Chapter 35: Gain and Explosion
Ai Hui waved his arm, and felt strong enough to beat a bull to death. Loulan’s skills were sure trustworthy.
“Loulan, I’m going to go cultivate.”
Ai Hui carried the rations and water he prepared long ago and waved at Loulan.
Loulan burst into yellow sand and transformed into a huge tightened fist: “Good luck, Ai Hui.”
Ai Hui laughed. After gripping the backpack closer to his shoulder, he walked out of Vanguard Training Hall’s main entrance.
Upon walking on the streets, Ai Hui evidently felt that the stream of people had become much more plentiful than normal. After a while, he came to a realization that the majority of these people were students from other cities that rushed here for the blind competitions. Their excited conversations were all about them seeing an expert, some kind of mysterious earth elementalist, and something Zu Yan.
Ai Hui was confused by it all. He had never heard of any one of them before, he had long forgotten that he had pretended to be an earth elementalist long ago.
But very quickly, he heard something he understood.
“Have you heard? Gu Tianning challenged Duanmu Huanghun, but because of Duanmu Huanghun’s cold, he couldn’t fight.”
“Ah, what a pity! I’ve see Gu Tianning’s power before, he’s strong! He’s ranked forty-ninth in the Induction Ground, he’s in the top fifty! And he’s even a battle crazy madman. Duanmu Huanghun is Interpine City’s number one genius, Duanmu family’s most outstanding child. That would’ve been a fierce battle between two elites!
“That’s why I said it’s too unfortunate. At first, Gu Tianning thought Duanmu Huanghun was looking for a way out, but then realized later on that he really did get a cold. He hasn’t come to class for several days now.”
“What a pity…”
Ai Hui listened to the side as he sneered inwardly. In his heart, he was looking down on Duanmu Huanghun. What cold? Trying to cheat a ghost? If he didn’t personally cure it, he definitely would’ve been censored by this lie.
He looked pretty good, but it seems like his character was terrible.
As he walked, he continued to disdain Classmate Bangwan with a few more words. Before even reaching ten meters, Ai Hui had already flung this matter beyond the ninth heavens. Ai Hui had never cared much about things not related to himself. Even though Duanmu Huanghun was his classmate, he was not much different than a stranger in Ai Hui’s eyes.
Towards this world, Ai Hui was filled with caution, disaffection, and indifference. He didn’t really care what was going on in this world, whether it was on the path to ruination or prosperity. He only cared about his own little world.
To Ai Hui, the word friend had a completely different meaning.
Fatty was a stingy, cowardly and greedy philistine, but he was also a kindhearted person. In the Savage Territories, fatty was basically the one who buried the dead coolies. Only fatty would do that. Ai Hui wouldn’t. He felt that it was meaningless.
He only cared about fatty, they were life and death friends.
It was not only once that fatty had saved his life.
The most gruesome instance was when the squad had been attacked by a pack of savage beasts. Half of the squad’s elementalists had died, and practically all the coolies had perished. At that time, Ai Hui had lost consciousness due to his serious injuries. It was fatty who dug him out of the dead men pile while trembling. The lord elementalists had already lost their heads, they only wanted to hurry and return. No one cared about them. It was fatty who carried him on his back for five days, while running after the troops. In five days, he had lost ten kilograms. That was the only day fatty had ever lost weight. When he first regained consciousness, the scene of fatty bawling his eyes out was forever branded in his memories.
Now there was an additional Loulan. Probably due to the fact that Loulan was a sand golem, Ai Hui was much less on guard.
He felt that this was pretty good. This way, he could devote all his attention on cultivating. His world was just this small, and his world only needed to be this big.
After exiting Interpine City, Ai Hui’s gait rapidly quickened, no one paid any heed to this youth who was carrying a shabby cloth bag. Even though he had just earned three hundred fifty thousand, Ai Hui was not willing to use it. The old bag was still an old bag, the rations were still hard and dry biscuits.
There were many other times he could use the money. This blind competition also made Ai Hui realize that his idea of using the blind competitions to make money was too naive. Even though he had Loulan had joint hands, last time’s victory was still a fluke within flukes. It was impossible for this kind of fluke to happen again. Now that Interpine City’s blind competitions were known far and wide, more and more experts would come, thus making his chances of victory even more slim.
Back then, he was able rely on his superiority in night battles, but in front of all kinds of wondrous arts and absolute elemental energy, this experience of his was just too insignificant.
Experience was never able to replace strength no matter what, or else he wouldn’t have needed to study at the Induction Ground.
When he almost reached the Metal Suspending Pagoda, he encountered two city guards who warned him that there were wild beasts roaming nearby, telling him to take care. Ai Hui was a bit shocked. It had only been a few days he hadn’t come, and wild beasts were already roaming about. He expressed his thanks at the other party’s good intentions.
