Chapter 489 Evolved?
Two days earlier...
Just a while ago, Izroth had taken his leave from Cross Haven's temporary headquarters stationed in the capital city of Amaharpe. At the moment, he was on his way back to the Mystical Realm Palace.
'The guild leader of Cross Haven is more ambitious than I anticipated.'
While it was not the main topic of their meeting, Ewan, the guild leader of Cross Haven, directly offered Izroth a position as a Great General! If news of this escaped that room, it would be enough to shock anyone in RML. After all, the rank of a Great General in Cross Haven was only beneath that of the guild leader himself!
Who was Cross Haven? They ranked within the top three as one of the best guilds in RML. There were even those who believed that, in terms of overall raw talent, they were number one!
Naturally, Ewan played a significant role in the conception of this belief. Still, it would not have been possible for Cross Haven to be viewed this way without the Five Great Generals' presence. To acquire that title, one had to stand above the rest and overcome countless obstacles.
Despite this fact, Ewan was willing to allow Izroth to skip these restrictions and jump straight to the top! One had to know that even a high-ranking core member from another top guild would not necessarily be treated in this manner.
But, it did not stop there. To further rope Izroth in, Ewan brought out an epic-quality item. Though it was not just any epic-quality item—it was an accessory!
Epic-quality equipment was already difficult to acquire, not to even mention epic-quality accessories. In terms of value, an epic-quality accessory was over ten times more valuable than other epic equipment pieces. The main reason for this was, besides the fact that they were more of a headache to acquire than standard equipment, it was extremely rare for accessories to have equip requirements. Therefore, they were incredibly versatile and could even be equipped by level 1 players.
Imagine how much easier it would be for one to level up with the help of an epic-quality item!
However, in the end, Izroth turned Ewan down. While the level of sincerity was certainly displayed for all to see, how could it be enough to tempt Izroth? If Cross Haven wanted to draw him, Izroth was afraid that it was not a price that they could afford!
There was also the fact that Izroth had just created a guild of his own. If he were to suddenly disband and join Cross Haven, what face would he have left in this world?
Although Ewan was disappointed, he did not reveal any displeasure towards Izroth's response. In fact, it was almost as if he had already predicted that Izroth would answer that way. Therefore, he did not continue to pursue the matter. Nevertheless, Ewan did not let Izroth walk away empty-handed.
Izroth opened his inventory and removed a dark blue cube-shaped object. This cube looked ordinary, but it held zero flaws and was smooth on all sides. There was a faint aura around the cube that appeared to be slowly fading away. It was this item that Ewan had gifted to Izroth at the end of his visit.
'Who would have thought that something like this would be in Cross Haven's hands? It seems the top guilds are quite resourceful in this regard. Though it's a shame that it only has one use remaining.'
Name: Mysterious Blacksmith's Flawless Ameliorate Stone
Uses Remaining: 1/10
Usage: Has a 100% chance to increase the rank of virtually any material below the mythical rank by one. This effect will not work on an item already affected by an Ameliorate Stone. This item will disappear when it uses reaches 0.
Special Note: A special reward for completing the quest «Assisting The Mysterious Blacksmith».
Common, Uncommon, Rare, Superior, Ancient, Mythical, and Divine—this was the ranking of the materials within RML. At the moment, rare materials were hoarded by the top guilds. As for superior materials, Izroth believed that every top guild likely had a few dozens in storage. But, when it came to ancient materials—the chances of anyone having obtained them were infinitely close to 0%! However, with the Mysterious Blacksmith's Flawless Ameliorate Stone, it was different for Cross Haven.
After seeing that there was only one use remaining, Izroth estimated that Cross Haven had, at the very least, nine ancient ranked materials in their possession. However, given the resources at their disposal, there was even a small chance that they had one or two mythical ranked materials!
'Forget epic equipment, it's likely that within all of RML, Cross Haven is the only guild with the materials to craft a legendary—possibly even a unique piece of equipment. However, it's a bit unfortunate that it's too soon.'
At the end of the day, even if one had the materials, at the moment, there was no player Blacksmith at the level of crafting legendary, let alone unique quality equipment. Still, Izroth would not be surprised if, in the future, Cross Haven was the first top guild to acquire a legendary or unique equipment piece.
As for the quest listed on the item, needless to say, Izroth inquired about it. However, he was told that it was useless. According to Ewan, the members of his Cross Haven attempted to find a way to repeat the quest. Unfortunately, the Mysterious Blacksmith that acted as the quest giver had disappeared after its completion. Though something like this was to be expected considering the value of the Ameliorate Stone acquired upon its completion. If an item like that could be gathered freely, then material ranks would become a practical joke.
