\"Wang Zhong, the people in the Holy City are usually immigrants. Other than those aristocratic families, most of us came here alone with no connections. So, everyone in the Wanderlust Team considers each other as family. Although we are small in number, we are still a legitimate Dimensional Exploration team, and there were originally two vice-captains.\" Oscar smiled. \"Feng is one, but the other spot is empty now… I've discussed it with everyone, and we've decided to make you the vice-captain of our team. Are you interested?\"
Wang Zhong's contributions to the team and the things they witnessed in the secret realm led everyone in the Wanderlust Team to hold Wang Zhong in high regard. They certainly wouldn't allow him to be a mere ordinary team member. In most exploration teams, the vice-captain position carried a lot of benefits; a vice-captain would definitely get more commission than ordinary members after completing missions. Although the Wanderlust Team didn't practice that, offering Wang Zhong the vice-captain position was an indication of how highly valued Wang Zhong was.
Wang Zhong didn't want to accept a leadership role originally. But after considering how he wanted to establish his power here and, especially, to change the system in the Holy Land, he figured it was time for some changes. \"Can a vice-captain recruit people into the team? I want to bring some newcomers into our team.\"
\"No problem. The Wanderlust Team lacks people anyway. The vice-captain will be fully in charge of this,\" Oscar guaranteed.
Feng nodded in agreement. Under normal circumstances, the team leader would be the one in charge, but the Wanderlust Team operated under a unique set of rules. The strength that Wang Zhong displayed in the Holy City raised many questions, but Oscar and the others had already discussed it. The number one expert of the CHF must have wanted to keep a low profile after entering the Holy City, resulting in many thinking that he was weak and despised him. However, his power and potential were definitely outstanding in reality. Furthermore, after all the things they went through in the secret realm, it was evident that Wang Zhong had a broad mind and prioritized other important things rather than his rank among the newcomers. This showed that he was truly an expert!
He could rise to the top if he wanted to. On the other hand, the Wanderlust Team used to be on the verge of closing down, but they changed after the secret realm incident too. After experiencing the ordeal of their whole team almost getting killed, Oscar and the others opened up. Their beliefs remained the same, but they wouldn't be so closed off from others from now on.
After finalizing the vice-captain issue, Oscar appeared to be in a good mood, sharing all sorts of interesting gossip with Wang Zhong. Other team members gradually exited the dance floor and went up to them.
Other than Oscar and Feng, Asher and Lance were the most talkative, so they had become better acquainted on the return journey. Small Eyes was still in the Mystic Sect since she was recovering from her injuries. The above five people were considered to be the main combat force of the Wanderlust Team. Other than Asher who was younger and at the Middle Phase Heroic Soul Stage, the other four were already at the peak of the Heroic Soul Stage. The remaining four team members, Odom, Dick, Ramly, and Thomson were at the Middle Phase Heroic Soul Stage. Although they hadn't been living in the Holy City for a long time, they had been Holy Disciples for at least five years.
The most distinguishing feature of this group was that there were no taboos. Other than the fact that they needed to tone down their dirty jokes in front of Feng, they could talk about anything under the sun once they got high on drinks.
Everyone joked around and toasted Wang Zhong one by one. Lance was especially excited beside him. \"Haha, it's a shame you didn't come and officially register the secret realm mission with us today, buddy. Our team's rank jumped two levels! Even the top ten exploration teams wouldn't dare to enter an S-rank secret realm when they had hundreds of people, let alone complete the mission! This really shocked those country bumpkins at the Dimensional Hostel. The Wanderlust Team is awesome. We appeared on the exploration-team ranking chart!\"
\"What's our ranking?\" Wang Zhong was rather interested in this.
The exploration-team ranking chart was a ranking of all the registered exploration teams by the Dimensional Hostel. There were around three to four hundred exploration teams in the Holy City, so one could basically be informed of a team's strength and recognition gained in the hostel from the ranking chart. Only the top 100 ranking teams were qualified to appear on the ranking chart, so it was a way to evaluate the strength of all the exploration teams in the entire hostel.
