Chapter 866 The Curtains Close
The Arcane Church had a foreign embassy on the mother planet of the Crimson Dynasty, and its ambassador paid a visit to the political core of the dynasty, Tarunamir Palace, to discuss the remuneration regarding Mercer and Dylan.
The negotiations had already been going for several months. Before this, the officials of the dynasty were initially adamant on not releasing them, but now they were becoming more open to certain conditions.
“With regard to Article 53 of the remuneration, my side still has something to add…”
As the ambassador continued to talk, the officials of the dynasty nodded, occasionally interrupting. Regarding this matter, they did not have any veto power, and they were actually just the spokespersons for the upper echelons. Their attitudes were the attitudes of the upper echelons themselves.
After a while, the communicator of one of the dynasty officials rang, indicating that there was a message. The ambassador paused and waved to the official to read the message before he continued.
The official in question opened the communicator, but after glancing at the news, they immediately put the communicator down.
Seeing this, the ambassador was about to continue but was suddenly halted by a hand from that official.
“Let’s stop here for today. As for the previous terms and conditions, please return and make a new set.”
The ambassador jumped up. “Didn’t we already discuss the terms? Why the sudden…”
He was cut by the official’s wave. The official stood up, looking down at the ambassador with a smile that revealed some complacency and superiority to the ambassador.
“Go back and wait for the news from your upper echelons, or you can take a look at today’s news. You’ll naturally understand.”
After three months, the Crimson Dynasty and the Arcane Church had some new developments.
On this day, the dynasty issued a new piece of news to the entire universe, announcing that they had succeeded in capturing the two Beyond Grade As of the Arcane Church, which meant that they now had four captives.
The counterattack of the dynasty was as fast as lightning, causing many of the organizations in the universe to feel awed. Seeing the heavy bleeding of the Arcane Church this time, some people felt schadenfreude, some rejoiced, and some felt the bitter hatred against common enemies.
This news caused a sensation in over a dozen star fields. In the eyes of countless interstellar citizens, the Beyond Grade A Supers were akin to deities that were only spoken of in legends. However, there were actually four of them who were knocked down to the earth and turned into prisoners.
This sort of capturing of Beyond Grade A had not happened for a long time. Countless citizens felt that they were observing a piece of history that would be passed down in time.
But on the forums, the players were focused on another matter.
Now that the search and capture mission had ended, the players received their reward. Within the army communications system, Phillip issued a general message, praising their contribution, which proved that their contribution was not small in allowing the dynasty to capture the Beyond Grade As.
The few players that first discovered Sagman and Taylor publicized their reward on the forums, and this allowed the other players to understand that the trend of this big event plot was inadvertently changed by them participating.
From Version 1.0 to Version 3.0, the players gradually found that they were having more and more influence on events, and they were becoming more involved in Galaxy. Generally, the players only felt their existence when challenging the storyline during the time when they were on the beginner planets.
However, this time, what they had re-written was a galactic war between two Universal Civilizations, of which the scale was much larger and grander.
The feeling of involvement was more memorable and rewarding compared to just purely receiving the mission reward.
This event was also recorded by the players into the Shattered Star Ring chronicles.
Every player was given the right to edit the chronicle, which caused no small headache for the officials. Thus, the officials would filter the events and organize them, and the trivial matters would be placed within the appendix. Only events that were worth mentioning would be placed within the main post. The players who wrote entries could sign their names on it and receive rewards in return, which was a glorious accomplishment.
Within another star cluster in the Shattered Star Ring, spaceships that snaked like a serpent were lined up in front of a stargate. Among them was an ordinary, unassuming spaceship.
Within that spaceship, the virtual screen was showing the news—the dynasty announcing the results of the pursuit operation, in which two Beyond Grade As were captured alive.
The virtual screen was switched off.
Ninjia put down the remote, holding his forehead with one hand. His expression was complicated.
“Sagman and the rest have all been captured by the dynasty…”
Among the four that escaped from the Flickering World, two of them had already been caught. Psyker’s situation was also terrible, so he was technically the only one who could safely make it out of the Shattered Star Ring. A sense of sorrow permeated Ninjia.
