Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
The clouds seemed to have caught fire, painting the Sanctuary that was under reconstruction in a pale-yellow color. Above the base, a fleet of mercenary ships was quietly docked, causing those on the ground to constantly turn their heads up to glance at it, a sense of envy and respect appearing in their eyes.
What had happened in the past few months had completely subverted the world view of Planet Aquamarine’s people. It was like a dream, where one would wake up the next morning feeling dazed as they recalled the happenings of that day. It would always take a while before they regained their senses.
The suspended spaceships resembled a banner, constantly reminding them that this planet had entered a new era. It was not about the exchange of power from an ‘old era’ to a ‘new era’ but rather a brand-new age as a result of the breaking down of barriers, truly connecting them to the interstellar regions.
In the eyes of Planet Aquamarine’s inhabitants, the past few months had heralded an unparalleled change in the times, subverting all their old patterns and ideologies. However, in the eyes of those from the galaxy, it was just another indigenous planet that had been baptized with a new world view. For the Black Star Mercenaries, this was merely another mission.
In the eyes of the players, everything happening on Planet Aquamarine was just another storyline event.
The players were more concerned by when they would truly step foot into space.
All signs pointed to the Black Star Army being the faction that would guide them into space. Furthermore, it was a faction that showed promising growth and lots of benefits. Hundreds of thousands of players had already joined the Black Star Army. Players were still passing the assessment every day.
In the base’s square, with Herlous’ call, the players arrived one after another, resulting in a mass of bobbing heads.
When Han Xiao returned, he had taken out a mechanical throne for his speech. That had been used to showcase his power. He had floated in the middle of the square to allow all the players to be able to see him.
Now that they were leaving, in order to improve his image in the players’ minds, he planned to give a speech to end the storyline on Planet Aquamarine. At the same time, he planned to give an opening about the new phase, to increase the expectations of the players. This, he felt, would make the whole process more complete.
As he thought, Han Xiao spoke.
“A few months ago, I returned to Planet Aquamarine to fulfill my promise, helping Planet Aquamarine overcome its disaster. Now, I’ve completed my promise; the disaster has been resolved, and the enemy has retreated. Today is the day I leave.”
Now that the Mutation Disaster had been resolved by him, and the civilization of Planet Aquamarine had survived, he had saved hundreds of millions of living beings, ensuring their safety.
Compared to his past, this result was much better.
It was time for him to continue his journey in the galaxy, and the players in front of him would be the best warriors to do so.
Not out of his expectations, all the players began to get excited, their eyes glowing.
We can finally step into the interstellar region! We’ve been waiting for so long, to the point the flowers are already withering!
Looking over everyone present, Han Xiao continued.
“The Black Star Army will follow alongside me in leaving. In the past few months, tens of thousands of you have passed the assessment, becoming a part of my team. I’ll join you in the battles to come, and we’ll carve out a corner for ourselves in the galaxy!
“As for those that have yet to join, if you guys are willing, I’ve already set up a base on Planet Aquamarine. You can apply to join at any time you wish, and no matter your identity, as long as you can pass the test, the Black Star Army will welcome the strong. There will be spaceships on standby to welcome new recruits at all times that will bring you to our base in the galaxy, making you an official member.”
The objective of his recruiting was not just to the players. Even normal civilians from Planet Aquamarine could participate. After all, there would always be people aspiring for a higher stage.
The hundreds of thousands of players in the faction revealed expressions of joy. Indeed, only by joining the Black Star Army would they be able to enter the galaxy. The selections were just to select the first batch of interstellar explorers. This was the greatest benefit of being in his faction, which was that they would be ahead!
The other players were a little depressed, but there was no way to go around it. Who told them not to be capable enough to win in the selection? But they did not need to feel too uncomfortable. While they did not obtain the chance to be the first batch to leave for the interstellar regions, Black Star had left behind a channel for further admissions. As long as they continuously took the assessment, they would have a chance to enter the second batch or even the third batch.
In addition, Planet Aquamarine now required a large amount of manpower for post-disaster reconstruction, and remaining meant that they would obtain lots of profits.
At present, joining Black Star would be the most cost-effective way to travel to the interstellar regions.
