Chapter 1173: He Who Strikes First Gains the Advantage
Spirit gold was the main color of Grand Manager Zhonya’s office. This color was even brighter than gold, but it was not a color that seemed abrupt or lofty. There were various pieces of art hung on the walls, and there was a beautiful statue placed beside the wall. They were the works of a famous artist in the divine territory.
Carolyn walked past these outstanding masterpieces that made its observers feel suffocated and stood in front of the table that Zhonya was working at.
Zhonya looked up from the table and closed the file in her hands. Then, she smiled and said to Carolyn, “Have a seat. Muya will be here very shortly.”
The moment Carolyn sat down, the door was opened, and a Great Spirit quickly walked in. Carolyn hurriedly stood up and bowed slightly to the Great Spirit. “Sister Muya.”
“Uh.” However, Muya simply snorted coldly as a response.
“Okay. Everyone is very busy, so I will go straight to the point. I believe that you know that Her Majesty’s birthday is arriving. Now, among the four managers, the two of you are rather free.”
Muya’s eyes instantly lit up. To the Great Spirits, celebrating Her Majesty’s birthday was an unparalleled form of honor. She would be able to bring about popularity and fame to her family!
However, she raised her eyebrows slightly. Carolyn’s presence worried her! Ever since this human became a Manager, the overall turnover in Paradise doubled in a short amount of time. Furthermore, not only did the existing projects in Paradise see an improvement, she had also developed new projects that attracted a large number of aristocrats to Paradise. Not only did this increase Paradise’s earnings, but more importantly, its brand had also greatly improved among the aristocrats, and it faintly became a new trendy place among them. Recently, six out of 10 things that were trending among the aristocrats were fashion from Paradise. Thus, the status of the Great Spirit Race among the aristocrats increased greatly.
Muya could not help but admit that there was a reason why the Queen placed this human in an important position. This was a display of the Queen’s wisdom in understanding people.
However… Muya still could not suppress the raging flames in her heart!
After all, everyone knew that she was the one who had brought Carolyn into Paradise!
But look, the small thing that she had brought in as a servant had actually climbed to the same position as her! Every praise towards Carolyn was like a stone that bashed her head. This was not even shooting herself in the foot. She was simply digging her own grave!
“I’m sorry, General Manager Zhonya. I might not have enough time. As you know, I am developing a new project. This time, our objective is to attract young aristocrats to Paradise. I’d have to trouble Sister Muya to host the birthday celebration for Her Majesty the Queen.”
Carolyn’s rejection allowed Muya to heave a slight sigh of relief. Her straight posture also relaxed slightly.
“Is that so? Since that is the case, you may leave.”
“Yes, General Manager.” Carolyn bowed and left the room.
Zhonya saw the door close. Then, her smiling face instantly turned stern as she stood up and sighed at Muya. “Muya, what did I usually teach you? You are now holding a hand of good cards. Do you have to spoil them?”
“Aunt, I didn’t…”
“Silence! Tell me. You brought back Carolyn, so why are you now pushing her away?”
“Aunt, you don’t know. Because of her, a mere Earthling, how are those people speaking of me? Because of her, how many people doubt my ability?”
“Are those broken mouths important, or the views of Her Majesty important?”
“She received the favor of Her Majesty. Furthermore, Her Majesty knows that you brought her into Paradise. Do you think that Her Majesty feels that you do not have enough abilities? Carolyn has said something to Her Majesty that caused Her Majesty to praise her till this day, but don’t tell anyone about this. She is simply walking the path that she should walk on. What path do you think you should walk on?”
Muya closed her mouth and did not speak.
“It has long been decided that the Queen’s birthday celebration will be hosted by you.” Zhonya sighed again. She looked at Muya’s dumbfounded expression and continued speaking, “I was testing her just now, and she realized this. Thus, she actively pulled out. She is smart, too smart. She knows that she needs allies. Now, we are her first choice. Since you brought her here, she does not want to strain the relationship. However, if you continue to antagonize her, she will have no choice but to rely on our opponents! Furthermore, no one will rebuke her for that.”
