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Chapter 358 - Pearblossom Pavilion
If one had to choose the most unique structure in the Avalon of Five Elements, it would undoubtedly be Pearblossom Pavilion.
In the cold deep s.p.a.ce above the area where humpback cloud whales lived, there was a six-hectare wide platform of clouds floating silently. On the top of the cloud platform, there was a small courtyard with green roof tiles and white walls that stood alone in the upper atmosphere. A small curvy path made up of wooden planks extended from the entrance of the courtyard to an octagonal pavilion situated at the edge of the cloud platform.
Pearblossom Pavilion was where Grandmaster An Muda lived.
An Muda liked serenity. As such, he built Pearblossom Pavilion at a high alt.i.tude.
At this point in time, there were two people sitting across from each other in Pearblossom Pavilion. One of them was a white-haired old man who slouched on his chair, the other was a valiant-looking girl who sat upright.
The old man was An Muda, the last Grandmaster in the Avalon of Five Elements. The girl seated opposite him was his disciple, Shi Xueman.
An Muda was very happy to see his disciple. He had been smiling the whole time since he met her.
The wrinkles on his face were very deep, resembling ravines that were formed by the gushing river water of time as it eroded the land of life. His thick eyelids always reminded Shi Xueman of a pair of tortoise sh.e.l.ls that were filled with spots and traces. His eyes were turbid and dim. Shi Xueman remembered only a few times that his eyes lit up, causing one’s heart to palpitate. His long snow-white hair resembled cascading clouds falling from the sky.
The appearance of Shi Xueman’s master had never changed from the first time she met him.
However, when she saw her master today, she felt a tinge of an aura of defeat from him. This tinge of aura might be weak in nature, but it was extremely eye-striking in the pure and sparkling Pearblossom Pavilion.
She suddenly understood why her master would ask her to come visit him. An unsuppressable sorrow filled her heart. Even a Grandmaster like him would be defeated by Father Time?
"Master has heard of your issue. That unior of mine is not very happy with you and your father. Hahaha." An Muda chuckled.
When An Muda thought of the scowling look on his junior’s face, he could not help but burst into laughter
Shi Xueman knew that An Muda’s junior was the Great Elder. When she saw her master laughing to his heart’s content, she smiled and poured some tea for him.
An Muda’s snowy eyebrows shrugged lightly, looking extremely comical. "Master feels that you don’t need to care about them. Do whatever you like to do. You have a good nature and a good father. Master can’t lose out to your father and has to be a good master to you as well. Hahaha."
An Muda was very satisfied with this disciple.
He then continued happily, "I’m not at all worried about your future. You have a different path from everyone else. The path you’re walking is a grand one. If you continue to train like this, sooner or later you will become a Grandmaster. Master’s style doesn’t suit you. Therefore, I have not given you many pointers so far."
If the outside world was to know An Muda’s evaluation of Shi Xueman was so high, everyone would be very shocked. Usually, all An Muda said about his disciple was something along the line of "she was a nice girl."
Shi Xueman was slightly surprised. This was also the first time she had heard her master giving her such an evaluation.
Very soon, she regained her composure and bowed lightly. "Disciple understands."
"I never taught you many things, so I can’t let you call me Master for nothing. After I pa.s.s away, this Pearblossom Pavilion shall belong to you. Treat it as a present from Master."
Immediately, Shi Xueman’s eyes became red and her nose started to sniff. "Master…"
An Muda waved his hand and continued, "Don’t react like this. Ever since Master became a Grandmaster, I have set myself apart from my rivals and enjoyed a happy life. My entire life has not been wasted. Furthermore, I am not dying soon. The reason why I asked you to come this time is because I have a few things to remind you."
Shi Xueman choked with emotions. After a while, she quickly raised her head and sat upright. With a solemn tone, she said, "Master, tell me!"
