ON a remnant of a certain dead planet floating on the outskirts of Palioxis Galaxy, there was another kind of society. Wanted criminals, space pirates, unregistered citizens, the poorest of the poor, all gathered in places like this. There was no night or day, only darkness. The source of light and air were all artificial. There was no greenery, only buildings that looked like slums.
Places like this were more commonly known as "Lawless Den".
Just like how the name suggested, there"s no law in such a place. That"s why it could attract a lot of unsavory people. But there were also those who ended up there because they had no other choice. Some were abandoned at birth. They weren"t registered as a citizen of the Empire, thus not having an official Terminal and couldn"t enjoy any benefits of being the citizen of the Empire. There were also people who simply had nowhere else to go. They couldn"t afford to live in planets officially recognized by the Empire. So, they could only choose to live in a such a place.
Lawless Dens were also known for their black markets and underground auctions. Items that were banned in the Empire could be found here, if one just knew where to look. A lot of illegal trading and gambling were also happening here. One could say that these "Dens" were simply a melting pot of all things illegal.
Now, a certain flying shuttle was making its way to this particular Lawless Den. The said shuttle had a stealth function that made it invisible to the naked eye. It slowly landed on the Den"s makeshift port. A tall man made his way out, carefully making sure that he wouldn"t be noticed.
Which was easy since he made sure that he landed the shuttle on a pretty dark spot. He let the shuttle"s stealth mode remained "on". Because if he didn"t, once he came back, there"s a high chance that it would be torn into pieces and each part stolen by someone.
He pulled up the hood of the cloak he was wearing, completely hiding his features. Then he walked towards the town"s center.
This tall man was Edmund Barton, a captain in the Empire"s military and also one of the core members of Fenris Squad. He was here at a Lawless Den because he was tasked by Leland to look for their general.
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The signal that the prince"s Terminal gave off pointed to the nearest planet here before it disappeared. Knowing the prince, he probably just accidentally turned that "on". Then after realizing that it was "on", he quickly turned it "off". Edmund never bothered to go to that planet. When he saw that it was just a normal peaceful planet, he knew there"s no way the prince would be there. Their general simply wouldn"t be interested in peaceful places. And when he found out that there was a Lawless Den a few astronomical units away, he had a feeling he would definitely find the prince there.
Because their general was simply attracted to chaos. One could even say that he embodied chaos himself.
Edmund sighed. He truly didn"t want to be here. He didn"t even want to search for the general. Because he knew he was definitely just having fun somewhere and simply didn"t want to be find. But Leland was such a worry-wart, he really had to send someone to search for the general. And sadly, Edmund picked the short end of the stick.
He couldn"t push the responsibility to either Slade or Hildred. Slade would surely just threaten him until he no longer had the idea of shirking his responsibilities. Hildred might be always full of smiles but that guy could be really much scarier than Slade. And thus, Edmund just succumbed to his fate.
He was nearing the Den"s central hub when he heard a group of people talking. Normally, he wouldn"t take notice of them but their conversation really attracted his attention.
"Have you heard? A new guy is going to challenge Regal!"
"But isn"t Regal the undefeated champion of the fighting arena?"
"That"s right. Is this new guy looking for death?"
"Maybe he doesn"t know that people could die on the fighting arena."
"Isn"t there going to be a fight tonight? Shall we go and watch?"
Hearing that, Edmund suddenly had a bad feeling. Lawless Dens had fighting arena where people gambled on who would win between two fighters. Wouldn"t this "new guy" they were talking about be the general? Certainly, that would something he would do.
When the group of people moved, most probably going to the fighting arena, Edmund secretly followed. They went to an open-air stadium. They were still a few distance away but he could already hear the loud cheers of people. Walking inside, Edmund really hoped that his hunch was wrong.
He found a dark corner to stand where he could see everything that was happening on the stage. There was a man standing at the middle. He didn"t look like a fighter. Edmund was also certain he was not a referee, because places like this simply had no need for that. Considering the mic he was holding, he was probably some sort of emcee.
"Ladies and gentlemen of the Den, tonight, you will witness a very special fight. A newcomer is here to challenge the undefeated Regal. He fought a hundred fights and won all of them just so he could have the opportunity to challenge our champion. Now, let"s all welcome, the brave Grizzly!"
There were shouts from all corners of the stadium. Either from excitement or just simply going with the flow. Then the lights focused on a certain direction until it hit a huge bear of a man. His upper body was naked, showing a lot of battle scars.
When Edmund saw the big guy walking towards the stage, he knew that this was the newcomer trying to challenge the champion. He finally let out a sigh of relief when the big guy stood at the stage. At least now he confirmed that his assumption was wrong. But before he could completely put down his hanging heart, a familiar voice suddenly echoed in the venue.
"So, does that mean if I beat this ugly muscle head, I could challenge the champion?" said a man who suddenly appeared out of nowhere and was now standing in front of Grizzly.
The sudden intruder was tall with tousled white hair and a pair of golden eyes that seemed to be staring at a prey. His skin was a healthy wheat color, showing that he often spent most of his time outdoors. He was wearing a simple white shirt with a few buttons opened, showing a wide expanse of his chest, paired with black trousers and boots. There was a rogue-like smile on his face. As if telling anyone that he was up to no good.
Edmund almost didn"t face-palm. Because the man standing over there was their general and the only prince of the Empire – Wulfric de Lunaris.
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