| Chapter 149: Crescent Moon
Translator: JL Editor: JL
Threads of elemental energy bubbled relentlessly from Ai Hui's pores, creating a ring of dazzling light.
Ai Hui's mind was blank.
The sword force in his body was as boundless as an ocean which was, at this point, rumbling with a fury. In the midst of the storm, Ai Hui's mental state was a helpless leaf constantly rolled about by the waves, falling, and being torn into pieces before finally being engulfed by the ocean.
Fatty's continuous beatings had facilitated the sword force within Ai Hui's body to actively penetrate outwards. Under normal circumstances, the elemental energy would not have been able to do this. Furthermore, due to his training, Ai Hui's skin was like copper, more tough and durable than an average student's. Thus, it was more difficult for the elemental energy to leak out of his pores.
Fatty's constant "efforts" had finally paid off. Vast amounts of elemental energy bubbled out from within Ai Hui's body like steam.
Once the elemental energy was drained away, the pressure within Ai Hui's body lessened. This allowed Ai Hui's unstable mental state to finally have a breather and regain an ounce of clarity.
"Ai Hui! Use your sword!"
Lou Lan's reminder was like an explosion in Ai Hui's mind but also seemed to be coming from the opposite end of the sea.
Use my sword?
In the midst of his confusion, a sword technique came to mind with lightning speed.
Within his elemental energy that was vast as an ocean was a slender bowstring that connected Ai Hui's left hand palace to his right hand's palace. The elemental energy cord with which he had always had difficulty was completed with ease while Ai Hui had been unaware.
At the moment of the elemental energy cord's completion, the elemental energy bubbling out of Ai Hui changed abruptly.
Instead of leaving him, it surrounded Ai Hui's surroundings while rotating at high speeds.
Swoosh swoosh swoosh!
It was as though there were countless sharp small swords flitting about speedily in the air. The stake and ropes that had initially tied him down became fragmented and of different lengths. They hovered in the air in segments, as if supported by an invisible hand. Constant cuts were made on the brick flooring beneath Ai Hui's feet by the sword, and chunks of brick flew wildly.
Within Ai Hui's body, the roaring of the elemental energy ocean stopped preemptively the moment the elemental energy cord was completed.
Time seemed to have come to a standstill.
As if Ai Hui had practiced it countless times, he was familiar with the move in its entirety. The Dragonspine Inferno, which had never left his hand, was placed horizontally before him. Together with a single stride, he swung the sword.
The Dragonspine Inferno, which weighed one hundred kilograms, was as lithe and agile as a skipping stone on water.
The elemental energy that had been dammed in Ai Hui's body rushed like the flowing waters of a dike and into the Dragonspine Inferno in Ai Hui's right hand.
As a spring vibrates with flicked, the deep thrumming of the Dragonspine Inferno gave rise to a slight tingle. A sheen of dazzling light appeared on the black body of the Dragonspine Inferno.
A crescent culminated on the sharp end of the sword, disappearing within moments.
The expressions of the dean and mayor changed after being exposed to Ai Hui's imposing manner. The dean was especially shocked. How could he have been ignorant of such a brilliant student at his school? Such an explosion of aura was not something easily surpassed. Even the top genius of Central Pine Academy, Duanmu Huanghun, would find it difficult.
How could a student have such an imposing air?
Wang Zhen, too, was incredibly amazed, but for different reasons from the dean's. When he received Shi Xueman and Sang Zhijun's reports, he did a thorough background check on Ai Hui. There was nothing about him that he did not know. Ai Hui had been born to a life of hard work, staying in the Wilderness for three years. An exception was made, allowing him to enter and train in the Induction Ground. He achieved the base level of two palaces and was also a disciple of Wang Shouchuan. Even Ai Hui's hand in the Bunny Hair's profit was not absent from Wang Zhen's knowledge; he had done an incredibly detailed investigation.
What made him deeply respect Ai Hui, however, was actually the fact that not only did Ai Hui survive two encounters with the blood beasts, but also that he played a pivotal role in the group's successful escape. Aside from Shi Xueman's and Sang Zhijun's reports, Wang Zhen had also seen the reports from Teacher Xu and Cui Xianzi. Both of them also mentioned Ai Hui as the one to have first realized that something was amiss.
Ai Hui seemed to have an extraordinary intuition towards the blood poison. It also happened to be the main reason behind seeking him out.
But all of the intelligence he received failed to mention that Ai Hui had such an uncanny capability for swordplay!
Was this truly two palaces? How could such frightening waves of elemental energy result from just two palaces? It most certainly had to belong to at least seven palaces! Could it be that this chap was concealing his talent?
He would not have been so shocked if it were simply the waves of elemental energy. The moment the tip of the sword transformed into a crescent moon, his facial muscles trembled involuntarily. Such awe-inspiring swordplay gave him goosebumps.
The sword seemed to head straight for his glabella; with the sword's next movement, it would even pierce him.
Both Wang Zhen and the dean reacted immediately.
Wang Zhen suddenly held a stained knife. His aura underwent a transformation, as though he had become another person. Even his height seemed to have increased. His bearing was indescribably fierce and severe. He wordlessly brought down his knife in a single stroke, its gleam similar to an inverted waterfall.
The dean's wide sleeves emitted large amounts bubbles like the ones blown by soapy water. Under the sunlight, they reflected a myriad of colors, dancing alongside the wind in a dream-like sequence.
