Chapter 3: Anger
Translator: TYZ Editor: Lis
"My name is Ai Hui, and I'm sixteen years old. I'm pleased to be with all of you in the same class. Please take good care of me." Ai Hui tried his best to keep his tone gentle and composed as he stood on the podium. He had to keep reminding himself that this was not the Wilderness.
His vantage point allowed him a panoramic view of his surroundings, and he found no hidden dangers. After introducing himself, Ai Hui descended the podium steps in an uncultured fashion.
Some of the students were surprised at Ai Hui's age and broke out into lively discussions.
"He's old, and he's still able to enter the Induction Ground? He's even got such a weird name."
"He's probably from the Old Territory..."
Seeing the commotion, Teacher Xu, who was standing off to one side, gave a gentle cough and said, "For those students coming up next, try not to give a brief description of yourself and talk more about your backgrounds. This way, your classmates will have a better understanding of you."
Upon returning to his seat, Ai Hui heaved a sigh of relief. Compared to being in a battle, the current situation left him far more bewildered.
Aware of his disordered breathing, he inhaled, and then exhaled deeply. Gradually, the nervousness disappeared, and his body was restored to its peak form once again.
To the others, Ai Hui appeared oddly quiet. No one realized that the peaceful and withdrawn guy that sat in the corner of the classroom was actually a dormant beast that could erupt at any time with terrifying strength.
The three years he spent in the Wilderness had left him with too many scars.
For example, his choice in seating.
He specifically chose a spot that was beside the window. From there, he'd be able to see outside, making it easier for him to defend against any incoming attacks. Or if the attacks came from within the school compound, he could immediately escape by jumping out the window.
It dictated how he observed his surroundings. At any moment in time, he was secretly monitoring the area around him-the teacher on the podium, the students around him, the structure of the school compound, and the placement of tables and chairs. Too often, these minor details were the key factors in deciding one's fate-to live or to die. One could never complain about an overabundance of information.
He didn't consciously make these decisions. Everything came naturally to him.
He had around two hundred classmates, and most of them were quite young. This was evident from the naive and tender looks on their faces. There were a few fellows that dressed elegantly and appeared haughty, clearly coming from influential families. Ai Hui recognized one of them as the same noble who came flying in on the high-quality Fiery Floating Cloud.
His name was apparently Duanmu Huanghun, somewhat prideful and rather strong. Ai Hui took mental note of him.
This guy had been appointed as the class monitor. What is a class monitor, he wondered. A team leader? It was never a good idea to let an arrogant guy be the team leader. The experienced Ai Hui made silent observations from the side.
However, this had nothing to do with him.
It was only a pity that he and Fatty weren't assigned to the same class.
At this thought, he felt some regret.
But in the next moment, Teacher Xu said something that crushed this feeling and replaced it with overflowing fury and endless killing intent.
"Next, I will announce the fees that are charged by the Induction Ground and the school. Everyone can feel that the concentration of elemental energy in the city is much stronger, right? Training in such an environment will save effort and ensure better results.
"The standard rent for a single room is fifty thousand yuan per year. As another option, we also provide a more luxurious dormitory that has an elemental energy concentration nine times higher than the outside world's. This upgraded room costs seventy thousand yuan per year, and the students who can afford it are free to apply. Now, let's talk about the food. The food sold within the grounds are rather cheap. Daily meals cost two hundred yuan per day, and this includes the breakfast..."
Ai Hui's cheeks twitched indiscernibly. He didn't want to listen to any more. He tried his best to control his facial expression, but the rage within him was practically consuming him. Under the table, his clenched fists were riddled with pulsing veins.
The Induction Ground provided room and board? Haha!
Why didn't he kill that wretched Fatty at registration?
The teacher continued to talk non-stop on the podium. His saliva flew across the air and landed on the blackboard, seemingly forming a glittering word-money.
Even after half an hour, this fellow was still talking about the fees! Ai Hui had the sudden urge to charge forward and kill Master Xu who now seemed like an aggressive, life-threatening beast. No, Master Xu was also a beast that had a deep blood feud with him!
Ai Hui squinted as the look in his eyes turned ice-cold. Haha, he had killed so many beasts like the one in front of him right now.
An hour passed...
By now, Ai Hui's anger had completely disappeared, his ice-cold gaze replaced by a lifeless one. He was resigned to his fate, and it would be a bitter death.
He was even tempted to escape back to the Wilderness.
The dangerous beasts with their blood-stained ivory fangs in the somber Wilderness now appeared gentle and cute.
Instead, shouldn't that be the true appearance of the Induction Ground? This place was actually a hundred times more dangerous than the Wilderness!
When Teacher Xu was perfectly satisfied, he finally stopped. "Those students that came from the Old Territory should have received a sum of money after passing the aptitude test, correct? This is to be used for your daily allowance and study purposes."
He did not pass the aptitude test...
Ai Hui looked insipidly at the teacher.
"Of course, that money is only enough for your basic necessities. If you wish to obtain more resources and opportunities, you'll have to work harder. There are a total of seventy-six cities in the Induction Ground that provide plenty of job opportunities and daily missions for you to earn reasonable remuneration. I have to remind everyone, however, that your main objective in coming to the Induction Ground was to learn and train, not make money. Don't waste too much time on earning money and delay your training-the gains will not make up for your losses."
