Chapter 40: I’m Not That Nice
As we were plowing our way through the crowds in City Square, I heard various chats on the Lances. These Six Lances were more than just a group of overpowered Mages; they would soon become the very symbol of this Continent. Being composed of two of each race, it is impartial towards the Humans, Elves, and Dwarves. I wouldn’t be surprised if this caused a big outbreak in talented Mages. While not all children who awaken become mages, whether it may be due to financial situations or issues of talent, the fact that everyone is eligible to become a Lance will definitely stir up a new era of Mages.
I could tell the Kings purposely put a bad light on the New Continent so that this new potential common enemy would become the reason for the three races to unite. Looking at it logically, there could be great advantages such as trading raw material, knowledge on magic and artifacts and different technology, but this would just create a potential competition between the Humans, Elves and Dwarves, each of them trying to get to the New Continent first to claim the new resources. In that sense, I do agree with this intentional propaganda of sorts.
Getting into the carriage waiting for us at the edge of City Square, my father asks the driver to first take him to the Helstea Auction house.
“I have a couple of things to take care of so I’ll meet you guys back home later tonight. Don’t cause too much trouble, Son.” My father ruffles my hair while shooting me a sarcastic grin.
“Please take us to Gideon’s facility.” Vincent directs the driver to our next destination. About thirty minutes into the drive, the scenery changes from tall buildings into small houses with signboards reading “Artifacts” on a lot of them.
Noticing the curious gaze I had outside, Vincent chimes in, “We’re at the part of the city where all of the Artificers gather. You’ll see a lot of neat gadgets here as well as useful tools for Conjurers.”
Apparently, this sparked Elijah’s interest because he asked the driver to stop at the nearest artifact shop. “I’m going to look around for a bit and see if I can find anything worth buying.” He says before stepping out.
‘Sylv, go with Elijah while I visit Gideon with Uncle Vincent’ I tell Sylvie who was on my lap. She gave me a curious look but didn’t complain, hopping out of the carriage after Elijah. I didn’t want a genius researcher like Gideon eyeing Sylvie so it would be better to just keep her away.
“Do you have any money?!” I shout towards him from inside the carriage as we leave him, realizing that normal 12-year-old boys shouldn’t have that much money.
“I have my dungeon money saved up. Remember? I‘m not like you!” I can barely make out a wink as he was obviously teasing me about my lack of gold.
“Tch. How immature.” I grumble under my breath, causing Vincent to let out a small chuckle.
About an hour later, after we passed through the densest part of the city, we arrived at a fairly large building. This building was only 1 story but was quite big in width, which was rare to see in a clustered city like Xyrus.
“We’re here!” The driver announces as he opens the door for us.
Hopping out of the carriage behind Vincent, we make our way to the front door. After knocking on the metal door, an old man with a handlebar mustache, dressed as a butler, opens the door.
“Greetings. Master Gideon is not… Ah hello Master Vincent, please come in.” He says while opening the door. He realizes that we are welcomed guests, giving us a deep bow before showing us inside.
The butler seems to automatically deny everyone but a certain few people. The inside of the facility was hardly appealing. The whole place was a mess, with tools on the ground and rather intriguing looking raw materials stacked high on shelves. There were microscopes and other tools that looked vaguely familiar to the ones in my old world.
“Himes! I told you not to let anyone… Ah Vincent! I see you’ve come to bother me again.” From the dim corner of a different room, a very short, hunched man makes his way over. Both the butler and the master seem to automatically want to deny visitors at heart.
Taking a closer look at the supposed genius inventor/researcher/artificer, I can say for certain that he looks the part. His curly hair that looks like it’s been struck by lightning more than once complimented the beady eyes that had dark bags under them. His complexion was pale while he had a pair of goggles hanging on his neck.
“Haha! As welcoming as ever, aren’t you Gideon?” Vincent shakes his head, giving his acquaintance a helpless smile and handshake.
“Bah! Don’t even start! This past year, the Royal Family sent in over a dozen messengers asking for a way to start traversing the ocean to reach the New Continent! I haven’t had a decent sleep in months!” The hunched eccentric flails his arms in disgust as he starts pacing around.
“Is it really true that they really found evidence of another Continent Gideon?” Vincent couldn’t help but relieve his curiosity. Even I was interested in this.
“Hoho! That, my friend, is actually a truth those snobby royal families are telling for once. I was the one to study the evidence! All I’ll say is that, the New Continent has even better artificers and perhaps even Mages than ours.” His beady eyes disappear as his smile widens, revealing yellow teeth with remnants of whatever he ate for his last meal.
“What makes you say that?” Vincent pushes, leaning closer to Gideon.
