1096 A Familiar Face

    Jiang Fei, Ariel, and the stoic Isabella paced across the empty halls of the Main Engine room. It took them quite some time to arrive at the final empty hall where the group of Unknowns was waiting for him.

    There were eleven of them, all hidden under thick black cloaks that masked their appearance. Even so, the aura that they were giving off allowed even Jiang Fei to sense their nature. They gave off the same presence as the two Unknowns earlier.

    Once they were within sight, Isabella vanished from Jiang Fei's side. In literally a fraction of a second later, Isabella appeared a few inches away from the group, with a deafening "bang" sound. She was unable to move any further as there was an invisible barrier, blocking her from attacking the group of Unknowns. One of them stood still while the other ten started to configure two machines that seemed to be responsible for the creation of the barrier.

    Blocked and unable to move on, Isabella pummeled the barrier with her fists. Unfortunately, no matter how hard she punched, the barrier remained erected and sturdy. Isabella's attack began to grow stronger with every punch. So much so that her punches now created sonic booms. It did not take long before flames started bursting from her punches as the speed of her punches ignited the air around the barrier. Even so! The barrier remained erected, undamaged.

    "Jiang Fei, I had assumed you would not arrive until a few minutes later," said the one hooded figure that was standing a hair's length away from Isabella's punches, behind the barrier.

    "It matters not now for I have accomplished what I had come here for."

    Stunned at the mention of his name, Jiang Fei staggered a little before he got back to his feet.

    "You know me?" Jiang Fei asked. If the enemy knew his name, the chances of him knowing much more than that would be high.

    "I do. You're not the only one that has been bestowed with knowledge of the universe," said the hooded figure. The sound of his husky voice, albeit slightly robotic, seemed incredibly familiar.

    Isabella was completely ignoring the conversation Jiang Fei and the hooded figure were having as she continued to unleash everything she had on the barrier, trying to break it.

    "Who are you?!" Jiang Fei questioned as he took a few steps closer.

    "Mhm. You and I had crossed paths several times now. Though I must say, you have a slightly different look from what I remember. It took me by surprise the first time I got to know the real you. Know that we have been watching your every move ever since," said the hooded figure as he took a step back and revealed himself to Jiang Fei.

    "You?! H-How?!"

    Befuddled, confused, and disoriented, Jiang Fei could not think straight when he saw the face of the hooded figure. It was the face that once belonged to a person that he held a grudge against for killing Isabella.

    "It's been a while, Verdure Glider."

    "Bennette Straz?!"

    How did Bennette Straz come to be in this world? Did someone revive him like how Jiang Fei revived Isabella and Ariel? It was not possible since Jiang Fei was the only one that had access to the Medical Bay and Bio-Human technology. If that was not the case, how did the Dragon God come into this world? Who was responsible for it?!

    "J-Just who are you people...?" Jiang Fei asked, his voice shaking.

    "Mhm. It's hard to explain. Even I had trouble accepting it when I first came into this... unfamiliar body. It took a while but I finally understand what I am."

    Bennette Straz paced around as he studied Jiang Fei's reaction. When he was revived into the world, he found it extremely hard to believe the fact that his existence, a Dragon God, was merely a programme created by humans, purely for entertainment purposes. However, being reborn into the world, he was given a new sense of purpose. A purpose of which he now truly accepted.

    "Who are you working for?" said Jiang Fei.

    "Now now... You have asked just the right question. Even if I'd like to tell you, this new body of mine require proper clearance before I can answer that question. Despite how well we know each other, I cannot tell you what we are," said Straz. He had retained every little bit of memory when he was still a Dragon God in the game, including the time when he first met Jiang Fei as Verdure Glider.

    "How did you know I was Verdure Glider?"

    "As I said, we have been watching you."

    "Alright. I heard enough. This ship is mine and I will fight you for it," said Jiang Fei when he realized Straz was not giving him the information he wanted.

    "Let's not be hasty. I did mention that I've accomplished what I came here for. This ship is yours. Fare thee well. Till we meet again."

    Bennette Straz smiled before a while light shimmered around him, teleporting him and the other Unknowns away.

    "0542, trace them! Find out where they are going!" Jiang Fei roared.

    "Sorry, captain. They had activated some kind of disruption field. I am unable to trace their location or where they're headed," said 0542.

    "In that case, scan this facility and give a thorough report! Also, didn't you say something about having the best security and defense? How on earth did they manage to enter this place as if it belonged to them?!" Disappointed with the previous answer, Jiang Fei roared back at 0542 furiously.

    "Captain. I do not possess the required security clearance for the Main Engine room. The only way I can obtain authority over this facility is through hacking. The intruders had probably done the same, only quicker."

    "How?! Explain! How did someone manage to obtain such advanced decryption technology that could even surpass you?!" Jiang Fei snapped, unable to believe the nonsense that 0542 was giving him. Actually, to be honest, it felt more like made-up excuses.

    "Sorry, captain. I do not possess sufficient data to answer--"

    "ENOUGH!" Jiang Fei roared before 0542 could finish whatever it was trying to say.

    "Who the f*ck are these people? How did they manage to get Straz out of the game? Are they related to the military?" Jiang Fei asked himself.

    The sudden disappearance of Bennette Straz from the game had always bugged him. He had first assumed that the military had extracted him to use him as one of their pawns. However, judging from how things turned out, it seemed like whoever or whatever organization Bennette Straz was part of might have something to do with the military. The technology they were using was just too similar to what the military had developed!

    The entire hall was empty and solemn. Isabella was still in her Berserk state, punching the erected barrier even though there was no one behind it.

    "Captain, I have bad news. All Energy Crystals in the storage facility had been taken away. Even the Main Teleportation Core had been removed," said 0542.

    Jiang Fei mind blanked out. He stood there, processing 0542's words before he fell to the ground, defeated.

    "How... GRAHHH!"

    Angry and disappointed, Jiang Fei punched the flooring of the ship, leaving a bloodied fist mark. The Main Engine room had been sitting there for more than 7,000 years. All those years of energy generation had been for naught. All those energy that he could have used to save Isabella... All gone. That wasn't even the bad news. The bad news was the missing Main Teleportation Core. If the Main Engine room was the core of Braveheart, the Main Teleportation Core was fuel for the engine! Without it, the Main Engine room would be nothing but an empty husk. The machine that was used to create the Energy Core was gone.

    "I'll hunt you down! I swear I'll kill the lot of you!" Jiang Fei roared with such volume that the walls of the empty hull reverberated a little.

    "Captain, I have one piece of good news. The Main Engine room has one backup Teleportation Core. It can only be removed with the authority of a Captain. It is still there," said 0542 after Jiang Fei was done venting his anger.

    "A backup Teleportation Core, you say?" said Jiang Fei, with hope gleaming in his eyes.

    "Yes. That Teleportation Core is not as powerful as the Main Teleportation Core as its energy production efficiency is only two-thirds of the Main Teleportation Core. Fortunately, it is still sufficient enough for us to do many things."

    "Good enough for me! I'll make do with what I have now. I don't care who the f*ck those random f*ckers are but I swear I will have them return what they had stolen from me!"

    "Captain, you can now store the facility away," said 0542.

    "Alright. Let's go home now."

    Even though he had only two-thirds of what he could have had own, the fact that someone had been one step ahead of him made Jiang Fei incredibly aggravated.

    "Someone else is here," said Ariel after she had flashed herself to his side.

    At the same time, Isabella managed to break past the barrier and destroy the machine that was creating it.
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