Coming out of the Mage Academy, Jack went outside the capital and summoned Pandora. Most of the army had left by now, but their residue could still be felt. Jack couldn't imagine the sight of more than two million people gathering. It must have been glorious. He should have taken the time to take a look yesterday.

Some regiments were still around in the distance. These must have been the remains that were still making the last preparation before they chase after the marching army.

Jack rode Pandora and went to the back of Mount Thenias behind the capital. He soon arrived at the base of Blacksmith Circle. He came into the hall and called. He didn't just go in because he remembered they had traps along the entrance hallway. Plus, it would be rude to go in unannounced.

A human came out and asked what's his business. Jack announced his identity and said he wanted to meet with either Grenmir or Haestus.

The human said that Haestus wasn't at the base. He would inform Grenmir. He asked Jack to wait before disappearing back inside. Not long after, he came out with a familiar dwarf.

"Hey, impolite human, what brings you here?" Grenmir greeted.

"Good tidings, sir Grenmir," Jack replied, not baited by Grenmir's greeting. "I have a favor to ask."

"I see your diplomacy skill has improved since the last," Grenmir remarked with a grin. "So, what favor do you want to ask?"

"I believe you have a blacksmith facility equipped with unique-grade tools, correct? Do you mind if I use it? I can pay for rent if needed," Jack said.

"Hm… That facility is reserved for only members and paid with faction points," Grenmir said.

"Can't you make an exception, please…? I don't mind paying a large number of coins," Jack said. "I need to improve all my equipment before going to the frontline."

"Yeah, we heard about the incoming war, but we are impartial. We can't show ourselves to be in favor of any side."

"A favor to me then? Considering we are friends?" Jack said with a grin.

"What friends? You only spent a few days the last time you are here. We didn't even interact that much. Hm… But considering our faction had been doing good business with your guild, as well as your guild has been treating Kirsi well. All right, I will let you use the facility for 100 gold coins."

"So expensive?" Jack asked with surprise.

"Didn't you say you will be willing to pay a large number of coins?" Grenmir asked back.

"I didn't expect you are going to be that vicious…" Jack muttered.

"If you are not willing then forget it! Others will not even get the chance even if they offered me double the coins."

"I'm willing! I'm willing! Here are the coins, good Sir Grenmir," Jack took out one hundred gold coins.

Grenmir didn't immediately receive them. He lifted one of his brows while giving Jack a look before saying, "Sigh… Can't blame me for being someone who can't abandon a friend in need. I will accept these coins with a heavy heart. These coins are far from enough but I will explain to the higher-ups later why I have to go against the policy and let a non-member use one of our high-level facilities."

'Damn it! Didn't you deny that we are friends a moment ago?' Jack wanted to complain, but he maintained his smiling face and showed an appreciative expression. "Thank you, good Sir Grenmir. You are the best friend one can ask."

"You are not wrong," Grenmir said, laughing heartily. He pocketed the coins and invited Jack to follow him.

Without being instructed, Jack followed in his footsteps to avoid the traps.

"Oh, so you remember?" Grenmir asked.

"And I see you forgot to mention this from the start like before," Jack said back.

"I'm just testing your memory," Grenmir said.

Grenmir took Jack through the factory floor in the large cave hall before they arrived at one of the carved-out rooms. Grenmir gestured for Jack to enter. The cavern-like room only had one furnace, unlike the room Jack used when he was attending Grenmir's lecture here. Jack used his Inspect and found out the blacksmith tools provided here were indeed of the unique grade.

"One hour. If you need this room longer, then it will be another one hundred gold coins every hour," Grenmir said.

"What? You never said it is only for one hour," Jack complained.

"Well, I forgot to mention it. Unfortunately, no refund," Grenmir said.

Jack, "*@$#."

"Okay, I will leave you to it. I will come back again in one hour. You have better leave then or prepare another hundred gold coins. Oh, the tools here are bound. Don't you have any idea about taking them!"

"Do you think I'm that kind of person?"

"How can I know? I hardly know you to even call you a friend."


"All right, I will leave you to your work," Grenmir said and shut the door.

Since he only had one hour, Jack didn't waste time and immediately went to work. He had a large number of ores with him. He had also taken a large stock from the guild warehouse before he went to sleep last night. He went into the time chamber and fuse the warehouse's stock of ores into high-level ores. With the high-level ores from yesterday's fusing and the low-level ores he bought today, he had enough stock to attempt many level-ups for his equipment.

Even so, he preferred to reduce the failure chance further. He could use these ores to level up the guild's core member's equipment as well, after all. Hence, he tried his luck with the Blacksmith Circle here. The other place he knew that had unique-grade tools was the workshop inside the Village of Peace but he couldn't use the facility there anymore.

After working for a full hour, he leveled up his equipment to the highest level he could wear, which was level 66. He sacrificed a super rare one-handed sword for his Storm Breaker. At level 66, his Storm Breaker's base damage was 570. His level 66 unique-grade Mana Leech Staff enhanced by the Orb of Raijin had damage of 736. His level 66 Sword Fiend's Gear set improved his physical defense to 2127 while his magical defense was 1947.

After level 65, every level-up attempt needed nine iron ores, five steel ores, three copper ores, three silver ores, one gold ore, and one black iron ore. Gold ore and black iron ore were considered rare materials that normally only had a chance to be gained from mining rare-grade ore deposits. The chance was even slim, depending on the player's mining level.

The success chance of upgrading from level 65 to 66, even with Jack's basic master blacksmith and the unique-grade blacksmith tool, was only 15%. But luckily, Jack also had a super rare grade Runestone of Probability, added with his intermediate expert Runecraft skill, he could add around 50% to the success chance.

After he was done, he still had around half his stock of ores. He should be able to upgrade his friends' equipment by a few levels with this stock.

He thought about the expense of leveling up the equipment. Just by renting this room and buying the ores, he had burnt his one-month profit from the restaurant and bakery. The cost of leveling up the equipment was truly expensive.

However, he was considered lucky to be able to level up his equipment. Other players weren't able to even if they had more coins. Because the high-level ores were very hard to come by. From John's information network, he knew most of the higher-ups of the top guilds still had equipment below level 50, with most around level 40. Only Heavenly Citadel's core members had equipment over level 50 due to Jack's Transformation Prism.

He was glad he had followed Peniel's advice and use the Upgrade Cell to upgrade the Transformation Cube into Transformation Prism. Otherwise, he would have the same predicament as the other players.

With the improved damage and defense, he was ready for the next phase of his plan. He thanked Grenmir, who seemed to be rather disappointed that Jack didn't prolong the usage of the workshop by another hour. He used the Town Portal scroll and returned to Thereath.

Jack looked at the sky, it was near evening then.

'Looks like it is going to be midnight again by the time I am done,' Jack thought. He hailed a carriage and had it take him to the League of Champions' building.

He had not taken any challenge in this faction since before the challenge tournament. He now had 949 challenge points in his badge, he wanted to break through to a higher rank today and see what he could exchange from the list. He still had 1,735 glory points that could be exchanged.

First, he asked if Gruff was available. He hadn't met the old warrior after the civil war. He guessed he owed the guy an apology for Miller's demise. The receptionist said that Gruff was not in the building, but Gruff had instructed for someone to contact him if Jack came. The receptionist asked Jack to stay in the building until Gruff arrived.

'He is looking for me as well? Maybe want to berate me about Miller,' Jack thought.

He didn't plan to leave anytime soon. So, he told the receptionist to ask Gruff to come to find him at the challenge hall. He would be there taking the challenges.

Jack then went to the challenge hall. Without delay, he went to the wall with the roman numeral of fifty-one.