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“This old man shouldn’t reject business coming to my door, but…” Gao Muya swept an eye over Xu Yangyi. “It’s altogether 600,000 middle-grade spirit stones. Forgive me, but our Ironforge Stronghold’s artificing workshop doesn’t sell on credit.”
“Ironforge Stronghold?” Xu Yangyi couldn’t help but laugh. Why was this name so familiar…
“People always have some fun to spend time.” Gao Muya laughed, “So how about it? If you can’t afford it, it’s not that I can’t sell to you, but…”
“No need to be troubled, Senior.” Xu Yangyi bowed. His coffers held a million spirit stones from the last auction. The mounting of the Ketu-Rahu Sword, the hundred magik artifacts, and the master-cannon would wipe out his cash, dry and clean. However, his Danxia Temple gains were quite rich. There was the Rootless Nine Bends Aqua, the ambergris, the livyatan corpse, the Heavenmend Stone, the unspeakable secret of the Dao Scripture, and also… the two most important and unused keys.
It still wasn’t time for the aqua to be refined. The ambergris was planned for his own use. The Heavenmend Stone was for his left arm, and it was furthermore impossible to speak of the Dao Scripture. After this campaign, he really was headed back to “financial liberation”.
Gao Muya eyed Xu Yangyi in surprise. This tremendous sum of money couldn’t even be fished out by deep-pocketed Foundation Establishment cultivators, yet Xu Yangyi, a Qi Condensation cultivator, was actually able to. It seemed… that this young fellow’s Danxia Temple harvest was quite rich…
His smile vanished. “In the end… I’ll remind you again. Your situation is special. The Ketu-Rahu Sword’s original copy grew into your body, so this refinement process will be very… mhm, painful. But once it starts, I absolutely can’t stop. Even if you pass out from the pain.”
Xu Yangyi’s smile disappeared as well, and he bowed deeply. “Junior only asks for a perfect and flawless left arm. As for everything else, bring it on.”
“Good! Hahaha!” After Gao Muya reared his head back and laughed heartily. He studied Xu Yangyi intensely. “In that case, rest up. We’ll officially begin tomorrow.”
On this night, Xu Yangyi did something that he hadn’t done for a long time.
After a cultivator reached the middle stage, one could fast and abstain from food. Naturally, sleep could also be left out. It was a feeling that he hadn’t experienced for ages. He slept rather soundly.
On the morning of the next day, he bathed and changed clothes. Around ten o’clock, a paper crane flew to his window sill. It only spoke one line: Grandmaster invites you to come.
Xu Yangyi quickly met with Gao Muya. Not only was it him, there was another old man who seemed not far from death. However, the old man’s cognition was frighteningly robust. On his hands, veins were furthermore exposed. At a glance, they were hands that worked year round. It was just that his spiritual pressure caused the surrounding atmosphere to faintly tremble.
Half-step Core Formation!
“Se?” What se?” Before Xu Yangyi even finished speaking, the old man waved his hand impatiently, his gaze ardently measuring him. “We of the crafts are different from the cultivation system. Those of attainment are masters. Don’t say ‘Senior, Senior’; it’s annoying to listen to. Do you take knee and welcome Teacher Gao when you see him? Don’t leave your body crooked! Let this old man see!”
The old man hadn’t even said these words before hurrying to separate clothes and pinch Xu Yangyi’s arm. Xu Yangyi moved the bone arm, and the color of spring rippled across the man’s old face. It seemed as if he was gently stroking and caressing the nude body of a supreme beauty who was separated by a thin bed sheet.
No one was willing to continue waiting. To an artificer, this was their finest masterpiece! To Xu Yangyi, this was the lost of an arm and then the gain of an even stronger one!
The old man rubbed the arm down with Crepe Jasmine flowers and pulled his hand back with extreme reluctance. Soon afterwards, not caring at all whether Xu Yangyi consented or not, the old man took the demon slayer within a bundle of spiritual force. He turned around and started to fly down towards the underground.
Gao Muya uttered not a single word and followed from behind. His countenance looked tranquil, but in truth, a fiery expectation had already revealed itself on his face.
