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342 The hailstone filled environment of despair 2 in 1

 "How's that possible! This absolutely isn't caused by a hunt! Moreover, why are all these myriad of mutated beasts all gathered together?!"

"Could it be..."

The beastial tide completely ignored the Tianjing Squadron that was "hanging" on the mountain cliff. Seeing this, although everyone started to feel slightly relaxed, they immediately took notice that an even greater danger was brewing before them.

Regardless of whatever it was, the thing that was chasing this beastial tide was even more frightening than the former. Starting to panic, everyone started to shout loudly as they communicated with each other. As of now, they were unable to advance or retreat from their location. If all of them had jumped down from the mountain cliff at this very moment, at least half of their squadron would be squashed into pulp by the beastial tide stampeding below.

This was an incredible sight for Wang Zhong, as just the faint thought of that appearing within his mind had caused his skin to crawl. However, the faces of everyone quickly changed.

Intense chaos started to appear in the section of the beastial tide a couple of miles behind. Whooshing sounds continued to ring out endlessly like meat grilling on a hotplate, as howling wind sounds of despair started to ring in everyone's ears.

After staying with this northern icy plains for close to a month, everyone was already incomparably familiar with the sounds made by the northern winds. Compared to those, the howls made by this wind sounded completely different.

With the might akin to that of a giant hollering, the roars were indicative that the frightening northern winds had already exceeded its normal level. What's more, this wasn't the most lethal aspect of it. What's more alarming was the terrifying collision sounds resounding out from within the roars of the northern winds!

Bang Bang Bang Bang, Boom Boom Boom Boom...

As the clear and distinct sounds of collision resounded out with the roars of the northern winds, anyone with the slightest bit of knowledge about the northern region would know that such sounds were akin to those made by the death reaper!

The Absolute ice hailstorm!

The most significant reason why the Absolute Ice Restricted Area got its name was due to the existence of the Absolute ice hailstorm present within it.

Of the specialties brought about by the unique environment of the northern regions, tornadoes weren't the most terrifying existences present here. The most frightening existences present within here were the hail storms that occur within the northern winds!

Compared to the usual hailstorms that might occur from time to time, the hailstones brought about by the violent northern winds were at least a fist large in size. Like a churner, the violent northern winds would sweep the hailstones and wreak havoc and destruction in all directions, destroying and turning every piece of ground within its reach! What's more, the radius of such an absolute ice hailstorm would start from a dozen kilometers. Compared to this, the tornados and hurricanes that occurred in the glorious era could only be classified as little gimmicks.

Finally, all of them knew what had led to the formation of this beastial tide that was composed of a myriad of mutated beasts. Even if they might not die within this absolute ice hailstorm, mutated beasts with strong and powerful defenses like the mutated rhinoceros would absolutely suffer serious injuries at very least. Within the northern regions, where the law of the jungle applied to all, being injured would spell death for the mutated beast. There was not a single mutated beast that would choose to spell it out with this naturally occurring storm. As for humans? Only a Heroic Soul Soldier might be able to survive under the barrage of hailstones from this Absolute Ice hailstorm.

The beastial tide stampeding below was definitely caused by the mutated beasts "fleeing" from the northern region's Absolute Ice Hailstorm. Through their chaotic retreat, they must have squeezed into this narrow and windy mountain path. The horde of mutated beasts within their sights might only be a small portion of those there were able to flee away. As for the majority of the mutated beasts, they have been either swept away by the storm or fell to their deaths of the overhanging precipice located right beside the path!

"Everyone, hold on tight! Make sure to secure yourself!" Wang Zhong shouted out with all his might. At this moment, it will be a fool's dream to want to flee alongside the beastial tide below. Regardless of the terrified stampeding beastial tide or the Absolute ice hail storm with wind speeds reaching 400, even 500 km/h, both were absolutely life-threatening dangers for the entire squadron.

"Use your weapons!"

"Grab onto me, Hymin!"

