Book 3, Chapter 101 - Three Brothers

After entering the dark room, it took a few moments for everyone’s eyes to adjust. Soon, Zhao Jiuge’s vision became clear.

The room was big, and an inexplicable heat wave spread forth. Not far away, he saw an orange object that turned out to be a furnace. It turned out that this place was a smithery that refined treasures. However, a furnace like this couldn’t produce good treasure. It would mostly produce magic-grade treasures and rarely precious-grade treasures.

The floor of the room was somewhat uneven. The windows were sealed, so there was no light coming in from the outside. One could only rely on the light from the furnace to see the room. Zhao Jiuge saw that the floor had turned somewhat yellow, and there were cracks spreading out.

Aside from them, there were five more people that Zhao Jiuge had detected earlier.

The person that attracted the most attention was undoubtedly a burly and muscular middle-aged man. He was shirtless and was holding a large hammer. The aura coming from the object he was working on felt like a precious-grade treasure.

There was a fist-sized Burning Iron on the table beside the furnace. It was a type of metal that was not too precious but was a good enough material for refining treasures.

The Burning Iron was glowing in a shade of orange, and the big man was brandishing the hammer on it. Zhao Jiuge found this funny. After seeing Master Ouyang Zi refine a treasure with his purple origin fire, this kind of barbaric method was laughable. The materials and refining method determined the quality of the treasure.

Aside from this big man, there was another tall man who had a shrewd face. His clothes were similar to those of the shifty-looking man who had opened the door. He had the highest cultivation level here, early stage of the Foundation Realm. The big man was at the late stage of the Spirit Transformation Realm, while the shifty looking man who had opened the door was only at the early stage of the Spirit Transformation Realm.

There was another group of three led by a scholarly-looking man who was at the late stage of  the Spirit Transformation Realm. He seemed very tense as he watched the Burning Iron being refined, then he shifted his gaze to Zhao Jiuge’s group of three.

The two men who were with him looked average and were at the mid stage of the Spirit Transformation Realm. Sitting in the corner, they became tense when they saw someone enter. When they noticed that it was three youths instead of their enemies, they let out sighs of relief but were still on guard.

With one glance, Zhao Jiuge understood what was happening. The big man, the shrewd man, and the shifty man were the owners of this store. The other three must have brought the Burning Iron to have it refined into a treasure.

Refining a treasure was very expensive. Not only did one have to pay for the materials, they also had to pay the refiner a fee. For low rank treasures, the price would be spirit stones, but high rank treasures required materials as payment. Whether it succeeded or failed, you wouldn’t get a refund.

Some rogue cultivators would use their life savings to get a treasure refined, only to have it fail. Then, in a fit of rage, they would kill the refiner. As a result, most refiners would have a guard with them, and more importantly, good refiners were very powerful themselves.

With this Burning Iron and the big man’s skill, it shouldn’t be a problem to refine a low-quality precious-grade treasure. If the material quality was good enough, it would improve to a higher quality. No wonder the man at the Spirit Transformation Realm was so nervous—a precious-grade treasure was worth a lot to him.

However, Zhao Jiuge noticed that the three of them were extremely nervous this whole time and thought that there might be a problem with this Burning Iron. Perhaps it was stolen. After all, people were willing to do anything.

When Zhao Jiuge’s group entered, the Foundation Realm man frowned and asked in the local dialect, “Why are they here?” However, they were still able to understand the general idea.

“Big Brother, there is no problem. They are just here to ask for directions and have no conflict with anyone.”

The shifty-looking man shook his head at the man at the Foundation Realm. He then took out the spirit stone he obtained and showed it to the man.

These three brothers only owned a small shop, but being able to have a foothold in the large Qing Cang City showed that they were not simple.

On the surface, the three brothers refined treasures, but they also did many other shady things. If they encountered good prey, they would kill and steal from them. If there were fights going on between forces in the city, they would join as hitmen. They would even sell information. In short, anything to earn them money.

