chapter 51: tubrock’s birth

With a thought, the furniture of the living room was cleared away, and the stocky male dwarf from the ‘storage room’. He was clearly muscular, arms bulging as if he was ready to strike a forge at any time. His brown beard fell halfway down his rounded chest, his mustache flowing with it and at some point merging seamlessly into it. His hair likewise fell down his back in a tangled mess, likely to need some grooming after he had a personality of his own.
Courtesy of what I could only assume was Terra, he was wearing a thick furred vest over a white cotton shirt. His lower body was covered by black furred leggings, and on his back was a steel hammer, easily as big as his entire body. The head of the hammer was a foot wide and tall, and perfectly flat on its surface. Likely, Terra intended for that to be his forging hammer, but did she have to make it so big? It seemed more suited for battle than forging.
To my surprise, it was only Bihena that appeared roughly five minutes later. She came walking into the room from the hallway, yawning with a hand covering her mouth. “Finally getting to this guy, huh?” She asks lazily, moving to a corner of the room. Her brows furrowed in concentration, and I watched as the floor started to warp, rising up and forming a small chair for her to sit in.
“Glad you’re here.” I let out a sigh, nodding my head. “Wanted your opinion, since you are probably the most unbiased for stuff like this.” She raised her eyebrows in slight confusion, so I explained. “No clue what to give this guy for a personality. I need him to be loyal, for obvious reasons. But aside from that I’m drawing a blank.”
Bihena curled her lips into a small smirk. “And you want my help, to make sure you don’t give him a personality he could end up regretting?” When I nodded again, she sank into thought for a long moment. “Well… how does the whole thing work, from your end?”
“Basically, I just write down what I want on a mental notepad, and submit it. Anything I don’t specify, the system chooses.” She blinked in surprise at that for some reason, but ended up nodding. After a couple of minutes of silence, she finally spoke.
“His first domain is the forge, and second was… innovation, if I remember. Just write in that he is loyal to you, that he likes crafting, and is creative. As for the rest, why not leave it up to the system? If he doesn’t get a great personality, you can always work with him over time.” She gave a satisfied nod as she came up with that idea. “It’s better than him realizing that his thoughts are artificial, and wanting to rebel, right?”
I looked curiously at her after that last addition, and she shrugged her shoulders. “Hey, it’s not easy when you know that your thoughts aren’t your own. Took me a bit of thinking to get over that little detail myself. I stand by what I said before, as long as you show me you are deserving of my respect, you’ll have it.”
I shook my head at that, but didn’t argue. As long as she doesn’t cause any big problems, it should work out. Besides, it was nice to have someone to ask opinions who didn’t have an urge to be a yes man just to make me happy. I know that Terra is likely the furthest thing from a yes man I could want, but she has her own quirks.
As Bihena suggested, I kept the listing short and simple for his personality. Inwardly, I was just hoping that he wouldn’t have a personality that was difficult to work with. If that was the case, it would be for the best. Especially if I could leave the production of the artifacts to Tubrock and Ryone, because that would save me a lot of time.
Loyal, likes to craft, and is creative. Well… time for the lottery. I closed my eyes, and submitted what was likely the most simple personality request I had done so far. Twenty points dropped off my balance, and I watched the tell-tale golden light surround the dwarven god. Bihena, having not seen this before, raised her hand to cover her eyes while she let out a short sound of surprise.
A long moment later, and Tubrock was still just standing there. Even after the light faded away, he did not show any signs of moving. For an instant, I thought that I may have somehow gotten a failure, and that a personality had not been assigned at all. However, just as I was about to look for a way to lodge a complaint, a low rumbling noise seemed to shake the living room.
I cast a quick look over to Bihena, who was looking down at her own stomach in confusion, and then looked at me to shake her head. “It wasn’t me.” As she spoke, the noise once again roared out.
“Gah, what da ya gotta do to get some grub around here?” A gruff, male voice spoke out from the center of the living room. Turning my head, I saw the dwarf lifting one hand and patting his stomach. How he was actually hungry, I wasn’t sure. Was it just because he had spent so long ‘empty’, and now that he had a personality it felt like he needed to eat? Questions without answers! Seeing that the two of us were watching him, Tubrock eyed us for a long moment. “What’s ‘da matter? Ya got somethin’ to eat here, don’tcha?”
“Uhm… sure… Check the kitchen?” There should still be some fish leftover from when Terra and I last ate together. And I had no reason to believe that food would go bad in the Admin Room, or even that anything bad could happen if it did.
Hearing my answer, the stocky dwarf gave a strong nod, before walking off towards the hall. However, as soon as he left the room, he appeared back at the entrance. “Uhm… where be that, again?”
Bihena gave a tired sigh as she stood up from her makeshift chair in the corner. “I’ll show him. You probably have other stuff to take care of, so I’ll handle the briefing.” She shook her head as she walked out, Tubrock giving a quick nod and following behind her.
Thankfully, Bihena was right. I had to go and find Ryone for more information on the market!

