The Newt and Demon

Chapter 15: Blacksmith’s Wares

Chapter 15: Blacksmith's Wares

A small crowd formed outside of the Newt and Demon the following morning. Theo and Tresk grinned from the second story, peering out among the crowd and eating their breakfast. Theyd used the last of the [Moss Nettle] to make their morning tea, but the spectacle outside demanded their full attention. If the townsfolk werent aware of the alchemists presence before, they were now. It was a rare morning where the pair rose after the dawn, the excitement from the previous night clearly stealing away their sleep.

Do you think theyre going to disperse? Tresk asked, finishing her tea.

Im happy to glower down from our gigantic shop the whole day, Theo said, waving at the crowd.

Too bad we have some potions to cook, Tresk said.

Theo thought about the plan of attack for the day. The issue came to the front of his mind quickly. Their alchemy lab had a problem with production capacity. The [Copper Still] could handle 50 units at a time, but no more. He planned to distill an absurd amount of essence to fulfill the tannery job, but hed need to run several batches over the day to get it done. With the time to cook 50 units of anything being at least an hour, he had a better idea.

I think Ill pay your father a visit before I start, Theo said. I think I should have commissioned another still a while ago, but here we are.

Tresk cast her eyes to the ceiling, nodding in agreement. The flue that caught the smoke from the fire had grown large enough to accommodate another still, if not two more. Does that mean I get to go adventuring?

It absolutely does, Theo said, moving to press his forehead against hers. They remained there for a moment, gaining some experience in their [Tarahek Cores] before departing. They didnt need the time for long farewells, as they could keep in communication with their abilities. Tresk departed, moving through the crowd and heading west into the marsh. He watched her go before making his way to the blacksmith.

You just grew your building, Perg said, following him through the crowd.

Theo locked up before leaving, not that any of the townsfolk would trespass. Perg followed him north up the road. Those monster cores were absurd. The lab is well, its a shop now, and its level 7.

I forgot that old building was a seed core building, Perg said. So, are you working on my job today?

Yeah, I need to commission some new [Copper Stills] from the blacksmith, Theo said. I underestimated the volume of the job.

Not like my people are doing anything, anyway Should I get them to harvest more of the materials?

Thats a good idea, Theo said.

Perg nodded before heading down the road back to the tannery. Theo approached the blacksmith, spotting the beginnings of the water tower project off to the side. He found Throk hammering away at some glowing metal and got his attention.

Tower isnt done, yet, Throk said, grimacing.

I have another job for you, Theo said.

More work, huzzah, Throk said, rolling his eyes. Well, youre officially my best paying customer, so what is it?

Two [Copper Stills]. Somewhere near 200 liquid unit capacity, Theo said.

Well, guess who ordered more copper than he needed? This Marshling, Throk said, pointing at himself with both thumbs. Ive seen the still in your lab. I can make the entire thing easily, including the condenser unit. Hell, I can make a more efficient condenser if you want to pay more. 20 copper coins for the material and 5 for the labor. I can have it done by tomorrow.

Theo dug in his pocket, kicking himself for keeping the coins in his physical pocket for so long. He stuffed 4 of the silver coins and all the copper into his inventory space, watching as a coin counter appeared at the bottom of the bag. He flicked a silver coin through the air, which Throk caught. His eyes went wide, and the alchemist grinned.

I want you to go wild with it. Give me the fanciest stills you can think of. As fast as you can, Theo said.

Alchemist You really do speak my language, Throk said, dropping the hot iron and hammer. Give me about 2 hours. Ill show you what a master [Blacksmith] can do.

Theo couldnt hide his smile as he turned to walk away. The greatest motivator for anyone living in Broken Tusk was coin, and lots of it. He mentally told Tresk about his purchase, which she approved of. She was loving her new dimensional bag, already climbing up trees to harvest more [Moss Nettle] for their tea. Without the need to shove it in a satchel at her side, she could harvest the moss faster. While her goal was to collect more monster cores, she picked up whatever herbs she could find along the way.

Tresk reported that the amount of monsters in the swamp had evened out for the day. While she still found packs of 5 wolves, they werent expanding. Theo didnt know how the generation of monsters worked in this world, and hadnt thought to ask. When the topic entered his mind, he pushed it away. The only thing that allowed it to linger was his concern for his partners safety. One day hed have to face that problem, but today wasnt it.

