Star Rank Hunter - Chapter 325: Killers

Chapter 325: Killers

Ghost Butterfly Seventeen was very unhappy right now. It was because he had to pay his “saviors” two million credits this time.

Two million credits! He could’ve bought an entire box of the shitty medicines for just ten thousand under normal circumstances! Unfortunately, he wasn’t in a normal situation right now.

When Ghost Butterfly Seventeen shot Wheeze a look of annoyance, only to discover that the gray cat itself was watching him with clear suspicion in its eyes, he nearly puked blood there and then.

“Why are you looking at me like that? You really think that someone with my reputation is going to renege on my debt just because I didn’t give you an IOU?!”

Wheeze’s suspicion didn’t fade in the slightest. Right now it had two debit cards trapped beneath its paw. One of them had 10k in it, and the other 30k+, so just 30k if it rounded down the number.

“Therefore, you and your friend owe us a total of 160 million in total! If the two of you dare renege on your debt, I’ll immediately let the entire GAL hear of your dishonesty!” Wheeze said seriously.

Ghost Butterfly Seventeen felt his wounds opening up again, and he couldn’t tell if it was because his anger level was off the charts. He wiped his face once before saying to his companion who was busy recovering his strength, “Get the hell away from these two if you ever had the misfortune of encountering them again, Swallowtail!”

Swallowtail didn’t even open his eyes, much less give Ghost Butterfly Seventeen a reply. If he hadn’t known that there was someone this outrageous in Vanguard before, he sure did now. The army had always thought that hunters were bloodsuckers, and Swallowtail fully agreed with that. But it was one thing to know a truth and another to experience it himself. To say that he was fuming on the inside was an understatement, and this was only truer for Ghost Butterfly Seventeen, the guy who got swindled twice by the same cat-and-hunter duo.

Fucking swindlers!

It was at this moment Cillin’s communicator rang. It was Cary.

“Commander, it looks like we don’t need to trek all the way to the mountains and flush out our prey anymore. I don’t know what scared them, but the beasts are all running out of their hidey holes and moving toward our direction.”

“How many are they?” Cillin asked.

“A lot. Definitely enough for us to earn a pretty sum of credits!” Cary sounded very happy.

“Pull back if the herd grows too big to handle. There’s no need to overextend yourself.”

“Understood!”

After the report was made, Cary informed the other about the situation while Eudy ordered everyone to draw close. It was because it was a bad idea to tackle the type of alien beasts they were hunting with an overly loose formation. They had planned for this operation before arriving at the planet, so the crew naturally moved into positions and got ready to hunt.

Money! Money bags that run straight into our laps! Cary already spotted the shiny horn on the first alien beast charging their way. It was as shiny as gold, and he could barely stop his saliva from dripping on the floor.

The horn of the alien beast possessed a faint scent that could drive away pests and soothe a person’s nerves. Therefore, it was very popular as an accessory or a decoration among the wealthy. A good quality horn could even be sold for five figures.

Of course, the reward was proportional to the risk. The horned beast was extremely violent, fast and protected by an extraordinarily tough exterior. It usually lived in groups at mountainous areas, and many a hunter had suffered a loss in their hands.

The magazine Cary was equipping was suitable for hunting small creatures only, so he switched it to the one meant for middle or large-sized creatures. All their firearms were 2-in-1s specifically so that they could react in time in a situation like this.

Bang!

A bullet accurately entered the eye of an incoming alien beast and exploded. The explosion was just big enough to turn its brain into mushy goo, but not big enough to damage the horn on its forehead.

Cary wasn’t the one who made the shot, though. Looks like she’s as good as ever, thought Cary as he glanced at the nearby Tang Qiuqiu. Tang Qiuqiu had taken her shot while he was still in the middle of an aim, and judging from the result the girl’s skills hadn’t fallen off in the slightest during the two or so years they were separated.

Everyone started shooting after Tang Qiuqiu officially kickstarted the hunt. While this was going on, Xi Kai’s robots cut off the alien beasts’ horns first so that they wouldn’t be stolen by nearby scavengers. More in-depth processing would have to wait until the hunt was truly over, however. These pincer-swinging creatures could hardly wait for them to finish processing the goods before attacking them, right?

