"Yes!" Chu Xiang replied.
To be able to reach Saint 3-dan and achieve the proficiency of a 7-star blacksmith at such a young age, while Chu Xiang might have appeared like a profligate scion on the surface, he was definitely not as simple as he seemed.
Taking a deep breath, it did not take him long to calm his mind.
Seeing how jittery Chu Xiang was, the Golden Origin Cauldron laughed heartily and consoled, "Lad, rest assured. It's not that I want to brag, but as long as you follow the instruction of my master word for word, Grandpa Ding will be completely fine. Perhaps, I might even be upgraded by a tier!"
It appeared that it was not worried in the least.
On the other hand, upon hearing those words, Master Lin Jie and Guild Leader Qin could not help but share a look, and they could see the worry in each other's eyes.
Are you really that gutsy, or is there something wrong with your head? If something goes wrong in the upgrading process, dropping a tier will be the least of your worries. More importantly, your spirit might even be completely destroyed as a result!
Are you sure that you don't need to worry about this at all?
"Yes, sir!" Chu Xiang replied tensely before turning to Zhang Xuan. "Zhang shi, may I have the ore that I have to fuse into the Golden Origin Cauldron?"
"Here you go!" Zhang Xuan flicked his wrist, and an ore flew into Chu Xiang's grasp.
"This…" Seeing the ore that was being passed over, Master Lin Jie's eyes narrowed in astonishment. "Isn't that the Black Goldcrystal Ore?"
The Black Goldcrystal Ore was an incredibly valuable and rare ore. Just fusing a pinch of it into the weapon could potentially raise the prowess of the smithed weapon significantly! It was highly sought-after, even among the top Conferred Empire blacksmiths. Who would have thought that the young man actually had such a thing in his possession?
A moment later, Master Lin Jie frowned as he analyzed the situation. "But it will be difficult to fuse that with the cauldron…"
As rare as Black Goldcrystal Ore was, as a half 8-star blacksmith, he still had various channels that he could acquire some from. What truly stumped most blacksmiths was not the rarity of the ore but the sheer difficulty in processing it. Even with the earth flames in the Forging Hall, it would still be extremely difficult to melt the Black Goldcrystal Ore.
If the Black Goldcrystal Ore was not fully melted, it would be impossible to fuse it with the Golden Origin Cauldron perfectly.
"If only we were in the Qianchong Empire Blacksmith Guild… the earth flames there would have no problem melting the Black Goldcrystal Ore, although it would take a great deal of effort. However, here…" Master Lin Jie shook his head pessimistically.
The earth flames in the Forging Hall boasted the highest temperature in the Qingyuan Empire, but they were still lacking compared to the earth flames in the Qianchong Empire Blacksmith Guild. It really would not be easy to melt the Black Goldcrystal Ore here.
Staring curiously to see what Zhang Xuan would do in this situation, Master Lin Jie suddenly heard the young man issuing an instruction, and right afterwards, the Golden Origin Cauldron opened its lid and swallowed the ore.
"This…" While the crowd blinked blankly at the sight, Master Lin Jie slapped his thigh with an excited gleam in his eyes. "How did I not think of that! The cauldron that is to be upgraded is a weapon cauldron itself! While the temperature of the earth flames is limited, the superior heat conductivity of the weapon cauldron can channel the heat through it, thus raising the temperature another notch! With this, there should be no problem melting the Black Goldcrystal Ore! Just that…"
"While the Black Goldcrystal Ore can be melted through this method, the problem is that he will be unable to view the current state of the Black Goldcrystal Ore to determine whether it has fully melted or not," Master Lin Jie replied. "Due to the firm exterior of the weapon cauldron and the intense flames, it will be impossible to extend his Spiritual Perception into the cauldron as well. If the Black Goldcrystal Ore is retrieved too early, it will not have melted properly. If retrieved too late, its properties could very well have been destroyed by the heat. Either way, it will adversely affect the result of the upgrading."
Considering how the intense flames harnessed within the cauldron were able to melt even the Black Goldcrystal Ore, if one were to extend one's Spiritual Perception into it, one's consciousness would surely be seared by the heat!
If one could not view what was going on in the cauldron, it would be impossible to accurately discern when the Black Goldcrystal Ore needed to be retrieved to move on to the next step.
The Black Goldcrystal Ore was a particularly sensitive ore. Exposing it to high heat for a second or two too long could potentially lead to the failure of the smithing.
