AIP - Chapter 104: Forging Platform
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Once Tang Jie got back from Xie Fengtang's place, he saw a crowd of people waiting for him in front of the Carefree House.
Among them were Shu, Liu, Cai, and Ping, and also some students from the Freedom Society, such as Li Yijing and Yang Zhiyuan. Wei Tianchong and Shi Meng were also present.
Upon seeing that Tang Jie was back, Wei Tianchong excitedly ran over and grabbed him. "My god! Where did you go? We've been waiting for you for ages!"
It would have been far stranger if all these people didn't come to see him after he had set a new record at the Celestial Defense Hall.
Tang Jie chuckled. "Where else would I have gone? The headmaster called me, you know?"
"It must have been to give you a reward," Cai Junyang said, and everyone looked at Tang Jie enviously.
Liu Hongyan scooted over and said, "Come on, hurry up! Tell us what Headmaster Xie gave you."
Tang Jie freely confessed that he had been given ten spirit jades and free admission to cultivate the Dao of Tools.
The ten spirit jades had everyone's eyes turning red.
"Treat us! You have to treat us to a meal!" Li Yijing shouted.
"That's right! That's right!" the others all shouted.
Tang Jie bitterly chuckled, "This is highway robbery."
"Yes, we're robbing. Who made it so that you suddenly got so much all at once?" Ping Jingyue came over and smiled. "If you hadn't said anything, we wouldn't be so upset."
Suddenly, Shu Mingyang said, "I think that these actions are not proper."
Tang Jie was deeply moved. "Only Brother Shu understands me."
Shu Mingyang casually followed, "Since Brother Tang has gotten ten thousand coins, how could treating us to a meal be enough? It needs to be a spirit banquet."
Tang Jie felt his vision go dark as everyone erupted in laughter, "That's right! He should treat us to a spirit banquet!"
In the end, Cai Junyang waved his hand and said, "Let's talk about the meal later. I have something to talk about with Tang Jie."
Tang Jie looked at him strangely. "What do you need me for?"
Cai Junyang pursed his lips. "What else could it be? Let's have a match. You've set a record at the Celestial Defense Hall, so I presume that you've made some progress. I want to see how strong you are now."
"Right, right, a fight!" Everyone shouted together.
Tang Jie knew that he couldn't put this off and nodded. "Alright, but since we're going to fight, it has to be with all you. If you want to extort me, you have to let me beat you all up first."
"If you want a fight, let's fight. Do you think we're afraid of you?" Liu Hongyan proudly replied.
That afternoon, Tang Jie and the Freedom Society students went off to the Divine Battleground and had a good fight.
This time, he held nothing back and defeated all of his challengers.
Though Cai Junyang had experienced his own leaps in progress, he was still no match for Tang Jie with the Formless Golden Body activated and was beaten black and blue.
Once all the sparring was done, Tang Jie took a look at the rankings and found that he had once more taken the top spot.
In revenge, that night, during the banquet, the Freedom Society students picked several gourmet spirit dishes, stripping Tang Jie of four-hundred-some coins in one go.
But Tang Jie didn't just sit around and take it. During the banquet, he found an opportunity to speak with Cai Junyang alone, saying, "Go and tell Lin Dongsheng that I can go to his grandfather's birthday party, but I'm accepting no less than seven hundred coins, and it has to be paid in advance."
"What?" Cai Junyang was stunned by Tang Jie's lion-like appetite.
Tang Jie smugly replied, "I'm a student who's set a new record in the Celestial Defense Hall. How can my price be comparable to those of lower status now? Seven hundred coins is already the lowest price I can give to a schoolmate."
Cai Junyang furrowed his brow. "Tang Jie, though we cultivators need resources, is there any need to treat even your schoolmates like this? You say that your social status has risen, but going up by one hundred should be enough. Growing all the way to seven hundred is truly too excessive. This is hardly the proper way to act…"
He shot Tang Jie an unhappy look.
Tang Jie understood what he meant. He was warning Tang Jie to not get proud of this minor success and suddenly forget about who he was.
It had to be understood that he was only a Spirit Spring Tier student, and his grades were only impressive in the Spirit Spring Tier. Past this tier, his past achievements would be meaningless.
Many geniuses had amazing starts but gradually vanished into the crowd as time went on. Present arrogance could bring future trouble.
