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Chapter 818: Breaking Away from Outmoded Conventions
Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
No matter what, it was now a critical period in Katchirda City's construction. It could be said that there was an admixture of the genuine and the false here. Although Gong Yi and the others did not mention it, they had the confidence to carry out certain operations now that w.a.n.g Zhong was really here. They no longer had to hold their enemies back by putting on a bold front. Also, this time, w.a.n.g Zhong could personally contact Ma Dong from here to get both parties to trust each other and work together.
“Ma Dong is very good,” said Gong Yi. “The Federation's intelligence on him is basically nothing but fake news. Most people are reporting that he had died in the wilderness. After all, a.s.sa.s.sin had deep roots. The Zhao and Gui families were truly too greedy. If we have time to grow our own roots, it's possible for us to make a comeback. It's just that if you don't show yourself via the Skylink, it would be hard for him to trust us,”
He knew how difficult it was for one to be wanted by the Federation. Both the officials and the underworld were offering rewards for his death, and money could work wonders at any time of day.
Ma Dong could not be contacted until the third day. Although Ma Dong was supposed to get the chance to talk to w.a.n.g Zhong in person, he remained extremely cautious. After all, this might still be a trap. However, he eventually gave up. No matter how forbearing and persevering he was and despite being free of fear, he was truly too lonely. He needed a brother.
When Ma Dong saw w.a.n.g Zhong via his Skylink, Ma Dong heaved a huge sigh of relief. His palms had been sweating profusely. It may have seemed like a simple meeting, but if the opposite party was not w.a.n.g Zhong, it would signify that his situation had been exposed. With the power of the Federation and the bounty on his head in the underworld, it wouldn't be possible for him to survive this.
At this time, Ma Dong actually laughed. “Dude, I haven't seen you for a while. You seem to have become handsomer. However, you still don't look as good as me.”
With that, w.a.n.g Zhong could immediately tell that Ma Dong was putting up a front. The more relaxed he seemed, the harder his situation was. Ma Dong's eyes actually had wrinkles now. Although w.a.n.g Zhong didn't see what happened to him over this period of time, it was obvious that he had suffered a great deal.
“I knew that you would be alright. Give me some time. I have already found a way to bring them down,” said w.a.n.g Zhong, smiling.
“No problem. It is impossible for those useless people to find me. Take your time!”
“Mmm, wait for me to come back.” w.a.n.g Zhong nodded vigorously. Some things were not able to be put into words, but the tacit understanding between them was enough for them to understand each other.
The two didn't say any more as this form of communication was not secure. After the situation was confirmed, Ma Dong could cooperate with Gong Yi without holding back.
Seeing the live call end, w.a.n.g Zhong took a deep breath. He could finally put his heart at ease now that he saw that Ma Dong was safe. If he wanted to subvert the Zhao Family and the Gui Family, he couldn't rush into it as there would only be one shot at that. If they failed, there was only death awaiting them. Although the 10 Great Families did not have ruling power in the Holy Land, they still had a certain influence there. Also, in terms of strength, experts at the Heavenly Soul Stage could destroy them in a matter of minutes.
Both he and Ma Dong had to grow up.
The resonance between the Golden Stone Slab and the Fate Stone opened up a third plane, but w.a.n.g Zhong didn't know what kind of abilities this plane had. According to usual practice, certain special circ.u.mstances would be needed to trigger its power. For this, w.a.n.g Zhong was not in a hurry, and even if he was, it would be useless. The Federation had exhausted all its power to try and understand this thing, to no avail. How could it be possible for him to do so at one go?
The Golden Stone Slab itself was made from a very strange material. In terms of texture — from the two that he had come into contact with — it could be deduced that they were very similar but different in some ways. In terms of material, using the three-dimensional touch ability that Earth people had, it had still been impossible to determine its true makeup. The only two things that could be confirmed were that it was not something that could be found on Earth and that it could not be destroyed. However, it was not known whether the alchemy abilities of the Holy Land could affect it. That might actually be possible.
Being away from the Holy Land did not affect w.a.n.g Zhong's ability to consolidate his gains. The most important thing w.a.n.g Zhong needed to focus on now was combat techniques. His two big moves were good in terms of power, but in fact, they were only useful for fighting monsters. If he fought other people the same way, it would only be seeking death. The key would be to improve on his Soul Sea.
w.a.n.g Zhong did not want to become someone who was over-reliant on Dharma Idols. If so, his weakness would become very obvious.
He was very clear about the combat techniques of the Casted Soul Stage. He had clear ideas, and the techniques had notable effects, but after entering the Heroic Soul Stage, he grew a little confused. There were many different styles in the Holy Land, but after knowing more about each of them, he felt that they were all not strong enough. After watching Kadin fight, he finally came to a conclusion: The strong in the Holy Land definitely did not rely on their Dharma Idols. Instead, they focused on strengthening the usage of their Soul Power. The power of Kadin's sword was definitely built up in his Soul Sea, giving his move the ability to destroy mountains.
This idea was consistent with his previous thinking, but what w.a.n.g Zhong was pursuing was stronger and more complex. This would inevitably require him to improve on many areas, including the manipulation of Soul Power, the toughness of the Soul Sea, the ability to withstand backlash, and the formation speed of his combat techniques.
