Chapter 501 - Sword Cloud
During training breaks, all Ai Hui could hear was Lou Lan’s grumblings.
"Xueman has really left. Will she encounter formidable experts? Will she get hurt? Ye Baiyi is so powerful and the Spear of Heavy Cloud was only formed just recently. Aren’t you worried, Ai Hui? Lou Lan is very worried…"
Reaching the end of his patience, Ai Hui chided Lou Lan, "Lou Lan, are you very free? If you are very free, go and supervise Fatty…"
Ai Hui suddenly stopped in mid-sentence. Fatty was in Spear of Heavy Cloud too. He was gone, along with Iron Lady.
After staying silent for a moment, Ai Hui stood up and patted Lou Lan’s shoulder, "Lou Lan, don’t be so anxious."
After Ai Hui finished his sentence, he walked to the Metal Basket Sword Pagoda. His hand was holding a grey-colored sword. The blade of the sword was wide and thick, plain and unadorned. It looked like it was made of neither wood nor metal.
Two ancient words were engraved on the body of the sword, "Edgeless Sword".
It was as light as a feather. It was the most suitable sword for Ai Hui now, since his body was frail and delicate.
Edgeless sword was one of the presents that the Gong residence had sent over. Out of all the weapons that the Gong residence gifted Ai Hui, it was also the most outstanding one. Gong residence had spent a lot of effort and energy thanking Ai Hui.
Edgeless Sword’s background was unknown. No one knew who’d forged it. It had been kept in the Gong residence’s collection of treasures for over three hundred years.
Using Edgeless Sword to pat Metal Basket Sword Pagoda, Ai Hui yelled, "Prepare for the next round of training!"
Ai Hui’s original name for Metal Basket Sword Pagoda was "Big Sword". However, it had been forgotten by everyone. Instead, the name, "Metal Basket Sword Pagoda", which was casually suggested by Gu Xuan, was approved by everyone. Even Ai Hui himself began to call it Metal Basket Sword Pagoda.
Members of Sword of Lightning stood up and took up their positions.
Everyone was used to the long training hours. Even though all of them were doubtful about whether or not Metal Basket Sword Pagoda could fly, they were still very serious and meticulous in their training.
The fact that Spear of Heavy Cloud had headed towards the front line had a huge impact on Sword of Lightning. Fishback City, which used to be bustling with noise and excitement, was empty and unusually cold and cheerless now. Everyone had put away their playful attitudes and focused on the training sessions.
No one was complaining about the high intensity of the training sessions anymore.
A sword chime was emitted from Ai Hui’s Edgeless Sword.
The members had been bracing themselves and unleashed their swords at the same time. A snow-white sword gleam, that resembled surging spindrift under the sun, suddenly engulfed the Metal Basket Sword Pagoda. It did not contain any elemental energy, but only a concentrated, biting-cold aura.
The aura did not dissipate as time passed. The air in the Metal Basket Sword Pagoda stood still.
The look on Ai Hui’s face was solemn. Once again, his Edgeless Sword emitted a sword chime.
Swoosh, swoosh, swoosh. More than three hundred streaks of sword gleams flashed through the air. The aura they exuded was more concentrated than before.
Ai Hui came up with the idea of using the sword chime as a word of command by fluke. However, it still worked exceptionally well.
Ai Hi’s entire body was drenched in sweat, giving off hot steam. The two hundred and fifty-two streaks of sword aura in the seven metal-basket-like sword pagodas gathered where he was standing and he had to endure an immense amount of pressure.
The bones in his body were cracking while beads of perspiration were meandering down his cheeks. His eyes, however, were unusually bright.
The concentrated, bone-piercing aura of the sword was incorporeal and formless, yet it could be found everywhere. The streaks of sword aura were gathering towards Ai Hui from all directions, creating an immense amount of pressure on him.
The sword cloud in his earth palace was stimulated, rolling and tossing non-stop.
Nowadays, the sword aura within Ai Hui’s body was ten times stronger than it was before.
