Blacksmith of the Apocalypse

Chapter 97: Before the Exam (2)

The following days leading up to the exam were dominated by fighting in dungeons and working on his teamwork with ”Yulecat ’s Fur ”. They slowly started to fight in more dangerous dungeons and Seth and the group got used to each other. In the time Seth worked with the adventurer party he realized how hard-pressed for money adventurers actually were.

Without a well-paid quest, they could only grind the monsters in dungeons and sell the drops. The money they made in this barely justified the work put into it. Seth felt bad for them, but it was good for him. Grinding meant that they had to kill a lot of mobs and he managed to get another level up before the exam. Puffles also reached lv.20 in record time.

Regularly fighting monsters in the range of lv.40 made him suspicious of the dungeon on the graveyard. Arguably those lv.28 bloodslaves were almost as strong or even stronger than the creatures he had been fighting together with Mina´s party. He decided to report that dungeon before they left for the exam.

The receptionist took notice of his concerns and filed his report away. It did not seem like they took it very seriously, but Seth did not feel like it was his problem. He did his duty and that was it.

The Day of the Exam was unexpectedly not them setting off for a great B-Rank quest, but only the briefing on said quest. In the morning, the parties taking part in the exam were asked to take a seat in a big hall. On the podium in the front stood a rough-looking middle-aged man in unfittingly formal attire.

”Some of you I know personally. Some of you are new. I´m the guild master and I will explain the Exam to you. To rank-up, you will have to prove your skill and expertise. All of you are C-Ranks, you will take part in a real B-rank quest under the supervision of an A-Rank and 2 B-Rank parties. They will be your proctors and examiners. ”

What followed was the explanation of what a B-Rank quest was. Unlike the quests on lower ranks, which could normally be taken by a single adventurer or party of the same rank, B-Rank quests required several parties of the same rank to safely accomplish the task. The role of the proctors was to examine their actions and step in if it became clear that the C-Rank parties cannot handle the situation.

The quest itself was an escort mission for the Palace Trading Company, one of the richest merchant guilds in Ora. The quest was to escort a merchant caravan that transported goods for the twin city of Ora, Tora within the mountain range. Tora was smaller than Ora, but it was the gateway to the central subterranean kingdom of the dwarves. The trade route led through the territory of high-level beasts which warranted the quests rank.

”The journey will take 2 weeks, one to get there and one back. You will take care of your rations and equipment yourselves. The beasts you will encounter are wyverns, distant relatives of dragons. Even with the proctors and examiners, there is no guaranteed safety for you. You can drop out of the exam now if you are too afraid. ”

The parties were given another day to prepare their equipment and set off was scheduled for the day after tomorrow.

It was not a problem for Seth, as he had expected to set off the same day, he had already prepared enough food for 3 weeks and a nice tent and sleeping back. But this gave him the chance to visit the tailor he had commissioned to process the Ivicer threat. He had visited before to get more sets of clothes for traveling but the clerk told him that his commission was not ready yet.

”Yulecats Fur ” actually had the same idea and were surprised by the bonus time. Instead of jumping back into the dungeons, they used the rest of the day as a break to relax and refill their energy for the coming quest. Seth and Mina went on a date to explore the amusement district of Ora. It was a little like visiting a funfair. There were stalls with games and souvenirs. Of course, also a lot of food and they ate lots of sweets. Especially Puffles enjoyed stuff like cotton candy.

Seth used the next free day to visit the tailor shop. It was a big store at one of the central squares in the commercial district. The founder was known to be a master tailor while the shop itself was led by his apprentices and their descendants. It was a big family business and the best he was able to find when it came to skill, and well known for its quality.

If anyone in Ora was able to make something good from the Ivicer Threat then it was the current master of the shop who was close to becoming a master tailor or his apprentices. Maybe if he found one of those Arachne Weaver, but Seth found that the true masters rarely left the territory of their race.

Seth did not spare any expense when he ordered a cloth armor from this place. He had no preferences when he placed the order, as the only actual cloth armor he knew was a gambeson. That ’s why he left it to the tailor to choose the best kind of armor to make from this material.

A big surprise awaited him when he came to ask for the progress of his order for the first time. After seeing the material, the shop master himself decided to take the order. This change meant that it was not ready when he originally thought he would leave.

