Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
Lingtai Town, a town formed by gathering cultivators.
Zhang Zhi stood blankly in front of a blacksmith in town, his mind was drifting off as he looked at the only piece of memory of his parents.
Zhang Zhi's parents were individual cultivators of Qi Refining Stage. Since it was hopeless for them to achieve greater cultivation, they settled down in Lingtai Town and opened up a blacksmith to make a living.
They might not have lived a wealthy life, but their craftsmanship was enough to feed the family.
Zhang Zhi started cultivating at the age of 10 under his parents' guidance. He would drop by the blacksmith to help around and train himself when he had the time, but perhaps because he was not a gifted cultivator, he barely made any progress.
After long and cautious consideration, his parents decided to send him to the mortal realm to be a wealthy young master rather than suffering in Lingtai Town.
Therefore, Zhang Zhi lived a carefree life in the mortal realm until he was 20 years old. His parents would visit him in the mortal realm during festive seasons as well.
However, during the last Chinese New Year, Zhang Zhi got a letter instead of his parents coming to the mortal realm for a reunion. The letter was to inform him of his parents' passing.
A war broke out between the eastern and western domains of the spirit realm. His parents were summoned to the army as blacksmiths, but the enemies ambushed the camp that they were assigned to. Not only Zhang Zhi's parents but all the craftsmen and blacksmiths from the eastern domain died in the ambush.
Zhang Zhi was devastated by the news. He spent all his fortune in the mortal realm and finally found a cultivator who agreed to bring him back to Lingtai Town, back to the blacksmith where he shared countless memories with his parents.
Zhang Zhi sighed. He used the spare key and opened the door.
The hearth, the anvil, the quenching pool, all the items inside the blacksmith were a part of his memories with his parents. Even though Zhang Zhi had accepted the fact that his parents were dead, he could not stop his tears filling his eyes.
The sorrow slowly turned into anger. He hated the northern cultivators for killing his parents, but he hated himself even more for being weak and unable to avenge his parents.
He grabbed the hammer and pounded the anvil fiercely. Every smash on the anvil sounded like clapping thunder, as though he was trying to vent his anger through the smashes.
Just when Zhang Zhi was drenched in his own sweat, a voice sounded in his head.
"Ding dong, Forging System implementation successful. Scanning host's status…"
"Host's status as followed:
Name: Zhang Zhi
Forging Level: 1
Forging Skill: None
"System?" Zhang Zhi was caught off guard by the voice in his head.
"My host, I'm here!"
Zhang Zhi was shocked. He thought he was hearing things before this, but when the voice in his head answered him, he was terrified.
He thought the sadness drove him mad, otherwise, there should not be a voice speaking to him in his mind.
"My host, you don't need to worry about your mental state, I, the system, truly exist in you! My full name is Forging System and I am here to help you, my host, to become the God of Forging.
"Blacksmith modification on-going… Modification complete! Rookie reward available, acquired forging skill, Flying Sword Restoration (Low-Tier Artifact)."
A series of hints and notifications allowed Zhang Zhi to grasp the situation and the so-called Forging System. He even got a forging skill, Flying Sword Restoration, from activating the system.
The restoration skill was inserted into his mind, making him as skilled as a veteran blacksmith with more than 10 years of experience. He was delighted, with the skill, he might be able to continue his parents' business and might even bring the blacksmith to new heights!
Zhang Zhi also noticed the changes that happened in the blacksmith after the system modified it.
The fire in the hearth changed from a simple yellow-orange to red, blue, and yellow color; the surface of the hammer had a layer of mystical patterns on it; the dried quenching pool was filled with colorful liquid; the anvil turned as black as ink but it had tiny glittering particles blanketed over it, resembling a starry night sky.
"System, can you tell me what happened? What are all these?" Zhang Zhi only lived in the spirit realm for 10 years, he had limited knowledge of what happened and what the items before him meant, hence the question.
