After the end of the big banquet that continued until the morning, Aya groggily returned to her chamber—the city master’s bedroom to be exact.
As a spirit, she took the form of a spirit of the brave departed, and while living, she was one of the most powerful knights in the continent. Her strong physique even surpassed that of the powerful physique of the strange creatures in the wild land. Naturally, her alcohol capacity was bottomless.
However, she still ended up drunk. On the banquet, Bedivere unexpectedly took out the Dragon Clan’s secret wine, and mixed each barrel with one cup, letting the hall full of heroes turn into a drunken sailor. Aya alone had drunk one of the barrels and immediately felt dizzy.
When she opened her eyes again, she found out that she was no longer in the main bedroom with a luxurious ceiling of the city master’s mansion, but rather in an endless darkness.
"Good morning, Aya."
Wang Lu’s gentle greeting sound somewhat stuffed.
"Where is this?"
Aya vigorously shook her dizzy head, propped herself up, and tried to observe the surrounding situation. However, her hands were unexpectedly weaker than she thought, so she almost fell back.
Wang Lu immediately pulled Aya up, constantly shaking his head. "Alas, you’re a wreck, you know. Not only you’re delirious, even your hair is messy. I’ll help you pluck one of those that stick out."
Aya peevishly swatted away Wang Lu’s hand and then swept around her eyes. Suddenly, her somewhat blurred vision turned sharp. "This is the King’s Treasure House!"
Wang Lu said, "I thought you forgot about it. Although we’ve won against Holy Light Religion, we’re not free yet. Our main task is not finished yet, but our opening is a bit wide."
Aya was silent for a moment. "Where are the others? Are they here?"
"Of course they’re here, the price for collective transmission is very high, how could they not get in?"
Aya narrowed her eyes, and sure enough, in the darkness, she saw the figures of Liu Li, Bai Shixuan, and Quan Zouhua.
"What exactly happened?"
Wang Lu said, "We have gathered the required nine hundred and ninety-nine blood roses. After two fierce battles, we managed to collectively kill more than one thousand and five hundred middle order professions of Holy Light Religion."
Aya said, "I know, but I remember Golden King once said that we have to return to Taobao first and enter through any of the entrances, so I never thought I’d be back here this soon."
While speaking, Aya’s eyes gradually turned sharp. "Wang Lu, I want to believe you, but can you give me an explanation, why?"
It could be said that the timing of Wang Lu pulling Aya back to the treasure house was somewhat defective. After experiencing that war that decided the future of Brettonia, Aya was going to take this opportunity to fully strengthen her authority, to make up as far as possible for the side effect of Wang Lu’s previous premium offer to invite people to join.
Although Wang Lu’s offered commitment was not the intention of Aya, Aya would not blatantly breach it. In her opinion, even in a federal state, she could still have authority over anyone, as long as she properly made it in this period of time… Unfortunately, in this best period of time, Wang Lu actually brought her to the treasure house, thus causing her to miss the opportunity. But with Aya’s understanding of Wang Lu, it was hard to imagine that he was careless.
"The reason is…" Seeing how serious Aya was, Wang Lu could only seriously reply, "I really don’t want you to make the same mistake over again, that is all."
"Make the same mistake?"
"Have you learned your lesson from your failure more than one hundred years ago?"
Aya sighed. "This is different!"
"Yes, at that time, your situation is actually better than now. Holy Light Religion didn’t take you as a thorn in their face and Brettonia hasn’t been castrated by Holy Light Religion for more than one hundred years. At that time, you are at your heyday. Yet, you failed. Your loyal Knights of the Round Table were torn apart, those courtiers who you regarded as confidant moved away from you, and even your Knights who were once like brothers fought each other until there were rivers of blood. Now the situation is even more difficult than that, so I’m worried that you would make the same mistake."
"Your worry is unnecessary. I will not make the same mistake." Aya said, "Besides, will taking me away from Dragon City improve the situation? A leaderless group of people would turn into chaos faster than you think!"
"You don’t have to worry about that, I have already made sufficient arrangements before coming here. Moreover, as for our present situation, we need to make progress in this King’s Treasure House as soon as possible so that it would attract all the attention of Holy Light Religion away from Brettonia. At the very least, we will have a bargaining chip for negotiation."
Aya calmly thought about it, and then accepted Wang Lu’s explanation. Currently, the King’s Treasure House was the most important strategic point of Holy Light Religion, with status certainly much higher than Brettonia. Once there was an instability here, Holy Light Religion would try to quell the situation at any cost, which could indeed divert their attention from Brettonia.
However, there was one problem that she couldn’t let go: what was the meaning of making the same mistake? What mistake?
Wang Lu said, "As for your so-called would not make mistake, you don’t even realize what was wrong in the first place, how could you confidently say you will not make the same mistake?"
"Of course I know!" Aya’s voice gradually rose. "This past one hundred years, I have been reflecting about myself. I know very well that, as a king, I have a lot of shortcomings. Therefore, this time, I will be more cautious and more modest in leading my people to victory… definitely, will not fail again!"
"Ridiculous." Wang Lu has never been so harsh on her. "If that’s what you think, then you will surely fail again! Because you don’t know what kind of qualities a true leader should possess. Do you think you can be a qualified monarch by raising your personal attributes to infinity? That’s truly a joke!"
Speaking to this, seeing the look of resentment and anger in Aya’s eyes, Wang Lu then explained, "Apart from the difference in ability, just by looking from the personality perspective alone, between the two of us, who do you think is more suitable to be a king?"
