Chapter 201 – The Tournament Begins
The next day.
At the first glimmers of dawn, Tang Wulin set forth to meet with the delegation from the Blacksmith’s Association.
The blacksmith’s competition kicked off the start of the tournament. After participating in that event, he would have to rush to the individual competition. Following that would be the team battle in the afternoon. Tang Wulin’s schedule was packed full. As such, there was no time to spare; he hurried to find Cen Yue right after cultivating the Purple Demon Eyes and eating a heaping pile of breakfast.
Sporting a sixth-rank blacksmith’s badge on his chest, Cen Yue led the procession of blacksmiths like a hen leading its chicks. Because they were the youngest, Tang Wulin and Mu Xi stood at the back of the line.
“Senior disciple sister, do we have to wear our badges?” Tang Wulin asked softly.
Mu Xi was currently flaunting her own. Dyed in blue hues, it was adorned with two striking white stars, signifying her status as a second-rank blacksmith. Once she reached the third rank, Mu Xi would be bestowed a badge dipped in the orange glow of dusk, decorated with three yellow stars. The outline of a blacksmith’s hammer was a constant theme among the ranks.
As a fourth-rank blacksmith, Tang Wulin’s badge was orange and displayed four yellow stars.
“Oh, that’s right. Dad told me to tell you that you must not wear your badge. If possible, hide the fact that you’re a fourth-rank blacksmith. He only wants you to place in the top three. That way, you’ll qualify for advanced competitions in the future.” Mu Xi lowered her voice as she answered.
Zheng Tianlin faced her and smiled. “Junior sister Mu Xi, you’re still worried about your placement? Let’s go compete in the Shrek City’s Comprehensive Blacksmith’s Tournament later.”
The moment Zheng Tianlin spoke, the girl’s arrogant demeanor vanished like a dream. The tense wrinkle on her delicate brow transformed into a gentle smile. It was quite flattering.
Mu Xi said, “Mn. Sounds good! Good luck senior disciple brother!” Zheng Tianlin’s teacher was Eastsea Blacksmith’s Association’s other Saint Blacksmith. He was also the vice-president of the association. However, since he was a seventh-rank blacksmith, his strength was a slightly less than Mu Chen’s. Acknowledging his talent, Mu Chen had given Zheng Tianlin some pointers in the past. Mu Xi treated him like a senior disciple brother because of this.
Zheng Tianlin laughed, shifting his gaze at Tang Wulin. “Why are we bringing this brat? Is it so he can experience the world? Anyway, can he even lift a forging hammer at his age?”
Tang Wulin cursed Zheng Tianlin in his heart. Even if you’re trying to talk yourself up, you don’t need to belittle me. Despite feeling indignant, Tang Wulin kept silent since he didn’t want to cause trouble for his teacher.
Mu Xi couldn’t ignore this. Even though she constantly picked on him, Tang Wulin was still under her father’s personal guidance. With a cold snort, she said, “Senior disciple brother, are you questioning my dad’s decision? Wulin is my dad’s direct disciple. So, do you still think he can’t lift a forging hammer?”
Zheng Tianlin gawked. Never had he expected Tang Wulin to be Mu Chen’s disciple. After gathering himself, a trace of jealousy flashed through his eyes like an electric bolt. Mu Chen was an outstanding figure in the continent’s blacksmithing world. Including those who hid their status, there were no more than a dozen Saint Blacksmiths. Similarly, eighth-ranked blacksmiths totaled to four individuals,
He wasn’t only kissing up to Mu Xi because he liked her. Her father’s lofty position was also factored in. Since his own teacher was a Saint Blacksmith, acquiring the aid of Mu Chen would greatly increase his chances of reaching a similar level.
It was preposterous to believe that that the ten-year-old boy was actually the direct disciple of Mu Chen. This was the same Mu Chen who had refused to accept a student for several years. In Zheng Tianlin’s thoughts, this legendary figure only intended to nurture and guide his daughter.
“No way! You look just like a little kid! Well, I’ll be awaiting your performance.” The corners of Zheng Tianlin’s mouth quirked up in an imitation of a smile, but his eyes revealed his hostility.
Why’s this guy acting like this? I don’t remember offending him in any way! Tang Wulin was baffled, but soon he understood how his teacher had been protecting him. The tasks he accepted came from a special channel. Such preparation was made to shield him from the eyes of jealous hawks.
The only way to solve this problem is for me to become stronger! Once I’m strong enough, then what do I care if others are jealous?
The blacksmith’s competition was held in a small gym near Skysea Stadium. Tang Wulin trembled like a newborn calf when he entered the area.
