Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
“Heh heh, now you know…” Perhaps it was because Moradin hadn’t spoken to anyone for a long time, but it seemed very excited at present. After triumphantly showing off, he began to engage in a talk with Lin Li. “Oh, yes, how did you get the Brand Of Dusk?”
“Brand Of Dusk?” Lin Li paused, looking bewildered. “What is that?”
“Bloody hell, you don’t have the Brand Of Dusk?” Moradin cursed, sounding exasperated. “Then how did you get past the Gates of Ashes?”
“What is the Gates of Ashes…” Lin Li scratched his head. He was in confusion when he suddenly recalled the moment when he’d passed through the colorful spectrum, and his expression froze. He raised his right hand unbelievably and flashed the Torrent of Elements Ring that was shining with a faint light. “The… The Brand Of Dusk you mean, is this…?”
“Yes, yes…” Moradin uttered a cry of alarm as soon as the Torrent of Elements Ring was flashed. For a moment, even his words were incoherent. “It’s really with you; the Brand Of Dusk is really with you. Heavens… I am saved, I am saved at last…”
“This thing is important to you?” Lin Li looked at Moradin strangely. The bizarre hammer was trembling slightly because it was too excited.
“Too important!” After a long silence, Moradin suddenly said, “Lad, let’s do a deal!”
“The Brand Of Dusk is very important to me. I need to borrow it. Rest assured, you won’t be lending it in vain. In exchange, I can help you get powerful magical equipment.” At this point, Moradin asked casually, “By the way, you should be a warrior, right?”
Lin Li took a glance at the Fire Salamandrid armor he was wearing, and nodded without a change in countenance. “That’s right.”
“Well, if you will lend me the Brand Of Dusk, I’ll get you a weapon forged by the Dark Iron Dwarves.”
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“This…” Lin Li hesitated. It was not that he refused to lend it, but he could not figure out what Moradin wanted to do.
Moradin was somewhat anxious seeing Lin Li had kept silent for long. “Two magical equipment pieces—one weapon and one armor. This should do now, right?”
“Let me think about it…”
Half an hour passed; Lin Li was still deliberating.
Moradin was getting impatient. “Hey, have you thought about it?
“Don’t rush. This is a big matter, I have to think it through…” Lin Li had not thought it through, indeed. If it was in the past, he’d have lent the Brand Of Dusk without a second word. It was only a loan, and he did not stand to lose, anyway. In return, he could receive two magical equipment pieces forged by the Dark Iron Dwarves. Such a cost-effective deal wouldn’t always happen.
However, this time, Lin Li was really hesitant about it.
The day’s encounter was too strange; whether it was the colorful spectrum or the floating palace in the sky, everything was shrouded in a peculiar aura. Lin Li had to be extra cautious when making decisions like that.
“Oh, right. Moradin, have you been here for 1,200 years?”
“Mhm, that’s right…” When Moradin finished, it suddenly exclaimed, “Wait, what did you say just now? 1,200 years? You mean, 1,200 years have passed?”
“Yes, it’s been 1,200 years since the Dark Ages. Why, don’t you know?”
“Hell… It’s been such a long time.” After grumbling for a while, Moradin asked Lin Li curiously, “Is the war over?”
“It’s long over. All the High Elves, including Osric, are gone. Now humans rule the world of Anril.”
“Then, what about the Dark Iron Dwarves?”
“There are no Dark Iron Dwarves…” Lin Li shook his head, and told Moradin everything he saw in the books. “The Dark Iron Dwarves were exterminated right at the beginning of the war. In Anril, there has not been a living Dark Iron Dwarf for 1,200 years.”
“Strange, before the Magic Legion came, didn’t a group of Dark Iron Dwarves escape? Did Osric also…” Moradin’s words sounded like a soliloquy.
“I’m afraid this group of Dark Iron Dwarves did not escape from the Magic Legion…” Lin Li had not spoken without thinking.
Everyone knew that the Dark Iron Dwarves were born blacksmiths. They had an innate talent for forging. Almost every adult Dark Iron Dwarf could attain a higher tier of mastery in forging. If they really did escape, how could there be no rumors about them in Anril for 1,200 years?
Even if the talent of these Dark Iron Dwarves were any worse, shouldn’t there be at least dozens of Smithing Masters in these 1,200 years?
Once there was a blacksmith of the mastery level, unless they had been isolated from the world for 1,200 years, it was impossible to have no hearsay about them at all. Look at the present Alanna and you’d know—how did the Sword Sage of the Storm get his fame in Felan? In addition to his own strength, it was largely due to him being a Smithing Master.
If there were really such a group of Dark Iron Dwarves, when would it be the Marathon Family’s turn to be so arrogant? They’d be crushed by the big group of Smithing Masters long ago.
“That’s really strange. I clearly remembered they escaped…”
“Maybe they were found later…” Lin Li had little interest in the life and death of the Dark Iron Dwarves, and did not want to go on at it any longer. After a casual mention, he took the topic elsewhere.
Perhaps it was because Moradin had something to ask from Lin Li, but it had answered all the questions the latter had. Whatever Lin Li asked, as long as Moradin knew the answer, it would give a satisfactory one almost all the time.
From the conquest of the Dark Iron Dwarves to the establishment of the Eternal Furnace, Lin Li had read most of the stories in books, but how could it compare to hearing from Moradin in person? It was all its personal experience; regardless of the details or the degree of authenticity of the stories, it was far beyond what the books could match.
Lin Li’s jaw dropped at the mention of all the details from behind the scenes.
No one knew why Osric was interested in forging, and no one knew why he built the Eternal Furnace. Everything looked like a farce. The Highlord suddenly took interest in studying forging, so there was the tragedy of the Dark Iron Dwarves…
The Magic Legion rode lightning down from the sky and conquered the Dark Iron Dwarves overnight; at the same time, they took away their sacred relic, the Mjölnir, that had been passed down for thousands of years.
