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Star Rank Hunter - Chapter 326: I Was Thinking
Chapter 326: I Was Thinking
Ghost Butterfly Seventeen frowned when he heard the question. “What do you mean?”
Cillin shot him a glance before saying, “Sure, keep pretending like you don’t know these people. Tell me, what are the chances that three separate earthquakes would happen at a non-seismic zone at the same time, and send a stampede straight toward the area we were hunting? It’s obvious that they were created artificially. These people wanted us to die to a stampede or assassinate us while we were busy protecting ourselves. But they were really your trouble, weren’t they?”
But Ghost Butterfly and Swallowtail exchanged and saw real confusion in each other’s eyes. They truly had no idea what Cillin was talking about.
“These people were trying to kill you?” Ghost Butterfly Seventeen asked tentatively.
This time, it was Cillin and Eudy’s turn to be surprised. It didn’t look like the duo was pretending.
“Yes, that’s correct,” Cillin confirmed.
“Did you consider that they attacked you because they were targeting someone in your crew?” Ghost Butterfly Seventeen asked again.
Cillin recalled the battle from earlier and couldn’t deny that the possibility was there. Eudy, Cary and Xiao Shang were the ones who got attacked first, and they had served the Sixth B Squadron for a very long time. But…
“Or maybe... we are all on their kill list,” Eudy broke his long-standing silence.
Ghost Butterfly Seventeen and Swallowtail frowned even deeper. They now had an inkling who the killers might be, but there was no way to confirm their suspicion.
“Alright, let’s stop beating around the bush any longer. Who are these killers?” Cillin asked.
Swallowtail shot a look at Cillin. “How do you know that these people are killers, not hunters?”
“Professional killers do not carry themselves the same way as professional hunters.”
Cillin had run into many professional killers in his life, so he was very sensitive toward their aura. It was the main reason he was able to pick up their presence, and why he insisted that the crew make their escape on foot despite the danger they were in. The killers would’ve shot them like live targets had they tried to escape via air. The forest at least provided them some cover and removed the chances of them being killed without even knowing where the shot had come from.
“You are correct. These killers most likely belong to an organization called ‘Hades’. Of all the organizations on the Killer Leaderboard, Hades is the only one who chooses to deploy cloaked killers whenever possible,” Ghost Butterfly Seventeen answered.
According to the Killer Leaderboard, Hades was a top five killer organization in GAL. Moreover, their ranking had been rising in a straight line for the past two years, and they showed the potential to enter the top three. Usually, it was very difficult to gauge the power gap between the top three killer organizations, which was why a new competitor like Hades was currently quite famous in GAL.
Ghost Butterfly Seventeen continued, “Hades and Heaven’s Birth had formed an alliance. As you are already aware, the only way to survive the current chaos in GAL is to join up with another force, and the killer organizations were no exception. While most hunter regiments focused on absorbing smaller hunter regiments, Heaven’s Birth did that and befriended the likes of Hades as well. Not only that, they are currently hostile toward Blue Butterfly and have clashed against us multiple times already.”
Ghost Butterfly Seventeen pointed at himself and the silent Swallowtail next to him weakly. “We were in a squad until we had a fallout with Heaven’s Birth. After they allied with Hades, our situation became so bad that we were forced to split up and go our own separate ways. The killers you fought are probably the ones who were tracking us.
After Swallowtail and I split away from the squad, a malfunction broke out in our spaceplane and forced us to land on this planet. After a discussion, we decided to abandon the transport, hide ourselves and recuperate while we wait for our hunter regiment to save us. However, the alien beasts on this planet turned out to be much more difficult than we anticipated, and our injuries actually got worse instead of improving. Then we ran into you, and you know the rest.”
Blue Butterfly was famous for being the org with exceptionally powerful combatants in them, but it made sense that a small squad would find it very difficult to fend off both Heaven’s Birth and Hades all by themselves; one coming at them from the front and the other from the dark.
“However, I really don’t know why Hades would go after you. They’re attacking us because we belong to Blue Butterfly, and they already made it clear that they were hostile toward us, but you? If they don’t recognize you, they wouldn’t have attacked you carelessly. But they must have, seeing as they created that stampede to force us out to reveal ourselves, and to eliminate you at the same time. They must know that by doing this, they’re practically declaring war on two of the four greatest hunter regiment in GAL. What were they thinking? Was there a reason behind their confidence? I don’t understand this at all,” Ghost Butterfly ended his sentence with a shrug.
Cillin and Eudy shared his and Swallowtail’s puzzlement as well. Although they weren’t members of the A Squadron, they still belonged to Vanguard. And yet these killers had practically gone all out to kill them from the very beginning. Eudy couldn’t help but feel a chill down his spine when he recalled the crisis. If Cillin hadn’t shown up in time, he would be grievously wounded or saying hello to his ancestors already.
