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775 B-rank Mission 2 in 1

 \"You guys are really calm.\" Sharmie was in a gloomy mood. \"Am I the only one who felt like a kid waiting to go on an excursion with my school during my younger days? If I had a mood-stabilizer potion last night, I would definitely drink it without a second thought. Even I feel embarrassed at how excited I was.\"

\"It's normal for your first time going on a team mission, especially for girls,\" Oscar laughed. Sharmie had dark circles under her tired eyes, and her eyes full of anticipation made him recall the first time Feng went on a team mission. She was so excited that she couldn't sleep the previous night too; women seemed to be more emotional in this aspect.

Oscar distributed the Pioneering Orders to everyone and briefly introduced how to use it. \"If you are separated from the others or find yourself in grave danger, don't hesitate, and crush the Pioneering Order immediately. There is a pre-programmed one-way transmission array that will send you back to the transit station. Although the transmission process will be bumpier and longer as compared to if you used the Pioneering Order the normal way, you can rest assured that there won't be any danger.\"

Actually, Wang Zhong thought that the usage of the Pioneering Order was similar to the way he entered the Fifth Dimension through the spatial coordinates in Tianjing. There was a transit station; the transmission process was stable, and there was no need to set up an array as the receiving point at a specific coordinate beforehand. This was evidently more efficient and convenient than the dimensional transmission array of the Federation.

The Magma secret realm was represented by a yellow point on the Pioneering Order. When everyone came out of the transmission channel, they were welcomed by a rush of heat waves.

The insanely high temperature of their surroundings felt like it was at least 65 degrees Celsius. Their surroundings looked like a living hell, where the ground was covered in cracks. Red magma flowed in the cracks, looking like dense layers of spider cobwebs that flowed like a river. This sight could be seen throughout the entire space. The ground was divided into countless small and irregular chunks, and lava bubbles the size of a basin could be seen bubbling in the lava river. Just the sound of bubbling lava alone could make people tremble with fear.

The ground was a dark color, and smoke hovered over the surface of the ground constantly, making your heart beat rapidly. When you stepped on the ground with your leather boots, you could feel the sole of your boots become slightly sticky, as if a layer of it was melted instantly by the high temperature, giving off a burnt smell.

On the way there, Wang Zhong already told them about the details of the mission. It was authorized by a Great Teacher in the Sparta Clan. They were supposed to collect 50 pieces of natural Fire Quartz, and they would get 1,500 Holy Coins as the reward.

The Fire Quartz was also called the Fire Core, born under high-temperature conditions over a long time. It contained an extremely pure fire-elemental aura. Other than using it as a clean energy source, it was a good alchemy raw material too and could be used in a wide range of areas. Although it wasn't very rare, it had always been sold at a high price as the market supply was low. Three hundred Holy Coins for one piece were considered a high price.

\"There will be several unique lava creatures here. Although their ranks might not be high, they might pose more of a threat in this lava-filled environment.\" Wang Zhong had a clear goal in mind. Their main task at hand wasn't to engage in battle. \"Our main aim is to collect the Fire Quartz, so let's avoid battles whenever we can. This high-temperature environment will take a great toll on our stamina and Soul Power, so let's try to conserve our energy.

\"I'll break everyone up into two groups. Sharmie, Napier, Mo Ling will form one group, while the others follow me. Each group must maintain a triangular formation. The one in charge of long-range combat will be at the back and will keep a lookout for danger. The two groups shouldn't stray too far from each other, so we can help each other quickly if the need arises.\" Wang Zhong pulled out a runic bow with simple patterns on it from his storage space. He bought it from a grocery store on the way home yesterday. It couldn't be considered a soul tool, but it was still of a higher tier than the runic weapons on Earth. It carried a small explosive skill similar to that of a soul tool. He bought it considering the team's long-range and short-range manpower. Other than Sharmie, Wang Zhong was the only one who could take over the position of a long-range warrior. \"If a fight breaks out, don't let it drag out. Both teams stay close to each other and wait for my command.\"

Looking at how Wang Zhong gave out orders in a structured manner, Oscar just leisurely continued chewing gum at the side. This guy stayed true to his words and really treated this as a holiday. He didn't give any suggestions to the team captain; it was as if he was transparent.