All these were vital areas. If one was lacking in any one of these, it would be better to pursue high-speed and powerful Soul Power attacks similar to Kadin.
One's physical response would be limited even under the boost of Soul Power, but the response of one's Soul Power could be as fast as the speed of light — that was, with the prerequisite of having enough practice. As such, there were infinite possibilities.
With the Soul Core as the center to make out the basic points of the attack, it would save a lot of time. Any attack matrix had to have coordinates, and the Soul Core was the best coordinate.
w.a.n.g Zhong entered his Soul Sea and consciously looked at the coordinates. If he controlled the power of the Soul Sea and superimposed layers of powers — as in mobilizing soul power multiple times while preventing them from being fired — then released them in one shot, a powerful sword move could be formed. Of course, this was not pure math, and thus, it wasn't one plus one equaling two. During this process, there would be a great loss of Soul Power, but the nature and power of the attack would become completely different.
This was just the simplest form of application. What if he constructed a runic matrix in the Soul Sea?
w.a.n.g Zhong's heartbeat accelerated. To complete the move in his Soul Sea then directly blasting it out would definitely increase his actual combat speed by leaps and bounds!
Was it possible?
It might not be possible for other people, but it was definitely possible for him!
Just like that, w.a.n.g Zhong fell deep into thought as he stood under a tree, not moving an inch. He had already forgotten where he wanted to go. The practice of Cellular Cosmology provided the foundation for all of this.
“w.a.n.g Zhong, it's late…”
“Shh!” Reynolds stopped Sister Hong from interrupting w.a.n.g Zhong. “He is meditating. Don't disturb him.”
Sister Hong froze for a moment, then stared at w.a.n.g Zhong. “How long has he been like this? Who even meditates standing?”
“From the morning until now.”
After discovering w.a.n.g Zhong in this state in the afternoon, Reynolds began to stand guard beside him the entire time. Regarding w.a.n.g Zhong's level, Reynolds had long stopped trying to speculate. Who said that one could not meditate standing anyway?
w.a.n.g Zhong had already begun to try it out in his Soul Sea. Most people wouldn't even dare to dream of it. Even if they had thought of it, they definitely wouldn't dare to do it. However, w.a.n.g Zhong was an exception.
On the one hand, he had Aiolos and Mu Zi as reference. Obviously, Aiolos and Mu Zi had embarked on their own path and formed their own personalized combat styles. Also, they were unaffected by societal constraints and never once cared about the opinions of others. w.a.n.g Zhong, too, wanted to form his own combat style.
On the other hand, w.a.n.g Zhong was confident of his own Soul Sea. To stray from the usual rules and regulations, the first thing to be affected was definitely the Soul Sea. His Soul Sea was extremely durable, almost indestructible. Other people usually only had ‘Soul Ponds', whereas he truly had a Soul Sea.
In the beginning, he adopted the runic array method, but he eventually realized that this was not suitable in the Soul Sea. Most runes consisted of arc shapes, and an arc's movement speed was naturally slow even if they were boosted with Soul Power. In short, it could be imagined as being in the state of weightlessness, making it move differently from when there was gravity. He continued to try again, failed, and continued on… Obviously, Stubborn w.a.n.g Zhong would not simply give up. Now that he had found a feasible direction, he would definitely go all the way.
“It's been seven days. Do you think he overdid it and lost his mind?”
“Pfft! Touch wood! Lao Gong, do you think it's because of that d.a.m.ned stone slab?”
Gong Yi, Sister Hong, and Reynolds stared at w.a.n.g Zhong nervously. They were very worried. This meditation situation was too weird. w.a.n.g Zhong was like a searchlight: his body constantly produced Soul Power reactions, but then again… maybe it was more like a broken bulb.
At this time, w.a.n.g Zhong's body was covered in dust. His cheeks were sunken, and his pale lips were covered with cracks, a sign that he was lacking water. There was no doubt that this state was extremely taxing to his body.
Just when the three were at a loss, w.a.n.g Zhong opened his eyes and said, “Sister Hong, I'm hungry.”
Cultivation and comprehension were similar to fond dreams, and the timing could not be forced. Once one was awakened from it, it would be extremely difficult to return to that dream. It was not just a matter of taxing the mind. Due to human limits, even the most durable body could not survive more than seven days without food and water.
w.a.n.g Zhong immediately replenished his bodily needs and fell asleep until the next morning. When he opened his eyes again, his eyes were no longer the same as before.
Over these seven days, he had determined a path of cultivation. In fact, he had benefited from his previous research and understanding of the Heroic Soul Stage. Acc.u.mulation was always a condition needed for any form of breakthrough, and it was impossible to skip this step.
To put it simply, the supposed Soul Power limit of any human — be it Heroic Souls or Heavenly Souls — was 10,000 Gra.s.sos. This was seemingly the maximum Soul Power a human body could withstand. To break through this, one had to successfully pa.s.s the Soul Calamity, aka the Heavenly Calamity one had to undergo after entering the peak of the Heavenly Soul Stage. Only then would one be completely reborn and could one exceed the limits of the human body.
