Chapter 7: Resolution
Translator: Irene Editor: Lis
Ai Hui was unable to make sense of the matter. After some time, he suddenly understood what he was grabbing on to.
Feeling a lump of burning charcoal in his hand, he didn't know whether to hold on or to let go.
Ai Hui couldn't help but curse inwardly. He had no idea whom he was cursing at either.The motionless body in his arms wasn't putting up any resistance at all. From a fighter's point of view that was a good thing, but why was he feeling this unreasonable sense of guilt?
Seconds felt like years as he became drenched in sweat.
Clang Clang Clang!
The gong sounded, signaling the end of the battle. Ai Hui quickly removed his hands from his opponent and even considerately fastened the knots of her armor. He quietly got off her back and tiptoed into the smog.
He was feeling guilty... It was better to stay far away from the target.
Re-entering the crowd, Ai Hui let out a sigh of relief. This unexpected mistake left him lost and helpless. Luckily he had a mask on and the night smog was dark and dense. He felt his face burning and felt the urge to turn around and leave.
Luckily, his last trace of determination remained-the fifty thousand yuan!
Along with the scattering smog, Ai Hui's embarrassment slowly dissipated as well; it was only an accident. All kinds of accidents happened on the battlefield, or so Ai Hui told himself.
Mhmm, he made so much sense, there was nothing to refute!
After convincing himself, Ai Hui felt calmer.
Soon the smog dispersed completely and the head of the training hall was shocked to see over ten people remaining. He expected two or three to remain at best because he knew of his mistress's powerful fighting abilities. When it came to such realistic combat drills, she gave it her all, never going easy on her opponents,.
Why were there so many left? Could it be that Mistress was unable to adapt to the unfamiliar blind battle mode?
Seeing the training hall's lack of response, someone from the audience blurted out, "What about the money? Are you going to give it or not?"
A few others chimed in immediately.
"Exactly, you're not trying to renege, are you?!"
"Hurry up and hand out the money! We're busy!"
The middle-aged man glanced at his mistress, but she had no reaction whatsoever as though she did not see his questioning gaze. He was the head authority after all and had the right to act according to the situation. Moreover, to the training hall, fifty thousand yuan was nothing. Although he did not expect so many victors, even a few hundred thousand yuan of prize money could still be taken out easily.
Upon receiving the money, everyone immediately cheered.
To students, the fifty thousand yuan was not a small sum at all. Now they could bear to spend extravagantly on things they normally restrained from buying!
The crowd started to disperse.
Ai Hui blended well into the masses, no different from any one of them.
Fifty thousand! Money in hand, he had long forgotten the awkward incident from earlier. He was on cloud nine!
With no time to waste and full of vigor, he rushed into the noodle shop like a gust of wind. He confidently extended and opened his palm, saying to the boss in the most domineering manner yet since morning, "Boss, give me five more bowls!"
Finally, he could eat all he wanted without holding back.
Ai Hui shifted his gaze to his opened palm. The hand that had just...
Snap! His fingers balled up into a tight fist.
All kinds of accidents happened on the battlefield, Ai Hui told himself once again, before digging into his noodles with a clear conscience.
The head saw his mistress standing alone at her original position, and he had a premonition. She had already been standing there, without any movement, for more than ten minutes.
"Miss!" he could not help but call out.
It was as if his mistress did not hear him at all.
His sense of foreboding grew stronger. Had an accident occurred during training? He simply could not imagine his mistress getting hurt. What a joke that would be; the trainers in the Induction Ground able to potentially outlast his mistress could be counted with one finger. Although she suppressed her powers in an unfamiliar blind battle, he did not believe anyone here could have caused her trouble. Her biggest problem was her inexperience with blind battling.
All of a sudden his eyes flashed. Could it be that Miss was going through a moment of enlightenment?
Indeed, was this not the legendary moment of enlightenment? It must be!
He became agitated since he was in charge of the training hall and the blind battle was his arrangement. He had provided his mistress the opportunity to experience a moment of enlightenment; it was surely a huge contribution. He fantasized about advancing his career and achieving great success, unable to suppress a silly grin.
Meanwhile, Shi Xueman was at a loss.
What happened a while ago was a big blow to her, leaving her completely stupefied.
From the incident until now, her mind was completely blank. She did not hear the middle-aged man calling out for her and did not even realize the battle was over and that every contestant had already left.
She slowly regained consciousness from the muddleheaded state she was in.
Her whole body trembled but she tried to contain it. It was just an accident, she told herself but to no avail as her shudders continued from head to toe. She tried her best not to cry, but the great humiliation she suffered caused her to shake uncontrollably.
Even if it had been an accident, she absolutely would not let that damned fellow get away with it!
She gnashed her teeth and promised this to herself, emphasizing every word. Immediately, her trembling stopped and she no longer felt the urge to cry. It was as if that sentence had strange, magical powers.
That's right, she absolutely would not let that damned fellow off!
She regained her confidence from before, revealing the return of the high and mighty goddess.
