Chapter 249: An Overlooked Question
Translator: YH Editor: X
Shi Xueman stared blankly at the hand on her spear, recognizing it as Ai Hui's.
Her mind blanked in that instant. Why? Why was it him?
The hand that grasped the spear shook, generating an intense force that released Shi Xueman's grip from the spear and sent her flying. Why was he saving her?
Tears fell down her cheeks uncontrollably while she screamed inside.
The red tendrils of blood were like vines that could not stop growing. They continuously coiled around Ai Hui, as if they were trying to swallow him whole.
All she could see was the side of his face. That thin, humble face betrayed no signs of emotion as the blood tendrils proceeded to devour him. He had not even taken one last look at her.
Shi Xueman collapsed on the ground, but immediately picked herself up in a bid to rush to Ai Hui's side.
A familiar voice resounded through the cavern, causing her to freeze in place.
"Looks like I've accidentally saved you again. Remember to record it on your tab."
The mad, frenzied blood tendrils suddenly vanished without a trace, as though the entire thing had merely been an illusion. She could once again see the familiar face through the tears blurring her vision.
"Hey, why are you crying? Are you trying to renege on your debt?"
Ai Hui was shocked to see the Iron Lady's tearful face, particularly since this was the first time he had seen her cry. Shi Xueman had lost all of her usual loftiness and reminded Ai Hui of a young girl who had just been bullied.
Ai Hui was a little bit embarrassed. He waved his hand and said, "Fine, fine, I won't charge you this time."
Shi Xueman cried even harder, her tears falling like raindrops.
Ai Hui scratched his head in puzzlement. As an iron lady, her mind and body should both be as solid as iron. She must have been truly frightened by what happened.
Just as Ai Hui was starting to get a headache, Shi Xueman gradually stopped crying. Ai Hui heaved a huge sigh of relief.
Shi Xueman, who had stifled her tears, walked expressionlessly toward Ai Hui. She snatched Cirrus back from him and asked, "What happened to those blood tendrils?"
"Women are indeed as fickle as the weather," muttered Ai Hui to himself before replying, "They were absorbed by my bandages."
Shi Xueman finally saw the light. Every knew that the bandages Ai Hui wore were a gift from his mistress and were artifacts left behind by an ancient blood sect.
No wonder he came to her rescue...
She glared coldly at Ai Hui.
Ai Hui rubbed his nose innocently, unsure of what he had done to provoke her again. This time however, he did not attempt to clarify anything with her. His instincts told him that it was a terrible time to incur her wrath.
Ai Hui shouted for Lou Lan at the top of his lungs, "Lou Lan! Lou Lan!"
"Lou Lan's here," Lou Lan announced as he emerged from the rocks.
"Is it possible to seal up these crevices?" Ai Hui asked.
"Leave it to me," quipped Lou Lan as he immediately got to work.
Ai Hui marveled at Lou Lan's ability to put everyone in a good mood. Lou Lan was still the best.
Out of the blue, Shi Xueman inquired, "How did you come to know that blood elementalist?"
"Our first meeting was outside the noodle shop. I was later captured by her during a scouting expedition and almost became a blood elementalist. Thank the heavens I have these bandages," recollected Ai Hui.
Shi Xueman took a good look at Ai Hui. Sensing that he was hiding something, Shi Xueman proceeded to probe further. "What else do you know about the blood elementalists?" she asked.
"Not much," replied Ai Hui, shaking his head. "They're backed by an organization that is very likely responsible for causing the blood disaster. This, of course, is merely my conjecture."
He was unwilling to divulge any more knowledge since his conversation with the old prisoner would probably land him in trouble.
The reinforcements' delay led Ai Hui to conclude that the Blood of God had the upper hand. The old prisoner's group existed solely to take on the Blood of God, but ended up in a terrible state. From this, Ai Hui deduced that the Blood of God had infiltrated the Avalon of Five Elements and was possibly operating partially from inside. Ai Hui looked at the situation from the perspective of the Blood of God and decided that he too would have done the same.
This would also explain why the Blood of God had such a thorough understanding of the weaknesses of the Avalon of Five Elements as well as why the reinforcements were taking so long to arrive. Everything appeared to be under the watchful eye of the Blood of God.
Again, these were only his conjectures. There were still too many unknowns to be sure.
Shi Xueman did not probe further as she felt that everyone was entitled to their own secrets.
Hearing all this from Ai Hui, however, caused her brilliant mind to generate a good number of questions and scenarios. Her face a little paler than before, Shi Xueman asked, "So there won't be any reinforcements?"
The more she thought about the situation, the paler she became. Looking at Ai Hui, she continued, "So the mayor's residence's insistence on the plan of "treating the city like a piece of cloth" at the cost of Master Han's life is because they already know this."
Ai Hui was hit by a sudden realization. How had he not thought of this? He had assumed that the plan was carried out under his Mistress's insistence, but now understood that the city would not simply sacrifice an embroidery master like that.
He was now able to confirm his guess regarding the reinforcements.
"They won't be arriving anytime soon at least." Regaining his composure, Ai Hui looked at Shi Xueman and asked, "Will the higher ups send help?"
"Definitely," answered Shi Xueman firmly. She was more familiar with how the higher authorities worked than Ai Hui was. She continued, "They'll definitely send a large force with some masters within."
"Not a single one of them has turned up yet," Ai Hui stated. "Where have all the soldiers and masters gone?"
By this point, all the color had practically drained from Shi Xueman's face. "They must have met with some mishap. Perhaps they were attacked by blood elementalists."