When he thought back to their departure, the six of them had been full of confidence. To think that in the blink of an eye, their entire force had collapsed, and the majority had even been captured. What a tragic end.
He had heard that the upper echelons of the Arcane Church were originally discussing the ransom payment with the Crimson Dynasty, but now that the latter had two more chips in hand, the price offered by the church would have to be increased. Furthermore, the Crimson Dynasty would definitely not allow the Arcane Church to redeem all of them, so there would be someone who experienced a long period of time within the prison.
“At least… I managed to bring the Ten Thousand Deity Scepter back…”
Ninjia slightly shook his head. Now that things had come to such a point, he could only use this to comfort himself and the church.
“Thank goodness it was Ninjia who held onto the Ten Thousand Deity Scepter. He did not let the dynasty take that away as well…”
In the Arcane Church’s meeting of Bishops, many of them sat there with bitter expressions. One of them tried to comfort the rest, but he only received looks of helplessness.
One of the bishops spoke up. “We activated our espionage network in the Shattered Star Ring, yet they failed to bring all of them back. The price we paid this time far outweighs the benefits obtained. Even Sagman and Taylor have fallen into the dynasty’s hands, adding to their chips. We need to offer a large ransom payment now because the dynasty will definitely not be polite to us.”
The ransom payments demanded between universal civilizations would not just simply be money but included political, military, and economic conditions.
The bishops were enveloped in sorrows during this meeting. None of them had any time to feel anger.
Dylan, Mercer, Sagman, and Taylor did not just represent themselves, for they had their own Beyond Grade A organizations with immense influence. The strong were plenty there, and with their leaders being captured, these Beyond Grade A organizations would definitely go into turmoil and panic. In order to stabilize their allies, the church had to withstand no small pressure.
In addition, because of the attention paid by the other Beyond Grade As, the Arcane Church not only had to redeem them but had to redeem them quickly, before their Beyond Grade A allies lost faith in them. If their allies lost faith, it would cause their recruitment of Beyond Grade As in the future to be much more difficult.
After all, the older Beyond Grade As would die, and new Beyond Grade As would always be born. Because of the long period of time that a civilization could exist, the Beyond Grade As under them would constantly undergo a shuffle. From a long-term perspective, the reputation and credibility of a civilization was important.
As for the newer generation of Beyond Grade As, the Crimson Dynasty had an overwhelming advantage…
As the record holder for the fastest time taken to reach the Beyond Grade A stage, Black Star undoubtedly had potential to go further. Furthermore, in the last battle, he had shown off his edge, much sooner than the observing forces had expected.
One could see that the strength shown by Black Star would definitely become one of the strengths relied on by the dynasty in the near future. The most frightening part was his age. Among all the Beyond Grade As, he was the youngest, which was enough for him to serve the dynasty for hundreds or even thousands of years.
In other words, for a few hundred years, they probably would have to constantly see this wretched guy’s face.
The moment they thought of how the Crimson Dynasty had gotten their hands on such valuable stocks, the envy of the Arcane Church rose so high they seemed to have reached the heavens.
They also wanted to kill Black Star, but their attempt this time had left them with tragic losses, and thus, the Arcane Church had decided to temporarily give up on the Evolution Cube.
Before eliminating the impact that this storm caused, the Arcane Church did not intend to make trouble for Black Star. In fact, they did not even wish to see him.
The Arcane Church admitted that they had flopped this time.
This debt would be written down and remembered by them to be collected later.
There was still time!
“Sagman and the rest were caught.”
In a dimly lit room, the Beyond Grade As of the Arcane Church were gathered through remote projection. Around the table were six empty spots.
Because of the matter this time, the Beyond Grade As of the Arcane Church had gathered to discuss the resultant waves caused by the news.
“Initially, when the Arcane Church came to me to take on this task, they only saw the disparity of combat power and thought that it was impossible to fail. However, I felt that there was some danger, so I rejected it, and they had Mercer take my place. Now that I look at it, it was good I did not accept the mission.” One of them could not help but attempt to be wise after the incident.
