Basically, the exploration teams were autonomous from the Holy Land, unlike the teachers; therefore, their reputation was extremely important. Which team would want to be branded as one that accepted trash just to save a mere few Holy Coins? Their reputation would be at stake, and how would they be able to negotiate a higher price for their missions?
He received the same answer from the other team leaders. Those who were nice simply rejected him calmly while the hot-tempered ones almost started ranting. Obviously, Napier wasn't able to change their minds.
This current way didn't seem feasible. Wang Zhong felt helpless; it appeared that he had to go to Teacher Lan Daier for help as his last resort.
Teacher Lan Daier was definitely one of the richest among the teachers. Although she was pressed for money too, it was a large sum that she needed. Wang Zhong had participated in taste-testing for quite a while now. Even if they weren't super close, they were still on good terms; also, she was his employer, of sorts. He was a second-class apprentice and had a 100 Holy Coins reward every month, so it shouldn't be a big deal to ask her for an advance of one or two hundred Holy Coins. However, considering how shrewd Lan Daier was, Wang Zhong felt that he would be extorted and made to sell himself to her. She had mentioned that a few times before, and Wang Zhong wasn't that dumb to agree then. But now…
Just when Wang Zhong was hesitating about what he should do, he suddenly heard someone call him. It was a middle-aged man with blue hair. He was dressed in denim and wore a flat cap, with a pair of leather boots completing his outfit. He seemed to be smiling, a stalk of dog's-tail grass dangling from his mouth. "You over there."
Wang Zhong pointed at himself. "Me?"
"That's right, you." The blue haired guy smiled. "I've been watching you for quite a while. Are you sure you want to tag along with a team, or do you really just want to go out of the city?"
"I want to go out. It's a solo trip. I can pay the regular ticket price. It's okay if it's a bit more expensive," Wang Zhong was re-energized, sensing an opportunity. If he had a choice, he really didn't want to borrow money from Lan Daier.
"My team of nine people is going out of the city tomorrow. It would be ten people with you." The blue-haired guy beamed. "Regular ticket. Bring 100 Holy Coins and meet us at the entrance of the city tomorrow morning."
Many people around them overheard their conversation. The blue-haired guy seemed to be pretty well-known in the Dimensional Hostel, as many team leaders were shocked.
"Blue-haired Oscar is actually helping that dude?"
"Is the Wanderlust Team so poor that they went crazy? They need that mere 100 Holy Coins?"
"I heard many people from that team died in a mission. They weren't able to complete the mission. I guess they're really poor now."
"Hah, who asked that small team to accept an S-rank mission? How cocky of them."
"At the rate they're going, they'll probably all die soon. I guess they want to accumulate some good karma," someone mocked.
While there were those who discriminated against Wang Zhong, there were also those who discriminated against the Wanderlust Team. Humans liked to feel a sense of superiority in their dull lives, thus discrimination would always exist.
Blue-haired Oscar was a pretty strong guy. He was a senior Holy Disciple and had a chance to become a teacher. He used to be a team leader under the Phantom Squadron, which was ranked third in the top ten Dimensional Exploration teams. Thereafter, he created a team of his own, just that he was a bit unrealistic and was too adventurous. Those who followed him were madmen who weren't afraid of death, seeking thrills in life-and-death situations.
It had been over a decade since the Wanderlust Team was created, yet it still had the scale of a newbie team. They didn't accept low-rank missions but, rather, liked to challenge the B-rank or even A-rank missions. This was despite them being just a level one exploration team with fewer than 20 people. They didn't manage to complete the B- or A-rank missions most of the time, so they were at the bottom of the team ranking charts. Previously, they weren't thinking clearly and went to an S-rank secret realm, saying that it was a magical and unfrequented realm. Out of the 20 people that went, only 9 came back alive, a huge blow to their team. They were the typical type of people who had great ambition but low competency.
Oscar didn't seem to mind the mocking around him. Like Wang Zhong, he had been hearing such nasty comments since a long time ago. Perhaps because of this same experience they shared, Oscar reached out to help because he couldn't stand the same thing happening to another person.
"Okay!" Wang Zhong was clearly happy and agreed at once. He thought that there was no other way out, but every cloud has a silver lining. A 100 Holy Coins to tag along with a team with only 10 people, this was the best deal he could get in the Holy City.
Even after confirming the time to meet, Wang Zhong did not relax. A matter that required his help even with the power of Mu Zi and Aiolos, this was evidently not the average adventure. At the very least, it wouldn't be any easier than the Pyramid Secret Realm. However, this was the type of adventure Wang Zhong craved now.
The sky was azure blue with white clouds floating freely. The air in the forest had a sweet fragrance, and everything seemed peaceful and well.
Suddenly, two figures appeared in mid-air from out of thin air. With a loud bang, both of them crashed to the ground, resembling meteorites landing.
"Nothing followed us out, right?"
"I don't think so…"
As soon as they landed, the two figures quickly stood up. One was carrying a huge coffin on his back while the other towered over the ground like a god. The two people were Mu Zi and Aiolos, the duo that Wang Zhong was worrying about. As strong as the two were, they were in a difficult position now.
Mu Zi and Aiolos panted heavily. They looked up at the sky at the same time. The previously calm sky suddenly changed, and the white clouds chased each other in lofty breezes, just like a litter of playful, naughty puppies. They seemed to be celebrating something or rather laughing at the sorry plight of the two.
This was a wonderful, yet weird, fairytale-like world.
Mu Zi and Aiolos looked extremely serious and tense. Mu Zi's hand was on the coffin on his back, while Aiolos quietly summoned a golden bone.
The two men looked at the sky, eyes full of dread. Evidently, if there was anything wrong in the slightest, the two would burst into full-power mode instantly.
Time passed by with every breath they took. The two men only heaved a sigh of relief when the clouds in the sky calmed down.
"I don't think anything followed us out." Aiolos exhaled as the golden bone in his hand disappeared.
Mu Zi nodded, looking at the sky with lingering fear. After checking several times that everything was peaceful once again, he removed his hand from the coffin.
"This won't work. We need to wait for Wang Zhong." Mu Zi looked at Aiolos. "I think it'll take quite a while before Wang Zhong arrives here. What should we do?"
Aiolos looked pretty solemn. This time, it was pure chance that he discovered this freaky "Muse Fantasy Secret Realm."
A Muse Fantasy Secret Realm was different from normal Dimensional Secret Realms. The most obvious difference was that, Muse Fantasy Secret Realms were created from projections of human worlds.
In the Dimensional World, this sort of secret realm was S-rank regardless of its size.
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