Chapter 2302 - Worthy Opponent
Two heavy laser repeaters mounted inside a bunker spat out a continuous rain of powerful laser beams at an approaching red armored form!
Continuous cracks sounded out in the air as both pirate guards and fixed defenses fired at the approaching enemies.
In the meantime, unheard screams echoed through the battlefield as the ghosts of dead pirates emerged out of the darkness and besieged every human no matter their allegiance!
Lucky! Ketis shouted as her armored form braved the storm of lasers despite the extreme threat they posed to infantry personnel.
Large portions of her armor no longer appeared red due to its coating.
Repeated battles had already worn it away.
Instead, her armor glowed due to the increasing amount of heat it absorbed!
If not for the isolating layers protecting the wearer, Ketis would have been cooked alive by now! Even then, the active cooling systems of her equipment had to work overtime in order to siphon away the heat.
Powerful flows of air entered and exited through the back of her combat armor.
Anyone following from behind would instantly get burned!
Ketis didn\'t care.
She whipped out her laser pistol, only for the little weapon to beep an alarm.
All of the shots she fired caused it to overheat!
It didn\'t matter.
She still had her cutlass and plenty of power left to swing it around!
Watch out, ma\'am! They\'re launching grenades!
A heavily-armored Dry Snake guard stepped out from a building and raised its huge grenade launcher.
The weapon quickly fired five grenades that were bound to hit a small area before her current path.
Not only that, but two ballistic cannons mounted on the back and shoulders of the formidable pirate began to fire a slow staccato of explosive shells at the charging Mirror Raider.
She quickly holstered her pistol in a protective slot in her armor before her position and the entire area around her exploded!
More weapons continued to fire in the raging area.
With the help of powerful sensors and scanners, the smoke and heat could not hide Ketis\' huge and distinctive energy signature!
Even so, Ketis still stormed forward despite the increasing amount of scars and heat accrued by her armor.
Just earlier, Lucky followed the same plan and sneaked into the interior of the defense complex.
He encountered a strange sight once he peeked at his surroundings.
Instead of posting more guards, the pirate commander at this checkpoint drew them back.
Only half as many guards and specialists were on patrol or manning the workstations.
This caused Lucky to destroy the huge power generators and sensitive weapon components with greater ease at the beginning.
However, shortly after alarms started ringing, something drastic happened.
The entire interior exploded!
Over fifty pirates and a lot of costly defensive systems blew apart as hidden explosives planted throughout the entire defense complex automatically triggered!
What Lucky didn\'t know was that the pirate commander tasked a programmer to develop an automated routine that looked out for any intrusion.
The local pirate commander in charge of defending this gate was unlike his peers.
Usually, the pirate leaders attempted to counter any attempts at sabotage by assigning more pirates and system operators.
Each of them were tasked with paying close attention to the vital machinery that kept the heavy turrets and other defensive systems in working condition.
Their presence exposed Lucky faster, but did little to stop him from completing his purpose! By keeping his phased body through the walls, ceiling or floor of any given site, the pirates failed to detect him, let alone prevent his destructive spree!
The first two pirate checkpoints fell easily due to this reason.
Without the help of their powerful turrets and other defensive systems, Ketis and Lucky alone were enough to clean up the remaining pirate infantry.
From the moment the commando cat\'s initial sabotage became known, various sensors and AIs evaluated whether the malfunction originated from an ordinary mechanical failure or deliberately induced.
Once the AIs judged that deliberate sabotage had taken place, they mercilessly followed their programming and commanded the planted explosives to detonate!
If these explosives were ordinary, then that was still somewhat manageable to Lucky.
The problem was that some of those bombs contained small, enriched nuclear payloads!
Radiation sensors momentarily went wild as the protective armor of the surviving guards and attackers resisted the deadly particles and energy rays that spread as a result of these detonations!
Despite the violent explosions, Lucky managed to cling to life, but not without a cost! His Misfortune Harness bore far too many holes as entire chunks had been blasted away.
The thin layer of Breyer alloy and B-stone hadn\'t been able to hold together after withstanding so many simultaneous blasts!
Even his hardy tiger-striped body began to show cracks and tears.
Bright blue light shone from his wounds.
Though the bone-metal-like plating already began to show signs of regenerating, the rate was far too slow to restore the gem cat back to peak condition.
What was worse was that the damage he suffered prevented him from activating his phasing abilities or flying away.
In desperation, Lucky could only press the button on his collar, which somehow managed to survive earlier blasts.
His form turned invisible, causing the pirates who arrived from elsewhere to lose sight of their primary target.
However, these pirate soldiers were different from the decoys who died unjustly by the explosives planted by their own sides.
The Dry Snakes cultivated their own groups of elites.
The multi-headed lizard pattern painted over their chests signified that these pirates belonged to the Hydra Battalion!
The Hydra Battalion was one of the best commando units.
Answering directly to Grand Protector Roshaw, the Hydras received orders to defend this critical gate which barred the way to the innermost area where the crucial shrine resided.
As an elite pirate unit, the Hydra Battalion was meant to raid large pirate sh.i.p.s or assassinate powerful pirate lords.
