Chapter 391 - An Old Friend
Ai Hui felt that the entire mountain beneath his feet was trembling.
Normally, anyone who encountered such a situation would be shivering with fear. However, Ai Hui did not. Even though these rock puppets looked frightening, they paled in comparison to the Sha Guards, let alone a Sand Sentinel.
Ai Hui spread the Starry Gem Swordwings on his back and flew up into the sky abruptly.
The rock puppets on the ground began to throw rocks at Ai Hui. The millstone-sized rocks were emitting a faint glow as they flew towards Ai Hui like torrential rain.
Ai Hui was shocked by this scene.
He hastily flapped his Starry Gem Swordwings and disappeared from his current position.
When a piece of rock brushed past Ai Hui’s body, he broke out in a cold sweat. If he was hit by that piece of rock, he would not be able to tolerate the pain even if his body had become strong and sturdy now.
He realized he had underestimated these rock puppets. Apparently, their fighting capabilities had been upgraded.
The rocks that the usual rock puppets hurled were not imbued with elemental energy. That was because the base level of rock puppets was very low and they did not possess any elemental energy. However, all of the rocks that these rock puppets threw had been imbued with elemental energy.
Someone was controlling them from the dark.
In the sky, Ai Hui quickly discovered that the entire mountain was filled with rock puppets. They might have looked very messy, but in reality, they were in order and their attacks were orchestrated. For a moment, Ai Hui looked to be slightly helpless in the sky. He had no choice but to fly higher. When he saw the mountain was filled with densely-packed and chaotic rock puppets, he felt a slight headache.
Should he use [Red Muslin]?
Ai Hui shook his head and rejected this idea. He was uncertain if [Red Muslin] could beat so many flying rocks being hurled at him. He felt that it would be rather painful if his physical body collided against so many flying rocks. He couldn’t believe that he could defeat a fearsome Sand Sentinel, but not a bunch of mere rock puppets.
Ai Hui began to admire this brigade of robbers.
The other party did not do much for this trap other than upgrading the rock puppets’ base level, increasing their numbers greatly and finding a suitable terrain to create a trap that was difficult to escape from.
If he wanted to enter the karst cave, he had to land on the mountain. By doing this, he would be surrounded and attacked by the overwhelming number of rock puppets.
Such a thoughtful bunch of robbers.
Now, Ai Hui was filled with interest towards this brigade of robbers. However, he had to resolve the issue in front of him now.
Inside the karst cave, the robbers’ morale was boosted sharply.
"I knew he wouldn’t break this rock puppet formation!"
"That’s the ultimate move of Brother Ning. Tell me, who is able to break it?"
Everyone started talking at once and their voices were filled with excitement. Ai Hui’s outstanding performance against the previous two traps was somewhat nerve-racking for them.
"Keep your guards up, the battle hasn’t ended yet," Brother Ning reminded them in a low voice.
Everyone shut their mouths.
Brother Ning observed the figure flying in the sky outside and found that he looked slightly familiar. Then, he shook his head. He did not have the time to think about such a thing now. He had a premonition that the other party would not give up just like this. He felt somewhat vexed too. If he had known that the other party was so troublesome, he would not have kidnapped the manager as well.
Suddenly, Brother Ning’s eyes froze. The other party started to dive down from the sky.
Ai Hui felt as if he was flying through a rain of rocks. He kept on changing his flight path as he avoided those flying rocks narrowly every now and then. He was more and more sure that these rock puppets were indeed controlled by someone. There were a few times where the rocks appeared right in front of his flight path and he almost crashed into them. Rock puppets did not have the intelligence to predict his flight path.
When the robbers saw Ai Hui fly aimlessly for a few rounds in the air, they heaved a sigh of relief.
The enemies they encountered in the past were all the same. They would flew a few rounds in the sky and if they still could not find any opening, they would take the initiative to leave.
