Chapter 130: A Flash
Translator: YH Editor: - -
Ai Hui had no idea that someone was secretly observing them, but he wouldn't really care even if he knew.
He was exceptionally focused right now; all his attention was on the grass sword in his hand.
Never had he imagined that there would come a day when he could experience the world through the "eyes" of a sword. He felt as if he had possessed the grass sword, turning it from an inanimate object into a living thing.
If he hadn't bought it from Manager Li's shop himself, Ai Hui would probably have thought that this grass sword was some kind of legendary weapon.
Back when he was reading swordplay manuals in the swordsman school, Ai Hui would often chance upon passages discussing the mythical sword souls. These were, of course, legends of old, and now that the swordsmen were long gone, there was no longer anyone who could verify such things.
Ai Hui had treated these passages as mere stories.
The cultivators of the past had left behind many bizarre accounts, but even those were no match for the seemingly exaggerated topics of the swordsmen. He had read accounts of swordsmen who were too embarrassed to even leave their homes without first achieving a certain skill level.
Ai Hui was initially astonished by the things he had read, but the sheer number of such accounts soon left him numb. Yes, indeed, today you put out the sun, tomorrow you shattered the moon, and the day after you could only destroy the stars. Oh, did you say that there were too many stars?
The more he read, the more accustomed he became to these oddities. Eventually, these stories no longer made him feel any shock or surprise.
But, today, the grass sword he was wielding seemed to be alive. The feeling wasn't particularly intense, but it was exceptionally clear. Could it be that swords really were alive?
Ai Hui was still unsure.
Every swordplay manual would mention at least once that swords had essences within them. What they meant was that every sword, when cast, was bestowed with its own spiritual characteristics.
Sword essences varied in strength, and some were even able to grow along with their owners, further evolving into sword spirits and sword souls.
Since this was written in practically all the swordplay manuals, Ai Hui believed that it wasn't all nonsense and might have been actually true during the Cultivation Era. But the times had since changed, with elemental energy becoming dominant after the disintegration of spiritual force. Now that even the swordsmen were gone, how could there still be sword essences?
Ai Hui suppressed these distracting thoughts and executed a simple sword stroke.
He had read countless swordplay manuals and had an understanding of swordplay that few today could match. His actions were accurate and well-controlled.
When he had just planted the sword embryo, the only literature that he could seek help from were the swordplay manuals. Strangely, it was the low-level manuals that were of use to him. The more advanced the manual, the less applicable they were.
Brandishing a grass sword was usually effortless for Ai Hui.
Today, however, this feat could hardly be said to be effortless.
Ai Hui seemed to have become one with the grass sword; he felt as though he was bound by the surrounding air. He was not accustomed to this restrictive sensation, and Ai Hui felt like he was trapped under water, repressed by forces all around him.
He knew that this was merely an illusion, but the experience was too intense.
Thrusting the sword just a little bit faster made it feel as though he had slammed into a large wave, causing the blade to wobble.
Ai Hui had no choice but to increase his effort as each stroke became heavier than the last. His muscles were bulging and trembling from the effort, like a heavy-duty belt driving a huge wheel.
Ai Hui's sword strokes slowed down as the sword became heavier and the air resistance increased.
Beads of sweat rolled down Ai Hui's body as his muscles continued to churn out massive amounts of power. All of a sudden, he felt as if he had finally pierced through that invisible resistive force.
With a sudden jolt, the grass sword in his hand spontaneously emitted dazzling rays of light. Its brightness was so intense that not even the scorching midday sun could mask its brilliance.
The light that had burst forth from the grass sword blinded Ai Hui. He noticed that the grass sword had become much lighter.
A loud boom followed!
A powerful earth-rending force sent Ai Hui flying through the air before he could even react.
The massive blunt force left Ai Hui thoroughly concussed, his ears ringing. An unknown amount of time had passed before he heard Fatty's anxious voice coming from what seemed like quite a distance away. "Ai Hui...Ai Hui, are you all right? How are you feeling?"
The surreal sounds gradually became clearer as Ai Hui's pupils began to focus.
Fatty anxiously let out a stream of words. "Ai Hui, can you not scare me like that? What kind of training is this? It looks more like you're committing suicide! Here I had thought that you became more tranquil, but it seems like you're as violent as ever-no, you're even more violent now. I don't get it, aren't you doing just fine? What's more, I'm the one who owes money, not you..."
Fatty's long-winded nagging reminded Ai Hui of their time in the Wilderness.
His whole body was unbearably numb-an aftereffect of that enormous impact he had just suffered. Although it had disrupted the flow of his blood and qi, it could heal in moments. After ten seconds, he finally recovered some movement, and he struggled to stand up.
He spat out the sand in his mouth, still feeling dizzy.
