Yawning, Wang Zhong walked into the society grounds. Last night was truthfully too awesome. Due to the brilliant might of nature that had been created by the nirvana of the Sovereign, several magnetic field disturbances had appeared within the entire dimensional region with the sea of fire as the point of origin. Although these disruptions were not especially large towards Spiritual Soul descenders, it would take quite a bit of work for him to go back there. In the end, it was long past midnight when he returned, leaving him with no time to enter the Diamond Adventurer Base.
At that time, Simba had expressed his extreme discontent, mainly due to the exceedingly unconscientious behaviour of the Sovereign of Flames. They had saved her life, yet she did not even acknowledge them a single bit! She even ran away without giving them any benefits, leaving Wang Zhong and himself within that chaotic, dangerous magnetic field to find their own way back! Indeed, most important figures were the type to fall out and turn ignorant after receiving benefits. None of them were any good at all!
In times like this, it was difficult to be a good person and even harder to do good acts!
Nevertheless, Wang Zhong expressed understanding to the actions of the Sovereign of Flames, causing Simba to point at the former's nose and scold him for quite a while. Naturally, the result was Simba's nose becoming more red and swollen than before.
Upon pushing the door open, he immediately saw Hymin, Barran, Lily and Colby fiddling with their Skylinks, appearing to be communicating with someone. As the intermittent images continued to flash static on the screens of their Skylinks, irritated expressions appeared on their faces.
Walking over, Wang Zhong extended his hand and casually poked the Skylink.
The distorted static images immediately cleared, revealing Grai's smiling face.
"Fuck. Do you have fingers of gold, captain?"
"It's just a coincidence, haha," replied Wang Zhong with a laugh. This was a completely random poke, and was truly coincidental. Sending a greeting towards the screen, he said, "Hi. Where are you Grai? Why's your signal so poor?"
Revealing a hopeless smile, Grai replied, "I'm at Stuart City. There shouldn't be a problem with the signal. Maybe it's from the storm that came down a few days ago that had soaked my Skylink."
"Errr..." croaked Wang Zhong as he rubbed his nose. A stunned expression appeared on his face as he saw the Grai's large backpack. Is this guy a god of travel? He always travelled around with his backpack as soon as the holidays started, even being known to travel on budget…
Okay, it might have been to show your spirit and resolve to travel around, however, since you've decided to tour the desolate wilderness and mountain ranges, how can you carry such a big backpack without carrying a single umbrella?
"Grai! Grai!" The most excited one was clearly Hymin who waved her hands continuously. "Are you already at Stuart City? Oh my god! Weren't you at Campbell Plateau just yesterday? There aren't any trains there!"
"It was pouring there but I got lucky and met a group of patrolling soldiers who let me hitch a ride in their car." Grai's image started to distort again. One could see his 'incomparably long' fingers twiddling at his Skylink screen. "Hello? Hello?"
"Ah! No! It was so hard just to get a stable enough connection to speak!" Hymin was on the verge of pulling her hair out in frustration. "Captain! Hurry up and use your golden fingers! Use your golden fingers!"
Regardless of how Wang Zhong tried this time, the static on the screen continued to worsen, until the connection was severed.
Grai tapped his already smoking Skylink in helplessness. Although he had learned quite a bit while he was in Tianjing, something like the Skylink was too abstruse for him. At the very least, he had no way to repair it properly.
Sigh. Being such a highly technologically advanced item, it should have waterproofing at the very least, right...
Shaking his head, Grai stuffed the now completely smoking Skylink back into his backpack.
Although Stuart city was not ranked as one of the ten great cities in the Federation, it was still the undisputed first if observed from a certain perspective.
This was the first city in the Federation that was constructed entirely from the aristocratic family personal wealth and manpower after the creation of the Federation's laws and policies. Furthermore, it had now developed into the greatest, most splendid and wealthy private territory within the Federation.
Grai had always been interested in this city, due to having frequently seen various kinds of information about the publicity and news of this city published by the Federation in the Skylink.
However, as it was a city that had been constructed only halfway through the dark era, its original form was a little village located within a mountain range. Therefore, it was pure nonsense to say that Stuart City had any fame and reputation in the ancient times. At the very most, its history spanned only about two to three hundred years. Maybe those legends were about a dry well in the little mountain village before the city was constructed, which had been deliberately propagandized into a large pile of mysterious legends, before being draped in honor and reconstructed to attract travellers. Nevertheless, such things could only be used to cheat money out of wealthy tourists, as the locals would never give more than a single glance at such a place.
Naturally, Grai was not interested in such things.
