Chapter 215 – Tactfully Declining Temptation
Wu Zhangkong said, “His martial soul was originally ordinary Bluesilver Grass and his spirit soul was weak as well. However, his body is extraordinary. The reason I am perplexed is because his bloodline’s evolution and his martial soul affect one another. Even stranger is that his bloodline’s mutations have nothing to do with his martial soul. Although they’re two completely different existences, they are not twin martial souls. It’s my first time encountering something like this.”
“Do you want to bring him back to the academy? We can ask some of the elders to examine him,” the white-haired lady said, her words pleasing to the ear.
Wu Zhangkong’s expression grew stern, but he soon shook his head with resolution. “No. If they’re going to attend the academy, then it will be through their own ability and nothing else.”
A gentle sigh escaped from the woman’s lips. “Are you still mad at them? Actually, the situation back then—”
“Don’t say anymore. I don’t hold any grudges against them. If I did, then it’s only toward myself. I’m just a dead man walking now. I wouldn’t mind dying if I wasn’t still looking for a way to revive her.” Pain flashed through his eyes, sharp and blinding.
“You’re so stubborn,” the lady sighed in exasperation.
Wu Zhangkong’s expression flickered back into a frigid tone, the remnants of sorrow all but a dream.. “If I wasn’t, then would I still be me?”
The lady laughed. “That’s right! If you weren’t like this, you wouldn’t be the man in white who brandishes a blue sword and is as cold as the frozen heavens. You wouldn’t be the man that Long Bing loved.”
Wu Zhangkong watched the matches silently, but his eyes were glazed over. In the deepest depths of his mind, countless memories played back.
A while later, he muttered under his breath, “Shen Yi, I went to visit her a few days ago.”
The lady named Shen Yi stirred. “You visited Heaven Dou? Will you really never return to the academy? Don’t you know how much your teacher grieved after you left?”
Agony haunted his expression. “I’m not worthy of my teacher. I’m too ashamed to go back.”
Shen Yi said, “Are you raising these children to send off to the academy as an apology to your teacher?”
Wu Zhangkong remained silent.
Shen Yi sighed. “You’re wrong. No one can replace you.The only person who can make up for it is yourself. After all, you’re still alive. You should return already.”
Due to the strict schedules of the round-robin, the four students of class zero arrived at the stadium early. Each group had its own program. With nine teams per group, there would be one bye each day.
Class zero wasn’t fortunate enough to have a bye in the first round. Their opponent was Skysea Academy’s B-team. For cities as large as Skysea City or Eastsea City, it was normal to send up to three teams to compete in one division. Tang Wulin’s team was also one of several teams Eastsea Academy dispatched, the youngest among them.
Skysea Academy was the greatest intermediate academy within the Skysea Alliance. As such, even their B-team’s strength ranked at the top.
“Adapt to the situation as you see fit, but we’ll battle according to the plan,” Tang Wulin declared in near whisper.
They had already watched several of their opponent’s matches during the knockout competition. Regardless of combat ability or cultivation, their opponents stood out in their age group.
Gu Yue said, “Wulin, are you sure you’re fine?” Her concern was natural since he had been seriously injured the day before.
A gentle smile blossomed on his lips. “I’m fine. Don’t worry.”
“Tang Wulin.” Suddenly, an unfamiliar voice called out.
Tang Wulin turned to see a white-haired old man and a middle-aged man approaching him. The white-haired man had two callused hands and walked in front, his large body bursting with vigor. He carried the imposing aura of a prestigious person.
“Hello, you’re looking for me?” Tang Wulin was certain that this man was not part of Eastsea City’s delegation. Therefore, he did not recognize him.
“I heard you were injured in a match yesterday and couldn’t participate in the final round of the blacksmithing tournament.” The old man stopped right in front of Tang Wulin.
He stood abnormally tall, towering over the rest of the crowd. Even Tang Wulin, who was by no means short among his peers, only reached up to the man’s belly.
“That’s right! I got a bit injured. I was worried about aggravating the wounds, so I didn’t compete,” he confirmed.
The old man said, “I’m the president of the Skysea Blacksmith’s Association, Duan Xuan. But you can just call me Elder Duan. You’re very talented in forging. It’s a pity you couldn’t participate in the final round.”
