“No, we’re continuing as what we agreed on earlier. Unlike other cases, the target is of utmost importance. There is a notice of disposal from the higher-ups,” Decorated in a dark, dirty robe covering his brawny figure, the figure replied. Little did anyone know this person was the leader of the Black Hand organization.
The ambassador stared at the figure as he was considering the aftermath of the assault. To him, there were many benefits, that was if everything went according to plan. Although he was concerned about the strength of Luon, the armoured figure beside him, and the power of the local forces; that shred of doubt vanished as he spotted a black tail sticking out from the man before him. Demon, Lemegeton supported the organization from behind the scenes.
The Black Hand organization was shady, from drugs to human trafficking. With the ambassador and the Black Hand organization working hand in hand, both of them thrived and expanded their influences within Alpha Hideout. Disappearances and shady deals were routine, and because of a shortage of governmental officials, its management over civilians was obsolete, for them it was free reign. If anything, there was only a local policing force and other organizations that could resist their advances.
Another notable point about Alpha Hideout is that despite being a front-line solar system bordering the Inzektors reign, there were little to no Inzektors that appeared in the region. Some argue that it was because the place had no value for them, others say that there was a deterring force there, a very few supported the notion that the previous battles made it difficult to maneuver due to the massive interstellar graveyard, but nobody knew why they abstain their approach.
“Everything is in motion,” the demon stated. After the ambassador reported to the organization about Luon’s appearance at Alpha Hideout to him, he took the news to the upper echelons at Lemegeton. They have to use all the force he had available to deal with Luon, and full force means he had to push his plans further ahead of schedule.
With how confident his huge backer was the ambassador still didn’t feel secure. The worst-case scenario for failure would have his neck on a chopping board if his dealings came to light.
In the dark, probing him, the ambassador asked, “How confident are you with this mission? Our enemies aren’t to be underestimated. The targets, aside from the one we are attacking, is another organization that has several centuries of history. It’s rumoured that they had existed since the establishment of Alpha Hideout. I’m afraid that this wouldn’t be easy.”
“We’ve prepared for the worst. I understand your concerns but our forces here are plentiful. This attack would most likely expose our hand. It’s a little premature but tonight would be the night where we will start our complete our takeover of Alpha Hideout.”
“Is th-that true? What do you want me to do?” The ambassador appeared shocked at how fast things were moving since he was the one that had to deal with the post mortem. The takeover of Alpha Hideout had been a slow process, with how long it was taking to seize their opposing businesses and organizations under the noses of the governing powers it wouldn’t be surprising to take another few years. It could have been much faster if they could confirm one thing.
“So we still haven’t heard anything about Captain Argbok?” The demon looked at the ambassador; the latter flinched under his gaze as he replied, “We haven’t heard of him for centuries, this could mean that he hasn’t appeared for a long time or that he is in a position where he couldn’t make a move. From my suspicion, it’s sa-safe to assume that he’s long dead.”
Captain Argbok was the only deterring factor of their complete takeover, the strongest human for centuries after the war had started, but he hadn’t appeared for ages since the founding of Alpha Hideout. Scoffing at the remark, the demon said, “Humans, to live that long there is no surprise if he is dead, even if he were to be alive I believe the forces we have at hand is enough to deal with him.”
After he had spoken those words, eight figures suddenly appeared behind him. Their aura was equivalent to the demon’s own. The ambassador’s body trembled as he collapsed onto the ground. If they weren’t allies, he would have already fainted.
“Sir, our preparations are ready,” the eight bowed as one reported. The demon nodded as he proclaims, “This mission has been most tiresome, I’m glad our struggles would end today. Tonight my brethren will be a memorable day...”
A burst of laughter echoed throughout the room, unknownst to them, a little robotic spider had recorded the scene in its entirety.
“So this is the Black Hand,” Luon closed the holographic window as he analyzed the details he had just learned.
“Looks like we’ve left one danger only to enter another one. Let me tell you now, but those demons mean business,” Ner replied.
Having moved in today, Luon had latched one of his spider drones onto the ambassador’s subordinate who had followed them into the hotel. Luon had him tell the ambassador that they would stay at the hotel until they figure a way to leave. Who knew he could spy on the meeting immediately after?
It was no problem for the Black Hand organization to target them if they were just a bunch of ordinary folks, but from what Luon and Ner could tell, those demons were more than likely level 80s.
It would have been difficult for them to muster such a force in only one or two days after their arrival. From the information he had got, Lemegeton had been plotting a complete take over of Alpha Hideout for a long time.
“What should we do now? Unlike them, who have already made their preparations, we have yet to replenish our supplies and recover our strength. We’re also outnumbered, and you know how difficult it is to face against a level 80,” Ner asked.
Luon nodded, their fight at the Inzektor Tower had been a memorable one, he may have been able to contest against one or two powerhouses at level 80 to a stalemate but to face anymore and he would be in trouble.