The Stuart City had left the greatest impression on the entire Federation, as they were undoubtedly the starting base of the Federation's scientific and technological facilities. One could see the various super sized Skylink screens displaying various kinds of interesting news, information and advertisements all day long with a casual look in any direction. The height of the construction within the entire city was absolutely the most majestic within the entirety of the Federation, with tall skyscrapers all throughout that could not be seen in other cities.
Within the city, there were many intertwining railroad tracks which were merely used as transportation by the residents. By playing only a few credits, one could travel a few times around this magnificent city by train.
Magnificent sights were present all around, with signs of prosperity and luxury everywhere. The first feeling that Stuart City brought to Grai was flourishing efficiency.
However, even such a magnificent city had a place that was not 'perfect'. At the edge of the high rise city where the skyscrapers stood tall, next to the gigantic city walls that protected the city was a large stretch of low rise construction buildings. In the words of the locals, slums were present everywhere around the circumference of the city walls. In these places, crooks and people of all trades could be found. As long as one had money, one could make people here do any bidding they required. These ghettos appeared to be just like refugee camps outside other cities of the Federation, with the only difference in the eyes of the wealthy being whether one was situated within or outside the city walls.
Naturally, the truth of the situation was not as disastrous as that. At the very least the people in the slums here were still able to have proper meals.
Compared to those tall skyscrapers, Grai was much more interested in the low rise region. In the slums, there were more matters pertaining to the human race that could be seen. Packed within the filth and gutters of the glorious city were rows of houses propped up so densely that there was hardly room to walk through, to the point where it would be difficult to squeeze two people in the walkways. The people who lived in this region hustled and bustled as urgently as those within the city centre. There were always ruffians and hoodlums at the corner of every street and lane, coupled with grime-covered children who had eyes glinting with a light that did not match their age.
Brimming with curiosity, Grai proceeded to walk around and sightsee, being extremely curious in everything present around him. The proper restaurants were out of question, as he had no interest in them. The lower the sight set on the social ladder, the more realistic the view of the world became. After quite a difficult search, he finally managed to find an old and dilapidated place that one could still eat in. According to the locals, this place was called the HouseFly Restaurant.
Within this little building which spanned across area no more than 20 square metres were 3 tables, with the old female boss possessing a waist circumference even rounder by Barran. Upon entering, he noticed her, swatting away with her fly swatter. Clearly, there's one cannot be particular about cleanliness in such a place, with having a warmed up leftovers of other people's meals being served to customers being a common occurrence in here.
So this is the meaning of Housefly Restaurant, huh. While Grai looked around in interest, the old female boss eyed him with even greater curiosity. A white and tender male dressed in such clean clothes was definitely a rare sight in the slums.
The two dishes being brought over were fresh, something which was a rarity itself. Added to that, the old female boss had personally cooked them before leaving the kitchen, pulling a small stool over to sit by Grai's side. "I've never seen you before, handsome. Travelling?"
"You've came to tour the slums? There's nothing to see here!"
"Just taking a casual look around. This place doesn't feel bad."
This boss appeared rather candid and straightforward, most likely as she had not seen any handsome men for a very long time. After only a few words, she began to chat enthusiastically with Grai, being exceedingly cordial.
Regardless of whether it was the slums or the city centre, the majority of people present here lived their lives similar to those inside Stuart City. The people here were especially fond of gossiping, from little issues in some family all the way to various things that occured within the Stuart Family and city constructions. They appeared to know half of everything that happened in this world, from the skies to the dirt underground. Suddenly, whilst Grai and the lady boss continued to chat, someone slapped the table beside them.
"Motherfucker, do you want to die, fat bitch? It's been a whole fucking day and my alcohol still isn't here!"
"I'm not eating anymore! Go have your fun with that pretty boy!"
As they spoke, three ruffians sitting nearby slammed their hands on the table, stood up and kicked their stools. On their table was about seven to eight leftover dishes and soup.
The female boss shot a look over. These three fellows definitely did not order alcohol at all. "Hey hey hey! When the fuck did you guys order alcohol? If you want to leave, hand over the money for the food first! Are you dining and dashing?!"
At this moment, she could no longer attend to the little handsome male sitting beside her, and bolted straight out to block the door.
"This fat woman really is tactless, brother Tuo Ni. Wanna do some after meal exercises?"
The three hooligans rolled up their sleeves as they continued, "Pity she's too ugly. If she's just a bit slimmer, this would at least be interesting."
"Asshole, get out here!" The female boss was clearly terrified as she rushed towards the kitchen, shouting at someone inside. Seeing as that useless fellow refused to come out, she began to worry, now that she was stuck in a position she could not escape from.
Thud! A dull sound rang out, as the lead fellow by the name of Tuo Ni sent a stool flying towards the boss' head, causing blood to instantly flow out from her wound.
