Chapter 64 – Complex Craft
“What sort of spear would this young hero like to purchase? And what sort of price are you aiming for?”
“Do you have any rare treasures here?” Lin Ming opened his mouth to ask.
“Treasure spears?” The sales clerk didn’t expect that this young man would surprise him again with such an astonishing question. A treasure spear was expensive, it often cost 10 to 20 thousand gold taels, and high quality spears sometimes even 30 to 40 thousand. Was this young man that wealthy?
The reality was Lin Ming did not currently have that much gold on hand, but if he was given time he could plan for it.
“Young hero, our shop currently does not have any treasure rank spears on hand. If you would like to take a look at treasure-rank swords or sabers, we have a wide variety that you could choose from.
“…” Lin Ming felt a little disappointed at this turn of events. He hadn’t thought that even the Divine Weapon Hall wouldn’t have any treasure spears. There just were just too few treasure spears.
The sales clerk continued, “For a treasure-rank spear, there are just too few of those and the demand for them isn’t low. Two months ago we had a spear, but it was already reserved in advance and sold.
“Oh? From what I know, there aren’t many martial artists in the Sky Fortune Kingdom who use spears. Are these treasure-rank spears really that marketable?”
“Mm. Yes, they are a very hot commodity. There aren’t many martial artists that use them, but… the army will. Some generals will purchase a treasure-rank spear, but because there aren’t enough treasure rank spears, even generals with illustrious careers and many meritorious military services do not have a treasure-rank spear. If this young hero wishes to purchase a treasure-rank spear in the Sky Fortune Kingdom, it will be very difficult.”
So that’s how it was. Lin Ming immediately understood that the spear was the best weapon to use in the army. Since ancient times, as long as they were a famous military leader, 80% of them would use a spear in battle. The other 20% would use weapons like the large guandao, trident, halberd, and other weapons that were similar to a spear. There weren’t many famous generals who relied on a sword or saber to lead an army.
When marching an army to war, frequently one would be riding a war horse. During these times a sword or saber was just too short and limited in its range atop a horse. Therefore one had to use a halberd, pike, spear, or weapons like a spear that had good reach. With a spear in hand, even if they fell into a swarming mob of enemies, they would be able to kill their way through. A ten foot long spear could aggressively kill all enemies in a large circle. This was something that the sword, saber, axe, or other weapons could not hope to hold a candle to.
Therefore the style that could sweep away an army of a thousand was in the sole possession of the spear!
That’s why the generals of Sky Fortune Kingdom, even if they had cultivated as a martial artist with a sword, and fought with a sword, had no choice but to learn the spear.
“Well, for the treasure-rank spear, I’ll come back later when they have a good one on sale. A high quality spear will probably cost several tens of thousands of gold taels, and I don’t have that much money at the moment. The gold I spent before came from Mister Muyi, and though the inscription symbols are very expensive, I don’t think he needs any more. I’ve been troubling Muyi so often, several ten thousand gold taels is not a small number; I shouldn’t approach him about this. Also a treasure-rank spear is difficult to use, and my martial arts cultivation isn’t that high at the moment. Even if I had a treasure-rank spear, I wouldn’t be able to display its full strength.”
Thinking this, Lin Ming said, “Then consider that matter settled. Could you bring me to look at some spears, a good spear.
“Very well. Young Hero, please wait a moment.” The sales clerk turned around and took out a thick spear shaft from a wooden chest. The spear shaft was an inky pitch black and seven feet long.
When a store sold a spear, often the spear shaft and spearhead were sold separately. The spear shaft was placed in a wooden chest to protect it against erosion. The spearhead was soaked in a vat of tung oil to preserve it and guarantee that it would always be luminous and reflect the light. The customer would come choose the appropriate spear shaft and spearhead that they liked, and the two objects would be composed together to form the final product.
“Young Hero, please have a look.” The sales clerk said as he handed over the spear shaft to Lin Ming.
Lin Ming hefted the spear shaft in his hand. Its weight was probably somewhere around 30 jins, and was not made from metal. With a flex of his hand, Lin Ming could tell that the spear shaft was quite flexible. Lin Ming had no doubt that if he dropped this spear shaft in a full moon arc, it could crack open an animal’s skull.
Although this spear shaft wasn’t made of metal, the damage it could cause on a person’s body was equivalent to what a metal pole could do.
“How much is this spear shaft?” Lin Ming inquired.
“1200 gold taels.”
