“Yes, sir!” The guard took two steps, thought of something and then turned around. “One more thing. There’s a young man outside with a sword. There are cloud patterns on the sword, and it looked like…” The guard looked up at Gongjia Heng. “Looked like your signature.”
When the guards saw the young man unsheathe his golden sword, they paid more attention. They’d been guarding the Gongjia gates for a while now so they were familiar with swords. That was why they were particularly sensitive to weapons and cloud patterns.
“Nonsense! When have I made a sword with cloud patterns?” After he arrived at King City, other than talking to the few leaders of the Gongjia family during the first few days, he had been in hibernation mode and focused on research. When had he made anything for anyone? He never sent out the swords he made either, they were all in the forging room. How could it be outside?... Eh?
That’s not right!
Gongjia Heng had a sudden realisation and almost spat his water out. “Wait wait, the kid you were talking about, what does he look like?”
What did he look like? The guard tried to recall but realised he had only paid attention to the sword.
Under Heng’s gaze, he could only say, “That kid was impressive, he took Lubi’s hammer and chased after him. He looks like a tribesman and has fiery totemic patterns.”
“Ask him if he is Flaming Horn’s Shao Xuan. If he is, bring the kid in.”
The young man standing next to him was shocked enough to hear someone had taken Lubi’s hammer. Now he was even more shocked to hear Heng’s reply.
“Flaming Horn? Shao Xuan? I haven’t heard of this name before. Master Heng, you know him? You’ve made a sword for him before?” asked the young man.
Gongjia Heng nodded. “If it really is him, the sword in his hand was given by me.” However, speaking of the sword, he recalled the embarrassing incident at the tribe when he split the rock. The test he set outside the gates was inspired by this incident. There was no need to tell anyone about that.
“Flaming Horn. Familiar name,” the young man said in a low voice.
“That’s not his name, that’s a tribe’s name. Flaming Horn tribe,” said Heng.
“Ah, it’s them!” the young man remembered. “I’ve heard of the older generation talking about Flaming Horn. They said every time the Flaming Horn people visited, they’d cause some incident. However, it’s been years since the last time they came to King City. Not just me, I think you might not have been born yet the last time they visited. Can’t believe they’re here again.”
When he recalled the impression the elders had of the tribe, he continued, “So the stories are true. They’ve been high-profile here too. Chasing after Lubi with his own hammer? The people of King City will be talking about this for ages.”
Gongjia Heng now really wanted Shao Xuan to quickly come inside. Would the kid ‘take a step’ outside his gates? Or is the crater there already?!
“Ji Fang, you were sitting here, you must’ve heard. Was it very loud?” Heng was worried.
The young man, who was Ji Fang, thought for a moment. “I think so. There was a lot of rumbling.”
Heng grew more concerned. The guard had already left so he couldn’t get the specifics. When did Shao Xuan come? Unless their Thousand Grain Gold was already ripe? He was looking forward to this.
With Heng deep in thought, Ji Fang did not ask more questions. However, he memorised the name of the tribe. He had to investigate and ask others about this tribe. How did Master Heng know this person? It sounded like they were close.
On the other side, the guard who received Heng’s orders returned to the gates, filled with astonishments and doubts.
There were three hundred Black Bears in a standstill against a group from the Linlu tribe. The two leaders were arguing, their eyes looked like they were ablaze. They looked like they were going to start attacking any moment now.
Both sides were just about to fight but the guard’s arrival temporarily halted the battle. Both sides looked at the person jogging over, their hearts racing. Everyone was a lot calmer now, even regretting this. Had they upset the Gongjia family? Was he here to scold them? This is bad! This was a bad decision, they shouldn’t have launched a battle at the Gongjia family’s gates!
There was complete silence. The crowd shut their mouths to listen to the conversation.
Under the gaze of a few hundred pairs of eyes, plus layers and layers of bystanders, the average-sized guard jogged over to the Black Bear trading party. Everyone around Black Bear, the leader, quickly moved so that the guard could talk to their boss.
However, the guard did not talk to Black Bear but came to Shao Xuan instead.
“Brother, are you Flaming Horn’s Shao Xuan?” asked the guard. He sounded polite enough, not the cold and distant tone he usually had.
“I am,” said Shao Xuan.
“Master Heng invites you!”
Gasp! Everyone in the Black Bear trading party turned their heads to look at him jealously.
