He didn't know why Milami was here, but Ma Dong could fully control his emotions now. He played the role of Ugly Boss calmly. "Lady, we're closed for the day," he said in a hoarse voice.
Milami scrutinized the horrific scars on his face. "Do you think that I can't recognize you?" she suddenly replied.
Ma Dong's hand that was wiping a glass trembled a little. He sighed and lifted his head for the first time, looking at her properly. "How did you find this place?"
"No one can truly disappear off the face of the earth. You can't hide from a person who's bent on finding you." Milami looked at Ma Dong with a spurious smile and charming eyes.
Ma Dong was expressionless. He walked away from the bar counter and closed the main entrance of the bar. "Follow me."
A flash of unknown emotion could be seen in Milami's eyes. She didn't say anything but just followed after Ma Dong. Walking into the secret cave of the wine cellar, they went deeper underground, walking along sewers that had been there for a long time. They passed through some ruins left behind by the old civilizations before Ma Dong led Milami to the Assassin's last base. This place was no longer safe the moment his whereabouts were found out. With the other party's power, if they wanted to attack him, Milami wouldn't be here.
Assassin didn't have any bargaining power now. The originally long and lonely path to the base seemed to be very short today.
Milami looked at the huge space under the light and blinked. "You live alone here?"
"Well, there's two people here now," Ma Dong said, walking slowly towards Milami. He pushed her against the wall.
"Ma Dong, take off your mask…"
Ma Dong sealed her mouth with his lips violently, stopping her from continuing. Their breathing became synchronized instantly.
Milami pushed Ma Dong away with force. "Wait, I have something to say…"
The sound of her bra being yanked off answered her as Ma Dong held her tightly. That intimate feeling left her unable to make any sound other than gasping softly.
Ma Dong kissed her passionately and fiercely, feeling her moist lips. It was still the same feeling as the one in his memories as if nothing had changed between them. He licked her bright red lipstick which stained his lips. He could taste it on the tip of his tongue. It was slightly sweet, yet it carried a faint astringent taste.
This taste caused Ma Dong to be more irritable and rough. Was this love or hate?
No one knew. An ill-fated relationship? Not exactly that either.
After a stormy affair, the entire secret room was filled with traces left by the two of them…
Ma Dong leaned on Milami's thighs, stark naked. Tilting his head upward, he saw the marks he had left on Milami's body. He touched them gently while Milami lit a cigarette for him, lifting it to his lips.
Ma Dong drew the first whiff of smoke deep into his lungs and exhaled it in a long breath.
"Let's… collaborate," Milami said.
They were too familiar with each other and knew each other too well. There wasn't a need to exchange too many words. Milami came as she knew Ma Dong needed her, and she needed Ma Dong too.
The old Tianjing was gone for good. Time brought great changes to a lot of things. She seemed to be in control of her fate, but what use was it living like this? It wasn't any better than death.
She had only felt like a real person when she saw Ma Dong.
Ma Dong took another whiff of smoke. "Who's your boss?"
Milami laughed in a self-deprecating manner. She took the cigarette from Ma Dong's mouth and took a deep whiff too. "Kaiser Empire. You'll receive help, and I'm part of the deal too."
"Haven't you always been mine?" Ma Dong smirked.
He was very rough with her, but he loved her as much as he hated her…
Many regions in the Fifth Dimension didn't abide by the same laws. There were many strange laws in some regions, such as this sort of fairy-tale world. Time passed in a capricious manner. Previously, in the dwarf level of the fairy-tale secret realm, time passed faster inside. They spent one day inside, but only half a day passed in the outside world. However, time passed much slower in this icy-world secret realm. The trio was only inside for a few hours, but half a month had already passed in the outside world.
He teleported back to the main gate of the Holy City from the transit station. Before he could regain his footing, he felt the ground shake violently.
With Wang Zhong's alertness, he had already subconsciously channeled his Soul Power. This was the main entrance of the Holy City, and Holy Saint Teacher Adalia's statue was displayed there. Normally, people who passed by this place would try to lower their voices when speaking. It was odd that there was such a huge ground tremor.
