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817 The Third Stone Slab

 The appearance of the Headless Knight deepened Wang Zhong's understanding of the Flaming Bodyguard Salamander. However, Wang Zhong was always a little curious whether Salamander, who often kneeled down and called him his 'King' respectfully, came from a background as shocking as the Headless Knight's.

However, compared to the Headless Knight, Salamander was more about defense, which might cause Wang Zhong to develop a biased understanding of its flames. Also, Salamander's IQ was significantly higher than that of the Headless Knight's. Although Salamander had average attack power, he was extremely good at defense. In particular, his chain usage and control were actually considered extremely high-level, which led Wang Zhong to conclude that Salamander might actually be restricted by his own abilities; this would prevent Salamander from living up to his true potential. Having advanced to the peak of the Heroic Soul Stage, Wang Zhong could obviously feel that there had been a great change to Salamander, so much so that he could trap the Heart-Eating Ape King. However, Wang Zhong didn't pay much attention to this matter, because although the Heart-Eating Ape King had evolved to a very high rank, it was merely sort of a domesticated creature that had no fighting power. Its only strong suit was its good genes, and in the Dimensional World, this meant that it had a Soul Brand.

The amount of Soul Power needed to support Salamander's actions was not that great; the only exception was during the two's power confrontation, which expended Soul Power at a slightly faster rate. However, the Headless Knight's situation was different. Although Wang Zhong acted like it was nothing the previous time, he was truly shocked that the Headless Knight killed the Heart-Eating Ape King with a single headshot. Even though it was domesticated, it could be considered a mini Warlord. Naturally, the power of the Headless Knight was currently a far cry from when he was in Decapitation Canyon, and it seemed that many of his abilities were now missing. The only thing he retained was his overbearing power. That strike seemed to have literally disregarded the other party's defense. In fact, Wang Zhong could only support two of such attacks; pushing further would result in trauma to his Soul Sea and body.

Dharma Idols were still connected to the soul. Actually, Wang Zhong also wanted to know his own maximum possible limit.

While Salamander had already fought alongside him many times and could also engage in certain simple conversations with him, Wang Zhong could not converse with the Headless Knight at all, making it extremely difficult to find out more about him. The conversation between them was literally an infinite loop. "Return my head." "I didn't take your head." "I don't care. Return my head." "Your head is really not with me."

There was a huge difference between the Headless Knight and Salamander's ability to communicate. The former was definitely able to drive one to one's grave. However, Wang Zhong felt that the Headless Knight and his pet phrase were actually rather adorable.

Unfortunately, compared to their first encounter, the Headless Knight only had the power of a Peak Heroic Soul now. However, the good news was that he managed to retain his terrifying nature, as shown in the Life and Death Realm. It was just that this quality could not be fully displayed due to insufficient power. Occasionally, it could be revealed for a split second, but other than that, it was basically useless. In terms of combat effectiveness, the Headless Knight was better than Salamander. After all, it was a Dharma Idol specializing in attacks. Although the Headless Knight's attack methods relied only on pure physical power currently, it was obvious that this power had an indomitable nature.

Wang Zhong highly suspected that this was a rune effect stemming from a halo effect. Unlike Salamander's active use of runes, the Headless Knight seemed to have a natural talent in this field. As for power, Wang Zhong had yet to find any material that could withstand the destructive power of the Headless Knight unless there was rune power attached to it. Even then, it would barely be able resist the attack of the Headless Knight. Maybe it could withstand one or two attacks, but the number never got past three. Seemingly, this kind of indestructibility had to be superimposed.

For Wang Zhong, time always passed very quickly during cultivation. Thus, he had already unknowingly spent another five days indoors before he exited his trance. In his Soul Sea, his Soul Core had already achieved preliminary stability due to his constant efforts. The first thing he did was to check whether there was news from Lao Zhang. He hadn't seen Lao Zhang at all recently and grew a little worried. However, when he saw that the wine he left for Lao Zhang was gone, he was relieved as Lao Zhang had mentioned previously that no one would come here. Of course, the news that Wang Zhong was looking forward to the most was news from the desert.

Although Wang Zhong had exceptional patience, he grew a little nervous. At this exact moment, his Skylink rang. Wang Zhong could not help but throw a few punches in the air in excitement. Caslort had finally delivered the Golden Stone Slab to Katchirda as promised!

This was a miracle. He had been searching for this for a long time, yet this time, he got it without any effort. Was Caslort an idiot? Didn't he know that this Golden Stone Slab was a dimensional treasure?

Caslort was actually miserable. How could it be possible that he didn't know the stone slab's value? In fact, this thing had been passed around for a long time, but no one knew what it could be used for. This was the most suitable item to act as compensation. It allowed him to appear sincere, and it would not increase his enemy's power.

Wang Zhong immediately made a decision, putting aside everything to make way for the Golden Stone Slab. Although the Holy Disciple rank-advancement competition was about to be held, he only needed to rush back before the competition started. As for those courses and things in the Holy Land, he was not in a hurry to handle them. The most important thing right now was to prevent the Golden Stone Slab from meeting with any mishap.

