Chapter 10: The Society of Excellence
Translator: Irene Editor: Lis
Elemental energy was nothing uncommon.
During the early Cultivation Era, it was heavily studied but not utilized as widely. Due to spiritual force's more abundant and active nature, it was easier to use than elemental energy. In fact, the ample production of spiritual force suppressed the generation of elemental energy, and so the study of elemental energy was mostly limited to small sects.
It was only in the Wilderness where the spiritual force was thin that elemental energy could dominate.
It had to be said that the cultivation world was favored by nature, as if the heavens had blessed the people with abundant spiritual force that covered the land. For a long time, almost every cultivator held themselves upright with pride, assuming their cultivation world as the core of the world.
Yet they failed to take into consideration the living environment of the Wilderness. Gradually, the spiritual force became thinner, taking everyone by surprise. As the the foundation of the cultivation system, once the spiritual force disintegrated, the resplendent cultivation world collapsed as well.
Millions of years later, the Wilderness neglected by the cultivation world became their undefeatable enemy.
The elders who were forced into a corner frantically searched for a new source of power, and the ones who taught them best were their enemies, the dire beasts and barbarians. Under these strenuous circumstances, elemental energy was explored and expanded; however, it was the cultivators with their accumulated wisdom from over millions of years that quickly created their own system of five elemental energies.
As the theories developed, the system stabilized and the Avalon of Five Elements gradually became stronger as well.
Metal, wood, water, fire, and earth were the five basic elements that made up all living things. When the five elements were stable in nature, they formed matter. When they were active in nature, they formed the five elemental energies. In the existing theory, there were no observable differences between the five types of elemental energies outside of their different forms. Rather than existing as separate entities, they simultaneously transformed and suppressed one another, becoming a perfect cycle. This was also the reason why five elements usually existed simultaneously instead of alone, and why the natural matters had complicated properties.
Teacher Dong taught only the most foundational reasonings that were obvious to most people who would find the lesson dull and useless. Nevertheless, to Ai Hui, it explained many of the questions that puzzled him. He was most familiar with swordplay from countless manuals, be it traditional or unorthodox. However, without the foundational spiritual force, these things had no value at all. In fact, if the sword embryo didn't germinate within three years, any hope of future growth would be lost.
Still, it was undeniable that flipping through the countless sword manuals did expand Ai Hui's horizons. The ancient swordsmanship theories had been developed maximally to be profound and wide-ranging, as he had displayed in the Wilderness. His operational styles were quite different from the others, moving even the most skillful masters to wonder.
It was not by luck that he came out of the Wilderness alive.
His current fragmented knowledge was slowly starting to make more sense. This excited him because in the past, he had some vague ideas but now he realized that they were not impossible to achieve.
He restrained his restlessness, however, as it was not time yet. He needed more knowledge.
Coming to the Induction Ground was the right decision to make. Just from the first lesson, he had already gained so much which came as a pleasant surprise, and he looked forward to the other lessons.
The days of attending class were simple yet enriching, as beautiful as the sunlight. He especially cherished the first lesson. For someone like him with a mediocre aptitude, such an opportunity did not come easily. Like a sponge, he greedily absorbed any nutrients available.
Teacher Dong's introductory course was very short with only ten lessons, but Ai Hui did not want them to end. Despite his packed schedule, he realized that only Teacher Dong's class involved the theoretical aspect of elemental energy formation. Teachers from other classes imparted either practical skills or the specific methods to train. Very few were like Teacher Dong who focused on the logic within.
Perhaps they felt that for the new students, learning how to train was sufficient.
By now Ai Hui had more or less gotten used to the student life in Central Pine City. He didn't feel the same agitation he once did when standing in front of the Induction Ground entrance. Studying in the city was relaxing and rules were flexible. For any class, as long as he met the requirements to a certain standard, attendance became optional.
However, he still had a class he was required to attend with the classmates from his first day, and in charge of it was the very same Teacher Xu.
Everyone had different skill levels and so picked different classes. It was usually difficult to come across one another, and it was only in homeroom that he got to meet these classmates.
Except no one was paying Ai Hui any attention.
Most of them probably didn't even remember his name anymore since a mediocre and quiet student like him had no presence. Seeing that everyone was present, Teacher Xu began. "I called you guys over this time to tell you about the Society of Excellence."
Upon hearing the words "Society of Excellence," the students from the Avalon of Five Elements became excited whereas those from the Old Territory looked puzzled.
