It wasn’t too long before the meeting Kail was in finished. As Barrett was waiting nearby, he saw them leaving. It took him a moment, but he recognized Iokua from the Kaleo Blacksmith Guild. Barrett and Kail had worked with them briefly in Mahne, after they had fled from Crilen. Then they had escorted a caravan of theirs with a minor conflict along the way. It was after that the Silver Blades caught wind of them and chased them to the very edge of the Metal Sea, where Barrett and Kail nearly died… and most of their opponents did die.
As he was walking past, Iokua looked over at Barrett, then stopped. “Oho, what a coincidence! Master Kail and I were just talking about you. Truth be told, I’m more surprised he’s a master already than you.”
Barrett nodded, “Good to see you again, manager Iokua. How is the guild doing?”
“We’re expanding… and we just got a good opportunity to expand in this direction. It doesn’t seem like that long ago that you two were just young fellows on the run, and now one of you is running a clan! Though I hear you’re part of a truly outrageous sect with a few grandmasters…” Iokua shook his head, “Though I suppose that’s Stredo for you. It’s a hard market to get into. Especially if we don’t want our secrets stolen…”
“Speaking of secrets…” Barrett thought for a moment. “I’m sure you have more than just the technique for uncontrollable metal… I don’t suppose your guild knows how to work taspum?” Barrett pulled out a shard and held it up.
Iokua took the shard and looked at it, “Is this actually taspum? How rare… you won’t make much out of this, though I’m afraid to say we can’t help you anyway. Our smiths have been trying to secure a supply to experiment on for some time, but it’s fairly rare, and we don’t have connections all the way out to the Eastern Metal Sea.”
“Hmm, if they had some, they’re confident in figuring out how to work it?”
Iokua shrugged, “I can’t speak for what might be, but our smiths are very skilled and they would certainly be eager to try.”
“I have more than just this.” Barrett gestured to the shard in Iokua’s hand, “If your guild would be willing to share their results… I can give you a hundred kilograms of taspum.”
“Taspum ore?” Iokua asked.
“More shards like that. Already pure but quite difficult to work.”
Iokua thought for a few moments. “A hundred kilograms is a good amount, but it would only be enough for a few pieces… the forging technique would be valuable, but that would be true for you as well.” Iokua shook his head, “It’s not quite enough.”
Barrett could see why that might be the case. From what Barrett knew of Iokua, he would be interested in a fair but profitable deal. With just what he’d offered, it would basically be asking them to do all the work with little benefit to themselves- unless they could secure a larger supply of taspum. That said, satisfying the curiosity the smiths could also be counted for something. “We can talk more about this later. The hallway isn’t the best place for negotiations…”
“That’s right. I will be around here for some days, and of course you can contact me through the guild if necessary.”
Only two masters such as Barrett and Kail could squeeze each other in such tight hugs without anyone breaking any bones. Though Barrett had been the first one to save Kail, Kail had stayed with him even going into a dangerous battle. Both of them had just barely survived, and not having Kail would have likely been just the difference necessary for Barrett to have not made it. Besides just life and death situations, they’d also spent many years together as friends. Though at the current moment Kail owed Barrett more and Barrett was coming to ask a favor, it wasn’t like they were actually keeping tally. If they could help each other out, they would.
“Good to see you again,” Kail nodded, “I was worried it might be a long time.”
“You could come to Stredo… but I imagine you’re very busy with the clan.”
Kail sighed, “I can’t imagine what it would be like to manage when it was at its peak. Though I suppose part of the problem is putting everything back together. Once we have a solid foundation again, things should be easier. At least I have the help of uncle Makana and the others. Speaking of which, with the clan being restored… we were hoping to buy some regrowth medicine for his arm.”
“I’m sure that won’t be a problem. You’re a friend of the Sect, after all.” After some exchanges of pleasantries, Barrett explained why he had come. “You have experience with metal and Pure Body Tempering, so you may be able to help me most.”
“Living metal, hmm?” Kail grinned, “I like the sound of that. If you ever fully figure it out, let me know. Of course, I’ll let you try out the Metal Heart as well.”
“I also have taspum… it’s a somewhat unique metal. It’s very strong, but difficult to work. I was hoping to form a sort of alliance to figure out how to make use of it.”
“I can’t say I’ve heard of it…” Kail stroked his chin.
“I didn’t even know the name until I visited the Leipeka clan,” Barrett shrugged. “Though Iokua had heard of it.”
“He’d from a blacksmith guild, so I wouldn’t expect any less.”
Barrett had talked with Iokua and Kail to work out the beginnings of a plan to research the taspum. It seemed like it would be best to have some of the best smiths from each group assist the Kaleo Blacksmith Guild in their facilities. Barrett could see himself handing out a good majority of the taspum he had collected, but it wasn’t like he could use three tons of metal on his own anyway. There was also some chance of the cave itself being made of taspum or something similar… which would be more than just a few tons. For that though, they would have to figure out how to mine it first. If the cave turned out to be truly valuable, Barrett would certainly split the profits with Reina she had discovered the cave, though with Barrett putting in the work to make it usable and her having received the technique, he would probably take a larger share. However, even a very useful technique probably wasn’t worth as much as a mine- and more relevantly, having material wealth as well as good technique could only be beneficial. He wasn’t going to unfairly split the gains just because they didn’t know the value of things at the time. Well, perhaps the cave was something else.
When Barrett had rescued Kail after he found the Metal Hearts, Barrett had only briefly seen it. Now that he held one in his hands, could sense how valuable it would be to metal cultivators. As soon as he touched it he got a feeling that said this is the essence of metal. Of course, actually turning feelings into understanding was a bit more difficult, but perhaps he would gain more of an internal understanding of things… and how that might apply to living metal, either creating it or finding and attuning to it.