Chapter 195 – Blacksmiths
Skysea City was situated in an area surrounded by much more mountains than Eastsea City and many buildings were built into the slopes, adding to their high-low appearance. Some skyscrapers even seemed to pierce right through the clouds.
The official delegation from Eastsea City had already been in contact with the representatives from Skysea City.
The four students of class zero were the youngest amongst the competitors from Eastsea City and naturally weren’t too attentive to their surroundings, simply following the group.
They were led to a luxurious hotel that was rather special; half of it was within the ocean and each room had a breathtaking view that truly emphasized to all the guests that they were by the ocean.
Tang Wulin and Xie Xie shared a room while Gu Yue and Xu Xiaoyan were placed in another room.
Tomorrow was the opening ceremony of the tournament and lots to decide the matches would be drawn. Wu Zhangkong had given the bare minimum explanation which had lacked any sort of warnings or advice.
The doorbell rang.
Tang Wulin quickly opened the door, revealing the charming Mu Xi.
“Come with me!” Mu Xi grabbed his hand and dragged him out.
Tang Wulin just barely managed to look back and shout, “Xie Xie, I’m going out with my senior disciple sister first. I’ll be back later.”
“Go, just go already.” Xie Xie was already laying on his bed resting with his eyes closed. He hadn’t had a moment of reprieve from Wu Zhangkong’s glacial aura and the glares of the surrounding women during the entire trip whilst sitting next to his teacher. Now that he was free from that tormenting environment, fatigue drained his energy while sleep overwhelmed his consciousness.
“Senior disciple sister, slow down. Just what are we doing?” Tang Wulin pleaded.
“We have a meeting.” Mu Xi’s short reply left no room for debate. She turned a corner and, seeing that there weren’t many people around, Mu Xi quickly pinched Tang Wulin’s delicate cheeks.
“Senior disciple sister!” Tang Wulin waved his arms in protest.
“Pinching you means that I respect you. Your cheeks are nice to pinch. Okay, we’re here.” Mu Xi pushed Tang Wulin into a room as she spoke.
Over a dozen people were present in the room, each wearing the familiar badge of a blacksmith.
The leader of the delegation from the Blacksmith’s Association was someone Tang Wulin knew—Cen Yue. Aside from Cen Yue, the others were unfamiliar faces that ranged from their late teens to their early twenties.
Cen Yue’s stern expression transformed into a beaming smile the moment Tang Wulin and Mu Xi walked in.
“You’re here, Wulin? Come, I’ll introduce you to the other outstanding blacksmiths of your generation.”
There were a couple people that stood out to Tang Wulin—a youth around eighteen years old named Zheng Tianlin and a young man a little over twenty named Tang Wenhao.
They both had their own peculiarities. Zheng Tianlin had a pair of extraordinarily long arms that reached just past his knees and wore a third rank blacksmith badge while Tang Wenhao wore a fourth rank badge. They were the most skilled individuals in the room after Cen Yue.
Although Mu Xi was extremely talented, she was still only a second rank blacksmith. Mu Chen’s strict attitude toward her had meant that he refused to pass her as a third rank blacksmith until her Thousand Refinements stabilized.
“Now that everyone is present, I’ll begin. I believe you’re all aware that although Eastsea City hasn’t achieved any exemplary results in the Skysea Alliance Tournaments of late, our Eastsea Blacksmith’s Association is an exception to that. We managed to attain third place in the junior division, and first in the youth division last year. Wenhao, do your best this time to bring us glory in the adult division.”
Tang Wenhao had an average appearance and a sturdy body. A calm light twinkled in his eyes as he said, “Yes, teacher.”
It was only then that Tang Wulin realized Tang Wenhao was Cen Yue’s direct disciple.
A satisfied smile formed on Cen Yue’s lips. “You will definitely receive excellent results as long as you perform your usual best”
Cen Yue then turned to Zheng Tianlin. “Tianlin, you’ve made a lot of progress in these last two years and have stabilized your foundation. If you’re able to forge at your personal best, then you should do well too. I hope you’ll breakthrough soon and reach fourth rank.”
