Chapter IV
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Steel was known to be one of the strongest base- level materials, even giving the black iron a run for its money. However, steel had the advantage of being completely neutral ki-wise. Usually all materials had an innate Ying or Yang energy which had to be balanced using other materials in order to facilitate the flow of ki.
 
This meant that a steel puppet would not only have no apparent flaw but would also skip one entire step in the forging process, which was a god-sent for Arun who was running low on time.
 
* Now I only need marrow. Luckily there still are some beast bones left. Actually, there seems to be quite a selection from where to choose from. Hmm... that's another problem, how do I find the one that's most suitable? Now that's the kind of problem like! I think I might just have the solution. *
 
Arun started pick up every piece and pouring ki into them. This would help him assert the quantity and quality of ki flow of the marrow. The quality was extremely important for him as it was the marrow which would store up and distribute ki whitin the puppet, acting as a sort of dantian.
 
* All of these are decent but none is excellent. Just one more left. A tiger bone huh? The exterior is quite beat up, no wonder noone picked it up. Alas, the marrow doesn't seem to be damaged, it's still worth a look. "
 
Picking up the piece he started carefully circulating his ki into the bone. Arun could usually approximate the quality of the bone by how fast it circulated the ki and how much ki it could take at once. So he started pouring more and more of his ki in order to find the limits... surprise grew bit by bit as the bone wasn't getting full until Arun finally snapped.
 
* What's such a high tier piece doing in here? No matter how much ki I circulate in this thing it doesn't get full! I can't even asses it's limits! A bone so powerfull, even with the will of the beast long gone from whitin it, the beast must have been at least in earth stage when it died... this was no ordinary tiger. Can I even work with such an amazing material? * Arun hesitated.
 
* No, now's not time to doubt myself * he shook his head violently * I need to craft the best puppet and this will help me. Ok... I have all the materials I need now I better hurry up to my room. The clock is ticking. *
 
***
 
On the other side of the room a disdainful pair of eyes were following Arun as he was leaving the warehouse. It was Eike, William's cousin and young master of one of Xu's branch families.
 
Eike had long since began the forging process but in his rush he forgot one of the materials so he had to return to collect it. It wasn't that much of a bother for him as his assigned room and warehouse were extremely close to each other. His uncle made sure of that, he was one of the judges after all.
 
But when he reached the warehouse he was met with a rather... amusing sight. It none other that Arun, the low-life that dared cross William carrying a bunch of... steel? Eike started laughing uncontrollably. This country bumpkin didn't even know that steel couldn't conduct ki! He must have picked it up because it was shiny! Honestly, it's too funny!
 
* Hold it together, Eike! If you laugh like this he might notice something is wrong. I have to compliment, yes compliment him for such a beautiful choice! * Eike tried to contain his laughter, barely manageing to minimize it to a chuckle.
 
" Oi, Arun right? Nice choice there! I honestly didn't even think about that as an option! " Eike said struggling to keep a plain face.
 
He than set a while waiting for a response such as ' Thank you! ' or ' You're too kind '. After all, a bumbkin should be glad to be acknowledged by him.
 
But it never came. Forget about a response, Arun didn't even look at him, he just passed by him like Eike was air. This swiftly changed Eike's mood from amused to infuriated.
 
* How dare he ignore me? Well, no matter, seeing him at the bottom of the rankings will cure my anger anyways. No need to waste my day over the likes of him. * picturing whatever Arun was going to do with that steel helped Eike cool down for now.
 
* Now, now, I mustn't waste any more time in this place. I'd better get my bone and get back to forging. I can't believe I forgot about it, and after how much my uncle hyped it up! A white tiger bone, uncle told me the beast might've even reached gold stage in his life! I can't lose the first place with it! *
 
So he started looking for the bone. Uncle told him it was broken, so it was easy to spot and none would take it. But it was weird he couldn't find it at all. He searched for it 5 minutes... 10 minutes...
 
*Where is it??! * Eike was getting desperate. * It should be here, uncle wouldn't lie... Did someone take it? Impossible! Uncle said that even a certified appraiser might miss it's value with so much damage done to it! But WHERE is it? If I don't find it... my materials are all selected in order to complement the tiger marrow... and I've already begun the forging process... I can't stop now... but the build would be significantly weakened... It MUST be here somewhere... hidden, Yes! it must be hidden! I just have to search more carefully, that's it! *
 
And so began Eike's hour-long fruitless search.
 
***
 
Arun tough he heard something while he was exiting the room but he was too absorbed in thought to check the source of it.
 
* It was probably just the wind *
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