Chapter 45: Unlocking the Natal Residence
Translator: YH Editor: Pranav
The metal winds of the Suspending Golden Pagoda howled and screeched, but Ai Hui remained unmoved. It was as though he had fallen asleep; he seemed to have simply given himself up to the wrath of the metal winds, allowing them to fling him around the pagoda as they pleased.
The metallic luster on his skin became deeper with each passing day, and before long, it gave his skin the appearance of old copper. This was the sign that Ai Hui's [Copper Skin] was about to take shape.
Tempering the body with the metal element had always followed a certain dogma. The development of [Copper Skin], [Iron Muscles], [Steel Bones], [Silver Marrow] and [Golden blood] represented the five stages of such temperance, and achieving all five stages resulted in a very rarely seen metal element body of the purest form.
However, it was as they say: it is easy to develop elemental energy, but difficult to temper one's body.
This meant that as long as one had a decent aptitude, they could have some improvement through the accumulation of small amounts of elemental energy. On the other hand, body tempering required one to go through various long and arduous processes, making it difficult to achieve success without sufficient patience and determination.
Within the Avalon of Five Elements, there had always been controversy regarding metal element body tempering. Many elementalists believed that even with immense training, the human body could never match up to the physical prowess of dire beasts and that thus, body tempering was not a worthwhile pursuit. Furthermore, as one's base level increased, the fighting potential granted by elemental energy would start to far outclass that of the physical body.
As a matter of fact, the opening of each palace would grant an incredible boon to one's elemental energy, advancing their fighting ability by leaps and bounds. More advanced body tempering techniques, however, had a less direct effect on one's fighting ability.
Despite that, mainstream practices still involved at least some level of body tempering. The common opinion was that although elemental energy has a greater destructive power, a robust, perceptive body was more capable of utilizing elemental energy.
This was also the path that was followed by most metal elementalists.
Even the first stage, [Copper Skin], was usually only attained by students who had opened six palaces.
Besides the low cost-benefit ratio, beginners would often not choose to practice body tempering because the elemental energy they absorbed during the initial stages of learning tended to be of a more gentle nature, and such gentle elemental energy made it difficult to advance in body tempering.
That problem, however, was non-existent for Ai Hui.
The metal elemental energy in the metal winds are extremely harsh, and apart from tempering Ai Hui's physical body, the scattered metal elemental energy also yielded a purer form of elemental energy than what was absorbed by most beginners. As a result, even though he had a lower quantity of refined elemental energy, its purity was unmatched.
Armed with Lou Lan's blood-and-bone-strengthening cake, Ai Hui's training sessions were even more effective. Ai Hui improved by leaps and bounds, particularly in tempering his metal element body.
Lou Lan's blood-and-bone-strengthening cake was so effective that it almost moved Ai Hui to tears. Not only was it useful in healing his internal injuries, the cake was also very helpful to his body tempering. Since Ai Hui had not opened his natal residence yet, the elemental energy was especially damaging to his flesh.
Ai Hui was aware of the many bodily changes he was experiencing, of which his increasing physical strength was the most obvious. If he ever fought head-to-head with that guy with the [Flaming Heavenly Spider Transformation] again, Ai Hui would most certainly not be as easily exhausted.
If he mastered [Copper Skin] as well, he would then be able to withstand that fellow's powerful legs, and the fight would boil down to a battle of endurance of elemental energy.
The previous engagement may have been short and pathetic, but Ai Hui had received considerable benefit from it. His base level may not have increased, but the battle was an immense eye-opener and had raised his confidence.
He was extremely motivated after seeing the absolute art. To this date, he was still trying to figure out how his opponent's [Flaming Heavenly Spider Transformation] worked-it amazed him to no end. The advanced elementalists he had met in the Wilderness were truly formidable, but at the very least he knew where their power came from. However, the mysteries of the absolute arts were beyond his superficial knowledge.
If his opponent had been more experienced in combat, he would have been easily defeated, and Lou Lan and he would not have stood any chance of victory.
That very battle also made him more confident. He had not opened his natal residence yet and was thus considerably weaker than his opponent. Despite that, he was able to hold his own for long, and was eventually even able to make a comeback and defeat his opponent with, admittedly, Lou Lan's help. The victory certainly gave him a reason to feel proud.
He was not as weak as he had initially thought.
Body tempering was an unexpected surprise, but Ai Hui did not lose sight of his main objective-pursuing elemental energy.
As time crept by, the elemental energy within Ai Hui's body increased, the metallic luster on his skin further deepened, and the pagoda wall became dented a little more. Every single day was filled with progress.
Ai Hui lost himself in his training, barely noticing the flow of time.
He was disheveled, filthy, and exuded an unpleasant smell. Although he had finished consuming all the blood-and-bone-strengthening cake, Ai Hui did not return to the city-he had a strong premonition that his breakthrough was nigh.
Bang! Bang! Bang!
As was his routine, he slammed into the pagoda wall with his [Arching Fish Back]. The contact between the sturdy metal wall and his back muscles generated a loud, booming noise.
Beads of sweat exploded into a fine mist, engulfing Ai Hui as it surged forth with each slam.
After the last trace of metal elemental energy had been scattered, Ai Hui would sit cross-legged as always.
Something felt different the moment he began to circulate his elemental energy. The circulation of refined elemental energy was usually smooth and easily controlled.
Now, however, the elemental energy within his body felt rather wild, and circulated with great momentum, surging and raging against his control.
Ai Hui suddenly realized that the time to unlock the natal residence had arrived.
The elemental energy within his body had reached the limit that his muscles could bear. Like a reservoir bursting with water, the slightest disturbance would make it flow out of control.
Unlocking the natal residence was Ai Hui's first goal, and he was well prepared for it. The Induction Ground had a wealth of experience when it came to unlocking the natal residence, as they had encountered all kinds of situations before, and they hence had a solid treatise on the subject.
Ai Hui had learned from his past experiences that adequate preparation was the key to maintaining his composure. He valued the unlocking of the natal residence highly, and hence had a thorough understanding of every possible situation that may occur.
Very few people would develop their elemental energy to such an extent before unlocking their natal residence. After all, the amount of elemental energy that can be stored in the physical body was pathetically little compared to the natal residence, and it was an endeavor that did not have any evident benefits.
Few, however, did not mean none.
Throughout history, there had been several others who had similar conditions to Ai Hui, some by chance and others on purpose. The facts for such scenarios were also very clear.
At this moment, he remained completely unfazed, calm and collected.
He channeled his thoughts, slowly pushing the elemental energy of his body. Slowing down was the key to circulating elemental energy that was in such a state of overflow.
Steadily circulating the elemental energy, he gradually increased its speed, preventing it from going out of control.
Ai Hui's body began to emit a ring of silver light rays, a phenomenon caused by the circulation of elemental energy that had been developed to the brim. It indicated the dispersal of elemental energy and was certainly not good news.
Following his slow acceleration of elemental energy, the light gradually disappeared, and Ai Hui descended into a state of quietness. It was almost as if he was asleep.
However, the situation within Ai Hui's body was entirely different.