Ryker finds himself back inside the Black Stallion.
"Then again, that thing did say that I never left." He looked around the room he was in.
It was different from the room he was kept earlier when Jackal saved him.
Ryker jolts up from the bed and makes his way to the hallways in search for the captain of the cruiser.
"Where is that sneaky bastard?"
Ryker had his back against a door as it opened up and he fell through.
"Oh good," Jackal was standing atop him with his hands resting on his waist. Besides him was Ming.
"I was just about to come to get you."
Ryker winced in pain as he lifts himself. "Where are we?" He looked past the two and scans the room in awe.
"Oh, this? Hehe, that was why I wanted to come get you" Jackal explained wearing his usual grin.
Ryker found himself in a gymnasium with a fighting ring in the middle.
Jackal tugged the hand of the white-haired teen and dragged him into the ring.
"We're going to train!" He declared much to Ryker's surprise.
"I mean, I'm going to train you."
"I know what you meant. What I mean is, why?"
"Because I want you to join the Black Stallion crew and venture through the cosmos with Ming and me." Ryker glanced at Ming who darted him a murderous look.
She was displeased by Jackal's motive but there was nothing she could do. He was her captain.
"You want me to become a criminal space pirate?"
Jackal scratched his head and laughed sheepishly. "Well, when you put it like that..."
"I'm in," Ryker said calmly.
'Honestly, this is by far the most normal thing that has happened to me today.' He thought to himself recalling his time in the astral plane before he woke up.
Jackal laughed. "I'll admit, I didn't expect to receive an answer from you right away!" He slaps Ryker on the back.
"What did you expect?"
"I don't know," Jackal replied. "I figured you'd be hell-bent on getting as far away from a criminal like me and start planning your revenge elsewhere."
"I did think of that." That was In fact, Ryker's intended course of action. That was until the association surrounded them.
"I can't make them pay if I couldn't even beat an A-Grade. I was blinded by my rage, I can't do this alone. So, use me as you please, captain. But I'll be using you as well." Ryker stretches his arm.
'I'll make a deal with a hundred devils if that's what it'll take to have my revenge.'
"Haha, that's more like it!" Jackal quickly accepted the handshake.
'He has a firm grip unlike any I've ever felt.' Ryker had his doubts at the beginning. But he was certain...
'This man is strong. He's the best shot I have in becoming stronger. And until I learn more about that Etherian. I won't tell them what happened just yet.'
"Ming," Jackal turned to address the Android. "From this day onwards, this man, Ryker Steele is our comrade!"
Ming's next action caught Ryker off guard.
"I welcome you to the Black Stallion crew." She bowed her head.
Not knowing what to do at this point, Ryker bows his head as well. "I'm in your care now." He uttered smiling.
Ming frowned at him. "Don't get me wrong, I still don't like you."
"Tck, the feeling's mutual."
"Haha," Jackal laughed. "Now, let's get to work."
"Before that, I've been meaning to ask you... What exactly happened after I passed out and what came over me when those hunters invaded the ship?"
Jackal went on to narrate how Ming intercepted Mysty's attack and knocked her out.
'I figured they'd keep her around. He may not look at the role. But this man is cunning.' Ryker admitted to himself.
"Thank you," He said. "You've saved my life twice now."
"I see no point in letting you die the second time after we took the trouble to save you in the first place. Plus, I invested a lot in your new power." Jackal pointed.
"I knew it!" Ryker exclaimed.
"You did something with my Astro tech, didn't you? I felt a weird sensation when I grabbed it."
"Hehe, I'll come clean." Jackal waved his hands in the air.
"I replaced your Astro tech's core with a new one."
All Astro techs possess a core, a rock of some sort that possesses astral energy depending on its color.
The usual Astro tech given to bounty hunters of the association were usually White or Red depending on their ranks.
"This will bring us to our first lesson, "Jackal raised a finger. "Astral itself. We're starting with the basics."
"Tck, just tell me what you did exactly!" Ryker snapped.