He took a closer look and found that the tremor had been caused by dozens of gigantic Oblivion Thunder Beasts. Their armor-like thick bodies stood more than ten meters tall as these beasts salivated on the ground not far away from him. What the hell was this?
An Oblivion Thunder Beast roared and trudged forward. Wang Zhong felt the ground vibrate again.
Was this a Dimensional lifeform attack on the Holy City?
This ridiculous thought merely flashed through Wang Zhong's mind. He realized that this was impossible and that these Oblivion Thunder Beasts didn't have any intention of attacking him either. They were just passing by.
Hum hum hum hum hum…
Other than the vibrations caused by the Oblivion Thunder Beasts, Wang Zhong heard spiraling sounds of large machinery coming from above his head. The whole sky seemed to have darkened as Wang Zhong raised his head to see an overwhelming number of spacecraft flying in his direction from the left. Some took the shape of a ship, while some were elliptical platforms. They formed a rhombus formation, leading the way. Spacecraft occupied the entire sky and made thunderous buzzing noises. Behind them, a terrifying fleet of big guys followed.
Accompanied by the ringing sounds of machinery operating, a moving castle could be seen as it cast a looming shadow over the ground and concealed the sky, as if it was the only object left in the world.
The Trust Aircraft carrier was the best invention by the alchemy sector in the Holy City. Unlike the other aircraft that took the shape of ships and discs, this was literally a moving castle with a height of hundreds of meters and a width of a thousand meters! Below the main body of the aircraft, there were countless cabins and weapons attached to it. It covered the sky, and people wouldn't be able to see the full glory of the aircraft from the ground. This enormous aircraft passed by Wang Zhong's head. Although it looked bulky and clumsy, it could move rather fast. It slowly descended on the port outside the city in the north-western section. With the clicking sounds of machinery, the Trust Aircraft landed on the runway. Even with the slow speed it was operating at, it still caused tornadoes to form with each of its movements.
Wang Zhong could feel another violent ground tremor as if the entire Holy City had been knocked backwards from the terrifying impact of the huge aircraft landing. At the same time, the warehouse compartment of the Trust Aircraft had already opened as numerous Dimensional lifeform and alien race armies lined up and marched out in an orderly fashion.
There were heavily armored battle wolves, huge mammoths, pterosaurs with green wings, and even magma giants that were around five meters tall… There were various alien races with odd appearances, many that Wang Zhong had never heard of before at all. Every one of them exuded powerful auras and were dimensional creatures between the 4th rank and 6th rank. They were completely militarized. It was noisy but not chaotic, and everything was in their own form of order.
Simultaneously, the sound of other aircraft taking off or landing accompanied the footsteps of the soldiers. There was a temporary military base not far from the city that was crowded and bustling with activity. All sorts of noises and stomping on the ground could be heard, creating an exciting symphony and getting everyone fired up.
Although he knew the Holy City was very powerful, Wang Zhong figured out what was happening once he saw so much military power on display. The Holy Battle that Oscar mentioned was probably starting.
As he went into the city, he switched on his Skylink and contacted Oscar immediately, who jumped up with urgency. "F*ck, you're finally back! Where are you? Hurry and come to the Queen's Bar. Everyone's here. Something big is happening!"
It was early morning and the Queen's Bar wouldn't be open for business yet under normal circumstances. However, since the Wanderlust Team bandits were old customers, the boss had opened the door for them and went snoozing behind the bar counter after that.
Wang Zhong had just entered when he heard the Wanderlust Team members having a heated discussion about something. Everyone's eyes lit up when they saw Wang Zhong, and Oscar exhaled deeply. "Dammit, you're finally back! We've been waiting for you forever. You would have missed it if you hadn't come back today!"
"Is there really going to be a Holy Battle?" Wang Zhong was rather excited too. Frankly speaking, a Holy Battle was a sign of human civilization, and it was a chance to get an in-depth understanding of humans and other civilizations.
