Chapter 527 - Courage and Special Training
A skinny and aged figure shuttled through the woods. His face and hair were covered with dust. Wrinkles on this face were rigid and forceful, like layers of folds piled up by gradually solidifying molten iron. However, his eyes were extremely pure like a baby.
Le Buleng left Skyheart City. Instead of flying, he chose to walk through the wild and headed toward the Jadeite Forest.
He walked in the daytime and sat in meditation at night. Wild fruits and dire beasts satisfied his stomach. Water from streams moistened his throat. He measured the earth by his feet and felt its eternity. Compared to the earth, life was as insignificant as dust. Looking into the sky, he indulged in the enormous starry heavens that had witnessed countless geniuses as they wrote down their legends.
He recalled his childhood. He was not the most gifted or the worst, but it was without a doubt that his temper was the most troublesome. After all these years, he had become this old, but his temper had not changed much.
It was just like his endeavors to become a Master - he never succeeded.
He had experienced too much failure and mockery in his life.
There were too many memories, so he needed to go through them slowly. The courage left behind by him gradually became alive.
His youth, faith, dream, pride, and persistence were totally mixed in all sorts of courage.
The courage to persist in his decision, the courage to give up in order to survive, and the courage to start again from scratch.
Also, the courage when he was in his teenage years, in his adulthood, and in his old age.
During his lifetime, he had always wondered about the future from his desk. He had the experience of practicing all year round, no matter the mind-numbing winter or the searing hot summer, and also the experience of standing high above the masses with the command of a combat division in his hand. He had been to the highest mountain and tried to touch the sky in drunkenness, traveled to the snowfields that harbored frozen rivers, and experienced the vast deserts where smoke rose directly into the sky. He had seen bandits running and begging for forgiveness while he sat on top of a city wall and had also vanquished heroes by simply letting them know his name.
The first half of his life was mocked by others. People thought he was a freak and laughed at his failures.
The latter half of his life was admired by others. People venerated his perseverance and revered him as a master.
He had experienced ups and downs as well as all kinds of emotions, but never had he felt regretful.
When he recalled his eventful life, the worries in Skyheart City, the ups and downs of the world, the destiny of humanity, and all the other distracting thoughts faded into the wind.
His heart was crystal clear.
In this manner, he made his final preparations for the battle. At this moment, Le Buleng was like an ascetic believer who was on a pilgrimage. In his mind, the final destination of his pilgrimage was the battle, which was also his whole life.
He had failed eight times, struggled eight times, and attained enlightenment eight times.
On the way to his final destination, he had been thinking and hesitating.
He was like a rusty sword that was dull, but had its sword ray. He climbed mountains like the old vines that clung to the cliffs that overlooked Jadeite City.
He had traveled throughout the world and challenged numerous heroes. He had pursued the Path of Master for his whole life.
He strode proudly ahead and sang confidently.
There was only one battle left for him to fight in his lifetime.
In the bamboo forest of the Central Pine Valley, the patterns under Duanmu Huanghun were changing again.
This [Viridescent Flower] variation was number 1,200.
The Pinwheel Sword had been inserted obliquely into a ridge on the Blackfish Mouth Volcano. The colorful pinwheel on the end of the sword pointed to the sky and twirled against wind.
The pinwheel cast large pieces of shadow on the ground where people sat scattered and were taking a break to recover their elemental energy.
Shi Zhiguang looked sad. Cupping his chin with his hand, he stared at the ground silently with the ends of his eyebrows pointing downward.
His performance today had been awful because he couldn’t find a proper rhythm for their striking pace and had failed several times. Each strike of the Pinwheel Sword had to match an attack from the sword pagodas. In addition, the controller had to deviate the Pinwheel Sword’s direction if it had traveled 50 feet in one direction.
Due to the lightning speed of the Pinwheel Sword, Shi Zhiguang had to remain highly concentrated. A tiny distraction would lead him to failure.
Gu Xuan sat down beside him. He patted him on the shoulder and comforted him, "You are already the best!"
He meant it.
Although Shi Zhiguang was tall and looked simple and honest like a savage fighter, he was the most gifted among the three sword operators and performed the best.
Shi Zhiguang didn’t respond because Gu Xuan’s words didn’t work at all. He had just discovered what his gift was and was more than eager to earn achievements.
Would he have to go back to what he was before?
After he experienced being respected and admired, his life became bright, so he could no longer bear the dull and poor life from before.
Gu Xuan didn’t know how to comfort Shi Zhiguang, but he thought that he had to say something after seeing his depression.
In another corner, Ai Hui put down his elemental energy soup and shouted at him.
Shi Zhiguang was startled. He hesitated for a while and walked toward Ai Hui.
Gu Xuan was worried that Shi Zhiguang would be rebuked, so he followed him immediately.
"Sit down," Ai Hui said indifferently.
