Derrick was roaming the city, eyeing every shop there was. Sure, he had an agreement with Brigand, but having multiple safety nets was simply common sense.

"Gems Boutique, Jewelry Boutique, Magical Clothes Boutique..."

Derrick didn't care about any of those! What he needed was a shop filled with raw materials that could allow his new blacksmith to thrive. Although he said that he wouldn't 'exploit' him, he would still make him work harder than anyone else, as he was vital to his expansion plans. The strength of an army heavily relied on their gear, and he didn't want to skimp on it.

After going through multiple alleyways, his patience started wearing thin. Maybe he really should have ordered from Brigand... As if God heard his plea, he arrived in front of a shop that looked... horrible. Well, he had left the center area of the city and was now in its very outskirt.

The decrepit sign read 'Resources Factory'. He didn't hesitate a single instant and barged in, as if he was scared that the whole thing would vanish. To his surprise, the building was still in poor shape, but it was clean and tidy. Everything was ordered.

Out of nowhere, a grumpy voice welcomed him.

"If you're here to mock the shop, get the fuck out this instant!"

Derrick was startled. He had just entered and was already verbally assaulted. When he looked in its direction, he found a short old man manning a walking stick. He was bald and his face was covered in wrinkles, hiding any remnants of his youth. His eyes were gray and narrow and looked full of wisdom.

In his old village, Derrick often dealt with elders like these, and they were people he really enjoyed spending time with. They were history books that could be used to learn from past mistakes, which in turn helped to plan the future.

"I'm not here to ridicule the shop, I'm here to find materials for a blacksmith"

Derrick had a respectful tone and slightly bowed. He deduced that the decaying state of the shop was the result of misfortune plaguing the owner. Materials were always in demand, which meant that the shop should flourish, and it clearly wasn't the case.

When the elder heard Derrick's request, he tidied himself up and cleared his throat.

"Please excuse my rude behavior. As you can see, times have been rough. You're actually the first customer in a month. Anyway, you haven't come here to hear an old man rambling! My name is Kuro Newlon and I'm the owner. May I know what materials you're looking for?"

His assumptions had been right. He didn't know who he had offended, but to be reduced to such a state, it must be someone with a lot of sway in the city's affairs.

"To be honest, I have very little knowledge in the field. I have a budget of 150 gold coins, and I want to equip 140 soldiers. Is it possible?"

Kuro's eyes radiated when he heard of such a large order. This was retribution for the suffering he had been forced to go through.

"It is possible, and I have a catalog at the front desk that lists every ore that can be smithed. Would you like to consult it?"

Derrick nodded and followed the old man to a crumbling desk that barely held on. From a drawer, Kuro took out a large brown ledger that seemed to have survived the passage of time. After carefully opening it, he started rapidly flipping the pages and stopped, before turning the book towards Derrick. Using his shriveled finger, he pointed out the relevant section.

[Iron Alloy]

[Grade : Common]

[Purity (An alloy is a combination of metals and non-metals, which affects the quality of what is created) : 90%]

[Price per Unit (In this case, a Unit refers to the amount of materials required to forge a complete set of armor, which includes a helmet, breastplate, gauntlets, tassets, cuisses, poleyns, greaves and sabatons) : 20 silver coins]

[Description : A material that serves multiple purposes and grants basic defenses. Results will vary based on the blacksmith employed]

[Bronze Alloy]

[Grade : Uncommon]

[Purity : 90%]

[Price per Unit : 1 gold coin]

[Description : An upgrade compared to the iron alloy, mainly due to its increased flexibility and malleability. Results will vary based on the blacksmith employed]

[Steel Alloy]

[Grade : Rare]

[Purity : 98%]

[Price per Unit : 10 gold coins]

[Description : Light, malleable and resistant. An alloy that shines on the battlefield. Results will vary based on the blacksmith employed]

[Titanium Alloy]

[Grade : Legendary]

[Purity : 95%]

[Price per Unit : 50 platinum coins]

[Description : Although considered almighty, this material is considered to be the bane of blacksmiths. Its tricky nature doesn't allow it to be wielded freely, which explains its relatively low cost]

By the end of his read through, Derrick was breathing heavily. He could already envision an army of tens of thousands of soldiers donning titanium armors, devastating entire regions. It was his dream, his ambition. Perhaps, there might even be something more after that, which made him smile from ear to ear.

After allowing himself to drift in his reveries for a while, he came back to himself and became thoughtful. The decision was monumental, and he had to take in consideration that the weapons weren't even included in the costs.

After a long mental deliberation, he came to a decision.

"I'll be taking 150 Units of Iron Alloy, 20 Units of Bronze Alloy and 10 Units of Steel Alloy"

His decision had comprised of two things. First, his army was brand new, and its skill would be too pitiful to fully utilize better equipment. Second, he wanted to create divisions that would separate the elites from the rest of the pack. Thus, to incite and motivate them to push further, he had to dangle a carrot. These armors would the symbol of those that stood at the top.

He hadn't forgotten about the weapons, but he would rather buy them directly from Brigand, as his dwarf blacksmith would probably curse him to death once he saw his insane workload.

Meanwhile, Kuro was beaming with joy and tears could be seen swimming around his eyes. A stranger had saved him from total despair.

"Right up, dear guest!"


After packing everything in his magic bag, he had left the shop after thanking Kuro and saying that he would be back. The old man had even bowed, which caused Derrick to feel awkward.

Now that he had the materials, he needed the tools. After heading back to the central area of the city, he stopped and even winced in front of the shop.

'Blacksmith \u0026 Co'

The luxurious brand that every master fought to get. Derrick had never been stingy, but his wallet was practically empty, and it couldn't be wrung dry if it already was. After a deep sigh, he entered through the beautiful glass doors.

Once inside, he realized why blacksmiths fought to get these premium products. They were all placed on spinning cylindrical podiums and all their characteristics were showed on magical screens hovering over them.

After his purchase at the Resources Factory, he now had 90 gold coins left, and that was counting the initial 50 he had brought from Akata. He would have to make choices, and he even regretted not bringing Fomamli. Alas, he didn't want to waste any more time.

The things he needed were as follows : a forge, an anvil, a hammer, vices, tongs, drifts, slitters, center punches, twisting tools and chisels.

Luckily, he had found a bundle containing all the small tools for 10 gold coins, leaving the forge, anvil and hammer.

He started browsing through forges and it finally came down to three choices.

[Valhalla Forge]

[Grade : Rare]

[Simultaneous Capacity : 10 Units]

[Limitation : Cannot process materials that are above its Grade]

[Price : 30 gold coins]

[Devour Forge]

[Grade : Rare]

[Simultaneous Capacity : 20 Units]

[Limitation : Can only process materials up to Uncommon Grade]

[Price : 20 gold coins]

[Dream Forge]

[Grade : Rare]

[Simultaneous Capacity : 5 Units]

[Limitations : None]

[Price : 40 gold coins]

Derrick wanted to make a sound investment, but at the end of the day, the highest quality of materials he had were rare, so he had to eliminate the Dream Forge. He had also considered the Devour Forge to save time, but it wouldn't allow him to work with the Steel Alloy, which was a big no-no. With his mind set, he bought the Valhalla Forge.

The anvil hadn't been a big struggle for Derrick, buying one for 30 gold coins, leaving him 30. With his hands tied, he had bought the best quality-price hammer they had and walked out, sulky that his funds melted like snow under the sun.

It was finally time to return to Akata.


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