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924 Indispensable Witness

 The white-haired old man next to him was Zhao Ba, the only Heavenly Soul expert of the Zhao Family left on Earth. Deep down, he actually looked down on these lone Heavenly Soul practitioners who came from poor backgrounds. However, now he had no choice but to depend on them. There was no choice as the other great families were still observing the situation. Even the Gui Family, who had always been supportive of the Zhao Family, wormed their way out of it when the Zhao Family asked them for help this time.

It was not safe to deal with a Semi-Heavenly Soul like Wang Zhong all by himself. It would definitely consume a huge amount of his remaining time on Earth, and that was not worth it.

He knew that the other party was taking advantage of the situation to profiteer, but at this moment, he just smiled and said, "No matter how troublesome he is, he's merely a Heroic Soul. Brother Zha Mu, I'm just afraid that this sly kid will escape. That's why I need your help. Now that it's both of us against him, he definitely won't stand a chance. Brother Zha Mu, you don't need to be humble."

The bearded and muscular man laughed without saying a word. He was waiting for the other party to make an offer. A lone practitioner like him was only here for the sole purpose of getting benefits for himself. There were only business transactions between people of the Empire and people of the Federation. There was no such thing as helping people out of goodwill.

"Rest assured, Brother Zha Mu," said Zhao Ba as he shot a glance at Zhao Wuxin, who was standing next to him. "After handling this kid, I promise to double your payment."

As soon as the words fell, Zhao Wuxin held up a beautiful jade box to the man respectfully.

"Senior Zha Mu. Here's a little token to show our respect for you. It can be considered a welcome gift too," said Zhao Wuxin with a big smile plastered over his face. "After everything, like what granduncle said, we'll double your payment. I assure you that we will deliver the payment in full to you personally."

Zha Muzha took it from him and opened the box a little. Immediately, pure dimensional energy flooded out, making him pleasantly surprised.

He was a lone practitioner of Tutankhamun, and for lone Heavenly Soul practitioners of the Empire, Holy Land crystals were their favorite. The crystals contained extremely pure and concentrated energy which could enhance their cultivation speed, increase their level, and delay the rate of aging. They were indispensable things to Heavenly Souls who had entered their aging periods.

It was just that these crystals could not be found on Earth, and even in the Fifth Dimension, almost all the energy crystal mines that humans could come into contact with were already under the Holy City's jurisdiction. It was almost impossible for these lone practitioners of the Empire to obtain them even if they traveled to the Fifth Dimension with their soul. The only way they could get some was to do things for the Holy Land in exchange. However, they would only get extremely low remunerations for their work. Otherwise, if they tried to snatch the crystals by force, they would offend the Holy Land, and that would signify their deaths.

At present, for such a big box of crystals, it would take Zha Mu at least half a year of hard work to get them, but now, it was just a welcome gift from the Zhao Family in return for his help.

"Haha, how straightforward of you, Brother Zhao. The 10 Great Families of the Federation are indeed wealthy." The hesitation on Zha Muzha's face disappeared. No matter how high Wang Zhong's status was in the Holy City, he was only helping the Zhao Family, and the Zhao Family would get the brunt of any backlash. Furthermore, he would not be that stupid to participate fully in the fight. He only had to secretly lend a hand at the right times. He only had to work together with another Heavenly Soul expert to crush a mere Heroic Soul, and he could earn a large amount of Soul Crystals. Where else could he find such a good deal? "Relax, Brother Zhao. He's just a mere Heroic Soul. You can rest assured. I will definitely help you kill him three days later!"

...

Wang Zhong had gotten a new Skylink and received news from Scarlet. The rewards from the Holy Land had been given to them, and it was a direct order from Sacred Teacher Leyson. With the help of the dimensional people, all was well for the Wanderlust Team. As for Solomon, he had ways to deal with him after returning. At his current level, these were all considered small things, and strength was the only thing that mattered.

Knowing this, Wang Zhong understood why no one from the 10 Great Families dared to take a stand against him for the Zhao Family after he issued his threat. For the 10 Great Families, the deterrent effect of a Sacred Teacher was undoubtedly rather huge. This time, it seemed that he was the fox who profited from the tiger's might.

Since he was trying to beat the dog before the lion and the 10 Great Families were still observing the situation, Wang Zhong only had to abide by a word - high-profile!

This time, it was not only to help Ma Dong and Barran get their revenge. More importantly, he had to make sure that Assassin would be able to hold their own after this. He had to let the entire Federation recognize his strength, position, and status!

As such, he had to exert his dominance! He had to make sure that this one time would be enough to frighten the members of the 10 Great Families so that they wouldn't dare to make trouble again. Otherwise, even if he relied on his current Teacher status and privileges to support Assassin and help them gain a foothold, as soon as he returned to the Holy City, people would immediately find trouble with Assassin.