“I understand, Aunt. I will go and look for her.”
“I will ask her to assist me in hosting Her Majesty’s birthday celebration.”
“Very good. I hope that you have truly understood that this human is now very important.”
In the hydrotherapy room…
Carolyn was chatting with the two female aristocrats as she taught them how to do hairstyles. “There will be some difference every day. Different moods should have different hairstyles. Perhaps some details are very hard for others to notice, but they will sense that your disposition is different. There will be something new every day, allowing your charm to be more long-lasting and enchanting.”
She smiled and taught them some lessons. This was her strategy. The path of combat did not suit her, but she had found something that did not exist in the divine territory, one of the gems of the human civilization — psychology!
This was not a power, but it allowed her to walk to everyone’s hearts.
For example, the Grand Manager Zhonya thought that she had seen through Carolyn, a human who had just advanced to the role of Manager. However, she did not know that this was what Carolyn made her realize. She had also used Muya’s jealousy towards her to the fullest.
Very quickly, she would turn Paradise into what she wanted it to become. However, it was a pity that the Queen of the Great Spirits was not as easy to manipulate. However, as long as the method was correct, perhaps this was not impossible.
The low-leveled pill market had always been one of the most profitable businesses in the Land.
Low-leveled? Why were they low-leveled? Pills that were below level-7 were all classified as low-leveled pills. Since the price of these pills was relatively low, most civilizations in this dimension could afford them. As opposed to the high-leveled pills that could only be traded among the high-leveled civilizations, low-leveled pills had a very large market. Its volume determined everything.
There was no need to doubt the pill refinery powers of the Ocean Empire Planet. Sea races had always been outstanding figures in pill studies, perhaps because of the benefits that the environment they lived in provided.
Furthermore, the Ocean Empire Planet largely did wholesale pill business. They did not have an independent store in the Land, but had an outstanding brand and reputation in the low-leveled markets. When the Heavenly Treasures Street established the Ocean Empire Pill Shop, after a short one or two weeks of advertising, a large group of old regulars who believed firmly in the Ocean Empire Pill brand came to patronize the shop, and its reputation was established.
In the past, even though the Heavenly Treasures Street was located in the middle circle, its geographical position was awkwardly classified as a “suburban” area. It was at the border of the Catanlyke District and had low traffic. But now, thanks to the Ocean Empire Pill Shop, a large number of people were attracted to visit this famous place. As a result, a series of changes immediately occurred.
Firstly, the Machinery Race law enforcement forces at the Heavenly Treasures Street was evidently much higher than the other areas in the Catanlyke District.
Closely after, the Babi family had also opened an illusion equipment store at the Heavenly Treasures Street. It was the Babi family! Regardless of whether it was in terms of wealth, professional strength, or other aspects, they were much stronger than the Ocean Empire Planet. As a result, this lively market instantly increased in popularity.
Furthermore, the Insect Race had also established a branch here. Some great civilizations were also curious about the Earth… Not only was the Ocean Empire Pill Shop booming with popularity, so was the entire Heavenly Treasures Street.
As the Street became more popular, business came in an endless stream. Furthermore, everyone who came was apprehensive about the Machinery Race, the Insect Race, and even Wang Zhong with his identity as a newly appointed official in the Heavenly Gates. Thus, everyone followed the rules, and there were few cases where people did not conform to them.
Old Cow and the others now did not have to spend their energy handling various affairs in the Heavenly Treasures Street; it had automatically stepped onto the path of high-speed development.
They were in no lack of wealth or status. Thus, Old Cow and Little Muddle Head now lived in ease and comfort, and no longer had to worry about trivial matters. They could count their money at home until their arms cramped.