At the mention of this, Moradin chuckled impudently. “Hehe, it’s fine with me. Anyway, I was only a sacred relic with the Dark Iron Dwarves. It was a good thing following Osric; at least I could have more contact with precious magical metals…”
“…” Lin Li rolled his eyes and thought, This fellow has a gift for betrayal.
In the years that followed, Moradin did come into contact with innumerable precious magical metals. With Osric’s power and status, he could get almost all the magical metals he wanted, including the Infernal Magic Iron, which Lin Li yearned for.
Then came the construction of the Eternal Furnace. Moradin followed beside Osric and participated almost in the whole construction process. 1,200 years on, there was probably no one who knew more about the Eternal Furnace than Moradin.
Lin Li was not wrong. The Eternal Furnace did adopt the technology of the Sky Castle.The magical crystal of a fire dragon provided the source of power for the Eternal Furnace to operate. The complex mageweaths intertwined, restricting and influencing each other, bringing this purest fire magical element into full play. The whole Eternal Furnace was like a precision machine. Even a hairline mistake might render the whole construction useless.
The technology used in this process had exceeded the limit of human resources. Even the brilliant Osric couldn’t do it alone. In order to build an Eternal Furnace, he had used up almost all the manpower and material resources in his hands. In just three years, Osric had squandered enough money to buy the whole Felan Kingdom at present.
“Did you see that corridor in front of you? From there, it takes about 10 minutes to reach the core of the Eternal Furnace. There is a real melting furnace there—no flame, no smoke, only the purest fire magical element directly supplied by the dragon’s crystal. The magical metals it produces are almost perfect, and there will never be a trace of impurities in it.
“Look to your right, there’s a showroom storing all of Osric’s works. To be honest, this bastard was really a genius. The magical equipment he forged were all of the mastery level. Unfortunately, he died too early. If he were to live for a few more years, he could be a Smithing Guru for all one knows.”
Lin Li gave a start of surprise. He was about to open the door when he was stopped by Moradin. “Don’t go; you’re out of luck. You came too late, the stuff had been carried away by him 1,200 years ago, including those precious minerals and the mountain of gold.”
“…” This time, Lin Li understood.
Lin Li recalled Gerian telling him about it back in Jarrosus. No one knew what happened, but the Highlord had actually built a large tomb for himself in his later years. Lin Li remembered now that Moradin had mentioned it. The things here were probably moved to the tomb. It was not only a human custom to bury valuables with them…
“Otherwise, I could give you two of them.” Moradin finally lost his patience as he spoke. “Hey, I say, have you thought it through or not? Can you at least give me a reply—are you going to lend me the Brand Of Dusk? I won’t treat you unfairly; you could get two powerful pieces of magical equipment in exchange. You had better think carefully. These were forged by the Dark Iron Dwarves. Don’t regret missing this opportunity in the future!”
“It’s not a problem lending it to you, but I’m not interested in magical equipment…”
“Then, what are you interested in?”
Lin Li was waiting for this sentence. He chuckled, and finally revealed his purpose. “Hehe, to tell you frankly, I am very interested in the magical crystal of the fire dragon. If you can get it for me, not to mention lending you the Brand Of Dusk, I can even give it to you…”
“That won’t do!” Moradin gave up, and firmly rejected Lin Li. “The magical crystal of the fire dragon is not only the source of power for the Eternal Furnace, but also maintains the operation of the entire World of Void. Without it, the World of Void will collapse immediately. By then, not only the Eternal Furnace will disappear, I’m afraid you and I…”
“What World of Void?” Lin Li was confounded.
“Hell…” Moradin cursed, and its tone was not without frustration. “Did you not notice that this is not the original world at all?”
“…” Moradin’s words finally reminded Lin Li of a possibility. For a while, his face turned white in horror, and he swallowed his saliva with much difficulty. “You… you mean to say, the location of the Eternal Furnace is actually within a certain dimensional space?”
“F*ck…” Lin Li almost lost his mind. “Then, how do I get out?”
“Hng, you’ll have to depend on me!”
“Depend on you?”
“That’s right. Lend me the Brand Of Dusk, and I will have the means to bring you out of here.”
“For real or not…” Lin Li glanced at it with some doubt in his eyes.
“I’ll tell you the truth, the Brand Of Dusk is the key to the Gates of Ashes. Only by grasping this key can we move freely between the two worlds. Otherwise, you will be burned to ashes right away by the Gates of Ashes.”
“Gates of Ashes…” At this, Lin Li recalled the colorful spectrum again, and his face turned pale for a moment. “Is the Gates of Ashes you mentioned a colorful spectrum?”
“Have you seen its power?”
“Indeed…” Lin Li nodded. He did witness the power of the Gates of Ashes. A level-15 magical beast was turned into ashes in an instant—such a power was at least of the Legendary-level.
“Great that you’ve seen it. Now, you should have thought it through?”
“Yes.” Lin Li nodded obediently, and then uttered something that almost angered Moradin to death. “I’ve decided not to lend.”
“F*ck!” Moradin was so angry it almost jumped. “Damn you, lad, you’re taking me for a ride?!”
“You can lie to me for half a day, why can’t I take you for a ride? You’d better give me a good reason…”
“How did I lie to you?” Although Moradin’s tone was strong, there was a hint of guilt in its voice.
“How did you lie?” Lin Li slowly bent down, and took Moradin in his hand again. “Indeed, the Brand Of Dusk is the key to the Gates of Ashes. But you’re not simply trying to pass the Gates of Ashes by borrowing the Brand Of Dusk from me, right?”