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As hyperdrive streams of light dashed across the dark cosmic space, the traces left by the Arcane Church fleet in retreat awoke the dynasty's surveillance buoys one after another, not hiding their movements even a little bit.

Inside the Glorious Sun Grade main ship, the five Beyond Grade As including Sagman and Psyker gathered and looked at the fleet commander, Rogue, whose eyes never shifted away from the star map.

"Planet Lighthouse is at the edge of the Dawn Star Cluster and very close to the desolate universe belt. If we continue to retreat at full speed, we will get out of this security perimeter very soon," Rogue said with a deep voice.

The transmission of energy and light took time; given the sheer size of the universe, plenty of remote detection methods had delays. Transmitting real-time information through quantum communication technology was one of the more common methods used. However, the universe was way too large. There was no way the dynasty would be able to deploy surveillance buoys in every corner of the cosmic space. The security perimeter usually spread out from the stronghold planet as its center with diminishing density of surveillance buoys as the distance increased.

At this time, the Arcane Church had already escaped to the exterior security perimeter of Planet Lighthouse and was entering deep into the desolate universe belt. With absolutely no time to spare, clearing out the buoys was meaningless; they would be located in the end anyway. Therefore, Rogue did not mind the fact that their route was exposed to the dynasty. After all, he was not going to go straight to the secret stargate.

The plan was to enter stealth mode in an area with little to no buoys in the desolate universe belt so that they could get rid of the dynasty's direct surveillance. They would then split into hundreds of groups to make detours before heading to the secret stargate.

This way, a large number of the groups would be considered as abandoned. The moment their fleet departed, the location of the secret stargate had shifted. The original secret stargate location was abandoned, but this information was not updated on the star map. The only people who knew about this were the core members such as Rogue and the Beyond Grade As. This was to prevent the other groups from leaking the location of the secret stargate if they were captured by the dynasty.

Of course, these other groups were not completely abandoned; they were smoke screens. When Rogue, the Beyond Grade As, and the core groups successfully escaped, only then would these other groups be told the real location. That way, even if the location of the secret stargate was exposed, the impact would be much smaller. After all, they could destroy the stargate anytime to prevent further damage or even make those groups return from the desolate universe belt—their time was not precious at all.

"Quickly, the risks we're taking increase every minute we spend in the Flickering World," Sagman said.


"If all you can say are useless and meaningless things that everyone knows, you'd better stop speaking. Thanks to you, the risks we're taking now are completely meaningless!" Rogue did not hold back at all. His tone had traces of rage.

He had just reported the battle results to the Bishops, which had earned him a massive scolding. With the thought of his future not being the brightest in mind, he could not help but feel a rage boiling inside him. Hence, he was not in the mood to hold his emotions back toward these Beyond Grade As who had caused this operation to fail.

Getting so bluntly yelled at, Sagman's skin tightened. He thought about it for a second but did not say anything. It was true that the Beyond Grade A battlefield was what had decided the outcome and led to this failure, so he was indeed somewhat to blame.

The other four did not say anything either. They were now all on the same boat fleeing in the dynasty's territory, so no one had time to mind Rogue's disrespect.

Psyker's face looked the worst. Thinking of the fact that his friend, Dylan, was now in the dynasty's hands made his mood extremely horrible. He could not be bothered with anything else.

Seeing that no one spoke, Rogue snorted and said, "The dynasty is definitely dispatching troops to block our escape route. However, you need not worry too much; this is just a fake route. Also, most of the dynasty's fleet nearby went to support Planet Lighthouse, and it will take some time for the more distant strongholds to send out fleets. Therefore, even if we happen to be blocked, we can easily eliminate whoever's on the way. The only thing we need to worry about is the dynasty's Beyond Grade As chasing after us. According to the current situation, Tarrokov will wait for the reinforcements to arrive before making moves. Pity, I almost thought we could lure them in and set up a trap…"

While Rogue analyzed the situation, Sagman and the others were discussing the situation privately through psychic communication.

"Given the size of the fleet, we'll still be just as conspicuous even if we split up. Maybe we should leave the fleet and take mini spaceships. That's stealthier," Taylor said.

"We can consider that, but let's talk about this after the main fleet splits up."

When fleeing, the survivability and stealth of a Beyond Grade A acting alone far exceeded moving together with the fleet. As individuals with great powers who were not affected by the harsh environment of space, if they randomly hid on a desolate planet, no one would be able to find them.

This was especially true for Ninjia and Taylor, who had mastered forbidden spells. Without the enemies' interference, their teleportation spells were among the best abilities for escaping.