"Master can live for another two to three years, so you don’t need to be so worried. The first thing I want to talk about is your training. I know you have resigned from your position and have lost your opportunity to take part in Master’s Glory. I want to remind you that even if you have the opportunity to partic.i.p.ate in Master’s Glory, don’t do it. It will clash with the path that you are on," An Muda said smilingly.
"Disciple will remember it!" Shi Xueman replied solemnly.
An Muda waved his hand and continued, "No need to be so serious. The second thing is that during this period of time, the Elders Guild will do two things. They will build a G.o.d-subduing Peak and promote Master’s Glory with all their might. By doing these two things, even if I pa.s.s away, the Elders Guild would still possess the ability to defend itself. Since you have left the North Sea Division, you don’t need to care about the Elders Guild anymore."
"Also, if one day the Avalon of Five Elements really collapses, all of you shall return to the Old Territory.
Shi Xueman was extremely shocked. She stared blankly at her master.
"Don’t look at me like that," An Muda said cheerfully. "I’m just saying if it happens. The situation is not that critical right now."
After remaining silent for a while, Shi Xueman asked, "Why the Old Territory?"
"That’s the origin." An Muda appeared to be in a trance. He stared into the distance as if he was looking forward to something.
While Shi Xueman digested the words of her master, she gazed outside of the pavilion as well. Separated by the vast empty s.p.a.ce, the Silver Mist Sea beneath the pavilion appeared blurry to her. Invisible energy waves were defusing in the empty s.p.a.ce beneath her. Those were the traces left by a humpback cloud whale swimming in the upper atmosphere.
The Old Territory was an extremely unfamiliar place to her.
Why did Master want her to go to the Old Territory? Could going to the Old Territory keep her safe and alive? What origin?
Shi Xueman was unsure. Just as she was about to open her mouth and ask again, An Muda suddenly turned around and said, "It’s everyone’s origin."
The residence of the Fu Family was brightly lit. The servants ran about like gushing river water, appearing to be extremely busy.
The Fu Family had prepared the highest level of reception for Madam Ye and her counterparts. The grand welcoming banquet that the Fu Family prepared made it seem like they were celebrating the New Year.
The banquet itself was extremely lively. Without a doubt, Madam Ye was seated at the seat of honor. Seated beside her was the head of the Fu Family, Fu Huaien. Ai Hui saw his cheapskate student, Fu Yongwu, and his brother, Fu Renxuan.
There was a drunk fellow named Jiu Gui and a lecherous guy called Prince.
Ai Hui did not expect them to know him and was puzzled by this fact for quite a while. It was only when they mentioned Hua Kui that Ai Hui knew they were from the Gra.s.s Hall as well. This further proved that Madam Ye had a deep relationship with the Gra.s.s Hall since two of their experts were members of her entourage.
The Fu Family had never held a banquet for so many people before. The long table extended from the great hall to the main entrance.
The dinner was extremely sumptuous and the dishes were alluring. However, Ai Hui did not have the mood to eat at all. He absent-mindedly grabbed a few mouthfuls of food as he racked his brain to think of a way to escape from here.
The news of the a.s.sa.s.sination attempt on Lin Xiao had spread throughout Silver City. Every family was on tenterhooks.
The Fu Family’s guards were on high alert. Meanwhile, the old lady that served Madam Ye was unfathomable. There were more than a few times Ai Hui caught her surveying him. The faint tinge of scrutiny behind her gaze made him feel as if there was a sword placed behind his neck.
The great hall looked extremely lively, but in reality, everyone’s attention was placed upon Madam Ye and Fu Huaien. All of them had their ears perked up.
Madam Ye had an affable smile on her face, giving one the feeling of warmth. After talking to her for a while, Fu Huaien was completely overwhelmed by her. He had heard of her when he was young. However, after she got married, there was no more news of her. She led a low-profile life and was seldom seen in the public.
With the backing of the Great Elder and her shrewdness, what was there to be worried about?
