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    daniel wiredaniel wire
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    tang wulin keep it up @delexzy01 roger on

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    Chapter 345

    The First Battle Armor Piece

    The main purpose of making one-word battle armor was to prepare for the future. Once the time came for Tang Wulin’s group to make two-word battle armor, they would be able to use completely new materials. They wouldn’t be restricted to the metals they chose now.

    Upon entering their rented workshop, awe shone in Luo Guixing’s eyes when he saw how large it was. “Elder Feng treats you really well.”

    The workshop was at least 150 square meters in area. The space was at least twice as large as what people could normally rent, and it was filled with all the best equipment and tools. An empty shelf for metals stood off to one side. All of this came at the cheap price of one thousand contribution points a month. Now this was the benefit of having connections.

    Tang Wulin smiled shyly. “We can talk about that after I thousand refine your metals. Gu Yue, have you drawn up any rough designs yet? We’ll need to discuss them before I get to forging.”

    Gu Yue nodded. “I’ve already been getting feedback from the other two these past few days. I understand your situation as well, so I was able to get some first drafts done.”

    She walked over to the forging table and took blueprints out of her storage ring. With one in hand, she turned to face them. “For the first piece of our battle armors, I decided on armor for our right hands. I chose this piece because it’s the easiest to use in combat and will immediately result in the largest increase in power.”

    She unfurled the blueprint in her hands, then pointed at the various drawings. “Hand armor is made of separate parts that cover the actual hand, extend past the forearm, and go all the way to the elbow. So really, it’s armor for both your hand and forearm. This is the design I drafted for you.”

    “You chose heavy silver, the main property of which is soul power amplification. After thinking about what would suit you best, I concluded that, since your hand can transform into the golden dragon claw, it would be essential for your hand armor to expand alongside it. To accomodate that, I added a transformation circuit core in the palm that will allow the armor to transform along with your arm. I also left holes in the fingertips of the armor for your claws since they’re already extremely sharp weapons anyway. To amplify your blood essence and soul power, I added circuit cores to the back of the hand armor. This is a dual-loop circuit core I specially designed…”

    Gu Yue went over the entire design without leaving out a single detail. Tang Wulin was stunned by how meticulous and complex her work was.

    Designers are awesome! This was Tang Wulin’s first time learning about circuit cores and seeing the complexity hidden within designs. Making this design a reality would clearly be difficult.

    Tang Wulin stole a glance at Wu Siduo and Luo Guixing. He couldn’t discern any strange change in expression, a clear sign that Gu Yue’s design was on the right track.

    “Any piece of one-word battle armor needs at least three circuit cores,” Gu Yue said, wrapping up her explanations. “In comparison, each piece of two-word armor needs five circuit cores. These circuit cores have to be built into the metal itself, so high-quality refined metal is required. Thousand refined metal is the bare minimum for making one-word armor.”

    Tang Wulin nodded. “It’s a good thing I saw your designs first. Now I know what to focus on improving when I forge the metal. After I finish refining it, I’ll shape it according to the designs. While I shape it, I’ll refine it a second time and make the metal stronger or more flexible, whichever is more suited to the design.”

    Luo Guixing look at Tang Wulin in shock. “You can refine a metal twice?” He once heard that twice refined metal was essential in making battle armor.

    Tang Wulin nodded.

    Luo Guixing looked him in the eye. “If that’s true, then I feel a lot better about the plan now. Making our battle armors should be easier than I thought.”

    “Then let’s get started,” Tang Wulin replied. “We’ll take one step at a time. Gu Yue, iron out the rest of the designs and make them flawless. I’m going to begin the first refining of our metals. Once you’ve perfected your designs, I’ll do the second refining.”

    “Alright.”

    Each of the four had their respective profession, and all were talented in their own field. With their common goal to become battle armor masters, they temporarily set their differences aside to work together.

