Chapter 59: Requirement
Translator: Irene Editor: X
There was one lady who was about Ai Hui's age. Her elemental needle technique was like a group of active silvery-white fish and her embroidery cloth was like a calm lake. The elemental needles nimbly jumped in and out from the cloth, as if they had a mind of their own.
There was another seamstress whose elemental needle was like a hissing arrow released into the sky,. The embroidery cloth in front of her seemed like it had been woven with silver silk. It was entirely bright, and a very hollow tut-tut sound was made whenever the elemental needle poked through.
Another middle-aged lady had her embroidery cloth pinned beside a weirdly shaped stove. Each time, the elemental needle would sweep across the fire within the stove before carrying a flame with it and piercing through the cloth, leaving beautiful golden marks.
What he witnessed today completely subverted his prior knowledge of embroidery.
The old man was very pleased with Ai Hui's answer, but the lady beside him was not. The old man could say that, but when Ai Hui said it, she became unhappy and snorted coldly, "A bunch of nonsense! Training method? To you, embroidery is a kind of training method?"
The old man knew things had gone awry and that she was truly angry. To say that embroidery served as an effective practice exercise to a master who had dedicated her whole life to it, how could she not get angry?
Darn! He would have exposed her identity to his disciple earlier if he had known. The old man tried his best to give a hint with his eyes.
Ai Hui saw his gestures, but...what did they mean?
"Mingxiu," the old lady called coldly.
A sweet-tempered, beautiful lady appeared. "Master!"
The observing ladies had earlier been quiet out of fear. A few timid ones started to slip away from the scene.
The old lady said inhospitably to Ai Hui, "My workshop is not for anyone to come to as they please. Ten days. I'll let you in if you can weave a light muslin."
The surrounding ladies inhaled deeply in unison, faces full of sympathy. Ai Hui could barely thread a needle and had not learned how to move the needle. How could he possibly complete such a challenging task?
Ai Hui could tell from their reactions that spinning muslin was definitely difficult and was certain he had said something wrong to offend the owner of the workshop. He was, however, not overly alarmed since there was no point in panicking.
"Yu Qin!" The old man's face changed as he said unhappily, "Aren't you making things difficult for him? He's new to embroidery. How is he going to weave in ten days?"
"I have my rules," The old lady responded persistently. "If you're unhappy, leave with him."
Ai Hui saw the redness in his teacher's face and chipped in hurriedly, "I'm willing to accept the test."
His teacher was angry, but Ai Hui was not at all upset. A small test meant nothing. In the Wilderness, he had to request for a very long time if he wanted to learn something. He even had to trade items for tutelage at times.
No one was obligated to help you. You had to fight for everything yourself. Water, food, money, and sunlight.
The old lady's requirement was very normal and was considered friendly when compared to those of the master elementalists. No money was needed either.
The old lady was somewhat surprised by Ai Hui's attitude, but kept a straight face. "Mingxiu, demonstrate the Twin Weaving Technique."
Mingxiu smiled courteously at Ai Hui. "I've seen you, junior!"
Mingxiu had been observing Ai Hui and had seen that he showed no signs of panic from the beginning. He had been calm all along. She knew, of course, exactly which of Ai Hui's sentences offended her master, but had no way of reminding him at this point of time.
She decided to demonstrate the technique at a slower speed.
Actually, she knew that it was totally impossible for a newcomer to learn weaving just by looking once. It was usually something that could only be learned after two years of apprenticeship.
Ai Hui's calm demeanour impressed her. Unlike her master, she did not find that sentence offensive. It would be really weird for a man to take pleasure in embroidering!
The master knew this as well, but could not control her rage anyway when that sentence was spilled.
Mingxiu had a headache too. In a fit of anger, her master was naturally being impolite. The moment her anger dissipated, she would regret and sigh for a long time whenever she thought about how she had angered Grandpa Wang.
Ai Hui immediately returned the gesture, albeit unaccustomed. "I've seen you too, Senior."
He felt as if if he had returned to the ancient times where even greetings sounded weird. In the Induction Ground, addressing one as junior or senior had been out of fashion for a long time. "Seems like the embroidery workshop was a more traditional place," Ai Hui thought. Plus, from the greetings, Ai Hui could also tell that the relationship between his teacher and the embroidery master was atypical.
He had sensed this the moment he entered. Teacher was very familiar with the workshop and probably frequented this place.
Ai Hui lacked comprehension when it came to women. He did not know how to describe senior Mingxiu, but he felt she was very beautiful, made people feel comfortable, and had a pleasant, friendly attitude.
"Twin Weaving Technique is a basic method used to weave fabric, mainly muslin. It's unique in that both needles, side by side, will form crisscrosses as the threads move in opposite directions."
Mingxiu's voice was soft and soothing. She tried as much as possible to explain slowly in layman terms.
Her delicate hands were unoccupied. Not far away, the spindle and bobbin were spinning rapidly as two muslin threads flew straight toward her. Ai Hui knew not when, but two elemental needles soon floated in front of her, already threaded.
His eyes brightened at the dashing skill. Compared to his previous, laborious attempt, this was much more adroit.
Her control of elemental energy was just right. She was precise and her skill level was adept.
Such precise control would be terrifying on the battlefield. Ai Hui had thought about the frightful attacking methods and combat scenarios that could emerge from this skill alone.
It would be even more menacing if this was used in the dark.
"This is the simplest weaving method. You have to control two elemental needles simultaneously. The key is to coordinate the rhythm of the elemental needles. Are you ready junior? I'm going to start demonstrating. It's a little tough, so please pay attention."
"Wait a moment, Senior."
Ai Hui pointed at some words in the garden that were waiting to be roped and requested, "Can Junior borrow a sword?"
Mingxiu gave the old lady a glance. The old lady did not know why Ai Hui wanted a sword but she was not as angry as before, so she said coolly, "Give it to him."
Another embroidery lady retrieved a sword and handed it over to Ai Hui. Ai Hui bowed in gratitude. He did not draw the sword out, but held the whole thing close to his waist instead. No one knew the purpose of his absurd action. Even the old man was baffled. Could it be that there was something special about that sword? No, there shouldn't be.
Ai Hui held the sheath with his left palm and the hilt with his right.
The hilt was not roped, so it was cold to the touch, but Ai Hui's palm held it perfectly snug. His world turned peaceful the moment he held onto the sword. All distracting thoughts retreated like the tides.
He looked up, his reserved eyes as bright as the stars.
"Senior, you can start now."