This time, they were walking a path that Xu Yangyi wasn't aware of. On the path, there were no less than five great doors that were about a meter thick, and their surfaces were covered with runes. Following their arrival, the doors boomed and rumbled as if they were responding. Twenty minutes later, the trio finally stopped in front of a door.
Xu Yangyi stretched his neck, making a cracking sound. Once they reached the intended area, he was finally set down. Before him was a roughly two-meter-sized door. Compared with ordinary doors, it was somewhat larger. The door was carved with a vivid drawing of the Fire God Zhurong.
“Please, Teacher.” The old man bowed respectfully towards Gao Muya. Half-step Core Formation bowed towards late-stage Foundation Establishment, yet Gao Muya nodded as if it was an expected matter of course. Gao Muya struck out with a strange talisman in his hand and pushed the door.
Crack crack crack… The great door slowly opened, but at this moment, Xu Yangyi keenly saw… an endless amount of white smoke surprisingly rising from Gao Muya’s hand!
This is… high heat? No, that’s not right, the surrounding temperature isn’t high. Then this is… Xu Yangyi’s gaze flashed and he looked at the door with some surprise. This is ice?
As if he guessed what Xu Yangyi was thinking, Gao Muya said lowly, “This is Millennium Profound Ice. In the cultivation world, there are no more than five pieces of Profound Ice that are this large. Young fellow, I think highly of you. This is the greatest artificing room of I, Gao Muya!”
Rumble! The great door opened wide. Subsequently, a boiling heat wave suddenly rushed out! It even caused Gao Muya and the old man’s beards to chaotically billow! The air appeared hazy and indistinct!
Xu Yangyi narrowed his eyes in understanding. This Profound Ice door was used to isolate the outside heat… Inside the room, there was a smelting furnace. It couldn’t be considered particularly large, roughly around five meters in size. However… this forge’s appearance was the thousand-armed Guanyin, the goddess of mercy! Each hand held a tool.
They were tongs and hammers, seemingly ordinary. And yet, even standing here, he could sense the terrible spiritual force fluctuations inside!
“These… are actually all magik treasures!” He immediately knew what this was. At the same time, he was astonished by the grand wealth of a grand craftsmaster! Artificing equipment that unexpectedly used magik treasures. Merely this thousand-armed Guanyin was equal to the entire estate of many second-rate clans!
Nonetheless, what shocked Xu Yangyi the most wasn’t the thousand-armed Guanyin. Instead, it was a ball of fire… a pure-white blaze! It had no temperature, at least… the surrounding air wasn't hazy. However… it was alive. It was a roughly foot-long nine-tailed fox. This fox was totally formed out of fire! It was dozing off in front of the thousand-armed Guanyin!
“Young fellow, just seeing this place is enough for you to boast for a lifetime.” The old man’s voice carried the utmost arrogance. “Master has a total of five artificing rooms. This one… has been opened only once in thirty years! That time, it was to remodel a magik treasure for Daomaster Skybearer!”
“This flame is a post-celestial spirit blaze. Teacher has christened it as the ‘Burning Flame’, meaning that the flame itself can burn. At the lowest…” He glanced at Xu Yangyi sinisterly. “Its temperature is above 20,000 °C! It can compare with the direct illumination of ultraviolet light!”
Xu Yangyi exhaled sharply. Presently, his Ten Cardinals Red Lotus could only reach a temperature of over 4,000 °C. This little fox… was actually five times hotter than his divine ability!
Gao Muya didn’t speak. From the beginning he entered this place, his and the old man’s bearings as grand masters were illustrated. They were calm, a calmness resembling a sovereign king touring his kingdom. He made several complicated hand seals, a few beads of sweat even on his head. The great door then cracked shut.
At the same time the great door closed, icy-blue veins followed and began to shine in the twenty-plus-meter-sized basement, creeping forwards and spreading. They formed incredibly profound runes. In short time, the room fully transformed into an icy-blue sea.
In the next second, the little fox howled, and its nine tails fanned open like a peacock. In the wake of a loud explosion, a pure-white blaze flared!
