"So why do they call you Sooty?.." I asked curiously as he began rumbling through his display, his face suddenly turned to me.
"You haven't heard of The great Sooty Balefire?..." He said looking extremely excited.
"Wait the Sooty the Famous inventor who helped develop the weaponry for the War machines of Xoria???!!!" Jay and Helen gasped in shock.
"Yup that's me!!!" He said standing proudly.
"What do you mean?..." Daisy and I asked slightly confused why the individual in front of us seemed like a renowned hero.
"To be honest.... it wasn't all me, my Son did most the work he has a greater mind then even me." He smiled with so much glee like the proudest parent in the world.
"That's weird there was no mention of your son in any of the stories and recounts." Grace asked.
"Ahhh that's because he's lazy and doesn't want to be well known." He replied chuckling shaking his has in disagreement.
"Is this your son?..." I asked noticing a picture of two male and male gnome with a slightly taller male between them with a completely bandaged arm.
"Yes yes... like his late mother he had a brilliant mind..... Sadly she up in the heavens now." He answered with a giant sigh.
"So why are you nicknamed Sooty?.." Daisy asked.
"Well this great man somehow managed to forge weapons that shot what could only be described as Hell flames....." Grace explained.
"Hell flames?.." I asked in shock at the horrific name.
"Yes.... the flames would carry on burning till there was nothing left..." Helen added.
"Yes despite the enemies best efforts they weren't able to extinguish it...." Jay also added.
"That sounds horrible..." I replied in shock.
"Yes..... Sadly it was one of the very few things effective against the invaders.... they all had incredible regenerative abilities....." Jay explained.
"Yes.... those were very dark times..." Balefire replied looking as if remembering a nightmare causing me to remain silent unable to even comprehend what everyone went through.
"Yes so after the war, I now reside in this small little shop following my love and dreams, to make small inventions for the everyday folk." Balefire smiled taking out a pair of goggles from the shelf. "These are one of my personal favourites.... no very important for you Elves and Tieflings, but you two might find it very useful." He said pointing at Jay and I. "Catch!" He smiled chucking it to me.
"Okay?..." I hesitantly agreed holding it in front of my eyes trying to see what they do.
"This is what I call.... Goggles of Dark Seeing!!!" He said smiling issuing me to try them on.
Putting them on I instantly recognized this as some sort of thermal goggles as all of use appearing a mixture of green and orange.... and inorganic objects a pale grey and dark grey with everything we've touch glowing a dark blue momentarily as we passed on some heat.
"Woah.... how did you make thermal goggles?.." I asked in complete shock.
"OHHH my that's an amazing name for them!!! 'Thermal Goggles....'." Balefire replied in awe waving spreading both is hands in the sky.
"Thermal goggles?.." Everyone else asked confused.
"Yes yes... the materials the lenses are crafted from..... A special compound of materials that can sense different temperatures in objects." He began to explain.
"Yeah!!!!... And because everything loses and gains heat at different rates..... it basically allows me to see in zero light!" I replied in amazement.
"Ohhhh aren't you the brainy one!!!!!" Balefire replied in amazement and began shuffling more into a shelf.
"Wow...." I said in wonder how he managed to imitate technology from back home as I carried on looking around.
"Ohh can I try?.." Helen asked completely fascinated at them.
"Sure I said taking them off and passing them to Helen blinking my eyes to adjust to the colour change.
"Ohhhh this is amazing!!!!" Helen instantly beamed looking around frantically like a child. "This is way better than our dark vision! We just see normally in day and night... but this reveals thing that might otherwise be invisible….." She explained still smiling from ear to ear.
"Ahh yes yes this is great!!!!....I know another thing that will peak your interest!!!" Balefire said quickly running to get a ladder to reach one of the higher shelves.
"Have you ever heard of Artificing?..." Jay asked inspecting small gadgets on another shelf.
"Artificing?... is that when you youngsters infuse Arcanum or spells into objects, no?.." Balefire replied still rummaging deep into a shelf.
"Yes I believe so..." Jay replied to him.
"Ahhh Artificing was kinda my son's thing..... How do you say it?..... You can't teach an old dog new tricks." He chuckled to himself. "Ahh here it is finally!!!....." He said struggling to pull out something.
"Need some help?.." Daisy asked with a giant smile.
"Yes dear.... please take this.. Be careful it's very heavy!" He said struggling to move a large heavy suit case.