With it being too late to flee and run away, their only option for survival was to grab hold of the vines tightly and plaster themselves on the mountain cliff. Sending a few hard punches towards the mountain cliff, Wang Zhong managed to chip off some thin ice and mountain rocks to form a small indentation on the face of the mountain cliff that he could use for leverage increase his grip and lower his silhouette on the mountain cliff. At this moment, everyone had followed the same plan as him. Since they didn't have the terrifying strength behind Wang Zhong's punches, all of them pull out their weapons and stuck them into the face of the cliff to aid in their stability. Lily and Barran and extended their shields to the best of their ability to shield the members hanging beside them.

Nevertheless, they were too slow in their actions. Before everyone was able to get prepared, the grey and dusky storm had already appeared right before their eyes!

Roar Roar Roar!

The terrifying howls of the wind sounded just like the cries of ghosts and wolves, completely drowning out the stampeding noises coming from the beastial tide below, with the violent winds following close behind.

The wind speeds at the other radius of the storm were among the most violent, with its edges appearing just like wind blades, brimming with humongous force as they came smashing over. Gritting their teeth, everyone relied on their earlier preparations as they stabilized and anchored their bodies with all their might. Fortunately, due to the vines being exceedingly resilient coupled with their use of weapons, they were able to anchor themselves and maintain complete control over their bodies.

However, the real danger had just begun. Everyone knew that the winds were the most frightening aspect of the Absolute ice hail storm. It was those hailstones that were sent flying by the winds! Those were the real reapers of life!

"Be careful!"

Bang Bang Bang Bang Bang! Boom Boom Boom Boom Boom!

Numerous sounds of collisions had already rung out even before the arrival of the storm.

Numerous hailstones the size of fists or even larger came rushing down in an utterly chaotic manner akin to raindrops, smashing right against the shields of Barran and Lily, and against the bodies of everyone hanging on the face of the mountain cliff.

The force behind a single hailstone wasn't considered large, and was something that could be wholly endured by the resilient bodies new humans possessed. Although it might not matter if they struck one's back or arms, no one would be able to withstand a hailstone strike to the head. After eating 2 of them on his head, Barran could already feel his mind turning dizzy.

At this moment, everyone had no choice but to place one of their hands up to shield their heads. However, they quickly heard a dull thud ring out beside them.

A hailstone the size of a head smashed violently against Scarlet's head. Despite having allocated sufficient Soul Power to the hand that's shielding her head, the weight and force of the hailstone had sent her head smashing towards the mountain cliff. At this instant, Scarlet felt a bout of dizziness flashing within her mind. As this happened, the strength of the single hand gripping onto the vine grew weaker, before being tugged apart by the howling winds.

I'm done fore. A sea of whiteness instantly swarmed through the mind of Scarlet. At this instant, she could only shout out a name....Wang Zhong...

Even a Heroic Soul Soldier would be faced with death upon being swept into the bsolute ice hail storm, what more a Casted Soul ranged soldier!

Bang Bang Bang Bang!

Within a split second, countless hailstones pelted her from all direction, causing the thin layer of Soul Power defenses surrounding her body to instantly dissipate away.

Before the blurriness had utterly engulfed her mind, Scarlet seemed to feel a warm and powerful hand grabbing onto her feet, causing her body to freeze slightly within the violent winds. Nevertheless, being stronger than that hand, the violent winds pulled her along with the owner of that strong hand into the storm.

All of a sudden, she quickly felt that the hailstones pelting her from all directions had disappeared, while the surrounding temperature started to rise.

It was an incomparably warm and gentle hug, with strong and arms wrapping and protecting her within their tight embrace. The feeling was just like the hug her father had given her when she was young. Warm, gentle, strong, powerful, peaceful and brimming with a sense of security.

Faintly, she seemed to be able to hear the continued shouts of her compatriots ringing through the howls of the violent winds.

"Scarlet!"

"Wang Zhong!"

"Senior!"

"Is this warmth and security from Wang Zhong?" She subconsciously curled her body up within the embrace while thinking, this is quite a good ending.

