Chapter 409 - Mr Small Ai
"In the past, all the looms in Mistress’s embroidery workshop were made by Master and they were very easy to use. Before I left Central Pine City, I even went back to Jade Embroidery Workshop and found the most intact loom to bring here. I don’t know which part of it is spoilt. Initially, it worked very well and smooth. However, it soon became stuck. I have found some blacksmiths to take a look at it, but they just can’t fix it. I have tried other models of looms but I am just not used to them."
Mingxiu recalled the past fondly as she spoke these words.
"This is made by Master? Master knows how to make looms? I have never heard of this from him before."
"Yes," Mingxiu nodded her head, "Almost everything in Mistress’s workshop was made by Master. Mistress will request for something and Master will make it. As the disciple of Master, it’s time for your test now. Little fellow, work hard."
Ai Hui was already standing in front of the loom that his master made and examining it very carefully.
This was actually the first time Ai Hui examined a loom so closely.
When he was in Central Pine City, he was specialized in spinning silk from cocoons. After arriving at Peace City, he was still spinning silk from cocoons to make See You Laters. Ai Hui was merely a rookie in the field of embroidery.
Fortunately, the science behind a loom was not complicated.
Thanks to the weaving experience that he’d learned from his mistress in the past, Ai Hui was able to understand how a loom worked in an hour’s time.
In the past, Ai Hui used a very basic type of weaving technique called [Twin Weaving Technique]. This technique involved weaving horizontally and vertically at the same time. [Twin Weaving Technique] was the fundamental of almost all weaving techniques. Most of those complicated weaving techniques were just evolved versions of [Twin Weaving Technique].
The loom was made of a table with a pond-like hollow in the centre of it. Surrounding the tabletop was a square-shaped needle trough. Needles of all sizes were arranged neatly within the needle trough, resembling ships parked at the harbor.
On each side of the loom, there was an imprint of a palm. An elementalist needed to place his or her palms on the imprints to channel elemental energy into the loom.
Ai Hui placed his palms on the imprints and channeled his elemental energy into the loom.
The pond-like hollow in the centre of the loom emitted a layer of faintly glowing membrane, like a pond that was filled up with water. Then the needles gave off a faint glow. The glowing needles were slowly ejected from the needle trough, resembling small ships that were leaving the harbor. The flat layer of glowing membrane was like the surface of the sea outside the harbor as the needles travelled back and forth on the membrane. Dazzling, fine streaks of light were created as the needles moved randomly on the membrane. These streaks of light looked as if they were tangled up terribly.
Under the guidance of the needles, the silk yarn was rapidly woven into a piece of cloth.
As compared to the cloths he woved in the past, this piece of cloth was of a much higher quality.
Ai Hui could not take his eyes off the weaving process. The needles were moving at an extremely fast speed. An embroidery craftswoman would need to take years of practise to move the needles with such a terrifying speed.
Ai Hui could also see that there were a huge number of needles in the loom. This implied that the loom could execute complicated weaving techniques. The more needles there were to be controlled in a loom, the more demanding it would be on the embroidery craftswoman that was using it.
The dazzling streaks of light interwove with the yarn silk. The elemental energy and the yarn silk had reached a magical balance.
Ai Hui exclaimed in admiration. He felt that the apparatus in front of him was very exquisite. He thought of the pile of rubbish that his master placed in his courtyard and the armor that evaluated one’s eight palaces. His master seemed to like playing around with various bizarre objects. To be able to see his master’s opus and have a taste of what his master had been through in the past created a deadly temptation for Ai Hui.
The most difficult part of weaving was controlling the needles. Even though the needles in the loom looked confusing to one’s eyes, they actually moved in a systematic manner.
When Mingxiu saw her junior had turned a deaf ear to her and completely forgotten about her existence, she pursed her lips, smiled and silently left the room.
Ai Hui was half-squatting as he attentively stared at the fast-moving needles on the glowing membrane.
Suddenly, the needles on top of the glowing membrane lost control and flew around like headless flies. Very soon, the yarn silk was tangled up terribly.
Ai Hui furrowed his eyebrows but soon loosened them up. He stopped channeling elemental energy into the loom and the glowing membrane disappeared. The glow on the needles disappeared too as they fell into the hollow.
Where had gone wrong?
Unconsciously, Ai Hui tried over and over again.
Mingxiu did not disturb Ai Hui. She knew that once her junior was in the zone, he would be completely lost in his own world. She made an inspection round of her embroidery workshop, just like how she did in the past. Actually, her motivation for starting an embroidery business was more just so she could continue a routine that she was used to, rather than because she was pursuing a personal goal. Since she was very young, she had been helping her mistress to manage her embroidery business. Every little detail of the embroidery workshop helped her to relax.
A travel-worn butler entered the workshop. When he saw Mingxiu, he heaved a sigh of relief, "Miss!"
"Why is Uncle Yu here?" Mingxiu looked slightly surprised.
Uncle Yu was the Lu family’s butler. He had served the Lu family for decades and watched Mingxiu grow up. As such, the family head of the Lu family trusted him very much.
Uncle Yu quickly explained, "During this period of time, a lot of people have visited our residence. Upon hearing that the Lightning Blade was visiting Miss, all of them wanted to make friends with Mr Small Ai and invite him to our residence. Family Head has told us not to worry about other families. However, since a VIP like Mr Small Ai is here in Jadeite Forest, our family has to invite him to our residence. Mr Small Ai and Miss are both disciples of Wang Shouchuan and Han Yuqin, therefore, he is part of our family as well. We have a special relationship with him and we definitely can’t commit any faux pas."