"It's true indeed, and the scale of this operation is unprecedented, the largest one in the past twenty years!" Small Eyes was banging the table, the most excited out of everyone in the bar. "Two Sacred Teachers will be leading this Holy Battle. This is a massive operation. I remember a long time ago, only one Sacred Teacher led the Holy Battle to conquer Zelas World, right?"
"Zelas World is only a level two civilization, but the Mizobudapi Phoenix World is a level three civilization with complete laws. It can even give birth to a 9th rank supreme dimensional creature. How is one Sacred Teacher enough? Three or four Sacred Teachers are more like it. We'll crush our opponents all the way!"
The Holy City had specifically categorized all the civilizations that had been found in the Fifth Dimension. In the case of Earth, it was not powerful enough to even be classified as a level two civilization, yet the Holy Land had the power to attack a level three civilization.
The B-rank to S-rank secret realms that they explored normally were far from being worthy enough to be classified as a civilization. Those were fragmented worlds with incomplete laws, or their scale was too small. To be classified as a civilization and be assigned a ranking, the alien race there must be rather significant. This sort of alien-race dimension generally had complete laws and intelligent races. They had their own history and a clear hierarchy.
"Three or four? Asher, you idiot, you think it's so easy to find Sacred Teachers?"
"Wang Zhong, it would be such a pity if you missed this opportunity! We were almost forced to go ahead first!" Everyone was talking at once. They looked very excited, unable to stop talking.
"Wait. First things first, are we qualified enough to go?" Of course, Wang Zhong was tempted to join in the Holy Battle. As much as a Holy Battle was a reflection of the Holy Land's combat power, it was also an opportunity to catch a glimpse of some of the mysteries of the Holy Land. It also provided a chance to gain insight into a new civilization. It was something that a Dimensional Secret Realm couldn't compare to.
That wasn't to say Dimensional Secret Realms were easy to conquer, but rather, it was more about the scale.
A civilized war was a conflict between intelligent races. The desire to survive was the main driving force for the survival and advancement of any civilized race. Although this was cruel, it was reality.
"There's ten days before the Holy Battle commences. Today, the military forces have started assembling outside the Holy City, and it is also the deadline for exploration teams in the city to sign up to join the Holy Battle. If we hadn't heard any news from you by today, we wouldn't have dared to sign you up under the name of the Wanderlust Team. Otherwise, if you didn't make it back on time, you would have been condemned as a rebel, and things would have gotten complicated from there." Oscar smiled.
Wang Zhong sweated bullets. It seemed like he had pretty good luck. If he had stayed in that fairy-tale secret realm for half an hour more, he wouldn't have made it back by today.
"It's not too late since you came back today. The Holy City has been preparing for this Holy Battle since two years ago, including obtaining information on the Phoenix World." Beside him, Feng laughed.
Feng was the strategist and 'brains' of the Wanderlust Team most of the time. With her popularity in the Mystic Sect, she more or less knew the various pieces of insider information in the Holy City. Everyone recalled the few S-rank missions that had been publicized widely in the Dimensional Hostel over the past two years. Exploration missions to the Mizobudapi Phoenix World often appeared on the list of missions. It attracted quite some attention since it was a level three civilization after all. Hence, there were already a few speculations about this upcoming Holy Battle two or three years ago.
"This time, the Holy Battle will be led by Sacred Teacher Leyson and Sacred Teacher Timo. Thirty-two Great Teachers and over five hundred Teachers will assist them. Other than the core alien-race armies, the Great Teachers are recruiting exploration teams in the Holy City to execute some minor tasks. The requirements are not so strict anymore. Anyone above the rank of Dimensional Predator can sign up, and 3rd-rank exploration teams can sign up too without any restriction on the number of people going. The Wanderlust Team is a 3rd-rank exploration team, so we were preparing to sign up under the name of our team. It would be more convenient too since our team members will be allocated to the same group if we sign up together. We haven't confirmed the final name list though. Other than you, the others are still thinking about whether to sign up. That's why everyone's discussing it now."