She took off her mask, her eyes shining with radiance once again.
The middle-aged man's expression rapidly changed when he fixed his gaze upon his mistress's white-as-snow neck, astonished to find five purplish finger marks.
Oh god... He could not believe his own eyes and almost cried out in alarm; luckily he managed to hold his tongue.
Miss had been defeated!
If this piece of news were to spread, it would cause a big commotion in the Induction Ground. Here, his mistress's skill level was one of the highest, ranking among the top five. Who could possibly beat her? His first instinct was that someone in disguise must have pulled a prank.
However, he rejected the idea soon enough. Miss's secret whereabouts were kept well hidden, and her trip to the hall was by chance. Judging by the marks on her neck, her opponent must have held back or else her neck would have been shattered by now.
Now that he thought of how his mistress had gotten into an accident in an event he had organized, the middle-aged man's back was drenched in no time.
The fortunate fact that she was safe and sound brought some life back into his body, but his legs still felt a little weak.
The unmasked Shi Xueman looked the same as she always had as she said faintly, "Find out who the contestants are. Every single one of them, as well as those lying on the ground."
The middle-aged man dared not hesitate and immediately obeyed. "Yes!"
He could hear the frigid chill in her tone and knew that she was extremely angry. Since young, she had never suffered or been in such an unfavorable situation. Out of the corner of his eyes, he peeked at the finger marks on his mistress's neck and felt a wave of fear come over him.
Perhaps if he knew what exactly happened at the end, he would have fainted by now.
Although he was quick to obey, he was whining inside. He said humbly and carefully, "I have been negligent in keeping track of their information. Investigations must be done through other methods, so I may need assistance from the clan."
He did not anticipate such a command. In his mind, the contestants were merely his mistress's sparring partners. What was the point of keeping track of their names and backgrounds when they were going to be defeated by her?
"At all costs," Shi Xueman said coldly. "The clan will utilize all its power, so check it thoroughly for me."
The middle-aged man's heart trembled. "Yes!"
He felt his mistress's resolution.
There was nothing strange about it. After unexpectedly meeting a threatening opponent, neither she nor the family clan could possibly sit by and idly watch. He had enough confidence that if the clan were to mobilize its full power, he would be able to identify that man no matter how well he hid.
Shi Xueman walked towards the hall's main entrance, seemingly covered in frost.
Once outside, she observed the people walking around on the streets before turning to look at the hall once more. She clenched her fists and walked away.
When Ai Hui held on to the wall for support as he walked out of the hall, and he held onto the wall for support as he walked into Vanguard Training Hall as well.
The difference was that before, his limbs had been weak from hunger but now he was too full to walk. With much effort, he finally shambled his way from the alley to the hall's entrance, taking him a whole ten minutes.
On the stone steps before the training hall entrance sat Lou Lan looking quite bored.
Ai Hui felt it strange. A bored sand puppet... such an image seemed unfitting.
"I have been waiting for an hour." Lou Lan stood up and patted the dust off his body upon seeing Ai Hui approach.
Ai Hui had never met such a "smart" sand puppet before. Patting dust off his body took it to a whole new level. Eh, you are a sand puppet, there will not be dust as long as you do not pat your body.
Plus, I do not remember us being close friends, he thought.
Opening the door, he asked, "What's the matter?"
"Nothing." Lou Lan crooked his head and thought for a while, as if searching for the right words. "We are neighbors, and I am paying you a visit."
The sky was dark, but Ai Hui could clearly see the black mask on Lou Lan's face. Upon seeing it, he was reminded again of the incident from earlier. He got the sinking feeling that he was traumatized.
He asked absent-mindedly, "Why are you wearing a mask?"
Lou Lan replied, "Because I do not have a face."
"No face?" Ai Hui was slightly taken aback. "Then why not make one?"
It was very easy for a sand puppet to mold a face. Some of them could even change their faces as they pleased.
Lou Lan answered, "Master Shao felt it was troublesome."
Ai Hui thought about his neighbor, the earth elementalist, who was shut off from the world. Indeed, it was like him to think that way. It was normal to have odd characters amongst the earth elementalists, and Ai Hui had personally met even stranger and more dangerous ones. In comparison, while Master Shao had a strange personality, he did not seem as menacing.
"Actually, it is not a big deal," Ai Hui said but at the same time, he felt the futility of his words. He knew there was really no need to brood over the incident although it did feel pretty good.
"There is no need, I am just a sand puppet. I do not need a face," Lou Lan explained seriously. "Who would remember a sand puppet?"
Ai Hui, who had been opening the door, stopped midway.
He felt like saying something but as the words were about to come out, he became uncertain.
Ai Hui seemed to sigh. It seemed cruel, but he couldn't say something he didn't mean. In the Wilderness, sand puppets were only second to the laborers easily eliminated and destroyed.
No one would remember a sand puppet. What chance did a laborer have?
We are both desolate, but I have fifty thousand yuan, he thought.
With his spirits raised, Ai Hui proudly hoisted the door open.