As Duanmu Huanghun's roar faded into the wind, Ai Hui never even heard a whisper. If he remembered anything from that incident, it was most likely the part where he recalled the time he spent in the Wilderness.
Outside the Suspending Golden Pagoda, custom-made pieces of armor were scattered all over the ground. Ai Hui picked them up and equipped them piece by piece. This was his custom-made "armor." Although everything was made out of steel, the appearance was simple and unrefined without any etched designs due to the lack of time spent on the construction. The helmet looked like an inverted bucket, simply having two slits that served as eyeholes. The front torso was protected by a piece of steel plate while the rest of the body parts were crudely made. Unexpectedly, the joints were rather flexible, displaying the skillfulness of the blacksmith who forged it.
The most peculiar part of the "armor" was its back. The entire dorsal section of this suit of armor was uncovered. This Backless Armor was specially prepared by Ai Hui for his training in the Suspending Golden Pagoda.
After wearing the full set of armor, Ai Hui moved around to test his mobility. It felt pretty good. Since Ai Hui had repeatedly stressed to the blacksmith to make it firm and solid, the armor was exceptionally sturdy and weighed around a hundred kilograms. Even though Ai Hui was used to hauling heavy loads in the Wilderness, he was still exhausted from carrying the armor to the Suspending Golden Pagoda.
Luckily, Ai Hui's body was used to long-term, arduous jobs, and his physique was rather strong. However, after donning the armor, he could still feel that his movements were somewhat restricted.
After fastening his armor, the neatly-dressed Ai Hui entered the Suspending Golden Pagoda once more.
Clang clang clang!
The collision between Ai Hui's armor and the walls of the pagoda was much more spectacular than before. Every crash sent sparks flying everywhere and the impacts were several times louder than before, creating ringing echoes in Ai Hui's brain.
After a while, Ai Hui acclimated to the deafening clashing sounds and started to experience the benefits of wearing the Backless Armor.
The metal elemental energy within the metal wind was unable to penetrate Ai Hui's armor, allowing all of the needle-piercing pain to converge on his back. Ai Hui rallied himself. He had spent a lot of time on the Backless Armor, and he derived this idea from the iron chain. Since the metal wind could not destroy the chain, it implied that the metal wind would not be able to destroy the steel armor either.
This improved training method proved that his conjecture was correct, and nothing motivated Ai Hui more than this discovery.
When Ai Hui felt the pain in his back had reached his limit, he grabbed the iron chain and pulled himself out. After exiting, Ai Hui was too lazy to take off the armor and went straight to his usual practice of executing the [Arching Fish Back] on the external wall.
From the first collision, Ai Hui could feel the difference. His back felt as if it was going to fracture, requiring him to rest for a good five minutes before his strength recovered. A bitter smile appeared on his face. The dissipating effect of the metal elemental energy was superb and a lot better than its power. However, with the addition of the armor, the [Arching Fish Back]'s overall strength increased dramatically and caused some light bruises to appear on back muscles.
The [Arching Fish Back]'s strength might be great, but this improvement in strength was due to the armor. Looking at it from an overall perspective, the power of the technique itself had actually decreased dramatically, Due to the weight of the armor, even though the power released might be strong and ferocious, but it was somewhat scattered instead of focused.
Upon feeling that he had recovered his strength, Ai Hui contemplated for a while before he began to practise the [Arching Fish Back] again.
This time around, Ai Hui shot forward and smashed onto the ground with a boom, filling the air with dirt and dust.
As the cloud of debris dispersed, Ai Hui struggled to stand up. Spitting out the dirt in his mouth, he strode towards the Suspending Golden Pagoda with raging determination in his heart.
Clang clang clang!
A tin-can man collided tirelessly against the iron pagoda.
The nightfall arrived as stars rose over the dome of the night sky. It seemed like the night breeze had scattered resplendent stars all over the heavens. Shortly after, the horizon was splashed with cyan skies while the clouds were dyed orange. The first glimmer of the rising sun shined upon the sleeping tin man propped against the wall of the pagoda. Glittering dewdrops coalesced on his metal armor.
Soon, the scorching sun hung high above in the sky, causing the perspiration within the tin man to boil and steam.
Day by day, time gradually passed.
Intense, continuous, and monotonous training posed a great challenge to the psyche.
When his exhaustion hit the limit, Ai Hui plopped down on his butt to sit. He was too lazy to take off the armor, so he only took off his helmet. It was taxing to wear this suit for a long period. Ever since he first put on the Backless Armor, even when he was sleeping or having his meals, he had not taken it off.. His facial expression was slightly distracted, which had always been the case whenever he trained up to his limit.
After sitting for around twenty minutes, some vitality finally returned to his absentminded face as he began to return to his senses. Upon regaining his awareness, Ai Hui immediately felt a powerful stab of hunger in his stomach. He quickly took out a flatbread from his bag. Ai Hui did not mind the dryness and hardness of bread, finishing it in an instant.
He reached into the bag once more, but failed to grab anything this time around.
He was momentarily stunned. After recovering, he flipped the bag over and searched through it thoroughly, but the bag was empty.
How long had it been? He could not remember, but he knew it was time to go back. As he prepared to leave, he paused for a moment before removing the armor from his body and hid it nearby. Since this thing was not worth much, no one would covet it. After he replenished his rations, he would be back shortly. Without the armor, he could afford to bring more rations.
After removing the armor, Ai Hui felt as nimble as a swallow. It was as if he stepped into a sea of cotton—moving felt light and airy.
The spirited Ai Hui surged forward and was shocked by his speed. Immediately, his eyes lit up. It turned out that wearing the Backless Armor nonstop while training produced such a benefit.
Without a word, he broke into a run and ran in the direction of Central Pine City.
Li Wei had a short stature, and he wore a very plain green garment. Unlike Zhou Xiaoxi, who had a robust build, Li Wei appeared scholarly and looked like the teachers in school. He strolled through the street in high spirits. Very few people knew that he studied in Central Pine City 15 years ago. Nonetheless, when he was free, he would come back to visit his old haunts.
Upon seeing the familiar yet modified landscape, he reminisced about the good old times. Numerous vague memories flashed through his mind.
The surrounding scenery changed as he strolled idly through the street. He knew for a fact that he had been to this place before, but he was currently unsure of his exact location. After all, he had not been to this place in fifteen years.
He did not realize where he was until a towering pagoda appeared in his line of sight.
It was the Suspending Golden Pagoda!
Immediately, Li Wei became excited, and his walking pace increased subconsciously. The Suspending Golden Pagoda was a place where he frequently trained in the past. He remembered he even wrote a book just to depict his experience in the Suspending Golden Pagoda.
The number of people here was still so scant!
He could not help but heave a rueful sigh. It was just like fifteen years ago.
The Suspending Golden Pagoda had never been a popular training site. In the past, he chose the Suspending Golden Pagoda as his main training ground because it was much quieter than the other places.
After fifteen years, the Suspending Golden Pagoda remained the same without many changes. He knew as long as the metal wind continued to blow in the tower, the Suspending Golden Pagoda would not collapse.
Li Wei walked up the flight of stairs. He was extremely familiar with everything here.
He continued forward while feeling the wall of the pagoda with his hands. Numerous memories of the days and nights he spent there cascaded through his mind. A nostalgic smile appeared on his face.
His hands suddenly stopped.
Startled, he let out a soft yelp upon noticing what his hands had touched.