Chapter 53: Expanding the Alliance
22 1 2
X
Reading Options
Font Size
A- 15px A+
Width
Reset
X
Table of Contents
Loading... please wait.

Chapter 53: Expanding the Alliance

Ain’s sneak attack against the Nighthawk Captain succeeded. His white claws slashed the thin-metal plating guarding the opponent’s neck, leaving a deep bloody wound. A painful grunt escaped the Nighthawk Captain’s mouth as he clumsily swung his sword. Ain barely dodged the attack with a backstep before knocking the shotgun out of the Nighthawk Captain’s hands with a Spectral Blast. At this point, seeing Ain’s retreat, Paula activated her innate talent with a soft shout, “Vital Vines!”

Immediately, verdant green vines, akin to sturdy ropes, manifested from the ground, tightly binding the Nighthawk Captain who pressed his hand, now devoid of the shotgun, against his bleeding neck. “Argh! You cowardly bastards!” A mechanically altered voice sounded. Paula’s Vital Vines not only bound the opponent but gradually absorbed their vitality as well. “Now!” She shouted. With her signal, a barrage of skills and spells, from Hugo, Frans, and their pets, struck the immobilized Nighthawk Captain. He desperately swung his sword in an attempt to free himself, but his wails only grew stronger amidst the storm of attacks. Meanwhile, Ain deftly eliminated a Nighthawk Sergeant who’d appeared to assist. As the attacks halted, the raised cloud of dust quickly settled, revealing the lifeless Nighthawk Captain. He’d been defeated within fifteen seconds!

“Haha, great! This was easier than hunting Branded Rank-1 Spirit Beasts!” Hugo exclaimed. While the Nighthawk Captain was weaker than the Infernal Tiger, the advantages of a team also played a significant role. The battle was essentially a one vs. eight…

This battle, aside from affording a better understanding between teammates, also served to set a precedence.  Encountering the next Nighthawk Captain, an opportunity was created for Paula to bind the enemy before numerous attacks bombarded them. This Nighthawk Captain was defeated even quicker. The battlefield was chaotic. NCDF’s armed forces were intermixed with Nighthawk’s combatants. The nearby enemies couldn’t just focus on their group alone. Soon, after eliminating two Nighthawk Captains, they finally came across the lone pair of spirit masters. There was a wheat-skinned boy with a muscular physique, black eyes, and a black crewcut, fighting alongside a dark-brown bear with a shoulder-height of at least four meters. The boy’s arms, shoulders, and chest were donned in a layer of rocks as he directly clashed with a Nighthawk Captain. Several meters away, behind an Aether Shield, was a girl with dark-blue hair that reached past her hips, standing with a stoic expression on her face. Her black eyes were cold, contrasting well with her fair face as she launched Ice Blasts at the Nighthawk Captain. Beside her, a white leopard with blue spots, a pair of chillingly blue eyes, and silver claws with an icy luster, was launching a barrage of icicles to eliminate the surrounding Nighthawk Privates, assisting the NCDF’s armed forces while ensuring its spirit master’s safety. The girl was the first to discover Ain’s group, her eyes immediately narrowing. Just before she acted, a virtual prompt appeared, causing her to pause.

Ain and his group also received the expected prompts.

[Allies detected – Elina Reynolds and Elias Wilmer]

[New members have joined your alliance for the duration of this mission.]

“Alliance?” Elina Reynolds, the blue-haired girl, muttered under her breath. The muscular boy, Elias Wilmer, received the same prompt, and was momentarily distracted. The Nighthawk Captain took advantage of his opponent’s blunder. He delivered a powerful punch to Elias’ chest, instantly shattering his rock armor, launching him backwards. With gritted teeth, Elias bore the damage and hurriedly recovered his balance. At this moment, Hugo shouted, “We’re here to help! Just focus on the battle!”

Before Elina and Elias could respond, Ain and Frans bolted towards the Nighthawk Captain, entangling him in a brief melee. After Paula neared, she bound the opponent with Vital Vines. Ain and Frans immediately retreated, well-prepared for the ensuing onslaught. Hugo timely shouted, “Attack!”

The new alliance members were quick on the uptake. Elina cast a long-range spell, Ice Blast, as her spirit pet, the Bluefrost Leopard, used Icicle Rain. A blast of icy energy and several blue icicles  attacked the Nighthawk Captain. The Titan Bear, Elias’ spirit pet, cast Rock Frenzy, unleashing a conical barrage of rocks, encompassing a wide-region around the opponent. Elias himself launched a sphere of earthly energy, Earthen Blast; it another spell from the common blast-series for beginners. Hugo and Paula also joined the bombard as Ain and Frans cleared the incoming Nighthawk Sergeants and Privates. Soon, another Nighthawk Captain departed the virtual world tragically.

Elias, patting his sore chest, approached with a wide grin, saying, “I didn’t know you could form alliances! Nice to meet you all. My name is Elias!”

