Chapter 117 – Teachers
“Teacher, president.” Tang Wulin hastily greeted the two as soon as he entered the room. Since Mang Tian’s call had seemed urgent, he didn’t have the chance to change out of his dusty and metallic smelling work clothes.
As soon as Mu Chen and Mang Tian saw his outfit, they knew he’d come straight from the workshop.
Mu Chen sighed. “Oh Wulin! I know you’re an overly anxious child and that you want to quickly repay the association, but you must take care of your body. You’re still only nine years old; you can’t run yourself into the ground like this. It’ll affect your future development, understand?”
“Yes,” Tang Wulin respectfully answered, but his gaze was focused on his teacher. This was his first time seeing his teacher in the Blacksmith’s Association.
Mang Tian beckoned him over, then indicated that Tang Wulin should take a seat beside him.
“Wulin, I called you over to discuss something with you,” Mang Tian heavily said.
“What is it, teacher?”
Mang Tian raised his head and looked into Mu Chen’s eyes. He was met with a look of regret.
Mang Tian took a deep breath before speaking. “To be honest, I had originally accepted you as a disciple due to your father’s request. At first, I hadn’t really wanted to accept a child like you. After all, you had only been six years old at the time. But after I gained an understanding of you, of your innate divine strength, and of your effort and your perseverance, I was moved. In that moment, I could see that you were gifted. Since then, as your teacher these past three years, I have given you a solid foundation for forging.”
Despite not really understanding the meaning behind Mang Tian’s words, Tang Wulin repeatedly nodded. Although Mang Tian was strict, Tang Wulin knew it was for his own sake, thus allowing him to progress so quickly on the path of blacksmithing.
Mang Tian paused at this point, letting out a long sigh, before continuing to speak. “All my life, I have always dreamed of becoming a Divine Craftsman, but clearly, I did not have the talent to do so. My martial soul isn’t good enough, and I had taken a detour in cultivation during my early years. The greatest achievement in my life was becoming a sixth rank blacksmith.
“You, on the other hand, are already a third rank blacksmith, and your talent gives you a chance at becoming a Divine Craftsman. In fact, I dare say that in the entire Blacksmith’s Association, you are the one most likely to reach that level. Now that you are approaching the fourth rank, you will need more guidance on your path of blacksmithing. I have only just barely reached the realm of Spirit Forging, and my guidance cannot be considered complete. Therefore, I hope you are willing to accept the president as your new master and study forging under him.
“In the federation’s world of forging, the president is an outstanding person. He’s a Saint Blacksmith that has reached the Soul Forging level. If you study under him, you will definitely be able to go even further down this path.”
Mang Tian had difficulty saying those last few words. After all, who would want their talented disciple to take on another master?
But Mu Chen had spoken with him today and said something that moved his heart.
Mu Chen had asked him only one question—if Mang Tian wanted Tang Wulin to become even greater in the future.
Mang Tian sunk deeply into thought when faced with that question. Until today, he had believed in his own ability to continue teaching Tang Wulin until the end. But now that Tang Wulin was preparing to attempt Spirit Forging, it was inevitable that he would eventually no longer be able to support Tang Wulin. After all, he was just barely at the Spirit Forging level and hadn’t completely understood its secrets yet.
After carefully pondering the matter over, he decided to hand over his position as Tang Wulin’s teacher. Tang Wulin’s emerging talent had already far exceeded his expectations as well as the scope of his teaching abilities. Having Mu Chen take over to teach Tang Wulin would be the best choice.
“Teacher.” Tang Wulin stood up and fell to his knees with a lowered head before Mang Tian. “A teacher for a day, a father for life. This is what my own father taught me. Teacher, you can’t abandon me!”
His mother and father had suddenly left, and Na’er had disappeared. Now, the only person he considered a close relative in this city was Mang Tian. When he heard Mang Tian renounce his position as master, Tang Wulin’s eyes immediately turned red as a feeling of helplessness and loneliness surged from his heart, penetrating into every corner of his body.
