Chapter 1157 Soul Swapper
Somewhere within the Shattered Star Ring, three small battleships with the Black Star Army emblem were cruising in the starry space. All three battleships were blitz-class shuttles, exceptional in speed.
The responsibility of this force was to track down any suspicious transport fleets. In the command room of the lead spaceship, the captain carefully stared at the star map in front of him, which marked the patrol route of the squad. Once a suspicious unit was found or a new mission assigned, it would be displayed.
“I heard that a couple of days ago, there seemed to be traces of a suspicious transport fleet in the neighboring Star Zone. However, the clues were intermittent, and we seem to have lost it. Do you think they will come over to our sector?” A nearby officer made some idle talk.
“It would be great. If we can track down the suspicious fleet, it will be our credit. We have been patrolling here for a few months and have not even performed a proper mission. If we’re not lucky, we probably won’t get any merit,” another person said with some envy.
Because the patrol mission was dull and boring, the captain did not stop his subordinates from chatting as he thought the same. While he was only a bottom-rung member in the army, he had the desire to progress. As long as he accumulated enough merits, he could acquire the army’s elite training qualifications and invest in himself, which would be beneficial to his promotion.
At this moment, a red dot of light rippled on the star map, and a notification was heard. This was a field inspection mission, which meant that their space buoy had intercepted a suspicious unit.
The captain’s eyes brightened as he thought that an opportunity had come for him. He immediately ordered the fleet to change directions, heading toward the marked coordinates.
The spaceships immediately turned around, and their engines released a roar as they shot toward the depths of the starry sky.
After flying for a period of time, the team arrived at the target location. Opening the detection device, thirty or forty spatial folds appeared on the radar’s view.
These were the traces left by hyperdrive transitions. Each trace represented a spaceship. At this moment, the traces had yet to disappear and extended out, pointing out the course of these dozens of spaceships in disguise.
“A total of forty-one hyperdrive jump tracks have been spotted. Follow the traces and catch up!” The captain did not hesitate.
The squad was now energized, and they followed the trail of the hyperdrive engines, tracking them for around two hours before a barren asteroid leapt into view.
The trail ended here, which meant that the target exited the hyperdrive mode at this point.
The vice-captain glanced at the radar before speaking. “Report, the target has disappeared. They might be on the planet to collect resources or hiding in ambush behind the asteroid. Awaiting instructions.”
The captain deliberated for two seconds before saying, “No. 2, perform a scan on the planet surface. No. 3, round to the back of the planet. No.1, maintain position. Keep the engines ready, prepared to move at any moment.”
The three spaceships immediately separated, and it did not take long for the results to arrive.
A docked fleet was found on the planet’s surface. Their emblem represented a local commercial organization, and they were currently collecting the underground gas resources. The scale of this fleet was exactly the same as the number of transition traces, which was the target of this team.
“Send out a wide area communication, asking to check the identification codes,” the captain ordered.
The transportation fleet of the Super Star Cluster Alliance utilized various methods to hide as they travelled, and one of the most common ones was to pretend to be the troops of other organizations. If the tracking team of the area happened to come across any of such fleets, they would generally ask to check the identity of the other party, guilty until proven innocent.
However, the authority to check the identities of any transit fleet was actually only given to the Civilization Security Team. The Black Star Army, as a private armed organization, did not have the right.
But in this world where authority was decided by one’s fist, the Black Star Army’s motive of tracing the transportation fleets of Modo Civilization resulted in many of the civilizations allowing it, unwilling to cause trouble. Most of the civilizations of the Shattered Star Ring did not have any issues, closing one eye to this. Occasionally, the tracking team would uncover a genuine transport party, and the enemy would strike at them first, but this was an unavoidable risk. Thus, the tracking team generally did not fight, only maintaining communication with the intelligence department. This way, even if the tracking team was killed and disconnected, it could still send back messages and allow the department to know the identity of the target enemy.
At this time, the tracking team sent a communication request to the transport fleet, but the other party did not respond.