With that, he didn't consider flying there at all. He wanted to give them five days, hoping that the Zhao Family would be fully prepared so that he could get rid of all of them in one fell swoop. As he sat on the train and enjoyed the cool breeze while he looked at the scenery outside the window, he felt extremely peaceful. After returning to the Holy Land, he would probably have fewer of such moments in the future.

This time, he managed to see many of his old friends in Tianjing. He found that everyone had changed a lot. Time and space could really take away a lot of things. He always reminisced about the past and the warmth, but he couldn't afford to stop progressing. All he could do was build a better life for Barran and the others.

As Wang Zhong was behaving as though nothing mattered to him, he caused a sensation in the entire Federation. His every move was under surveillance, and he was thought to be brazen and supercilious.

His target was the Heavenly Dragon City, the Zhao Family! The Zhao family was one of the Federation's 10 Great Families, once known as a sacred land for weapons, and even currently known as the Federation's King of Weapons! However, today, a young man in his early twenties was openly going for the head of the Zhao Family!

This was no longer just arrogance. He was obnoxious!

At the same time, two unexpected and mysterious passengers had also secretly boarded the train at one of the train stations on the railroad track. The reason for the delay was also to wait for these two people. How could there be no witnesses for such a historic moment?

Ma Dong and Emily!

Within a year, Ma Dong had changed drastically. The coquettishness he used to have had disappeared, and all that was left was a composed man with a thin mustache. He was wearing a rather low-key black suit, and the button near his shirt collar was unbuttoned. However, it didn't give people the feeling that he was a flirty and casual man. White hair had also silently appeared on his head, making him seem mature. At the same time, the inadvertent sparkle present in his eyes was enough to make people palpitate.

On the other hand, Emily hadn't changed much. Of course, that was merely referring to her appearance. Her family had undergone great changes, and all her dreams had collapsed. As she went further on the road of assassination, all she had was hope to keep her alive.

As the three of them met again, it was as though time had frozen. There was no need for any words, and they hugged each other tightly. It was not easy to have people who understood oneself in this world. It hadn't been easy for Ma Dong and Emily, but Wang Zhong, too, didn't have it easy. He had to fight his way into the Holy Land with the 10 Great Families gunning for him, and he arrived at his current position by himself, step by step. He was at death's door countless times, but he was strong, so strong that he could escape his fate.

This train cabin had already been reserved by Wang Zhong, and the three of them sat in the spacious cabin, immersing in laughter, which was extremely rare. Everyone only talked about the most interesting and happiest things they had experienced as though they had not been a fugitive all these years and had instead been on a holiday. This was definitely the happiest time for everyone in this dark year, and they didn't act like they were enroute to revenge at all.

Unlike Emily's strong desire to take revenge, Ma Dong had come to a realization after having experienced so much. Frankly speaking, killing the Zhao Family was no longer considered revenge to him. The departed were already gone, and the word 'revenge' was merely a heavy burden to the living. What they were doing was to enable the remaining people to live out their lives safely and with dignity.

"I really didn't expect that Grai was working for Solomon. He really concealed his identity well." Emily sighed. Ma Dong and Wang Zhong were both affected deeply in this matter. Ma Dong got Milami and Wang Zhong got Grai. The Empire's influence was truly very great.

However, Wang Zhong felt that Grai's situation was different from that of Milami's. Milami chose to run when faced with pressure, but Grai would not. This guy merely had too high expectations for himself, but no one was perfect.

"Wang Zhong, don't blame Grai. It must have been very difficult for him." It would be too much to say that Ma Dong could understand people's minds, but he would no longer selfishly try to hold others at certain expectations anymore. The fact that Grai outed himself to Scarlet at the critical time implied that he had already made his choice. He only left in the end because he couldn't forgive himself.

"Actually... Grai has always been the kindest among all of us, and he always holds himself at the highest standards. I will never hold it against him. Without him, we might not even be alive today," said Wang Zhong as he smiled. The word 'forgiveness' was not something that was only available now. If they really wanted to calculate everything, they were the ones that owed Grai a great deal.

Ma Dong nodded and said, "Milami once told me that the formation of Dandelions involved some tricks and routines. When they find talented children, they would find ways to turn them into orphans and give them a target to hate, so as to control them easily. Although the Federation discriminated against the Blood Race, to be honest, it was merely discrimination. Since the Federation can tolerate the existence of people of the Dragon bloodline, and also the more brutal people who were of the Werewolf bloodline, why would they specifically target the Blood Race? It's definitely a joke to say that it was difficult to control the Blood Race, given the strength of the Federation. Also, to say that the Blood Race was feared and that it was hard to accept them. -You have been to the Holy Land. Were there stranger races than the Blood Race? The Blood Race is nothing compared to them. As long as nothing happens, in fact, the Federation almost always tacitly approves of the existence of these weird races. The Federation even often works together with them. After all, the Federation has always wanted to make a breakthrough in biotechnology, and there are specialized organizations to study the blood and formation of these races."

