3 Bricks

I woke up to the smell of food, someone once again placed food near my door. I had my fill and headed to the shop owner.

Once I was there, the man had an angry look on his face.

"Kid, yesterday, you took those tools, I thought you belonged to the Xuan Fu temple, but apparently you have been kicked out. I won't ask you to give them back, but I won't forgive you if you try to scam me for more of my items."

Hmm, I guess he must have learned the news from the Village Head, but no matter, I was lucky enough to check my pockets yesterday, I had a purse I didn't even notice I had tucked inside my robes. It didn't jingle due to being covered in cotton, but it had a good deal of silver and gold coins.

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to take anything from you without payment, but you offered before I could pay you. How much are those tools worth anyway?" I asked.

"Two Bronze Jins."

"Right," I replied and pulled out the cost and handed it to him. The man's angry expression immediately turned to friendly and he was more than happy to serve. It was true, money is god, and everyone loves worshiping it.

"I'll be needing more things," I said.

"Like what?" the man asked.

"I'll need an anvil, and a more hammers, the bigger the better. Also shovels, pickaxes,"

"I only have one of each," the man said, "As for the anvil, I don't have one, you'll not find any anvil in this area, but I do have a big slab of iron you can use. Are you planning on opening a forge?"

"For now, it's for personal use," I replied and then waited for the man to bring me the stuff.

"Also, do you have iron ingots?"

"Iron Ingots? What are those?" he asked.

I shook my head, "Do you have anything that has iron in it and you don't need, even iron ore is good."

"Well, for now, I do have some rusty broken axes, shovels, that no one will be using, as for iron ore, you'll have to wait for the City Messenger to come by, you can give him a letter and an advanced payment and he will send someone to deliver it for you."

"Is he trustworthy?" I asked.

"Of course, he is appointed by the City Lord. I can write your letter for you. How much do you need?"

"At least two hundred pounds for a start,"

"Pound? I have never heard of that young master. What is a pound?"

I looked around and saw a quite hefty and large potato, I weighed it in my hand and handed it to him, about this weight." I said

"Oh, that's close to half a Kilogram, so you need about a hundred Kilograms?"

"Uh, yes,"

"If I remember it's one silver for fifty kilograms of iron, that'll be two silvers if you have them."

"Here, and this is your commission," I said and added a few bronze coins to him.

The payment was two silvers and ten bronze Jins, five for the tools, and five for the merchant. He was rather happy. I grabbed the tools and took them back to my shed, then came back for the square iron slab the man had, thankfully it was not miss proportioned as it had a few sides that looked as if they were cut by a sword.

I grabbed the slab, it was heavy, but not too heavy for me. I managed to bring all the tools back to my place and began planning my work.

First, to make strong tools, I'll need a furnace, and the best one for these types is a blast furnace. Sadly, the blast furnace will need a lot of time to construct and a lot of clay. I can probably make one, I already know the method and idea behind it.

Second, I'll need firewood, a lot of it. the forest here is enough to satisfy my need, but I'll also need to make charcoal, and for that, I need a container to burn wood and make it into charcoal, the container needs to be made of iron that's why I got the anvil.

I looked at the tools I had, there was enough iron here to make a small barrel and there was enough clay in the river to make a crucible.

I brought a good deal of clay from the river then began shaping it into pots, it wasn't the best pot one could make, as I didn't have a spinning table. But they were good enough to hold things in them. I also made five of them. The clay in the river is not pure, so there is a risk of the pots bursting once they're put in high heat.

I placed the clay I took from the river on a large plank that crafted slides underneath it to make it easier to move. I didn't have the time or will to make wheels.

Once I brought enough clay near my shed, I started by shaping it into a pyramid shape. With an open hole on the top, then I left a small open spot where I can place wood.

I threw in some wood to heat the clay furnace and after a good deal of time, it hardened and became operable with. Thankfully it didn't blow up in my face due to the heat.

Now I have my furnace, it's not a blast furnace, but it's good enough for now.

