Chapter 69 - Shi Mu as a Blacksmith
Shi Mu allowed himself to wallow in delusions of grandeur of being a rich Adept, then cleared his mind of that wishful thinking. The talent needed for one to become an Adept is so rare that his chances are slim to none. At the moment, he needed to focus on finding a relatively easy task to complete. Also, the reward should be paid as soon as possible.
Missions for warriors were usually concerned with collecting rare herbs or minerals, or asking some disciples who had practiced some special arts for help, and some were even seeking help from the secular world to help solve some problems. Shi Mu marveled at the variety of missions. There were many strange tasks that he never had thought of before. The rewards ranged from several hundred silver to several thousand silver.
It was disappointing that the gap between an Adept's wage and a warrior's wage was so large. Shi Mu could not help but feel discouraged. A few missions, written in blue characters, did have good pay, sometimes even rewarding Black Fire Tokens, which were hard to obtain - but the tasks were more difficult, always requiring a group to complete.
So Shi Mu jumped to the conclusion that, currently, he could barely make a profit from doing the tasks.
Then, out of the corner of his eye, he saw some black characters on another screen that seemed perfect for him, "A physically strong Houtian warrior needed to forge two hundred lumps of refined iron, each rewarding ninety silver!"
Even before Shi Mu had become a Houtian Warrior, he was able to lift over 500kg. Now that he had made it to the first grade of the Heavenly Elephant Art, his strength had increased by thirty percent, and he could push it even further by using his Qi of the Heavenly Elephant. So this mission was an easy case with an acceptable reward.
Despite several red marks on this line, showing that someone had already taken the mission before Shi Mu, he was not discouraged, after all, the mission didn't specify a limit of mission-takers.
Shi Mu waved resolutely towards the counter in the hall and a black-robed servant boy emerged and hurried over.
A short time later, Shi Mu was staring fondly at a black colored iron token in his hand. A fireball was imprinted on its back and it had the number thirty-three on the front. Smiling, he walked out of the hall.
The sun was at its zenith and was bathing the valley in intense light, roasting its residents, including three muscular young men in the smithy of the Zhao Clan. The fire of stove was raging, making the smithy so hot that the three burly youths had to cool themselves off outside the room.
"Brother Lin, I'm sure we can forge a hundred pieces today!" The largest of the three spoke with a big smile.
"Yeah, we can forge fifty more this afternoon and get nine thousand silver, so we each will have about three thousand silver!" A young man, with a big mole near his lip, spoke, looking over his shoulder at the forged pieces they had worked on earlier and smiled contentedly.
Three thousand silver is a humble sum compared with the many thousands offered by those difficult missions, but think of the time and energy those missions would take! Maybe more than one day, maybe even half a month! So the three were very satisfied with three thousand a day - quite an amazing number.
"It is not an easy mission for ordinary people, and if we were not so talented or having practiced with pills from childhood, we wouldn't have the strength to do this." A young man with dark skin kneaded his sore arms and said proudly.
"But it's so exhausting, and we have to rest a few days after all the two hundred pieces."
The young man, with dark skin, got nods of agreement from his comrades. They were aching all over, having suffered a lot to forge this refined iron. Each piece needed nearly three hundred strikes of a hammer weighing more than 100kg. Their sweat came off their bodies like rain, and they had to rest every now and then before they could go on and complete another piece.
The three young men were all new disciples of the Black Demon Sect, and were practicing arts concerning body-strengthening, so they had been quite familiar with each other before they took the mission together this morning and hurried here.
"Hey, we have a competitor now!" suddenly the young man with dark skin frowned and said in a hushed tone. The others' eyes looked in the direction indicated by him. As he had said, the boss of the smithy, Zhao Ping, was leading a strong and tall disciple here, a smile on his face.
"Humph! He will soon find it is too hard for him and quit, and even if he is able to forge, how can he compete with the three of us? Let's forge more quickly!" The mole guy snorted.
After these words, he got up to his feet and walked in to continue his work, followed by his companions. Their feelings of camaraderie had increased. Soon the sounds of forging resounded through the smithy again.
Meanwhile, the boss, who had a slightly fat figure, stopped in front of the door and said to the tall young man behind him: "Brother Shi, when you are done, put the refined iron chunks, that you have forged, in the tray behind you, and I will check them. Each qualifying piece is worth ninety silver, which I will give you right after I finish checking the pieces. Then I shall take care of your mission token, sending it back to the Hall of Wealth."
The strong and tall disciple was Shi Mu.
"Thank You senior Zhao!" Shi Mu nodded and replied respectfully. Without delay, he strode into the smithy.
As Shi Me came in, he felt hot air blowing out from an extremely tall stove, and five shirtless men were working around it.
There was an iron platform near the stove, six meters long, three meters wide, and half a meter thick. At the moment, the three burly youth were clustered around it, their sweat running down like streams as they hammered down on the red iron with huge hammers.
Though busy with their work, the three shirtless youth still managed to quickly glower at Shi Mu. However, their looks did nothing. Shi Mu was not the type that would be troubled by enmity from a competitor. It was the fifty pieces of refined iron behind the three angry men that interested him more. He secretly marveled at his competitor's working speed. He hadn't thought that a quarter of the two hundred pieces ,required by the mission, had already been completed in half a day.
He glanced around and found two hammers, exactly like the ones the glaring young men were using, and, without taking his shirt off, he picked one up. The way he waved it made the hammer seem as light as a twig.
Shi Mu smiled happily to himself.
Senior Zhao, the boss of the smithy, had a small smile on his face. He felt quite pleased. The more strong guys he had, working on the iron, the faster it would be forged. With the previous three guys, the task wouldn't be done until tomorrow but, now that Shi Mu had joined, the task might even be finished today.
The hammer weighed 100kg, which meant one had to have 250kg of strength to lift it! But Shi Mu didn't even use his real Qi and lifted it with ease.
At the same time, one of the shirtless men, near the stove, grabbed a piece of refined iron, with a pair of large tongs, and put it on the iron platform. Shi Mu snatched the chance to step forward, then fiercely slammed the hammer down with all his strength.
A deafening sound rang out as he hammered down, and sparks showered all over the place, with the iron piece visibly bending under his power.
The three youth, on the other side, all wore looks of shock at the sight, forgetting their own work.
"That guy is incredible!"
It would have taken them three strikes to bend the same piece!
The boss, senior Zhao, was very excited. The strength of Shi Mu was a very good thing, as the mission had a very short deadline. Before with only the three men to help him, the task would not have been finished until tomorrow, but now Shi Mu presence meant that the mission would be finished much faster.