Chapter 470 - Ai Hui’s Decision
The atmosphere in Central Pine Valley was rather tense.
It was the last day for Ai Hui to make his decision on whether or not to allow outsiders into Central Pine Valley. Everyone in Central Pine Valley was very concerned about this since it involved their future.
Ai Hui was ruthless and crafty, cold and uncompassionate, but direct and efficient when it came to decision-making. He was never sloppy about it. Ever since the establishment of Central Pine Valley, everyone had already gotten used to Ai Hui’s sharp and clean method of addressing and solving problems.
The unending hesitation and doubts he currently faced were rarely seen.
Everyone sat neatly on the floor, their faces focused. Other than the increase in their strength, the long days of training were now done according to the rules of a combat division, so they acted in unison and were as good as one.
Mister Dou sat quietly in a corner, feeling inwardly apprehensive. Before he came, he’d heard about the Central Pine Faction, but was unconcerned. There were merely a few hundred members, so what was the big deal? He only got a shock after interacting with these youngsters.
These youngsters were diligent, assiduous, extremely disciplined, intensely passionate, had complete trust in their partners, and trained hard despite criticism.
Mister Dou had traveled extensively and seen all kinds of people. He’d also seen many powerful figures, but none had left the same impression on him as these youngsters had.
Plus, they were so young.
Their abilities were changing almost everyday. Coupled with the Master-grade elemental soup that was provided daily, their intense devilish training was constantly improving and unleashing their potential.
Many youngsters had left a deep impression on him. Duanmu Huanghun, Jiang Wei, Fatty, Sang Zhijun, Wang Xiaoshan, and so on.
It was a blessing that the children from the hill village would be able to grow up in such an environment.
Ai Hui strode onto the stage with a stern expression. Without beating around the bush, he directly announced, "In 15 days, we will start accepting fire and metal elementalists from the outside. I have taken two main points into consideration. First, the situation outside is bad, a big war is imminent, and we might be conscripted. We need to expand our strength as soon as possible to prepare for battle. Perhaps some of you might wonder why we have to adhere to the conscription? Skyheart City is able to assert pressure on us under the name of righteousness and justice. We won’t be able to go against the three central divisions. Not only us, but any of the other settlements as well. Second, why are we all gathering in the first place? Revenge! We must not miss the opportunity to battle the God Nation!"
Those below sat upright and motionless, but upon hearing the word "revenge" they reflexively clenched their fists.
Ai Hui’s gaze was as cold as a light flickering and reflecting off a crystal. His delivery was clear. "Our train of thought is simple. First, we have to guard and strengthen ourselves from being regarded by Skyheart City as cannon fodder. Second, we have to destroy the Blood of God. These two goals can’t be achieved by the mere hundreds of us here. Building our own combat divisions is what we have to do."
Mister Dou was full of admiration and couldn’t help but see Ai Hui in a different light. A few words were all it took for him to analyze and explain the current situation. He’d thought that Ai Hui was crafty, sharp, and petty-minded, but now he understood that there was a reason why Shi Xueman and the others chose to follow him.
The others nodded. Even if they had differing opinions, they couldn’t deny the logic behind Ai Hui’s speech.
"But Central Pine Valley is our foundation. If it was exposed at this time, Skyheart City would most definitely have designs on us. They would then, in the name of righteousness, place pressure on us and we would eventually have to give it up. So, I’ve decided to construct another city atop the Blackfish Mouth Volcano. We only have 50 days to do so. Are you confident, Xiaoshan?"
Ai Hui looked toward Wang Xiaoshan and others followed.
Wang Xiaoshan’s face turned red, his heart palpitating. Ai Hui had asked him in private a few days back and he’d been losing sleep over this question. He only felt his body trembling uncontrollably when asked in public. It was as if there was a ball of flames igniting in his heart.
He’d never been tasked with such an important mission…
Wang Xiaoshan tried his best to calm his surging emotions, but as he was about to say what was on his mind, all that came out was, "I… I’ll try my best!"
Ai Hui shook his head. "Do not try your best. You have to accomplish it."
Wang Xiaoshan took a deep breath, his muscles tightening. He clenched his teeth, shouting, "I can do it!"
With these four words, the fire in his chest thrived and his veins burned. Wang Xiaoshan was indescribably excited.
This was an unprecedented challenge!
"Alright, I’ll leave that to Xiaoshan then," Ai Hui said firmly, without the least bit of sloppiness. He directed his gaze to the rest. "We, too, have many things to attend to. There are many fire and metal elementalists in Lemon Camping Ground, so we have to select from them. We will establish two combat divisions. One of them, "Sword of Lightning" will be commanded by me. The other, "Spear of Heavy Cloud" will be commanded by Xueman. You guys will be the backbone. Be it fire or metal elementalists, you guys can do as you deem fit. Other than that, we are going to recruit a batch of fire elementalists to make up our reserves. There is plenty of fire elemental energy here, so we shouldn’t waste it."
The audience was getting excited.