    An hour later, four twinkling metals sat on the forging table. They were chunks of first-grade thousand refined heavy silver, magic silver, stygian iron, and thousand moment copper.

    It had only taken Tang Wulin an hour to thousand refine four chunks of metal! Every time he finished, a beam of light shot a meter into the air, signifying that it had been imbued with spirit. Tang Wulin had appeared utterly relaxed throughout the entire process. Despite the discontent harbored for him, Wu Siduo and Luo Guixing had to admit that he was the best blacksmith they could’ve hoped for. The four shining pieces of refined metal were proof of that.

    “Do you have any suggestions for my hand armor design?” Gu Yue asked.

    Tang Wulin thought to himself for a moment, stroking his chin. “I think it’s perfect as is. My right arm is my main means of attack, so making my golden dragon claw stronger is the best thing for my hand armor to do. As for my bluesilver grass… it’ll be fine as long as the armor doesn’t hinder it. I trust in your skills.”

    “Good,” said Gu Yue. “I’ll have you approve my designs once I finish them. We’re going to discuss the rest of the designs and the making process now. If you have something to do, feel free to leave.”

    “Alright. I’m going to find Elder Feng. If you guys need anything, give me a call.”

    Luo Guixing’s watched Tang Wulin as he went out the door, then he turned to Gu Yue. “Has he always been this good at blacksmithing?”

    Gu Yue looked at him in disdain. She obviously still held a grudge against him for his actions in the match. “Don’t you know? Some people are just blessed by the heavens.”

    Luo Guixing just smiled meekly in response. He went over to the blueprints and examined them. “This part of the design is too complex. It’ll be too hard for me to make it like this, so you should revise it…”

    The three of them continued discussing the designs without Tang Wulin. As for him, he went to go find Feng Wuyu.

    Tang Wulin liked how busy his life was. Everything was going according to the plan he set for both himself and his companions. Although Xie Xie and Xu Xiaoyan weren’t a part of his group, they would forever be members of class zero and his trusted comrades. He naturally hadn’t forgotten about them and already had the perfect solution for their predicaments.

    Yuanen Yehui was in her male disguise as usual. Not a single thing about her was out of place. Just as she entered the dormitory, its tidiness astounded her. The floor had been swept, not a single speck of dust to be seen. Then she arrived at her room and found a bucket of clean water sitting just outside the of it.

    Who did this? She opened her door and carried the bucket in, her brow furrowed. A few people flashed through her mind. Could it have been Tang Wulin? No way. Considering how much he eats, I bet he’s still gorging himself at the dining hall.

    Only the heavens knew how Tang Wulin would react if he knew what Yuanen Yehui’s thought of him.

    Was it Yue Zhengyu then? …there’s no way that guy is this nice. Even though he definitely knows I’m not an evil soul master now, he still tries to pick fights with me in class… could it be him then? A tall, thin figure popped into her mind, his handsome features fixed into a mischievous smile that held a hint of haughtiness. Then she imagined herself beating him up.

    “Hmph!” Yuanen Yehui clenched her fists at the thought of the boy. She grabbed the bucket of water, stomped to her door, opened it, then threw all of the water out, and slammed the door shut.

    After putting the bucket down, she placed her hands on her hips. That hadn’t lessened her anger one bit!

    It took her a long time to calm down. Letting out a long sigh, she pulled open the blinds. Since they know now, there’s no point keeping this charade up while at the dormitory.

    She walked over to her bed and took off her coat and wig, exposing her dark-red hair. She took a moment to rub her face, her pretty features soon resurfacing. Then a popping sound emanated from her bones and she grew a bit taller, her womanly curves becoming more pronounced.

    My original appearance really is the most comfortable!

    She touched her cheeks, basking in the change, when all of a sudden, pain flashed through her eyes. She stumbled over to her bed, hands clutching her head as she toppled onto it. Her body began to twitch, and her jaw clenched so tightly that it was on the verge of breaking. Spasms wracked her body as her eyes gradually went scarlet. Tears streamed down her face as dread began to creep inside of her. All she could see before her eyes was a sea of blood.