Ba Dao couldn’t hold still any longer when he learned that the hunt had begun, so Cillin allowed him, Shusag, Tesoro to leave and meet up with the others. He himself stayed behind to watch over Ghost Butterfly Seventeen and Swallowtail. Right now the duo were in the middle of recovering, so they could easily fall prey to an ambush if there wasn’t a third person to guard them. Even a small alien beast could deal a hard blow to them if the circumstances turned out to be unlucky.

“Are you sure he’s fine on his own?” Shusag asked after the three of them left Cillin’s side.

“Cillin is very strong, and boss Wheeze is with him, so don’t worry. As long as they don’t run into an entire horde of alien beasts or something, nothing will happen to them,” Ba Dao answered.

Shusag had never seen Cillin or Wheeze fight until now. He knew that the cat wasn’t as easy as it looked, but he could hardly imagine how strong it was without an actual reference point.

Swallowtail was a bit surprised that Cillin had chosen to stay behind and protect them, but judging from the complete lack of surprise on Ghost Butterfly Seventeen’s face he was clearly of the opposite opinion. This revelation forced Swallowtail to revise his opinion of Cillin, especially because Vanguard and Blue Butterfly weren’t hostile to each other right now.

“So, are you still with the Sixth B Squadron, Cillin? What position are you right now?” Ghost Butterfly Seventeen asked.

Before Cillin could answer that question, Wheeze raised its chin and bragged for him, “We’re the Eleventh Squad now!”

Eleventh Squad? An Eleventh B Squadron?

“But I thought Vanguard only has ten B Squadrons?” Ghost Butterfly Seventeen voiced his doubt.

“There are eleven, now. It’s a new squadron Cillin founded just a while ago,” Wheeze said very proudly.

“Why are you acting so proud for? You aren’t the founder, are you?” Ghost Butterfly Seventeen immediately took a dig at Wheeze.

At first, he thought that the gray cat would be furious at him, but surprisingly there were no response at all.

Wheeze paid Ghost Butterfly Seventeen’s jab no heed because its attention was currently elsewhere. The way its ears were flicking and the hair in its ears were vibrating were clear signs that it was probing its surroundings like a radar.

A shot while later, Wheeze suddenly said, “Cillin!”

Cillin had clearly sensed what it sensed as well. The size of the commotion was growing a bit too big, surpassing even his original prediction.

Ghost Butterfly looked to Swallowtail for answers when he realized that something was amiss, but Swallowtail looked just as confused as he was. They hadn’t picked up anything at all, although it could be because their senses were degraded by their injuries.

The commotion had come from the crew’s direction, and he knew that they should be able to handle it, However, something about this unusual activity made him feel uneasy, and he wasn’t a person who ignored his intuition. So, he made the snap decision to contact the crew and order an immediate withdrawal.

The crew was currently enjoying a helluva good time, and it definitely felt a bit disappointing to abandon their hunt so suddenly. Still, they obeyed Cillin’s order and mounted an immediate withdrawal.

“What’s wrong?” Ghost Butterfly asked Cillin. Instead of answering, the young man pulled out two syringes and injected one each to him and Swallowtail.

“You!”

Cillin had moved so quickly that neither Ghost Butterfly Seventeen nor Swallowtail could’ve stopped him even if they tried. They were unable to react at all probably because they had let their guard down, but Swallowtail also realized that he still might not have been able to dodge out of the way even if he had been perfectly healthy. There were absolutely no signs that Cillin was going to make a move until he did, and by then was already too late.

“Don’t worry, they’re just medicines that help you recover faster; way more expensive than the ones I sold you earlier.”

Swallowtail spent a moment to feel himself. It definitely was a lot better than the medicine they were using until now; even his breathing had improved dramatically in just a short time.

Ghost Butterfly Seventeen felt a muscle twitch in his face. “Now what?” Is this where he starts extorting us for even more money?