The day before after he had returned to the inn, he got the notice that the master would finish his order on the day before they actually left. That was today. Seth was full of expectations for the work of someone close to master rank.

”Hello, I´m here to collect my order. I got a notice that it would be finished today. ” he stepped to the counter and talked to the clerk.

”Do you have a receipt? ” the young clerk askes friendly. This receipt was a small piece of enchanted paper, printed from a magic device. It was a simple way to make sure the right person received the products. Seth took it from his inventory and handed it to the clerk.

His eyes widened when he found his order.

”You are the customer who brought that golden threat? That is great! The master wishes to meet you. Would you have time now? ” he said with an excited glint in his eyes.

”Errm, sure? ” Seth answered perplexed and was promptly pulled to the back of the shop. Sitting cross-legged in a room lined with shelves containing bales of cloth was a rather old man. He had a respectable white beard, but and the wrinkles around his eyes made him out to be a man who likes to laugh. As he sat there and worked on a piece of clothing with the cloth in his hand he looked almost like a meditating master. When he notices his guest, he put away the cloth he was sewing right now and looked up to Seth.

”Hello, I am Nädel, the master of this shop. Are you Seth Smith, the man who brought this magnificent thread? ” he said holding up a short piece of Puffles thread. The golden metallic material caught the light and sparkled magnificently.

”Ah. Yes. Was this why you wanted to talk to me? ”

”Actually, no. I wanted to personally hand over your order and thank you for bringing me such a magnificent material. ”

”Magnificent? ” Seth asked baffled. The ancient bronze was barely rated uncommon. Someone close to master should be able to easily get his hands on something better, right?

”You seem confused? ”

Seth mentioned his class and explained his confusion to Nädel who immediately understood him.

”You are still young. You did not have much discourse with other crafting professions, right? Tell me, what makes you think, this is just an uncommon material? ”

”I have an appraisal skill? ”

”What exactly does it do? ” he asked with a knowing smile. ”Let me bet. It recognizes crafting materials for blacksmithing, yes? ”

He continued after Seth affirmed with a nod.

”Many crafting professions have specific skills to appraise materials. And that is the crux of the matter. The judgment is specific. Just like you can´t judge materials you cannot use in your profession, all material is judged by the use in your profession. You would probably melt down this thread and make a weapon or armor from the metal, right? ”

Again, Seth affirmed with a nod and kept listening to the old man ’s explanation.

”Using it like this is actually destroying many of its properties. To your skill, the metal is barely uncommon. But a metal wire, thin like a thread, stronger than steel and with a magic conductivity rivaling mithril is a rare material to my eyes, even close to epic. ”

Seth could only look flabbergasted at the thin wire in the Nädel´s hand.

”That is why I thank you. It is hard to find rare or epic materials for tailoring. Not many metals can be turned this thin and monster materials are hard to get, as beasts using thread are often especially dangerous. Your material actually helped me to level up my skill, another step closer to master. ” he said with a benevolent smile.

Seth imagined the progress one would make if there was no possibility to upgrade to a better material. No matter what you make only getting the fracture of a percentage. Making hundreds or thousands of products a necessity for a single level-up. He suddenly was glad, that he was a blacksmith and not a tailor.

Nädel read his thoughts and could only smile. He leaned back and took out a package from under the table.

”Here. Unwrap it and see if it fits. I really put in a lot of work. ”

From the bundle came a bunch of long flowing fabric sparkling in a reddish-golden sheen. It was a long-sleeved jacket reaching down to his knees. It differed from other gambesons he had seen since he came to this world.

Displaying the typical square pattern of layered and quilted cloth it was still a lot thinner and flexible than the ones he had seen. This meant he would be able to comfortably wear this under his armor without impeding his movements. Completely made of the golden thread of the Ivicer, it was a very flashy piece of armor.

< Nädel 's Golden Jacket Rare Phys. Def.: 500 Mag. Def.:150 1. Strengthen Defense by 45% for 10s Manacost: 70 2. Weight of the armor is halved- No cost. Durability:3000 A high-quality cloth armor made by the experienced hands of Tailor Craftsman Nädel. Excellent weaving and sewing techniques imbued this item with overwhelming performance and effects.>

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