As long as they had no blood feud with them, why would anyone waste so much time on a bunch of robbers? The more powerful an elementalist was, the more precious his time was. Time was money. These words of wisdom were indeed true.
For a small place like Crooked River City, there were very few experts. Occasionally when they encountered one, they would use this tactic to exhaust that expert’s patience and force him or her to take the initiative to leave.
After all, they were just a bunch of robbers. They did not care about their reputation.
Brother Ning’s gaze had not left the other party once. Even though the mountain was pitch-black and they were separated by a huge distance, he could see the facial expression of the other party.
The other party was grinning.
Suddenly, Brother Ning’s mind jolted as a strong sense of danger engulfed him. He yelled involuntarily, "Be careful!"
At this moment, Ai Hui suddenly increased his speed and lowered his flying altitude. Everyone quivered and controlled the rock puppets, making them hurl rocks hastily at Ai Hui.
However, Ai Hui made a turn toward an unexpected direction and increased his speed abruptly. All of a sudden, a thunderclap-like explosion resounded through the sky.
Ai Hui’s figure suddenly disappeared!
The unforeseen event shocked all the robbers.
Brother Ning’s facial expression changed drastically, "Quickly retreat! He has discovered our position!"
Brother Ning turned around and dashed towards the depths of the karst cave. Now he realized that the other party had not been circling in the air aimlessly, but rather, he was searching for them.
The concealed cave entrance suddenly exploded. Surging elemental energy gushed in like a torrential flood with a loud bang.
All the robbers flew up in the air and slammed heavily against the cavern walls. They felt extremely dizzy and their visions blurred. After a long while, they still could not stand up straight.
In the cave, there was a figure holding a sword. He looked extremely prominent among the swaying and wobbly robbers.
A hoarse voice rang across the air. Brother Ning stood up from the ground. His face was brimming with agony.
Ai Hui’s gaze swept across everyone and felt slightly surprised. He wasn’t surprised at how strong these robbers were, but rather, how weak and fragile they were.
They had very little and shallow elemental energy in their bodies. The only strong one was the guy who had just initiated their surrender. He should be the leader of this brigade of robbers. However, even he had merely achieved elemental externalization.
This bunch of low-leveled and weak robbers were able to give him so much trouble?
The killing intent within Ai Hui’s heart had disappeared. Not wanting to waste his breath on these people, he asked bluntly, "Where’s my man?"
The robber who was known as Brother Ning replied, "He’s inside and he’s alright. I will lead the way. If you want to kill someone, kill me. The only request I ask of you is to let them off. They have just arrived here from Old Territory and they didn’t commit any heinous crimes."
"Let’s die together!"
A few of the robbers returned to their senses and became extremely agitated.
"All of you shut up!" Brother Ning roared.
Ai Hui could tell that Brother Ning was well respected among these people. Everyone immediately shut their mouths after Brother Ning told them to do so.
Ai Hui was very surprised. No wonder these people were so weak. Their strength would not even compare to the strength of those students in the Induction Ground last time.
Ai Hui remained calm and collected. "They are from Old Territory? Since when could people from Old Territory enter Silver Mist Sea anyhow?"
"Not long after the city expansion order had been enacted, the border no longer had any guards anymore. One can make it here as long as he or she can cross the Lava River. Since it’s difficult to cross the Lava River, we have to use Three Leaves Bamboo Carts to fetch them over. This way is much easier."
Ai Hui had a lot of questions, but he did not ask them immediately. He merely said, "Lead the way and don’t play any tricks."
Brother Ning nodded his head and led the way.
Ai Hui had a whole new level of respect for the leader of the robbers. He remained composed even after he had surrendered. He was rather capable considering he led a bunch of weak individuals into giving Ai Hui such a big headache.
Very soon, Ai Hui saw the tied-up Zhao Boan. Beside Zhao Boan, there was a very young man who was being tied up as well. That young man’s eyes were tightly shut. He must be Blind He.