“Foolish child, how could your teacher want to leave you? Even if you study under me, it doesn’t mean that Mang Tian is no longer your teacher. It just means that you will have one more teacher. That’s all.” Mu Chen’s gentle voice reassured Tang Wulin.
Mang Tian looked at Mu Chen in surprise. In the world of blacksmiths, the tradition was to follow a single line of inheritance. In other words, a disciple could only have one teacher. Taking a second teacher would be equal to betraying the first, earning them the scorn of the entire association.
Tang Wulin wasn’t aware of this fact, but Mang Tian understood it clearly. If Tang Wulin took Mu Chen as his teacher, it would mean that Mang Tian could no longer remain as his teacher.
Yet, Mu Chen’s words went against this long-standing tradition.
Mu Chen looked at Mang Tian with sincere eyes. “I have to confess, a selfish part of me wants to take Tang Wulin as my own disciple. After all, who wouldn’t want to be the sole teacher of a remarkable disciple? But more than that, I want him to grow properly, eventually becoming a legend in the world of blacksmiths. You are the start of this legend. Why can’t a legend have two teachers?”
“President, you…” Mang Tian’s emotions were surging uncontrollably within his heart.
He understood the intent behind Mu Chen’s decision—it meant that Mu Chen was treating him as an equal.
Truthfully, Mang Tian really hated to part with Tang Wulin as well!
Tang Wulin looked at Mu Chen. Another teacher? If it’s like that, then…
“What are you still waiting for? Hurry up and take him as your master. The president is actually an outstanding Saint Blacksmith that reached the Soul Forging level many years ago. You can count the number of people who are a match for the president’s forging abilities on one hand.” Mang Tian patted Tang Wulin’s head as he urged him on.
Tang Wulin glanced at Mang Tian, reconfirming Mang Tian’s sincere wish for him to take Mu Chen on as a master. Then, he turned to Mu Chen and respectfully said, “Teacher.” Luckily for him, he was still kneeling down so he had no need to change his position.
Mu Chen revealed a smile. “Come, stand up.”
Tang Wulin hastily stood up, easing the atmosphere within the office.
Mang Tian let out a sigh and forced a smile. “Why didn’t you tell me earlier?” He gave Mu Chen a somewhat begrudging look.
Mu Chen laughed. “Why would I have told you ahead of time? You were like a zombie the whole day. And anyway, I have already seen you in a bad mood for so many years. I know that you are talented in forging, but your soul power simply isn’t enough to help you progress any further. This has always been a point of discontent for you, but you still accepted reality and didn’t neglect the talents you already possess.”
Mang Tian’s face grew awkward as Mu Chen talked about his matters. He could only bitterly laugh and say, “Stop bringing up old wounds. What I want to know is how you intend to teach Wulin?”
Mu Chen said, “Wulin, your most important task is to study properly. I have already heard that you’re in the academy’s newly established class zero and that you had excellent results in the Class Promotion Tournament. This is great, and you should continue to put in your best efforts. What you need to do now is focus on improving your soul power and cultivate to a higher rank.
“Innate divine strength has allowed you to progress more quickly than other blacksmiths your age, but you must remember that in order to become a first-rate blacksmith, soul power is absolutely necessary. Nearly all of those at the peak of their professions are Soul Masters. The amount of soul power you have will determine your future level. I believe I’ve told you this before, but I must stress it again. You do not need to worry about resources because the association will nurture you with all of our strength. We’ll also take care of your next spirit soul and find you a method to cultivate your spiritual power. You still need to put in effort to increase your spiritual power, otherwise you won’t be able to absorb another spirit soul.
“Under our guidance, you will continue to further deepen your forging studies, and I will guide you in laying down a good foundation. You must remember, the Thousand Refinements is only the gateway leading to the world of blacksmiths. If you want to enter this world, you must reach the realm of Spirit Forging. I hope you will be able to reach this level before you turn twenty years old, then Soul Forging by the time you are thirty.”