Chapter 414 - Crossing Over
Lemon Camping Ground was seldom as lively as today. Many had walked out from their tents and wooden houses. It must be a big troop.
Lemon Camping Ground was an forward camping ground located at the edge of the Palette Cloud Village. It was famous for its wild lemon trees found nearby.
Ever since the city expansion order was issued, respective forward camping grounds were greatly excited. They were temporary camps built at the fringe of the Wilderness, the final supply station for those who were about to enter deep within the Wilderness.
They housed mostly small merchants and some elementalists who’d retreated from the Wilderness, who made a living there.
When Lemon Camping Ground was first built, it was bustling with activities. Back then, Elders Guild had just declared its city expansion plans, and everyday, mirage bean pods shared a story about how a penniless pauper found an unremarkable stone from the Wilderness and sold it for a heavenly sum upon his return to the city, hence he became a wealthy person overnight.
This story brought about many fanatics who rushed forth to the Wilderness, as if treasures could be found in every corner.
But the cruelty of the Wilderness quickly dealt these ignorant people with a heavy blow. There were many casualties and the fever died down gradually. People then realized that not only did the Wilderness offer opportunities and wealth, it was also lurking with dangers.
Nevertheless, the huge influx of elementalists had significantly expanded the volume of human activities within that region.
Following that, several mini cities were built like the sprouting of bamboo shoots after a rain. Although these cities were very small, they possessed an elemental energy pool which attracted surrounding elementalists, causing the forward camping grounds to decrease in popularity.
Lemon Camping Ground was in a better state compared to the others, since the city closest to it was about a hundred and eighty miles away. Because it was situated further in, it was basically the last depot. Nevertheless, its popularity was still affected.
What had arrived was a majestic team of groundbreakers. There were at least a few hundred of them.
Were they planning on establishing cities?
Li Yuanliang sized up the team rather curiously.
Generally speaking, one could tell the scope of a team’s mission by looking at the scale of it. An exploration team would not usually have over twelve members. The greater the number of people, the easier it was to attract unwanted attention from the dire beasts and encounter ambushment.
A team of hundreds of members usually meant that positions had already been marked and they were ready to build the cities.
It’d been over a year since the order had been issued. As long as they hadn’t been destructed, most expansion teams that were slightly larger-scaled had most likely started on their construction. Currently, many cities were already significantly developed. The new ones for example, had already gathered a huge volume of new citizens, and already surpassed two hundred thousand people. Wild Palace City, built by Silver Mist Sea’s governmental residence, housed over a hundred and fifty thousand citizens and became famous for it’s capability to modify the elemental energy pool.
Several months prior to that, Elders Guild had announced that Silver Mist River was going to be cut off, causing a commotion within Silver Mist Sea. When the river stopped flowing completely, the mist that had initially filled Silver Mist Sea dissipated. It was the first time, since the construction of the Avalon of Five Elements, that the silts lying on Silver Mist Sea’s seabed saw the Sun. Elders Guild then organized a cleaning up of the seabed, which were silted with artifact remnants and migrated to the Wilderness after extracting all of the remnant pieces.
Everyone understood that this meant that Elders Guild’s plan to build cities in the Wilderness was unstoppable.
Two months ago, the consequences of cutting of Silver Mist River worsened. The mouth of Palette Cloud Village’s spring started to dry up significantly and the water elemental energy in the air deconcentrated rapidly. But currently, only a few of them could be seen in Palette Cloud Village.
To prevent wood elemental energy from declining, Jadeite Forest started to plant trees extensively and attempted to channel the water elemental energy from the sea to nourish the forest. The sea was on the other side of the forest, a geographical location blessed by heaven but so far, the channeling process hasn’t been progressing.
If one were to overlook the forest from the sky, he would be able to see countless clusters of small towns scattered in the border region that Wilderness shared with the Silver Mist Sea and the Palette Cloud Village.
Could it be an expansion team dispatched by a certain family?
After their positions were steady, the aristocratic families moved about more frequently. They had rich resources and manpower, and weren’t satisfied with such small cities.
But Li Yuanliang was shocked to see someone whom he recognized from that group.
The Lightning Blade, Ai Hui.
For a period his mirage bean pod had been spreading wildly but later on, there were no news of him. But no one really minded since such sagas were merely temporary in this mayhemic era.
He’d stopped at the camping ground.
Li Yuanliang went forward and greeted him cordially, "Welcome welcome, it’s an honor to be able to meet The Lightning Blade here. I’m Li Yuanliang, may I know how can I help you?"
Ai Hui cupped his hands in greeting. "Nice to meet you! We are going to station ourselves here for a night and set off tomorrow. Sorry to disturb."
He then threw over a small pouch containing elemental energy beans.
Li Yuanliang caught it and upon feeling what was inside, a smile flashed across his face. "Not at all not at all, you can use any empty ground nearby. Do let me know if you require any assistance."
"Thank you." Ai Hui turned around and ordered, "Pitch camp."
Without a word the team dispersed.
An unremarkable looking fellow lightly patted the ground with both his hands. The ground shook and a clay city wall rose up.
