Chapter 116: The Audacity!
Eighty-seven a second!
Staggering couldn’t begin to describe it. What the average mecha pilot could barely manage in a minute, these god pilots did in a fraction of the time.
The final list was the aggregate power ranking, of which Zeus came in ninth. Of the other three Monarchs only one out-performed him there, his brother Prometheus. He was third. Strangely, however, in terms of hand speed the ‘god of wisdom’ clocked in at sixty – more than fiftieth in the rankings.
Poseidon was also present on the lists, but the only one he broke the top ten on was the god-team. For the others he was no slouch, but didn’t quite reach the same level. Thirty-eighth in hand speed, and fifty first in overall power. In Dreamburg Poseidon was ranked high, but not overly so.
The only person to rank in the top ten of three lists was Lan Jue himself. Although it didn’t accurately portray real statistics here, in Dreamburg, among the best pilots in DreamNet – there was none better.
“Doesn’t look like there’s been a lot of changes in the sanctuary since we’ve come last,” Lan Jue said, looking over the lists. His name remained precisely where it had been three years ago.
Hua Li replied, “Only a few people are allowed in here, you think a significant upset would be that easy? Today, though, I’m here to beat you – aggregate power rankings are sure to see some changes. Three years with minimal practice from you, how much hand speed do you think you’ve lost?”
“Let’s go then!”
Dreamburg, Battle Prep.
“Honored Zeus, Poseidon, would you like your spar to be available publicly?” A pleasant, female voice wafted towards them.
“Private,” Lan Jue responded.
“Private, confirmed. After one minute, please enter the arena.”
A moment later the same voice echoed throughout the entirety of Dreamburg. “51st Ranked pilot Poseidon, has issued a challenge to 9th Ranked pilot Zeus to a contest. One minute to commencement.”
A white light flashed before them. The God of Lightning, Zeus, and the Master of the Oceans Poseidon appeared on an expansive platform.
The platform itself was magnificent; round, suspended in mid air, and surrounded by that shifting technicolored sky. It was called the Altar, the combat ring for god-ranked pilots. Each time the pilots here chose to spar, this is where they did it. Battles could be public or private, and spectators to public matches had to pay great sums of money to enjoy them. Private matches, on the other hand, were somewhat of a misnomer. Spectators could come, but their fee was a hundred times greater. A truly astronomical figure.
Spectating a normal match cost DreamBits, but in the real world the cost would amount to a b-ranked power gem. And you could only watch one bout. The proceeds were all given to the combatants – DreamNet took nothing.
Hua Li shouted to his opponent. “Hey A-Jue, do you think it’d be crazy if someone paid to watch our little competition?”
“This isn’t going to be a competition,” Lan Jue shot back. It’s gunna be a massacre.”
Hua Li laughed it off. “Yeah?”
“It’s been three years since we’ve last met, and your bullshit hasn’t let up,” Lan Jue said.
“Well it looks like there aren’t any crazies coming out to watch today. Let’s do it.”
Both Zeus and Poseidon lifted their right hands. Two beams of light fired down from the heavens and enveloped them. The columns expanded, dissolved, and in their place stood two massive mechas.
On one side of the platform towered Thor, exactly as he would appear in the world outside. Opposite Zeus’ mecha stood another, aqua blue and considerably more slender than the lightning god’s. It’s height was similar to Thor’s, streamlined and towering. A teardrop-shaped gemstone glimmered in it’s forehead, and in fact every important part and junction of the armor bore a similar gem. Looking on, it was like it’s body was moving ever so slightly, undulating like deep-sea waves. A sapphire blue trident was clutched in it’s hands.
This was Triton, Hua Li’s mecha armor.
In this instant a flash appeared in the distance. A metal chair suddenly appeared just outside the platform, and in it a tall figure. A woman, judging by the figure, draped in a flame-red robe. Similarly fiery hair hung down her back, and her features were hidden behind a red mask. Her impressive stature glowed like an ember, but instead of appearing like a lick of flame she instead gave the impression of fresh blood.
“Woah, is that Piao Hong? Sure enough, there’s our big wig Piao Piao! Same one from years ago who wanted to provide for you – looks like you’re still on her mind.” Hua Li’s surprised voice issued from Triton. Any sound from the platform wasn’t heard from outside.
“Shut it!” Lan Jue sounded especially sour.
Thor burst in to motion. Crackling bolts of lightning raced over it’s figure as it launched itself toward Triton in an all out gambit. It looked like a raging ball of thunderbolts, twisting dangerously at it’s foe.
Triton took a step back. It was careful and calculated – after all, the two men knew each other well. He did not dodge, but juked diagonally to the side to avoid impact. In the same moment Triton lifted it’s massive trident, a hazy blue light enveloping it’s prongs.