Rogue was worried that they might be chased by the dynasty's Beyond Grade As, so he wanted to keep Sagman and the others around. What he did not know was, Sagman and the others were also thinking about using the main fleet as bait to draw the dynasty's attention.



In another direction, the Fallen Ark's fleet was also retreating at full speed.

Due to the sudden rupture, EsGod's fleet had cut off contact with the Arcane Church. Without any communication channel, the two of them did not know each other's whereabouts at all and only focused on escaping on their own.

However, EsGod had one advantage. They had forced their way in from the exterior security perimeter, so they had deliberately destroyed quite a number of surveillance buoys on the way. This had caused some areas to be blind spots, which assisted in their escape.

Inside the main ship's command room, Fakisen looked away from the star map and turned to the EsGod doppelganger beside him.

EsGod's main body had already found an enclosed room to undergo evolution, and no one knew how long that would take. Before EsGod started his evolution, he had created some doppelgangers to protect himself and monitor the movement of the fleet.

EsGod was wary of everyone. Even his helpful assistant who had accompanied him for a hundred years, Fakisen was no exception. In times when his main body was the weakest, the only person he really trusted was himself.

"He still doesn't trust me…"

Fakisen's spike-filled tongue licked the blood-red metal mask that covered the upper half of his face, making an annoying scratching noise. Air pumped out from his nose like he was sneering.

Right in front of EsGod's doppelganger, Fakisen lifted his dry brunch-looking four arms. Purple fog flew out from his dark purple skin, forming a sphere in midair.

Then, he summoned a subordinate and gave the orb to him. "Empty an ordinary battleship, remove its energy core and AI system, and leave it as an empty shell. Put this orb inside that spaceship, then abandon it and let it drift around on the path we passed by. The dynasty troops chasing us will discover this spaceship."

The EsGod doppelganger turned to him and said coldly, "What are you trying to do?"

"Hehe…" Fakisen's laughter was eerie. "I'm planning to contact the dynasty…"

Bang!

The moment he said that, the EsGod doppelganger immediately grabbed him by his neck and lifted him up, pressing him against the wall.

"Are you selling me out?"

Although his throat was grabbed by EsGod, Fakisen was not afraid at all. Instead, he laughed even louder. "Hahaha, I'm planning to work together with the dynasty. If they can give us information about the Arcane Church, we can send some of our people to intercept them. They're pawns anyway. We're the closest to the Arcane Church. With our help, the dynasty will be able to drag the Arcane Church back more efficiently."

"There's no need for that," the EsGod doppelganger said coldly.

"No, there definitely is a need. The dynasty surely wants to fight the Arcane Church more than us. There are many Beyond Grade As over there, which makes them much more valuable. If the dynasty can capture them, the Arcane Church will lose close to half of their Beyond Grade As. The dynasty will not give up such an amazing opportunity to cause damage to the Arcane Church. And when the dynasty puts their focus on the Arcane Church, Your Excellency EsGod, the pressure you face will be much smaller. Hehehe."

Fakisen's tone was filled with mockery as he continued, "After fleeing at such a crucial moment, the Arcane Church is definitely going to hold a grudge against us for it. When we return to the Central Galaxy, we're going to face both the Crimson dynasty and the Arcane Church. If we do this, not only will the dynasty be less furious at us, the Arcane Church will be weakened too. This means that the Beyond Grade As you'll have to face will be much fewer. Furthermore, if the Arcane Church do suffer such an enormous loss, they probably won't have chance to come make trouble for us any time soon."

The EsGod doppelganger asked, "How do I know you're not going to sell out my location?"

"Hee, if Your Excellency is not assured, please leave an EsGod doppelganger in that empty spaceship all you like, to monitor the communication between me and the dynasty. If you think I sold out your location… Hehe, I'm right here. You can kill me anytime."

The EsGod doppelganger stayed silent for a while before suddenly saying, "I'll leave a doppelganger behind to negotiate with the dynasty. You don't have to participate in it."

Although this idea Fakisen had was strange and sudden to him, he thought it did indeed make sense. After all, even if the negotiation went south, it would just be a doppelganger getting eliminated.

"Hehe, that'll do too."

As the EsGod doppelganger let Fakisen go, he landed on the ground, rubbed his neck, and called a subordinate over. He broke the fog orb that he had just made apart and absorbed the fog back into his body. Then, he acted as if nothing had happened and continued to observe the star map.

No one could see Fakisen's eyes under the blood-red mask that covered the upper half of his face, and no one knew what he was thinking… Speaking of which, no one actually knew how he saw with his eyes covered.



The intense battle at Planet Lighthouse had ended, but this whole thing was far from over. Under Tarrokov's command, the dynasty's fleets started their pursuit of the Arcane Church and the Fallen Ark's fleets.

