All four of them were a little stunned. Who amongst them was the old friend???
This journey had only become more and more confusing for the four of them. Wang Zheng walked forward slowly. Strangely, the closer he got, the more he was filled with a sense of happiness. He could sense the essence around him even clearer than when he was on Earth. It was as though he was about to become one with the mountain. And at this moment, Wang Zheng sensed that on the mountain, someone was waiting for him.
No one spoke as they travelled, although the two children were surreptitiously sizing them up.
Lie Xin, let alone Raston, began to feel a little nervous. Although she was part of the Lie family, she never had the luck that seemed to favor Lie Guang. Even the head of the Lie family could not easily meet the Sage leader.
At the entrance to the main hall, the two children held Lie Xin and the rest back and respectfully bowed. "Please."
Without thinking too much about it, Wang Zheng naturally walked towards the great hall.
He was not sure how to put the feeling in words.
However, Raston and the rest were prevented from entering. Lie Guang was panicky. "What's the matter? Won't Sage see me?"
The other boy smiled. "Senior, you've already entered, but this time around Sage will not meet with you."
"Little White, you mean Sage came down the mountain to see him???" Lie Guang was shocked. "How is this possible? I didn't even plan to invite him. If it wasn't for Raston..."
The three of them looked at each other. It was like a dream. Raston was even more bemused. This was definitely not purposefully planned. Even he did not know he would coincidentally meet Wang Zheng, so how would Lie Guang have foreseen that then? And as for the Sage…
Raston was suddenly filled with respect for the Sage Sect. Although he was not fated for a meeting, such an experience was already a marvel in itself.
As for Wang Zheng…
Lie Xin felt envious. Could it be a mistake? On what basis did that pretty boy warrant a meeting with the Sage?
"Could it be a mistake?" Lie Xin could not help but muse.
The two boys could not restrain their amusement, but they said nothing. Lie Guang scratched his head. "After all this trouble, we're nothing but escorts. Where did this punk come from to have such luck?"
Wang Zheng was thinking nothing complicated of such sorts. Once he stepped into the main hall, the matters of the world fell away in an instant.
He saw an ordinary-looking old man smiling at him. In front of him was a praying mat. Wordlessly, Wang Zheng seated himself composedly on the mat.
In that instant, he recalled his encounter with a strange feeling on the Norton Star. It was as though he was in the same state once again.
The Sage's face was creased in a mild smile, his gaze looked as though it pierced through time. It held reminiscence and anguish. What was the truth that lay in its depths?
Perhaps the final answer was only for the Sage himself to know.
Who would have known that such a day would have come in the passage of time? Yet it was as though his ability was insufficient to comprehend some of what he saw.
Something that endured through endless generations, yet nothing of substance. Merely an imprint, as though there was something more profound, yet completely ignorant.
Gradually, the Sage smiled knowingly. He felt as though he had left his body behind…
He was in the hands of fate now. What would come, would come.
Old and young sat quietly facing each other. Wang Zheng felt like his mind was empty and simultaneously filled with thoughts…
When he opened his eyes, he discovered that the Sage had disappeared. His entire person felt relaxed. Suddenly, he found he was no longer preoccupied with Ability X. Strength was honed and depended on how one wielded it. The path he walked was different from that of ordinary mortals.
To gain, one must first let go.
He pushed open the door and was met with a starry sky outside.
"Ah, it was only a moment. How could it already have gotten dark?"
"Bro, you're too much. We've been standing outside for six hours!" Lie Guang inadvertently spat out.
"Six hours and 10 minutes. Talk, Wang Zheng. What did the Sage say to you?" Lie Xin was brimming with curiosity.
Wang Zheng shrugged and tapped his head absently. "Hmm, I missed such a good opportunity. Once I entered and sat on the prayer mat, I fell into a dream-like state. When I opened my eyes, the Sage was gone."
"Impossible! You have to be kidding me. Such a rare opportunity, and you actually fell asleep???" Raston could not help but leap to his feet.
"Wang Zheng, oh Wang Zheng. How could I ever have thought well of your soft-bellied existence!" Lie Xin felt let down.
Lie Guang shook his head. "You couldn't have entered a trance upon entering, could you?"
"How do I explain this... It's an enigmatic dimension where time passes very quickly. Damn... it must have been. You've had good fortune. It's a pity you're not a disciple of the Sage Sect, otherwise your future would have been unlimited and bright, solely based on this experience alone. Pity, pity."
Wang Zheng smiled. "To have such an experience is already a rare encounter. If I get the chance, I must thank the Sage for his guidance."
At this time, the two boys Little Red and Little White walked over. "Senior, Sage has already left. You all can spend the night here."
"Little Red, did Sage leave any message for me?" Lie Guang asked.
Little Red shook his head slightly, then was struck by a thought. "Oh, yes. When Sage was leaving, he said 'Fate comes and goes like water, flowers bloom and fade in their own time.'"
The four of them looked at each other in dismay. Evidently, the Sage had gone back to wander among the clouds.