The misty lights flashed, and a vortex appeared before the weapon. It’s pull yanked Thor to the side. Even the mecha was capable of Brine Mires.
The vortex pressure pulled violently at Thor, whose speed and ferocity caused it to stumble off balance for a moment before Zeus retook control. Triton’s timing and power were spot on. For an instant it looked like Thor would tumble head first in to the vortex, but it abruptly stopped at a distance of about a meter.
The pull remained, but Thor was in no further danger of being torn apart by the whirlpool. Countless threads of crackling lightning bolts appeared, interweaving to create a massive electrical net. It exploded outward, batting away his opponent’s weapon. Moreover, Thor’s giant figure became fuzzy, and a mysterious buzz filled the air.
The net fractured, it’s once thick electric frame separating until it was almost like a photomask. It surrounded Thor like a blanket. This was an impressive combination of Thor’s lightning net and oscillation – a combination that required a master hand. The punishing speed of oscillation, and a second function besides. To your average pilot this was, in a word, insane.
He looked almost like a mirage, and in the space it took for his net to complete, he abused the opportunity. Giant bolts of electricity fired off in all directions. But Triton had not been taken aback. It’s own figure had become hazy, and as the bolts washed over it, it vanished. The flowing figure reappeared several meters away. It soared through the air, crackling with residual electricity.
“Stop knowing me so well,” Hua Li gloomily engaged.
Lan Jue answered with action. Thor fired itself upward towards Triton, shinning like a shooting star.
Before the rush could find it’s target, Triton changed. It split in to three identical images, each brandishing their tridents threateningly. With the motion a light swept over Thor, swallowing it within. The azure blue mecha was unfazed. Lifting it’s right hand, a golden light flashed and a lightning-shaped spear appeared in the raised appendage.
It did not strike or jab. Instead Thor gave the spear a shake, and countless dots of lights shuddered free like dust motes in a beam of sunlight. They shimmered and shook, become a hundred thousand tiny spears of light. It was they who rushed out, finding every hole and weakness in the tridents’ radiating power.
This clearly reflected the differences between the two great mechas. As the spears strikes rushed against the trident’s power the weapon rippled like waves. It diffused and muted the spear’s effectiveness. Meanwhile the spears attacks were indomitable, powerful, and precise. It was brute force against redirection.
The earlier strikes had put Triton at a disadvantage. He’d lost the offensive, and struggled back a few steps under Thor’s onslaught. However, it was not a broken retreat, he still retained control.
At the levels in which these two competed, victory wasn’t decided in a matter of seconds. Neither were employing their best skills or strategies – instead searching the best opportunities to use them.
“A-Li!” As the fight raged, Lan Jue’s voice shouted over the din.
“Ah?” Hua Li’s response was surprised, taken aback by the sudden cry. To shout in such a way in the midst of an intense stand off, surely there was something the matter.
However, Lan Jue’s voice was calm. “A few days ago, while I was teaching class, there was this female student who desperately needed to fart…” 1
“She couldn’t hold it, so she came up with an excellent idea. She would loudly clap her hands, and at that precise moment let loose thus concealing the sound. She went about her plan, loudly clapping her hands in the quiet classroom. And just as everyone was turning their heads to look at her, she ripped a fantastic one.”
Bang! A bolt of lightning shot out and collided with Triton’s shoulder. The mecha fell in to an uncontrolled dive, and smashed to the floor. Thor wasted no time. Golden light washed over him, and as his friend was tumbling he became roaring bolt of lightning. Immediately upon hitting the floor, Thor slammed in to him with the force of starship.
Brruuughhhmmm! The whole area shook as thunderous roars tore through the sky. The entire platform was awash in golden light. A mushroom cloud rolled and raised above it, the fiery lights dancing in it’s depths.
Hua Li’s screams echoed through the Altar, mixing with the thunder.
“Combat has finished. Winner: Zeus.”
The cloud was swept away, and the golden light dimmed. Thor stood triumphant in the center of the ring.
Outside of the ring, the red-robed woman had already stood from her chair. She looked on with doubt in her eyes. Thor had indeed had the upper hand, but Triton’s disposition hadn’t been significant. Poseidon’s mecha had simply sat there, frozen in the air as the attack landed, with no attempts at defense.
Thor hadn’t let the opportunity go to waste, and combat was done right then and there. From where she sat it almost looked like Triton let him win – where they trying to exploit the list standings? But that simply couldn’t be! God-ranked pilots wouldn’t do such a thing!
“THE AUDACITY! A-Jue, that was some a-class bullshit!” Hua Li’s enraged voice tore through Dreamburg.
- Oh no he didn’t. ↩