"Society of Excellence is a club that selects gifted students with outstanding skills and potential. Not only will there be specialized teachers to guide them in the training process, the lessons will also be put into practice. For example, you'll be involved in the school's operation or spar with students from other cities and so on. You will even have the chance to enter the Wilderness with the teachers to experience its conditions."
The students, thrilled at the thought of visiting the Wilderness, started chattering.
In their eyes, the Wilderness was mysterious and full of the unknown. Moreover, with the teachers' company, safety was not an issue. They started to desire the opportunity to see for themselves what the Wilderness was all about.
In the sea of excited students, Ai Hui alone was indifferent since he had no desire to join this club. Having guidance from the teachers didn't sound bad but at this point in time, it was more important for him to accumulate ample elemental energy to activate his natal residence.
As for the Wilderness, he had stayed there long enough. It was nauseating for him.
Seeing the enthusiastic faces, Teacher Xu smiled. "Of course, the selection process is strict for you guys who just entered the Induction Ground not too long ago. According to the criterias from previous years, you'll need to have activated at least two palaces."
The students howled in grief. Following this standard, only three to five students qualified. As for those who still had a chance, their eagerness bled through, unable to be hidden.
"This is the minimum criteria, but it's not impossible. Everyone should give it a try," Teacher Xu encouraged before continuing, "As for how to be chosen, have a look, and you'll know. All I want to say is that our city has prepared rewards for those who are chosen. They'll distribute valuable resources that would be advantageous to your training. Work hard, everyone. Duanmu Huanghun, distribute these materials."
Ai Hui had seen Duanmu Huanghun, the strongest student in his class, that first day by the school entrance. He could tell from his luxurious clothes that he came from a rich family.
Towards the society, Ai Hui remained indifferent. He reckoned that the reward would be pretty good but not worth the hassle, which made it unappealing to him. Plus, his skills were still lacking.
His train of thought shifted to training. Central Pine City's training environment was superior, almost like heaven. As he carefully planned his training, Duanmu Huanghun, who was distributing the materials, passed Ai Hui without stopping. He then mockingly said, "You don't need this since you don't even know the basics yet."
Ai Hui was confused. Duanmu Huanghun's hostility was uncalled for. Plus...
"Are you sure there are only six of them?"
Shi Xueman did not speak loudly, but the temperature of the whole hall seemed to have dropped by over ten degrees. All of the servants and bodyguards quivered.
The head of the city branch paled, responding with a trembling voice as his body shivered non-stop, "I have committed a sin! None of the contestants' names were recorded, and the new batch of students just started school, making it a highly difficult task. Only through rumors from students and neighboring merchants did we manage to find these six."
By now, he was filled with regret. Did he have nothing better to do-why a blind battle? He practically dug his own grave!
Shi Xueman took a deep breath and reined in her emotions. She knew he wasn't at fault; instead, she had been slow to react. If she hadn't been in a daze, she would have easily gotten hold of the information and that damned fellow would not have escaped.
"You've worked hard. This is not your fault. You did very well," Shi Xueman said in the same cold tone.
The middle-aged man teared. Recently, he was placed under unimaginable pressure recently. The investigation hit a dead end, and he was on the verge of collapsing.
Immediately, the tension within the hall dissipated significantly.
Shi Xueman unhurriedly said, "But regarding this, I will need to trouble you further. Everyone present will assist you. Find him at all costs."
The middle-aged man was surprised at her determination, but this was not the first time he heard the words "at all costs" coming out of her mouth. Also considering the nature of her character, he did not think it so surprising anymore.
"I will work hard." He dared not guarantee again. After thinking for a bit, he continued, "I have an idea but am unsure if it will work."
"What is it?" Shi Xueman asked straightforwardly.
"This way of searching is like fishing for a needle in the ocean, but I was thinking that if he could be a threat to you, he must have great skills. I would go so far as to say that within the Central Pine City, he would be the cream of the crop. With such abilities, entering the Society of Excellence should not be a problem. Should we narrow our search then, to the members inside?"
At the battle, he had seen Shi Xueman but not that mystery man, so he was unaware of the details of their battle. Therefore, only his mistress had the ability to judge that man's capability.
After listening to his words, Shi Xueman's eyes brightened. When her subordinate looked at her again, she said without hesitation, "Watch that club. Give the name list to me the moment you have it."
"Yes!" the subordinate hurriedly agreed.
Shi Xueman turned and left quickly. She didn't want to waste any time; instead, all she could think about was training. Her eyes burned with passion and spirit.
Even if you are stronger than me right now, I will not give up. Absolutely!
This humiliation... I, Shi Xueman, am going to make you pay for it.