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Chapter 510 - Pointers
"So he’s really injured?" Gong Chengxiu asked as he fiddled with his wine cup.
Behind him were Han Li and Gong Peiyao.
Ever since Han Li left Clearwater City after having a match with Ai Hui, he’d fallen into an obsession. He became deranged and got lost in the Wilderness. At that time, he was in a semi-conscious state, his body filled with wounds left by dire beasts. Fortunately, he bumped into Gong Peiyao and Venerable Volcano, who were on the way out, and was saved.
Unexpectedly, in the process of looking after Han Li, Gong Peiyao developed feelings for him.
Han Li, who’d just woken up, was no different from a cripple. Even his mind was in an abnormal state, sometimes clear-headed and sometimes crazy. Nevertheless, Gong Peiyao continued taking care of him without wavering, deliberately took her own sweet time on the road, and refused to return home.
Under Gong Peiyao’s meticulous care, Han Li’s injuries fully recovered and so did his state of mind. When his vision regained clarity he had become a master swordsman.
Newly promoted, Han Li’s status naturally rose, and his relationship with Gong Peiyao received Gong Chengxiu’s tacit acceptance.
Qiao Meiqi picked up his cup, gulping the wine down before placing it back on the table. "He’s no longer a Master."
Han Li was astonished. "His base level crumbled?"
The match with Ai Hui had been his turning point. Ai Hui’s sword formation had influenced him greatly. As such, he’d been paying close attention to Ai Hui. To him, rival swordsmen whom he was able to exchange pointers with were few.
Ai Hui was one of those very few.
Qiao Meiqi looked at Han Li. "Worse. His residences and palaces are mostly destroyed. His breaths are brief and weak. His injuries are more serious than rumored. If not for the fact that he’s mentally all right, I would be slightly worried. If I lose this snow lava business, I’ll be earning much less."
Han Li looked disappointed, his heart empty.
Gong Chengxiu sighed and said somewhat regretfully, "What a pity. So it’s not a sword pagoda?"
Qiao Meiqi spread his hands. "That I’m not sure."
Han Li shook his head. "Theoretically speaking, it is possible. A sword pagoda is a kind of sword formation, and there’s no intrinsic difference. Any sword formation would have an eye, and it must be commanded by a capable and strong expert. It is possible for a sword pagoda to have such might, but only if a master swordsman was commanding it. Ai Hui was poisoned by Night Moth Fruit so even if he survived by luck, he definitely wouldn’t be able to endure the pressure of the sword formation."
Gong Peiyao looked dreamily at Han Li. She adored his confidence and frankness.
Gong Chengxiu wrinkled his brows. "Could it be that Ai Hui really has backing?"
Qiao Meiqi reminded, "Isn’t that a good thing? At least we are all friends and not enemies."
Gong Chengxiu relaxed his brows and smiled. "That’s right! At least we’re all friends and not enemies."
The relationship between the Gong Residence and the Central Pine Valley was virtually inseparable. They knew what kind of sword formation Ai Hui was drumming up. Many had already forgotten that Ai Hui was Wang Shouchuan’s only student.
The God-subduing Peak originated from Teacher Wang’s theories, so how was it inconceivable for Ai Hui to create something similar to the God-subduing Peak?
Others believed there was a powerful and mysterious expert, but Gong Chengxiu first thought of Ai Hui’s sword pagoda.
According to Han Li, this type of weapon would not be operable without a Master. The God-subduing Peak also required a Master to control.
It was not a sword pagoda. Gong Chengxiu was disappointed, but mostly relieved. If there really was a lethal weapon comparable to the God-subduing Peak, would the Gong Residence be able to withstand it? Not only was he after its power, he greatly feared its influence.
A strongly destructive weapon was like an irritable and powerful dire beast. Toward which direction would it toss the Gong Residence?
To glory or to ruins.
Volcanic Crater, Blackfish Mouth Volcano.
Mister Dou was here to check on the Northern Underworld King Tree as usual. Ever since it had been implanted into the volcanic crater, he would come regularly to examine it. He felt a lot of affection for it since it was something that had followed him for a long time after all.
His days in the Central Pine Valley had been very satisfying and leisurely. He didn’t have to fight and kill or worry about gratitude and grudges. He was just a teacher, conducting lessons for the kids. It was extremely relaxing.
He stopped suddenly. "You’re here."
Ai Hui raised his head and looked at the Northern Underworld King Tree beside the magma.
The red light beams were like a converging luminous muslin, shooting into the darkness than enveloped the tree. The Northern Underworld King Tree was like a monster that came out of nowhere, opening its mouth and greedily swallowing the light.
Because of the tree’s existence, the volcanic crater was dusky and dim.
As compared to when it was first planted, the tree was much stronger now. It had also started to sprout and grow leaves.
Ai Hui maintained his posture for a long time and found his body aching the moment he was roused by Mister Dou. He laughed bitterly to himself. He hadn’t expected his body to be this weak.
