“Who is it?”
“Ah, looks like you wouldn’t know.” Berthold took a small book out of his pockets, an artifact that each of the artisans shared. It was the Book of Portals, something that Ian was familiar with as well.
“We are always able to return to this island.”
“…seems to have lost it.”
Cleven hadn’t had the artifact with him. It was clear that he had lost it in the years of wandering. Just then, a figure appeared from the portal.
“I just thought I’d come by,” he said and nodded in their direction. It seemed that he was seeing what he had been expecting.
“It’s really you.”
Ian had guessed right. He was ‘Siram’, the master of the ‘Siram Workshop’, now one of the eight artisans known as a technician and inventor.
* * *
“No wonder I’ve been hearing a rumor about a dragon recently,” Siram mumbled without even greeting the artisans. He had come simply to ‘check in’ because he had heard the rumors of the white dragon the artisans had just met. Even at that point, he hadn’t been concerned about returning, as he no longer wished for his life to be in danger.
“Now it’s the dragon soldiers running rampant. They’ve been quiet for centuries – what’s with the chaos now?”
The problem was that his haven, Greenriverdium was affected by the dragon and the artisans were somewhat aware of this.
“Master of the Ivory Tower, I guessed you would be the descendant of the great Fran. I just wasn’t sure. With the surname ‘Paige’, although it is quite common, magical abilities that surpass any human being, and the hair – you resemble him perfectly. If you were a little less attractive…”
It was the reason Siram had not entered through the portal immediately. It was a simple yet interesting reason of his.
“Not that I would have cared. I wouldn’t have returned to the island either. I’ve found something fun to do. It would be a waste for me to simply die. One thousand years is a little early for me. “
“Did you find something interesting in your life?” Berthold asked, looking curious.
“It’s a little funny to put it this way, but… hm… the fun of developing human civilization with my own hands? Little by little, just so I wouldn’t blow my cover. Do you get what I mean?”
The ‘fun’ Siram had found with his life was developing the human civilization. Little by little, not all of a sudden.
“I just release things out into the world like it’s some new invention. If I get too ahead of myself, that just messes things up. I keep my head low when I release these new inventions, like the time I pretended to tremble in front of the Ivory Tower master here.”
“My apologies about that.”
Ian remembered his encounter with Siram, how he had been shocked to find that Siram was actually a high class mage. Little did he know that had all been an act. It was already seven years ago. Time had gone by quickly.
“That was all possible because it’s you. The rest of us are sewing, hammering, and sawing nonstop.” Berthold, the seamstress, muttered.
“You’re wrong. Aren’t you the greatest artisans of all time? Nothing would be impossible for you. Do not limit yourselves.” Siram comforted Berthold with sweet words.
“He’s right,” Hilia agreed. “How about I join an army. I could change all of their weapons and armory. I could fulfill the wishes of every king – uniting nations into continents. Wouldn’t that be a breeze?”
“Maybe I could do something with my business….” Zerbio murmured.
“Are you still going on about your business? I’m not even surprised.”
“Stop lecturing me – I already got scolded by Berthold about that.”
It seemed the carpenter Zerbio was the verbal punching bag among the artisans. He had already heard some stinging words from Berthold, and now Siram was on him. His large physical features didn’t do him any good. What a waste.
‘They have a lot to say to each other.’ Ian noted. He waited patiently, figuring they all wanted to catch up after all this time. After a while, they finally got to the bottom of the issue.
“So… is this really the dragon’s heart?”
“We think so.”
After the others had filled him in, Siram got closer to the dragon’s heart – the ball of black material. The way he examined the heart was different from the others.
“Let’s see here.” Siram muttered, taking out a strange object. It was a cylinder object with a ball on the end. Once mana was injected into the ball, it exploded with light, exploding in a straight direction.
Siram shone the light on the heart. They all exclaimed quietly.
“This is.. something…” Everyone’s attention was on Siram.
“It’s like… the fruit of mage engineering.”
That was unexpected. Everyone looked at one another suspiciously and each stated:
“The fruit of mage engineering?”
“What are you on about?”
“I don’t get it. Explain it to us clearly.”
Ian was the only one who kept his silence. He had almost lost his cool and exploded with questions.
“There are veins of mana flowing from the surface to the core of the heart. It’s more of a technically structured object than an organ. The dragon’s heart was a mage object? Could it mean it was man-made?
“Are you sure?” Berthold the seamstress asked.
“Positive.” Siram answered confidently without the slightest hesitance.
“Although….” He continued, “I can’t say for sure whether it’s made by humans.”
“What does that mean?”
“I mean what I said. Even I can’t create things like this. Doesn’t this have infinite power? I’m sure you all have your weaknesses as artisans. Infinite power is our ideal form of power we technicians long for.”
Infinite power was different from having an infinite amount of mana with the robe Berthold had made. Having an infinite amount of mana simply meant it had the power to protect and change the heart of mana within Ian. It was the same with the other artifacts. But the dragon’s heart was different.
“It’s a product of recreation.”
It was an organ that was deep within the heart. The core of wonder that only a few are born with. Someone had copied the original ‘mana heart’. It was a completely different object to the core.
“No wonder….” The other artisans looked serious. They no longer talked of the density or aphotic state of the heart. They knew how recreation was a different matter from preserving and changing an object.
“Who is the owner of the heart? Is it you all? Or does it belong to the Master of the Ivory Tower, the descendant of Fran?”
Everyone looked at Ian. The message was clear : the heart belonged to Ian.
“Master of the Ivory Tower, I have a favor to ask of you.”
“Leave the heart to me.”
It was a request that Ian had been expecting, and he had an answer prepared.
“Under three conditions.”
“I shall do as you ask.”
“First, I need the approval of the other artisans.”
Siram looked at the others. No one objected. Dennis the jeweler and Halia the blacksmith seemed to look disappointed, but didn’t say anything.
“The second conditions would be results. I won’t put any limitations on this. Whether it’s direct or indirect, I request that this needs to end in my benefit. Do you understand?”
Ian didn’t have the skills to control the heart. He had already been planning on leaving the heart in the hands of the artisans. He did, however, need to cross a line in this deal, and this was his second condition.
“And for the last request…” Ian turned his head to look inside the temple. All the masterpieces of the artisans were still being preserved. Ian looked at the three remaining statues.
“I want your masterpiece that’s in the temple, Siram.”
The seamstress Berthold’s robe. The carpenter Zerbio’s cane. The jewler Dennis’ earrings. The blacksmith Halia’s sword. The tools of Cleven. And Siram’s next masterpiece. That was the final request.
“Not a difficult request at all. After all, I was going to present it to Fran – I might as well hand it to his descendant.”
Siram approached the dragon statue and injected mana into it. The masterwork grew into its complete form.
“Here you go.”
Re-Edited by FlawFinder. Yes, I underlined “cane” because I didn’t remember if it was supposed to be staff.
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