Chapter 332 - Clues
A dark and empty gallery deep within the Beast Venom Temple.
Two god shamans were engaged in a quiet discussion as they walked.
"Did you know? The iron man was moved to the blood pool this morning under the elder god priest’s special order."
"That’s good, I hope he regains his consciousness soon. It’s a waste for someone as tough as iron man to become a blood sacrificial warrior."
"I agree, but who knows when he’s going to wake up. It’s extremely strange that he has obvious responses towards external stimuli but simply doesn’t wake up. To think he was just going to be used as an expendable, but now nobody wants him to die. One hundred and eight types of fresh blood. The previous record was only sixty-two types!"
"Perhaps he has something in his heart that he just can’t let go of. What a terrifying resolution that must be, if his will is still intact despite being infused with one hundred and eight types of blood. Is he from the first batch of blood sacrificial warriors?"
"Yeah, it was before this place even existed."
"If I remember correctly, that batch of blood sacrificial warriors were made from maimed individuals?"
"Yes, they were all elementalists who failed to transform into god elementalists. Recycling is all the rage, you know."
"That’s probably why he doesn’t want to wake up."
"That’s true, it’s quite the dilemma. Do you think he’ll eventually wake up?"
"Maybe, maybe not. Who knows."
The two silhouettes gradually faded out of sight as their voices became fainter.
At the bottom of a deep, crimson pool surrounded by countless troughs filled with blood, a motionless figure was faintly visible.
Swordsman Training Hall.
Ai Hui thought of the old prisoner because a plan like the lesser Avalon of Five Elements was probably hatched by an ambitious organization like the Assembly of Patriarchs. The old prisoner had an amazing wealth of knowledge and even used to have a high position in the Assembly of Patriarchs. The likelihood of him being exposed to related matters was, as such, relatively high.
"... Someone in the organization has indeed done research on this. The idea of leaving the Avalon of Five Elements has been played around with several times in the past. Because of this, someone has broached the subject before. Later on, however, the relationship between the Assembly of Patriarchs and the Avalon of Five Elements became increasingly tight and this idea was never mentioned again."
"I have seen the description of a place in the Wilderness that was suitable for the establishment of a five elemental city back when I’d looked through one of the seniors’ notebooks. There was also a sketch accompanying the information. A pity this was too long ago and my memory has blurred. What’s more, I wasn’t particularly interested in the Wilderness back then, so I only gave it a cursory glance."
"If you want to find out its exact location, you’ll have to make a trip to headquarters. This particular notebook should be kept on the seventh floor of the headquarters’ Hall of Ancient Records, its author has the surname Xiao. I’ve completely forgotten any other details. I hope this is sufficient to help you."
Ai Hui hesitated for a moment. He knew that as Chu Zhaoyang, he was qualified to join headquarters. Hua Kui had mentioned it to him several times, but he never once agreed.
The relationship between the old prisoner and the Assembly of Patriarchs was a strange one. He was sometimes very proud of them and sometimes very angry with them. Every now and then, he would sigh deeply when he spoke of the organization.
Ai Hui privately guessed that the old prisoner most likely betrayed them or somehow got expelled. He wondered what relationships inside the Assembly were like, but the old prisoner always refused to talk about it.
The old prisoner was nice, but very cautious. He was on alert most of the time and never spouted nonsense. The advice he gave was largely pertinent and worldly, and his guidance had been indispensable to Ai Hui’s progress during these three years. Like Master Shao, he was an elementalist not geared towards fighting.
Nothing had been heard from Master Shao yet. It was as if he had suddenly vanished from this world.
Lou Lan missed Master Shao a lot, and worried about him constantly. Master Shao had, after all, been a big part of Lou Lan’s life ever since he could remember.
The message tree lit up again.
"Judging from the current situation, building a five elemental city shouldn’t be your goal. For those who are weak, having too sumptuous a meal is no different from taking poison. Although the Elders Guild has made such a commitment regarding the selection of the next Great Elder, only those whose foundations are strong enough will be capable of holding onto the post firmly. You won’t be able to build a five elemental city or hold the position of Great Elder if you don’t become much stronger first."
Ai Hui laughed. The old man was too conservative, but he had good intentions in mind.
Ai Hui quickly wrote on the leaf. "Rest assured that I do not covet the position of Great Elder, and have never once thought of lording over a five elemental city; however, having control over a five elemental city is incredibly enticing for the aristocratic families. I believe it would be a good investment if I can sell one off at the opportune moment. A pauper dying of poverty pays his respects to the great prisoner."
That’s right, Ai Hui never thought of fighting for the position of Great Elder. This simply wasn’t something he hankered after.
However, he wasn’t sure whether this plan would work out.
As more and more people returned to Swordsman Training Hall, the information collected started to pile up.
The prices of various materials were soaring on the markets. All the enterprises were desperately acquiring materials. The elemental energy pool blueprints were already available for purchase from the Elders Guild, but at a price of one thousand Heaven Merit Points. Hunting groups’ commissions were easily up tenfold, but those that were highly reputable commanded even larger sums of money. Despite these exorbitant prices, almost all of the hunting groups had been signed by various aristocratic families. The first wave of elementalists had already made their way into the Wilderness.
