Chapter 451 - What Are They Here For?
Ai Hui’s victory was beyond the expectations of the majority of people.
When Ai Hui returned to Clearwater City, people were looking at him with greater veneration. They moved aside automatically and the female elementalists’ gazes were filled with extraordinary splendor.
Qiao Meiqi’s laughter echoed through the clouds as he descended with a group of people. The guards beside him were full of admiration and respect.
As they said, skill deserves respect. There was no doubt.
In the past, people were more interested in Han Li, who was coined a genius. However, after witnessing the whole battle and seeing that Ai Hui had completely suppressed and defeated Han Li, they finally realized how powerful Ai Hui really was.
Winners won everything. Respect, riches, power.
Yang Xiaodong cried out, "Miss Shi mentioned that Brother Ai has never ever lost any battles. I found it hard to believe at first, but today I have seen for myself how masterful you are during a battle!"
Ai Hui smiled modestly. "How can I talk about being masterful in front of Master Yang? My limited swordsmanship is merely something fresh."
Shi Xueman couldn’t help but give Ai Hui a second look. She felt it strange. Why is this fellow being so honest today? It’s not his usual style.
Yang Xiaodong shook his head. "I do not praise easily. Brother Ai’s skills are already at the next level. You can easily become a Master. Plus, you’re still so young and your future is boundless. You’re not somebody old people like us can compare to."
There was unconcealed envy in his speech.
Being young brought unlimited possibilities. There was a huge difference between someone who became a Master at thirty and at fifty. A thirty year old Master had a few decades to work toward becoming a Grandmaster, whereas it was unlikely for a fifty year old Master to improve much because of their stagnating vigor.
Venerable Volcano patted Ai Hui on his shoulder. "Not bad! That last strike frightened me. What’s the name of that move?"
Venerable Volcano was stunned. "That’s a strange name but it doesn’t matter. Rolling red dust can nibble away bones and souls, and produce plentiful of lightning bolts."
The more he thought about it, the more he thought there was to [Red Dust].
Ai Hui felt a little embarrassed and wanted to explain that [Red Dust] was actually a combination of [Red Muslin] and [Dust Fall].
Qiao Meiqi came over and said in a loud voice, "We’re going to properly celebrate your return and victory tonight!"
Upon hearing this, Ai Hui hurriedly replied, "Thanks for your kindness, Mayor, I really appreciate it. But I still have things to ponder over from that earlier battle, so please find me a meditation room to sort out my thoughts."
Qiao Meiqi was in high spirits. "You’ve got something from it? Then I’ll have to congratulate you more. Meditation room? No problem!"
He’d long thought it over clearly. The stronger Ai Hui was, the better their business became. He’d guessed that Ai Hui was short-handed. As for trivial matters, Ai Hui had no energy to bother. He had greater ambitions.
Qiao Meiqi wasn’t worried that Ai Hui had too big of an ambition, only that he did not have enough. He was interested in the things Ai Hui wasn’t, as long as he could earn a profit.
The skills and potential Ai Hui had displayed made Qiao Meiqi willing to do all he could to maintain their friendly relationship.
If Ai Hui could become a Master at twenty plus and have Shi Xueman by his side with Central Pine Faction behind him, they could, at the very least, protect a whole city. Plus, with such a money-spinning and powerful weapon like snow lava, they would only become stronger with time.
Shi Xueman spoke up suddenly. "I’ll keep guard."
Hearing that, Gong Peiyao looked at Shi Xueman, her eyes flickering.
Rumor had it that Shi Xueman had already set her heart on Ai Hui. Many scoffed at this news, but most believed it. Otherwise, why would she follow him? How could the mere Central Pine Faction have space for someone like her? Even if she had stayed in Central Pine Faction, she should’ve become the leader. How could it have been Ai Hui? It was simply not right and unimaginable for her to become an assistant to Ai Hui.
So it’s true, Gong Peiyao thought to herself.
Gong Peiyao had been following Shi Xueman since she was young and she knew how cold a person she was. But Shi Xueman’s feelings had been exhibited through her offering to stand guard the moment Ai Hui said he wanted to be in seclusion.
The rest could see this too, but being experienced and well-acquainted with the ways of the world, they said nothing.
The meditation room Qiao Meiqi arranged for Ai Hui was in the residence’s basement. It was extremely quiet and well-guarded.
Seeing the guards retreat, Ai Hui shut the door.
Shi Xueman asked, "What happened?"
Ai Hui was rather surprised. "How do you know something happened?"
Shi Xueman answered dully, "You won, but you aren’t happy and you didn’t even ask about the rewards. It’s unlike you."
Lou Lan agreed, "Yeah."
Ai Hui looked at the door and Shi Xueman reassured him that there wasn’t anyone outside.
Ai Hui said in a low voice, "Before he left, Han Li warned me that Assembly of Patriarchs is watching us."
Shi Xueman looked alert. "Assembly of Patriarchs? Are they still checking Chu Zhaoyang’s identity? Or is it something to do with Xiao Shuren?"
Only Iron Lady and Lou Lan knew about Chu Zhaoyang. Ai Hui had brought a small child, Wei An, and no one knew he was Xiao Shuren’s son. He used to be called Xiao An, but in order to avoid suspicions, Ai Hui renamed him Wei An, to commemorate Great Wei Enterprise.
