Chapter 219: Blood Birds in the City
Translator: YH Editor: CakeHermit
The streets of Central Pine City erupted with cheers. Since the blood disaster began, very few occasions could excite everyone like the current one.
The blood fiends that were blocked by Ai Hui began to split up, wandering down the other streets and alleys, eventually spreading to other parts of the city. Direct clashes between elementalists and blood fiends occurred simultaneously in different parts of the city. Casualties on both sides were rising sharply.
Fortunately, most of the blood fiends flocked towards the main street where Ai Hui was. The enormous benefits of the blood crystals also greatly reduced the elementalists' fear of the blood fiends.
If not for these two factors, the number of casualties would have been much worse. Even so, innumerable lives were still lost to the intense battles happening throughout the city.
The city had initially suffered heavy casualties, but after paying the price in blood, the elementalists learned how to better handle these powerful blood-traced fiends. People weren't afraid of the blood-traced fiends' raw strength, but rather, were afraid of the unknown. The blood-traced fiends' mysterious transformations, unique powers, and the blood poison they carried were all a mystery to most of the city's forces.
As the number of battles under their belts increased, these unknown factors were unravelled one by one. The mystery shrouding the blood-traced fiends was fading away and the fear of them was rapidly diminishing.
Dire beasts could be just as strong as these blood fiends, but people weren't so afraid of them.
The elementalists came from all over the city, dispersing the main horde of blood fiends and surrounding them from all sides. They were applying dire beast hunting tactics to the current situation. Lives were constantly lost, but nobody took even one step back. Everyone was completely immersed in the slaughter.
Retreat? Where could they go? There was no path for retreat!
There was no alternative to fighting to the death. Destroying every last blood fiend in the city was the only way to survive.
The mayor's residence was quiet. The faint cries of madness and uniform knocking of shields in the distance did not disturb Wang Zhen in the least. He looked at the elite in front of him.
Standing in front of him were the strongest elites in Central Pine City. Among them were teachers who had experienced and survived various disasters, experienced hunting veterans, and former elites of the Thirteen Divisions.
Standing beside him was the dean.
Central Pine City had no one else to rely on in the face of such a formidable enemy; this was the most powerful team that they could put together. To Wang Zhen, this team of "elites" was woefully weak. During the Battle of the Dawn, at least they'd had Ye Baiyi and forty-two elite members of the Deathgrass Division.
He was just an auxiliary soldier, and a retired one at that. How did he end up as a leader?
Wang Zhen laughed in resignation.
He didn't expect this team to have to enter battle so soon, but the situation was critical and he had to make a swift decision.
He was capable of mobilizing the entire city, turning Central Pine City into a giant meat grinder. He was willing to send the weaker students out to their deaths in order to deplete the blood poison. He was also more than willing to throw himself out there without the slightest hesitation when required.
Having been to the battlefield, he knew that mercy and compassion to others or oneself were of no use out there.
On the battlefield, those who feared death were often the first to die.
"Our mission is to re-seal the gate. The A-1 unit seems to be attracting the main bulk of the blood fiends. As such, we will move along the inside of the walls and cut in from the sides. I don't care how it's done, as long as it's done in the end. We don't have much time left."
Wang Zhen spoke swiftly and firmly. He only paused for a moment when he mentioned the A-1 unit. The A-1 unit had performed well beyond his expectations. He had to admit that seeing Ai Hui fend off the stampeding blood fiends had initially made him doubt his own eyes.
If not for Ai Hui...
Without Ai Hui, the horde of blood fiends would have completely destroyed everything in front of them. The entire Central Pine City would have become their playground.
Wang Zhen, who had experienced the Battle of the Dawn, understood that the most terrifying thing about the blood fiends was their overwhelming madness that seemed to crush everything.
Ai Hui was somehow able to resist it.
Wang Zhen had no idea how Ai Hui did it, but he'd definitely succeeded in resisting it.
He suddenly thought of how the Battle of the Dawn had unleashed the wargod-like Ye Baiyi. Perhaps Ai Hui was Central Pine City's Ye Baiyi?
This ridiculous thought hovered in his mind for a couple of seconds before it disappeared.
When he'd spoken to the dean, Wang Zhen had suggested that a miracle could happen. Deep down however, he'd known that placing his hopes on a miracle was laughably stupid. All hopes on the battlefield were only derived from fighting and bloodshed.
His gaze brushed over the group in front of him as he said solemnly, "We must re-seal the gate in the shortest time possible. As of now, flying blood fiends have yet to enter the city and we must accomplish our mission before..."
At that moment, he saw some blood birds flying in the distance. His expression changed slightly, but soon returned to normal. "Well, they're already here. All we can do now is to seal the gate as soon as possible and keep their numbers to a minimum. The dean and I will be leading this operation. We must succeed at all costs. Let's go."
Central Pine City's defences had always been robust, especially its air defence. This was the reason why they had been able to hold out until now.
