Chapter 347 – Picking up a Treasure
Unknown to Tang Wulin, inheritance became crucial once a blacksmith began learning how to forge alloys. Even the common-grade alloy formulas were restricted in sale by the Blacksmith’s Association to talented blacksmiths. Fortunately for Tang Wulin, he had Feng Wuyu and Mu Chen, two Saint Blacksmiths, as his masters. He needn’t worry about obtaining alloy formulas at all.
Feng Wuyu’s teaching style was completely different from Mu Chen’s. While Mu Chen was gentle and understanding, Feng Wuyu was short-tempered and impatient. If Tang Wulin made a single mistake, the workshop would shake with Feng Wuyu’s roars.
Only after four long hours of forging did Tang Wulin’s sturdy body finally give in to exhaustion.
“Teacher, I’m hungry…” Tang Wulin said feebly.
“Alright, go eat then. Come back when you’re done. We can still fit in three more hours of blacksmithing tonight. Did you think blacksmithing was all fun and games? Don’t be a fool. If the metal ratio of the mixture is even a tiny bit off, it won’t qualify to even be called an alloy. Combining multiple metals into one is a slow and complicated process. If the ratio is off, they won’t form a cohesive whole.”
“Yes.” Tang Wulin listened earnestly.
Although this teacher of his had a terribly violent nature, his critiques always hit the nail on the head, and he answered all of Tang Wulin’s questions with ease. Besides, Tang Wulin wouldn’t give in to merely this much pressure.
“Now shoo.” Feng Wuyu waved him off. “Go and get dinner.”
Tang Wulin turned and ran out the door. The instant he was out of sight, Feng Wuyu’s angry expression eased into grin, and he began dancing around the room in joy.
“Haha! I’ve really picked up a treasure this time! That kid’s well worth his price, he’s a real prodigy! He’s already forged alloy of this level on his first try. If he isn’t a prodigy, he’s a monster! Haha! I have such good eyes.”
Tang Wulin’s hardships were only beginning. He attended classes in the morning and learned from Feng Wuyu in the afternoon thrice a week. He was slowly figuring out the trick to forging alloys, and his blacksmithing skills were rapidly improving. Yet Feng Wuyu still forbid him from attempting to spirit refine.
“What? He taught you how to forge alloys?” Mu Chen stared at Tang Wulin in astonishment.
“Is there something wrong with that, Teacher?” Tang Wulin met his teacher’s gaze with doubtful eyes. Between making battle armor, learning from Feng Wuyu, and keeping up with his cultivation, Tang Wulin had recently been deprived of nearly all his free time. He only managed to pay Mu Chen a visit after scraping together every second he could.
“Of course not.” The corner of Mu Chen’s mouth began to twitch. “Do you know what rank people usually begin learning about alloys? The sixth! The sixth rank! Fifth-rank blacksmiths only need to know how to spirit refine. Even if their chances of success are extremely low, a single successful spirit refining elevates a blacksmith to the fifth rank. However, to get to the sixth rank, a blacksmith needs to be able to forge at least six two-metal alloys and three three-metal alloys. Teaching you about alloys when you haven’t even solidified your spirit refining foundation is just irresponsible!”
“Huh?” Tang Wulin’s eyes widened at Mu Chen’s words.
Elder Feng, why do you always stray from the beaten path!
A pensive expression appeared on Mu Chen’s face. This lasted for a few moments, and then he leaped to his feet. “Follow me.”