Tang Wulin was stunned. Skysea Blacksmith’s Association’s president?
“Hello, Elder Duan. I’ll do my best next time,” he said respectfully.
Duan Xuan smiled. “So here’s the situation: Skysea City has a recommendation program for talented individuals. When I saw your work, I could tell you have great potential. Are you interested in coming to Skysea City to develop yourself?”
He’s recruiting me? Tang Wulin instantly understood Duan Xuan’s intentions.
“Elder Duan, I’m afraid I’ll have to refuse,” he said hastily.
Although he hadn’t lived in Eastsea City for more than a year, he had already laid down roots in the city. Wu Zhangkong and Mu Chen were both excellent teachers to him. It was thanks to their guidance that he had grown so much in the past year. He had no reason to uproot his life.
Duan Xuan said, “Don’t refuse so quickly kid. Hear out this old man’s conditions first. I’m sure you’re aware that Skysea City is the largest city on the east coast. It stands above Eastsea City in both political and economic power. Whatever Eastsea Blacksmith’s Association can give you, we can also do the same. Furthermore, we can pay for all of your forging expenses before you become a Saint Blacksmith. You should know just how much money and time it costs to attack Spirit Refinement. Many blacksmiths waste enormous amounts of time, money, and energy once the time comes. Considering your talent, we’re more than willing to pay for your expenses until you break through Spirit Refinement. We also guarantee to support you in the future and foster your growth to at least a Soul Emperor. This is what we’re offering. How about it?”
Tang Wulin had to admit, this Duan Xuan really knew how to tempt people. Covering the costs of becoming a Saint Blacksmith and guaranteeing to make him a Soul Emperor was too alluring. It was an irresistible offer for any blacksmith and even Tang Wulin was shaken.
If he accepted Elder Duan’s offer, then Skysea’s Blacksmith’s Association would assist him in becoming a sixth rank blacksmith. That rank alone would make him an influential person in the blacksmithing world.
“Thank you for your offer.” Tang Wulin bowed to Elder Duan. “But I cannot accept. I already have a teacher. I am a member of Eastsea Blacksmith’s Association. Your offer is tempting, but I cannot betray my conscious.”
His words were polite, but his refusal was as firm as a mountain.
Duan Xuan was taken aback. “Kid, do you have any idea just how much resources and money I’m offering you? It’s simply an astronomical figure. Even if you’re lucky and capable, you’ll probably need an extra ten years to accomplish the same thing. In fact, it might take even longer. How much do you think ten years of a person’s life is? If you miss the golden period, you will have a much harder time becoming a Saint Blacksmith. I’m certain that Eastsea’s Blacksmith’s Association cannot give you what I can.”
Tang Wulin carried himself with determination. “Elder Duan, I must thank you once again. However, I truly cannot accept. I understand how valuable what you’re offering me is, but I already have a teacher. I cannot betray my teacher.”
His words were resolute and quick. After expressing his refusal once more, he hung his head low like a child guilty of a mistake.
Duan Xuan’s brows creased. The middle-aged man beside him stepped forward and was about to put in a few words, but Duan Xuan raised a hand to stop him.
The old man sighed. “What a good kid. Mu Chen is so lucky. If Eastsea City isn’t enough for you one day, then you may join us. Our doors will forever be open to you.”
He rubbed Tang Wulin’s head before turning around, leaving with large strides. As a man of his status, it wouldn’t be appropriate for him to insist after rejection.
Not a single word left Tang Wulin’s mouth until Duan Xuan was long gone.
“The conditions seemed pretty good. Why did you reject it? Do you not want to leave us?” Xie Xie grinned like a fox.
Tang Wulin forced out a bitter smile. “How was that just ‘pretty good’! It was so amazing that I don’t think it could have gotten any better! You guys might not know this, but Spirit Refinement is something only fifth rank blacksmiths can do and it’s one of the most important steps in a blacksmith’s life. It’s extremely hard to breakthrough that wall and to do so requires a lot of expensive metals. And if the forging fails, then the metal is no better than scrap metal! Just think about all that money down the drain!”