The entrance of the secret passage was slowly raised.
Garen entered openly, and the members who were walking about inside distanced themselves away from him when they saw his emotionless face, hoping to avoid any unnecessary trouble.
Along the passage, there were transparent crystals glowing with blue light every few meters. This was a facility which was built underwater.
After walking for a while, Garen saw the fatty that he had come in contact with rushing towards him, as his upper body jiggled about freely.
"Oh! My dear Captain Nine Head! You’ve finally returned!!" The fatty exaggeratedly flung his arms open in an attempt to hug him.
Garen ignored and walked past him.
"Do you have anything you want from me?"
"Uhh…" Fatty Baidel’s face was filled with awkwardness as he put away his hands. "It’s Deputy Director Marquis, he wants to see you to talk about Red team’s completed mission."
He paused for a while before he continued. "Captain Nine Head. You have produced a very satisfactory results for this mission. With the addition of this special mission on Snowy Peak, perhaps Red Team is about to be promoted…"
"Promotion? What benefits would a promotion bring to me?" Garen asked as he walked on.
"Of course there is! A big one too!" The fatty started to pick up his pace to match with Garen’s and yet he was barely able to keep up to him. "If the Red Team were to be promoted to the upper class group, then the welfare and treatment of the team would naturally increase as well. The approval from the Headquarter would increase as well."
"What’re the overall benefits then?" Garen was considered the type where he wouldn’t stop asking until he could clearly see the benefits.
"Uhh… About this… The main increment aspects are authority and wealth." The Fatty Baidel took out a white handkerchief as he wiped at the sweat on his face. "The amount of wealth would be completely at your discretion and can be exchanged for with your mission points. It can be a Heirloom, a territory or resources of the highest level such as antidotes, poisons, weapons, equipment, etc. In terms of authority, you may be promoted to obtain more power and even the support from the other branches."
"It is quite beneficial." Garen nodded his head as he finally cooled down.
The number of people in the area had increased as they took a few turns. There were a lot of workers in grey shirts, who were meant to serve the members here. They milled about in the area as they pushed around boxes filled with food, drinks, and clothes.
There were even workers running out of the room with some sort of intel in their hands. Some even carried a wardrobe filled with uniforms as they passed through the passage with no clear intention.
There were even people standing in the middle of a forked road as they debated softly.
The Headquarter was clearly more active than when he’d first arrived.
Fatty Baidel noticed Garen’s confusion and decided to explain as they walked.
"Usually, most of the people here are out on their missions so the special teams would naturally rest. Now that most of the small teams have returned, it’s normal that the service teams are working their butts off. Whether it’s to service equipment, instruments, audit missions or announce reports and news, this is when the workflow is at its peak."
Garen nodded to indicate his understanding.
Baidel continued his explanation: "Our main sponsor at the Headquarter is currently the Kovitan Empire. Of course, we do have our own industry as well but there’s not a lot of it, hence we are currently assisting the Kovitan Empire. The Trust Ceremony is going to begin soon so we’re busy preparing as well. Five out of the nine teams have already returned to maintain the safety of this area."
The two of them came across another forked road and went into a sealed pathway, where at the end of the road a silver, textured door gleamed. A guardian in a heavy white armor was guarding the gate.
Baidel walked towards the guardian and showed him a white name card.
The latter bowed his head down and stood beside the door.
The giant door opened automatically without making any noise.
Garen followed Baidel as they entered the room.
Inside, it was similarly structured to a meeting room. Everything was white and the ceiling was chiseled to resemble a silver flower. Four vivid, white stone Pegasi, each a man’s height, adorned each corner of the room.
There was a circle of black sofas in the middle and two people were already sitting there.
One of them was wearing black bordered spectacles and had mustache fully covering his lower jaw. He was wearing a neat black suit and gave off a vibe similar to that of an artist.
The other person was a man without a single strand of hair on his face. He had his dark golden hair combed towards the back neatly. He was a dreary looking middle-aged man with a smile on his face.
Both of them glanced at Garen who had just entered the room.
"Baidel, have you brought Captain Nine Head? What a rare occasion. It’s my first time seeing Nine Head Captain even though we’re both from Kovitan Empire. How embarrassing." The fair man stood up as he welcomed Garen by holding his hands and smiling.
"I am Senda Tungus. I believed His Majesty has already mentioned me to you right?"
Garen recalled that Avic did mention Earl Senda, who was the only one with substantial authority within Kovitan’s Secret Service, excluding the foreigners.
Garen started sizing this man who stood in front him. This man who had swollen eyes and pale face, he obviously didn’t look very healthy. He had a white emblem which resembled a white bonfire placed in front of his chest.
"Nice to meet you. My name is Garen and I suppose you already know that, right?" Since the opposing party had already told him his actual name, Garen did not have any intention to hide within the shadows as well.
