The Human Emperor - Chapter 64: Center of Attention
The ‘Ice Abyss’ slashed onto the human tall ‘metal mountain’, splitting it apart as though mud. But halfway through, a screeching sound echoed, and the ‘Ice Abyss’ was unable to go any further…
Everyone’s faces darkened. Clan Head Cheng Hong was also astonished by the sight. With a flick of his wrist, he swiftly extracted the Ice Abyss from the metal mountain. Although he had reacted swiftly to the situation, the slash still inflicted scars upon the perfect blade of the ‘Ice Abyss’.
The cuts were small and they wouldn’t affect the performance of the ‘Ice Abyss’ in the least, but the crowd couldn’t help but feel their hearts ache.
It was a family heirloom passed down within the Cheng Clan for several centuries. Even the slightest scratch was unacceptable.
Cheng Youqing couldn’t help but speak. This was the result when pitting a sword against something beyond its capabilities. If he were to forcefully push the sword down the metal mountain, the damage to the blade would only increase.
The culprit, Cheng Hong, held the sword with a single hand as he stared at the wounds on the blade. He had a blank look on his face, as if deaf, traumatized by the matter.
“Half! It can only cut halfway through! …The Ice Abyss was crafted by the founder of our Cheng Clan, and he spent an entire decade to forge this blade. After completion, it was able to slice through any resilient armour. It took ten whole years to forge this single sword! How could there be another sword that could rival the one crafted by our founding ancestor?”
“It’s impossible. I don’t believe it! … Investigate! Investigate it thoroughly! I must know who that Wang Chong is!”
Clan Head Cheng Hong’s voice resounded throughout the entire residence.
At the same time, a group had gathered in the courtyard of the Zhang Clan Residence. Layer after layer of people circled the area such that even a fly couldn’t get through. But, unlike the Cheng Clan, there was only a dark, unimpressive, finger-sized piece of metal on the stone table.
“What do you all think?”
The head of the Zhang Clan was in his forties. Gowned in white, he had a gentle, scholar-like appearance. Rather than a swordsmith, he seemed like a teacher instead.
The matter at Bluebottle Pavilion had caught many off guard and the Zhang Clan was no exception.
Until now, the other clans were still in a daze, unable to understand what had happened. But the Zhang Clan was different. From the very start, they knew Wang Chong’s identity. They also knew his sword was forged from the Hyderabad ore.
“It’s hard to believe that a sword forged with this ore could be that sharp. It seems like 300 gold taels for a jun isn’t expensive at all.”
“… It’s just that, I am truly curious how that gongzi of the Wang Clan would know of such an inconspicuous matter. He seems to be just fifteen, and he doesn’t look like the knowledgeable sort. Furthermore, the two Sindhi monks were stingy and they didn’t allow anyone to touch their ores. Even our Zhang Clan was only given such a small amount and are unable to discover the true secrets of the ore. How did a kid like him know of them?”
The Grand Elder of the Zhang Clan, Zhang Qi, spoke as he stroked his beard.
Complete silence. Even Zhang Cong and Zhang Jian didn’t have an answer to his question. The conclusion in the Bluebottle Pavilion had also left the two of them shocked.
“Actually… Even until now, I find it hard to believe that the Hyderabad ores could be that sharp!”
Zhang Jian replied honestly.
Zhang Jian had to admit that there was something special to that child of the Wang Clan.
Zhang Jian was unable to tell what it was, but every time he saw Wang Chong, he was unable to treat him as a kid.
“Actually, it’s not difficult to confirm this.”
The clan head shifted his sight to the piece of ore on the table:
“Don’t we have a piece here? Even though it isn’t enough to forge a sword, it should be more than enough for a dagger. By then, we’ll know the answer when we try it out for ourselves.”
Everyone nodded in agreement.
Honestly speaking, using this limited amount of ore to forge a small dagger and bring out the full potential of the ore wasn’t a walk in the park.
In fact, no other clan was capable of such a feat
However, the Zhang Clan was different. As the previous leader of the swordsmithing industry, the clan possessed technologies that far surpassed others.“
“Grand Elder, I’ll be passing this to you then. Before daybreak, I want to see a complete dagger.”
The clan head said.
Agreeing to the request, the Grand Elder took the piece of Hyderabad ore from the table and walked back to his residence as if this was an insignificant matter.
The forge operated throughout the night until dawn. In the span of a night, a dagger of around four cun long and a pinky finger thick appeared before everyone on the stone table.
However, upon looking at the dagger, Zhang Jian, Zhang Cong, and all of the other Zhang Clan members who had witnessed the Wootz steel sword for themselves were shocked.
“Grand Elder, are you sure that this weapon is forged using the Hyderabad ore?”
Zhang Jian stared at the dark dagger on the table suspiciously.
They had seen Wang Chong’s Wootz steel sword, and clearly remembered the enchanting patterns which resembled flowing water on the blade. This was something unique to it, something that couldn’t be seen on any other swords.
