A Black Market LitRPG - Chapter 166
The hovercraft hovered slightly over the ground, the air draft buffeting the workers in the clearing a safe distance away from the factory. They were now testing the flight of the hovercraft, but Kyle added on something new to the checklist.
As the pilot hovered in midair, Kyle cracked open his Arcia Detector, tweaking the springs with spares that he had brought, trying to tailor the sensor to treat the hovercraft’s own arcia energy flow as background noise.
However, the hovercraft was far too overpowering, causing Kyle’s hopes to be dashed. He had intended to place the detector on the belly of the hovercraft, before doing a low pass over the area to find any arcia crystals deposit.
The hovercraft would require a far larger detector than what I have now, something much more powerful that can pierce through the ground. Kyle however decided not to chase that rabbit hole now. He instead turned his focus back to the checkout of the hovercraft, having the pilot perform combat turns, as well as continuously power cycle the stealth engravings.
After a two hour check, the hovercraft was cleared for launch, making Reese and Gordon slightly happy. They had done it in just a single day, though there was not much brain power involved especially when they already had done it before once.
“Get ready for the next hovercraft – we’re going to do it faster!” Gordon ordered the workers, with him arranging them into three shifts across the day, ensuring the factory was always working 24/7. More and more goblins joined the factory as extra helping hands, trained by their more experienced seniors and human managers to build faster.
Kyle brought the detector to the underground, travelling along what was left of the tunnel networks. Along the way, Kyle had already noticed that there were a few clear readings within the tunnel network itself, him taking note of the locations before returning back to base and gathering a mining team. He brought them to the closest location, one that already had an existing underground tunnel network, carved out by eroding underground rivers.
He held up the detector to the walls as the rushing sound of water enveloped the entire cavern, the reading stronger than ever. Looks like it’s just right beyond this wall. They got to work immediately, all the goblins experienced over the past month in digging out new deposits, immediately deploying structures and hacking away at the walls while Kyle continuously read the detector, hoping it was not a false reading.
Within a short three hours, the first crystal was found, the goblins marvelling at the beauty of the crystals. Kyle took it in his hands, examining the item.
Kyle’s heart sank slightly, knowing the energy storage capability of the crystal was not as good as the ones found in the Keru Forest dungeon. There might be a way to upgrade the crystals, but that’s a job for later. Right now, these crystals can already assist enough.
Despite having excavated the one arcia crystal, the detector reading was still going strong, indicating that there was a large deposit here. Another five crystals turned up, all of which were basic quality.
Kyle handed the detector to the mining team, heading back to the factory to test the energy storage capability of the basic arcia crystal with Reese and Gordon. They pumped it to the brim with an arcia regenerator before having it turn a shaft without restrictions, the energy slowly draining out. They calculated the time it took, having already measured the intermediate and advanced storage capabilities of the crystals Kyle brought from Keru.
“Right now, it can only hold a hundredth of what an intermediate arcia crystal can.” Reese lamented. “Even an arcia fuel pack would be better than it.”
Despite the disappointing results, Kyle knew the arcia crystals were more compact and easier to wield in combat compared to the fuel pack, whose tubes were too large of a weakness. Good enough for the strike team.
With the crystals now in hand, Kyle turned his attention to the combat trials Sasha was running. A mix of humans and goblins had signed up, eager to become the best of the best.
The trials were gruelling, with Sasha putting all of them through their paces. Already the cutoff requirement of firing an arcia machine gun non-stop for twenty seconds had eliminated many of the applicants, resulting in only three hundred surviving out of the thousand that applied. Many of those who cleared the task had been training with Sasha from day one before they had even subjugated the goblin kingdom, bearing a wealth of combat experience.
Kyle nodded at the promising combat skills of the applicants as he watched from above, peering down at a cavern where five combatants were fighting tooth and nail with captured prisoners from the Cretins and Demons, the prisoners promised freedom if they killed all five combatants.
However, none of the prisoners ever defeated the applicants, with all three hundred making it out, holding no qualms about ending the prisoners’ lives. Such a use of prisoners of war would be a warcrime under the Council, but Kyle was hardly one to follow such laws anyway.
Kyle began to see glimpses of a perfected strike force, honed through the months of continuous skirmishes in the Culdao Peaks. If only I could combine this with the best of ADCON, they would truly be an elite force to be reckoned with.
Soon, the final task was at hand – a one-on-one duel with Sasha. It was here that nearly half of the applicants were cleanly knocked out, Sasha a complete master at utilizing her tattoos to her advantage, along with her monstrous self-regeneration. It caused Kyle to think about his previous tattooing experiment, one where he had yet to apply onto himself. The success rate was abysmal at that time – does that mean Sasha is more attuned to become a mage than I thought?