Theo returned to the shop, locking the door behind him and standing near the front counter. Waiting for the blacksmith to complete his order might have been a welcome reprieve, but it felt like agony to him. Two hours of waiting around didnt sit well with him, but there was no sense in running his [Copper Still] while new ones were on the way. Instead of languishing in the lab, he left to find herbs. The idea of testing out his inventory in a real scenario was enticing enough, and he was off toward the river to the east. Before leaving, he checked the table outside of the shop, finding that the rest of the stock had sold.

The [Spiny Swamp Thistle Root] was a staple of his crafting endeavors. Everyone needed health potions, and hed be glad to sell them. Pergs offer to supply as much [Ogre Cypress Bark] meant that he could skim a little off the top for his [Cleansing Scrub]. While he made a lot of money up front from the adventurers, they werent coming in a steady stream. The citizens of Broken Tusk, and their sudden desire to stay clean, would go a long way in bridging the gap. He had rent to pay, after all.

Theo plucked a spiny swamp thistle out of the ground, cutting the roots away before stowing it away in his inventory. He grinned the entire way toward the river, harvesting the roots and making them vanish never lost its appeal. The best part was that when he approached the rocky shore of the flowing river he wasnt over encumbered, despite the massive quantity of the roots hed gathered. He sat by the edge of the river and watched its flow, several Marshling fishermen passing by and giving their idle greetings.

The great river was, according to legend, redirected by a powerful wizard ages ago. They gave the people of Broken Tusk a place to create their own fortune. The lost sons and daughters of the uncaring Ogres struck out on their own, reforging their fates with their own hands. Theo appreciated the mirror that the tale held up to his situation. He owed the mysterious Harbinger everything, and it was hard not to think about what happened to that entity. He couldnt even remember how many days hed spent in the town. Things were simply moving too fast.

The sun crawled across the sky and the alchemist sat at the rivers edge, taking in its sound and smell. A comically large trout jumped in the distance, flopping in the air several times before diving back into the turgid swell. Theo couldnt estimate how much time had gone by, but it could have been two hours. He collected more roots along the way, planning to keep them in his inventory. HIs theory was that they wouldnt rot in there, because his soup kept all of its heat while inside.

As he came around the alchemy shop, he heard a banging on the door. Turning the corner, he saw Throk staring up at the second-story windows and scowling. He spun on the spot and grinned. Hows this for service? Im all done.

That was fast, Theo said, laughing.

Im a [Blacksmith], Throk said, waving him away. Come to the smithy and collect your new stills.

Theo followed him up the muddy hill and into the blacksmiths workshop. Two shiny stills sat on the workshop floor, and the alchemists jaw dropped. They were massive compared to his current still. Each one was made of two parts. The main boiler of the stills looked like a giant copper pot with a tube coming out. It sat on an iron frame with space enough to light a fire underneath. The tube fed into another device that looked like a smaller still, and Theo didnt recognize what manner of condenser it was. His original [Copper Still] simply had the tube curl to condense the essence, but this looked like a bucket where the tube fed and coiled around before coming out the side.

You went wild with the condenser, Theo said, laughing.

The point is to cool down the vapors, right? Throk asked. So the condenser line feeds into the bucket there, and you pour cold water into it.

Thats genius, Theo said.

Thank you. Theyre all yoursdo you need a hireling to carry them home?

No need, Theo said, approaching the [Custom Copper Stills] and placing them in his inventory.

Of course you have an inventory power, Throk said. Well, I have your other order to work on. If youll excuse me.

Theo marched back down to his shop, inspecting the new items in his inventory as he went.

[Custom Copper Still]

[Alchemy Equipment]


Created By: Throk

A 200 unit capacity copper still with attached advanced condenser. The advanced condenser allows for a more efficient cooling of essences, decreasing the time needed to distill.


Distillation time reduced.

Theo kicked himself for not commissioning new stills earlier. The capacity was one thing, but the reduction in crafting time was really useful. He made his way to the second floor and into the lab, quickly stowing his old still into his inventory. He positioned the two new stills so that the condenser buckets could rest perfectly on the table, setting flasks under the output nozzle. The new equipment struck an impressive image in the lab. It was looking more like an alchemy lab and less like a hodgepodge of equipment. He left the alchemy lab, looking over his shoulder one last time at the gleam of copper before heading to the tanner.

Perg was standing outside, leaning against the wall the way she always did. She smiled and waved when she caught sight of him. Coming for your bark?

Yes, I am, Theo said. Ive got my new stills and Im ready to cook.

