Chapter 413 - Farewell
Grass Hall, Hall of Ancient Records.
Ai Hui was busily browsing through the collections. Many guests had come forth in an endless stream upon receiving news about Mingxiu’s embroidery master attainment. Ai Hui happily withdrew himself to the backyard to continue his search.
Just when he thought he was going to go home empty-handed, his eyes lit up. The handwriting on the notebook he was holding was careless and almost illegible, but his eyes widened in fear of missing a single word nevertheless.
When he had almost finished flipping through this stack of the collection, Ai Hui finally found the notebook that the old man had been talking about. The old man correctly remembered the author’s name. The notebook indeed belonged to someone with the surname Xiao, but the only difference was that these notebook were actually a compilation of different records.
Ai Hui rejoiced. He would have missed this collection for sure if not for the fact that he had flipped through each and every book from start to finish.
Suppressing his excitement, he attentively skimmed over the notebook.
The old man was right. The notebook did talk about A land with all five elements.
"Sixteenth, cloudy, strong wind. Met a pterosaur dire beast yesterday, fought and won after half a day, completely exhausted. Found a valley to recuperate and there were many red rocks. The slopes were precipitous. Trekked two miles to arrive at a wide clearing. It was a land containing all five elements and each position was specially marked out.
"Ninth, heavy rain, couldn’t see anything beyond 100 meters. Chased by two unknown dire beasts, entered deep into the forest by mistake, and found a land containing all five elements."
"Twentieth, night. The moon was bright and stars sparse. There was a red glow flickering at the mountain peak. Thought a treasure was being born, went closer only to realize that it was actually lava in a volcano. There was low-lying ground at the side of the mountain peak that contained all five elements. The five elements bred and flourished, starting from the fire element. Bizarre."
Ai Hui finished reading every word and felt increasingly impressed. Alone, Senior Xiao had entered deep into the Wilderness, was surprised to chance upon a land with five elements, and started to pay attention. Later on, he would mark the position whenever he spotted a land with five elements.
There were a total of six locations mentioned in the notebook.
Ai Hui was ecstatic. He had thought that one region would be good enough, but there were actually six. However, the words at the end of the notebook made his heart sink.
"Lands of five elements, containing all five elements, form an integral whole. They circulate and recycle, with some regenerating and others extinguishing. There’s been a slight change as the balance is disrupted. Five elements wiped out. How many of these precious lands will survive the test of time? I’m old and past my prime, no longer youthful. I’ll take in what I can as I go wherever I can with the company of my sword. I’ll ride the wind and leave no regrets even as my hair turns white."
The message was clear. The balance of these lands with five elements was very fragile. They could not be restored the moment this equilibrium broke.
How many of those six regions remained?
A sense of urgency overcame Ai Hui as he memorized the six locations written in the notebook. He decided that he would return to Peace City immediately after completing his goals in Asakusa City.
He did not exit the Grass Hall right away. Instead, as if nothing had happened, he placed the notebook back in their original position, took out another book, and started reading. He only left when the fusion elemental energy within his body had been completely exhausted.
When he left the Grass Hall, the embroidery workshop was finally clamor-free, but this was because the workshop was refusing visitors.
Ai Hui saw the tiredness in Mingxiu’s face.
Mingxiu laughed bitterly. "Receiving these guests is even more tiring than breaking through."
Ai Hui responded, "Getting cramps from receiving too many gifts is only natural. I’m planning to go out for a walk for a few days."
Mingxiu looked and him before asking, "Because of the Grass Bandits?"
Ai Hui had not expected her to see through him and did not deny it either. He replied bluntly, "If not for me, you would’ve been in danger. Although their motive is unclear at the moment, it’s a fact that they were aiming for you."
Mingxiu smiled sweet-temperedly. "So you want to make the first move?"
Ai Hui nodded. "That’s right!"
"You’re my junior indeed. Your reasoning is logical." Mingxiu fiddled with her fringe and asked in a different tone, Now that you’ve come to Jadeite Forest, how can I, your senior, allow you to go out to fight and even murder?"
Ai Hui shook his head. "That’s what a junior should do…"
Mingxiu smiled gently. "Why would I put on a brave front before you? After hearing about the sneak attack, First Brother was extremely angry. News has just arrived saying that he’s bringing six other battle masters to get rid of the whole group."
Six, six combat masters?"
Ai Hui was stunned and completely shocked. Six combat masters…"luxurious" was no longer a sufficient description for such an arrangement. He could only describe it as "terrifying."
From what he remembered, Senior’s first brother was scholarly and refined, a gentleman who bemoaned the state of the universe and pitied the fate of mankind. Who would have thought that he could be this terrifying.
Mingxiu explained, "First Brother feels that there’s another conspiracy within, so he had to use this earthshaking method in order to intimidate the sneaky evildoers."
Earthshaking indeed. Intimidating indeed…
Ai Hui had no opinion at this point. Thinking about a lineup of six battle masters made his eye twitch, but at the same time, he was completely relieved. With such an "earthshaking" brother, Senior’s safety in Jadeite Forest was no longer a cause for concern. Lu Chen’s upcoming operation would make those who have designs on Senior reconsider.
The heaviest weight was lifted off his chest. Feeling relaxed, he laughed. "Things are indeed different when you have such a great brother!"
