73 Draco“s Promise
Draco, who had been exiting the taxi after the twins, froze when he heard the name the Cab AI announced. Since he hadn't even bothered to check the mission information, he had not an inkling of what they needed to do.
He could afford to be so casual not just because of his skill and Control, but because he had worked extensively with Parkins in his past life. He knew the general requirement of S-class assignments, so he knew that nothing he would be assigned could faze him.
However, this was…
GloryGore Labs was a three story building that was painted a mixture of white and blue, with a glowing nameplate hanging in the true center of the building's front side.
The entrance to the lab was a sliding double door, which had a soft cyan light outlining it. If anyone from over 40 years ago saw something like this, they'd hyperventilate and scream 'FUTUREEEE'.
It was located right in the main boulevard of the business district, where hundreds of people walked by hurriedly and with purpose. Draco took in a deep breath and turned to Jade.
"What is the mission designation?"
His solemn tone made the pouting Jada realize that Draco probably knew something about their target, even without the information provided. Seeing his face like that also meant that their target was more than just a simple S-class objective.
Jade also realized this, so she signed the details over to Draco. She assumed that since Draco knew about their secret abilities, he would also be aware of something as simple as this coded language.
She was right.
"Our mission is to infiltrate this laboratory and steal the source code of the Artificial Intelligence that runs a popular new game called Boundless. We have to complete it stealthily and within 7 days of acceptance."
Draco's breathing almost stopped and his heart dropped to his stomach. The moment he had heard the name GloryGore, he had been fearful that this would be the objective of the mission, and it was.
GloryGore was the name of the game company that made Boundless. They had a registered office in this same district, which was the only one in the world. It was a pretty standard office that looked unremarkable, like one that was rented by a bunch of tech startup guys straight from college.
Yet, they were able to distribute the rare and unique virtua helmets worldwide. Not only that, but their competition obviously have tried - or will try, since it was so early in this timeline - to reverse engineer their technology in order to mimic it.
However, the material the virtua helmets were made out of was a unique alloy that was composed of elements that did not exist on the periodic table. It was harder than diamond, resistant to heat and frost as well as being impossible to perform a cross-section scan to see its inner makeup.
The AI that ran Boundless was revolutionary. If it wasn't for the fact that it didn't need emotions, it would be no different from a human mind, but with supreme intelligence.
Many fixers had taken up this same mission, either to infiltrate the labs or the office in order to find corporate secrets, capture employees or destroy the properties.
None of them survived.
It was a horror story told to every new fixer and by the time Draco came in, these legends were repeatedly told to him to the point where he developed a fear of GloryGore studios.
However, in this timeline, he was actually the first person to take up this…. this death quest.
"Who is the mission provider? What are the cancellation costs?"
Draco's voice was silent and muted.
"The provider is… well, here it says 'Vernitia Alliance', but I know that's only a codename. The real provider… it's the World Council."
Jade's revelation was like a train hitting both Jada and Draco. Of course, the World Council was no noble establishment. When they needed certain things done that weren't…'proper'… they'd solicit the darker side of society for help.
Still, even though they couldn't make their involvement public, to go against the World Council required more than balls. If Draco wanted to cancel the mission, he would need more than just Parkins' promise to allow him to cancel as he wished.
Do not underestimate the World Council. If they were so easy to step over, would the Lineages have to turtle up and pretend like they didn't exist?
Let's not even factor in the Lucifer and Amaterasu Lineages, just the fact that the Pangu Lineage - who possessed all the world's arrogance and ferocity - were silent, should be enough to buttress the danger of the World Council.
"About the cancellation costs… it should be $3,000,000. Luckily, no other costs are attached." Jade signed this all rapidly, her face blandly taking in the busy area as if she were waiting with her sister as well as a friend for someone in particular, lowering suspicions towards their idleness.
Draco's expression became bitter. Luckily? He didn't even have more than a few dollars on his body. Where was he supposed to get $3,000,000 from?
Do not even mention Boundless. Trading in-game currency for real world cash was unbelievably stupid to no end. Only those at the absolute bottom would trade out. Most of the time, it was people hectically trying to trade in cash for gold.
No matter how good the rate was, it wasn't worth it, especially with the future plans Draco had. Even if he had ten billion platinum, he wouldn't even trade 1 bronze of it out.
Otherwise, why would he need to come out and do such missions for money? Wouldn't it have been simpler to just use the Intermediary Trade Center?
Draco sighed deeply and resolved himself. There was no escaping this, so he could only carry out the mission and hope it would work out.
Before that though…
Draco's voice was no longer gentle, bearing a commanding undertone that was hard to resist. Both Jada and Jade complied immediately, their hearts thumping.
