Book 3 Chapter 4.1

Book 3 Chapter 4.1 - Swamp

Three days after speaking to General Morgan, Su gave Ricardo his goodbyes before heading out of Dragon City together with Li Gaolei. While commanding their fleet of four transport vehicles, they slowly headed northwest. Su prepared to reestablish a twenty man troop around Pendulum City’s surroundings with ten members in the main force and ten to rotate. Because Li had still not completely recovered from her injuries, she temporarily stayed behind in Dragon City. 

General Morgan’s map had already been completely engraved inside of Su’s eternal memory region, merging together with the messy collection of real and complete maps stored there.

On that hand drawn map, the area the Black Dragonriders occupied was only a fourth of the total area. There were striking markings made at various points that indicated different enemies as well as locations that were assessed to be dangerous. 

To the northwest of Dragon City was the Scorpions of Disaster’s marking, the danger level labeled as category three with a deep yellow color. Meanwhile, in the north, there was a cross. The name of this organization was written with the category of a bright red color, Holy Crusaders. Back then, Su’s eyes rested on that cross for several seconds. Below the cross were two dark golden shield patterns, indicating that there were two dragonrider generals currently fighting in the northern front. 

The opponents Su chose was still the Scorpions of Disaster. The reason the Scorpions of Disasters’ danger level was low was because they had been discovered late. It could also be looked at as the fact that the portion of strength Su discovered from the Scorpions of Disaster was already enough to give them a category three danger assessment. 

As for the reason why he chose the Scorpions of Disaster, at least half of it was because Su felt an instinctive longing for Pandora. This type of desire was extremely powerful and almost irresistible, so it immediately urged Su to make the decision. This decision was already in General Morgan’s expectations. He simply reminded Su that, as a newly discovered enemy, the Scorpions of Disasters’ attacks before were simply scouting tests. This type of systemized organization, especially with a central intelligence system that hadn’t been fully analyzed, likely has a true danger rating of around category two, perhaps even reaching category one. 

As personal advice, General Morgan pointed out that Li’s area defense strengthening and Li Gaolei’s area control abilities were ones with great potential. He even suggested that, if possible, Su should learn and develop these two abilities as well. As for how he was to do so, that was something Su had to figure out by himself. Su shuddered inwardly, involuntarily recalling how he learned infrared sight. He didn’t know if General Morgan’s suggestion was related to this. Even though no one else knew about Su’s experiences, it wouldn’t be strange at all for this seemingly friendly old man to have truly seen through him. Persephone was someone Su couldn’t understand at all, and this general seemed no different than an ordinary person on the outside. 

Finally, General Morgan warned Su in a rather gentle tone that the higher ranked officers and the lower ranked officers were completely different concepts. The lower ranked officers’ most important mission was increasing their individual combat abilities as a dragonrider, selecting outstanding abilities, and finding subordinates that were compatible with themselves. Should the conditions allow for it, they could also slowly raise a few subordinates with potential for growth. Once one reached the rank of lieutenant commander, they’re all equipped with sixth level abilities or multiple fifth level abilities. The evolutionary points required to advance their abilities would increase exponentially, so the process of increasing abilities would become slow and challenging. In addition, there were many dragonriders who would then be close to reaching the limit of their potential and talent. At that time, subordinates’ abilities, army size, level of equipment, and level of training frequently decided the overall strength of a dragonrider. Two dragonriders that possess abilities, due to a disparity in subordinates and equipment, could result in a power difference of one-fold. 

However, this brought up a corresponding problem. Where would the money for arming this army come from? Su actually already encountered this problem. After deducting the costs from the rewards, what he was left with was often times quite little. In addition, the loss of experienced soldiers simply couldn’t be assessed with numbers. If something unexpected happened, for example, Kafen and Maria’s attack from all sides, Su would take on heavy losses, and his armed force numbering close to a hundred would turn into his current twenty. After seizing the 300 thousand from Kafen’s family, not even half of Su’s losses were recovered. When he was a lower ranked officer, he could still rely on missions to acquire rewards, then using the new equipment and abilities formulations exchanged from dragonrider headquarters to strengthen himself. Now that he was a higher ranked officer, the reward from missions didn’t seem to be enough, to the extent where even those dragonriders with support from families found it difficult to support themselves, let alone Su who still had Persephone shouldering his debt. The main reason behind this was due to incredibly high prices general headquarters charged for goods. This was why after becoming a higher ranked officer, dragonriders that haven’t reached the limit of their abilities oftentimes chose to make their own bases or set up their own facilities to manufacture equipment for ordinary soldiers. 

At the very least, even if he developed a seventh level perception ability, Su’s gene structure would still remain stable without any sign of reaching its limit. That was why it could be said that Su’s future was full of potential, and that he even more so needed his own base. As such, if Su listened to his suggestion and chose to help the Black Dragonriders expand outwards, General Morgan vaguely hinted that if Su found or established a base, Su could come find him, and he would provide a batch of low-cost energy and raw materials. 

