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(My comrades…)

Turning the clock a minute back. Xuan and clone were already approaching the domain of the Zhengs' fight, and they could already see that distant cylindrical pillar shaped battlefield from their position in the sky. However, the two didn't seem to have the intention to advance any further as they frenziedly exchanged blows there. Apart from Xuan aging, even clone Xuan with his Godseal Board to reverse causality was aging as well. They were like lamps about to be snuffed out!

Xuan suddenly put down his Gauss pistols and stopped attacking, only using his Bell of the East Emperor to deflect a few streaks of power of faith. He asked, "For what do you live for, my clone?"

"... I want to surpass it." Clone Xuan put down his Gauss pistols as well, nodding.

"Surpass what? What about feelings?"

"You and I both know very well what it is I want to surpass. It doesn't have that beauty if it's said out loud. As for feelings, that's just a sign of being corrupted by a mortal's wisdom, or the excuse weaklings give themselves when running away. Are you not even clear on this, my original? Or are you already corrupted by team China?"

Xuan seemed to recall something upon hearing that. After a long time, he said, "You just want to surpass? Still remember when father brought us to see the stars? That kind of thing…"

"My original, you really have been corrupted. Based on what I know, the rules of survival for team Devil is far superior to team China. Perhaps for normal human societies, they need to rely on being hypocritical and weak to placate the masses. But this thinking will be a burden to the chance to surpass the chess player." Clone Xuan shook his head as he raised his Gauss pistols and said to Xuan.

"A human's feelings carry infinite possibilities. For us who went through entirely different environments, you still follow my original methods and thinking. Only the maximisation of benefits matter. I, however, have experienced much and know that their potential can't just be expressed in numbers. Like sacrifice… I'm sure no one in team Devil knows what that means, right?" Xuan slowly closed his eyes upon seeing his clone raise his pistols. Using the special characteristic of the Bell of the East Emperor, he instantly located Zheng. The current Zheng was using his sabre to chop at the distorted space while the real black hole formed. At the same time, he noticed the dense tangle of ropes on Zheng's wrist.

"Comrades… Such a foreign and yet familiar word… It feels… rather warm…"

"Xuan, do you want to see the stars?"

"The stars?"

That was the instant he had truly understood the world with his own eyes. The world wasn't just about numbers and data; something seemed to have been unlocked in his heart at that moment.

His white-haired father passed away. That sadness had clutched at his heart. However, he wasn't able to convey or express it, or cry. That had been painful and he never wanted to experience it again...

The people of team China really were naïve to speak of kindness and comrades. Did they not know the people who liked to betray others the most tended to be comrades themselves?

But what was this moving feeling? Everything he had seen and heard since his revival, something stronger than war buddies, fighting side by side and living and dying together… was that what a 'comrade' was?

Whether it was Zheng intentionally whacking him, Cheng Xiao intentionally speaking ill of him 'behind his back', the people around him showing caution, or… they all gave him a warmth similar to the first time he had seen the stars, like he had seen one of the most genuine facets of the world...

Thus, for this warmth and genuineness obtained with difficulty, he would remove all obstacles before him at all costs!

Xuan used the Bell of the East Emperor to feel the psyche imprints left on the ropes, his comrades' pure and genuine feelings at the moment of their passing.

Several moments later, two clear drops of… tears flowed out from his eyes!

"I'm... crying? Ah, so this is how it feels to cry? And tears. What is this…" Xuan was shocked as he rubbed the teardrops, muttering.

"This is because you're weak. It's proof of you being corrupted by a mortal's wisdom." Clone Xuan was shocked as well, but his expression didn't change.

"NO! These… these are the tears of my desire to live on with everyone!" Xuan's head abrupt shot up, a determination hitherto unseen in his eyes, even when he was wearing his hypnotism glasses. At the same time, a rune surfaced in his eyes, scanning Zheng's battlefield. Then, he pulled down the Bell of the East Emperor that had been floating above his head.

"My clone, didn't you want to know what the purpose of gathering so much energy in the Bell of the East Emperor was for? Let me tell you, there's a reliable bond called 'comrades', an oath worth my life called 'fighting side by side', the greatest gap between us called… 'feelings'! Zheng, this is my final assistance to you. WIN!"

As his words finished, power of faith that was unrivalled in radiance emanated from his body. The power of faith in clone Xuan's muzzles were like fireflies to this sun! Then, all of Xuan's power of faith poured into the Bell of the East Emperor as he hurled it at clone Xuan.