Mingxiu stretched and replied lazily, "We’re closed already, so let’s study this loom over the next few days. There are still many areas that I can’t seem to figure out. Perhaps the secret to attaining Grandmaster is within."
Ai Hui righteously rejected, "I’m not as free as you. I have to find people."
Mingxiu was taken aback. "Find people? What people?"
Ai Hui then told her about his plan to enter the Wilderness with Iron Lady and said that he needed herbalists and farmers.
Mingxiu had a blank look on her face and only regained her senses after some time. "That’s true. There’s no place that suits you better. It’s a man’s role to accomplish goals, but please be careful. They have all been your companions at one point and have complete trust in you, so do not let them down."
Ai Hui reassured her with a serious expression, "Yes!"
Mingxiu laughed. "Leave the sourcing of the herbalist and farmers to me."
It made sense, so Ai Hui agreed gratefully, "Thank you, Senior."
Mingxiu was quick in carrying out this favor. The next day, a herbalist and five farmers appeared at their door. They looked honest and had a reserved look on their faces.
"Mister Zhou is a veteran herbalist, has over 20 years of experience managing a herb farm, and is able to grow most herbs. His salary will be 500 Heaven Merit Points a year. If he breaks into the realm of master herbalist, his pay will increase to 2,000 Heaven Merit Points a year and a fifth of the farm’s yield. The five farmers are all decent, and Mister Tian here can grow elemental energy beans. Mister Tian’s salary will be 500 Heaven Merit Points a year while the rest will be 100 a year." She added, "They’ve been sourced by First Brother."
What this implied was that these people had no associations with the family.
Ai Hui was pleasantly surprised. The herbalist and farmers before him were much better than what he had wished for.
Without hesitating, Ai Hui cried, "I’ll take all of them!"
While 1,400 Heaven Merit Points was over his budget, they were worth it. A farmer who was able to plant elemental energy beans was hard to find. It was even harder for him to find a herbalist who was about to experience a breakthrough.
Everyone exchanged bows.
Ai Hui did the same. "Nice to meet you all."
Mingxiu waited for the ceremony to end before saying, "Since you’re set on your plans, I shall not keep you any longer. I’ve already arranged for a Fiery Floating Cloud, and the things on board are for you to keep. Do let me know your location in the Wilderness when you settle down."
Ai Hui greatly admired Senior Mingxiu’s generosity and sincerity She was never bashful and high-maintenance.
He sincerely bowed. "Thank you so much, Senior. I’ll leave now. Take care."
The Fiery Floating Cloud, having transported a whole load of goods, had long since been waiting in the garden. Ai Hui was not overly sentimental either as he quickly boarded with the herbalist and farmers and waved goodbye to Senior Mingxiu.
Mingxiu waved enthusiastically.
Fixing her eyes on the disappearing Fiery Floating Cloud, she was somewhat lost in thought.
Uncle Yu could not help but chime in, "Miss, why didn’t you make him stay a little while longer?"
Mingxiu replied dully, "He’s carrying a heavy burden: Born to be heroic and well-known, overcoming all obstacles within the Wilderness, and having no regard for anyone. How could he fall into this maelstrom?"
Uncle Yu shuddered. Miss’s words carried a deeper meaning, and he knew that it was not something he could grasp. After thinking for a bit, he changed the topic. "Where are the people from the Duanmu family?"
Mingxiu shook her head. "Let them settle their own matters."
Uncle Yu left it at that upon hearing her response. Instead, he asked curiously, "What are your plans?"
Mingxiu’s gaze fell upon the loom as a smile appeared at the corner of her mouth. "Rebuild the workshop."
Uncle Yu nodded. "That’s indeed necessary. It’s quite badly damaged."
Mingxiu corrected him, saying, "No, I’ll build a workshop in Jadeite City."
The familiar workshop had been destroyed and thrown into disorder, while Teacher’s loom was beyond recognition. She had just entered the realm of master, and everything was changing and becoming part of the past.
The image of a silhouette kneeling before a grave under the pouring rain made her heart ache. She did not know how many times she had blamed herself for being weak and indecisive during that time. She dared not imagine the pain and despair Ai Hui had felt when stabbing that sword.
She knew very well how she had been holding up for the past few years. She could not imagine how Ai Hui had kept it together since the pain he felt must have been a hundred times worse.
Now that there were expectations set for him, he stood up once again. Those so-called heroes probably referred to people like Junior.
People who were as brave as him, she thought to herself.
Ai Hui was shocked by the pile of supplies on the Fiery Floating Cloud. All kinds of seeds, wood elemental ingredients, wood elemental energy beans, defensive equipment, and weapons. They were all of outstanding quantity and quality. Other than those, there were blood cores, blood crystals, and jade fruits. It was extremely challenging to gather so many materials within such a short period of time.
Ai Hui was beyond moved. Not only was the value of the goods astonishing, Senior had spent a lot of thought on these supplies.
After taking Zhao Boan and the others onboard, the Fiery Floating Cloud headed straight for Peace City.
Seeing the faraway horizon, a myriad of strong feelings filled Ai Hui’s heart. He was looking forward to the future. He was about to have a brand new beginning.
Little did he realize that this brand new beginning was not just for him.
It was for the world as well.