Although they weren’t blood brothers, they had been through a lot together and were closer than actual brothers who only cared about their own interests. The shifty-looking man was the third brother and the one with the worst talent. He mostly just ran errands, while most of the resources went to the talented big brother. The second brother was only responsible for forging treasures and making some private deals. Over the years, they had never disagreed on anything, and the division of work was clear.

The moment the shrewd man saw the spirit stone in his third brother’s hand, greed appeared in his eyes, but he did a good job covering it up. He looked at the three people, and when he saw Pei Su Su, his eyes burned with passion, but only for a moment before returning to normal.

Zhao Jiuge’s group of three was extraordinary, but he couldn’t feel any spirit force fluctuations from them. He didn’t know their identities, but seeing how young they were, a thought appeared in his head.

Thinking about this, the shrewd man smiled. He looked at Zhao Jiuge and asked, “I wonder, what do you guys want to inquire about? As long as it's in Qing Cang City, there is nothing we don’t know.”

While the shrewd man spoke, he vaguely looked at the quaint, black sword on Zhao Jiuge’s back. He sensed that the sword wasn’t ordinary even though the sheath looked normal. The big man was still waving the hammer in his hand as if nothing could distract him. He was completely immersed in his refining. The three people who were here to get the treasure refined curiously looked over as if they wanted to hear some useful information.

“Hmph, you can eat indiscriminately, but you can’t look anywhere you like!”

Zhao Jiuge’s aura suddenly erupted. His late stage Spirit Core Realm cultivation shocked the six people in the room. Even the big man refining the treasure paused for a moment due to the pressure.

The scholarly man’s expression changed drastically and he turned pale. The target of this pressure was him, and it made him breathless. Fortunately, it only lasted for an instant, and it was all because he had stared at the cold-looking beauty for a bit too long. He was terrified by the Spirit Core Realm cultivator, so he didn’t dare to even make a sound. He was afraid that Zhao Jiuge would continue looking for trouble, but fortunately, Zhao Jiuge only gave him a warning.

The shrewd man was a bit stronger and fared a bit better because the pressure wasn’t directed at him. However, his heart still skipped a beat, and he believed that Zhao Jiuge could kill him in an instant. There was, however, doubt in his mind. A Spirit Core Realm cultivator could easily enter one of the four families as a pretty high ranking guest. He knew most of them in the city, but he had never heard of this person. Could he be a disciple from one of the nearby sects?

Different thoughts flashed through his mind, and at the same time he felt bitter in his heart. Fortunately, he knew how to be low-key, and who wouldn’t be tempted by such a beautiful woman? Originally, he was greedy and wanted to kill them to take their treasures. He was glad that Zhao Jiuge had revealed his strength, or else he and his brothers would be dead.

Seeing that Zhao Jiuge had only given a warning and did nothing else, the big man continued to refine the treasure. The other three men quickly hid to the side and watched the treasure being refined. They didn’t dare to look at Pei Su Su’s group again.

Zhao Jiuge found that his temper had become more and more fierce since he met Pei Su Su again. At first he thought he was being a bit possessive and didn’t want others to look at her, but later he found that he was wrong.

He just wanted to show off his strength when he saw the others were weaker than him. Zhao Jiuge used to hate people that bullied others with their superior strength. But as his strength grew, he gradually became the type of person he hated the most.

Generally, the stronger a person became, the more eccentric that person would be. Sometimes they would kill someone due to a simple word. Zhao Jiuge always hated this the most. Perhaps when people grew stronger, their innermost twisted desires would be exposed.

Zhao Jiuge noticed that the stronger one became, the more difficult it was to change this. If one’s mental state wasn’t strong enough and they got lost in their desire, they would become depraved.

Zhao Jiuge felt lucky and secretly admired the founder of the Mysterious Heaven Sword Sect. Old Man Mysterious Heaven had set a rule to cultivate the mind before cultivating one’s strength. What was the use in strength if one didn’t have the mental fortitude to properly use it? Therefore, disciples of the Mysterious Heaven Sword Sect lacked in cultivation speed compared to the other holy lands. However, after passing a threshold, their cultivation speed would erupt.

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