Chapter 101 - Virtuosic
The past Li Yao, having grown up in the magical equipment graveyard since childhood, had the most extreme character brought up in him due to the poor living environment.
He was just like a vicious vulture whose first choice in an encounter was to use the most violent methods.
But now, after three months of traveling over the hills and through the river, beholding so many sublime and vast sceneries, and meeting many people with various stories, unbeknownst to him, Li Yao had become broad-minded.
Furthermore, because of assimilating so many of Ou Yezi's memory fragments, his temperament had gradually transformed, and thus he became more mature. Now, he was unlike any of the 18-19-year-old hot-headed teenagers; he was more like an adult who had been living away from home for a few years and had gone through fire and water.
It didn't mean that he had given up on his principles of life, but rather his fierce aura was no longer exposed.
In the past, Li Yao was like a vicious vulture, but today, Li Yao was like a soaring hawk.
The vulture was now “hibernating within his heart”.
While recalling the memories from the past three months bit by bit, Li Yao disassembled the wooden oxen and flowing horses as skillfully and as easily as if traveling along a familiar road. Nowadays, these unsophisticated, civilian magical equipment were as simple as ordinary toys in his hands. With proficiency similar to a butcher dismembering an ox, the metal beast puppets turned into heaps of parts one by one. After cleaning, derusting, pruning, oiling, and undergoing all sorts of processing, they were once again reassembled.
"Moo! Moo!" The iron bull bellowed at the top of its voice.
"Baa! Baa! Baa!" The bronze goat automatically spun and weaved wool-like fibers while bleating cheerfully
"Woof woof! Woof woof! Woof woof woof woof!" The big tin dog, which had been missing its hind leg and instead had a wheel installed in its place by Li Yao, bolted around the kids while swaying its hollow, iron tail left and right as it made creaking noises.
The villagers had never seen such marvelous maintenance skills. Compared to Li Yao, the old magical equipment maintenance technician who had difficulty seeing clearly was simply as clumsy as a tailor who mended shoes. The entire village that had gathered in the grain drying field was completely shocked by Li Yao's quick and sharp skills. Each and every villager was grinning from ear to ear from shock and amazement.
The repaired wooden oxen and flowing horses cheerfully ran towards their owners, and naturally, the owners all had huge smiles hanging on their faces.
As for the other metal puppet beasts whose most crucial components were impossible to repair because of excessive wear and tear, their owners had a frown knitted on their forehead, and they all felt depressed.
Li Yao, after thinking for a moment, said, "Everyone, don't worry, I will think of some way. It’s just civilian magical equipment anyway. The load bearing capacity and the precision requirements for its components are very low, it would be better to—"
Under his meticulous inspection of the wooden oxen that could not be repaired, he found those truly worn components which he could do nothing about. The rusting was so severe that the iron bull was reduced to a lump of iron.
Having disassembled it into its various parts, Li Yao explained it to the villagers, "This iron bull is truly worn out; I simply have no way to repair it. Will there be a problem if I dismantle it for spare parts?"
"It's alright, Young Master Li. The rust on this iron bull is already beyond imagination. When I tried selling it as scrap iron, no one was even willing to buy it. Feel free to do whatever you like. Whether you can repair it or not, either way, it’ll be alright. We are already satisfied with all the maintenance you have done!" The village chief laughed; he had made the final decision.
Li Yao slightly smiled as he placed one of the iron bull’s leg on the anvil and raised the iron hammer high into the air.
"Young Master Li, what do you want to do?"
"Do you want to forcibly hammer a lump of iron to create components which can be used directly?"
"Impossible, even immortals can not do such thing!"
One after another, the villagers broke into discussion as they became extremely curious. Even those kids with runny noses were peeking through the gaps between the legs of the adults. Everyone was staring at Li Yao in surprise.
"Cluck! Cluck! Cluck! Cluck!"
The entire village was wrapped in silence; only the hens who were being raised on the other side of the grains drying field were completely oblivious to the situation as they were still cheerfully clucking.
