Chapter 377 - Ahead of Time
When the 5 people went back to the refugee camp, it was almost 2 pm.
Zerom and his men changed their clothes in Zhang Tie's tent; Zhang Tie then saw them off.
"No matter what, Thor Mercenary Army owes you!" the emaciated Professor Simon said as he embraced Zhang Tie to bid him farewell. Although they'd only stayed with each other for one morning, they had become brothers-in-arms.
"Come to Armes when you are free. I will introduce the hottest girl to you!" Jordan said as he gave a bear hug to Zhang Tie, "Thanks for that nickname, Black Cyclone, I like that!"
"You can bring me fortune!" Shrek also hugged Zhang Tie and sighed with feelings, "Now, Heavens Cold City is like a vault; to be honest, I don't even want to leave!"
Zerom also hugged Zhang Tie, "Take care of yourself!"
"You too!" Zhang Tie replied.
"We planned to go to Huaiyuan Prefecture; however, we have to give up on it; Professor Simon said we had to notify the headquarters of Thor Mercenary Army and let them prepare for the coming war!" Zerom appeared to be slightly disappointed.
"Why were you going to Huaiyuan Prefecture?" Zhang Tie was slightly stunned by this.
"Hmm, I heard an alchemist in Huaiyuan Prefecture had produced all-purpose medicament. After the event in Heavens Cold City, the various medicaments are in short supply. However, Armes is covered with poisonous things. As long as the antidote is in short supply, it will cause many bad chain reactions. Previously, we intended to seek a solution in Huaiyuan Prefecture; but now..." Zerom waved his head helplessly. As they only had one airship, they had to go back to notice Armes first about the more emergent information.
"How many vials of all-purpose medicament do you need?"
"At least 4,000 vials! Zerom replied. The trading volume of 4,000 vials of medicament was huge wherever it was, especially for a mercenary army.
If Thor Mercenary Army was under the control of Zerom, Zhang Tie would directly promise him by selling or gifting him the all-purpose medicament. Zhang Tie's life philosophy was influenced by his dad and his mom as he firmly insisted on repaying one's help. When he attended survival training in Wild Wolf Valley, Zerom and Captain Kerlin saved him in the cave. Of course, as repayment, Zhang Tie would gift his all-purpose medicament to him without any hesitation.
However, Thor Mercenary Army was not under Zerom's control. As a member who was though highly of by the management of the mercenary army, he was nothing different than a staff member in a business group. He was not even a shareholder. Therefore, Zhang Tie needed to consider it carefully. If he repaid his thanks to Thor Mercenary Army, it be not proper; instead, he needed to repay his thanks to Zerom and let Thor Mercenary Army know about Zerom's significance in the Army, which would be advantageous for Zerom's development in the mercenary army.
Many thoughts flashed across Zhang Tie's mind.
Zhang Tie smiled and pretended to take out of something from the vials container in his tactical vest; actually, he was taking out of 2 vials of all-purpose medicament from Castle of Black Iron and gave them to Zerom.
"Do you mean this?"
At the sight of the two vials of medicament in Zhang Tie's hands, Zerom, Simon, Shrek, and Jordan were stunned.
Under the sunlight, the crystal vials were radiating rainbow-like brilliance, which made the greenish yet golden medicament pretty mysterious. The unique symbol of Manjusaka on the vials instantly attracted their eyes.
"Argh, Manjusaka, I heard it was the symbol of the all-purpose medicament..." Shrek screamed before Zerom spoke.
"Zhang Tie, where do you get this from?"
"Why wouldn't members of the Zhang Clan have such good items from Huaiyuan Prefecture?" Zhang Tie casually answered.
Staring at the two vials of all-purpose medicament, Zerom's eyes gleamed, "I was told that very little of such medicament could flow out of Huaiyuan Prefecture. Nobody in Armes has even seen it. We just heard about its marvelous functions. Can it really replace preliminary antidote potions?"
"If you only used to detoxify, you would find it was more effective than preliminary antidote potion. Some of my friends have tried it, this thing could easily detoxify the toxin of a huge centipede!"
Hearing Zhang Tie's words, Professor Simon took one and started to gaze at it carefully. He seemed wanting to open it; however, he felt embarrassed to do that; ergo, he glanced at Zhang Tie, asking for Zhang Tie's agreement.
"Just open it, these 2 vials of all-purpose medicament are yours!"
Hearing this, Professor Simon instantly opened the clasp of the vial and moved it closer to his nose and sniffed. Soon after that, he looked very energetic. Seeing this, Jordan and Shrek also drew close.
