Chapter 425 - Creating Trouble
If this were any other alloy, Tang Wulin wouldn’t have needed to bring out his golden soul ring. However, he was forging this piece of star silver for his own use! He needed to bind his flesh and blood to it by injecting it with his blood essence! Then, once it was made into a piece of his battle armor, it would be even more compatible with him.
A golden aura enveloped the cloud gold hammers, and Tang Wulin hammered his blood essence into the emerging piece of star silver. Earsplitting booms shook the hall as he pounded away at the fusing metals. Every strike possessed tremendous weight and speed. The forging table trembled from the shock. The star silver gradually shrank under the weight of each blow.
Tang Wulin struck down with both hammers at once. He let out a draconic roar as a pair of golden lights flowed through each of the cloud gold hammers and into the star silver.
An illusory dragon soared out of the metal, spiraling up into the air. All the while the star silver twinkled bright with ample shine, its surface touched by specks of starlight in the shape of a dragon.
That dragon was Tang Wulin’s personal brand on the metal.
Tang Wulin was beyond pleased with the results. He roared for a full minute before settling in silence. In his eyes burned inextinguishable flames. He had the instinctive impression that he had broken through a boundary as a blacksmith. His growth was tremendous and his alloy forging success rate would undoubtedly eclipse the one prior.
He did it! He really did it! He forged a spirit alloy!
Zhen Hua stared with his brows furrowed.
“Thank you for lending me your hammers. I understand the technique now. Thank you for teaching me,” Tang Wulin said respectfully to Zhen Hua. The strong were no stranger to secrets, and blacksmiths were not excluded from this rule of life. A good forging technique could help a blacksmith dramatically improve their skills and bolster their success rate. Especially a technique as invaluable as the one Tang Wulin just learned. Yet, Zhen Hua had imparted it for free. It was this action that solidified a previous notion within Tang Wulin’s heart, that Zhen Hua was a man worthy of respect and admiration.
Zhen Hua put on a stern expression. “Whose disciple are you? How old are you?”
These questions startled Tang Wulin. It was only now that he realized he had revealed himself. He had forgotten all about hiding his talents amidst his excitement. As such, before all these blacksmiths and the sole living Divine Blacksmith, there was no use lying anymore.
“My teacher is Mu Chen. I’m fourteen this year.”
The moment the words left his mouth, the entire hall went into an uproar.
He’s only fourteen? And he can forge alloys?
Zhen Hua’s chest huffed as he listened, but a blank look crossed his face at the mere utter of Mu Chen’s name.
“Where’s your blacksmith’s badge? What rank are you?” Even as the President of the whole Blacksmith’s Association, Zhen Hua couldn’t help but harbor some doubts regarding Tang Wulin’s blacksmith rank. With his discerning eyes, he picked out an amazing fact: the harmony rate of the star silver Tang Wulin forged was over ninety-five percent!
“I’m in the middle of an exam right now, so all of my possessions were confiscated. I’m a fifth-rank blacksmith.”
He’s a fifth-rank…
Everyone had guessed it, but hearing it out loud still brought out a tumult of gasps. He’s a fourteen-year-old fifth-rank blacksmith! He broke the record! And Zhen Hua’s, at that!
Zhen Hua smiled. “That damn Mu Chen. I can’t believe he was able to hide you so well! That bastard!”
“President, can I take this piece of star silver? I can pay for it by taking missions.”
Zhen Hua frowned. “No need for payment. It belongs to you in the first place. As promised, those hammers are yours now too.”
The cloud gold hammers that possessed the tremor effect were priceless treasures! Still, Tang Wulin shook his head, something else more important weighing heavily in his mind. “I don’t need them since I already have a pair of hammers, but thank you, President. Uh, instead, could I trade them back for money?”
Trade for money… He wants to trade them for money…
The clamoring crowd instantly went silent, shocked and frozen at the sight before them. The Divine Blacksmith was gifting his hammers to Tang Wulin, but he wanted to trade them in for money! They couldn’t believe their eyes.
Zhen Hua couldn’t maintain his poker face anymore. His jaw dropped, utterly dumbstruck. Is he just here to cause trouble? That’s gotta be it, right? Yeah! It has to be! That bastard Mu Chen must have sent him here to annoy me! He picked such a good time too! Just when I decided to give a public lecture! That bastard!
“Fine!” In front of such a large crowd, there was nothing else he could do. He signalled to one of the nearby staff.
“Follow me,” he said to Tang Wulin as he approached the elevator.
Hushed whispers broke out behind Zhen Hua, fanning around him like the petals of a flower, incoherent in their volume but clear in their overall sentiment all the same. Everyone in the hall had just witnessed the first appearance of this generation’s greatest blacksmithing prodigy.
Tang Wulin followed Zhen Hua into the elevator.
