Chapter 56: Hearthstone
Frostaxe's callused hands touched the surface of the arcanotech device. The first impression he had was smoothness. His experience in grinding originium crystals and gemstones allowed Frostaxe to instantly recognize that the machine was made using those materials.
All of them were very common originium crystals seen in the market, and some of the components were of poor quality.
Frostaxe would not have bothered looking at these sorts of products using inferior raw materials in the past.
But Frostaxe swore upon all of his ancestors that he had never seen such this arcanotech before!
"You… made this?"
Frostaxe ran his hand through the surface of this arcanotech machine, and when a card was dragged by his finger, Frostaxe pulled back his hand as if he had been hit by a static shock.
But driven by his curiosity, he once again extended his finger towards one of the cards on the table.
"Well, strictly speaking, I made this device with two friends, and one of them is standing before you."
Joshua pointed to Ciri as Frostaxe looked glanced between Ciri and Joshua, and the youthful appearance of both of them had made Frostaxe realize that ‘the times had really changed'.
"What's its use?"
Frostaxe racked his centuries-old mind trying to find the principle that allowed this arcanotech device to project that bizarre image on the transparent screen.
While he did not have much understanding of arcane runes like the human mages, but when it came to the know-how of originium crystals and arcanotech, if he claimed to be number one in the city, no one would dare to even claim second place.
This was because arcanotech actually came from the underground ruins, and this product of an ancient civilization was found by Frostaxe while he was exploring the ruins hundreds of years ago. Back then, he had discovered a giant made out of steel that could be driven using mana and was extremely lethal.
At that time, the Dwarven Exploration Team had sacrificed twelve brave warriors in order to take that metal giant down. After so many years, the giant's metal head still hung over Frostaxe's wall at home.
Compared to the arcanotech in the ruins, Norland's research of arcanotech was still at its infancy, and the mages of Norland had only scraped the surface of its knowledge.
Sadly, all of the arcanotech in the ruins were all destroyed and were basically useless.
Frostaxe had never seen any arcanotech that could shock him like the steel giant for a very, very long time.
Now, something incredible stood before him, as he was unable to understand the principles behind it!
Why were there pictures on the surface of the originium crystals, why were there changes when his hand touched the picture?
These few questions had his already rotting brain spinning in a frenzy, and what use did this thing have?!
This arcanotech machine only had a simple function.
Joshua looked at the dwarf before him. The latter was probably many times older than Joshua was, as his face was lined with wrinkles, yet there was no trace of infirmity on him. The light mail he was wearing was at least thirty plus kilograms heavy.
"Just spit it out."
Frostaxe urged impatiently. A dwarf's curiosity and drive for knowledge was no lesser than human mages, otherwise they would not have continued their exploration beneath Norland.
At his urging, Joshua gave him a very simple answer.
Frostaxe admitted that having feedback from the picture upon touching it with his finger was interesting, but this delicate arcanotech device was for entertainment?
"That's right. This thing is called Hearthstone, and the gameplay is not what you think it is."
Joshua looked at the old dwarf tapping the cards on the screen and dragging them around.
That felt like giving a tablet for a cat to play with, as the cat used its little paws to meaninglessly tap against the tablet screen.
"Might as well play a round for demonstration. I'll go get some food."
Ciri gave up her position as an onlooker as Ynor brought the liquor ordered by the dwarf over at the same time.
"Alright, young man, I hope this device will be much more interesting than arm-wrestling."
Frostaxe immediately plopped his butt on the chair. There was not much entertainment for a dwarf, and drinking was one of the greatest joys for a dwarf, besides mining.
But be it drinking or mining, Frostaxe had been doing them for centuries now, and as much as he loved those activities, he was rather bored of them.
His wandering around Norland was just to find something new to do, and that game called Hearthstone, like the tavern's namesake, did indeed attract him.
For times like this, Joshua did not answer, preferring to use actions in place of words.
Frostaxe picked up the liquor Ynor had brought him and chugged it down in one go. The moment he put his flagon down, Joshua had started a new round of Hearthstone match.
The screen on the table was divided into two, and two portraits floated upon the screen closest to Frostaxe.
"What is this?"
Frostaxe felt that he might have used up all of the ‘whats' in his life today.
"A class, one is a warrior, and one is a mage."
Joshua pointed to Jaina the Mage and Garrosh the Warrior. These two were famous characters in World of Warcraft.
Frostaxe did not know the story of World of Warcraft, but he still knew what the mage and warrior classes were. He himself was a warrior, a warrior that could rely on his strength and physique to smash those foolish mages into a paste.
"He's an orc?"
Frostaxe pointed at Garrosh with a doubtful tone.
In this era of intermingling races, the orcs may be the only race that was not that amiable. A large number of them inhibited the frontiers of Ishtar and seemingly had no inclination to communicate with other races.
If a human's impression of a dwarf was that of a brute, then their impression of an orc would be a savage.
Moreso when Messai, the Nation of the Holy Church had been making proclamations that the orcs were minions of the demons.
But it seemed like Garrosh would be hated upon no matter where he goes…
"You are not disgusted by the orcs?"
Joshua noticed that Frostaxe had just asked a question before choosing Garrosh without any hesitation.
"Disgusted? They are just a group of homeless people."
Frostaxe recalled himself a few centuries back, long before he had discovered the underground ruins here, he and his clan members had been wandering around the wartorn continent, and during their travels they had met the orcs, the process itself was not particularly pleasant, but the end results were somewhat pleasant.
He had no idea if those old buggers that had slain the dragon with him hundreds of years ago were still alive or not… no, they must still be alive…
When Frostaxe selected "Garrosh" and the latter's portrait immediately fell into the hero's frame and shouted out "Victory or Death!".
This phrase was originally in Orcish back in World of Warcraft, Lok'tar Ogar. In order to make it understandable to the locals here, Joshua had directly translated into "Victory or Death!"
The elderly dwarf was clearly touched by this heroic, fearless in the face of the death-sounding line.
Who did not have a tale to tell of their younger days?
"Let's start then."
Joshua looked at his starting hand and attacked first.
As for the rules, he will just directly teach him in the game proper.