“Elina Reynolds,” Elina also introduced herself, casting an Aether Shield to block the incoming red energy bullets. Surrounding themselves with shields in four directions, Ain and the rest quickly introduced themselves while explaining the events so far. “So, we’re gonna avoid the other alliance?” Elias asked. Frans nodded, “Yes, we’ll reconsider if there’s no more Nighthawk Captains.”

“Elina… I think I saw your name somewhere.” Paula said thoughtfully. Ain answered, “First place in the Spirit Cultivator Test. She’s one of the two participants who passed the test.”

“Spirit cultivator? Amazing, I’ve never met one before.” Hugo said, glancing at Elina curiously. The latter remained stoic, only nodding in acknowledgement. Her eyes exuded a natural coldness but lacked the solitary disposition expected of her expression. Ain added, “Elias was fourth place in the Combat Test.”

“Except for me, everyone in this alliance is a top scorer.” Hugo laughed, unbothered by his own words. The group briefly discussed their plans and strategies before setting off again. The NCDF’s reinforcements were arriving perpetually. They had to dispatch as many Nighthawk Captains as possible before the inevitable conclusion. As they fought on, Elias and Elina’s fighting styles became apparent. Having mastered some martial arts, Elias primarily focused on close-combat alongside his Titan Bear. His innate talent was Earthforge Mantle which spawned the rock armor on his body. Contrarily, possessing Ice Blessing as her innate talent, Elina and her Bluefrost Leopard focused on long-range attacks.

Elina’s ice aspect was a topic of great interest to Ain. Not only due to his odd quest, but also because Elina was a spirit cultivator. To become a spirit cultivator, alchemy was essential. However, to truly become an alchemist, the fire aspect couldn’t be ignored. Elina’s situation was contrary to his information. She didn’t possess the fire aspect yet still became a spirit cultivator. Since now wasn’t the appropriate time, Ain mindfully kept these thoughts for future consideration.

On the battlefield, amidst the thousands of combatants, were at least fifty Nighthawk Captains. As Ain’s group continued sniping them, NCDF’s advantage proliferated like a snowball rolling downhill, accumulating powerful momentum. After an hour, with the death of numerous Nighthawk Captains, a large airship suddenly descended from the skies.

“Look! What’s that?!” Hugo shouted in astonishment. Ain didn’t recognize the emblem painted on the airship. From the hovering airship, hundreds of soldiers donning blue mechanical armors jumped into the battlefield. Simultaneously, the holographic projection of a middle-aged man in decorated armor manifested from the airship. The man’s voice resounded, “Nighthawk scum! Today, you shall leave your lives behind!”

With this declaration, the NCDF’s forces counterattacked with great vigor. The weakest amongst the arriving soldiers were at Initiated Rank-1! The battle precipitously accelerated as Nighthawk’s forces diminished at unexpected speeds. In the frenzied battlefield, Ain’s group could only move aside, watching as another large airship, displaying Nighthawk’s emblem, began evacuating the survivors. An impenetrable energy shield defended the airship, resisting all attacks from the NCDF.

“Is that the other alliance?” Elias asked, gesturing at the six spirit masters hurriedly boarding Nighthawk’s airship in a miserable state. “Yeah, they’re the ones.” Hugo answered upon receiving Ace’s verification. “Looks like we’ve reached the end of this mission.” Frans commented with relief. They weren’t unscathed after an hour of battle. The stray energy bullets with Rank-0 power had unexpectedly contributed the most to their accumulated damage. Moreover, they’d almost exhausted their aether reserves.

Just Nighthawk’s airship departed, virtual prompts surfaced in everyone’s eyes as they recovered to their peak. Ain’s attention turned to the interface before him.

[B-Class Mission Completed]

[+95 Points]

[Total Points: 370]

Glancing around, everyone supported pleasant expressions. Hugo even showed him a thumbs up. Looks like they all performed well and received high points. Ain thought. “What do you think happened to the other alliance’s mission? Do you think they failed?” Paula asked off-handedly. Frans replied in contemplation, “Hmm… we can’t be sure they failed. Just like us, their mission might’ve been to just participate in the battle. If they eliminated enough NCDF’s combatants, they might’ve received a good score.”

Ain shared the same thoughts. “Well, our mission is complete. Looks like we’ll head different ways from here.” Hugo said. Before the others could reply, the holographic man’s sonorous voice reverberated through the air, “You’ve all done well defending the Northen City Defense Facility, however, this battle is far from over! Aside from the NCDF, Nighthawk concurrently targeted the Southern, Eastern, and Western City Defense Facilities as well! Moreover, those assaults have succeeded, and they have destroyed three of the city’s shield generators!”

“We’ve learned that Nighthawk’s despicable plan is to summon a beast horde into the city through a spatial rift! The city’s shield, powered solely by the northern generator, is unable to prevent the descent of the spatial rift! Summoning the rift requires spatial anchors to be scattered throughout the city. We’ve detected hundreds of hidden Nighthawk bases housing these spatial anchors. Brave warriors! Your next task is to assault these Nighthawk bases and destroy all the spatial anchors!”

Alongside the middle-aged man’s resounding voice, new virtual prompts greeted everyone’s eyes. Their following missions had arrived.

 

2