Chapter 50: C-Class Mission
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Chapter 50: C-Class Mission

Ain and Hugo glanced at the virtual interface displaying their new mission.

[C-Class Mission]

[Protect Mr. Slader while he completes his task.]

“First was a rescue mission, then an escort mission, now it’s a defense mission. It’s like an entire story unfolding here,” Hugo commented while rubbing his hands in excitement. Mr. Slader, the engineer from the Northern City Defense Facility, glanced at his hololink before saying urgently, “Youngsters! Nighthawk’s goal is to bring down the NCDF’s security grid so they can infiltrate and disable the northern region’s shield generator. Protect me while I remotely thwart their attempts and reinforce the security grid!”

“Dr. Slader, you can rest assured! We’ll protect you!” Hugo affirmed with confidence. Ain nodded to express his stance as well. Dr. Slader revealed a gratified expression and disappeared into his hideout while Ain and Hugo guarded the open entrance. After observing the decrepit warehouse for a few seconds, Ain said, “Let’s hide ourselves. We can try ambushing our opponents.”

“That works for me,” Hugo promptly agreed. There were numerous pallets and industrial shelves and racks in the warehouse. After some planning, Ace concealed itself atop the shady rafters while Ain and Hugo hid in opposite directions, surrounding the sole entrance. Nox stuck close to Ain in preparation for the ambush. They waited patiently as time continued to trickle by. Five minutes later, their ears suddenly perked up. A rover had just landed near the entrance!

"Nox, use Possession," Ain said internally. With a hasty nod, Nox silently dove into his body, causing his obsidian eyes to become piercingly cold. Next, he used Haunt, reducing his presence while disappearing from sight.

Outside the warehouse, two male teenagers cautiously approached the large entrance. One had short-black hair while the other had long-brown hair. A black-feathered raven with fiery eyes, emitting faint wisps of smoke, rested on the black-haired boy’s shoulders. This was his spirit pet, a fire-aspect Smoky Raven. He stepped forward to vigilantly peek into the warehouse before returning to his partner. “Joel, the inside of the warehouse looks clear. I saw a tunnel on the far end. It should lead to our target,” he said.

Joel, the brown-haired spirit master, was accompanied by a large dark-blue salamander with white spots. This was a water-aspect Wave Salamander. Joel replied with a frown, “Are you sure, Rolf? This is a C-class mission. It shouldn’t be this easy…”

“The danger might be inside the tunnel,” Joel responded. He felt confident in his judgment.

“Possibly. Mr. Slader should have some guards,” Rolf reminded Joel. Their mission was to eliminate Mr. Slader, who was a non-combatant. It was reasonable for there to be guards protecting him. The two prudently entered the warehouse, remaining watchful of their surroundings. Hugo, peering through a stack of pallets, grinned sneakily. Ace, get ready! 3, 2, 1, go!

Immediately, Hugo launched an Aero Blast towards the intruders while Ace attacked from above with two Wind Slashes!

“Ambush! Watch out!” Joel suddenly shouted in alarm. The sound of attacks cutting through the air couldn’t be hidden. The spell he’d preemptively prepared was hurriedly released! Water Mirror! A transparent blue mirror, condensed entirely from water, instantly appeared above him! Rolf reacted a tad bit slower. His attempt to cast Aether Shield was unsuccessful. The attacks reached them before he could finish his spell!

Due to Ace’s proximity, the Wind Slashes collided with the Water Mirror first. The blue shield instantly shattered! But unexpectedly, it also deflected both Wind Slashes! They were heading right back to the rafters! At this point, Hugo’s Aero Blast also reached Joel, but the latter’s Wave Salamander intercepted the spell with its body!

Boom! Boom! Windy explosions occurred at two separate locations!

Fortunately, Ace had already left the rafters, dodging its own attacks. However, the Wave Salamander wasn’t so lucky. It bore the full brunt of Hugo’s Aero Blast! Its injuries weren’t mild as one of its limbs was twisted sideways. By now, Rolf, who’d retreated several steps from the residual winds, had already reacted. While launching a Fireball at Hugo, he commanded his spirit pet to use its innate skill – Smokescreen. Flying above him, the Smoky Raven opened its inky beak and forcefully exhaled a cloud of black smoke. The smoke rapidly shrouded the surrounding region, buying them some time. Under the blanket of smoke, Joel hurriedly cast Healing Waters, one of his water spells, to heal his spirit pet. The Wave Salamander’s broken limb was engulfed in a stream of blue swirling water that slowly repaired the damage.

“Smoke? Hmph! Ace, blow it away!” Hugo commanded loudly. He activated his innate talent, Wind God’s Blessing, to augment Ace’s abilities. “Scree!” With a sharp screech, Ace flapped its wings heavily, using its innate skill – Piercing Gale! Powerful winds manifested, sweeping through the warehouse, instantly blowing away the black smoke. The intruders were once again revealed, this time behind two stacked Aether Shields. Seeing this, Hugo briefly turned to the tunnel and shouted, “They’re already here! Come out and help me!”

