Chapter 55: Old Friend
Translator: JL Editor: Lis
It was already noon the next day when Ai Hui woke, struggling to open his eyes in the glaring sun. It was rare for him to sleep in so late.
Last night, he barely managed to crawl back to the training hall before flopping into his rattan chair and nodding off, only to wake up now. He preferred sleeping in the courtyard with the calming starry sky before him. This way, he was able to rise with the morning sun, its gentle warmth the best start to the day.
The afternoon sun was so much more scorching.
Come to think of it, his body's aches, soreness, and swelling were gone. Not only did his body's ailments mysteriously disappear, but after a good night's rest, he also woke up feeling invigorated and brimming with energy.
Ai Hui's spirits lifted immediately. With renewed energy, he felt able to welcome any challenges that came his way.
He decided he would have noodles before setting off to find the mysterious blind battler.
Embarrassingly enough, even though so much time had passed since his promise to the young girl, he had yet to start on the task. He wasn't like Fatty who could be so openly shameless. It was a truly enviable skill and a legitimate talent to have.
As soon as he reached the noodle store, he aggressively ordered five bowls of noodles once more.
After coming to the noodle store a few times, the owner was able to recognize him, especially after the previous incident. As the owner served the noodles, he asked concernedly, "It's been a while, sir. Oh yes, did the girl from last time return the one hundred fifty yuan yet?"
Ai Hui, who was about to devour his noodles, froze, the chopsticks on-route to his mouth coming to a halt.
Not only did the owner touch a sore spot, he also proceeded to rub salt into the wound. Did he not know how to conduct a business?
What could he say? That he had an overbearing debt of eighty million yuan because of an inconsequential loan of one hundred fifty yuan? That a bowl of noodles led to his life's tragedy, or that one hundred fifty yuan effectively smothered his desires in life?
Ah, this bizarre world, why did he still feel that he was in a dream...
In his heart, Ai Hui gave a helpless sigh and started in on his noodles silently.
Seeing his troubled expression, the owner sighed and placed a plate of beef before Ai Hui. He clapped his hands on Ai Hui's shoulder and consoled him, "There isn't any road that you cannot get through in life. Even if she did not return the one hundred and fifty yuan, it doesn't matter. You should still be the better person. Come, let Uncle treat you to a beef dish!"
Ai Hui's mood immediately brightened at the plate of mouth-watering beef in front of him.
"Thank you, Uncle!"
He began to devour the noodles and exceptionally fragrant beef in large mouthfuls.
After five bowls of noodles, he waved to the owner of the noodle store. "Goodbye, Uncle!"
Ai Hui started visiting various training halls, trying to find the target based on the clues provided by the girl from the noodle store.
Coming to a training hall for the first time in a while, he soon realized the quality of the blind battle competitors had risen tremendously.
Now, only those that were confident in their abilities dared to participate, making for more thrilling battles.
After observing a few battles, Ai Hui realized it was now impossible to earn money through blind battles. Despite the increased strength he gained from activating his natal residence, he was still lacking compared to the rest of the contestants who had more than four palaces. And while there were some younger participants, they were still renowned geniuses in their respective schools.
Duanmu Huanghun's continuous success in blind battles raised the standard of Central Pine City, drawing talented and hot-headed youngsters eager to experience the thrill and compare themselves to an acclaimed individual.
Blind battles had undeniably become a symbol of Central Pine City.
Even after six training halls, he saw no chance of winning in any of them.
What a pity. It was impossible to earn any more money from blind battles, but he had expected it to happen. Wanting to encounter such a good opportunity again was wishful thinking.
In the end, he searched through all of the training halls in Central Pine City but still failed to find the target.
As dusk set in, Ai Hui stumbled back to the Vanguard Training Hall, somewhat exhausted. Searching for someone was genuinely more tiring than training, but he rallied his spirits-being unable to find his target on the first day was nothing surprising.
Finding someone was no easy task by any means, especially with such vague clues, making it akin to searching for a needle in a haystack. In the end, luck was more crucial than the method itself.
There had been no recent news of the little girl from the noodle store either. He idly wondered if she went on a long trip. He recalled Teacher Xu mentioning practice missions going on during this time-could she have left for a mission?
Ai Hui did not think on it further.
His life had become substantially busy between lessons, training, and searching for the masked individual. He also didn't forget to spend time revising the swordplay manual for the girl who said she would find him for guidance on his techniques.
Of course, what he meant by revision was actually a form of hypnosis before sleeping.
As for the incident involving the sword embryo, he didn't care; he was still unwilling to buy a new sword after destroying the last grass sword he owned.
On the contrary, it was actually in training that he invested the most time.
In the teachers' lounge, Tao Yiwei was surprised to see Wang Shouchuan hard at work. His condition was different from normal-almost as if Old Wang was on drugs. After working together for more than ten years, the two of them were exceedingly familiar with each other, so he could immediately spot the rekindled passion that had not been seen on Old Wang's face for a long time.
Perhaps Old Wang's theory had a breakthrough? Old Tao could help but mutter his suspicions in his heart, but he said instead, "Old Wang, looking at your joyous expression, I can see there's good news. Let me hear it and soak in the joyous atmosphere too."
Wang Shouchuan, who was immersed in analyzing the test results, lifted his head, unable to conceal the joy and pride on his face. "Sure enough, I can't hide anything from your sharp eyes. There is indeed good news-I've accepted a disciple."
"Huh?" Tao Yiwei was caught off guard but quickly recovered. With a surprised expression, he asked, "You-Old Wang is actually taking disciples?"
The Old Wang he knew had a terrible temper. He was also willful, stubborn, and fiercely driven, devoting his entire life to his theories. Despite that, he was a man of few words, unable to promote his theories, leaving his theories unknown to many.
For Old Wang to actually start taking in disciples was unexpected.
Tao Yiwei was somewhat envious. "Such a joyous event. Congratulations, Old Wang!"
He did not bother concealing his envy; he had yet to find a good disciple to pass his legacy on to. While Old Wang's theory was nothing remarkable, his luck was quite good.
Secretly pleased, Old Wang remarked, "It's still too early to say. My disciple's strength is a bit disappointing."
Old Tao could not help but laugh at Old Wang's words. He knew his friend would not accept a disciple without good reason. "Then isn't it better for you to test your theories first?"
"That's what I thought, too," Old Wang replied. "While that youngster's aptitude is so-so, he's not completely unremarkable. He could actually endure my Thousand Prajna test."
Old Tao jolted in surprise. "He endured it?"
He was more than familiar with Old Wang's Thousand Prajna. Not only did he help in the planning and design process, he was also the one to control the compass upon the first set's completion. In the end, Old Wang only managed to endure for three minutes before wailing and clambering out.
Even at the designing stage, he already suspected that Old Wang's idealistic mindset had made the Thousand Prajna of no practical value since nobody would be able to endure the entire process.
So how could Tao Yiwei not be astonished when he heard that Old Wang's disciple passed the test?