Meanwhile, at command headquarters in the northern battlefield.
The crossfire during the landing battle was not a big deal to Sacred Teacher Leyson. However, to tear apart a level three civilization's Will and let an entire army enter, the amount of power it took was colossal. This was why, after the landing battle ended, Sacred Teacher Leyson had entered a meditative state and wasn't to be disturbed over trivial matters.
In the past half a month or so, the 16 Great Teachers under Leyson divided the task of coming up with various contingency battle strategies amongst themselves, becoming the busiest people during this period of time.
Sophia was the head of the exploration team section at command headquarters. Most of the important exploration-team missions had to be approved by her before they could be published. Her workload during this period was crazy. Other than returning to the Wanderlust Team and joining Wang Zhong sometimes, Scarlet spent the rest of her time with Sophia and assisted in handling some trivial tasks.
It was only during such moments that Scarlet understood how good her teacher was to her. One would only know how cruel reality was when there was a contrast. Scarlet learned many things through watching her teacher approve missions and using a decision maker's mindset to look at various problems. She got a better understanding of how a commander directed a Holy Battle.
She developed a completely different way of thinking and perception of things once she came into contact with people of a higher caliber. The efforts that her teacher spent on grooming her were not only to help her improve her individual strength.
She had seen her teacher publish the Black Boulder Energy Cave mission personally. The rewards for that mission were considered to be one of the best among many missions. Previously, Scarlet thought that this mission would be taken by one of the top 10 exploration teams. She didn't expect it to be delegated to a level four exploration team or that the Wanderlust Team would have a part in it.
This definitely wasn't because the Wanderlust Team's strength was outstanding amongst the numerous competitors. There was only one person who had the power and motive to help the Wanderlust Team acquire this chance. Oscar had excitedly sent Scarlet a Skylink message about this just now.
"Thank you, Teacher." Scarlet couldn't help but say sincerely while looking at her teacher who was busy doing work. There were only the two of them in this quiet command office, and it seemed a little abrupt to say this suddenly, but she felt the need to say it.
Sophia was thinking of what to do with a mission document when her train of thought was interrupted by Scarlet's words. However, she didn't seem to mind.
"Look at you." Sophia smiled and put down her pen. "You don't need to thank me for such a small matter. When can you start to perceive things from a higher perspective?"
Although her words were seemingly reproaching Scarlet, her tone didn't sound like it. Instead, she sounded warm and amiable.
Scarlet smiled happily. She didn't have the ambition or desire that her teacher expected of her. If she had a choice, she thought it would be nice if things for her could just stay the same.
"There have been many mistakes in Zone Five's accounts recently, so I'll have you go and supervise the distribution of supplies there for the next few days." Sophia didn't continue the topic and waved Scarlet away. "Put more effort into this. No matter how perfect a system is, there will be a loophole. Find the loopholes and ensure that no one exploits them."
"Yes, Teacher." Scarlet nodded obediently. Frankly speaking, this Holy Battle had completely changed her impression of her teacher that she had for just six months. She even felt ashamed of her previous pettiness. She would definitely complete the tasks that Sophia assigned her to the best of her ability. It was just a pity that she probably couldn't go on the mission with Wang Zhong and the others.
Not long after Scarlet left, soft knocking on the door could be heard.
The door opened as a man carrying a huge sword on his back walked into the office respectfully. "Teacher."
It was Bolton, Sophia's first disciple and Scarlet's senior. He was the team captain of the Upside Down Squadron, which was ranked 10th in the exploration-team rankings. He was definitely a powerful individual.
"Your progress on the tasks that I assigned you is not bad. This Holy Battle is a chance for both you and your exploration team. Treasure it."
"Rest assured, Teacher. I won't fall short of your expectations. I will certainly break through into the Heavenly Soul Stage during this Holy Battle!"
Sophia nodded, her face still expressionless. The battle was proceeding smoothly, but so smoothly that it was suspicious. The Holy Land had evaluated the Mizobudapi World's strength before, and it wasn't this weak.
"Teacher, will there be any problem with the Black Boulder Energy Cave mission?" Bolton stood at the side respectfully. "There have been many hiccups in the previous mining missions. The Mizobudapi people should have noticed our actions by now and put up their guard. Actually, I can take care of this with my own exploration team."
"It's just a mission to explore the area." Sophia interrupted directly and glanced at Bolton. "Remember, there is still a long way to go in this Holy Battle, so there will be plenty of other opportunities."
