1087 Made Friends
On the interface, a ton of abilities were now gray and frozen. Even the passive attributes given by the Esper Ability were gone. Paradise Disco immediately panicked and tried to leave the cabin.
This time, a cold metal hand pressed onto his chest and held him tightly in place. It was a mechanical soldier stopping him from moving. Paradise Disco was wearing a mask that sealed off all his senses, so all he could see was darkness and nothing else. He had no choice but to give up struggling and anxiously wait for the experiment to end.
Not knowing how long had passed, Paradise Disco suddenly felt that the devices that locked him in place opened up. He instantly stood up and took off his mask. He then looked around nervously, only to realize he was at the same place he was before, and the mechanical soldiers looked like they had never moved at all.
“My Esper Ability is gone. Is yours too?” Another player taking part in the experiment was released too and spoke with shock.
“That’s right. Mine is gone too.”
The two of them quickly exchanged information and realized that they were both in the infinite duration [Ability Frozen] state. They were both in a state of panic.
Paradise Disco hastily asked the mechanical soldier on the side, “What have you done to us?”
Following the answer Han Xiao had set for them to give, the mechanical soldier said monotonously, “It was just an experiment. The army is developing a special device to suppress Esper Genes. It might be widely available in the future.”
I knew it’s an experiment involving secret weapons!
The two of them exchanged and saw the same emotion in each other’s eyes. Paradise Disco quickly asked the question they both cared most about.
“Will our abilities recover?”
“Of course. In the research plan, Immortals are the best experiment targets. According to the logistics department, the Immortals only have to die and revive to refresh their body state and recover their ability. In the future, the Immortals in the army might be equipped with this kind of weapon,” the mechanical soldier replied emotionlessly.
Hearing that their abilities could recover, the two of them immediately breathed a sigh of relief.
The two of them had absolutely no doubt about this explanation. After all, the ‘Black Star Army Badge: Evolution’ had already happened, so developing secret weapons sounded just like what the army would do.
In the players’ eyes, this somewhat evil style completely aligned with the Black Star Army!
“This is the army’s secret plan. You have both signed the confidentiality agreement. Remember, do not tell anyone about what happened here,” the mechanical soldier said with a serious expression while returning their communication devices to them.
Paradise Disco took the communication device, looked at the player beside him, and saw suppressed joy in his eyes.
Confidentiality agreement? Hehe, that won’t stop us. You think taking our communication devices away will prevent this from leaking this? Impossible, the army has no power over the forums.
As if the army will find out if we make a post about it.
The two of them were secretly excited and were already thinking about how they were going to share this secret on the forums. This was not because they wanted to get in the way of the army’s interests but because their impulse to leak spoilers just could not be stopped.
Didn’t you hear the mechanical soldier? He said that this kind of weapon might be widely available to the army in the future. Won’t it be another type of suicidal attack like the explosion backpack and the army badge? We’ve come to know about it much earlier than the others. What reason do we have to not show it off?
Of course, the two of them had no idea that this was just an excuse Han Xiao had made up. He did not want to expose Evans’ existence, so he made up a reason not to let the outside world have any suspicion.
He purposely let the mechanical soldiers tell the two of them because he wanted to use them to spread misleading information, making the players think that this was a research and development project of some kind of secret weapon. This way, when the players took part in it in the future, he would not have to find another excuse again.
After the mission completion notification popped up on their interfaces, the two of them took their things and were too lazy to go back the way they came from, so they asked the mechanical soldier to help to send them to the afterlife.
With a flash of white light, the two of them revived in the populated base hall and checked their status immediately.
“My ability really came back.”
Paradise Disco was now finally relieved. He instantly opened up the forums and wrote down what he had just experienced. He added the title ‘Shocking! The army’s secret weapon turns out to be…’ and posted it.
As proven by facts, there was a reason this type of intriguing title had always been popular. This post attracted the attention of some players very quickly, and people started to comment on it.
“Is this true? Why have I never seen this mission before?”
“Suppress Esper Genes? I seem to recall that Black Star once had a house of happiness that was used specifically to produce Genetic Medicines out of galactic pirates. Is it now improved?”
“If we have this kind of weapon, won’t beating the other factions’ Esper players be a piece of cake?”
“Come on, have some ambition and imagination. This kind of treasure might be able to allow us to even defeat NPCs, making those strong NPCs powerless and unable to resist whatever’s done to them.”
“Stop it. I’m already starting to imagine the adult parodies in my head…”
“Come to think of it, the secret weapons the army has been inventing seem to be becoming more and more evil. The aberration one was already bad enough, but now they’re even inventing this… Are we the baddies?”
“The Deputy Army Commander is an Esper. Could it be that the Army Commander could not conquer her, so he’s planning to invent this kind of equipment and use force?”