“The Royal Family took back the evidence for safe keeping, but that ‘evidence’ was an artifact. Even I couldn’t figure out everything it does, but this artifact was attached to a bird-like mana beast that has never been seen on Dicathen before. This bird-like mana beast had the ability to camouflage almost completely with its surroundings. The only way we were able to catch it was because an Adventurer accidentally shot it down while he was actually aiming for a nearby squirrel he was hunting to eat. Not only that, one of the functions I was able to figure out from the artifact that was attached to the bird was that it was able to record and store moving images. The artifact was the size of my palm and it could do what four big magic projection crystals could and more! Tell me, why would someone from our Continent need to record videos?” He leans towards Vincent too so that the two of them were only a hand width apart.
“Fascinating!” Vincent sighs as he rubs his chin.
“So… who’s the little kid you brought? Your mistress’s son?” Gideon waggles his eyebrows lewdly at Vincent.
“Oh God… Don’t even make jokes like that. Tabitha would kill me… quite literally I’m afraid. No… this is Arthur Leywin, I consider him a nephew of mine.” He places his hand on my shoulder.
Giving a respectable bow, I introduce myself. “Hello Mr. Gideon. Uncle Vincent has told me many great things about you and your work.”
“Hoh~ quite the etiquettes for a kid. How old are you?” He asks, studying me with his beady eyes.
“I will be turning 12 in May.” I answer simply.
“I see… So, why did you bring him here, Vincent? I don’t take on students or disciples you know.” He nods to himself condescendingly.
“Actually, I would like to know for myself why he wanted to come.” Vincent turns to me.
“Mr. Gideon, the fact that you have messengers from the Royal Family visiting you, I can assume that your work is quite influential correct?” I put on the air of a respecting young lad.
“Of course! They’re a pain but I receive quite a lot of money from them!” His chin sticks out and I can almost see his nose getting longer from his pride.
“Perfect.” Without saying anything more, I pick up a big piece of paper lying on the ground and sketch out a blueprint. It took a while for me to think of an idea to sell without it changing the world too much. This world relies heavily on magic for a lot of the bigger tools and machines. That was primarily one of the reasons they couldn’t build a ship capable of travelling long distances. Mages didn’t have an infinite source of mana and trying to carry along enough mages to power up a big ship was impossible.
Both Vincent and Gideon were baffled by my sudden actions and were muttering to each other what I was exactly doing. I didn’t let them see what I was drawing so they were getting more and more impatient with my behavior.
After about 15 minutes, I finished drawing a rough draft of a steam engine. I didn’t draw in some of the key components so that Gideon can’t just steal my idea; I would draw those in AFTER the negotiations were complete.
“T-This is…this…” His beady eyes widen two-fold and he snatched the paper away so he could study it in depth.
“Of course… why didn’t I think of this? There was this solution as well!” I could see his hands trembling as he had a hard time digesting the blueprint.
Suddenly, his eyebrows furrowed and his gaze darted all around the paper. “I feel like something is missing…”
I gently take the paper back and roll it up. “I did leave out some key details that I will more than happily include once our negotiations are over.” I put on an innocent smile.
“Are you really just a 12 year old?” His gaze becomes sharp but soon looks helpless, as he himself knows that what I have to offer him is too good to let go. Even Vincent looks baffled by the turn of events but he handled it a little bit better since he knows I’m kind of always like this.
“Yup! Can you show me some of your best artifacts? Uncle Vincent tells me you make some of the best!” I throw in a nice compliment to sugar him up.
“Himes! Bring my latest works!” Gideon shouts. Soon after, the butler with the handlebar mustache brings with him a protected case that was the size of an adult, sealed with something even I don’t recognize.
Gideon whispers something into the lock while placing both his hands on it. After a brief moment, the lock glows and folds itself and changes shape, opening itself. Inside the case were various enchanted weapons. Gideon goes over each of the weapons and what they were capable of. I know that each of these weapons were invaluable and not comparable to the ones sold in shops and forges, but they didn’t fit the bill. I looked at some of the wands to maybe get for Elijah but none of them suited him.
Shaking my head, I heard the mad scientist grumble something foul.
Gideon eventually led us into a hidden storage where there were precious gems and raw material that even made me shocked. “This is an ironite diamond, one of the most valuable gems found on this continent. It has properties capable of storing a lot mana to use in case of emergency.” By this time, Gideon looks defeated when my face still looked a bit unsatisfied.
“Sigh…Himes, can you bring me the pendants?” He rubs his temples.
“But Master, this was made so that…” “I know! Just bring it!” Gideon interrupts the baffled Himes.
Eventually, Himes comes back holding a small case with an even more complicated lock on it.
“These are some of the products I made for the Royal Family. They’ve been asking for life-protecting artifacts in case of any danger.” He just shrugs his shoulder; any sense of confidence he once had has vanished.