Black Bear whispered a few words into Maoda’s ear and Maoda nodded hurriedly. Then, Black Bear inserted his large knife back into the leather sheath on his back, rubbed his palms. He did not even look at the Linlu tribesmen when he hurried over to Shao Xuan. Although the guard did not talk to him, it was not the time to be timid!
Once Black Bear left, Maoda called all his men to return. The boss had given them instructions to prepare a gift as an apology to the Gongjia family. They’d just fought at their gates so of course they had to show some gesture of apology so that they could hire the Gongjia family to make swords in the future.
As for the Linlu tribe, at this moment, who had the time for them? You can fuck off somewhere, we don’t care if you hate us! We’ll come kick your ass once this Gongjia matter is settled!
The Black Bear trading party did not take Linlu tribe seriously at all. Just like that, they left.
The crowd exploded into conversation. They all heard what the guard said.
Shao Xuan did not listen to what they had to say. Once he entered the residence, most of the sounds were already shut off. He gave the hammer to the guard because it wasn’t going to be convenient bringing a hammer inside.
They hadn’t met in a while. Gongjia Heng had changed, behaving and positioning himself more like a master.
“Hehe, so it’s you!” Gongjia Heng got up to greet him.
“Master Heng! Apologies for interrupting your day!” Shao Xuan smiled.
“Hahaha, it’s fine, it’s fine!” He was still happy to see Shao Xuan. “I heard you beat the Lu family’s Lubi up?”
“He came looking for us, it’s not like we could do nothing.” He shrugged.
“Do you have a place to stay in King City? You can stay here if you want!”
Gongjia Heng was actually worried that Shao Xuan might have offended some powerful people in King City. He would be safer here.
Shao Xuan understood his intentions but refused.
Black Bear did not interrupt since they were deep in conversation. It was only when Shao Xuan mentioned him that he spoke.
“Black Bear trading party, Beimi. Nice to meet you, Master Heng!”
“Mm.” He was here with Shao Xuan so Gongjia Heng wasn’t too rude. It wasn’t their fault.
Gongjia Heng introduced Ji Fang nearby. “The lord’s son, Ji Fang.”
To the tribesmen, the lord’s son was the same as the chief’s son. That was why Shao Xuan was not panicking.
Shao Xuan was here to visit Heng, give him some Thousand Grain Gold and request a knife.
“Come, let’s talk in the house.” Gongjia Heng brought them to a house near the forging room. This was for meeting guests. Forging rooms were considered secret areas and outsiders must not enter.
To the Gongjia people, they would rather their house have no bedrooms than lack a forging room. There were too many secrets inside and it was an important place. That was why they could not bring random people inside. Even the lord’s son, Ji Fang, had to sit outside even though he was here to ask for a sword.
Shao Xuan drew a knife Guang Yi had once used on a piece of white cloth. Gongjia Heng also understood what he wanted. He was told that Shao Xuan was staying in the city for a while so it was not urgent. He would forge it when he had time.
“Alright, I understand. Don’t worry, you’ll definitely be satisfied with it. I’ll fix it if you don’t like it. Right, how’s your sword? Do you need any repairs?” asked Gongjia Heng.
“Actually, I do.” Shao Xuan took out his sword. It was bent from blocking Lubi’s hammer.
“Put it here too. I’ll fix it.” Gongjia Heng offered Shao Xuan to drink with him the next day. When he was promoted to a blacksmith, many people had gifted him drinks.
“I can’t tomorrow. I’ve promised someone else I’d meet him,” said Shao Xuan.
“Who? Who’s more important than I am?” Gongjia Heng said jokingly, though there was a little pride in his eyes. He had the right to say so.
“I’m going to old Ji Ju’s place tomorrow…”
“... Go then.”
In terms of both age and ranking, he was far from Ji Ju’s rank. Although the Gongjia people were proud, they still had to recognise the achievements of Ji ‘Golden Grain’ Ju. After eating his golden grains for twenty years, Gongjia Heng was familiar with this person.
Ji Fang, who had planned to excuse himself, sat down again to listen.
But Shao Xuan did not speak much. After some small talk, he left a small animal skin pouch for Heng and left.
When he left, Ji Fang reached to take the pouch in Gongjia Heng’s hand. He suspected it was related to what Ji Ju had been hiding.
Too bad Gongjia Heng quickly hid it behind his back. “You want to see? Absolutely not!” Shao Xuan had deliberately given him ‘a look’ before he left. This was not something they could tell other people about.