But Tang Jie smiled. "That's why I need your help. Don't say that I was the one who said it. Just say that you were the one who advised me to and it'll be fine, right? Once this is all done, I'll give you one hundred. How about it?"
Cai Junyang couldn't help but shake his head and sigh. "Why is everyone like this… Alright, alright. For the sake of these one hundred coins, I'll be the evildoer for you. But if he doesn't agree, it has nothing to do with me."
"He will agree," Tang Jie happily replied.
As he watched Cai Junyang walk over to Lin Dongsheng, Tang Jie muttered, "Why is everyone like this… why is everyone like this…"
A smile emerged on his face, somewhat gratified but also somewhat confused.
A few moments later, Cai Junyang came back and told Tang Jie: Lin Dongsheng said that he needed to go back and talk with his grandfather.
Tang Jie was deeply disappointed.
This answer meant that the chances Lin Dongsheng was Fierce Ape were very small. Just like the others, he was being used by someone else.
As for whether or not Lin Dongsheng would agree, he wasn't worried at all. Let alone seven hundred, Gu Changqing would pay even if he asked for seven thousand. Of course, if he dared to make such a demand, he would basically be telling the other side that he knew what they were up to.
After the banquet, the rest of the night was quiet and peaceful.
The next morning, Tang Jie went to the Forging Platform.
The Forging Platform was located in the belly of the Clear Sky Mountains. Inside the mountains, Earth Fire burned year-round. The Basking Moon Sect used a formation to summon Earth Fire for its own purposes, turning this place into an area the academy could use for forging. Thus, it became known as the Forging Platform, and also as the Earth Fire Zone.
The teacher supervising the Forging Platform was called Dan Xin. He had already received word from the academy. After meeting Tang Jie and getting him registered, he took him on a personal tour of the Forging Platform, letting him pick the destination.
Just like the Seven Celestial Halls, the Forging Platform had a different official name: the Tool Dao Cultivation Zone. Forging weapons was only one of its areas of specialty.
Cultivation in the Dao of Tools consisted of three phases: form production, enchantment, and ceremonial refinement.
"Form production" referred to creating the equipment, forging the weapon. It was called form production because what was being produced was not always a weapon. There were also defensive items like suits of armor, support items like Mustard Seed Bags, and even strange objects like flower baskets and wine cups. All sorts of materials could be used in this process, not just metal.
This was also why form production was divided into forging, weaving, and other such disciplines.
"Enchantment" referred to the carving of formations into the equipment that had been produced, granting it special effects. This was somewhat similar to puppets, but as equipment was generally smaller, the requirements for the formations were higher. Thus, they developed their own special system and stopped being called formations. Instead, they were called seals.
Even so, seals and formations had many similarities, so "seal" and "formation" were often used synonymously. Thus, students skilled in the Dao of Formations could also cultivate the Dao of Tools. This was akin to someone from the gymnastics team joining the national diving squad, as the techniques used were similar.
Not just the Dao of Tools, one could even pursue the Daos of Pills and Talismans. Pills, talismans, formations, and tools were considered the four supports for cultivators, but the Dao of Formations was the support of the supports. Whether it was pills, talismans, or tools, they all required formations.
Of course, as different fields, they all had their special needs.
The Dao of Formations was a profound field that was connected to all others, but this didn't mean that the person who cultivated the Dao of Formations was equally profound. All sciences required math, but this didn't mean that a mathematician could become a specialist in every field.
As for ceremonial refinement, it was the last step for refining a tool. Only spell weapons and art relics that had gone through ceremonial refinement could become weapons that were truly a cultivator's own. At its most profound levels, ceremonial refinement could even mentally link user and tool, allowing control of the tool with the mind and allowing the weapon's power to be used to its maximum extent.
Ceremonial refinement wasn't just a job for the refiner, but also one for the user. It required many days to reach success.
With these three serving as benchmarks, the Tool Dao Cultivation Zone was divided into eight primary regions: appearance creation, casting, seal creation, seal enchantment, seal refinement, life ceremony, blood ceremony, and extraction. Besides that were the support divisions such as storage and material gathering.
Esteemed Teacher Dan Xin took Tang Jie around the Forging Platform. The production region was the largest. It was divided into casting, weaving, form production, and other such smaller areas.
In the casting area, Tang Jie finally found the blacksmith feeling that he was looking for.
In a hot and spacious hall, several dozen furnaces had been lined up. Numerous formation lines crisscrossed beneath the furnaces, occasionally unleashing searing flames.
