Chapter 13 – Thousand Refined Tungsten Hammer
“Wulin’s here!” A youngster in his twenties, with a tall and sturdy build, called out to Tang Wulin in greeting.
“Brother Long.” Tang Wulin asked with a smile, “What task has teacher assigned to me today?”
Brother Long grinned, “There’s quite a lot for you to do. Just go into the room and take a look for yourself. Speaking of which, I’m really envious of you. You’re so young, yet your workload is already more than mine!” Blacksmithing was an industrious profession. Naturally, the more work one did, the more one’s income would be.
With a chuckle, Tang Wulin asked, “If I’m comparable to you, then how come Teacher still hasn’t let me forge large components?”
Brother Gong answered, “That’s so you can have a stronger foundation. Fine then, hurry up and go! Otherwise you won’t be able to finish today’s work in the two hours you have.”
Mang Tian’s workshop had just three members, Mang Tian, Brother Long, and Tang Wulin. Originally, Brother Long was Mang Tian’s sole disciple, but with Tang Wulin’s arrival, he had gained a second disciple. Starting from his second visit to the workshop three years before, Tang Wulin had begun calling Mang Tian ‘Teacher’.
Mang Tian was an extremely strict teacher. He had high demands of his disciples, but he also taught them earnestly. Tang Wulin would often find himself thinking that he learned more things here at the workshop than at the academy.
Everyone had a workshop to work in. Mang Tian brought some forged machine components from outside before distributing them. He gave the simple ones to Brother Long and Tang Wulin, while he personally oversaw the forging of the complex ones.
Every week they would each have one day of specialized training when Mang Tian would instruct them personally. For the rest of the week, they only had to finish the tasks that Mang Tian gave them. The more they worked, the better their craftsmanship and the more money they earned.
Tang Wulin entered his own forging room. It was very different from the dirty and disordered reception room outside. In contrast, he had kept his room extremely neat and tidy.
There were already some raw materials lying on the forging bench, as well as a blueprint by its side.
When he had first come here, Mang Tian had made him pound iron for three months in order to teach him the proper force transmission and mitigation techniques. Each day he had to strike the iron for two hours. Those two hours were always an abyss of suffering for him.
Due to his constant practice, Tang Wulin had grown even stronger than before. Originally, he had used a small iron hammer, but the necessary hammer was gradually replaced by larger and larger ones. After three months of practice, he was allowed to do some simple metal extraction work. One year later, he began making the simplest of components.
It wasn’t until half a year before that he had been promoted from forging small components to medium sized components. Mang Tian even began comparing him and Brother Long more and more strictly. However, Tang Wulin’s temperament had a special sort of perseverance. In the three years he had been working there, not once had he complained about his hardships.
After seriously looking over the blueprint, he understood what today’s task was. He had to make ten machine armored ankle-joints. They were spherical in shape so if the work was done with a mold, it would only have to be pressed twice in order to be finished. However, when it came to forging it, the demands were much higher.
Blacksmithing was divided into many ranks. Generally speaking, there was the Hundred Refined. Hundred Refined was when a component was refined a hundred times throughout. Even higher than that was Thousand Refined.
The more times it was refined, the less impurities a metal would have. Naturally, a metal of quality was required to withstand the pressure of a thousand refinements. For now, Tang Wulin was still unable to create a Thousand Refined component, so he was rarely required to do this sort of work.
With practiced movements, he pressed the button on the workbench, causing it to split open in the middle which exposed a forging furnace. He fastened some metal to the channel on the side, then pressed another button which delivered the metal into the furnace.
He picked up a pair of metal hammers with a shiny black finish. These two hammers were about the same size as the ones he had first used when he had first come here. For this kind of small component, hammers of this size were the most suitable.
However, these hammers were also a present that Mang Tian had given him after having worked in his workshop for one year. Mang Tian had personally manufactured these Thousand Refined Tungsten Hammers. Each one weighed about 40 kilograms, which made it exceedingly difficult for an ordinary person to swing them. Nevertheless, they seemed nearly weightless in Tang Wulin’s hands.
Under the high temperature of the furnace the metal quickly blushed a deep red. Tang Wulin swung the hammer in his right hand onto the crown of the metal. The hammer in his left hand soon connected from the bottom. Pressing down from either side, Tang Wulin was able to remove the chunk of heated metal.
He rapidly swung the tungsten hammers in each hand and a succession of ‘dings’ could be heard. With those resounding ‘dings’, he began that day’s forging.
Blacksmithing was a craftsman’s job. It wasn’t just a simple skilled trade. Mang Tian had told him when he first started that in order to become a blacksmith, he had to use his brain. During the process of pounding the metal, he had to feel the vibrations and the changes in the metal’s vein lines. Only after grasping these two things would he be able to forge quality goods.
In the aspect of perception, Tang Wulin was excellent. Tang Wulin wasn’t aware of the fact that when Mang Tian had gifted him this pair of Thousand Refined Tungsten Hammers, it had signified that he had formally become a blacksmith.
His monthly income couldn’t be considered much but he still earnestly saved a set amount each month. With the remainder, he set apart a small portion to spend for his little sister, while the rest was given to his mother as aid in their family expenses.
He was only a nine year old child right now, but with his three years of forging as well as his resolute nature, he was much more steadfast in comparison to his peers.
Two hours later he gave the final component the finishing strike. Letting out a sigh, he grabbed a nearby towel and wiped away his sweat. Looking upon the ten shining joint components in front of him, he revealed a satisfied expression.
After becoming accustomed to forging, he had grown to like this type of work. Everyday he would brandish his hammer and pound metal. It was a way for him to vent his feelings in a carefree manner. Moreover, there were times when he was pounding the metal that he would enter a peculiarly fantastic state. It was as if he resonated with his hammer as well as with the metal he was forging. Whenever this state occurred, the components that he forged would be especially outstanding. Those components would even draw praise from the cold natured Mang Tian.
“Teacher.” Tang Wulin was just preparing to hand in his work when he discovered that Mang Tian was already in his forging room.
Mang Tian walked over to the workbench to inspect the product first. He nodded, then handed Tang Wulin some paper bills. “Here’s this month’s wages. Your work is pretty good.”
“Thank you, teacher.” Tang Wulin was elated as he hurriedly received the paper bills and stuffed them into this pocket. Due to his excitement, Tang Wulin’s little face was somewhat red yet he couldn’t help but wave his fists in joy.
Mang Tian gave him a doubtful look. “I’ve never seen you so happy to receive your monthly wages before.”
Slightly short of breath, Tang Wulin took a deep breath of air before saying, “Teacher, I’ve saved up enough money to buy a spirit soul!”
Mang Tian blankly looked at him, then said with a hint of emotion, “You’re saying that your martial soul has already reached rank 10?”
Tang Wulin nodded his head. “I should nearly be there.”
Mang Tian gave a rare trace of a smile. “Good luck.”
“Teacher, I’ll head back first then.” Tang Wulin placed his finished components in a box, then departed full of joy.
As he watched Tang Wulin’s departing back, Mang Tian couldn’t help but show a bigger smile. “At last, that kid is acting like a normal kid. It’s a pity that his martial soul is Bluesilver Grass. No matter what his spirit soul is, I fear that it’s all… However, this is also fortunate for me. This child’s talent in forging far surpasses my own.”