Chapter 281 – The Heart is the Hammer, the Martial Soul is the Guide
At that moment, he was no longer Tang Wulin the soul master, but Tang Wulin the blacksmith. He had stagnated for three years at the fourth-rank. Nevertheless, he had kept steadily forging and consolidating his foundation at the fourth rank.
Tang Wulin’s eyes flew open and with the push of a button, the molten chunk of heavy silver appeared.
He sucked in a deep breath and straightened his back.
“This brat isn’t normal at all!” Elder Cai said to Zhuo Shi.
He had also noticed it. “Judging by how well he carries himself, he must’ve had a good teacher. I’m looking forward to seeing what heights he will reach with his potential and foundation. I heard that the Blacksmith’s Association’s greatest genius is a young girl named Mu Xi, a fourth-rank blacksmith yet to reach twenty years old. Looks like I’ll have to pay the Blacksmith’s Association a visit and find this kid a good master. Maybe he can reach the same level as that Mu Xi.”
Tang Wulin began.
Three crisp rings rang throughout the room as he lightly tapped the metal with his hammer, breaking the silence.
Power pooled at Tang Wulin’s feet and ran up his spine, surging into his arm then his wrist. Tang Wulin twisted his body, the air whistling past as he simultaneously swung his two hammers in an explosive strike.
Two booms thundered out, the sound loud enough that the entire room and glass window panes trembled.
My god! Is he forging or is he trying to smash apart that table?
Zhuo Shi’s eyes flashed in surprise as he felt his body resonate with Tang Wulin’s strike. He then frowned, quickly releasing a strange aura to dispel the sensation.
Tang Wulin whirled around, using the momentum of the rebounding force of the hammers to attack the heavy silver with greater ferocity than before.
The room reverberated with the resulting blasts of sound. If one listened carefully though, one could hear quieter, fragmented rumbles.
The thunderous booms and subdued rumbles slowly fused together into a fantastical rhythm, every beat of his strikes wild and deafening. Still, it made everyone’s blood race and their fingers twitch.
Tang Wulin continued to rain his hammers down on the metal, each swing powered by his full strength. The heavy silver began to shrink under his furious tempest, slowly revealing minute transformations that began to shine with a muted brilliance.
Zhuo Shi knitted his brows, turning to Elder Cai as he asked, “Have you ever seen forging like this? I don’t seem to remember blacksmiths doing it this way.”
Elder Cai was similarly bewildered. “I agree, that’s definitely not a normal forging technique, but it does seem familiar. I think I recognize it. Though it looks wild, it has a delicate rhythm to it. Do you hear it? This brat’s hammers aren’t bad. They have the rare stacked hammers effect, and he can actually fully control them. He’s definitely a third-rank blacksmith at the very least. The Blacksmith’s Association has done well to hide a thirteen-year-old third-rank blacksmith like him!”
Zhuo Shi smiled, his eyes curving upward with satisfaction. “As expected of my granddisciple.”
Elder Cai rolled her eyes at him. “Yeah, yeah, he’s your granddisciple. Just don’t fight with me over that girl.”
He snorted in response. “She’s also my granddisciple. Seeing how your relationship with her is already so strained, I don’t think she’d be willing to accept you as her master. You know the saying, when the heavens bring calamity, there is a chance of forgiveness, but when one has sinned, there is no escaping punishment.”
Tang Wulin’s hammers flew faster and faster even as the two spoke, whirling like a tornado as he hammered the heavy silver without end. The metal shrunk rapidly under his assault, its vein lines becoming more distinct while the booming sounds turned into sharp rings, a clear sign of the metal transforming on a fundamental level.
The three Shrek Academy elders were powerful individuals, but none were blacksmiths. If Mu Chen was present, he would be thoroughly speechless.
Tang Wulin had hundred refined the heavy silver in ten strikes. His hammers continued to gain momentum with every strike until soon, the forty-eighth strike fell.
A blast tore through the air, quickly followed by a soaring pillar of silver light.
Everyone present could hear the heavy silver cheer as the light flew up like a roaring dragon.
Tang Wulin’s arms finally stopped. His eyes flashed purple, two purple soul rings rising from underneath him.
“He thousand refined it with spirit! It’s first-grade thousand refined!” Elder Li finally broke his silence, his eyes filled with shock.
Neither Zhuo Shi nor Elder Cai were blacksmiths, but as powerful experts, they had a rudimentary understanding of blacksmithing and were similarly dumbstruck.
A fourth-rank blacksmith had to second-grade thousand refine a metal, but this heavy silver possessed spirit and was first-grade thousand refined! This meant Tang Wulin was at the peak of the fourth rank! This was a far more shocking than his combat prowess or his leadership skills. There wasn’t no better word to describe him than a ‘monster’. In fact, he was a monster that surpassed all other monsters!
Purple light shot from Tang Wulin’s eyes as he stepped to one side of the metal. He tapped it lightly. A crisp, tinkling sound rang through the air.
As if resonating, the heavy silver sang in response.
A far different scene then played out. Tang Wulin began circling around the metal, tapping it lightly. Each knock carried a spark of white light, as he had imbued soul power into his hammers.
Meanwhile, Bluesilver Grass wrapped the scorching hot metal. The strands shriveled, burning under the metal’s heat. Still, not once did Tang Wulin’s expression waver. He continued to circle the metal while gently tapping it.
“You two have made a mess of things,” Elder Li sighed as he glanced at Zhuo Shi.
Zhuo Shi looked over. “What do you mean?”
Elder Li shook his head and explained solemnly, “I dare say that this kid is the greatest blacksmithing genius in the history of the world. At the tender age of thirteen, he’s already at the peak of the fourth rank. This is simply unheard of! But, this kid is actually trying to spirit refine! Spirit refining is far different from thousand refining as one has to infuse life into the metal using one’s martial soul as the bridge. When metal has spirit, it’s nothing more than first-grade thousand refined. But, if it has both spirit and life, then things are completely different. This is impossible to accomplish unless the blacksmith has enough soul power.
“Usually, blacksmiths don’t even entertain the idea of spirit refining before they have four soul rings. Even then, the chances of failing are high. Every spirit refining is a major ordeal for blacksmiths as they must harmonize soul power, life force, and metal together, and this process is taxing on the mind. This child only has two spirit rings. He isn’t ready to even attempt to spirit refine! If he fails, he’ll face a major backlash that may be impossible to recover from.” Elder Li groaned. “You two really have done it now. If this destroys his future as a blacksmith, you will face Feng Wuyu’s wrath.”
Zhuo Shi began to panic. “Can we still stop him?”
Elder Li shook his head helplessly. “We can’t, he has already begun connecting his life force with the metal. Any disturbances while he guides life into the metal will harm him, and he might even die. All we can do now is pray this child’s failure won’t be the end of his life as a blacksmith.”
Zhuo Shi spun to glare at Elder Cai. “This is all your fault!”
She, however, didn’t take it lying down. “Why didn’t you stop me then? How was I supposed to know blacksmiths are so strange, or that this brat is such a monster that can try for fifth-rank right now?”
Tang Wulin was oblivious to the discussions of these three elders, immersed in his own world.
Metal gains a spark of intelligence from spirit after being thousand refined, and it was the martial soul’s job to fan it, bridging the gap between it and life.
The heart as the hammer, the martial soul as the guide, their minds become one in ten thousand refinements of life. This was Spirit Refinement.