a blade quicker than anyone else in the world, seek him out and learn his secrets

Difficulty – C

Rewards
???

 

 


“Gack!” Ren swiped the window away quickly causing him to miss a strike. Letting out a growl he refocused on the anvil, his arm was burning with the strain now, his fingers going numb as they did with the previous challenge, he could handle this much though.



He didn’t know how much time had passed or how many strikes he’d made though he guessed at least twice as many then he would need if the hammer didn’t repair itself. It was probably thanks to the extra training he’d done that it didn’t yet feel as hard a strain on his body as the first trial but he still needed to pay attention to make fast accurate strikes.



It was slow going, he was down to 12 durability but for every 2-4 strikes he would miss one sometimes several in a row, sending him back further then he was gaining.



Finally though just as he could feel the numbness encroaching up his arm the head of the hammer cracked and shattered upon the anvil and Ren collapsed to the ground panting heavily as he was bombarded with notice windows.

Quest Complete!
You passed the smiths second challenge

Rewards
Able to continue to the last challenge tomorrow

New Quest!
Return to the smith tomorrow to take on his final challenge

Rewards
???
???




 

Stat Gain!
Though the challenge wasn’t as hard for you as the first one it was still a tough challenge forcing you to be strong, swift and accurate
+5 Strength
+5 Vitality
+5 Endurance
+5 Dexterity
+5 Agility
 



New Skill!
Your continuous hammering upon a solid object has made your body adapt to the feedback caused by such impact
 



Shock Absorption Level 1 (Beginner 0%)
(Passive)
Your body can now absorb the shock of hitting (or being hit by) solid objects and reduce the effects caused by such impacts to your body

10% Reduction to all effects caused by hitting (or being hit by) solid and blunt objects such as stun effects, damage, numbness, dizziness

(This effect will stack with other blunt damage and impact reduction skills)
 



Donan chuckled and stood over Ren, offering a hand to help him up “Nicely done Ren, you should go home and rest up for the last challenge tomorrow.”



Ren looked at him curiously “I can’t train on the bellows again today?”



“Hmm? You actually want to go through more hardships than necessary?”



Ren just smiled “It’s hard yes but I’ve done nothing but gain from your training so far.. and it’s fun..”



Donan blinked and looked at him curiously “Fun? Your actually finding such hardships fun?”



Ren nodded “Yeah! For a real long time I’ve been too weak to do anything, just going for a walk would tire me out to the point of collapsing. But I can do anything I want now, I can work hard and become as strong as anyone else, I can challenge what life throws at me and push beyond. I want to experience everything the world has to offer the good and the bad, I’ll take it head on.” He grinned up at Donan.



“My dear boy…” Donan sighed and reached down to ruffle Ren’s hair lightly “Your one of a kind.” His expression for just a short moment was no longer that stern gaze of a mentor. Ren could only describe his expression as what he imagined a proud father would show his son, it was only for a moment though, Donan let out of cough as he drew his hand back “Right then boy, if you want to blaze a trail through tomorrows challenge then hop on that bellows and start pumping!”



“Yes sir!” Ren grinned and made a salute before dashing over to the bar that was connected to the large set of bellows, jumping up to grab it and pull it down.



With his recent stat boosts as well as the ones from the training the day before he found it a lot easier to pump the bellows so he decided until his arms began to burn he would train ‘Iron Grip’ currently with his mana and the cost of it he could only keep the skill active 11 seconds then had to wait for his mana to regenerate.



Lucky it turned out that the longer he kept the skill active the better the gain he would get in mastering the skill, he managed to reach level 5 with iron grip before he had to stop and focus on pumping the bellows more, turned out that reaching level 5 also reduced the mana cost by 1 for ‘Iron Grip’



Now he set his mind to his next task, he knew from last time that he was on the verge of getting a new skill before he had to stop and this would possibly be his last chance to try and get it. He had to wait till his arms and legs began to burn from the strain though as he pulled, pushed and jumped to pump the large bellows. As he did he began to let his thoughts fade out as they did last time for those brief moments, it was almost like putting his body on auto pilot, it still moved the way he wanted but he was no longer actively controlling it and so couldn’t feel the pain and strains being pushed upon it from his task.



But he was still only able to hold the strange state of mind for a couple seconds before snapping back to reality, it was still longer then last time though so he repeated it over and over, each time understanding it a little more.



Timing his breathing with the pump of the bellows he let his focus slacken and instead let his mind take in everything around him, without focusing on a single thing he became aware of so much more around him while being able to ignore the strains to his own body, it was hard to not let his mind focus on something sometimes just thinking that he had to stay unfocused caused him to focus.



Soon though he was able to pump the bellows without a single thought, his body moved without having to consciously control it, the pains it felt were nothing but a distant memory.

