The spring water from the Fountain of Life entered Gui Hao's body as a stream of pure energy, making him feel refreshed. He closed his eyes comfortably and felt vitality being injected into his body again. He clenched his fists, and loud booms sounded continuously.
Wang Zhong had… a talent for alchemy? That was ridiculous. Did Wang Zhong think that he could rejoice just because he was promoted to Holy Disciple? He should feel miserable because only Holy Disciples could enter the challenge round of the rank-advancement competition, and Gui Hao would let him know how it felt to be thrashed!
He would trample on Wang Zhong personally until he was reduced to ash! Gui Hao wouldn't let anyone else steal this job away from him!
Thinking of that moment, Gui Hao couldn't help but feel excited to the extent that his whole body was trembling, infatuated with that idea.
He would deal with Wang Zhong first, then Carolyn, then… No one could escape from him!
The sturdy glass bottle that contained the spring water from the Fountain of Life suddenly exploded. The glass shards disappeared without leaving a trace upon contact with Gui Hao's violent Soul Power in the air.
While the Holy Disciple rank-advancement competition was ongoing, the senior members of the Wanderlust Team weren't slacking either. On the contrary, they were very excited as they hadn't concerned themselves with such stuff in a long while.
"Boss, what did you do? You scammed us!"
"Vice-captain, you… why did you go for the subsidiary profession test instead? How did you suddenly have a talent for alchemy? Oh my God!"
Wang Zhong received a message to go to a Wanderlust Team gathering, but just as he arrived, he could hear wailing and screeching coming from the Queen's Bar. A big group of people from the Wanderlust Team had tears in their eyes and were staring at Wang Zhong wistfully. Even Oscar, who was the calm one among them, couldn't keep his composure now. His hand that was holding a wine glass was trembling, and he showed a bitter smile upon seeing Wang Zhong.
"Huh… What's going on?" Wang Zhong was extremely confused. He didn't recall doing anything to warrant this reaction from them.
"You didn't join the rank-advancement competition?" Oscar didn't know whether to laugh or cry.
Wang Zhong scratched his head, not understanding what was going on. He had already been awarded the Holy Disciple title without having to do anything. Why would he join the rank-advancement competition? Even if he wanted to, he couldn't, as that was only for Holy Apprentices… However, what did him joining the rank-advancement competition have to do with these guys? Why did they care so much? "If you guys have something on your mind, just say it directly. I've been using up a lot of brain cells lately."
"It's the bets we made at the Dimensional Hostel." Oscar laughed bitterly. "Before the Holy Disciple rank-advancement competition commenced, there were a few bets on some popular newcomers, and there was one bet on whether you could pass the rank-advancement competition."
"For you passing, the odds of the bet are 3:1 against us. For you not passing, the odds are 1.1:1." Beside him, Asher chimed in with a pained expression. He had started this whole thing. If he hadn't talked about this in front of the whole team, no one would have thought of this way to 'get rich'. Who knew that this would turn into such a loss?! "All of us thought that this rank-advancement competition would be a piece of cake for you, and there was no way in hell that you couldn't pass it. Who knew that you didn't even join the competition? This definitely isn't considered a pass."
"But I was promoted successfully?"
"Of course it's different. Other people were betting whether you'd be able to pass the Holy Disciple rank-advancement competition, which is the Thousand Gorge Fish Forest test. The bet wasn't on whether you could be promoted to Holy Disciple." Oscar could only maintain his bitter smile, feeling dead inside. There were certainly traps in the bets started by the Dimensional Hostel; the people there wanted to earn money too. The bet was that Wang Zhong had to go to the Thousand Gorge Fish Forest and pass the test; otherwise, they would be considered to have lost the bet. Who knew that Wang Zhong would be talented in alchemy?!
Sister Feng was the only person who remained calm. "All of them joined the bet, but luckily I had gone into closed-door cultivation those few days and managed to avoid any losses."
"Hmm, how much did you guys bet?" Wang Zhong was stunned for a moment.
Suddenly, the entire bar quieted down. It was Oscar who broke the silence. "I bet two thousand…"
"I bet a thousand."
"I bet eight hundred…" Everyone started to speak. "I bet a whopping six thousand!" Lance made a crying face.
Wang Zhong just drank a sip of beer and almost spat it out. "What the hell! You guys always complained about being poor. Where did all this money come from?"
"Oh please, brother, I've been saving up for five years. Those were my lifetime savings!" Lance almost fainted. "I don't think I can continue living anymore. My money!!"