Uncle Thol was also much happier. Other than the fact that he started to receive great dividends every year, he also heard that the Goblin Race had the intention to welcome him back to their race. To Crocodile God Mugthol, this had been his greatest wish since he was first banished. However, he now rejected them. There was no other reason except the fact that the Heavenly Treasures Street was still under his name. If he returned to the Goblin Race, then the Heavenly Treasures Street would become the Goblin Race’s share in name too. Then, there was no doubt that he would just be selling Wang Zhong out.
He thought that this decision would completely cut off his desire to return to the Goblin Race and make the conflict between him and his race even deeper. However, he never thought that his race did not think that this was strange. On the contrary, they sent a message to praise and encourage Mugthol.
In the past, he had offended many people because of his frank personality and his lack of understanding towards present circumstances. But now, this had become an excellent quality of his. As a result, the Crocodile God was dizzy with happiness.
At the same time, Wang Zhong’s influence that followed the battle at the Life and Death Arena was not complete and still continued to grow.
Lao Wang had now completely become a favorite in the Heavenly Gates. Regardless of where he went, he would be revered. This reverence and respect were completely different from the reverence he experienced as a Celestial Honors Master. The reverence of the past was only because of his identity, but now, the respect was because of him as an individual.
Phumetheus was one of the few experts who were below the Gold Core Realm in the Heavenly Gates. Since Wang Zhong was able to defeat him, he had established a stable position among the exceptional experts who were below the Gold Core Realm in the Heavenly Gates and could rank among the top five people! Furthermore, what was more terrifying was that everyone knew that this Earthling was merely a Void Core…
What kind of concept was this? Some liked pompous figures and had even started to talk about Wang Zhong and the extremely dazzling ancestor of the Heavenly Shell Race on equal terms. They hinted that the Earthlings might become the next Heavenly Shell Race. There was some exaggeration to this. After all, the success of the Heavenly Shell Race could not be replicated, and it had not just been because of the Heavenly Shell Race ancestor.
However, even some conservatives had completely acknowledged Wang Zhong’s individual strength and the potential of the Earth. Most of the civilizations treated the Earth as a level-6 or even a level-7 civilization. They had only entered the Star Alliance for a short span of three years, and such achievements were simply unheard of.
This sounded very exaggerated and seemed to be very far-off, but in reality, for those who had carefully researched Wang Zhong and Earthlings, they would know that this change in attitude was not considered sudden. This was a switch from a quantitative change to a qualitative change, and it was a process that could be traced back.
From the beginning, this Earthling had been good at combat. In fact, when he entered the Pill Refinery Hall with his identity as a newbie in the Combat Cultivation Hall and displayed his extremely powerful natural endowments in pill refinery, many people did not pay much attention to this. This was because everyone was distracted by his combat abilities on the surface.
Wang Zhong silently held the Hidden Dragon Sword in his hands. As a personal customized weapon that possessed an equipment spirit, it often needed time to be alone with its owner for nurturing. Wang Zhong spent one or two hours almost every day alone with the Hidden Dragon Sword. He carefully felt the sword and nurtured its spirit.
It was a good sword. Furthermore, the more time Wang Zhong spent nurturing the sword, the more he could sense the connection between the Hidden Dragon Sword and him gradually deepening. Its power was also slowly increasing every day.
In the Land, so-called divine weapons were not naturally formed. Level-4 was the limit that the Land could forge, but the Land was in no lack of high-leveled “divine weapons”. Other than a small number of divine weapons that were circulated from the Heaven, almost all of the divine weapons in the Land were gradually formed after being nurtured by experts.
Of course, the conditions for nurturing a divine weapon was having a weapon that was strong enough, with a level that was high enough and with sufficient intelligence. Senior Lavel had obviously spent a lot of capital on this sword, and it was convenient for Wang Zhong to use. This was another reason why he had allowed the Fire Demon to live, his consideration for Senior Lavel’s efforts. After all, if he did not use this Hidden Dragon Sword and did not have the terrifying increase of four to five times his spiritual power, he could not have reached the level of power that could suppress Phumetheus at the very end just by relying on himself. Then, the results at the Life and Death Arena would have definitely been completely different…
During this period of time, Lao Wang had thought about going to thank Senior Lavel several times. However, it was a pity that Senior had gone on a Celestial Honors Assignment after the battle at the Life and Death Arena and had not returned since.