Furthermore, in the eyes of the majority of players, there were many hints showing that joining Black Star was akin to following a potential main storyline!
In other words, it was the prior requirement for them to open the storyline of interstellar exploration!
At this point, Han Xiao’s words took a turn.
“The size of the Black Star Army has expanded many times over. We’ve received our first large-scale employment, which is to have us participate in a war. This will be the first battle after the expansion of our army, allowing the universe to see our strength.”
As he spoke, he sent out a Faction Mission to the players through the interface. Tens of thousands of players received the notification simultaneously.
You have triggered Faction Mission [Black Star Army: The First Battle].
This is the first large-scale mission for the Black Star Army. There will be a war in the interstellar regions, and those who fight with the army would be awarded 500 Faction Favorability.
The rewards that he could hand out were limited, so Han Xiao only chose to issue a reward related to Favorability. However, this was only the first mission, and when he met with the Godoran troops, he would naturally get a formal war employment mission.
At that time, the players would also trigger sub-missions through him, receiving experience and monetary reward. That would be the true substantial benefit.
This was also the original intention of Han Xiao adopting the mercenary regiment model. As his own reward quota was not enough, he would borrow the tasks of the employer to supply his faction with resources. Basically, he was akin to a human resource intermediary or even a pimp.
Only the first batch of players would make it in time for the war.
“There’s a battle the moment we enter the interstellar region. This is going to be fun!”
“What a unique coincidence.”
The crowd could not help but burst into excitement, discussing fervently.
Han Xiao finally surveyed the entire area.
Bennett, standing by his side, expressed his gratitude to Han Xiao. He had decided to stay there to continue managing the Sanctuary.
As for Hila and Aurora, they had already decided to leave Planet Aquamarine. After this incident, Han Xiao would be sending them over to Floating Dragon Island for further studies. Thus, they would leave together. The two sisters did not have any luggage, just whatever was on themselves.
Emerald Grass had also decided to join Black Star to see the galaxy. However, she was different. She brought hundreds of boxes of her medicinal ingredients with her, with the group of prisoners from Bell of Death Island who had finished the training helping her carry them. They were almost totally covered by the boxes.
Han Xiao paused for a moment before saying aloud.
“Now, let us depart!”
The spaceships suspended above slowly lowered themselves, unfolding the gangway.
The tens of thousands of player mercenaries stepped onto the spaceships with boiling blood.
Almost all the clubs and professional players were within the first batch of players leaving. They secretly cheered to themselves. While you guys are still building sandcastles here on the planet, we are off to explore space!
The officers also boarded the BlackLight Stealth, with Han Xiao being the last on.
As the hatches closed, with the BlackLight Stealth at the head, the twenty or so mercenary spaceships took tens of thousands of players as they disappeared into space. The last rays of sunlight disappeared with the spaceships, signaling the end of dusk and the heralding of the night.
The people on the planet raised their heads, looking at the fleet until they disappeared from view.
The emotions of countless people were surging wildly.
It was as though they had witnessed a legendary departure.
Nagakin’s spaceship had been waiting outside the atmosphere for a long time. They would take the Black Star Mercenary Group to join with the other mercenary groups, which would require a few days.
This was the first time that most of the players had entered the galaxy, and they were extremely excited. Through the interstellar communicators, they learned more about the structure of the galaxy. Because the spaceship was equipped with sufficient facilities, the players were able to familiarize themselves with everything, repeating the actions that Frenzied Sword and the others had done in the past.
However, on the forums, this event was sensational. The first batch of players to reach the interstellar regions raised a huge ruckus, and numerous foreign players came over to watch the news, curious and envious.
This group of players were a key part of Han Xiao’s plans. By bringing players into the galaxy in advance, it would allow them to quickly develop their own forces, further enriching his own pockets. The Godoran war mission was an opportunity to allow the players to understand the mercenary industry and the forces that occupied the galaxy. At the same time, the ability of the Black Star Army would allow them to refresh their impression of him, improving his reputation.
The Black Star Army was no longer the small-scale mercenary group of the past but had been promoted into a large-scale legion. As long as their reputation spread, the missions would flow in ceaselessly.