Perg led him inside of the tannery, Theo plugging his nose the whole way, and into a small storage area in the back. There was a mountain of the chalky, white [Ogre Cypress Bark] piled in the back. He stretched his mental intuition as far as it would go, trying to figure out the correct amount of materials to collect for the reaction. His [Intelligence] fell short. He knew that 0.1 units of [Cleansing Essence] and 0.1 units of [Purifying Essence] mixed with [Stabilized Water] would produce 5 units of [Stripping Solution]. His mind just couldnt do the mental math to figure out how much he needed. He scratched his chin for a while before settling on taking 100 units of the best bark he could find.

With two stills, this shouldnt take long to cook down, Theo said. Ill have everything ready by tomorrow.

Good. Ive started buying up all the hides everyone brings meand theres a lot, Perg said. The dehairing yard is getting cluttered.

Theo didnt doubt that fact, not given the smell that had intensified since the last time he was there. He bid farewell and placed a drop of [Cleansing Scrub] on his head when he was out of the buildings foul range. He took a deep breath and savored that berry scent before returning to the lab.

Im going to make the potions for the tanner, Theo said, mentally checking in with Tresk.

Let me know how the new stills do. My dad might be a backwater guy, but hes an amazing [Blacksmith]. Hes like level 20, Tresk said.

Theo's eyes went wide for a moment, but he shook his stupor away. He wasnt good at judging the age of a Marshling, but Throk didnt look that old. The climb to 20 must have been brutal, but servicing the farmers for years on end did the trick to elevate him. He shook his head, refocusing on the task at hand.

The alchemist wouldnt be pushing his new stills to their capacity today, but the extra space made it easier to work with. He started by splitting his stack of 100 [Ogre Cypress Bark] in half. When he removed them from his inventory, a pile of the bark appeared in the air and fell to the floor. Theo mashed whatever would fit in the bucket, transferring it to the still and repeating the process until it was all processed. He repeated the act again, placing the mash in the second still. The bark was versatile, and would produce both his [Cleansing Essence], and his [Purifying Essence] for the [Stripping Solution].

Theo filled the condenser buckets with water from the barrel before continuing. The iron frames that the [Custom Copper Stills] rested on made it easy to start a fire underneath. The expanded alchemy lab even had a metal plate for the fires to burn on, preventing him from burning his home down. Theo started the fires and let them burn as low as possible, the flames gently licking the bottom of the stills in unison. It was more work to keep the twin fires going, but he managed. The 75-unit-large flasks he produced were comically large, almost as big as small barrels. Instead of the characteristic sputtering that his old still had, the new versions simply produced a steady drip.

While the result came out quicker, Theo could do nothing other than tend the fires during the run. When he scooted the fires out from under the still with his smashing stick, Tresk returned from her run through the forest. She applied a few drops of [Cleansing Scrub] to her body and joined him at the side of the table. Theo watched her admiring the new stills for a while. She was initially speechless.

My father is superb at his job, she said.

Thats no joke, Theo said. The condensers he came up with work really well. It cut the time down quite a lot.

Right, well Im here to help now, Tresk said. Ill show you the loot later Just more of the same.

Theo washed and rinsed the stills, finding it much harder to dump the fouled contents out of the window, and set up for the next run. He realized it would have been impossible without Tresks help and made a mental note for the next iteration of the equipment. Tresk got to work cutting the [Marsh Tubers] up while he found a spare bucket to process the 50 units of [Marshlight Spider Silk]. They planned to run the full amount of 200 units of [Marsh Tubers] to see how the increased capacity worked.

This goes faster with another hand, Theo said. Ill need an assistant when theres 10 stills running up here.

Tresk laughed, finishing the last of her cutting and starting the mashing process. She had to work in stages, just like with the [Ogre Cypress Bark]. The final mash of the tubers came dangerously near the top, and Theo filled it with water to match. The spider silk was much easier to prepare, and before long both fires were going at a slow pace. During the run, they had to swap out the oversized flask for the still containing the tubers. The entire process happened faster than either of them could have expected, and the tables were soon cluttered with flasks.

The pair washed the stills before heading off for the evening dinner at the tavern, both of their stamina bars threatening to deplete completely. Theo wanted to put off the reactions for the morning, as it required them to mix the ingredients in the gravel yard out back. They left everything where it was before heading off for dinner.

Youll be surprised to know its wolf meat stew, Xam said.

Theo bought two bowls and joined Tresk in their traditional spot. They were both too tired for conversation, only sending the occasional mental message to each other. The Tarahek communication seemed to consume less of their energy, and by the time dusk threatened over the western horizon, they left the tavern. Their pace was sluggish back to the shop, and they fell into bed and into a deep sleep immediately.

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