Ai Hui initially thought that he could no longer control the seven pagodas, as he had lost all of his elemental energy. Gu Xuan, whose strength was second only to him, was not able to take up his position. As such, Ai Hui had to force himself to do it. However, he didn’t expect that the sword aura gathered together could be such a powerful stimulation to his sword cloud.
The sword cloud was like the sword embryo he’d had in the past. It was extremely sensitive to any sword-related thing.
After the sword cloud was stimulated, it gradually became stronger.
Ai Hui seemed to have a revelation. He thought of the term, sword consciousness, which was often mentioned in those ancient swordplay manuals. Swordsmen from the Cultivation Era had been extinct for a very long period of time. No one knew what sword consciousness was or what it looked like anymore. Even Ai Hui could not fathom it.
Ai Hui suddenly thought of the term "sword consciousness" when the immense sword aura surged towards him from all directions. But he also did not know whether or not his revelation was actually the so-called "sword consciousness".
Ai Hui felt as if he had returned to the times he’d spent in Suspending Golden Pagoda, where his body was tempered by metal winds that came from all directions.
The sword cloud kept strengthening itself while its metallic luster became increasingly intense.
Ai Hui knew it was his essence-breath-spirit that was being tempered.
Sword embryos were formed by essence-breath-spirit.
In the past, he’d racked his brains trying to find a method that could temper his sword embryo, but failed.
Now, he suddenly saw the light.
So the sword embryo could be tempered like this!
So the essence-breath-spirit could be tempered like this!
His physical body was very weak and he was still depleted of elemental energy. However, his essence-breath-spirit was being tempered continuously, becoming more powerful than before. He could feel that his sensory perception had become stronger. It was an indescribable feeling.
His hearing had become sharper. He could clearly hear incredibly soft sounds from a distance. It was as if a string was being plucked right beside his ears. His perceptive range had increased greatly as well. He could sense the presence of someone from a long distance away.
However, the biggest change was that he could now "see" elemental energies.
The entire world around him had changed completely. He could "see" the elemental energies in his surroundings.
He could "see" the long and unbroken traces of metal elemental energy in the wind, the mist-like wood elemental energy that was released from trees and plants, as well as the fire elemental energy emitted by the sun and the raging sea of lava beneath the ground. He knew the diffusibility of earth elemental energy was very poor, as only a very small amount of earth elemental energy could be sensed in the air. And the clouds in the sky were really like immobile water, while the water beneath the ground was like surging clouds.
When the different types of elemental energy came together, they turned into a gorgeous, colorful whirlpool. There were also some areas where the boundaries between different types of elemental energy were well-defined. In these areas, the elemental energies stayed well within their boundaries.
Their variations were rich, exquisite and unpredictable.
This was the first time that the world of elemental energies had appeared before Ai Hui in such a vivid manner. He was very impressed as he came up with countless revelations. If his five residences and eight palaces were undamaged and he’d still had his elemental energy, he could have imitated many of these variations.
Unfortunately, he had lost his elemental energy completely.
It was as if an enormous treasure trove had suddenly appeared before him, but he couldn’t take anything from it.
Fate had played a cruel joke on him. The affairs of life were often unpredictable.
Ai Hui could only laugh bitterly. He wasn’t depressed or discouraged. Having such an experience was already a pleasant surprise to him.
Furthermore, Ai Hui’s mind was on the Metal Basket Sword Pagoda.
It was as if the sword cloud in his body was born for the sake of the sword pagoda.
Ai Hui was situated at the core within the seven sword pagodas. All the sword gleams would gather at his position. In other words, his position was the most important among all the positions in the seven pagodas. It was also the position that endured the most pressure.
Even though he had no elemental energy, he could use his sensory perception to control the seven sword pagodas. Any small change that took place within the seven sword pagodas could not escape his discerning eyes. He was very surprised that he could use this "loophole" to control the sword pagodas.
This reminded him of embroidery. The only different thing was that he could control more than two hundred invisible "strings" at the same time now.
However, the number of things he could do with them was very little. This implied that every "string" was easily broken.
However, this was enough for him.
In the past, Ai Hui had relied on a massive amount of elemental energy to gather these sword gleams through a sword formation. The difference now was that Ai Hui could sort out these sword gleams before he gathered and merged them in an orderly manner.
