Chapter 5: Blind Battle
Translator: TYZ Editor: Lis
It was surely true that the mind could not win over an empty stomach.
When Ai Hui returned to his senses and realized that he had not eaten anything the entire day, an overwhelming rush of hunger engulfed him.
Limbs weakened, he supported himself by holding on to the wall.
An empty sack could not stand upright, this idiom made so much sense now.
As he staggered out of the alleyway, he caught sight of a noodle house and almost crawled his way over.
"Boss, one bowl of noodles!"
After eating, Ai Hui regained his strength, but when he went to pay his bill, his eyes almost popped out of their sockets. "How... how much?"
"One hundred and fifty yuan, thank you for patronizing my store," the boss replied.
"One... one hundred and fifty yuan?" Ai Hui asked incredulously. He stared at the boss with a darkening expression and a murderous aura. Since childhood, he'd never been one to be pushed around.
"New student?" The boss furrowed his eyebrows. This was not the first time such an incident had happened here. He pointed helplessly at the wooden signboard in his shop. "The prices are listed here."
Ai Hui's eyes followed the boss's hand to the signboard, an unpleasant feeling rising like bile in his stomach.
The boss was speaking the truth...
Ai Hui reeled out of the noodle house with an ashen face. He finally knew why no one was willing to take up the commission on the training hall. The monthly salary was only four thousand five hundred yuan. Barely enough to pay for his meals? Who taught mathematics to the old man at the Commission Center? Reveal yourself now!
Thirty bowls of noodles!
A bowl of noodles each day. When Ai Hui touched his stomach, which did not seem full even though he had just eaten, and thought about his future, his face turned pale. He stepped into the Induction Ground with lofty aspirations, thinking he could become a powerful elementalist and take control of his life. However, he did not expect himself to be defeated by a bowl of noodles sold in the Induction Ground.
If he couldn't even fill his stomach, why bother talking about training?!
The night breeze sent a bone-piercing chill down his spine, causing him to tremble non-stop.
No, he had to think of a way to earn money!
After five seconds of self-pitying, Ai Hui pulled himself together. Money was important not only to ensure a full stomach but also to benefit an elementalist's training. While he was in the Wilderness, he had followed elementalists around just to hunt dire beasts.
A dire beast's skin, flesh, tendons, and bones were considered treasures.
The bones and tendons could be made into weapons and the skins into armor. As for the dire beasts' blood, they were usually used to concoct elixirs, and the flesh was mainly used to make elemental food.
The so-called elemental food was rich in elemental energy, which was highly beneficial to one's training.
The current elemental energy system had been inherited from the extensively detailed cultivation system. It was impacted so deeply that it still retained certain cultivation aspects that could still be seen today.
Ai Hui was no longer an ignorant teenager who thought that diligent training was all that was needed to become more powerful.
The streetlights lit up, brilliantly illuminating the nighttime Central Pine City. New students wandered in groups, and the streets bustled with life. As newly-admitted students, they did not have any worries yet. The excitement from entering the Induction Ground continued to burn within them, making them brim with hope for the future.
Perhaps the laughter and joy surrounding him alleviated Ai Hui's worries.
He wandered around with both hands plunged deeply into his pockets, leisurely walking alone through the myriad of beautiful lights. He somewhat enjoyed this moment filled with the bustling crowd, the churning mist under the light, and the wafting aroma of food. This was a special moment for him. Even though he was always unknowingly on high alert, his cautious mind had relaxed a bit at the sight of the lively atmosphere and the innocence of the ordinary people.
He roamed aimlessly around the streets when suddenly, a signboard caught his eyes.
The signboard wrote, "Blind battle! If you can last for five minutes, you can take away fifty thousand yuan!"
Fifty thousand yuan!
Ai Hui's eyes promptly lit up, resembling a hungry wolf that had identified its prey. His hands that were previously in his pockets were now touching his stomach, subconsciously rubbing it.
Not really full yet....
How many bowls of noodles could fifty thousand yuan buy? It didn't seem worth it, but how come he felt hungry again?
Without completing his thought process, he lost control of his legs that had already walked through the entrance.
The body was always honest with its needs...
Shi Clan Training Hall.
The door to the resting lounge opened, revealing a tall, elegant, and frosty lady brimming with confidence. She wore a black windbreaker and a hat that covered almost her entire face. The young lady pulled off her overcoat and passed it to a middle-aged man behind her asking, "Blind battle? This concept is rather interesting. I like it!"
"I'm glad that Young Mistress is pleased." The middle-aged man quickly bent his body and took the jacket from her. "We've received word from the clan to inform Young Mistress of the situation. There aren't many experts in Central Pine City. Most of them are new students. Therefore, we came up with a new concept like this, but we're not certain whether it will work or not."
"You didn't announce my name, right?" The young lady sat down and crossed her gorgeous, slender legs. She took the glass of fruit juice in front of her and sipped leisurely. Her long hair draped over her shoulders, flawlessly framing an exquisite oval face and eyes that shone brightly like stars. Her facial expression exuded extreme confidence that was tinged with pride. Her features made her breathtakingly beautiful but also gave her an imposing aura. Even when calmly sitting on the sofa, she emitted a powerfully oppressive air.
