Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
When night came, it was bright in the palace. Han Xiao and the others accepted the invitation, changed into formal clothes given by the steward, and attended the dinner banquet. The waiter of the palace led them to the garden courtyard that was already set up as an outdoor banquet area. The warm, bright light expelled the darkness of the night. On the long tables were exquisite dishes; green, yellow, and purple fruits and vegetables; the fragrant roasted meat from unknown beats, the sweet pies with overflowing cream, and the light blue liquors made from Origin Water. Waiters roamed the place with a plate on their hand, and a musician sat in the middle and played a joyful rhythm with a strange-looking instrument. Meanwhile, the light blue-skinned Vainerian royalties chitchatted in the courtyard. The banquet had just started. At a corner of the courtyard was a pavilion, inside which were the Vain King and the supreme royalties. They looked at the courtyard entrance. Seeing that the higher world warriors had arrived, the King cleared his throat and led the others to stand up.
“Everyone, welcome to the palace dinner banquet. I’m Galo Mio, thank you for your kind assistance,” the King said. ‘Mio’ in the Vainerian language meant king or leader, and it was how the king addressed himself.
King Galo was a rather built middle-aged man. As he was saying his appreciation speech, he walked down from the pavilion and welcomed Han Xiao and the rest personally. The other royals stopped their conversations and greeted them together. In front of the guests from the higher worlds, they knew that their royal status meant nothing. This was a level difference, similar to a native tribe chief facing guests from a developed civilization, but the difference was larger. The higher world warriors were dragons that were strong enough to ignore the local overlords.
Lin Ge clearly expressed that Han Xiao was the leader, so Han Xiao had no choice but to take on the conversation. They exchanged pleasantries, playing down their roles. Then King Galo told a joke that was not funny at all, yet the royalties laughed out loud like it was some kind of extremely funny tease.
A group of Kingdom Tribune Mages walked out while holding up the Galactic Communicator. They handled it so carefully like it was some kind of holy relic. After some clicks and pressed, the hologram of an ‘ascender’ appeared in the middle of the courtyard, sparking shocked awe among the Vainerians. Han Xiao heard an old royalty beside him saying to his offspring, “Treasure this moment. We can only see an act of God like this when there are important guests.”
The oldest Volga curled his lips and said, “These people are so ignorant.”
The second brother glanced at him and said, “Weren’t we like this when we were young, too?”
The oldest brother had nothing to say. He turned around and saw that their youngest brother was already ramming down a beast drumstick with oil around his mouth.
King Galo spoke a few words with this ascender. The ascender thanked them for their help and sent the money to their accounts, then ended the communication. King Galo smiled and said, “Please enjoy the food and drinks. This is a joyous occasion.”
The people fitted into the atmosphere of the banquet. Royals came to talk with them from time to time with a stiff and curious attitude. There were also shows at the banquet. Not long after, a group of female dancers appeared. They jumped and turned in the crowds with seduction in their eyes.
Han Xiao had no feeling toward these blue-skinned Vainerians at all. He drank some Origin Water liquor, turned around, and saw Aroshia staring at the dining table, seemingly hesitant as to whether she should eat any food or not.
Han Xiao walked over, placed a hand around her shoulder out of habit, and said, “There won’t be any combat for the foreseeable future. You don’t have to use your powers. Eat something.”
Aroshia did not seem to care much about Han Xiao’s actions. She picked up a purple food and bit her lip. She did not need food to live as she automatically absorbed stray energy from the environment around her to sustain her energy use, which was supposedly a characteristic of energy lives. However, back then, Han Xiao was curious about what would happen if she ate something and convinced her to consume some food. Although Aroshia had no sense of hunger, she felt that consuming food was interesting after tasting how delicious food was. Eating then became an entertainment activity for her. Compared to her blur and extremely calm personality nine months ago, Aroshia was now more human-like.
Aroshia’s digestive system was very strong, and all her food would be decomposed into energy without any waste, so she did not need to excrete. However, a very weird accident happened. Her Energize Esper power could only be used on herself and not on anything external. Before her food was completely digested and turned into energy, the leftovers in her stomach that had yet to be digested would drop out in a splashing way. At that time, they were just about to start a battle with some enemies, and this scene shocked both sides. The food pulp had splashed out below the ball of energy that Aroshia turned into, and the areas had fallen into a deep, awkward silence.
Ever since then, Aroshia would always count the dates before consuming any food, calculating whether she would need to use her powers before her food was digested. Her Esper power strength was rocketing, and it was not much slower than the players. She was already at grade C+, only half a grade away from grade B in the mission requirements.
After lifting and putting the fruit down multiple times, Aroshia took a bite in the end. Joy appeared on her face, and she passed the fruit that she had taken a bite from to Han Xiao and said, “It’s delicious, try it.”
Han Xiao bit on the fruit. His face was then immediately covered in wrinkles. He pushed Aroshia’s hand away and said, “It’s so sour! Your taste is too different from mine, keep it for yourself.”
Han Xiao guided her to train her energy. After spending more time with each other, Aroshia was closer to Han Xiao. Their interactions were very intimate, but there were no inappropriate thoughts. Han Xiao did not look at Aroshia as a normal female being at all. In his eyes, she was a sexless and pure energy form. Aroshia did not see herself as a female either, so these intimate actions were very natural to her.