Shi Xueman had also seen that strange, demonic god armor and that golden drop of liquid sealed within the crystal. She could tell from one glance that they were extraordinary, but was unable to point out their origin.
She then specially investigated the situation and the information she obtained had her trembling inwardly.
Dai Gang could promise everything to every aristocratic family, without regard for costs and consequences, in order to obtain these items. According to the Shi family’s probing, Great Wei Enterprise’s destruction was, in countless ways, connected to Madam Ye. Also, with She Yu contesting them, practically all influencers were fighting over these item.
What were these items exactly?
Ai Hui, Shi Xueman and Lou Lan had been researching for a long time, but there was still insufficient information.
No one dared to lift the ban before getting a clear idea of what the golden liquid was. Wasting a treasure would only cause people’s hearts to ache, but if it contained demonic qualities, unknown dangers might arise too.
They did gain insights about the demonic god armor however.
Lou Lan had spent a lot of time on this, and with the help of his Midnight sand core, he finally figured out some of the unique qualities of the armor.
Facts had proven that Ai Hui made the right choice by not wearing the armor at that time.
The demonic god armor emitted a kind of black mist. It was a strange kind of force that could stimulate the wearer and improve his skills tremendously. However, it would also continuously draw upon his energy.
According to Midnight’s analysis and speculation, only Masters could resist such a corroding force, and a key was required to propel this demonic god armor.
And that key was the blood bandage.
Lou Lan had already concluded that the golden liquid, demonic god armor and blood bandage carried the same aura. They came from an integral whole.
Upon hearing what Ai Hui said about the assembly, Shi Xueman immediately thought of Xiao Shuren’s ancient treasure and felt nervous.
Ai Hui said in a low voice, "I don’t know. I did not inform the mayor in fear that the Assembly of Patriarchs would infiltrate from his side. The Assembly of Patriarchs always gets things done, by hook or by crook."
Ai Hui, who had once infiltrated the Assembly of Patriarchs, understood their style well.
The Assembly of Patriarchs was like a killer organization that existed for money. They would be engaged as long as money was involved.
Shi Xueman muttered, "The Assembly of Patriarchs isn’t in too good of a condition lately. They seem to have fallen out with Madam Ye and received a significant blow."
Ai Hui fell into a short daze before responding, "Madam Ye? But they share a friendly relationship with Madam Ye."
Shi Xueman explained, "When Madam Ye was reorganizing Skyheart City, she raided the Assembly of Patriarchs’ headquarters. A reliable news source has it that the Assembly of Patriarchs has information that can be used against Madam Ye. They’ve been working together for so long after all."
"Let’s forget about Madam Ye." Ai Hui shook his head. "Our Madam Ye holds a lot of power now and certainly has no time for trivial matters. If the Assembly of Patriarchs sustained serious damage, they would be in need of a huge sum of money. It won’t be surprising, then, that they have designs for our snow lava."
Shi Xueman asked directly, "What now?"
Lou Lan added, "Ai Hui, I’ll go ask around."
"No!" Ai Hui and Shi Xueman countered in unison.
"But Ai Hui needs to close himself off." Lou Lan opened his eyes wide, his expression serious. "The elemental energy in Ai Hui’s body is bubbling. He needs to calm them down or he will get injured, and if it’s serious his base level would drop."
Shi Xueman turned her head suddenly and grabbed Ai Hui’s hand to check his body’s condition. She’d thought that he wanted to avoid the crowd. It was only now that she realized his body wasn’t doing too well.
"Hey, hey, hey, men and women shouldn’t be this close. Even though we’ve hugged…" Ai Hui blurted out, without any sense of shame.
Shi Xueman couldn’t be bothered with him. Soon, her facial expression worsened. She loosened her grip and said resolutely, "You must recuperate immediately, I’ll stand guard."
"I know my own condition. It’s no big deal…"
The next moment he was being pulled up off of his feet by Shi Xueman.
Ai Hui raged. "You may kill me, but you cannot humiliate me. Are you trying to pick a fight, Miss Shi?"
Shi Xueman responded coldly, "I’ll use only one hand."
At that she pulled him into the meditation room and threw him on the ground.
"Ow! Iron Lady. You and I, we’ve got a problem…"
Shi Xueman had shut the door.
The meditation room was completely soundproof, so those outside could hear nothing at all.
Lou Lan said in all seriousness, "I’m going to get information, Xueman. Be back soon."
Shi Xueman looked at him without a word.
Lou Lan opened his eyes wide. "I’m very capable, Xueman."
A warm smile appeared on Shi Xueman’s unchanging, iceberg-like face. "Go ahead, Lou Lan. I trust you!"
Lou Lan was joyed, his eyes taking the shape of crescent moons. He cried out, "Thanks, Xueman. I’ll give it my all!"
With that he transformed into a pool of sand and disappeared into the ground.
Shi Xueman smiled slightly and the dusky entrance seemed to brighten up a little.
Her smile flashed like a glimmer in the night.
She returned to her icy, wordless self. She untied Cirrus from her back and placed it beside her, sitting upright by the door.