"How then do the blood elementalists know their route?" Ai Hui continued asking.
Shi Xueman was white as a sheet. She opened her mouth and tried to speak, but the words would not come. A moment later, she surmised, "They must have infiltrated our ranks."
Ai Hui took a long, deep breath and heaved a long, deep sigh to release his pent up emotions.
Shi Xueman seemed to be strongly affected by what she had just deduced. She understood why Ai Hui kept these things to himself and also knew why the mayor's residence would hide such matters. It was as though all her hopes were extinguished in an instant.
There was a long pause before Shi Xueman spoke again. "Is this a planned rebellion?"
"It's more than a rebellion," Ai Hui replied calmly. "They don't just want to wrestle power, they want to completely destroy the Avalon of Five Elements."
"Why would anyone want to do that?" countered Shi Xueman.
Ai Hui did bit have an immediate reply to that. He subconsciously repeated, "Why would anyone want to do that?"
This was a question he had overlooked.
"Power, status, prestige, or wealth? What can they not achieve? Why do they want to destroy the Avalon of Five Elements?" elaborated Shi Xueman.
With the Blood of God's power, these things were definitely easy to obtain. Be it becoming a legitimate sect or secretly controlling the Avalon of Five Elements from the shadows, the Blood of God was definitely able to accomplish both. If the Blood of God attempted a revival of the Cultivation Era, they would probably be able to rally a large number of supporters to their cause. The people of the Avalon of Five Elements were not against the idea of going back to the Cultivation Era. Its glorious history was still pretty fresh in everyone's minds.
Why do they wish to destroy the Avalon of Five Elements? Why do they have to take so many lives?
Ai Hui felt that the patient and far-planning Blood of God would have thought through their options before embarking on such a path. There must be a reason behind this destruction.
"Unless they harbor a deep-seated hatred for the Avalon of Five Elements or there's something that they can only gain through the destruction of the Avalon of Five Elements," Shi Xueman raised her head and commented.
"Is there such a thing?" asked Ai Hui.
"I have no idea," she replied with a shake of her head.
At that moment, Shi Xueman was glowing with wisdom. Ai Hui was completely captivated by her beauty and only managed to regain his senses after a while. Wow, she was so pretty yet still so cold. It must be because her heart is not all that big.
Ai Hui subconsciously looked at the thick breastplate covering Shi Xueman's chest.
Shi Xueman could sense that Ai Hui was staring at her. Hang on, where was he looking...
Her body stiffened as certain memories surfaced and caught her unaware. Shi Xueman's face instantly turned a bright crimson.
Iron Lady's reaction was so strange... Why was she acting all bashful... Weird.... I'm more comfortable with her usual expressionless self.
Ai Hui coughed lightly and looked away. He promptly introduced a new topic. "Just who was the elementalist who managed to scare that woman away."
The lady in red's enigmatic powers had left scars in Ai Hui's mind. If the lady in red immediately fled upon seeing that guy, he must also possess formidable strength.
"Oh that's Yu Mingqiu, the vice-division leader of the Deathgrass Division," Shi Xueman responded normally. "Your Senior Mingxiu's elder brother's junior."
"A vice-division leader of the Thirteen Divisions!" exclaimed Ai Hui. "No wonder he's so powerful!"
Ai Hui saw the Thirteen Divisions as a group that only the truly powerful could join. A vice-division leader in the Thirteen Divisions must be someone extremely formidable.
"Yu Mingqiu..." Shi Xueman paused to think. "He's rather unorthodox."
Ai Hui gave a blank stare and blurted, "What's that supposed to mean?"
"You'll understand when the time comes," stated Shi Xueman.
Lou Lan had packed the crevices with earth, completely sealing the two pathways.
Ai Hui inspected the elemental energy within the cavern. Upon confirmation that the elemental energy in the cavern remained unaffected, Ai Hui and Shi Xueman headed back to the mayor's residence together.
Entering the mayor's residence, the pair saw Yu Mingqiu in the seat of honor, having a chat with the mayor.
As the vice-division leader of the Deathgrass Division, Yu Mingqiu ranked above the mayor and the dean.
The mayor saw the two of them approaching and smiled, "They're back."
Yu Mingqiu nodded. "I'm relieved to see that Young Mistress Shi is safe and sound."
"The pleasure is mine, Vice-Division Leader Yu!" Shi Xueman responded with a salute. Although the two of them knew each other, Yu Mingqiu's high rank demanded the appropriate amount of decorum.
"And this is?" asked Yu Mingqiu as he looked at Ai Hui.
The mayor cheerfully said, "He's Miss Mingxiu's junior, Ai Hui."
The city's administration has always been looking out for Mingxiu. She was, after all, one of the few individuals in the city who hailed from an influential family.
"Mingxiu's junior?" Yu Mingqiu blurted, his eyes lighting up. He enthusiastically stood up and walked toward Ai Hui, patting him on the shoulders. "That makes us family then. I've just reached the mayor's residence so we still have a lot of time to visit Mingxiu. Mingxiu's junior is my junior! If you have any problems in the future, feel free to come find me, Brother Qiu! Do you want to join the Deathgrass Division? How about it? Brother Qiu will look after you!"
Ai Hui was knocked silly by his overly passionate speech. He blankly replied, "I'm metal elemental energy attributed."
"Metal elemental energy?" said Yu Mingqiu. He racked his brains for a reply, trying to avoid offending any more people. He attempted to laugh the awkward situation away before sincerely advising Ai Hui. "Live well," ordered Yu Mingqiu.
This guy was indeed... rather unorthodox.