\"We are ranked 77th place. This really pissed off that petty fellow, Hale. Our ranking is exactly one spot above them Oceanic Beasts, which made their rank drop.\" Lance was all smiles; it seemed that he had some sort of feud with that Hale guy. \"Ah, thinking of how stunned that guy was, I was so pleased that I ate an extra serving for dinner!\"
\"Tsk, gloating over this again. You've been talking about the same old news at least eight times tonight,\" Oscar joked, tapping his wine glass on the table. \"Let's focus on drinking and stop rambling on. Here, cheers to the Wanderlust Team becoming a third-rank exploration team, as well as the addition of deputy leader Wang Zhong to our team. Everyone bottoms up!\"
Everyone raised their glasses while Lance took two bottles of spirits at once; he kept one for himself and pushed the other to Wang Zhong. \"How is one glass enough for this big occasion? Come on, have the whole bottle!\"
Beside them, the crowd buzzed with excitement. The Wanderlust Team had an unwritten rule for newcomers who just joined the team. They would get him drunk before he returned home as part of their initiation. Before that, everyone toasted him one by one, but after they saw that Wang Zhong was far from being drunk, they realized this young guy with the innocent face had a really high tolerance. If he continued drinking at this speed, he would never get drunk.
Wang Zhong accepted all drinks that came his way and was about to continue drinking when he heard a sweet voice beside him. \"Hey there, handsome, can you take all this alcohol? I can help you with it.\"
Wang Zhong turned to see a woman with cat ears, but she was wearing a bunny costume. She looked well-behaved, with a cute face and a voluptuous chest. Her low V-cut top barely covered her cleavage as she walked over with a smile. She put a hand on Wang Zhong's shoulder and leaned into him, looking at Lance provocatively. She seemed to be pretty close to the Wanderlust Team.
The others were happy to see her, as Lance winked. \"Wow, the Bar Queen actually took the initiative this time. Seems like our vice-captain will have other plans tonight, huh.\"
\"He's your vice-captain?\" the catwoman seemed surprised. At first, she went to him as she thought he was handsome with delicate features and seemed to be on good terms with the Wanderlust Team, but she didn't expect… The Wanderlust Team was rather famous in this bar.
Everyone wanted to rise up the ranks, especially in the Holy City, and interacting with groups of Holy Disciples was the best way for normal people to do so. Although she was the Bar Queen here and was seemingly sought after, she was nothing but a pretty face to the Holy Disciples. Previously, she wanted to seduce Oscar but was deterred by Feng's glare. The others in the Wanderlust Team looked too barbaric and boorish for her liking; guys like Lance weren't her cup of tea at all.
However, now there was such a handsome vice-captain who looked like an innocent virgin. The catwoman's eyes burned with more passion than before.
\"No wonder he looks so gentlemanly.\" Her voice was teasing as she leaned in closer to him. \"We can take this somewhere more private.\"
Wang Zhong didn't know whether to laugh or cry. \"My girlfriend would kill us.\"
Across them, Feng looked disgusted, but she couldn't help laughing out loud after hearing Wang Zhong's reply.
The catwoman was stunned too. She knew that some Holy Disciples were attached, and they normally weren't very kind to people who tried to seduce their partner. If both of the love rivals were Holy Disciples, they would challenge each other to a duel, but for people like her, they would definitely kill her immediately. She wouldn't dare to offend this type of person no matter how annoyed she was, so she could only leave awkwardly with a bitter expression.
\"Huh, Wang Zhong you're already attached?\" Feng asked curiously.
Wang Zhong shrugged helplessly. \"No, I just don't want any trouble coming my way.\"
\"Wow, this definitely isn't normal. Don't tell me our vice-captain is still a virgin?\" Lance laughed heartily.
Feng raised her glass and winked. \"Don't worry about these horny barbarians. You're getting more pleasing to the eye now. I believe Small Eyes feels so too. Mr. Vice-Captain, you've garnered support from all the ladies in the Wanderlust Team now!\"
\"Haha, that's too flattering!\"
They went home after a night of fun. Although Wang Zhong's tolerance was ridiculously high, the rest of the Wanderlust Team wasn't that bad either. Even Feng, who was supposedly the 'weakest' among them, had a much higher tolerance than Grai and the others. Wang Zhong felt a bit tipsy when he reached home. Others trained their tolerance by drinking, while Wang Zhong depended on his inherent immunity to alcohol. He rarely ever drank this much. Drinking was just for pleasure anyway; you just had to find the right people to enjoy it with.
This bit of alcohol couldn't cause a Heroic Soul Soldier to have a hangover, as the recovery speed of their bodies couldn't be compared to that of ordinary people. Wang Zhong got up early and sent a message to Laura, Grai, Sharmie, and the others. Having an extra five thousand Holy Coins in his pocket, Wang Zhong wanted to treat everyone to a good meal and catch up with them as well. After staying in the Holy City for so long, everyone was so busy and had no time to have a good chat, other than the occasional Skylink calls. Of course, there was something more important he wanted to address too. Grai, Sharmie, and Mario hadn't joined a Dimensional Exploration team yet. Unlike Laura, they had high expectations and no connections. In the Holy City, it would be hard for them if they didn't join an exploration team, and Wang Zhong felt that the Wanderlust Team was quite suitable for them.