The others shut up instantly. Although everyone bet a large sum of money, they mostly used the money they had lying around from their recent, consecutive completed missions. Since the Wanderlust Team's rank went up the exploration-team ranking chart, they were able to accept missions that were more rewarding. That was why the whole team wasn't as poor as before even if they weren't considered rich. They were depressed and thought it was a pity that they lost the bet, but it wasn't like they would die or anything. Their reactions were more of just joking around with Wang Zhong, but Lance betting 6,000 was a little… Everyone else stopped moaning and wailing, turning to look at Lance sympathetically. Although this guy looked boorish, he was actually a family-oriented man who was an expert at saving money. He wasn't willing to spend money on buying a decent soul tool for himself despite all the dangerous situations and hardships he had endured the past five years. He had been using a subpar soul tool that his alchemy teacher in the Tyrants gave him previously. He painstakingly saved 6,000 Holy Coins, yet in the end…
Too bad. Who asked everyone to be so confident in Wang Zhong? Frankly speaking, when they had made the bet, it seemed like a sure win for them. Everyone thought that this was the Wanderlust Team's shot at getting rich without doubt! That was why everyone was so confident; if not, it would have been almost impossible to get Lance, that miser, to take his lifetime savings out.
Beside them, the newcomers gaped in shock. Only Grai and Napier managed to pass the Holy Disciple rank-advancement competition. Mo Ling, Sharmie, and Mario failed the test and were originally quite depressed about it. However, seeing how everyone suffered losses, Sharmie couldn't help but pat her busty chest, sticking out her tongue. "Seems like being poor has its merits too…"
"If I had the money, I would be in the same state as you guys now…" Even Napier was left with a lingering fear. His words weren't any comfort at all as Lance wailed louder.
"Shut up! What a disgrace! Six thousand Holy Coins? Lifetime savings? That's nothing! I bet ten thousand! Have I started complaining?" Suddenly, Small Eyes said in a scornful tone beside them.
"Where did you get that money from?"
"I used Murphy's Tormentor Hand Mortar as collateral and borrowed five thousand from loan sharks." This piece of news was extremely shocking, like throwing a stone into still water and causing thousands of ripples. Loan sharks from the Holy City? Even Wang Zhong couldn't help but swallow. He didn't dare to approach the loan sharks even when he was in desperate need of money. Small Eyes was too bold!
"What do you guys want me to do?" Wang Zhong waved his hand helplessly. "You can't recoup your losses even if you sell me."
There was suddenly no despair in everyone's eyes as they turned together to stare enthusiastically at Wang Zhong. Small Eyes turned around and grabbed Wang Zhong's hands, staring at him intensely. "My lovely, great vice-captain, it is time for you to redeem yourself!"
Wang Zhong's hand that was holding the wine glass was still hanging in mid-air. Everyone in the team suffered great losses all of a sudden, and although it wasn't really his fault, he had somewhat caused this to happen. He felt rather bad and was a little embarrassed, but thought what Small Eyes said was quite funny. "How can I?"
"Actually, we didn't focus all of our money on this bet since we calculated the risks. We focused a larger portion of our money on the challenge round of the competition. Dear Captain, you can win that, right?" Small Eyes didn't even bother addressing him as the vice-captain.
Everyone else nodded their heads furiously, and even Oscar couldn't help nodding his bald head. If they won that bet, not only could they recoup their losses, they could even buy another set of better battle equipment for themselves. It was a difficult life to be poor these days.
"Well, I guess. I think there aren't many newcomers who are a threat to me," Wang Zhong said.
"You have to be sure about that. For the sake of the Wanderlust Team's future, you must win! If you lose, everyone will die together with you!" Small Eyes was already hyped up.
Long live the vice-captain~~~
It was the tenth day after the Holy Death Day. At this time every year, all the tests were more or less completed, and the evaluation centers were no longer open for tests. Logically, everyone should have calmed down by then, but in fact, everyone was looking forward to this day.
The three major subsidiary professions — the Alchemy Union, the Wards Master Union, and the Gourmet's Association — would release the name lists of those who had passed the tests on that day. It was like a results day. Although they had gone through the tests, most people only had a rough gauge of how they did in them. Few could say that they were absolutely confident of passing the test before they saw their names on the name list. In past years, this was the only major event worth everyone's attention on that day. However, there was one more this year, the challenge round of the competition that was only recently added.
The competition venue was the Achilles Arena, which was one of the main entertainment venues in the Holy Land. Battles between different groups of creatures took place here. Sometimes, the battles were between humans, or humans and Dimensional lifeforms, and occasionally, there were battles between Dimensional lifeforms too.