“It’s a pity that I’m being watched by too many organizations and am unable to even move in secret. If I had taken part in this mission, the results would not have been the same,” another said blandly.
The Arcane Church also had Beyond Grade As on the level of the three pillars of the Crimson Dynasty, but their strongest Supers did not participate in the operation this time. Because they were too strong, the surveillance on them was naturally higher, and any movement from them would have attracted the attention of many eyes. Furthermore, the Arcane Church had thought that the Ten Thousand Deity Scepter would be enough to handle them and only approached Sagman and rest, whose strength was lower compared to the strongest few.
“However, no matter how we put it, Sagman had the numerical advantage, yet they were still unable to snatch the Evolution Cube. Black Star’s ability could be considered an unexpected factor this time, and it seems like we have yet another strong opponent.”
“Hmm… in another decade or so, the three pillars of the dynasty might just turn into the four pillars…”
With his allies in the same camp having suffered at Black Star’s hands, the impressions of the Beyond Grade As present toward Black Star had become even stronger than before.
“How about it? What ideas do we have? Are we going to wait for the Arcane Church to redeem them, or do we try to save them?”
“Let’s maintain silence and wait. If the Arcane Church can solve the problem, there’s no need for us to complicate matters. Furthermore, from the intelligence provided by the Arcane Church, Black Star seems to be able to seal up Beyond Grade As. Although I don’t know what sort of Universal Treasure that is, it is something that cannot be broken so easily.”
Everyone nodded. They were still feeling trepidation toward Han Xiao’s second mysterious Universal Treasure.
Based on normal procedures, the dynasty would bring the four captives back, and to save them, the most important thing would be coordination.
However, intelligence from Arcane Church said that Black Star was able to seal up Beyond Grade As. With the intelligence capabilities of the church, this would not be an unfounded rumor.
Without coordination to break out the prisoners from both inside and outside, the operation would become a lot more difficult.
While the Beyond Grade As were friends with Sagman and the rest, they were not so close that they would willingly brave hell and high seas for them.
A pale blue vortex appeared, and a huge fleet of spaceships slowly appeared from within the vortex, emblazoned with the logo of the dynasty. They slowly left the stargate, leaving behind traces of flames from their tail as they flew, and within them, there was a battleship shaped like a huge dragon.
The light from the stargate illuminated the bodies of the battleships, leaving mottled spots of light and shadow on their angular hulls. They revealed a series of armor cracks and depressions, as well as varying degrees of damage to the outer armor.
Several spaceships from the Black Star Army were suspended near the stargate and slowly faced the heavily armed main flagship of the fleet. The damage suffered by the main flagship was particularly terrible, with a large portion of its armored plates torn out. The holes filled with nano-repair materials showcased the intensity of the battle.
The spaceships docked with the main flagship, and the mechanical structures around their doors locked with each other to complete the link.
The cabin door slid open, and Han Xiao walked into the flagship. Escorted by the dynasty soldiers, he arrived at the heavily guarded imprisonment zone, where two restraint cabins were placed.
The inner wall of the restraint cabin was made up of an extremely tough alloy, which made it difficult to escape from the inside. The internal structure also automatically adjusted to the prisoner’s body shape before fixing in that position. In the middle layer were devices to provide high voltage and electromagnetic fields to restrain the captive and weaken transmission of energy. Right now, they were holding Sagman and Taylor.
While the restraint cabin could not totally restrict the Beyond Grade As, the duo were suffering from heavy injuries and had no strength to struggle free. Furthermore, Heber and Beyoni were on watch.
Han Xiao went there in person because he wanted to utilize the Spacetime Amber, sealing both parties up.
“Lord.” The Apostle Weapons walked over.
“You did well.” Han Xiao nodded before recalling the mechanical host.
Because he had utilized [Lord’s Descent] on the mechanical host to engage Sagman and Taylor, it had suffered quite a bit of damage and would require some degree of repair.
The duo had nowhere to run and gave it their all. This was especially so for Sagman, as the destruction he wrought while going all out dealt some degree of damage to almost everyone there. He was eventually pinned down by the Beyond Grade A Supers of the dynasty.