After walking to the side, Han Xiao thought that it was time to have a talk with King Galo. King Galo invited Han Xiao into the pavilion and asked with a smile, “Captain Black Star, what did you want to talk to me about?”
Han Xiao lowered his voice and said, “I have a special kind of intuition ability. When I arrived on this planet, I felt that there was some kind of virus from space that’s here on Planet Dawn.”
King Galo was shocked. He sat up straight and said, “Are you saying that our planet is infected by some kind of illness‽”
“No no, this is just a feeling. The details still require some research on if there were any similar symptoms appearing on a large scale, only then can the virus be confirmed to exist.”
King Galo took it very seriously and ordered the steward to arrange the intel of all the territories. The Vain Kingdom had existed for many years and had a very large intel network. The lords of the territories would submit reports of their territories once every certain period, so it was very easy to collect.”
Not long after, the steward returned to the courtyard and sorted out a few pages of a report. King Galo took a look, shook his head, and said, “It’s all usual infectious diseases; there don’t seem to be any new symptoms in a large scale…”
Han Xiao raised his eyebrow and said, “It might not be falling sick. It can also be some kind of unusual behavior, such as… sleeping more than usual?”
King Galo froze for a moment. Who would check on the sleeping quality of others out of nowhere? Everyone slept with their doors closed, and no one would talk about how their sleep was the previous night with every person that they met. There was no record of the sleeping quality of the people.
“Hmm?” King Galo suddenly thought of something. “This year’s mineral production from the territories is sixteen percent less than last year, but the mines did not dry out, and the number of miners is more than last year. The factor that could have affected the production rate… can only be the duration of work. Maybe it has something to do with this?”
“Maybe.” Han Xiao gave King Galo another look. This king seemed quite capable as he was able to notice a hidden connection between matters that did not seem to have any relation.
The incubation period of the mutation virus was very long, and the means of its spreading were many. The early-stage symptoms of the infected were sleeping more than usual and drowsiness. The symptoms would gradually become worse, and the infected could sleep for even two to three days. That would be when the mutation virus was close to erupting. When the virus became more mature, the incubation period would become shorter, and the symptoms would become worse. The drowsiness period might even be entirely skipped, and the symptoms would enter the next stage. According to the version time, the mutation virus at this moment was still in its infancy, so it was very hidden.
I wonder how Planet Aquamarine is now.
King Galo was rather worried. He asked if there were any solutions for it. Han Xiao shook his head and told him that he did not know what virus it was either, but they had better be cautious about it, then he left. Han Xiao had already gotten the information that he wanted and reminded King Galo, so Planet Dawn would at least not be totally unprepared. After all, this planet was one of the mission targets as well.
During the incubation period of the mutation virus, Han Xiao had no solution for it. Unless he was willing to give up on the yet to start [Mutation Disaster] mission and face a huge risk by giving the seventh generation Mutation Source to Godora before the disaster began so that they could make a cure for it, which would also lead to him being questioned and suspected as well. This was not worth it at all. He could only maximize the value of the things he had when the disaster struck and caused Godora and DarkStar to fight directly.
The only preparation I can make for the Mutation Disaster is become stronger—everything else has to wait for the right time.
The next day, Han Xiao kindly rejected King Galo’s invitation and left King City. He called the spaceship of a nearby partner out in the wild, picked up Herlous and Rezar, and headed back to Juberly Hub.
Lin Ge got Han Xiao’s communication number and left joyfully with his people as well.
Black Star Mercenary Group was now considered quite well known in Juberly Hub, and they could finally enjoy the same privileges that they had seen given to the Sky Ring allies when they first arrived at Juberly Hub. They did not have to queue and had priority in many services. When they walked on the street, many mercenaries and passersby greeted them with respect and kindness.
After going back to the stronghold, Han Xiao knocked Rezar unconscious, placed him in an empty room as a cell, and left him there for the time being. There was something more important that needed attention at the time.
The International League would begin in three days!
The International Leagues were divided into two stages. The first stage was the point-based regular competition, where the top eight teams and top sixteen Singles contestants would enter the international finals.
The second stage was the finals where two teams battled each other through best of fives until the final champion was decided.
In China, the qualified teams were King Admiral’s Dynasty, Hao Tian’s Long Sky, and Li Ge’s Temple of God. The Singles contestants were King Admiral, SnowFlower, and Frenzied Sword.
The other unqualified pro players helped them to train and lent equipment to them generously. In important times like this, everyone had put down their past grudges and become united. The clubs in all the countries did the same, giving the best equipment and abilities to the contestants.
This was the first international competition, so other than King Admiral, who was the calmest, all the other contestants were somewhat nervous. Not only them, but all the pro players in the various countries had the same feeling, nervous and anticipation.
A festival was around the corner, and the passion of the players had been ignited once again. The forums were filled with information on clubs from all the countries, and all kinds of analysis and prediction posts appeared. Compared to regional competitions, international competitions were much more vigorous. Players from different countries came together to discuss. It was very boisterous on the forums.
Bun-Hit-Dog enjoyed the benefits of being in a favorable position. He temporarily stopped the Black Star Series that already had sixteen episodes and started to make a special episode featuring the pre-competition interviews of the Chinese contestants in the mercenary group.