Guild Leader Qin also swiftly understood the implications of the decided course of action. "Indeed. Not only so, the cauldron will also have to be constantly placed in the intense heat of the earth flames. If the timing is not right, not only will the Black Goldcrystal Ore be ruined, there is also a good chance that the internal structure of the Golden Origin Cauldron from the previous smithing will also become undone, resulting in a sharp decline in its tier."
In the first place, the Golden Origin Cauldron was made of an alloy consisting of different metals. It truly was not easy to establish a balance among all of the metals and stabilize it at Saint intermediate-tier. However, if it were exposed to intense heat for a prolonged period, the balance could very well be shattered.
In other words, while melting the Black Goldcrystal Ore within the Golden Origin Cauldron did resolve the problem of lacking heat, it produced several other problems, thus raising the difficulty of the forging process another level.
While the duo was still worrying over the forging, the young man's voice suddenly sounded once more. "Take two steps forward and fuse your zhenqi into the earth flames at a northeast trajectory. After which, use the Three Leaves Forging Technique to pry open the cauldron lid."
The voice carried the unique melody of the Impartation of Heaven's Will, compelling Chu Xiang to obey it without any hesitation.
As such, he immediately followed the orders faithfully, taking two steps forward and flicking his finger.
The cauldron lid was pried open, and a viscous, golden liquid flew out from the Golden Origin Cauldron.
"The Black Goldcrystal Ore has melted? Furthermore, from the looks of it, it seems like it has just melted. The error in timing is definitely less than a tenth of a breath! This…" Guild Leader Qin narrowed his eyes in disbelief.
To be able to grasp the timing perfectly despite being unable to peer into the situation within the Golden Origin Cauldron… How in the world did the young man manage to pull it off?
Master Lin Jie pondered over the earlier situation and swiftly made a deduction. "It's because of the commands he issued!
"He instructed his partner to take two steps forward and fuse his zhenqi at a northeast trajectory; that step served to swiftly intensify the heat within the cauldron. After which, he instructed his partner to utilize the Three Leaves Forging Technique.
"As you know, the Three Leaves Forging Technique is an extremely forceful method that consists of incredibly swift and precise movements of one's fingers, allowing one to compress the flames together, thus focusing all the heat at a single point, resulting in a sharp rise in the temperature. It's through this method that he was able to melt the Black Goldcrystal Ore instantaneously and retrieve it timely from the cauldron.
"But pulling this off would require extremely precise calculations… Just how fast does his mind run? Fearsome!"
He could not help but clench his fists tightly in agitation.
It appeared to just be a simple command, but there was actually a profound logic behind it that required deep understanding of the earth flame formation, the temperature of the earth flames, the melting point of the Black Goldcrystal Ore, the attribute of Chu Xiang's zhenqi, and many other factors! Only with such precise calculations would one be able to pull it off without accidentally destroying the Black Goldcrystal Ore.
Even a half 8-star blacksmith like Master Lin Jie would be unable to accomplish something like that!
The other party's mental calculation ability was truly fearsome!
"Side shift three cun to the left before lifting your hammer to strike the opening of the Golden Origin Cauldron. Use the Descending Willow Leaves Forging Technique and strike a total of 148 times at a rate of once every three breaths, no more, no less. After which…" Zhang Xuan continued issuing instructions.
Soon, a rhythmic 'ding ding dang dang' began resounding in the Forging Hall.
"Marvelous! Truly marvelous!" Master Lin Jie suddenly exclaimed in delirium.
"Master Lin Jie?" Guild Leader Qin could not understand the other party's abrupt, fevered outburst.
"As a 7-star pinnacle blacksmith, it's perfectly normal for you to be unable to see through the exquisiteness of their forging," Master Lin Jie explained with visible excitement in his tone. "The Descending Willow Leaves Forging Technique is a perfectly ordinary forging technique, essentially consisting of slow but steady strikes.
"What is truly exquisite is how aptly it is used in this situation! Having just been exposed to intense heat, the cauldron is already starting to melt. If a fast and forceful forging technique were to be used in this situation, it could cause the internal structure of the cauldron to break apart. While it would not affect the formation of the cauldron, the small cracks here and there would adversely affect the durability of the cauldron, causing its tier to decline.
"On the other hand, through using the Descending Willow Leaves Forging Technique, not only will such a problem be avoided, it will even further temper the current structure of the cauldron, making it more compact and firmer than before, thus enhancing its quality!"