Tarrokov’s long distance projection came up and greeted him. “You’ve come. We were waiting.”
“Let them out.” Han Xiao commanded the dynasty soldiers to unlock the restraint cabin, and taking out the Spacetime Amber, he sealed Sagman and Taylor.
“This is a lot safer, with no risk of getting into trouble.” Tarrokov tapped the amber ball in satisfaction.
Ravenlaude could not help but look at Han Xiao. He realized that the Spacetime Amber was effective, and his expression sank in envy.
Tarrokov then commanded the two soldiers to take the amber balls away while he led Han Xiao and the rest to the conference room.
After they had taken their seats, he looked toward Han Xiao. “Her Excellency is extremely pleased with our progress. Upon learning of Black Star’s accomplishments this time round, she arranged a special award.”
Han Xiao nodded. He had spent quite the bit of effort during this pursuit operation and provided a lot of intelligence. After capturing the two, he had received a notification saying that he had obtained 4,500 Dynasty Contribution Points.
It did not end there. Tarrokov had told him in private that his accomplishments would allow the dynasty to be biased toward him when dividing the territory of the Flickering World, allowing him to claim bigger swathes of land.
This emergency was not only neutralized but turned from danger into an opportunity, so the upper echelons had an extremely good impression of Han Xiao.
“The operation has ended, and the spies of the Arcane Church will also be hunted down, but this job will be taken over by the Intelligence Bureau as the dynasty has another task for you,” Tarrokov said. “Next, the dynasty requires all of you to escort the four captives back to the Constellation Corridor, to prevent the Arcane Church from intercepting them along the way.”
Everyone nodded. They had to be cautious and not lose these chips because of their carelessness.
“However, that does not include Black Star and the Tyrant.”
Everyone turned over, and even Han Xiao and Heber looked surprised.
“What do you need us for?” Heber asked in a deep voice.
Tarrokov opened the star map, magnifying it, before stopping at the territory of the Star Pupil Holy Race.
“I need you two to take a portion of the dynasty fleet and head toward the Star Pupil Holy Race.”
“Capture Psyker?” Heber frowned.
“No, you guys are going there to demonstrate dominance and pressure them.” Tarrokov shook his head in response. “Psyker’s situation is different because he is the leader of a civilization, and his camp is based in the Shattered Star Ring. Initially, the dynasty planned to deal with him, but now that we’ve caught Sagman and Taylor, the Ruler cancelled this plan. Just treat it as leaving some face for them.”
“Oh, that’s not too bad,” Maximiler said. “We already have four captives, and Psyker has nowhere to run. If we continue to hammer at them, this might backfire on the dynasty.”
The rest of the Beyond Grade As captured did not have any roots in the Shattered Star Ring, so they could only blame their bad luck. But Psyker could run but not hide since his base was in that area. If the dynasty forcefully tried to drag away a civilization’s leader, this would result in a backfire, and the Arcane Church would also not watch blindly as that happened, or else they would lose the trust of their allies.
The dynasty was originally not afraid of such a consequence, but now that they had new captives, there was no need to poke the hornet’s nest. Thus, they decided to wrap up while the going was good.
Of course, not capturing Psyker did not mean that they would condone his actions. There was still a need to suppress the development of the Star Pupil Holy Race, and if they could even chase this Arcane Church allied force out of the Star Field, that would be best.
The Crimson Dynasty had mobilized millions of battleships to pioneer the Flickering World, and now they were transferring part of its fleet to the Shattered Star Ring. The armed forces available in this Shattered Star Ring long exceed that of the other two universal civilizations, and even if the Federation of Light was the nominal ruling power here, all was useless before strength.
A pity. Han Xiao’s brows furrowed. He felt it a regret not to be able to capture the other party, as he was interested in Psyker’s body structure. However, every time he saw Psyker, he just wanted to poke the guy’s eyes.
However, since he had taken away the national treasure of the Star Pupil Holy Race, both parties were like fire and water. Now that he still had to go over to the other party’s territory and swagger, this attitude seemed to be bordering on arrogance.
Seems like I’d better bring more people, in case I get beaten up…