Frankly speaking, the Holy Disciples in the Holy Land didn't think highly of the newcomers that came from Earth - not because of their low level of power when they just entered the Holy Land - but because of their lack of experience and adaptability in various aspects. Even though Wang Zhong stunned the Wanderlust Team with his performance previously, that wasn't enough for Oscar to judge his leadership qualities.

The situation seemed pretty good now. Wang Zhong was logical and clear in his instructions, evidently knowing the structure of this group well. In each group, there was someone in charge of long-range and short-range combat and one person with an undecided role who would adapt accordingly. It was a rather standard grouping. Of course, this was just the basics, and the main thing was how the members adapted to sudden dangers on-the-spot. Nonetheless, Oscar felt that Wang Zhong had the aura of a leader while giving out these orders. He was firm and clear in his orders. These small details shouldn't be belittled as this was the foundation to gaining trust from your members. Regardless of how the mission would turn out, Oscar couldn't fault Wang Zhong in this area.

Oscar was filled with anticipation. If the Wanderlust Team wanted to become stronger, they couldn't play around like before. They needed to expand their team, which meant that they needed more people to take up leadership positions. A large-scale team couldn't just depend on Oscar. With Feng and Wang Zhong around, they formed a strong foundation for the whole team.

Although they once belonged to three different teams in the CHF, the others were a family now. Their greatest thing in common was their trust in Wang Zhong, and also, they knew him well.

Everyone became serious quickly. Although they didn't rehearse beforehand, the triangular formation of the groups was not bad. The person in charge of long-range combat had to look out for potential danger and also maintain the formation of the group, while the two people in front were in charge of finding the Fire Quartz.

Searching for Fire Quartz wasn't an easy task as those things were typically formed inside of lava. The flowing lava on the surface of the ground would obstruct everyone's vision, and you wouldn't be able to locate it with your naked eye; you had to use your Soul Power. However, even if you just used your Soul Power and extended it deep into the river of lava, your physical body would actually feel like it was being scorched by the high temperature. You would deplete your Soul Power pretty quickly too. But luckily, everyone had their storage spaces and brought enough water to hydrate themselves at any point in time. Wang Zhong gave everyone some potions to lower their body temperature too. If they just had a small backpack with them, they wouldn't have been able to persist searching for long.

Able people should do more work. While Wang Zhong was busy maintaining the formation of the group, he was also using his Soul Power to search for the Fire Quartz too. When he was at the Casted Soul Stage, he had already gone through similar cultivation trips to build up resistance against fire in the Fifth Dimension. Staying in this extremely hot lava world might be unbearable torture to others, but Wang Zhong felt abnormally comfortable in this situation, having a very warm and amiable feeling. The flaming fire element caused Wang Zhong to feel a sense of vitality instead of horrible destruction. Salamander, the Flaming Spirit King in his Soul Sea had shown some reaction to this environment too and acted as if it was home. A faint smile appeared subconsciously on its aloof face.

The first to discover a Fire Quartz was Mario. Although the darkness attribute of his hellish flames was not the same as the fire element, both could withstand high heat. His Soul Power could search a larger area as compared to the others. Mario was rather excited and immediately reached for the Fire Quartz with a Golden Fire Hook. But he barely managed to hook it before Wang Zhong, who was in charge of alerts, gave him a warning.

\"Be careful of your 11 o'clock!\"

A huge lava bubble suddenly appeared in the flowing lava river, and ground tremors ensued. With an angry roar, a tall black figure stood up abruptly from the lava river.

It was a monster with a body resembling a human's, with smoke coming from its whole body. It was four to five meters tall and made up of black rocks of various sizes, with red lava connecting its body parts.

It was a Lava Monster, considered to be one of the inhabitants of this secret realm. Since it was of a different lifeform as a primate creature, it was hard to sense with Soul Power when it was inactive. The Fire Quartz spread out in various parts of the secret realm were treasure that their kind had protected for generations and was also the source of their power. Generally, there would be Lava Monsters wherever there were Fire Quartz. Most of them were at the Heroic Soul Stage, so it all depended on their numbers. If the Wanderlust Team encountered a whole tribe of Lava Monsters, everyone could only flee from the scene.