All of a sudden, the Avalon of Five Elements’s broken spirit seemed to have been restored.
"The elemental energy pool costs one thousand Heaven Merit Points, what a ludicrous price! The Elders Guild is ruthless."
"Shall we start moving? I see so many others frantically rushing into the Wilderness."
"Nah, I don’t think so. Not many people can afford to buy the blueprints anyway."
"Nobody’s even bothering about the elemental energy pool. Anyone willing to go into the Wilderness can make a ton of money. The commission for average elementalists has gone up five times already. Who is going to remain here?"
"But it’s risky."
"There are so many of us, even the dire beasts will be afraid."
Everyone was engaged in lively discussion about the current situation.
Ai Hui called Shi Xueman, Duanmu Huanghun, and a few others to one side. Lowering his voice, he said, "I need your opinion on something. Do you think we’d be able to sell a five elemental city at a good price?"
"Five elemental city? Sell?"
They were all staring at Ai Hui blankly.
Shi Xueman was the first to respond. "Do you know something? Have you found the right location?"
Ai Hui thought for a moment before saying, "There’s a chance, but it’s not certain."
Everyone was in high spirits. A five elemental city would command the highest reward the Elders Guild had offered.
Fatty immediately asked, "If you had a five elemental city, why would you want to sell it? Why not just directly take the position of Great Elder and rule over the entire Avalon of Five Elements?"
Everyone spoke out in universal contempt.
Duanmu Huanghun said, "Selling is a good idea since influential families would be willing to pay almost any price to buy one. What I’m afraid of is that they may attempt to take it by force. I have looked through the Elders Guild’s instructions and nothing on it disallows snatching."
Other people were also worried. After three hard years of tempering, they were no longer the ignorant teenagers they had once been. They knew very well that if the benefits were large enough, people would become willing to take bigger risks. Whether it was the influential families or the new citizens, they would all be the same.
Ai Hui said, "Then I’ll give the city to Iron lady and let her be the Great Elder."
Everybody’s eyes lit up. With the Shi family’s status and Shi Beihai’s immense influence, anyone wishing to snatch the Shi family’s assets would be out of their minds.
Fatty winked at Ai Hui. "Hey, check out this guy’s generosity. The Lightning Blade is really something else, giving a city to a lady as gift."
The others turned their faces aside.
Shi Xueman cracked her knuckles and clenched her fists. "Do you really miss my beatings that much, Fatty?"
Fatty turned pale at the thought of the iron lady’s fists meeting his face. With a flattering smile, he quickly praised, "Sister Xueman, how can you be given any ordinary gifts? You should be given an entire city at least. Ouch, ouch…"
Staring at Shi Xueman’s iron fists, Fatty fled like a terrified rat. Everyone else laughed heartily
After the humorous exchange, Duanmu Huanghun took a good look at Ai Hui and said, "Actually, Iron… Sister Xueman would make a pretty good Great Elder. With our reputations and the Shi family name as our backing, we will have enough leverage…"
"I disagree," Shi Xueman snapped. "The moment I make use of my family’s influence to step up to that position, a lot of things will move beyond my control. I would be stuck in the same position I was before being expelled, what’s the point in that?"
Everyone was dumbfounded. It was indeed true that if Shi Xueman hadn’t gone out and done some reckless things, she’d definitely be next in line to become the Great Elder. Going back to square one after doing so many things, what’s the point in that?
"Alright, publicly break all ties with the Shi family then. I believe the other aristocratic families won’t go on the offensive so soon anyway." Duanmu Huanghun continued, "I can’t say the same for everyone else though."
Sang Zhijun coldly exclaimed, "It’s not like we’re made of mud!"
Having this discussion helped Ai Hui to clarify his thoughts. He said, "It’s okay, we can start finding bidders after the construction of the fourth elemental energy pool. We don’t have to wait until the entire city has been built to start selling. This way, we’ll have ample time and it won’t be so eye-catching. As long as we let others know that we plan to eventually construct a five elemental city, I believe we’ll be able to sell it."
Everyone nodded in agreement.
For the influential families, a semi-finished five elemental city was more suited to their needs. They would gladly throw more money into the project to finish building the remaining elemental energy pools.
Ai Hui left quietly after affirming the feasibility of the plan.
Shi Xueman and the others continued to stay in Peace City. Peace City was, after all, located at the border, making it a very convenient location to enter and exit the Wilderness. Besides, they could make use of the time together to build up their camaraderie. They hadn’t fought together in three years and would do well to catch up with one another.
Most of them had served stints in the combat divisions, especially those who were a part of the A-1 unit. In terms of base level or combat experience, all of them had become way stronger than before.
As they became more familiar with one another, everyone quickly regained the rapport that they once had.
Swordsman Training Hall that had captured everyone’s attention soon became completely disregarded.
The city expansion order had caused some kind of frenzy. Countless people were pouring into the Wilderness. All the message trees were constantly filled with messages regarding the Wilderness.
The messages were about things such as: Several families have begun to lay the foundations for their cities, who will be the first to complete theirs? Some lucky kid managed to take down a dire beast that was wounded by others and made a fortune off it.
The Avalon of Five Elements was brimming with action.