Chapter 1021: The Despicable Sun Jin
Translator: StarveCleric Editor: Millman97

After hearing those words, Zhang Xuan confirmed that that Blacksmith Sun Jin whom the other party spoke of had never intended to take the middle-aged man as his disciple in the first place. From the start to the end, that Sun Jin fellow had only regarded the other party as a mere tool for procuring ores!

In the gaps between the tectonic plates, valuable ores were usually produced alongside earth flames. As such, in places where earth flames could be found, there were bound to be plenty of valuable ores as well.

That Sun Jin fellow had intentionally made the middle-aged man cultivate a zhenqi that was at odds with the earth flames, thus making it easier for the other party to sense areas rich in earth flames. But cultivating such a cultivation technique meant that the latter would be unable to control the earth flames, making it impossible to smith!

In other words, Sun Jin had never intended to allow the middle-aged man to become a blacksmith!

Working as a blacksmith might have been lucrative, but selling those ores was even more so!

For a teacher to commit such an atrocity… Zhang Xuan was enraged.

It was one thing if he had never encountered it, but now that he had, there was no way he could let the other party off!

Black sheep like this had to be weeded from society!

Even though the other party wasn't a master teacher, he had assumed the name of a teacher to intentionally misguide others. This was completely unacceptable!

The thirty apprentices who had come under Sun Jin's tutelage alongside the middle-aged man had thought that they could rise to glory with a great 6-star blacksmith teaching them personally. Yet, due to Sun Jin's misguidance, their dreams had been shattered. Most of them had ended up dying while searching for ores for him, and even the fortunate survivor had ended up ending his life from the sheer despair of being unable to become a blacksmith.

To Sun Jin, they were probably just disposable pawns. As mere apprentices, they weren't qualified to learn his true teachings. Thus, their inability to become blacksmiths didn't harm his reputation by too much. On the contrary, the others might even think that it was those apprentices who were lazy and incapable, being unable to achieve anything despite coming under the tutelage of an esteemed 6-star pinnacle blacksmith.

Most likely, it was such overwhelming criticism that eventually pushed the middle-aged man to take the final step.

Had Zhang Xuan not heard of it himself, he would never have dared believe that there could be such a contemptible individual in the Firesource City Blacksmith Guild.

Those who imparted their teachings and dispelled the doubts of others were granted the noble title 'teacher'.

As an esteemed blacksmith, an Upper Nine Paths occupation, if Sun Jin had attempted to search for mercenaries to gather ores for him, he would surely have been able to do so easily. Just that, being found doing so could possibly sully his reputation, and the profits he stood to earn would be significantly lower as well. Whereas, by accepting a few apprentices and pretending to be a teacher to them, their act of gathering ores for him could be justified as filial piety, allowing him to take them for free without suffering the condemnation of others. On top of that, he could also conveniently toss them aside once he was done with them, and this was indeed what he had done.

"Despite studying under a 6-star pinnacle blacksmith for so many years, I am still unable to smith even the most basic Mortal weapon. No matter where I go, I am viewed with disdain by others, such that even my family members were mocked due to my incompetence. If all my existence does is bring shame to others, I might as well end my life right here, right now!" Seeing the elder before him fall into deep contemplation, the middle-aged man thought that the other party wasn't able to find a solution to his problem as well, and disappointment crept into his eyes.

It was one thing if he was the only one being mocked, but for his family members to have to face mockery from the public due to him… this was something that he couldn't accept!

Seeing that the middle-aged man had lost all fighting will within him, Zhang Xuan shook his head and consoled him. "There's no need to get so downhearted. I have already identified the root problem as to why you are unable to smith. As long as you trust me, I will help you resolve your problem. Not only so, I will help you advance to become a 5-star or even a 6-star blacksmith!"

But as much as those words were consolation, they weren't lies. He did possess the ability to do so.

It might have been difficult for others to alter a cultivation technique, but with the sharp eye of discernment and vast knowledge that Zhang Xuan possessed, creating a new cultivation technique to resolve the flaws of the current one that the other party was cultivating wasn't entirely impossible.