"No!" The middle-aged man quickly denied. " If we announced Miss Xueman's name, who would dare to come? Your reputation is truly intimidating. We planned the blind battle and prepared a mask without eyes holes to prevent anyone from recognizing you."
"It appears that all of you have put in a lot of effort. Thanks for the trouble." Shi Xueman smiled with satisfaction. "Tell everyone that they'll be rewarded with a three-month bonus."
As a beauty who received both attention and recognition in the Induction Ground, she would be watched wherever she went. However, she was a smart individual who knew when to stay low-key.
Power was the absolute truth. This was what she had been taught from a young age.
"Thank you very much, Young Mistress," the middle-aged man hurriedly said with an uncontrollable burst of happiness showing in his eyes. A three-month bonus was a huge sum of money to them, and more importantly, they earned praise from Young Mistress. Getting in her good books would definitely be exceptionally beneficial to their futures.
Shi Xueman continued her line of questioning. "How many people have signed up?"
"As of this moment, twenty-three people." Just as the middle-aged man finished his sentence, he tilted his head and continued, "Twenty-four people. Someone has just signed up. We hoped to attract more people by not setting an entrance fee, but it's just that we had no time to advertise this event with the time we were given."
"It's enough. It seems I can have a good workout tonight." Shi Xueman lightly stroked her eyebrows as she gave a thin smile. Suddenly, she withdrew her smile and asked, "How long before it starts?"
"It begins at eight-thirty. There's still fifteen minutes left," the middle-aged man replied. He could not help but remind, "Young Mistress, you will have to hold back a bit. I believe many new students will show up. If you injure them, I'm afraid it might bring about some troubles."
"Don't worry." Shi Xueman slowly nodded her head. "I put on the Suppression Bracelet."
The middle-aged man heaved a sigh of relief. He was most worried about Little Mistress injuring the new students. If she hurt the senior students, the Induction Ground would be lenient, but the Induction Ground paid more attention to the new students. With the Suppression Bracelet that limited the powers of an elementalist, he felt now that he must have over thought the matter.
Given Young Mistress's genius and her harsh self-expectations, how was it possible for her to come all the way here to bully a new student?
"You can leave now. I need to prepare," Shi Xueman said plainly.
"Yes!" The middle-aged man bowed and left the resting lounge.
Shi Xueman withdrew her smile, donning a more serious expression. She came to Central Pine City only to accompany her grandfather in visiting a friend, but she did not have any thoughts of slacking off. Before she left, she had already notified her family's training hall branch in Central Pine City that she planned on training there. She just did not expect them to put in so much effort in setting up a blind battle.
This was her first time fighting in one.
By wearing the Suppression Bracelet, her strength didn't differ much from the new students', testing her techniques even more. She was unsure how much of her actual capabilities would be exhibited in this battle.
However, she never shied away from unknown challenges. Instead, the uncertainty aroused her fighting spirit and even made her eager for it to come.
It had been a while since she had felt such excitement. She began to adjust her combat attire, tying up her long, draping hair with a red ribbon, revealing her beautiful, snow-white neck. Her unhurried movements and solemn expression gave the impression of vigilance.
Upon wearing the mask, the world before her was replaced with nothing but darkness.
The unfamiliar blackout sent a quiver through her heart.
Closing her eyes, she slowly adjusted her breathing, feeling around her meticulously. The world before her blinded eyes became hushed, allowing her to hear sounds that she usually overlooked. Instead, they now resounded through her ears like fish silently emerging from the depths of the sea. Her heightened tactile sensitivity extended throughout her body, the subtle streams of air that blew by her skin enough to make her tremble involuntarily.
This was a brand-new world-a world she had never experienced before.
It gave her extreme excitement. Her instincts told her that if she could master this unfamiliar world, she would definitely make a breakthrough in her level.
Time passed silently, allowing her to clearly feel out this quiet and alien world.
"The blind battle is about to start. You have three minutes to prepare. The blind battle is a five minute endurance match. The last one standing on the arena after five minutes will win the prize money of fifty thousand yuan. To make it more realistic, the arena has been fully covered with the non-toxic and odorless Ink Night Fumes. It will only affect your vision, perfectly simulating the night scene. To prevent unnecessary injuries, this endurance match will be fought using bare hands. Everyone, please wear your defensive gears and mask. The match will begin in one minute's time."
Shi Xueman stood and headed towards the door that connected the resting lounge to the arena.
It was as if she had used a ruler to measure her pace, stopping right where her mask touched the door.
She waited silently, resembling an artist's most perfect sculpture.
"The blind battle is about to begin. Counting down now, ten, nine, eight..."
Shi Xueman remained motionless.
"Three, two, one! Battle begins!"
The door hinges slid open.
Without any hesitation, Shi Xueman entered the arena. At that moment, she lost the faint light that had previously shone through her mask. She was now truly in a world of pure darkness.
The Ink Night Fumes was worthy of its name!
Shi Xueman secretly praised it in her mind.
The Ink Night Fumes was a kind of smokescreen that was seldom used by people because there were only a small number of wood elementalists who knew how to concoct it, and it also had an extremely expensive price tag. Its effect, however, was rather remarkable. Shi Xueman's recent acclimatization had been shattered immediately.
Suddenly, an ominous feeling rose in her heart.