This first battle was also good to allow the players to familiarize themselves with the playstyle of interstellar battles.
A few days passed, and the spaceships of the Black Star Army as well as Nagakin arrived at the meeting place. The combined fleet of the mercenary group was watching as they moved slowly through the universe.
Han Xiao’s spaceship was ushered in, and he immediately received a communication request. The other party was the Sky Ring Army Commander, Gureja. The two of them had cooperated many times before, and their relationship was not too bad.
“Black Star, why are you here as well?” Gureja, complete with a beard that resembled steel bristles, asked in a surprised tone.
“Godora also hired me to take part in the war.” Han Xiao laughed.
“Haha, I thought you only acted as a middleman. To think that you would come here personally. It seems like we’ll be fighting side by side again.”
Gureja let out a loud laugh. Their last mission on Planet Golden Gate had been a success because Han Xiao had helped in the dark. He remembered this favor.
Han Xiao shrugged in response. “Godora can afford the expense, so I’m here.”
“That’s right. You’ve gotten quite close to Godora recently. Do you know what this strategic operation is about?” Gureja asked.
Godora had prevented any information from leaking, only keeping the mercenary groups on standby. They did not disclose the fact that this was a complete offensive against DarkStar, so all the mercenaries there were in the dark.
“Since Godora did not tell you guys, I can’t either. It’s a secret.”
“Ha, you indeed have close relations with them.” Gureja did not press the issue, instead changing topics. “All of the captains are having a meeting on Sky Ring at the moment, assigning tasks. You’ve come at the right time.”
“Hmm, then I’ll head over now.”
After hanging up the communicator, Han Xiao piloted the BlackLight Stealth to enter the array leading to the Sky Ring Army. Sky Ring was a flagship, built to resemble a mountain.
After docking the spaceships, Han Xiao led his officers to board Sky Ring. There were already mercenaries from the Sky Ring Army stationed at the entrance to greet them, taking them into the great hall.
The great hall was spacious, with a circular sofa placed in the middle. A dozen Army Commanders sat on the sofa, each occupying a position. Their respective officers would stay behind their factions’ leader.
The moment Han Xiao walked into the great hall, everyone turned around.
Aurora pulled on the clothes of Hila, carefully whispering, “Sister, the life force of all these people is really huge.”
The mercenaries present came from various star systems and star zones and were all outstanding in their own regions.
For example, the Sky Ring Army had Gureja and another Calamity Grade Super, whereas all the other commanders were at the Calamity Grade as well. Furthermore, those officers that were selected to come along with them were also all strong. This could be described as a gathering of the strong.
Hila’s expression was grave. The gazes of those mercenaries gave her huge pressure, as though everyone present could easily deal with her.
However, at this point, a few of the army commanders smiled and passionately greeted them. The atmosphere calmed down.
“It’s… it’s Black Star!”
“We’ve not seen you for a while.”
“Brother, come, sit beside me.”
At least half of the commanders there had ties with Han Xiao or had worked with him before, so they were familiar with him.
There was a smile on Han Xiao’s face as he replied to each and every one of them.
Situated in the midst of powerful allies, he felt more secure.
Herlous and the rest also began to greet the mercenaries whom they knew. The two sisters did not know anyone, so they did not speak a word.
Hila secretly scrutinized the group of mercenaries.
Are all these people Han Xiao’s counterparts? They look formidable!
As Han Xiao walked toward the sofa, one of the commanders, code named ‘Underworld Feather’, shifted before patting the seat beside her, gesturing for him to take a seat.
Just as Han Xiao was about to sit, a commander who was short in stature opened his mouth, his tone harsh.
“Black Star, with just a small number of people in your mercenary group, you’ve come here to have fun?”
The laughter of everyone present suddenly halted.
Han Xiao paused for a moment before looking over. The speaker was foreign to him, and they had not worked together before. Most likely, he had been called over by another mercenary group.
Who was he?
True, his own expansion had happened not too long ago, so it had only just been filed with the Mercenary Alliance. News had not yet spread.
Han Xiao now understood.
That was to say, in the eyes of all those large mercenary groups, he was just a small-scale group with little over a hundred members.