Aya frowned, seemingly finding Wang Lu’s question somewhat difficult to understand. "Why would you ask such a stupid question?"
"... Aya, your ego is too high. In fact, it is your so-called personality that decided that you are doomed to not be a qualified monarch, because…"
"Shut up, you noisy bastard."
Just as Wang Lu was ready to earnestly teach Aya on how to be successful in ruling, Golden King’s voice faintly rang from the vast darkness.
"Golden King?" Aya also promptly put down that topic and began to seriously treat the master of this treasure house. "Is that you?"
"Of course it’s him. Otherwise, how could we cross over a long distance to Taobao City overnight? Now that the Holy Light Religion and the Eastern City States are in fierce battles, the city has been put under the martial law, so we can’t enter the normal way. However, we have a backdoor that was specially opened by the master of the treasure house." Wang Lu explained, "Having nine hundred and ninety-nine blood rose can make us perfectly pass through the fifth level and be gifted with high reward. But if we collect more, we can gain an extra reward, and this extra reward is the thing that enabled us to quickly get here from miles away."
Golden King grunted, "In just a few short months, you guys were able to collect one thousand and five hundred blood roses, you, these bastards, are surprisingly competent." Golden King, in his usual mocking tone, actually gave them a rare positive evaluation. "But the real challenge begins now, so there’s no time for you to discuss the ridiculous path of a king. There’s no need for a bunch of lowly bastards to expect that you would be able to reach the realm of a king. Do what you have to do, bastards, don’t let me down."
With that, Golden King’s voice faded away. Apparently, he could not appear in front of the people for a long time.
"Well then, time is limited, so I’ll explain our current situation." After Golden King has left them, Wang Lu clapped his hands to attract the attention of others. "Thanks to Golden King in opening up the backdoor, we have completed the obstruction created by the other party and qualified to pass through the level five. However, as long as we are still being deliberately targeted by the administrator, we would be trapped to die sooner or later. Golden King could not possibly open the back door for us each time. Therefore, from now on, we are going to proceed with the counterattack. We can’t just passively wait for the attack from the other side."
"So, what are we going to do exactly?" Aya asked.
"Very simple, we will start when we receive the reward. In accordance with the principle of equivalent exchange, since the other party has set an impossible to complete condition, it is necessary for him to prepare such a generous reward that is impossible to be realized."
"Administrator! The nine hundred and ninety-nine roses have been collected. Now, it’s time for us to redeem our reward!"
Wang Lu roared and broke off his previously set illusion—fortunately, the illusion could only be seen from the outside, otherwise, Aya would surely raise a ruckus.
After breaking the illusion, the administrator’s voice rang in the depths of darkness.
"It’s you? How could it be!"
That previously-always-calm voice could not suppress his feeling of shock. A moment later, a blurred face vaguely appeared on the black mist.
"So it turns out it’s you guys!"
After a close observation, the administrator finally recognized the identity of Wang Lu and the others.
"Those who made waves in Brettonia are actually you guys, how did you leave the King’s Treasure House? Even if there’s a space-class prop, if you want to get out of the shackles of the space of this artifact… Don’t tell me you guys were helped by that dead man?"
The administrator, after all, has been in control of the treasure house for eighty years, so he was very familiar with it. Thus, he could quickly deduce the truth. However, after knowing the truth, he was actually consumed by an enormous fear.
If it’s that ghostly shadow, then… no, I have to calm down first. Things might not turn out bad.
The administrator calmed himself down and then lightly said, "You said you want to redeem the reward? Of course, congratulations, according to the rules of the treasure house, I can even reward you with the divine tool, aren’t you Nine Regions people her to find a divine tool? Then…"
Wang Lu interrupted him with a laugh, "Have you ever heard of a fable from Nine Regions? There was once a farmer who by chance met an immortal. This immortal has a golden touch, anything that it touches turn into gold. The immortal then asked the farmer what he wanted. However, the farmer neither wanted a mountain of treasures nor immortality. He just wanted the ability to turn things into gold just by touching them. By the same token, I don’t need you to bring tools or treasures, or even immortal divine tool. I just want a fair competition—I want to compete with you for the position of administrator."
The administrator was greatly shaken as he angrily said, "What a joke! In your dreams! Greedy bastards, you will get nothing!"
"Really?" Wang Lu said with a smile, "If you have the ability, then don’t give us anything and drive us out of the treasure house. Can you do that? I have gathered all of the required nine hundred and ninety-nine blood roses. If you have the ability, just disregard the rules of the treasure house and take away my reward, can you do that? Show me!"
The administrator went into silence. What Wang Lu just said, he indeed couldn’t do it… he couldn’t even take out a divine tool to reward Wang Lu at this time.
He was the administrator, but he did not get the full access to the treasure house. In regard to divine tool, he was completely powerless. Therefore, at this time, he simply couldn’t back down.
"Can’t do it? According to the rules, when you give a task but you can’t deliver the reward, then what? That’s a dereliction of duty! As the Golden King’s administrator, you can’t even perform this basic responsibility, on what grounds do you still hold the position of the administrator! If you don’t step down at this time, then when?"
"Enough!" The administrator roared, "You want a fair competition? Fine, I’ll give you a competition!"
With that, the dark space was lit up by the light in the sky, and the previously-sprinkled-by-Wang-Lu rain of roses was led by this light to form a without-end shining straightforward path.
"This is the way to the administrator, if you have the guts then come!"