Blacksmith of the Apocalypse

Chapter 115: The Task

He had a Déjà-vu. A warm and soft catgirl was sleeping in his arms and his eyes fell on a room with clothes randomly spread all around. But this time he could roughly remember what had happened the last night. was no joke, if it had not leveled up, he might not remember again.

They had visited the bar where he had gone after Fin suddenly left. The barkeeper was still as stoic as before. The bar was so dirty, even Mina who regularly visited places like this was a little disgusted.

When Seth went to the bar and ordered ”The same as last time. ” her face lost some color when she saw the bottle of alcohol with some kind of insect inside.

”This is what you drank before we met? ” she actually took away the glass from him and emptied it on the floor.

”You won´t drink this kind of poison with me around. When we found the dwarf, we will leave, got it? ” she made clear, that she would not drink anything in this place and would not let him drink anything either.

”Sure. ”

Seth gave up on the drink and tried to talk to the bartender to get some information, but he stayed silent. The only thing he did was looking at Mina with daggers in his eyes. He obviously didn´t like how she behaved in his bar. Fortunately, before he tried to offer him money to make him talk someone talked to him.

”Oh, hey! Aren´t you the guy who kept drinking the Viper´s Venom? ” it was the dwarf who had drunk with him back then.

”You still remember me? ”

”How could I forget someone who kept drinking the most infamous booze in this place like water? You even made me think it wasn´t that bad…until lost consciousness. I had a hard time regaining my sight after that day! ” he said with a jolly laugh. He said down beside Seth and ordered an Ale. He glanced at Mina.

”It seems like that girl is still with you, eh? ”

Mina blushed. It was painfully obvious in that night that she only dragged off Seth for a one-night stand.

After some talking, the dwarf introduced himself again as Vathon Stonechiseler. He was a sculptor apprentice in the layer of masons. When Seth told him about his profession and goals in Ora, he readily agreed to help Seth, especially after they left that run-down bar and went to a nicer place where Seth paid for all the drinks.

A dwarf´s appreciation and friendship went a long way if you invited him for a night of fun and alcohol.

This time it was Seth who got up first, collected his clothes, and got dressed.

”You are leaving already? ” the sleepy girl mumbled.

”I want to visit the Inn, before going to the Halls of Stone. ” he said with a smile.

Fin and Puffles only looked at him with knowing eyes and a smirk, as he tried to apologize and come up with an excuse why he was gone for the whole night. Puffles stayed at the inn, as it was still absorbed in learning from its ancestral memories. Fin opted to explore the city on her own when Seth mentioned visiting the dwarven city.

Like this Seth was alone on his way to the golden gates. Vathon had told him to meet at the sculptor´s square on the Layer of Masons. The square was rather emptied and he easily found the dwarf who was waving at him. Unlike his experience in the night before when he was covered in stone powder all over, he was now wearing clean clothes and his short beard seemed groomed.

He was a young dwarf who worked as an apprentice for one of the sculptors in the city. It was not his first choice, but family business. He was not very skilled which was why he would rather drink in a cheap bar among humans than spend time with fellow dwarfs his age. As one would expect, their main topic was their work and it was uncomfortable for him to take part in these conversations.

He appreciated the humans who either drunk in silence and liked to joke around instead of speaking about work, even when intoxicated.

”If I remember correctly, you want to get under the tutelage of a dwarven blacksmith master, yes? ” the young dwarfs inquired.

”Okay. Let me think. There are about 5 masters and 7 craftsmen currently working in Ora. Do you have any preferences, like specialization, or…? ”

”Actually I´m an allrounder. I make armors, weapons, jewelry, and enchantments. ” Seth shrugged. Obviously, he would like a master that could guide him in every part of the field. The dwarf looked at him slightly bewildered.

”That… is good. That only leaves one of the masters. Actually, there are three people who teach everything, but only one is proficient enough to teach in all of them. ” To systematically teach others in a class or skill one needed to have an appropriate level themself. They needed to be at least a craftsman, although the effect was weaker than a master ’s.

Seth had gotten a small taste of tutelage when a blacksmith in Starta had given him advice. Seth had found out that tutelage was not simply gaining advice from a master and learning. In the system tutelage was a passive perk that could greatly increase the proficiency gain in a skill, apart from the boost gained from an experienced master ’s advice. The proficiency increase was up to the journeyman-rank, this was the rank when one was judged to have mastered his craft enough to go on a journey and collect more experience.

Seth was already close to journeyman, the next rank after adept when it came to , but and could really use the boost. And just because it was only a few more levels in he was not ready to give up on the boost.

”Let´s go. Master Tored has his workshop at the central plaza of the Layer of Blacksmith´s. I never met him, but you should be careful. I heard he is a little peculiar. But don´t worry, his skills are top-notch. It´s said that he has mastered and while he is a high-level craftsman in . ”

They kept talking about the different master blacksmiths on their way. Besides Master Tored, there were Master Belrun and Master Aidgir. Master Belrun was specialized in and Aidgir in Enchantment>.

As Ora was one of the few dwarven cities that traded with the outside world, many of the current epic and higher ranked equipment the A and S-Ranked adventurers owned were produced by these 3 masters and the 7 craftsmen.

If one ignored the lavish decoration and masonry of many of the buildings, then they all were big square pillars. The workshops of the blacksmith at the central plaza were no different. The only great difference was the shop windows. There were actually many specializations a blacksmith could follow during his career.

There were shops with purely leather armor, and those with mixed and plate armor. There were shops that specialized in weapons, jewelry, or products mainly made from monster materials. All of them with variations of either enchanted or not, except for the jewelry. It was a difference between Urth´s civilization and this fantasy culture. Nobody wore jewelry just for show. The enchantment was the main purpose and worth of jewelry.

”This is it. ” Vathon said as he stopped before a block. Literally. It was the only shop at the plaza without any decoration. A look through the shop window showed that the showroom was actually empty and dim. It looked like an abandoned shop, not the shop of the best master.

Vathon smirked when he read Seth ’s expression.

”How could this be the shop of one of the best blacksmiths in Ora? Hat what you are thinking, right? Master Tored only does works on order and the people have to bring him the materials. He needs no advertisements or ornaments; people know his skills. ” he explained.

They entered the shop and stood there in dim silence. There was no clerk and sound that indicated any life in the building. No clanking of a hammer, no muffle conversation. Just stale air and silence. Vathon looked a little belated. He had never been here himself.

”Errm, Master Tored!? ” the young dwarf tried to shout. ”Are you here? ”

They suddenly heard surprised snoring, coughing, and a grumble as the dwarf emerged from the door behind the counter. His head was bald with a ring of sparse white hair, but his beard was long and white. The slightly messy braids with coaldust in it were tucked under his leather apron.

A tiny glint of drool could be seen at the corner of his mouth, slowly soaking into the beard. Apparently, the dwarf had been sleeping in his smithy until Vathon´s rude awakening. Considering that his grumpy mood was understandable.

”What do you want? ” he said in a growling deep and unfriendly voice.

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