Chapter 282 - One Step to the Heavens! Ten Thousand Refinements of Life!
The difference between spirit and thousand refining was as great as night and day, much like the power of a one-word battle armor versus a two-word’s.
Once spirit refined, the metal sublimated to another level. It was for this reason that fifth-rank blacksmiths were rarer and no weaker mecha craftsmen or designers of the same rank.
To break through the fifth rank, Tang Wulin only needed to successfully spirit refine once. This was considered a major milestone for any blacksmith.
Three years ago, Mang Tian had attempted this, and though he succeeded, it came with a price. Unknown to Tang Wulin, the man had sustained several injuries as a result and could not endure more advanced forging requests from then on.
Mu Chen would never have permitted Tang Wulin to spirit refine if he were present. For this process, the demands placed on the blacksmith’s mind were immense. It could be dangerous for a soul master at Tang Wulin’s level..
Fortunately, Tang Wulin was no ordinary blacksmith.
Compared to his peers, his spiritual power towered over the rest at over two hundred points. With this, he could keep a clear mind as he poured his heart and soul into forging.
Immersed in his connection with the heavy silver, he could feel its joy and timidness. It was afraid of taking the next step, but Tang Wulin coaxed it along.
One step to the heavens! Ten thousand refinements of life!
The ten thousand refinements of life was to continuously connect with the metal. Each tap preserved the spirit of the metal, pouring soul power into it to obtain life.
Cultivating intelligence in metal was similar to that of soul beast. For soul beasts, there was a slight difference in intelligence between a ten-year soul beast and a normal animal. However, a soul beast’s intelligence skyrocketed once it reached the thousand-year level, until breaching the ten-thousand year mark. At that point, its intelligence rivaled a human’s. From there, it accumulated wisdom until it reached the ten-thousand-year level where it was no less intelligent than a human.
Higher leveled soul beasts weren't stronger just because of their energy growing, but also due to their increase in intellect.
Metal was no different. The greater its spirit, the closer the metal was to obtaining its own ego and changing on a fundamental level.
Oddly, under Tang Wulin’s gentle taps, the heavy silver trembled. Each tap coaxed a burst of light, a pattern of a whirling cloud pushing its way into existence on the metal’s surface. As its bulk shrunk, the silver grew brighter and brighter.
This signified a successful spiritual connection between Tang Wulin and the heavy silver, hinting at a smooth process until the end.
Now it was a matter of maintaining this connection and leading the heavy silver to transform and complete its refinement.
Tang Wulin drove his soul power into the heavy silver, using his Bluesilver Grass as the bridge. Although he relied on the Mysterious Heaven Method to restore as much of the lost soul power as possible, the chunk of heavy silver was a bottomless pit. This was a dire problem.
I have to succeed! Everyone’s acceptance depends on me! I have no choice but to succeed!
Three years of body tempering and experience gaining. The fruits of his labor were now revealed. He willed every ounce of strength and skill hidden in the nooks of his body to the surface.
Since two years prior, he’d been able to first-grade thousand refine. Owing to his diligence, Tang Wulin had not fooled around the slightest, striving to improve his foundation. Now he stood at the apex of the fourth rank. He only lacked the soul power necessary to take the next step forward. Otherwise, he would have long since attempted to spirit refine.
With his full strength unveiled, every strike of his hammers transformed the heavy silver more than before. His connection with the metal thrust him to new heights.
He would likely succeed if this continued on.
What was most frightening about spirit refining was the possibility of a premature disconnection. Should this happen, the metal lost its spirit, turning it into its normal, inert counterpart. This was why Spirit Refinement was expensive to attempt.
Countless blacksmiths failed at this step and never crossed into the next realm. Apart from talent and skill, money was a limiting reagent. Blacksmiths backed by large clans had better chances than the rest. They could succeed through brute force of resources.
Tang Wulin’s circling speed accelerated. Had he known Ghost Shadow Perplexing Track, the process would have gone even smoother. Unfortunately, he had been forced to spend his contribution points on spirit items instead of Tang Sect secret arts.
As the silver light flourished and the heavy silver shrunk, Tang Wulin’s hammers resonated with the lump of silver and emitted a similar hue of light. Crimson veins crawled over the surface of his hammers, the mark of his blood sacrifice.
These two hammers had always accompanied him in the last few years, his go-to tools for his innumerable first-grade thousand refined pieces. After he had performed the blood sacrifice, he fueled the hammers’ growth, to the point where they were now first-grade thousand refined.
The moment the hammers struck the heavy silver simultaneously, a strange connection opened between them.
Under careful inspection, one would notice the shrinking in size of Tang Wulin’s hammers. They also grew smaller and brighter with each strike.
His soul power consumption was too high. Ten minutes had passed and he was approaching his limits. The second he ran out, his connection with the heavy silver would be broken. Despite the smooth start the connection was fragile, and could break at any moment.Once the spirit refining failed, this chunk of heavy silver would become useless and its spirit would attempt to devour the blacksmith in its fury.
Even four-ringed blacksmiths would need a long time to recover from the backlash, not to mention Tang Wulin who had two rings. Perhaps, he would never be able to recover from such a setback.
What can I do?
My soul power is almost depleted but I’m not done yet. The heavy silver has a speck of life in it now. However, I still need to feed it more energy.
I can’t stop. No matter what, I can’t stop.
Tightening his resolve, Tang Wulin’s next move astonished everyone.
He held both hammers in his left hand, grabbing the ingot with the one that’s free. Not once did the pounding stop.
As his skin met with the heavy silver, thick white smoke released from the metal’s surface, loud sizzles permeating the air. His hand convulsed from the sharp tendrils of pain, the temperature enough to melt off a person’s hand!
But Tang Wulin was spared of this fate. Besides a few wisps of smoke rising from his palm, nothing seemed out of the ordinary. He called back his Bluesilver Grass in favor of his golden soul ring, gold scales appearing over his arm.
Determined, Tang Wulin suppressed the daggers of pain stabbing into his body, beads of sweat dripping down his forehead as ignored wave after wave of exhaustion, his soul power depleting by the second.
He held the connection, though blood essence replaced soul power as the bridge.
Tang Wulin shouted with resolve. His clothes burst into shreds, revealing the lean and rugged body, the golden scales snaking across his toned torso and arm.The scales shined resplendently under the effect of Golden Dragon Body.
A golden fog rose from the scales, enveloping the chunk of heavy silver. This prompted him to circle around the mass of metal once more, striking its sides with the two hammers in his left hand the entire time.
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