In the face of a dangerous and stressful environment and an unknown future — as well as the extreme fatigue from avoiding all kinds of poisonous insects or monsters and protecting themselves from the poisonous quagmire — the thought of being able to complete their mission and return gloriously gave those who believed this a wake-up call .
But now… everyone’s spirits, which had been held up by faith alone in the past few days, instantly dampened to a new low .
Pa Pa Pa Pa Pa…
The sound of heavy rain and hailstones pattering on the tough leathery tent could be heard from outside, but from inside the tent, there was only dead silence . Wang Zhong and the others had predicted that the enemies at the mine would be prepared for attacks, but for the entire KD Squadron to be wiped out so easily was truly rather unfathomable .
Now that the KD Squadron was destroyed, what should the Wanderlust Team do?
Feng coughed slightly, breaking the dead silence in the tent . She looked at Oscar and Wang Zhong as she spoke, “Now that this is happening, should we advance or retreat?”
Both of them were frowning and did not answer .
To be honest, if the KD Squadron didn’t stand a chance against their enemies, what could these nine people do even if they managed to pass through the swamp? Even if there was a chance of carrying out a sneak attack from the rear, would it even be useful? If their enemies could wipe out such a powerful team, what could they do to the Wanderlust Team?
It did not seem to be a difficult question, but was it truly time to retreat?
It would be easy to explain this in their mission report . It was not wrong for the Wanderlust Team to retreat in this situation, and it was unlikely that the mission department would hold the team responsible, but would that really be the end of it?
Both teams went out together, and in the end, KD Squadron was completely destroyed, but the entire Wanderlust Team escaped unscathed . What would people feel about that? If people were kind, they would say that they retreated without a fight, did not work together with their allies, chose to protect only themselves, or made their allies take the heat for them . If people were less kind, they might say that the Wanderlust Team stabbed their allies in the back . It was fortunate that their enemies were aliens; otherwise, some might even spread rumors that the team had joined forces with the enemy .
Even though there would be no direct evidence for this and they wouldn’t get punished by the military, it would be impossible for the Wanderlust Team to go on any other missions in the future as no one would be willing to partner up with them . They would also become the laughing stock of the entire exploration-team department .
Ever since they got allocated to this mission, their situation had been extremely awkward . This time, Scarlet who had most likely begged her teacher for this chance . If it ended like this, it would probably be the end for the Wanderlust Team, and they would have to forget about any more opportunities in the future . Then, they would truly become insignificant in this Holy Battle .
There were all kinds of problems and troubling things piled up together for the Wanderlust Team . Retreating seemed to be the only option, but it was a choice that everyone couldn’t bear to say out loud but also couldn’t take lying down .
Oscar remained hesitant and appeared extremely troubled . In fact, the main reason why this happened was that everyone had underestimated the strength of their enemies, including the Wanderlust Team themselves . They had originally assumed that even if KD didn’t manage to succeed in their attack, they would at least be able to retreat safely while retaining their mainstay forces; they could then wait for the Wanderlust Team to launch an attack to hit them from both sides . But unexpectedly, KD had been wiped out completely .
“We can’t just go back like this . ” Wang Zhong was the first to finally speak . “The mission is to wipe out our enemies and blow up the mine . With our strength, let’s forget about killing our enemies, but we can at least try to blow up the mine . Let’s not forget that we still have a Kenso’s Stink Bomb . ”
The rest of the team became slightly energized . Even if they only completed half the mission, they would at least get some credit for it, and they wouldn’t be suspected of betraying their teammates . Both teams had already split up from the start, and each had a job to do . If the KD Squadron didn’t follow the original plan and lost their lives as a result, it could only be their own fault . But the question was, how were they going to blow up the mine?
