The re-supply station was officially known as Outreach Building 374. It was manned by a crew of 15 men and women, armed to the teeth. All of them were D or C Ranked. B Rankers were still rare to find, even in the Main Cluster. They weren’t going to encounter them left and right just because they had moved to a new zone.
After getting a deep, fulfilling rest, Micheal and Sophia had woken up and gone through their normal routines. Micheal did his workout, cultivation, and new Life Orb rest routine, becoming fully prepared for the day. Sophia practiced her bladework, working on taking her swordplay to the next stage while doing her own basic stretching and exercise.
Sword Mastery was an Ability that grew in strength at exponential levels the further you trained it. By using Intermediate Tier Sword Energy in the battle with the Black Flag Pirates, Micheal had been able to swiftly kill several of his opponents and even damage some of their weapons. Its usefulness would only grow from there, especially as his Soul stat grew stronger and he became able to use his full strength.
Micheal always went all out when Sophia was practicing and had questions. At the rate that she was practicing, after only a month, she was already showing signs of understanding how to use Sword Energy enough to condense the Basic Tier Sword Energy into Intermediate Tier Sword Energy, a very big first step.
Plenty of people bought the Ability and then never progressed past the first stage. For her to be showing signs of breaking through already was a rather impressive feat. It had taken him almost a year to break through, though he hadn’t had the help of a seasoned and skilled Grandmaster teaching him everything.
‘Status.’ As Micheal got out of a large shower, wrapping up in a veritable mountain of towels, he called to mind his status.
— – Status — –
Name: Micheal Care
Physique: 1 Star
Soul Quality: 1 Star
– Stats –
Strength – 51 -> 53
Endurance – 37 -> 39
Recovery – 35 -> 37
Soul – 20
Abilities – (4/7)
Life Orb Master
Ki Cultivator (Mortal Tier – Late)
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Grandmaster Sword Mastery (1/5)
‘Some minor increases again.’ He noted, stretching his arms as he dried off. His body was well into the realm of superhumans. If he went by raw stats, he was roughly equal to a decently strong C Ranker.
Due to the extreme variety of Abilities, there was a large swing in the average stats for any Ranker. Still, most C Rankers would reach their limit at around a Strength stat of 60-70. These stats not only came from Ki Cultivation, but also from other Abilities they had picked up, Type Abilities being the most common factor.
‘I should reach the Peak Stage of Mortal Tier tomorrow. Mortal Tier typically only grants a maximum of 40 points of Strength. I’ve already gotten a Strength stat of 42 out of it… ‘ He noted with a smile, doing the math in his head. He started with around a Strength stat of 11. He could feel the raw Ki in him, powerful and vibrant.
If one practiced Ki Cultivation for at least a few years, even the least talented person could reach the Peak Stage of the Mortal Tier. The fact that Micheal had already exceeded what even the Peak Stage should offer while still in the Late Stage was an abnormality that he had to chalk up to his 1 Star Physique. There was no feasible way to move up to a 2 Star Physique on the First Layer, but he could now understand why humanity faced such a large gap when compared to the other Races.
‘After I reach the Peak Stage, I’ll need to prepare to break through to the Earth Tier.’ Moving from one Tier to another was a huge deal for most people. Many humans remained permanently stuck at the Peak of Mortal Tier, unable to take that last step forward into Earth Tier unless they used a huge amount of Points.
That was a large part of what separated C Rankers from B Rankers.
The number of C or D Rankers in the First Layer was huge. Easily one hundred to one thousand times the number of B Rankers.
If the Mortal Tier of Ki Cultivation could enhance one’s base Strength to 40, then the Earth Tier of Ki Cultivation could enhance one’s base Strength to 80. It could effectively double one’s base stats.
The importance of this couldn’t be ignored. Many Abilities provided boosts that took into account a human’s base body and cultivation. Changing the base power of one’s body was incredibly important.
If one combined the stats of 2 C Rankers, they could most likely equal many B Rankers. However, in a fight, a B Ranker could easily annihilate 2 C Rankers. Not only did most B Rankers have access to more powerful Abilities and stronger gear, the sheer difference in stats could not be made up for in raw numbers.
The fact that Micheal’s constitution placed him among the stronger C Rankers, even without a Type Ability, and was something he achieved in around a month, was an incredibly impressive feat. The fact that he had wiped the floor with multiple B Rankers and A Rankers already was even more impressive.
‘Still… It’s only so much, when compared to the Supreme A Rankers, or worse, the S Rankers.’ He shook the somewhat self-congratulatory thoughts from his head, focusing. He couldn’t let himself get a big head just because he was making good progress. Arrogance was the first step on the path to failure.
He quickly finished drying off and got dressed. He had to maintain his image, so he wore the same type of professional looking black suit, one he could have magically cleaned by the Shop. He donned his theater mask, disguising his identity as he left his room and headed over towards Sophia’s.
He wasn’t worried about there being cameras or bugs squirreled away in their suites. This re-supply station was a random, low-level place, and no one would dare to offend actual Emissaries in such a manner. While everyone was obligated to follow the rules of the Angels Arcadia, angering people that were far stronger than you was typically a very poor decision.
Sophia was also staying in a type of VIP suite, her identity as an Emissary accepted without question thanks to Micheal. As he headed over there, he yawned slightly, feeling relaxed and comfortable.
