Military Command Center, Sky Tower

 “Military Command Center” was a generic term, its actual name being “Unified Management Department of the United Legions.”

As a records officer in the Military Command Center, Cheng Xin felt his heart under tremendous stress that day.

Initially, his superiors informed him that an important meeting would take place in the Command Center, and as a records officer, he assumed it was just routine.

However, when he saw his colleagues, including his superiors, gradually exiting the command hall, he realized that today's meeting was far from what he thought.

Then, the former Minister of the Strategic Department, Wed, walked in.
This elderly man, with one-quarter Western Land heritage, though an ordinary, commanded immense respect.
With a glance, he could make people tremble.

As the white-haired old general entered the command hall, Cheng Xin suddenly wondered if the central air conditioning had malfunctioned.
Otherwise, why would the air be scorching!?

Fortunately, the old man didn't look his way.
He walked directly to the center of the hall and sat down at a round multifunctional electronic table among the only five seats available.

Before Cheng Xin could catch his breath, a refreshing floral scent wafted to his nose.
Closing his eyes, he could almost envision a scene of pristine white snow and blooming plum blossoms.

Then, the rhythmic sound of footsteps made the records officer involuntarily look towards the entrance.

A tall and graceful figure walked in from the door, her long black hair neatly parted and gracefully floating in the air.
The cold and beautiful face made Cheng Xin momentarily forget to breathe.

However, soon after, the woman's dark purple uniform and the golden stars on her shoulders accelerated Cheng Xin's heartbeat.

Because she was General Fei Mei of the Storm, a woman of peculiar nature who possessed a noble status yet refused to choose a surname for herself.

The lightly adorned female general scanned the hall, and when her gaze unintentionally swept across Cheng Xin, the records officer felt a chill run through, as if he had been thrown into an ice cellar.

Although he had grown up without ever experiencing a true icy and snowy environment.

Fei Mei sat across from Old Wed, who glanced up and simply nodded before busying himself with something on a communicator.

“Old man, what's the matter that you had to call us over? Don't you know I'm busy?” A loud voice boomed from outside the hall, someone squeezed in from the entrance.

That's right.


Even though he was no longer young, his robust physique made many young people feel inferior.
Wearing Night Walker uniform's long black coat draped casually over his body, serving as a dark cloak.
With an eyepatch over his right eye and a mechanical arm on his left, it was none other than Night Walker's commander, Chu Yan.

He casually seated himself beside Fei Mei and exclaimed, “Little girl, you're getting beautiful as you grow.
How about considering that Ling Feng guy? I think you two make a great match.”

A rare expression of helplessness flashed across Fei Mei's face.
“Commander Chu, don't waste your effort.
I never even considered getting married.”

Chu Yan sighed.
“You're too awing, too exceptional for any man to match you.
But Fei Mei, a girl still needs to find a place to belong; otherwise, you'll find yourself in the future.”

Wed, sitting across from them, raised his head and sneered.
“You meddle too much in others' affairs, Chu Yan.”

Chu Yan snorted,
“Better than you, an old coot who's always scheming.”

The nearby records officer shrank back, fearing the possible quarrel between the two powerhouses.

“Sorry you had to wait.”

The fourth person to walk through the door was considerably younger than the two veteran commanders, a middle-aged man of less than fifty.

He wore the black-blue uniform of the City Guards, Iron Wall, with neatly worn gloves, military boots and a holster.
The records officer felt he was about to faint.
This was Commander Cao Gang of Iron Wall.
With his presence and apologetic words, all the important figures of the second tier in the Fortress's power structure had gathered.

Cao Gang took his seat and looked to Wed.
“The City Lord couldn't make it, Minister Wed.
We can begin.”

Wed nodded.
“Alright, I'd like everyone to watch some footage.”

He activated a control interface on the table, lightly tapping, and a set of holographic images appeared above the same.

Among them, one could see scenes of a Night Walker squad in action.

Chu Yan exclaimed, 

“That's our Raven squad.
Weren't they supposed to recover the Pillar of Star? How did they end up engaging with prowlers?”

Wed calmly explained, 

“They encountered a small group of prowlers on their way to the Lighthouse Base.
They are currently in the process of clearing them out.”

Chu Yan looked puzzled. 

“Old man, why are you showing us this? And who was filming it?”

Wed replied, “One of my subordinates.
I had him participate in this operation.
He brought a Storm squad with him, as General Fei Mei should be aware.”

Fei Mei nodded. 

“I've read the report.
It said it was to test the combat capabilities of the 5th generation armaments.”

“That's right…” In the footage, a 5th generation assault-type dimensional armament passed by nearby, and as the scene zoomed in, it could be seen engaging another group of prowlers with gunfire.

The Minister of Strategy glanced at the communicator and confessed, 

“Unfortunately, there are prowlers in the vicinity.
But it's fine.
Judging by the performance of this 5th generation armament, annihilating those black scum is a piece of cake.”

Indeed, the 5th generation armament took only three minutes to completely eliminate a group of around three hundred prowlers.

The footage resumed.

Chu Yan seemed to sense something as his tone grew colder. 

“Old man, what do you wish to achieve by this?”

“Nothing much, just wanted everyone to witness the power of technology.”

Wed spread his hands with a smile on his lips. 

“As you all saw, the Raven squad just wiped out less than a hundred prowlers in about five minutes, while the Storm squad only deployed one armament, not only eliminating more dark creatures but also taking less time.”

“Now let's compare the costs.
As we all know, Ascenders…
even the lowest-level Ascenders, are a money-making machine.
Based on incomplete statistics, the resources we invest in these Ascenders every year are enough to produce three hundred 5th generation armaments.”

“A total of three hundred, and they can be maintained, with parts replaced if needed, and a service life of at least ten to twenty years.
Now, let's look at Ascenders.
How many new awakenings do they have each year? Twenty?”

Fei Mei shook her head. 

“No, on average, there are only around eleven new awakenings each year.”

Wed slammed the table.

“That's right, less than eleven.
And they consume too many resources, with a high casualty rate.
Most importantly, the investment in them is not one-time but continuous.”

“Think about it, with the same resources used for mass-producing dimensional armaments.
Ten years later, the Storm could have over three thousand of them.
What kind of formidable armed force would that be?”

Chu Yan snorted.
“Wed, what are you trying to say? Just speak.”

Wed cleared his throat, stood up, and said, “What I want to say is that the resources invested in Ascenders do not proportionally match their contributions.
Of course, I'm not saying they are completely useless.
I'm just suggesting that maybe we can slightly reduce our investment in Ascenders and allocate those resources to more appropriate areas!”

The air in the command hall suddenly became tense.
The records officer's hand paused over the electronic board, afraid to record this statement.

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