Chapter 213: Contrast and Standstill
Translator: JL Editor: CakeHermit
Ai Hui never thought that there would be a day when he would be a burden. His current condition was horrible. He wanted to pass his role over to someone else, but no one was up to task. Fatty's heavy shield had been shattered to pieces in one blow and he was probably still scared out of his wits. Ai Hui knew Fatty well. Fatty was still far from qualified to be a shield bearer. It was already a miracle that he had been able to hang on for so long without being terrified.
The impact was too strong, way more than Fatty could withstand.
If he had just met these students, he could have treated them like grenades run for his own life without a second thought; however, after going through a few battles with them, he could no longer disregard their life and death.
While the speed of the nine-trace blood lizard was not comparable to the nine-trace blood cat, it was still much faster than most of the students. Its potential for attack was also terrifying. Even Ai Hui could not guarantee that he could withstand its direct attack.
As such, the others must have also been incapable of taking a hit. If the nine-trace blood lizard charged into the middle of the troop, it would be like letting a tiger into a flock of sheep.
Ai Hui needed to prevent the nine-trace blood lizard from breaking into the students' formation.
He was relying on the Dragonspine Inferno now. From time to time, rays of lightning flickered from the sword. It exhibited significant utility. Unless it was a huge and powerful dire beast like the whale, most living creatures were fearful of lightning. It was as if they were born with an instinctual fear.
Otherwise, based on Ai Hui's disarrayed attacks, he would have long been gobbled up cleanly by the nine-trace blood lizard.
When was the last time he had been caught in such a difficult situation? Ai Hui did not know. While the nine-traces blood lizard was powerful, he hadn't yet despaired. He was used to being in such a poor state and then experiencing an unprecedented improvement.
Ai Hui had experienced situations in which he was forced into a corner due to the opponent being too powerful as well as situations where his reaction speed could not keep up with his agile sword embryo state. This was the first time, however, for him to be unable to control his own body.
To someone who was used to being in control, losing control over your own body was like being a swordsman and losing the sword on your hand.
Still, he remained calm. The sword embryo enabled him to look like a swordsman and he still had his last weapon, which was the calmness he had developed after having gone through life and death situations.
He tried his best to disregard his disoriented state and the swaying elemental energy in his Sky Palace. He slowly managed to focus and transferred his attention to the Dragonspine Inferno in his hand.
According to his previous experiences, when he came across many distractions, he should focus on one particular thing. Only then would it be possible to remove the distractions.
He forgot about [Big Dipper], forgot about elemental energy, and forgot about sword moves. His whole mind was fixated on the Dragonspine Inferno.
For example, the tremble of the sword's body when the Dragonspine Inferno collided with the nine-trace blood lizard's blood ray. There was also the tiny vortex that was formed when the sword blade cut through a stream of air.
This was the first time he has ever been so focused on the Dragonspine Inferno. He noticed many details that he'd missed out on before. Like how the body of the Dragonspine Inferno was not as straight as he'd thought; it actually had a slight arc. The sword was also lighter than before due to being constantly refined by the electric rays. The original wooden blade was filled with countless tiny pinholes that were even smaller than the tip of a needle. Large amounts of electric rays infiltrated through the densely packed, tiny pinholes and gathered on the blade, then formed lightning that could be seen by the naked eye.
When the Dragonspine Inferno and the red glow surrounding the nine-traces blood lizard collided, he saw the explosion of the lightning. Countless electric rays were infused into the red glow and destroyed it.
However, compared to the intense red glow, the lightning was much dimmer.
The red glow from the nine-trace blood lizard was, in fact, not a ball of red glow as could be seen with the naked eye. Instead, it was a ball of red glow that was rotating at high speed and was shaped like a sawtooth. Rotating at such high speeds made the red glow potentially destructive.
After observing a few collisions between the Dragonspine Inferno and the red glow, Ai Hui jolted. The angle was wrong!
Without thinking, he cut into the red glow with his Dragonspine Inferno and followed the direction of the rotation. All of a sudden, the Dragonspine Inferno penetrated right into the middle of the red glow. The electric ray from the sword blade abruptly caused the blood trace to explode.
A few traces of fine electric rays split and fell onto the nine-trace blood lizard's scales. The nine-trace blood lizard jumped in shock and retreated in a panic.
Ai Hui did not bother to chase after it, instead standing blankly at a faraway place. His attention was only on the sword.
Sang Zhijun and the rest were pleasantly surprised. Ai Hui's performance was much better now. He could actually prevent the nine-trace blood lizard from reaching them; however, the atmosphere seemed rather queer. Ai Hui did not have his usual spiritual energy. Instead, he looked lifeless.
He stood on the spot motionlessly, just like a puppet. He would only react when the nine-trace blood lizard attacked him.
When he reacted, it was like he was another person. He was fast and precise. Occasionally, he dodged. Occasionally, he seized an opportunity to strike back. Occasionally, rather than a sword move, it looked like he was just waving his hand around. Regardless, the effect was on point.