“Black Star-Hila shippers are furious!”
“We live and die with Hila!”
While the players were pondering and making wild guesses, a secret door of a secret training room deep in the base opened. A man wearing a black hood walked out. He took off the hood, revealing his face. It was indeed Evans.
This training room had a secret path that led directly to the earlier lab. He followed what Han Xiao told him, sneakily went over, and absorbed the Esper Abilities of the two immobilized players. Before that, he had confirmed with Han Xiao again and again that the Immortals would only lose their abilities temporarily.
“So, this is the feeling of superhuman power…”
Evans raised his right arm and clenched his fist. A small stream of energy flowed out from his cells into the muscle and bones of his arm.
The next moment, his arm bloated visibly like air was pumped in. His bones became tougher too, and his raw strength increased a large amount.
In his hands, this Esper Ability only had Grade E power. With his pitiful amount of energy, he could not even afford to pump up his entire body. He swung his arm a few times and made sounds of the sound barrier breaking. Just this one arm’s strength was close to double his original strength.
Esper Abilities all had potential grades, and usually, this grade signified the highest Grade the Esper could achieve. Although the players were not restricted by this rule, the potential grade still represented the growth speed and rarity of their Esper Abilities. The rarer, the stronger. Some players even continuously opened up new accounts and topped up real money just to get a rare Esper Ability.
Physique enhancement was a large branch in the Esper Abilities. Even Esper Abilities with the same prefix had many variations. Some ordinary physique enhancing abilities might only have Grade D or Grade C potential, but [Physique Enhancement—Bone and Muscle Inflation] had Grade B+ potential, meaning this was a rather high-quality ability among its branch.
This Esper Ability was also a semi-shapeshifting kind. Once activated, even skinny bamboos would instantly turn into muscular men.
The phycological Esper Ability that was absorbed also had grade B potential, which was still quite high.
Among the players, grade A potential was already extremely rare, so although grade B potential was one grade lower, it was plenty good enough.
According to the plan Han Xiao made, giving Evans these two high-quality abilities would not waste his slots. This combination of abilities was beneficial to increasing his basic attributes. As long as his own Grade increased, these two Esper Abilities would keep giving him bonus Strength, Dexterity, Endurance, and Psychological Resistance.
Evans loved these two abilities and could not stop using them till his energy ran out, but his eyes were still glowing.
He had been ordinary for decades. This was the first time he had enjoyed this feeling of fulfillment brought by this power. The shortcut of robbing abilities from others was extremely tempting, as if every single potential desire in his body was pushing him to take that path. Evans felt a sense of hunger coming from every cell in his body, instinctively thirsting for new abilities, like a hungry man’s insatiable craving for food.
“Hmm, His Excellency Black Star said that the changes in my body will bring changes to my mindset too. This should be the change my Esper Ability has caused in me…”
Evans thought about it. His strong heart developed through hardship made him suppress this sense of hunger brought by his Esper Ability.
He was not someone who had boundless greed. Black Star had changed his life and given him a righteous path to becoming strong. All he was thinking about was studying and training hard so that he could return this favor in the future. All he wanted was not to disappoint the hope Black Star had for him.
The last few months had not been peaceful. First, the federation and the church cooperated to attack the Black Star Army’s stronghold but were forced to retreat by Black Star. Then, the Beyond Grade A Association was formed. Therefore, the three Universal Civilizations had been at the center of galactic attention.
Today, the Federation of Light and the Arcane Church had finally made an official response regarding the attack on Hila a few months ago.
The two of them used different words but conveyed the same message, saying that the incident a few months ago was ‘an act of impulse led by misunderstandings’. At the same time, they publicly apologized to the Black Star Army, expressing that they would pay for the losses as well as give extra compensation.
Actually, as early as a few months prior when the incident occurred, the black markets at various places had opened a bet on whether the Universal Civilizations would apologize to the Black Star Army. The odds were sky-high, and most galactic residents felt that even though the Universal Civilizations were wrong, they would still be firm about it. They did not think the Black Star Army would receive apologies from the federation and the church, only private compensation at most.
Therefore, after this announcement was made, most galactic residents were astonished.
In the history of the three Universal Civilizations’ rule over the known universe, extremely rarely did they lower their heads against other organizations. After all, a public apology would harm their authority. However, the federation and the church shockingly had decided to do it this time, and the Black Star Army became one of the extremely few private organizations in the universe that had this honor.
The dynasty did not want to be excluded from this matter. Right after the church and the federation made their announcements, they officially opened up the Evolutionary Totem business, announcing that the product would no longer be limited and controlled, putting it onto the free market and allowing it to be bought and sold freely.
Countless civilizations had been waiting for this day. The Black Star Army’s email inbox exploded. The inventory the army had built up was being depleted continuously while enormous amounts of money flowed into the army’s account like a river.