Over a hundred forging tables were set up as far as the eye could see. Moreover, they were all from the newest generation, flaunting features superior to the one he usually used. His prior experience with this technology stemmed from the advanced tables of the association.
Although the Skysea Alliance lacked in powerful individuals, it still possessed overwhelming economic influence.
There weren’t many spectators in the stands. To the public, blacksmithing was neither interesting nor important. People were more drawn to soul master battles, mecha crafting and other exciting things.
Forging was a dry and dull affair in the eyes of the general populace.
Considering Mu Chen’s status, such an event was too insignificant for him to attend. However, the stage was filled with blacksmiths that Tang Wulin didn’t recognize. What was more amazing was that they were all blacksmiths of the fifth rank and up.
Cen Yue had already explained to him that the first round required proficiency in the Hundred Refinements. As long as he forged like usual, he would pass. Tang Wulin didn’t feel any pressure at all since he was already a fourth-rank blacksmith.
The junior division’s competition was held first since hundred refining was a short process.
Still, when the metals to be forged were delivered onto the stage, Tang Wulin was startled.
It was a metal he was familiar with and was the one used in his fourth-rank blacksmith exam. The metal was blue coppertite.
Among uncommon grade metals, blue coppertite was one of the hardest to forge. As expected of the junior division competition!
“Junior division participants, pay attention. Your objective is to hundred refine this metal. Anyone who fails to do so will be eliminated. Of those who succeed, the best will be selected to continue to the next round.”
Regardless of the particular event, everyone attending the Skysea Alliance Tournament had their eyes peeled for the adult division’s competitions, as those contenders were the most formidable. For this reason, the arrangements for the junior division were simple and fair.
Indeed, requiring the competitors to hundred refine blue coppertite would weed out the sparrows from the eagles. Since they would be picking the cream of the crop, the number of individuals advancing to the second round wouldn’t be large.
I wonder how many people will make it to the next round?
Tang Wulin glanced at Mu Xi whose station was next to his. Mu Xi’s brows were creased, but her aura was as serene as a flowing river. She had already been somewhat successful in the Thousand Refinements, so hundred refining blue coppertite wasn’t a challenge for her.
“Let the competition begin!”
Following the proclamation from the stage, all of the young blacksmiths participating took out their hammers.
If he wasn’t in a rush, Tang Wulin would have wielded his tungsten hammers, but he needed to register for the the individual competition right after. He unleashed his heavy silver hammers instead.
He lightly tapped the blue coppertite lightly with his left hammer, issuing out three crisp notes. His next strike followed afterward, smashing the metal with considerable force.
A loud bang resounded throughout the gym.
Without a doubt, Tang Wulin was the first to begin.
Situated next to him, Mu Xi was not concerned. She was familiar with this freak’s surprises and expected him to possess a thorough understanding of blue coppertite. The big shots on the stage, however, couldn’t help but wrinkle their brows, foreheads scrunched up like prunes.
An energetic, white-haired old man frowned. “Children will be children. Doesn’t he know that he needs to thoroughly understand blue coppertite before beginning? Just who is his teacher?”
“That’s right! From the sounds of it, he shouldn’t be lacking in strength yet he’s so impatient. But I guess it’s to be expected considering his age.”
Regardless of their disapproval, they soon witnessed Tang Wulin forging at full steam.
As soon as Tang Wulin begins forging, he would lose sight of the rest of the world. Trapped in this tunnel vision, he would devote his entire focus to his craft. He failed to realize that no one else has started forging besides him. Nevertheless, Tang Wulin was already unleashing a tempestuous shower of hammer strikes on the blue coppertite.
A queer expression slid across Mu Xi’s face. This guy! I shouldn’t have picked the spot next to him.
Every blacksmith had their own rhythm. They would suffer from any outside disturbances. Cramming so many participants in a single stadium to forge simultaneously was to test their focus. If Mu Xi was this disturbed, then wouldn’t all the other blacksmiths nearby be troubled too?
Tang Wulin’s hammers were as swift as the wind, each strike carrying over 600 kilograms of force. With each hit, a boom reverberated throughout the gym, the sonic waves piercing the air.
Mu Xi paused and sat cross-legged, biding time.
Although the competition had a time limit, she knew that Tang Wulin would finish soon. She might as well wait for his hundred refining to complete. That way, his forging would not affect her concentration.
Mu Xi was able to retain her composure, but the same couldn’t be said of the other junior participants. Some chose to steel themselves and forge anyway. This kind of impatience would be their downfall; in the end, Tang Wulin’s influence manifested as defects in their forging.