"Sure enough, you are the number one of the new batch of people from the Federation. You have extraordinary strength. This Ape King is yours now," said Kadin, with a smile. The moment he said that, Helen and the others grew green with envy. It was impossible for them to attain this at their current levels.
Molton instantly understood what Kadin was doing. They were birds of the same feather; thus, they knew each other like the back of their palms. Now that the situation had changed, Kadin was already trying to curry favor with Wang Zhong. F**k it! It was really stupid of him to have played a villain. This guy was a friend of Mu Zi. Furthermore, there was an atmospheric abnormality when Wang Zhong forged his Dharma idol. How could he simply brush him off? He was always one to think highly of himself. Looking at Laura's reaction, as her brother, he truly felt shame like never before.
Wang Zhong smiled. "Alright, I'll skip the formalities then. Laura, this is a gift for you. Feel free to ask me if you need anything else in the future!"
As soon as the words were spoken, everyone present couldn't believe their ears. It was such a valuable thing, yet he just gave it away like it was nothing?! The stronger the Heroic Soul, the more one needed this. Was he an idiot?
Molton shook his head with a bitter smile. He had really made a mistake this time. On the other hand, Laura nodded at Wang Zhong with a bright smile. At this moment, Laura was relieved of the burden that she had been carrying for a long time in the Holy Land. She wanted to help him, but she didn't have that ability. Fortunately, Wang Zhong was still that same Wang Zhong.
Molton couldn't do anything as he watched Laura hook her hand around Wang Zhong's hand publicly. Before this, he might be qualified to say that one's strength was the amount of respect one could have in the Holy Land. Although he felt that he himself could defeat Wang Zhong in actual combat, Wang Zhong already had the upper hand currently, not to mention any other trump cards he might have.
At this point, Wang Zhong had already gotten everything he wanted, and thus, it would be meaningless to stay there. Also, he did not stay to gloat any more. If he kept picking fights with everyone, he would be left with zero personal time. With that, he said goodbye to Laura and directly activated the Pioneering Order to return to the Holy Land.
Looking at the figure that had opened the transmission channel as well as disappeared into thin air, Laura was filled with joy. She didn't care about the ape heart; she was only happy that Wang Zhong was still the same old Wang Zhong.
Only after Wang Zhong left did the others feel relieved of that stifling atmosphere.
Both Kadin and Molton had calm expressions, but this was actually abnormal. The reason was that this trip didn't achieve its expected result. No matter what, it was obvious that Kadin would never look for Laura again unless he was actually capable of suppressing Wang Zhong. However, he obviously couldn't. Maybe he could depend on family influence? That would be too naive; such a person would not be able to survive in the Holy Land at all because the family would waste no time in kicking this kind of wastrel out. Every descendant of a large family was expected to serve the family instead of the other way around.
As soon as a big shot recognized Wang Zhong's worth, he would definitely soar to great heights. Both Kadin and Molton knew this deep down.
Kadin stared at Helen and the others, including Tianqiong. "Whatever happened today didn't happen. I will make up for the missing ape hearts. Whoever is loose-lipped will be finding fault with me!"
There was no other way out of this. If his family caught wind of the fact that the outsider he brought in took the Heart of the Heart-Eating Ape King, who had been in the family territory for more than 10 years, he would definitely have to suffer consequences.
Only Helen unexpectedly commented, "What–what if Wang Zhong does it?"
It was just a subconscious, unintentional comment, but she immediately got a cold gaze from Kadin in return. It even had a little anger and murderous intent.
Helen had truly touched a tender spot. She hurriedly shut her mouth, and Molton had no choice but to step in. "Both me and Brother Kadin have the same sentiments. If anyone can't shut their mouths, it would be finding fault with us. We won't let him get away with it."
Kadin didn't say anything else. If Wang Zhong ever leaked this, then he would have no choice but to apologize to his family. However, if Wang Zhong was the type to publicize his achievements, he would not have gained such a terrible reputation in the Holy City.
Molton was also speechless. Every time Wang Zhong was around, the situation would get out of control. Looking at Laura, who was beaming with happiness, he finally felt that he should let go. What did he do to deserve this?
The three members of the Musk family were rather happy as they could enjoy the gains and need not offend Kadin at the same time. Even if the family found out about this, he would only be chided a little, whereas the person who told on him would be miserable.
Tianqiong Musk seemed to have been transported back to the CHF. There was nothing he could do but sigh. The sight of that person's back was still the same.
He only wanted to comment: A good sword always remains sharp.
Time flew by in a flash, and the novices' half-year protection period was about to pass. News of the Holy Disciple rank-advancement competition had also finally been announced through various channels.