When Zhao Boan saw Ai hui, he was extremely emotional. "Boss!"
Even though he believed his boss would come and save him, he was still very emotional when he saw his boss appear before him.
With a swipe of his sword, Ai Hui severed the ropes tied around Zhao Boan and Blind He.
"Give me a moment, I have something to ask them," Ai Hui said to Zhao Boan.
Then, Ai Hui turned around and asked Brother Ning, "Are there a lot of people here from Old Territory?"
"Yes, there are a lot of them here. Initially, there were some new citizens who went back to fetch their fellow clansmen over. Later on, some people began to start businesses of illegal immigration. As such, there are more and more people from Old Territory coming here." Brother Ning replied.
"Why do they want to come here?" Ai Hui asked.
After Ai Hui finished his sentence, he realized he asked a stupid a question.
"The concentration of elemental energy here is higher," Brother Ning explained plainly, "Even though it’s not as high as it was in the past, and it will still continue to drop in the future, it’s still higher than Old Territory’s. In the past, everyone could only dream about coming to the Avalon of Five Elements. New citizens like us are luckier, however, most of our clansmen are still in Old Territory. Since the Elders Guild has given up on this place, we decided to bring our clansmen here. At the end of the day, this place is still better than Old Territory."
Ai Hui felt slightly sad. He was also from Old Territory, even though he did not have any family members there.
After staying silent for awhile, he asked again, "Do a lot of people become robbers?"
"Basically, yes," Brother Ning said in a low voice, "Even though Elders Guild is not here, there are still a lot of people from the Avalon of Five Elements here. No one welcomes us and we can’t enter the city. Even if we want to buy something, no one is willing to sell anything to us. The currency of Old Territory is not worth anything here and we can’t find any jobs as well. They feel that this is their homeland and as long as they are here, they won’t welcome us."
Ai Hui was speechless. This was an intractable problem.
He knew that the situation would continue to worsen. The deep estrangement between Avalon of Five Elements’ people and Old Territory’s people had intensified over a thousand years. Even new citizens had difficulty integrating into the society of Avalon of Five Elements. It was impossible for them to integrate into the upper class of Avalon of Five Elements, even though they make up a relatively huge portion of the population of Avalon of Five Elements.
"Have you thought of going back?"
"No," Brother Ning shook his head, "I don’t want them to turn into blood elementalists. I have been through the blood catastrophe in Induction Ground and I hate Blood of God. Blood of God has been devouring Old Territory."
When Ai Hui heard the word "Induction Ground", he quickly asked, "What’s your name?"
Ai Hui found this name somewhat familiar. He was a student that was of a rather remarkable ranking in Induction Ground. If he hadn’t remembered wrongly, this student was defeated by Bangwan before. It was not easy for Gu Tianning to survive the blood catastrophe in Induction Ground.
A smile appeared on Ai Hui’s face. "I didn’t expect to meet a fellow schoolmate here, my name is Ai Hui."
Gu Tianning widened his eyes and became emotional in an instant, "It’s you! Yes, I should have known it was you. No wonder I find you familiar! You’re Ai Hui from Central Pine City, the Lightning Blade! You and your unit are indeed powerful. Your unit had the most people who made it out alive of Central Pine City. Our unit was not that lucky. Only sixteen of us made it out alive. My teacher and fellow students all died. At that point of time, I thought I would die as well. Then, my teacher saved me…"
Initially, there was a smile of joy on his manly-looking face that was derived from his reunion with an old friend. But as he continued his story, tears began to flow down his cheeks drip by drip.
All of a sudden, the grey memories that were buried deep within his mind were suffused with the color of blood.
He could not continue.
All he wanted to do now was to hold back his tears.
His smile was trembling. He used all his might to control his facial expression and make it look calm. It was as if he tried to stay calm as he faced the feelings of regret, reminiscence and anguish from those bloody memories.
Tears flooded his cheeks silently.