Chapter 385 - A Small World
There was no ending in learning.
Ai Hui rubbed his eyes. After reading for a long time, he felt exhausted. But about one fourth of the books on this level were still left unread.
It seemed that luck was not on his side this time.
Now what worried him the most was that the reading note had disappeared. After all, so many years had passed, and anything could happen. Of course, during these days of reading, Ai Hui had gained a lot. The fantastic ideas, the wonderlands deep in the Wilderness and the disappearing legends and customs had largely broadened his horizon.
Well-written books could be read with pleasure, and time flew very fast. But even if the books he fell on were the types that he didn’t really like, he would still force himself to finish them, because he didn’t want to miss anything.
When he was about to leave, Manager suddenly said, "Wait a minute. Here’s a letter for you."
Ai Hui paused, and then asked with curiosity, "Where?"
A luminous ball appeared in Manager’s hand, in which there was a letter.
Ai Hui took the ball. As soon as he touched it, he knew who’d sent it: it was Prince. The luminous ball was created with elemental energy and had Prince’s special mark.
In the Elemental Era, it was easy to change one’s appearance or name, but there was one thing that could not be forged, which was elemental energy. Each elementalist’s elemental energy had unique features.
Just as there were no two identical leaves in the world, there were no two elementalists with the same elemental energy.
Even if there were two people who were of the same attribute, and who practiced the same inheritance, there would still be apparent differences between their elemental energies. Its uniqueness enabled identity authentication through elemental energy, which was a significant method of identity verification in the Elemental Era.
The luminous ball was Prince’s way of delivering letters. It was like the mud seal of a letter, which would no longer be intact when the letter was read. So the existence of the luminous ball indicated that no one had ever read the letter.
There were also luminous balls that had certain passwords. If anyone who didn’t know the password wanted to open it with force, the letter inside would explode or be devoured by fire.
Ai Hui reached out to the luminous ball, breaking the ball to get the letter. Then he began to read it carefully.
In the letter, Prince said he was informed of Hua Kui’s death, and knew Ai Hui must be very grieved. He also reminded Ai Hui that the Assembly of Patriarchs would recruit many new members as it was expanding, and the competition would be more fierce. If anything happened, Ai Hu could directly contact him or Jiu Gui. Besides that, he mentioned that there was a task in the Wilderness, and asked if Ai Hui was coming with them.
Having finished reading the letter, Ai Hui folded the letter and asked Manager, "How can I write back?"
Manager took out a brush and paper and said, "When you finish, seal it and give it to me. I’ll deliver it to him."
Ai Hui nodded, and soon began to write, saying that everything was going well, and wished them good luck and a safe journey. He didn’t know what else to say.
Just like he hadn’t opened the things Hua Kui left him, he didn’t think he and Hua Kui were so close. But Hua Kui’s former friends, Prince and Jiu Gui, did treat him very well.
Actually Ai Hui didn’t know how to face them.
Many new faces had appeared in the Assembly of Patriarchs, which indicated its rapid expansion. Ai Hui knew that the Assembly of Patriarchs was under the support of Madam Ye. Now it was a good time for her, so she didn’t even need to lift a finger to help them. Besides, Madam Ye had deep connections to the Assembly of Patriarchs as both Heng Bingfeng and the old prisoner were the previous backbones of it. Ai Hui did suspect long ago that Heng Bingfeng was a relative of Madam Ye. Otherwise, why would Karakorum Savant call Madam Ye "aunt"?
Madam Ye also needed the help of Assembly of Patriarchs to step up.
Each side took what they needed.
Ai Hui was glad to see the smooth development of the Assembly of Patriarchs. Although the management of the Assembly of Patriarchs was still a secret, one thing was for sure - the Assembly of Patriarchs and the Blood of God were sworn enemies. As the proverb goes, the enemy of one’s enemy is his friend. The more powerful the Assembly of Patriarchs was, the more troubles the Blood of God would face.
Ai Hui left the Grass Hall, and planned to get moving after a quick rest.
He had been making progress in elemental energy level every day. Now that the two metal elemental elixirs had been fully absorbed, his level was further improved. He had the feeling that he would be able to reach Second Elemental Realm very soon.
These days his elemental energy had been growing extremely fast, like a jetpack.
If the elemental elixirs could be made into elemental food by Lou Lan, it would be more fully usable. Besides, Lou Lan could remove the impurities of the elemental elixirs to reduce its potential risks. The way Ai Hui used the elemental elixirs could be counted as extravagant. Fortunately, the demonic god statue, which was called demonic god armor now, could also absorb the fiendish aura of the elemental elixirs.
It would be great if there was one more elemental elixir. If only he had elemental elixirs, he would be confident that he’d be able to make it to the Third Elemental Realm.
Then he shook his head and smiled. When did he become a discontent person? Elemental elixirs were priceless treasures that were hard to find. The fact that he had already taken three elemental elixirs was a rare opportunity. He shouldn’t waste more time on such wishful thinking.
He reminded himself not to indulge on improving his elemental energy level depending on external stimuli only.