For this reason, the Dry Snakes invested heavily in their selection, training and outfitting.
With each individual Hydra soldier armed and armored with gear that cost as much as a mid-range mech, the Grand Protector often treated these heavily-armored troops as his sharpest knife.
Now, these elite pirates had received orders to kill the saboteur that was responsible for the downfall of many pirate groups!
Since the Hydras received orders to defeat an elusive opponent who likely possessed powerful stealth capabilities, how could they be stumped when their target disappeared from view
Deploy our first countermeasure!
A handful of Hydras carrying fluid projectors strode forward and began to spray large volumes of semi-transparent slime around Lucky\'s last known position.
The special, viscous slime quickly piled up and soon managed to catch an invisible cat that attempted to sneak out of the envelopment.
Cage his position and shoot him down!
The slime not exposed his position due to the unavoidable displacement his presence caused, but also hampered his mobility.
It was as if he was swimming through a pool of glue!
With Lucky in so much distress, how could Ketis ever stand by While the other Mirror Raiders were still trying to catch up while firing their rifles at every pirate in sight, she smashed her way through the ranks of regular pirate guards in her path and was about to crash straight into the ranks of the Hydras if not for the appearance of an obstacle!
A well-armored Hydra captain dropped his rifle and withdrew a large scimitar.
Energy quickly lined its edge, showing that it was more than a simple metal weapon!
The challenging posture of the Hydra captain caused Ketis to slow down her charge until she came at a stop in front of her opponent.
Though she could have continued to storm forward, she recognized that she might regret her choice.
From the prepared stance adopted by the pirate standing in her way, she recognized that she faced a true blademaster!
I am Captain Wenter of the Hydra Battalion.
Are you a Larkinson
It doesn\'t matter who I am. Ketis spat as her hot armor constantly released excess heat into the air.
Get on with it already!
Very well. The armored pirate grinned underneath his dome-like helmet as his gauntlet began to flourish his heavy sabber.
I respect your swordsmanship.
It has been too long since I have dueled a worthy opponent.
Take care though, girl, as I have slain over fifty challengers.
I have no problem adding one more head to my pile.
Dispense with the jabbering and fight! Ketis replied as her damaged armored bulk began to advance.
With Lucky in dire straits, she didn\'t want to bother with all of the etiquette surrounding duels to the death.
She simply wanted to overpower and defeat this blademaster as fast as possible!
Though she was tempted to borrow the momentum of her forward movement to add additional power to her attack, she knew that this wasn\'t the best option at the moment.
Such attacks were very predictable, and against a trained swordsman or bladesman, this was a big taboo!
Her caution turned out to be justified when her opponent read the simple feint she used to fool most of her opponents.
Surprisingly, Captain Wenter\'s blade managed to block her attack!
Through this simple exchange, Ketis rapidly discovered several aspects about her opponent that caused her to feel even more pressure.
First, the flat of the blade of Captain Wenter\'s energized scimitar managed to block the edge of her cutlass without incurring any significant damage.
Second, the power she leveraged from her Rising Red Dragon suit was very considerable.
The fact that Captain Wenter managed to maintain the block without getting pushed back meant that the power exerted by his combat armor was actually on par with her own!
This hadn\'t happened since she used her cutlass to slay every pirate in her way.
The strength and sharpness of her weapon allowed her to overpower any typical pirate equipment.
Are you surprised, lass Captain Wenter chuckled.
I\'m not the same as the trash you previously cut apart.
The best armorer of Ulimo Citadel built my gear using all of the medium and high-grade exotics that I have earned in the service of the Dry Snakes.
We pirates can make quality gear of our own if we want to! Underestimating me is the last mistake that you will make!
The powerful Hydra captain launched his counterattacks.
With continuous slashes, his energized scimitar crashed into Ketis over and over.
The sudden momentum exhibited by the pirate captain continually forced Ketis to step back as she failed to regain the initiative.
Forced into the defensive, she tried her best to block the scimitar, but Captain Wenter was considerably older and more experienced than the Swordmaiden mech designer.
After his attack was parried for the twelth time, a hidden single-use cannon built into his armor suddenly fired a powerful kinetic projectile!
Though the sneak attack failed to penetrate her armor, Ketis unavoidably tilted backwards due to the force acting on her bulk.
Though Captain Wenter had been pushed back as well due to firing the round, he braced himself for the recoil beforehand.
He recovered a moment faster than Ketis, activated a command that caused the edge of his scimitar to brighten before slashing it across Ketis\' weapon arm!
The Hydra captain deviously aimed at a scar that a number of earlier attacks had already landed on the Rising Red Dragon suit.
The middle layer of the suit had been cut by the energized blade!
With only one more layer of armor in the way, Wenter only had to attack this vulnerability one or two more times to cut off Ketis\' arm!
Instead of halting, Ketis continued to step back in order to open up some distance.
Through her helmet HUD, she studied the damage reports of her combat armor with considerable alarm.
Not even Breyer alloy could withstand Captain Wenter\'s attack!
This blademaster posed a true threat to Ketis! She couldn\'t rely on her superior gear to overcome this challenge.
She needed to employ true skill to win this duel!
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