Chapter 469 - Go Left, Or Go Right?
Having returned to the valley, Ai Hui had yet to make a firm resolution.
Risk and opportunity coexisted. The risk was big, but so was the opportunity. It was simply too hard to make a choice. Ai Hui had to be more than cautious, especially since the strength of the Northern Underworld King Tree would affect the foundation of Central Pine Valley’s survival.
It was very unlikely for them to find another land with all five elements.
Life always offered many choices and each choice was a fork in the road. Whether it was left or right, his heart harbored expectations, but the landscape ahead was a riddle.
Fortunately, it wasn’t urgent so Ai Hui had sufficient time to think things through and discuss it with everybody.
Central Pine Valley faced more pressing issues at the moment.
Lemon Camping Ground.
Li Yuanliang looked at the gathered crowd within the camping ground. Some were joyful while others had a headache.
Ever since Lemon Camping Ground became the delivery ground for snow lava between Central Pine Valley and Thunder City, the number of visiting elementalists rose rapidly. The small camping ground was now twice its initial size, but still unable to accommodate everyone.
The increase in traffic brought about a huge boost in business. Everything in life was a business, but where there were many people, there were also many problems.
Initially, Li Yuanliang had wanted to control the situation, but the elementalists who came in an endless stream quickly had him guilelessly retreating. If not for the Central Pine Valley’s elementalists suppressing the crowd, Lemon Camping Ground would’ve been overturned long ago.
Central Pine Valley was aware of this situation as well, so people had been dispatched to guard the camping ground.
On one hand, it was to ensure that the transaction went on smoothly, and on the other hand, it was to prevent the crowd from advancing toward Central Pine Valley.
Seeing Jiang Wei, Li Yuanliang promptly went over and said with a bitter face, "Boss Jiang, what exactly did those in the Central Pine Valley say? This can’t go on. The camping ground is about to explode. If these people go crazy, they will tear this place down."
Jiang Wei gave an apologetic look. "We did not expect this many people either. Sorry for causing such an inconvenience. Master Ai had specially instructed me to compensate you all. It’s just a small gesture, so I hope everyone will kindly accept."
The elementalists behind him had already prepared the gifts.
Joy flashed across Li Yuanliang’s face. Central Pine Valley was rich and imposing, yet amiable when handling matters. Really rare indeed, he thought to himself.
He hurriedly added, "No, no, we’re all neighbors, so it’s no trouble at all, but your valley should make a decision soon. There are too many people hanging around this area. If things drag on, people will get restless and any slight instigation might lead to a human disaster."
Jiang Wei cupped his hands together and bowed, his expression grave. "Thanks for the reminder, Brother Li. Don’t worry, Central Pine Valley will not allow its partner to lose out. Having considered this unusual situation and to ensure the safety of Lemon Camping Ground, Master Yang will personally oversee this place."
He moved to the side, revealing Yang Xiaodong.
Li Yuanliang was shocked. To him, Masters were an eminent and unapproachable existence. He hurriedly fell to his knees. "Li Yuanliang paying respects to Master Yang!"
With a hum, Yang Xiaodong said loftily, "Get up."
He was more than unwilling to keep watch since it meant that there wasn’t going to be any elemental soup for him!
It was exceedingly difficult for him to enter the next realm, but it was also impossible for him to drop in base level, so it could be said that he had no desires or wishes. Ever since he’d tried Lou Lan’s elemental energy soup, it became something he looked forward to daily.
What a stupid broken camping ground. Let them die!
Anger filled his stomach and seeing these noisy fellows worsened his mood.
His snort swept across the whole camping ground like a cold stream and silence overtook all previous clamor.
The elementalists’ hair stood on end, their faces pale and minds blank.
All elemental energy within the camping ground congealed, suffocating the area, as if there was a rope strangling their throats.
This word jumped into the minds of those elementalists who had regained their senses.
Yang Xiaodong was like a proud rooster, scanning his surroundings coldly and withdrawing his might.
A snort that could shake the whole place. This was a Master.
The elementalists kept quiet out of fear, but quickly, they started getting agitated.
Fellows familiar with each other saw the excitement in one another’s eyes. They admired and were inspired by Masters. A powerful figure could give everyone a sense of security in this chaotic world.
Jiang Wei sighed a breath of relief. A Master was indeed useful.
Seeing a Master for himself stirred something deep within Jiang Wei’s heart. He couldn’t help but tighten his fist. If he could advance to a higher base level, he would have more potential to unleash.
People within Central Pine Valley had long been arguing over this issue since everyone had different opinions, and Ai Hui was having a hard time deciding.
Everyone in the Central Pine Valley understood that they had to make an extremely pressing and crucial choice.
It had already been four months since the Battle of Thunder City. As agreed, Central Pine Valley would sell four batches of snow lava in exchange for a huge volume of resources and materials.
The hot sales of snow lava wasn’t completely smooth-sailing.
Initially, the trade association under Qiao Meiqi kept pushing sales to fire elementalists, but quickly realized that business wasn’t as good as predicted.
There were simply too few fire elementalists and they were too poor.
The elementalists in Beyond Avalon were mostly metal and water elementalists. They took up about 80 percent of the population while wood elementalists took up 10 percent. Fire and earth elementalists made up the last 10 percent.
