Chapter 297 – Working Student Yuanen
In the past, some heaven-defying genius mecha designers and makers had reached the same heights as Tang Wulin at his age. However, it was easier to progress through later stages as a blacksmith than as a designer or maker.
After reaching the fifth rank, blacksmiths only needed to keep forging in order to one day reach the sixth. Designers and makers, on the other hand, had to overcome huge hurdles to progress to each rank after the fifth.
Most people found designing or making mechas more appealing, and due to the fast rate of growth early on, many chose to become designers or makers. Not all soul masters were suited for blacksmithing. Forging took a toll on one’s body, and it was a tedious job.
Tang Wulin’s stomach growled. It had been ten minutes since he had begun advertising at the door, yet no one had so much as looked at him.
Gloom haunted Tang Wulin as he fought back his hunger. I’m starving! If no one bites, then I’ll just have to chug some water to fill my stomach. At least I’ll earn one thousand points after completing the forging job and have enough for dinner. If I have to miss a meal, there’s nothing I can do about it.
Tang Wulin came to terms with his misfortune with gritted teeth.
All of a sudden, he heard a soft voice.
“You can thousand refine?”
“Huh?” Tang Wulin raised his head and to his astonishment, saw his fellow working student, Yuanen. “Yeah! That’s right!”
Yuanen looked as ordinary as he usually did, but his eyes blazed with intensity.
“Instead of treating you for a year, I’ll give you 1100 points for a first-grade thousand refining,” Yuanen offered. “What do you say?”
Eleven hundred? That’s more than what the Academy is offering!
“Alright!” Tang Wulin had no reason to refuse. Right now, food was the most important thing. “But you have to pay me first. I don’t have any money to buy food.”
“Fine. You cover the transaction fee though,” Yuanen said.
“Transaction fee?” Tang Wulin exclaimed, confusion on his face.
“All contribution point transactions between students are subject to a one percent fee that the Academy takes,” Yuanen explained.
That’s horrible! Absolutely criminal! Tang Wulin thought in horror.
“How about you just treat me to a meal instead?” Tang Wulin countered “You won’t have to pay me directly.”
Tang Wulin calculated the costs and came to the conclusion that, if he didn’t gorge himself as much as he did yesterday, 1100 points would be enough to feed him for the day.
After yesterday, however, he understood how important it was for him to eat good food.
Highly nutritious food helped increase his blood essence. Furthermore, Old Tang said that breaking later seals would be easier if he ate such food every day. An increase to his blood essence meant an improvement in his body as well as his blood essence soul ring, so eating was another method of cultivation for him.
During today’s class, Shen Yi told them that the stronger a soul master’s body was, the sooner they could try using battle armor. Even two-ring soul masters could use battle armor, but they would obviously only be able to use the smallest of parts. If a blacksmith spirit refined the metal used to create battle armor, the user’s body would then have to be even stronger to use it.
Rank fifty soul power was required to become a battle armor master because, by then, a soul master’s soul power would have tempered their body enough. The process of a user fusing with battle armor would cause a shock to their mind, body, and martial soul. The more armor parts they fused with, the stronger the shock would be.
Since that was the case, refining and increasing his blood essence would not only help him break seals in the future, it would also increase his chances of becoming a battle armor master. Investing his hard-earned contribution points was painful for Tang Wulin, but first-grade thousand refining was nothing to the current him. Now that he was a fifth-rank blacksmith, completing ten first-grade thousand refinings in a day posed no problem.
However, such success required him to devote all of his attention to forging. Despite him being such a penny pincher, even Tang Wulin understood there were some things he couldn’t cut corners on!
“Alright,” Yuanen agreed readily. Many students did such things to avoid paying the fees.
Tang Wulin put away his advertisement board and followed Yuanen into the dining hall. In spite of how hungry he was, he didn’t dare to cause a scene like the night before. He utilized all of his experience eating at Eastsea Academy’s first window to choose the most nourishing foods to feast upon.
Once he had picked them out, his meal totaled roughly 420 contribution points. He had never eaten so extravagantly before. After all, if a meal paid for with a first-grade thousand refining wasn’t luxury, then nothing was.