Seeing this, Joel and Rolf’s eyes lit up. “His partner’s in the tunnel! Hurry up and heal, I’ll keep him busy!” Rolf whispered to Joel, who was still casting Healing Waters on the Wave Salamander. “I need several more seconds.” Joel whispered back. Rolf nodded before bolting off towards Hugo. A Grand Eagle and Smoky Raven battled in the air as Rolf attempted to engage in close-combat with Hugo, who kept on retreating. Maintaining his healing spell, Joel shouted at Hugo, “Why are you protecting Mr. Slader? He’s from an evil organization called Nighthawk that’s hellbent on destroying this city! Are you trying to harm thousands of innocent lives?!”

“Huh?” Joel’s accusatory words stunned Hugo. In the midst of combat, his thoughts began to churn wildly. Mr. Slader is from Nighthawk? Wasn’t he trying to stop them? Did he deceive us? If he inadvertently assisted Nighthawk’s plan, wouldn’t his hands be stained with the blood of the innocent? His parents were both Law Enforcers. Though he was no saint himself, his inherent morality still abhorred evil. His opponent’s words spawned hesitation in his heart!

It actually worked! Joel thought, keenly observing Hugo’s indecisive expression. The denouncing words were meant to distract his opponent to grant his partner an advantage. The effect was unexpectedly great. The opponent actually had misgivings amidst combat! Joel decided to add fuel to the fire. “Do you know the consequences of your actions?! Where’s your consc-” “Shut up,” Ain’s voice abruptly interrupted as his ghastly claws pierced through Joel’s chest. “Wha… cough-cough!” Joel’s eyes widened in disbelief. Copious amounts of blood spurted from his chest as he coughed out even more.

“Huh?!” While battling Hugo, Rolf suddenly revealed a distraught expression. A virtual panel had just appeared in his eyes!

[Your teammate has died. Mission failed.]

Before he even turned back, a flash of white light whisked him away, along with his spirit pet. The fallen Joel suffered a similar fate, vanishing with the Wave Salamander. They’d failed their C-class mission!

Ain’s figure manifested in the warehouse. Nox also left his body. Arriving beside Hugo, he said, “Looks like it’s over if your teammate dies.”

Hearing Ain’s voice, Hugo quickly recovered from the sudden turn of events. After all, they’d planned it this way. Ain’s ambush was delayed to probe the opponents first. They didn’t know how many enemies there would be, much less that they’d be facing participants like themselves. Shaking his head, Hugo groaned, “Damn it! I fell for his tricks! How could I forget that we’re in Cyberspace?”

“It’s difficult to keep track of everything in the heat of combat. Moreover, this virtual world is nearly indistinguishable from reality. It’s easy to forget,” Ain consoled him. The battle was over, but the duo remained vigilant. They hadn’t received a mission completion prompt. As Ace returned to the rafters, Ain and Hugo hid together, whispering. “Ain, what if their words were true? What if Mr. Slader is from Nighthawk? Will it affect our mission?” Hugo asked worriedly. What if they need to realize Mr. Slader’s deceit and stop him instead?

“Let’s just follow the mission. The instructions were to protect Mr. Slader while he finishes his task. They didn’t say what the task was. It was Mr. Slader himself who explained the task to us. Whether it’s true or not, I don’t think it matters to the mission,” Ain explained. He wasn’t completely certain of his judgment, but he decided to trust himself this time.

“That makes sense too…” Hugo trailed off, pondering on Ain’s words. He believed in Ain, the first place in the Intelligence Test. He didn’t need to think about it. In this silence, the two continued waiting patiently for nearly ten minutes. Suddenly, a loud reverberating explosion shook the entire region! A thundering sound wave swept past with a violent roar as the earth below trembled vigorously.

“What was that?!” Hugo exclaimed in surprise. Ain, also startled, glanced around vigilantly. At this moment, Mr. Slader appeared from the tunnel, laughing maniacally, “Hahahaha! I’ve succeeded! That was the missile I launched to destroy the NCDF’s security measures! Soon, Nighthawk will assault the NCDF to destroy the northern region’s shield generator!”

They’d considered the possibility, but Ain and Hugo were still astonished. They’d really been deceived by Mr. Slader! At this moment, the familiar virtual prompts appeared again.

[C-Class Mission Completed]

[+94 Points]

[Total Points: 275]

Hello, Hello!

If you recall, my weekly update schedule was three guaranteed chapters and an occasional fourth one. For a while, this occasional fourth chapter was becoming regular but it will really be "occasional" from now on. I'll still try my best to make it happen.

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