Mu Chen led Tang Wulin into a workshop on the same floor that was taller and larger than the others. This was the personal workshop of the Association’s president. He stopped in the center of the room, then turned to face Tang Wulin. “Many different alloys exist, a large number of which are available for civilian use. Alloys are one of the government’s key areas of research. While there are some alloys that can be processed by machines, us blacksmiths don’t even consider them true alloys. Those are just several metals melted down and mixed together. That mechanical process destroys both the strengths of the metals and the life they held, so we call them spiritless alloys. Only true alloys forged by blacksmiths are called spirit alloys. The difference between the two is evident in their value. If you compare two alloys, a spirit alloy and a spiritless alloy, the spirit alloy would be a thousand times more valuable. To display their full potential, spirit alloys need to be spirit refined at the very least. You also need to become skilled at forging spirit alloys if you want to become a Saint Blacksmith because, when the time comes for you to soul refine, you won’t be able to use just any metal. Regular metals aren’t strong enough endure being soul refined, so you will only be able to use alloys. Since Feng Wuyu has already begun teaching you how to forge them, I don’t want to overwhelm you. Instead of teaching you how to spirit refine on top of that, I’ll teach you the specifics of forging alloys.”
“Show me what you’ve learned,” Mu Chen ordered. “Let me see you forge an alloy. Just make whatever you’re best at.”
“Yes!” Tang Wulin walked over to the shelf of metals and quickly picked out two. One was heavy silver and the other was magic silver. If he used heavy silver and magic silver, he could create an alloy called jade silver.
The most important part of forging spirit alloys was ensuring that the product retained the spiritual nature of its components. This was what separated them from spiritless alloys. Jade silver possessed the strengths of both heavy silver and magic silver. As one of the better two-metal alloys, it reinforced those strengths.
Tang Wulin put the two metals into forging table’s furnace and began calcining them. He stood there in silence, eyes shut, patiently waiting for the moment they would be ready for hammering.
Off to the side, Mu Chen observed Tang Wulin’s steady breathing and nodded in approval. This child is outstanding. Unlike most people, he’s able to remain calm.
Seconds ticked by, and soon enough, the calcining of the metals had completed. Tang Wulin pushed a button, bringing out the heavy silver first. He raised his hands, his twin hammers appearing in them in a flash. He lightly tapped the heavy silver with the hammer in his left hand, then struck with the one in his right. The stacked hammers effect triggered, and three booms resounded in a row, marking the beginning of the forging process.
The hammers carried a tremendous amount of force, each strike visibly distorting the resilient heavy silver. No more than a minute later, Tang Wulin finished hundred refining it. Then the magic silver emerged, and he hundred refined it as well.
The pair of hundred-refined metals sat on the table side-by-side. Tang Wulin spread his arms wide in a sweeping gesture, then brought them hurtling toward the two metals. His hammers smashed the metals together, and a series of booms thundered throughout the room, overlapping to become one unified burst of sound.
Mu Chen’s watched this scene unfold with rapt attention. This was a high-level blacksmith technique. A single difference in angle or force between his two strikes would make the fusion fail.
Tang Wulin swung his arms out again, and this time three purple soul rings popped into existence around him. Then he swept his arms inward once more, his hammers whistling toward the fusing metals.
Forging alloys wasn’t as simple as smashing two metals together. The process required a constant infusion of soul power to bridge the gap between the metals until they reached a balance. Only this could preserve the spiritual nature of the metals and sublimate their properties in the finished product.
Three rings? Mu Chen stared at Tang Wulin in shock. He wasn’t aware that Tang Wulin had gained his third soul ring. This progress is too fast! Wasn’t he just rank 28 the other day? He’s already broken through to rank 30?
He thought that Tang Wulin’s strength had increased, but now he realized the boy had grown much more than just that.
Two hammers descended once more, filling the room with thunder. A layer of white soul power enveloped the partially fused metals. The Mysterious Heaven Method influenced soul power, having it flow out in a steady but vigorous stream to connect the two metals.
Under Tang Wulin’s steady hammering, the metals kept transforming. They squished together, and the line that indicated which metal was which began to blur.
An hour later, when the two metals completely merged into one, Tang Wulin’s hammering lightened up from crashing strikes to gentle taps. He tapped it with the hammer in his left hand, the hammer in his right quickly followed at the opposite end to keep the metal in place. His two hammers alternated in this way as they lightly tapped the metal, causing it to slowly start spinning. Tang Wulin continued tapping the metal as it spun, each gentle strike adding to its momentum. It was as if he were forging a metal whirlwind on the table.