    “No!” she screamed, forcing herself upright.

    As she sat on her bed gasping for breath, the door flew open with a bang, and a figure charged into the room. “What’s going on? Are you okay?”

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    Chapter 346

    Alloy

    Yuanen Yehui looked up at Xie Xie, who had barged in. He met her scarlet eyes and gulped, then meekly asked, “A-are you okay?”

    Xie Xie had been waiting for her the entire time. Just like Yuanen Yehui had suspected, he was the one who cleaned the dormitory. He had drawn the bucket of water outside her door as well, using his Shadow Dragon Dagger to invisibly lurk in the vicinity, waiting for Yuanen Yehui to return. When he saw her dump out the bucket of water, he felt as though he were getting punched in the gut. Just as he was about to leave, however, he heard her pained screams and charged into her room without a second thought. Only as he stared into her crimson eyes did he start to feel awkward.

    “Get out!” she screamed.

    “Ah!” Xie Xie turned tail and ran off. Fear continued to linger in his heart when it came to her. The memory of her attempting to kill him had been burned into his mind, and even as he ran out, Xie Xie did not forget to close the door behind him.

    Yuanen Yehui panted for breath as she wiped tears from her face. She then curled up in her bed, gripping her blanket tightly.

    “Do you know what the greatest difference is between blacksmiths who can spirit refine and those who can’t? Feng Wuyu asked Tang Wulin.

    “Well… they can spirit refine,” Tang Wulin answered.

    “That’s a shit answer. It’s nowhere near as simple as that! Just what has Mu Chen been teaching you?” Feng Wuyu glared at Tang Wulin, the intensity in his gaze forcing the boy to stumble backward a step.

    “Teacher Mu said that I shouldn’t bite off more than I can chew… that he’ll teach me what I need to know about spirit refining when I could actually do it,” Tang Wulin answered meekly. “That way, I can focus on improving my skills.”

    “Nonsense!” Feng Wuyu shouted. “His way of teaching is half-assed. Only with a comprehensive understanding of your blacksmithing path will you be able to properly prepare and progress on it. Now pay attention. I’ll teach you just what a grandmaster blacksmith is.

    “Prior to spirit refining, blacksmiths only need have to work according to routine. In other words, they just have to practice skilled labor. After spirit refining, blacksmiths can finally show their flair and character in their work. This is a major milestone for blacksmiths.” Feng Wuyu paused for a moment, letting the information sink in. “Herein lies the greatest difference between fourth and fifth-rank blacksmiths. From now on, in addition to single, homogenous metals, you’ll be forging alloys.”

    “Alloys?” The idea left Tang Wulin dumbstruck, and an inkling of what was to come began forming in his mind.

    “To spirit refine is to bestow life upon metals,” Feng Wuyu declared. “You’ve succeeded in doing so once before, so let me ask you this: when you were spirit refining, what was the hardest part of the process?”

    “Giving the metal life,” Tang Wulin answered instantly. “The metal gradually gains intelligence while being forged, and after reaching a certain level of intelligence, its very nature transforms. At that moment, we blacksmiths need to imbue it with our vitality to awaken the metal and grant it true life. Only then will the spirit refining succeed. Also, since metal has no life to begin with, the degree to which we can awaken its intelligence is crucial to the chances of successfully spirit refining.”

    “Not bad, kid. That’s a pretty good explanation. Now, what does the innate nature of the metal have to do with the difficulty of bestowing it life? The better the metal, the easier it is to spirit refine. The creation of life is one of the universe’s most important matters. In the split-second life is created, there is a burst of unperceivable energy. This energy is what we call life energy, and it’s the basis of all life. While we may not be able to sense this energy, lifeless objects are extremely sensitive to it. If an object manages to absorb that energy, it gains life, but if it doesn’t, it’s ravaged by that energy and reduced to garbage. This is why failed spirit refinings result in metal that can no longer be used.