"Argh, how come it smells so good..." Jordan shouted.
"Is this the smell of a super enzyme?" Professor Simon became a bit stunned.
"What, Professor? Shrek asked.
"Alas, I also wanted to be an alchemist when I was young. I studied some knowledge as a herbal apprentice and tried to make a super enzyme; pitifully, I failed it. I even wasted several years on this. At the sight of this vial of all-purpose medicament, I recalled what happened before..." Professor Simon waved his head in a nostalgic look.
Zerom then looked at Zhang Tie full of inquiries and desires, which could be easily felt.
"When you go to Huaiyuan Prefecture next time, you can go to Jinwu Company in Jinhai City. You could get all-purpose medicament there!" Zhang Tie told Zerom.
"Jinwu Company?" Hearing this, Zerom became a bit surprised. Companies were usually small trading organizations; the greater ones would be called commercial associations or business groups. He had not heard a company called Jinwu Company in Jinhai City of Huaiyuan Prefecture could sell all-purpose medicament. Zerom felt it was unbelievable, "Is Jinwu Company selling this?"
"If it were anyone else, they would not be able to buy all-purpose medicament from Jinwu Company even for a high price, but if it's you, you will definitely buy it from Jinwu Company. They can get all-purpose medicament for you through special channels!"
Hearing Zhang Tie's words, not only Zerom understood, even Professor Simon, Shrek and Jordan had understood who then glanced at Zerom with amazed looks. 'When did Zerom become so welcome? No matter whether Zhang Tie was bragging or not, it was very significant for Thor Mercenary Army that Zerom can get all-purpose medicament from Huaiyuan Prefecture.'
Zerom glanced at Zhang Tie and felt moved inside. Hearing Zhang Tie's words, Zerom finally confirmed that this teenager might have grown too powerful, so much so that even Zerom felt strange about him.
People didn't need to explain somethings.
Zerom then embraced Zhang Tie once again, "Take care of yourself, I hope to see you again!"
Zerom, Shrek, Jordan and Professor Simon finally departed Zhang Tie. Seeing them disappearing in the distance, Zhang Tie stood still in the wild for a while. He then took a deep breath and looked at the scorching sun before he returned to the refugee camp.
It was a sunny day; however, Zhang Tie felt chilly inside.
Watching their backs, Zhang Tie wondered if he would see them again; perhaps, this was the last time they would see each other.
Last year, Donder told him that the third holy war between human race and demons would break out in five to twenty years. So, according to Donder, the holy war would break out in 4 years; however, based on the information that Professor Simon gained through study and analysis of the demonized puppets, Zhang Tie knew that it would break out much earlier than estimated.
Zhang Tie only had one year to prepare for the coming war, instead of four years. Based on the analysis of Professor Simon, the puppet worms had lived in their hosts' brains for over 36 months. If not for the event, those puppet worms would've incubated for another six months to one year...
This was very important and frightening information, which meant that demons and their lackeys in Three-Eye Association planned to launch the war and plunge the whole continent into great chaos next year, next August at the latest — as was predicted by Professor Simon.
The world had become chaotic. What happened in Heavens Cold City was just the beginning; in the future, more and more places would become a hell like Heavens Cold City.
Zhang Tie didn't know whether the complete collapse and exposure of the Zhen Clan in Heavens Cold City would let demons and Three-Eye Association's some plans shift to earlier dates. Now that Professor Simon could gain the information through anatomy and analysis of the puppets, Zhang Tie believed that those big clans in Jinyun Country and the other countries and powers which took away not only one demonized puppet from Heavens Cold City could also work it out.
As long as they started to accelerate their defense towards the 3rd holy war, actually, they were forcing Three-Eye Association and demons to launch the war. Therefore, Zhang Tie and most of the other average people would have less time to prepare for it!
No war would start when both parties were well prepared for it. Wars were always competitions on speed.
Thinking of this shocking information, Zhang Tie walked in the refugee camp with a low mood. Seeing those extremely sorrowful and numb looks, Zhang Tie's heart gradually became cold.
At this moment, Zhang Tie was like a man running on the prairie; seeing the horizon in the distance, he thought that he could somewhere brilliant if he kept running like that; however, all of a sudden, that man found that the horizon was merely a mirage. Actually, he stood on the edge of an abyss and had no road ahead.
At this time, a red leather football rolled towards Zhang Tie and hit his foot, causing him to look around.
A sunny boy of 5 years old or so was running towards him, "Elder brother, can you kick the football back to me?"