The captain immediately turned vigilant. “Something isn’t right. Immediately prepare to report…”
Before he could finish speaking, his brain spun, and his vision turned chaotic. This state only lasted for a second before he regained clarity. But the scene in front of him froze his whole body, and fear erupted from his heart.
He saw that his surroundings had turned into a prison, and his body was firmly fixed in a confinement chamber, unable to move.
He was lost for words.
I was in the command room a second ago. How did I end up here?
Before he could make sense of his situation, his brain spun yet again. His surroundings changed, and he was now situated in a transparent glass room, with a swarm of black beetles next to him.
Looking through the transparent walls, he was terrified to see giants walking outside the room without even looking at them. He could not even see how tall these giants really were.
Everything seemed to have been magnified countless times over in his vision.
“What the hell…” the captain murmured subconsciously, but rather than hearing his voice, he only heard a slight hissing sound.
He paused before lowering his head to look at himself. A chill ran down his spine, and he dared not believe his eyes.
His body had actually turned into that of a black beetle, just like the bugs around him!
In that instant, he seemed to have understood.
It’s not that the world has gotten bigger… I’ve shrunk!
At this moment, a deep-orange jet of flames blazed in the sky, filling the entire glass capsule and turning his thoughts into a blazing white cloud.
With just a breath, all the black beetles were burnt to ash.
An operator in a white lab coat removed the flamethrower used for the experiment. Taking a look at the residue within the glass capsule, he gave an ‘OK’ signal.
The team leader nodded before saying, “Reporting to the commander. The targets have been eliminated.”
In the flagship, the commander nodded as he looked out of the porthole at the scene outside.
Two of the spaceships, No. 2 and 3, had already been reduced to fireworks. Only the commanding spaceship managed to escape and leave the scene.
In this escaped spaceship, all of the members were shells, replaced by a different soul!
“The plan was a success.”
The commander lightly nodded before looking to the side. There was a smoky crystal-colored mirror floating in the air, about fifty centimeters in diameter and only three centimeters thick.
The Soul Swap Twins stood in front of this mirror, their palms submerged inside the surface of the mirror up till their wrists, as though it was being swallowed.
This mirror was the marvelous Universal Treasure named the Soul Swapper!
“It’s done. Stop right now!” the commander bellowed.
Hearing this, the Soul Swap Twins slowly withdrew their palms. The soldiers around them immediately moved forward, taking away the Soul Swapper and placing it in an extremely sophisticated safe, away from the Soul Swap Twins.
Seeing this, the twins glanced around the surrounding mechanical turrets protruding from the walls and ground that were aimed toward them before laughing nonchalantly.
These turrets were safety devices to prevent them from moving. They were remotely and intelligently controlled, since the soul swapper only worked on the souls of living creatures. It was useless against machinery. The commander then retracted his gaze, looking in the direction that the shuttle was fleeing, and whispered, “The Death Warriors prepared in advance have already penetrated the enemy. With our bait, it should be enough to catch the person…”
“A squad in the Thousand Lights Star System was ambushed on their way to track a suspicious fleet. Two of their spaceships were destroyed, and only one of them got out alive…”
At the Black Star Army headquarters in the Shattered Star Ring, Nero whispered after reading the report. He looked up at the several officers in the room, asking, “Everyone, what are your thoughts?”
Mia was decisive. “The situation is obvious. The transport fleet attacked them, so it is likely from the Super Star Cluster Alliance. We should immediately mobilize troops around the incident site to track the target.”
“I feel that this is a little strange. The Super Star Cluster Alliance normally do not make any head-on attacks because their identity will be exposed once they fight. Most of the time, they try to get rid of the tail instead. The reason for their attack is only if the chasing troops were not discovered early, allowing them to accidentally catch up… but once they attack, they will not leave any of them alive. The previous cases were all like this,” Tomar muttered.