"The fire in the hearth is known as Samadhi True Fire. It will burn forever and never go off, it can melt everything in the realm; the hammer is actually the hammer left behind by the ancient God of Thunder; the water in the quenching pool is extracted from the Five-colored Stone that Nuwa used to repair the sky; the glitters on the anvil are Stardust Iron, forged by melting 100,000 stars."
Zhang Zhi was astonished. He might not know the value of the items but as the son of a blacksmith, he knew the existence of such artifacts. These artifacts were the most sought-after, top-tier weapons of the entire cultivation world!
Using such artifacts just to forge? If other cultivators knew of it, the disrespect he had for the artifacts alone would make him the common enemy of the entire cultivation world.
After being stunned for a while, Zhang Zhi gulped nervously and asked, "System, can I use the hammer in a fight?"
It was just a joke though, even if he had zero cultivation, simply swinging the artifacts would kill a dozen expert cultivators.
"The items that I provided should only be used in forging, they are prohibited in other usages, but when the host's forging level reaches a certain level, you will have the power to change that rule," the system said mechanically.
The first part deeply hurt Zhang Zhi, but when he heard of the second part, he felt a little better. As long as he was willing to put in the hard work, he might be able to swing his hammer into the face of the Nascent Soul Patriarch as a mortal!
"Ding Dong! New rookie mission available. Please restore 10 flying swords of low-tier artifact level for your customers within 3 days. Mission reward: Flying Sword Refinement (Low-Tier Artifact), cultivation level +1!"
Zhang Zhi was excited. Completing the rookie mission would not only reward him with a new forging skill, he could even raise his cultivation level!
One thing worth noting was that Zhang Zhi had zero talents in cultivation, that was the reason why his parents sent him to the mortal realm to live a normal, wealthy life. Now, the Forging System might be able to reward him with an increase of his cultivation level, he might be looking at the chance of avenging his parents!
However, the next notification from the system extinguished his ember of hope like a pail of cold water, "As the future God of Forging, you are not allowed to attract customers with low prices. You must charge the customer 100 low-tier spirit stones for each restoration."
The simplest form of currency in the spirit realm was jade stone and 1 low-tier spirit stone was equivalent to 100 jade stones.
Zhang Zhi failed to wrap his mind around the price. A hundred low-tier spirit stones was more than enough to buy a low-tier flying sword, who would spend the price to restore one instead?
He asked, "System, you said that I will be the God of Forging in the future, but I am no one now, can I give the customers some discount?"
"No." The system did not give him a reason, it simply rejected Zhang Zhi's plea.
Zhang Zhi sighed helplessly and reluctantly accepted the arrangement.
He then started to think of a way to complete the mission. He has three days to complete the mission, even though restoring a flying sword would only take less than an hour, he was a nobody and was forced to charge a ridiculous price, who other than an idiot would come to him?
In the end, Zhang Zhi decided to open the shop first, it would be better to start early than late. He would have to plan his next step depending on the business he would receive.
Zhang Zhi opened the door, he had the flag with the character 'Iron' in his hand and wanted to hang it up in front of the blacksmith. His parents' blacksmith never had a name, therefore the flag was a sign that the blacksmith was open for business.
It was then several outer disciples of Lingtai Sect strode over in an intimidating manner. The leader of the group was a man with a big mole on his face, he waved his hand and bellowed, "Shut this blacksmith up right away!"
"Aye!" The other outer disciples took out the yellow tapes and wanted to seal the blacksmith.
Zhang Zhi was caught off guard by the situation, he strode forward and stopped the outer disciples. "Immortal masters, please, what is going on? Why are you sealing my shop?"
"This is your shop? Great! You owe me three months of rent, that will be 30 low-tier spirit stones in total. Pay up right now or I'll seal your shop!" The man with a mole stated arrogantly with his hands behind his back.
Lingtai Town was under Lingtai Sect's jurisdiction, so any form of business that happened in town must be under Lingtai Sect's inspection and rent had to be paid, it was the rule around the place.