(... Comrades? Or… family? With you all around, it felt quite warm…)

As the Bell of the East Emperor was flung out, Xuan's body dispersed like ash, the only trace left of him some specks of ash. The only thing left to prove that a man named Xuan existed, the Bell of the East Emperor, flew along its trajectory and shot towards clone Xuan. As clone Xuan's two streaks of power of faith slammed into it, they utterly vanished like clay bulls falling into the sea. Not only that, but the bell expanded in size the closer it got to clone Xuan. Regardless of how the Godseal Board distorted causality, it was unable to divert the bell. Zhang Xiaoxue was still frenziedly using causality points as the bell collided lightly with clone Xuan. The Godseal Board actually ripped into two, as the bell vibrated slightly and clone Xuan disintegrated.

(Is that so? I lost… What are… feelings?)

"NO! Nonononononononono! I still have causality points left! Xuan! Even if I die, you have to live!" Zhang Xiaoxue went mad, not avoiding the Bell of the East Emperor as she inserted a large quantity of causality points into the two sections of the Godseal Board. Perhaps it was because of the causality backlash due to the Godseal Board being ripped apart, but in the instant Zhang Xiaoxue was struck by the bell, a scar appeared in space that sucked the two sections of the Godseal Board within as well as clone Xuan and Zhang Xiaoxue's remains.

The Bell of the East Emperor quickly shrunk into palm-size once again after killing the two, winking out of existence. When it reappeared, it was ramming into the small black hole two meters in front of clone Zheng. Two similarly immense powers clashed. One could suppress the world, while the other was an embodiment of the most violent and ultimate power in the universe. There was no explosion or shockwaves in this exchange, merely a clear ringing sound of a bell. A small crack had formed on the ancient bell as it fell to the ground while the needlepoint-sized black hole vanished as well.

The two Zhengs remained frozen until a rope fluttered to Zheng's wrist. He directed his attention to the rope, carefully experiencing the most genuine and moving psyche imprints of his comrades.

"Is that so? Xuan cried? That fellow finally has feelings?" Zheng muttered, not even looking at clone Zheng while he shut his eyes.

"Chu Xuan? Was he dragged down by all of your weak cowardice? The tragedy of Chu Xuan the strong… He even created such a great chance for you before he died, giving you a infinitely small chance to beat me. What a tragedy, what a regret, hypocrites…" Clone Zheng smiled coldly, not saying much as infinite amounts of black flame appeared around him. They congregated again to form that unrivalled violent power. Even if Zheng wouldn't slowly infuse power for him, he could do it himself, except that it would take a while longer.

Zheng ignored him, even stopping the flow of the Refined Qi and Magic on his body, silently experiencing the psyche imprint of every rope. After a while, warm tears began to spill from his eyes.

"Fool. You're crying too? Because those losers dragged you down? Because you're afraid of death? You simply haven't matured to the point you can rival me, you weak-hearted coward!" Clone Zheng's cold laughter intensified as he created countless black holes. In the core area of it, several distorted spaces were starting to form as well. As long as he could convert them fully, he would have the initiative to stand in an unbeatable position.

"No. These tears… are from courage, power, trust and my comrades… You won't get it. From the moment you stepped on a road opposite of mine, you could never understand! I WILL beat you! CHAOS, GENESIS SPLITTER!"

Zheng's head snapped up as his Refined Qi and Magic began to frenziedly mix once again. The enormous power of Chaos, Genesis Splitter began to form in his body again. He had never been wrong! His conviction, his dreams, his comrades, his courage… That was the source of his power. So, at this moment, he had to win and seize the crown of the strongest for himself!

"You can never beat me. As long as you don't abandon that hypocrisy of yours, as long as your heart remains weak, you never shall. PRIMORDIAL DUSK, UNIVERSE ARMAGGEDON!" Clone Zheng seemed to have gone mad as he pushed black holes and distorted spaces that carried unimaginable pull at Zheng. The force was so enormous that it wasn't inferior even when matched against Chaos, Genesis Splitter. Then, the two's power collided...

Zheng's body began to spin within the maelstrom, the awl formed from the might of Chaos, Genesis Splitter able to pierce through diamond. He used this method to pass through the strongest points of the distorted spaces. Even though he lost much flesh and blood on his arms and legs, and even a whole arm, he still managed to pierce through the region of distorted spaces. Before clone Zheng could manipulate them again, Zheng used the last sliver of Chaos, Genesis Splitter to slash at clone Zheng's chest. A destruction on the atomic-level and energy-level acted upon him, and the black flames no longer kindled...

"My comrade, Xuan, once told me that how powerful someone is based on the person themselves and how they use their skill." Zheng said softly.

