Chapter 169: Go to Hell!
Translator: YH Editor: CakeHermit
Ai Hui's mind was in a state of disarray as his body was thrown into chaos. Nothing was left of the hand and leg palaces that he had worked so hard to develop. Within his body, the rest of the palaces which had not yet been activated were also being destroyed as the blood poison permeated deep into his muscles and bones, thoroughly changing their structure and composition from within.
His entire body became afflicted with the blood poison. Every last part of him, both internal and external, was triggered by the blood poison into undergoing a raging, clamorous transformation.
There was, however, one spot which remained completely calm amidst the chaos his body was experiencing - the sky palace between his brows.
The blood poison was viciously potent, quickly overcoming his natal residence and activated limb palaces. Only his sky palace remained as stable as a rock. Blood-red traces surfaced on Ai Hui's face, spreading to his tightly shut eyes.
The space between his eyebrows remained unaffected.
The sky palace remained impenetrable as the blood poison surged, surrounding it completely.
Blood-red traces appeared and vanished on different parts of his body, as if red bugs were congregating and scattering as they ran around.
The mastiff raised its head and looked at Ai Hui before letting out a couple of envious howls, after which it lazily lay back down on the ground.
Several kilometers away from where Ai Hui was held.
The lady in red looked at the wretched-looking man in front of her with a frown. "How did you end up like this?" She berated.
The man was around forty-years-old and had a distressed look on his face. He looked like an honest, down-to-earth farmer with messy hair and a body littered with scars.
"Met with stiff resistance." The man laughed bitterly as he spoke.
"Powerful people?" asked the lady, her pupils contracting. "A Grandmaster?"
"If there had been a Grandmaster you wouldn't be seeing me here," said the man, clearly in pain. "I was unlucky, running into a group of elites from the Thirteen Divisions during my blood refinement. I killed a couple of them, but there was one that was particularly hard to handle."
The lady in red heaved a sigh of relief. "As long as it wasn't a Grandmaster."
They were at their most vulnerable during blood refinement, as it caused their strength to fall drastically. Meeting enemies during this period would spell disaster.
She calmly asked, "You're still going to continue with blood refinement?"
The same pained expression never left the man's face. "I don't really have a choice. I have to spend more time and effort since I'm not as talented as you are."
While the two appeared to chat familiarly, they were constantly on guard, keeping some distance between each other.
Both of them were from the same faction, but were otherwise hardly related. They were teammates as well as rivals. The lady in red wasn't expecting the man to persist with blood refinement.
Blood refinement was a risky endeavour and every step taken must be done with the utmost care. It was, in a sense, like walking on thin ice. Since they were essentially just beings of flesh, there was a limit to how much blood refinement their bodies could take. This was especially the case with the Blood of God, which was potent beyond compare. Blindly partaking in blood refinement would only result in death by fulmination.
Amidst the blood disaster, Blood of God could easily be obtained. Its power was as vast as the ocean. Rather than blind refinement, control was the key to handling it.
The man in front of her was Tian Kuan. Since they had first met and until now, she had never seen a different expression on his face. It was the same pained expression day in and day out. He was the oldest and least talented among them. Nobody knew why he was chosen and nobody seemed to think highly of him.
Nobody had expected him to last this long, to still be standing after so many others had been eliminated. Tian Kuan was one of the six who managed to persist through the many rounds of blood refinement.
By that point, the others had learned to stop belittling him. After all, every one of the six were impressive individuals who had had to step over countless corpses to get this far.
The lady in red hadn't thought that Tian Kuan would actually incorporate Blood of God into his body.
Since the six of them had all long reached their limits, they would have to train and further increase those limits before they could continue with subsequent rounds of blood refinement. Fervently proceeding with training carried insanely high risks, which was why the others were instead planning to use the Blood of God to create new subordinates first.
Tian Kuan's actions were simply insane!
The lady in red decided that she had to re-evaluate Tian Kuan. Overly zealous individuals either died at the hands of their zeal or went on to have shocking achievements.
"You could always capture some students or wild beasts," the lady in red said flatly. "Perhaps then you won't end up all desolate again."
"Forget it," rejected Tian Kuan with a shake of his head. "I'm used to working alone."
The lady in red looked up at the sky and said, "Here come your little maggots."
The sky above the sea of blood had become slightly more dangerous due to the increasing numbers of blood-refined avians. As more of them appeared, the elementalists would have to take greater caution before soaring into the skies above the Induction Ground. For now, however, the number of blood-refined avians was still relatively low and did not pose that much of a threat to elementalists who were using the azure wings.
The skies were still safer than the forest below.
The lady in red kept her calm gaze on the approaching elementalists. A few elites from the Thirteen Divisions weren't a threat to her. If Tian Kuan hadn't been engaged in blood refinement, he'd have easily been able to handle these maggots as well.
"You owe me one," said the lady in red casually.
"Although I'd much rather not, I don't think I have any other choice," answered Tian Kuan. "Why can't they just let me practice in peace?"
"You only have yourself to blame," said the lady in red with a sneer. "Do you really intend act alone forever? Are you sure you can keep going by yourself?"
"I'm used to being alone," Tian Kuan said flatly. "Furthermore, such power is better kept to myself."
