Chapter 236: Run
Translator: YH Editor: CakeHermit
This idea filled Ai Hui with excitement.
Ai Hui had experienced heartache at the loss of his most comfortable weapon, the Dragonspine Inferno. Its sturdiness had been its most commendable trait.
He had since turned into a sword consuming maniac, destroying sword after sword. Besides the difficulty he experienced in controlling his elemental energy, those swords weren't of exactly great quality either. Their inability to withstand his violent elemental energy was one of the main reasons why they were so easily broken.
After the decline of swordsmanship, the number of people practicing swordplay decreased as well. This naturally resulted in a small demand for swords. The Dragonspine Inferno's quality had been decent, but nobody had wanted to buy it.
Everyone else's swords were carried more for show. They were mostly longswords made out of ordinary materials and couldn't withstand elemental energy that was too powerful.
Ai Hui was left facing an awkward situation. There were no swords that he could effectively use.
The Dragonspine Inferno's blade had been destroyed, but the seven artifact remnants that had been embedded in the blade remained intact. Calling down lightning with the Dragonspine Inferno had resulted in its seven artifact remnants being saturated with electricity. Ai Hui had thought of using these artifact remnants to create a new sword, but where would he find the time?
The blood snake vertebrae felt good in his hands.
Ai Hui managed to better understand the spinal column's unique properties after waving it for a while. To most people, controlling something as flexible as the blood snake vertebrae would be a challenging feat. For an expert in swordsmanship like Ai Hui however, their flexibility wasn't an issue. He was soon able to brandish them as he pleased.
It's just a flexible sword!
If one was able to overcome the difficulties associated with controlling them, the flexibility of the blood snake vertebrae was actually an advantage. It allowed the wielder to execute a greater range of unpredictable and unorthodox sword strokes, creating fatal opportunities that could easily be tapped on by expert swordsmen.
"Is Ai Hui thinking of using it as a longsword?" Lou Lan asked curiously.
"That's right, don't you think it's suitable?" Ai Hui replied.
He handled the blood snake vertebrae fondly, waving them about as he pleased. With a single movement, Ai Hui made the blood snake vertebrae snap into place. He thrust the vertebrae, which were now as straight as a pencil, into the air in front of him. A whistling sound could be heard as small, deep holes appeared in the wall.
"It is indeed very suitable," Lou Lan replied, his eyes lighting up. "Lou Lan has never seen a material like this before. If Ai Hui gives me one small section of it, I can analyse it and then create a sword with it."
Astonished, Ai Hui asked in response, "Lou Lan knows how to craft swords?"
"I'm not particularly proficient at it," Lou Lan replied, a little embarrassed. "Lou Lan has only read "The Creation of Famous Swords", "Deconstructing Arms","A Treatise on Elemental Energy in Weapons","Dire Beasts and Grass-grade Weapons", "A Record of Heaven-grade Weapons"..."
Ai Hui dumbfoundedly listened to Lou Lan list out a small library's worth of books.
After five minutes, Lou Lan finally finished reporting his reading list. Still a bit embarrassed, he stated, "Although my knowledge on the matter is limited, I'll try my best to help you!"
The first half of Lou Lan's sentence left Ai Hui feeling weak in the knees. The second half however, moved him deeply. Clearly touched by Lou Lan's offer, Ai Hui replied, "Thank you Lou Lan! Lou Lan's standard is amazing! You're the best!"
"Really?" Lou Lan asked, his eyes as round as a full moon.
"Absolutely!" Ai Hui answered resolutely.
Lou Lan cheered loudly. Scurrying about like a sandstorm, he then abruptly proceeded to clean up the battlefield.
Ai Hui decided it was time to split the spoils from their previous battle. Because Ai Hui had played an extremely crucial role, he took a share of five blood crystals.
Shi Xueman had also contributed a lot and as such, received three crystals as her reward. She had fearlessly pitted herself against the blood ape and had proven indispensable in the battle.
As more battles were fought against blood fiends, everyone began to get the hang of it. The latest official announcement had stated that only blood-traced fiends with nine traces or less would produce blood crystals. Regular blood-traced fiends and blood fiends were only able to produce a softer variant known as blood resin.
All of the elementalists that had participated in the battle were happy to receive a reward.
"It'd be great if all battles were just like today's!"
"Quit dreaming, once is already a blessing."
"You never know, Central Pine City has Ai Hui."
Spoils of war were the most practical rewards since blood crystals could help them to swiftly increase their strength. With each increment came a greater chance of survival.
The five blood crystals that Ai Hui received were of excellent quality. Out of these five blood crystals, the best one probably came from the blood snake. The blood snake vertebrae were also given to him as a reward.
The blood snake vertebrae had attracted everyone's attention after the dean posited that they came from a blood fiend that had been almost as strong as the blood ape.
The joy from receiving rewards was short lived.
A new variant of nine-traces blood fiend had appeared.
Everyone knew that the following battles would only become more intense.
The mayor had sent teams of earth elementalists and fire elementalists to investigate the sinkhole in hopes of finding a way to seal it. From the way things looked however, this seemed unlikely.
A line of students filed into the Vanguard Training Hall. Ai Hui noticed that spirits were low and after asking around, found out that three students had lost their lives. They were the first batch of students who had charged ahead with Shi Xueman. Although they were no longer afraid of fighting, seeing the constant sacrifice of their comrades' lives made them feel slightly depressed.