And then—

Rumble rumble rumble—

There were three rumbles in a row, and judging from the sound it definitely came from far away. However, the obvious tremor still alarmed Ghost Butterfly Seventeen greatly.

Was that an earthquake?

Cillin planted a foot on a tree branch, jumped all the way to the top in one go, and looked to the distance.

The commotion had already alerted a flock of birds. They were all flying toward his direction.

Cillin opened his communicator again and said, “Come back now, but do not travel by air!”

Besides that, Cillin ordered Xi Kai to send some robots to the crew’s aid just in case they were slowed down by the stampede.

Realizing that they had an actual crisis at hand, everyone moved at double speed.

Wheeze made contact with the spaceplane as Cillin requested. They were leaving the second the crew returned.

A bit far away, Moon and Sigma were flying back to the rendezvous point as well.

“Was that an earthquake, Moon?” Sigma asked in mid-flight.

“I’m not sure. It seems a bit unnatural to me.” Moon was confused himself. He and Sigma had researched the land before they arrived and confirmed that it was no earthquake zone, so how could an earthquake this big happen so suddenly? Even the cannon he fired earlier wasn’t this bad.

The crew wasn’t making very good progress because they were slowed down by small panicking animals running all over the place like crazy and natural obstacles such as trees and shrubberies. They could travel much faster by air, but Cillin already told them not to do so even if some of them were riding hoverboards. It wasn’t long before the sight of their own transport robots flying their games to their spaceplane unimpeded set a gloomy cloud over everyone’s heads.

After taking out an alien beast who tried to knock him over, Cary shouted, “Why are there some many creatures all of a sudden?! Did we run into a stampede or something?”

“It’s a stampede alright. The better question is, why are they all running our way?” Eudy said while observing the growing number of alien beasts all around them. This was the safe zone because most of the animals were small and non-threatening. The real threat were the big, violent creatures at the back of the stampede. It was no wonder Cillin told them to withdraw ASAP.

The earthquakes had come from three separate directions, each causing a stampede of their own. Had they withdrawn even a minute slower, they would’ve been caught in a triangle of stampedes and be in much bigger trouble now.

“God dammit, of all the times for an earthquake to happen!” Xiao Shang complained.

“Save it for when we get back to the spaceplane!”

Eudy was just done reprimanding Xiao Shang when he heard three strange noises in a row. One of them happened just half a meter from him, and the other two right next to Xiao Shang and Cary.

After that, three invisible people wearing cloaking equipment appeared from thin air and dropped on the ground, dead. They had all been headshot.

Realizing that something was amiss, Shusag tried to react only to see a figure appearing in front out of them like magic and thrusting a thin, long blade at the space right next to his throat. Behind him, an invisible person appeared with their blade just ten centimeters away from his flesh.

The long blade caused every hair on Shusag’s body to stand on end. It pierced right through the invisible assailant’s head.

The person in front of Shusag was none other than Cillin himself. He and Wheeze had run toward the crew the moment they noticed something amiss, and just as expected someone was trying to kill their people!

Shusag couldn’t stop his eyelids from twitching. If Cillin hadn’t shown up in time, either he or Tesoro would’ve suffered a grievous injury or even died on the spot. The killers’ stealth abilities were already unbelievably good, but the ongoing stampede helped to conceal their presence even better.

“Enemy attack!”

The others quickly realized what was going on and responded to the threat.

Zzzt—

Xi Kai immediately engaged a form of disruptive signal that disabled the invisible assailants’ cloaking equipment. As the creator of robots, no one was more familiar with cloaking devices better than he was. It was also why he kept an anti-cloaking device with him at all times.

The anti-cloaking signal proved to be successful as all the assailants within the vicinity started appearing out of thin air. Although their appearance still somewhat unclear, it was enough for the crew to start fighting back.

When in combat, Snowball looked nothing like the dumb bear it normally looked like. It grew to five meters tall, its fangs elongated like a vampire’s, and its silver eyes turned as frigid as a snowstorm. Everything about it screamed danger to its attackers.

