17 – Unexpected Order

When Tianyang reached the 55th lap, he was called back by the captain.
The young man noticed a significant improvement in his physical condition since becoming an Ascender.

In the past, this level of physical activity would have left him gasping for breath, but now he was only slightly winded.

Could it be true, as some scholars claimed, that Ascenders were a form of life distinct from humans, the pinnacle of evolution, and a higher form of life altogether?

Arriving at the gathering point, Tianyang notice more people had joined.
Including himself, there were already more than ten individuals assembled.

It seemed that the entire Raven Team has gathered.

However, not all of these ten-plus people were Ascenders.
According to the Night Walker team's composition, there were usually three to five Ascenders serving as the main force, accompanied by six to eight regular soldiers providing support and logistics.

At this moment, Han Shu cleared his throat and pointed to a man of similar age standing nearby, introducing him,
“This is Xu, experienced and knowledgeable about those dark bastards.
We call him Old Xu.
He and Cangdu are both War God-series Ascenders, respectively holding the rank of Samurai at Level 3 and Swordsman at Level 2.”

Tianyang examined Xu closely; his hair was thinning, and his figure didn't have the same vigor as Han Shu's.
He had the air of an old pro.

With a smile, Old Xu asked,
“Youngster, do you know how to completely kill the Dark Descendants?”

Tianyang immediately replied, “Yes, by destroying their Will Cage, we can kill them completely.
According to research, the Will Cage is like the human brain, sending commands to the Dark Descendants.
However, the higher-level Descendants have deeper-hidden cages that are more difficult to destroy.”

Xu looked surprised,
“Impressive, I thought you wouldn't know.
Well, do you know anything about the behavioral characteristics of the Mad Hounds?”

“Hold on a moment.”

Han Shu pushed him aside, saying,
“I don't have time for your showboating now.”

He then pointed to a woman who skilfully handled a silver longbow.
She had black shoulder-length hair, fair skin, and unusually dark red pupils.
She stood a couple of meters away from the crowd, exuding a solitary and cold aura.

“This is Ji Yu, a Hunter at the Hunting Level and the Scout Master of our squad.”

The woman named Ji Yu didn't even blink as Han Shu introduced her, unaffected.

Han Shu seemed unfazed by her reaction, shrugging his shoulders.
“As for me, I'm a Fortress at the Fortress Level, a Guardian at Level 4.
Your turn.”

Due to Ling Feng's instructions not to disclose the new levels, and also mentioned in the mission briefing, Tianyang's external information was that he was at the War God level.

So he lied right through his teeth.

“Alright, that concludes the self-introductions,” Han Shu exclaimed loudly.
“Listen up, this mission is to retrieve the Pillar of Star, and our squad alone won't be able to accomplish it.
Therefore, it's a joint operation.
Besides us, there are four other teams participating.
A medical team and a retrieval team will accompany us.
I am the general commander of this joint operation, so all of you better stay alert and not embarrass me!”

“Now, let's move out!”

As they made their way towards the Clough Gate, Tianyang noticed that Yanbing, the soldier who had delivered his equipment a couple of days ago, was among the members of the Raven Team.

Tianyang nodded slightly at him, and Yanbing seemed excited, returning a military salute.
This drew a dissatisfied grunt from Cangdu, who was ahead of them.

After submitting their application, they quickly received clearance.
Just as the Raven Team was about to enter the Clough Gate, several cars rushed forward at high speed.
The leading car even made a turn in front of the squad and came to a stop.

Dust lifted from the spinning tires and flew across Han Shu's face.
His expression instantly darkened, and he glared at the people inside the car.

The car door opened, and a man dressed in high-ranking military uniform jumped out, shouting loudly,
“I'm Chen Liu, senior officer from the Fortress Strategic Department! Just received orders from the military headquarters that the Storm Squad and I will join this mission!”

Han Shu exclaimed, “I haven't been notified, sir.”

Chen Liu pointed at the communicator on his body and said, “Perhaps you can confirm with your superiors now, Captain.”

Han Shu shook his head, said “Wait a moment” to the others, and walked away to make contact with Night Walker Headquarters using the communicator.

After a while, he returned and nodded, saying,
“It has been confirmed.
We are leaving now, are you coming, sir?”

The man named Chen Liu replied, “Of course.”

Then he returned to his car, and the convoy proceeded ahead of the Raven Team, passing through the Clough Gate.

Old Xu couldn't help but ask, “Captain, did they really allow them to join us?”

Han Shu made a sound of agreement, “They said it was a temporary order from the military headquarters.”

Old Xu muttered, “Aren't people from the Strategic Department the ones who sit in offices and give orders? Why are they coming to the frontlines? Let's hope they don't cause trouble for us.”
Han Shu grabbed his hair in frustration and muttered, “Who knows? Let's go, let's go.
If we're too slow, we won't catch up with the high-speed train to the Lighthouse, and that would be disastrous.”

Finally, the Raven Team passed through the Clough Gate.
After that surreal feeling, Tianyang looked up and found himself back in the dimly lit Inverse Universe.

Half an hour later, they boarded the high-speed train heading to the Lighthouse Base.
Barring any unforeseen circumstances, they would arrive at the Lighthouse by this time tomorrow.

In a large section of the train compartment, there were five Ascenders, including Tianyang.

Han Shu and Old Xu sat together, engaged in a conversation that Tianyang couldn't hear, occasionally bursting into laughter.

Jiyu and Cangdu each occupied a corner, having no interactions.

As for the soldiers of the other squads, they were in another section of the train compartment.

A figure flashed in the corner of Tianyang's eye, and he looked up to find Han Shu approaching.

The captain beckoned with his finger, saying, “Come with me.”

Tianyang was puzzled but followed him.
As they passed through a train compartment, they saw the high-ranking official from the Strategic Station.

He had already put on a full-body protective suit, but the compartment had a purification device, so he wasn't wearing a helmet.

Chen Liu was holding a communicator and seemed to be talking to someone.
When he saw Tianyang and Han Shu, he put down the communicator and looked out the window.

The dim colors of the Inverse Universe meant there was nothing picturesque outside the window.
It was clear that this person was merely avoiding the two of them.
More precisely, he was avoiding Han Shu's gaze.

However, Raven's captain didn't even spare a glance at him.
Instead, Tianyang was the one who looked at him frequently.

After Tianyang and Han Shu left, Chen Liu glanced at the compartment door behind him before picking up the communicator again.

On the screen of the communicator was an elderly man with white hair, dressed in the black-green uniform of the Strategic Department.
Crossed swords and a star emblem on his shoulder epaulettes, the symbols of a general.

“Are you on the train?” the general asked from the screen.

Chen Liu nodded, “Yes, sir.
I'm already on the train.
Rest assured, this time I have brought the elite forces of the Storm Legions.
With them, I am fully confident in proving to the people of the fortress that even ordinary individuals have the power to deal with the Dark Folk.”

“Very good.
One or two attempts may not necessarily succeed.
But if incidents like this occur ten times, twenty times, then we can leverage the Ascenders' position in time.
At the very least, it will reduce Night Walker's financial budget.”

The general let out a heavy roar through his nostrils, “Those bastards have been riding on our heads far too long.
It's time to make them come down!”

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