Chapter 283: The Mysterious Sinkhole
(Unova Syndicate- Unknown Planet)
“Stop!” Captain Dawn bellowed as the team approached an open hole in the desert.
Two days had passed since relocating to the new rest site and the search for the plant had continued without much luck.
During that time, there had been no leads or clues to the mysterious plant’s location.
Even the well-disciplined knights in the squad had begun to get a little bit impatient.
There was only so much endless sand dunes and dust one could observe before they felt bored to tears.
Sophie was following the team and pressed the brakes on her hoverbike to the slow down with the rest of them.
Lily was back at the rest site sleeping and Sophie had cooked some meals for her to eat when she woke up.
These two days had not been spent in vain as Sophie had taken the opportunity to join the squad and observe the captain more closely.
As for as she could tell….
There had been no major side effects after the captain had injected the murky reddish substance into his body.
However, all the confrontations since the injection with the various animals on the planet had been resolved by other knights in the squad as the captain did not step forward.
Was this to train them?
Or was the captain unable to fight?
Sophie had no chance to test this hypothesis, so she was content to just fade into the background and watch.
Each knight fought using a method of swordsmanship that she had never seen before.
Their swings were awkward and clumsy and yet each blow was imbued with a powerful aura of sword Qi.
The swords the knight’s wielded while practising this swordsmanship style would glow in a bright yellowish-white colour that made them hard to look at directly.
“Captain is everything alright?” a loud voice snapped Sophie out of her musing.
“Approach the sinkhole slowly and keep an eye out for any ambushers,” Captain Dawn ordered as he slowly inched his hoverbike forward.
Hidden behind an inconspicuous sand dune was an enormous gaping sinkhole.
What was strange about the hole was that the nearby sand particles did not fall inside.
There seemed to be some sort of barrier surrounding the gaping chasm that prevented the dust from entering.
Captain Dawn stretched out his hand and poked the air above the sinkhole. His finger moved forward but was soon halted by a thin transparent substance that was sticky to the touch.
A visible look of excitement flashed across the captain’s face as he immediately launched a punch at the membrane.
Sophie had to close her eye as a dust storm was created by the sheer force of the captain’s simple attack.
When the dust settled, the captain stood at the edge of the sinkhole with a fascinating expression on his face.
“Men!” the captain roared.
“We have found it!”
Cheers and applause rang out from the knights in the squad. Finally, after weeks of searching, they had found a potential lead.
Sophie joined in with the loud cheering but inside her heart there was a sinking feeling.
After the captain found the plant….
What would happen?
Sophie had sensed the malice the captain had hidden behind his kind facade had only increased ever since Lily and her had moved to the new rest site.
“Prepare the climbing equipment and set up a temporary camp for the night,” Captain Dawn ordered.
“Yes sir!” came the prompt reply.
Once could hear the sounds of loud thumps as the knights jumped off their hoverbikes and begun to accomplish the tasks.
Half of the squad were in charge of setting up camp for the night while the other half had already begun to approach the hole with thick metalloid ropes in hand.
Modern climbing gear used electromagnetic technology to allow the users to scale even the most impassable of terrain.
Sophie was the sole exception to this busyness as she calmly leaned back on her hoverbike and observed the knights running around.
Captain Dawn had been indulgent with her lazy behaviour so far and apart from joining the team, Sophie had done little more than ride along with the group.
Surprisingly, this had not provoked any discord among the squad as Sophie’s injured and crippled status was enough to win her sympathy.
She was simply treated as a mascot.
Sophie closed her eye and felt the intense heat of the desert wash over her body. Only in the darkness could she find any semblance of peace.
The chattering and noises made by the enthusiastic knights seemed to fade away as Sophie unconsciously begun to cycle qi through her meridians.
Sophie opened her eye after a few minutes and saw the rapid progress of the temporary camp site.
There were numerous white tents set up in a semi circle formation with a single solitary tent in the center.
A mechanical barrier had been erected around the entire camp site and the crackle of electricity could be heard.
The team at the sinkhole and already attached the metalloid ropes to the safety device and a few brave knights were scaling down the gaping chasm.
“Use your flashlight when descending and make sure to constantly communicate to your designated partner,” Captain Dawn reminded.
Sophie hopped off her hoverbike and wandered over to the sinkhole. It truly was something that seemed bizarre even for this strange planet.
The sand in the desert was red yet no trace of these particles could be seen lining the walls of the chasm.
Instead, small blue crystal-like projections protruded out of the walls and illuminated the darkness with a pale glow.
Sophie narrowed her golden eyes but even with her enhanced vision, she could not see the bottom of the sinkhole.
Captain Dawn saw the hybrid girl approaching the scouting team and asked politely,
“Dear guest would you like to join us in this expedition, or would you rather stay above ground?”
He placed a warm hand on Sophie’s shoulder and smiled gently. All the while projecting a mild-mannered temperament.
Goosebumps formed on Sophie’s arm, but the hybrid girl desperately tried not to let any of her fear show on her face.