    “Your overwhelming vitality is a large part of why you succeeded in your first spirit refining. Your life force poured into the heavy silver along with your blood essence, strengthening it and ultimately allowing it to gain life. You accidently succeeded at an extremely difficult procedure that we blacksmiths call Fledgling Life Guard. Not all blacksmiths are capable of this, and even Saint Blacksmiths only succeed thirty percent of the time. So, after countless experiments, we came up with another method to increase the success rate of spirit refining. The basis of that method is the improvement of the metal’s strength and its ability to absorb life energy. In order to do that, we forge alloys!

    “Alloys are just what you’re thinking of: a combination of multiple metals into one. Although they see extensive use in mechas, they’re different from the kind I’m talking about. Alloys used in mechas are made by simply melting different metals into liquid, mixing them together, fixing the ratios, and shaping the completed product. Some chemicals are even used to help with the process. The alloys I’m referring to, however, are forged by hand and hammer alone.

    “Blacksmiths also need to carefully mix metals and make sure that the ratios are correct, but we merge them by forging them together, evenly shaping the resulting alloy to strengthen it and bring out the best of its properties. We then finish off the alloy by spirit refining, and at higher levels, soul refining it. The moment a metal is spirit refined, the future of its growth is decided.

    “From today onward, I will be teaching you how to forge alloys. Once you can skillfully forge ten alloys, we’ll move on to spirit refining. This way, your chances of success will be higher.”

    Tang Wulin had been listening earnestly the entire time, but Feng Wuyu’s final words made his eyes start sparkling with excitement.

    After he managed to reach a one hundred percent success rate with first-grade thousand refinement, Tang Wulin had actually had no idea how to progress further. After years of forging, he was exceptionally familiar with a wide variety of metals, and his thousand refining technique had been polished to perfection. While spirit refining did bestow life to a metal, it did not significantly improve the metal’s properties. Spirit refining was mainly done to allow metal metal to merge with its user. Tang Wulin knew all of this, but he didn’t know what his next step was supposed to be. Even though he knew about soul refining, he didn’t know how to do it or what it did. Beyond that was the fabled heavenly refining, something he only knew the name of.

    Tang Wulin had been at a complete loss as to how he should proceed, but hearing Feng Wuyu’s explanation of alloys was like a seeing new door open before him. Learning how to forge alloys would allow him to reach greater heights as a blacksmith, and he had no doubt that higher level battle armors used alloys as a base.

    This is probably what Teacher Mu wanted to talk to me about… Everything is different now that I’ve reached the fifth rank. It’s a whole new world.

    Feng Wuyu continued to teach Tang Wulin about alloys, how to forge them, and most importantly, their formulas. Countless rounds of trial and error resulted in the creation of formulas that were passed down through the generations from master to disciple. Each and every formula was a precious inheritance.

    Alloy formulas were categorized as either common or rare. Rare formulas could be considered secrets that only a few privileged individuals were allowed to know. Common formulas, on the other hand, were basically available to the general public.

    The more metals used in forging an alloy, the harder it was to forge it. This happened because the number of transformations that occurred in the mixture went up with each additional metal. This made formulas that included more metals all the more valuable. Common-grade alloy formulas generally used two to three metals. Any formula that listed more than three metals was considered a rare formula, and rarity increased with the number of metals involved.

    Unknown to Tang Wulin, inheritance became important once a blacksmith began learning how to forge alloys. The Blacksmith’s Association even restricted the sale of common-grade alloy formulas to talented blacksmiths alone.

    Fortunately, Tang Wulin had Feng Wuyu and Mu Chen, two Saint Blacksmiths, as masters. He didn’t need to worry about obtaining alloy formulas.

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    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.”

    “Understood.”

    “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.

