Chapter 194: Casualties And Hidden Dangers
Translator: TYZ Editor: X
"Let's think about it practically. What can we buy with 200 Heaven Merit Points?"
"There ought to be a lot of stuff that we can buy. This is the first time we're getting Heaven Merit Points. What's with that look?"
"Think about it. That's provided we can survive this catastrophe. Therefore, it's pointless to talk about this. Why not we buy some dry goods?"
"That's provided the mayor has enough of them."
Shi Xueman's explanation on absolute arts roused Ai Hui.
The dazzle of genius was like a blossomed flower. The knowledge that was built upon generations of hard work was absorbed silently by the roots of the flower. Surpassing the older generations was a form of respect to their ancestors. It represented the confidence and courage of the new generation.
It felt gratifying to have an absolute art be passed down and studied for generations.
Ai Hui was envious as he continued his seemingly fruitless training. All right, there was no one to lead him and the process was rather lonely, but he had no limitations and could do whatever he wanted.
This should be how a pioneer felt. The feelings of solitude and helplessness were coupled with a heroic spirit.
Ai Hui broke into a laughter. The feeling of depicting himself as a supreme individual was rather encouraging.
Shi Xueman cast a glance at him, not knowing why he was laughing. However, when she saw Ai Hui had started to practice his swordplay, she withdrew her gaze and focused on the discussion with the other students.
Her notebook was densely-packed with notes taken from the fruitful discussion. Most of these notes corresponded to the information that she read in books related to art of war. Everyone gave her heaps of praise as they felt that she was a natural born leader. She felt very embarrassed by these words. The previous battle had made her realize that having theoretical debates was pointless.
As the discussion went in-depth, a series of terrifying training routines were drawn up.
There was going to be another battle tomorrow. Without hesitation, everyone began practicing.
In the students' hearts, Shi Xueman and Ai Hui were completely different from each other. For Ai Hui, his authority caused everyone to fear him and to have confidence in him at the same time. For Shi Xueman, everyone trusted her like a friend.
"Fatty, why are you not training?" Lou Lan shouted.
Fatty, who was sleeping soundly in one corner, woke up feeling terror-stricken.
"Lou Lan, supervise Fatty. 200 sets of sprinting!"
Ai Hui's cold voice resounded through the air.
"No problem, Ai Hui," Lou Lan replied cheerfully.
"Lou Lan, why do you have to do this to me?" Fatty sobbed with a frowning face.
"Fatty, Lou Lan is doing this for your own good," Lou Lan replied lightheartedly.
Lou Lan conjured a sand-made whip and started brandishing it. "Fatty, 200 sets!"
The mayor's residence.
"... Currently, the battle results are remarkable. Our advancing speed has far exceeded what we anticipated before the start of the battle. Tomorrow, it's even possible that we do not need to activate all of our elite units. However, note that we have encountered three completely transformed blood ants today. They have caused us heavy casualties. It has been estimated that the number of transformed blood ants will increase tomorrow. The recommended offensive for tomorrow is to place elite elementalists at various blocks of the streets beforehand to handle any possible dangers."
"... The total number of deaths today amounts to 5,721. The total number of injured individuals amounts to 1,655. These individuals have been quarantined. The casualties are devastating. The fighting capabilities of the students and residents that survived have increased sharply. Note that the number of people that we have quarantined has reached 3,100. Our doctors have not found a remedy for the blood poison. There are already 26..."
The voice was trembling as it read out the chilling numbers. Each number was equivalent to a human life.
"26 what?" the mayor raised his head for the first time and asked with stern voice.
"These individuals have their bodies undergo huge changes. Their muscles become thicker and harder, their hair become denser, and their powers become terrifyingly strong. The elemental energy in their bodies are devoured by the blood poison and transformed into an unknown force. This mysterious force is the main culprit for the transformations in their bodies. However, it also bestows unique powers to them at the same time. We have a few wood elementalists that were almost killed by them."
"The Elders Guild has been studying this kind of force. It has an inextricable link with the blood refinement methods from the Cultivation Era. Blood sacrifices, underworld, soul-refinement, zombies, etc. Blood-refinement is viewed by the living as the power of death. The transformation of one's body caused by the blood poison is known as beastification. Currently, the Elders Guild has not found a cure for it."
"Beastification..." This was the first time the mayor showed fear in his eyes.
On one side, the dean's face was already filled with terror.
There was an absolute silence in the hall.
"Right now, the problem is what do we do with the 3,100 quarantined people if the beastification can't be stopped?"
Gasping in horror, everyone's heart stopped beating. There was a dead suffocating silence in the hall.
The Vanguard Training Hall.
This time around, Ai Hui's luck was not as good. After one night of trial and error, he did not develop any new moves, like a fishing boat that returned with an empty net from a fishing trip.
Ai Hui was not discouraged as this was normal.
He raised his head. The moon was bright and the amount of stars in the night sky were sparse. The courtyard, however, was filled with intense heat.
Fatty was fully-armored, his hands were holding a heavy shield, and there was a huge fire vat on his back. He let out a boar-like roar as he sprinted forward with all his might. If this was in the past, Ai Hui would have found it unpleasant to hear. However, at this point of time, it sounded rather refreshing.
On the other side, Shi Xueman led everyone in trying out different training routines. Jiang Wei's stern shouts and Sang Zhijun's cold taunts could constantly be heard. The young and tender faces of the students were filled with focus and sweat. For the sake of surviving, no one was complaining.
For some unknown reason, Ai Hui felt slightly touched.
