Chapter 503 - Enemy is Coming
Lou Lan carefully carried the unconscious Ai Hui down from the Metal Basket Sword Pagoda and poured the long since prepared medicine into Ai Hui’s mouth.
The dark, inky medicine emitted a thick, choking smell.
Each time the members witnessed Lou Lan feeding Ai Hui medicine, they would have a sympathetic look. Compared to Ai Hui’s medicine, their elemental soup was practically a delicacy.
Gu Xuan sipped on his soup, occasionally glanced over at Ai Hui, and prostrated himself in admiration.
Training until unconscious… what kind of realm was this?
Whatever it was, he couldn’t do it.
Not only him, but everyone in the Sword of Lightning was unable to do it. Everyone was utterly convinced of Ai Hui’s capability. There had been some who were concerned that he would injure himself and that their future would fall into uncertainty. No one was worried any longer.
Even if Ai Hui hadn’t recovered. Even if he did not have the least bit of elemental energy.
To be honest, Gu Xuan was unable to imagine how a person without elemental energy could possibly fight. It went against his common sense. He was so absorbed in his thoughts that the fragrant soup almost seemed less alluring. He continued sipping on it subconsciously.
It was true that Ai Hui had no elemental energy, but over these past few days of training they had yet to bump into issues.
The seven sword pagodas operated very smoothly. No, even smoother than before!
This was something Gu Xuan simply couldn’t understand and something he felt was the most illogical.
Could it be that elemental energy was unnecessary for swordsmen?
He found it hard to belief since it violated conventional knowledge. Yet, a live example had been placed before him. What method was Boss using to operate the sword pagodas?
"Do you need my help with your soup, Old Gu? It seems like you’re having a little trouble!"
A coarse voice interrupted Gu Xuan’s train of thought.
Gu Xian regained his senses and noticed a bright bald head approaching. He scolded jokingly, "What do you want, Old Xu! Trying to get a free bowl of soup from me? No way!"
Exposed, Old Yu responded without getting angry, "It’s because you’re drinking without tasting it!"
Gu Xuan rolled his eyes. "Even then, you’re not gonna get it!"
Old Yu was somewhat curious. "What have you been thinking about these two days, Old Gu? So preoccupied."
Apart from the fact that everybody was impressed by Ai Hui’s promotion into the Master realm, within the Sword of Lightning, Gu Xuan’s abilities were second only to Ai Hui. However, they had seen Gu Xuan’s recent abnormal behavior and were rather worried.
While Gu Xuan wasn’t well versed in worldly affairs, he was able to tell good from bad and could feel the concern of Old Yu and the rest. He explained, "I don’t quite understand something. It’s a fact that Boss doesn’t have elemental energy, so why is he still able to control our sword rays?"
Old Yu paused for a moment, but quickly found it funny. "That’s all?"
"Yes, just this!" Gu Xuan looked at Old Yu, adding, "You’ve thought about it too? Any idea?"
Old Yu answered matter-of-factly, "How is he able to control our sword rays despite not having elemental energy? Very simple eh, it’s because he’s the boss. If he can’t then who can?"
Gu Xuan was speechless and unable to refute.
Old Yu continued, "You’re overthinking, Old Gu. Let’s talk about swordsmen. They existed in the past when there wasn’t any elemental energy, so why must they have it now?"
Gu Xuan was stunned. That was right! Swordsmen had a longer history than the Avalon of Five Elements and there wasn’t any elemental energy back then, so why must they have it?
He fell into a daze.
Just then, Ai Hui’s voice could be heard. "Everyone gather!"
Unknowingly, Ai Hui had woken up from his coma.
People raised their heads, somewhat flabbergasted. They had just been resting for a short while and had yet to recover their elemental energy.
The sword moves everybody practiced weren’t complicated, but as long as someone wasn’t following the tempo, the moves would usually fail. This was also why they had to maintain extreme focus at all times. Waving their swords around during such high focus required astonishing physical strength.
After each round of training, everybody had to rest in order to recover their elemental energy and physical strength before starting the next round.
The Sword of Lightning’s training was very dull, much drier than their individual training.
All kinds of complaints emerged. For example, they found the sword moves limited and even boring. As such, a popular phrase surfaced within the Sword of Lightning.
"Are we really swordsmen? I don’t think so. Which swordsmen have such few moves? If we were to use them individually, not even a chicken can be killed. A swordsman unable to kill a chicken shouldn’t go out there and claim to be a swordsman!"
If not for the fact that Ai Hui had personally released the power of the sword pagodas in Lemon Camping Ground, there probably wouldn’t be anyone willing to press on.
Ample rest was extremely crucial, as learned by everybody during this period of harsh training. Without rest, they wouldn’t even be able to engage in high intensity training and would commit errors more frequently, hence hindering their practice.
So when Ai Hui ordered everybody to gather, they were extremely surprised.
These words alerted everyone. Elementalists who were still alive weren’t rookies. They had rich experience. In this chaotic world, not only did they have to face dire beasts, they had to face all kinds of danger, greed, riches, and disputes.