Of course, Zhang Xuan had to first find out what kind of cultivation technique the middle-aged man was cultivating first.

Zhang Xuan had used his Eye of Insight to carefully assess the middle-aged man when he smithed earlier, and it seemed like the cultivation technique that the other party had been taught was incomplete. As the information he received he wasn't complete, he had to obtain the full copy so as to ensure that nothing would go wrong.

"Become a 5-star or 6-star blacksmith?" The middle-aged man was stunned for a moment after hearing those words before shaking his head, and the disappointment in his eyes deepened further.

He had thought that, considering the immense capability that the elder before him had displayed, the other party might have had a way to resolve his problem. Yet, who could have known that the other party would end up spouting such nonsense?

A person who was incapable of even smithing the most basic Mortal-tier weapon, how could he possibly ever become a 5-star or even 6-star blacksmith?

Wasn't this a mere daydream?

The middle-aged man turned his gaze toward Zhang Xuan and spoke with an immensely weak and bitter voice. "Do you find my plight very hilarious? Are you here to make a mockery of me before I end my life?"

"Make a mockery of you?"

Zhang Xuan hadn't expected to hear such words from the other party's mouth, and he was dumbfounded for a moment. However, it didn't take him long to understand the rationale behind the other party's words.

To tell a man who had failed the 1-star blacksmith examination for twenty-four years straight that he could become a 5-star or 6-star blacksmith, it was no wonder the other party would think that he was mocking him.

Without explaining anything, Zhang Xuan spoke with a confident smile on his face. "Don't worry, I don't have the habit of making empty promises. I mean what I say."

If it still didn't work out at the end, he could always just destroy the other party's cultivation and impart a simplified version of the Heaven's Path Divine Art to him. Even though the middle-aged man was at Transcendent Mortal 9-dan, even if he started cultivating from scratch, it wouldn't take too long.

"You mean what you say? A feat that even Sun Jin laoshi is unable to achieve, how do you expect me to believe you? Are you really a blacksmith?" A hint of doubt surfaced in the middle-aged man's eyes.

Any blacksmith would understand the difficulties in advancing through the ranks, and yet, the other party spoke of reaching 5-star and 6-star as if it was a mere walk in the park. Wasn't that clearly boasting?

"Of course!" Flicking his wrist, Zhang Xuan took out his blacksmith emblem, and six brilliant stars shone brightly on it.

"You are a… 6-star blacksmith?"

The middle-aged man was stunned to see the emblem, but a moment later, he shook his head and said, "I don't believe you. There is a chance that the emblem might belong to someone else, or it might even be a fake altogether. Unless you smith… a Spirit pinnacle weapon before my eyes, you won't be able to convince me that you are a 6-star blacksmith!"

It was inevitable that the middle-aged man would be skeptical of Zhang Xuan. All of the 6-star blacksmiths he had encountered were at least in their fifties, so it was hard for him to even fathom that a young man in his twenties could possibly reach such a height.

"This…" Zhang Xuan was slightly stunned by the other party's sudden request.

He had received his blacksmith emblem fair and square through an examination at the Master Teacher Academy. Naturally, it was nothing much for him to show his ability to the other party.

What he had to do now was to win the other party's trust first. Otherwise, if the other party were to insist on ending his life, there would be nothing he could do.

"Why? You aren't able to smith anything at all? So, the words you have said are all lies to console me?" Noting Zhang Xuan's hesitation, the eyes of the middle-aged man turned despondent.

"Of course not, smithing a weapon means nothing to me!" Seeing that he could very well lose the other party's trust if he didn't show his ability, Zhang Xuan replied with a slight smile and stepped forward.

"Allow me to use your ores!"

Saying that, Zhang Xuan walked up to the rack by the wall and casually selected four different ores before tossing them into the cauldron not too far away.

After which, he drove his zhenqi, and the earth flames immediately surged up, scorching the four ores crimson. In just a moment, they began melting. The impurities contained within the ore were burned away, leaving behind the refined metal glowing brilliantly within the cauldron.

The four ores were extremely rare commodities in the world, each of them worth a fortune. Probably, only in a place like Firesource City could one take out all four of them so easily.