“Did Mu Chen tell you to come here?” Now that they were alone in the elevator, Zhen Hua sought to confirm his suspicions.
Once more did Tang Wulin shake his head, hanging it in embarrassment a moment later. “Actually, I came here because I’m broke. The Academy took all of our money to teach us how to be self-reliant and how to adapt to society. I need to earn some money with my own methods to complete my exam.”
A thought struck Zhen Hua, bright and piercing like a lightning bolt. “Shrek Academy?”
Tang Wulin jerked his head up in astonishment. “How’d you know?”
Zhen Hua chuckled. “No wonder Mu Chen resigned from the Eastsea Blacksmith’s Association to suffer in Shrek City. It was all for your sake. He sure knows how to keep a secret! I had always thought Little Xi was this generation’s greatest blacksmithing prodigy, but you were hidden away all along!”
Tang Wulin scratched his head awkwardly. Teacher Mu, there was nothing I could do! This was all just a coincidence!
He focused his attention back on Zhen Hua. “President, I still have my exam to finish. Can you give me the money for the cloud gold hammers now? I promise I’ll come visit you again in the future when I have time.”
The elevator cruised to a stop, the doors sliding open to the highest floor of the building.
“You’re so young yet all that goes through your head is money. You’re just like your teacher.”
“I can’t do anything without money,” Tang Wulin mumbled. “If you’re not going to give me any, then I’ll just go do some missions. But since I don’t have my badge right now, the staff won’t let me take on any. Can’t you bend the rules a little for me?”
Zhen Hua let out a chuckle. “Fine then, kid. I’ll have someone bring over some money in a bit. Go accept some missions now, just don’t let anyone see you. Right, I wanted to ask you this. Since you’re Mu Chen’s disciple, did you also join Shrek’s Blacksmith’s Association?”
“Yes. I have a teacher there too.”
“Are you talking about that old madman?” Zhen Hua asked.
Tang Wulin nodded.
Zhen Hua’s expression darkened. After a few moments of silence, he spoke up. “What do you need to do for your exam?”
Tang Wulin, without withholding a single detail, honestly explained the exam’s requirements.
“Wow! Shrek Academy sure is strict! Well, I can help you find an opponent for Heaven Dou City. I can arrange transportation for you too.”
Tang Wulin beamed. “Thank you, President!”
Zhen Hua flashed a warm smile of his own. “You know, Mu Chen and I were actually apprenticed to the same master. I’m his senior brother. You don’t have to call me President. Just call me uncle-master.”
Never had Tang Wulin heard such a thing from Mu Chen before.
“Uncle-master.” Tang Wulin didn’t hesitate. It was a wonderful thing to have a Divine Blacksmiths as his uncle-master!
Zhen Hua nodded in approval. “Take a rest here. I’ll go arrange an opponent for you.” Before he could do anything else, Tang Wulin spoke again.
“Uncle-master, I’m hungry.” Tang Wulin had consumed a lot of blood essence during the alloy forging, and the one meal he chanced upon today was only meant for ordinary people.
“Alright. I’ll have someone bring you over to my personal dining hall.” Zhen Hua smiled gently. He felt the embers of approval spark brighter and hotter in his chest. This kid isn’t the least bit nervous. Not bad.
As the President of the Blacksmith’s Association, his personal dining hall only served the best of the best. Blacksmithing was an exhausting job, and especially so for a Divine Blacksmith. There were few people on the continent who ate better than him. Moreover, unlike most people, he had plenty of money!
As a Divine Blacksmith, each of his products were worth more than their weight in gold. His wealth rivaled that of a small nation.
Because blacksmiths needed a lot of money in the early and middle stages of their career, advancing was difficult. However, once they broke through the boundary of the sixth rank, the profits came pouring in. At that point, blacksmithing was undoubtedly the most lucrative profession.
Nevertheless, Zhen Hua’s personal dining hall was quite small, only about twenty square meters in area. A plain, round table sat at the center of the room, further contributing to the image of austerity.
When the dishes arrived, Tang Wulin was moved to tears.
The first dish was a thousand-year land dragon’s tendon. This was one of the spirit items Tang Wulin had needed to break one of his previous seals, yet Zhen Hua treated it merely as food!
To be fair, the piece of tendon was small. It had been stewed for a long time and was soft and sticky, a tantalizing aroma rising from it, ensnaring the senses with a single whiff. Indeed, one sniff and Tang Wulin’s blood essence thrummed in excitement. He began to drool.
The rice served with this tendon was the premium moonlight rice. It could only be found in extremely cold climates and took three years to grow and harvest. A small amount was produced each year. The grains of rice seemed to bend moonlight around it to produce a silvery aura and carried a refreshingly cold scent. When Tang Wulin took his first bite of this dish, the sweet flavor of the rice mixed with the warmth of the stewed tendon, blending together in a magical combination of textures and flavor. It was heaven for his taste buds.