As Wang Zhong's understanding of the Golden Stone Slab grew deeper, he could obtain more benefits from it. At the same time, Wang Zhong could also sense the great mystery of the Golden Stone Slab to a deeper extent, making him feel like keeping some as his collection. Although it was not considered a loss when he had sold his previous one to the Stuart family, who could be sure whether the thing itself was valuable? What if it really was?

However, Wang Zhong's initial excitement quickly died down as he was reminded of bad news. The Pioneering Order he needed to return to Earth would cost him 5,000 Holy Coins! As such, he dug out his Skylink to check his balance...

Sorry, there are insufficient Holy Coins left in your account!

What!

Wang Zhong pondered for a while before recovering from his stunned state. As he ruffled his hair, he suddenly recalled the reason for this... He had been splurging a bit too much recently, behaving like a complete spendthrift. That bit of money from the sale of Samsara wine was definitely not enough for him to spend.

The Pioneering Order which cost 5,000 Holy Coins truly made Wang Zhong troubled. It was impossible to earn such a huge sum of money on his own in a short time. He could only borrow, but it was not a choice. How could he, as a vice-captain, always rely on his team to bail him out? However, other than the Wanderlust Team, among the people he knew, only Lan Daier was rich while all the others were as poor as a church mouse.

Wang Zhong scratched his head as he mulled it over. There was a well-known saying in this world: Return what you borrowed on time, and you may borrow again next time. Even if he was an absolute idiot, he would still know that the courses of treatment that Lan Daier prepared for him had far exceeded the value of the Samsara Wine. However, there was yet another saying: When you're up to your ears in debt, you stop worrying. Since he was already in debt, there was no harm in taking up a greater debt. If he truly could not pay up, he could sell himself to Lan Daier. It truly felt like a great deal.

Pfft! He was thinking a step too far. Perhaps he couldn't even get a loan from her.

As Wang Zhong continued to think about this, he couldn't help but grit his teeth. In any case, he couldn't afford to waste time when it came to the Golden Stone Slab. In the event of any unforeseen circumstance, it would be even worse for him. No matter how unwilling he was, he still had to ask for this favor from Teacher Lan Daier.

Familiar with the route to Lan Daier's residence, he arrived in no time. Lan Daier's loyal assistant, Ella, practically killed Wang Zhong with her stares. Fortunately, Lan Daier came downstairs shortly after he arrived. She was wearing a casual nightgown, and her snow-white feet were exposed as she was wearing indoor slippers. She exuded a lazy yet intriguing aura. She was different from all other women. If other women acted so lazily, they would probably look unkempt. However, she was like a soft and juicy peach, refreshing to one's eyes.

Wang Zhong rubbed his nose, and his eyes paused at Lan Daier's feet for a second. "Cough, I hope I'm not disturbing your rest, Teacher," said Wang Zhong.

"Haha, you can stop pretending. You never visit without a reason. Don't tell me you're here to greet me. If so, you can leave." Lan Daier couldn't help but tease Wang Zhong as she stared at his eyes. Although she acted otherwise, she was very happy to see Wang Zhong.

"Um, hahaha. I have been a bit busy lately, but please rest assured, I've already changed the settings on my Skylink. If you summon me, it will be my top priority."

Beside him, Ella was resisting the urge to kill him. "What are you waiting for? Speak!"

"My finances have been a little tight lately... Teacher, if you have some cash to spare, can you lend me five thousand for urgent use?" asked Wang Zhong as he rubbed his hands awkwardly. Damn it, it was certainly embarrassing for him, but now he couldn't be bothered with saving face. "I will pay you back. I can't pay you back that soon, but I will definitely pay you back in the future!"

Ella was so angry to the point that she laughed. "You? You couldn't afford it even if you mortgaged yourself!"

This dude was definitely a scammer!

He was merely a newcomer to the Holy City and an insignificant apprentice. No matter how tight on finances he was, it should be impossible for him to need 5,000 Holy Coins! Was this dude's understanding of a Holy Coin's worth warped? Did he think they were the same as Federation Credits? How could he ask for 5,000 Holy Coins in one go?!

"Okay. Ella, give it to him." As soon as she finished speaking, she headed upstairs to continue sleeping as though nothing had happened, leaving Wang Zhong and Ella dumbfounded.

In the end, Wang Zhong hurriedly ran away with his Holy Coins. If he had stayed a little while longer, Ella might have really killed him.

With 5,000 Holy Coins, Wang Zhong bought a Pioneering Order without delay, left the city immediately, and returned directly to Katchirda.

Stepping out of the transmission channel, Wang Zhong breathed in the hot and humid air of Katchirda. What came into view was an extremely busy scene. Katchirda was carrying out various constructions in order to rush their redevelopment into a city.

This was a huge project. Upgrading directly from a village oasis into a city was not a simple matter. It wasn't a matter that could be settled with a single sentence, nor was it a matter of money. It was true that a city could be built with money, but if the city was to be strong and lasting, it would require various conditions from design to construction to transformation. Every single step required great effort, to be carried out properly.