Since Zhang Zhi's parents passed away a few months prior, the blacksmith was left unattended, so it was natural that the rent was overdue. Zhang Zhi wanted to pay but when he reached into his pocket, he only found several silver taels, which was a currency used in the mortal realm.
The currency used in the cultivation realm were either jade stone or spirit stone, gold and silver were worthless to cultivators.
To keep his parents' blacksmith, Zhang Zhi said, "My dear immortal master, can you spare me a few days? I'll surely pay up next time!"
"Cut the crap if you don't have the rent! Men, seal the shop right now!" The man with the mole ordered his men after he rolled his eyes at Zhang Zhi.
"Wait, wait! Immortal master, may I have a word in private?"
Zhang Zhi lived in the mortal realm for 10 years and he had learned the ways to survive in society. He knew the man with the mole wanted to exploit him, so he decided to test the water by saying, "Immortal master, I will pay an extra 5 low-tier spirit stones in three days, take it as a token of gratitude for you coming all the way here!"
Money is the root of all evil.
Five low-tier spirit stones was more than enough to bribe an outer disciple who was paid 3 low-tier spirit stones monthly, all he needed to do was delay the rent collection by three days.
"What do you mean? Are you trying to bribe me with 5 low-tier spirit stones?" The man with the mole sounded stern and righteous, his hand was on the hilt of his sword and it seemed like he was greatly insulted.
Zhang Zhi frowned. Even though the man with the mole was an outer disciple of Lingtai Sect, Zhang Zhi was no match for him. Just as he tried to figure out what went wrong, the man with the mole grinned at him. "Ahem, 10 low-tier spirit stones it is."
Zhang Zhi was surprised. He did not even utter a word yet the man compromised. He finally understood the situation when he realized the man actually wanted more.
He believed in his craftsmanship, as long as he could start the business, there would be no difference between 5 or 10 low-tier spirit stones. He nodded and said, "Yes, 10 low-tier spirit stones!"
The man with the mole realized Zhang Zhi understood the situation quite well. He smiled and called his men off and before he left, he whispered his threat to Zhang Zhi, "If I don't get my spirit stones in three days, don't blame me for taking your life instead."
Zhang Zhi was in deep thought as he saw the outer disciples leaving. The people living a bitter life in the mortal realm admired the life of a cultivator in the cultivation world but little did they know, the spirit realm was where the weak fell prey to the strong.
One had to be powerful to not fall victim to bullying!
Zhang Zhi raised the flag with the character 'Iron' up high and hung it over the door. This marked the first step of his life in the spirit realm!
The outer disciples of Lingtai Sect swaggered along the streets. One of the disciples asked the man with the mole, "Boss, that guy was obviously a mortal, how is it possible for him to get so many low-tier spirit stones in three days?"
The man with the mole grinned and chuckled, "Do you really think him being a mortal slipped my eyes? I don't care whether he steals from someone or robs others, if he's able to pay rent in three days, I get 10 spirit stones; if he could not pay, I can kill him with an excuse. I'm on the winning side regardless!"
"Boss, you are the best!" The other men flattered him immediately.
While the group swaggered along the street, the man with the mole noticed a pair of inner disciples in blue attire coming from afar.
He ran up to them and said with flattery, "Senior brother, senior sister, what brings you all the way here? Is there anything that I, your helpful junior brother, can assist you with?"
In Lingtai Sect, outer disciples wore green attires and inner disciples wore blue attires, while inheritance disciples dressed in purple. The ranking in the sect was strict, hence the flattery from the man.
The pair of inner disciples were a man and a woman. The man was handsome, his eyes were sharp and his brows were keen, his name was Dugu Ce; the woman was shorter and cute, beautiful in fact, her name was Han Ling'er.
Dugu Ce sized up the man with the mole in disdain, he said, "You are the outer disciple who is in charge of Lingtai Town? My junior sister's flying sword is damaged, find us a blacksmith that can restore it."
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