"The kingdom built by a blacksmith!"
The 1st ranked blacksmith, Panmir, was very excited when coming to the capital of the Overgeared Kingdom. It was because the smithy complex contained large-scale smithies reminiscent of the dwarf city of Talima. The sound of hammering rang out around the clock, the smoke rose from every chimney, the scorching heat and the smell of steel...
This was truly a blacksmith's paradise. A heaven made by a blacksmith for blacksmiths!
'If I work here, my efficiency will rise sharply!'
A blacksmith's heart knew blacksmiths well. Panmir admired the rational smithy structure and felt great pleasure. He could see how much consideration Grid put into the process of designing the smithy. Panmir's ambition surpassed fullness and ascended into heaven.
"Is this the first smithy?"
After touring the smithies, Panmir moved to the smithy that would be his workplace in the future. He was so happy that his steps were light.
Panmir, who was humming while walking down the street, paused and looked back. There was a parade of people carrying huge flour bags that were over 100kg on their backs. Panmir frowned.
The people burdened by flour bags were walking like ducks. It seemed very painful as they were sweating while covered in dirt. Someone couldn't endure it and fell down along the way. But he immediately jumped up like he was afraid and ran with the heavy bags.
It was hard to see blatant slavery in the empire. Even the empire, which slaughtered thousands of minorities, didn't treat slaves harshly, at least in the eyes of the people. It was presumed to be the arrangement of the S.A. Group in consideration of the players' emotions. However, there was such a terrible sight in the kingdom that a player had set up.
"It's hard to understand."
Why didn't Grid set a limit on slavery? Panmir tried to understand but it wasn't easy.
Panmir shook his head and was about to leave this place, only to feel amazed. It was because he found a familiar person in the procession of slaves. Aura Master Hurent.
Hurent was one of the strongest representatives of the United States. He was a big player who maintained the one digit ranking for years. Many Americans missed him at the 2nd National Competition. Every time the National Competition came around, the Americans had a habit of saying 'If only there was Hurent...'
Many people were looking forward to Hurent's brilliant return and it was the same for Panmir. Panmir had been looking forward to reuniting with Hurent once he emerged from his training. Now at this moment, he was reunited with an unimaginable figure in an unexpected place.
'Is Hurent a slave?'
Panmir was hallucinating. It was clear that he had seen wrong. Panmir rubbed his eyes and denied reality. But when he looked back a few times, the slave really was Hurent. He was suffering more than any other slave. He was walking like a duck with six large bags of flour.
"U-Unbelievable! Hurent! What are you doing here?!"
Panmir couldn't stand it and ran to Hurent. Hurent's face was scruffy and he was covered with dirt. Was this the gentleman who looked like a middle-aged noble in Britain and was loved by women?
"W-What is going on? Why are you living in slavery?"
"Panmir...?" Hurent recognized Panmir and laughed. "No, how did you know me after seeing me once? Other people thought I just had the same name."
"How can I not recognize you? You're the buyer of the first epic rated weapon that I made!"
"Haha... Yes, there was something like that."
Hurent looked tired at first glance. Panmir was able to get a glimpse of how hard Hurent had been living if he kept having to do hard labor like this.
"How did you come here? Why did you become a slave?"
"What are you saying? I'm not a slave."
"I was doing field work in Bairan. Today we are carrying out the mission of transporting the food grown in Bairan to Reinhardt."
"Field work...? Move food...?"
"This isn't a procession of slaves but a procession of farmers."
"Eek! You are crazy right now!"
Even if Hurent's words were true, Panmir refused to accept it. A one digit ranker representing a nation, why was the hidden class Aura Master suddenly a farmer? And what farmer carried so many flour bags weighing hundreds of kilograms? It was even at a duck pace! Where was the cart? The madman Hurent whispered to Panmir.
"Don't worry. This is training."
"Yes. I'm currently living as a farmer in the Overgeared Kingdom to become stronger. But please don't spread any rumors. This practice shouldn't be known to the world."
This completely crazy bastard. Or maybe Panmir was being deceived by a cheater. Panmir was at a loss for words.
Hurent said goodbye and carried the flour bags on his back again. Then he chased after the procession with duck-like steps.
"...He's out of his mind in the peak of his life. Tsk tsk tsk."
This was the time when the expression 'the end' was used. It was truly regrettable for the United States to lose a big star. Panmir gave a deep sigh and moved with heavy footsteps. The person waiting for him at the first smithy was a blacksmith with black skin. His name...
Why was a black-skinned NPC named White?
'What is this hobby?'
Panmir had felt deeply uncomfortable since he saw Hurent. The Overgeared Kingdom started to seem strange.
"Are you Panmir?"
"It's nice to meet you. I'm Blacksmith White. Since Master Grid has instructed me to educate you, I will bestow my skills onto you from today on. Let's make needles."
Panmir frowned. Who was this person? He was first in the blacksmith rankings and learnt how to make ego items at the dwarf city of Talima. He was even recognized by the emperor and appointed as deputy chief blacksmith of the empire. Even the older people of the empire, the arrogant blacksmiths, acknowledged him because he knew how to make ego items.
In other words, Panmir was one of the best blacksmiths. Panmir was confident that there were few blacksmiths better than him on the whole continent. Yet a young blacksmith around 40 years old seemed to think he would teach Panmir.
'I even have to make needles?'
He moved to the Overgeared Kingdom to be treated like this? Panmir calmed his mind and explained.