Even though his heart was prepared, Lin Ming was still flabbergasted when he heard the ridiculous pricing. The spear shaft was just too expensive! It had to be known that a normal treasure-rank sword would only be several thousand gold taels. This spear shaft was not a treasure!
The waiter saw Lin Ming’s astonishment and explained, “This spear shaft was made from black iron wood. It was carefully selected from several hundred year old high quality black iron wood that was soaked in spring water for 7 weeks, each week 7 days for 49 days to let it be reborn. Afterwards, it was boiled in a giant wok with explosive oil for three days. All the bark was stripped leaving only the hardest and most durable wood core, and then mixed and twisted with the silk from a Golden Silkworm, then wrapped around with cloth from a Golden Silkworm that was soaked for three years in tung oil.
“Whether it is the black iron wood or the Golden Silkworm silk, both are precious materials that are hard for a sword or saber to damage. In addition to special crafting process technologies involved, this spear shaft will absolutely not be cut off in battle, even if it meets a treasure rank sword. This young hero may feel relieved that you will not be disarmed in any way whatsoever.”
Hearing the sales clerk’s passionate explanation, Lin Ming also felt his heart jump. He hadn’t thought that this common spear shaft would unexpectedly have such a complex and advanced crafting process. Golden Silkworm silk was inferior, and cheaper than Sky Worm silk, but it was as an absolutely expensive material. The black iron wood was also very expensive, and it was even from a tree that was several hundred years old.
Moreover, if there was a single mistake in the manufacturing process then it would have been ruined. For instance, if there was a problem in soaking it in boiling oil, then the black iron wood would be ruined. The spear shaft also had to be straight and rigid, like a perfect ruler. If there was even the slightest diverging angle, it would be eliminated. This caused the spear shaft’s value to increase many times.
No wonder it was so expensive. Even if a common person did not eat or drink, and worked hard for his entire life, he would still not be able to afford one. If this kind of spear shaft was given to the normal folk, it would be passed down through generations as a precious family heirloom.
The sales clerk said, “The most expensive part of a spear is the shaft. If a spear is good, then 80% of the reason would be because of the shaft and 20% because of the head. The spear head crafting process is comparatively simple; a good spear head is also only around a few hundred gold taels. This young hero, even if you chose a spear head made from cloud vein wrought iron, it would only be 800 taels of gold. The total price will not be over 2000 gold taels. What does the young hero think of this?
Lin Ming played with the thick shaft as he held it in his hands. He felt a slight sense of something like love towards it and found it hard to put down. Not to mention the shaft’s elasticity and durability, it absolutely felt like a first-rate product.
What a pity it was too light!
“Do you have anything heavier? For instance, a spear shaft that’s several hundred jins.”
“Oh?” The sales clerk was slightly surprised. For a spear shaft that was several hundred jins in weight, to be able to wield it with dexterity like you were dancing, you would need at least many thousands of jins of strength. Did this youth have such a strong body?
But even with his doubts, the sales clerk pulled out another spear shaft that was made from pure darksteel. This spear shaft was quite thick and was seven feet long and weighed more than 400 jins. The sales clerk had obviously practiced moving this, as he strained a bit in taking it out but somehow managed it in the end.
“This spear shaft is 800 gold taels.”
Darksteel was expensive, but to produce a pure darksteel spear shaft was a relatively simple production process, therefore the metal spear shafts were also cheap.
“Young Hero, please be careful, it is very heavy.” The sales clerk felt some trepidation as he handed the darksteel spear shaft to Lin Ming. But he was shocked to see that Lin Ming gripped it like an ordinary wood club, and did so while looking very relaxed.
The sales clerk’s eyes jumped. This young man had great strength! He was simple a vicious beast in human form.
Lin Ming held the spear shaft in his hands and thought over it, then he asked, “Do you have anything heavier?”
Heavier? He wants something heavier?
The sales clerk said, “We do have heavier options but the price is also very expensive.”
“It’s all right.” In order to avoid any future unnecessary troubles, Lin Ming flashed the gold banknotes in his chest pockets. Right now he still had 8000 gold taels. As long as it wasn’t as expensive as a treasure-rank spear, he would be able to afford it.
The sales clerk saw that thick wad of golden banknotes and was surprised. Such a thick stack of banknotes! This young man is really rich! He respectfully said, “Young Hero, please come with me.”
With that, the sales clerk walked up to the second floor.
Note: This is what it means by saber. Not the version you’re probably thinking of (not the Fate Stay/Night character either).