“You find anything?”
Instructor Zhou’s voice suddenly sounded from behind him, and before Ai Hui knew it, they were standing side by side.
Ai Hui shuddered. He had not sensed Instructor Zhou move towards him at all. Was this the power of an elite from the Thirteen Divisions? Ever since he had planted the sword embryo when he was in the Wilderness, no one within a three-meter radius could escape his detection.
Ai Hui was in awe, and an intense feeling of desire and motivation grew within him. The elites of the Thirteen Divisions possessed skills that far exceeded those of the elementalists of the hunting teams.
Ai Hui regained his composure and gave his report. “It should be gnawing marks left by a big fellow. The strength of its bite is astonishing. Judging by the tree stump, the creature broke it with a single bite.”
He did not say whether it was a wild beast or a dire beast. While there was only a single word’s difference, both were essentially unalike because of the distinction in the usage of elemental energy.
Dire beasts had existed since the Cultivation Era and were closely related to the Wilderness. They could channel elemental energy. Wild beasts, however, did not have this ability.
Admiration flashed in Instructor Zhou’s eyes as he lowered his voice and said, “Be more careful, and don’t utter a word.”
“Yes.” Ai Hui understood what Instructor Zhou meant. Spreading the news would cause unnecessary panic. These students did not have much mental strength.
When Ai Hui turned around, he was met with emptiness. Only when he looked at the front did he see Instructor Zhou standing among the team members over ten meters away. He even gave Ai Hui a wink.
Ai Hui was stunned once again.
It wasn’t that he hadn’t ever encountered an elementalist well known for speed, but when could he have ever seen such noiseless, lightning-like movements? This was the first time!
How did he do that?
Ai Hui pondered over this question at length. He envisioned a few possibilities in his mind, but none seemed possible. Actually, he knew that Instructor Zhou’s level was beyond his scope of understanding, but he nevertheless couldn’t help but imagine how he would go about doing so if he was at Instructor Zhou’s level.
It was Ai Hui’s habit to indulge in flights of fancy about questions and doubts involving fighting. When he was stuck with a problem, he would repeatedly try to analyze and visualize possible solutions. This was the residual effect of tossing and turning all night over the sword embryo.
Ai Hui thought about the matter in silence as he accelerated his pace and caught up with the team.
No one was aware of the short exchange between Ai Hui and Instructor Zhou. They were all in high spirits.
Suddenly, someone in the front cried out in alarm, “Quick, look! What’s that?”
The group was roused as everyone stopped their discussions and gathered around to inspect.
Ai Hui, however, did not join them. A crowded place was vulnerable to attacks. He moved to the side, creating some space as he stood facing the group, trying to get a clear understanding of the situation.
Ants. Countless ants. They were crawling out in an unending stream from a large hole in the ground, forming a current of ants about three meters wide and two meters long. They were slowly advancing in the direction of the Avalon of Five Elements.
“So many ants! What are they doing?”
“Are they migrating?”
“It’s quite a scary sight.”
“No worries, they are just ordinary ants, not elemental ants.”
Everyone was curiously discussing; it was their first time seeing such a sight. They weren't afraid, however, as ordinary ants weren’t dangerous.
“This is not a small ant community,” Teacher Xu explained. “It is not uncommon for ants to migrate. When you all enter the Wilderness in the future, you’ll be able to see many different types of elemental ants, and you all have to be careful. If you see elemental ants migrating in a group, do not provoke them. Don’t underestimate the strength of an ant colony. Even though they are weak individually, they are terrifying when gathered together. Instructor Zhou can share more information with you all.”
Zhou Xiaoxi nodded. “In the Wilderness, when elemental ants migrate, even dire beasts avoid their path. It's best not to provoke creatures like ants and bees that claim victory by their numbers. They are vengeful and will come for you in a group. If you stumble upon them, the best thing to do is to break them up. A lot of medicines are made specially to handle these types of beasts.”
Everyone was amazed; how interesting!
Teacher Xu was pleased. This journey was to expand their horizons, and such a sight could hardly be witnessed in cities and academies.
Zhou Xiaoxi led everybody around the ants. As the ants were moving slowly, they did not hinder the team’s movements.
The jungle, which was filled with lush vegetation, was home to an uncrossable river of lava, which marked the boundary between the Induction Ground and the Old Territory.
The lava river flowed out from the ground all year round.
It was said that this lava river was connected to the subterranean Fire Prairie of the Calabash Mountain, but no one had ever seen the flame flowers floating on the river.
Flame flowers constituted a special feature of the Sparking Plain, which was, in fact, a haven for fire elementalists. Amongst a vast, boundless black field stood a single calabash-shaped volcano that touched the clouds. Once in a while, Calabash Mountain would erupt, creating a rain of fire unique to the Sparking Plain. That very rain would cover the desolate black field, forming unique flowers of flame.
Fresh fire-red flame flowers spread over the vast black plain, forming a beautiful, painting-like scenery.
If the lava river originated from the Fire Prairie, then flame flowers should be seen floating on the river. However, since no flame flowers were ever seen in the river, no one believed the legend.
The lava river completely separated the Induction Ground and the Old Territory, and the cities and academies of the Induction Ground were mostly congregated on the other side that was closer to the Avalon of Five Elements. The areas closer to the Old Territory eventually became a wild jungle, filled with lush vegetation and rampaging wild beasts due to a prolonged lack of human activities.
The Induction Ground would regularly dispatch manpower to exterminate the dire beasts while the ordinary wild beasts were allowed to roam and reproduce.
This region gradually become an external classroom for the students within the Induction Ground. The wild beasts here were not very dangerous, making them just suitable for educating the students. The thick jungle also allowed students to learn quite a lot.
There were no dangers on the way, but Ai Hui’s group constantly faced many small challenges. Ai Hui felt that the team was advancing at the speed of a snail.
But he did not utter a word and just trained by himself during breaks.
As they approached the lava, the flora started to become richer and more abundant. Ai Hui noticed many plants that could be found in the Wilderness. They were probably initially planted by the wood elementalists of the Induction Ground, but as time passed, these plants had undergone significant changes.
Ai Hui saw sword reeds, but unlike those he’d seen in the past, they weren’t enormous and tall. Their leaf blades were narrower, and instead of being dark or ash green, they were dark red in color, exuding a demonic aura.
Was it because they were close to the lava? Most of the plants here were somewhat of a dark red color.
Ai Hui didn't know why, but this kind of dark red made his heart pound.
After Teacher Xu’s explanation, Ai Hui understood that this place was not only a training ground for students but also a ground for wood elementalist instructors to transplant all sorts of strange vegetations, letting them grow naturally. But with the existence of so many strange plant species, none of the teachers really knew all about them.
With his sharp senses, Ai Hui sensed human voices coming from not far away.
Ai Hui had a strange expression. They had unexpectedly bumped into another class.
But all of a sudden, he heard a certain voice, and a murderous look immediately filled his eyes.