Bolton nodded. While he was genuinely worried about the mission, he wanted to make a small fortune from it too. This sort of mining mission was too rewarding and profitable. Other than completing the mission and receiving the rewards for it, he would also be able to get his hands on many Soul Crystals. Although its usage was unknown, the energy it contained would definitely be extremely valuable after the battle.
Meanwhile, the piece of news that Oscar had brought back lifted the Wanderlust Team's spirits, as they were bored to death.
It was the Black Boulder Energy Cave! Ever since the Skylink map had displayed the location of this cave two days ago, it had been the main topic of discussion in the entire exploration-team area.
There would definitely be a mission regarding this cave. Everyone had seen how the exploration teams that took on mining missions previously had made a fortune, and they were green with envy. Among the missions published recently, mining missions were the most profitable!
Numerous exploration teams had been scheming secretly the past two days, wanting to take up this mission. Last night, Small Eyes even looked down on those people. Never in their wildest dreams did anyone expect this sort of good thing to happen to the Wanderlust Team. However, reality proved that it was possible for good things to fall into your lap without any reason.
Had God finally heard their prayers?
Small Eyes shouted, and her blazing eyes made everyone feel that she couldn't wait any longer and wanted to teleport to the Black Boulder Energy Cave right now.
"This is Captain Kevin Dalton, and this is Vice-captain Osha." Oscar enthusiastically introduced them to the Wanderlust Team. When two exploration teams worked together, the team members had to be acquainted first. However, he hadn't expected both the captain and the vice-captain of the other team to come to them first.
While Oscar was introducing the Wanderlust Team to the duo, Kevin Dalton looked a little arrogant, only nodding slightly at every name mentioned.
It had been Osha who suggested they make this trip.
Since they had no choice but to work with the Wanderlust Team, they had to take a look at who they were working with. It was a pity that he didn't get to see Scarlet, the 'legendary' 'super' newcomer, on his way here. From what Oscar said just now, it appeared that Scarlet wasn't going to join this mission.
This caused Kevin Dalton to be quite upset. Originally, he thought it would be good if he could forge a friendship with Scarlet. Though it wasn't much, it would be some form of consolation. That was also the main purpose behind why Osha suggested they make this trip.
However, they didn't expect that aside from not seeing her, Scarlet also wasn't going to be participating in this mission.
This made Kevin Dalton feel as if he had tossed money into a bottomless pit. Was she putting on airs? No matter what, the KD Squadron was the one helping them in this mission. It was fine if she didn't go on the mission with them, but she didn't even show her face at all. How arrogant!
He had originally looked down on the Wanderlust Team, but his impression of them turned worse now. Regardless of that, he was the team captain of a large-scale exploration team after all, so he was able to keep up a front at least. He waited patiently for Oscar to finish introducing the other nine Wanderlust Team members before speaking up about the other reason behind his trip here. "I'm sure you guys know the objective of this mission already, so I won't say much. I don't expect you guys to take the lead. I only have one request, which is that you guys don't fall behind."
The KD Squadron was strong, and Oscar knew that. It was clear that in this mission, the KD Squadron would be the main force. The Wanderlust Team didn't need to compete with them since the cake was so huge. It was already considered to be very good if they could get a small share of it.
Although the Wanderlust Team would lose out on military achievements if they didn't take the lead, this could ensure their safety to a greater extent too. This arrangement was something both parties saw eye to eye on. Oscar nodded along.
Beside him, Wang Zhong asked, "Does Captain Kevin have a plan on how we are going to execute this mission?"
"A plan?" Kevin Dalton was stunned. Actually, he hadn't even thought about it.
Wasn't their enemy just a team of a hundred? It was just a sneak-attack mission. They would dash in, kill them all, and blow up the cave in a jiffy. After that, they would round up the supplies and leave promptly. The previous exploration teams did so, and it had gone very smoothly for them. There was no need for any plan.
Of course, Kevin couldn't say that directly. That would make him look bad.
"You have one?" Kevin Dalton cast a scornful look at Wang Zhong. What kind of plan could a member from a 3rd rank exploration team come up with?
Wang Zhong smiled and flipped open a map he had prepared beforehand. When Oscar notified everyone of the mission previously, Wang Zhong had already downloaded the Black Boulder Energy Cave map, which was released by headquarters, into his Skylink. He had already discussed the mission with Feng before Oscar and the other two arrived. Undoubtedly, both Wang Zhong and Feng were smart, and they had already come up with the initial framework of the plan.
