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 Chapter 102: Reflection

Translator: YH Editor: Pranav

Ai Hui had no interest in Duanmu Huanghun's frail physique.

Healing Duanmu Huanghun this time had helped Ai Hui notice how much the sword embryo had grown. The sword embryo had become much more sensitive after his elemental energy had become purer.

All of a sudden, Ai Hui realized that the seemingly pointless swordplay manuals weren't as useless as he thought. The techniques in the swordplay manuals had been applicable across many areas, such as silk extraction and the growth of the sword embryo. Even the Gale Bat Blade had proven useful during his blind battle with Zu Yan.

Ai Hui was a realistic person; he wouldn't simply ignore evidence in front of him.

Why were these swordplay manuals that everyone else despised useful for him?

He quickly understood that the key to this was the sword embryo!

Sword manuals became irrelevant following the disintegration of spiritual force.

Long ago, when he had first started reading swordplay manuals, Ai Hui had wondered if sword techniques could be activated using elemental energy.

He quickly figured out that it was unlikely. Lots of people would probably have already tried something so seemingly simple. The swordsmen of the Cultivation Era were so much more powerful than the elementalists of today, and in pursuit of power, many elementalists would certainly have tried to tap into the learnings of the swordsmen. Besides, there were so many swordplay enthusiasts out there who would do anything to revive the glory days of swordsmanship. Surely they would have attempted something like this, right?

This was definitely the case.

However, the number of swordplay enthusiasts has been on the decline ever since the founding of the Avalon of Five Elements. The value of swordplay manuals had also fallen correspondingly. They were initially sold by the book, then by weight, and nowadays, these manuals were as good as rubbish.

These hard truths reflect the failure of the many attempts at reviving swordplay. But for the entire Avalon of Five Elements to utterly disregard swordsmanship meant that there was a serious underlying problem.

Ai Hui never really understood the reason behind these failures, but his lessons in the Induction Ground, especially his discussions with his teacher, made him revisit the issue.

The stability of elemental energy and spiritual force differed greatly.

Spiritual force was much more dynamic than elemental energy. This can be further explained by drawing parallels to the different states of water. Spiritual force could be said to be akin to water vapor, able to penetrate even the smallest of openings. Elemental energy, on the other hand, was similar to slush-it was difficult for it to pass through such narrow channels.

This fundamental difference was the root of why sword techniques couldn't be used.

Ai Hui had asked his teacher if it was possible to simply convert elemental energy into spiritual force.

His teacher had laughed upon hearing his idea. Teacher Wang then went on to explain that countless people have tried to do so in the past one thousand years. Everyone knew that converting elemental energy into spiritual force was the key to accessing the inexhaustible teachings and treasures of the Cultivation Era. Anyone who was able to do so would be able to simply tap into this vast resource instead of training with an entirely new system from scratch.

The Cultivation Era was a period of power and riches. The ferocious dire beasts were merely the prey of the cultivators, kept as pets and mounts and sometimes even killed for food. The only reason why the Wilderness had not been conquered was that it wasn't deemed worthy of being so.

But the experiments had all ended in failure-even those that were undertaken by grandmasters.

Ai Hui had never once thought that this seemingly impossible problem would have anything to do with him.

His main focus was on the sword embryo that appeared to be capable of linking his elemental energy to the swordplay manuals, fanning the embers of this dying art.

All of Ai Hui's attention was focused on reviving more of these embers.

After the strain on his body had subsided, Ai Hui began his next attempt.

As he circulated his elemental energy and formed the sword technique with his hand, Ai Hui experienced the same situation as before. Although he was filled with joy, he remained much calmer this time. Triggering it twice implied that it wasn't merely a coincidence.

Ai Hui had a sudden urge to test some swordplay.

He tried to execute the techniques of many different manuals, but he quickly discovered that he wasn't able to proceed. The spiritual force of the Cultivation Era operated along a different pathway from the current five residences and eight palaces.

Ai Hui was deep in thought. Following the sword manuals didn't seem to produce any results, so what next? The sword embryo might be useful, but how exactly did it work?

He suddenly began to stab the air with the energy blade on his fingers, similar to when he was treating Duanmu Huanghun.

His eyes grew wide in panic.

There was no response!

There really wasn't any response at all!

What happened?

Ai Hui was in disbelief. He attempted the same move many more times but to no avail. Just what was going on? Ai Hui quickly composed himself and thought of possible reasons for this unfavorable outcome. However, no matter what he tried, he wasn't able to enter the sword embryo state again.

He became disappointed when he realized that digging out more secrets from the swordplay manuals wasn't going to be as easy as he had initially thought.

However, it wasn't long before he snapped out of it. Ai Hui was, after all, well accustomed to failure, and this setback wasn't going to take him down. What's more, this problem was especially complex, and had perplexed many great people before him-it surely wouldn't be solved so easily.

Ai Hui's overworked brain eventually cooled down and he began to reflect on recent happenings. Perhaps he had become more conceited as a result of his smooth-sailing training sessions. Being hailed as a genius must have gotten to his head.

His path was now much clearer.

Ai Hui realized that he was getting ahead of himself. He had just activated his natal residence and was already focusing on the sword embryo.

Whether it was a tiny seed or some kind of treasure, the sword embryo would always be there. His current focus shouldn't be on this hidden, unknown item. What he needed to do now was to proceed steadily with his training and activate his hand palaces.

This was what he should be putting his time and effort into.

Having thought things through, Ai Hui became more focused. He was filled with a sense of tranquility and was no longer distracted.

...

After a good sleep, Ai Hui bade Lou Lan farewell. He left the Vanguard Training Hall and headed for the embroidery workshop.

When Han Yuqin noticed Ai Hui return to being silently engrossed in his training, she inevitably felt relieved. Even Wang Shouchuan couldn't bear to disturb his disciple when he saw him being so focused.

The elderly couple had seen many geniuses who possessed amazing talents, most of whom had ended up losing sight of themselves amidst the praise.

Just as they had begun to worry about Ai Hui, he proved to them through his actions that he wasn't going to lose himself in the adulation. He had realigned his attitude and was now as hard-working and humble as before.

The bandaged youth quietly focused on his training in the steam-filled workshop. The embroidery ladies were initially curious about him but soon became accustomed to this sight. As time passed, the youth had long been forgotten by the embroidery ladies, and it was only when they occasionally walked past the workshop window did they notice the young man inside standing as still as a statue.

A pair of abstruse eyes as deep as the abyss could be seen amidst the mist.

This went on tirelessly, day after day.

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