Chapter 396 - Bitterstone Seeds
When Ai Hui and his counterparts flew across Lava River, a lot of people crowded around their bamboo cart. These people thought this was a bamboo cart for stowaways. However, just as soon as they appeared, Qing Feng, who was sitting at the driver seat, began to whip them and chase them away with his grass vines.
However, on the behalf of Ai Hui, he did not try to injure them.
It was at this moment that these Old Territory’s citizens realized the bamboo cart was not for stowaways and there were honorable elementalists sitting in it. They turned green with envy when they saw Ai Hui and the rest.
Having a panoramic view of this scene, Ai Hui did not feel happy at all.
After a while, everyone began to feel discomfort as the surrounding concentration level of elemental energy was too low. In the Avalon of Five Elements, whether one was in Wilderness or a city, he or she would be surrounded by an abundance of elemental energy. Everyone was accustomed to those environments.
However, the elemental energy concentration level in this place was unusually low. Everyone felt as if the elemental energy within their bodies was escaping into their surroundings.
Qing Feng could not help but ask, "How do people live in this kind of place?"
"The population of Old Territory is ten times more than the population of Avalon of Five Elements," Ai Hui replied plainly.
Qing Feng decided to shut his mouth. If he provoked Ai Hui, then Ai Hui might make him suffer again.
Ai Hui felt very uncomfortable as well.
If one attained elemental externalization, he could control the elemental energy in a particular region. However, what would happen to him if the surroundings were filled with little or no elemental energy? He would feel breathless and his elemental energy would keep on draining without any chance of replenishment.
Ai Hui laughed bitterly in his heart. He did not expect himself to face such a situation upon returning to the Old Territory.
"My elemental energy is draining faster than usual. What do I do if my elemental energy is completely drained?" Qing Feng grumbled.
"I have elemental beans."
Ai Hui’s words made everyone feel at ease. As long as they had elemental beans, they could replenish elemental energy. And as long as they could replenish their elemental energy, no one could threaten them.
The region surrounding Lava River was barren. As they flew deeper into the depths of the Old Territory, the vegetation on the ground became more luxuriant.
Everyone curiously stuck their heads out of the bamboo cart and looked at their surroundings. Apart from Ai Hui, this was the first time that everyone else had come to the the Old Territory. Actually, Ai Hui also found the surroundings to be unfamiliar.
Ai Hui felt embarrassed to even talk about it. When he was still in the Old Territory, he did not go to the countryside at all. He also knew nothing about the plants and animals beneath the ground. However, he was extremely familiar with the plants and dire beasts in the Wilderness.
When it was evening, their Three Leaves Bamboo Cart had to land on the ground as Qing Feng and Zhao Boan’s elemental energy was completely depleted.
Ai Hui had to admit that he underestimated the situation in the Old Territory.
The speed at which their elemental energy was depleting was faster than he expected. If they were in the Avalon of Five Elements, Qing Feng and Zhao Boan could fly for two to three days straight.
However, Ai Hui did not give up. He had another purpose for entering the Old Territory this time around.
He thought of the discussion that everyone had had about Central Pine Faction’s future direction back in Swordsman Training Hall. Ai Hui told everyone that the Old Territory would be the key area for their battle against Blood of God in the future. That was because the Old Territory had the human resources and artifact remnants that Blood of God needed urgently.
This idea was suggested by Ai Hui. As such, Ai Hui now wanted to see if this idea was possible or not.
From the look of it, the Old Territory was an extremely unsuitable place for elementalists to be stationed for long. Due to the low concentration level of elemental energy, elementalists would make progress only with great difficulty. Previously, Ai Hui had already known that the low concentration level of elemental energy in the Old Territory would impact elementalists. However, he did not expect the impact to be so great.
If this was the case, they would not be able to execute their expansion plan into the Old Territory.
Suddenly, Ai Hui thought of something. He asked Qing Feng, "How do the three central divisions that are stationed in the Old Territory solve the issue of the low concentration level of elemental energy?"
"God knows," Qing Feng mumbled.