Having received the news of Wang Zhong's return long ago, Gong Yi and the others were already standing by the coordinates of the portal, ready to welcome him back. At the moment they caught sight of him, everyone immediately surrounded Wang Zhong.

"Welcome home, Wang Zhong! Ha ha, although it looks messy now, this place will soon become the most beautiful place in the desert." Gong Yi and Wang Zhong gave each other a tight hug, followed by Reynolds and Sister Hong.

Reynolds remained silent as usual, but it was obvious that he was elated.

Sister Hong stretched out her hand towards Wang Zhong and said, "You've grown handsomer now. You didn't forget to bring those things we asked for, did you?"

She didn't consider him an outsider at all, and indeed, he was not one.

Wang Zhong smiled, handed something to each of them, and spoke, "These are spatial bracelets. They're cheap goods and can be used for up to a year. Don't forget that everything you guys asked for is inside. I don't need to teach you guys how to use them, do I?"

The three of them nodded in response. This thing was not uncommon in the Holy Land, and it did not have an unlimited lifespan, but on Earth, it was already considered a rare and magical item. It was especially true in the desert. It was truly convenient!

The three brought Wang Zhong to a secret room in the desert oasis. Sister Hong tilted her head upward and narrowed her eyes before she looked at the three men teasingly. "Do you guys want to turn around or watch me undress?"

Immediately, all three of them turned around silently. If they wanted to play such games, they were definitely no match for Sister Hong. There was no discrimination at all here as Sister Hong was a professional. She herself didn't mind either. She didn't engage in theft, burglary, or fraud, so why should she feel inferior?

As Sister Hong took off her outer coat, a golden stone slab could be seen tied to the front of her chest. She had placed it there to safeguard it. Other than her delicate little waist, it was obvious from her other body parts that she was already of a certain age.

Sister Hong took off the stone slab and put on her coat again. She then turned around and began to speak with a smile. "We know that you really want this thing. Although that bastard Caslort had promised to hand it over, he didn't stop trying some petty tricks. He only handed the stone slab over obediently after Reynolds and I went to 'remind him'. Take a look. Do you think it's useful to you?"

Everyone knew that this thing was definitely extremely important since Wang Zhong was so concerned with it. Thus, they were all worried whether something was wrong with this thing, especially when the cost of traveling from the Holy Place to Earth and back was very high. As such, Gong Yi had repeatedly confirmed its authenticity.

Soon, his Fate Stone had a slight reaction. Wang Zhong's couldn't help but grow excited, and his breathing rate increased. He could already confirm that this was an authentic Golden Stone Slab.

The Golden Stone Slab was of utmost importance to him. This was by far the only thing that could cause a reaction from the Fate Stone that Wang Zhong knew of. Not only that, strangely enough, it could also resonate with his Heaven and Earth Chessboard Dharma Idol, which he had yet to gain full control over. It was similar to that of a key to the door for bodyguard Dharma Idols, with the ability to summon new bodyguards for him. It could be considered the crux for Wang Zhong to be able to counteract all other forces.

Taking a deep breath, he attempted to calm himself down. Following that, Wang Zhong explained himself to Gong Yi, Reynolds, and Sister Hong. "We are like family. I will cut to the chase. This thing is very important to me and can enhance my current strength considerably. The fact that I possess the Golden Stone Slab must be kept strictly confidential. At least, try to hide it for as long as you can. But if you are confronted with a force that you cannot handle, just directly say that it's currently with me. You do not need to hide it then."

As they listened to Wang Zhong, the three of them felt a warm sensation fill their hearts. Sister Hong then smiled and said, "Wang Zhong, what are you talking about? Do you think the three of us are afraid of death?"

"Sister Hong, that's not what I meant. The Golden Stone Slab might be important, but you guys matter more to me. Also, no matter who the other party is, they will have to think twice before causing trouble for me in the Holy Land," said Wang Zhong with a laugh. It might be difficult to forcibly retain the stone slab with his current strength, but as long as he could activate the Fate Stone, it would signify that he had at least completed the first step. As for the rest, it would have to depend on luck.

After getting the Golden Stone Slab, Wang Zhong didn't plan to return to the Holy City immediately. Five thousand Holy Coins was definitely not a small sum, and it was also rare for him to come back to visit again. Although Caslort had already admitted defeat, it could be seen that he had not completely given up hope; it was obvious from the fact that he kept stalling when he was supposed to deliver the Golden Stone Slab as promised.

However, in fact, Wang Zhong could not do much to help them. Just like what Gong Yi had said, if Wang Zhong was able to become more powerful, that would be the greatest support for them. If possible, it would also be helpful if he could make some powerful allies in the Holy City. Of course, this sentence was supposedly a joke made by Sister Hong, because she followed it with another sentence. "It would be better if they were pretty girls."

This remark truly made Wang Zhong feel awkward as he wondered if Teacher Lan Daier could be regarded as a 'powerful ally'.