The previous incident where blood bats had infiltrated the city had prompted the mayor's residence to completely reform the city's air defences. Wang Zhen himself had presided over their design. Under his meticulous arrangements, the blood bats were unable to invade Central Pine City again.
To think that there would now be blood birds within their airspace...
Compared to the blood-traced fiends on the ground, the flying blood birds were a much greater threat. They were much more versatile and had more lines of attack. Even with the azure wings, it would take an expert to be able to defeat these flying blood fiends. To most elementalists, flying with the azure wings was just another technical ability. To the flying blood fiends however, flying was an evolutionary adaptation perfected over many millennia.
To make matters worse, Central Pine City's air defences were built to withstand incoming attacks. Attacks from within the city were much harder to deal with.
Wang Zhen was worried, but he had more pressing matters to deal with. The longer they waited, the lower the possibility of resealing the city gate. If the gate remained unsealed, everyone would just be sitting ducks awaiting death.
He grit his teeth, turned a blind eye to the sky, and led everyone towards the gate.
Central Pine City had turned into a large battlefield.
Old Zhang's team and the A-1 unit were fully engaged in battle. The two teams relentlessly launched attacks at the horde of blood fiends being fended off by Ai Hui.
There was no need to worry about dodging or defending, all they had to do was pour their elemental energy into all out attacks.
The number of blood fiends was dwindling. This was in part due to the blood fiends at the back of the stampede snapping out of the mania that had initially consumed them. Upon realizing that there was no way through ahead, the blood fiends began to find other routes.
The pressure on Ai Hui was greatly reduced, and the sword embryo's throbbing started to slow down.
This was reflected in Ai Hui's slowing movements. His sword strokes had become much more visible and were now relatively easy to capture with the naked eye.
Everyone was relieved that the situation had become less critical.
Nobody knew that Ai Hui was beginning to feel slightly uncomfortable.
Ai Hui's attention was still focused largely on his sword, but his bodily changes were starting to affect his mind. The constant depletion of the elemental energy within his body, had greatly reduced the lightness he felt in his limbs. Particularly, the frantic throbbing of the sword embryo had consumed a huge amount of elemental energy from his sky palace.
The elemental energy within Ai Hui's body had almost bottomed out.
Although the sword strokes he executed were not complicated and didn't consume much elemental energy, slaying such a large number of blood fiends still required a good amount of elemental energy. Describing the entire street as a river of blood was not an exaggeration at all.
In contrast to the depletion of his elemental energy, Ai Hui's essence, breath, and spirit were rising sharply.
In order to maintain control over his body, Ai Hui had forced his mind to focus solely on his sword. If he hadn't been forced to the point of desperation, Ai Hui definitely would not have come up with such an idea. He probably wouldn't have been able to achieve such a deep level of focus either.
This level of focus had allowed him to achieve a special state of mind.
The sword manuals of the Cultivation Era referred to this state as "lucidity".
Every minute change experienced by the sword was clearly noticed by him. For instance, the same simple oblique slash that he had executed countless times before was now perceived to a much greater detail. The vibration of the blade, the flow of elemental energy, the movement of the air, and the changes taking place when cutting into flesh...
All these previously neglected or unseen details were now so vivid.
The steady stream of blood fiends forced Ai Hui to continue fighting. The ongoing high-intensity combat heightened Ai Hui's perception. If the amount of detail in a single sword stroke was like a river, then the countless sword strokes that Ai Hui had performed was akin to a sea of information.
Ai Hui gradually analyzed and absorbed the feedback that was constantly being generated. Making use of this information, he constantly revised and improved his swordplay. Ai Hui's swordsmanship was quietly transforming.
Such a transformation was extremely subtle. No one around had noticed anything different, not even Ai Hui himself.
Just like that, Ai Hui had experienced the first turning point in his swordsmanship.
As he processed more and more of the feedback coming from his sword, Ai Hui's swordsmanship continued to change. His power and presence were constantly on the rise.
From an onlooker's perspective, Ai Hui's killing intent had become much colder and much denser.
Just as Ai Hui was on the verge of experiencing a breakthrough, the number of blood fiends heading towards him decreased significantly. As the fighting intensity decreased, so too did his presence.
All breakthroughs required a sustained effort to see through.
The fall in his intent was the reason for the slight discomfort he was experiencing.
It felt as though a violent storm which was about to take shape had suddenly begun to dissipate.
Right at that moment, one of Old Zhang's team members suddenly exclaimed, "Bad news, blood birds!"
Old Zhang was startled. Looking up and seeing the blood birds drained all color from his face.
A few elementalists who were closer to the blood birds had no time to react and were swiftly pierced by the them. The blood birds flew through the air like red arrows.
There were only a small number of elementalists in the air above Central Pine City. Old Zhang and his team were thus highly conspicuous and were immediately picked out as targets by the blood birds. Spreading their wings, the blood birds flew aggressively in their direction.
Old Zhang's face was as white as a sheet.
Hiding in the dark, Tian Kuan's eyes brightened.