Everybody threw the bowl in their hands on the ground and stood up.
With his full body wrapped in bandages, Ai Hui’s eyes were bright enough to light up the night sky.
Earlier, his spirit and mind had entered a very unique state where he could "see" very far away. He’d never seen such a faraway place before and could detect its dangerous aura.
It was as if the danger was close by. He then "saw" some shadows concealed amid the night.
About 60 miles away from Fishback City, Xia Houjun stopped in his tracks.
A vigilant look flashed across his face. "What’s going on?"
While they were both fickle, the fact that they could remain alive until this point and live so comfortably was enough to show that they were capable individuals.
Xia Houjun asked in a low voice, "Seems like someone is spying on us. Do you feel it?"
"No." Xia Houjie shook his head, the alertness on his face remaining. He scanned his surroundings. "A strong expert?"
"Not sure." Xia Houjun continued hesitantly, "Only in that instant, but it disappeared very quickly, so I can’t be sure."
"It’s good to be more cautious," Xia Houjie said in a low voice, his eyes flickering. " We’re not the only ones eyeing the snow lava. There might be powerful experts, so we can’t be complacent."
The duo raised their guard and slowed down.
Any mistake on the battlefield would only lead to one ending–death. They’d seen too many powerful experts die from a small oversight. Failing to obtain the snow lava simply meant that their mission had failed. They weren’t ready to gamble their lives away for it.
In Fishback City, Gu Xuan led a group of people back and forth within the city.
Boss’s orders were very strange. He’d asked for all lights within the city to be lit. Bonfires had to be started wherever possible.
He couldn’t quite understand the meaning behind this. A strategy to mislead the enemy? But the opponent would immediately notice something fishy they moment they arrived.
Nevertheless, he carried out Boss’s orders to the letter.
It was strange. It was only natural that everybody followed Boss’s orders when he was a Master.
Yet, now that he was severely injured and had yet to recover, it was strange how everybody still complied subconsciously.
Gu Xuan had traveled extensively and been to many cities. All along, he spoke with his fist. Anything a Master possessed would go up in smoke the moment his base level crumbled.
No one would listen to his orders anymore and all respect would be gone.
Yet, this did not happen to Ai Hui.
Gu Xuan also tried thinking from his own perspective. Why was he still listening to Ai Hui? Could he control the sword pagodas? No. He didn’t even know how to train, so needless to say he wouldn’t be able to lift the pagoda. Could he replace Boss? No.
Gu Xuan believed that in everyone’s eyes, there were inconceivable things going on in Ai Hui’s mind.
There was something about Ai Hui that gave people faith.
As for the fact that Ai Hui was no longer a Master, Gu Xuan realized that he did not really mind. In his eyes, Ai Hui would definitely return to his status as a Master, just like Senior Le Buleng had. Ai Hui was merely facing a low point in life.
Gu Xuan was highly confident about this, even more so than the possibility of him becoming a Master.
So damn strange!
Gu Xuan shook his head. He could only console himself. People who could become leaders usually had special traits.
The lights in Fishback City shone brightly, and everybody took the chance to go to the top of Blackfish Mouth Volcano. Right by their side was the sword pagoda that Lou Lan had brought up.
The mountain wasn’t as magnificent at night. The red glow from its volcanic crater was blocked by thick rolling smoke.
The night breeze brushed across Ai Hui’s face. He was like a mummy who had just crawled out from his sarcophagus. He looked into the distance, his eyes sparkling like stars.
Gu Xuan and the rest followed Ai Hui’s line of sight, but saw nothing.
"Everybody take this time to rest. The enemy is coming soon."
Ai Hui’s voice made everybody nervous. They quickly meditated and recuperated.
The volcanic crater quietened down and only Lou Lan was left by Ai Hui’s side. He gazed into the horizon.
It was extremely quiet around them.
At this point, Ai Hui felt something he hadn’t before. He felt as if he’d melted into the night. He could see the metal wind blowing from afar. The almost undetectable rippling layers. The ground beneath his feet and the blue dome of heaven above his head seemed to be one with him. His gaze spanned across the mountains and the blue dome of heaven, as if overlooking the field and bearing the weight of all living things.
No one noticed that the moment the wind came close to Blackfish Mouth Volcano, it would become abnormally docile. Only Lou Lan sensed it. He turned around, the red glow in his eyes flickering for a short while before calming down.
Behind them, the bubbling snow lava appeared to be flattened into folded layers by an invisible hand. Its was smooth and glossy like a heated metal mirror.
An obsessed look appeared on Ai Hui’s face. This was beyond a wonderful experience.
In his eyes, the world wasn’t just elemental energy.
Some time passed, then he sensed something. Immediately, he separated himself from that marvelous state of mind. He felt somewhat regretful and felt it would be good if he could experience this state once more.
With a murderous spirit surging within his bright eyes, he threw away all distracting thoughts.
"Enemy is coming."