His skinny body was wrapped in bandages with two pieces of black crystal over his eyes.
On normal days, Ai Hui’s appearance was privately mocked by everyone, but at this moment, Shi Zhiguang felt inwardly guilty, so he didn’t find this funny at all and thought that the person under the bandages must be enraged.
Shi Zhiguang murmured, "Standing is okay for me."
Ai Hui snorted, "Sit down. You want to go against my orders?"
Shi Zhiguang shivered a bit and sat down immediately. He sat properly with his legs held together and his hands on his legs.
Gu Xuan realized the situation was not good and decided that if Shi Zhiguang was reprimanded, he would beg for leniency for him.
Ai Hui cleared his throat and asked, "Why are you depressed? It’s not your fault. The Pinwheel Sword is a new weapon, and we are all groping our way forward. Therefore, it’s fine for you to fail. I can accept your failure, but I can’t tolerate you losing your will to fight. If you keep doing so, I will replace you!"
Hearing Ai Hui’s words, Shi Zhiguang instantly stood up straight, held his chin up, and puffed his chest out. His extreme chest muscles were as strong as a gorilla’s. He immediately said, "Master, I won’t lose the will to fight!"
Gu Xuan looked at Ai Hui in surprise.
In everybody’s mind, Ai Hui was strict because he would assign punitive practice that took on unimaginable forms to anyone who made a tiny mistake during training. These punitive practices would consume one’s energy excessively. Besides, Ai Hui was impartial and incorruptible, so everyone was awed by him.
Still, no one complained. Instead, they were sincerely convinced when Ai Hui joined their training and followed the same criteria as everyone else.
Last time, Ai Hui beat the whole Sword of Lightning by himself, which won everybody’s admiration.
It had to be admitted that Ai Hui was good at training people. The seemingly nonsense tests from before were later proven to be practical. Some members were average in personal strength, but possessed talent in particular aspects. Thus, no one was arrogant in the division, and the atmosphere was quite harmonious.
Gu Xan’s mindset had been unknowingly changed He used to be a loner, but now he practiced and shouldered punishment together with the other division members, which contributed a lot to their relationship.
This was especially evident a few days ago when Ai Hui was injured, so Gu Xuan had to lead the division in training.
From then on, Gu Xuan had become used to taking care of others.
That was why he had decided to intercede for Shi Zhiguang this time.
Ai Hui coughed again. "Although you are not the one to be blamed for the mistakes, you still need to make progress. After all, our lives depend on you."
Shi Zhiguang felt excited immediately. Face flushing, he said loudly, "I won’t let you down!"
He had never been so highly valued like that.
Conscious of his responsibility, he was full of vigor. Thus, he couldn’t wait to operate the Pinwheel Sword again and start a new practice session.
Ai Hui nodded and seemed satisfied. "Good, but having guts is not enough to win a battle. We have to improve our overall strength. In order to raise sword operators’ strength, I have designed a special training regimen for you all."
Shi Guangzhi straightened his neck and shouted, "I will complete the special training!"
He decided that he would finish it no matter how hard it was.
Ai Hui waved his hand. "Not only you, but all sword operators have to pass the special training. Gu Xuan, tell the other two to come here."
The other two sword operators came immediately and stood rigidly in front of Shi Zhiguang. Compared to Shi Zhiguang, they were not confident at all. Daily training was already difficult enough. They couldn’t imagine how hard the special training would be.
They were prepared to undergo the most severe trial.
Other team members also gathered around since they wanted to know what the special training would be.
As everybody arrived, Ai Hui said, " Being highly concentrated for a long period of time is the top challenge for a sword operator. This special training focuses on that point. Hence, it tasks our sword operators with learning to embroider."
After hearing what he said, everybody was silent at first. Then, they exploded with complaints.
"Embroidery! Oh my god!
"Boss must be insane!"
Shi Zhiguang, who had been excited a moment ago, was dumbstruck.
The other two sword operators also felt astounded.
Ai Hui asked, "Do you know anything about embroidery? Come on, Shi Zhiguang. Tell us what you know."
Shi Zhiguang stuttered, "Yes, women do embroidery."
A strong sense of déjà vu carried Ai Hui back into his memories, returning him to a small, familiar courtyard where an old man patiently taught a teenager.
Almost reflexively, Ai Hui said , "Superficial!"
"A seamstress needs to use elemental energy as a needle, which is not an easy job. The qualities of threads and materials are different, while the designs are complicated. A good seamstress can control 10 elemental energy needles simultaneously that work in different areas of her embroidery work. As for the best embroidery master, do you know how many elemental energy needles she could control at a time?
"The highest record was 949 needles…"
Nobody noticed the yearning and nostalgia in Ai Hui’s hoarse voice. His mind lingered in the small courtyard where the sound of weaving looms hummed now and then.
Master, Mistress, your disciple can now teach others how to embroider.