There was a bubbling excitement, fear and worry that mixed together to form a cocktail of emotions that made them feel a bit faint. All of this was due to the mission as well as Draco's powerful tone and aura.
It left them gentle and extremely compliant to his words.
They walked across the busy street and found a nearby cafe that was about 100 meters away. It was a popular spot for the various employees in the various companies to come and relax during lunchtime.
Draco led them to an outdoor seating area and they sat down together, Jada and Jade on his left and right on the same side. One would expect these two to have sat across from him, but they sat as close to him as possible.
Crack open their skulls and rummage around for an answer, and all you would receive was a bunch of chaotic thoughts and emotions. Probably, only a fellow sister could decode their thoughts. A brother in the crowd would never be able to understand such a complex thinking process.
Draco ordered for three milkshakes and one large slice of chocolate cake, as well as a medium sized meatloaf. All of that was paid by Jada this time, and those also seated around them couldn't help but feel like it was a fuckboy leading around his two innocent young and rich lovers, utilizing their feelings and naivety to exploit them.
However, that was not their concern, so they lost interest quickly. Of course, some eyed Draco thinking that he was quite a looker while some scrutinized the twins, feeling that they were very pretty in a refreshing and cute way.
"Jade, hack into the traffic cams five blocks around us. Make sure to blur our features in both the live display, the local storage and the cloud storage. When you're done with that, get me a list of employees working for GloryGore Labs. Filter through and find those who match my gender, but also have access to those with higher authority."
"Do not, and I repeat, do not attempt to hack into the GloryGore Labs. Even though their intranet has access ports to the internet, those backdoors are locked tighter than anyone can pry open."
Draco's voice was heavy and forceful, making Jade's bland face go red a little, but her expression remained stiff. Honestly, it was super cute and adorable to see her blush with such a stoic face, especially considering how cute she was already.
"Understood." Jade replied, a trace of emotion in her voice that was almost inaudible.
Draco spoke to Jada this time. "Jada, center yourself and try to predict one of the following three outcomes. The first is my survival rate for this mission. The second is my success rate for the mission. The third is my failure rate for the mission."
"Yes, Draco." Jada replied demurely. She closed her eyes and focused, placing her hands together before her chest with her palms separated yet her fingertips touching.
Her eyelids trembled slightly as she went quiet and her breathing became slower and slower until one would think she had died. However, Draco was assured since he could still feel her heart beating in her chest.
For Jada to have to place so much focus into her clairvoyance, one could just see how much effort it took to perform such a feat on the GloryGore group. Draco had long reasoned that there was something mystical about Boundless, but never bothered because at the end of the day, it was a tool to him.
Another person might have an existential crisis and feel unsafe, but Draco would rather use that time to strengthen his hold on the world. This was what differentiated him from the common man.
Jada eventually came out of her trance-like state, taking a napkin to wipe the side of her mouth. When it came away, one could see a red blotch there. Her complexion was pale and her eyes seemed a bit bleak.
The sheer defeat in her voice made Draco feel a bad premonition.
Jada looked right into Draco's eyes before revealing her findings. "Your survival rate for the mission is 100%. Your success rate for the mission is 100%. Your failure rate for the mission is also 100%."
Draco was startled. He trusted Jada's unique gift and for her to say he would survive 100% meant that even if he botched up somewhere, he should be able to preserve his own life.
However, the conflicting success and failure rate confused him. How could one succeed at something while failing to do it at the same time?
Jada wasn't done though. She took a deep breath and continued. "However, the survival rate for us twins is… 10%."
At this, Jade's rapidly moving fingers came to a halt. She turned to see her sister's bitter expression and felt waves pass through her heart.
They had only a 10% chance of living if they participated in the mission?
However, hadn't they already technically begun the mission? By hacking for Draco, Jade could already be said to be a firm participant. Jada was too, by using her ability to assist Draco.
That was why she was so dispirited. They had 1/10th of Draco's chances of survival. One should note that 10% wasn't worth dogshit. In Jada's eyes, they were as good as dead.
Jade was a lot more reasonable about it though. A 10% chance was extremely slim, but it still existed. Unfortunately, Jada's clairvoyance only gave percentile outcomes, which was why Draco worded his questions in such a manner.
She could not see the exact details of the scenario, meaning that they couldn't glean any conclusive information which could increase their chances of survival.
Jade sighed internally and resumed her hacking. What will be… will be.
Jada was not so reasonable though. Her eyes began to tear up as the fear of death enveloped her. She did not burst into tears loudly, but began sobbing quietly.
