Apparently, the difference in class and status were present no matter what realm one found themselves in.
Bold Independent City was really bustling, and as Yang Kai observed the crowds and the individual cultivation realms of these people, he couldn’t help feeling slightly shocked.
It seemed like in Tong Xuan Realm, Immortal Ascension cultivators were a common sight. Over sixty percent of the cultivators Yang Kai spotted wandering Bold Independent City’s streets had reached the Immortal Ascension Boundary while he could even occasionally encounter some Transcendent Realm masters.
In his former realm, Immortal Ascension Boundary cultivators were considered masters and in some places those at the True Element Boundary were treated like kings, but here, the Immortal Ascension Boundary was nothing.
Yun Xuan soon brought them to a large building. Yang Kai noticed that the flow of traffic here was even heavier than other places. Cultivators were entering and exiting rapidly and most of them wearing expressions of joy, tension, or expectation. This mix of happiness and anxiety confused Yang Kai somewhat, causing him to wonder what exactly this place was.
Inside a grand hall, there were a number of paths that lead to smaller side rooms, outside of which were long lines of cultivators.
Yun Xuan led the Yang Kai and Shui Ling towards one of the innermost rooms.
Inside this room, the floor was covered in a thick carpet and there were many lifelike carvings and sculptures adorning the walls. In the middle of the room was a small Incense Burner that emitted a pleasant fragrance obviously made from precious herbs which added to the warm atmosphere.
Behind a desk at the back, a slightly fat old man sat on a large wooden armchair, indifferently staring at a Peak Immortal Ascension cultivator in front of him, a slight look of impatience apparent on his face.
When Yang Kai followed Yun Xuan into the room, he overheard the old man say to the cultivator in front of him, “Without a sky poison feather, this old master can’t fix this artifact for you. On top of that, you’re not a disciple of my Bold Independent Union so the cost is automatically twenty percent higher. You don’t have appropriate materials and you aren’t offering enough compensation, yet you still dare ask for this old master’s services? Just who do you think this old master is!?”
Saying so, the old man casually shooed the man in front of him away, “Get out, when you find the right materials and collect enough of a reward, then you can come find this old master, otherwise you can go ask some other Artifact Refiner, the cost they charge won’t be as high as this old master.”
“Grandmaster…” The cultivator still wanted to beg, but after seeing the old man’s cold glare, he quickly swallowed down the rest of his words, shook his head and helplessly turned and left.
When this customer passed through the doorway and let out a heavy sigh, Yang Kai caught a glimpse of an artifact in his hands and remembering what the old man in the back had just said, Yang Kai suddenly understood what was going on here.
The old man sitting inside also quickly noticed Yun Xuan outside and couldn’t help smiling brightly, beckoning her over, “Yun girl, come in, come in.”
Yun Xuan showed a faint smile and walked inside, politely calling out, “Grandmaster Ma.”
The old man’s smile became even brighter upon hearing Yun Xuan call him so, none of the impatience and arrogance he had shown his previous client remaining on his face, instead becoming warm and friendly. This made Yang Kai quite surprised, and also caused him to wonder what kind of charm Yun Xuan had that could make this old man’s attitude undergo such a big transformation.
Even if she was a disciple of Bold Independent Union, that alone couldn’t explain the old man’s dramatic change.
Moreover, the look on this old man’s face was genuinely warm, like that of an elder meeting his treasured granddaughter.
“What artifact did you damage this time?” Grandmaster Ma smiled and shook his head, “Let me see it.”
Yun Xuan spat out her tongue adorably like a child as she turned her palm up and summoned a flash of light into her hand. Yang Kai quickly noted that what Yun Xuan summoned was a spear-like artifact, which was fairly high grade.
However, this spear’s body had some cracks on it at the moment and the spear head had a few spots dotted atop it, like it had been corroded by something.
“Seems the battle you had was not simple,” Grandmaster Ma’s expression sank slightly as he turned to look at Yun Xuan thoughtfully, sighing a moment later, “Ha… Silly girl, why are you acting so recklessly?”
Yun Xuan chuckled lightly, “I just wasn’t careful enough and accidentally allowed this to happen.”
“Why you, this old man really doesn’t know what to say to you.”
“Oh stop treating me like a child!” Yun Xuan spoke, acting like a spoiled child, taking out some materials and Crystal Stones and handing them to Grandmaster Ma, “These are the materials and reward for the repair.”
“There’s no need for any reward,” Grandmaster Ma shook his head.
“I’m also a Common Disciple in the Union, how can I so blatantly break the rules?”
“Since I said there’s no need, then there’s no need. Or what, are you looking down on this old master?” Grandmaster Ma said with a stern face, pretending to be angry.
Yun Xuan stuck out her tongue again and eventually took back her Crystal Stones.
“Come back for it in three days, this time this old master will refine it to the point you won’t be able to damage it again!” Grandmaster Ma declared confidently.
“Thank you, Grandmaster Ma.” Yun Xuan said happily.
“Does Grandmaster repair artifacts?” Yang Kai, who had been silently watching until now, finally asked.
The clothes Grandmaster Ma wore were tasteful and embroidered on his chest was a set of special symbols. Although Yang Kai didn’t know what these symbols represented exactly, it was clear to him that it was some kind of rank insignia for Artifact Refiners.
It was similar to the symbols he had seen Alchemist’s wear on their chests.
Hearing this, Grandmaster Ma turned a dumbfounded look towards Yang Kai and asked, “This old master has studied Artifact Refining for decades now, naturally I can repair artifacts. Are you a new member of Yun Xuan’s team?”
Yang Kai shook his head.
Yun Xuan quickly explained, “Grandmaster, this is… um, a friend of mine, he’s not a member of my team.”