"I'm getting to it. You see, Astral is the energy of the Universe. It exists within everything and everyone."
"Why are you telling me things I know?"
"Is that so? Then tell me, why can't you create an astral skin without an Astro tech?"
Ryker clicked his tongue, he didn't have an answer to that.
"Anyone skilled enough can create an astral skin. This brings us back to Astro tech. Having an Astro tech will allow you to create an astral skin by tapping into the power within the Astro rock." Jackal held his hand out and Ming places Ryker's Astro tech on his palm.
He holds out the device which could turn into a whip.
"You were so restless when those hunters attacked that you didn't pay attention to this." Jackal pointed at the back of the device. He opens a compartment and takes out a black gemstone.
"This is the Astro rock I put in place of yours."
Ryker nods his head. "So my power from earlier came from this rock?"
"Yep, you see white Astro rocks have the weakest astral particles in them. And black Astro rocks have the highest amount hence why you developed a black astral skin and was then able to harness enough power to fend for yourself."
An Astro tech's main purpose is to allow individuals who have little amounts of astral particles in them to create astral skins which are the basis for combat.
"I've never seen or heard of a black Astro rock before... It must be rare so why give it to someone you barely knew?"
"Hmm," Jackal rubs his chin. He shrugged and grins. "Let's just say... I'm investing in the future."
"Fine by me." Ryker smiled.
"So, what will you be teaching me?"
"I wasn't finished yet. You see, the reason black Astro rocks are extremely rare is that they can only be used once in an Astro tech."
Ryker widened his eyes. "And here I thought I had received a new power!" He whined.
"Haha, you didn't let me finish, snow-white. An Astro rock serves as a battery and channel for both the Astro tech and its wielder. But in this case, when a black Astro rock is used up, it modifies the astral particles of the user. Now, you don't need an Astro tech to harness the black astral skin."
Ryker listened to all of Jackal's explanations attentively, especially the last part.
He looked at his hands. "What you're saying is... That power is all mine now?"
"Yup," Jackal nods his head. "That is, once you learn how to harness it. And finally, that brings us to why we'll be training."
Ryker pondered for a while before wearing a wide grin.
"Let's do this thing!"
"Huff. Huff.""You're almost there..." Jackal was holding a stopwatch to keep a record of how long Ryker can keep his astral skin on."This is annoying!" Ryker was getting tired and angry. Keeping the black astral skin on took a lot of mental focus which placed a strain on him."I'm afraid you're going to have to deal with it, snow-white."The first lesson for Ryker was to learn how to properly use his astral skin."You wouldn't want a repeat of what happened the other time now would you?"Ryker clicked his tongue. As much as he'd hate to admit it, Jackal was right. There was no point in being stubborn.The black astral skin is one of the rarest colors that a person could harness. It provides an incredible buff in strength and speed as shown by Ryker when he easily took care of over a dozen B-Grade bounty hunters. He would have beaten the A-Grade Mysty too had he not exhausted his astral."I appreciate you going through t
LOCATION: BOUNTY HUNTERS ASSOCIATION, MISTY TRAIL GALAXY HQ.A man wearing a monocle on his right eye was seated in his office. This man was none other than the head of the Misty Trail's bounty hunter association division, Flagmaster August.He raises his head upon hearing a knock on the door."Come in."A man, tall with a firm muscular structure wearing a black long coat."Ahh, Commander Kane. Just the man I was looking for."The man named Kane saluted his superior. "You called for me sir?""Yes, have you heard any word from A-Grade hunter Mysty?"Kane paused for a moment. August realized that whatever it was he was hesitant to say was far from being good news."I believe you know me too well than to hide anything from me, especially something that has to do with that traitor." August darts the Commander
