The old man's eyes almost popped out of his socket. He somehow held himself back at the last moment or else the curse in his mind would have slipped out of his mouth.
It wasn't an exaggeration. He had never seen anything like this in his life. If he remembered correctly, Max was only able to craft a low 1★ Grade equipment and now he suddenly showed him a peak 1★ Grade Equipment. Is this a joke? Was Stark messing with him? After all, he still vividly remembered what that brat did last time. He still felt his blood boil whenever he thought about it.
But on second thought, he shouldn't be lying. After all, this kid was carrying that hammer with him. So that meant this kid really achieved something impossible.
He didn't feel much about it earlier after all he had seen many geniuses but what was this? How could someone learn at such a rate? This wasn't even in the category of genius.
The old man really was shocked at this moment.
But in reality, he truly had overestimated Max even though Max had the system.
Max was only able to have such a rate of increase because he was already at the limit and only needed to level up. And besides that, the reason why the equipment turned out to be Peak grade was that he lucked out.
With the level up, the passive skill of the hammer and his luck. He was able to improve the equipment to the peak of 1★ Grade.
Now, if someone told him to do the same thing overnight again, he wouldn't be able to repeat it.
" Old Man, Do I pass? ", Max asked with a smile seeing the old man in a daze.
" Cough! ..Not bad I guess. You pass. From now on, I will take you in as my Grand Disciple. You can call me Grandmaster.", the old man said as he pretended to be unfazed.
" Grandmaster? What do you mean? ", Max asked with a frown. He didn't quite understand things like that. But he knew that he already had a Master.
" Didn't Stark tell you? Tsk..that brat, now he don't even recognise me.. huh. I am your Master's Master. So, that makes me your Grandmaster. When are you going to bow?", the old man explained seeing the expression on Max's face.
On the other hand, Max's face twitched. But he still bowed. Just the fact this man was his Mr. Stark's Master was enough of a fact for him to respect him. But on second thought was this Man even a good teacher. Wasn't he just exhorting his disciples to make money for him?
"Vin..Ryan...come here. Meet your junior.", the old man called out.
Hearing him, both Ryan and Vin stopped their work and came forward.
" He is Stark's disciple. And he will be joining you guys from today and study under my guidance.", the old man announced.
" What!! You are Elder Brother's disciple. Why didn't you tell us earlier? How is he doing? We haven't seen him for a long time ever since he ran awa-" Ryan couldn't control his enthusiasm but he immediately stopped when he realized that he had touched the taboo.
Hearing him, Vin's face became pale. They were not allowed to talk about that matter. If the old man heard about it. They had to do extra labor that week.
" Did my master run away?", Max asked curiously. He couldn't imagine Mr. Stark being like that.
Well, he didn't know about the taboo. The moment he spoke those words, Vin and Ryan sighed. They were done for. The next week was going to be a tiring one.
" You all really have much time to talk. Looks like I have given you too much free time. What are you doing? Don't you have to deliver the material? And Max you too accompany them. Familiarise yourself with how we work.", the old man was definitely outraged as he commanded them.
Max looked at the old man with a weird gaze. Did he finally lose his mind? Wasn't he the one who had called them?
Outside the Shop
" What's wrong with him?", Max asked in confusion.
" I will tell you about the taboo in our shop.", Ryan said as he started to pull the cart.
Vin and Max took the two ends at the back and supported him as he began to tell about the taboo of Iron Smithy.
Well it wasn't a long story. The Old man being a money-grubber cherished every single penny. When Stark graduated from the Academy, he had to leave Arcane and return back to take control of his household. As usual, how can the old man let his precious disciple go without paying a single Zen? So he asked for the tuition fees and Stark paid.
So where was the problem?
Well a day before his departure, Stark had caused trouble. He had a short temper to begin with at least in the days of his youth. When a merchant claimed that a product made by his own two hands to be faulty and low class. Conflict broke out. And the damage was massive.
Ryan was about 8 years old back then and had just been picked by the old man. He trembled as he remembered the scene.
After all, Stark wasn't just an awesome blacksmith but a strong Mage too. He was considered to be in top talents of his generation.
The old man only came to know about the situation only after Stark left. He had to pay ten times the amount that Stark paid to him.
Ryan had truly seen the old man cough out blood in anger.
"Take it, the best offer available only for 20000 zen"
" Have a look, it's the red Hell flame ore, a 4★ Ore."
Max looked at the hawker on the streets shouting by their stall to attract the customers.
" Where is this place? And why are we wearing these Cloaks?", Max whispered to Vin who was beside him pushing the cart.
A while ago, they had entered a dark alley to put on this black cloak.
" This is the black market. So, it's obvious for us to disguise ourselves. We sell our product here. You can buy all kinds of items here ranging from a simple knife to a Mythic beasts core." Vin whispered back.
" Isn't the Blackmarket set up by Dark Society? Won't we be in trouble.", Max said with a frown.
" What trouble? Everyone uses the Black market. Mages and mercenaries from Mage Association and Guild Union are no different." Vin replied.
" What!! I..mean.. aren't they enemies. ", Max's voice grew in shock. But he immediately toned down his voice.
" They are, but people prefer to sell and buy items here as they receive better prices in comparison to the Guild Union or the Mage Association. Besides, the people here are not stupid. They just act as private individual firms. But only those who have the membership card can avail the true facilities of Black market. And do you think that the Association and Union don't know about it.They know it very well. But they don't want any large scale battles as they already have the internal struggle and the Mana beasts to deal with." Vin explained.
" Hm..But I thought that they had their own Markets.", Max asked in confusion.
" They do. But people who want money prefer blackmarket. The reason behind this is that their marketing system is different. They offer less prices along with reputation points. These points can be used to avail benefits and they also help one to climb ranks.", Vin explained.
" But still, it is quite unbelievable.", Max said as he still wasn't able to accept it.
" I know. I too found it unbelievable when my master first told me about it. But you know what, the world isn't like what we imagine it to be. I think even though the Dark Society is evil, it is needed. I don't trust the people from the Association and the Union. At least the Dark Society says it is the bad one. They assassinate, kill, sell drugs. No matter what kind of work they do whether it's evil or not. We know it's them. But those bastards are more of an asshole who act innocent and preach justice in front of others. But when we turn our backs they turn on their hideous faces.", Vin said with a painful expression on his face as his grip on the cart tightened.
Max didn't even need to use «observation» skill. It was obvious he had gone through something terrible in the past which caused his hatred towards the Association and Union. He couldn't believe how such a sweet and kind person was carrying such feelings inside him.
" We are here.", Ryan said.
His voice pulled Max's attention and he looked ahead to see a store with the name.
" Old Town Weaponry "
" Pick up the crates and follow me. Remember, I am the only one allowed to talk. No one else will speak.", Ryan said as he took two boxes in his hand and entered.
Max and Vin picked up the rest of the boxes and followed behind him.
But as Max was about to enter the shop, he felt a hostile gaze on him. He turned around but the moment he did. It vanished without leaving a trace.