But the difference was that Heavenly Souls could tap into the power of heaven and earth. Not only did it mean endless Soul Power power for them — as long as their body could bear it — the whole world could become their Soul Sea. Theoretically, it was possible to reach an explosive force unimaginable to ordinary people.
As for Heroic Souls, most people at the peak of the Heroic Soul Stage had to focus on consolidating their Soul Sea. This was to ensure that their Soul Sea was strong enough to withstand the power of heaven and earth once they entered the Heavenly Soul Stage as well as to build up a stronger resistance to backlash. On the other hand, they also had to strengthen their control of Soul Power, which was the most important thing during actual combat.
For example, Kadin Musk had a Soul Power limit of a little bit more than 10,000 Gra.s.sos, but the power of his sword move could reach about 120,000 Gra.s.sos. This was done via the increase in Soul Power control. Do not make the mistake of thinking that it was not a big deal. Even though it was only a 20% increase in power, it was actually very difficult to do so. The Soul Power had to be superimposed by about three to four times at the moment of attack, which meant that the speed of Soul Power had to directly equal one's train of thought. In other words, one had to repeat the action four times at the moment of attack, while keeping up with the speed of one's first thought completely. For ordinary people, this was a paradoxical problem, but it was the norm for some at the peak of the Heroic Soul Stage. Thus, the increase of this ‘mere 2,000 Gra.s.sos' was actually far beyond the normal limit of 10,000. The effect was definitely not just that 2,000 Gra.s.sos increase.
1To put it simply, if an ordinary 10,000 Gra.s.sos attack was to go up against such a sword move, it wouldn't stand a chance!
Therefore, two Peak Heroic Souls might have a very large difference in their combat power, and it would not only be due to additional equipment. Some Heroic Soul Stage soldiers, such as the top Dimensional Devourers in the Dimensional Hostel, might even be able to defeat Heavenly Souls! And this would be in a head-on battle!
After all, some experts who were new to the Heavenly Soul Stage were actually very fragile. On the one hand, in order to break through, a lot of the Soul Power acc.u.mulated during the Heroic Soul Stage would have to be consumed. Thus, there would be insufficient external power support. On the other hand, newly promoted Heaven Souls had a limited ability to tap into the power of heaven and earth, probably only around 10,000 to 20,000 Gra.s.sos. However, the Dimensional Devourers at the peak of the Heroic Soul Stage could rely on their Soul Power control to directly superimpose their own power to 20,000 Gra.s.sos or more; this was definitely a lot more powerful than those new Heavenly Souls who were not very accustomed to their newly acquired strength!
Of course, these were just theories that people indulged in when they were very bored. After all, they were using the weakest Heavenly Soul to compare with the strongest Heroic Soul. There was too much coincidence and imagination involved. Thus, it did not have much practical significance. Also, the most probable situation was that the Heavenly Soul would simply run away. If a Heavenly Soul wanted to escape, most Heroic Souls would be rendered helpless. Those who had really killed off Heavenly Souls head-on were extremely rare throughout the entire history of the Holy City… After all, one would unlikely be a fool if one could become a Heavenly Soul. Before one was familiar with the power of being a Heavenly Soul, nine out of 10 would stay inside the Holy City for closed-door cultivation till they were ready. As such, the above-mentioned situation of a weak Heavenly Soul meeting an expert at the Peak Heroic Soul Stage was almost literally impossible…
Therefore, in the realm of the Heroic Soul, there was actually no need for tricks. One could just punch and kick randomly. The point was not to see if one was accurate but to see if one was fast or strong enough. Even the so-called various combat techniques were nothing more than the control of one's Soul Power. The focus was on how to superimpose Soul Power by a few more times in the instant of an attack or how to form a special effect at the moment of the Soul Power release. As such, if two people learned the exact same sword move, they might produce two completely different forms.
Therefore, w.a.n.g Zhong had not been able to understand Aiolos's combat style previously. On the one hand, he could clearly feel the power of his runes and his substantial Soul Power. On the other hand, he felt that his close combat techniques were a little too ‘simple'. Although they were very effective and powerful… but they were just simple kicks and punches. They were not even as refined as his control of techniques during the Casted Soul Stage. It was not until now when he himself had to change to new methods of combat that he gradually understood how powerful Aiolos was. It was like returning to one's original simplicity while the essence of the techniques was hidden on the inside; they would be far more than how they seemed on the outside.
w.a.n.g Zhong had always been stressing over finding a combat style for the Heroic Soul Stage. He felt that he could not get rid of the shadow that the Casted Soul Stage had left on him. He knew that it was definitely wrong, but he didn't know where to start. Even his two Soul Domination abilities, the ‘Crosswheel Slash' and ‘Phoenix Rises to Ninth Heaven' — which seemed to have broken free of the Casted Soul Stage and entered the level of exploration via internal strength — could only be considered a transition between the two stages and special big moves. However, he had yet to solve the problem of having to develop his main Heroic Soul Stage combat style. It was impossible for him to use these big moves at the start of every battle. Doing so, if the opponent managed to avoid the attack, he would lose the battle immediately.