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United Nations, Haven, City Hall

The phone ringed, joining the dozen other phones ringing on the other desks. The harried City Hall staff were besieged by a large number of callers since the news of the Princess had been kidnapped broke over the morning news on the television, radio, and newspapers.

Hundreds of concerned and angry people called up to enquire about what the government was doing, and why did something like this could even happen. The harried staff did their best to calm the emotions of the callers while a large crowd had gathered outside the City Hall demanding answers.

Kaga returned the phone to the cradle where it immediately rang again. She let out a tired sigh and picked up the phone and spoke in a polite tone, "Good afternoon, this is Kaga from City Hall speaking, how may I help you?"

"Are we going to war? Will there be enough food? Will the food prices go up?" The caller fired off her questions rapidly. "Do we need to stock up on toilet rolls?"

"Madam, please calm down," Kaga replied a calming voice. "There is no need to worry about the lack of food or food prices from going up. The nation has enough stores for everyone."

"Really?" The lady behind the call sounded relieved. "There will still be bubble tea, right?"

"Yes..." Kaga gave an inward sigh. "They will still be... selling..."

"Good! Good!" The lady replied happily. "Bubble tea is life!"

-----

United Nations, Sea Cliff Mining and Dungeon Town, Adventurers' Inc.

"- lost off the coast of Star Island. Officials state that the unknown assailants came from beyond the End Zone. An area where it is covered in a permanent layer of clouds and constant storms. The City Hall has issued a state of emerg-"

"-he sun, the sand, and the sea! Join the Navy n-"

"- your part! Support your Nation! Buy Government Bonds! For more enquiries cal-"

"-ther news, there has been a rise in drug related crimes. Police have arrested dozens of people, involving seven Orekins and five Goblins on charges of possession of illegal drugs, known as Happ-"

Karl turned off the television after randomly switching through the TV channels. Most of the news was focused on the current case of the kidnapped Princess. He heard a low rumble and the horning of a car and he stood next to the office window and watched as two up armoured Jeeps with trailers rolled into the hangar.

A dusty looking team climbed out of the vehicles and high fived the rest as the mechanics swarmed over the vehicles. They started to unload crates after crates of equipment and from the trailers, dozens of centipede remains piled in a huge heap were also being unloaded to be stored in the refrigeration units to be further processed later.

Karl gave a nod from the window when the returned team leader gave a wave to him. The team leader walked into the office and gave off a relieved breath as he stripped off his armour and gear. Karl took out a bottle of local brew from the mini fridge and placed it before the sweaty Orc. "How was the dungeon run?"

The Orc grunted as he dumped his gear on the side and snapped off the bottle cap before taking a deep swill. He gave a burp of satisfaction before grinning happily at Karl. "Oooh... That hit the spot!"

"Best thing I ever did was to join you hoomans!" The Orc laughed. "All the cold brew you even want!"

Karl laughed and took out another two bottles and placed it before the Orc. "So, Turok, how was the run?"

"Well, no serious injuries to Turok's Team," The once chief of the Orekins replied as he finished the bottle of cold brew. "Team made it down to eleventh floor... Where many giant centipedes and carrion burrowers infested the dungeon..."

"Aith took one nasty bite from burrower, his shoulder armour now have nice airy hole! Hahahaha" Turok laughed as he gestured out of the office window. "He should be fine. He only got paralysed for a short while. Had to save him before he turned into food for the burrowers and centipedes! Hahahaha!"

"Big boss of level is some kind of huge mother farking centipede..." Turok took opened another bottle of cold brew. "Fed it eight bazooka, many lightning spells and fireballs. Turok used up all his armour piercing bullets!"

"Turok to chop mother farking centipede head off with great axe in the end..." Turok looked to the side where he had dumped his gear. His double bladed axe still has some purplish stain on it. "Team salvaged what carapaces not spoiled from the centipedes and mana stones..."

"Got great harvest!" Turok grinned, showing off his tusks and sharp teeth. "Many stones of centipede plate! And stomach juice of burrowers! Also many gold and silver!"

"But giant mother farking centipede boss dropped nothing..." Turok shook his head sadly. "But the materials of its body are very tough... Great for armour!"

Karl nodded, unconcerned with the lack of loot from the boss of the eleventh floor. "Good... We might need to go down more now... So, get your team rested and healed as soon as possible."

"Why?" Turok narrowed his thick brows. "Turok's Team just finished mission! No rest?"

"Not just your team, Turok..." Karl replied. "All the teams will be working overtime..."

Karl picked up his remote controller and turned the TV on and switched to a news channel. Turok frowned as he watched the news on the TV. He frowned as the news spoke of the kidnapping. "Princess? Gone?"

"Yes..." Karl lowered the TV volume. "Some fuckers from somewhere came in, grabbed the Princess and also a Fleet Master of the Isles... and ran away with them, but not before sinking an Isles' ship..."

Turok shook his head and laughed, "Ooo... Those who took the Princess are going to get butt hurt badly! Hahaha!"