Looks like he had to be careful. Ai Hui raised his guard. He was someone who had muddled in the Savage Territories, so he would never be the least bit careless.
Upon arriving at the Metal Suspending Pagoda, Ai Hui’s carefully scouted his surroundings. It had not changed at all since the day he had left! He didn’t even see any traces of wild beast marks! Ai Hui was a big puzzled.
Even though he didn’t know how those guards had determined it, Ai Hui was more confident in his own judgement. He had plenty of experience in this aspect.
Finding the backless armor he had hidden and seeing that it was safe and sound, Ai Hui was relieved. He had used quite a sum of money to buy this backless armor, so it could be considered to be his one of his major assets.
Putting on the armor and linking the iron chain, Ai Hui began his unique way of cultivation.
When Ai Hui once more threw himself into the Metal Suspending Pagoda, he felt that something was different from before. The metal wind still permeated into his bones, but the pain that was brought about by silver strands of metal element back then had lessened by a lot.
This caught Ai Hui’s attention. After careful experience and observation, he discovered that there was a subtle change in his muscles. They had become even more tough, and it felt more knitted together. His muscles used to resemble rice straw, with the silver strands of metal element resembling steel needles that permeated his body with incomparable pain. Now, his muscles had become more durable, as though rice straw had transformed into bamboo filament, so the pain naturally had reduced by many times.
The metal energy inside the silver metal element strands were even more condensed than the typical metal energy, resulting in an obvious, even greater upgrade to the muscles.
This raised Ai Hui’s spirits. He knew that he was on the right track.
Though his affinity wasn’t all that great, his endurance level was pretty high. Even though his efficiency in absorbing wasn’t great, he was able to absorb an even higher grade of elemental energy. A higher grade of elemental energy allowed the tempering of one’s body to produce even more remarkable results.
There was nothing more exciting than finding one’s own path.
This time, Ai Hui preserved longer than he used to previously.
The days immediately became richer, the training was dull, yet Ai Hui was as sweet as syrup.
No matter his elemental energy absorption or 【Fish Arching Back】, he was brimming with enthusiasm. Back then, 【Fish Arching Back】 was merely used to jolt apart the silver strands of metal element in his body, but his previous blind competition made him realize that if he perfected this move, its might would be formidable.
An expert with an absolute art and two opened halls had even been knocked unconscious by his 【Fish Arching Back】.
This was definitely his strongest move!
Ai Hui had brought along an entire month’s of rations, and had even found a source of water nearby. He began to diligently practice, day and night, in this uninhabited, desolate Metal Suspending Pagoda.
To him, this was not hard training. No one knew that in the Savage Territories, he had always wanted to toss everything aside and devote himself to training.
Being able to be able to feel the sprinkling of his sweat everyday was too blissful!
Being able to feel his own progress, those extremely small steps yet firm steps, gave a sense of accomplishment.
Yes, his world was that small. He had never thought about saving the world, never thought about being a great hero. Every day, he steadily trained, not needing to be worried about a wild best attack, not needing to worry about what he would do tomorrow. Wasn’t this kind of life just pure bliss?
He wasn’t able to think of an even greater happy life, and couldn’t help but wish that this kind of life could go on forever.
To Ai Hui, who was immersed in his training, one month was like the blink of an eye. Only until he felt his empty old cloth bag, did he realize that a month had already passed.
In this month, Ai Hui had not wasted a single second.
He took off the backless armor with a face full of shock. He had improved so greatly that not even he himself dared to believe it.
Under the sunshine, a faint layer of a dim metallic luster floated above his skin. He had seen this kind of appearance on those lord elementalists before, but those were true elementalists.
His skin had become even harder. He tried to use a sharp slab of rock to slash himself, yet it merely left behind a shallow mark. His strength had distinctly increased. With the tempering of the metal energy, his muscles were able to explode with even greater power.
His power from before wasn’t small, but now, it had become even more shocking. Under the situation of not utilizing his elemental energy, his strength had increased by approximately fifty percent.
The increase in elemental energy within his body was even more evident. Before, his elemental energy were like fine hairs. Now, the elemental energy within Ai Hui had already expanded into toothpicks.
With the increase in elemental energy, Ai Hui’s fighting strength had increased all around.
The might brought about by his 【Fish Arching Back】 was much greater than previously, clearly visible by the huge dent in the Metal Suspending Pagoda. Back then, though the Metal Suspending Pagoda had sunk, it could only been seen up close with the naked eye. Now, the depression was extremely distinct and could easily be found.
According to this kind of speed, Ai Hui felt that he could attempt to ram at the doors of a palace in another two months.
