“Hmph! Look at your guilty expression!”
Wang Zhu Yan harrumphed. Although her face still appeared indifferent, the corners of her lips were curled upward, revealing her slight glee:
“I am a good buddy with Duke of Zhao’s daughter, Princess Qian Qian, and she informed me of it. Even so, did you really think that you would be able to hide it from me even if she didn’t expose it to me?”
“Second Sister, how would I dare to!”
Wang Chong hurriedly surrendered:
“Even if I were ten times more courageous, I would never dare to lie to you!”
God knows why his cousin was able to keep her finger on everything that was occurring in the capital. She just had to be more senior than him, such that he had to call her Second Sister respectfully, and he couldn’t match up to her in a fight either.
A smart man knows how to move along with the tide. Thus, Wang Chong hurriedly admitted his mistake.
“Glad that you know!”
Wang Zhu Yan couldn’t help but chuckle at Wang Chong’s frightened expression. This lad! If she didn’t teach him a lesson from time to time, he would surely go overboard.
“Initially, I intended to tell this matter to your mother. However, based on your previous performance, I will drop the matter. However, you shouldn’t need that much money. Then, why are you borrowing so much money? 200 taels isn’t a small sum, you know. I don’t even have that much money.”
Wang Chong was taken aback. He abruptly lifted his head in shock and thought, “Isn’t it 1700 taels? Could it be that cousin doesn’t know!”
Wang Chong’s attention was jolted. Even though he wasn’t sure what was going on, it was clear that his cousin didn’t know much!
“Duke of Zhao? That means Zhao Lin? I don’t think that there’s any need for him to help me hide the matter? But why did he say it’s 200 taels? Could it be… Su Bai?”
Wang Chong suddenly understood; even though it’s been awhile since he borrowed money in Eight Gods Pavilion, there didn’t seem to be much news on the matter outside.
Most likely, she just happened to overhear the matter.
Wang Chong’s intuition told him that Su Bai and the others were responsible for it. However, they were probably thinking of using this as a handle against him in the future.
After all, the longer the matter dragged on for, the more interest Wang Chong owed them!
“That lad sure has vile thoughts.”
Wang Chong thought. If he was the same profligate scion from before, he might have fallen for his ploy.
However, putting aside the matter with Su Bai, it was more important to appease this seemingly omniscient cousin of his first.
“Hehe, cousin, I’m just borrowing money from others to make use of it as capital to do business. If you don’t like it, I can return the two hundred taels to them straight away.”
Wang Chong smiled cheerfully as he walked up to massaged Wang Zhu Yan’s arms.
“You brat, hurry up and return it! Do you think the money borrowed from Duke of Zhao Residence doesn’t come without a price?”
Wang Zhu Yan shook off Wang Chong’s hands as she reprimanded.
How could Wang Chong dare to retort against her?
“Right, Second Sister, I have a small present for you.”
Wang Chong hurriedly tried to please her.
The means of ‘Second Sister’ of his was simply too incredible. It was as though anything would be exposed in front of her, and this thought made cold sweat flow down him profusely.
He should make use of all opportunities to bribe her over to his side. Otherwise, it was hard to tell what kind of implications she could bring!
Wang Zhu Yan sat up on the bed, and immediately, her attention was jolted. She stretched out her right hand and asked, “What’s that? Pass it over!”
Wang Chong dared not to keep her waiting. Taking something from the inside of his sleeves, he whipped out a tiny pitch-black object he had prepared beforehand.
Wang Zhu Yan glanced at the unimpressive small object in Wang Chong’s hand, perplexed over what it was.
“This is called an eyelash curler. Don’t look down on it just because it looks unimpressive and ugly. With a single pinch, it can twirl and curl eyelash to the style which other ladies would look at enviously.”
Wang Chong introduced with a grin.
This cousin of his was very different from others. She didn’t like gold nor silver, but rather, she preferred those weird objects that ladies often used.
For example, the nail file back then and the eyelash curler this time.
There was no other better way to please her than to gift her with these kind of items.
This was what Wang Chong learnt from his wandering ‘years’ back then while pitting his wits against Wang Zhu Yan. The moment he whipped out a tiny gadget or tool which couldn’t be found in this world, his Second Sister would immediately be pleased.
After taking the ‘treasure’ that Wang Chong had presented to her, she would then go on to flaunt it to those close friends of hers for a long period of time. When she’s happy, she would stay out of Wang Chong’s affairs for a period of time, and thus, Wang Chong would be happy as well.
Such as now, hiding the news for him.
As Wang Chong expected, the moment Second Sister took the eyelash curler from Wang Chong’s hands, she immediately tried it before the copper mirror and was delighted by its effects.
“Little rascal, at least you are sincere. Leave that item there. Leave this matter to your Second Sister and return in a few days to take your swords!”
Pleased, Wang Zhu Yan immediately ‘forgot’ about the previous matter. She waved her hand to shoo Wang Chong out.
“Right, it’ll be grandfather’s birthday in half a month. Don’t say that I didn’t warn you in advance as this is a huge affair. We only get to meet grandfather once a year, so perform well and make sure not to misspeak!”
At the very last moment, Wang Zhu Yan stopped Wang Chong and advised him with a serious expression.
“I got it!”
Wang Chong pulled a face and left, placing the Wootz steel sword behind with his cousin.
Wang Zhu Yan operated much faster than Wang Chong expected. In around three days, Wang Chong received four Wootz sword with strength inscriptions on it.
Lifting one of the swords up with both hands, he could clearly feel that the weight of the sword had increased significantly.
Examining the sword, he saw a mysterious inscription coiling around the body of three chi long blade, as though a flower vine. Beneath the pitch-black body of the sword, one could vaguely make out a slight movement of sparks of light.
