Chapter 189: Ai Hui's Method
Translator: Irene Editor: Lis
Wang Xiaoshan moved quickly and placed both hands on the ground, channeling earth elemental energy into the shop.
Boom! Several explosions sounded simultaneously from within the shop, and the once-intact shop crumbled like crisp crackers.
Shi Xueman lightly waved her bare hands to clear the dust raised by the shop's collapse. Her vision returned, and indeed, the shop was now in ruins.
"How amazing!" Fatty exclaimed sluggishly, his mouth wide open. "Xiaoshan, how did you do that?"
Slightly flustered, Wang Xiaoshan stammered, "Very simple. Each building has some key... nodes, uh, you just have to find and blow them up at the same time to destroy it... and make use of the building's weight...."
Wang Xiaoshan's description was rather incoherent, but this time, no one underestimated him.
Destroying this shop wasn't a big feat; anyone present could do it, but few could accomplish it as cleanly as Wang Xiaoshan did. Without any large fragments to be seen in the rubble, it could be said that the building was completely shattered.
An unusual look flashed across Shi Xueman's eyes.
She felt it strange when Ai Hui chose Wang Xiaoshan for the task. Simply said, his skills were lacking, even moreso when compared to the rest of the team. But the scene before her drove her to speculate that perhaps Ai Hui had already been aware of Wang Xiaoshan's potential?
She found this unfathomable.
Ai Hui himself was slightly shocked. Wang Xiaoshan's move was simply too beautiful. This fellow was a bigger underdog than he was!
Ai Hui gave Wang Xiaoshan a big thumbs up.
Receiving Ai Hui's praise, Wang Xiaoshan blushed a deep red, so moved that he did not know where to place his hands. These past few days, he'd been under tremendous pressure. As the weakest link in the group, he was timid and couldn't help much in battles, and whenever it was time to fight, he trembled uncontrollably.
He was downcast, not understanding why Ai Hui had selected him, and as the danger grew, he became afraid-afraid that he would be abandoned by his teammates. No one would care for him unconditionally if he wasn't able to prove his worth and assist the team during difficult situations.
It was his first time receiving a compliment from Ai Hui. It stirred him up greatly, as though he had just taken an alcoholic shot.
Wang Xiaoshan performed better than expected and was of great help to Ai Hui's plans. Nevertheless, he continued to instruct calmly, "Fatty, walk in front. Wang Xiaoshan, follow him. Continue tearing down the shops while advancing slowly, and beware of blood ants."
Shi Xueman briefly lost her train of thought before she asked, "We're tearing them down to move forward?"
She was completely baffled by Ai Hui's outlandish strategy, and it wasn't just her-everyone else was puzzled as well.
"The building structures are complex, making them good hiding places for blood ants to launch sneak attacks. It will be disadvantageous for us," Ai Hui explained.
Shi Xueman straightforwardly asked, "Then why don't we follow the rest of the teams and advance along the street path?"
Ai Hui looked at Shi Xueman as if he was talking to a fool. "That will cause us to be attacked from both sides."
"Logical, but..." Shi Xueman was at a loss. She acknowledged that Ai Hui was making a lot of sense, but to tear down the houses in order to advance... This sort of method was unheard of! In all of the books of war that she read, she had never come across a similar military strategy.
Ai Hui couldn't be bothered with her and instead, followed closely behind Wang Xiaoshan. Doing so brought about many gains. For example, the collapsing buildings would alarm the blood ants, leading them to reveal their locations. Also, a wide terrain allowed rookies to better display their skills, which Ai Hui had doubts about anyway.
More importantly, as cannon fodder, they shouldn't be thinking about claiming credit but how to protect themselves on the battlefield instead.
Yet another building crumbled.
Everyone advanced through the ruins, but by now, the few teams ahead of them had already taken a substantial lead and disappeared without a trace.
Nevertheless, Ai Hui continued moving forward at a comfortable pace. As they progressed, all that they left behind was a field of ruins.
Wang Xiaoshan became increasingly skillful. Within ten minutes, he had already torn down more buildings than his father, and his control became more precise which brought about even more outstanding results.
Seeing the buildings collapse in front of his eyes filled his heart with a sense of accomplishment.
Chi chi chi!
Rows of red shadows shot out from the dust and pounced on Ai Hui and the team.
One row knocked against the heavy shield in Fatty's hands. A smothered boom rang out, causing Fatty's body to sway. Both he and Wang Xiaoshan were so afraid of death that Fatty shielded himself securely with Wang Xiaoshan hiding closely behind him.
Shi Xueman let out a shout while blocking three blood ants with her Cirrus.
The students were disordered, losing their heads out of fear as they screamed incessantly.
Ai Hui shook his head but ignored the chaos. If they couldn't break their way past this level of difficulty, they would be in worse trouble later on.
With the Dragonspine Inferno, he executed a sudden [Oblique Slash]. A faint light glimmered on the sword body as it accurately struck a blood ant. Upon closer inspection, Ai Hui saw that the cut had left a clear wound on its body.
Ai Hui was slightly startled. Before, it was difficult for him to leave a mark on a blood ant without operating his elemental energy.