At the moment, Ai Hui wasn’t in much of a hurry to charge at a palace, because he could feel his own progress. He still had not reached a bottleneck in tempering his body, so he wasn’t anxious. His experiences in the Savage Territories told him that a sturdy body was indispensable no matter when.
He had seen a few lord elementalists. Although their elemental energies were deep, their physical bodies were weak, which thus caused them to die in the Savage Territories.
Since there was such a condition set upon him, why not polish his body to become even more stronger? Knowing that the path he chose was not wrong, Ai Hui’s eager mind settled down. He had read many sword manuals, and all of those huge sectoral sword manuals emphasized the importance of a strong foundation. Since sword sects of ten thousand year old continued tradition said so, it ought to be right.
Suddenly thinking about Loulan’s Elemental Repairing Soup, Ai Hui immediately salivated. Like a gust of wind, he rushed for Interpine City.
He didn’t know that in this month, the outside world had completely flipped around.
The defeated Zu Yan went into secluded cultivation. He had written a challenge letter to the mysterious earth elementalist for duel half a year later to determine who was stronger. The challenge letter was plastered all over every school in Induction Ground.
Shi Xueman was also bitterly training. She felt that her own strength was not enough to defeat her enemy. In order to sharpen her skills, she was readying herself for an even more difficult secluded cultivation.
Interpine City had become the entire Induction Ground’s hottest city. Blind competition fever struck the entire Induction Ground. This new kind of competition attracted the entire Induction Ground’s interest. Even the Masters would frequently talk about skills related to blind competitions in classes. Some of the even more clever schools had even prepared to open blind battle classes.
But in this month, in Interpine City, the one with the most publicity was only one person, Duanmu Huanghun.
Known as Interpine City’s number one genius, Duanmu Huanghun was the most promising talent within the new students, and was also one of Interpine City’s more famous students.
Following Interpine City’s attraction of a large amount of experts from outside, experts swarmed in Interpine City, so naturally, there would be people thinking about challenging Duanmu Huanghun.
Especially since Duanmu Huanghun refused to accept Gu Tianning’s challenge with a cold as pretext, most looked down on him in disdain. There were even some rumors about how Duanmu Huanghun looking strong in appearance, but being weak in reality. This led to many students who wished to be famous challenging Duanmu Huanghun one after another.
Thus, Duanmu Huanghun exploded!
In a week, he had consecutively defeated nine fifth years and the rumors immediately stopped.
However, that was merely the beginning. Stifled by a bellyful of fire, Duanmu Huanghun was not satisfied with this kind of result. In the next week, he had taken the initiative to go to every training hall to challenge various experts.
Fifteen victories in a week!
Amongs them was an expert with six opened halls. Such a terrifying accomplishment immediately caused Duanmu Huanghun’s name to resonate through the Induction Ground.
However, the Duanmu Huanghun with eyes of bloodlust had no desire to stop.
In the third week, he slashed through Interpine City, challenging the Induction Ground’s rank forty-nine, Gu Tianning, challenging rank thirty-three Cui Zhiyuan, challenging the twenty-fifth Fu Hua, with all being victories!
The Induction Ground was instantly stunned into silence.
In the newest Induction Ground ranking list, he placed seventeenth, becoming the only first year student within the top twenty and also became this year’s freshman leader.
In the entire history of the Induction Ground, a new student who could attain such a rank was very few.
With such a track record, the extremely radiant Duanmu Huanghun, leapt into the Induction Ground’s top ranks just like that. His shocking genius and innate talent had even startled the Induction Ground’s upper echelons. In order to let him receive even greater guidance, the Induction Ground allowed him to directly enter the higher level school districts.
Countless higher level school districts immediately responded, taking advantage of Duanmu Huanghun not yet returning to Interpine Institute, they intercepted him midway with all kinds of generous offers in hopes of luring this once-in-a-century genius youth to their side.
However, what made everyone taken aback was that Duanmu Huanghun refused all of them.
Duanmu Huanghum issued a public statement, claiming that he was only going to stay in Interpine Institute, and was only willing to accept Master Xu’s guidance.
This was an outcome and no one had ever imagined which made the entire Induction Ground speechless yet again. However, everyone’s evaluation of Duanmu Huanghun had increased even more, believing that this child had a virtuous heart which did not forget the importance of one’s roots.
Duanmu Huanghun’s brilliant image became even more brighter. His handsome appearance, bewitching temperament, and cool nature caused him to immediately become the dream lover of every girl in the Induction Ground. Many girls left other schools to follow Duanmu Huanghun’s journey of challenging every expert.
No matter where he went, countless beautiful woman followed.
The originally obscure Interpine Institute had become famous, becoming the other school’s target of envy.
And today, was the day Duanmu Huanghun returned to Interpine City.