"Murder! Murder!" Making a decisive action, the female boss started squealing out loudly like a pig. Hearing her squeals, Tuo Ni attempted to make a pass at her, only to be surprised by a cold voice ringing out beside him.
"You should pay for your food. What's wrong with that?"
As all three hooligans turned at the same time, they spotted the cleanly dressed, self professed backpacker male standing up and looking at them.
"Oh ho?" Tuo Ni's heart rejoiced. "Why the fuck are you caring about other people's business? I, your father, like you nosy people the most! Brothers, let's take this fellow down!"
Truthfully speaking, thoughts filled Tuo Ni's head as he rushed forward. Generally speaking, those who dressed so cleanly and dared to head to the slums alone possessed some sort of ability. There was even a possibility that he was a student from god knows which Heroic Soul Academy attempting to test the life of the slums. Faced against such New Humans, he and his two compatriots would definitely be no match for this male.
Nevertheless, they could not be scared shitless by a single word from that pretty boy. Disregarding such a thought, Tuo Ni steeled his heart and continued to rush forward. The result was a successful punch, causing his confidence to surge. As his fist travelled out, the cleanly dressed male seemed to have never fought before, sprawling on the ground from that single hit. Seeing this, the female boss was shocked and rushed over hastily, only to be sent rolling on the floor by a kick, leaving her unable to stand up.
Immediately, the trio rushed over to Grai, pummeling him with kicks and punches. Beating up such a cleanly dressed fellow was much more satisfying than hitting trash in the slums. Furthermore, this was too easy for the three. At the very least, even the honest people living in the slums would return one or two passes in exchange, while fleeing if that failed to change circumstances. Compared to them, this brat was just like a sandbag, not moving in the slightest.
After having his fill of fun, Tuo Ni fiercely spat on the ground and casually stomped twice for good measure.
"You haven't even grown hair, and yet you wanna learn to be a hero and save that fatty, you little bastard? Look at yourself!"
"Ha ha! He can save a fatty, we'll go save a beauty!"
"Scram! Scram! What the hell are you looking at! If you look again, this old master will gouge your eyes out!" Tuo Ni glared at the group of nosy residents who had gathered to watch, frightening them away.
Only then did a scrawny figure come out of the kitchen. Seeing that the trio of hooligans had already left, he hastily went to assist the female boss.
"I'm alright! You gutless trash! You, you better not shake in front of me! Quickly take a look at the brat!" Given her thick layer of fat, it was not easy for her to be injured. Instead, she was concerned about Grai, feeling anger and amusement. "From how he moved, I assumed that he was a student from some Heroic Soul Academy. Gosh! If he can't fight, why the hell did he involve himself in this matter?"
By this moment, Grai had already stood up. With a smile, he tidied and rearranged his clothing before nodding at the boss.
"Oh, you're alright?" The female boss was slightly incredulous as she believed that the brat's face would be bruised and swollen. However, it seemed that he was totally fine, without a single trace of injury on him. Furthermore, he appeared to be still completely clean. Seeing this, she could not resist and blurted, "You're not bad little brother, but don't try to be a hero if you're powerless. Otherwise, you'll meet a quick death!"
"Okay, thank you." Grai nodded again as he slung his backpack on. He then left money for the food on the table before walking out the door.
"He seems quite sturdy. His body is definitely strong…" The female boss had been stupefied by the entire situation. That brat even remembered to pay the bill! He really is brought up by those rich aristocratic families! Even during impending doom, he still maintained his regality, a quality that was useless to the people of the slums.
Unable to bear it, she shook her head. Why are the righteous and just people being oppressed this year?
After leaving, Grai travelled nearby. Following his memory from his earlier sightseeing adventure, he moved along the streets and lanes with ease. As his surroundings grew increasingly remote, he arrived at the dead end of an isolated alley.
With no road ahead, Grai turned around to face the three people who had indeed appeared before him, obstructing his path.
"We meet again, brat. Looks like you're quite rich, huh." Ambiguous smiles hung on their faces as they continued to size up Grai. "How about lending some to your brothers here to spend?"
As the trio spoke, malevolent smiles surfaced on their faces as they moved over to encircle Grai.
Although these were slums, they were still within Stuart City's jurisdiction. As there had been too many people in the little store earlier, they had not taken action since stealing and robbing in public was ranked as a serious crime. Dressed up so cleanly while carrying such a large backpack, this brat was like a fat lamb sent straight to their doorsteps, especially given that he was completely unable to put up a fight.
Yet, nobody would have guessed that this fat lamb would start to smile after being surrounded.
Has he gone crazy from all the kicking earlier? Tuo Ni felt a somewhat horrifying sensation from the smile on Grai's mouth.