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Chapter 269: Gambling with Cards (I)

Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio  Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio

“Mmmm, I’ll give you a reason. Quite simply, I could make a card with a damage value of over 850 and a firing frequency of three per second using those materials.” Chen Mu’s voice wasn’t loud, though it immediately became quiet all around.

They finally reacted after a few seconds when someone shouted, “Impossible! How could a card be made from those materials with a damage value of 850? Impossible. Utterly impossible.”

The rest of the card artisans’ gazes toward Chen Mu were full of skepticism and disbelief. They couldn’t really be blamed for that.

Although a four-star card having a damage value of 850 would be considered pretty good, it wasn’t all that rare. However, there was a direct relationship between the power of a card and the materials used to make it. The higher the grade of card, the higher the demands on the materials. Card making skill alone didn’t have the power to increase a card’s level without limit, and any legend saying you could use only ordinary materials to make a five-star card was pure nonsense.

Even if Chen Mu could make a card with a damage value of over 850, he absolutely couldn’t make one using those materials. Moreover, they all knew how good that card master was at making those three kinds of cards. Even Madam Pei’s attainments couldn’t exceed his with those three kinds of cards.

“Eight hundred fifty? Impossible!” The card master was shaking his head peremptorily. While his attainments may have been ordinary among the other card masters, he had spent dozens of years on those three kinds of cards alone. He believed he had optimized the accurate cone card to the limit of what could be achieved for that card, given the current system.

If he were to use only those materials, no other card could be more powerful than that one. He had plenty of confidence in that regard.

Everyone’s gaze was focused on Chen Mu, who remained unperturbed and didn’t show the least sign of backing down.

“Let’s make a bet,” the card master said in a deliberately loud voice.

“Oh, what are we betting?”

“If I win, I would like to see the cards you’re making with the materials we’ve been preparing for you.” A sly look flashed past the card master’s eyes as the rest of them were given a lift. Many of them looked as though they were certain he would win. Even old Wen’s gaze toward that card master carried some praise.

Ah, after we get back, we might consider elevating his position.

A slightly displeased look flashed through Chen Mu’s eyes. His counterpart’s behavior would already be considered spying internally to get that information. He casually glanced at Jiao Si with his half-closed eyes, but there was no expression visible on his face.

Those people were still three parts dirty, and Chen Mu couldn’t help but feel annoyed. According to their agreement, those card masters were to unconditionally do as he said during that period. Not only didn’t they want to make power cards, but they were trying to spy on the secrets in Chen Mu’s hands. That was a little over the edge.

“And if you lose?” Chen Mu asked indifferently.

“Lose? Ha! How could I?” The card master looked like he had heard a joke and laughed out loud, and some of those around him did the same.

Chen Mu just looked at him and said nothing. Seeing Chen Mu’s cold gaze shooting at him, the laughter screeched to a halt. A slight look of disdain then floated onto his face as he said loudly, “If I lose, do whatever you want with me.”

Chen Mu shook his head. “You are under President Jiao Si, not under me.”

The card master then blurted out, “Ok, if I lose, I’ll leave the Origins Academy, and I’ll work for you for free!”

Jiao Si’s expression changed slightly before he could stop it.

Chen Mu didn’t immediately respond but instead deflected his gaze to Jiao Si. “How does the president feel about that?”

Jiao Si’s expression immediately returned to normal, and he laughed with no trembling in his voice. “These hijinks of yours—how could I sweep away all your fun? It’s just that it would be somewhat inappropriate for the professor to leave the Origins Academy. How about Mr. Cao makes a different bet?”

“I wonder if the president has a good offer.” Chen Mu’s face remained unruffled.

“Ha ha, then I’ll put up 300 million Oudi. I never thought everyone would dislike making power cards so much. That must have put some obstacles in the way of Mr. Cao’s plans, for which I am truly sorry. Half of the 300 million will be my bet, and the other half will be in compensation for Mr. Cao’s losses, whether I win or lose. What do you think, Mr. Cao?”

Things quieted down right away. They never would have guessed the bet they were about to propose would actually cost the president 300 million Oudi. Everyone felt suddenly agitated. Moreover, what the president had just said seemed to imply he was rather dissatisfied with their behavior.

“Ok!” Chen Mu nodded. Of course, he wasn’t going to have a contest of face with Jiao Si. He had to say Jiao Si had expressed his apologies for the incident. By that time, the best thing to do would be to go with the flow.

A line of people had already arrived at the card making lab. Xi Ping had gotten Chen Mu’s order and had prepared the materials.

They hadn’t had an opportunity to know what Chen Mu’s card making strength was like. But the bet that day had actually been premeditated for a long time. Making power cards for those few days had tormented them beyond endurance. Moreover, the materials they had processed with their own hands had made them nearly crack their skulls discussing them, and they were still unable to make heads or tails of it.