"You mean, this matter is not as simple as it looks?"

"I have specifically checked the data for this matter. At that time, there was a city in the Federation which was a well-known gathering spot for members of the Blood Race. The diets of the people there were no different from humans, and they only occasionally fed on animal blood to retain the power of their bloodlines. As such, they were also the mainstay forces that killed the mutated creatures in the city at that time, so the Federation just closed one eye. However, more than a decade ago, dozens of cases involving blood being drained from people's bodies suddenly occurred in that city, and the methods were rather cruel. The culprit didn't bother to cover up his acts, as though he was deliberately leaving evidence of the Blood Race committing these murders. Serial killings. It is conceivable from the reaction of the Federation that they didn't care about the truth. It was more like they just needed a reason to take action."

"Get to the bottom of it. It's very important to Grai," said Wang Zhong. The truth represented one's belief. The saddest thing possible was for someone to not know who their true enemy was.

"I have already sent some people to investigate further and try to find evidence on the Empire. It's just that it's been a long time, and it's difficult to find out more, but I think there will definitely be some traces left. In addition..."

"Okay, okay, Ma Dongdong. It isn't easy for us to see Brother Wang Zhong. Don't talk about such things. Let's talk about how Brother Wang Zhong has been doing in the Holy Land instead, and the Holy Battle or something. That's more interesting." Seeing Wang Zhong, the heavy burden on Emily's chest seemed to have been lifted. It was as though she had found her pillar, and she seemed very relaxed.

Ma Dong didn't know whether to laugh or cry at her. "Are you even my real cousin?! Why don't you want to know more about me instead?"

"What more is there to know about you? Haven't you been pretending to be an old man and hiding in a bar?" Emily rolled her eyes at him as she held Wang Zhong's arm tightly. She felt extremely safe and comfortable doing that. "Brother Wang Zhong. How do the Octopus people look? Are there any pretty girls?"

"Octopus people..." Wang Zhong smiled and was about to speak, but all of them suddenly felt that the armored train was slowing down on the railroad track. With a few clinking sounds, the train slowly came to a stop.

The scenery outside the window came to a pause. It appeared to be a vast wilderness that was not at the established station. Ma Dong looked out of the window and saw a large number of Federation rail guards directly in front of the rails, as well as workers responsible for rail maintenance. They were busy fixing a railroad track a few miles away.

That railroad track was obviously broken. There was a large part of the railroad track in the middle which was bent upwards, and beside the railroad tracks were mutated beasts' carcasses piled up as high as mini hills. Of course, there were also human corpses.

"Recently, there are more and more mutated beasts, and they are getting more and more out of control," said Ma Dong as he retracted his head. In fact, along the way, he could see that there were more guards posted and more garrison camps built near the tracks compared to the last time.

Recently, the mutation of Earth's organisms had become increasingly serious, and the degree of radiation pollution had also become worse. The rate of biological mutations had obviously increased. Recently, near Tianjing, level-6 mutated creatures had been frequently spotted. It had to be noted that in the past, due to frequent clean-ups, even level-5 mutated beasts were a rare sight. Although the current situation had yet to pose a threat to human cities for the time being, it was considered a huge threat to the armored railways in the wild. This could be deduced easily just by looking at one's Skylink. In just this month alone, the No. 6 rail line near Tianjing had been destroyed three times by mutated beasts, and several camps nearby had also been slaughtered.

"Experts in the Federation have repeatedly said that this is an individual phenomenon via the Skylink, and they advised everyone not to panic, but I have always felt that things are not that simple. Several major military bases have frequently dispatched large-scale clean-up operations to get rid of the mutated beasts in the past few months. However, these major operations have become gradually reduced in numbers and frequency recently, as though the military department has lost control of the ground, making people feel that the Dark Ages are about to fall upon us again... Some people even said that the situation this time would be more serious than that of the Dark Ages."

However, Wang Zhong was not worried about this. The Holy Land was strong enough to get rid of the threats on Earth. It was said that the Holy City Army had transferred a large number of elite troops from the Federation to the Fifth Dimension; furthermore, the 10 Great Families had recently deployed nearly 200,000 troops. These so-called cannon fodder of the Holy Battle were definitely considered elites and the cream of the crop on Earth. They were the standing forces of the Federation to control the mutation of the entire Earth and to eliminate those mutated creatures. With such a sudden decrease in manpower and the slight change in Earth's environment, it was equivalent to giving the mutated creatures a natural environment to grow and reproduce uncontrollably. As such, it was not surprising for matters to go slightly out of control.