The others agreed readily and confirmed when and where they were meeting at night. Although he had kind of 'fallen,' Captain Wang was still influential with this group of people. After that, Wang Zhong returned to the library.
Now that he had the money, he could start practicing on Cellular Cosmology. The first step was to create a 'Micro Mirror,' the full name being 'Quantum Soul Microscope.' The end product cost around ten thousand Holy Coins, which made Wang Zhong feel like a loser. He would find some way to make it himself.
Previously, he only looked at the manufacturing method roughly, but when he researched it in detail on how to make it, he realized that creating a 'Micro Mirror' wasn't as easy as it seemed.
This time, Wang Zhong made a detailed manufacturing process manual. It took more than half a day just for him to make this. There were more than 300 kinds of raw materials involved. The Micro Mirror was not just the average high-power magnifying glass. It needed to carry out specific observations of the atomic structure, on how internal nuclear energy operated, on soul energy behavior, and so on. Those were energy particles that were non-entities; thus, some special reading instruments and runic arrays were required too. The fields involved were spread out over an extensive range, not just alchemy but also runes, making Wang Zhong admire the creator's thinking and vast knowledge.
The next step was to search for the raw materials. It was not an easy job… Most secondary materials were easy to find despite the numerous categories and weren't too expensive either. The hard part was finding the main materials, especially the Glazed Crystal Glass for the mirror surface. That was a very high-end alchemy product and could be used for many purposes. Although many alchemists were able to make it, the manufacturing process was quite long and people went crazy for it once it was up for sale. There were none in stock, so you often needed to queue for a very long time for a reservation.
After visiting a few alchemy stores consecutively, Wang Zhong was told that he would have to wait for at least half a year. He couldn't wait that long! He even wanted to create the Micro Mirror by the end of these few days, so he could only continue asking other stores. He wasted his afternoon away since he didn't hear any favorable responses even when dusk came.
Thinking of his meeting with Grai, he could only give up for now and continue his search tomorrow. There were so many alchemy stores in the Holy City, Wang Zhong didn't believe that he couldn't find a Glazed Crystal Glass that was ready-made. If not, he would just quote a higher price. For his cultivation journey, no money spent was too much.
He had agreed to meet Grai and the others at Lan Daier's restaurant. Compared to the bar that he went to yesterday, this seemed to be a more high-end place. It was the most extravagant place that the Holy Disciples could spend their money on. The boss of the restaurant was Teacher Lan Daier of the Gourmets. After taste-testing for her for more than a month and eating all the 'poison' dishes she made, Wang Zhong felt that it was time for him to taste her real cooking and give her some criticism; otherwise, it would always just be her asking him whether he had a stomachache.
It was a pity that he only found out Teacher Lan Daier wasn't the chef after he got to the restaurant; only her students were there. Teacher Lan Daier only appeared on special occasions when special people came. Wang Zhong's first thought was that she was a sly merchant indeed, nothing new.
When he reached there, he saw that Sharmie and Mario had just arrived too, only that they were hesitating in front of the lavish entrance, doubting whether they were at the correct place. It was said that Holy Coins was the currency they used in this restaurant, and Sharmie had never considered using Holy Coins for food.
Although Sharmie was once the famous Ball Queen on Earth, she lost all her sense of superiority when she arrived in the Holy City. The Apollo family didn't have any connections here as the seniors from her family didn't accomplish much in the Holy City, resulting in the Ball Queen having a rough start. Without help from her family, she could only earn Holy Coins herself, and she didn't have any connections for her to join Dimensional Exploration teams. The Oceanic Beast Exploration Team was willing to accept her, but because of the lustful look in team-leader Hale's eyes when he was looking at Sharmie, Mario pulled her away angrily, and it didn't work out.
It was extremely difficult for newcomers to join Dimensional Exploration teams. You had to have connections or very strong potential, or be willing to obey whatever you were told to do and even make some sickening sacrifices. This was the norm in the Holy City. The guys had it better since the most they could offer was their labor, but women, on the other hand, especially pretty women, had to pay a price that was often unacceptable to the newcomers.
They weren't afraid that no one would join their team. The cold-blooded competition in the Holy City would make these newcomers succumb to reality sooner or later. If they were desperate for or really liked a girl, they could play some dirty tricks to make the girls fall into their trap sooner. Some team leaders were rather experienced in these matters.
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