This was not going to be easy. In fact, this was harder to execute than the method he used in the past.
He used very little elemental energy to sort them out. This meant that each member could not make too many mistakes and all of them had to be well-trained.
The time taken from when the sword gleams were released by the members to the point where they gathered was very short. One could imagine the difficulty of sorting them out in such a short period of time. This was a huge challenge for Ai Hui.
However, as long as he had a plan, he had enough time.
His eyes were illuminated by the dazzling streaks of sword gleams, pure and flawless.
Silver Soldier saw the layers of fortifications and heaved a sigh of relief.
They had finally reached the Rear of Wall.
The fortifications were empty and there were many areas that had yet to be completed. All the blacksmiths had abandoned the fortifications. Infantry Division and Sky Edge Division were purely combat divisions. They did not have many blacksmiths with them.
A figure descended from the sky hurriedly. A premonition arose in Silver Soldier's mind.
"Sir! We have encountered enemy scouts ahead! We are currently engaging them!"
Silver Soldier felt slightly shocked. However, he soon regained his composure and said, "Bring a few more men with you, don’t let a single one of them off."
"I will go," Karakorum Polaris said.
Silver Soldier did not stop her and nodded his head, "Alright."
Usually, a division leader wouldn’t personally interfere in such a low level battle. However, Silver Soldier remembered that Karakorum Polaris had not entered a battlefield before and he felt it was necessary for her to get used to it.
Karakorum Polaris brought a small team of Sky Edge elites and set off at top speed to provide reinforcement.
When Silver Soldier saw the back view of Karakorum Polaris disappear, he began to calm down. He himself wasn’t a rookie and he had rich combat experience.
Encountering enemy scouts wasn’t a good sign. It implied that even though the enemy forces did not occupy Rear of Wall, for whatever reason they still maintained a high level of vigilance around this area. This meant that Infantry Division and Sky Edge Division could not occupy an advantageous position without alerting the enemy forces.
Furthermore, when he reached the Rear of Wall, he realized that the number of fortifications was much lesser than he’d expected. Their designs were crude and simple as well.
However, after he thought about it again, he understood what had happened. Shi Beihai did not expect the Wall of North Sea to collapse in such a short period of time. How was it possible for him to build so many fortifications in such a short period of time then?
Crude fortifications, rookies with no real combat experience. The upcoming battles would be much more devastating than he’d expected.
Very soon, Silver Soldier’s conjecture was verified.
His scouts had encountered Blood of God’s scouts and engaged them in battle several times. Even though the battles were small-scale, they were still extremely intense. He could tell the battles were intense when less than half of his scouts returned.
Karakorum Polaris returned very soon and she did not look good. The enemy scouts put up a strong resistance despite the fact that they were losing. No one was willing to surrender and all of them fought to their deaths.
The intensity level of a battle in the battlefield was completely different from the intensity level of a contest in a training hall.
Silver Soldier stepped forward, but he did not console her. With a deep voice, he said, "The enemy’s main forces will arrive soon. We need to make good use of the time to push forward and occupy terrains that are advantageous to us."
"Okay!" Karakorum Polaris nodded her head.
She knew that the battlefield was a completely different world.
Silver Infantry Division and Sky Edge Division did not care about how tired they were from the long journey. They pushed forward at top speed as they wanted to obtain a deeper position. After advancing for around twenty-five kilometers, Silver Soldier suddenly ordered the two combat divisions to stop and set up defenses.
He also requested everyone to make good use of the time to rest as the enemy forces would arrive very soon.
Silver Soldier clearly knew that the enemy had rested well while waiting for them. He also knew that Infantry Division and Sky Edge Division were extremely exhausted. If they did not regain some of their elemental energy now, they would not be able to withstand the Blood of God’s first wave of attacks, even with the help of the fortifications.
To Silver Soldier, the first battle was extremely important. If they won the first battle, they would gain confidence easily. If they lost the first battle, they would collapse on the spot.
Very soon, reality had proven that Silver Soldier’s arrangements were very accurate.
Four hours later, the enemy’s main forces had arrived.