Wang Zhong was appalled. Two Sacred Teachers were leading this Holy Battle? A Sacred Teacher was a supreme existence that had overcome the limitations of the human race. It wouldn't be exaggerating to say that their power could bring on apocalypses. However, even with their presence, large armies were still being summoned along on this expedition. It seemed that their opponents' strength shouldn't be underestimated.
Oscar returned to the topic they were talking about before Wang Zhong arrived. "A Holy Battle is different from our normal missions. It's true that there are a lot of opportunities, but it is highly dangerous too. Although explorations teams won't be made to fight on the front line, we will need to execute high-difficulty missions that are very risky. For those who aren't confident enough in your own power or those who aren't strong enough, I think it's better if you don't risk it. Asher, think about it again yourself."
Asher smiled, shaking his head. His strength was only considered to be in the middle upper-tier in the Wanderlust Team. However, if Small Eyes was going, there was no way he wasn't going. Other than Feng and Oscar, the remaining senior members in the team, even Lance, clearly stated that they wouldn't be signing up to join the Holy Battle this time. A Holy Battle that was attacking a level three civilization was a large-scale battle even in the history of the Holy City. It was obvious that it was going to be extremely dangerous. The weak ones who signed up would only be cannon fodder; they could only pray for their lives.
On the other hand, the newcomers seemed to be more eager to try. Grai and Napier had confirmed that they wanted to sign up. Although these two hadn't reached the Peak Heroic Soul Stage, their strength was similar to that of Asher, and they held more potential too. Mo Ling passed on this chance as he thought he wasn't strong enough. In order to survive in the Holy Land, you had to be rational. It wasn't wise to dash forward without thought.
Mario was also struggling to come to a decision. With Sharmie's dauntless personality, she was as excited and passionate about this Holy Battle as Small Eyes. She had already decided that she wanted to sign up. However, Mario wanted to stay in the Holy City where it was safer. He had been trying to persuade her for the past few days but to no avail. "Wang Zhong, what's your view? Do you think me and Sharmie should go?" Mario looked at Wang Zhong a little helplessly.
Wang Zhong thought about it for a while. Frankly speaking, he didn't know anything about their opponents in this Holy Battle. Nonetheless, looking at how all the Holy Battles ended previously, every single one ended in bloodshed. Out of the Heroic Soul soldiers that died, many were weak in power, but there were a lot who were in the Peak Heroic Soul Stage too. Anyone in the Heroic Soul Stage was vulnerable. Those who were stronger had a higher chance of survival under the same situation, but generally speaking, it all boiled down to luck. Nothing was absolute.
However, Sharmie wasn't happy at how Wang Zhong was hesitating, even if it was just for a moment. "This dude always likes to dilly-dally. A chance like this doesn't come easily, so I will go no matter what! Look at our results in the Sparta Clan. They're already so trashy anyway. What else are you worried about?"
Sharmie and Mario weren't able to pass the Holy Disciple test, and the novice protection period was over by now. As a pre-Holy Disciple, they had been assigned jobs in the inner area of the Holy City. Sharmie had good looks, so she was assigned to be a cashier in a restaurant opened by a Great Teacher. Mario had been assigned to run errands for a Teacher. Although it wasn't that tiring, this was only the first year. If the pre-Holy Disciples remained in this 'pre' status for subsequent years, they would hold less and less value. Their assigned jobs would become tougher, and their status would decline as well.
It was a very rare chance for them to be a part of the Holy Battle. With their status, they weren't qualified to sign up, but the Wanderlust Team was, and Oscar didn't mind bringing them along. Joining the Holy Battle was indeed dangerous, but it was also the easiest way to gain opportunities. After all, a Holy Battle meant that they would be coming into contact with a whole new civilization, and the clash in cultures meant that it would be easier to get a revelation. That was why Sharmie wanted to go for it, no matter what. She couldn't stand the mundane life of serving customers in a restaurant.
