Many people went to both sides of the Netherworld River every day to dig up and gather materials that had been washed ashore. For the past hundred years, these people came from the side branches of various Factions, or outer Factions that weren't significant. Since they were weaker, they were less affected by the laws of the Netherworld River. They could withstand the corrosion of the Netherworld River for a longer period. The Netherworld River had a greater influence on the souls of those who were stronger. For example, those with unusually good hearing would find certain sounds unbearable as if they were being subjected to hell, while the weaker ones who couldn't hear them would feel at ease.
Currently, a bunch of strong Void Core experts were lingering on both sides of the Netherworld River. In the past, they would avoid coming so close to the Netherworld River. Now, they were forced to suffer the torture that the Netherworld River inflicted on them. They were searching for clues on the Netherworld King's whereabouts and trying to figure out the route that the Netherworld River Wanderer followed while traveling on the Netherworld River.
"This bunch of people won't give up."
Above the Netherworld River, Mu Zi and Grai looked at the Void Core experts who were far away on the shores. In terms of power, every single one of them could easily kill both of them. People from the underground world were more skilled at combat.
Needless to say, they were at the Netherworld River now. The Void Core experts were like small fish and shrimps in a pond now and didn't pose any threat to Mu Zi and Grai.
Grai grinned. "Our existence has threatened the welfare of many big shots here. They are afraid that we will mess up the current situation of the underground world that has been stable for hundreds of years."
Mu Zi nodded. A typical example would be the Darkness Demon Faction, which was the first to start stalking his whereabouts and laying traps for him. It wasn't a very powerful Faction now, but it did achieve glorious feats in the past. However, the Darkness Demon Faction possessed a substantial amount of red spider lilies now, so they were gradually gaining more influence in the underground world. This was disrupting the peaceful underground world situation.
More Factions were experiencing things similar to the Darkness Demon Faction. Perhaps they weren't necessarily as successful as the Darkness Demon Faction, but they were indeed becoming stronger, which was a fact that everyone knew. Because of this, many Factions were fanatically worshipping the Netherworld King that they created in their minds.
When facing hard times, religion was something that everyone needed in their lives.
A breeze swept past, and Mu Zi sensed something. He turned his head and said to Grai, "It's time."
This was the calmest moment of the whole day in the Netherworld River. Of course, that was only applicable to the two of them.
Grai smiled. "It's my turn this time."
Mu Zi nodded again. Although Mu Zi was more efficient, Grai needed to have more direct contact with the Netherworld River. Grai was set to become the second Netherworld River Wanderer!
After following the safety precautions and securing the traction rope, Grai leaned against the edge of the boat and slowly lowered himself into the Netherworld River. He immediately felt a piercing sensation causing damage to every inch of his body. Nonetheless, it wasn't that painful as he was under the protection of the Netherworld River. The pain was comparable to receiving a hug from a hedgehog. Although it did inflict pain, that wasn't the main objective.
Grai smiled and didn't resist. He opened himself up to the Netherworld River, including his soul. His soul was taken away by the Netherworld River several times, but the traction rope worked its magic. It was created using entwined glass fiber from the sand of the Netherworld River. It could help a soul find its way back to its body in the darkness. Thus, Grai's soul was able to return to his body.
To people like Grai who overcame so many obstacles and hardships to get to where they were today, nothing much in this world could scare them anymore.
The will of the Netherworld River was not focused. Grai didn't experience a mysterious encounter like Mu Zi did, but as the cycle repeated, the Netherworld River eventually gave him its approval and stopped taking away his soul. It saw him as part of it and allowed him to hunt for treasure inside. However, this was temporary. Grai would have to go through this process again the next time he entered the Netherworld River. Mu Zi wanted to recreate the miracle that happened to him, but Grai didn't think that it was possible. The coincidental awakening of the Netherworld River coupled with the mysterious influence of the Life and Death Coffin had created a one-off miracle previously. Grai didn't think that it was a good thing to be able to replicate this miracle. Maintaining the status quo would be beneficial to Mu Zi, as well as mankind in general.
Grai's foot touched the sand at the bottom of the Netherworld River. This jolted him back to reality as he moved his limbs in the water. He used his waist to turn his body the other way such that his face was in the water. Dark green water filled his vision instantly, but he was already used to it. Now, he could see past the green to perceive what was really happening at the bottom of the river.
An abundance of fertile sand could be found underwater, which was considered to be a treasure that many Factions were attracted to. The sand possessed the special characteristic of the Netherworld River and worked wonders on enhancing runic arrays and refining weapons.
However, this common sand obviously wasn't what they came for this time. Grai carefully inspected the areas he passed by. As time passed, his body was subjected to more pain. After feeling his body convulsing a little, Grai couldn't help but give up on searching. He tugged on the traction rope and sent a signal to Mu Zi who was on the boat. Soon after, a source of power from the rope dragged him towards the boat.
On the boat, Mu Zi tugged on the rope. Whoosh! With a splash of water, he saw Grai float to the surface of the river. Mu Zi immediately steered the boat over and pulled Grai on board.