What... just happened?
Ai Hui's gaze fell onto where he had previously stood. What he saw shook him deeply, his reaction similar to a deer in headlights.
A large pit, which was six meters in diameter and three meters deep, appeared where he had last stood.
Duanmu Huanghun stared blankly at the pit. Not even the sudden influx of figures and noise could rouse him from his daze.
"What happened? What's going on?"
"Did a wild beast get in?"
"Wasn't this place supposed to be safe?"
"Heavens...what just happened here?"
The commotion brought even more students out of their rooms. Everyone was still on edge from the incident in the Garden of Life, and they were all easily startled. That massive blast had definitely thrown their instincts into overdrive.
The guards in the area soon came over to investigate.
"What a large pit!"
"What is going on? Did a wild beast attack?"
"Did anyone witness the events that transpired?" asked a man, who appeared to be the head of the guards.
"I-I-I...." stammered the guard that gave Ai Hui directions.
"What is it?" the head asked softly.
The guard gulped and replied, "One of the students was practicing when suddenly..."
"A student was practicing?" the head responded with suspicion. He glanced at the large pit in the training ground. "Do you mean to say that this deep pit was the result of a student practicing?"
Everyone else was filled with disbelief. How could a student possibly create such a huge pit?
"What he said was true," said Duanmu Huanghun out of nowhere. He inevitably stared at Ai Hui's dazed face, unable to calm down.
He now realized just how wrong he was to have underestimated Ai Hui.
Duanmu Huanghun could understand why the head guard wasn't convinced. He probably wouldn't believe it if he hadn't seen it himself either. His [Viridescent Flower Dance] was unpredictable and vicious, but creating a pit this large would take up every last shred of his strength.
Causing an explosion like this didn't actually require skill. What was more important was the quality of one's elemental energy.
Fire elemental energy was the most explosive of them all, but to create a pit of this size would still require the activation of at least four palaces. Students with an affinity for other elements would probably need something upwards of six palaces to achieve the same effect.
Ai Hui here wasn't using fire elemental energy but the non-explosive metal elemental energy!
What's more, he had only activated two palaces.
Duanmu Huanghun had already found it hard to believe that Ai Hui could activate two palaces in such a short time. After all, that guy had such a pathetic aptitude.
Although terribly shocking, Duanmu Huanghun could still accept it. When it came to training, elementalists with poorer aptitudes could at times have sudden bursts of progress.
This sight in front of him, though...
It was completely beyond his understanding.
The head guard recognized Duanmu Huanghun, especially since he was the only person here that required extra protection. He nodded towards Duanmu Huanghun. Now that he knew his subordinate was telling the truth, an intense feeling of curiosity arose within him.
Could it be that... there was another genius among them?
He slowly walked towards Ai Hui, inspecting the pit as he went past it. It was only upon closer inspection that he fully realized the complete magnitude of the blast.
The head guard's expression turned grave. He'd probably be dead from an impact this powerful.
"Young man, how may I address you?" the head guard asked amiably.
Ai Hui had regained his composure by then, and his eyes were glowing with a strong luster. He had sensed immense changes within his body and couldn't wait to resume his practice.
"My name is Ai Hui," he answered hurriedly. "Can you lend me a sword?"
His Sawtooth Grass Sword had been completely destroyed. All that was left was the hilt that Ai Hui was holding on to. The thoughts in his head urged him to get on with his practice, distracting him from feeling sorry for the loss of his sword.
The head guard was stunned for a moment, but he quickly responded, "No problem!"
He turned around and shouted, "Someone toss me a sword!"
One of the guards brought his sword forward, and the head guard grabbed it and handed it over to Ai Hui. His tone was friendly as he instructed, "Use it as you please, Ai Hui. Everyone else, kindly step away from the immediate area."
He was experienced enough to notice that Ai Hui had just had a revelation. He knew that it was horribly annoying to be disturbed at times like these. After all, inspiration seldom knocked twice.
Ai Hui sincerely thanked the head guard.
Everyone kept quiet as they looked on curiously. Seeing Ai Hui all ready to start anew kept them fixated. They might have missed his performance earlier but not this next attempt!
Ai Hui couldn't be bothered about the onlookers. He took the sword and began to assume the same stance as before.
Duanmu Huanghun stared at Ai Hui with his eyes wide; he recognized the same stance from before. Was Ai Hui going to repeat that move? He focused hard, afraid he'd miss any details.
All he had seen before was an exceptionally brilliant burst of light that had obscured Ai Hui's silhouette.
Right after that came the earth-splitting sensation.
This time, he had to see the technique that enabled a student with only two activated palaces to generate such explosive strength.
Everyone, not only Duanmu Huanghun, kept their eyes peeled and held their breaths.