In the midst of night, several of the self-proclaimed dwarven ‘blacksmiths’ were noisily pounding away at their forge. Their strikes held little skill, yet still slowly molded the metal into simple shapes. Their mana burned constantly as they kept the fire lit with the drawn formation.
Among these blacksmiths, one of them suddenly had a strange idea. He wasn’t sure where it had come from, as it was not something he had ever considered before. However, he immediately called for his assistant, who was barely asleep in the nearby room.
“Huh–what is it, sir?” The short boy said as he stumbled out of his bed and into the forge, the heat waking him fully as soon as he opened the door.
“Bring me some fire-rock!” The man shouted, an eager look on his face. Fire-rock was the common name for a dangerous black stone that the miners often found while digging through the mountain. Naturally, the blacksmiths had tried to melt it down, same as they had every other type of rock that came from the mountain.
Sadly, the fire-rock did not melt into anything usable like they wanted. In fact, it did not melt at all. Instead, it simply broke apart, releasing a dark smoke. They named it fire-rock due to its only special quality, the fact that it held a bit of flame even after the formation was disabled.
The assistant did not know why his master wanted fire-rock, but the look in his eyes offered no room for argument. Hesitantly, he left the forge to retrieve some from the village’s storage. Naturally, the ones managing the warehouse were more than happy to be rid of this rock which did little more than take up space.
Carrying a leather pack over his back, filled to the brim with fire-rock, the assistant returned to the forge. “‘Ere it is, sir.” He said, setting the entire pack on the floor next to the blacksmith. He still had no idea what was going on, but he was surprised when his master suddenly picked up the sack and dumped half of its contents into the forge at once, completely obscuring the bottom.
“Good, good.” The blacksmith said with a mad gleam in his eyes. Suddenly, he activated the formation in the forge again, letting the fire roar to life. He let out a crazed laugh as he saw the fire-rock burning, causing his assistant to take several steps back. The sight of the blacksmith laughing like a man possessed, his figure obscured by a pillar of black smoke, scared the young man.
It was only later that he learned that the blacksmith had only activated the formation for less than a minute, and that the fire had been sustained by that previously useless piece of debris.

It didn’t take me very long to find Ryone, as she had gone back to the basement to resume her testing. I had been a bit surprised to not find her playing with Terra, but this was better for me. “Before you get too into it again.” I spoke up, watching her tracing a new spell diagram. She looked up briefly, waiting for me to continue. “Mind helping me with the rest of the purchases? Would like to know if there is anything else I should take note of.”
“Ah, right.” Ryone nodded, standing up from her kneeling position. “Well, there are a few things that I’ve noticed cropping up on the market. Also, I forgot about it before, because I was surprised with how many points we had. But, Irena wanted me to remind you about the karma system, if you got the chance to buy it.”
“Right, right.” I nodded my head. “So, the new things I should take note of?”
“Well, since I’ve started looking, I’ve noticed a couple of trends in new systems. First, systems are being expanded to add new possibilities. One example is the kingdom system I showed you before. These are systems that Keepers are taking and adding new functionality to, or expanding them to work on a larger scale.”
“Another trend is new types of magic. Like with the stellar magic, a few other new systems have come out. Along with each type of magic, there are items or systems designed to accompany them.”
Ryone took a deep breath before continuing. “Another one, which I think is the most directly relevant to you, is a trend concerning the inventory system. Some people have released ‘smaller’ versions of it, based on specific possibilities. A bag of holding already existed on the market, but now new ones are being added with different options such as slowing time. There are also countermeasures being invented on the market, and even countermeasures to those countermeasures.”
She shook her head slightly, as if the whole thing had given her a headache to look through. “Those are the primary trends that I’ve noticed so far, and I’m sure that they won’t last forever. Now, as for the things that I recommend you buy… The karma system costs one hundred and fifty points, and would be good for Irena to have. Aside from that, I’ll keep my suggestion to buy the kingdom system and the blueprint for the inventory system. Why, was there something else you wanted to get?”
I looked down, thinking about the many options available on the market. Most of them weren’t too important to use right now, because the world was too young for the item or spell blueprints. “Hmm… there is one thing that would be good to get, I think.”
Ryone smiled slightly, waiting to hear what I had to say. “An enchantment or spell that obscures the properties of an item. That way, people won’t just be able to reproduce any artifacts that we make too easily.”
When she heard my suggestion, she tilted her head in thought. “I can see how that would help. Give me just a minute to look through the market and see if there is anything like that.” The elven goddess closed her eyes, furrowing her brows as she focused. It was a good while later when she finally spoke.
“I managed to find two versions of that. One is a spell, and the other is an enchantment component.” As she said that, she made a hazy blue screen appear in front of me, showing the options that she found.
Indiscernible Enchantment This enchantment component can be added on top of normal enchantments to add in the function of hiding the properties of the enchanted item.

40 points

Magic system required

Masked Properties This spell can be cast on any item or person, and will temporarily mask its aura. The duration of the spell is directly dependant on the amount of mana used when it is cast.

70 points

Magic system required

My eyes went wide when I saw the two entries, particularly the last one. “The Masked Properties option… Would we be able to cast that with the infinite mana of the admin room, and have it be permanent?”
Ryone blinked in surprise, thinking about it. “On an item, maybe. But, if you wanted to cast it on one of us, or yourself, I don’t think that’d work. From what Terra told me, every time you descend, a body is custom built for your use. That should mean that any magic affecting you is wiped clean each time you travel between here and Earth.”
I clicked my tongue in annoyance, having thought that I had found a permanent answer to my Godking aura. “Well, either way, I think it’d probably be best to buy both of those. The spell will definitely come in handy at some point, but the enchantment will be useful more often.”
Ryone nodded her head at that. “That’s right. And, we have plenty of points for both, in addition to what I already suggested.”
With that settled, I went ahead and found both of those items on the market, buying them along with the systems Ryone had suggested. In an instant, exactly seven hundred points vanished from my balance. At the same time, three blue orbs of light appeared in front of me, streams of strange characters flying around them.
When I put my hand on one of the orbs, I felt my mind surging with information. This was information about the new enchantment component I had purchased. So, that’s how the system delivers that information… I quickly transferred the information from the three orbs into three books, and made copies of each to give to Ryone. She seemed excited to have new information to study.
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