Finally, the process seemed to come to a stop as the chest plate was tossed out of the forge. Ed gazed at it as if to inspect it before laying his hands on it. He peered inside it and found that the skeleton torso was indeed still found inside.
'What's the benefit of this? can't they just wear armor?' As the forge had put it together Ed had to assume it was in some way useful, no?
'Maybe the skeletons become more in tune with their armor.' Ed was thinking that having one's senses and influence extend to the lifeless armor might increase close combat skills. He wasn't sure if the difference would be sufficiently substantial, however.
'Well, I'll create only this one for now' Ed figured liches mixed with knights might prove more useful so he opted for that option.
He went to the holding box and threw in the other body parts. The forge showed him the prompt and Ed readily agreed. The process began once again.
Ed's thoughts wandered as he waited. The anti-skeletons were being built automatically and he only needed to wait for the death knight. His thinking was thus focused on the knight.
'What consciousness do I put in it?' This thought popped into Ed's mind. He had only now realized this point. He was inclined towards putting in Iron simply due to his knightly bearing but…
'That won't do' He needed to at least upgrade him first! Yes! Ed now knew a potential benefit!
'A bigger consciousness' Wouldn't armor help house a larger consciousness? Ed was even inclined to believe it might end up being more beneficial than a simple change of material structure.
Ed, therefore, left the forge room with a gleaming expectation. He entered the spirit room and searched for his target through assessment.
[Iron (Wisp of Consciousness)]
One of the glowing windows finally displayed Iron's name on its text. Ed walked over to it and even floated slightly to catch it in his hands.
He also followed it up by grabbing three other orc consciousnesses. He was going to wipe their memories and fuse them with Iron's.
'Let's hope this works' It would suck for the WindStone armor he worked so hard to loot to break apart as a result of a failure.
Ed exited the room with the four consciousnesses in tow. The forge was still going strong and pumping out liches while Ed's death knight experiment was being performed on the side.
Ed threw the consciousnesses belonging to the dead orcs into the holding box while allowing Iron to float around. He didn't need to but he didn't see a need to restrict Iron. He grabbed a chisel and started hacking away at the consciousnesses, occasionally throwing a skeleton limb with the corresponding armor piece into the forge.
In less than half an hour. Ed's death knight was completed. He only needed to fuse the four wisps now.
'The liches are also done' The attaching of the orb was a much faster process since it didn't need the materials to liquify. That fact also cut out the solidifying process.
There were a couple of things that required some extra attention like the mending of scratches and injuries but the system took care of it with some leftover antimony. Once the four wisps merged, Ed would be able to leave the space and begin his experiment.
He made use of the holding box and had the wisps fall into the forge. Iron's floating wisp was also thrown in there with the system's help.
The white flame flickered violently as it started to melt the four wisps. The resplendent wisps lost their light as they slowly turned into a floating ball of liquid. Ed watched on until two of the wisps finally collided with one another doubling in size. The other two did the same and then the new and bigger wisps also collided.
The ultimate result…
An independent being made of thought.
After assessing the new consciousness, Ed was astonished. It was a new description!
'It says nothing of remnants… it's its own person now?' Ed was starting to think that having eliminated all memories coupled with the four fusions deleted all dungeon influence resulting in such an assessment. Of course, he couldn't be sure as that was just conjecture. Food for thought.
But he still didn't eat much of it. He needed to proceed with his plans. What if someone came to avenge the knights? And then someone came to avenge the people that avenged the knights? He would be caught with his pants down every time.
Ed grabbed all the necessary items. He couldn't do it one fell swoop however given the sheer quantity of anti-skeleton bones.
Once out, the bones and the death armor all fell by his feet. Ed scooted to another side and quickly returned to space for the rest of the bones. It took him many trips to finally have every bone out of the system space.
'In retrospect, I might have only needed the anti-skeleton torso' Ed convinced himself that the whole point was to not arouse the dungeon's suspicion and began to assemble the anti-skeletons.
But not before calling over some helpers.
'All of you, come over' Ed called upon the twelve liches. He would get them to prepare the bodies.
He first did so himself to demonstrate and the others followed soon after. It wasn't the first time that they had seen Ed do this either so they weren't all unacquainted with the procedure.
Kenny Jr. had his moments of confusion but it didn't take him long to get the hang of it. If he hadn't the greater intelligence Ed provided it would have gone to waste. Sure it was only one consciousness but… for Kenny it was a substantial increment in thought.
Ed continued assembling the skeletons. He had long since had it down to a science.
[Hoarding has leveled up]
'It looks like this counts as hoarding too' Ed thought as he finished assembling another one. He assessed the field of dead skeletons and checked on a small pile.
'More than half are done, I'll leave it to the mages then' He would instead start allocating consciousnesses to each skeleton.
He started with the named ones.
'Prairie' Ed inserted Prairie's consciousness. The skeleton took a good bit to come to itself. But once it did, it knelt with extreme reverence and gratitude. Ed couldn't see any expressions so he took it from the way it trembled.
Prairie's core was of the water element. If there was a plant element he would go with that but… the closest was the pseudo-element spells like entangle. For that two elements were needed. The water could be said to be a preparation for that.
'I will get all of the elements' He would make sure his core and that of his skeletons housed every element. How he would achieve that was yet to be seen.
'Maybe add new cores?' The main reason why that was not a common choice was that the approach could backfire. The pressure on the body could be counter-intuitive.
The second option he could think of had been discussed long ago. To only house clashing elements, like that they would keep each other at bay. The issue was that this would only allow for two elements.
Ed proceeded with the spirit insertion process.
'Scavenger… Brutus… ' Ed did those two in quick succession.
Brutus' body housed the fire element. Ed imagined that it would match its fiery personality.
Scavenger accommodated the wind. Ed figured it might help it snatch items in battle. It also matched its preferred sword length, Scavenger was akin to a rogue.
Ed briefly gauged their reactions and quickly proceeded with the insertion. Ed managed to catch from the corner of his vision how Scavenger waved its reattached arm as if in relief.
'If you doubt my work I can't promise you won't lose another arm' If he had done a shoddy job he would need to practice to make up for it, right? Scavenger was a fitting test subject, no?
Scavenger froze after hearing Ed's unkind message. It instead walked away from the vicinity to assess its new mana core.
'Am I a bully?' Ed asked himself as if having a moment of doubt. He dismissed the thought soon after however and continued with the insertion process.
There were now 36 new liches. That meant a new class on mana circulation…
But that didn't yet matter. It was time for the death knight!
Ed assessed the final set which no one had yet to assemble. From the outside, it only seemed to be armor apart from the helmet which held a skull.
Ed brought the pieces closer together and approached the helmet. He then inserted a consciousness, Iron's consciousness!
There was no reaction.
But that was alright. Ed knew to be patient.
A minute passed…
'This takes a bit huh…' Ed was starting to feel a bit worried but he soon found it was unfounded.
There was a small rattle. The pieces started to vibrate quite fiercely.
The helmet slid itself onto the chest plate/torso as if affected by a ghostly presence. The arms and legs did the same.
There was the sound of the armor locking into place which left Ed satisfied. The skeleton was left on the ground before it suddenly shook vigorously. Following that, the armor came to life.
Iron seemed confused as it found itself laying on the ground. It slowly stood up surprised about its body's change.
'Now to observe for anomalies' He needed to make sure it wouldn't break down later.