His thoughts also wandered to Damian, who had also survived the tattoo procedure out of sheer will and determination. Kyle did not watch the duels any longer, satisfied in Sasha’s ability to deliver only the best of the best. “Sasha, once you have the final selection, split them into squads of five and have them run combat duels against each other, non-stop until I’m ready.”
Kyle could feel the plan coming together – his troops strength was increasing, his arcia crystals production was stable and the informants were still gathering information in Kregol. Damian and Niko were still holding on well, though they were slowly losing ground day-by-day through the regular reports.
The Cretins and Demons have already tried to break through the new defensive line of the Culdao Peaks again, with sappers attempting to collapse the defensive formations of Kyle’s troops. However, the defensive line still held strong, though the amount of ammunition and energy expended was staggering.
With everything stable for the meantime, Kyle still had one thing left to do. I’m not strong enough.
As powerful as Kyle seemed to the common individual, he was still weak in comparison to many of the big players out there. He knew that Ares, the leader of the Ardent Cretins, was still a major threat that had yet to fully show his strength in combat. Kyle did not have any gauge on exactly how strong Ares was, but he knew their fight would be inevitable. Kyle did not have anyone save for Sasha who could potentially put up a fight against Ares.
The clearest path of improvement for him was improving his exosuit. The repaired Version 0 exosuit laid at the back of the factory now, dismantled into its various pieces along with its Advanced Arcia Crystal.
Kyle could tell that his exosuit was a hodgepodge of engravings, made at a time where he needed every engraving he could get his hands on. Harden, Point Defence, Arctech Radio Communication were all done in multiple layers of armour, but the engravings themselves were not the best use of the Advanced Arcia Crystal, which Kyle had yet to charge even once.
I need to find an engraving that can utilize the full power of the Advanced Arcia Crystal, else the Crystal could be considered overkill. Kyle went through all of the various engravings he could think about ever since he reincarnated. He began to lay out the skills that were similar in nature.
The first that came to mind was Thunder Blade’s Accelerate and Aero Shoes’ Sprint. Both of them increased the movement speed, but Kyle wondered if they were related in anyway. Arcia energy converted directly into kinetic energy – the engravings must be related.
Five hours of studying the engravings allowed Kyle to finally see the similarities, noticing the clear difference in quality. He overlayed the engravings on pieces of paper and held them up to an arctech lamp, allowing him to see the unique patterns in the engraving. If I am not wrong, the engravings can be combined.
Kyle had never combined engravings before, usually only layering them ontop of one another. This would be an ambitious project, but something told him that this was how he could push his equipment to the next stage. He even drew out the engravings used for his rifle, noting that the acceleration engravings on the barrel bore similarities as well to the other two. There is a pattern here!
As soon as he began to etch a prototype combination onto the metal, the Arcia Engraver title kicked in, his mind filling in the blanks and his hand guided almost automatically. It was as though he had read thirty research papers, fully ingesting and comprehending it. What was originally murky in his thoughts suddenly became as clear as day.
The first prototype engraving was completed, Kyle amazed at what he even managed to create as he held the piece of metal up in his hands.
Kyle placed his hands onto the prototype piece, channeling his arcia energy into it to activate the skill. How strong is this burs- Before Kyle could even finish thinking, the plate blasted off the workbench, sailing up high into the air and breaking through the ceiling of the factory.
As the curious factory workers looked up at the gaping hole in the ceiling, Kyle was already grinning to himself. The applications of this combination arcia engraving was numerous and the title he had received was even better than ever.
Keeping the momentum going, he worked on combining the other engravings, trying to find any other similarities. If only I knew how to duplicate the engravings of my class skill… Kyle did not linger too long on that, focusing on the others.
The next he had in mind was his warhammer’s Pulverizer effect. Repeating the same process by combining the Red Lion’s hammer Delayed Assault from Lionel and Reinforcement from Riker’s metal pipe, he found the similarity again, distilling down the essence of how arcia energy was creating the impact follow-up.
Doing up the prototype again over the next two hours, the time taken to study far less thanks to his new title, he produced yet another engraving, this time one he dubbed a bunker buster.
Kyle quickly placed the plate on the ground, channeling the skill to test, though this time he tested outside the factory to not disturb the workers. Even as Kyle could feel the arcia energy leaving his body directly, he did not see any results, making him wonder if the System’s description was wrong. Weird, the description is usually never wrong.
However, as soon as Kyle turned to leave and fix the prototype, the ground rumbled slightly before bursting outwards, a crack developing across the floor as a pillar of dirt and soil blasted high, along with the residual of arcia energy. The dirt showered Kyle, coating him all over, but he ignored it and began working on his new weapon, combining everything he knew about arctech engravings into one single unique powerhouse.
Once I’m done, this- this will be the strongest weapon I have yet!