Ai Hui heaved a sigh of relief. Luckily, there was a way out of this predicament. Like a deer that had barely escaped from the tiger's claws, the joy from his new lease on life formed a sheen of cold sweat across his forehead.
Ai Hui dabbed at his forehead and revised the risk level of the Induction Ground in his mind!
Teacher Xu began to distribute thick stacks containing detailed information: a timetable, a map of the local area, a job list, a mission list, locations of all available lodgings and restaurants, and routes to various cities.
"Everyone has three days to settle their room and board. After that, we will begin lessons. Note that Introduction to Elemental Energy is not within our syllabus. For those who have never attended this course before, you can self-study at the library or attend Teacher Dong's introductory class. Class dismissed."
Ai Hui searched for Teacher Dong's introductory class on the timetable and circled it. This was a class he definitely needed to attend.
However, the most crucial problem that he had to settle right now was the issue of money. He was penniless and didn't even have money for lunch.
He sat perfectly upright and used his sharp vision to quickly scan through the hefty information in his hands. The first thing he looked for was the phrase "All meals provided." Ai Hui heaved a sigh of relief when he saw that many places had it. Then, he began to use his fingertip to follow the listings one by one until suddenly, his fair and slender finger stopped in its tracks.
The sharpness and intensity of his gaze disappeared, becoming reserved and puzzled as he became somewhat lost in his own thoughts.
Chewing a grass straw in his mouth, Ai Hui carried his shabby backpack in one hand and a map in the other and walked out of the school compound. Unfamiliar streets and shops passed before his eyes. Various objects he had never seen before whizzed past his body and over his head, and the people around him discussed topics that he knew nothing about.
Ai Hui realized that he'd been calmly observing the unfamiliar environment around him.
After spending three years in the Wilderness, his strength still couldn't be considered powerful, but his mental strength had grown much stronger. Though it wouldn't be easy, he had the courage to live alone and take on the uncertainties of this world and .
This was probably what growing up was all about, and to mature faster than others was not necessarily bad.
He laughed to himself. It seemed that after leaving the Wilderness, his temperament had become more unpredictable. Slinging the shabby backpack over his shoulder with the grass straw still dangling from his lips, he looked at the map and walked alongside his shadow under the sun towards his destination.
Luckily, the place wasn't hard to find since the Commission Center building was eye-catching and located at the center of the city.
"Are you seriously going to accept this commission?" The old man in charge of allocating commissions warned Ai Hui, "The area is quite big, and the daily cleaning workload is rather tough. Honestly speaking, I hadn't expected anyone to take on this commission. The owner of this training hall hasn't returned for the past twenty years. Before he left, he deposited a sum of money into our account, and since it hasn't run out, we've been releasing the same commission every year. However, you must know that the remuneration for this commission follows the standard from twenty years ago. People stopped taking this commission for ten years now. I have to remind you that the pay will be very small, barely paying for your meals. Are you sure you still want to accept this commission?"
Ai Hui answered with a question of his own, "Can I have a partial advance payment?"
The old man realized Ai Hui's financial problem and nodded. "You can. And remember, once you take up this commission, you can't quit before you leave the Induction Ground. Do you want to reconsider your decision?"
Ai Hui bluntly replied, "I accept it."
"Very well." The old man quickly handled the formalities for him. "That place is very spacious. You can stay there and save your lodging fees. The advance payment has been sent to your card. Here's the key, and the address is on it. Finally, welcome to the Induction Ground."
"Thank you!" Ai Hui thanked the old man from his heart and gave a sincere bow.
"Such a polite kid." The old man revealed a smile. "Continue to work hard. Strength is everything."
Ai Hui did not know how to react to the old man's kind gesture, but he tried his best to return the smile. "I will."
As the saying went, the heart would never panic with money in hand. Ai Hui's mood had lifted, and the world seemed more beautiful to him now.
He was amused by the various, bizarre scenes on the street. Ai Hui felt like a tourist, taking an interest in everything around him.
An enormous Three Leaves Bamboo Cart flew over his head, making him stop in his tracks to look up.
A spacious bamboo cage was suspended under the hovering Three Leaves Bamboo Cart. Inside it were a few rows of bamboo chairs filled with passengers. At the head of the bamboo cart, there was a rainbow-colored cage. The vines atop the cage emitted a multi-colored glow and formed the words "Green Mountain City", making them clearly visible from afar.
Ai Hui had seen a Three Leaves Bamboo Cart in the Wilderness before, but that model had been much uglier compared to this one. The bamboo cage on it had overgrown, colorful poison spikes, resembling a monster. Although its main purpose was to transport goods, the amount that it could carry was not a lot. With the wandering ferocious beasts and their terrifying offensive power, operating the cart was a dangerous job in the Wilderness.
Wood elementalists had little passion for combat, preferring to stay behind the front lines.
However, when Ai Hui saw the Three Leaves Bamboo Carts everywhere, he could feel the flourishing prosperity of the Induction Ground. Even the elementalists he held in high regard could be found all over.
As the Three Leaves Bamboo Cart flew towards the horizon, he withdrew his gaze and continued walking forward.
Within a short time, he finally found the alley where the training hall was located at. According to the map, it was closer to the end.
The deeper he walked in, the more he felt as though he had entered into an entirely different world. The desolate, ancient air suddenly engulfed him as he observed the surrounding old-fashioned houses that had clearly been there for many years.
Abruptly, Ai Hui stopped in his tracks.