Before the shock, confusion, and curiosity of the army players who flocked to Bun-Hit-Dog's posts broadcasting about the battlefield's turn of events dissipated, a new mission popped up on everyone's interface.

Before this, the Black Star Army players only knew that Planet Lighthouse was attacked, there were around ten Beyond Grade As fighting, and their army commander Black Star was one of them. As for the identity of the attackers, the cause of this incident, or anything else, they had no idea at all.

This mission, however, explained all this and brought even more shock to the players.

_____________________

The Crimson dynasty Order: All Out Pursuit

Mission Introduction: In order to obtain the Evolution Cube and cause conflicts, the Arcane Church worked together with the Fallen Ark and attacked the dynasty's outpost in the Flickering World. There were seven enemy Beyond Grade As. However, with the help of the dynasty's ally Black Star, Milizaus, Beyoni, and the friend invited by Black Star, Austin, we successfully defeated the enemies! Currently, these two fleets are now fleeing in the Flickering World. All forces are hereby dispatched to pursue the enemies and uphold the dynasty's dignity—Crimson Dynasty Exploration Army Chief Commander, Tarrokov.

Mission Requirements: Chase after the Arcane Church and the Fallen Ark's fleets, find out their whereabouts, and eliminate their men to the best of your ability.

Rewards will be given after the mission ends depending on your performance.

_____________________

Knowing what had happened, the Shattered Star Ring page on the forums exploded.

"The Arcane Church attacked the Crimson Dynasty? Are the Universal Civilizations going to start a war with each other‽"

"No wonder as many as eleven Beyond Grade As appeared in one huge fight. That's the reason behind it. Is the Army Commander okay? Is he still alive?"

"Their target is the army commander's Evolution Cube, so this was actually caused by the army commander, huh?"

"Damn, targeted by a Universal Civilization yet managed to force them away, awesome!"

"The Black Star Army is the Crimson dynasty's ally. Does that mean that the army is now also the Arcane Church's enemy?"

"I've got a feeling that something huge is going to happen!"

This time, Bun-Hit-Dog snatched up the first-hand information. Under his post, countless players came to comment. Dozens of new comments were appearing every second, which made him extremely excited…

Following Black Star was indeed the right choice. There was explosive news every now and then!

After the initial shock, many players were thrilled. After experiencing three versions, they had discovered some patterns—the things happening in Galaxy were connected, and they influenced each other. This was an extremely orderly system. One could actually use logic to predict some of the possible incidents that might happen in the future through the intelligence and news of the various areas.

This incident involved the three largest civilizations, so it was not a small matter by any means. If the two sides went at each other, the storyline would definitely be huge.

Some people speculated that this attack might have been an early sign of a future main storyline.

Or it might even be the main storyline of the next version.

It was not impossible.

As this kind of speculation spread on the forums, some people made different speculations saying that this might be connected to what would happen during the version update period and would only appear in the next version in the form of a background introduction. Many also agreed with this.

Due to Han Xiao's past actions, the Chinese players in the Shattered Star Ring had developed a habit of guessing the large-scale storyline of the versions. The Australians and Russians from the Constellation Corridor joined in on the discussion, too, mixing into this atmosphere filled with excitement.

While all kinds of speculations circulated the forums, the Black Star Army were not just occupied with arguing on the forums but also took part in the pursuit.

Although most people were too far away and could not make any contributions, the army players were used to participating in large-scale Faction Missions together as a whole. Furthermore, this mission did not have a failure condition, so they would probably receive the minimum reward as long as they made an effort to chase after the enemies.

The Flickering World was still in a state of information lockdown; its network was not fully connected with the known universe yet. Other than the ones involved in the matter, the other forces in the outside world still did not know what had happened in the Flickering World.

The players were the first group of outsiders that knew about these secret pieces of information. This time, the forums displayed its unique information advantage—while the outside world did not have a clue about this matter, almost all the players knew about what had happened on Planet Lighthouse!

The forces of the three civilizations were spread across the entire explored universe. Their influence was incomparable. No matter which Star Field the players were in, they could all feel the intense and uptight atmosphere. They all looked forward to seeing what kind of tremendous impact this incident would cause after the outside world knew about it!



On the other side, Tarrokov's main fleet took off from Planet Lighthouse to chase after the Arcane Church. The five Beyond Grade As—Han Xiao, Milizaus, Beyoni, Heber, and Ravenlaude—were working together on this very rare occasion.

Not long after departure, the high-level official who was responsible for the dynasty's logistics contacted Han Xiao upon Urranrell's request, giving him more than enough face by asking him personally about what Ultimate Knowledges he wanted.


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