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    daniel wiredaniel wire
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    roger on @delexzy01

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    Chapter 348

    Spirit Alloy

    Spin forging? Is he capable of doing even this?

    Mu Chen finally came to realize he had not known his disciple as well as he thought. His philosophy had dictated that as long as a student established a solid foundation and he was there to steadily guide them, success would follow like water downstream.

    As such, he had been livid after catching wind of Feng Wuyu’s actions. That eccentric taught Tang Wulin about alloys, breaking the gradual pace he had set for his student. Yet before his eyes, Tang Wulin was forging the alloy without a hitch, his hands full of care and his craft methodical.

    At first glance, Mu Chen had thought his disciple would create the alloy by press forging, but now it was clear that would not be the case. He switched to spin forging, a far more demanding process.That said, in exchange for requiring more skill, taking longer, and consuming more soul power, it produced alloys with greater harmony and consistency.

    Normally, five soul rings were required to spin forge. Tang Wulin only had three. Nevertheless, he had been aware of this, and applied a trick in order to bypass this obstacle; by press forging it in the beginning, Tang Wulin treated the alloy to the point where he could finish the process with spin forging.

    And he had more than one trick up his sleeve.

    His hammers came crashing down nonstop, emitting light as the metal spun faster and faster.

    Is he alternating between using soul power and raw strength? Mu Chen stared in shock.

    Can he really succeed without soul power strengthening his body?

    Soul power was mainly used in forging to create a connection between blacksmith and metal. If the blacksmith stopped supplying soul power, however, the connection could hold for a while longer before sizzling out. Tang Wulin took advantage of this phenomenon, only working in bursts of pure strength. While it was mentally exhausting to maintain the residual connection, providing soul power at the cusp of its death, this technique saved him a wealth of soul power in the long run!

    Seconds ticked by. Then minutes. Yet not once did Tang Wulin pause in his time-consuming task. He needed to constantly adjust for the changes and harmonization of the two metals. It was taxing and sipped away at his soul power.

    An hour soon crept by. Tang Wulin’s focus had not waned since the beginning, his mind and body working at optimal settings and his soul power dwindling at a steady rate. By carefully timing his switches and using the Mysterious Heaven Method, which had improved after he obtained his third soul ring, he could persist in spin forging.

    Astonishment practically dripped from Mu Chen’s form. He had never thought his disciple was this advanced.

    Alloy forging was a completely different beast from spirit refining. While spirit refining taxed a blacksmith’s mind, body, and soul power, alloy forging tested a blacksmith’s technique and understanding of metal.

    Tang Wulin had spent three years polishing his thousand refining skills, which helped him build an exceptional foundation and an understanding of metal far beyond his same-ranked peers. He had unknowingly prepared for this the whole time.

    After two hours, Tang Wulin’s forehead became slick with sweat, his body swaying from fatigue. Not much was left in his soul power reserves after three. Even so, the strikes of his hammer never stopped and the metal continued to spin.

    S-----g in a deep breath, Tang Wulin’s gaze sharpened and his blood essence roared. His three purple soul rings, a golden one appearing in their place.

    His body shuddered in tune to the golden soul ring’s radiant shine, his right arm swelling with strength. Golden scales rippled into existence across his arm and chest.

    With each stroke of the hammer, a hint of gold spread further into the white whirlpool of light gathering around the metal. The gold ate away at the white with every strike, and soon the whirlpool was a brilliant gold throughout.

    His unrestrained blood essence rose the temperature in the room several degrees. It coursed through his body so loudly even Mu Chen could hear it.

    Although Mu Chen had been aware of Tang Wulin’s blood essence soul ring, this was the first time he experienced for himself the extent in which Tang Wulin’s blood essence had strengthened since coming to Shrek Academy.

    If there was something Tang Wulin couldn’t accomplish with three soul rings, then he would pull through with his blood essence soul ring and bodily strength!