The rest had blank looks on their faces.
Ai Hui noted this down in his mind, intending to ask Iron Lady to find out more about the three central divisions. If the three central divisions could be station here, that implied they had a solution for the low concentration level of elemental energy in this place.
Furthermore, if elementalists encountered this problem in the Old Territory, what about blood elementalists? Blood elementalists practised blood spiritual force. Since spiritual force had a higher energy level than elemental energy, that meant blood spiritual force would be drained at a higher rate than elemental energy. That also implied that blood elementalists would have a harder time surviving in the Old Territory than elementalists.
Was this perhaps the reason why Blood of God’s expansion into the Old Territory was not successful, even now? Even the plants in the Old Territory lacked elemental energy. This would cause the power of blood poison, which used elemental energy to proliferate, to reduce greatly.
Ai Hui was excited. He already found it hard to survive here and his enemies found it even harder to do so. This was a huge advantage to him.
They landed beside a creek. The flowing water of the creek was bubbling and there were pebbles all around the creek. In the distance, there were a few huge rocks as well.
Very soon, Ai Hui and the rest found a piece of flat land to set up camp.
Zhao Boan was a travelling merchant and he had travelled extensively. For him, camping in the wild was nothing out of ordinary and his camping skills were adept.
Qing Feng ran to the creekside and caught a few fish.
As compared to the dangerous fish in Wilderness, the fish here were not only small, but they were not aggressive at all. The fish in Wilderness were extremely aggressive. If one encountered a fish-type dire beast, it would spell trouble for him or her. The rivers in Wilderness were places where massacres took place. A low-level elementalist would not dare to get close to a river in Wilderness.
Even though the fish here did not contain elemental energy, they still tasted very fresh and delicious.
After they finished eating the fish, the color of the sky dimmed gradually. The glow of sunset shone upon their bodies. Due to the lack of water elemental energy, the clouds in the Old Territory were not as thick as the ones in the Avalon of Five Elements. As such, the sky in the Old Territory was usually cloudless.
Ai Hui noticed Blind He had a fist-sized pebble in his hand and he was carving it. Apparently, he picked it up from the creekside.
Ai Hui could not help but smile.
He often admired focused individuals like Blind He.
Mo Zhong had brought along his granddaughter on this trip. At first, he was still worried that his granddaughter might not get used to their new lifestyle. However, he had not expected his granddaughter to be even more daring than him. She was filled with curiosity towards her surroundings.
The small girl was called Mo Buyu. Initially, she was slightly shy and constantly on her guard. After she familiarized herself with everyone, she became much more active. She would pluck grass stalks, climb up onto rocks, and even try to catch river crabs in the creek. Mo Zhong could not do anything about her.
Ai Hui enjoyed the glow of the sunset as distant memories flashed across his mind. He thought about the times when he was still in the swordsman school in the Old Territory. Usually, around this time of day, he would bring a chair to the courtyard and sit down to read his swordplay manual.
At that time, he did not possess any elemental energy. He only knew how to enjoy the satisfaction and tranquility derived from the cool breeze.
Suddenly, a crisp and clear sound echoed through the air.
Ai Hui’s thoughts were disrupted. He followed the direction of the sound and realized that it was made by Blind He.
Blind He had a weird look on his face. The pebble in his hand had been carved and reduced to the size of a finger. Stone crumbs were all over his clothes and his face.
Ai Hui felt slightly puzzled. Did the sound come from Blind He’s hands?
Previously, he had closely observed the way Blind He carved materials. Even those hard metal ingots would melt like butter and crumble like biscuits in his hands. All the materials would be reduced to a pile of fine powder without the slightest bit of noise.
"Boss, look at this!"
Blind He yelled and threw the finger-sized pebble at Ai Hui.
Ai Hui felt slightly puzzled and caught it.
When Ai Hui caught it in his hands, he felt that something was unusual about it. When the tiny pebble was placed on his palm, it felt dense and heavy, resembling a metal ball. Ai Hui tried to channel a trace of elemental energy into it and realized it was very difficult for the trace of elemental energy to go through it.