Of course, the smarter people knew that the Crimson Dynasty did this to be closer to Black Star. As the three Universal Civilizations expressed their kind intentions to one person at the same time, Black Star’s reputation and position grew once again, even in the Beyond Grade A circle.
Not mentioning anything else, at least Han Xiao’s words carried heavier weight as a vice president in the development union.
The players now, of course, would not miss out on this kind of matter. The Flickering World panel in the forums was soon filled with discussion.
Green Dot: “Army Commander is indeed admired by all.”
First Name: “Any old players that still remember 1.0? Who could have guessed that Black Star would turn out to be such an important NPC? Look at those protagonist characters in the novice planets. Which one of them turned out as successful as Black Star?”
Hesitant: “Why do I suddenly feel touched? Four versions passed so fast. It’s like watching our kid grow up to be a man.”
Army Commander’s Big PP: “My son Black Star is destined to be the king!”
Important Things Need to Be Said Three Times: “Upstairs, you tired of living?”
The players had already been shocked when Han Xiao defeated twelve Beyond Grade As. Having witnessed such an astonishing event, they were much calmer now.
As the federation and the church carried out their terms, Han Xiao also kept his promise and released Tolaen and Hades.
On a sealed dock of Planet Black Gate, the officials of the federation and the church were waiting. They stood clearly apart and did not communicate with each other at all.
These groups of people were there to retrieve their own captives. For that, they had come to the Black Star Army’s territory.
After waiting for a while, a Black Star fleet approached from afar and stopped at this dock.
The hatch of the main ship opened. A group of mechanical soldiers carried the amber specimens of Tolaen and Hades down from the spaceship. They then placed these two works of art on the ground. Han Xiao walked out after.
Seeing this, the people of the federation and the church approached quickly, gathered around Han Xiao, and greeted him respectfully.
“Your Excellency Black Star.”
“Hmm.” Han Xiao looked around casually, waved his hand, and said, “Since you’re all here, quickly take your men away.”
He signaled everyone to get back. He then blocked their view with nanoparticles. He took his time for a few minutes before breaking Tolaen and Hades out of the amber.
Having just regained freedom, the two of them staggered and almost fell.
Seeing this, Han Xiao snorted and coldly said, “The federation and the church have bailed the two of you out. Be careful in the future. If you dare mess with me again and end up in my hands, don’t blame me for picking off some parts from you.”
Tolaen shivered and uncontrollably took a few steps back. Fear lingered on his face as he looked at Han Xiao with horror-filled eyes. He did not dare talk back at all.
These past few months had been hell. He felt that if it had carried on, he would have been driven mad inside the amber. He never ever wanted to experience it again; he just wanted to get as far away from Black Star as possible.
Hades, who was standing to the side, was fearful too, but he could still control his expression, just about.
Nonetheless, he was extremely sorrowful inside. He had thought that he would at the very least gain some reputation through that operation. Never did he expect to fail so miserably.
Although being defeated by Black Star could not be considered shameful, this tag would probably follow him for a very long time.
He had yet to even make a nickname for himself. Nothing he had done was worth mentioning. What should he say when someone asked him about what he was known for? Was he going to proudly say he had been locked up by Black Star before?
Seeing that the two of them stood in place and did not move, Han Xiao raised his brows and joked, “What, don’t feel like leaving? Want to stay a few more months at my place?”
Hearing this, the two of them instantly shivered, quickly returned to their own welcome groups with tails tucked between their legs without saying a word, and boarded their respective spaceships.
The officials quickly took off.
Inside the church’s spaceship, Tolaen was looking down.
“Six people from the church went. I’m the only one who was captured. Why am I so unlucky?”
While he was blaming himself, a few communications were picked up by the spaceship. They were from Sagman, Taylor, and Mercer, who had also taken part in the attack on Hila. Their remote projections appeared in front of him.
“Hehe, are you alright?” Sagman said with a smile.
“Not at all.” Tolaen was miserable.
“Don’t have to be so pessimistic. We were locked up by Black Star once too, and we’ve all got over it.” Taylor smiled and comforted him.
“… You guys are quite generous.”
“After you come back, let’s find a time and place to meet up,” Mercer said.
Tolaen looked at the three smiling faces in front of him, and it suddenly occurred to him.
That’s it. We’ve all been to the prison, so we have common topics. Could this be what inmates feel like?
He had not joined the church long ago. Before that, he was a wanted man, so he could not squeeze into the Beyond Grade A circle of the church. He was like an outsider.
To his absolute surprise, after being locked up by Black Star this time, he obtained acceptance from a group of ‘former inmates’.
Tolaen’s mood suddenly became better.
I’ve finally made some friends…