Blacksmith of the Apocalypse

Chapter 7: Leaving home

It was already noon and still dark outside? Was this also an apocalyptic scenario? Did the sun go on a strike and didn ’t wish to work today?

Looking out the windows, he saw the city submerged in twilight. He opened the window and leaned outside to look at the sky.

”What the..? ”, he muttered when he saw, why there was no light. It wasn ’t the sun unwilling to work, it was the canopy of a gargantuan tree that was covering the sky above the city and blocking out the light. The tree even outclassed the skyscrapers at the city center! It looked like an oak with half a dozen thick main branches reaching across the city ’s sky and almost touching the ground some kilometres away. It was like a dome encompassing the almost half the city. When did this even grow? Looking up to the branched that kept splitting off the main one, Seth saw something dangling.

”Oh f*ck.. ”, His eyes widened and his heart sunk….he had found the giant creature from last night! The oaks branches were covered in vines and on the vines, hung like criminals on the gallows, were desiccated corpses. Not just the hulking creatures, but also corpses from other humanoids like the goblin he had seen and…humans. How did those end up there?

Seth pulled out the binoculars of his father, he had found yesterday among his stuff. As if covered in fairy lights, the branches of the tree were filled with vines holding dried up bodies in colorful casual clothes. Some of them wore jackets and backpacks, had they left the safe zones and tried to get out? Looking with the binoculars, he saw that they were not actually hanging like hanged, but the vines were penetrating and growing through the bodies. He could also see small glowing orbs beside the dead.

< Soul(tiny): Crafting Material. Common>

It was jumping into action. But wait! Didn ’t it say he could only see the souls of recently deceased bodies? Did this mean, that these bodies up there were only recently turned into these mummies? His blood turned cold. Had so many things happened while he tried to grind out an advantage?

The world was really moving fast now. A field boss had spawned? Seth felt like he had to act, so he wasn ’t left behind. Looking between the forge and the window he hesitated. He had wanted to take the safe route and grind as much as he could without leaving safety. But judging from the corpses on the tree, he might not be safe, if he stayed for much longer. He didn´t have the time. Instead of following his original plan and grinding the hunting knife he decided to shoot for gear to go outside.

Sounds from outside interrupted his thinking. ”Looks like I wasn ’t the only one who noticed the changes? ”

He leaned out the window again. Looking down at the street he saw a group of 3 wading through the high grass on the street below. They also wore backpacks and in their hands they actually held weapons! The guys in the front had a sword and a mace and the girl behind them had a staff. Did they get starter gear for their classes? When he looked with the binoculars they looked very young, maybe a group of schoolmates? They had started shouting, Seth knew this scene, but he could actually see more now in the twilight than during the night.

The big guy with the mace had his mouth suddenly covered by an agile vine that shot up from the high grass around them! It pulled him down to the ground without him being able to make a sound! His teammates turned around, but there was only a trail in the grass where he was pulled away along the ground. They couldn ’t, but Seth could see what happened then. The trail vanished in a narrow alley, but looking up Seth saw the silhouette of the body rising towards the branches above, to find it ’s place among the others up there! The Vine had actually entered his mouth, penetrated his head and exited from his eye. Seth could see the soul appearing, Maceguy was already dead. When Seth finally managed to avert his eyes, the other two had also vanished. Swordboy and Staffgirl were nowhere to be seen.

A shiver went down his spine. Set realized that the outside would only become more dangerous! He really wanted , he needed to get away from this tree, as far as possible! But what could he do against those vines? It was so dark! And quiet! And…

This time he could actually feel suppressing his panic. He had to think. What could he do? How could he get away? They were silent, so he first needed to see them. He already had an idea concerning that. But he also needed a way to fight them if they came for him. He WAS a Blacksmith.

Seth stood up and came before the forge. Looking through the catalog of basic blueprints he looked for something he might be able to make to help him. The first thing he came across was an axe.

This could have worked but the axe needed wood for a shaft, and he didn ’t have something in a fitting size. But this gave him another idea. He couldn ’t find it in the catalog, so he decided to try to make the blueprint himself.

It was the first time he opened the blueprinting interface for real. It was easier than he had expected. Since he didn ’t create something completely new, but recreated something from his knowledge, the system actually assisted creating the model and augmented parameters. He chose mediocre iron as the material. What the blueprint showed in the end was a hybrid between a machete and a scythe: A billhook!

This was the best weapon he could think of, to fend off those creepy vines! He had elongated it a bit for more range and slimmed it down a little to lower the weight and save material. Now he only had to succeed in making it, and he had no idea how often he would have to try.

The billhook wasn ’t as complex as the hunting knife, but it had a lot more material he had to move and a more difficult shape. Seth grabbed a whole bar of mediocre iron and started the blueprint for the billhook. It took him two hours for his first attempt which ended in a failure, when the metal broke during the quenching!

His second attempt succeeded, but it was an ugly and heavy result that was barely usable. The third was also a failure, he had burned the metal in the forge.

Evening was approaching, the twilight would soon start to darken. Seth was exhausted and decided to take a break and eat something. When he opened the fridge to get some cheese, he found out that the grid had finally broken down. The electricity was gone. Water was still working, though. Making a ”hard ” decision, he just ate everything that was still in the fridge. Seth felt a lot better after eating something. The system was really awesome.

He looked out into the darkness. In case this attempt succeeded he would still have some twilight to get away from the tree. If not… He would keep working and travel during the night. It wasn ’t that much brighter anyways. Seth wouldn ’t wait any longer, once his preparations were finished.

The next attempt was actually another failure! The blade had looked very promising, but it developed a lot of cracks when he quenched it. It still actually gave him more than the crappy one he successfully finished, pushing his skill to proficiency gained!>

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