It was still early morning as he walked through the brightly lit hallway. The luxury suites in this skyscraper were located on the 28th floor, decently close to the top. Micheal spotted a pair of guards for the Angels Arcadia standing watch on the floor, on either end of the long hallway. He gave them both a slight nod.
Sophia’s room was just a couple of doors down from his. He knocked on the door to it, studying it and his surroundings closely.
The hallway had a plain, red carpet and grey colored walls. Fluorescent lights lit it up from above, giving it a modern appearance. The door in front of him was made of wood, lined with golden carvings and drawings, looking rather out of place.
A few seconds after he knocked, the door shifted and opened up.
A woman wearing a sad looking theater mask, dressed in a form-fitting black dress, stood on the other end.
Sophia immediately waved him in.
He walked inside, his eyes scanning the room. It was luxurious, just like his, and looked almost identical. He walked over to a small couch and sat down on it, taking off his mask.
“Morning, Sofa!” He gave her a cheeky grin.
Sophia rolled her eyes as she took her mask off, locking the door behind her.
“Good morning.” She begrudgingly replied.
“So, what’s our big plan?” She continued, cutting right to the chase as she walked over.
“What are we doing next?” She looked at him inquisitively.
“We… are splitting up.” Micheal smiled dramatically.
“Huh?” She stared at him.
“But first, let me hand you this.” He pulled out a package from his Spatial Ring, one that was wrapped up in cloth, and gave it to her as she sat down next to him.
“What is…?” She gestured at the package.
“It’s one of the things I worked on while we were waiting in the Stardust Cluster for the Great Bridge.” He had had quite a bit of free time there and made several preparations.
“It’s something you’ll need to use in the future to complete the tasks I have for you.” He waved off further questions as he went on,
“We need to split up. Your job will be to find two people and have them join us.” He held up two fingers as he spoke, emphasizing the point,
“One of them is Shin, I told you about him. He should have the Warping Phaser Ability that allows him to teleport.”
“Okay. I can do that. But where is he at?” After a moment’s pause, she responded, looking at him pensively.
“He’ll be located in the north side of the Main Cluster, in the area under the control of the Godfather Organization. As for finding him…” Micheal rubbed his chin. This was one of the things he’d spoken to Shin about before they were warped away, way back in the beginning.
“The Godfather Organization has created their own sort of closed-off virtual network.” Micheal pulled out a smartphone from his Spatial Ring.
It was a modern, touchscreen phone, the Shop’s changed version of an iPhone. It was far more durable and less likely to crack. Plus, you could easily get the screen repaired if you needed to with the Shop, a veritable miracle in and of itself when compared to how things worked back on Earth.
“A virtual network? Like, the internet?” Sophia replied, a hint of excitement appearing in her voice.
“Kinda like that.” Micheal explained.
The physics of the Seven Layers weren’t exactly the same as the physics of Earth. Most of the major things were identical, but several of the more complex things sometimes differed.
There were better explanations for the change, but Micheal didn’t know them. He had never been very science minded, beyond workable tools he could use, like the Concentrated Burn Liquid.
All he knew was that these complications made it difficult to create, for example, a brand new internet.
Over the past 3 years, many people worked hard to get around that. The Godfather Organization had created one such workaround, though only for their Main Cluster section.
They made a closed-off network that had a small number of sites that could be accessed. One of those sites had a large, open forum that anyone could create a thread in.
“Shin will have put up his own unique thread. Once you get into the Godfather Organization’s territory, you just need to check where that is and head to it. Their basic closed network is open to anyone with a smartphone, with reception that covers the entire north half of the Main Cluster.” Micheal finished, his explanation leaving no room for doubt.
“How will I find that thread, though?” Sophia replied, her eyes squinting.
“As for that… well…” Micheal sighed,
“Search for a thread titled ‘Super Ultra Warrior Respect Thread.'”
“Su… Super Ultra Warrior Respect Thread?” She stared at him incredulously.
“…yes…” Micheal’s mouth twitched.
‘Couldn’t you have said you’d use a more normal name, Shin?!’ He mentally complained as he sighed out loud.
“Hahaha!” Sophia giggled out loud, unable to help herself as she stared at him, merriment in her eyes.
“You and your friend have some things in common, huh?” She smiled with delight, and a hint of smugness.
“And what is that supposed to mean, you lumpy couch.” Micheal replied with feigned annoyance.
Sophia glared at him in response.
“Cough, cough… Ahem. Anyway…” Micheal faked a few coughs, returning his attention back to focus.
“As for the other person you need to find… its a man you need to convince to temporarily join us on a mission.” His eyes turned serious,
“The Brigadier General of the Old Airwing Military Alliance.”
Sophia frowned as she heard the title of the man Micheal described.
“He sounds important.” She stated the obvious.
“He is.” Micheal shrugged. There wasn’t an easy way around this request.
“He will be the key to one of the parts of our main mission here, one of the things we absolutely have to do before leaving for the next Layer, apart from searching for your little sister.”
Sophia listened to him speak, her eyes widening as she heard his serious tone and how he talked about their mission.
“Oh? What is that?” She looked at him, full of curiosity.
“We need to murder most of the leadership of the Nightrunners.”
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