No one knew when this blood disaster would end, just like nobody knew when the reinforcements would finally arrive.
Seeing the blood fiends become stronger and their comrades falling one by one increased the students' stress levels.
Ai Hui kept quiet. He knew much more about the disaster but didn't dare to tell them about it.
He feared that they would lose their last shreds of bravery upon knowing that the entire disaster was part of a plot aimed at destroying the Avalon of Five Elements.
The reinforcements that had yet to come gave them a sense of hope.
The moment Shi Xueman returned to Vanguard Training Hall, she locked herself up in the room.
Ai Hui felt that he should console her, but didn't know how he should go about doing it.
-- It's not your fault? Casualties are unavoidable? Such words were meaningless at a time like this.
Ai Hui suddenly thought of his Master and Mistress.
How were they doing?
Ai Hui had been fighting everyday since the outbreak of the blood disaster. Every single day was a struggle to stay alive, and every moment of respite was like taking a long deep breath before plunging underwater again.
He hadn't had the time nor strength to worry about them.
He thought of Mistress and Senior Mingxiu's strength and felt at ease; surely they were fine.
Ai Hui never felt the need to worry about his Master and Mistress. Rather, he always thought that they were constantly worrying about him. For some reason however, he suddenly felt an overwhelming urge to visit them.
He passed a bag of snake bones to Lou Lan, waved goodbye to everyone, and promptly left for the embroidery workshop.
Ai Hui believed that he had become accustomed to death. He'd thought that he had already tasted the deepest despair that he could experience. He had been under the impression that he could look death in the face and leave this world calmly.
But as the people around him fell one after the other, he couldn't help but wonder what the next day would bring.
So what if he knew that the blood disaster was a ploy executed by the Blood of God? Would that knowledge save him from the ever-changing blood fiends? When will the reinforcements arrive? Ai Hui thought it likely that the reinforcements had been ambushed by the Blood of God.
If this disaster was all part of a plan, an ambush would be extremely likely. If Ai Hui could think of this himself, surely the Blood of God would have thought of it.
Nobody would expect the calm, optimistic Ai Hui to be so pessimistic on the inside.
He knew much more than everyone else.
Sometimes, ignorance really is bliss.
Ai Hui sped off under the night sky. He had a stuffy feeling in his chest that he badly wanted to release. He had no idea how he could vent his feelings, so he ran with all his might.
The wind blew across his face as the scenery on both sides of the street quickly disappeared behind him.
Ai Hui rushed over to the embroidery workshop in one breath. By the time he reached his destination, his mood had lightened up a bit and his emotions had calmed down. What he saw however, gave him a surprise.
The embroidery workshop's entrance was heavily guarded; sentries were positioned all over the place.
Although he had expected his Master and Mistress to be guarded, this amount of protection made him feel very uneasy. Central Pine City was low on manpower, yet the mayor's residence was willing to deploy so many guards here. Something was not right!
Someone suddenly charged towards the entrance, giving the elementalists on guard duty a scare.
The guards heaved a sigh of relief upon getting a clearer look at the intruder. Ai Hui was well known throughout Central Pine City, everyone could recognize him.
"Ai Hui, you did an awesome job today!"
One of the guards praised him loudly, initiating a series of agreements.
"I was tempted to join in myself!"
Ai Hui plastered a smile on his face, maintaining an exceptional calmness beneath his cheerful appearance. The strange circumstances had put him on high alert.
Mingxiu came out of the workshop upon hearing the commotion outside. Seeing Ai Hui, she smiled and called out, "Junior!"
Ai Hui was shocked to see Senior Mingxiu so haggard. To him, Senior Mingxiu was someone who was always gentle, graceful, and humble. Haggard was one of the last things he would use to describe her.
"Senior, why do you look so wan?" Ai Hui asked out of concern.
While he remained expressionless, Ai Hui was already preparing himself for a fight. Was the mayor's residence trying to make use of his Master and Mistress? Were they forcing his Master and Mistress to do things against their will?
A killing intent began to manifest within Ai Hui. Darkness and despair had long pushed Ai Hui to the edge. The strange situation that he was currently in had triggered an anger that dwelled deep inside him.
Ai Hui held his Master and Mistress very dear and would go all out against anyone who dared to lay a finger on them.
He didn't think his life was worth much anyway, so be it if he died.
Mingxiu's eyes revealed complex, conflicting emotions. She didn't know how to reply to him. Although her junior appeared to be extremely calm, she could see the despair and murderous intent in his eyes.
She immediately knew that her junior had misinterpreted the situation. While she had been instructed by Uncle not to tell Ai Hui what was happening, her heart ached at the thought of her Master.
"They have nothing to do with this," Mingxiu said while she struggled to control her emotions. "Master Han is in seclusion. You should go and visit Uncle instead."
She had decided to disobey him in the end. Mingxiu knew Uncle didn't want Junior to worry, but she felt that it was too cruel to let Junior figure it all out only at the end.
Besides, she secretly harbored a small hope that Junior could come up with something.
Junior was no longer that youth who needed her protection. He was now the Lightning Blade, the embodiment of Central Pine City's hope!
Upon receiving his master's address, Ai Hui immediately took off at the speed of light.