Chapter 37: Noodle House
Translator: Cynthia Editor: Pranav
Ai Hui had no intention to greet Duanmu Huanghun since he did not know him very well, and so had just planned to ignore him.
However, Duanmu's Fiery Floating Cloud had stopped right in front the gate and blocked the way. Moreover, it seemed to take ages for him just to step off the cloud. Ai Hui waited, and waited, until he eventually became really impatient, and greeted 'Hello!' out loud to remind that Bangwan that someone was waiting behind him and to please be quick.
However, right afterward...
Looking at the fallen Duanmu's face, Ai Hui felt contempt for his psychological weakness. His voice had been barely above a whisper. How could someone be so fearful? What about those dire beasts with their thundering roars in the Wilderness? This guy would simply be frightened to death!
Maybe the kids nowadays were like this. Anyhow, Ai Hui had always regarded him as childish.
Other than training, Ai Hui had never cared too much about anything else. As for the large crowd of people waiting at the city gate, well, what did it have to do with him?
When he arrived back at the training hall, he noticed that it was spotlessly clean; as usual, Lou Lan had done a good job. Now, however, Lou Lan was not present, which left Ai Hui to be free.
After finishing his shower, Ai Hui noticed that Lou Lan was still missing. All his hopes were dashed; it seemed like there would be no soup today.
As it was still early, he decided to head out and have some noodles.
Yes, noodles, which would cost him a hundred and fifty yuan for a single bowl! After all, now that he had three hundred and fifty thousand yuan on hand, he considered himself to be rather rich and could eat as much as he liked. Ai Hui had only been eating pancakes for the past month, and his mouth watered at just the thought of those noodles.
He immediately rushed out through the door.
Shi Xueman wandered the streets of Central Pine City without any specific destination. She had heard about the big welcoming ceremony for Duanmu Huanghun, but unfortunately, she could not witness it for herself. She had also learned from Uncle Yong Zheng that after jumping off the Fiery Floating Cloud, Duanmu had toppled over onto the ground in exhaustion. People were marveling at the hardship he had endured through to attain his current achievement.
Shi Xueman also admired his unprecedented feat of consecutively challenging three experts of the top fifty in just one week. It truly was no surprise that he was exhausted.
She herself had only managed to achieve the top one hundred during her first year of college; it was no wonder that Duanmu Huanghun was being honored as 'The Genius of the Century'.
Nevertheless, she had no interest in Duanmu Huanghun; she was only interested in that mysterious expert who had defeated her. She once suspected that Duanmu Huanghun might be the one, but had shortly rejected the notion.
Duanmu Huanghun was of an apparent noble temperament-totally different from that of the mysterious master.
Shi Xueman was wearing an elemental energy mask to avoid being recognized by others, and now, she appeared to be an ordinary girl student.
Ever since that fateful blind battle, she would often come to Central Pine City in her free time, and she soon became familiar with its topography. In fact, she was presently enjoying the feeling of strolling aimlessly after an intense training session.
Detecting a mouth-watering aroma of food, Shi Xueman suddenly began to feel hungry.
Turning to the source, she noticed a noodle house. Actually, she seldom ate out at restaurants-to be more specific, she seldom ate anything except elemental food.
On account of her constant training, she was stringent with her diet. Her daily diet only consisted of elemental food that was specially made for enhancing the results of her training.
Therefore, she hesitated...but she eventually succumbed to the temptation.
As it was not yet mealtime, there were only a few customers in the noodle house. The owner was engrossed in preparing spiced beef, causing an irresistible smell to linger in the air.
She casually entered, sat at a table, and requested a bowl of noodles. At that instant, a figure rushed in and sat at a table across from her. "Five bowls of noodles, please!"
Shi Xueman took a brief glance and realized that it was a male student who seemed familiar. She might have seen him somewhere before.
After pondering for a while, she remembered that last time in Central Pine City, while she was fuming over all the colorful banners advertising blind battles, she had noticed a mocking gaze coming from across the street...
...from this guy!
Last time, although Shi Xueman was filled with self-confidence, she had made a mistake, and now she felt slightly embarrassed. However, she was not annoyed with the boy because they were unfamiliar with each other. Admittedly, she was in a rotten mood at that time, and she seemed to have given him an angry glance.
She smiled wryly. Just then, her noodles arrived, and she began to enjoy her delicious meal.
The noodles were incredibly tasty and totally different from the elemental food that she was used to. Try as she might, she could not stop eating.
Compared to her, though, the actions of the fellow seated opposite were far more exaggerated. He swept through the five large bowls of noodles in a line like the wind sweeping the leaves, causing a scene that was of great visual impact. Furthermore, his table manners were rude and wild, and with each bite, half the noodles of a bowl would disappear. Shi Xueman, who had happened to take a glimpse, was left stunned.
All the people she knew were restrained, elegant, and gentle while eating; she had never before seen anyone eat like him.
At the beginning, Ai Hui had noticed her since she had stared at him for a while, but having already adapted to life in the Induction Ground, he did not regard it as anything dangerous.
Now, he was so focused on the noodles that he had already forgotten himself.
He picked up a bowl and gulped down half the noodle soup before placing it down contentedly. He suddenly noticed the stupefied lady sitting across from him.
Shi Xueman met his gaze, but she immediately realized that it was somewhat rude and quickly looked down. In an attempt to cover her embarrassment, she hastily called the owner to bring her the bill.
"That would be a hundred and fifty yuan, please," said the owner monotonously.
"Okay," replied Shi Xueman as she rummaged about for her purse. However, she suddenly froze, because she realized one horrible thing-she did not take any money with her!
She had taken a shower and changed her attire after training, but the purse was still in her previous clothes!
What to do? She had never encountered anything like this and totally blanked out.
"Excuse me, lady?" Noticing her absence of mind, the owner gently gave another reminder.
"Sorry...I...I forgot to bring money..."
Shi Xueman stammered, her face burning with shame-at this moment, she felt like hiding herself and disappearing.
The owner's expression darkened.
Ai Hui noticed the scene. Looking at the lady's face, which was almost buried in her arms, he shook his head to himself and said, "Hey, I'll lend you the money. Give me something as a pledge, and I'll return it to you once you pay me back."
Would he freely pay the bill? No. Ai Hui would never utter such profligate words.
One hundred and fifty yuan was a lot of money to him!
If there was nothing to pledge, he would not lend the money. He was not one to show sympathy, and simply his willingness to lend was already a great favor in his eyes.
He then took out the money and pointed to the bowls in front of him. "Bill, please."
Having paid for the meals, Ai Hui strolled out of the noodle house with a toothpick in his mouth and Shi Xueman's bead bracelet in his hand.
Shi Xueman sincerely expressed her gratitude to Ai Hui. "Thank you. I will definitely pay you back. Please give me your address."
"Vanguard Training Hall." Ai Hui continued, "Bring the money, and I'll give you the bracelet. Go home and get the money quickly. I'm leaving now."
Noticing the decreasing sunlight, Ai Hui hastily corrected himself. "Tomorrow would also be fine. Farewell!"
He quietly waved goodbye, without taking the clouds away from the sky.¹
1. The original text is extracted from a modern poem which is well known in China. Basically, it means "He left."