Chapter 20: A Sudden Turnaround
Translator: Irene Editor: X
Activities of the Society of Excellence were not compulsory but few students would choose to miss them. No one wanted to miss the opportunity of receiving guidance from the seniors. Unlike teachers from the Induction Ground, the seniors from the Society were all seasoned front-line soldiers. They might not be good at theory, but they had rich battle experience. Thus, the skills and techniques they imparted were of high practical value.
To the front-line soldiers who were dispatched to be in charge of the Society, it was a lucrative and easy job: relaxing work, double the allowance, good food, and no requirement to guard against dire beast attacks during the cold, windy night. Instead, they were able to drink hot tea in a warm room. How enjoyable!
Because the demand for this job was high, every city's resident staff members were rotated every year.
Li Wei and Zhou Xiaoxi had just been transferred into Central Pine City and were newly in charge of the Society of Excellence. Li Wei was from the army unit whereas Zhou Xiaoxi came from the northern navy unit. Both units had friendly relations and were without conflict, so the two of them quickly became friends. After all, they were going to be working together for a year.
"What a tranquil place." Zhou Xiaoxi examined the surroundings and sighed, "How time flies. Fifteen years gone in the blink of an eye. I really want to go back in time. Being young is still the best."
Upon hearing that, Li Wei laughed. "And go after all the girls you failed to chase in the past?"
Zhou Xiaoxi rolled his eyes. "Do I look superficial to you?"
Without waiting for a reply, Zhou Xiaoxi continued in a deadpan tone, "Yes."
Li Wei burst into laughter.
Zhou Xiaoxi asked suddenly, "If you were to return to life in the Induction Ground, what is the first thing you would want to do?"
"Sleep!" Li Wei responded without the slightest hesitation.
"Sleep?" Zhou Xiaoxi was quite surprised.
"That is right!" Li Wei sounded certain. "I would tell myself, Li Wei, you are going to be sleep-deprived for the next fifteen years, so hurry and catch some sleep while you can or you will not get a chance again!"
Zhou Xiaoxi laughed out loud. He asked somewhat curiously, "You had more activities during the night?"
"Yes." Li Wei looked helpless. "Come to think of it, I was unlucky. Upon graduating from the Induction Ground, I moved directly to the frontline. Immediately after, the dire beasts became increasingly active everyday. The first two years were not too bad, but they became rampant in recent years and harassed us almost every night."
Zhou Xiaoxi's expression became grave. In recent years, the frontlines of all regions had been in an increasingly tense state. The dire beasts had become abnormally restless, causing unease. As veterans who had been on the frontlines for a long period of time, they understood this feeling.
Civilians felt no pressure. Tension from the frontline had no effect on the leisurely lifestyle of those at the back who were protected.
Li Wei sensed the heavy atmosphere and smiled. "What are we worrying about? We are working under so many big shots. Let us just enjoy and cherish this one year. We can create more happy memories to make up for the past!"
"True, it is none of our business!" Zhou Xiaoxi had an evil grin on his face. "I am going to drill these rookies! When I was in the Induction Ground, the old men from the Society of Excellence tormented me like *****. Now I am motivated to do the same."
Recalling the hard times he endured in the past, Li Wei nodded in agreement. "In this area, we should not lose to our seniors! Look at this guy who just walked in, he looks sick. How can this be the case? The future of the Avalon of Five Elements is in his hands. How can such weak- shoulders carry that important responsibility?"
"That is exactly what I was thinking!" Zhou Xiaoxi agreed wholeheartedly. His smile became even more sinister. The way he gazed at the frail-looking student was the same way a big bad wolf looked at a fresh, tender, and snow-white rabbit.
Duanmu Huanghun looked pale. He was not feeling well, his vision was blurry, he felt dizzy, his limbs were going weak, and he was sweating all over. He would not have attended if not for the fact that this was the Society's introductory gathering.
Standing guard by the city gate continuously for three days and three nights, he had not paid attention to the cold weather and had caught a cold.
That damned bastard!
Just thinking about that damned fellow sent him into a rage. He coughed uncontrollably. Just you wait and see. One day you will fall into my hands and I, Duamnu Huanghun, will not let you off!
"Student Duanmu, are you ill? Is it serious?"
Duanmu Huanghun snapped out of his anger and raised his pale face. He did not know who the man in front of him was, but he had a badge pinned on his chest pocket that revealed his identity. Duanmu Huanghun hurriedly replied, "Thank you for your concern, senior. I caught a cold, and it's nothing serious."
"I thought so." Zhou Xiaoxi grinned, revealing his canines. "You have been crowned the most gifted student of the year. How could you get knocked down by a mere cold? Come, come, come. Take a look at the training plan I have prepared for you! A genius needs a genius training plan. Since you are feeling all right, let us start now. If delayed, we would not be able to make it in time for night training."
Duanmu Huanghun looked at his senior in shock and thought he had misheard.
Night training? Taking a student ill with a cold for night training?
His pale, handsome, devilishly charming face was filled with bewilderment. Under his tall, handsome, and straight nose, mucus flowed down steadily from both nostrils.
As Duanmu Huanghun shivered in the cold with his mucus trickling down, Ai Hui was in the Vanguard Training hall soaking in a piping hot bathtub. He was extremely content, and all of his fatigue disappeared.
Training halls were prepared for practitioners. Most came with special bathing spots to help practitioners recharge. In the past, at the swordsman school, he had made a bathtub for himself using an iron-plated bucket. During his three years in the Wilderness, taking a cold shower had been a luxury, let alone a warm bath.
He would depart once again when day broke.
Having a day of rest allowed his tensed muscles to loosen up. Lou Lan had advised him to consume a bowl of elemental soup as it would help to repair his muscle and bone injuries. The puppet also offered to brew it for him. Ai Hui asked about its cost. At least 40,000 yuan was the reply.
Ai Hui, who was in great pain, decided to save this offer for when he returned next week.
Yesterday, he went to a blacksmith to custom-order some things, and they had cost quite a bit. The iron chain he purchased previously was also quite expensive. If not for the twenty thousand yuan that he took from the amateur, beaten-up man, Ai Hui would not even be able to pool together forty thousand yuan.
The sky slowly brightened. As Ai Hui stepped out of his bath, he was energized and felt a boundless strength in his body.
After cleaning the training hall, he packed some water and dried rations before shutting the door and setting off to the smithy to collect his custom-made items.
Duanmu Huanghun held onto his clothes tightly as he shivered. His body was shaking and his legs were weak as he shambled into the city. What a terrifying night. He did not know how he had managed to survive. His illness had worsened after a night of battling with the winds and he was freezing, starving, and exhausted.
His eyes were vacant, he was breathing very weakly, and he resembled a zombie.
His last rational thought was to seek a doctor immediately.
His dull gaze fell upon a smithy, and he happened to see a certain someone lift up the bamboo blinds before entering the shop.
Previously, he had scoured every corner for this person, but to no avail. Now, when he was not even searching, that guy suddenly appeared in a smithy!
His gaze was fixed, and all the rage that had been building up burst into flames. Forget the cold and the doctor... these thoughts were thrown to the back of his mind!
I have finally found you, you bastard!
He did not know from where, but a wave of energy came over him, and he charged towards the shop with large strides.
Upon reaching the entrance, he caught sight of Ai Hui's back from behind the blinds. Duanmu Huanghun only had one thought in mind: Let us see if you can escape!
With an indescribable rage, he reached his hand out abruptly and grabbed onto Ai Hui's shoulder!