With growing confidence, he continued attacking without retreat and performed another [Oblique Slash] with the Dragonspine Inferno.
The move was simple and did not cover a wide range, but Ai Hui's agile steps compensated for its weaknesses.
His consecutive hits slowed the ant down, but the malice within its body fueled its dogged attacks on Ai Hui.
Ai Hui's hilt seemed to transform into a cloud of smoke and from it shot a sword ray.
The ant's body was cleaved in two by the Dragonspine Inferno and fell through the dust.
Soon after, Ai Hui's gaze was quickly caught by Duanmu Huanghun, and his eyes displayed astonishment.
Duanmu Huanghun's [Viridescent Flower] always displayed dazzling transformations, but Ai Hui felt it came with a sense of softness. This time, however, Duanmu Huanghun's [Viridescent Flower] was dynamic as always, but the softness was absent, replaced by gloom and abstruseness.
When the viridescent flowers made contact with the blood ants, thorns grew out to pierce the eyes. And as the ants stiffened, flowers bloomed from their red bodies, becoming a colorfully auspicious viridescent flower ant.
Ai Hui trembled inside. [Viridescent Flower] was really demonic.
Duanmu Huanghun casually retrieved his viridescent flower as if there was no one else around. He gave Ai Hui a faint smile without caring to conceal the battlelust in his eyes. His vigor was astonishing, and it was as though he had become another person, his energy completely renewed.
"How do you intend to return the money?" Ai Hui caught Duanmu Huanghun by surprise.
Duanmu Huanghun froze, his smile turning rigid.
"Public morals are really degenerating each day. You're in debt and still have the cheek to act all holy. Aren't you shameless?"
Ai Hui muttered to himself, failing to notice the popping veins on Duanmu Huanghun's face. He spun on his heel and left only a silhouette of profound mystery.
He forgot that he still owed someone eighty million yuan.
It was a pity that his creditor was busy at the moment. Five ants flew out and three were tossed away by Shi Xueman's Cirrus. She did not, however, deal with them on her own but instead threw them to the team.
"Stay calm, don't panic!"
Shi Xueman, Sang Zhijun, and Jiang Wei each led a group to deal with a blood ant. They did not kill it directly but allowed the students to do so. Shi Xueman understood that if they did not allow these students to face and deal with an attack soon, their losses would be disastrous.
Ai Hui witnessed the clumsy and messy scene before him, and he shook his head. Without any urging, he decided to train his sword skills off to the side.
After killing a blood ant, the battlelust within his body was surging, but there was no outlet to release it, so his only option was to train.
Duanmu Huanghun similarly did not bother with the rest. With his eyes shut tightly, he sat cross-legged on the ground, the viridescent flower pattern on his lower abdomen circulating non-stop.
"Bangwan seemed to have changed a lot," Lou Lan commented quietly.
"Yeah, he's become fiercer, toward himself as well." Fatty touched his chin before continuing ruefully, "But no matter how ferocious he is, there's no point since he owes money. Look at me. I used to be a hero who charged my way out of the hell-like Wilderness. But see what happened in the end. Negligence turned me into Ai Hui's debtor, and I can only be his waterboy for now. Money is a hero's guts!"
Wang Xiaoshan, who was observing the chaotic scene, couldn't help but say, "Shi-goddess is a good person."
Anyone with eyes could tell that Shi Xueman was only doing this to give the students an opportunity to adapt to battle conditions.
Her efforts did not go to waste after all.
The once noisy scenes steadily calmed. Huo Yuanlong and his friends, with their commendable strength and talent, shined among the students of Central Pine Academy. Highly ranked students naturally had more opportunities to compete and learn from each other on a daily basis. The battles weren't fought with real weapons, but it allowed them to restore their standards by overcoming psychological barriers and regulating their disjointed actions.
Shi Xueman heaved a sigh of relief, fine beads of perspiration on her forehead. Leading her team seemed more tiring than fighting her own battle.
But she had to do it. The following battle would only become more intense and cruel. The students, too, had to undergo the probation period that the few of them had gone through.
The weak would be eliminated. It was an unchangeable fact.
Ai Hui stopped and looked over the breathless students. "Continue forward."
"Can we rest for a little while?" a student shouted.
"I don't want to be executed by martial law under the charge of passive resistance," Ai Hui said while looking up.
Everyone turned to find an elementalist approaching them from the sky. They swallowed any remaining words before they left their lips.
Shi Xueman took the lead. "Let's go."
She knew the higher-ups would tolerate the time taken to adapt but never passive resistance. Any sign of this happening would cost them their lives, right there on the spot.
Ai Hui and his team pushed forward at a slow but steady rate.
Shi Xueman quickly experienced the benefits of Ai Hui's method. They did not encounter many ants, most likely due to the earlier teams' clean-up operation. Whatever blood ants left over gave the rookies a chance to learn. It couldn't be more optimal. It would also be a nightmare if they were to get raided by these ants while retreating.
Blood ants appeared once more from the front, but this time, the students' responses were much better.
They were also trying hard to adapt.
Nobody wanted to die.