New Skill!
Thanks to the smiths extra training and your own determination to achieve a new state of mind you’ve unlocked a rare skill most warriors and monks could only dream of achieving





Serene State Of Mind Level 1 (Beginner 0%)
(Passive/Active)
A state of mind that warriors and monks alike spend their whole lives trying to achieve
The Serene State Of Mind allows you to ignore pain inflicted upon the body as well as resist mind influencing effects
Ancient monks would see this as a state of enlightenment
Whereas warriors would call it the ultimate battle mind

(Passive)
15% reduction to pain received
15% chance to resist mind altering effects

(Active)
Completely removes mind altering effects
Ignores all pain incurred on the body
30 Mana/Sec

(This skill will morph as it rises in level)



 

Stat Gain!
You’ve gained everything you possibly can from the smith’s extra training, any further training via this method will not yield any further results now
+5 to all stats
 



Seeing the last window Ren let go of the bar and fell to the ground, sitting on his rear as he caught his breath, with his focus returned he could feel the strain that was now on his body, it was easily twice that of the first time he trained on the bellows “Damn… if I use it to freely, once the strain returns after the skill ends it could probably still cause major problems, especially if in battle…” He muttered to himself as he panted heavily to catch his breath, Donan looking him over.



“Boy, that was twice as much as yesterday, I know you travellers get stronger quick but this is still astounding, you should get home and rest still though, your still going to need your full strength for tomorrow.” He helped Ren up and sent him off with a smile.



As Ren exited the workshop a new window appeared.

Notice!
The Flow system has detected your brain waves showing signs of sleep deprivation and would like to remind you of the pause quest function and recommends you use it
 



Help Guide

Pause Quest

The pause quest function allows a player to pause multi stage quests that are required to be completed continually one day after the next

While the quest is paused you may logout for an indefinite amount of time without having to worry about logging back in at the specified time to continue a quest.

To pause you must be between two stages of the quest you cannot pause during one of the quest stages

After logging back in the quest will resume at the start of the next in game day cycle

It is impossible to collect quest related items until the quest resumes

Any xp gained or skill training done before the quest resumes will not be added to your character until after the resolution of the quest
 








Ren let out a sigh “You decide to tell me this now?” He groans “Well… I can go to bed without worries now at least.”

“Pause Quest, logout.”



Ren let out a sigh of relief as he set the V.R helmet aside and relaxed back into his bed “Phew, I can relax properly now.” He rolled over and promptly fell asleep.



The next day he didn’t login at all, both the nurses and his doctor said he’d spent too much time in the game the day before, though he knew the doctor was saying it out of concern he had the feeling the nurses just wanted to have more time to tease him in the various ways they seem to enjoy. Of course he had to put in his usual amount of time into his exercise routine.



The doctor seemed quite pleased with his progress while he wouldn’t be walking a marathon any time soon he was able to walk 100 meters before running short on breath, when he’d first arrived he was lucky to walk 10 without collapsing, that just how much of an effect his ‘parents’ drug experiments had on him.



Needless to say he’d also developed a deathly fear of needles, all his medicine had to be something he could swallow, either tablets or liquids. Back when he’d first arrived the doctors had hooked him upto an i.v while he was unconscious, when he awoke he went into a full blown panic attack at the sight of the i.v connected to his arm and had ripped it out. Ripping out a needle that’s connected straight to your vein is a bad idea.



In the end the doctors had to sedate him and keep him in that state until they were finished with all the initial injections to rid his body of the toxins from the drugs his parents had pumped into him over the years.



Of course there were still times when the only way to give him certain treatments was via needle, at these times the nurses would often distract him, he knew what was going on and it still scared him, but thanks to the nurses it became bearable. Though if he was to actually see the needle he would fall into a panic without fail.



Today the doctor told him he reached a good milestone being able to walk 100 meters, the further you can walk the further you can push yourself and in turn the further your strength will grow. Ren thought he somewhat understood his words, after all he was getting stronger in Flow and was able to push his character harder with each increase in stats he got which in turn got him even more stat increases.



The next day after breakfast and his exorcises Ren laid down and logged back into Flow, eager to take on the last challenge from the smith.



“Flow Login Start.”



He appeared back in the artisan district street in front of Donan’s workshop, looking at the in game time it was just settling on sunset so he would have to wait till dawn before the quest would resume. He decided to head out and collect herbs while he waited.



As he wandered around outside the city collecting herbs he took a look at his stats and some of his skills to see how they were progressing.

Status
Name Ren Level 1
Gender Male Class Artificer
Race Elfling Fame/Infamy 0 (Neutral)
Health 310 Mana 165
Strength 45 Dexterity 35
Vitality 31 Agility 33
Endurance 31 Intelligence 17
Luck 15 Wisdom 16
Title
None

 


“Wow, I’ve actually gained a lot of stats while trying to learn smithing and I still haven’t levelled up yet… I bet the other four winners are at the top rankings for sure, probably completed tones of quests and have lots of epic loot by now…” He couldn’t help but let out a sigh as he plucked up herbs from the ground and slipped it away before standing up and giving his cheeks a slap. “Snap out of it Ren! You’ve been having a blast so far, who cares what those other four are doing, you came here to have fun! Eventually you’ll become known across the world as the best crafter, people will line up for miles to get one of your weapons.”



He shook his head “No no, I can’t limit myself just to smithing, sure it’ll be one of the more lucrative paths to take but I want to master every skill on offer to this super class I’ve gotten! Right! After I finish learning the basics of smithing I’m gonna go see that enchanter guy!”



A growl from behind him caused him to stiffen up, turning around shakily he could see the tree line of the forest just behind him, he must have wandered to close while lost in thought. From the shadows of the forest several pairs of eyes glinted as more growls could be heard “Uhh… nice doggies….. WAHAHHHHHHHH!!!”

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Mythran

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