Suddenly, a sky-piercing scream caused Ai Hui and everyone else’s faces to change. It was Shi Xueman!
Were there blood fiends in the room?
Without considering, a few people sprang up and appeared in front of the room as quick as lightning.
The door was forced open.
In the center of the room, Shi Xueman was lying on the ground in a daze while Ai Hui could be seen in a defensive posture in the corner. He gazed around non-stop, seemingly at a loss.
“What happened?” Sang Zhijun asked urgently.
The others had their eyes set on those two.
“I don’t know.” Ai Hui shook his head calmly. “I just woke up, heard iron lady screaming, and thought there was an enemy attack.”
He had just been dreaming…
Ai Hui was much more clear-headed now. He vaguely remembered himself opening the treasure chest in his dreams. He had finally loosened the outermost armor but was awoken by iron lady’s shriek. He’d thought that there was an attack and subconsciously created distance between them, preparing to defend.
Those present collectively shifted their gazes onto Shi Xueman.
“Nothing… nothing much.” Shi Xueman forcefully squeezed a smile onto her face and said, somewhat absent-mindedly, “Maybe I’ve been feeling too nervous.”
Everyone simultaneously heaved a sigh of relief. Upon hearing her words, Ai Hui did so too.
“Ai Hui, how’s your back injury?” Jiang Wei asked, voice full of concern.
“Back injury?” Letting his guard down, Ai Hui stood up and stretched his limp and painful limbs. They did not feel like his own. He shook his head, saying, “I have the bandage and am not hurt.”
He turned around and indeed, the bloodstains were completely gone. Everyone was utterly shocked. If not for the closely packed holes in his shirt, they would’ve thought that the bloodstains had just been their hallucination.
But the fact that Ai Hui was unharmed allowed them to finally stop worrying and be thoroughly relieved. Ai Hui was their pillar of support. If something were to happen to him, no one would know where to go or what to do next.
“Let’s grab this opportunity to catch some rest.” Ai Hui regained himself.
The others nodded one after the other before dispersing. The battle had completely drained all of their elemental energy. After all that tension and fear, all they were left with was an unprecedented fatigue.
Ai Hui also got ready to meditate. He wanted to check himself for internal injuries.
He noticed that Shi Xueman was not moving at all and asked out of concern, “Are you okay?”
At this point, Shi Xueman had already calmed down and there was neither joy nor anger in her face. “I’m fine.”
“Rest while you can, the blood fiends may appear any time.” Ai Hui reminded her.
Shi Xueman nodded and changed the topic. “You called me iron lady earlier?”
Ai Hui’s stern face turned sluggish. Not good, I’m dead! Why did I spill my thoughts out? I can’t wait to run from this ferocious woman so why did I provoke her? Am I not digging my own grave?
AAi Hui’s brain was spinning fast although there was no change in his expression. Calm and collected, he said, “You heard wrong. I said blue-white sweet lady.”
“Oh yeah?” Shi Xueman gave Ai Hui a half-smile.
Her response gave Ai Hui the chills but he knew for sure that he wasn’t going to admit it. With a fixed look, he questioned her back, “Any problem?”
“You think I’m sweet? Shi Xueman asked while giving Ai Hui that same strange look.
Now he had goosebumps and the hair all over his body stood on end. Having experienced countless near-death situations, Ai Hui displayed his strong mental strength. At a time like this, he had to maintain his composure.
If he did not persevere, iron lady would most definitely show him what iron was!
His mind worked quickly. To be honest, he did not feel that “sweet lady” could ever be associated with Shi Xueman, but he’d said it somehow, so he had to reconcile these two no matter what!
A divine light flashed past his mind as he became determined instantly. At ease, he said naturally, “You’re a water elementalist, which reminds me of the clouds and spring water on the mountains. As people from the Old Territory always say, water from mountain springs is a little sweet.”
Red took over Shi Xueman’s half-smiling face.
Seeing that, Ai Hui seized the opportunity to end the conversation. “Sigh, just pretend I didn’t say anything. I’m going to check my condition.”
Got to stay far away from iron lady!
Ai Hui walked out with his default, calm expression even though he was more than eager to exit the room.
Jiang Wei informed him that the few fellows in the woodshed had become bone dregs. Ai Hui nodded without saying anything. He barely had time to care about his own life, so needless to say, he did not bother about those fellows’ deaths. If even Jiang Wei and Sang Zhijun could be calm about it, it wasn’t something worth mentioning to Ai Hui.
Wonder how many were going to perish today.
Sitting under the message tree, Ai Hui took a long, deep breath. He only just realized that saying those two lines caused a layer of sweat to form all over his body.
However, at least he was able to fool her. Good that it had passed, good that it had passed...
Inside the room, sunlight shone in from the windows. Dust drifted around in the pencil-straight light ray. There was an indescribable peacefulness.
