Chapter 6: Success
Translator: Irene Editor: Lis
Unlike the others who felt as though they were bound hand and foot, Ai Hui was like a fish in water, glad to be back in a familiar environment.
In the Wilderness, darkness ruled. Numerous massacres and sneak attacks occurred quietly in that very darkness, seizing lives and warmth. Strength didn't matter; the elementalists who were unable to adapt to the dark would not survive.
Ai Hui soon sensed a presence nearby-so close that he anticipated they would pass each other.
Initially, he had no intention of attacking. As long as he managed to hide and keep silent in a corner for five minutes, he could collect the prize money and leave because the rules stated that he would win as long as he persevered for five minutes without being defeated.
It was, however, a matter of life and death in the Wilderness. No rules applied.
When Ai Hui realized that the situation was not as he had expected, he responded instinctively. The opponent was dangerously close to him. If the opponent attacked, he wouldn't be able to launch a counterattack. Ai Hui entered a flowing state and gauged the danger level using the terrifying
dire beasts that lived in the Wilderness as a benchmark. He would never foolishly assume that the people around him would be unable to adapt to the darkness.
Countless life or death experiences had taught his body that when such situations arose, initiating an attack would give him a greater advantage.
His footsteps were light and graceful. Like a cat in the night, each step he took was absolutely noiseless.
His movements were very slow, to the point that not even the sound of wind could be heard. This was where Ai Hui's rich experience came into play. Within the dark environment, each breath or sound was as piercing as a dazzling ray of light.
Silence was darkness's best companion.
Ai Hui vaguely sensed his opponent's position and gently advanced towards it.
He was in a highly anticipatory state. The flesh and muscles throughout his entire body were in a critical state, like a volcano on the verge of eruption. Nobody would have been able to discern this, however, from his external appearance.
Suddenly, he stopped and held his breath.
He was a seasoned hunter; he sensed that his prey had detected his presence.
He did not know how to describe this sense of awareness or where this intuition was based. There was no need for substantiation in the Wilderness. There was only victory or failure, life or death.
He stood in place like a statue, without a single movement.
On the other side, Shi Xueman smelled the faint trace of a dangerous odor. Although she wasn't certain, it was enough to put her on guard. She focused all her attention on the surroundings, vigilantly using her ears to capture any sounds.
The surroundings were very quiet as if there was only emptiness.
But somewhere a little further away, she could hear the breaths of a few people. Although they were suppressed, she managed to capture the noises. In fact, she heard someone tiptoeing quietly around her left side.
Inwardly she shook her head. At this point, any movement would lead to an attack.
Right then, about ten meters away, a cry of surprise and a stifled groan could be heard, followed by the collisions of intense punching and kicking. Soon, chaos took over that area.
Shi Xueman mentally heaved a sigh of relief. It seemed it was an illusion. There was no one within a three-meter radius from where she stood.
Fighting in the dark was indeed very different.
Shi Xueman felt stimulated by such an unfamiliar battle. Her nerves tensed up like never before. Her perception of the surroundings was also unprecedentedly acute. If she could keep this up, her fighting abilities would take a qualitative leap.
Before her eyes unfolded a path she had never seen before.
She felt like a hunter hidden within the shadows, waiting for the best opportunity to strike. Confidence bubbled up within her. Under such a high level of alertness, even the slightest change in her surroundings could not escape her.
While she was preoccupied with this fresh experience, she suddenly felt something brush against her shoulder.
It broke her reverie and made her hair stand on end. She had not moved, so why would she bump into anything?
Someone was close by! She'd been unable to detect anything-a presence, a sound, even a change in airflow. A chill shot up her spine.
Her reaction was too slow however. Even as she finally realized the danger, it was already too late.
When Shi Xueman had been lost in her thoughts earlier, the statue-like Ai Hui made his move. He moved excruciatingly slowly, even more so than a ninety-year-old lady. He advanced with his five fingers carefully extended, grasping and exploring the area before him. His body leaned forward slightly, with the flesh and muscles in his body all ready to make a lunge.
With Ai Hui's high level of concentration, he blocked out the battle noises from close by and remained completely unaffected. All his attention was on his fingertips. He knew that if he came into contact with someone, the battle would be over in a blink of an eye. Victory or defeat, the result would be pronounced at this moment.
The moment his fingers felt an obstruction, Ai Hui launched an attack without hesitation.
With knees slightly bent and tendons creating a burst of energy, his body sprang forward with lightning speed like a nimble and fierce cheetah. The sensation beneath his fingertips became more solid, his rich experience leading him to deduce that he had touched his opponent's shoulder.
When Shi Xueman responded by violently lunging forward to push against his attack, she lost her balance on the spot, and her body tumbled towards the ground. Her left hand, which had been ready to counterattack, lost effectiveness as she instinctively reached out to regain balance.
However, her arm became entangled with his, locked into a vicious attack that numbed her right arm.
