1262 Pulling Punches

    "Well... they are naturally strong," 0541 answered awkwardly, like a dog looking all guilty and sad.

    "Strong? That's almost superman's level! Just how are their Level 5s like?" Jiang Fei gasped.

    "Well, to put it mildly... it's around there. But their numbers... Earth is but one planet. There are an uncountable number of planets out there hosting numerous powerful individuals," 0541 explained. What 0541 failed to explain was that although they might be in the same category, their combat powers would be heaven and earth when compared to Earthly Level 5 Metahumans. Bella might be strong enough to completely dominate any other Level 5, but there were those of different species even, that could fight her toe to toe. It was the same as the Valsalrians. Even though no one in their species had broken through the realm of Level 6, they were still colossally strong that deeming them as Level 6s wouldn't be wrong.

    "Confound it... After this fight, we might have to leave Earth," Jiang Fei huffed and puffed, disappointed. Before the fight began, before he had actually witnessed the might of a lowly Valsalrian Squad Captain, Jiang Fei had thought that they could defeat every one of them with the power of the Core of Will. Right now, he could at most defeat the strongest Valsalrian with the power of the 10th Dimension, but what of the rest? Just how many were there?!

    What Jiang Fei understood from 0541's words was, the strongest Level 5 fighter of the Valsalrian might have a power reading exceeding everyone else by the tens of millions. But even if he could defeat the strongest foe, after using up the power of the Core of Will, there would still be more opponents coming after him. Earth would still be destroyed.

    "Just sort of game I am playing now? What kind of Nightmare mode is this?! Just when I thought I have cleared the game, I've only scratched the tutorial! I'm done. I'm so done with this." Jiang Fei sighed. Even though he meant well, genuinely concerned about the wellbeing of Earth and all of its occupants, Jiang Fei was still weak in the cosmic scale of things. Alas, the best move was to just escape with a handful of others.

    While Jiang Fei was gravely saddened by recent events, Balsris and Isabella were still going all out at each other. Sylphy was knocked to the side, officially defeated. Isabella, constantly feeding on the Core of Life, was fighting with Balsris with everything she's got. The two fighters' power level was nothing Jiang Fei had ever seen and for Sylphy... she could only stay out of their way, not wanting to be a bother to Isabella.

    "How is the battle going?" Jiang Fei asked as he stared at Ceres from a safe orbit distance. Massive pulses of energy could be seen exploding from the surface of Ceres. That was merely the excess energy that got sent out into space as the two clashed with each other. At this moment, Jiang Fei's eyes could only pick up the damage they were causing to Ceres. Their speed... their movements... were too much for a Level 4 to witness and understand.

    "They are still going at it."

    "Can Bella win this?" Jiang Fei asked, curious. The power of that Valsalrian was completely miscalculated.

    "She could. At the very least, she could never be defeated," 0541 explained confidently.

    "What does that mean?"

    "It means she could never be defeated by her enemy. Balsris might be a Valsalrian, but he is currently relying on his own power whereas Isabella has a bottomless source of power she could draw from to sustain her. With time, Balsris would exhaust his own power and when that happens, Isabella could defeat him easily, if she hadn't already."

    "F*cking hell..."

    Jiang Fei was not convinced. He was somewhat relieved but he understood clearly what 0541 implied. Isabella was currently Jiang Fei's strongest fighter in his faction and even so, she would have to rely on wearing out her enemy to defeat him! And that was just a squad captain! What about other strongest opponents? What then?

    It only made sense now. If they weren't strong to begin with, they would have been eliminated or exterminated completely while going through so many worlds to rob them.

    As time passed, Jiang Fei's worries became boredom. According to 0541's logs, the fight between Isabella and Balsris was entering the sixth solar period, a total of 144 hours and counting. Even after so long, there was no clear winner. Sylphy had already been teleported back to Braveheart at the first hour of the fight as she could not be useful then.

    At the 145th hour, the fight started to show results. Isabella's moves had slowly transitioned toward offense. After so long, Isabella was not showing any signs of fatigue while Balsris was out of breath.

    "Bastard! Too careless!" Balsris cursed himself. He was able to fully suppress all of Isabella's attacks yet every time an opportunity revealed itself, Isabella would make a dramatic comeback. For every wound that he had inflicted on her, Isabella would appear to be unscathed in the next second.

    Before he could even react properly, Isabella would have had started to make her move. By the time Balsris tried to defend himself, Isabella was finally able to plant her fist deep into Balsris' hardened skull. At this point, knowing fully well that he was out of power, out of moves, and out of energy, he could not escape her anymore.

    "It's time. 0541, seal the spacetime node around Ceres. Do not let that thing escape!" Jiang Fei ordered. He knew how the battle would proceed from there and he would try his best to escape.

    "Aye, captain," 0541 acknowledged his words. Braveheart might be tens of thousands of years obsolete, but it still had the best technology of its time. Preventing a Level 5 fighter from teleporting away was nothing but a small feat.

    "Dammit! Dammit all!" Balsris panicked. He had dug his own grave and realized there was no way out. By the 168th hour, Balsris was defeated. At this point, his only concern was surviving; taking every other hit and only blocking lethal strikes from Isabella. Even so, taking normal hits from Isabella was not a good idea. Accumulated damages could be seen all over his body. There were bleeding bruises all over him, his left shoulder was bent in the wrong way, his right arm was not lifting, and he had even lost an eyeball.

    "Inform Bella to capture him alive. I need to ask him a few questions," Jiang Fei ordered 0541. In the next instance, 0541 relayed Jiang Fei's message with a telepathic beam.

    A few hours after, Isabella returned to the ship, carrying a defeated Balsris over her tiny shoulders. Right now, Balsris was conscious but he was too overwhelmed by pain and fatigue to make any snappy comments.

    "Ooof! Bella, you really let yourself go there!" Jiang Fei gasped after he had examine Balsris condition.

    "Are you telling me to pull my punches? When there's a powerful enough opponent for me to go all out?" Isabella winked and spouted.

    "Hur hur... Rest. You deserve it," Jiang Fei pulled Isabella close to him and patted her head.

    "Think of a way to preserve the alien's life. I still need him conscious enough to answer my questions," Jiang Fei ordered after Isabella had left the room. He had questions about the universe and its current state but he did not want Balsris to recover his strength to fight. The alien had proven itself to be strong. If anything, he could even tear the ship apart with his bare hands.
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