The previous news that the half-year apprenticeship battle would change was not groundless, false news. This time, the Holy Disciple rank-advancement competition had changed greatly as compared to the past. Participation in the competition was now no longer limited to official Holy Apprentices!
Various followers who had pledged allegiance to the Holy City — whether they were dimensional people or soldiers of the Federation in the Holy Land — everyone, as long as they had reached the Heroic Soul Stage, would be eligible to participate in this competition. It was no doubt a chance for everyone!
This was unprecedented in the Holy City!
In addition, there were also the hundreds of young soldiers from the Three Great Empires brought along by Great Teachers!
This made the competition more complicated and elevated the competitiveness in the Holy City. It was especially true for those formal apprentices who trained themselves extremely hard every day as they had to seize all opportunities that could be seized. Those apprentices who were valued by their mentors were undoubtedly blessed. As for those ordinary apprentices, without a Teacher to suck up to, they could only bootlick seniors to gain pointers or learning experience. At this time, if one cared about face, it would be equivalent to death. Also, just drawing up plans behind closed doors would be equivalent to awaiting death.
Everyone knew that once they failed to advance in rank, their lives as apprentices would become even more difficult. The most important thing was that if those people who did not have 'qualifications' passed, then what kind of pressure would they have to endure if they themselves failed to do so?
Wait slowly for another chance? But it seemed that the Holy Land was not such a friendly place.
As for the participants from the Three Great Empires, they brought along with them the hopes and responsibilities of the upper class, so much so that they had to stay in the Holy Land at all costs. They understood the meaning of at all costs better than anyone. Similarly, for them, once they managed to become a formal Holy Disciple, it would signify a radical change in status and breaking free from their original landscape.
Out of all the formal apprentices, Carolyn and Solomon, the two first-class apprentices, stood out from the crowd. It was said that the strength of the two had far exceeded those of apprentices, and they were outstanding even among Holy Disciples. Except for a few who didn't know the immensity of heaven and earth, who were still thinking about challenging them, most people remained low-key.
Of course, some powerful ones with large ambitions were focused on Hyde Alexander, the representative of the dimensional humans. The discrimination against them was sort of innate, just like how people of the Federation looked down on the 'country bumpkins' of the Empire.
Fifty days later, once the news that the competition was about to begin was released, everyone couldn't sit still in the classrooms. There were many discussions ongoing, especially those who had mastered a few tricks of their own. Young people, those who could come here, obviously, had a certain level of confidence. Basically, it was not a problem to be promoted to Holy Disciple. The question was who could replace those who had superior treatment. It was said that those who were particularly outstanding in the assessment would also be rewarded. Who didn't want to show their faces? Perhaps a Great Teacher might take a fancy to them?
In the classroom, Vladimir was very calm. After coming to the Holy Land, he seemed to have become invisible. He was low-key to such an extent that he seemed to be non-existent. These whispers and gossip traveled to his ears, and his cold eyes became even colder. He had heard about the news that Carolyn refused to be a disciple of a 5-star Great Teacher and that Solomon was upgraded to a so-called Dimensional Predator in the Dimensional Hostel. In his eyes, they were strong. However, although they were strong, they had yet to shake his will. It was because everyone had their own path to follow. His path was different from theirs. He was like ice. He did not need to be enthusiastic, as ice would always be frozen inadvertently. Overnight, winter would come, and there would be a thick accumulation of ice. What he wanted was a blockbuster.
It should not be forgotten that he was the pride of the Vasilyevich Family and that he had only lost to Wang Zhong by a little in the CHF. Teachers… What could Teachers do for him? At most, they could only point him in the right direction and bring about some small benefits. In terms of cultivation, it was mostly dependent on oneself. As for soul tools, although one could own them, these were not allowed to be brought in during the assessment. What use would they have?
But Wang Zhong! This person… How could he be underestimated and forgotten?
A smiley face appeared in Vladimir's mind…
Now, this smiley face should have also appeared in the minds of many other apprentices. Everyone had regarded Wang Zhong as a piece of juicy meat. This guy had been down on his luck ever since he came to the Holy Land and had been causing trouble everywhere. It was said that he was now trying out everything since he was a lost cause. Previously, he had even tried to become a wards master.
Half a year ago, after Wang Zhong revealed his Flaming Spirit King Dharma Idol, he almost believed in the misguided view that Wang Zhong had met his downfall. He was even a little ecstatic, as sometimes his opponent's failure signified his own success. But soon, he noticed a tiny detail. In the face of ridicule, Wang Zhong always kept his smile. Wang Zhong's eyes did not reveal any form of worry; instead, it was something like… blatant disregard.