    However, now that he activated Golden Dragon Body, he could no longer use the previous switching method to conserve soul power. He redoubled his efforts, his forging more touched of frenzy than ever before. Now whenever his hammers struck the metal, a radiant ring of light blossomed. Coupled with the golden whirlpool, the spectacle was more than awe-inspiring.

    Suddenly, Tang Wulin dropped one of his hammer-wielding arms and raised the other high into the air.

    “Rise!” And he slammed his hammer down.

    A beam of light shot out of the metal toward the skies. The golden whirlpool accelerated its spin, a droning buzz filling the surrounding space.

    The light rose five feet into the air!

    For a moment it quivered, then tendrils of blue bloomed from its peak. A second later, a dragon’s roar shook the room as golden light sprouted from the blue, rising another three feet in height.

    “It’s thousand refined with spirit, forged together to give rise to the spirit,” Mu Chen proclaimed.

    The label of first-grade thousand refined was different between alloys and homogeneous metals. An alloy becoming thousand refined with spirit marked the success of the metal fusion. Or at the very least, an initial success.

    A pleased smile formed on Tang Wulin’s lips. It was his first successful alloy forging since he began learning about them.

    The beam of light shooting from the metal represented its spirit rising and signified a successful alloy forging. That light only appeared when the metals completely fused while retaining their spirit. The act of spirit rising differed for every blacksmith as it was affected by their martial souls. Furthermore, the tendrils of blue light came from Tang Wulin’s bluesilver grass and the golden light stemmed from his Golden Dragon King bloodline.

    Since the golden light reached five feet into the air, it was clear as day that his Golden Dragon King bloodline eclipsed his bluesilver grass. The height of the light correlated with the degree of the metal’s fusion and the characteristics of the soul master’s martial soul. Generally, a foot-tall light was considered rare. Yet Tang Wulin managed to get it to three feet. This was a blacksmithing miracle.

    The light of white, blue, and gold persisted for over twenty seconds before gradually dissipating.

    An oval lump of metal sat on the forging table. Its body glistened like jade, the cloud pattern within it dancing like mist. Even though it wasn’t spirit refined, it was full of life, a silver aura hovering around it.

    This was jade silver!

    Mu Chen stood up from his seat, grabbed the metal, and placed it in an apparatus. “The harmony rate is ninety-one percent,” he declared.

    “Only ninety-one percent?” Tang Wulin thought his forging had been perfect and was disappointed by how far he was from one hundred percent.

    Mu Chen’s mouth twitched. “Only? What do you think alloy forging is? Just a sixty percent harmony rate is enough to be considered a success, and with every five percent increase, the level of the metal also increases. The ninety-one percent harmony rate isn’t due to solely your blacksmithing skills. No, it’s also influenced by your martial soul and bloodline. Without those two, you never would have been able to produce something of this calibre.”

    Kid, that’s a ninety-one percent harmony rate! Even a Saint Blacksmith like me isn’t guaranteed to produce this kind of feat!

    Of course, Mu Chen didn’t forge alloys as easy as jade silver. In addition, heavy silver and magic silver shared many of the same qualities, which eased the alloy forging process. However, Tang Wulin was only thirteen years old! Once again, he set a new record in the blacksmithing world!

    Before he could think further, a voice derailed his thoughts.

    “Teacher, can I keep this piece of jade silver?” asked Tang Wulin.

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    Chapter 349

    Saint Blacksmith’s Notebook

    Mu Chen glanced at the jade silver in Tang Wulin’s hands and then switched his attention to his student. “Of course you can take it,” he said.

    This piece of jade silver was first-grade thousand refined. Normally, the grade of the metal was finalized after the first forging, but alloys were different. If the alloys forged still retained their life, then they could be reforged a second or third time. The higher the grade of the alloy, the more times this was possible. By the second forging, most blacksmiths were able to grasp the essence of the metal and bring out it’s true potential. Compared to most spirit refined metals, the jade silver in Tang Wulin’s hands was far more valuable.