In the blink of an eye, a miniature city made from four six meter tall walls appeared before Li Yuanliang and others’. Four twelve meter tall buildings were built on four corners.
Just then, a thin looking but elegant youth casted a handful of grass seeds within the clay walls. Moments later, pointy black thorns and thistles grew and covered the walls. The coarse and solid looking barb was beyond intimidating. The youth flew to the top of one of the buildings and planted a tuning grass. Four different vegetations were planted on each building, evidently for different purposes.
The whole process was done openly so those who saw it happened were left in awe.
Within the short period of time, a strictly guarded camp appeared before their eyes. These fellows were well-trained and weren’t simple people.
The team entered in a line as a few fierce looking elites stood outside the buildings, vigilantly scanning the surroundings.
They had no idea what methods were used but they couldn’t hear anything from the outside.
A broad faced fellow walked to Li Yuanliang’s side and looked at the heavily guarded camp. "Where are they from? Very elite."
Li Yuanliang asked, somewhat flabbergasted, "You don’t know about The Lightning Blade?"
The broad faced fellow shook his head. "Nope, powerful?"
Li Yuanliang gave him a look before saying, "My advice to you is to give up whatever you have in mind. Do not try anything funny."
The broad faced fellow shook his head again. "I’m not that bold. There’s so many of them and none should be provoked. They’re here to build a city. Tell me, is this going to be beneficial for our camping ground?"
Li Yuanliang’s eyes lit up. "You think fast! It will be good for us if they build their city here. They’re going to stop by here often and we’ll more or less be able to gain some profits."
Within the clay walls.
Everyone sat down to rest as Jiang Wei explained the situation. In regards to the six targeted stepping points, he’s been following Ai Hui from the start so he was extremely familiar with them.
"Lemon Camping Ground is our last supply station. There isn’t any good resting place further down. Please take this time to rest. From tomorrow onwards, if things proceed smoothly, we will reach our destination in about five days."
Fatty asked curiously, "What’s considered smooth?"
"It’s smooth if we don’t bump into dangerous dire beasts." Jiang Wei smiled bitterly. "We took twelve days previously because of those beasts. From tomorrow onwards, we are going to enter battle mode so please be mentally prepared."
This exploration process for the six potential locations took a whole four months as Ai Hui brought only Iron Lady, Jiang Wei, Bangwan and Lou Lan. Previously, someone suggested to split the group up to explore respective spots but the idea was turned down by Ai Hui. While he knew that everyone’s abilities had improved tremendously, they’d never been to the Wilderness after all.
In the Wilderness, at times, experience was more practical than abilities.
Facts proved Ai Hui’s apprehensions and worries were a necessity as the five of them almost lost their lives several times within the past four months of exploration. It was throughout this period that Iron Lady and the others truly experienced the dangers of the Wilderness.
Only one out of the six locations was still a land of five elements. Even if it was the only spot left, there were many other issues. Nevertheless, after much consideration, the team decided to build the city there.
While the issues were tricky to handle, it was even more difficult to get hold of a land with five elements. So far, even with the innumerable cities being built, they hadn’t heard of one that contained all five elements.
Just this point alone was sufficient for them to take a gamble.
After a night of rest, everyone felt energized, their weariness vanished.
A few children, weapon masters, herbalist and so on were told to stay in Fiery Floating Cloud while all kinds of supplies and materials were piled in other corners.
The battle crew, all fully armed, surrounded Fiery Floating Cloud as if they were expecting the arrival of a great enemy.
Li Yuanliang and the broad faced fellow saw them off.
The broad faced man asked, "How many of them do you think will survive?"
"I don’t know." Li Yuanliang shook his head. "But I hope they all do."
The broad faced fellow was rather surprised. "Eh, Old Li, you’re kind hearted now?"
"Or else who’s going to give us the money in future?" Li Yuanliang asked as a matter-of-factly. His gaze followed the disappearing team and said moments later, "I’ve seen their mirage bean pod. They’re decent fellows."
As the team left the camping ground, the atmosphere tensed up.
Not only them but even Ai Hui was very nervous. It was his first time leading so many new hands deep into the Wilderness so the pressure on him was tremendous. In spite of how he was feeling, there was no indication on his face at all, which actually made people feel calm and composed.
"Bangwan, use the tuning grass to listen for any sounds of activities."
"Iron Lady, guard the side."
"Fatty, hold the shield properly and don’t glance all around."
The team’s speed wasn’t fast and occasionally they bumped into a few small dire beasts. Soon after their initial fluster, everybody quickly adapted to the situation. Their attacks became much more orderly. Practice would never replace real combat since many issues would only surface during real battles.
But they’d been unlucky, getting caught in a rainstorm, lost their way and had to take a detour.
But the team did not fall into disorder. In fact, because of these small setbacks, everybody became even more serious. They weren’t beginners but experts who’d experienced real combats. It was just that they had not been to the Wilderness but even then, they adapted quickly.
Everybody found a spot at the valley to rest and to take shelter from the wind.
Sitting down, Ai Hui caught a glimpse, from the corner of his eye, of a red light that flashed past. His expressions changed as he yelled, "Enemy attack!"