In the next second, darkness settled in as Scarlet lost consciousness.

...

Emily was about to lose all rational reason.

Being closest the Wang Zhong's position, she and Grai were able to see that Wang Zhong had already extended his hand out to grab hold of Scarlet after she had been sent flying by the storm after being struck by the large hailstone. With the latter's strength, it was entirely feasible for him to forcefully pull Scarlet back out from the storm. After all, it was the hailstones and not the force of the winds that were the frightening part of this Absolute ice hail storm.

However, upon Wang Zhong exerting his strength to hold Scarlet in place, the vine he was holding on showed visible signs of breaking. After all, being an ordinary wild plant, although it was somewhat resilient to be able to live in such a harsh environment, it was unable to endure the tugging forces of such a degree. This made Wang Zhong release his grip on it immediately, as he cl/early didn't want to bring danger to the vine that was keeping his entire squadron safe from the Absolute ice hail storm and beastial tide below. Due to the entire event happening so quickly, Wang Zhong and Scarlet were blown out of sight by the storm before Emily and Grai could react to anything.

A surge of crazed thoughts rushed through Emily's mind. As she was about to release her grip on the vines to chase after Wang Zhong and Scarlet, she was fortunately stopped in her tracks by Grai, who pressed her firmly against the mountain cliff.

The winds and hailstones continued wreaking havoc. In reality, the most terrifying aspect of this Absolute ice hail storm was the instant of contact with it. There really wasn't anything frightening when one truly enters the eye of the storm. As the hailstones that came pelting down from all directions started to slowly grow weaker, it didn't incite any happiness it within the hearts of everyone from the Tianjing squadron.

Everyone gritted their teeth and held onto the vines, all of them not knowing exactly how long this destructive hail storm would last. Among the crashing and banging noises, Colby was the first person to be unable to endure the destructiveness of the storm. With his strength appearing to be totally consumed, if not for the timely tug from Grai, he might end up like Scarlet and get flung away by the storm. Compared to him, Hymin and the rest were in a slightly better condition, due to Lily and Barran's shields present right before their bodies, resulting in them suffering the least amount of damage.

As the violent winds howled about and hailstones wreaked havoc and destruction, the Absolute ice hail storm lasted for a full half hour. When the final intense wave of "hail storm rain" rushed down, the howling sounds of the wind gradually died down, before the entire world seemed to turn completely calm and silent.

At this moment, seemingly everyone had reached their limits. As they jumped down from the mountain cliff, if not for Grai and Barran catching them from below, the mere 4 to 5-meter jump was capable of causing half of them to fall to their deaths.

The mountain path had turned into a stretch of complete chaos, with countless hailstones piled up to form a layer on the ground, causing the entire area to appear akin to a playground of hailstones. There were ones that were the size of fists, and those there appeared to be a few times bigger. Under their pelting...anything would be destroyed. The Tianjing squadron was lucky to find a good terrain on the mountain cliff to weather the storm. If not, they would have been completely destroyed by the absolute ice hail storm.

Although they were protected by shields and suffered fewer impacts from the hail storm than the other members, the half-hour battering by the terrifying storm and them clinging onto the vines for dear life had caused them to be completely exhausted and seemingly unable to catch their breath back.

Among the squadron, Colby had suffered the most severe injuries, with his head bleeding from impacts of the hailstones. Upon relaxing after jumping down from the mountain cliff, he had entered a semi-conscious state. The bodies of Emily, Lily and Barran were littered with bruises, with quite a few spots having turned red and swollen. Upon landing, they immediately sat down on the ground, appearing the have been completely wasted away.

Of them all, only Grai appeared to be in a slightly better situation, with no visible bruising that could be seen on his body. When one's Soul Power was sufficiently strong, one could form a layer of it around one's body. Although it wouldn't be as strong as the specially tempered bodies of those heavy soldiers, whose muscles were strong and resilient, the Soul Power layer was elastic and tough. Therefore, it was all the more suitable to be used against such dense and blunt attacks coming from the hailstone rain.