    Mu Chen’s stare grew blank. He was at a loss, unsure how to progress with his student’s instruction.

    Tang Wulin’s success proved the validity of Feng Wuyu’s teaching methods. After a few short days of lectures, he was able to fuse forge. His next step was to polish his technique and practice forging more alloys. Spirit refining would naturally follow, and by the way things were looking he would become a sixth-rank blacksmith in no more than three years. Not only that, Tang Wulin made up for his lacking soul power with his blood essence soul ring, and coupled with his powerful draconic bloodline, he was stronger than other blacksmiths.

    Now this was what it meant to be gifted! He belonged at Shrek Academy truly, no doubt about it. Only here could his monstrous talent blossom into a stunning flower.

    “Take this.” Mu Chen retrieved from his storage ring a book and handed it over

    Tang Wulin accepted the book. He inspected it, noticing its lack of any titles.

    “This notebook contains everything I know about spirit refining and alloy forging.” Mu Chen watched as the sound of his words brought his student’s line of sight back to his own. “I was going to wait for you to become more familiar with spirit refining before giving it to you, but it seems you’re ready.

    “Honestly speaking, you’re growing faster than I ever expected. Once you reach a certain level, there wouldn’t be much I can do for you besides warning you if you ever stray down the wrong path. Never forget that your perception and efforts are crucial to advancing as a blacksmith. Take a look through the notebook when you have some time. Every blacksmith has their own forging style, so cross-reference it with both Feng Wuyu’s and your own. Keep it safe and don’t lose it. I wrote some of my secret alloy formulas in there. You can’t let anyone else read it, understood?”

    “Got it.” Tang Wulin gazed at the notebook like it was a treasure. Its pages contained all of an eighth-rank Saint Blacksmith’s knowledge pertaining to spirit refining and alloy forging! Not to mention, secret formulas. It was truly priceless no matter how anyone thought of it..

    Mu Chen smiled warmly at Tang Wulin’s gentle handling of the notebook. “This is all I can give you for now. I’m sure you’re busy with various things at Shrek Academy, so you don’t have to visit me so often in the future. Just come once a month. Feng Wuyu’s teachings won’t be any worse than mine. Study the contents of the book, focus on deepening your comprehension of blacksmithing, and find your own path. Think of spirit refining as gathering your strength and soul refining as taking flight. But I don’t want you to be anxious to become a Saint Blacksmith. Build a solid foundation in the spirit refining stage, just like you did for thousand refining. That way, you’ll be able to immediately grasp the meaning of soul refining when it comes time. The stronger your foundation, the higher your chances of becoming a Divine Blacksmith.”

    A flash of light, and another object appeared in Mu Chen’s hand.

    “Here. This is your new blacksmith’s badge.” A pleased smile formed on his lips.

    Compared to Tang Wulin’s current one, which was orange in color with four yellow stars, this badge showcased five twinkling purple stars peppering a white background. It was the noble and elegant badge of a fifth-rank blacksmith.

    In other words, those five stars represented a grandmaster blacksmith!

    Tang Wulin carefully exchanged his old one with the five-star badge. The moment his fingers grazed the surface, he felt a cool breeze enveloping his body. His concentration grew. The badge felt heavy in his hands, at least twice as heavy as his old badge.

    “Five-star badges are all forged by Saint Blacksmiths. I personally forged yours and added a soul circuit. More specifically, a focus circuit. It clears and invigorates your mind. Wearing the badge will help your spiritual power grow and increase your concentration when you forge. I soul refined the stars on the badge. That way, you can inspect them and have a glimpse of what soul refined metal feels like. I’m sure it’ll be helpful for your development.”

    “Thank you, Teacher.” Tang Wulin couldn’t keep his eyes off the badge, marvelling at it. After a moment of hesitation, he finally put it on and hid it under his clothes.