Mister Dou, being extra observant, crinkled his brows. "Have your injuries worsened?"
He’d been satisfied with his life here so far and did not wish for it to be disrupted. In this chaotic world, the key to maintaining such a dreamy lifestyle was to maintain the might of the Central Pine Valley.
Fishback City wasn’t far from the valley. The sword rays from that night had shaken him greatly, but also made him feel at ease.
However, he had not expected that Ai Hui’s injuries would aggravate!
Having stayed in the valley for some time, Mister Dou understood how important Ai Hui was to the Central Pine Faction. His value was beyond what was visible.
Ai Hui smiled bitterly. His injuries had indeed worsened.
Commanding the Metal Basket Sword Pagoda took a toll on his body. Xiahou Jun’s counterattack inflicted great damage. However, the root cause wasn’t this, but the sword cloud.
The sword cloud within his body was a similar existence to that of the sword embryo. If Ai Hui’s body was wood, the sword cloud would be a burning flame. The flame was currently very vigorous, but the wood was inadequate. This was the fundamental cause of his poor health.
Ai Hui had tried many ways to strengthen his body, but to no avail. It was as if his past tempering methods had all lost their effectiveness overnight. With regard to this, Lou Lan had no ideal solution. At least for now, there were no better methods.
Ai Hui was exceptionally energetic, but his body was declining by the day. Commanding the Metal Basket Sword Pagoda during battle had worsened his condition.
Mister Dou sighed. "Too much lightning has permeated your body, causing it to repel elemental energy. WIthout elemental energy replenishment, your body will only continue to deteriorate."
Ai Hui jolted. "Any ideas, Mister Dou?"
He had to admit that Mister Dou was indeed a seasoned Master, able to locate the problem at first glance.
Mister Dou continued, "You’ll have to find another source. In the past, elementalists had falsely believed that the existence of the five elemental energies were involved in all living things. This was merely their opinion. For example, this Northern Underworld King Tree isn’t within the five elements.
Ai Hui agreed wholeheartedly. He’d felt this way since a long time ago. From the start, his sword embryo had been strange and outside of the five elements. Later on, his lightning also wasn’t within the five elements. Otherwise, why had elementalists not unraveled the secret of lightning throughout the millennia after the construction of the elemental energy system?
Mister Dou sighed again. "Perhaps the Northern Underworld King Tree could help, but its actual effectiveness will only be known after trying."
Ai Hui hurriedly said, "Thank you for your trouble, Mister Dou."
Mister Dou walked to the tree and added, "The tree is able to absorb all light, which becomes its nutrients and eventually its leaves."
The Northern Underworld King Tree had a total of 13 leaves.
Mister Dou plucked one off and gave it to Ai Hui. "Try it. It doesn’t taste too bad. I’ve eaten it in the past when I was injured."
An ash gray color emerged on the leaf, and there was a black veined pattern that criss-crossed on it. Holding it in his hand, Ai Hui realized that the leaf was oddly heavy. If not for the fact that he’d seen Mister Dou pluck it from the tree with his own eyes, he would’ve thought that he was holding a big chunk of metal.
A big metal chunk fresh out of the oven. It was rather warm.
Mister Dou reminded, "Eat it quickly. The leaf can’t be preserved unless you can find [Northern Underworld Fog]. Otherwise, upon picking it, it will start emitting light and get destroyed.
Ai Hui popped it into his mouth without further ado.
The leaf melted rapidly in his mouth like a block of ice as wisps of warm flows seeped into his body.
Ai Hui felt his withered flesh immediately becoming plump as he felt instantly refreshed.
When the last wisp of the warm flows entered his flesh, Ai Hui felt that his whole body was full of strength.
It had been a long time since Ai Hui felt this relaxed. He was beyond happy and quickly removed his face bandages. There was only joy on his face.
"Don’t be happy too soon." Mister Dou poured cold water on Ai Hui’s joy. "The Northern Underworld King Tree is only nourishing your body temporarily. If you do not find a way to continuously nourish your body, it will certainly collapse due to the immense energy. If you’re able to find a way, your vitality will increase a notch. Perhaps you might walk a different path then."
Mister Dou’s words hit the nail on the head.
The cheer in Ai Hui’s heart dimmed. Mister Dou was right. The leaves of the Northern Underworld King Tree were remarkably effective, but could only be used for emergencies and not for daily training.
Yet, the notable effects of the leaves of the Northern Underworld King Tree gave Ai Hui considerable inspiration.
It was no wonder that while Lou Lan’s medicine helped him to regain energy, it wasn’t as effective in nourishing his body. The ingredients Lou Lan used had to be refined according to the elemental energy system, and the medicinal syrup was essentially a product of this system. His body had been tempered by lightning, so it was strongly repelled by elemental energy. Past methods he had used to temper his body no longer worked.
It seemed like he would need to look for something outside of the elemental energy system.
But where should he look for something beyond elemental energy?
Eh? Ai Hui suddenly recalled that his body possessed something outside of the elemental energy system.