LOCATION: RED WINE GALAXY, PLANET DARTH."Okay, I think my nose just died." Ryker pinched his nose as he and Jackal walked through the cyberpunk-style planet."What? Nonsense, that's adventure you're perceiving, snow-white." Jackal deeply inhales and breathes out through his mouth."If this is how adventure smells like... I'd rather take my chances with a black hole."Jackal smirked. "Well, if you want. You can go back to the ship to help Ming with some maintenance."Ryker felt a chill run through his spine. The mere thought of working with the android whom he despised made him feel like throwing up. Or maybe, it's the stench around him. "I hate you." He muttered."What's that?" Jackal perked his ears."What are we doing here anyway?" Ryker scanned their surroundings. They were currently at a marketplace."This place is filled with notorious criminals... Pirates, mercenaries and thieves. I re
"Finally!" Ryker exclaimed as he spreads his arms apart. "I can breathe fresh air again!"He, Jackal and Zera have made their way back to the Black Stallion."Well?" Jackal turned to the vampire. "What do you think of Stally?" He asked with a grin as he puffs out his chest.Zera scans the cruiser momentarily before setting her gaze back to its captain. "She's as vibrant as ever." She remarked with a smile.Ryker wore a stoic expression as he glances at the two. 'Why are they talking as if the cruiser is a living thing?'Just then, Ming approached them."Ming..." Zera said in a cold tone.Ryker felt a chill run down his spine. She gave off the same vibe as earlier when they met. The look was aimed at the android yet he felt restless."Zera..." Ming responded in a similar manner."I see Jackie still
"And that is everything I know, my mistress." Mysty was kneeling in front of the Black Stallion crew. "Good servant." Zera patted her head. The A-grade hunter had become her slave and lost all her free will. Her irises were devoid of life, she was like a mindless zombie. "That was easy," Ryker stated. "Hmm..." Jackal rubbed his chin. "Did you get all that, Ming?" He turned to the android. After Zera warped the hunter's mind. She commanded her to tell them all the information she had about the BSA. Mysty rambled for nearly an hour and thus, it proved difficult for them to recall everything she said. "Good thing Ming has an inbuilt recorder." Said Ryker. He crept closer to the mindless Mysty and squatted to her level. "How does it feel to be the pawn now, wit
Clank!Sparks flew as the hard metallic boots clashed with the sword made from an unbreakable substance.Reginald was breathing excessively as he gazes upon his opponent who was also trying to catch his breath.They have been attacking and canceling each other's attack for ten minutes now with neither side taking any hit.Neither has taken damage but they were both exhausted.For one, both of them couldn't use aura techniques which can only be used by individuals with massive ain reserves.They focused on using doping to boost their physical abilities past the human limit thus putting a lot of strain on their bodies.What's more, the two were both overlapping their doping with the power of their relics.The boots of Hermes which grant near-lightspeed powers and the Hat of Lupin, which copies the abilities of relics which in this case, was copying the powers of the boots. Transforming into
The crackling of electricity filled the room containing a large man wielding a hammer and a thin man holding an oddly shaped mace.The two objects were channeling electricity as the two fighters charged at one another.Clank! Thud! Clank!The two massive weapons collide sending sparks all over the room.These two have been fighting for nearly forty minutes now without rest."Former district commander Vorus, your talents precede you."The thin-looking man commended his opponent.This man was Falkner, wielder of the Vajra relic.In Hindu mythology, Vajra is the weapon of Indra, the god of thunder and king of the devas.The vajra is a powerful weapon having the combined features of sword, mace, and spear.It was created out of the hard thigh bones of sage Dadhichi who gave up his
The blackness was perfect, a sort of visual silence that could send chills through anyone's spine.The two captains were squaring off in the void dark room.Ace, being able to use seismic sense was freely maneuvering through the darkened room.Rhea on the other hand was barely able to block some of Ace's attacks.It was truly a one-sided battle.The room was completely pitch-black and she was being forced to heighten all of her other senses in order to keep up with Ace.Black zone was one of the techniques that Ace used proficiently as an assassin.The fact that he was using a technique that he swore never to use again shows just how formidable Rhea was.At the start of their confrontation, Ace had taken considerable damage from Rhea's scythe which drains power from the victim's soul directly.It