At the sight of the little boy's smiling face, Zhang Tie became stunned. After circling around the refugee camp for several days, it was Zhang Tie's first time to see such a happy smile. It was like a ray of sun light among the black clouds.
Zhang Tie didn't react until the little kid repeated what he said. Zhang Tie then slightly picked the football by his foot into the air and held it by hand. After that, Zhang Tie walked towards that little boy and squatted, patted his little head, and passed the football to him, "Are you alone? Where's your dad?"
"My dad is catching bad guys in Heavens Cold City!" The little boy answered in a spirited way. "He's a police officer in Heavens Cold City. My dad also has the same uniform as yours. But my dad's uniform is blue!"
"Your dad is catching bad guys in Heavens Cold City?" Zhang Tie failed to understand it at once, Are there any bad guys there at this moment... No, is there anybody alive in Heavens Cold City?'
"Yes, my mom told me that my dad is very great. He has caught a lot of thieves before. We are camping outside; after my dad catches all the bad guys in Heavens Cold City, we will go back home!"
'Camping?' Zhang Tie looked around at the refugee camp filled with tents. Before he wanted to say something, he saw a 30-odd woman running towards him in a flurried way, "Argh, sorry, sorry, did Xiaoxing's  football hit you?"
The little boy turned around and told his mom, "Mom, I'm talking about dad with this elder brother!"
"Ah, Xiaoxing, go play over there, don't trouble this elder brother. Haven't I told you to not trouble others when you play?"
"But I was asking whether this elder brother had seen my dad or not. My dad also has a uniform almost the same as that of this elder brother. This elder brother is also in the police!" The little boy said innocently before asked Zhang Tie, "Elder brother, you are a police officer, right?"
"Ah...yes...yes!" Zhang Tie smiled.
"Are you catching bad guys too?"
"Almost that. But you dad is much sharper. I've not caught any thieves yet!"
"Are you catching bad guys in Heavens Cold City every day? Have you seen my dad there? How about him now? My mom said my dad would write a letter to me in a few days!"
The little boy didn't see it; however, when he asked this, his mom who was squatting behind him started crying tears instantly. The woman stared at Zhang Tie with an imploring look.
"What's your dad's name?" Zhang Tie asked patiently.
"My dad is Fang Weiqiang!"
"Oh, I met him before. When I went to Heavens Cold City last time, I saw him catch a lot of thieves! He's great!"
"Really?" The little boy became excited at once, "When you see him next time, can you tell him that Xingxing misses him so much? It's really interesting to live in tents here, I want to play together with him!"
"No problem!" Zhang Tie nodded.
Hearing Zhang Tie's promise, the little boy threw his football onto the ground and kicked it away. After that, he chuckled and chased after his leather football.
The woman hurriedly wiped off his tears as she stood up and thanked Zhang Tie.
For this mother's consideration, Zhang Tie could only let out a deep sigh, "He will find out about it sooner or later!"
"Just let him remain happy temporarily. He's still young now; I don't want him to know that he has lost his dad at such an age!" The woman looked firm and painful.
Zhang Tie then glanced at her, "I'm Zhang Tie. I live in the camp of Huaiyuan Palace, if you need my help, come find me!"
"Thanks..." The women dropped off her tears once again.
Zhang Tie then left the refugee camp. The woman had given him a lesson just now. From what happened to her and her kid, Zhang Tie learned that no matter how tough the road ahead was, one had to survive on. You might not decide what was going to happen; however, you should at least fix your own attitude.
'Even a kid could treat living in refugee camp as a camping trip and found pleasure among it, why wouldn't I treat the tough and unpredictable future as a gamble of my life?
'Although the future didn't look bright, at least I have taken the preemptive move due to all-purpose medicament. The sudden shortage of medicament materials indicates that the proportion of my all-purpose medicament becomes heavier in the market. What does this mean? It means more money and more chances to gain resources. Then, I will be more influential. Of course, more unpredictable dangers will come towards me.'
Zhang Tie returned to his base and found two officers of Hidden Dragon Palace waiting for him outside his tent.
"Are you Zhang Tie? The seniors of the Zhang Clan want to see you!"
Hearing this, Zhang Tie's heart pounded. "Seniors of the Zhang Clan have summoned me? What's that for?"
"Elder brothers, what's up?" Zhang Tie asked politely, 'Could it be that I screwed up by leading outsiders in Heavens Cold City? No way! How could such a trivial thing arise the attention of the seniors of Zhang Clan.'
"We don't know either. Just follow us there!" the two officers also replied very politely, which made Zhang Tie recover his composure at once.
He then followed the two officers towards the flagship airship in the far...