Team expansion meant that they would be able to lead troops. They were all youngsters who hoped to assume personal responsibilities.
Ai Hui continued in a deep voice, "As for how many we should take in and how we should conduct the selection process, you guys can discuss it with Xueman. Take note that all selection must be completed within 15 days! That leaves us with little time left."
Shi Xueman appeared cool, but her heart was pounding. With regard to Ye Baiyi’s army pressing forward, she was most concerned about her father. Now that she could lead a battle team of her own and move to the front line to fight alongside her father, the desire for combat burned intensely.
She stood up and saluted. "Yes!"
Ai Hui turned his gaze toward Blind He. "Master He, is the sword finished?"
Blind He shook his head. "I need a few more days because there are some small issues, but it won’t take more than 15 days."
"Good." Ai Hui addressed Zhao Boan directly, "Boan, we can release more snow lava to stock up on our resources."
Zhao Boan replied immediately, "Yes!"
Ai Hui looked around and added in a low voice, "The war is going to happen some time soon. From now until the day it starts, time is precious and essential. Please train hard and try your best to stay alive. Get to work!"
Everyone immediately dispersed and Central Pine Valley started bustling with activity.
Ai Hui and Mister Dou arrived at Blackfish Mouth Volcano.
Mister Dou asked all of a sudden, "Are you sure about this?"
"Yes, I am." Ai Hui stood at the mouth of the volcano, watching the roiling lava. He added, "Time waits for no man. Let’s discuss more when this is done and leave future affairs for the future."
With Ye Baiyi’s army pressing forward, a major war was inevitable. It was a long awaited war, and if they lost, all of the Silver Mist Sea and Cloud Palette Village would fall into the Blood of God’s domain.
Beyond Avalon would be directly exposed before the Blood of God. Doors would be opened, and they would be driven further into the Wilderness like stray dogs.
This was an unacceptable outcome in Ai Hui’s eyes.
Yet, no matter what, their current situation was much better than before. In the past, they had no Masters at all, but now they had four, and everybody’s abilities had improved drastically. Initially, he’d even thought of selling Central Pine Valley to fetch a good price, but the monthly sales of snow lava were bringing them a significant supply of resources.
As compared to the Blood of God, they were still very weak, but when it came to small scale, local battles, they weren’t at all helpless.
Thinking about being able to wage war against the Blood of God, Ai Hui felt his blood race.
This was his and everyone’s long cherished wish.
The fire elemental energy in the volcano could only sustain the Northern Underworld Tree for three years? Who could care so much at this time? It was hard to say for sure that the valley would still be around at that time.
Mister Dou asked, "Where do we plant it?"
Ai Hui’s eyes flickered. "Wait a minute."
With his eyes closed he held onto the Wintry Jade Blade and sensed the surrounding elemental energy waves. The waves were like accumulated, disordered ripples, but Ai Hui remained exceptionally calm as he sieved through these chaotic signals.
Time passed and Ai Hui stood as still as a statue.
Mister Dou sized Ai Hui up out of interest. There were no elemental energy waves around Ai Hui, but from his perception they seemed to become indistinct.
Ai Hui opened his eyes suddenly, the light in them flickering. He flew upward in a swift motion and landed on a rock.
The rock was about the size of a millstone and had a protruding section that extended into the lava.
Mister Dou sensed the nearby rocks, but felt nothing special. He asked doubtfully, "You sure?"
Ai Hui answered certainly, "Here."
"All right then."
Without asking further, Mister Dou felt rather interested instead. Ai Hui was the only pupil of Wang Shouchuan. Could it be that there was a particular reason behind this choice?’
He strolled toward that rock.
Disregarding disabilities, as long as one rose to become a Master, solutions could be found. While Mister Dou had no regards for worldly things, his sense of awareness was as good as his sight. He could clearly assess the surrounding environment.
Mister Dou took a deep breath, his elemental energy surging. He had a grave expression on his face as he muttered to himself. Suddenly, the Northern Underworld King Tree in his hand was shrouded by a sheet of darkness.
He stuck the staff into the lava with a quick and sharp motion.
The staff shook as an invisible energy wave was released, as if there was an invisible palm flattening out the whole lava lake.The surging and rolling lava became as level as a mirror as it emitted bright red light.
Oblique light pillars shot out from the flat lake surface, unceasingly gathering and collecting on the staff.
The light ray at the mouth of the mountain dimmed instantly before a sheet of black took over and illuminated the oblique light pillars.
Mister Dou’s jaw dropped as he could feel changes occurring, but wasn’t able to identify them. Even the familiar staff produced an unfamiliar energy.
He was in shock.
The red light enveloped the staff, causing its leaves to grow continuously. The surrounding darkness became more profound as well.
Ai Hui fixed his eyes on the ceaselessly sprouting Northern Underworld King Tree as it swallowed the flames nonstop like a huge whale.
Countless strands of fire elemental energy transformed into flames that were being swallowed up by the staff.
Although the future was unknown, there was no fear.
"Go," Ai Hui said, before rising up through of the darkness and out of the mouth of the volcano.