Lao Wang now went to the library or refined pills when he had nothing to do. No one caused any trouble for him, and even the summons from the superintendent had become less frequent. It was as if she intentionally gave Wang Zhong some time to relax and ponder, allowing him to slowly cultivate.
Lao Wang was also happy about this. He even occasionally had the time to act as a judge for the law enforcement competitions held by the law enforcement squad.
When it came to such matters, Wang Zhong genuinely believed that anyone could be the judge. Furthermore, with the development of the law enforcement game and the constant changes in the rules, many people in the Machinery Race and the Insect Race were more familiar with the new rules as compared to him. However, the problem was that the Machinery Race and the Insect Race acknowledged him. The more important the competition was, the more this was the case.
Furthermore, due to the information broadcasting technology that the Machinery Race had developed to the fullest, almost all the competitions were broadcasted live among the Machinery Race. The more Lao Wang participated, the more familiar the Machinery Race was with him. The respect that was shown during the competition slowly started to spread outside the competition grounds. Now, almost any member of the Machinery Race would respectfully address Lao Wang as “Honorable Judge” whenever they saw him, even though this “judge” did not have any real power and identity in the Star Alliance and was just an “extension” in a game…
With this cultivation and resting period, Lao Wang’s days suddenly became satisfying. Even though he knew that other than the Fire Demons who were still undecided, the rest of the Fire Demon Race would definitely not let this slide. However, Lao Wang was still very calm. The difference in his identity and status, and more importantly, the difference in his individual strength, naturally changed his perspective. Regardless of how the Blood Demon Race decided to deal with him, he would simply have to adopt measures appropriate to this situation. After all, the development of the Earth would not be smooth-sailing. As long as he was sufficiently mentally prepared and had enough strength, he would not panic and be at a loss no matter what circumstance he faced.
On the contrary, during this period of time, he interacted with several seniors from the Celestial Honors Class.
The Celestial Honors Master was a very special place. They were still Heavenly Gates pupils, but no one in the Heavenly Gates could teach the older batches. This did not mean that almighty figures like Elder Yimo could no longer guide them. However, for these genius Masters who joined the CHC, the path of the Gold Core Realm that they wanted to break through was not an ordinary path. It could not be quantified or solidified, and everyone had a path that was unique to them. They could discuss and explore methods with other experts, but it was almost impossible for others to guide them.
There was no standardized teacher and no standardized learning. Thus, most of the time, Masters from previous CHC batches were usually in a state of solitary cultivation. It was very difficult for new members to have any interaction with their seniors as their Realm and perspectives were different. But now, there was no doubt that Wang Zhong’s performance had received the acknowledgment and respect of some seniors, who had chosen to interact with him. This was another relationship outside their cultivation and senior-junior status.
Amidst this, other than Senior Lavel, Wang Zhong interacted frequently with Senior Yan, the Successor Disciple of Elder Yimo. He was also a peak figure in the CHC. Perhaps it was because of Wang Zhong’s performance, as well as Elder Yimo’s attitude, that Senior Yan was extremely friendly.
“The Celestial Honors Assignments are very dangerous, and the Heavenly Gates will not encourage new members to do them. Every year, an average of one compulsory assignment will be issued. This is only because new members do not have enough strength and experience. It is not easy for the Heavenly Gates to nurture a Celestial Honors Class member, so they will consider the injury and death rates. However, there will not only be assignment rewards from the Internal Gates. When you graduate from your rookie period and become a ‘veteran’ in the Celestial Honors Class, your Celestial Honors Assignments will become more frequent without any arrangement by the Heavenly Gates.
“Since you were able to defeat Phumetheus, I feel that you are unimpeded in terms of strength. You can actually start to consider actively accepting more Celestial Honors Assignments. Who said that you have to keep to conventional ways in your rookie period? Different natural endowments have different standards. You have a lot of potential, and there is no need to slowly progress according to the rules of the Heavenly Gates. That will only be wasting time. You can advance on your path early and break through your limits more quickly and achieve the unparalleled Gold Core Realm.”
