Chapter 301 – Titan Giant Ape Martial Soul
“Alright. Do you have a blacksmith’s badge? I’ll begin your registration. In case you’re not aware, Shrek Blacksmith’s Association goes by rules similar to those governing other Blacksmith’s Associations across the continent.” The clerk glanced at the badge in Tang Wulin’s hand as he continued his explanation, “The greater the blacksmith, the greater their authority…”
It was an orange badge with four yellow stars on it.
T-this badge’s color scheme… He’s a fourth-rank blacksmith?
Although fourth-rank blacksmiths weren’t too hard to find at Shrek Academy, he hadn’t encountered one this young before!
The average age of Shrek Blacksmith’s Association members trended higher than those of other campus associations. After all, blacksmithing required a long accumulation of experience and a lengthy sharpening of skill..
When Tang Wulin had first stepped foot into the room, the clerk was intrigued. When the fourth-rank badge came into the picture, he was astounded.
Is that real?
Trembling hands took hold of the badge, slipping it into a tiny slot on the identification device. A detailed record of the owner’s personal information would be swiftly retrieved, regardless of their profession.
“Tang Wulin. Male. Born in Glorybound City. Member of Eastsea Blacksmith’s Association. F-fourth-rank blacksmith. Second place winner of the junior division blacksmithing tournament, Skysea Alliance Tournament. Total number of completed forging missions…”
His voice dipped lower and lower as Tang Wulin’s picture flashed on the screen, confirming his identity.
The clerk didn’t doubt who he was; it was impossible to fabricate the information on the badge. Not to mention, counterfeits were so easy to expose that it wasn’t worth the time making them.
Meanwhile, Yuanen was frozen by Tang Wulin’s side.
He’s a fourth-rank blacksmith?
He’d guessed Tang Wulin was talented, judging by how Feng Wuyu had personally recruited him, but never had he imagined the youth sported such a high rank!
Fourth-rank professionals were rare in the fourth grade, not to mention the first grade. People of such caliber only became common in the fifth and sixth grades.
I’ve found a treasure! Since he’s a fourth-rank blacksmith, he has to be capable of second-grade thousand refining at the very least!
“Here’s your badge back,” the young man said, his tone clearly more polite than before. As a fellow blacksmith, he understood better than Yuanen the unprecedented genius a thirteen-year-old fourth-rank blacksmith represented, how much it shook the foundations of blacksmithing history! Perhaps the Academy bent the rules and made an exception in order to recruit him for his rich talent.
“You’re a working student?” the young man asked.
Tang Wulin nodded.
The clerk held his stare and something flashed within his eyes, something close to understanding. “I’ll explain how the pay works here.. Since the badge you got says you’re a fourth-rank blacksmith, you’ll receive two thousand points a month and access to a private twenty square meter workshop. That’s suitable for your rank, and will be upgraded as your rank advances. Also, the Association will provide you with ten chunks of metal each month to use as you wish, and an eight percent discount when purchasing additional metal from the Association.
“You can also get a job with the Association. If you want the Association to sell products on your behalf, then you’ve got to relinquish five percent as a fee. Obviously, the rest will go to you. In exchange for all these benefits, you must complete three jobs each month. Of course, the three jobs will be suitable for your rank.
“Last but not least, if you run into any problems, please don’t hesitate to come by the Association for assistance.”
There are so many benefits for joining!
Throughout his path to becoming a blacksmith, Tang Wulin had stumbled upon many an impenetrable mountain along the way, and only now had he tasted the sweet fruits born of his labor. No matter where, blacksmiths would always be in high demand, as evident by the benefits offered by Shrek Blacksmith’s Association.
“I’d like to accept some jobs. Please assign me a workshop.” These were his two items of priority today. A personal workshop would allow him to practice forging and complete jobs, raking up contribution points on the way.
A Tang Sect branch was likely hidden in the belly of Shrek Academy. Tang Wulin would have to ask Wu Zhangkong where it was. And once he had the information, he’d go and report in, settling into a hectic schedule packed full of missions for both Shrek Academy and the Tang Sect.
He would consolidate his fifth rank foundation while completing forging jobs for the next year, taking a slow and steady approach to spirit refining.
“Please wait a moment.”