I began placing the pots inside the furnace and added more wood.

Time to eat, looking down, I noticed that my clothes had turned dirty, I need to get more clothes.

Once I had my fill, I saw a young man coming over toward me. He looked to be taller than me, with brownish skin. He was muscular and had a wide grin on his face.

"Hello, my name is Wu Fan, can you tell me what you're doing here?" he asked.

"I'm Shen Bao, and I'm making stuff, I said. Surprisingly my name or the name of this body came out of me as if I had been using it all my life.

"I can clearly see that, but what kinds of stuff? This looks interesting." Wu Fan said.

"I'm making a crucible, to melt iron."

"What? You're going to melt iron into a jar of dirt? Are you out of your mind?" the kid laughed.

I didn't deign to tell him off, he was the first person to have the courage to come and talk with me. As I have noticed most of the other kids in the village were outright scared of me, no different than the older people.

"You'll see," I said.

After a few moments, the first pot blew up, then the second. But the remaining three remained strong until the process was done.

"Good," I said.

I then brought more clay and made a large mold that I could pour steel in. I shaped it as a wide rectangle. I placed the mold into the furnace and waited for it to harden.

The kid had no idea what I was doing yet, but he was interested enough to bring me wood. He had the goodwill to chop some of the trees down and make more firewood while I spent time bringing clay back and forth to make more molds for different things, and even started making bricks.

Night soon came and Wu Fan had to leave and go back home. I didn't feel tired or sleepy yet so I kept making bricks and throwing them in the fire.

By morning I was soot-covered, I had to get more clothes from the shop and once I did, I took a dip in the river.

Most of the people in the village were treating me as a strange crazy man. I didn't' mind it, I had a plan in mind.

Once I was done, and this time I wore clothes only fit for working, made of rough wool and I wouldn't mind them getting dirty. I kept on making bricks and setting them apart, I needed to get more to make a good furnace.

Wu Fan came once again, this time he had a good idea of what I was doing, but not the purpose of it. He helped shape bricks and threw them in the furnace to heat up. While I was busy cutting wood and making even more planks. Our small 'businesses brought the attention of many other people who were interested in this 'brick' novelty. They kept asking questions on how to use them and I didn't mind sharing, bricks were not a huge secret and anyone with a fart for a brain would know how to do them. It was better to be nice to these people and share in some of these 'secrets' at least this might go back to me later in the future.

Soon it was time to make the barrel, I took the Crucible, which was a ceramic pot, and placed iron inside it. Broken ax heads, some twisted nails, anything that could be melted.

My only fear was the pot breaking before the iron could melt, usually, a good Crucible is made with a mix of clay and cobalt, since I don't have the latter, I'll have to count on the low quality of this iron to melt faster as it will have a lower melting point than the clay.

Thankfully my gamble worked and the iron began pooling inside the pot after an hour. The current clay furnace did not contain heat well enough, thus why I was making the bricks. They'll be used to make a proper furnace soon.

After the iron melted, I got a wet towel and hurriedly drew out the pot then poured it on the mold. It didn't take time for the iron to cool, especially after I drenched it with water to make it bend. Soon I had a rectangular iron plank.

I then poured the rest of the iron on the remaining mold that were a circle shape. These will be the bottom and top of the barrel after I bent the iron plank and made my barrel. It was not big, but it was enough to make charcoal.

After I sealed the badly made barrel, I placed wood inside it and locked it close. I didn't have anything to seal it with, but clay was good as it easily fit into the seams and closed the barrel. The heat from the fire under the barrel was enough to turn the wood inside into charcoal after a few hours.

After I taught Wu Fan how to make Charcoal, I began building the real furnace. Using the bricks, I heated earlier, I placed them atop each other to make a small square room with the top open, it was larger than the clay furnace, but it will contain heat better especially after I close it.

I paid Wu Fan a bronze coin, that he was pretty happy of taking. He thanked me a lot and left to his house. He was a happy kid.

Night soon came and I had a good deal of charcoal ready and my furnace also ready for use.

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