No one would know you better than your enemies. Since his defeat, Vladimir had never forgotten his shame. This was no different from Mo Wen. He knew that he had grown stronger in the Heroic Soul Stage, but he continued to observe Wang Zhong. The look on Wang Zhong's face revealed to him that Wang Zhong had not become weaker, but definitely stronger. It was so much so that he didn't feel the need to show off in front of a group of peasants.
This made Vladimir very excited and very stressed at the same time. As such, during this period of cultivation, he had thought of Wang Zhong as his imaginary enemy. Gold could not be hidden. This rank-advancement competition would re-divide everyone once again.
In the Queen's Bar, the Wanderlust Team was relieving the pressure they felt. Recently, they had completed several B-rank missions. Finally, there were no major accidents or things occurring outside the plan. There had been some losses, but there were more gains on the whole. As such, they managed to obtain a rather good ranking in the hostel.
Captain Oscar was already completely used to his bald head and had also given up the idea of growing his hair back. This negative effect caused by his decision to use Trisson's Catastrophe Vest would probably accompany him throughout his life. However, he managed to get something good out of this misfortune. That was, his Soul Power had improved.
As the door of the bar was pushed open with extreme force, Asher — who had been officially upgraded to the main force of the Wanderlust Team — could be seen stomping in angrily. Small Eyes, who was responsible for remote support and fire strikes, was following closely behind him and seemed to be calming him down.
"Hi, Small Eyes! Did Asher make a bet with someone again?"
Oscar waved his hand with a smile and greeted them.
"Captain! It's really the last straw for me!"
Asher strode over and downed an entire glass of wine. As Oscar was around, Small Eyes didn't continue to hold Asher back. It could be seen that Small Eyes wasn't happy either. As such, it was obvious that both of them had just encountered something unpleasant.
"Captain, if someone insulted me in front of you, what would you do?" asked Asher angrily, as he wiped the wine stain from his lips.
Oscar froze for a moment, wondering why Asher would ask such a random question. However, he still managed to reply almost instantly as he laughed. "What would I do? Of course I would join in on the fun. Haha."
"Captain! I'm serious! I'm not joking with you!" shouted Asher in dissatisfaction.
"A couple of insults can't do any harm to you. Am I right? Anyway it is already a norm for us. What's new?" said Oscar. "Spill. Who badmouthed our exploration team again? Did they comment on my bald head or talk about how Sister Feng is too… um… pretty?"
On the opposite side, the corner of Sister Feng's mouth curled up a little as she continued to sip on her red wine. Ever since she joined the Wanderlust Team, almost everyone who knew her said that her brain was damaged or that she was extremely stupid. However, there were certain things that did not require reason and things that could not be explained by reason alone.
Asher then scratched his head. "Why does everyone think that our vice-captain is a wastrel? I just want to understand. Are they blind?"
Asher recounted his experience today. The current hot topic in the Holy City was undoubtedly the upcoming Holy Disciple rank-advancement competition. For topics of conversation, people naturally didn't dare to talk about those who were 'up there'; however, they definitely did not hold back when it came to those small fry. A common subject of talk was Wang Zhong's existence. He was constantly being regarded as a perfect foil for almost everyone.
Small Eyes laughed. "The thing that angers him the most is that the Dimensional Hostel offers a payout of 1:9 if Wang Zhong manages to retain his second-class Holy Disciple status. It's basically saying that he might be promoted to Holy Disciple, but he will definitely lose his second-class status to someone."
Suddenly, everyone quieted down, including Small Eyes and Asher. They actually neglected such a big issue! Everyone couldn't help but laugh. They were truly stupid. This was actually a good thing. Perhaps the entire team could turn their losses into profits!
Regarding the Holy Disciple rank-advancement competition, Wang Zhong had long forgotten about it. He was currently oblivious to the outside world. With insufficient energy to spare, it was natural that he didn't care to think about the novice protection at all. Furthermore, Wang Zhong didn't think that he needed protection anyway. Whether others thought so or not was literally none of his business.
Wang Zhong's current focus was mainly on the practice of Cellular Cosmology, but at this stage, all he could do was to constantly stabilize his Soul Core.
While stabilizing and understanding the Soul Core, Wang Zhong did not neglect the in-depth exploration and experimentation with his Flaming Bodyguard and Darkness Bodyguard.
Wang Zhong was substantially impacted when the Headless Knight was summoned as his Darkness Bodyguard Dharma Idol. He never imagined that his second bodyguard would come into being like this. This also made Wang Zhong very curious. He constantly experimented with the Headless Knight, wanting to see how different the Headless Knight would be under his control; he was specifically interested in the Headless Knight's combat style. Doing so, he could draw comparisons between now and the time when he was in the Life and Death Realm.
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