Chapter 11: Ai Hui's Hypothesis
Translator: Irene Editor: Lis
Of course, Ai Hui had no idea that a vengeful someone was looking all over for him. Even if he knew, he wouldn't care. Who had time for that? He didn't even feel like entertaining Lou Lan whenever he visited, and he was such a nice sand puppet...
Ai Hui was completely engrossed in his own learning and trainings. It was as if he had entered a vast new world full of rich colors. There were so many hidden places within the Induction Ground to train in that Ai Hui discovered something new every day.
He was lost in happiness and never tired of it.
No place required more skills than the Wilderness where it was devoid of warmth, clear-cut and without any pretense. Within the Wilderness, there were no suitable grounds for him to train. Places with a slightly more concentrated elemental energy was already occupied by either powerful, dire beasts or the barbarian tribes.
And since he had to advance forward with the team, he had little time to train, especially with the tedious odd jobs to complete. He could never rest well either as the elementalists never seemed to need it with their brisk work efficiency.
No teacher would be able to explain this. The elementalists who were willing to teach him a skill or two were already considered very friendly and kind whereas whenever he met the bad-tempered ones who happened to dislike him, inevitable suffering ensued.
Compared to the Wilderness, the Induction Ground was like heaven.
Ai hui possessed unrivaled passion that had been accumulating and bubbling for three years. Once released, the intensity of its explosion exceeded that of a volcano eruption.
Ai Hui was as if possessed, immersed in his training.
He knew he had a low aptitude and did not dare to set unreachable goals. He only hoped to become a registered elementalist. The problem was that even this goal required an extraordinary amount of effort in order to be realized.
How could there be any time to waste?
These four years was the only time for him to change his destiny. He knew a second chance would not come.
Since the Wilderness trained him to be adaptive, it did not take long for Ai Hui to settle down comfortably into the city. His strategy for schooling also gradually changed. Initially he took every available class but gradually he began to filter, learning how to pick and choose.
It was important to always understand the circumstances as well as the most crucial problem at hand as he had learned to do so in the Wilderness that was so cold and full of death.
Right now, the most pressing concern was activating his natal residence.
If he didn't manage to accomplish this within a year, he would have to leave the school.
The training ground he chose for himself was the Suspending Golden Pagoda.
Located about one hundred fifty miles outside the city, few students were willing to travel so far even by the Three Leaves Bamboo Cart just to train, leaving the pagoda mostly deserted.
Needless to say, Ai Hui refused to take the Three Leaves Bamboo Cart. The cost of the round trip exceeded one thousand yuan; he'd feel the pain for days.
To him, traveling the one hundred fifty miles was a warm-up exercise. In the Wilderness, the pace of combat was shockingly fast. Although Ai Hui was a laborer who didn't need to take part in the battles, he still had to keep up with the team while carrying all the supplies. The first thing laborers learned in the Wilderness was to run-only then could they keep pace with the team. Nobody wanted a slow-moving laborer who was unable to follow.
Ai Hui's body was neither robust nor were his strides very big, but he was steady and the top half of his body was motionless, lacking any unnecessary movements.
He traversed not the main roads but through the mountain forest like a nimble cheetah, effortlessly loping through in a straight line.
It took him twenty-six minutes this time to rush down to the pagoda, five minutes faster than the previous attempt. Ai Hui was satisfied as he was fond of progress.
A dilapidated iron pagoda appeared before him with nobody else around. It had a total of seven floors and many areas were in ruins. Its history could be traced all the way back to the Cultivation Era, back when it belonged to a great sect and was used to suppress others. After the spiritual force disintegrated, however, the sect collapsed leaving the pagoda to fall into decline. What stood before him now was the preserved remains.
It survived the ravages of time thanks to the metal wind cave beneath. The gales it received from the cave contained concentrated metal elemental energy that eventually transformed the once wooden pagoda into an iron one that remained today. Later, the Induction Ground remodeled it into a training ground, but since it was in a remote location with no discernible advantage over the many other training grounds within the city, very few visited.
The Suspending Golden Pagoda was actually not meant for beginners but rather for students who already activated their natal residence.
Ai Hui had another plan.
He approached the entrance and heard deep rumbling.
Ai Hui finally understood why the place was so deserted. Just by listening to the sound of the wind, he knew that the metal wind inside was extremely strong. Almost none of the seniors who wrote the guidebooks recommended this place.