He furrowed his eyebrows and pinched the pebble. The shape of the pebble remained the same.
Its degree of hardness was very high!
Ai Hui whipped out his Dragonspine and a streak of sword gleam slashed across the pebble. Ai Hui could feel an obvious sluggishness in the slashing motion. The thing that surprised him was that his sword gleam did not shatter the pebble, but only split it in half.
Ai Hui was very shocked. Given the current sharpness of his sword gleam, he still could not shatter the pebble!
Only upon his second try could he then shatter the pebble. The inner part of the pebble was slightly darker in color and smoother in texture than its surface. If Blind He had never practised his carving skills on this pebble, no one would know how hard the core of the pebble actually was.
Blind He found another pebble from somewhere. Both of his hands were flickering with light as fine stone powder fell on the ground with a rustling sound. After a while, a stone that was even smaller than the previous one appeared in his hand. At this moment, a serious look appeared on his face. A thin beam of light shot out from his fingertip and he began to carve it.
Qing Feng let out a soft gasp of surprise. He saw what was going on and used the grass vines in his hand to take a pile of pebbles from the creekside.
He chose a pebble and whipped it with one of his grass vines. Immediately, the little pebble was shattered, revealing the slightly darker core within it. Subsequently, he whipped the entire pile of pebbles violently with his grass whips and shattered all of them to smithereens. Then, he collected the cores that were leftover.
Mo Zhong brought his granddaughter along and quickly ran over to see what was going on. Mo Buyu was inquisitive, while Mo Zhong was extremely sensitive to materials, as he was a Grass-grade-weapon craftsman.
He picked up the inner core of a pebble and examined it closely with his eyes. His eyes were darting non-stop. Suddenly, he did something weird. He stuck out his tongue and licked it.
"Boss, this is a stone core."
Mo Zhong’s voice was filled with certainty and surprise.
Ai Hui did not expect Mo Zhong to know anything about it. He could not help but ask, "Stone core?"
"Ancient records have mentioned that there are cores within stones. These stone cores are as hard as metal. When one first tastes a stone core, he or she will taste saltiness and bitterness together. Subsequently, its taste will turn purely bitter. As such, they are also known as bitterstone seeds."
Upon hearing Mo Zhong’s words, Ai Hui gave it a taste. Indeed, he tasted saltiness and bitterness at first. Quickly after, he could only taste bitterness.
It was magical!
As a citizen of the Old Territory, Ai Hui knew nothing about bitterstone seeds at all. He asked, "What uses does a bitterstone seed have?"
"This is the first time I’ve seen one in real life too. I have to study it before I can identify its characteristics and uses. However, since it’s a new type of material to us, there are definitely some uses for it," Mo Zhong replied respectfully.
"Thank you for your trouble," Ai Hui nodded his head.
"It’s part of my duty," Mo Zhong quickly replied.
Ai Hui cast a glance at Blind He and saw him carving something on the stone core with all his attention. The surface of the stone core on his hand was covered with many finely veined patterns. Suddenly, Ai Hui noticed there were beads of perspiration on Blind He’s forehead. He could not help but take a closer look. Usually, no matter what material Blind He was holding, he would easily and skillfully carve something on it.
This was the first time Ai Hui saw such a strenuous look on his face while he was carving something.
Ai Hui picked up a bitterstone seed as well. He was filled with curiosity towards this material. Apparently, the bitterstone seeds were not compatible with elemental energy at all. They were extremely repulsive towards elemental energy
Could they be used to make weapons? But they did not seem to be strong enough.
How about shields? Alright, the bitterstone seeds were too tiny.
Then what could they be used for? Ai Hui was racking his brain.
This was a brand-new type of material, unknown to everyone. No one knew what opportunities were contained within these bitterstone seeds. It was absolutely great news to Ai Hui. This also made Ai Hui realize that the Old Territory was not as barren as he thought.
Would there be other materials that were unknown to people, like the bitterstone seeds?
This thought excited Ai Hui in an instant.