    The cool breeze spread to the rest of his body, his mind sharpening and his perception expanding from three meters in range to five. I

    Although Mu Chen had explained the uniqueness of the badge in simple terms, it was far from that. Tang Wulin’s strong mind and the added effects of the badge brought him to a shocking revelation: his spiritual power was now on par with those in the Spirit Sea realm.

    Teacher went through all the trouble just to make this for me!

    “I’ll add another star for you once you get to the sixth rank.” Mu Chen smiled.

    “Yes.” Tang Wulin grinned.

    “How did Elder Feng assess your blacksmithing skills?”

    Tang Wulin hesitated then lowered his head, not knowing how to answer.

    Mu Chen stared at Tang Wulin in surprise. “What? Was he dissatisfied with you?”

    Tang Wulin shook his head. “He’s not dissatisfied. He just always says I’m a slow learner and stupid.”

    “Is he crazy?” Mu Chen blurted out, realizing how inappropriate his comment was a moment later. “My bad. I’m not trying to insult him. I think Elder Feng is treating you like this because of how highly he values you. Therefore, his expectations are similarly high. Since you succeeded in forging an alloy, it’s clear that his teaching methods aren’t wrong.”

    Mu Chen kept his more negative thoughts hidden. He thinks Wulin is stupid? Then are there any smart blacksmiths at all? Wait, isn’t he also insulting me then?

    After stepping foot outside the building, Tang Wulin felt invigorated by the effects of his new badge. He was now officially a fifth-rank blacksmith. A smile tugged at the corners of his mouth when he thought about the jade silver he forged. It was definitely worth loads of money.

    Despite successfully forging a few alloys during Feng Wuyu’s instruction, he had not been permitted to keep them. The old man had kept them all. It wasn’t unreasonable, however, since Feng Wuyu provided the metal for him to practice with. Moreover, forging alloys was the same as spirit refining. Failure resulted in a useless spiritless metal.

    The jade silver was the first alloy Tang Wulin had been allowed to keep.

    By the time he returned to his dormitory, the sun had set beyond the horizon. He didn’t head to the dining hall at once as he grew accustomed to late-night meals. By arriving later, he could avoid becoming a spectacle, the working student with a bottomless pit for a stomach.

    The trees rustled in a gentle night breeze, the cool scent of evening dew filling his nostrils. Shrek Academy was marvelous. Tang Wulin had come to fall in love with this place even with his hectic cultivation schedule. He was certain that he would enjoy his time here even more if he weren’t so busy.

    The working student dormitory was as spotless as usual, not a single speck of dust to be seen. Instead of returning to his own room, he paid Yue Zhengyu a visit.

    Tang Wulin knocked on the door. “Anyone home?”

    Yue Zhengyu opened it, peeking his head through the crack. “Come in.” Then he turned around and walked back to his desk without another word.

    “Aren’t you being too cold? I only switched out one of the items from our previous agreement,” said Tang Wulin, smiling.

    After his breakthrough, Tang Wulin had visited Yue Zhengyu to amend his order, requesting the spirit items needed for his fourth seal instead. However, Yue Zhengyu had already obtained one of the spirit items he had originally asked for and was furious. The whole event created a rift between them.

    “It’s shameful to not keep your word and alter the conditions at the last moment.” Yue Zhengyu spat, jaws clenched..

    Tang Wulin scratched his chin in embarrassment. “I didn’t have a choice. Besides, didn’t I lower the terms for you? It was originally two spirit items but now it’s one. I’m losing out a lot as well.”

    “Bullshit. The two spirit items you originally requested were both one-thousand-year, but now you want something that’s two-thousand-year. You really have the gall to say you’re taking a loss?” Yue Zhengyu glared at him.

    Tang Wulin sighed. “Alright, alright. How about I just give you one piece of meteoric iron, and you don’t have to pay me anything anymore? We’ll just call it even.”

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