This made Draco feel extremely uncomfortable because it was his fault they were in this mess. They were not going to benefit in anyway from the success of this mission and he had dragged them along by using his status.
Now, he would survive regardless of anything, while they were one and a half foot into the grave.
Not to mention that he had good impressions of these two from his past life, just the fact that they hadn't caused him any trouble meant that he owed them too much for this inconvenience.
Draco wasn't the rabid dog he was from his past life that would bite anything and anyone in order to achieve his goals. He wanted to take a more pleasant path and enjoy his life as he climbed to the top.
He liked the feeling of friendship from Qiong Qi and enjoyed being more than a puppet master to his Five Generals. Most importantly, he had Eva supporting him by his side and a chance to release his bloodline shackles, becoming whole again.
He had pulled the twins from their comfort zone to simultaneously assist him as well as to enjoy their companionship, especially Jada who he had fooled around with for years.
Even in his past life, they had lived perfectly fine until he died, minus whatever event happened to Jade. For him to know that his actions would indirectly cause their lives to end so much earlier than it should, made him feel extremely bad.
Draco froze as his mind became chaotic. He was trapped between three trains of thought that were rampantly fighting for supremacy.
There was his natural personality, who believed that he should drop everything and save them. By risking his life against the World Council, they would survive and he himself could tank the Word Council for a while before he came into power.
There was his dark personality, who believed that the twins were stepping stones for his success. Just because they hadn't betrayed him in his past life didn't mean they couldn't in this one. The only person he could trust was himself and Eva! Everyone else existed as a foil for his greatness!
However, while these two prominent thoughts were battling loudly, there was a much weaker and more muted thoughtstream that tried to let its meaning be sent across but was drowned by the ferocity of the other two.
The Black Dragon roared and stamped its feet.
Draco's mind quietened down and became silent. The Black Dragon sat on its haunches and looked at the third thoughtstream as if saying 'go on, speak'.
This time, the third thoughtstream was able to get its meaning across. It wasn't like the other two that were clearly defined. It was murky and seemed to be a bit wan, containing some bits of the two prominent thoughtstreams as well as some others to form something… new.
Its suggestion was simple. Continue the quest and make sure to keep the twins alive at any cost.
Such a simple idea almost made the other two thought processes drown it beneath them again, but surprisingly, Draco's mind latched onto this one, dragging it to the forefront.
When he did, this thin thoughtstream became more solid but not as much as the other two.
Draco came out of his trance with shining eyes and a clear mind. His thoughts felt in comparably smooth and sharp, like he had taken a drug that boosted alertness and intelligence for a while.
His eyes locked onto the sobbing Jada and the stoic and defeated Jade, a bright beam of light shooting out from them. His aura erupted violently, pressuring everyone within the range of his passive Control, making them freeze with fear.
For Jada and Jade though, it was like being bathed in the warmest spring water when it was quite cold outside. It was an incomparably pleasant and gentle sensation that made them feel warm.
When they turned to face Draco, they saw his face locked into an expression of ferocity and determination. With eyes that were sharper than knives and a voice heavier than steel, he spoke with endless conviction.
"No matter what chances you have, I won't allow the two of you to die."
It wasn't much. In fact, it was an empty promise that a shallow person would make just to convince the twins to help him so that he could complete his mission anyway.
But to the twins, it was like the sound of heavenly zither music notes swaying in the wind, gracing their ears with its pleasant tones.
It was mostly because of Draco's aura than his voice. His aura covered them like a warm blanket, shielding them from the icy cold of the world.
To two young girls who had lived comfortable lives and were facing the threat of death, this was akin to giving them a new breath of life. Their bodies became soft and their eyes became limpid like clear pools of water.
When they looked at Draco, it was no longer about his status as a Control master or his physical attraction which pulled at them. It was solely about his promise. His promise to shield them from demise at all costs.
To a bystander, the threat of death these two were facing seemed like it wasn't a big deal, but one should try to simulate the feeling of knowing that someone was aiming at sniper at their heads, ready to shoot and end their lives at any time.
That primal fear of not knowing when and how you would die, but that you could die, was suffocating. To be freed from it was beyond the feeling of any sexual or physical euphoria.
Jada's eyes became a bit wet and her palms clasped each other while they rested on her lap, as she gazed at Draco with hope and gentleness. Jade's rigid face broke out into a slight smile, her eyes gazing at Draco with respect and loyalty.
The two twins were now firmly in Draco's camp!
Because he had decided to risk everything to keep them alive, they would respond by being one of his people!
(Author's note: No, it does not mean they are in love with Draco or chose to be his women. They've been touched so powerfully that they have sworn a sort of everlasting fealty.)