The attack that completely suppressed her did not stop there. Shi Xueman was greatly shocked as her opponent's body wrapped around hers like a snake. His body pressed up against her back tightly like an octopus. His legs were like thick and solid steel wires. They extended to her front and held onto her legs as his toes clasped onto her calves like a metal lock.
Never in her life had Shi Xueman had such close contact with a man. However, at that point, there were no butterflies in her stomach. There was only fear. Deep fear.
The tough body lock made her feel like a fish caught in a net, lacking the power to struggle. She wanted to remove the Suppression Bracelet, but her limbs were clamped tightly, unable to budge. She didn't hear him gasping for breath either, not even the rise and fall of his breaths. The ice-cold silence caused her great fear. She felt as if she was being attacked by a lifeless machine, and its steel cables had wrapped themselves around her. Her terror surged when she felt her opponent slowly tightening his grip.
She smelled death.
The intense fear and her strong will to live made her struggle with unprecedented strength.
Hair continuously swept across her mask where beneath it, her eyes were shut, her face grim and unfeeling. It was normal. Even a beast would struggle its hardest before death, how much more so would a human.
The fight wasn't over yet. It was now a battle of wisdom and tenacity.
His grip on her slightly slipped.
Upon realizing that her struggle was taking effect, Shi Xueman's body wriggled even more intensely.
Ai Hui was like a hard-hearted hunter, steadily pressing down onto the main joints of the prey's body, letting it struggle and waste its energy. When the prey eventually runs of out strength, it was time for it to die.
Soon enough, Shi Xueman ran out of breath and sweat started pouring from her body. She could feel her strength rapidly reducing. As she grew more and more tired, her opponent's grip became tighter and tighter.
At this moment, she awoke from her fear.
She regained a small measure of composure. The results from years of tough trainings was immediately displayed. She'd been born into a large and honorable clan and experienced many things since childhood. Initially, she had lost control of her mind and body because of her momentary panic, but now that she had recovered from it, she hurriedly created a countermeasure.
A bizarre ray of light flashed, the elemental energy within Shi Xueman beginning to operate. Her body that had been bound tightly suddenly trembled.
This slight tremble was not as aggressive as the struggle she had put up earlier, but the energy it released was so great that it far exceeded previous attempts to break free.
Ai Hui only felt a shocking amount of force penetrating his body before his limbs became numb, causing him to nearly let go of her.
His prey had skills beyond his expectations. As soon as his mind recognized the precarious situation, his body reacted accordingly. WIthout a moment of hesitation, his left forearm that had been holding onto his target rose up like a viper. With lightning speed, his fingers opened up and reached for his target's throat.
Unlike the slow, silent hunting from earlier, this move made a sharp crack and was quick like lightning.
Shi Xueman's heart trembled, and sweat started pouring from her body once again. She had no doubt this claw on her throat was going to leave five bruises.
Luckily when her opponent let go of her arm, she was given an opportunity to resist. Her delicate, snow-white arm swung out like a pendulum, blocking her throat without the least bit of delay.
The force of impact brought acute pains to her wrists. She jolted backwards but could not dodge completely. Her throat tightened as black flashed across her eyes with impending unconsciousness. Yet, she knew that no matter how difficult it was, she had to resist. She was resolute in her fight. Ignoring the burning pain of her neck, she used the only mobile part of her body-her wrists-to block off her opponent's violent attacks.
This defensive move was one she was most familiar with from practice. Although her opponent's attacks were sharp, she managed to block them nevertheless.
Moreover, she quickly found a possible weakness, but she wasn't sure.
Until now, he had not utilized the elemental energy within his body. Was he holding back, or was it too weak? She couldn't be sure.
Shi Xueman's tenacity led Ai Hui to feel a stronger sense of emergency. Instinctively, he launched an even more intense and murderous attack.
A blow to any enemy's heart would render them defenseless.
But first, he needed to remove his opponent's armor. To him, that was not a major problem. He learned to unfasten armor and untie ropes in the Wilderness. The barbarians wore rough and sturdy armor with ropes that often could not be damaged by even swords. Only a certain technique could undo the knots from a dead barbarian's body armor, which had been an important part of his job.
With his right hand, he quickly and quietly loosened the ropes that held her armor together. If anyone had witnessed that scene, they would not have been able to detect any pauses in his finger movements at all.
Like a slippery loach invading into her armor, his right hand felt another knot. He untied it without any further thought; any protective layer was an obstruction for him.
Upon touching his opponent's skin, a lethal glint appeared in his eyes as his murderous instinct kicked in and burned fiercely. His five fingers formed a claw and speedily pinned down against his opponent's chest where the heart was located.
Yet at the last moment, he recalled that this was not the Wilderness; he was fighting for the 50000 yuan prize money. Instead he decided to first suppress his opponent's vital points. If she continued to resist, she had better not blame him for being relentless because then he would not hesitate to kill.
He could clearly feel the body in his arms, which had been resisting earlier, become rigid.
In the dark, Ai Hui had a keener sense of touch. Suspicion arose.
This... does not... feel... quite right...