"Thing is... we do not know where they took the princess to," Karl said. "But... The military is mobilising and doing mass recruitment now... So..."

"So the prices of monster materials and mana stones will go up!" Turok gave a toothed grin. "That's why you want all teams to work overtime!"

"You summed it right," Karl replied. "Demand for mana stones and monster materials will definitely go up at this time. I want to push the teams to harvest more materials to meet the rising demands!"

-----

Ciel leaned into the warm stock of the shotgun as she squeezed the trigger, feeling the pain of the recoil slamming into her bruised shoulder. A satisfying 'PANG!' sounded from the metal target as the shot from her weapon hit the target.

She worked the pump, jerking out the spent shell and pumped a fresh shell into the chamber while she advanced quickly around the obstacles and fired again at another people shaped target board with a loud clank.

She pumped her shotgun again and spun to the next target and fired before dropping the hot weapon on its sling and quick drew her revolver holstered on her hip. She rapid fired all five rounds at another row of targets and charged forward, her left hand moulding a ball of flames while she chanted a fireball spell.

Ciel hopped over a low wall and tossed the formed fireball in her left at the target at the end of obstacle course and dodged a sudden sword swing from the side as Leon's hulking figure appeared from the corner.

Ciel drew her padded sword and parried and downward slash from Leon's sword. The force made her hands numbed as Leon only held back his strength slightly, if not, getting hit by Leon's sword despite it being padded will still hurt a lot.

She flung her spent revolver at Leon who battered it away with a swing of his hand and she took the opportunity while he was distracted to dash through the small gap between his body and the obstacle wall.

Leon laughed as he saw her actions. He whipped his sword down, aiming at her legs when Ciel suddenly came to halt and tossed the light spell in her hand at Leon's face. Startled by the sudden appearance of the spell, Leon raised one hand up instinctively to block the spell but he did not stop nor slow his sword swing.

Ciel bit down a cry of pain as Leon's padded sword glazed her side. She ignored the pain and continued running forward and slammed her own sword down hard at the metal target at the end of the room. As her sword hit the metal target, a loud buzzer rang and Ciel fell flat her butt as her strength and adrenaline left her body.

"Not bad!" Leon grinned as he gave a hand to pull Ciel up from the floor. "Nice trick with the blinding spell. I did not see that!"

"That's why it's called a blinding spell!" Their sniper Kat yelled from the side of the obstacle wall. "It's supposed to make you not see!"

Leon gave a finger flip to Kat who booed him back. "What's her timing?"

"Five minutes and thirty two seconds!" Yill holding the stopwatch called out. He glanced to Justze on the side and said. "She's faster than your timing, close to a minute!"

Justze felt a sense of unpleasantness as he watched Ciel basking in the praises by the other members of their team. He looked down at the weapon called a shotgun in his hand, which looked and felt similar to a crossbow except without the wings and the need to string the weapon.

The strange thunder weapon was loud and heavy, the recoil felt like getting kicked by a land dragon. It was also the weapon that destroyed the proud and undefeated Imperial Armies. Justze had mixed feelings using such a weapon. He was told and warned by Leon multiple times that the weapon he was holding on was tightly controlled and illegal use and possession of the weapon will result in the death penalty if caught.

The Adventurers' Inc. had a special agreement and license to operate such weapons. While they were waiting for their licenses to be approved, Kat had conducted several classes on the usage and handling of such weapons.

Unlike Ciel who seemed to had taken upon the thunder weapons called guns like a fish to water. Justze felt these weapons were unfair and ungentlemanly. Combat should be done with blades like true men. The use of such barbarous weapons felt like cheating to Justze. Even using a crossbow, bow, or magic felt even more honourable than these barbarous weapons whom a child could even use to kill an adult.

His marksmanship compared to Ciel was very bad. He could barely hit a target set twenty feet away with the revolver and only barely managed to hit targets with the shotgun. His performance made Kat shake her head with disappointment with Ciel's above average skills with the barbarous weapons won much praise from Kat.

Leon came over with a tired but smiling Ciel who excitedly clung onto Justze's arm. "Justze! Did you see that? Hehe! My timing made it to the top ten rankings!"

Justze gave a forced smile and patted Ciel's head, who was unaware of his insecurities. "Well done!"

Leon grinned and patted his sword, saying, "Justze! Don't worry! Training makes perfect! I am also not too good with guns!"

"Yes, Sir!" Justze gave a forced reply. "I will practise more!"

"Good! That's the spirit! Hahaha!" Leon laughed. "Come! Let's go refresh ourselves and go have some food! My treat to celebrate Ciel and Justze joining us!"

"I want to eat spicy spider ant hotpot!" Kat yelled from the side. "Thanks, Boss!"

Leon gave a pained look at Kat. "Can we have something else? That... is not cheap!"

Yill laughed, "It's rare we ever get a chance to be treated by Leon! SPIDER ANT HOTPOT!"

"Argh... alright!" Leon sighed. "Spider ant hotpot it shall be!"

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