A while later, the clerk led Tang Wulin down a long and narrow corridor, winding and tortuous like a coiling snake, doors lining both sides. Upon closer inspection, Tang Wulin realized the how similar to a tube the hall was.
With every step, the clerk babbled on, reminding him of certain important details. For example, that every association had their own space, and all of the rooms on either side of the corridor were for blacksmiths of the fourth rank and up. Every workshop was soundproofed, so no matter how furiously one swung the hammer, not a peep would leave the rooms.
Tang Wulin’s workshop number was easy to remember: 88.
“Here’s your workshop door card. It’s free to use. If you need to buy metal or want to accept some jobs, hop by the front desk and we’ll assist you immediately.”
“Okay. I’ll trouble you when the time comes.”
Tang Wulin entered his workshop with Yuanen in tow. It was neat and tidy, empty shelves on either sides, not a dust mote in place. Right smack in the center of the room stood a forging table. One glance, and Tang Wulin knew it was the standard type, the type that, although not as fancy as Feng Wuyu’s, was what he was most familiar with.
The room was bare otherwise. Each wall was forged from metal. If he didn’t know any better, he could have sworn he’d stepped foot into a world of metal.
Even though it’s not very large, it’s still good. I can consider this workshop mine from now on.
Earlier, Tang Wulin had taken his monthly allotment—ten chunks of metal. Fourth-rank blacksmiths were treated well.
Although none of the ten metals were particularly valuable or rare, they were all free! No way could he turn that down.
He arranged his newly acquired metals with some of the less valuable ones from his storage ring on the hungry shelves. And with that, the workshop no longer seemed so bare.
“Take your pick.” Tang Wulin pointed to the shelves.
Yuanen returned his gesture with a blank stare. “I’m not sure what I want. I need a full set of armor, so I’ll just go with whatever you recommend.”
Tang Wulin’s eyes were peppered with surprise. “You want to create a full set? You’re already preparing to become a battle armor master?”
“I think that’ll be difficult since your body grows too big when you use your martial soul.” Tang Wulin smiled in spite of himself. “Oh right, what’s your martial soul? It’s so powerful! It’d make things easier if I knew.”
“It’s the Titan Giant Ape,” Yuanen replied after hesitating for a moment.
“Titan Giant Ape?” Tang Wulin’s eyes popped. Of course he had heard of it before. The Titan Giant Ape was known as the king of the forest, royalty among soul beasts. But this was the first time he met someone with it as their martial soul.
“So what do you think?” Yuanen asked.
Tang Wulin pondered for a moment, gears whirring in overdrive in his mind. “Spirit refined metal would be best for you. That’ll allow you to merge your armor with your body and accommodate you no matter how large your transformation. In today’s lesson, my class’s teacher said battle armor is meant for the martial soul to wear. So, one-word battle armor can’t really be counted as true battle armor. In anycase, I’m too unfamiliar with how battle armor is made and don’t know if one-word battle armor can transform along with your martial soul.”
“It can,” Yuanen said. “But the crafting process is very complicated. Alright, how about you just thousand refine a highly ductile metal for me?”
Again, Tang Wulin delved deep into his thoughts. “Then you’ll want the same metal as my hammers. Heavy silver. It’s extremely ductile and is considered one of the best mid-grade metals. As for making the armor, you’ll have to find a mecha designer and maker.”
Thousand refining heavy silver was a walk in the park for Tang Wulin. As Yuanen was his first customer since coming to Shrek Academy, Tang Wulin allowed him to stay and watch.
Several strikes of the hammer later, a silver light shot out from the metal, leaving Yuanen gasping for his words. “Y-you’re too fast.”
“You’re getting quite the deal this time. It’s thousand refined with spirit, so it’s first-grade thousand refined. Don’t you think one thousand contribution points is too cheap for something like this?”
Yuanen carefully accepted the heavy silver and put it away, nodding. “It’s cheap. I’ll tell you a secret about Shrek Academy if you’ll agree to continue forging for me at that price.”
“Done!” Tang Wulin agreed to the bargain immediately, heart thumping in beat with the palpable anticipation in the room. “I’m going to want you to answer a few more questions about working students also. Throw in those answers and I promise to continue forging thousand refined products for you at that price. This deal is only for you though.”