Morning was always the best time of the day. Likewise, morning was also the best time to fight a battle.
The previous night, the Hesla troops had managed to clear the fourth high-alert sector. Carl had ordered his troops to rest for an hour before continuing their advancement at first light. They wanted to reach the base in one final attack.
As the sun rose, the Hesla troops were fighting the enemies at the third high-alert sector.
Boom, boom, boom!
The endless blasts were thunderous, and the enshrouded the battleground in smoke. The entire forest was wrecked by the hail of bullets and artillery strikes, the used shells of which were littered everywhere.
The soldiers from Hesla, coupled with the armored vehicles, managed to take down the defense mechanisms in place. One after another, fortresses, sentry-posts, and trenches were destroyed. The information Ye Fan had obtained was of great use. The enemy's defense mechanisms were practically useless against the attacks. The troops managed to secure their objectives with minimal losses. The soldiers were elated because their victories had never been so comfortable before.
"Continue to advance. Let's take down the two remaining high alert sectors in one shot!"
Carl was overwhelmed with excitement.
Once the confident troops entered the second high-alert sector, the favorable situation started to turn around.
Not long after stepping foot into the second high-alert sector, the Hesla troops faced their first enemy ambush. Two armored vehicles and dozens of soldiers were wiped out by well-hidden mines. And that was, in fact, just an appetizer. The Hesla soldiers were soon completely devastated. The death toll was rising steadily, and there were traps and ambushes everywhere.
Ye Fan's intelligence was practically useless at this stage. Following the false information provided led to even greater losses. The various platoons were at a complete loss.
The intelligence about the first four high-alert selectors had allowed Hesla's military to successfully penetrate deep and eventually enter the ambush zone that Ji Jie had marked out.
The casualties were increasing exponentially.
Carl experienced a mix of shock and fury.
The expression on Winna's face changed. Indeed, the information they had obtained was only bait; Han Xiao's predictions were right. They were indeed responsible for the huge losses.
Ye Fan shook his head and said, "The enemies are too cunning and ruthless. They were willing to sacrifice the lives of their own comrades to lure us in. It was almost impossible to see through their plot. Perhaps, that's the advantage of being on the defensive side. The Germinal Organization is not afraid to go all out. However, such a measure is not feasible for our side. Carl's moves were too radical; he should have listened to Han Xiao and been less brash with his deployments."
He looked at his remorseful teammates and sighed.
At this point, Carl saw his soldiers falling one after another. He had an uncomfortable expression. What was supposed to be a smooth-sailing situation had flipped around. The 'easy-win' had reversed, becoming a complete disaster. Even if they managed to prevail in the battle, it was going to be a costly victory.
The Hesla troops, who were facing head-on defeats, were suffering heavy losses, and their advancement proceeded at a snail's pace.
Suddenly, a grim-looking man who held a long machete in his hand emerged from the enemy side. He was surrounded by cold and transparent waves of energy that bore similarity to flames. The air beside him distorted as he dashed toward Hesla's army. The soldiers immediately started firing their rifles, but the man span as he ran and speedily slashed his machete. The approaching bullets were disintegrated by the slashes and fell to the ground.
While the soldiers were still in shock, the man barged into the crowd. Within seconds, the combo of powerful slashes from the shiny machete diced numerous Hesla soldiers into many bits. Blood sprayed everywhere, and broken limbs, heads, and torsos could be seen all over the ground.
The man stood with conviction amid the sea of red.
The agents were all astonished.
Pan Kuang was the man in charge of the Dark Crow Valley base and the executive officer of the Germinal Organization. In addition, he had managed to kill many powerful individuals and had a glorious battle record on the Dark Net.
Based on his battle record on the Dark Net, Pan Kuang was highly adept with his machete. His fighting style originated from that of Rui Lan, and he was becoming known as the 'Soul of the Blade'.
The light reflected by his shiny blade was usually the last thing his slain enemies saw.
The armored vehicle adjusted its position. Larger bullets were fired out from the re-adjusted barrel at Pan Kuang. Pan Kuang started leaping with unbelievably fast movements and dodged the incoming shots by ducking behind the trees. It was impossible for ordinary solider to accurately trace the position of Pan Kuang. More often than not, in the blink of an eye, Pan Kuang would disappear without any trace, and the fired shots would all miss.
Pan Kuang was able to move around the battleground with ease and without any substantial obstruction.
Like a life-claiming reaper, Pan Kuang slew one soldier after another. He even managed to slashed open a couple of heavily armored trucks and kill the soldiers inside the vehicles.
As long as there were shelters that offered protection against the bullets, a Superhuman could unleash his extensive power and cause immense damage. The energy he possessed protected his body, and ordinary gunpowder and bullets were unable to cause any significant harm.
A D-class Superhuman could battle a platoon on their own and escape with ease after the fight.
A C-class Superhuman had colossal strength and an iron body that could withstand the attacks of guns and canons. They could cause substantial damage on all terrains and could tear down a building with their bare hands easily. A C-class Superhuman was of the lowest-level in the galaxy. It also had the title of 'Basic Cosmic Warrior'. Different planets in the galaxy had different gravitational fields and atmospheric conditions. A C-class Superhuman would be able to set foot on most planets. It was normal for certain species that lived in harsher galactic conditions to possess C-class Superhuman bodies from birth.