During that short span of time, Ai Hui portrayed himself as an exceptional swordsman.
Once or twice, Ai Hui would gain the upper hand. Sang Zhijun and the rest could see that it was a good opportunity, but every time the nine-trace blood lizard retreated, Ai Hui would fall back into his lifeless state.
Again and again, he lost many opportunities. Sang Zhijun wanted to shout a reminder to Ai Hui; however, seeing that Ai Hui was in a weird state of mind, she restrained herself.
The contrast between the puppet-like Ai Hui and the competent Ai Hui when he was entangled with the nine-trace blood lizard was drastic. Given that the contrasting behaviours were coming from the same person and occurred in such a dangerous battle, it gave a strange feeling to those witnessing it.
While it was a strange phenomenon, it was enough that Ai Hui had managed to stay in front of the nine-trace blood lizard.
Without any qualms, everyone started to attack.
The effect of Lou Lan's blood crystal elemental energy soup was extraordinary. The lowest base level amongst the troop was six palaces. The majority of them had seven palaces. Those that were like Jiang Wei had already activated the eighth palace and were just a step away from attaining the Eight Palaces Completion.
Relying on external forces to raise their base levels was considered disdainful to many and it would also be harmful for their future training; however, given that they were struggling between life and death, neither was a pressing issue for them.
They first had to survive and would think about it later.
The troop had yet to adapt to their higher base levels, but now that Ai Hui was on the frontline, everyone became more relaxed. They were not as tensed up and their performance got better.
The change in the students could be seen through the reactions of the nine-trace blood lizard.
Their initial attacks had been messy and their stances dreadful. Gradually, their moves became more adept, the elemental energy became more concentrated, and the attacks became more coordinated; as such, they were more threatening.
The red glow surrounding the nine-trace blood lizard started to look badly damaged and uneven. The nine-trace blood lizard was also aware of the danger.
Suddenly, it turned around and leaped away.
Sang Zhijun and the rest were stunned by such a move. Was it... escaping?
Ai Hui stood as still as a puppet. He was not bothered at all.
The nine-trace blood lizard only stopped after running for two hundred meters. It then turned around again and faced Ai Hui.
A frightful ray flickered in its eyes. It lay on the ground, accumulating some energy before taking action.
Suddenly, its four limbs shot out and the nine-trace blood lizard shot out like a released arrow, rushing towards Ai Hui. The ground trembled with every step it took. Its speed began to increase it became dramatically faster. In the wake of such speed, the surrounding red glow started to increase.
The rumbling lingered on. It was as if Sang Zhijun and the rest of the students were standing on a vibrating drum. They could barely stand straight.
In the blink of an eye, the red glow had completely concealed the nine-trace blood lizard's body. The red glow started to blur and the low hiss started to become high pitched. It was like a bullet had just been shot from a gun. Leaving a trail of red, it rushed towards Ai Hui with an imposing manner.
The students' expressions changed drastically.
Fatty rushed out of the crowd like a madman and threw himself towards Ai Hui.
But he was a moment too late. Like a whizzing meteor, the nine-traces blood lizard had hit its target.
Time seemed to standstill. They were blinded by the dazzling red radiance.
A destructive power exploded at that moment. A gigantic sound wave and a surge of air engulfed the place like a tsunami. Subconsciously, everyone aimed to protect themselves. The shattered stones were like arrows raining down on them. Those students that reacted slower experienced an explosion of blood.
At that moment, however, no one could care. Their minds only had one thought, they were done for.
Even the most optimistic person could not bear to think what the troop would be like without Ai Hui. Ai Hui had long become both the core and pillar of the troop.
Like a whistling wall, the air waves brought along the dust and shattered stones to roll across the troop's bodies.
The scene unraveled in front of their eyes.
Momentarily, those heartbeats that had stopped started to beat again like crazy.
In the middle of a crack that resembled a cobweb and was around fifty meters in diameter, a youth was holding his sword horizontally. He used the sword to block the nine-trace blood lizard's dagger-like teeth.
The nine-trace blood lizard's cold eyes almost popped out. It displayed shock, fear, and confusion. It did not understand what had happened.
The scene seemed to have stopped in time. Not a single voice could be heard.
Sang Zhijun and the rest were dumbstruck by the scene in front of them. They forgot to have any reaction. The scene in front of them had some strange power; it could suddenly grasp their hearts and make them beat like crazy.
In the midst of the silence, Fatty's footsteps could be heard clearly.
Moving against the air surge, Fatty became able to see more clearly. He started to slow down.
In the centre of his shaky vision was a familiar figure. It was a figure that he had seen countless times in Wilderness.
Ah... Ai Hui... didn't die...
Fatty stayed rooted for a moment before rushing two meters behind Ai Hui.
Afterwards... He saw that Ai Hui's sword was caught between the blood-traced lizard's sharp teeth. There were still traces of blood.
It was not too far away from him...
It was quite close...
Fatty's pale face turned red and then back to pale. He violently turned around. With a blood-curdling howl, he rolled and crawled to rush forward.