He had already been studying magic under Lagi for decades. While his teacher was a salted fish, he still could not resist Tomar’s gifts for magic, so he had slowly worked his way up into one of the officers of the Black Star Army. His relationship with Nero was good, and he was currently in Nero’s team.
“Maybe the surviving spaceship escaped in time. However, the Star Clusters must also have known that the information was leaked, so did they decide not to waste their energy in pursuit?” Mia guessed. “That would make sense.” Tomar did not doubt much as well.
“Let’s ask the survivors for any details first.”
Nero thought about it before ordering his assistant to contact the captain of the surviving spaceship. After a moment, the communication came through, and the captain of the tracking team appeared on the screen.
“Recount your experiences. I want to know the details.”
The eyes of the captain on the screen flashed. He nodded, revealing an expression of lingering fear and anger as he recounted his experience.
The soul in this body had already been replaced by a Death Warrior prepared by the Modo Civilization. The effect of the Soul Swapper was not simply just transferring the souls of the two bodies but also allowing the invading soul to inherit most of the target’s memories. This was because the brain of the body was still present, just like a library.
However, this memory would not naturally merge with the new soul. It needed to be sorted and read slowly, and there would naturally be parts missing. Generally speaking, the older memories would be more easily forgotten, while the most recent memories would remain complete.
There usually existed some sort of exclusivity to prevent different souls and physical bodies from merging. Methods like reincarnating in a new shell and seizing souls could also be done by some Espers or Psychics, such as Feidin or Chen Xing, but with lower success rates.
The Soul Swapper would greatly increase the success rate of the transfer of souls, bringing it close to a hundred percent under normal circumstances. However, this was affected by the strength of the target and the strength of the user. At the same time, using the Soul Swapper to complete the soul transfer would greatly reduce the chances of rejection of the body and soul.
The soul transfer was only one of the functions of the Soul Swapper. This mysterious thing had many other functions.
After listening to the report, Nero gave a few words of encouragement and prepared to end the conversation.
At this moment, the ‘survivor’ suddenly put on an angered and sad expression as he shouted, “We’re now the nearest unit to the enemy. I hope to be able to continue this mission, continue pursuing the troops to avenge my friends!”
This request was reasonable, and Nero had no reason to refuse. Hanging up the communication, Tomar spoke out again.
“Nero, now that the target knows that he has been exposed, he’ll definitely change his plan. Instead of going to the transportation line, he will escape separately. I suggest using the second plan.”
This sort of scenario was not the first. The moment their transport forces were exposed, they would be treated as abandoned children. Even if they continued to track them, they would not be able to discover the secret stronghold of the Super Star Cluster Alliance.
“That’s right.” Nero turned over to look at Aesop. He said in embarrassment, ‘This… Your Excellency Aesop, we’ll have to trouble you once again.”
“No problem.” Aesop waved his hands, as though it was nothing.
The so-called second plan was to borrow Aesop’s ability to let him go to the location of the incident, using the relevant clues as a medium to make on-the-spot predictions, seeing the multiple possibilities and grasping more clues.
In order to obtain a clearer prediction, more information was needed. This method was effective, so over the past few months, Aesop had not just stayed in the headquarters but also conducted many field visits under heavy protection. This method had allowed the Black Star Army to discover many targets.
Nero nodded and loudly declared, “Let’s not delay further. Prepare the spaceship immediately and take His Excellency Aesop to the location.”
In a certain Star Field, on a certain planet, at a certain base, Manison stood in front of a virtual screen with his hands behind his back, staring at the contents of the screen.
This was the secret information from the Primeval Star River base camp, coming from the spy he had planted in the Modo Civilization many years ago.
Only a brief message was written.
The Soul Swap Twins were transferred from the base, and the Soul Swapper was taken from the warehouse by the army. The destination was unknown.
“Soul Swapper… If I my guess is correct, the Modo Civilization must intend to use this Universal Treasure to deal with him. Maybe I can…” Manison muttered to himself, an inexplicable light in his eyes.