After some time, I pried my head away from the screen, shaking it side to side. Although I had largely fast forwarded through the aftermath of that war, I was still fully aware of what had happened. After all, I had been keeping a close watch, and slowed things down when something interesting looked like it was about to happen.
At least, now it will be a while before anything else takes place. I thought to myself with a light sigh. For the halflings, it would take time for their people to get the message and make the journey south. As for the centaurs, I doubted that they would be able to gather another army of that size for several years.
After all, that was almost five thousand casualties! Not only from King’s Hope, but even counting the entire centaur population that was a big dent. On the other hand, the halflings lost only a few hundred. Granted, they had the advantage in terms of preparation and location, but it would still be a huge blow to the centaurs.
As such, I once again began fast forwarding through the world’s time. This time, I was not moving only a week or a month at a time, but rather in leaps of five years. With the initial confrontation out of the way, it felt like they had at least that long before anything major happened again.
Sure enough, after the first skip, only a few things had changed. For the halflings, they had three extra towns set up along the northern border of the woods, and the population for that area had grown explosively. Looking at the map, I could still see more and more groups heading south to join that area.
As for the centaurs, they had apparently set up their third city. This one was located directly outside of the forest where they had first fought with the halflings. Going by the map, the city had been named ‘Sorrow’s Shield’. A rather… unique name for a city, but it’s structure appeared to be identical to that of King’s Hope. Everything from the circular wall to the interior buildings had been replicated.
While I was looking at that–”Dale, Dale, Dale, Dale, Dale!” A very energetic voice broke me out of my concentration. Looking up, I saw a certain elf goddess panting for breath, her chest rising and falling as she bent over with her hands on her knees. It looked as if she had just run a marathon, but…
“You are doing that on purpose!” I shouted at her, shaking my head to remove the purposely seductive image she painted with her body.
“Am not!” She retorted. “Okay, maybe a bit. But still! We figured out something important, you’ve got to come take a look!” Ryone reached down, tugging on my arm to pull me to my feet.
While I did get up, I did not immediately follow her out of the room. Given her excitement, it was obvious that she had discovered something related to magic. As for the ‘we’ she mentioned, that had to be her and Tubrock. The two of them should have still been looking into making the god items. “Slow breaths, and speak.”
Seeing that I did not intend to follow her without a reason, Ryone puffed her cheeks out in a pout. “Muuuuu… Fine!” She took a deep, exagerrated breath. “Tubrock and I discovered a new crafting technique that could change everything!”
Listening to that, I nodded my head slightly. “Okay, let’s go then.” No sooner had the words passed my lips than our surroundings had changed. Before I could even think, I realized that we had moved to Tubrock’s forge.
“Oh? Ye managed ta get him down here, after all? Good on ye, lass.” The dwarf said, a massive steel hammer draped over his shoulder, held by one hand on its lower shaft. “How much did ye have ta tell him?”
Ryone kicked the ground in a sulk, lowering her head. “About half of it.” She admitted, causing Tubrock to laugh, his gut shaking.
“Hahah! Looks like I won the bet, don’t it?” He asked with a strange smirk, Ryone nodding slightly in agreement.
“Okay, okay, slow down. First, what is this bet. Second, why am I down here?” I asked, looking between the two of them.
“Ah, right.” Tubrock cleared his throat, lifting his hammer up over his head so that he could set it down on the ground beside himself. “The lass and I had a tiny bet, ya see? If she managed ta get ya down here without explaining nothing, her godly weapon would be a trident. She had this elaborate diagram with each prong representing a different side of a scale, and I wasn’t having none of it!” He shook his head strongly. “Ya have any idea how hard it is to carve those patterns in this stuff? Well, no, I guess ya wouldn’t yet…”
“Still, since she lost, she’s gettin’ a staff. It’ll be a fancy staff, for sure, but a staff nonetheless.” He concluded, nodding his head. “Anyways, for what we brought ya here for. Take a look at these.”
Tubrock waved his hand, causing two identical tables to form above the ground, flanking me with them on either side. Each one had identical objects on it, a single long rectangle of metal, and a sword. Just going by their appearances, they seemed to be using the same materials, so I wasn’t sure what was supposed to be special about them. Maybe they have enchantments?
Thinking that, I picked up the first sword, the one on my left. Focusing on it, I activated my ability to appraise the weapon. Keeper cheats, go!
And… it was a regular sword. Maybe a bit better than what I myself could make, but not enough to really get excited about. Focusing on the ingot, I found that it was also extremely normal. Shaking my head, I set it down and turned to the table that was now behind me. However, this time, as soon as I picked up the sword I felt something strange, which was immediately confirmed by my appraisal.