At this moment, everyone was unable to stand up, either sitting on the ground or laying on their backs as they gasped for air. Nevertheless, not the slightest bit of happiness for being able to brave through this disaster was present on their faces, as there were 2 people now missing from the squadron.

Grai was currently using the first aid kit provided in the backpack to treat the injuries present on Colby's head. As she panted for air, Emily was already struggling to get back up on her feet. Without saying a single word, she started walking towards the direction where the storm had headed to.

Find Wang Zhong!

That was the only thought in Emily's mind as she gritted her teeth. It was Wang Zhong's warmth and enthusiasm that changed her and allowed for her to find her goal in life, which resulted in her being able to endure the inhuman special training conducted by her family. However, what meaning would all of this hold if Wang Zhong had died?

Such feelings of despair came even more ferocious than before, seemingly pressing down on her, causing her to be unable to catch her breath.

Who gives a damn about the CHF! It's nothing compared to Wang Zhong's safety! If she had the choice, Emily would rather not have everyone participate in this competition!

She wanted to find Wang Zhong! Regardless of his life or death, she wanted to see him with her own eyes, even if it was his corpse!

Gritting her teeth, Emily walked 2 steps forwards before a figure had already obstructed her from the front.

It was Grai.

"Move aside." these 2 words slipped out from Emily's clenched teeth.

"Calm down. With your current condition, you're completely unable to continue moving forward." Grais' voice was still as calm and gentle as before, appearing to never have any presence of anger within them. At this moment, Wang Zhong and Scarlet had been thrown down into the deep chasm located off the precipice. Being covered by the mist, one could not see even a glimpse of its bottom. "Furthermore, the competition has yet to end. Wang Zhong would definitely not want to give up on this CHF in such a quick manner."

"Competition? That's absolutely not important at all." Emily's reply sounded even more icy cold than the temperature of the surroundings. "Give way! If not, don't blame me for being impolite!

Hearing those words from her, the rest of the squadron started to feel slightly nervous. Clearly, Emily was really infuriated. If she really started fighting with Grai, without Wang Zhong or Scarlet present her, no one could stop and break the two apart.

"Perhaps you've not spotted it till now," Grai spoke out in an indifferent tone. "however, please believe me. Wang Zhong's the strongest person in our squadron, regardless of any aspect! Such a storm would definitely be unable to claim his life. He will definitely bring Scarlet and return to Grozny City. What we need to do is to reach Grozny City within the stipulated time to obtain the qualifications to promote to the next round."

Everyone stared blankly at Grai upon hearing his words. Truthfully speaking, in everyone's hearts, Grai was the absolute number 1 expert of the squadron. Although Wang Zhong had indeed caused everyone to feel surprise and astonishment for a few times with his display of strength, those were about his ranged combat strength. The strongest aspect of him would merely be his imitation of All Mouthy King's cross wheels.

However, Grai had unexpectedly said that Wang Zhong was the strongest person in their squadron, regardless of what aspect there was! What's more, Grai had said that the latter would absolutely be able to survive within the storm! That was the absolute ice hail storm we're talking about!

That was a natural disaster that would cause a headache even for those Heroic Soul soldiers and their incomparably strong and tough bodies! Was Wang Zhong even anywhere near as formidable as them?

However, what's even more peculiar was that Emily had actually started to calm down. Other than Grai, Emily had also felt something off about Wang Zhong. After all, Wang Zhong did not make any attempts of hiding anything around them. After experiencing the specialized training of her family, Emily was able to sense something from the latter. Coupled with the words from Grai, Emily started to calm down from her frenzied state. She had assumed that there would be nothing that would be able to cause her emotions to fluctuated and ripple. However, from the looks of it, she hasn't trained enough. However...this was the feeling of being alive, of being a human.

"Emily..."

"Believe in Grai, and believe in Wang Zhong, Emily. Nothing will happen to him and Scarlet!"