However, there were very few C-class Superhumans on Aquamarine. The Superhumans on this planet were low-ranked ones.
Pan Kuang's Superhuman class was E+, one level away from becoming D-class. He was able to easily defeat groups of Hesla soldiers in the complicated forested terrain. A Superhuman possessed a powerful solo-fighting capability, and they would often swipe in to kill the highest-ranking commander of the troops or infiltrate the enemy to sabotage operations.
Soldiers in the way were being killed by the advancing Pan Kuang. It was obvious that Pan Kuang was travelling in the direction of Carl!
Carl had made it onto the radar of Pan Kuang's killer instincts, which made Carl feel very uneasy. He had no sense of security even when he was protected tightly by his troops, so he immediately commanded, "Launch the thermo-tracing rockets!"
An armored vehicle equipped with missile launchers arrived, and multiple rockets that were locked onto Pan Kuang were fired.
Pan Kuang was circling the forest speedily, and the rockets crashed into the trees. The last rocket managed to go through the gaps between the tree trunks and headed for Pan Kuang.
With a tight frown, Pan Kuang halted in his steps. He scooped up some soil and held the machete with both of his hands. There was an invisible wave of energy surrounding the blade. He slashed the machete at the rocket.
The quick slash managed to hit the side of the rocket at the right time. The force from the strike changed the course of the rocket, and its path was altered. The rocket crashed into a large tree that was twenty meters away and burst into flames. Pan Kuang was slightly disorientated by the shockwave of the explosion. If Han Xiao were there, he would have seen that the damage was more than twenty health points.
After realizing that even the rockets were useless against Pan Kuang, Carl looked at his agents. Carl's intention of deploying the agents to protect himself was clear.
"Let's go!" Winna yelled, and Hesla's agents moved forward together with her.
The agents from Division 13 were observing from one side. The joint operation no longer made sense after what Carl had done; therefore, they were not going to help.
After finding out that the agents from Hesla had entered the battle, Pan Kuang immediately sheathed his machete and retreated. He did not want to be held up by the agents.
Gunshots echoed through the forest as bullets were fired out of the agents' guns.
The shiny blade slashed past. Light was reflected off the surface of the blade. A bullet fired at Pan Kuang was cut in half. Although Pan Kuang operated at a lower speed than the flying bullet, he had managed to anticipate the path of the bullet and position his machete at the perfect spot. His reflexes were rapid.
Pan Kuang remained expressionless as he turned away and disappeared into the forest.
In this attack, Pan Kuang had managed to kill hundreds of enemy soldiers and destroy a couple of armored vehicles. The morale of Hesla's soldiers was at its lowest. They had suffered heavy casualties, and the initial fatigue accumulated from the attacks on the previous four sectors was beginning to take its toll. The situation forced Carl to slow down the attack even though he was unwilling to do so.
Ji Jie was observing the situation at the frontline from his monitor. The second high-alert sector was down, and Hesla's troops were moving toward the final sector. Even if Hesla's army suffered great losses, they still had an upper hand over the armed security guards of the base.
However, everything was under control.
After Pan Kuang returned, Ji Jie locked the doors leading to the base. Even if the enemy managed to take down the external base, they would be unable to locate the internal base. Furthermore, Ji Jie was also preparing to give a 'big gift' to the Hesla soldiers outside the internal base.
"Assistant Director, when are we going to retreat?"
"Now," Ji Jie said.
The staff of the inner base gathered at the doorstep of the third secret passageway. Lin Yao and Lambert were furthest away from the rest. When nobody was looking, they would inform each other of critical intelligence. Strangers would think that they were just making casual conversation.
The final fortress was blasted into pieces by the cannon of a mini-tank. The remaining armed guards only had one choiceretreat into the base.
All the defense lines crumbled, and Carl finally loosened up from the tension.
The final two sectors had cost seventy percent more losses than expected. Carl's superiors would definitely be less impressed when they saw the battle report.
"The enemies are left with the final base, and they have nowhere to retreat to. Are we going to let the troops rest for a while?" the assistant officer asked.
Carl was sat in deep thought, and he suddenly remembered Han Xiao's intelligence report. It mentioned that there was an inner base and also a secret escape passageway. Instantly, he felt that it was an opportunity for him to improve his battle record. He did not want to waste a single moment so as to reduce the enemies' chance of escape. Therefore, he issued an order with conviction.
"Start the attack immediately. Remember to search thoroughly in the facility, especially the storerooms. There must be some hidden door somewhere that can lead us to the enemy's inner base."
The order was confirmed, and the soldiers who had still not yet recovered from the shock of the previous battle regained their spirits and entered the base to wipe out the remaining enemies. The base was very small, and the fighting took place in the narrow alleys. Endless gunshots could be heard throughout the drawn-out battle.
"We found the storeroom, but no hidden doors can be seen. There are only solid concrete walls. We also tested our explosives on the walls."
"Maybe there is something wrong with the intelligence report?" Carl frowned hard. He summoned his assistant and said, "Bring the agents from Division 13 here. Also, get me Han Xiao. I want to ask them about the intelligence report they submitted."