Fu Huaien held up a full wine cup and gave Madam Ye a toast, "Madam is indeed an extraordinary individual. Huaien is willing to play a second fiddle to Madam. From today onward, the Fu Family will follow Madam wholeheartedly and be at your disposal!"
After finishing his sentence, he downed his cup in one gulp.
"What disposal? You are being too courteous. From today onward, we are all one big family."
Madam Ye did not allow herself to lose to a man. She poured herself a full cup of wine and downed it in one gulp.
Fu Huaien was extremely touched by the Madam Ye’s respect toward him. He immediately downed three straight cups of wine.
The fate of the Fu Family was set after joining the Great Elder’s camp.
The atmosphere in the hall became harmonious and lively. Everyone was drinking and toasting each other to their hearts’ content.
Suddenly, an arrogant voice rang across the room.
"Since today is a good day, how can we just drink alcohol alone. Let’s have a bout to liven things up even more! Madam, may I have your permission please!"
A youth stood up and walked to the center of the hall. To everyone’s surprise, it was Fu Yongwu.
He bowed respectfully to Madam Ye and then to Fu Huaien.
"I have long heard that Fu Yongwu is exceptionally talented. Today, I can see that you’re indeed an outstanding individual," Madam Ye praised him.
Fu Huaien was greatly consoled upon hearing Madam Ye’s praises for his son.
Madam Ye held up her wine cup and continued loudly, "Yongwu is right! First, there was the blood catastrophe. Then, there was the mutiny of the Jadeite Forest. The Avalon of Five Elements has never been in such a perilous situation for the past millenia. We are walking on eggsh.e.l.ls, and our nation is on the verge of collapsing. What can we do? Only by being brave, only by taking up arms, and only by having a positive att.i.tude can we save ourselves from this crisis and have a clear conscience! Cheers!"
She raised her head and downed her drink in one gulp.
Everyone was fired up as their emotions went out of control. All of them stood up and yelled together, "Cheers!"
Even Ai Hui felt a sense of respect toward Madam Ye. He silently praised Madam Ye in his heart. She was able to boost everyone’s morale with just words alone, bringing a brand new att.i.tude to them. Upon seeing the reverence and zealotry in the surrounding people’s eyes, Ai Hui simultaneously developed a sense of admiration and vigilance regarding Madam Ye.
The atmosphere was extremely lively. Everyone’s gaze was directed at Madam Ye at the same time.
With a smile on her face, Madam Ye continued with an attractive tone, "Of course, the Avalon of Five Elements cannot just depend on the old fellows like us. It needs the younger generation as well. All of you are the pillars, the future, and the hope of the Avalon of Five Elements. Since you want to liven things up, there has to be rewards. For the previous compet.i.tion, I took out the Star Reaper. This time around, the reward is an elemental elixir."
The entire hall burst into an uproar.
Ai Hui’s face froze. He was shocked by Madam Ye’s generosity.
Elemental elixir! It’s an elemental elixir!
A so-called elemental elixir was an elixir that was made from the essence of a high-grade dire beast. After refining and processing it, the elemental energy within the elemental elixir could be directly absorbed by an elementalist.
This was also the only use for elemental elixirs.
The old lady walked into the hall holding a plate in her hand. On the plate, there were five elemental elixirs that were of completely different colors and gave off five different l.u.s.ters. The noisy hall became quiet in an instant. Everyone’s face was filled with incredulity.
Metal, wood, water, fire, and earth. Five types of elemental elixirs!
"The ultimate victor can choose one of these five elemental elixirs."
Madam Ye’s words were like adding fuel to flames, causing the hall to burst into an uproar again. Everyone’s gaze was filled with frenzy.
Should he do it…
Ai Hui was gulping his saliva as an internal struggle took place within his head.
"I challenge Chu Zhaoyang!"
Ai Hui was stunned and raised his head subconsciously.
With an arrogant look on his face, his cheapskate disciple was pointing his sword at him.
Ai Hui was instantly overjoyed.