No one spoke. Gao Muya and the old man sat down and began to meditate. Xu Yangyi did as well. This stage caused his frame of mind to reach a peace like the stillness of water, to be without further secondary thoughts.
After half an hour, Gao Muya opened his eyes and said indifferently, “Prepare.”
Xu Yangyi shed away his clothing. His muscles didn’t appear horrifically brawny, but they were very sturdy. Each muscle was like a rubber band, seemingly without strength, but once filled with power, they would form a dreadful explosive force.
The smile on the old man’s face had long since ceased to be. From his hands, he made complex gestures, and a layer of dark-green light shrouded Xu Yangyi’s entire body. All that remained was the left side of Xu Yangyi’s chest and arm.
“No matter what, you can’t budge.” The old man prudently inspected several times and gave a few warnings. Soon afterwards, he respectfully fell back to the side.
Crack crack crack… Following Gao Muya’s continuous onslaught of hand seals, a grooved desk rose up from below where Xu Yangyi stuck out his left arm. As it turned out, the desk supported Xu Yangyi’s hand, yet there were three circular recesses about five centimeters in size on the surface.
“Get ready.” Gao Muya’s gaze was terribly solemn. With these words, a small purple foot-long hammer engraved with exquisite ornamental designs flew into his hand. In an instant, his hand emitted a meter of white light and pierced into the bone arm that Xu Yangyi had set on the desk!
The white light thrusted in rather wondrously, coincidentally in the first recess. Not waiting for Xu Yangyi to react, a purple lightning bolt was brought forth in midair! Following this crash of thunder, Gao Muya used his hammer to slam the spiritual light with all his power!
Both of Xu Yangyi’s eyes snapped wide open. At this time, a terrible vibration spread to his four limbs and abdomen! It wasn’t just an aftershock; it almost shook his entire being apart!
Ding! Hum… The first sound was Gao Muya using the spirit-light nail to fix Xu Yangyi’s arm and the desk together. The following noise was the long melodious cry from the nail itself.
Gao Muya raised his hand, and the old man firmly gazed at Xu Yangyi. In a twinkling, Xu Yangyi’s complexion went from pale to ashen and then dark-red. After approximately ten-odd minutes passed, he returned to his original condition.
Afterwards, he began to cough fiercely.
“Cough, cough, cough!”
A fit of violent hacking rang out, and the old man watched him for quite a while. Unmoved, the old man said, “Not bad, Teacher’s Thirty-Six Rolling Chaos Winds actually didn’t make you throw up on the spot. Your perseverance and fleshly body are pretty well-tempered.”
In his heart, Xu Yangyi could only smile bitterly.
Gao Muya didn’t even give him a second to prepare, only having the old man set up incredibly precise defensive measures. The hammer almost caused his heart to quake and split open.
He was drenched in cold sweat as he panted for air. Another several minutes passed, and he raised his head to look.
On his left arm, the spirit-light nail was exposed by roughly a third on the surface. Already, it firmly secured him to the work station. It was then that he realized that Gao Muya was afraid that he wouldn’t be able to endure such pain. With his arm nailed to the surface of the desk, it was impossible for him to flail about.
Without continuing, no less than half an hour had passed. Xu Yangyi’s face was completely normal, and he nodded towards Gao Muya. “Senior, please.”
“Are you ready?” Gao Muya looked at him seriously. “If not, there’s no need to keep insisting. The several months of time that I scheduled in advance was because this arm had already bonded together with you. If you want to artifice, it can only be refined on you. Thus, my arcane effort will directly impact your body. If your willpower is not absolute, you won’t be able to bear it.”
“But, I won’t stop either.” At this moment, his face without a shred of mercy. “The Ketu-Rahu Sword… this might be the masterpiece of my entire life among all the objects I have refined. Once I start, there’s no chance that I’ll stop because you can’t keep up. I’ve also said this to you.”
“Relax.” Xu Yangyi had already recovered his cool. “Since I chose this path, I’ll walk it to the end no matter what.”
“Come on, I also want to see. To have a grand artificer praise it as a supreme masterpiece, what level of power will my left arm have?”
1. Ironforge is the name of the dwarven capital city in the MMORPG World of Warcraft.
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