Chapter 57: Embroidery
Translator: Irene Editor: Pranav
Chewing on a blade of grass, Ai Hui was sitting in the old man's small junk garden. He suddenly saw the copper armor and noiselessly shifted himself a bit further away from it.
The previous experience was simply so miserable that even a guy like Ai Hui, who had a steel heart full of determination, was traumatized.
The old man did not notice Ai Hui's subtle movement. He was busy elaborating on his analysis of the results.
"... low aptitude and a lower affinity between your body and elemental energy are actually not bad things. Other than allowing you to endure purer energy, the lower sensitivity allows you to absorb it from a wider scope. Precious racing horses, for example, are gifted but picky about food and are fed better meals than humans. A worn out, old horse like you can't run fast but can endure well and is easy to manage. You'll eat whatever grass there is and survive well. Eh? You're really eating grass!"
Ai Hui continued to chew on his grass sluggishly.
The old man stopped his discourse and hurriedly added, "Go on, go on, eat it."
He went on to say, "Looks like my example was really fitting."
Ai Hui felt weird now. Should he continue chewing or spit it out?
"I've tested the metal elemental energy at the Suspending Golden Pagoda, and it suits you very well. Train there in the future. As compared to your weak aptitude, your body is very strong. The effects of the tempering of your body are obvious. You're of a lower grade now, so the result is optimal. The metal elemental energy in the pagoda is of a high grade and is not something that you were supposed to touch based on your current base level. But since your body quality is the most outstanding I've seen so far and you're good at using it, the tempering is super effective. Of course, this has something to do with the fact that the metal elemental energy in the pagoda is of a high grade. The degree of metallization is the greatest on your skin, and [Copper Skin] is already about eighty percent completed. Judging from this speed, you're about two months away from perfecting [Copper Skin].
The old man exclaimed with admiration, "This is my first time seeing someone developing [Copper Skin] even before activating a single palace. How astonishing!"
Ai Hui felt a little satisfied, knowing that he had surprised his teacher.
"Of course, the main point is still your seven strong palaces. Other than the sky palace, seven are strong and very balanced. It is an amazing gift and will come in handy especially when you're selecting the moves in future. I remember there is a technique in the Induction Ground called [Big Dipper], which only requires seven strong palaces. Although it is not an absolute art, it is still incredibly powerful and wondrous."
Ai Hui's eyes shone. He asked without the slightest hesitation, "Can I learn it?"
"Of course, you can apply as long as you get into the top five thousand within the Induction Ground." The old man carried on happily, "Oh, you're now my disciple. You only have to fulfill one criterion, and the institution will approve your application. I've already filed a record of our master-disciple relationship and sent it over."
Top five thousand...doesn't seem like much of a requirement.
The old man noticed Ai Hui's expression and guessed his thoughts. "Don't look down on this five thousand names. Their rankings are based on the entire Induction Ground. The best student from previous batches within Central Pine Academy barely squeezed into the top five hundred. Roughly, you'd have to be amongst the top ten in the school to enter the top five thousand within the Induction Ground."
Ai Hui was dumbfounded. "I have to get into the top ten in Central Pine Academy to make it to the top five thousand?"
"That's correct!" The old man laughed somewhat gleefully.
Ai Hui realized how naive he had been. Top ten within Central Pine City seemed like a faraway goal to him.
However, as if nothing had happened, he shortly asked, "What was the training method that you talked about previously?"
The old man was surprised by Ai Hui's ability to adjust his mood. He did not know exactly how many setbacks Ai Hui had encountered since young-such an obstacle meant nothing to him.
The old man spat out a single word: "Embroidery!"
"Embroidery?" Ai Hui was shocked, and his face stiffened. A few moments later, he repeated lifelessly, "Embroidery? Like flower embroidery?"
"That's right!" The old man answered with such certainty that Ai Hui knew there was no mistake.
Ai Hui stared at the old man with an unkind expression. Yes, he was his teacher, but if he was going to be so unreliable, they would have to have a proper chat.
Without the slightest embarrassment, the old man asked, "Embroidery, you understand?"
Ai Hui replied with an impolite tone, "Yes, women's embroidery."
"Rigid! Superficial!" The old man shook his head, full of disdain. "Embroidery takes elemental energy as the needle which threads the embroidery pattern. Is it easy? There are thick and thin threads, soft and hard leather, cotton and silk. Are the complicated patterns easy? A skilled person can control ten elemental energy needles and embroidery patterns from different places at the same time. And do you know how many elemental energy needles can the best of the best control at once?"
"How many?" Ai Hui blurted out; he was lured by the old man's words.
"The current record is nine hundred and forty-nine," the old man answered, his face filled with awe.
Ai Hui was stunned. How in the world? He just couldn't wrap his head around it!
"When present age embroidery master, Han Yuqin, embroiders with nine hundred and forty-nine elemental energy needles, it's like enveloping black clouds or a shoal of fish moving together. Multicolored embroidery threads weave together in the sky like a rainbow. That's also why her work is known as 'The Rainbow Embroidery.' No matter how complicated an embroidery design is, she never takes over an hour to complete it," the old man said seriously.
"And the threads, do you think all of them are light? Coal thread is as fine as a strand of hair, but it is very heavy. How difficult would it be to control its movement with the light and floaty elemental energy needle? Soft silver thread is very soft, like water. Any error in power control will break it. And some leathers can only be pierced through by using elemental needles wrapped with a medicinal bag."
The old man's description appealed to Ai Hui and left him speechless. He never thought that embroidery involved so much knowledge and details.
"Learn embroidery first and then sculpting." The old man gave his guidance. "If you can familiarize yourself with these two skills, you will definitely gain fine control over elemental energy. The more exceptional your control is, the more beneficial it is to you."
Ai Hui was convinced. He had to admit that the old man's words were very logical.
While it was a little embarrassing for a man to learn embroidery, he had no issue with it as long as he could become stronger. To say that embroidery wasn't as noble as hard labor would be utter nonsense!
The old man was pleased, but he concealed it well. "Smart choice! Son, you will definitely be proud of this decision in future! Don't worry, I don't speak without thinking. I made this suggestion after proper consideration."
"Where am I going to learn?" he asked boldly; he had now set his heart on it.
"Don't worry, there's a workshop I'm familiar with." The old man added energetically, "Follow me!"