With the flickering of the light, Shi Xueman’s slightly closed eyes were like that of a hunter who had found a long-awaited prey. The hunter whispered in a bitingly-cold manner, “Finally found you.”
The dull ache in her chest reminded her that everything that had happened wasn’t an illusion. No one who had come into the room had noticed that a few of the buckles on her armor had been unlocked.
History was always strikingly similar.
She knew now why her reaction had been so intense when Ai Hui wrapped himself around her body. It wasn’t just because of that unforgettable incident, but rather, even before she learned the truth, her subconscious mind had already noticed the similarities between the two experiences. It made her 100% certain that Ai Hui was, in fact, the guy from the blind battle. It was because of the way he had unbuckled her armor… it was precisely the same.
The same moves, and that abominable grip…
Her face was flushed red once again. She clenched her teeth. There was no need to check, she knew there would be ten fingerprints!
Ten… Five more than the previous time!
Vile! Damn it!
The rage within her chest surged. She couldn’t wait to finish that damned fellow off with her spear.
No, that’d be too easy on him!
There were angry flames burning in her eyes. How humiliating for her to go through the same degradation twice. She wanted Ai Hui to repay her a thousand times over!
That’s right, just like that!
Shi Xueman was beyond determined. She made a vow in her heart to never forget this moment.
The rage within her chest subsided as a smile appeared on the corner of her lips. She did lose a lot this time, but she had finally locked onto her target. As long as she was clear about the target, she had plenty of ways and means to deal with him.
The most important thing right now was to survive this blood disaster.
How could she let Ai Hui die? After all, he was her savior. Of course, some favors had to be returned. She could slowly get her revenge… Heh heh, mountain spring water, I’ll let you know how sweet it is…
Shi Xueman’s fighting spirit was at an all-time high. She was excited.
Under the message tree, Ai Hui carefully checked himself for internal injuries. What relieved him a little was the fact that his seven palaces were still intact. This was the thing he was most worried about. After all, the palaces had been destroyed once and then restored. He wasn’t sure if they could endure such great pressure.
While he had been operating the [Arching Fish Back] defense, he had also been using [Big Dipper], so the impact of the attack had been distributed evenly between the seven palaces.
It seemed now that the seven palaces were more reliable than he had imagined.
Now certain that he was unhurt, he did not stop. He stared blankly at the message tree for a while before searching for a brush and writing on a leaf.
“Since the blood wolves, the bloodshed has become more severe. The forest outside the city has become the nest of the blood fiends. The forest can devour the weaker blood fiends and channel their power into a particular blood fiend to create an even stronger one. This is called blood refinement. The whole city was attacked. We encountered two groups of blood ants. Fortunately, we are still alive.”
Ai Hui did not know why, but he wanted to tell the fellow that called himself a prisoner. He wanted to tell him about almost losing his life and the flaming city. He wasn’t afraid, but felt an indescribably bleak sadness.
He wanted to write a little something, say a little something.
Whatever secrets or advice about not provoking the Blood of God were forgotten. Perhaps they would all die here today, who could care so much?
Looking at his slowly fading handwriting, Ai Hui became lost in thought.
He regained his spirits. He hadn’t died, had he?
He thought about the dream he’d had. He was still encouraging Fatty not to give up on his life… Eh? Fatty?
The sounds of fire spraying landed in his ears, and he found Fatty with much ease. Fatty was like a flamethrower, never knowing the meaning of being tired. He was still tenaciously shooting flames.
Suddenly, Ai Hui thought about a certain scene from the earlier battle.
Fatty was completely unharmed… and he was shielding Jiang Wei, Sang Zhijun and Wang Xiaoshan...
A light flashed past his eyes. Correct, the blood fiends had attacked those fellows in the woodshed, attacked everyone except for Fatty!
Could it be that there was something on Fatty that they hated?
If they could find out what, wouldn’t they be able to restrain the blood ants and make them avoid people?
Ai Hui’s mind shook!
The first thing he thought about was the flames. A lot of wild beasts had the instinct to fear fire. Could it be that blood ants hated it too?
No! The guys in the woodshed were fire elementalists, but they too were eaten and reduced to bone dregs. Even the equipment containing fire elemental energy was swallowed up cleanly by the blood ants.
If it wasn’t fire then what was it?
Could it be… chilli?
Ai Hui asked Lou Lan in a loud voice, “Lou Lan, besides flame-winged serpent’s egg and chilli, what else was in the dragon soup that you gave Fatty?”
“Starsword grass, triangle fennel, and soft wood powder.” Lou Lan answered precisely.
They were commonly seen ingredients. Ai Hui was all the more convinced by his conjecture. He asked urgently, “Do we still have chilli at home?”
“There’s some left.” Lou Lan looked puzzledly at Ai Hui.
Ai Hui was overjoyed and said hurriedly, “Take them all out!”
“No problem, Ai Hui.”