Derrick arrived back at the town and it was already bustling with activity. Such a sight filled him with pride. People roamed around with smiles and laughs, not worrying about what tomorrow had in store for them. Their entire faith rested with Derrick, and they were convinced that he would succeed.

After taking it in for a few more moments, he continued and arrived at a building that looked almost completed : the forge. The structure honestly looked better than expected. Derrick knew that he didn't have specialized workers, so this result was more than satisfying. He would definitely have to hire in the future.

When the construction crew saw Derrick arrive, they stopped everything and all bowed down. One of them went to get Jack, the supervisor of the entire project.

He arrived a few instants later to the side of Derrick.

"Your Highness, everything is almost complete. The only thing remaining is to make sure that the aeration is sufficient everywhere"

"Have you asked for Fomamli's input?"

Jack's eyes widened in surprise... How could he not have thought of something so simple?!

"No Your Highness... It's my mistake"

"I'll call him here. I also have to speak with him about the 'little' task he'll be in charge of"

A flash of evilness passed through the necromancer and Jack couldn't help but tremble. The poor blacksmith probably didn't know what awaited him...

"Fomamli, come to the forge's location. It's time to see your new toys!"

Shortly after sending the mental missive, the short dwarf arrived with great fanfare, excited that he would get a proper working environment. Before he had been captured, he had a small shack that barely accommodated his needs, so when he saw the large and spacious forge, tears formed at the corner of his eyes.

A mere slave... That's what he was right now. And yet... He had one of the things he dreamed about.

"Mas... Master... Thank you"

Derrick was shocked when he saw the blacksmith's strong reaction, but he soon laughed.

"Don't cry on me just yet! You haven't seen the new equipment... For the record, the budget was tight, so I had to cut a little in the quality, but I think it's fine"

The two of them proceeded inside the building while led by Jack. Once inside, they saw various empty spaces. Of course, those were meant for the brand-new tools. Derrick took out the magical pouch that Brigand had given him and drew out everything he bought from 'Blacksmith \u0026 Co'.

When Fomamli saw the loot, he was agape.

"Cut in the quality? The fuck?!"

He couldn't help but express himself loudly, to which Derrick responded with a loud laugh.

"To be honest, I knew you would appreciate it. I can tell you that, in the future, I plan on upgrading all that gear because you'll be at the center of our flourishing strength"

A devilish grin appeared on Derrick's face when he said that, and the dwarf's huge smile instantly receded. To invest such an amount, the task would surely be... humongous.

Beads of sweat started forming on his body and Derrick couldn't help but inwardly jest. He hadn't lied when he had said that he wouldn't mistreat them, but it didn't mean that he wouldn't exploit their expertise to their limits. He needed them to become the best version of themselves.

After letting the poor dwarf fidget around like a scared kid, Derrick dropped the hammer.

"150 Iron armors, 20 Bronze armors and 10 Steel armors"

It was as if Fomamli's soul had left his body... He was equipping an entire army, alone?! AHHHHHHHHHH!

His inner self was already tying the rope's noose while kicking the chair from under him. Indeed, dwarves were maniacs of their craft, but repetitive work really wasn't their forte, and he had to do it all by himself, which added insult to injury.

However, he really couldn't complain. A slave that wasn't abused and even given work? That was a dream come true.

"It'll be my pleasure, Master"

Derrick saw the various emotions swirl through his subordinate and decided to increase the incentives. Sure, they could earn their freedom and that might motivate them enough, but if he wanted them to overachieve, he had to be creative.

"If you manage to make all these armors in two weeks, I'll buy premium materials and let you freely create an armor of your choice"

When he heard that, the previously resigned dwarf shook in disbelief. He would be given the opportunity to craft something exquisite and to his taste?!

"Don't get me wrong, Fomamli. If you waste even a single alloy, I'll hold you accountable and you'll wish you were making armors..."

This had already been on the dwarf's mind, and he nodded. He was aware of his skills, and he would grind through the Iron ones before making his way up. Failing was not an option.

"Here are the materials"

After walking to a storage space created in the forge, Derrick emptied the remaining items in his magical pouch. The sheer quantity that came out was frankly unbelievable, on top of their great quality.

After talking a bit more, Derrick left Jack and Fomamli to discuss the finishing touches of the edifice. At the end of the day, they would finally have taken a major leap in their quest to domination and his blood boiled to no end.

However, before he could go forward with his plan of conquering another village, he had to figure out a solution to a problem that currently plagued him : money. He couldn't raise taxes because his people were poor, and he couldn't simply make equipment out of epic monsters out of nowhere. It wouldn't be viable to sustain an entire economy.

He needed to find a source that was reliable enough and that would enrich his people, giving them buying power. Also, trade was out of the question since they didn't have any roads connecting them to the outside world. That would be another project that would have to be enacted, but it would only be possible once he had more subjects. Such much to do... Fortunately for him, right now, he had plenty of time.

Suddenly, an idea crossed his mind. Something that everyone needed... Resources! He had the luxury of being located in an untouched land that brimmed with hidden treasures. What if he could find them and exploit them? He could then go to different cities and sell them to generate a profit, and distribute it to his people. It would kick-start his entire economy.

There were only two issues blocking this plan. He didn't have discovery spells, and he couldn't send exploratory parties, as the forest was filled with beasts that would tear them apart.

Derrick thought for a bit and took a communication trinket. It was another gift that Brigand had given him before leaving. Now that he was a dirt poor, he needed to ask favors.




"AH! Who's this?"

"Did you already forget me?"

"Wait, Mr. Tarlin! It's been a while, but I never expected to receive a call so soon. What's the occasion?"

Scratching his head and swallowing his pride, he went ahead.

"I've run out of funds, and I was hoping for a loan"

"Hahahaha! I never knew that you were so fickle with money!"

The raucous laugh of the burly man on the other end sent a spike through Derrick's heart. He couldn't deny the fact that he was new to this game... After calming down, Brigand continued.

"How much would you need?"

"How much would a Discovery Sell cost?"

A long silence followed the request. Was his request, once again, outrageous?

"I'll be honest, what you're asking is something that his kept secret to the highest level. After all, if everyone could have access to it, every resource would have already been pillaged"

The logic was sound and it made Derrick re-think his plan. Had he been too optimistic about this whole thing?

"I won't be able to loan you enough for this, but I can help you access such a spell for a short period of time. Concerning the price, how about another favor in exchange?"


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