It was like ants were crawling around in their minds, which made their minds itch until they cooked up that plan. But they hadn’t told Jiao Si about what they were doing, which is what had caused the scene that day.

Of course, Chen Mu had never expected those people to finally make such a fuss about the matter. He did understand, however, that if he didn’t intimidate them now, he would be looked down upon by them. Then, they would be so reluctant he wouldn’t be able to get them to do anything. In addition, there was a good possibility Jiao Si would feel he had limited value and would inevitably lose interest in doing anything himself.

Any piece of work would have completely different results depending on whether one’s heart was really in it.

Whether it was what the fatty had said or the construction card artisans when they found out Jiao Si was backing him, it all made Chen Mu realize how important Jiao Si was to the base at that time. Although the two sides had already developed an association, if he wanted to gain his counterpart’s approval, he would have to show him his power.

Powerful people only wanted to collaborate with powerful people, or those with the potential to be powerful.

Ru Qiu walked out and said, “I’ll be your assistant.”

Chen Mu nodded and instructed her about how to prepare each of the materials. Such things would be considered complicated for ordinary people, but they were as familiar as could be for those card masters.

Her expression looked a little strange after hearing Chen Mu’s instructions. The processing method Chen Mu required was odd. For instance, that little bit of chen stone was one of the most commonly seen materials. Everyone knew how to process it. There was only one way, which was to take some of the chen stone together with silk heart juice, and add the same dose of inky blue pulp.

If you cooked it over a small fire for ten minutes, the ink you would get could be used to make low-grade fantasy cards. To make “Chance Encounter” and “Legend of Master Shi,” Chen Mu had used a large quantity of that kind of card ink.

If it were a card ink used for other cards, it would require the addition of other materials. But the procedure of adding silk heart juice and inky blue pulp would never change.

However, the way Chen Mu used it was completely different. He was actually going to use the gamma enzymes to divide up the chen stone! Could that work?

Everyone’s expression was different. Some were dazed and some skeptical, and some knitted their brows in deep thought. But everyone was squinting and staring at the materials in Ru Qiu’s hands.

After the purple chen stone was added to the gamma enzyme, it started to quickly soften. Then, after about three minutes, there was only a pool of purple, muddy residue in the reagent bottle in Ru Qiu’s hand.

Everyone put away their feelings of contempt as that pool of rare, mud-like, purple residue led them to understand that their counterpart was certainly not just cooking something up. The gamma enzyme could react with the chen stone, which was something not one of them knew in the end. Although the final result hadn’t yet appeared, their confidence had already been shaken.

The peculiarity of that method had completely demolished the entire federation’s techniques for preparing chen stone. Most of the people among them planned to do a lot of studying after they got back about the actual use of the purple residue formed after the chen stone was dissolved by the gamma enzyme.

Moreover, the techniques Ru Qiu had used to prepare the materials made them feel that their brains weren’t quite working well enough.

How could the red-lined crystal be extracted with alcohol? It should have undergone grinding into powder after baking at high temperature by rights! In preparing the luminescent leaf, they had never heard of using the ashes after it had been burned up.

An hour later, the card masters from the Origins Academy were all staring with their mouths agape at the bottle of thick, black card ink in Ru Qiu’s hands. The card ink in the constant-temperature reagent bottle gave off an obscure, mild aroma, which jolted the spirits of everyone in the card making lab.

Smelling the fragrance, an enamored look flashed through Ru Qiu’s eyes. She had conducted the entire process of preparing the card ink and had already memorized how to make it.

Chen Mu didn’t waste any words as he pulled out the set of Weak Water pens and a blank card.

“Weak Water! It’s the Weak Water!” One of the card masters had gotten really excited as he pointed at the row of card making pens in front of Chen Mu, having lost his voice.

“Weak Water? What is that?” one of the card artisans asked. The other card artisans looked just as curious. The card master who had called out really liked to collect the pens of the famous pen masters of history, and he had suddenly cried out when he saw it, naturally being curious. But none of them had heard the name Weak Water, and they couldn’t help but ask about it.

“The Weak Water is one of the finest of the works of Kuo Haofeng. Not long after it appeared, it went missing somehow. Who would have thought it would fall into his hands?” The card master was looking at Chen Mu enviously.

The works of Kuo Haofeng. Everyone’s gazes at the set of pens in front of Chen Mu turned hot. Even old Wen was moved to excitement as his gaze helplessly turned a little bewildered.

Paying no attention to the hubbub from the stunned card masters behind him, all of Chen Mu’s concentration was focused on the blank card in front of him.

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