Chapter 5 – The Two Are Not on the Same Level
**Originally translated by Incarneous, with edits
As if he had not at all noticed his audience’s dumbstruck expressions, Yan Zhaoge continued to speak nonchalantly, “Most of these artifacts are defensive in nature rather than being weapons because your safety is the main concern. However, you must not develop an overreliance on them. Negligence will not allow you to improve. When training, tempering yourself is key.”
“Wai… wait … it’s not that, junior apprentice-nephew Yan,” Elder Cui was a bit tongue tied and required a long moment to regain control, “A moment ago, did you say ‘refine the next batch of artifacts’?”
He stared at the pile of artifacts in front of him in disbelief, “You mean to say that these are personally forged by you and not from your personal collection accumulated elsewhere?”
Yan Zhaoge shrugged his shoulders, “Of course I personally refined these. There’s no way I would have the interest or the patience to gather so many low-grade artifacts for my collection.”
These words made everyone present subconsciously swallow their saliva, but no one could find anything to refute them.
While low-grade artifacts might be precious treasures to lowly cultivators like themselves, to someone of Yan Zhaoge’s background, it was understandable that they might not count for much.
Everyone’s expressions had shifted into ambiguity as if the world they lived in had suddenly turned surreal.
The situation before them completely defied their previous knowledge and common sense.
That Yan Zhaoge’s realm of power was sufficient to forge artifacts was something no one could deny.
While no one had ever heard of Yan Zhaoge’s accomplishment in artifact forging, it was not something impossible.
However, the act of forging an artifact was not something simple. The task required a large amount of time and effort.
Even those martial practitioners who devoted themselves to artifact forging; how many would treat themselves like blacksmiths and mass-produce artifacts?
Elder Cui inhaled sharply, “You… how much time did you spend forging these artifacts?”
“I usually work on these during the free time I have between my usual practice sessions. These sixteen artifacts took me, oh, a bit less than a month.” Yan Zhaoge downplayed his response in a casual manner.
“Impossible!” Elder Cui stubbornly said, “If you said Elder Yan had this ability, this old man would believe it. But junior apprentice-nephew Yan, you…”
He shook his head, apparently unwilling to believe what Yan Zhaoge said.
In truth, Yan Zhaoge’s father and those of a similarly strong cultivation could effortlessly forge these artifacts.
However, who would act so senselessly? If they had the time and effort to refine these, they might as well set their goals higher and put their effort into refining spirit artifacts.
The others were starting to doubt Yan Zhaoge. Their eyes harboured suspicion. Perhaps having been forced into a corner, this senior apprentice-brother Yan had decided to feign abilities more impressive than he actually possessed?
Yan Zhaoge broke out in laughter, “Of course it’s impossible using the external crystal furnace. However, it is very much possible with the Internal Crystal Furnace.”
Hearing this response left most of those present at a loss, but there was one particular person who had once again been struck dumb.
Elder Cui’s voice had become a stuttering mess once more, “You… you… did you just say Internal Crystal Furnace? It shouldn’t… it can’t be… the legendary pre-Calamity…”
“But the Internal Crystal Furnace has long since disappeared! The materials, the method of creation, and even just the most basic records of its internal structure have been completely lost without even a single fragment of it having been passed down! All that’re left in the entire Eight Extremities World are simple stories and rumours of its existence.”
In the legends, the martial practitioner civilization was at its peak before the Great Calamity. Not just the cultivation techniques and martial skills, but also the artifact forging level of that time, was similarly advanced.
In that era, martial practitioners did not even touch mortal tools. Demi-artifacts, artifacts, spirit artifacts and even Sacred Artifacts were not scarce at that time.
But then arrived the Great Calamity whereupon everything disappeared. Not many things including artifacts and knowledge could survive such wide spread destruction, and only legends were left behind for those that came after to revere.
However, all of it was not a secret to Yan Zhaoge. The Divine Palace’s book storage building from before the Great Cataclysm had held more than just secrets of the martial dao.
“As luck would have it, I discovered some ruins when I was undergoing training to reach the outer aura stage, and these ruins just happened to contain an incomplete record of Internal Crystal Furnace construction,” Yan Zhaoge smiled, “Therefore, I set out to experimentally recreate and perfect the Internal Crystal Furnace, allowing it to once more appear within the Eight Extremities World. These low-grade artifacts are by-products of these experiments. I made them myself. Currently, only low-grade artifacts can be forged. These are already the best among the second-grade products. There are also some first grade products that are close to mid-grade artifacts, but those aren’t quite there yet, plus their stability remains an issue. Thus, I have decided to nourish them myself to gather more information in preparation for the next batch of artifacts I forge.”
Yan Zhaoge snapped his fingers, “As the process is continuously perfected, creating mid-grade artifacts and even high-grade artifacts will become possible. If we can figure out the ancient method of Internal Crystal Furnace reinforcement, spirit artifacts might then also be in the cards.”