The process of training was boring and insipid, and the progress one could make every day was so little that it was almost unnoticeable. Therefore, training was also to hone one’s heart and spirit. A person who was not steadfast and tough, but had only strong elemental energy could be defeated as easily as poking a soap bubble.
Ai Hui decided to leave the valley.
Having flown for five to six hours, a village appeared in the wood.
The village was small both in size and population, and looked destitute. There was only one inn with a few guests. The owner of the inn was taking a nap at the front desk.
Ai Hui woke up the owner.
The owner opened his eyes blankly, but immediately became sober when he saw there was a guest. He smiled and asked, "You want to check in?"
"Find a clean room for me." Ai Hui threw an elemental energy bean to him.
The owner caught the bean and smiled even kinder. "I’ll get the best room for you."
Ai Hui waved his hand. "The room can be prepared later. Get me something to eat first."
Having stayed in the mountains for such a long time, he was missing having delicious food very much.
The elemental energy beans were well spent. The owner soon got him dishes that filled the whole table. Ai Hui sat in the hall alone, glutting himself with the delicacies.
Having dined to satiety, Ai Hui chatted casually with the owner, "You don’t have much business here, do you?"
The owner sighed in despair, "This inn was started by my grandpa, and now it’s been passed to me. I never thought that it would be closed by my hands. But there’s nothing I can do in such troubled times. You see, there are hardly any people in the village."
Ai Hui asked in thought, "They’ve all gone to the Wilderness?"
"Yes." The owner was morose, "If I were younger, I would have gone with them. Before the blood catastrophe broke out, everything was fine. But the war lasted for several years, and business became worse and worse. Our village does not have any specialties. So there’s no hope."
Ai Hui fell into silence.
The war could make small cities like Peace City flourish, but it brought more destruction and ruins. The life of the residents of many cities and towns became hard. Without the Yellow Sand Corner, the Fire Prairie and the Jadeite Forest, they lost three material-producing places. This also implied that they lost three markets.
Most of the industries were shrinking, and most of the elementalists had nothing to do. Now the destitution of all walks of life could be seen anywhere in the Avalon of Five Elements.
The experience and progress he had achieved in these years had broadened Ai Hui’s horizon and strengthened his mind.
He stayed in the inn for only one night, and he was the only guest. There was a message tree in the inn, through which Ai Hui communicated with the Swordsman Training Hall and informed them of his current situation. He also told them that it would take him a while to get back.
Hearing the Iron L say that everyone was practicing hard, Ai Hui was relieved.
He left the village early the next morning.
Having flown hundreds of miles away from the village, Ai Hui suddenly changed his direction and rushed into a cloud. In the cloud, he took off his elemental mask, and his Starry Gem Swordwings returned to black. Then, he changed from his Star Reaper Gloves to a different pair and switched his Silverfold Plum back for his Dragonspine.
When Ai Hui flew out of the clouds, his appearance had totally changed.
Although he had detected and confirmed that no one was around, he still remained cautious.
He decided to pay Senior Mingxiu a visit. He would be going to the Wilderness later, and didn’t know how long he would spend there. When he saw Li Wei, he couldn’t help thinking about Senior Mingxiu, and decided to pay her a visit.
When he thought of Senior Mingxiu, Ai Hui felt guilty.
Before Mistress had passed away, she told Ai Hui to take good care of Mingxiu, but Ai Hui failed to fulfill his promise. Ai Hui didn’t live close to Mingxiu. Many of the things he did were too dangerous, and he didn’t want her to be involved.
But he had been in contact with her.
Mingxiu didn’t go back to the Lu family, but was living in Asakusa City, a city that was not far away from the border of Jadeite Forest and Palette Cloud Village.
She was running an embroidery workshop there and the business was good. The Lu family was so powerful that Ai Hui didn’t worry about Mingxiu’s safety in the Jadeite Forest at all.
Stretching his Starry Gem Swordwings in full, Ai Hui flew to Asakusa City like a big bird.
On his way, he witnessed many destitute cities. The once flourishing streets were now empty. The prosperity of the past was now gone, like yesterday. The most striking impression on Ai Hui was the decrease in population. Now only the elderly and the children were left, and all the youngsters and adults had gone to the Wilderness.
They needed to create their homeland in the Wilderness, which was a hard journey. In the process, many people would sacrifice their lives. They came one after another, like tides that aimed to wash the Wilderness and turn it into a fertile plain.
The issuance of the city expansion order meant that the management had abandoned the idea of rebuilding Avalon of Five Elements, and that Silver Mist Sea and Palette Cloud Village were abandoned too.
In their eyes, the Wilderness was the only hope.
Were the civilians thinking the same? No one knew.
They had no choice.
Well, he was not a hero anyway. He didn’t have the power to save anyone from their sufferings.
Suddenly he looked ahead, as he sensed a strong flow of elemental energy. There was a fight!
Ai Hui wanted to avoid whoever was there, since he was not interested in poking his nose into other’s business. But suddenly his expression changed and he looked weird. It seemed that they were flying toward him now.
After a few breaths, two figures appeared in front of him.
The one who was running in the front was a young man. He was extremely panicky. And the one chasing after him looked fierce.
But the moment he saw the chaser clearly, Ai Hui laughed out loud.
It was indeed a small world.