“The energy cave is behind their line of defense, so the route we followed is the perfect one . ” Wang Zhong pointed at the map and continued on, “But since we are going for a sneak attack, we don’t need everyone to join us . I think it’s better for me to go alone, so it will be easier to sneak in . You guys can be my backup and take your time to catch up with me . At the same time, you guys can take a break and regain your strength . Also, try to use this swamp to make some arrangements to handle the enemies that might be following me . ”
“No, this is too dangerous . ” As soon as Wang Zhong’s voice fell, Feng objected immediately . “Even if the mining area is behind the enemy’s line of defense, it’s impossible that they will be unprepared . How can you go alone? We should act together . ”
“Since our current mission is just to destroy the mine, having too many people won’t help our objective . If I go alone, I can at least move more freely . Also, your backup will be very important . If we do it your way, we will waste even more time . ” Wang Zhong then smiled and said, “Relax . I will definitely come back alive . ”
Actually, everyone knew that what Wang Zhong said was true . It would truly be easier for them to be exposed if everyone tried to sneak in together to blow up the energy caves . It was just that everyone felt bad for Wang Zhong to shoulder the responsibility for the entire team alone .
“Energy mines are complex, and they go deep underground . To blow it up, we must go down deep into the interior part of the cave and bomb it from the inside . But you won’t be able to do it alone . What if you get spotted? There would be no one who can help you divert the enemy’s attention . ” Feng finally let up as she believed in Wang Zhong’s abilities . However, she also raised a new concern .
“I’ll go with him . ” Grai, who had remained silent, smiled and said, “I have been doing rather well in preserving my physical strength the past two days . I’ll cover him . ”
“There’s me too . ” Oscar nodded as well . Although his potential might not be as great as Wang Zhong’s, Oscar truly had it in him when it came to strength .
“You should stay . ” Wang Zhong looked at Oscar and said, “One of us must stay to protect the team . For this, Grai and I will be enough . ”
The torrential rain and hail continued on all night, but Wang Zhong and Grai did not delay at all . As soon as they agreed upon a plan, they set off into the heavy rain immediately . Although it could not be said that this was the slackest time for their enemies, the enemies who participated in the battle should at least be experiencing fatigue . After all, the KD Squadron truly was not weak . As such, seizing this opportunity was the best choice for this mission .
As the two sped off into the rain at top speed, Small Eyes and the others who had been struggling in the mud were absolutely stunned . Initially, they were worried that the two would be too tired as it had been two or three days since they embarked on this arduous journey . But now… Looking at their speed under the heavy rain, it could be deduced that they were definitely not tired at all .
“Wow, those two can really run… I guess they’ve been taking our speed and feelings into consideration along the way here . ”
“They really have too much energy! I can’t even move now . ”
Mario and Sharmie appeared a little guilty . They didn’t expect that one day they would become a burden to their team . Looking at Sharmie being so dejected, Mario quickly changed the topic . “Anyway, why is the bomb called Kenso’s Stink Bomb? Who gave it that name? Is it Great Teacher Kenso? Is the bomb really smelly?”
Before the others could get it, Feng had already begun to laugh . “Uh… It should be his bad sense of humor!”
Although the violent icy rain and hail made Wang Zhong and Grai uncomfortable, the good news was that the dimensional creatures in this swamp had gone into hiding . As they ran in the rainy night, they were unimpeded .
Wang Zhong had also been observing Grai . Although the two had met a lot in the past six months, it was actually only during a team mission a few months ago that he saw Grai’s actual combat power . At that time, Grai’s performance was rather satisfactory, and he had the Soul Power of about three to four thousand Grassos, plus a relatively novel vampire Dharma Idol . He was not weak, but definitely not strong either .
But in just a few months, although he himself had changed dramatically, it seemed that Grai had not been idle either . It was said that Grai had helped a Great Teacher to conduct a blood test experiment . He did not get paid, but the teacher had shared the experimental results with him as a participant . Now, seeing his improvement, it seemed that it was indeed effective, causing his power to improve by leaps and bounds . He was definitely at the peak of the Heroic Soul Stage and had finished consolidating his learning . At this time, it did not seem too strenuous for Grai to keep up with Wang Zhong under the heavy rain . Perhaps… he could let him try that technique .
“For this mission, speed is the most important . ” Wang Zhong made up his mind to teach Grai that technique . As he continued to run at top speed, he said, “I have recently come up with a method to increase my speed, the Speed Circuit . ”
“Circuit?” He was indeed Grai . He could always grasp the main point immediately during a conversation .
“The advantage of being a Heroic Soul is that we have a huge amount of Soul Power . However, the disadvantage is that it is difficult to control ourselves because we have too much Soul Power . As such, our control over Soul Power will be much more difficult as compared to the Casted Soul Stage . The Circuit is a way I have come up with to control the Soul Power in my body . I have based them on three main things — strength, speed, and agility — to make my Soul Power obedient . ”
Wang Zhong briefly explained the concept of the Circuits he had come up with . If he had been talking to someone else, this new concept would probably be difficult to understand or even to accept, but Grai was different .