The difference in the stats between the two was enormous. Although the appearance of the window seemed a bit off, I couldn’t help but look at the two of them and ask dubiously. “Is this one enchanted?” I could clearly feel the presence of mana in the sword, so I couldn’t help but ask. Yet, the window looked distinctly different than the results gained from a normal enchantment.
“Not at all!” Ryone shouts out, waving her hands and shaking her head back and forth. “That’s the beauty of it! Spell-ores!” She seemed so excited, unable to speak properly, so she looked to Tubrock for assistance, who simply sighed.
“The lass is right. Here…” He caused a second sword to appear on the table that had the Spell-Iron Longsword. Once I picked it up, I confirmed that what he said had been the truth. After all…
Enchanted Spell-Iron Longsword
This sword seemed to defy all logic, given what I understood about weapon statistics. “That’s an enchanted spell-iron sword.” Tubrock said, though I had seen the results myself. “That’s also the strongest possible sword that ya can make using only iron. However, with that ya won’t have to worry about resistance unless ya were cutting through ironbark or similar materials.”
Very gently, I put the weapon back down on the table. “Okay… explain.” I said in a quiet voice, thoroughly impressed. “How did you two create a sword ten times better than what I thought was the most you could enchant a weapon like that?”
Tubrock was just about to continue the explanation when Ryone cut in. “We enchanted the materials!” She said excitedly, practically bouncing in her spot. “It’s one of the things we were researching, whether enchanted materials would have an impact on the final product. When we only enchanted an ingot, all we got was a lump of metal that was harder to shape into a weapon, and it turned into a normal enchanted sword when it was done.”
“But! When we enchanted the ore itself, before putting it through any refinement process, something happened! The mana and the natural energy within the raw ore seemed to combine and cause a strange mutation in the ore. Most of the results ended up shattering immediately, but eventually we found the right combination!” She took a brief moment to pause, taking a deep breath before continuing.
“When the proper amount of mana was applied to the enchantment, the ore mutated into what we are calling a spell-ore. In this case, spell-iron. Spell-ores have two distinct properties… The first is that they are ridiculously hard to forge due to the durability increase of an enchanted item. In fact, from start to finish they hold the attributes of a fully enchanted equivalent of its non-spell variety.”
“The second, and more important property is what you just saw! An item made from spell-ore can be enchanted a second time! Due to the mutation in the base ore, a spell-ore item isn’t considered enchanted, and in fact can hold mana far better than a normal item of its type!”
Okay, now I could see how this could be exploited. And in fact, it scared me a little bit to consider whether or not the dwarves in the world below were approaching this level of craftsmanship. Just imagining an army fitted with weapons like this would let them strike down almost anyone that got in their way. “Tubrock…” I said, looking to the dwarf.
He nodded his head slightly to acknowledge me before I asked. “What is the level of difficulty in making that?” I pointed directly to the overpowered sword he had shown me.
“For me? I can do it, as long as I’m up here. For a mortal?” Tubrock lowered his head, chubby fingers stroking through his beard. “I’d say… ten expert blacksmiths, and thirty enchanters might be able to pull off one sword, if they all work together and know what they are doing?” He shrugged his shoulder at the vague guess. “If not for me being able ta create any kind’a forging tool I can think of, and having unlimited energy to work with, I might not’ve been able to create it. Ya’d have to ask the cat lass for a timeframe on when mortals would be able to manufacture these. She’d know more about that than us.”
His words did reassure me a little. While the dwarves were the only race in the world right now that possessed blacksmiths, they were quite lacking in terms of enchanters. That class was dominated primarily by the elves, and a few of the unicorn centaur variants. At least the scene of ungodly equipment appearing in the world was still a long ways away.
Thinking that, I let out a sigh of relief, before turning to address the two of them again. “Is there anything else to report while you have me here?”
Tubrock gave that another moment of thought before he answered. “I’m about ta get started on the various god weapons in a bit. Now that we know about spell-ores, we can create some powerful artifacts without having to wait for better enchantments.”
After that, Ryone shook her head. “Nothing new from me, aside from this.” She said, dejectedly.
Nodding my head at that, I smiled slightly. “Good. Okay, I’ll be heading back now before something inevitably happens with that war while I’m away. As for this….” I reached down to grab the sword of ungodly sharpness. “Imma taking this.” Personal sword, get!
The last thing I saw before I shifted myself back to my room was Tubrock giving a knowing smile, laughing aloud as Ryone continued sulking. Setting the sword down with the hilt propped up against the desk, I quickly checked on the status of the world. To my great surprise, nothing at all had happened while I was away. No interspecies fights had sprung up, and neither side had even moved any closer to the other. Imagined crisis averted.
…Hey, the one time you don’t think something like that will happen is when it catches you by surprise. Safer to always expect it. Anyways, time for another skip…