Li Yao took a long, deep breath. In the depths of his brain, Ou Yezi's memory fragments started rotating wildly. The memory fragments pertaining to countless days and nights spent in Hundred Smelting Clan's metal forging room turned into colorful splendor one after another as the corresponding muscle memory swarmed into each and every part of Li Yao’s body.
In an instant, it was as if Li Yao was possessed by a god; seemingly as if it was a high-grade flying sword, the crude and thick black iron hammer in his hand surprisingly let out a dragon roar, causing undulating, invisible ripples to appear in the air.
Several nearby villagers felt a gust of wind striking their face and blowing their hair away. A kid even let out a "Wow!".
Just as the villagers blinked their eyes, Li Yao started moving!
His right hand turned into a black shadow as it strangely made a circle in the air before ruthlessly pounding at the iron anvil!
Dazzling sparks burst forth in between the iron hammer and the iron anvil along with a thunderous bang, which surprisingly lingered in the air for a while, like that of a toll from an old temple bell, making everyone's ears to start ringing.
Many villagers could not help but cover their ears.
The echo from the first strike had yet to disperse, but the iron hammer had once again turned into a giant black python and landed upon the iron anvil from another tricky angle, thereupon bursting forth with another shockwave akin to a toll from an old temple bell.
Like frightful billows and terrifying waves, two shockwaves, one after the other and with layer upon layer, stormed towards everyone.
This time, even the strongest among villagers involuntarily covered their ears as every child started to break into cries.
"What's going on? It's not like we have never seen metal forging before, but why is it so loud?"
"Wow, check out Young Master Li's speed! An iron hammer weighing tens of kilogram is just like chopsticks in his hands!"
"Fast, extremely fast! I am simply unable to clearly see when he is striking the anvil. I only see boundless black shadows!"
While covering their ears and staring at Li Yao with wide-opened eyes, every one of them was shouting at the top of their lungs.
However, aside from what they themselves had said, no one else could hear or understand the others. Everyone was immersed in an immense shock.
As for Li Yao, he seemed as if he didn't feel anything.
He was neither affected by the deafening, bombarding rings nor was he perturbed by the screams of the villagers.
Once he switched to his working mode, he seemed to have entered an ethereal state where he forgot everything, even himself.
With a solemn look in his eyes, he kept staring at the iron anvil.
But, if one looked carefully, the depths of his eyes bore a faint mist, one that gave off the impression as if his spirit wasn't even here; instead, it was inside the metal forging room of Hundred Smelting Clan from forty millenniums ago.
Dong! Dong! Dong! The collision of hammer and anvil continuously reverberated. Since the very beginning, Li Yao consciously controlled each and every movement of his body while displaying the along the entire process.
However, as the forging progressed, his speed also became faster and faster. The strikes of the iron hammer were no longer a conscious action; it became as natural as breathing to him. Afterwards, his pair of arms completely transformed into two black aurae, directly enveloping the entire iron anvil. Everyone could only hear a series of "Deng, deng, deng, deng" coming from inside the aura, but they were simply unable to clearly see any of his movements.
Suddenly, his every action came to a halt.
The flattened iron hammer was thrown aside. To everyone's surprise, the hammerhead had actually turned crimson, as if it had just gone through high-temperature smelting, and it was even emitting scorching heat.
"Give me another hammer!" Li Yao shouted as he stared with wide-opened eyes.
Because of the multiple fierce bombardments in a short span of time, the temperature of the iron hammer climbed to the peak, and thus it was no longer usable.
Witnessing such a marvelous performance, all the villagers cried out in surprise; they were all horrified.
The village blacksmith quickly handed him a new iron hammer. After weighing the hammer for a bit, another round of sounds of the ruthless pounding of a hammer echoed in the village!
In just a span of half an hour, Li Yao had replaced a total of five iron hammers. Finally—"It's done!"
Throwing away the scorching hot iron hammer, Li Yao contentedly appreciated his own masterpiece. His hands were full of bloody blisters as they constantly shook.