"Energy caves are one of the main sources of the Mizobudapi people's resources. They are what the Mizobudapi people would rely on while fighting this battle long-term. It is natural that they would prioritize their importance. The successes of the previous mining missions were because we had the surprise factor, but now that the news has spread, it is impossible that our enemy would have no response. It is highly possible that they will strengthen the defenses near their mining areas. I don't think we should take the success of the exploration teams previously as a sign that we will succeed too. We shouldn't take this mission lightly."
"If we attack directly from the front, it will be easy for us to become the passive side with no retreat path. It is highly possible that we will be falling prey to our enemy's ambush… I think we can take a longer way." Wang Zhong pointed to a spot behind the Black Boulder Energy Cave on the map. "We can choose to attack from the back. The mountainous terrain behind the cave is a very good hiding spot, and it is on elevated ground. If we take this path, it will be easier to test the waters and conduct a preliminary investigation. The choice to attack or retreat will be up to us."
"You make it sound easy," Osha the Vice-captain said in a scornful tone. "This area is surrounded by steep cliffs and mountains, and the Mizobudapi World has completely banned flying. We will be discovered if we use Oblivion Thunder Beasts at such a high altitude. The army definitely won't lend us airships. And without airships, do you think we can just fly up there like a Heavenly Soul expert?"
"We can take a longer route." Wang Zhong pointed at another part of the map. "Though this will take a few more days, but if you look at the perspective of ensuring team safety, this would be worth our time. Anyway, this mission doesn't have a time limit."
Vice-captain Osha seemed to want to say something, but beside him, Kevin Dalton interrupted.
"Okay." Kevin Dalton looked down on the Wanderlust Team, but that didn't mean that he was a brainless dude. On the contrary, he was a very competent leader when it came to caring for his team members. Not just any idiot could become the team leader of a 4th rank exploration team.
The idea that Wang Zhong proposed wasn't unreasonable. It would only take a few more days, and there was nothing to lose. The right opinions should be acknowledged. It seemed that the Wanderlust Team wasn't as utterly useless as he thought.
Everyone rested for a night and prepared whatever they had to for the mission. If they chose the longer route, it would be a lot more than three hundred miles, especially since there was a rather large swamp in the way. Traveling there would take at least four or five days, so everyone brought portable military tents as well as sufficient food and water. Since they had spatial bracelets, it was convenient for them to store stuff.
They set off the next morning. The Wanderlust Team met the KD Squadron at the military supplies area. Following the requirements of the mission, they received six Torreya battle steeds, two 'Kenso's Stink Bombs', and six emergency first-aid kits.
Torreya battle steeds were the main mode of transport at the base now. It wasn't that the army didn't want to use the airships. It was just that while they were building this base, the command center had detected creatures at a high altitude wielding immense power. The level of power was almost as strong as the Heavenly Soul Stage. There was a large number of these creatures, and they were spread widely over a vast area. These flying creatures guarded their territory, and any flying object would be brutally attacked by them. For now, the Holy City Army couldn't waste its combat power on these creatures.
Hence, they were forbidden from flying in the air. With the various mountainous forests and steep terrains awaiting them, Torreya battle steeds were the best choice for their travel. These battle steeds were way better than clumsy mechanical transportation. The Holy City Army had prepared a lot for this Holy Battle. A whopping 50,000 battle steeds had been brought along in storage carriers. The Torreya World served the specific purpose of cultivating military dimensional creatures for the Holy City Army. That world was extremely rich in resources. Powerful dimensional creatures were kept captive there, such as battle steeds, giants, and Oblivion Thunder Beasts. The Torreya World was one of the Holy Land's important suppliers of military resources.
The horses that stood two meters tall had strong yet slender limbs. They were covered in a thin layer of grass-colored armor and looked rather magnificent. What was even rarer was that the soles of their hooves were very thick, like a springy cushion made of flesh. Their speed was fast when they galloped, and they barely made a sound. These Torreya battle steeds had evidently gone through special training. They wouldn't produce sounds randomly. Those who weren't vigilant enough might not even realize it when a Torreya battle steed went up behind them.
It was the first time that the Wanderlust Team had come into contact with such high-end beasts of the Holy City Army. Sharmie, Small Eyes, and the others were super excited, while the KD Squadron didn't show much reaction. Frankly speaking, this was also their first time coming into contact with a real Torreya battle steed. However, they kept calm and looked fairly natural while getting on the horses. It was as if all of them rode Torreya battle steeds out for a walk every day and were already used to it long ago. As a 4th rank exploration team, they valued their reputation. If they marveled at everything they saw, they would be seen as country bumpkins. This was the difference between them and low-tier exploration teams.
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