In front of these furnaces stood muscular men, their bodies drenched in sweat as they hammered metal.
Some of these men forged armor, others forged sabers and swords, and some of them forged strange items that Tang Jie could make no sense of. Each one had a student at their side who assisted these smiths in their work. When a person finished an item, it would be thrown into a basin of water, where it would hiss and unleash a cloud of steam. A student would swiftly come up to wipe off the sweat from their "master".
He spotted a few students hammering by the furnaces, a master giving them pointers on the side and even occasionally cursing at them.
"This is the main region of our Tool Dao Cultivation Zone, the casting region. Every year, the casting region produces three thousand pieces of equipment. This is not just for the students of the school to use. Some of it is distributed within the Sageheart Kingdom. Even the worst of these weapons would be considered a divine weapon in the mortal world," Dan Xin explained to Tang Jie. Although he was a teacher, he was rather polite to Tang Jie. After all, this was a student who had set a new record at the Celestial Defense Hall and was favored by Xie Fengtang, so he naturally received different treatment.
"I presume that the worst weapons are those forged by the students," Tang Jie said with a smile.
Dan Xin erupted in laughter. "It's always a process to move from nothing to something, to go from ignorance to knowledge. Forging weapons here is not the same as forging weapons in the mortal world. As these weapons require seal enchantment, each shaping and each exertion of strength must be carefully considered. The surface must be sharp, but the insides must also be internally consistent. The ability to modify the composition of the inside by striking the outside depends on the individual. It looks like they're just hammering away, but each hammer blow consumes spiritual energy, and each blow must be accurate and dealt with the proper amount of strength! Though pills, talismans, tools, and formations are considered miscellaneous fields, each of these fields requires a proper cultivation level to get the full use out of it."
Dan Xin's face was brimming with pride as he spoke. It was clear that he was very confident in his Forging Platform. He pointed at the anvils and said, "The forging of weapons alone can provide enough material to study for a lifetime!"
Tang Jie couldn't help but blurt out, "The path of cultivation is broad and profound. Even the simplest thing conceals a vast sea of knowledge."
"Yes, exactly," Dan Xin said, punching his palm.
Tang Jie knew how to talk. With only a few sentences, he had Dan Xin smiling. The miscellaneous fields had never been valued by orthodox practitioners, so he treasured any sort of praise for the Dao of Tools. And praise that came from one of the geniuses of Basking Moon Academy was even more valuable.
Once they had been through the entire cultivation zone, Dan Xin asked, "Have you thought about where you want to go? I can arrange a place for you wherever you go. Casting, seal production, and seal enchantment are the three subjects with the most potential. You can pick any one of them."
Dan Xin was being very considerate with him. These three choices were the most popular and most profitable of the Dao of Tools.
Unless they were particularly talented or enjoyed the subject, students normally only entered the miscellaneous fields to make money.
Casting saw results the fastest and was the best place to make money, and in the process of casting, one could even strengthen the body, so it had always been the most popular area in the Forging Platform. Although it was rather tiring, the students still fought to get a spot. But there was an annual limit, and not every student was able to get in.
But if Tang Jie wanted to learn it, Dan Xin could immediately arrange a spot for him.
However, Tang Jie replied, "If possible, this student hopes to learn extraction."
"Extraction?" Dan Xin was dumbfounded. "Why do you want to learn extraction?"
What "extraction" really meant was handling broken tools.
There were always some weapons and tools that were unsuccessful and thrown away, but the material these items were made of still had value. If the proper methods were used to extract these materials, there was no need to waste them. Back when Wei Tianchong's wolf puppet had been destroyed, he had asked a student of the extraction region to help him extract the useful materials.
Trash disposal was one of the hallmarks of a civilized society.
But most students didn't think there was much of a future in disposing of broken weapons, so they didn't want to learn it.
Dan Xin hadn't expected Tang Jie to ask to learn extraction.
This was like someone who could be an office worker instead deciding to be a janitor!
"Yes, this student wants to learn extraction," Tang Jie firmly declared.
This had been the sole reason he had wanted to learn the Dao of Tools.
Xie Fengtang hadn't known, and neither had Dan Xin.
Tang Jie had never had the slightest interest in refining tools. He wanted to cultivate the Dao of Tools because this was the only place where he could get his hands on a large number of weapons.
He wasn't here to forge weapons, but to destroy them!
And extraction was all about destroying weapons!