A few moments later, Izroth arrived at the Mystical Realm Palace and immediately went up to the 3rd floor.
Clank! Clank! Clank!
Upon stepping onto the 3rd floor of the Mystical Realm Palace, one would be welcomed by a wave of heat and the sound of clanking metal. The source of this heat came from the multiple furnaces within the room. These furnaces were used by Blacksmiths to forge various items.
There were currently four other individuals on the 3rd floor. One of them, who was in the middle of examining a blueprint, halted their actions and walked over to greet Izroth.
"Is there anything I can assist you with, Palace Master?" The player asked. They were an average looking male with a burly build and a buzzcut. His attire was suitable for a crafting environment, and attached to his waist was a sturdy looking hammer. He went by the name Ogrem and was one of the few talented players who managed to join the Mystical Realm Palace through the competition. Besides Gu Chao, who was a 4th rank Blacksmith, Ogrem was the highest-ranked Blacksmith in the Mystical Realm Palace as a 3rd rank Blacksmith. In terms of pure aptitude, Ogrem was only a little worse than Gu Chao.
"How long has he been at it?" Izroth asked as his gaze landed on an individual near the back of the smithy, who hammered away at an object. This individual was none other than Gu Chao.
At the moment, Gu Chao had a serious look on his face as he carefully handled the object he was working on. While crafting, he seemed nothing like his usual spirited self. Instead, Gu Chao became wholly concentrated on the task before him. He seemed to not even notice Izroth's entrance into the room.
Ogrem sighed as he shook his head and replied, "Palace Master, I'm afraid the task you gave Gu Chao is not small. He's been working on that thing for over 20 hours non-stop. The toughness of it is really too high."
'Is it too much after all?'
Izroth inwardly furrowed his brows. Before the Mystical Realm Palace competition, Izroth handed Gu Chao the piece of Unrefined Arisia Crystal he collected during his time in the Great Sea Palace raid. With a toughness of 82, it was not surprising that even a 4th rank Blacksmith, like Gu Chao, experienced some difficulties refining the Arisia Crystal. However, Izroth did not think that it would be this troublesome for a small piece that was no bigger than one's finger. Izroth could only imagine the amount of effort it would take if he truly did break off a piece the size of a fist as he originally intended.
As Izroth spoke with Ogrem, their conversation was cut short by a loud ringing sound that pulsated every second. The pressure generated by this ringing caused the nearby furnaces, along with the Mystical Realm Palace's entire 3rd floor, to shake violently. Each ring carried a unique aura and made one feel strangely uncomfortable when they came into contact with it.
'Is this the magic nullification power of the Arisia Crystal?'
BOOOOOOOM! BANG! BANG! BANG!
The sound of an explosion and constant banging could be heard coming on the area Gu Chao was in. But, strangely enough, there were no signs of any explosion—just the sound itself was present. What accompanied the "explosion" was an increase in the uncomfortable feeling it seemed to naturally generate.
"Why is this ringing so loud?!" One of the blacksmiths yelled.
"Not good! At this rate, the main furnace won't be able to contain that level of energy output! It's going to explode!" Ogrem exclaimed.
At the same time that chaos was ensuing, Izroth received some alerts from the system.
〈System Alert: Warning! Your mana is being forcibly drained by an unknown source!〉
〈System Alert: Warning! Your energy is being forcibly drained by an unknown source!〉
〈System Alert: Warning! The effectiveness of your magic has been reduced by 50% while being affected by an unknown source!〉
While the system referred to it as an unknown source, Izroth was positive that whatever was happening had to do with the Arisia Crystal being refined by Gu Chao. However, the effects did not make any sense! The Arisia Crystal may possess magic nullifying capabilities, but it should not be this strong—even in its refined state!
To confirm his thoughts, Izroth decided to activate his Energy Vision Sense. What appeared around him was a world of varying colorful flames that contained diverse quantities and qualities. The only thing every flame had in common was that they were converging onto a single point—the furnace used by Gu Chao.
'The way these energies flow in harmony despite originating from different places... If I can modify the flow of my Source Chant to match this pattern, then perhaps...'
As this thought crossed Izroth's mind, he closed his eyes as an incredible phenomenon formed that made him feel as though a heavy weight had been lifted off of him. Or to be more precise, the shackles that had previously bound him were shattered!
As Izroth opened his eyes, he was met with a new wave of system alerts.
〈System Alert: Your Essence has reached level 20.〉
〈System Alert: You have acquired a new skill for the trait «Soul Essence»!〉
〈System Alert: Congratulations, the trait «Soul Essence» has successfully evolved to the next stage!〉
Izroth's Soul Essence that was stuck at level 19.99 had finally broken through! But, that was not the only thing that changed.