"Woah... you wasn't joking this is a little heavy..." Daisy said taking it from him grunting a little form the weight and placing it down on the floor with a huge thud. "What is this?.." She asked utterly fascinated.
"This magnificent creation I call it!!! The 'Cold box!!!!'." He said filled with excitement opening it up. "This magnificent creation!!! With the use of ice!!! It can keep the box at cold temperatures to keep anything in its contents from rotting!!!" He said extremely excited opening it.
We all peered into the large suitcase with a tiny compartment to store maybe one small items to be kept chilled. "..... Ohhhhh we've seen something like this but much bigger and a lot more spacious." We admitted to Balefire causing him to look slightly down.
"No way.... In all my travels I have never seen or heard of anything like this!!" He argued.
"Maybe we was mistaken... by any chance could you tell us a little more about this city??.... why is everyone so crazy and drunk???.." Jay asked.
"Ahhhh you see.... everyone who works in the mines or smiths use the drinks and parties as a sort of escape." Balefire answered packing away his mini fridge, after struggling putting it back on a shelf he pushed it to the side against a wall. "As for why they are so jittery... is because of this." he said running behind his counter pulling out a case of vials.
"What's that???..." We all asked, Jay and Grace picking up vial inspecting the light blue translucent liquid with speckles of silver and gold.
"This is called Phoenix blood elixir....." Balefire answered.
"They use Phoenix blood...to make these?....." I asked in shock.
"Phoenixs don't exist.... they are only legends...." Jay answered me.
"No no ... it's made from some plants.... it was given this name because it re-energizes the drinker making them feel refreshed." Balefire answered.
".... so everyone here takes it?..." Helen asked feeling worried.
"Yes yes..... Well not me but almost everyone does... to meet quotas and increase productivity also, everyone drinks these to make more money.... and well…. To stay in the job aswel…. Kinda a vicious cycle...." Balefire answered looking very grim.
"So I guess there's a very negative side effect??...." Jay asked noticing his reaction.
"Yes sadly.... it's very addictive and nothing can really replace real sleep and rest....." He answered Jay.
"Surly such a drug must be illegal in Aspa." Grace asked looking completely surprised.
"Nope.... this drug is totally legal.... in fact it's heavily marketed to land cities of Aspa to increase productivity, giving the populace dreams of increasing wealth and standing." He answered taking a seat on his high stool.
"But... I've never heard of such news....." Jay said in utter shock.
"Lemme guess.... you hear about all the glitz and glam of the sky cities and the Grand fleet???...." Balefire asked.
"Yeah ....." Helen, Grace and Jay replied.
"Yeah..... Sadly people only hear and see what they want to..... No one cares about how Aspa maintains their production and the land cities that supply them." Balefire answered.
"May I ask... why you decided stay???... I'm sure you could be a lecture or even a teacher in Atlantis or even head artificer in Aspa." Jay asked politely.
"I chose to stay because I met my late wife here..... And this very workshop is where I taught and brought up my son." He said proudly with a hint of sadness. "This is my town, I can't leave my town." He added.
"So where is your son now??.... He must be doing amazing things." Jay asked.
"My son?.... he said he wanted to learn and experiment more in Artificing..... Probably in the sky cities..... Sadly I havn't seen him for a while..... But he sends back plenty of money for me to have no worries." Balefire smiled extremely proudly.
"Would it be too much to ask for you to come see out teacher???.." Helen asked kindly.
"Hmmm..... what if you tell me the secret to your 'cold box', I'll come with you." He smiled causing everyone to look at me hoping I could help.
"I mean..... I kinda know how a refrigerator works and an ice box.... I'm sure I can...." I replied trying to desperately work out how they work.
"Refrigerator????" Balefire asked looking confused.
"Ahhh I mean cold box..." I replied correcting myself.
"Ohhh so you can tell me???"He asked me looking extremely happy.
"Sure....." I hesitantly replied frantically trying to remember how a fridge operates
"Great lemme grab my things and close up." Balefire jumped in excitement quickly sweeping some things into his pocket and went around the back for a minutes or two.
"Are you sure it's okay to tell him about Artificing from Emilia's home????...." Daisy asked a little worried
"I'm sure it's alright..... Besides this is only a hologram anyways." Jay smiled.
"Ohhh true true....."Daisy nodded in agreement.
"Alright I'm all ready to set off..... Balefire came walking out learning the way out his shop and locking the door behind us.