The instructions issued by the young man were truly exquisite. Every single word he spoke seemed to directly point to the very essence of smithing, turning even the most ordinary movements into a profound art. Despite utilizing only the most basic forging techniques, he was still able to facilitate the fusion of the cauldron with the Black Goldcrystal Ore perfectly.
Ding ding dang dang!
By the time Chu Xiang performed his 148th strike on the Golden Origin Cauldron, he happened to return to the starting point. After which, under Zhang Xuan's instructions, he flicked the hammer into the air and began striking the bottom of the cauldron.
"Why is he striking the bottom of the cauldron instead of the cauldron body?" Guild Leader Qin asked in confusion.
Under normal circumstances, it would be best to hammer an artifact in sequence to further its stability, which in this case, would be from the top to the bottom. As such, it was perplexing why Zhang Xuan would instruct Chu Xiang to strike the bottom of the cauldron right after hammering the top. Logically speaking, he should have the body of the cauldron hammered first before moving to the bottom!
"This…" Master Lin Jie frowned in bewilderment as well, unable to make sense of the situation either.
Weng weng weng!
In the midst of his confusion, the cauldron before him suddenly emitted a deep rumble, reminiscent of an ocean's waves.
"Could it be…" Master Lin Jie's eyes suddenly widened in realization. "I finally get it!"
Guild Leader Qin hurriedly turned his gaze to Master Lin Jie.
"This is the Tidal Forging Technique! It was created by an 8-star blacksmith after listening to the sound of the waves. By striking the bottom of the cauldron in a specific manner right after hammering the top, a unique resonance is produced within the cauldron via the strikes, allowing the Black Goldcrystal Ore to better fuse into the body of the cauldron without hammering it directly, thus reducing the potential damage the hammering could cause to its structure.
"More importantly, the wave-like jolts from the hammering temper the spirit within the cauldron as well, enhancing it further. Formidable! Truly formidable! How did he manage to think of something like this?"
The more Master Lin Jie spoke, the more astounded he was. At this point, he could not help but feel a little light within.
The Tidal Forging Technique was an obsolete forging technique, applicable only in very few circumstances. As such, he had never really used it before despite having heard of it. Yet, who would have thought that he would actually see it being perfectly applied here?
There were many forging techniques in the world, some more profound the others. However, just because one forging technique was more profound than another did not necessarily mean that it would be better. What was more important was to use the forging technique more apt for the situation!
For example, not only would the Tidal Forging Technique preserve the integrity of the Golden Origin Cauldron's internal structure to the greatest degree, it would also temper its spirit.
There were simply too many people in the world, and this was including blacksmiths as well, who thought that the stronger the physical structure of a weapon was, the stronger the weapon would be. They attempt to fuse all kinds of superior ores into their weapon, only to neglect the enhancement of its spirit. As a result, they would end up with a weak weapon spirit trying to drag a body far stronger than it along, and naturally, this was detrimental to the overall prowess of the weapon.
The usage of the Tidal Forging Technique at this crucial juncture solved this issue perfectly.
This was truly killing two birds with one stone!
Witnessing what he had previously thought to be impossible, he could not help but feel a little dreamy inside. "To be able to think this far ahead while issuing instructions to another… Just how deep an understanding does he have of smithing?"
His years of experience in smithing told him that Zhang Xuan and his partner were doomed to fail, but from the current looks of the situation… it seemed like they would really succeed!
Just from this alone, it could be seen that the young man's comprehension of smithing was much, much deeper than his!
In fact, they were not even on the same level!
He continued watching the forging process, and his shock only served to deepen at every turn.
Every instruction made by Zhang Xuan was profound and precise, such that he could not find the slightest flaw or error in it. On top of that, he astonishingly realized that the young man had really taken everything into consideration, factoring in his partner's strength, zhenqi attribute, level of mastery in smithing, and so on.
He had still been able to comprehend what the young man was doing at the start, but as the forging process went on, he swiftly found that there were many aspects that were beyond his understanding.
Perhaps he might have been able to make sense out of it if he were to ponder deeply over the process, but the young man was issuing instructions one after another at a rapid pace, using a myriad of forging techniques within just a few moments, granting him no time to think at all.
After some time, a resounding echo suddenly sounded, and under Zhang Xuan's instructions, Chu Xiang rapidly retreated several steps.
Following which, an overwhelming aura burst into the air, and the sky abruptly darkened.
"It's the Leaving Aperture Ordeal…"
Everyone stared at the sight before them with mouths agape.1 cun is 3.33cm.