This place was different from the Wilderness. In the Wilderness, one would never see this kind of focus and struggle for survival. He mostly saw numbness, emptiness, and fear from the people in the Wilderness. They were waiting for death to come.
In this place, no one was willing to resign to death. Perhaps it took strength or the determination to preserve one's dignity in order to defy a doomed fate?
Okay, I am becoming more and more melancholic. It seems I'm not tired enough.
Ai Hui started stretching his limbs. When he felt that he had regained most his energy, his facial expression became solemn once more.
He wanted to try to use the [Big Dipper] to execute the [Misty Strike] and [Oblique Slash]. What would the outcome be?
The seven palaces in his body trembled together, each simultaneously releasing a strand of elemental energy. The seven strands of elemental energy merged together and entered his arm. However, by the time this happened, he had already finished executing the [Oblique Slash].
The channeling speed of his elemental energy was too slow.
Ai Hui stopped what he was doing. It was easy to identify where it went wrong when he recalled every single detail. He was still not accustomed to the elemental energy channeling method of the [Big Dipper]. For his other moves, their elemental energy channeling methods had always been simple and straightforward. The only complicated one belonged to the [Crescent Moon] technique.
After realizing what the problem was, Ai Hui continued to channel his elemental energy and brandish his sword.
Fail, fail, fail...
Like a stone statue, Ai Hui's face did not move a single iota. He kept on executing the [Oblique Slash], behaving like an emotionless sand puppet.
Upon seeing this scene, the students would always cast an involuntary glance at Lou Lan.
"Faster Fatty! Come on!"
"Fatty, you can do it!"
"Fatty, if you run any slower, I will make you drink the Dragon Soup!"
Lou Lan's encouragements were fanciful and surging with fervor.
They were the most bizarre duo of master and sand puppet. The master behaved more like a sand puppet than his sand puppet, while his sand puppet behaved more like a human than the master.
Fatty would definitely agree with this statement. After finishing 200 sets of sprints, he collapsed onto the ground. His sweat began forming a small puddle beneath his body. His heavy panting rubbed against his throat, as if he would produce sparks from his throat at any moment. His mind was blank, which signaled that his body was reaching its physical limit.
Lou Lan brought out a pail of water and a bunch of straws appeared out of thin air in his hand. Next, he put one end of the cluster of straws into the pail of water and the other end into Fatty's mouth.
"Fatty, good one! Take a break. Lou Lan needs to start working as well."
Lou Lan had already found the chili formulation that the blood ants hated the most. For a sand puppet that was well-versed in cooking and medicine, as long as he was working in the right direction, he would be able to determine the most suitable formulation with abnormal accuracy.
The battle would start after dawn. Lou Lan needed to make enough of his brand new chili concoction.
He had to work hard to help Ai Hui!
Lou Lan raised his small fist in determination.
Gurgle gurgle. The level of water inside the pail was decreasing at a visible rate.
Fatty was finally able to breathe as he struggled to sit up. Just as he was about to start whining, he saw Ai Hui brandishing his sword emotionlessly, so he quickly shut his mouth.
No one understood Ai Hui's ruthlessness more than Fatty. The scariest part of Ai Hui was his ruthlessness. He was even ruthless to himself, repeatedly punishing and torturing himself. The level of Ai Hui's training was extraordinary.
For a person who was so heartless to himself, how vicious would he be toward other people then?
Better not provoke Ai Hui!
This was the conclusion that Fatty came up with after following Ai Hui for so many years. As such, Fatty could only clench his teeth and endure with regards to Ai Hui's expectations for his training. He did so because he knew that enduring the pain of Ai Hui's training was better than experiencing the pain of Ai Hui's beatings if he failed to complete the training. That fellow would definitely not sympathize with Fatty.
His nose suddenly started twitching.
Such an alluring fragrance... It smelled familiar, but he could not tell what it was...
Fatty propped himself up from the ground and followed the smell.
He was frightened by the sudden noise. After a while, there another bang rang out.
What the hell was Lou Lan doing?
He was filled with curiosity. When he walked closer, he saw Lou Lan burning a thorny fist-sized green rattan ball.
Bang. The thorny ball suddenly exploded. Accompanied by scarlet flames, a cloud of glittering red powder sprinkled out.
The fragrance belonged to this glittering powder.
"Lou Lan, what are you doing?" Fatty could not resist gulping.
"Refining the chili powder and chili fire oil," Lou Lan replied without raising his head.
His hands were moving nonstop. He opened the thorny green ball, put in a chilli, closed it up, and lit it up.
Bang. The thorny ball exploded and a cloud of glittering red powder cascaded through the air with blazing flames, landing in a hollow purple bamboo tube.
"I'm putting the chili into a hollow cocklebur and igniting it. The wood elemental energy from the hollow cocklebur will then seep into the chili. Wood feeds fire. The chili's fire elemental energy will be further stimulated, and the explosive power will crush the chili and its seeds into powder. From there, we can collect the limited chili fire oil. Fatty, look at the scarlet flames. That's the chili fire oil which we will collect using the flaming purple bamboo tube. The flaming purple bamboo tube's dual natures of fire and wood will feed off of each other. Not only can it hold the chili fire oil, but it also has an intoxicating effect. It's a pity that we don't have enough time..."
Like the paw of a cat, a fat meaty hand reached out silently and grabbed the purple bamboo tube.
Lou Lan was stunned when he turned around.
Fatty was gulping the liquid inside the bamboo tube. When the last drop of chili fire oil that, accompanied by a streak of flames, landed in his mouth, he unwillingly put down the bamboo tube and uttered his catch phrase.