The villagers swarmed over, and as they carefully looked with wide-opened eyes, they discovered multitudes of parts of different shapes lying on the iron anvil as well as a pile of parts on the ground!
A completely rusted iron bull had been forcefully hammered into the over a hundred magical equipment components on the ground. The equipment components, in and of itself, were the proof that showed how formidable the forging techniques of the Hundred Smelting Clan were forty millenniums ago!
Holding a magical equipment used to measure accuracy, the village blacksmith walked over. A red beam from the magical equipment shot out, carrying out a full range scan of each and every component.
"He really made it! Although the accuracy is a bit worse than the original, for a civilian magical equipment, it is completely acceptable!"
The gray-haired, old blacksmith, after reading the data on the measuring equipment, jumped out in surprise and happiness.
In a moment, the swarm of villagers broke out into cries of exclamation just like the waves of a tsunami.
"Young Master Li is absolutely amazing! Just using an iron hammer, he made hundreds of parts!?"
"Of course, Young Master Li is a university student!"
“So what if he's a university student? Our family's third child is also a university student as well, but look at what he is doing now!”
"How can that be the same? Young Master Li is a student of a prominent university!"
While the villagers were immersed in cheering and jumping in joy, the village chief, with a big grin on his face, invited Li Yao into his own small house.
"Young Master Li, this time, I really have to thank you. You have greatly helped my village!"
"Village Chief, I simply repaired since I could. Now that university is about to start, tomorrow, I will leave to report to the Grand Desolate War Institution," Li Yao said with a smile.
"Alright. Attending university is important. On behalf of the entire village, I wish you a pleasant and safe journey. Right, I have something for you. If it's not too heavy, bring it along with you!"
From under the bed, the village chief, with difficulty, dragged out something that was wrapped in a rag. It was apparent that it was very heavy; just from the friction with the cement, it already made a squeaking noise.
The village chief cautiously unwrapped the cloth. Lying inside was an oddly-shaped lump of metal where the bottom part was thin, while the top part was thick and even had two protruding ends—it resembled a hammer that had been crafted by nature itself.
"Huh?" Li Yao's eyes began to shine.
In the memory fragments of Ou Yezi, the very first exercise he came in contact with was .
And in the Hundred Smelting Clan's forging room, day and night, it was also the hammer which he had been in contact with.
The hammer could be said to be the tool which he was the most familiar with.
And it appeared that this bizarre-shaped, naturally formed hammer was neither metal nor any kind of ore. It looked quite ordinary, but it possessed a kind of bizarre, devil energy, one which made anyone who looked at it be reluctant to extricate their line of sight.
The village chief breathed a sigh of relief. While raising a spiritual energy lamp to illuminate the lump of metal, he laughed and said, "Look!"
Narrowing his eyes, a faint blue color appeared in his sight.
Just a moment ago, this lump of metal was completely black and gave off an appearance that was too ugly to look at. But once it came in contact with the light, a trace of a magnificent blue sheen appeared on its black surface. Within the depths of this blue sheen, it seemed to be sparkling with a brilliance akin to stars, giving it a look as if it were a huge blue gemstone; it was extremely beautiful and captivating.
"Dark Star Rock?" With one glance, Li Yao recognized the material.
This material called Dark Star Rock was neither metal nor ore since it possessed both the characteristics of metal and rock. It was not something which was naturally formed in the Heaven Origin Sector, but instead, it was a kind of meteorite from outer space. Although it was not scarce in quantity, generally speaking, its was limited to the size of the fist of a newborn child.
Such a big piece lumped together to take the form of a natural war hammer was rather rare.
The Dark Star Rock's value was not too high; although it was very hard, its spiritual energy conductivity was extremely bad, and it was very difficult to use it to refine a variety of magical equipment. Thus, it was almost equivalent to a scrap of metal.
Unless it was used to refine a very particular magical equipment with a specialized property, for general purposes, it would never be used.
However, the market price for such a big piece of Dark Star Rock was easily a few hundred thousand bucks.
A flash rushed past Li Yao's eyes as his breathing became a little rapid. He said in excitement, "Village Chief, what do you mean?"