1325 Request for Cooperation
jiang fei did not bother to participate in the lookout shift and decided to nap away. the night was peaceful as there were nothing but the sounds of tiny critters and insects. when the golden hue of the morning ray hit the forest's top canopy, jiang fei woke up. bacca's plans did not work for the first night as no one came over during the night.
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while he napped away, jiang fei placed 0541 on high alert while he passively diverted the energy from the blackhole core into charging the core of will. one night of charging was not enough to fully charge the core. nevertheless, it had enough juice to reactivate jiang fei's omnisurge.
"someone's here," one of dodge's split bodies whispered before it disappeared into nothingness.
"on your feet. we have a weapon to snatch!" bacca decreed and everyone quickly readied themselves for a fight.
"0541, what of the incoming?" jiang fei asked. the yellow hue of the morning light was still dim and he could not see too far in the dark. based on presence alone, jiang fei could sense six of them.
"standby… give me a few moments," 0541 said.
"don't take too long," said jiang fei as he sat up straight and stopped diverting the blackhole core energy into the core of will. it was now time to channel the energy into his own body to prepare for a fight.
"results are in."
"there are six of them. there is one at around 200,000 combat level, two at around 300,000 combat level, one at 720,000 combat level, one at 450,000 combat level, and one at 590,000 combat level."
"thank you. looks like they might be facing a bit of a challenge here," said jiang fei. bacca's plan of fighting the other trainees to snatch their primordial weapons might not work this time.
while jiang fei had precise information about the potential enemy, dodge's main body returned and gave his own rough analysis to bacca. naturally, his report could never be as precise as 0541's.
"six of them?" bacca frowned. he had never assumed jiang fei was part of the team and only thought of him as a spectator.
"what are your orders?" luna asked.
"we hold. do not strike yet. let's see how it turns out," said bacca rationally. he would not want to strike the trap without first knowing that there was loot inside it. the others quickly resumed their preparations and sat by the now weak campfire. everyone was ready for a fight and some, especially mingsk and waxus, could not hold their anxiety in.
in a few minutes, the footsteps of the six targets could be heard. they were walking brazenly, showing no signs of even hiding their presence. while the others were already on their feet, waiting for the order to strike, bacca was on top of a larger tree, scoping out the enemies on a branch.
"huh?" bacca grunted when he saw the face of the leading trainee of the group. he leaped down and proceeded to greet them with a friendly face.
"you do know that i saw you from a mile away," said the valsalrian that was leading the group of six.
"are you sure about that?" bacca growled before extending his arm out for a handshake.
"i'm glad to see you're well".
"likewise," the valsalrian replied, shaking bacca's scally hands.
bacca took the chance to examine the other five members before asking the same question he asked jiang fei.
"how are you still devoid of a primordial weapon, caylan," bacca asked. apparently, the two knew each other from some time ago.
"suffice to say that the trial is designed by some lunatic. two of my other teammates had withdrawn from the trial," caylan replied. besides a four-armed vulcan, the rest of the members were valsalrians.
"how so?" bacca said, snickering.
"the guardians were just too strong. after losing two of my members, i had to give up the weapon and leave. the two that had withdrawn were fatally wounded and had to be rescued," caylan explained.
"how strong?" bacca arched an eyebrow and asked. the strength of the guardian must be so strong that escaping the altar was the only option.
"we had it easy. the two were just weaker than average. i heard that someone had even encountered and killed a grundel! god knows just how many it took to defeat that monster!" caylan ranted.
"you're kidding-- a grundel?!" bacca took a step back. the cursed life form was known to have at least over 2,000,000 combat level. ignoring the lethal blood aside, its strength alone was enough to kill more than a few groups.
"it's true. someone found the remains of the battlefield and the corpse of the grundel," caylan asserted.
"who could have done that…"
"must be someone from the 7th. those f*ckers have always been helped by someone on the top brass. not to mention the number of illegal tools they had embedded in their own bodies. i wouldn't doubt if they claimed to have killed the grundel."
"says the pot to the wok," bacca teased.
"what's that supposed to mean?" caylan addressed his words. he was not liking the tone nor the message.
"you of all people know better than i about being supported," bacca taunted blatantly. it was known that caylan's father was a powerful man under commander alexis. how else would his entire team have so many valsalrians?
"do not put me with those of the 7th! i… we are different! we might have our own benefactors supporting our backs but we are not rule breakers!" caylan shot back. one of the many rules that jiang fei had skipped reading was the prohibition of carrying any tool or weapon inside the trial. some, like caylan, had special treatment but never to the point where it would be obvious. as long as no one caught them, all was forgiven. jiang fei and the use of his chengying or zhanlu sword was not allowed. but since the usage of his weapon was against an overpowered enemy, it was looked past since commander alexis himself did not say anything otherwise.
"what are you going to do now? wait for the first trial to end?" bacca probed.
"i'm actually trying to find people i know and i bumped into you. hear me out. help me procure a primordial weapon and i will return the favor," caylan declared.
bacca kept quiet for a while. he came to the trial with a carefully thought out plan. he was confident in his strength but not confident enough to defeat every trainee he met. the power of comrades was a necessity. he needed to gain the trust of his teammates first. primordial weapons were limited and it would be impossible for everyone in his team to procure one. his had planned on giving away the primordial weapon if he managed to get his hands on one. it was for leverage, to build trust and reliance in the team. if he took the primordial weapon for himself, the rest of the team might not be too happy about it.
bacca returned to the campfire to discuss the notion and returned to caylan with a final decision.
"we agree to help you with this," bacca gave a positive answer.
"jiang fei, what say you?" he turned to ask jiang fei.
"i'll only be shadowing you guys. don't mind me," he replied plainly. he was not planning on interfering with their plans but if things turned south fast, he would come in like a vulture to clean up the remains. that was if everyone was fatally injured and could no longer proceed. he had no intention to proactively snatch with the others as he was alone in the entire valsalrian army. from his vantage point, commander alexis was just someone who had an interest in his strength but not his character, unlike the old foxes in the china martial art alliance who would break their own backs just to help him.
of all the trainees present then, caylan had the most information about jiang fei. he had been fed with information gathered by his father, an officer working close with commander alexis. he knew that jiang fei was a talented fighter at only 120,000 combat level. the valsalrian army had countless other soldiers stronger than him.