"You must be mistaken. I'm a blacksmith invited by King Grid."
"You know? But you want to teach me? I also have to make needles that even a child can make?"
"These are instructions from King Grid. Are you going against the king?"
Panmir felt uncomfortable and his face turned red.
'Grid wasn't trying to make me a colleague. He just wanted to insult me?'
Such doubts arose. Despite his reaction, Blacksmith White was already moving to his private furnace and anvil.
He thought that Panmir would leave.
'Yes, I should check how they will treat me.'
He followed behind White. White was taking out a dark, matte material in front of the furnace.
The grumbling Panmir's attitude changed.
"What is this mineral?"
The color was the same as black iron, except that it wasn't glossy. It was a crystal like mineral but magic power could be felt from it. Panmir was very interested in the mineral and poked it with his fingers. His attitude was like a child seeing something for the first time.
White smiled. "You are really a blacksmith. Then check it yourself."
White passed Panmir the mineral and he immediately used the appraisal skill. He was an advanced blacksmith with advanced mineral appraisal skills.
[Insane Dragon Iron]
A mineral that naturally occurs in the nest of the insane dragon Nevartan.
It has been influenced by Nevartan's madness for countless years and gained the chaotic ability 'Proliferation'
It doubles every 10 days.
This absurd nature makes it very difficult to control. The hardness is comparable to black iron, but the smelting difficulty is several times higher.
A mineral from a dragon lair? It was hard for an ordinary person to see such a mineral in their entire lifetime!
"Does the doubling include the volume and weight?"
"That's right. This mineral becomes twice as heavy and twice as big every 10 days.
"Huh... it can be useful in some cases."
It wasn't just one or two things that came to mind right now. Panmir was inspired and wanted to work with this mineral right away. But the degree of difficulty was several times higher than smelting black iron. Therefore, he wondered if he could handle it with his skills. White read his mind and laughed.
"Don't worry. From now on, I will teach you how to work this mineral."
White was too young. The blacksmith NPCs of this age that Panmir knew only had basic to intermediate level skills. The so-called geniuses were sometimes advanced level but they were far less than Panmir's Advanced Blacksmith's Craftsmanship skill.
Panmir didn't really trust White. But he didn't express his distrust. White was treating him well, so Panmir should be polite.
"I would appreciate it if you showed me."
White nodded and threw the insane dragon iron into the furnace.
Panmir admired White's appearance. White's skills in dealing with the temperature of the furnace were comparable to the old men of the empire.
'Of course, it isn't at a craftsman level...'
It was important to consider White's age. Unlike the old craftsmen of the empire, the young White had an infinite future. In 10 years, it seemed possible for him to catch up the craftsmen of the empire and even get ahead.
'It's tremendous talent. A different dimension from the geniuses I have seen so far. Is he a blacksmith specializing in the smelting technique? Heok?'
Panmir observed White closely in order to learn, only to suck in a breath. It was because White's atmosphere became different once he finished smelting the insane dragon iron and started hammering it. He was like a sura. The smithy was the battlefield and the flames of the furnace was the cries of the enemy. The insane dragon iron set on top of the anvil was the king of the enemy. White grasped the weapon called a hammer and had the same dignity of a ruler of the battlefield.
White finished focusing and hammered the insane dragon iron as hard as possible.
Panmir was shocked and couldn't close his mouth. White's hammering quality was equal to the old craftsmen of the empire!
"You, what is your identity?"
White explained to Panmir. "I am the head of the White Hammer Smithy and Grid's disciple. Thanks to Grid's deep compassion and precious teachings, I was able to become a craftsman."
Grid didn't just develop his skills but also nurtured blacksmith craftsmen? Panmir was feeling thrilled when White spoke even more shocking news.
"King Grid has three more disciples besides me. They are Enoch from the Blue Flames Smithy, Byuksan of the Black Anvil Smithy, and Lahochu of the Red Tongs Smithy. We all received King Grid's order to educate you."
Panmir's heart beat in anticipation. It was fierce enough to be somewhat burdensome to a body that was halfway to 100 years old!
"Panmir, you will learn the skills of the four of us from today. It will surely be a tough road and I need to know if you have sufficient determination. Are you willing to receive our techniques?"
[A hidden quest has been created.]
[Learn the Blacksmithing Techniques (1)]
★ Hidden Quest ★
You have to spend 10 hours a day with White for a total of 300 days while learning his hammering techniques.
Quest Progress to Date: 1/300
Quest Reward: White Hammer Family's Hammering skill.
He would receive teachings 10 hours a day for 300 days. He would need to invest four years if it was four people. This was clearly a labor quest that violated common sense. It was clear that he had to be prepared to live a slave life like Hurent. Panmir clearly knew this fact, but didn't hesitate.
"I will learn it! I want to thank King Grid for giving me the opportunity and I will passionately follow you!"
[The quest has been accepted.]
The notification window popped up at the same time.
"Then gather some coal. I'll let you know how to make the insane dragon iron needles afterwards."
White's attitude changed. He started to give orders.
"Yes, coal! Don't you know coal? Why are you standing there with a stupid expression? These are chores for a newcomer! It's the basics for a blacksmith!"
"Oh, no, I am an advanced blacksmith so..."
"Really? Then you can quit."
"Coal! I will bring it right now!"
It was the day when the 1st ranked blacksmith got the job as a newcomer worker. There were no rewards or skills learnt. Panmir's days passed while occasionally eating rainbow potatoes and his persistence and stamina stats rose quickly.