According to them, the Suspending Golden Pagoda was like an upside-down waterfall of overwhelming power. The metal wind currents contained dense elemental energy that was bonescrapingly painful when blown against the body. Unfortunately, it was also extremely pervasive, able to enter the pores deep into the flesh, multiplying the suffering. In comparison, the whirlpool within the city's hot springs was gentler and much more comfortable. Obviously, no one would ask for trouble by coming here since both environments produced the same results.
What spurred Ai Hui into visiting this place was a seemingly unremarkable sentence that he came across while reading a particular senior's guidebook:
If your endurance is great, go straight to the Suspending Golden Pagoda; the results are quite good.
In terms of affinity, he had little confidence with his low aptitude that probably wouldn't fulfill the minimum requirement. But when it came to endurance, it was a different story.
During his stay in the Wilderness, he managed to form a tenuous strand of elemental energy after drinking a specially brewed elemental soup. In it were ingredients he had accumulated over time including a piece of Dire Beast's meat given to him by an elementalist.
The elemental energy formed by humans was closed to that of a dire beast's meat and thus was easily absorbed.
This was the underlying reason behind the high cost of Dire Beast's meat as well as why countless elementalists risked their lives hunting them deep in the Wilderness.
The extremely precious wisp of elemental energy often saved Ai Hui's life in times of great danger.
An elementalist once bluntly informed him that he had a low aptitude and no affinity with elemental energy. And unfortunately, training with external items was something only the rich could afford to do.
During his training later on, he realized that the master was indeed right. Even after three years, his elemental energy made little progress. Admittedly, there were many possible reasons such as insufficient training time, low concentration of elemental energy, lack of structured guidance and so on. But almost zero growth? Ai Hui saw for himself exactly how low his aptitude was.
However, he had no plans to give up. In fact, since then, he'd been racking his mind for a solution.
In the end, his only source of help came from those outdated and worthless sword manuals.
The manuals from ancient times were practically synonymous with "genius." No one but the gifted could think about touching them and even more so in prestigious sects. But there were certain exceptional cases in which mediocre swordsmen made a name for themselves within the cultivation world, gaining skills that struck fear into the people's hearts.
In the long past era of cultivators, tens of thousands of cultivation worlds had yet to merge. One of those fragments was a small sect known as the Void Sword Clan where a disciple named Wei Sheng lived. He was not gifted yet he had great accomplishments, able to disdain other outstanding heroes.
Ai Hui had glanced through enough swords manuals to know that Wei Sheng was not the only such swordsman.
Although Ai Hui had zero interest in Swordsmanship, these swordsmen fought their way to the top in a society that nurtured only natural talents. Certain that they must have possessed some other qualities, Ai Hui hoped to find them out.
These powerful fighters had similar characteristics like tenacity, diligence, and inhuman concentration. These were worth learning but clearly required great effort. After studying further, he realized they had another trait in common.
Where there is bad, there is good. If someone was unable to perform in a certain aspect, it was not erroneous to shift focus. The seniors who had average aptitude managed to carve a path for themselves only because they found their own strengths.
Ai Hui had felt that his interpretation was logical but not employable.
That is, until now. After attending Teacher Dong's introductory course, his doubts were swept away. He now knew that the so-called bad aptitude meant a lower affinity between a practitioner and the elemental energy. Due to his lack of aptitude, the majority of the energy dissipated as soon as it entered his body, leaving only a little behind.
This was why he had negligible progress.
Everyone was born with different and unalterable aptitudes. This news was, to most people, no different from a death sentence.
Yet instead of feeling dejected, Ai Hui started thinking of ways around it instead. Since his body had less affinity with elemental energy, what advantage did he have over others?
He had to have an advantage. He had faith. Even if it wasn't obvious or very useful, it had to exist.
The heavens would not be so unfair.
Other than affinity, what else was involved in the training process?
Upon reading the senior's words, his eyes brightened. Yes, other than affinity, there was endurance.
Didn't his lack of affinity mean that his body was not sensitive enough towards the elemental energy? In that case, the metal wind currents people shied away from could actually be bearable.
That was when Ai Hui understood. Was this endurance not the advantage he'd been searching for?
Insensitivity towards elemental energy indeed slowed his training progress but theoretically, shouldn't he be able to handle a higher concentration of elemental energy? He was not a helpless rookie any longer with his rich battle experience. Any slight advantage could be put into good use.
There was another advantage, however, that Ai Hui discovered very quickly.
Having a high endurance meant that he could undergo a more intensive training.
And now here he stood to test his hypothesis.