"Is that so? I already knew that long ago, and my Xuan never told me that…" Clone Zheng's eyes were no longer bloodshot, as he suddenly flapped his bat wings and flew to the edge of the pillar, quietly looking down.

"Perhaps… it's because I lost the thing most precious to me, that I particularly want to ruin it when I see others have it. I really want to have the comrades you have, and the woman I love…"

Clone Zheng raised his head towards his original. "The crown of the strongest… is yours! I won't help you. Whatever the future it is you want… seize it yourself!"

For some reason, Zheng suddenly felt a sense of gloominess. "I don't need your help! I shall unlock the future myself. I shall not fear any enemy…"

Clone Zheng silently turned his head away, muttering, "Luo Gando isn't dead yet. Your two team members are about to be attacked. Go. Save your conviction. If you continue to carry this unshakable conviction, maybe, just maybe, you can challenge 'him'... The future… I'll be entrusting it to you."

As his words fell, clone Zheng's body jumped down, black flames igniting and slowly spreading from his chest. However, it was of no use, as the black flames rose dozens of meters while clone Zheng's body gradually turned into an ash that dispersed. At the end, a ball of flame was all that was left of the man who was once titled the strongest...

Zheng watched until his clone completely vanished. He didn't utter a word. After a long while, he hurriedly took out his Sky Stick when he heard a howl below. He flew out of the pillar. He realised that the Light of the Soul Yinglong had granted him was completely depleted, but he still maintained his late fourth stage. Did he enter it unknowingly? Or could this be maintained for a while? But whatever. He had the most personal experience now, and it was only a matter of time until he truly entered and consolidated his late fourth stage. But now, it was more important to save his two team members.

Liu Yu and Juntian were a thousand meters above the Eva. They were shuddering with every step the Eva took. This monster could still repair itself after taking so many consecutive attacks. Although it was walking slower, it could be seen regenerating. At this rate, it would return to its pre explosion state sooner or later, or even better. At that time, these two rookies would die even if they hid in the sky.

"Let's, let's run. While the monster isn't healed, we'll use the Sky Sticks to fly as far as possible. At that time, it won't be able to find us. Maybe we'll survive this final battle?" Juntian suddenly said.

"NO!" Liu Yu suddenly looked at Juntian. "Big brother Juntian, remember what big brother Wangxia said before dying? We're going to become the members of the strongest team. So, we need to have the courage to bear the responsibility and burden of this title. I won't run! Run if you want to, big brother. Do as you please. I WILL become strong! Until the time I am worthy of this title!"

Juntian couldn't do anything but glare at the Eva that was walking faster and faster when Liu Yu said this so seriously. It was jogging along now, and once his Light of the Soul recovered, they would...

"I'm scared of death, but how can I abandon a kid and run away alone? It's just dying anyway! All I'll do is add a few days to my lifespan if I run. Liu Yu, if you want to become strong, we'll do it together!" Juntian grit his teeth as he said to Liu Yu, determined.

But before Liu Yu could reply, a voice spoke ahead of him. "There'll be a chance! You all will surely have the chance to grow stronger until you are worthy of the title of the strongest team's members, members of my team China!"

The two were shocked, and looked all over to find a man below who was before the Eva. He was covered in blood with an arm ripped off, while the other wielded Tiger's Soul. It looked insignificant compared to the Eva. Before the two recovered from their surprise, the man casually swung his sabre and the Eva was suddenly bisected, one half dusted. Then, the man took out a Sky Stick and flew to Liu Yu and Juntian.

"Big brother Zheng!"


An indescribable sense of relief filled them as soon as they saw Zheng. Their legs felt like jelly, and they wished they could just collapse there and then. Zheng gave a smile, "Alright, let's go. We still have to go to the Seventh Underground Laboratory. It's at the valley there. We still have a bitter battle there. Perhaps we'll have to face many mes there that can use Explosion and Destruction…" [1]

The two didn't respond to Zheng's words, but Juntian pointed to the Eva below that was beginning to repair itself. "Leader, he's not dead yet. Your attack just now turned part of him to dust. How about another strike?"

"No… My comrades are still sleeping. We need to save them. The Chronicles of Narnia, was it? The conclusion of the final battle, our future… and 'his' existence. We can't end the final battle like this. We still have to battle for a long, long time. Get stronger as soon as possible, until you are worthy of being a member of the strongest team. I'll tell everything, from beginning to the end, to you two then."

Zheng looked at the Eva beneath his feet, before pointing forward, "Let's go! We'll create our own future, a future where we are truly free!"

[1] Clones of Zheng were mentioned in . I thought they had been a foreshadowing of clone Zheng's ability to regenerate, which I said a few chapters back. Sorry.


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