56 Marculus

After letting the circular emerald saw dissipate, Zack got up and looked for an unoccupied stone target once more.

'Alright, this shouldn't be too much of a problem. . .' he thought, while creating a small uniform sphere of turbulent Ardor.

He then swiped his finger through it, igniting the sphere into a small wind slash.

It traveled through a straight line, missing the stone target by a small margin.

Already, this variation of the wind slash had proven itself to be more precise. Now, it was just a matter of actually getting good with his aim.

Minutes passed as he practiced, getting better and better as he continued.

Soon enough, he felt confident enough with his aim to begin experimenting upon it even further.

Of course, larger wind slashes came first, but then came something he had yet to try.

New ignition methods.

While swiping his hand or fingers through the turbulent sphere worked just fine, Zack wanted to find out if cutting out all physical aspects of the technique was possible.

And to his surprise, it didn't take long to figure it out.

Once he created a turbulent sphere of Ardor, all he had to do was. . . ignite it with a wind slash.

It took him a few seconds to realize it, but when he did, he felt as if someone had filed down his brain.

However, this variation of the wind slash couldn't be used for a long range attack. Sure, it would work within his area of influence, but it didn't have the same utility that the long ranged version did.

Thus, he looked to a new project, making the long distance wind slash even stronger.

Luckily, that would be the easiest part of his experimentation. Since he had been employing Ambient Ardor thus far, all he had to do now was use his Internal Ardor.

Wisps of Ardor came out from his hands, coalescing into the turbulent sphere Zack needed. And then, he ignited it.

A bright emerald wind slash flew through the air, and hit the center of the stone target.

It roughly cut through the target, dissipating once it had passed through.

'. . .'

'. . .'

'. . .Perfect.'

Satisfied with the results, Zack went back to sitting down, leaving the NPCs to clean up the mess. He still had a few ideas he wanted to test, but alas, the second he sat down, the ground began rumbling.

A shiver went down his spine, and the training room went silent as the rumbling became fiercer and fiercer.

But just as soon as it started, the rumbling of the ground came to a halt.

Checking the time, Zack realized that half an hour had passed since he had started practicing.

'I guess those two are back.'

Despite having just sat down, he was eager to talk to the smithy NPCs.

He made it to the safe haven's entrance as soon as possible, and saw that the two had indeed arrived.

Behind them was the enormous corpse, and behind that was ruined brick work as far as the eye could see.

"Aye, welcome back you two," Zack said with a grin.

Sarah looked beat, and simply waved, while Nick seemed perfectly fine.

The two walked up to him, and Nick said "Thanks mate, do you know where the smithies are?"

Zack shook his head, but offered to go looking for them. Not one to forego the opportunity to take a breather, Sarah nodded. Thus, Nick took him up on that offer, and made himself a chair to sit in while he waited.

Since all the warriors were currently in the training room, he went and found an assuming lass. She was writing something, but quickly closed her book upon noticing Zack trying to take a peak.

"Uhm, can I help you sir?" She said while squinting at him.

"Yes, you can. Where are the smithies located?"

With a sigh of relief, she answered his question, saying "On the fiftieth floor, sir."

After offering his thanks, Zack quickly made his way over to the elevator, and then went up to the fiftieth floor.

When the door opened, he was blasted by an unholy heat. It was nothing his enhanced body couldn't handle, but it was certainly the hottest he had been in recent memory.

Walking through that steamy territory, he looked around for the strongest smithy there.

It wasn't an easy guess though, as both the men and women there were fairly bulky. As such, he activated the scan ability.

To Zack's surprise, the strongest one there was actually one of the unassuming ones, sitting at a desk drawing something. He had an average build, and wasn't wearing protective gear.

[Novice Tier Human: Marculus]

[Ardor Attribute: Fire]

[HP: 20] ( 1,000 / 1,000 )

[STR: 20]

[DEF: 13]

[SPD: 4]

[AP: 20]

[WIS: 22]

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[Information: Marculus was once a renowned armor and weapons smith.]

The emerald halos around his eyes dissipated, and he went up to greet him. But before he could do that, Marculus happened to turn around.

He inspected the newcomer for a time, before recalling the message he had received in the morning.

"Ah, so yer the person Crystallia was yapping on about. What d'ya need, Valerio?"

"My crew has brought back a Mid Grade Corpse the size of a house, can you folks process that-"

Before he could finish speaking, Marculus's eyes beamed as he shot up out of his chair and grabbed Zack by the shoulders.

"MID GRADE NOVICE TIER?! LEAD ME TO IT!" Marculus said, while enthusiastically shaking Zack back and forth.

Cheers could be heard amongst the other blacksmiths, but there was no time to pay attention to that. Marculus grabbed the pencil he was using off the desk and placed it on his ear, and then raced Zack to the elevator.

The two quickly made their way back to the corpse, and Zack watched as Marculus ran around it. He did an assortment of things, seemingly testing the metal's quality.

Once the man was satisfied, he walked up to Zack with a wide smile.

"You folks did a mighty fine job in bringing this back. Now then, Crystallia has asked that we make the best of the best for you and your crew. . ."

He then pulled out a tiny notepad from his pocket, and grabbed the pencil sitting atop his ear. "Tell me, what do you folks need?"

Zack scratched at his beard, closing his eyes as if he were thinking.

[Hey, top smithy is asking about what everyone wants.]

[Sent At 6:12 P.M.]

Almost immediately, everyone responded. Diz wanted a new bow, and Damian wanted a new mace.

Nick asked for a small shield and a better battle axe, while Sarah asked for a new shield. It was upgrades all around, and of course, everyone asked for new armor.

Thus, Zack relayed that information to Marculus.

The man would write down just as fast as Zack spoke, and put his notepad away once he was finished.

"Alright, so. . . You'll be looking at a wait time of about one day. Shouldn't take us too long to dismantle this thing's corpse, but Crystallia gave us orders to make top notch equipment when you asked. As such, it'll take a while to get everything done."

With an understanding nod, Zack said "I'll let you get to it, then."

He could already hear the man getting back to his inspections, as he began making his way up to his room on the third floor.

'Nothing to do until tomorrow unless I hop on my alt account. . . Then again, I could probably get a bit more work in today if I get off now. . .' he thought while going up the first flight of stairs.

As he walked up the second flight of stairs, he decided to let everyone know about the one day wait time.

Of course, everyone groaned, but it would be worth the wait. Thus, Zack's time playing Conquest Carnival came to a close for the day, as he logged off and got back to work.

As he typed away, Zack eventually decided to include his experience with the panic attack, expressing the fear and desperation he felt as vividly as he could.

And that led to him including his adventures thus far, including how his real body smoothly executed fighting forms he had never used before.

Soon enough, he had met his daily quota. But, he felt that he could keep going!

Hours melted away as he got into the flow, and eventually, it was time to go to the gym.

Repetition was the name of the game, and like last time, he unknowingly inspired the plain and unassuming folks who saw him working out.

Without funds, his daily routine for the month was essentially set in stone.

So, like the previous few days, he took a shower and then headed home, enjoying the starry sky as he walked from the travel center back to his house.

Additionally, Zack thought of the field boss as he walked.

'I can't wait for tomorrow. . .'

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