Ancient Strengthening Technique

AST 228 – Tempered Metallic Essence!

Huoyun Liu-Li and Qing Shui walked side by side, there was an unspoken harmony between them. After hearing Qing Shui’s words, Huoyun chose not to reply.

“There were some that were born and had to carry burdens of hatred and anger. Their entire lives were spent living in hatred, all they wanted to do was to kill and be killed. This then become their drive, the drive that paved the road for their revenge.”

After hearing Qing Shui’s words, Huoyun Liu-Li’s eyebrows noticeably twitched. How much agony must people like that be living in?

“There were also some who lived in order to step onto the pinnacle of martial arts, some for the sake of various peerless beauties, some for the sake of unending riches, some for the sake of leaving their names behind, resounding famously throughout history, some for the sake of reviving their clans, some for the sake of becoming a lord, some for their descendants… ”

“To think that there were so many reasons, but this was also a goal for them. I didn’t realise it then, but after hearing what you said, I have to agree as well.” It was as though the wool had been lifted from Huoyun’s eyes.

“Regardless of what goals in life one has, at the very least, they have a goal! Without a goal to strive for, isn’t that akin to just waiting for death? Many people, after meeting a setback, would find that they suddenly have no goals to strive for. If you have something on your mind, just tell me about it, even if I can’t solve it for you, you can still get the matter off your chest.” Qing Shui smiled.

“What do you mean by that? I’m perfectly fine. Quick tell me, why don’t people know how to be content with what they have? The more they have, the more they want. Why is this so?” Huoyun urged Qing Shui with a sudden laugh of her own.

“There’s no right or wrong in this saying. Basically, a 100 different answers would also have a 100 different reasons, contentment is just an empty word. The desires of humankind can never be fully fulfilled. The richer someone is, the more money he would want. For example, if someone has 1 million taels of silver, after deducting his necessary expenses, he can at most spend 0.5 millions taels of silver on enjoying women. However, this will be different if his fortune was valued at 100 million taels of silver. Am I right?”

“Can’t you think of some other examples? Why are you always thinking this way?” Huoyun blushed as she gazed at Qing Shui.

“Hurhur, because i have no money… ”

Huoyun Liu-Li, “… ”

“Qing Shui, do you feel that you are happy and blessed? Huoyun and Qing Shui walked past the stores on the roadside as she suddenly asked.

“The heart determines everything, I guess… For example, if you felt that you are unhappy, people may feel that you are happy. And if you feel that you are happy, people may feel that you are unhappy. Which one of this two do you prefer?” Qing Shui rubbed his nose as he laughed.

“Naturally, I will prefer the version where I feel that I’m happy.” Huoyun stated.

“How does one obtain happiness?” Huoyun asked again, as Qing Shui paused slightly to determine if there was a blacksmith store located nearby.

“Happiness maybe hard to obtain, but in reality it is very simple. It depends on the person’s disposition and also, the target he set for himself. For example, a poor and powerless fellow, wanting to woo a Xiantian beauty. Such a goal is very hard to actualise, and thus it’s almost impossible to be happy. On the contrary, if he worked hard step by step, and changed his goal to an ordinary girl, wouldn’t the target he set be easier to achieve? As long as one is content, happiness will follow. But of course, if the guy really succeeded in wooing the Xiantian beauty, a toad eating the flesh of swan, the feeling of happiness would be even stronger.” Qing Shui chuckled.

Huoyun Liu-Li rolled her eyes speechlessly at Qing Shui, her charming countenance caused many men walking past them to drool.

“Qing Shui, I don’t think that there are any blacksmith stores for sale nearby.” Both of them passed by quite a few blacksmith stores on the streets.

“Let’s go and find the smallest one to see if they are willing to sell. We will offer a sky high price.” Qing Shui decided.

After a while, facing rejections, Qing Shui entered yet another blacksmith store with a 30+ years old blacksmith, who was currently forging a sword.

“Hey boss, are you selling this store?” Qing Shui walked towards the sturdy blacksmith as he directly asked.

The blacksmith paused in his actions slightly, but he didn’t even turn his head as he immediately replied, “not selling.”

After which, his muscular arms continued slamming down the anvil with his gigantic hammer, as thunderous and crisp sounds rang out.

“1 million taels of silver!” Qing Shui lightly exclaimed.

“Not selling!” The sturdy man didn’t even paused to consider.

“Do you know, that at the rate you are smithing, your body can only last till the end of this year?” Qing Shui smiled.

This time round, the sturdy man paused his actions as he inclined his head and studied Qing Shui. His face was full of sadness, looking at Qing Shui with the spirited eyes of his. His thick lips indicated that he was a honest and trustworthy man.

“2 million taels of silver. Sell this blacksmith store to me, and I will cure your illness as well.” Qing Shui lightly smiled as he spoke seriously.

“My blacksmith store isn’t even worth 50,000 taels of silver, and even if I have 2 million taels of silver, there’s no one who would be able to treat my illness. Why are you doing this?” The sturdy man went silent for awhile before he cast a strange look at Qing Shui.

“Do we really need reasons for the stuff we want to do?” Qing Shui faintly smiled.

“I promise you. I don’t want money, as long as you can cure my hidden illness, this blacksmith store will be yours. I only hope that you would keep me as your assistant.” The sturdy-built guy sighed with dejection.

Qing Shui glanced at the sturdy youth as he replied, “Fine, you will continue staying here in the future, but everything here belongs to me. I will give you 10,000 taels of silver every month. In addition, if you still have any other requirements, just let me know.”

After their discussion, Qing Shui and Huoyun departed. From the start to the end, Huoyun didn’t say a single word, she only watched silently from the side, although she too didn’t understand Qing Shui’s actions.