Lao Wang showed deep agreement to this. He understood this and had more clear knowledge about the Celestial Honors Assignments.
These assignments could be classified into three main categories: the punitive expedition assignments, the exploration assignments, and the Star Alliance internal affairs assignments. Each category also had different danger rankings. Typically, the upper limit was rank-S, while the lowest limit was rank-D.
Taking the punitive expeditions as an example, rank-D punitive expeditions typically involved sending armed forces to an unqualified civilization in the peripheral worlds. Any Void Core would be enough to extinguish such civilizations. They were typically assigned to new CHC members to familiarize themselves with the rules and practice their skills. There were few rewards and occurred rather rarely among the Celestial Honors Assignments.
For example, the Ocean Empire Planet Assignment that Wang Zhong had previously embarked on was not an actual punitive expedition but should be classified as a Star Alliance internal affair assignment instead. He simply went to investigate the Ocean Empire Planet as a Messenger and provided assistance. The danger coefficient was not very high, and it was given for newbies to familiarize themselves with the laws and practice. It was also a means to observe the nature and loyalty of the new members. Furthermore, the Ocean Empire Planet was considered a pseudo-level-5 civilization. According to the classification, it should be classified as a rank-C internal assignment.
As for rank-S assignments, Wang Zhong did not need to think about them at this stage.
It was as if the Celestial Honors Assignment sensed Lao Wang’s thirst and arrived very quickly. “Head to the underground world and investigate the ‘Netherworld King’ incident.”
Of course, Wang Zhong knew who the Netherworld King was. But… why was there such a large commotion? Did Mu Zi and Grai do something? It was a pity that he did not succeed in contacting them.
Was this another game by the Heavenly Gates to test his loyalty? Or was there a more profound consideration? Wang Zhong was slightly suspicious.
A messenger from the Machinery Race had sent this letter. Since it was sent by the Machinery Race, there was obviously no possibility that this mission was forged. The Internal Gates had also considered the silly incident that the Fire Demon Race had caused and took care of Wang Zhong’s emotions, dispelling his doubts about this assignment.
This Machine messenger was naturally rather polite to Wang Zhong. When it saw that Wang Zhong was slightly doubtful, it gave him an explanation.
“Respected Master Wang Zhong, this mission mainly consists of investigation. You do not have to make any judgment or unnecessary actions. You only need to sort out the various information and report to the higher-ups.” This Machine still addressed Wang Zhong as Master obviously because the situation was different. It did not address him as “Honorable Judge”, his title among the Machinery Race.
It was very obvious that the Heavenly Shell Race would not make Wang Zhong sacrifice his ties for the sake of righteousness. Nevertheless, this made Lao Wang even more doubtful as he did not believe that this was only a simple coincidence. However, it was not too possible that this was a vile move by the so-called great figures as this was a trick that only low- and middle-leveled civilizations in the Star Alliance liked to play. They tried to make their petty and lowly presence more conspicuous to the low-leveled civilizations. Beings like the Fire Demon Race, the Heavenly Shell Race, the Star Alliance, and even the Internal Gates had long-sighted vision and many considerations. It was not too likely that they had such insignificant and vile interests.
“Is this considered a compulsory assignment?” Wang Zhong asked.
“According to the Heavenly Gates system, Master Wang Zhong has completed his compulsory assignments for the year. This assignment is not compulsory. Master Wang Zhong can choose whether or not to accept this assignment.”
Lao Wang only thought about it for a few minutes and made a decision very quickly.
It had been a very long time since he had seen the Machinery Race. Furthermore, this assignment had been sent by the Machinery Race, and it was impossible for it to be forged. Furthermore, he also thought about how his attempt to contact Mu Zi through the copper mirror had been accidentally disrupted. To be honest, the mysterious and invisible power that had disrupted the connection between him and the Machinery Race made Lao Wang rather uneasy and doubtful afterwards. He was worried about the situation that Mu Zi and Grai were facing.