At that moment, Ah Hu returned with a sturdy furnace that was as tall as a person and overflowing with aura-qi. Knowing his young master’s intentions, he had left earlier to quickly pick up the furnace.
Elder Cui had never seen an Internal Crystal Furnace before, but he at least knew the artifact-forging furnace in front of him was definitely not an external Crystal Furnace.
The other people present slowly returned to their senses at this time, but their astonishment was still very much evident.
Even the usually calm and collected Sikong Qing was astonished.
Because she was more knowledgeable than the others, she understood the importance of this furnace in front of her.
At the moment, it only represented a possibility or a mere seedling. But once it had finally grown, would it not be a tall tree that could touch the heavens?
“This time, I was heading towards the Sealing Dragon Abyss for more than just the clan’s mission. This is also my personal business. For the sake of further perfecting this Internal Crystal Furnace, I require the special environmental conditions of the Sealing Dragon Abyss and also a seed of ‘Li Yan True Fire’, which also happens to have appeared in the Sealing Dragon Abyss.”
Yan Zhaoge’s calm manner of speech caused Ye Jing and Sikong Qing to look at each other in dismay.
Someone excitedly called out, “Senior apprentice-brother Yan, if mid-grade and high-grade artifacts and possibly even spirit artifacts… even… even…”
In the current world, Sacred Artifacts were incredibly rare, thus that person did not dare continue thinking along that path. Nevertheless, he was exceptionally moved, “If our clan can forge large amounts of spirit artifacts, then wouldn’t… wouldn’t…”
Yan Zhaoge nodded and smiled widely showing the whites of his teeth, “Exactly. If we are successful, then in the future, when you go outside for tempering and meet up with members of the other Sacred Grounds, you will wield artifacts when they wield demi-artifacts, and spirit artifacts when they wield artifacts. We will be able to crush them to death under endless piles of superior equipment.”
All the disciples simultaneously let out a cheer.
Yan Zhaoge waved his hands silencing his audience, “Work hard in your cultivation. All of you represent the future of our Broad Creed Mountain.”
The entire group responded harmoniously, “We act with modesty and prudence. We train with all our hearts. Glory to the Broad Creed name!”
In truth, Yan Zhaoge had achieved his fame while still being young. His true age was not much greater than that of Ye Jing, Sikong Qing and those others in front of him. Calling these disciples the future of Broad Creed Mountain was therefore a bit incongruous, as though they were not members of the same generation.
However, to the people present, except for a single exception, no one found it strange.
The comparison between Yan Zhaoge and Ye Jing had long since been forgotten.
They were not on the same level at all. The issues they considered and the way they thought; whether it was their perspective or their insight, there existed a huge gap.
Without considering anything else, Yan Zhaoge’s contribution in the form of the Internal Crystal Furnace would very likely affect Broad Creed Mountain’s power and standing on the world stage. This kind of achievement was in no way something a mere Martial Scholar could compare to.
Moreover, Yan Zhaoge himself was also a monstrous genius.
When they were still striving to stand out among their peers, Yan Zhaoge had already long since set his sights on improving the entire clan.
Elder Cui finally managed to recover his smiling expression, “Junior apprentice-nephew Yan truly lives up to his reputation as a pillar of Broad Creed Mountain, a Heaven’s favoured son of our younger generation. However, this news should quickly be reported to the clan and…”
Yan Zhaoge interrupted him before he could finish, “This is no need for you to inconvenience yourself. I reported this matter yesterday, and Grand Master and my father already know about it. In fact, father has already taken over my Internal Crystal Furnace research. The furnace you see in front of you is just an extra copy I kept around to blindly tinker with as a personal hobby.”
Elder Cui’s white beard twitched, but his smile was forcefully maintained as he said, “This is wonderful news! However, it should be kept a secret. If this news is leaked to the other Sacred Grounds, there is no guarantee that it would not bring harm to our Broad Creed Mountain. Junior apprentice-nephew Yan’s actions were lacking in caution…”
Yan Zhaoge chuckled softly, “The official notice will soon be released. With Elder Cui’s position, you will probably be informed tomorrow. As for why Grand Master made this decision, it is not my place to know. Elder Cui, it is best if you don’t second guess him.”
Elder Cui’s face slightly stiffened. He watched as Yan Zhaoge unexpectedly walked over to stand in front of him.
Yan Zhaoge’s smile at this time became progressively colder, “Assignment Hall Elder? Ha! Such a high post. Such a high position. To these disciples of the younger generation, your role in today’s matter can be easily overlooked. In the future, you can continue your benevolent and kind old man act. However, did you really think that by causing me to lose face, I would only bear a grudge towards junior apprentice-brother Ye, while not harboring any thoughts towards you?”