Mingxiu furrowed her eyebrows and asked, "How do they know Junior is here? And why are they calling him Mr Small Ai?"
Uncle Yu chuckled and replied, "Mr Small Ai is so famous, yet he is still so young. Everyone feels that calling him Mr Ai Hui would make him sound very old. As such, they have decided to call him Mr Small Ai. The news of Mr Small Ai slaughtering the Grass Bandits has been spread throughout Jadeite Forest. Everyone has suffered a lot at the hands of Grass Bandits. Therefore, when they heard of Mr Small Ai’s feat, they rejoiced in his victory. All of them said that it’s a matter of time before Mr Small Ai becomes a Master. They even said that he might become a Grandmaster in the future. Furthermore, he is the leader of Central Pine Faction and his future is limitless. They hope to make friends with him so that they can keep in contact in the future."
Mingxiu was shocked. Her junior had unconsciously become a celebrity.
Even though she did not care about what was going on in the clan, she roughly knew what these people were up to.
Jadeite Forest and Elders Guild had an unique relationship. Ever since Grandmaster Dai established independence, even though Jadeite Forest and Elders Guild were set against each other, their relationship wasn’t really tense.
After all, Grandmaster Dai was at the prime of his life while An Mu was in his twilight years. One couldn’t say for sure whether or not Elders Guild and Jadeite Forest would join hands once again in the future. On the contrary, Elders Guild and Blood of God were arch-enemies.
Ai Hui’s past achievements were what made him the leader of Central Pine Faction. The feat he had achieved in his battle against the Grass Bandits had completely eradicated the doubts that everyone had about his strength.
If a leader was not powerful enough, his followers would not have confidence in him. In an era where brute force mattered the most, the strength of a powerful individual could change the world. This world would always belong to someone like Grandmaster Dai.
Numbers did not matter to a formidable being like Grandmaster Dai.
Everyone below the level of Grandmaster would not differ much from each other. It was true that a Master was much more powerful than an ordinary elementalist, however, a Master dying on the battlefield was also a common occurrence.
Only a Grandmaster could contend against another Grandmaster.
Dai Gang had personally displayed the power, wealth and strength of a Grandmaster.
People now realized that the best investment to make was in a future Grandmaster. Becoming a Grandmaster was extremely difficult and the probability of becoming one was extremely low. However, if one succeeded in becoming a Grandmaster, they would reap an astronomical amount of gains.
In other words, Ai Hui had finally come out from under everyone’s radar. He was one of their candidates that would most likely become a Grandmaster. Every family desired to make friends with a genius that had the possibility of becoming a Grandmaster in the future.
What kind of person could become a Grandmaster? This was a difficult problem that all aristocratic families were troubled over. It was very difficult to determine whether or not an individual would become a Grandmaster based on factors like his strength, his innate talents, his teachers, etc. However, there was one essential factor that everyone would look at the most. This essential factor was age. The younger an individual was, the more time he had to reach the level of Grandmaster.
The younger a genius was, the more favored he or she was.
Among so many geniuses, Ai Hui was not especially young. However, he possessed a rather impressive reputation and numerous accolades for someone of his age.
The road to becoming a Grandmaster was arduous and relentless. A moment of carelessness would consign a candidate to eternal damnation. A mentally weak genius would always be the first to fall among the batch of candidates for Grandmaster.
Having a rather impressive reputation, an outstanding resume, a firm and ruthless nature, and talents that were displayed in his recent improvements had not turned Ai Hui into an arrogant individual, but rather, attracted some ‘fans’ to him.
Mingxiu was indifferent to fame and glory naturally. She had zero interest in the scramble for power and wealth, otherwise, she would not have settled in Asakusa City and focused on managing her embroidery workshop.
"Junior has no interest in making social connections," Mingxiu said as she shook her head.
"Family Head said that if Mr Small Ai is not free, then he shall not disturb him. Family Head has specially prepared a small gift for him and asked me to pass it to him." Uncle Yu replied politely.
"I will pass it to him," Mingxiu replied.
Naturally, she was very happy that her family valued her junior. However, she did not wish her junior to be distracted by so many trivial matters. Her junior’s strength had improved greatly and he should be focusing on his training now.
"There’s a request from a particular family that Family Head is unsure whether or not he should agree to. Eventually, he decided to ask me to convey the message and let Mr Small Ai decide for himself." Uncle Yu paused for a while before continuing his sentence, "Duanmu family wishes to meet Mr Small Ai."
Mingxiu was stunned momentarily. She just remembered that Duanmu Huanghun was "kidnapped" by Shi Xueman and taken to Peace City.
Obviously, everyone knew what the "kidnap" was all about. The news of Duanmu Huanghun living a carefree and happy life in Peace City had already been spread throughout Jadeite Forest.
The Lu family and Duanmu family were very close. As such, she knew a lot of things about Duanmu Huanghun. In the past, because of Ai Hui, she also came across the name "Student Bangwan" and both of them had gotten closer since then. She felt that it was better for Duanmu Huanghun to stay in Peace City than in Jadeite Forest.
"I will go and ask him. Uncle Yu, stay in the embroidery workshop for the time being," Mingxiu replied.
"Sorry for bothering you, Miss," Uncle Yu smiled.
Following which, he left discreetly.
Mingxiu felt slightly excited as she strode towards the warehouse. Had Junior fixed the loom? If there was someone in this world that could fix the loom, that person must be her junior. After all, he was the disciple of Master!
When she entered the warehouse and saw Ai Hui lying on the ground and fixing the loom, she could not help but smile.
However, when her gaze landed upon the loom, her face froze.