Tang Qiuqiu tied a strong strip beneath Snowball’s armpit and across its shoulder so that she could secure herself atop its shoulder. This way, Snowball could protect her without affecting her ability to shoot at the revealed assailants.

Snowball had no problems taking out the alien beasts running about mindlessly in the area. A single swing of the arm was enough to send a couple of beasts flying through the air. There was basically no chance those unfortunate creatures would survive considering its strength.

Snowball looked heavy, but it wasn’t slow in the slightest. Even then, Tang Qiuqiu was able to headshot every single assailant without fail. They must’ve fought together like this many times in the past; their coordination smooth, and their reaction upon discovering the enemy swift.

Shusag was also taking out the assailants. Earlier, he was careless and focused on the threat the stampede represented only. The experience also taught him that he was living in a new world with new rules, and that he must adapt to its cruelty as soon as possible if he truly wished to forge a great future for himself and Tesoro.

GAL was no Mist Bodhisattva Empire. It was a galaxy that obeyed the law of the jungle. Every one of these killers had carried out countless assassinations and survived countless impossible battles, so their physical and mental fortitude were incomparable to the average person. It was to the point where even Xi Kai’s invisible robots couldn’t keep up with them at all. Their hardware was technically on par with the assailants’, but their software was a completely different story. In the end, the crew had to rely on themselves to take care of the enemy.

“Pay attention to Scarlet Wind!” Shusag said to Tesoro, “I’ll take care of the attackers around us, so just focus on studying his movement and the way ot uses his claws.”

In fact, Shusag had paid close attention to Scarlet Wind since a long time ago, but not because he was an alien just like them. It was because of the way the humanoid hound uses his claws.

In combat, Scarlet Wind could always find the most accurate and energy saving angle to attack his enemies. Even better, it was a product of pure instinct and not a deliberated move at all, which shocked Shusag because even he dared not claim that his claw fighting skills were better than Scarlet Wind’s.

Moreover, Scarlet Wind possessed explosive strength didn’t match his relatively small size at all. Even he would have to dodge out of harm’s way unless he wished to be dismembered where he stood. That was why Shusag hoped that Tesoro could learn something from Scarlet Wind.

Shusag also noticed Tang Qiuqiu as a matter of course. Both children fought at a level that was almost purely instinctual.

Just what kind of environment did they grow up in? Or are they just that talented?

Personally, Shusag thought that talent was just a modifier of sorts. In the end, it was up to the person themselves to decide whether they wanted to remain a stone, or become a gem. For example, the sharpest blade was only useful on the right person’s hand. Otherwise, it would be a waste of talent at best.

Czedow was the only one out of everyone who fought bare-handed. Aliens like Shusag didn’t count because his claws were technically a weapon, even though they were also was a part of his own body. Cary glanced at the robot’s direction just in time to see him twisting a gun barrel like nothing and pulling out the wielder’s entire arm like it took no effort at all. He didn’t even catch any bloodstain on his person.

Holy shit, that is so… violent!

Although Xi Kai’s device disrupted many a cloaking equipment, there were attackers who naturally had the ability to turn invisible, so of course the device didn’t work on them at all. Thankfully these people were just the minority, and Cillin had been giving them his attention out after Xi Kai’s anti-cloaking device came active. He could move onto the obvious threats after the hidden ones were dealt with.

After his chip was fully activated, his constitution had jumped to a whole new level yet again. On the surface he looked exactly the same as before, but in reality his speed and his senses were far better than they used to be, so much so that he could even see the invisible people with his naked eyes to a certain extent. They appeared as a vague, blurry outline of sorts to him, but it was still way clearer than how the killers looked to the others.

Sha Rou was also one of the few members among the crew who could see the invisible attackers because of her unique constitution. However her ability was lacking, and she couldn’t respond in a timely manner even if she could see them. She was still a long way away from reaching the professional killers’ level, so Cillin had to protect her from time to time while he reduced the enemies’ numbers.

That being said, the girl was growing very quickly, and she was opening up more and more ever since she left the empire. She had picked up many battle techniques from the others, and experiences like this translated to valuable growth to both her and Tesoro. Cillin could already imagine them how great their future selves would become.