In the end, Cillin couldn’t make heads or tails out of this. He simply had too few information to go by, not to mention that he was absent from GAL for almost three years. Many things could’ve happened during this time.
“By the way, do you happen to have anything on Mist and Merciless?” Cillin asked.
“Sorry. It’s true that most killer organizations are looking to merge with another entity or form alliances, but those two are absolutely the exceptions. Even if they are looking to ally with someone, their partner could only be an equal like Grim Reaper, or key figure among the four hunter regiments. There’s just no way someone at my level could obtain any info like this.”
Cillin asked a couple more questions but couldn’t find the information he wanted. In the end, he allowed the duo to take their leave.
Ghost Butterfly Seventeen took two step toward the exit before stopping in his tracks. Then, he turned around and asked, “By the way, are those Hades killers still in that forest?”
Cillin replied calmly, “No. They’re dead.”
Ghost Butterfly Seventeen and Swallowtail: “...”
Originally, they were going to gather some information regarding the Hades killers, convene with their reinforcements and head back for revenge, but Cillin had stifled that plan before it was even hatched.
“They’re… all dead?” There has to be at least thirty of them, right?
Cillin took a moment to recall. “Well I don’t know for sure, but we left behind around thirty bodies when we made our escape. There could’ve been a few lucky stragglers who escaped our notice.”
A muscle twitched in Ghost Butterfly Seventeen’s face, and he turned around to leave the meeting room.
“I’ll ask Wheeze to send you the bill later,” Cillin added at the last moment.
Ghost Butterfly Seventeen stumbled when he heard this. He should’ve known that Cillin wouldn’t inject them with those high quality medicine for free! I hate bills! Bills are the most disgusting thing in the world!
The two Blue Butterfly hunters talked to themselves in small voices after they exited the meeting room.
“Since when did the Vanguard B Squadrons have a squad that was this amazing? If what he said was true, they had wiped out at least thirty Hades killers without suffering any serious injuries. They looked a bit tired, but that’s about it,” Swallowtail said.
Ghost Butterfly Seventeen was just as confused as his partner was. His knowledge of the Vanguard B Squadron was only limited to those who were lieutenant commander rank and above, and it was a complete coincidence he came to encounter Cillin, much less everyone else. He never thought that there was a need to pay attention to any B Squadron until this one destroyed his common sense completely.
Just who are these people? Their combat strength alone puts them on par with their A Squadrons!
They didn’t walk far until they saw Shusag crouching at a corner and smoking on his lonesome. Ghost Butterfly Seventeen immediately started jogging toward him.
Meanwhile, Shusag was busy reflecting the encounter with the killers. This was the second band of killers he encountered in his life, and they were definitely stronger than the killers that the minor noble had sent after him after he retired from the army. That didn’t surprise him, however. What really surprised him was Cillin telling that these killers were only considered average in GAL. If middle level killers were all it took to almost take his life, what about the actually strong ones? He would be cattle waiting to be slaughtered if he ever ran into them. I can’t let this be. I need to train harder.
Shusag was just wondering how to improve his strength when he saw Ghost Butterfly Seventeen waving at him.
“Hey there, brother! Can I ask you a question? How many people are in this squad?”
Shusag blew out a smoke ring from his mouth. That the youngster had addressed him as “brother” instead of “uncle” had improved his mood tremendously, so he replied, “Haven’t you met most of them already?”
Ghost Butterfly Seventeen’s mouth fell open, but in the end he only managed to get out an awkward chuckle before heading toward the lounge Cillin had arranged for them.
“Swallowtail, are we really the hunter regiment with the strongest individual combatants?”
Swallowtail mulled over the question seriously before replying, “We used to be.”
Which basically meant that he wasn’t sure if it was true now, or it would still be the case in the future.
Although the duo were surprised that this seemingly unreliable band of people had managed to take out thirty Hades killers without any trouble, their worry also subsided a little. It was because they knew that Vanguard Eleventh B Squadron was probably an anomaly. If every B Squadron was as strong as this one, the Great Four wouldn’t be the Great For a long time ago.
After Ghost Butterfly Seventeen and Swallowtail had left, Cillin and Eudy exchanged opinions with each other until Beaver came over to tell him that they had a transmission from the A Squadrons. Cillin told him to direct the transmission to their meeting room directly.
A hologram appeared on top of the table, and a familiar face looked at the both of them. The man wore a black hat which brim covered up almost half his face. The sharp eyes hidden beneath it could always stop a person in their tracks.