It seemed that they were in luck as only one Lava Monster emerged. The huge noise didn't cause a chain reaction, so there shouldn't be any more of its kind nearby.

Its hollow eyes were staring angrily at Mario who was about to pick up the Fire Quartz. Without warning, its huge arms smashed downward.

Thud!

The attack that seemed slow and stupid was easily dodged by Mario, but what caused more damage was the huge impact of its fists colliding with the surface of the lava river. It was as if a bomb exploded in the river. Blobs of bubbling lava flew in every direction, looking like countless dense red barrages that were headed for Mario with a vengeance.

Mario was extremely shocked. No matter how well he could withstand the heat, it wouldn't be a laughing matter if the lava had splashed onto his body. The high temperature of at least 700 to 900 degrees Celsius could crush his defense, and even his physical body, instantly. He immediately waved his arms and put up a shield conjured by his dark power. He was once the black magician of the CHF, so he was definitely skilled in defense. Countless blobs of lava were blocked by the black shield, making sizzling sounds as smoke could be seen coming from the shield.

Beside him, Grai was already in attack position when Wang Zhong gave out the warning. He instantly appeared behind the Lava Monster like a ghost. A white glow could be seen as he swung his long sword in the air, the blade landing on the Lava Monster's head.

Upon the point of contact, sparks flew in all directions. Its body made up of black rocks was way stronger than ordinary rocks: it was as strong as steel. Even with Grai's power and his sword, he couldn't make a clean cut and only felt his arms go numb. Although the sword was firmly stuck in its head, it didn't seem to pose a problem to the Lava Monster. The lava connecting its body parts suddenly gleamed and became even hotter.

In that instant, Grai felt the hilt of the sword that he was holding become red-hot, making it difficult for him to hold on. However, he couldn't pull the sword out either. The Lava Monster started waving its arms, and Grai could only loosen his grip on the sword and retreat. Although its head was almost cut in half, it didn't seem to be affected at all. The sword that was lodged in its head turned red-hot rapidly, and the whole blade softened completely, transforming into liquid in merely a few seconds! Part of the liquidated sword was integrated into the cut in the Lava Monster's head, while the rest of it dripped into the lava river and disappeared.

\"What the hell? What kind of head is so tough?\" Mario was left almost speechless.

The Lava Monster seemed to have locked on to him as its target as he was the closest to it. It stepped forward with its long legs made of rocks and stepped out from the sea of lava.

Speed was not Mario's strength, so he raised his hand, and a dark shield formed. He tried to obstruct the Lava Monster's sight, but it seemed to be useless as the Lava Monster did not depend on its eyes for sight. Those hollow eyes didn't have any light in it. It seemed to be relying entirely on its ability to sense heat. The next moment, a heavy blow landed on the shield.

Crack!

Bang!

Firstly, there was the sound of the shield breaking, followed by a muffled bang, as sharp arrows carrying the ice attribute landed on the Lava Monster's chest. The huge impact stopped its movements as the ice attribute on the tips of the arrows made it feel uncomfortable. These were the Frost Arrows that Sharmie had bought at an alchemy workshop. Although the bow was just an ordinary one, frost runes were carved onto the tip of the arrow, which could work wonders. This type of weapon that carried attributes was the most common thing Holy Disciples brought into secret realms. It wasn't expensive and was extremely useful. This way, Sharmie could try out new weapon types too and learn about other attributes, as well as learning how to put them to use.

The Lava Monster's body seemed to go stiff at that moment. Mario's Soul Power output reached the maximum at this instant as an enormous cage made of hellish fire confined the Lava Monster. That was Mario's Dharma Idol, the 'Hell Cage,' which even the violent Lava Monster couldn't break free from quickly.

The Lava Monster roared angrily. The black flames everywhere made him uncomfortable. Unlike pure flames of high temperature, these flames seemed to have a certain assimilating effect. A tall and elegant figure wearing a tuxedo stood behind the Lava Monster. His pale face and long fingers revealed his identity. A vampire wasn't just a blood-sucker; speed and disintegrating things were its strengths.