“First, we should report this to Drex and see if he could speed up our exit. We’re not obliged to fight for Alpha Hideout. We should retreat when we still can; the best we could do is warn them.”
“I doubt that they’re able to resist such a force despite hearing your warning… I also doubt we can get an exit ticket that easily. What did your friend say about the current circumstances of the Nexus solar system? You change our destination to Dragons Valley all of a sudden so the information should have some significance.” As the two stood up, Ner couldn’t help but recall that the first conversation they had after they arrived at the hotel.
“Just some disturbing news, but nothing too serious. It seems that if I were to appear after being declared MIA, it would cause some discord. What did you find out after we separated?” Luon replied.
Thinking of how he had spent the day, Ner replied, “A bunch of political events but nothing too noticeable, everything seems normal.”
Luon nodded. He expected as much. Letting out a slight sigh, he said, “Well… according to Zekar, we should head for Dragon’s Valley for now. He said a lot of hidden forces are making their move, and we should upgrade our strength before we return.”
“So we’re going to Dragon’s Valley to train? It seems like your road home is troublesome...”
“Indeed... Avalon is the number one place to do some training. Back when I was there we weren’t able to get much sightseeing done, it’s a very rare opportunity.” Luon nodded as he recalled how much higher the combat levels their foes were.
“Okay… and so for how long do we need to train?” Ner asked out of curiosity. Physical training could only get so far, and the refinement of techniques could take ages. Combat levels aren’t that easy to raise.
“Ah, well he said that we should get to level… 80 at least.”
“Well... level 80 isn’t as easy as doing daily fitness exercises every day for a few years you know. How long would this take you? Decades?” Ner retorted, unlike Luon who had yet to reach level 80 Ner himself was 85, the same as the dragon princess that Luon had met back then. Despite his high level, he could fight a few level 80, but he would be unable to kill any of them in a short amount of time. For him to face nine high-level demons while paired with Luon, it was not a favourable battle.
Luon didn’t reply to his comment. He knew it would take a while to train to that extent. His physical training is almost at its genetic limits, or so he calculated. All that he could do is refine his combat techniques and increase his energy circulation and supply, but this training could take ages even if he were to train at Avalon which had the highest density of magical energy within its atmosphere.
The two of them walked down from their hotel room and into a busy tavern. The barkeep played the role of the owner of the hotel, the chef, and the organization’s agent. At this moment he was cleaning a glass cup with a rag, if it weren’t for the urgency of the report, Luon would have taken a moment to admire such a typical action he had seen in many books he had read.
Tapping on the bar table to garner his attention, Luon said, “We need to contact Drex. It’s urgent.”
Furrowing his brow, he looked up at Luon and the armoured man, Ner, before refocusing back to the cup he was holding. While doing so, he said, “How important? Is it something about your accommodations? He won’t be available for a while.”
“It’s REALLY important,” seeing how his message wasn’t getting through Luon attempted to intimidate the man.
However, it was to no avail, the stern expression the barkeep hadn’t changed, he disregarded Luon’s intimidation as he continued to work on the side while muttering, “I can take a message.”
“Tell him that tonight the Black Hand organization will make a move, and ask him if it’s possible to speed up our departure.”
“No need to worry my friend, that’s why we’re here.” A man sitting at the counter replied as he downed a glass of beer. Dressed in a suave tuxedo, the man sat with a blank expression, showing signs that he had been drinking way too much. Fortunately, there had been others beside him who were wearing the same outfit.
“Another glass, my man.” The barkeeper began to make his drink, seeing how Luon wasn’t getting anywhere, he turned to the man and asked, “And you are?”
“The name’s Shade, that’s a codename by the way. For the next few days, we’re here to chill at the bar while ensuring your safety, if they’re attacking tonight then that make business, quicker for us.”
“Is that so? Well, can you ask Drex to speed up our exit?”
“No rush man, the big boss’ been working around the clock for you, arranging some defences, conducting some business, securing the personal. If I ain’t know any better that’s some VIP treatment right there.”
“And if our opponents are nine combatants who are level 80 and possibly higher?”
At Luon’s words, the bar went silent. The shattering of a newly poured glass of liquor had brought the noise back. The impact somehow miraculously sobered the man as he replied, “I’ll contact him right away; we might still have some time.”
As the bar got rowdy, the noise level grew even higher as the entrance to the building exploded, shards of wood and metal flew around the room. Luon, Ner and all of the men at the counter peered above the bar, from their experience in combat they had an innate sixth sense to danger and had dodged the explosion just in time.
The dust settled, and nine dark-robed figures appeared.
“Looks like there’s no time left,” Luon replied. He assumed that they had some time and that they wouldn’t be making a move this quickly. Who would have thought that these shameless demons would move on the same day since it was still evening in this sunless space station.