Past the clouds, Ming Yue saw Rong Lu City under her and she looked on with excitement. It was certainly different from any other city she saw. The architecture here was unlike anything she had ever seen. Buildings were clustered together, forming one great mass. Connected through a great number of bridges and walkways that twisted and winded, this city had no rhyme or reason to its design. As if they were cobbled together in a hurry, there was no order to it. The surroundings of the city were bare, there were no trees or any plant of some sort, possibly to avoid causing a fire. The ground around the city was covered in a field of gray grass instead.
She could see flames and smoking coming from them and the smell of metal strengthened as the ship got closer and closer. Minutes later, the sky ship landed on the port and everyone exited.
As Ming Yue and Li Gang left, the captain gave her a few words.
"If you ever need to get somewhere in a hurry, show this to the people of the skyport", he said, giving her a small coin with the characters for Blue Skies on its sides.
"Its proof that you are an honored guest of our caravan."
The captain had grown quite fond of Ming Yue, her constant questioning and curiosity had reminded him of his own children. Not to mention, she was a great help to that pirate attack, even going out of her way to help treat the injured.
She thanked him for the gift and left the skyport with Li Gang.
Contrary to what she had thought, the air within the city was clean. There was no smell of metal or soot to be found.
Li Gang saw her confused and surprised face, "You must be surprised that this city doesn't smell like crap. Despite the somewhat chaotic city that is Rong Lu, we have multiple underground systems that filter out the air and send it off to our surroundings. Some of the crafters here had created a plant that feeds on the fumes, some type of grass and planted it around the city. Those grass are harvested every now and then, having then feed on the fumes turn them gray and it would turn metallic. If we didn't do this, we would die from the fumes as the mines would be impossible to enter anymore. Come with me."
Ming Yue followed him as he began to introduce her around the city.
"We do have our fair share of food and entertainment. We do sit in the middle of three countries and countless others have come from far away lands. The outer levels are where the restaurants, hotels, and markets are. The central are where the forges reside."
The city really did seem like a mess from the outside. As they continued to move, Ming Yue could somewhat understand the thought behind this wit a bit of help from Li Gang.
The outer section was where people lived a congregated: homes, businesses, etc. The closer one walked to the center of the city, the more forges there were. The middle sections were where most of the forges ran but the center had only one forge, the Forgelord's personal workshop.
It was the biggest building within the city.
Li Gang took her in and the rush of heat washed over her as the door opened.
She stood in front of a huge hall. There was stone head of a dragon on one wall and a phoenix head on the other. The dragon's head had water flowing from its mouth while the phoenix had lava pouring from its open beak, falling into their own tubs. The center had a great anvil and it was surrounded by racks and racks of hammers. The ceiling was full of contraptions for forging as well but she could not discern their specific uses. Along with the hammers were sharpening wheels. Numerous torches filled the hall with light and she saw everything clearly.
The constant ring of metal resounded throughout the hall.
At the anvil was a man who hammered away at a piece of metal, Seconds later, he held it close to his face. It was a sword, burning bright. He walked over to the tub of water and placed the blazing hot weapon in. Water fizzed as steam rose from the tub.
He took it out and inspected it.
"Pah! trash!" he said, annoyed, he threw it behind him, onto a pile of unfinished weapons.
Afterwards, he picked a ingot of metal that was sitting above the tub of lava, ready to be forged. Placing on the anvil, the man started hammering away.
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"Fu Shan! How are you?!" Li Gang spoke happily as he walked towards the man.
Getting closer, Ming Yue realized something about Fu Shan. He was quite large, giant even. Ming Yue herself was a little under five feet tall, shorter than Parting Sun but this man was almost twice her height. Maybe 9 feet tall and he was not thin at all, his bulky arms and protruding belly made him quite intimidating.
"Li Gang, my friend! You've come back! How was the General Auction at Red Lotus Country?" the man turned around and spoke with a deep and gentle voice.
"It was pretty good! I've finally found the swords!"
"Oh, what fortune! Does it have anything with this young lass next to you?"
"Yes! If it wasn't for her, I would not have completed my lifelong goal!"
Fu Shan looked towards Ming Yue and gave a little bow.
"Let me introduce myself again. I am Fu Shan, master of the Jun Heng Forge that you are in right now."
Ming Yue responded with a small bow.
"My name is Ming Yue, it is a pleasure to meet you."
"Hah! There is no need to be no formal, I am not some noble or fancy person."
Ming Yue quite liked Fu Shan, he seemed like a very humble person.
"Anyways, Fu Shan, where is the Forgelord?" Li Gang asked.
"His favorite place as always, you remember don't you?"
"Of course I remember! I haven't been gone for that long!"
After exchanging a few more words, Li Gang and Ming Yue left Fu Shan to continue his work. Leaving the Jun Heng Forge, they walked back to the outer levels of the city. During their stroll, Li Gang talked to Ming Yue about the Forgelord.
"The Forgelord is an old geezer and he only likes two things: forging and gardening. He's quite the eccentric. Even among other eccentrics he is the most unusual one in this city. The only time he accepts requests is whenever he feels like it. Sometimes, he will forge a sword for a king or fix a toy for a child. Sometimes, he will do it if you do what he requests of you. There's no telling what he will do. As a blacksmith, he is incredible, someone whose talent is highly sought after. But as for his gardening skills..."
"What about my gardening skills, you brat?"
A wild and energetic voice spoke out from above them, as an old man landed on the ground right in front of them. He was a small man whose clothes were very dirty. His hair was messy and yet he had a well kept beard that was braided. His wrinkled face carried a sense of energy and excitement and his eyes were still bright. His two hands carried several large sacks of dirt and he had a bag slung on his back, carrying a number of tools.
He looked mockingly at Li Gang, who was shocked from the Forgelord's sudden appearance.
"Ah...Old man Qin!"
"Quiet! We're in front of guests, call me Lord Qin!"
"Yes, Lord Qin!"
"Now follow me! I've got something to show you!"
Lord Qin quickly ran off while Li Gang and Ming Yue chased after him.
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