"You can't possibly use up that much Blood of God by yourself."
"Interacting with others takes too much effort."
"Don't mess up the grand plan."
"Don't worry, I don't intend to die."
The two of them tactfully cut the conversation short, neither could go on with it. The lady in red couldn't understand how Tian Kuan could possibly attempt to absorb something so powerful on his own. She became more guarded against Tian Kuan, noting that he was someone who simply couldn't trust others.
She would never have trusted him anyway.
Bloodshed and betrayal were the keys to survival for the remaining six.
The lady in red stopped trying to convince him. The two of them weren't exactly close to begin with. Besides, being able to survive until now meant that all of the six weren't normal at all. How could she expect any one of them to not have their own quirks?
Li Wei pressed on with all his might as flames of hatred burned hot within his eyes.
His comrades had sacrificed themselves to see this mission through, leaving Li Wei as the sole survivor. He felt an incomparable sorrow deep within his heart. Despite having become accustomed to death over his years out on the frontlines, this was the first time he had experienced the loss of an entire squad. His comrades' sacrifices were definitely not in vain, as they had rained hell on their enemies.
Li Wei had a death wish. He wasn't afraid of dying as long as he could slay every last one of them!
His skin possessed a metallic luster, making the exposed parts of his body look like they were cast out of iron. Some of the white marks that lined his entire body were faintly stained with blood, a remnant of the tragic battle he had just survived.
The sturdy, bronze-colored azure wings spread wide open. While the Copper Bone Bird wasn't particularly fast, the majestic wings enhanced Li Wei's presence while his murderous intent permeated the air around him. He looked just like an ancient god of war, as described in the legends of old.
"What an impressive aura!" The lady in red's eyes lit up in excitement. She couldn't help but call out in praise, "I didn't expect such a heroic-looking figure to be in the Infantry Division. I imagined that you were all just lumps of dull metal."
With his usual pained expression, Tian Kuan said, "Enough with your wild thoughts and quickly finish him. We shouldn't let him live since he managed to injure me."
The lady in red felt it was a pity that she had to kill him, but Tian Kuan had anticipated her thoughts and left her with no other choice. It wasn't worth offending Tian Kuan over an elite from the Thirteen Divisions. Since the two of them were of equal standing, a favor from him was like having a valuable ally.
Alright, since you're giving me the chance to earn a favor, I'll grant you a straightforward death.
The lady in red lunged forward, appearing to turn into a wisp of red smoke. The speed with which she charged towards Li Wei made it impossible to pinpoint her location at any given moment.
Li Wei was surprised to discover that his target had an ally.
Pressed for time, he immediately reacted by sending a crushing blow in the direction of his opponent. His palm, suffused with metallic luster, surged forward like an advancing tank.
"Not quite skillful enough."
The lady in red giggled as she appeared behind Li Wei.
A soft, delicate palm pressed silently onto Li Wei's back.
Li Wei's pupils dilated rapidly. A tremendously violent force erupted from behind him.
He spat out a mouthful of fresh blood. Knocked out of the air by what felt like a large hammer, Li Wei fell towards the ground like a whistling meteorite.
A sinister smile crept across Tian Kuan's mouth, completing the malevolent look on his face.
He froze when he saw Li Wei's figure appear out of nowhere, growing larger by the second.
Li Wei's hate-filled eyes burned with satisfaction. He grinned, revealing two rows of snow white teeth stained with streaks of blood.
Li Wei had known that he was in trouble the moment he laid eyes on the lady in red. Despite that knowledge, he had had no intention to retreat whatsoever.
He clasped his hands together and raised them high above his head like a hatchet, ready to strike. A brilliant silver light shrouded his clasped hands as every last bit of elemental energy he had left was channeled into them. The metallic luster that coated his skin became even more dazzling, appearing more like a coat of silvery liquid.
"Go to hell!"
With that cry of rage, Tian Kuan's terror turned into despair and the lady in red's face turned ashen.
Tian Kuan's despair instantly transformed into ruthlessness. A blood red pattern appeared on his forehead like a banner.
The lady in red stared at Tian Kuan in disbelief.
The ever distressed-looking Tian Kuan had practically transformed into a different person. His aura was definitely not the same as before. Tian Kuan's usual hunched back was replaced by an upright posture and his skin was washed over with a warm glow. He had transformed from a farmer into an elegant prince.
His lips curved into a sinister smile.
Lightly stretching out his arms, Tian Kuan gracefully resisted the war god's silver hammer with his palms.
The sneer on Li Wei's face was frozen solid in shock.
The silver glow in his hands exploded, unleashing a powerful blast with the force of a thousand suns.
The explosion sent the now unconscious Li Wei flying through the air like a ragdoll. He had lost both of his arms in that final attack. Blood dripped continuously from his tattered sleeves, scattering throughout the air.
"I'm going to kill you!"
Amidst the heat of the explosion, Tian Kuan's hysterical cry pierced through the air.
A figure dived down from above the clouds, catching Li Wei with amazing accuracy before soaring back up above cloud cover with unprecedented speed.
The lady in red subconsciously moved, but stopped herself upon remembering the blood marks between Tian Kuan's eyebrows.
Then she suddenly felt a terrifying disturbance and the color drained from her face.
That location... it was where she had come from!