Grandmaster Ma smiled lightly, “Your friend seems a bit friendless and unlearned. Even after entering the unions Artifact Hall he’s still wondering what we do here.”
“He recently arrived here from a remote region, so he hasn’t quite adapted to the surroundings yet,” Yun Xuan said before quietly turning to Yang Kai and explaining to him, “This is the Artifact Hall of our Bold Independent Union, inside here there are a number of skilled Artifact Refiners, but Grandmaster Ma is the best. No matter what kind of artifact it is, if you bring it to him, he can repair it.”
Saying so, Yun Xuan suddenly understood, “Do you have an artifact that needs to be repaired?”
Yang Kai nodded and took out the Bone Shield.
The entire Bone Shield had suffered great damage when it had protected Yang Kai from the force of the void when the Void Corridor beneath the Central Capital collapsed, and had then further been damaged when he used it to create a large explosion in the Abandoned Earth.
Yang Kai had wanted to find a chance to repair it but he hadn’t expected Yun Xuan to bring him to the place he was looking for all of a sudden. This was like someone sending him a pillow just as he wanted to take a nap.
Grandmaster Ma reached out and took the Bone Shield, gently stroking it a few times before releasing his True Qi to investigate its internal structure, his face quickly filling with annoyance, “Which bastard refined this artifact?”
Yang Kai shrugged his shoulders, “I don’t know.”
“Incompetent, too incompetent. Although the materials used in this artifact aren’t very expensive, the end product still shouldn’t be such a low-grade artifact!”
Yang Kai smiled helplessly. Mysterious Grade Low-Rank, in his previous Realm, it was already a rare and precious treasure, but here, Grandmaster Ma had all but called it trash.
“The technique used to craft this shield is so juvenile; the Artifact Refiner who refined this artifact should be dragged out and put to death!” Grandmaster Ma shouted in annoyance.
Yun Xuan quietly whispered, “Grandmaster has very strict standards for Artifact Refining.”
Yang Kai nodded lightly. He also saw that this Grandmaster Ma should be obsessed with Artifact Refining so he would not only be strict with himself, but also with others of his profession.
After ranting on for a while, Grandmaster Ma looked up at Yang Kai and sighed, “Yun Xuan said that you came out from some remote place, and sure enough, only in those backwater regions would they use such inferior methods to refine artifacts, some of the techniques that were used to forge this artifact were eliminated over a thousand years ago.”
“Can Grandmaster still repair this artifact?” Yang Kai asked.
“As long as you have appropriate materials, I can fix it!” Grandmaster Ma declared confidently, “What materials do you have on you?”
“Uh…” Yang Kai thought about it for a moment and soon realized that the only thing of value he had on him was the Ice Flame Star Sand he had acquired a few days ago, quickly taking it out, “Will this work?”
“Spirit Grade Top-Rank Ice Flame Star Sand?” Grandmaster Ma’s face suddenly lit up as he stared at the ice blue flickering grain of flame resting atop Yang Kai’s hand.
After this grain of Star Sand was taken out, the temperature in the entire room rapidly dropped, causing both Yun Xuan and Shui Ling to shiver.
Aware of their distress, Yang Kai quickly pushed his True Qi and wrapped it around the Ice Flame Star Sand to contain the chill.
Seeing this, Grandmaster Ma secretly nodded to himself, thinking: [This little brat’s True Qi is pure and his control is quite good. Although his methods are a little dull, he definitely has enough raw skill.]
“This Ice Flame Star Sand can indeed be used to repair your artifact.” Grandmaster Ma calmed himself before asking. Although a Spirit Grade Top-Rank material was very expensive, as the best Artifact Refiner in Bold Independent Unions Artifact Hall he had seen many such treasures before so he naturally wouldn’t lose his composure.
“However, using a Spirit Grade Top-Rank to repair a Mysterious Grade Low-Rank artifact, you should be able to understand. Using this Ice Flame Star Sand on this Bone Shield…” Grandmaster Ma’s mouth slightly twitched, “It’s too much of a waste.”
“As long as the Bone Shield can be repaired it’s fine,” Yang Kai insisted.
“Do you really want to do this?”
“En,” Yang Kai nodded.
Grandmaster Ma wrinkled his brow slightly but no longer tried to persuaded him; in any case, the artifact and materials belonged to Yang Kai, so how he wanted to use them was his business. Letting out a sigh, Grandmaster Ma continued, “Good, since you insist, this old master will accept your request, but if you want to fully repair this artifact, just this Ice Flame Star Sand isn’t enough, you’ll need some other supplementary materials.”
“What kind of materials?” Yang Kai asked.
“Black Fog Iron or Sky Cicada Jade, either of these two materials would work. If you find the former, I can help you upgrade this Bone Shield into a Mysterious Grade Mid-Rank artifact, if it’s the latter, I can help you promote it to Mysterious Grade Top-Rank or even Spirit Grade, it all depends on what you can afford,” Grandmaster Ma said proudly.
“Black Fog Iron, Sky Cicada Jade?” Yang Kai muttered these two names.
“One is a Mysterious Grade material while the other is Spirit Grade.” Shui Ling explained quickly.
“Where can I find these two materials?”
“That’s your problem,” Grandmaster Ma snorted, seemingly a little unhappy with Yang Kai’s wasteful manner, “But as long as you have enough Crystal Stones, you can buy anything in Bold Independent City, not to mention Black Fog Iron and Sky Cicada Jade aren’t particularly precious so the local shops should have some in stock.”
“Uh, then, how many Crystal Stones would it cost to buy one of these two materials?” Yang Kai asked Shui Ling.
Shui Ling smiled lightly, “With your net worth, you probably can’t afford them.”