“Master, when will you be prepared to head out?”
“Tomorrow morning then.”
“As you will,” the Machinery Race messenger respectfully said. “I will apply for a dimensional channel towards the underground world on behalf of Master. Then, you may directly head out tomorrow morning.”
When Jhonas came back at night and heard that Lao Wang was once again heading out for a mission, his reaction was shockingly exaggerated. Recently, Jhonas’s status in the Heavenly Gates had risen accordingly with his identity as “Lao Wang’s roommate and brother”. Someone who everyone in the Equipment Refinery Hall would take advantage of in the past had now faintly become a small tyrant in there whom no one dared to provoke. What was more mysterious was what happened in the Illusion Race. His father originally had the impulse to beat him up after his risky declaration at the Life and Death Arena. However, after the battle, it was completely the opposite.
The entire Illusion Race, from the founders and the elders of the race to some ordinary members, knew about this and were full of praises.
What was a merchant? What made a successful merchant? If one simply guarded their forefather’s business at home and acted cautiously all the time, were they considered a successful merchant? Nonsense! At most, they would be considered as a frank person who did not make mistakes.
Truly successful merchants were most skilled at taking risks and making investments. The higher the risk, the greater the returns. Back then, Jhonas had obviously made an extremely risky investment. He had gone against the orders of his entire race and chose to stand beside Wang Zhong, whom everyone did not expect to win. However, it resulted in a great victory, and the entire Illusion Race benefited as a result! How did the elders and seniors in the Illusion Race evaluate Jhonas?
He was a genius! A rare investment genius that only appeared once every 1,000 years in the Illusion Race! His eyes were viciously sharp, and he had great courage. All the future heir candidates should learn from Jhonas! He was their model example!
“Boss, if you go, what will I do!” Jhonas wailed bitterly with an expression of inconsolable grief. Even though his acting was very exaggerated, this was a daily affair in the mushroom house, and Lao Wang was already used to it. No matter what, Jhonas had resisted all the pressure back then to stand beside him. Lao Wang instantly saw him as a true friend instead of an ordinary dorm mate. Jhonas could even be said to be a close friend. After all, people needed acknowledgment.
“What do you mean how? Can’t you just attend your lessons as usual? Without me, do you have no way to live?” Lao Wang teased him.
“No way! I’d have no way to live!” Jhonas’ voice could raise the ceiling. “If I stay in this room alone and take care of the house, this hollow loneliness will feel cold? Boss, how about you bring me there? I will take leave and follow Boss to expand my knowledge.”
“Do you want to die that badly?”
Flying Pig’s expression was full of resentment. “What assignment is so dangerous? And classified?”
Lao Wang simply glanced at him. “If you want to be on the Heavenly Gates blacklist, then ask all you want.” He did not want to involve Flying Pig too much in this. It was obvious that this matter was not that simple.
Jhonas hurriedly covered his mouth. After a long time, he said with some hidden bitterness, “If I can’t go, then I won’t. It’s not a big deal. I just heard that there are a lot of good things in the Land… Then— Boss, you have to bring some local specialties back! That’s right. Boss, what time are you going?”
“So quickly?” Jhonas was dumbfounded and put away the joking attitude from just now. It was rare for him to be serious. “I was going to ask my family to help you gather some information, but this is too rushed. Boss, you probably don’t need maps and the like. The Heavenly Gates should prepare those for you…”
The information network of the Babi family extended throughout the entire Land. Their scouts were present even in the underground world, which was the hardest place to permeate. However, contacting the underground world was rather troublesome and needed some time. Furthermore, the people in the Land rarely maintained a reliable pipeline for the information from the underground world.
“No matter what, Boss, the underground world is very dangerous. As compared to the Land, there are no rules or restraints there,” Jhonas said in a serious tone. “Boss, be careful!”
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