This newcomer competition was just a small event. In the Holy City, news about newcomers had never attracted much attention. Although there seemed to be many rumors and gossip about the newcomers, those were only circulated amongst the newcomer circle, and other people wouldn't pay much attention to those. However, due to the special circumstances this time, more people paid attention to this competition.
This was because of the addition of the Empire newcomers, and also the rumors of how there was someone in this batch that had the potential to become a Great Teacher, as well as the rumors that the 10 Great Families spread to hype the Federation newcomers up. The actions of the higher-ups in the Holy Land seemed to suggest that there was an upcoming conquest sometime in the future.
Every time before they waged a Holy Battle, they would start accepting more people into the Holy Land for a few consecutive years.
The Holy Apprentices who failed to become Holy Disciples and the Heroic Soul Stage commoners who craved to be in a lively atmosphere and get closer to the higher social classes made up the majority of the audience. There were quite a few Holy Disciples in the audience too. The number of newcomers and experts was the highest in this batch in the past 10 years. There were a few newcomers participating in the competition that were highly valued by their exploration teams, so the senior Holy Disciples from there came to support them.
Other than those people, some Teachers from the three supreme forces were in the audience too, but there were no Great Teachers present. To put it bluntly, this competition was considered to be low-level entertainment. However, sometimes, it was the low-level entertainment that provided the most entertainment.
"Look, it's Teacher Arudiba from the Tyrants! Bald Teachers look kinder."
"It's Teacher Marie from the Mystic Sect! Oh my God, she's beautiful!" Someone shouted, pointing to an ethereal lady near the stage.
"You think she's only beautiful? How superficial. She's my idol! The number one wards master! Oh my God, she actually came to watch the competition?!"
"Teacher Marie! Look at me! Look at me!"
As soon as this piece of news was spread, a lot of screaming could be heard from the spectator stands. Marie Ji smiled at the people who were shouting, not seeming to blame them.
She was one of the top 10 beauties in the Holy City, as well as an outstanding wards master with a talent that was said to only appear once a century. She was long used to all the screaming in public places wherever she appeared, and she knew how to handle it.
She had been thinking of recruiting an assistant recently, and she heard that there was a newcomer who was favored by several Great Masters and who happened to be female too. That was very rare, as there weren't many female wards masters who were truly talented. That was why Marie Ji was interested. Although her main job was as a teacher, her expertise in her subsidiary profession was already nearing the standard of a Great Master. She didn't think that she was inferior to those Great Teachers who had wanted to accept Carolyn as their Successor Disciple. Marie Ji had absolute confidence in herself, especially in her subsidiary profession.
Of course, seeing for oneself was better than hearing from others. Just listening to rumors of the newcomer's talent in wards wasn't reliable, and she wanted to observe the newcomer from a closer distance. She wanted to see the newcomer's performance and talent for herself. Although this sort of competition probably wouldn't involve wards and it was unlikely that anyone would dare to challenge Carolyn, given her reputation among the newcomers, Marie Ji had more accurate ways to find out whether one had a talent in wards. However, this had to happen without Carolyn's knowledge so that Marie Ji could get a more precise grasp of her talent. That was why she chose to come over to watch the competition today.
At this point in time, the newcomers hadn't even entered the venue, but the lively atmosphere of the full-house crowd there made Marie Ji feel more involved. It brought her back to memories of her youth: it was back when she and Lan Daier were still a part of the Federation on Earth, not giving a care in the world and energetic. The Holy City was very quiet on most days, and perhaps she was used to it already, but she was still nostalgic at times.
She zoned out for a while when someone tapped her shoulder suddenly. "Hey, you're here early."
She knew it was Lan Daier from the person's voice. Only this girl dared to pat her shoulder so casually in the Holy City.
Marie Ji smiled. "It's lucky that I arrived early. I didn't expect so many people to come and spectate today. I thought not many people would come to watch a newcomers' competition."
"It's just because it's something new. Fast forward to two years later, and no one will be curious about this rule anymore." Lan Daier had seen through everyone's mentality. Life in the Holy City was too boring. Any new activity that everyone could participate in would definitely draw everyone's interest regardless of whether it was actually entertaining.
"Why? You got your eye on someone here?" Marie Ji saw that Lan Daier seemed to be waving to someone.
"Nah, I'm just looking around." Lan Daier felt a little guilty. This wasn't just anyone but her good friend who knew everything about her.
The iron gates of the ring-shaped battlefield were opened, and the noisy crowd quieted down instantly. Right after, the sound of drums rang as a few hundred newly promoted Holy Disciples filed in from the iron gates.
Perhaps it wasn't the audience that was the most excited about the competition today but the participants.
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