“You!” Yang Ling was livid but had no response.
On the other hand, Li Qiye was calm from start to finish. He smiled: “I’m a master indeed, there’s no other on my level.”
The crowd exchanged glances since they didn’t expect a haughty response. They thought that he was being ridiculous.
Lin Hao frowned again. He always chose humility even though others praised him as the top student blacksmith in Duality. He never claimed to be number one.
Now, Li Qiye showed no hesitation in declaring his supremacy. It sounded baseless and overly egotistical.
Some students started sneering and jeering at Li Qiye. The academy had plenty of blacksmiths. Though they might not be as talented as Lin Hao, they were brilliant in their own right.
Another student aware of this subject scowled: “Ignorant brat, there’s no other on your level? You probably haven’t even seen enough blacksmithing methods and processes.”
“Remember where you’re standing. This is Duality Academy, a place with countless geniuses. A country bumpkin like you still knows nothing after reading a few books.” Liu Jinsong had a look of disdain.
Li Qiye ignored all of them and told Lin Hao with an insipid tone: “Feel your dao source true treasure. Another refinement will destroy it.”
“Enough!” One fan shouted. They construed Li Qiye’s comments as bad luck.
“It’s not too late to apologize to Senior Brother Lin or I’ll teach you a lesson.” Another loudly threatened.
“That’s right.” Liu Jinsong took advantage of this in order to please Lin Hao. He went on: “Brat, you better have some evidence or this is just cursing Senior Brother Li. Hmph, he might be too nice to stoop down to your level but I won’t let this go.”
Li Qiye paid them no mind and started leaving.
“Hmph, running away after knowing you’re wrong.” One student sneered: “You’re better off going back to be a woodchopper, don’t come out and embarrass yourself.”
“At least he knows his place.” One more said with contempt.
However, Liu Jinsong didn’t want to let Li Qiye off so easily. He roared: “Brat, stop right there! You think you can leave after insulting Senior Brother Lin? Not that easy.”
Li Qiye still turned a deaf ear towards them and walked up the stone steps, heading for the pinnacle.
“That’s it, you’re the one asking for it.” Jinsong’s eyes flashed with chilling aggression. He walked forward, ready to attack.
Lin Hao raised his hand and stopped him. He said seriously: “This young noble is only expressing his opinion, there’s no ulterior motive and I’m not harmed, drop it.”
Jinsong stopped and smiled at Lin Hao: “You’re too merciful and benevolent, I have nothing but admiration for you.”
“Senior Brother, the brat clearly insulted and tried to give you bad luck, maybe he’s jealous of your skill.” Another student said with indignation.
Lin Hao didn’t respond and started pondering.
“Senior Brother, don’t worry about his bullshit.” A different student saw his expression and hurriedly consoled: “That ignorant brat has no grounds to talk on this matter.”
Lin Hao remained silent. He found the whole thing strange. After all, there was no feud between them; they didn’t even know each other. Why would Li Qiye need to do this?
Meanwhile, Yang Ling was vexed while walking behind Li Qiye. “They don’t appreciate your good intentions and even laughed at you, so out of line!”
Li Qiye chuckled and didn’t really give a damn, unlike the angry girl. Eventually, Li Qiye stopped and started touching the wall of the peak.
“Do you notice anything different?” He asked.
Yang Ling found this question unexpected. She looked around before shaking her head: “No, it’s still the same as always.”
She has been here numerous times. Myriad Cauldron Peak didn’t change at all.
“No, look carefully at the cauldron itself.” Li Qiye shook his head.
Yang Ling focused up and tried to observe meticulously before answering: “I see, there’s no embedded cauldron here. Wait, no cauldrons from the ridge to the top, all of them are at the bottom half.”
“Anything else? For example, the rock right here.” Li Qiye rubbed the wall.
Yang Ling stared at the wall and saw weed, dirt, and vines - nothing too peculiar.
“I don’t know.” She eventually gave up.
Li Qiye then wiped the wall clean, revealing its true appearance.
“Take a look.” He smiled.
Yang Ling came closer and found that there was something strange. There were numerous layers stacking on each other. It seemed chaotic yet still adhering to an unknown order. She just couldn't grasp it.
She knocked on the wall and found it awfully tough. She took out a weapon and tried to dig. This proved futile.
Remember, her weapon was sharp enough to cut down steel like mud but this wall remained undamaged.
“Why is it so hard, is this still rock?” She stared at Li Qiye, surprised.
“That’s the difference.” Li Qiye smiled: “Now tell me where this new composition starts.”
“Above the midway point, why?” She murmured.
“Because a master has refined a weapon here before.” Li Qiye commented while looking upward.
“A dao lord?” She also looked up: “I heard a story from a teacher before. When Apricot Dao Lord refined her weapon, stars were dragged down from above. They were refined and forced into the cauldron. Since the heat wasn’t enough, the dao lord even pulled down several suns and extracted sunfire from them…”
She became lost in another legendary tale. This dao lord was incredible, capable of using the celestials for the refinement process.
That scene must have been magnificent. Witnessing it in person required the blessings of three lifetimes. Alas, she was born in the wrong era and couldn’t see Duality Master’s peerless style or Apricot Dao Lord’s invincibility.