The Wootz steel weapons didn’t seem much different from how they were three days ago, but Wang Chong could clearly sense the difference in the sensation the sword felt in his grasp.
Stretching out his left hand, he grabbed the handle of the sword and in an instant, a surge of strength gushed into him. Kaka, cracking sounds could be heard from Wang Chong’s body. Somehow, he felt as though the sword had melded together with him, as though it had become a part of his body.
“What incredible strength!”
In a few short breaths, Wang Chong could clearly sense his cultivation being raised by a significant amount, reaching Origin Energy Tier 5.
And all of this happened at the instant he grabbed the sword.
“The blacksmith experts sure are scary!”
The strength that Wang Chong felt in him now made him both impressed and fearful of the blacksmiths.
It was rumored that those who were able to become master blacksmiths were all incredible experts. Even though Yao Feng was titled as one of the Eight Talents in the capital, he was still a far way off from matching up to these master blacksmiths.
This was also the capability of that socialite cousin of his. She was acquainted with many young mistresses of the nobles and distinguished families, thus allowing her to accomplish such incredible feats.
“Wang Chong, as you have requested, I have cleared away all the personnel from the cavern. So, you can feel free to use the facilities as you please. Other than that, there are guards guarding it. I have already issued a death command for them to prevent anyone from getting close to the facility during the period of time you are tempering the sword!”
Wang Chong heard a voice behind him. Turning around, he saw Wei Hao walking toward him and as the latter reassured Wang Chong that everything was in place.
“Un, thank you.”
Recovering from his daze, Wang Chong nodded.
Now that the inscriptions on the swords were done, what was left was the final step, tempering.
“Help me keep a lookout. It should be done by dawn tomorrow.”
Wang Chong gestured at Wei Hao and his little sister. Then, he parted the black cloth covering the entrance of the cavern and stepped into it.
The giant cavern was completely empty; not a single person could be seen.
Wei Hao had already cleared out the cavern so that Wang Chong could work in peace.
The final step that any weapon had to go through was tempering. However, Wang Chong didn’t want anyone to be present to witness the tempering of the Wootz steel. The tempering for the Wootz steel was different from that of other metals. This was an important chip for Wang Chong to fight against the Abbasid Caliphate for the rights of the Hyderabad ores!
In the cavern, all of the flames were extinguished. This was done on the request of Wang Chong. On the ground, there was a stack of pine branches which were all around 3 chi long.
Wang Chong didn’t rush to the tempering process. Rather, he sat quietly on the icy cold floor and waited patiently. There were still several hours before daybreak, and the ideal timing for refining Wootz steel was right before daybreak, the moment when light and dark swapped places with one another.
Different from the primary refinement to create the cast and the cold forging, tempering didn’t take as long as the previous few processes. However, it was the most important of them all.
“Little sister, what do you think your brother is doing inside? It’s just a tempering process, why did he have to make it so complicated, not even allowing us to enter? For this, I have asked many master swordsmiths about it today. They had all said that this step was the simplest. One just had to warm the sword and place it into icy water. Yet, why did your brother have to make it so complicated?”
A voice came from outside. Wang Chong could tell that it belonged to Wei Hao.
Hearing that voice, Wang Chong smiled.
Wei Hao’s doubt reflected the thoughts of the master swordsmiths of this era. In this era, the understanding of tempering was still stuck at the level of ‘as long as the weapon undergoes a rapid fall in temperature within the shortest period of time, the quality of the sword would improve’.
In truth, most of the swordsmiths just placed the sword directly into icy water right after they were done forging. Some of them didn’t think this step important and simply skipped it. Some of them thought that it was sufficient to allow the blade to cool by itself.
Very few people regarded the final tempering of the weapon as an important matter.
“It should still take six to seven years before they will realize the true use of tempering!”
A thought flashed through Wang Chong’s head as he shook his head.
In terms of sword forging, Wang Chong possessed knowledge that far surpassed this era.
Many people knew that a sword needed to undergo tempering, but very few knew that it was the most important phase of all.
Tempering could raise the strength, durability, resilience, and anti-corrosion ability of the sword. This was the phase which could bring the forged weapon to an entirely different level within the shortest period of time.
Different weapons had different tempering methods.
All of the top-notch blacksmiths in the world wielded unique personal tempering methods.
However, due to their lack of knowledge, at the current moment, most of the master swordsmiths’ understanding of tempering was still stuck at the level of ‘water quenching’, an inferior method. They didn’t know that water quenching would cause great damage to the carbon composition of the steel of the blade.
Even though the outer appearance would still be perfect and the quality would be brought up, there was actually countless small cracks that had formed in its interior. Such swords had low durability and could not be used for long.
In fact, some of them even break immediately after the quenching.
The reason why many swords broke, resulting in failures or substandard products, during the tempering process was because of this.
However, it was a pity that most of the master swordsmiths didn’t bother about it even though they had noticed such an occurrence. They simply blamed the quality of the material or their own forging technique.
This was not only true for the eastern part of the world, even the western Abbasid Caliphate, which was thriving on weapon trades, was the same.
In the entire world, no one could match up to Wang Chong in terms of tempering techniques!
Quoted from Dagobaz in Chapter 44: (He had provided an introduction to the various Chinese sword, I find that it was rather interesting so I’m sharing it here)
There are two major types of traditional Chinese swords.
Dao, or sabers, are single-edged and curved for slashing.
Then there are Jian. These are double-edged and straight.
The ‘blood groove’ mentioned in the chapter is also called a fuller. They’re actually for lightening the sword while retaining strength, the blood bit is an old wives tale. Historically, Wootz or Damascus steel blades were desired because they were stronger, held a better edge, and could be made lighter than ordinary swords.