1052 Luck from Above
three hours later, jiang fei and the others arrived in the center of the sahara desert. the sun was blazing and it was scalding hot. worse of all, everything was sand. nothing but sand all over the horizon. it was so hot and unbearable that there was no one in sight. perhaps the only living creatures that could survive in this extreme heat were those that had adapted to this climate for centuries.
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"0542, are you sure the signal came from this god-forsaken-place?" jiang fei grunted, wiping off the sweat from his forehead that almost dried out from the heat.
"yes, captain. the signal had indeed originated from this location. the numbers don't lie."
"it better. or else i'm dying here from the heat for no good reason!"
jiang fei descended and was preparing to land when isabella suddenly flinched maddeningly.
"what's wrong?" jiang fei asked. she was clearly trying to resist something.
"urgh! argh!" isabella roared out of the blue. her eyes blared with the color of crimson. at that moment, isabella unleashed a blast of energy that sent jiang fei and ariel off their feet. fortunately, jiang fei's impeccable martial artist reaction allowed him to hold his stance even on the small surface of the hoverboard. if he had reacted one second slower, he would have made a drop of more than tens of meters. even if he did, he would be fine since there was nothing but sand.
"bella! what's going on with you?! snap out of it!" jiang fei cried and tried to shake her back to reality.
"die… all who dares to harm my beloved shall die!" with unfocused eyes, isabella muttered eerily before flashing away towards the west.
"ariel, do you know what is going on?" jiang fei panicked.
"i-i don't know…" ariel choked, befuddled.
"get me to her! now!" jiang fei roared. even though he was more than capable of using the hoverboard to chase after isabella, having ariel to use teleportation was clearly faster.
after a few flashes, ariel stopped. her hands that were holding jiang fei's started to gripped harder. something was wrong and her warped faced explained it all.
"what happened?" jiang fei asked.
"there's a level 5 metahuman ahead of us…" said ariel. before she could finish her sentence, a huge explosion erupted not too far ahead of jiang fei. it was obvious that someone was discovered when isabella was forced into a trance.
"a level 5? why would they trouble isabella for?!" jiang fei roared. isabella was not well and everytime she used a little bit of power, the power of berserk would be activated, sending her into a trance that would speedily corrupt her mind. from jiang fei's vantage point, isabella was not at fault. it was that level 5 metahuman who had provoked her.
"i know that presence! it belonged to the same person that had tried to snatch the rebirth egg! the man that had lost an arm!" said ariel.
"now… that explains why isabella would do that…" said jiang fei. even though she was reborn into the world, she once had the blood of the dragon flowing in her veins. to seek revenge was second nature for dragons. the man that had lost his arms had once crossed swords with isabella. it was only natural for her to seek vengeance knowing that he was close by.
"look out!" ariel cried. a blast of shockwave was heading towards their direction. jiang fei, being only a level 4 fighter, could not detect that incoming danger. without warning, ariel quickly flashed the two of them away. from a distance, jiang fei could see how the powerful shockwave had completely sent the bed of sand flying amok. if not for ariel, jiang fei might have been seriously injured.
another burst of wave was sent out but this time it was heading towards another direction. along with a cloud of sand, isabella was spotted zooming out from it. she landed not too far from the explosion, panting for breath and was still trying to resist the surge of power coming from her trance.
"isabella!" jiang fei shouted when ariel flashed to her side. he leaped forward, hugging isabella tightly and tried to calm her down.
"everything is alright now! there's no one here to harm us! it's alright now! calm down! control your power!" said jiang fei as he held her close in his embrace. it took a little over a minute before isabella finally stopped struggling.
concurrently, 300 kilometers from where jiang fei was, two unknowns, cloaked with thick cloths spoke to each other. their voices were similar to the unknowns that were in the forest south of africa, robotic and synthetic.
"we are too late. target has been eliminated. life signs ceased."
"detected two other level 5 beings. should we pursue?"
"negative. new targets proved to be too strong for us to capture. i am detected an energy spike on one of the level 5 beings. it is too risky for us to pursue. we should call off the mission."
"affirmative. abort mission."
"mission aborted. command. no. 1, no.18 requesting warp transport. mission aborted."
"mission aborted, copy that. transport request received. stand by for transport."
one second later, the sky opened up and two pillars of faint light came down to teleport the two unknowns away.
"bella, are you alright?" jiang fei asked, coddling the girl who was now overwhelmed with fatigue. isabella was out of trance. her crimson red eyes were not as clear as the calm sea. the aftereffects of the power of berserk put a toll on her frail body.
"i'm a little dizzy. my head hurts. did someone just hammer my head with a building?" said isabella, trying to gasp for air as the pain was too much for her.
"my poor little babe. how could you still find the strength to make a joke like that when you are in so much pain? please do not make me worry like that anymore. you need to be more careful! how could you just go berserk without any warning?" said jiang fei.
"but… mmmm. i couldn't control myself…" isabella whimpered like a beaten dog.
"oh dear… i… it's alright. just rest now… i'll take care of you later, alright?" said jiang fei, finally able to draw a deep sigh of relief. even though he said he would take care of her later, he would still need the main engine room and other parts of the ship. only through namek's technology could he truly cure her of the unknown ailment.
isabella nodded and closed her eyes. the pain in her head and body was making her too weak to talk for long. worst of all, the damage inflicted to her mind was not something a simple overnight rest could cure.
"ariel, i'll leave isabella in your care. i need to make this trip worth it," said jiang fei. ariel nodded and took over isabella. with a simple flick, ariel conjured a small barrier to block out the sun and heat. jiang fei, on the other hand, manifested the excavator from the ring.
digging through the bed of sand was tough. ariel could have done it much faster by creating a hollow barrier to make a pathway straight down towards the ship fragment. however, knowing that ariel could take care of isabella better than he could, jiang fei persisted on and dug through the never-ending sand.
while the two girls were resting, jiang fei continued to dig. the entire process took much longer than jiang fei had expected. due to the compaction of the sand, more sand would fill in the void as soon as jiang fei dug into it. however, 0542 made a quick adjustment to the vehicle to expel all the sand that was dug further away to prevent them from falling back in.
"captain, i have detected the signal of a ship fragment coming from 25 meters deep. i have established a link with it!"
"great! what is it?"
"it is the core storage facility."
"the facility stores cores that have a special energy. braveheart was a ship that was meant for deep space voyage. during its mission across deep space, the crew of the ship had discovered cores that emanate strange energy. this facility is meant to keep them for the researchers of the ship to analyze it's energy signature."
"i see, so--" before jiang fei could finish his sentence, 0542 interrupted.
"to cure isabella, the core of life is an absolute necessity."
jiang fei was thrown. he had wanted to ask about the function of those cores and what could it do to save isabella. knowing that one of the cores, the core of life could save and cure isabella of her illness, jiang fei felt extremely lucky to find the core storage facility so soon.