"I got nothing." Grai panted and smiled helplessly.
Mu Zi smiled too and said, "I guess we're unlucky today. Let's try again at another location."
It was Mu Zi's turn to go underwater. He had it easier compared to Grai. He was able to tell the direction while underwater and could sense the location of the boat too. The color of the Netherworld River didn't affect his vision at all, so he always succeeded in finding something of use every time he went underwater.
There was much treasure hidden in the Netherworld River. Those that could withstand the corrosion property of the Netherworld River possessed extraordinary characteristics. After being soaked in the Netherworld River for so long, they were given more power. These treasures were a hundred times more precious than red spider lilies.
Just like that, the duo continued their hunt for treasure. Mu Zi was the one going underwater most of the time, and he would let Grai try sometimes too. Grai didn't end up with nothing on all of his searches. Occasionally, he would get lucky and find something.
As usual, they continued searching until they were completely exhausted. It was only until then that they turned and went back to Hell Island.
Hell Island was extremely different from what it used to look like. A simple wharf made of dark wood extended from the shore. As the boat docked at the wharf, a bunch of puppets came forward instantly and took over all the chores, such as mooring, transporting their findings, and cleaning up…
As Mu Zi and Grai disembarked, another batch of puppets greeted them immediately. Unlike the puppets in charge of chores, these puppets had the flawless appearances of celestialoids. They were puppets that specialized in service.
These were top-notch puppets produced by the Netherworld Puppet Faction. They were an additional bonus that Mu Zi received during a transaction with them. Evidently, the Netherworld Puppet Faction had an ulterior motive in doing so. However, after being soaked in the Netherworld River for three days, all the hidden tricks that they implanted in the puppets were reduced to nothing. The puppets had even been strengthened in terms of material quality.
Grai rewired the puppets. With his efforts, Hell Island began to take shape. These puppets provided more convenience for both of them in various aspects. Not only did they build a warehouse and wharf, they even built a villa for them on Hell Island!
If the Netherworld Puppet Faction knew what their puppets were doing now, they would definitely vomit blood! They had carefully crafted these top-notch puppets to be used in battle. These puppets were certainly not meant for the purpose of building houses, transporting things, and massaging people!
As the puppets transported all the treasure into the warehouse, Mu Zi and Grai discussed the next step of their plan.
"Currently, the Factions on our tail are the ones most hostile to us. They are the three major Factions — the Netherworld Faction, the Heavenly Fiend Faction, and the Lunar Faction."
The Netherworld Faction was all-encompassing; the Heavenly Fiend Faction was skilled in combat, while the Lunar Faction was cryptic and unfathomable.
Mu Zi nodded. He was familiar with these three major Factions. A short while ago, he was still an external disciple of the Netherworld Faction. It was also the place where he met her too…
If not for her, there would be no Netherworld River Wanderer today.
"Foonilia," Mu Zi recited her name in his heart. He wondered how she was doing now and if she was still so domineering.
Grai didn't realize that Mu Zi was distracted and continued voicing his thoughts. "These three major Factions keep each other in check. Previously, they were so hostile to us because they are the ones who created and are maintaining the current situation in the underground world. Most of the materials that we traded have fallen into their hands as they used underhanded means to obtain them. So, if the Netherworld King wants to rise to power, we must change the current situation and the tension between the three major Factions.
"I'm thinking that we should try to gain victory from amongst the chaos. Among all the treasure that we have found, many are objects that are related to the three Factions. We can openly give the treasure to one of the three major Factions. It's not about how much treasure we give them, but rather, how we distribute it to them. This will definitely cause conflict among them and break the balance between the three major Factions. Their hold on power lay in their unity. Once they are no longer united, our 'Netherworld King' will have a chance to rise to power."
Mu Zi raised his head and smiled. "Let's give the treasure to the Netherworld Faction then."
Grai blinked. He had the feeling that Mu Zi's smile was a little different today. Ever since they reunited, this was the first time he sensed that Mu Zi was looking forward to something.
This was a world which abided by the "survival of the fittest" principle. As the pioneers of mankind here, they must lay a solid foundation for mankind to enter the divine territory.
Among the humans who entered the divine territory, Grai was the calmest one with the most foresight. Even when he was with Wang Zhong previously, Grai had kept a neutral outlook: Lao Wang tended to act on his emotions, while Grai didn't.
Lao Wang was depressed. He had delayed the level-7 pill that he was supposed to make for so long. He had planned to make it at the beginning of the month, but it was already the end of the month.
Previously, after coming back from Lavel's side, he had been busy with Combat Cultivation Hall lessons for half a month. Immediately after, he was summoned by Lavel to do work for eight days. He didn't have to refine weapons, but he had to practice infusing spiritual energy and adjusting the spiritual energy waveband in high-quality materials. Although he had already repaid his debt and Lavel started to pay Lao Wang extra money for his labor, he only earned 10,000 Silver Star Stones a day from this work. That was way too little… That amount of money was only enough for a beggar.
Actually, no. His time couldn't be bought with more money. For him, becoming an alchemist was the only way out.
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