General Morgan’s hinting immediately made Su remember the currently hibernating N958. N958 was small and perfect, and every single installation was preserved near perfectly. It could process many olden era improved model equipment, as well as some new era equipment. The only problem was energy. N958 didn’t have any nuclear fuel stored, and the remaining oil tank could only sustain the base for a month at most. 

However, right now, N958 was situated right at the edge of the Scorpions of Disasters’ area of control, so only by forcing back the Scorpions of Disaster and equipping himself with enough military force would they be able to defend N958. Su understood quite clearly the value of a base that had been preserved this well. This was a price great enough to attract many, many bloodthirsty vicious wolves. 

As for what happened back at Dragon City, Su wasn’t too worried. With General Morgan’s guarantee, he could at least keep those individuals who dared to take action against Persephone in check. Without the support of these enormous figures, the number of individuals that dared to treat Persephone with disrespect would lessen greatly. In addition, what was rather interesting was that even though he killed someone like Maria, ordinary people seemed to be more scared of Li and Li Gaolei after they fought that time in gray street instead of him. 

The current Pendulum City had already become a forward operating base where Black Dragonriders gathered. More than ten dragonriders set up their encampment in Pendulum City, and there were hundreds of dragonrider subordinates as well as over a thousand soldiers or mercenaries now living here. The intelligent landmines set up by the Scorpions of Disaster had long been swept clean. There was no need to doubt the prowess of dragonrider general headquarters’ research power. The new scanner could easily expose any intelligent landmines within a hundred meters. With subordinates that possessed at least four levels of ability in weapon proficiency accompanying these devices, they could easily eliminate the occasional intelligent landmine they missed as well. 

Pendulum City was expanding north and west. Even a portion of the desolate and uninhabited prairie became an area where the Black Dragonriders and Scorpions of Disaster fought back and forth. Both sides were fighting fiercely with the situation changing by the day, to the extent where the highest ranking temporary commander of this place wasn’t sure of the overall state of the battlefront.

Every single Black Dragonrider fought in a rather isolated manner. If they were looked at individually, then each dragonrider’s fighting strength was extremely powerful, and the coordination between dragonriders and their subordinates was quite an astonishing sight. However, the temporary commander was only coordinating the dragonriders’ operations as well as informing them about battlefield situations to avoid internal conflict. He didn’t have the authority to tell these dragonriders how to carry out their operations. The Black Dragonriders were mostly fighting their own battles. 

Meanwhile, the Scorpions of Disaster were a model case of the opposite end of the spectrum. They strictly, accurately, and unconditionally obeyed orders. Even though they were equipped with all types of powerful war machinery, without a powerful being like Martham, the Scorpions of Disaster couldn’t stop the assaults of dragonriders and their various types of abilities even if they were fighting on home turf. As a result, their defensive lines were continuously breaking apart. However, the Scorpions of Disaster would quickly set up a new line of defense , and they would repeatedly try to outflank and surround dragonrider troops that had entered too deep. The dragonrider troops were always equipped with a certain level of investigational ability. Even if the dragonrider themselves didn’t, there would definitely be a subordinate that excelled in the Perception Domain. Dragonriders that realized things weren’t looking good would always rely on great firepower and fierce abilities to break out before the enemy’s encirclement completely formed. Even though there weren’t any dragonriders that had been wiped out by the Scorpions of Disaster yet, not even private ranked ones, the loss of many subordinates and soldiers was unavoidable. As a result, most of the dragonriders backed out before there were any real battlefield results attained. 

Conventional Black Dragonrider ideology was that only the loss of subordinates could be considered true losses. Those soldiers or mercenaries who didn’t have much abilities or only had a single level of ability would be forgotten quite easily. However, along with the continuation of the war, the casualties from both sides continuously increased. Soon, most dragonriders found that the speed of recovering soldiers and mercenaries was declining, unable to keep up with the amount that was lost. However, from the battlefield statistics, regardless of whether it was the people or battlefield weaponry losses, the Scorpions of Disaster should be experiencing a much higher amount, and the battlefront continuously reached further north and west, so no one paid much attention to this crisis. From time to time, when they rested and reorganized in Pendulum City, the dragonriders would sigh to themselves, admiring how the Scorpions of Disaster really had a talented leader. The other side only had a group of abilityless, low intellect soldiers, as well as a bunch of war machines that looked more terrifying than they actually were to form a defensive line, yet they were not only able to hold off the dragonriders’ attacks for such a long time, but also bring the dragonriders such heavy losses. 

This was the battlefield situation Su encountered when he arrived in Pendulum City. Su immediately led his armed force into the battlefield, and what followed was an endless battle. 

Victory. All battles only ended in victory. Su felt more and more exhausted. The enemies came from any direction and at any time. The battles seemed to never end. 

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