“Qing Shui, can I ask you something?” Huoyun cautiously inquired.

“Go ahead, don’t look like that. It’s as though I’m bullying you.” Qing Shui smiled bitterly.

“Why did you do what you did with the blacksmith earlier?” Huoyun inquired in a low voice.

“I felt a little strange when I looked at that man earlier, it was as though he was carrying a lot of baggage in his heart. Despite him being a small-time character, I could feel an unyielding spirit in his heart. And his right arm wouldn’t be able to function any more after another year of smithing.” Qing Shui explained.

After hearing Qing Shui’s explanation, Huoyun nodded as she walked back to the Canghai’s Residence with Qing Shui. Qing Shui decided that he would practice his ancient forging techniques in the blacksmith store tomorrow.

However abruptly, Qing Shui sensed the presence of an old man sitting by the entrance of the blacksmith store. Turning his head, he saw several coal-like big rocks on the ground in front of the old man.

Qing Shui pulled Huoyun closer as he approached. Looking at the coal-like substance, Qing Shui knew that it was a material used for forging. There were about ten black-colored coal-like substances, but he couldn’t tell what was mysterious about them.

Looking at the old man with his torn and tattered clothes, as well as a face filled with a lean and hungry expression, the body of the old man still looked fit and strong. Both his eyes were filled with the hope of living, and somehow, the countenance of this old man caused Qing Shui to remember his father from back in his past world.

“Hey old man, how much are these selling for?” Qing Shui inquired.

“10,000 taels for one.”

“Here’s 100,000 taels of silver, I’ll buy them all.” Qing Shui laughed.

“Ah, mhmmm.” The old man murmured in a fluster. There were several that came to inquire about the prices, but they soon turned away the moment they heard it.

The old man was already jaded, having a job in mining, because of a few precious stones and gems, many of his brothers had already lost their lives. That was why he set the selling prices so high. However, he was ridiculed by many, and thus helplessly, he had no choice but to lower the price to 10,000 taels for one.

Who would have thought that he finally managed to sell all of them today? He could at least use this sum of money and split it with the descendants of his poor brothers that had lost their lives.

Qing Shui placed all of his purchases into a bag as he waved goodbye to the old man before leaving with Huoyun Liu-Li.

And just as Qing Shui left, just as the old man was preparing to leave, a middled aged man appeared and blocked the path of the old man as he asked in a panic, “Old man, the coals you’re selling for 10,000 taels of silver per piece, I want them all. No, i’ll pay you 20,000 taels of silver per piece.”

The old man shook his head, “They’re all sold out.”

“Huh, sold out?” I thought there were still 10 yesterday?” The middled aged man began to perspire.

“Someone already bought them earlier.” The old man sighed.

“Wh.. who? What does he look like? Where did he go? How long ago was it?” The middle aged man questioned in a fluster.

“A old man with a head full of white hair, and he left in that direction quite a while ago.” The old man pointed in the direction opposite to the one Qing Shui gone in.

The middle aged man hurriedly ran in the direction the old man pointed to, as the old man gave a sigh as he too, quietly disappeared soon after.

Qing Shui’s spiritual sense noticed everything that was happening. At the same time, he silently put the coal-like substances inside his spatial realm as he appeared in front of the old man with Huoyun Liu-Li again.

“Old man, thank you but don’t come here again. I’m afraid that middle aged man from before may have ill intentions towards you.”

The old man nodded in response and went his way. Qing Shui didn’t want any harm to befall this old man because of him.

And after Qing Shui and Huoyun returned, it was nearly noon. Qing Shui then gave a full recounting of everything that happened causing many shocked exclamations of astonishment.

“You wish to forge something?” Canghai curiously asked.

“Hehe, yes, you guys will know about it soon. I just started learning though, but I’ll gift all of you a set of divine armor in the future.” Qing Shui laughed.

“Oh ya, not only do I want to forge, I will still learn tailoring, smelting and refining in the future. At that time, please refer all your friends to me, I will give them half price hehehehe… ”

Canghai Mingyue speechlessly gazed at Qing Shui.

“Okay, okay!” The Canghai couple laughed along as they agreed.

“And you Yueyue, stop pouting. Your husband is being serious here. If you continue pouting, I shall charged your friends double the price instead.” Qing Shui rubbed his nose as he chuckled.

That very night, Qing Shui entered the Realm of Violet Jade Immortal as he went straight to observe the 10 coal-like substances. From what he inferred from the words of the middle-aged man, in addition to the fact that that man was willing to pay up to 20,000 taels of silver for them, these coal-like things shouldn’t be too bad.

Qing Shui picked up one, as he used some of his strength, testing it’s toughness. The surface of the coal-like substance was extremely resilient. Not wanting to waste anymore time, Qing Shui directly tested it with his primordial flames.

The flames, which was capable of refining everything, thawed the black surface of the coal-like substances, revealing a metallic luster underneath. This caused Qing Shui’s heart to tremble with excitement involuntarily as he thought of a possibility.

Tempered Metallic Essence!

This coal-like thing was actually metallic essence. Although the value of it couldn’t be compared to Golden Essence Extract and Silver Essence Extract, it’s resilience and toughness was second to none. Not only that, there were a huge variety of things it could be forged into.

Qing Shui, after the episode with the Spring Palace Portrait, was already used to scanning things with his Heavenly Vision Technique.

10th-graded Tempered Metallic Essence, 30th-graded Tempered Metallic Essence, and there were even 50th-graded Tempered Metallic Essence. There were 8 at the 10th grade, 1 at the 30th grade and one at the 50th grade!

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