Chapter 89: Twilight Silk
Translator: YH Editor: Pranav
Zu Yan's second defeat caused a much bigger sensation than his previous loss.
That was because movie beans of the battle were available this time around.
Although people were curious about his earlier defeat, the lack of footage meant that most people were unable to watch the battle. The students of Central Pine Academy were also not that familiar with Zu Yan, which further contributed to the more muted reaction. Zu Yan's publicly issued challenge was what triggered greater interest in this talented member of the Zu family.
Yet he was once again defeated by the same opponent.
Many people even suspected that the two of them were secretly colluding to put up a show.
Nevertheless, quite a number people still rushed to purchase the movie bean, tempted by the chance to witness an absolute art. The students' eagerness to improve and their need for exposure were the main reasons that drove the training ground's sales. While the Induction Ground imparted the basics and did indeed provide some opportunities for further learning, information regarding more powerful skills often required one to reach a certain level or contribute to the Induction Ground in some way.
The things that ordinary students could learn in the Induction Ground were pretty much fixed. Daily training was not an issue, but it could be difficult to attain more powerful techniques.
The Induction Ground also had several absolute arts in their possession. It was, however, extremely challenging to be deemed worthy of receiving one, as evident from the small number of successful cases.
Aristocratic families had an absolute advantage when it came to absolute arts. Any family with more than a hundred years of history would definitely have some form of inheritance. The Avalon of Five Elements was constituted of a culture steeped in innovation, and as such, each new generation would further research and develop their family's unique legacy. This continued advancement resulted in a more profound understanding of elemental energy, allowing the gradual formation of many different styles.
The appearance of a genius would lead to the culmination of all the knowledge that was accumulated prior to his generation, resulting in the creation of an absolute art out of the family's legacy.
The saying, "Absolute arts are created through accumulation," was, indeed, an apt one.
The older the family, the greater their accumulation of knowledge. The emergence of an individual with monstrous talent would also tend to vastly benefit a family's prowess.
Passing on a legacy was the nature of those families, not the Induction Ground. It wasn't easy for teachers to find suitable successors. The teachers themselves were likely to contribute to this environment since they usually preferred to study what interested them rather than follow others' paths.
The Induction Ground may be an incubator for all sorts of brilliant ideas, but rarely did it produce absolute arts.
The teachers' most obvious weakness was their lack of combat experience. They lived relatively simple lives in the Induction Ground, which was the safest place in the Avalon of Five Elements. The teachers were only exposed to combat during their students' practical training or while accompanying them on missions.
Absolute arts were mainly used in combat and were often born out of rich combat experience.
Families that sought to get ahead of others would send successive generations of members to the frontline. These members would proudly enlist into the Thirteen Divisions, the unit that was positioned in the forefront of battle and held combat abilities in the highest regard.
In the long run, they would get a deeper understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of their inherited teachings. And this understanding was necessary for further improvement.
The members of aristocratic families were exposed to absolute arts from a young age. To ordinary students, however, absolute arts were an elusive and unattainable goal. All families shared a similar zeal in protecting their own absolute arts from the prying eyes of the outside world-even accumulated knowledge was not divulged to outsiders. These were the fruits of their ancestors' labor and were also the core of their strength.
In the eyes of ordinary students, absolute arts were shrouded in mystery.
Upon finding out that there were movie beans with footage of an absolute art, many students quickly rushed to get one. Even though the beans were not cheap, being able to see an absolute art made them worth it in the end. This was particularly true in a remote place like Central Pine Academy where such opportunities were hard to come by.
"Only twenty-odd beans left?"
The boss froze for a moment before roaring, "Why are you still standing here? Quickly plant more beans!"
"We've already planted them all, but we only have three wood elementalists," the assistant effortfully explained.
Wood elementalists had to be specialists in order to grow movie beans. While a single bean was capable of producing twenty beans after one night's worth of growth, it wasn't sufficient to just throw the beans into some random soil. A wood elementalist would have to expend elemental energy to control the bean's growth and ensure that they would become exact replicas of the seed bean. A typical wood elementalist was capable of attending to approximately twenty mirage bean pods at a time.
"Hire more! Raise the pay! Double the pay!" the boss shouted, his heart aching. "Raise the price, we're going to increase the price!"
He had expected the movie beans to sell quite well, but he would never have imagined them to become this popular.
More wood elementalists rushed over to the training ground, working tirelessly to grow more movie beans. The entire training ground was covered by pot after pot of mirage bean pods-even the fighting stage was not left empty. The sound of bean pods popping open could be heard the whole night.
Little did the training ground's boss know that this was only the beginning of the ruckus that was to ensue.
A strong herbal scent pervaded the entire embroidery workshop. Ai Hui stared intently at the translucent piece of silk in his hands, his actions the speed of a snail. His heart trembled with each quiver of the extremely fine strand of silk.
The twilight cocoon was a very rare type of silkworm cocoon that was especially difficult to handle. The cocoon, which was produced by the twilight silkworm, was as hard as steel and completely resistant to fire and water.
Ai Hui was dumbstruck by the amount of work involved in the handling process. A wood elementalist would first prepare a massive vat of a herbal concoction that was used to soak only a single twilight cocoon. Next, a fire elementalist would enhance the intensity of the fire, boiling the cocoon in the herbal concoction for two hours.
The concoction became clear while the twilight cocoon turned into a black gelatinous substance.
This was where Ai Hui's training began. His task was to slowly extract the silk from the gelatinous substance. The difficulty lay in ensuring that the silk, which had melted into a gelatinous state, would not break; even the slightest increase in speed would cause the silk to snap.
Moreover, he had to steadily infuse his elemental energy into the silk.
The infusion of elemental energy into the gelatinous silk made it solidify back into its usual state.
Even the slightest oversight could ruin the entire process. A tiny tremor or a marginal quickening of his elemental energy could cause the gelatinous silk to break.
The heat in the workshop was of a shocking amount, but Ai Hui was too focused on his task to notice. He probably didn't realize how much he was sweating either.
The value of twilight silk was dependent on its length.
The longest thread of twilight silk that Ai Hui had extracted up till now was only one meter. twilight silk of this length had no value and could only be regarded as scraps.
Ai Hui was under immense pressure to perform. He was no fool. Taking the cocoon, the herbal concoction, and the services of the elementalists into consideration, he knew that the production cost of the Twilight Silk was immense, even though Mistress did not reveal it.
It would be a complete waste of resources if he couldn't extract good silk.
His finger trembled, causing the other end of the thread to break. Unable to persist any longer, AI Hui plopped himself onto the ground, panting. He was drenched in sweat.
Silk scraps littered the floor around him.