Blacksmith of the Apocalypse

Chapter 257: Grinding the etch (3)

Seth already had a plan on what to use for practice.

Cerberus had been pumping out more than enough blanks that could be used as practice pieces. After refining them, he could etch them. If he succeeded, he could assemble them into a finished weapon.

It was also a way to build up a stock of general merchandise for the store.

Compared to the simple exercise at the college, this was a step up in difficulty. It was not just copying the runes, but he also needed to adjust their size and fit them to the weapon.

His only help was the 101 of Etching. A textbook on common practices for demon bards. Gladly it was very similar to the principles of engraving inscriptions. When the item was finished these ancient runes would look like intricate ornamental inlays.

He started with a short verse not much longer than two sentences. The effects of these demon enchantments resembled those of the ballads. Unlike the circuits from the empire who often came with specific numerical values, these effects were vaguer.

The verse he chose was supposed to slightly increase strength and speed during a fight. The verse called on a minor demon noble of war.

Without the help and guidance of the skill, it was a lot of work. Applying too much ink could eat through the material. Mistakes when etching a rune led to failure. Getting the spacing between runes wrong led to failure. Spelling mistakes obviously led to failure.

Practicing the individual runes first before going over to trying and write sentences now made sense. It took some time to enter the zone. He was hyper-focused on the task.

After a few hours and ruining more than 20 sword blanks, Seth finally succeeded in completing the verse.

< Ding! You have acquired the Skill Etching (Beginner) lv.1 >

< Ding! has been added to your Catalogue.>

Finally! Seth opened the enchantment window. Besides engraving, forging ballads, and enchanting it now displayed etching. The rules were similar to the forging ballads. The etching needed to be learned before they were added as an entry.

only gave little help in actually learning and executing the various texts. The bigger improvement came with the fact that the skills could now interact. Similar to engraving he could now use as a guide to help to place the inscription on different weapons.

Like with Ballads he would need to learn Inscriptions one by one on his own. Maybe he could also scan weapons to get the inscriptions. That was something he needed to test in the future.

For now, he finished off the sword that had helped him gain the skill. Seeing the completed item roused new questions.

There was a big difference in base stats compared to the swords he made when he first started owing to his growth in skill. The enchantment itself was a little vague, but that was not the weird thing. The peculiarity was that the inscription granted 2 effects.

Seth suddenly wondered whether there were different levels among ballads and poems, just like there were among enchantments. Enchantments were ranked according to their complexity and the higher one ’s skill the easier and more enchantments one could add to an item.

The technical aspect of etching the phrases was not that difficult. Not with his dexterity and previous experience in engraving. So it couldn ’t be that they were ranked by complexity like circuits were.

After the things Trith had told him and what he had read- instead of wrecking his brain alone he asked his handy pocket lichicon.

~… Are you serious? Of course, songs and forging ballads, too, are ranked according to the ranks of the system. Writing an epic ballad is a bard ’s greatest aspiration. ~

”How would I know? It ’s not written in the book! ”

Seth had simply chosen ballads based on their length since he judged them easier.

~ Of course, it isn ’t. Why would they write down something any bard profession can see at a glance?~

Seth was stumped. It made sense that he could not see the ranks of things outside his profession, like materials. It was just that he never really thought about it when it came to stuff like texts. It reminded him of the time when Nädel explained to him that the same material can also have a different value depending on the profession.

It also led his thought to a different profession.

”Then, is it the same for Enchanters? ”

~ Yes, it ’s the same for us. A high-rank enchanter could create a rare or epic enchantment, just like you create gear, and raise an item ’s rating by enchanting it. ~

Seth sat down. The new insight led to a few realizations. How mean was it that he needed to do so much to make an epic item and an enchanter could simply wave a staff and power up a crappy item?

~ What nonsense are you thinking? Enchanters also need materials to execute their skills, just like you. Actually, being an Enchanter is a lot more costly, since all the materials are lost if the enchantment fails.

You can just recycle your failed products. An enchanter can ’t. Imagine having to collect over twenty kinds of rare and epic ingredients for one try and fail… I needed over a hundred years to become a master! And I never managed to make a legendary enchantment… ~

Frustration was seeping from Al ’s voice. A lot of her time as a lich was spent collecting materials for enchantments.

A little embarrassed for his childish thoughts, Seth apologized. The sorceress told him it was okay, but stayed silent from then on.

Seth got some food and returned to master another inscription. After hours of practice, the execution of the second was a little easier. The second inscription was one that had a similar effect to burning mana.

Seth had felt confident when he started practicing it, but his expression soon turned grim. Although the text only had two sentences, he could feel something gnawing on his mind. This was most likely a higher-ranked verse than the first one.

It was not a problem for Set who had a vast pool of mental energy at this point. He just needed to get accustomed to it, so it would not disturb him while writing the inscription. The text seemed much simpler, but Seth still needed seven tried before he succeeded the first time.

Not all his item effects that helped during a fight when using worked on reducing the costs of etching. As such he had spent almost a quarter of mental energy on these seven attempts.

The resulting dagger was interesting.

The material he used for the Dagger was the usual uncommon but the dagger got a rare rating with just the inscription added to it. There was no soul, no enchantment, no ballad. Just the text had been enough.

It could only be guessed that the verse was at least rare-rated and had high requirements to be used. Seth doubted there would be an epic poem in a book called 101 of Etching.

The effect was also nothing to scoff at. Sealing active skills and magic for 5 seconds while burning an unknown amount of mana was quite terrifying in a battle. He might even be able to give it to Mina as is.

Looking dagger, he found the metal of the blade under a big strain. This might have been the reason the durability was lowered. It also gave him an idea of why it had put such a strain on him to write the text.

If this was a rare poem and he was using common ink, maybe the lowered durability a heightened consumption were the effect of this disparity. The ink was not powerful enough on its own to contain the demon ’s blessing, so he had to pay a price.

It was getting late and Seth decided to stop for the day. He went for dinner to the cafeteria where he met most of the others. ”Yulecat ’s Fur ” had just returned and were decimating a table of food.

Fin and Mina waved at him while the rest of the party greeted him. He joined them at the table.

”What ’s up guys? ” he asked as he sat down.

”The princess keeps us busy, ” Mike answered exhausted.

”Sucks to be you. Oh yeah, Mina. Take this. I know it doesn ’t look like much, but the effect is pretty handy. ”

He slid the ordinary-looking dagger to her and explained the perks and effect. He also promised to make a better one in time. But the last part was not heard anymore, as not just Mina, but also the rest of the party was looking at the dagger with round eyes. Since everyone was distracted, Seth started hoarding the food.

”It can really seal skills and magic for a short time? ”

”That ’s what the description says. Cool, right? ” he said between two bites.

”Cool? This is a mage killer! Fin wants gloves with that effect! ” the tiny fairy screamed with eyes shining like lasers. Her gaze almost burned a hole into the munching Seth ’s skull.

”Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! ” Seth could hear her silently chanting like a small child trying to manipulate its parent.

”Burp- Ah, much better. Sure, I will try to make you one, ” he said satisfied after sucking up the biggest part of the food on the table. While everyone was focused on debating about the dagger, he had stolen their food while waiting for Link to bring his.

They could only sigh and ask Link to get some more.

”Oh yeah, any news about the Willis Family? ” Seth asked since they had the chance to talk.

”No signs of them. Nowhere. ” Mike answered.

”Weird… ”

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