But the dagger which the Grand Elder forged didn’t have such patterns at all.
“Un, I don’t know whether the Hyderabad ore you speak of refers to the same one I am thinking of, but I have forged this dagger using the material provided by the clan. It’s a weapon forged to the greatest extent of my abilities.”
“I have used all of the smithing techniques of the clan that can be used on this dagger.”
The Grand Elder sounded fatigued, and it seemed like he had devoted the entire night into forging the dagger.
Zhang Cong and Zhang Jian glanced one one another, unable to say a single word.
This was completely different from the sword which Wang Chong had displayed. It was impossible to tell that they were made from the same material.
“There’s no need to argue over this matter. I have no doubts about the Grand Elder’s smithing skills.”
The clan head stepped forward, grabbed the dagger, and commanded:
“Fetch a sword.”
Soon, a clan member brought a sword which was on the same level as the sword the one they sent to the Bluebottle Pavilion for the sword duel gamble.
As the two weapons crossed one another, an ear-piercing shrill sounded in the air. The dagger cut deep into the sword but the sword didn’t split in two.
Those present here were all elites of the Zhang Clan. With a single look, it was clear that the dagger forged by the Grand Elder was superior to the high-quality sword in the clan head’s right hand. However, it was still far from matching Wang Chong’s sword, which was capable of cutting through over a dozen of top-notch swords with a single slice.
Even the Grand Elder was speechless by the result. He wasn’t present at the Bluebottle Pavilion’s sword duel gamble, but he had heard a lot about it from the clan members.
Clearly, the weapon he had forged was still far from matching the uniquely patterned ‘Number One Sword in the World’.
“Clan head, if the news from the Bluebottle Pavilion is true and the material is the same, Wang Chong’s sword was forged using the Hyderabad ore, we can confirm that the reason why the sword is so sharp isn’t just because of the Hyderabad ore. It must be matched with an incredible smithing technique.”
“And this technique far surpasses the ones of our Zhang Clan!”
Even though the Grand Elder was tired, at this moment, he abruptly opened his eyes and they flashed with a gleam, causing others to avoid his gaze:
“I suggest we should maintain an amiable relationship with Wang Chong. If we can obtain that swordsmithing method from him, we would be able to surpass the other clans, becoming the number one swordsmithing clan in the Central Plains!”
The Grand Elder’s words determined the direction of the Zhang Clan.
This night was a difficult one for those involved of the sword duel gamble; the Four Great Swordsmithing Clans, the Zhang, Huang, Cheng, and Lu Clan stayed up through the night until dawn.
A similar sight could also be seen in the Imperial Army.
Unlike the swordsmithing clans who were mulling over the sword and material used, Zhao Fengchen was concerned about another matter.
Zhao Fengchen’s greatest reward from the sword duel gamble was that he had discovered an invincible sword! However, the only thing that caught him off guard was that the seller to unwilling to sell it, even when he had offered 40000 gold taels.
Just like when they first met, the lad called Wang Chong refused without any hesitation!
This was already the second time!
Given that he had revealed his identity as a commander of the Imperial Army, being rejected in such a manner was an insult to him.
If it was on any other occasion, Zhao Fengchen would have definitely given up on the idea. But, the moment he recalled how the Wootz steel sword sliced through more than a dozen of top-notch sword and a metal mountain at the height of an adult man into two halves, Zhao Fengchen found it hard to eat and sleep.
As a person obsessed with martial arts, he understood the importance of an outstanding weapon.
It was something that couldn’t be valued by money.
Wang Chong’s sword was completely different from the others Zhao Fengchen had seen before. For some reason, the moment he saw the sword, he felt that the sword belonged to him, as though it was something he had been searching his entire life for!
Even if the dispute with Huang Xiaotian never existed, Zhao Fengchen would still want to obtain that sword!
Zhao Fengchen knew neither Wang Chong nor his background, but the latter had left his name before his departure. Given the other party’s close relationship with the son of the Duke of Wei, it wasn’t difficult for him to look into his background.
When the candle was burning out and a white glow appeared on the eastern horizon, hurried footsteps and heavy panting could be heard from outside. Then, the door was pushed open and a figure walked in.
“How is it?”
On his seat, Zhao Fengchen lifted his head and asked while stroking his chin.
“Lord, I’ve looked into it and that fellow named Wang Chong is the grandson of Duke Jiu! …”
The bearded Imperial Army member answered.
Hearing those words, Zhao Fengchen’s face darkened and his heart suddenly chilled. Even though he didn’t know who Wang Chong was, there wasn’t a single person in the entire Central Plains who hadn’t heard of Duke Jiu.
Zhao Fengchen didn’t expect that the seller of the sword would have an even more prestigious background than the son of the Duke of Wei!
Leaving this note below because my beloved editor has spent four hours on editing this chapter. So, if it’s convenient, please leave your thanks for her :>