Through skillfully maneuvering his zhenqi, Zhang Xuan slowly pushed the four ores together, fusing them. As he did so, he turned to the middle-aged man with a slight smile on his face and said, "The easiest segment in smithing a weapon is the forging 1 phase. This phase happens to be the most time-consuming as well, so I will just skip that."

As he spoke, Zhang Xuan gathered zhenqi at the tips of his finger and abruptly shot it into the searing earth flames. The freshly fused alloy flew out of the cauldron and into a quench 2 bath not too far away.


Smoke puffed into the air.

Shortly after, Zhang Xuan raised his hand and grasped; a huge lump of metal appeared before his eyes.

"This is… a weapon?" Looking at the metal lump, the middle-aged man's lips twitched uncontrollably.

Putting aside mere apprentices, even a pig could probably forge something way better than that.

With a bizarre look on his face, the middle-aged man casually took the weapon, intrigued by the monstrosity that the other party had smithed. The next moment, however, his eyes narrowed in astonishment.

His proficiency in smithing wasn't too high, but having pursued a 6-star blacksmith for more than twenty years, he still possessed a decent eye for weapons.

As ugly and revolting as the metal lump looked, there was no doubt that it was a Spirit pinnacle weapon.

To casually pick up a few ores and forge a Spirit pinnacle weapon within less than a minute… What kind of frightening ability was this?

If he could smith such a powerful weapon without paying any heed to the meticulous details, once he got serious… what kind of formidable weapons would he be able to smith?

"I apologize for doubting you!" The middle-aged man hurried forward and kneeled onto the floor.

At this moment, he felt nothing but awe and respect for the other party!

"Un." Zhang Xuan nodded.

Even though he was a real 6-star pinnacle blacksmith through and through, his ability was limited to only refining the ores and quenching. As for the most basic forging… it was regrettable, but he knew nothing about it at all.

As a result, all he could forge at the moment were metal lumps. Anything more complicated than that was beyond his capability.

Nevertheless, that was more than sufficient for him to gain the other party's trust.

Seeing that he had won the other party's unreserved trust, Zhang Xuan said, "Alright. Now that I have verified my identity to you, you should be willing to listen to my instructions now, right? If it works out, not only will you become a full-fledged blacksmith, the facade of a certain hypocrite will be unmasked as well!"

"The facade of a certain hypocrite will be unmasked?" The middle-aged man couldn't comprehend the nuance of these words.

"Indeed." Zhang Xuan nodded. "May I know where the Blacksmith Sun Jin you spoke of is the moment?"

"He… He should be at the Blacksmith Guild," the middle-aged man replied.

"Bring me to him. Later on, regardless of what I say or do, I want you to remain silent by the side. Don't interject, and act only on my command," Zhang Xuan instructed.

As the principal of a Master Teacher Academy, he couldn't allow poisonous tumors like Sun Jin to continue their tyranny. He had to expose the other party's misdeeds publicly, or else who knew how many more people would end up in the same pitiful plight as the middle-aged man before him?

On top of protecting humanity, master teachers had the duty to protect the sanctity of teaching. The solemnity of lineages mustn't be undermined by a couple of black sheep in society!

"Yes!" The middle-aged man nodded.

Just as the other party had said, as a person who was already prepared to die, what else did he have to fear? Perhaps, just perhaps… if the young man before him really could bring a miracle to him and resolve his problem, he could finally be freed from the abyss of despair that he had been gradually sinking deeper and deeper into over the years.

Just as Zhang Xuan was about to walk out of the room, he suddenly halted and pointed toward the Violetgilt Metal on the rack.

"Bring this ore with us. We will use it later!"

The middle-aged man nodded and stowed it in his storage ring before leading the way to the Blacksmith Guild.

With the Blacksmith Guild located just three streets away, it didn't take the duo too long to arrive at their destination.

Darkness had already set upon the sky of Firesource City, but as the base of operations for the most popular occupation in the city, the Blacksmith Guild was still brightly-lit, and huge crowds walked in and out of its entrance.



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