“Senior, do you mean that you have found a solution to our sluggish Soul Power response?” Grai was rather shocked . Frankly speaking, although he had the blood shadow ability, he was not able to do whatever he wanted, unlike during the Casted Soul Stage . For people like him and Wang Zhong, it was actually the most depressing for them during the Heroic Soul Stage . It was said that with good talent, it would take five to ten years to fully grasp this kind of Soul Power . However, another problem would arise . Do they waste time honing their skills, or try to break through to the Heavenly Soul Stage directly?
Although life was long enough, opportunities might be fleeting . This was a contradictory choice . Every Holy Disciple would face this dilemma, yet Wang Zhong just said that he had found a quick solution to this problem .
“Sort of… I’m not too sure . At least, it works well outside of battle . ”
While the two ran in the torrential rain, Wang Zhong told Grai about the Speed Circuit technique .
It had to be admitted that there was something called talent in this world . After trying out the Soul Power Circuit technique for a single night, a simple Speed Circuit model finally formed in Grai’s body .
“Should we try to speed up?” Wang Zhong could sense that Grai’s cells were bursting with energy after he activated the Speed Circuit .
“Yes, let’s do it!” Grai was extremely excited, and there was no sign of fatigue on him even after an entire night of running .
He felt that the Speed Circuit he had just activated could maintain this speed for at least half an hour . At this time, his entire body felt much lighter than usual, and his legs grew more powerful . He estimated that his speed could be increased by a lot .
“Haha,” laughed Wang Zhong as he raised his thumb .
A Soul Power point split open in his body, forming a crystalline-looking circuit in an instant .
There were dense white-colored circuits spreading all over his body as though they were blood vessels . Following that, there was a flash of white light running along the endless circuit, traveling from the top of his head to the soles of his feet in an instant .
It may have taken a long time to describe, but the deed only took a second . The circuit marks on his body disappeared, and Wang Zhong’s entire body seemed to become lighter, as though he could float in the air . His toes merely touched the ground lightly before he zoomed forward like an arrow .
Be it the swamp or the quagmire, at this moment, they were all like flat roads under Wang Zhong’s feet . When his toes made contact with the swamp, it seemed as though he only touched them lightly . Before the quagmire could even sink under his weight, he had already zoomed forward, leaving no traces on the quagmire! It was just a blink of an eye, and Wang Zhong was already out of sight .
Although Grai had also activated his Speed Circuit and mentally prepared himself, he was rather stunned at the sight of Wang Zhong’s power burst .
This technique which could be launched within an instant was truly too freaky!
“Try to keep up!” Wang Zhong’s voice echoed from quite a far distance .
There was a phrase to describe this: to run as fast as light and as free as the wind .
The torrential rain was raging around them, and the ice-cold air pierced their limbs . Even so, Grai suddenly grew a little excited as though he was facing a powerful enemy in the CHF with Wang Zhong and being driven into a corner together once again . It was the best experience of his life .
A smile formed on his handsome face, and the white light of the Speed Circuit flashed slightly on his body . Following behind him was a blood-red shadow .
They were traveling on a muddy swamp, yet it completely became a straight highway to them…
Originally, it would have taken the Wanderlust Team at least two to three days to complete the journey if everything went according to plan . However, it only took the duo five hours in total, even after Grai stopped several times to readjust his Speed Circuit .
There was still a small section of jungle terrain and mountainous roads to pass through after coming out of the swamp . At this time, it was not yet dawn, and the surroundings were dark . The two slowed down in the dark . They dared not take the main road and instead climbed a narrow mountain wall that was not too high . Now, the enemy camp at the Black Boulder Energy Cave was already in their sights .
The camp didn’t look that big from outside . In front of them, there were several sentry towers and gates at the cave entrance, and they appeared to have been set up recently . They were relatively simple in structure and relatively new . At the same time, there were several tall Mizobudapi people in charge of keeping watch, but it was the wee hours of the morning, so they appeared rather weary . The few guards yawned from time to time, allowing the two to deduce that their lifestyles were similar to that of humans .
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