“Yes, Master Cen.” Zheng Tianlin nodded but not only was his attitude disrespectful, it was filled with disdain and arrogance.
Finally, Cen Yue turned to Tang Wulin and Mu Xi. “Last of all are the two of you. If you were to ask me who I was most confident in with regards to the adult, youth, and juvenile division, I would definitely have said it would be you two brats. I don’t think I need to give either of you any advice. Just perform as you always do and you’ll surely bring back the title of champion. I’ll be waiting to celebrate.”
Everyone in the room eyed the two at these words. They could accept it if it had only been directed to Mu Xi, but Tang Wulin was an unknown face.
The matter of Tang Wulin becoming President Mu Chen’s disciple had been kept confidential and the only ones who knew this were Mu Chen himself, Cen Yue, and Mu Xi. It was for this reason that none of the other blacksmiths recognized him.
Tang Wenhao was shocked that his teacher had praised this newcomer. He glanced at Tang Wulin and gave him a nod of acknowledgment. Tang Wulin hastily reciprocated.
Zheng Tianlin smiled. “Junior sister Mu Xi is quickly approaching third rank so the junior division should be no problem for her. The champion’s prize is almost already hers.”
Mu Xi would have accepted such praise before having met Tang Wulin since she truly was one of the greatest of her generation. Now, however, a little monster stood beside her. How could she accept such praise knowing full well the gap between her and Tang Wulin? He was already a fourth rank blacksmith despite being four years younger than her.
“Don’t say such nonsense. There’s no way I can become the champion,” Mu Xi quickly said.
Zheng Tianlin thought she was being modest and laughed. “How could you not? Being able to reach the second rank is already amazing for your age, not to mention approaching third rank.” He hadn’t even thought of acknowledging Tang Wulin since the beginning.
Although Tang Wulin was taller than his peers, at most, he could only be considered a thirteen-year-old child. Apart from Tang Wenhao who noted Cen Yue’s expectant gaze towards Tang Wulin, everyone else held the same assumptions as Zheng Tianlin. They thought Tang Wulin was merely present to create a contrast for Mu Xi’s brilliance.
Tang Wulin didn’t mind this assessment at all; in fact, he wasn’t concerned at all. Mang Tian had repeatedly warned him to stay low-key within the Blacksmith’s Association as it was only then would he be able to progress further.
He trusted Mang Tian’s advice, and Mu Chen’s lectures had only served to further reinforce this idea. It was for this reason that he truly intended to give Mu Xi the championship in this competition. He would be rewarded with both the second and first place prizes anyway. What reason did he have to decline?
Cen Yue didn’t try to allay their assumptions since his primary goal was Tang Wulin’s safety. B Mu Chen had explained to Tang Wulin before their departure that if it wasn’t for his insane improvement speed and connection with the world of blacksmiths, Mu Chen would not have let him compete.
What Tang Wulin wasn’t aware of was that there was a limited number of spots for participating in high-level competitions and having reached fourth rank, Tang Wulin qualified for them.
Cen Yue said, “Now I’ll explain how the competition will be run this time. Let’s start with the junior division. You can leave after hearing the information relevant to you.” He still prioritized Tang Wulin in the end. Of course, in the eyes of the other blacksmiths, it was simply Cen Yue showing consideration for Mu Xi.
“The three divisions aren’t that different; it’s just that the junior division focuses on blacksmithing fundamentals. The first round disqualifies contestants who cannot hundred refine. No one knows what metal you will be asked to forge. The top sixty-four participants from the first round will then compete in the second round where you freely display your ability with the same metal from before. You will be awarded points based on the grade of the final product. As for the third round, you will be shaping the metal you forged in the second round. That’s it. There are only three rounds. To secure a good position, however, you will need to surprise everyone. When that time comes, just do you best and you should be fine. The association will grant you an additional award if you place within the top eight, and an amazing award if it’s the top three. You’ll even have the opportunity to participate in other blacksmithing competitions. I hope you’ll keep this in mind and do you best because the spots for other competitions isn’t up to me. If you place in the top three, the medal awarded will be your ticket into the upper levels of the world of blacksmithing, understand?”