“Senior Songba Leruo,” Cillin greeted formally.
The man’s expression was as indecipherable as ever, but this time his eyes were clearly etched with seriousness.
“Cillin, I only have one major thing to speak with you at this time. A while ago, the Seventh B Squadron was attacked by the hunter regiment, Heaven’s Birth and the killer organization, Hades. They suffered major casualties. If they haven’t had good safeguards in place, and if the Third B Squadron haven’t reached them in time, we might’ve had to rebuilt the entire squadron.”
It was that bad? Both Cillin and Eudy shivered with apprehension. Usually, rebuilding a squadron was brought up only when at least half the crew were seriously injured or killed in action. It showed just how bad the Seventh B Squadron’s damage was.
“Long story short, our relationship with Heaven’s Birth is very stained right now. You must be careful if you run into them!” Songba Leruo said.
“I know. In fact, we just fought off a group of killers.” Cillin gave him a summary of what had happened earlier.
“I see. Well, my advice is still the same: stay alert, and don’t give anyone your full trust during this uncertain times. Lastly, the higher-ups have decided to hold a meeting fifty galactic days later. All B Squadron commanders and lieutenant commanders are required to attend as well.”
After finishing his conversation with Songba Leruo, Cillin tried to contact Moon only to discover that he couldn’t, which was practically impossible considering that they were both on the same vessel. So, he contacted Sigma instead.
Sigma was currently working in his indoors fruit garden. He had discovered a lot of good saplings on the hunting planet, and he was planning to plant them without altering their DNA. He much preferred natural plants than engineered ones.
Cillin asked Sigma about his fruit garden first before he talked about business. It was a blessing to be able to eat fresh fruits while they were in the middle of a space travel, and Sigma’s reports satisfied him greatly. The robot was very talented in this department.
Finally, Cillin inquired Sigma about Moon. “Do you know what’s going on with Moon? I couldn’t contact him.”
“Oh, Moon said he was tired and wanted to take a break. He wants us to leave him alone for now,” Sigma replied.
Tired? A robot who can work for an indefinite amount of time just by absorbing light energy says he’s tired? What a load of bullshit!
But before Cillin could probe any deeper, the blank screen on the meeting table started flashing erratically with symbols and characters. In fact, every electronic equipment in the meeting room started malfunctioning in some ways.
In the gaming room, Tang Qiuqiu was playing against Cary in a 1v1 shooting game. Because Snowball had accidentally bumped into Tang Qiuqiu while playing with Scarlet Wind, she made a rather serious mistake that Cary didn’t let slip. He was hooting about how he was going to take the lead and was actually about to do so when suddenly, the game froze without warning.
Cary was high with excitement, and the spectators were just as engrossed in the duel as he was. No one was expecting something like this to happen.
Just like the electronic equipment in Cillin’s meeting room, the ones in the gaming room started malfunctioning in various ways. The lights were flashing more and more rapidly as well.
The gang’s first reaction was: FUCK, of all the times for the game to crash!
Their second reaction was: Enemy attack!
Dias’ two-year old son, Locke was rolling around with Snowball when the unusual incident happened. The baby widened its eyes curiously and let out a cute cry of surprise, “Eh—”
Snowball was already embracing the baby protectively before he could finish exclaiming his surprise. It was just in case something bad happened too quickly for them to react.
“What’s going on? Is it an enemy attack, or did we run into an ionic storm?” Everyone rushed out of the gaming room and ran toward the bridge. The only one who didn’t react to the anomaly at all was Wheeze; too engrossed in its bag of fish biscuits to give a care in the world, especially because it knew what was going on. All it did in response to the crew’s panic was to flick its ears and continue eating its fish biscuits.
On the way to the bridge, the crew ran into Cillin just as he exited the meeting room. However, Cillin simply said, “no need to panic” before striding away toward somewhere.
“What happened?” Ghost Butterfly and Swallowtail had exited their lounge as well to see what happened. Their first thought was that the enemy had caught up to them.
“No idea, but the commander said that there’s no need to panic, and that we should get back to whatever we were doing,” Cary replied.
Back to Cillin. Paying the crew’s guesses no heed, the young man went straight to Moon and Sigma’s lounge and pressed the door bell. When he got no response, he pressed it repeatedly to no avail.
“Moon! What are you doing?!” This time, Cillin asked using the machine language.
A long time later, the lounge door finally slid open. Standing at the entrance, Moon tilted his head and said innocently, “I was thinking.”
Cillin: “... what kind of deep stuff were you thinking, exactly?”
He didn’t voice out the latter half of his question: Did you know that your “thinking” just wrecked more than half of the equipment on the ship?