Picking up one of the two identical pendants that was a very soft, yet radiant pink color carefully ornamented and decorated in a white gold thin chain.
“I had some of the best designers work on the actual piece itself so it is er… ‘suitable’ for the Royal Family.” He clarifies
I will a bit of mana into the pendant and when I do, I vaguely see the outline of mana beast I’ve once read about. “This is made from a Phoenix Wyrm…” I mutter.
“You were able to figure that out?” Gideon’s eyes turn even more intrigued as he studies me, trying to figure out exactly what more I was capable of.
Continuing on, Gideon explains. “While the Phoenix Wyrm isn’t nearly as rare as the dragon species, this particular breed is still a high S class mana beast. They aren’t really known for their power and combat capabilities but their unique ability to preserve their own life. When the Phoenix Wyrm is getting assaulted, its pink scales will elongate and harden around them, forming a sort of cocoon.”
This catches my interest.
“However, that isn’t even the best part. When the super hard cocoon they’re protected in breaks, they deplete all of the mana in their beast core to instantly transport themselves to wherever they know they’re safe. It’s a very unique ability that I’ve only seen in the Phoenix Wyrm. These two pendants are probably the most valuable artifacts I have. The jewel itself is made from the beast core of the Phoenix Wyrm and also small fragments of its scales, allowing it to reproduce the life-preserving effects of the beast, to a certain degree.” He sighs, after finishing his explanation.
“How many times will the user be able to utilize the effects?” I simply ask, studying the pendant even closer.
“Honestly… I’m not too sure. The Royal Family presented to me 5 of these beast cores that have been kept over time throughout generations. However, they didn’t know what exactly these mana cores did; they only know that they were extremely valuable. They have already been studied and none had the beast will, but still, the value of just one of these beast cores cost more than normal S-class cores. The first of the five I made were a failure, not showing the ability at all. The second and third showed its ability once before turning to dust. I imagine since the mana core doesn’t completely deplete itself to transport a human, it’ll work at least twice like the previous two cores I used to make the pendant with.” He looks at me with hopeful eyes.
“These are for the Royal Family right? Is it really all right for me to take these when the Royal Family provided the raw materials for it?” I quiz.
“Well, like I said, they don’t know what exactly those beast cores could do so if I just make a good replacement life-preserving artifact, I think it’ll be fine. Of course, if you choose to trade your blueprint with something else, that’ll be even better.” He smiles in defeat.
“Haha! I’m not that nice Mr. Gideon. I’ll take these two pendants.” I unroll the blueprint and fill the rest of the key components that I left out.
“Sigh…you’re putting me in a tough position but I know that you’re doing me a charity by giving me these blueprints. With this, I imagine that our people will be able to reach the New Continent before they reach ours.” He studies the blueprint before folding it and carefully putting it in his shelf.
He turns back to me, his gaze not looking at me as if I was a child but more so an equal. “Where did you come up with this idea though? What are you really planning Arthur? Did you want to speed up the process for the voyage to the New Continent?” The genius researcher in him was begging for me to answer his questions.
I only laughed and headed out the door, the silent Vincent, who was still bewildered by the turn of events, following behind me. “Like I said Mr. Gideon, I’m not that nice of a person. I only wanted to get my little sister a good birthday gift.” I say without looking back, waving the small case that had the two pendants inside before getting into the carriage.
The journey back home was silent for the first half until Vincent finally spoke. “Not only a genius Augmenter but a brilliant inventor? What exactly was it that you drew out for Gideon?”
I explained in simple terms. “I drew the blueprints for a steam engine, which is capable of producing quite a lot of power by using steam produced from specific material that exists on this Continent. With that and some modifications so that it could be interchanged with fuel powered by mana, traversing a long distance shouldn’t be a problem.”
“Sigh… From what magical star were you born under?” Vincent shakes his head.
“Haha, please, this was an idea I got from somewhere else and I just tweaked it a little to make it work better. Please don’t make too big of a deal out of this to my parents.” I smile humbly while looking at the two beautiful pink pendants again.
“Well, your parents probably wouldn’t even make a big deal of something like this considering how abnormal you are.” He chuckles to himself.
Luckily, no one was home so I carefully hid the case after wrapping the two pendants individually. My sister’s birthday was next week and then only a couple of months left until my 12th birthday, and eventually the new year of Xyrus Academy. Even though I wouldn’t be that far from my family while I was at school, I would certainly be limited to how often I could visit them, so my main goal during this time was to ensure that my family could take care of themselves in case anything bad happens.
I know I’m probably overthinking everything but I prefer to be on the safe side when it comes to my family. For that, I’m willing to sell even my soul.