Although they were not sure how to make sense of what had happened, Wang Zheng's destiny was evidently entwined with the Sage Sect.
Others might have found it difficult to sleep on such a night, but Wang Zheng dropped off immediately. He felt comfortable, relaxed, free of worry. His entire person was open, and in harmony with everything.
He had never experienced such a profound feeling so clearly before.
"Damn, this punk must've been born in the year of the pig. He really fell asleep," Lie Guang blurted out.
"Little Brother Guang, what on earth just happened? Even a punk like this could be a chosen one?"
"Tch, could it have been a mistake? Any way you look at it, I should've been the chosen one," Raston said with a tinge of bitterness.
"Who knows, maybe it's just because he's from Earth. If it was something major, Sage would've definitely informed me," Lie Guang said. If this punk was important, the Sage would definitely not leave him hanging without addressing the matter. That was not the way Sage handled things.
"Anyway, this punk sure came up lucky."
"Forget it. There's no point in overthinking things. Let's go to sleep. After standing for half the night, I'm beat." Lie Guang yawned. When they were standing there unable to talk, the three of them were bored out of their minds.
Nights on the mountain were especially remote. While it was truly tranquil, it was too quiet for those who were used to bustle.
To spend a day was heaven, to spend two would drive one mad.
At the Argus Space Station, training was going on like wildfire. Achilles was expending enormous effort, clearly in an attempt to finish off everybody during the second stage. His thinking was correct. Rather than wasting energy on other aspects, why not hone one's own team until it was the strongest? Furthermore, he believed that such strength could secure a seat within the Milky Way Alliance.
Yazzo and his mercenaries had celebrated until only the whites of their teeth could be seen. Their mecha had been destroyed one after another. With the double compensation, not only could the mech depot be refurnished, it could be upgraded by a class or two. Procurements that were once considered with much nail-biting could now be ordered liberally without much thought along with munitions.
In comparison, those like Masasi and Pi Xiaoxiu had tough days ahead. Those born with a silver spoon rarely tasted hardship like this.
The 8 Stars of the Moon were all of high status. They succeeded in whatever they did, not just because of their status, but also due to their own abilities.
Confidence, class, strength.
This motto was carved into their very bones. Even during the IG training, they had lived by this maxim till the last.
But here, everything was subverted. Losses, upsets, and more failures. Successive failures.
No one had even obtained a single victory at the hands of these mercenaries.
This was also Achilles' wish. What others could see, he naturally saw as well. This was the only weak point of the Moon contingent. Once this weakness was eliminated, surely no one was left who could stand as an opponent!
The most recent encounter was Pi Xiaoxiu and a black-skinned mercenary who fought evenly. However, he was ultimately tricked and suffered a terrible loss.
It was night time on the space station. Dong Xiaosa and Pi Xiaoxiu were drinking gloomily. Recently, they had felt increasingly pent up and on the verge of losing it.
"These mercenaries do have some standard, but I can't stand their appearance. I really want to beat them up."
Dong Xiaosa took a swig of beer. For someone as hot-headed as he was, such restraint was already remarkable.
Pi Xiaoxiu gave a short laugh. Losing was nothing to be afraid of. Neither was the tough training. However, these mercenaries came with foul mouths. During battle, they let loose with an endless stream of insults. Their crass nature was offensive to the Moon contingent. Previously, no matter the opponent, everyone fought with a modicum of class, not like ruffians and gangsters.
To be insulted and then beaten was hard to swallow for the Moon contingent.
"Don't look at it so narrowly. Although they come with dirty mouths, we have definitely improved from sparring with them. I think it's not bad that Achilles arranged this." Pi Xiaoxiu was truly a good-natured one.
Dong Xiaosu said nothing in reply and brooded over swigs of beer. After a long while, he suddenly said, "Even Milo has dark eye circles."
"Haha, so even you noticed? Looks like we're still not the most pitiful." Pi Xiaoxiu shrugged. Girls had it worse. He did not know what Achilles was thinking. These ruffians' tongues became even more malicious against females. In normal situations, they would have beaten them up. He understood Dong Xiaosu's gloom as well; in fact, this was what he was angriest about.
"If you like Milo, you'd better seize the opportunity. It looks like she's getting quite intimate with Masasi," Pi Xiaoxiu teased.
Dong Xiaosu coughed and changed the subject. "Tomorrow we must win one battle. Damn! I don't believe it."
Pi Xiaoxiu shook his head smilingly. Too smooth a journey was actually not a good thing either. Although Achilles' spending this time around was extravagant, he supported and agreed with it.
The rest amongst the 8 Stars were not sleeping either. They were either analysing and training alone, or grouped into twos and threes discussing and reflecting, dissecting the day's battles in various ways.
However, everyone's opinions of the Wolf Spirit mercenaries were unanimous. In a word: sly. In two words: very sly. In three words: very, very sly. To sum it up in a phrase, they had never come across anyone who spoke so despicably.