The crescent which had disappeared from the tip of Ai Hui's sword appeared before them as if out of thin air. It intersected with the gleam from Wang Zhen's knife.
Like fragile porcelain, the crescent silently shattered into a multitude of fragments.
Wang Zhen's expression changed slightly, and he immediately held his knife horizontally and exerted his left palm outwards.
The shattered crescent suddenly transformed into numerous sword gleams and enveloped the entire courtyard.
Swoosh swoosh swoosh!
The sword ray collided with the bubbles. They popped as though pricked by a needle, bursting immediately. However, the dean's billowing sleeves seemed to be a bottomless pit, gushing out colorful bubbles in a relentless torrent.
The spheres increased in number, covering the dean from view.
The sword gleam, which had been aimed at Wang Zhen, now seemed to have hit an invisible barrier and set off rippling waves.
A glint of the sword beam shot towards Duanmu Huanghun. Waking up from his stupor, he immediately used his [Viridescent Flower]. A circle of branches materialized around him, and the sword gleam collided into the branches. With a tremble, Duanmu Huanghun successfully blocked the sword gleam, but there was not a trace of celebration on his face. His gaze was instead fixated on the V[iridescent Flower]'s branches that were slowly rotating around him.
The small pinhole on a single leaf was extremely blinding.
How could it be....
He almost could not believe his eyes. From the moment he entered the training hall, the impacts came in wave after wave. The Ai Hui in front of him felt like a stranger.
He had recently improved tremendously, with the encounter in the Garden of Life and the bitter battle outside of the city serving as stimulation. He was already talented, but with the threats of death, he was able to fully exploit and expand his talent and capability.
Three days ago, he managed to activate the fifth palace, known as the earth palace.
The implication was that he was entering the territory of greater skills. With each activation of the four palaces-earth, sea, gate, and sky-the strength would increase by leaps and bounds. Although everyone's constitution was different, in general, the earth palace could store 1.5 times more elemental energy than the hand palace. Additionally, the activation of his earth palace enabled him to practice moves from the [Viridescent Flower] that he had been unable to previously.
Thus, his strength increased tremendously, and he was pleased beyond expectations.
But that was before today. The waves of elemental energy that Ai Hui emitted sent chills to his heart. Duanmu Huanghun was certain that he would be unable to produce such frightening vibrations even with a base level of five palaces.
And that sword move....
Just one move from Ai Hui had forced the dean and the mayor into such a situation. This far surpassed any knowledge Duanmu Huanghun had of Ai Hui.
Duanmu Huanghun was clear about his capability. While he shot into fame after just one battle, he immediately became low-key and restrained afterwards. He knew that his brilliant results happened only because everyone was unfamiliar with him, unfamiliar with his [Viridescent Flower].
In the end, he had been a freshman with the base level of four palaces. Once everyone familiarized themselves, they would be able to think of ideas to counter him.
Base level was a weakness that he could not avoid. While it required talent, it also needed time and patience.
However, Ai Hui seemed to have skipped the latter requirement.
From the activation of his natal palaces to both of his hand palaces, and now... How many palaces had he activated to produce such strong elemental energy waves?
And that unnerving yet grand sword move. Was it an absolute art? Didn't they say that swordplay was in decline? How could such impressive swordplay be in decline?
His own rapid improvements were supported by several reasons. He was gifted with talent and imparted with an absolute art. His family was rich, and with external triggers, there was nothing strange about his tremendous improvement.
Yet he could not comprehend Ai Hui's improvement. There was no reasoning he could see behind it. His skills were nothing extraordinary, he was poor, and he was also older. How could he ever understand why that fellow's improvement was greater than his?
While the bubbles seemed powerless as they would burst upon contact, the volume was simply so much that it seemed limitless. All of the sword gleams were forcibly blocked by them. With the exception of Duanmu Huanghun, everyone was sheltered and protected behind him.
"This feels good!"
Wang Zhen burst into laughter for a long time, containing a whole ten years' worth of battle intent. His hair and beard fluttered around him, and his gaze was bright and animated. Holding onto the rusted knife, he was in high spirits.
"Central Pine Academy had a concealed talent! I cannot believe that there's such an expert here! Ai Hui, show me all that you've got. Let's have a hearty battle!"
Wang Zhen's thundering voice left a buzzing sound in everyone's ear.
He raised his blade and approached Ai Hui. Each stride was large, pressing into the hearts of those present. Even the floor trembled.
Duanmu Huanghun's pupils constricted while the expressions of the other teachers changed. Nobody could have expected the inconspicuous mayor to have such violent capabilities and strength.
"Ai Hui, could it be that you have lost your guts?"
Wang Zhen roared loudly and took a leaping step.
In midair, Wang Zhen's vigor was at its peak, and he felt an indescribable contentedness. He was all fired up.
No one would be able to block this move!
Ai Hui, who was below him, fell face down like a blockhead, unconscious.
At his side was Lou Lan, thoroughly relaxed. He had exhausted all of his sand core's elemental energy. His eyelids grew heavier and heavier as he mumbled deliriously, "Lou Lan is tired...."
Wang Zhen landed back on the floor with a stiff expression.
The dean, who had just finished dispersing the bubbles, was dumbfounded.
Ai Hui, unconscious. Fatty, unconscious. Lou Lan, unconscious.