Chapter 189 – The Halo and the Fourth Rank Blacksmith
The clock slowly ticked by. It was normal for the Thousand Refinements to take a few hours, but the relentless storm of Tang Wulin’s twin hammers had already reduced the Blue Coppertite to one-third of its original size in only a quarter of an hour. Its blue hue grew brighter and brighter while the ripples on its surface began to slow down and stabilize.
He’s almost done?
The Stacked Hammers effect may have helped Tang Wulin, but it was his strength, judgement, and understanding of the metal that allowed him to finish so quickly.
Having already become one with his hammers, Tang Wulin’s concentration could not be broken. Surprisingly enough, he was actually beginning to resemble his hammers.
Bang bang bang!
The final hammer strike descended, and an azure halo that was a third of a meter in diameter burst from the Blue Coppertite, fusing back into the metal a moment later and disappearing.
“A halo emerged!” Cen Yue cried.
Only metals at the second-grade and above could release a halo. Furthermore, the appearance of a halo signified the degree to which spirit was imbued into the metal. This was the origin of the name, “Half-Spirit Refinement.”
That halo just now wasn’t an ordinary second-grade halo! Cen Yue wiped cold sweat from his forehead. Did this boy just forge a first-grade metal? Is he trying to astonish us even more?
Mu Chen’s eyes lit up. He raised one hand to stop Tang Wulin and used his other to grab the metal. “You don’t need to do anything else. We’re ending the test here. You’ve succeeded at Thousand Refining a second-grade Blue Coppertite and officially passed the fourth rank test.”
Since Tang Wulin could forge a second-grade Blue Coppertite, they didn’t even need to check if he could do the same with lesser metals.
“It isn’t of the first-grade?” Cen Yue asked Mu Chen.
Mu Chen shook his head. “It falls a bit short, but it’s nearly there. You’ll make a lot of money off of this Blue Coppertite the next time you accept some tasks. Go back and prepare for the Grand Banquet of the Sea and Sky. It begins in one month.”
“But… teacher, don’t I still need to attend class?” Tang Wulin asked.
Mu Chen said, “You don’t need to worry, the association will help you take care of that. You need to spend the remaining time forging. I’ll continue to teach you once a week. It seems like I need to start teaching you the technique needed to forge first-grade metals.”
Tang Wulin smiled. “Yes, thank you, teacher.”
“I’ll go with you.” Mu Xi took the initiative to accompany him back to the academy.
After the two left the Blacksmith’s Association, Mu Xi suddenly pinched Tang Wulin’s cheek.
“Ow! Senior disciple sister, what are you doing?” Tang Wulin complained.
Mu Xi snorted. “I’m checking if you’re even human. Isn’t everyone supposed to be equal? You don’t have another face, so how are you able to progress so quickly?”
“Senior disciple sister, I don’t have a second face,” Tang Wulin said in embarrassment.
Mu Xi suddenly became all smiles. “I know. Can I talk to you about something? If no one ends up being better than me at the Skysea Alliance Tournament, can you let me win? I’ll give you the prize money too, and then you’ll have the money for both first and second places. I’ll even give you the metals that are awarded as well. How about it?”
Tang Wulin stared at her in a daze. “Okay.”
Okay? Mu Xi thought she misheard him. He agreed so easily?
“Hey, do you even understand the significance of the Skysea Alliance Tournament? How can you agree so easily?”
Tang Wulin said, “It’s just fame. The difference between first and second place can’t be that large anyway. If I can earn more money by giving up first place for second place, then I’m all for it!”
“I’m convinced now—you really only think about money!” Mu Xi smacked the top of his head lightly. “I’m just joking with you. If I stole first place from you, dad would kill me!”
A trace of a smile appeared on Tang Wulin’s lips. “Teacher wouldn’t do that. He actually looks at you with doting eyes. I’m serious, senior disciple sister. If no one is better than you, I’ll give you first place. I’ll be taking that prize money though.”
Tang Wulin’s earnest insistence left Mu Xi in a daze. “I don’t want you to do this for my dad.”
With her intelligence, she immediately realized what Tang Wulin intended. He was doing a favor to Mu Chen.
Tang Wulin shook his head. “It’s not what you’re thinking. Teacher once said that the tallest tree in the forest will be ravaged by the wind. I’m still very young, so what do you think would happen if I reveal that I’m already a fourth rank blacksmith? I’m still a long ways from three rings and Spirit Refinement, so what does first place even mean to me? If I just take second place, then I can keep a low-profile while earning some money.”
Mu Xi curiously asked, “Can you tell me why you need so much money?”
Tang Wulin forced out a bitter smile. “My cultivation path is a bit different from other people. I need a lot of heavenly treasures to continue evolving my martial soul. My strength comes from that evolution. You know that my martial soul is Bluesilver Grass. Take a look!”
Tang Wulin raised his right hand and summoned his golden scales.
The sight of the golden scales left Mu Xi speechless. She slowly raised a finger and tapped on the scales, creating a sharp metallic tone.
“This is why you’re in class zero? This is the source of your strength?” Mu Xi asked in disbelief.
Tang Wulin nodded.
“Aren’t you afraid I’ll tell my dad?” Mu Xi asked suspiciously.
“I don’t intend to hide this from teacher!” Tang Wulin said.
“Forget about it, then!” Mu Xi nodded at Tang Wulin’s answer in satisfaction. “I’ll look out for you in the academy from now on. If anyone dares bully you, just tell me their name.”
Tang Wulin didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. “Senior disciple sister, what are you saying? I don’t get into fights anyway.”
“You don’t get into fights? Who was it that sent his roommates flying out of their second-floor window on the first day, hm? I can’t seem to remember…”
“Oh, right, do you like Zixin?” Mu Xi asked suddenly.
Tang Wulin was blindsided by this question, and his face immediately went beet red before he waved his arms in denial. “N-No! No, I don’t! I don’t…”
“Hahaha! Look at how flustered you are! Aren’t you usually super calm? I understand. You’re confused about the matters of the heart and are trying to deny it, but it’s clear that you like her! Just what are you learning at such a young age?” Mu Xi pinched his face over and over.
Tang Wulin was distressed. “I really don’t! Senior Sister Zixin is just a really nice person, and we frequently run into each other during our morning jogs. Even if I did like her, it would be because she’s so pretty and gentle. I can appreciate those qualities, you know! Don’t go having any weird thoughts!”
Mu Xi raised her eyebrows. “So you’re saying that I’m not pretty or gentle enough for you to like… and you don’t appreciate me?”
Tang Wulin was still a ten-year-old child, so how could he hope to win an argument against a developing young lady? Mu Xi was fourteen years old this year and was far more mature than him.
“I-I…” Tang Wulin gawked at her, speechless.
Isn’t that right though? You’re not gentle at all!
Tang Wulin had to admit Wu Xi was pretty, but he would never say so out loud.
After pinching Tang Wulin’s face a bit more, Mu Xi was satisfied.
Bullying him is even more fun than being cold to him! Her mouth curled into a wicked smile.
They soon arrived at the academy and Tang Wulin let out a sigh. He flew back to his dorm while rubbing his aching cheeks, the sound of Mu Xi’s witch-like cackling chasing after him.
“The Skysea Alliance Tournament?”
Tang Wulin mentioned the tournament during lunch and immediately caught Xie Xie’s ear. He hadn’t realized just how much Xie Xie knew about the tournament!