Bang! Bang! Bang!

Every time Cillin opened fire, two, three, or four killers would drop dead. Forget the crew, the killers themselves were shocked beyond belief. It was amazing enough to perform a one shot one kill in real combat, but multiples!? Was this a dream??

Cillin wielded a white gun with a hexagonal muzzle. Contrary to its size, every bang from the weapon sounded like a death knell to the killers.

The killers tried to take out Cillin first—the man they deemed to be the most dangerous of the lot—but they quickly discovered that they couldn’t lock him down or keep up with his movements at all. He was simply too fast and too proficient in both close-quarters and ranged combat.

Wielding a terrifying white gun in one hand and a thin blade in the other, Cillin continuously reaped their lives like a reaper.

It had almost been three years since former Sixth Squad members saw Cillin fight, and his performance today far exceeded even their wildest expectations. They almost couldn’t imagine why someone like him would rather stay behind in a B Squadron than join the A Squadron. No one had any doubt that he would’ve been worthy of his position.

Wheeze helped out from time to time, specifically when things got difficult for a crew. It was no slower than Cillin was, and because it was tiny, gray-colored and literally soundless even when it was running, a couple of killers died without even realizing its presence.

The stampede was growing bigger and bigger at this point. It was even starting to affect their attackers.

Cillin seized this opportunity to shoot the remaining killers to death and shouted to Wheeze, “Wheeze, open up a path for us! Retreat!”

Cillin still wouldn’t allow the crew to take to the sky because he couldn’t be sure that the killers didn’t have backup, or that there were no malicious hunters in the vicinity just waiting for the opportunity to take a shot at their backs. It was ultimately less risky to retreat on foot despite the stampede around them.

A terrifying roar resounded across the entire forest, and some of the birds flying near the area instantly spiraled out of formation. Some even changed directions and flew away as fast as they could.

The alien beasts directly ahead of the crew backed away and opened up a path as if they encountered something absolutely terrifying. As for those that were directly in the path of the sound wave, they dropped unconscious the second it hit them.

Were they not in the situation they were in, Shusag would’ve cheered for their small but dominating cat overlord.

Now that the killers were gone, and the beasts were no longer blocking their way, the crew was able to retreat much faster than before.

Their own spaceplane was flying over to meet with them halfway.

The tension eased up a bit when the crew finally entered the safe confines of their transport, but they dared not loosen up completely. They still hadn’t escaped the danger.

“Moon, Sigma, bring those two to me, will you?” Cillin requested through the communicator.

Cillin had taken off immediately after injecting Ghost Butterfly Seventeen and Swallowtail their medicine, and it turned out to be the right decision. Had he been a bit slower, his squad would’ve suffered some casualties already.

Moon and Sigma was already with Ghost Butterfly Seventeen and Swallowtail when they received their orders, so they immediately carried one person each back to the spaceplane. Neither hunters put up any resistance because one, Moon was aiming his cannon right at them; two, they still hadn’t recovered completely; and three, they were safer with Cillin’s crew than anywhere else right now. At the very least, their lives were secure.

After everyone was gathered, the Eleventh Squad left the hunting planet immediately. Cary and the others were sad that they had left behind some unprocessed prey a.k.a. credits that were almost certainly going to be picked clean by other hunters. Snowball had already transformed back to its harmless form and rolling around the floor with Dough, playing whatever. Absolutely zero tension could be detected from the two senseless creatures.

When the spaceplane returned to the starship, the crew finally loosened up and felt waves of intense muscle ache almost immediately. But instead of taking a rest, they ran to the transport boxes and began processing the flesh and the horns they cut off from the alien beasts they hunted. Sigma and Moon left for the fruit garden to set down the seeds and saplings they had collected from this journey.

Cillin beckoned Eudy to follow him. Then, they brought Ghost Butterfly Seventeen and Swallowtail to a meeting room.

“Alright, speak. Who did those people belong to?” Cillin asked from the opposite side of the table.


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