“I have a question for you, Tang Wulin.” Having finished eating long ago, Yuanen watched Tang Wulin digging in, an eyebrow raised.
“Huh? What’s up?” Tang Wulin set aside his thirtieth plate and wiped his mouth. He nearly felt satisfied now, but he definitely still had room for more.
Gu Yue, Xie Xie, and Xu Xiaoyan had long since finished eating and left. Yuanen had only stayed because he still needed to pay for Tang Wulin’s food.
“Are you really human?” Yuanen asked earnestly.
“Eh… Of course I am,” Tang Wulin said. “I can just eat a bit more than normal, that’s all.”
“But… you know that overeating is bad for you, right?” Concern filled Yuanen’s voice.
Tang Wulin shook his head.
“I’m not overeating,” he replied. “Overeating is when you occasionally gorge yourself beyond your limit. I, however, eat this much every day, so you can’t call it that. This is normal for me.”
“It’s a good thing I didn’t promise to feed you for a year then. I’d go broke if I had. Well, let’s go then. You still need to forge for me.”
“Oh, that’s right. I wanted to ask you, where I can find a workshop to use?” Tang Wulin asked as the two got up from the table.
They had already discussed things over lunch. The cost of the meal would be considered Yuanen’s down payment. Tang Wulin would then thousand refine a metal of Yuanen’s choice. After that, Yuanen would pay the value of the product minus the cost of lunch by treating him to dinner. If that still wasn’t enough, he would cover Tang Wulin’s breakfast too. “The Academy’s Blacksmith’s Association has some,” Yuanen replied. “But if you’re not a member, you’ll have to pay a fee to use one.”
“Blacksmith’s Association?” Tang Wulin exclaimed in astonishment. “The Academy has its own Blacksmith’s Association?”
“Yeah. There are a lot of associations on campus. All of them were established by students that have rented land on campus though. Since they provide experience related to cultivating, you new students will probably receive invitations from the various associations soon. You won’t be able to improve in your second profession without joining an association here. Since you’re a blacksmith, you might as well join the Blacksmith’s Association.”
As they conversed with each other, someone ran through the doors of the dining hall. Since Tang Wulin and Yuanen were just about to leave, that person barred their way.
The person standing before them was a middle-aged man with disheveled hair as red as flame and a scorching hot aura. He wasn’t particularly tall, only about 170 centimeters tall, but his shoulders were broad. His arms were thick with muscle, each much larger than Tang Wulin’s waist. He looked like a human fortress as he stood there.
His thick beard blazed red, working with the hair on his head to give him the appearance of a lion.
Immediately after entering the dining hall, he took a deep breath in and roared.,
“Who is Tang Wulin? Come here!”
Although the man’s presence wasn’t all that impressive, his shout instantly silenced the droning of over a thousand students and attracted all of their gazes.
Tang Wulin stood only ten steps away the red-haired man, struck numb by his explosive aura..
What kind of strength is that? He exclaimed inwardly, staring at the man in awe. He’s so powerful!
“I-I am.” Tang Wulin inadvertently raised his hand. With this man blocking the doorway, he couldn’t leave anyway. Besides, Tang Wulin hadn’t offended him, so he had no reason to hide his identity.
“You are?” Confusion spread across the man’s face as he glared at Tang Wulin with his crimson eyes. Tang Wulin could now tell that the man was about fifty years old. He just didn’t care about his appearance and dressed slovenly.
“Come with me!” The red-haired eccentric walked over and reached out to grab Tang Wulin’s shoulder.
“Who are you?” Tang Wulin asked, subconsciously raising his hands to stop the man.
He took a step backward, bent his leg, and shoved both hands outward.
Yet his attack was useless against the man.
Tang Wulin’s two hands were no match for the single hand the man reached out with. The force in his arms were easily diverted to the side, and as if the man’s arm had instantly grown longer, his large hand clamped down onto Tang Wulin’s shoulder.
A wave of dizziness washed over Tang Wulin as the man abducted him from the dining hall.
“Hey!” Yuanen shouted. Seeing that he was about to be left behind, he quickly ran after the two.
He still needed to get his first-grade thousand refining after all.