This was because Dai Gang did not stop wood elementalists from entering Beyond Avalon and because the fire and earth elementalists’ base camps, Fire Prairie and Yellow Sand Corner, had fallen into the possession of the God Nation. The local earth and fire elementalists there had practically all turned into blood elementalists.
Fire elementalists were the minority to begin with, but the situation was getting worse.
Five years had passed since the fall of Fire Prairie and Yellow Sand Corner, so fire and earth elemental materials were rare on the market. With a deficiency in resources and lands with fire and earth elemental energy, most of these elementalists were practically at a standstill in terms of their realms.
This stagnation made their living environment harsher.
Their situation did not improve even after entering the Wilderness. It became worse in fact. Any powerful and resourceful aristocratic family would not waste a large quantity of resources on building a fire or earth elemental city.
The fire elemental areas in Beyond Avalon were made up of small scale towns, some established by groups of fire elementalists. These towns, lacking in resources and defense, were in imminent danger. Even more fire elementalists were struggling in some of the forward camps. They had no ability to purchase expensive high-grade fire liquid like snow lava.
As a rich merchant, Qiao Meiqi was clear headed. He did not reduce the price despite poor sales. Instead, he changed his target consumers from ordinary elementalists to weaponsmiths. Weaponsmiths were only consecrated because of their abilities and might. They had a high purchasing power.
Snow lava was an effective tool for tempering weapons, so the product immediately caused an uproar in that community.
The snow lava in Qiao Meiqi’s hands rapidly ran out.
However, this hot market brought about another effect.
Qiao Meiqi vigorously marketed the product, building up the reputation of snow lava. Fire elementalists who couldn’t afford it knew that its production ground had to be in a fire elemental city. Only a place with abundant fire elemental energy and high achievements could refine and produce such an item.
For struggling fire elementalists, a city that could refine snow lava was like a wisp of hope in the cold winter.
Central Pine Valley was much stronger now, and Ai Hui and the gang had no intentions of concealing it. Its location was quickly figured out by other people.
Many fire elementalists followed Qiao Meiqi’s caravans to Lemon Camping Ground. They thought of ways to enter Central Pine Valley, but luckily, there were guards stationed at the camping ground so they hurriedly went back to report the situation.
Central Pine Valley then sent out elementalists to maintain order in the camping ground.
The fire elementalists pleaded. They were willing to pay any price in exchange for a place to live in.
This sudden situation brought about mixed responses. Some thought that this was a good opportunity to expand the city since they would need a lot of manpower in order to do so, and they couldn’t keep relying on just the few hundreds of people within the valley. Others thought differently. They believed the news that the valley contained all five elements would leak out once they let these people in.
Central Pine Valley wasn’t weak and moderately powerful forces wouldn’t dare to invade. However, once the news of this precious land leaked, things might change.
To those peak forces, this was an irresistible temptation.
Many more were starting to go on punitive expeditions, and over the past four months, there had already been many battles between cities.
Everyone was in a difficult spot.
The situation quickly took a turn for the worse as metal elementalists started showing up in the camping ground in increasing numbers. Only after asking was it apparent that these metal elementalists arrived in hope of following the footsteps of the first ever Lightning Master.
It was just like how Karakorum Sword League’s first master swordsman had attracted a huge volume of elementalists wanting to join them.
Ai Hui’s current reputation also attracted a huge volume of metal elementalists.
There were even more metal than fire elementalists in the camp. After all, there was a higher number of metal elementalists to begin with.
Everyone guessed that Master Ai might construct a lightning-type combat division, so it was a rare opportunity for many.
The sudden increase in elementalists really crammed up the camping ground. Even after two rounds of expansion, the camping ground wasn’t big enough to accommodate everyone.
There were dangers in such rapid expansion so, to maintain security amid such severe circumstances, Yang Xiaodong had been sent to keep watch. Finally, the situation started to stabilize.
People in Central Pine Valley, however, had yet to make up their minds.
They stopped arguing since all opinions had been expressed. They were merely waiting for Ai Hui to make the final call.
To go left or right?
The situation outside was becoming more grim, and there wasn’t much time for him to ponder and hesitate.
Two months ago, Ye Baiyi had completed all the preparation work to mobilize an army, and the troops had already set out.
The scale of the army was very large and mighty. Ye Baiyi had reached an unprecedented standard.
The atmosphere was extremely tense.
The three central divisions kept control as Madam Ye represented the Elders Guild to read a speech the Great Elder had written before he passed and shared speeches by well-known people from the later generations.
"… This is a matter of life and death. There’s no choice but to unite Beyond Avalon. Big cities, small cities, men, women, aristocrats, new citizens… Those who wish to live must fight bravely. Only then can our nation be protected and the women and children be saved! The three central divisions of the Avalon of Five Elements have had a long history. They have had outstanding military service and are extremely glorious. They are our role model, the sharpest blade around. Hereto, the Elders Guild has decided to prepare for war. Surveillance Division, take order. Do not disobey if assigned a mission. Do not pay lip service. Judgement Division will take over if there are dissidents! All battle teams at the front line must not fear battle and must not retreat. Those who withdraw will be dealt with by the Dread Division!"