"This is a one-in-a-million chance for us. Other pre-Holy Disciples don't have this chance even if they wanted it! Take our workload now as an example. Not considering whether we will have any breakthrough, can you even guarantee that we will have time to finish our basic cultivation practice every day? If we miss this training opportunity, do you really plan to sweep the floor for other people and work under them for the rest of your life?"
Sharmie was rather agitated, and her voluptuous chest rose up and down as she said that. Sometimes, there wouldn't be any discontent if there wasn't any competition. When they were on Earth, everyone was around the same level of power, but after they entered the Holy Land, the difference in their power was getting larger and larger. Normal people wouldn't be able to stand it, let alone proud Sharmie. Though Wang Zhong and the others didn't really care, this chance was significant to her. Sharmie had had enough of how she needed others to protect her.
Mario's face grew red. The others didn't say anything. Everyone knew how pre-Holy Disciples lived in the Holy City. A few years of that lifestyle, and it would really drive you crazy. Frankly speaking, joining a Holy Battle was dangerous, but if one mustered one's courage and went for it, it might be a chance for people at the lower tier of the hierarchy to make a name for themselves. That being said, the same logic couldn't be applied to everyone as everyone was different.
This was a dilemma. There was logical reasoning behind both choices. If these two chose to go, everyone could only try to take care of them as much as possible since they belonged to the same team.
In the end, Mario nodded his head while smiling bitterly. It seemed that nothing could change Sharmie's mind. Wherever Sharmie wanted to go, he would follow, even if that place was Hell.
"That's the way!" Sharmie finally smiled happily. "Team Captain, the name list is settled. Let's go sign up now!"
Oscar, Feng, and Wang Zhong were in charge of signing up for their team.
Getting promoted to Holy Disciple wasn't the end of the competition. On the contrary, this was merely the start of a hell-like rat race. Once you get used to this title, you would want to achieve more. The Holy Disciples formed the largest social class in the Holy Land, and you could just about imagine how stiff the competition was. Judging from various aspects, Holy Disciples were somewhere in the middle, not too weak but not very strong either. Other than people like Leo who cozied up to someone powerful or people who had connections like aristocrat family members or you were just someone who had outstanding talent, most people had to worry about cultivation resources. This was also why Helen and the others had accepted the mission to be a Holy Ambassador. To put it plainly, you had to earn whatever you could.
That was why when it came to events like the Holy Battle, it was a godsend to most Holy Disciples. This sort of large-scale battle provided a sea of opportunities. Not only was it a training experience, one could gain a huge amount of resources too. A level three civilization that could pique the interest of two Sacred Teachers definitely posed many benefits to the Holy Land.
Today was the last day of registration, so when Wang Zhong and the others arrived, the plaza outside the Dimensional Hostel was crowded with many people. Many people who had been hesitating or exploration teams like the Wanderlust Team who were still finalizing their name list were all crammed together.
The places for registration were not only limited to the interior of the Dimensional Hostel, as more than a dozen registration counters were set up in the spacious plaza outside the hostel. Numerous people were crowding around the counters, and it seemed like the queue was going to go all the way outside the city. It was going to take eons to register! The three people joined the queue hurriedly.
After squeezing in the crowd for the entire morning, they finally registered the Wanderlust Team's name list. They heard many pieces of news and gossip while queuing, such as too many people were signing up to join this Holy Battle, exceeding the Holy City's quota, so those who signed up weren't guaranteed a spot. The Holy Battle had clear requirements for the various levels of manpower. This was the essence of human combat strategies in the olden days. For exploration teams, they must have considerable combat power, as trashy teams would drag everyone down.
Wang Zhong was speechless. "I didn't know there were so many Holy Disciples. Where did they come from…?"
"Most Holy Disciples don't stay in the Holy Land all year round. Those that you have been seeing are the new Holy Disciples that have been promoted in the last five years. Many Holy Disciples are required to guard the various worlds that the Holy Land has conquered, and they will only be summoned back when a Holy Battle is about to start."
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