"I’ve heard of you since a long time ago!" Senda shook Garen’s hand with tangible respect.
"Captain Nine Head, you’ve arrived at the right moment." The other person stood up. "Earl Senda had come here to request for my assistance. Since everyone knows about the condition within the capital, we can’t provide the proper amount of safety personnel, let alone extra people from other departments."
Garen glanced at the purple emblem placed in front of this person’s chest and immediately inferred that this man was Marquis Yawei, the Headquarter’s Deputy Director, the manager of the Nine Color Team and also the team leader of the Purple Team.
"Requesting assistance?" Garen was confused.
"Yes. As of now, the Kovitan’s Headquarter’s main support towards the kingdom is to clear off creature’s nests to recover back some territories and kill the rebels from the Black Sky at the same time. However, Earl’s Green Team has run into some troubles this time." Marquis Yawei said as he nodded. "Before you came back, the General Director had already held a meeting but due to the lack of manpower, we had no choice but to request the Green Team to endure for a little more."
"What actually happened?" Garen frowned.
"I’ll tell you more about it later. First, let me reward the Red Team." Marquis Yawei waved his hand as he walked towards the Pegasus Sculpture and took a small white crystal ball.
With the crystal ball in his hand, he walked back towards where everyone was.
"This is your reward for completing the high difficulty mission. It was offered by the General Director that you shall be promoted to the White level."
He gently tapped onto the white crystal ball.
The crystal ball opened up like a flower petal as countless of white layers opened up, revealing a white diamond shaped gemstone.
This white gemstone was levitating as it rotated on its own axis as it gave off a faint white glow.
Baidel, who was standing beside Garen, explained softly to him.
"The reward is ranked by the nine colors, which is red, orange, yellow, light green, dark green, blue, purple, white and silver respectively. White color is the second highest next to the silver reward and this reward is determined by the difficulty of the mission!. A single white gemstone can be exchanged for 1000 mission points!"
Garen didn’t know how much would 1000 mission points amount to but a benefit was still a benefit. He carefully received the white gemstone from Yawei and placed it into his pocket.
"Furthermore, your Red Team had surpassed the quota. According to the overall strength assessment, do you want to increase your team’s rank?" Yawei continued.
"Isn’t it more troublesome to increase my rank?" Garen questioned back.
"Yes, as you will need to compete with the team above you. It is the test of overall strength."
"There’s no need to rush that for now." Garen shook his head.
"How about my problem…?" Earl Senda butted in from the side. He looked like he lacked quite an amount of blood and appeared to be recovering from a serious injury.
"It is indeed troublesome. We are currently in a decisive period and we can’t spare any men." Yawei replied with difficulty. "Perhaps you should go and ask Captain Nine Head?"
"Senda shook his head as hopelessness was written all over his face.
"We won’t have enough time if we were to gather people here and we don’t have much time even if captain Nine Head agrees to it. Whatever, I will go back and let the rest know that this mission is a failure."
"If you say so." Yawei smiled wryly. "I have already pulled the man out earlier from that area."
Senda pulled at his hair in distress as he acted in an un-noble manner. He then left the meeting room alone after bidding goodbye to Garen and Yawei.
Garen then listened to the explanations of the situation in detail from Marquis Yawei and Baidel.
The majority of Kovitan’s strength had been sent out to clear out the creature’s nests in order to recover back the stolen territories. However, as there were wins and loses with every battle that had been fought, the current situation had both sides locked in a stalemate. The higher rankings within the Secret Service would have continued eradicating the creature’s nests if not for this ceremony of trust.
The Three Departments, the National Service, Secret Service and Geometry Service were each in charge of different things and the most troublesome one was handled by the Kovitan Empire itself. They had pushed in about a third into the West Farm’s defense line and had recovered about half of the original land.
However, totem users were unable to maintain and service their totems as they were short of gemstones. Furthermore, the numbers of creatures outside were practically endless and didn’t seem to be decreasing at all.
It wasn’t just Kovitan that was in trouble; Daniela was in the same situation. Ender Kingdom was slightly better off as they had the Giant Divine Statue. However, rumor had it that they’d lost two Giant Divine Statues recently to a giant dragon which had three transparent Cicada wings. The Ender Kingdom was in full defense mode and was urgently gathering strong individuals to fight off this army of creatures.
It was the same reason why the poisonous hag from before wanted to go back to Ender Kingdom.
"In a nutshell, the Royal Alliance’s movement is grinding to a halt. The three major domains, which are the Dragon Domain, Rainbow Domain and Black Domain seem to have formed their own alliance as well. This is to be expected as they need to fend off the strong creatures. Under these circumstances, His Majesty plans to reevaluate each profession and revamp the country’s overall system, as a stronger army won’t be able to continue battling without the help of a practical profession."
It was natural that Marquis Yawei knew this much due to his social standing.