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 Chapter 24: Friends

Translator: Irene Editor: X

Li Wei had trained in the Suspending Golden Pagoda for three whole years, so he was intimately familiar with its layout. The sensation he felt from his hands... something was wrong!

There seemed to be an indentation in the tower wall.

He moved closer to inspect. There was indeed a dent, and it was a big one!

Li Wei was utterly shocked. He knew how tough the walls were. After a thousand years of constant metal wind flow, the tower's exterior had completely metalized. It became extremely solid, something common metal could not compare to.

Li Wei tested the hardness of the pagoda wall and found it to be the same as before. Nothing had changed. The big dent he saw before him was clearly not caused by a natural process.

Could it be that a formidable dire beast had smashed against it?

Sure enough, he spotted several signs around him that indicated something had trampled through. Judging from the size, the beast must have been large. He imagined in his head a possible scenario: an enormous dire beast went crazy and it used its head to collide against the pagoda wall. The dent was created, but , the creature simultaneously ricocheted and fell far away due to the forceful impact.

He found a few traces of upturned soil. Oh, it appeared that the a wild beast had done this more than once.

It looked like this wild beast had brute force, but not brains.

Li Wei, believing that he had found a logical reason, shelved this question. He would notify the school to warn students about the appearance of a ferocious and possibly wandering beast. He was not too nervous since such a foolish wild beast would not be very threatening. Plus, students who dared to visit this pagoda had probably opened at least two palaces. A strong, but brainless wild beast would not threaten their safety.

If one, who had already activated two palaces, failed to handle such a beast , he or she deserved to die and Li Wei felt no sympathy.

He loitered around for an extended duration before turning to leave.

.....

Vanguard Training Hall.

Ai Hui looked at the piping hot soup before him and licked his lips. The appetizing aroma was too much to handle and he could not wait to dig in. He was uncertain about the effectiveness of this bone-benefitting soup, but just smelling it was enough to drive him crazy.

Ai Hui admired Lou Lan's cooking skill. He believed if Lou Lan were to open up a soup stall, business would flourish. Whether it was at the swordsman school or the Wilderness, Ai Hui was forced to prepare his own meals. Practice made perfect, so he soon became a relatively good cook and believed his culinary skills were pretty decent. Compared to Lou Lan however, his skills were far inferior.

It was quite odd for a sand puppet to be an expert at preparing soup.

Ai Hui had lost track of the number of times that he puzzled over these quirks that Lou Lan had as a sand puppet, and he quickly discarded these thoughts as the soup stole all of his focus and attention.

"Drink it while it's hot since it's more effective this way," Lou Lan reminded him as he delivered the soup.

Ai Hui gingerly took the bowl from Lou Lan's hands, as if he was receiving a one-of-a-kind treasure. His final forty thousand yuan was spent on this bowl of soup. Ai Hui still could not believe that he had actually taken out all of his fortune to splurge on something like this. Such extravagant conduct.

Licking his lips once more, he raised the bowl up to his mouth and gulped it down.

The seemingly steaming hot broth was not as scalding as he had imagined. It was exceptionally delicious. The umami of the bones and meat had been brought out perfectly. Coupled with the fresh fragrance of the herbs, the soup had an indescribably well-balanced and harmonious taste. Its viscous,gelatinous texture seemed to slide down this throat.

Ai Hui did not stop drinking. It was as if he was pouring the soup down his throat without pause.

It was simply too tasty!

Lou Lan, go sell some soup!

After the last dregs entered his mouth, he licked the bowl clean, before setting it down and opening his eyes wide.

An inexpressible warmth surged upwards from the soles of his feet toward his heart, enveloping his whole body in a matter of seconds. The threads of warmth entered his bones and his face turned red, as if he was drunk. He felt a sensation of burning up.

"Quickly start training, Ai Hui. Spread the medicinal energy," Lou Lan reminded.

Upon hearing this, Ai Hui altered his posture and started to punch and kick.

Lou Lan's eyes flickered. Many moves were familiar since Ai Hui had coached him previously. The moves were scattered and mostly simple, not at all gaudy or complicated. Yet, when Ai Hui used them, they felt completely different.

Sharp, fierce, murderous. It was as if a wild, ferocious, blood-thirsty beast took over his body.

Lou Lan envied Ai Hui a little. He was a useless sand puppet that could not even fight. He knew few who were like him. Sand puppets were war machines who saved their companion's life in times of danger. But him? He only knew how to clean the rooms, tidy the garden, cook, and perform other such chores. He did not understand why Master Shao had made him this way.

Maybe Master Shao only needed this kind of sand puppet, Lou Lan thought.

Previously Lou Lan had no neighbors, and no one talked to him either, except for the grocer. Oh, but that was work-related. Ai Hui was the first person he had gotten acquainted with outside of work.

We should be considered friends by now, Lou Lan reckoned.

Being able to assist Ai Hui made him happy. Was that not the reason why sand puppets existed? To help people?

Ai Hui, who was engrossed in his training, felt a ball of fire ignite within his body that made him sweat profusely. The moves which previously required a huge consumption of energy were less strenuous now. This was especially so for the [Arching Fish Back]. He performed it and could sense that the power of his back had increased significantly. This improvement was even larger than the previous trainings.

Bit by bit, time passed. The fluctuations within his body settled down, and Ai Hui finally stopped his training.

His pupils were as bright as the stars, and he was soaked in sweat. However, he did not feel tired at all. In fact, he felt completely energized.

The intensity of his previous training session had been very high, and the multiple [Arching Fish Back] moves he had practiced against the pagoda wall carried unmatched power. Each time, the same amount of force would rebound and strike his body. He had sustained injuries of differing severity in many parts of his body. The metal elemental energy that his body had absorbed was as sharp as a blade and had no nourishing effect on his flesh at all.

Now, his internal injuries had disappeared. Ai Hui instantly felt that his forty thousand yuan was money well-spent. He was not short-sighted and was well aware that such internal damage carried hidden danger. Instead, he was simply used to being poor, and he had more pressing concerns to tackle.

What caused Ai Hui greater surprise was the fact that his elemental energy had clearly expanded. It turned out that the previously unabsorbed threads of elemental energy that remained in his body were now completely digested into his flesh.

"Lou Lan, thank you!" Ai Hui said sincerely. He did fork out the money to buy the ingredients, but Lou Lan was the one who stewed the soup. Where else could he find such an amazing sand puppet?

"You're welcome." All of a sudden Lou Lan recalled an earlier thought and blurted out, "Ai Hui, are we friends?"

Friends?

Ai Hui was stunned for a bit. He answered seriously and solemnly, "Of course!"

Lou Lan was overjoyed.

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