Chapter 136: Thor’s Watch
Under the mantis-creature’s assault, Director Wu did not react. In truth his own powers were far and away a match for the beast. Strike after strike from it’s scythe-like arms left no trace on the baboon’s body.
Without looking back, Wu Junyi’s powerful legs grew taught, then launched him backwards against his attacker.
Crack! Snap! Two of the mantis-creature’s six arms broke and fell away. It reeled back, tumbling away from the impact.
King Kong, a baboon metamorphosis. This was Wu Junyi’s Discipline. Director of the Teaching Department, and eight ranked Talent. He was among the best Adepts the school possessed.
One rippling arm supported him against the ground, pushing him up to somersault back in to action. In the blink of an eye he was striking once again at the monstrous intruder. It was startled by his ferocity, but it’s reaction was quick nonetheless. Fending off the great baboon, six great wings unfurled from it’s back and pushed it into the air.
Wu Junyi scowled at the unpleasant discovery. The damn thing could fly! Already he could feel a sort of numbness creeping up through his body, a result of the strange violet mist the monster was releasing. Whatever it was, it was clearly intensely toxic. For the moment, he was able to mostly isolate the poisons from affecting him, but it’s effects would grow stronger the more of his discipline he expended.
The King Kong Baboon couldn’t fly, but this didn’t mean he was out of options against flying opponents. Wu Junyi had spent decades cultivating and understanding his powers. Both his strengths and weaknesses – and how to overcome them – were very clear to him.
“Aaaagghhoooo!” He roared towards the heavens, spreading his arms wide and baring his chest. Suddenly, he twisted back, preparing for something. In the same instant, a dim golden orb congealed in his left palm. He twisted back around ,and flung the shimmering projectile like a canon ball.
The mantis-creature had suffered significantly already under Wu Junyi’s attacks. Though it was held aloft by it’s wings, the injuries it had sustained made maneuvering more difficult. It couldn’t get out of the way fast enough, and the golden orb collided in a direct hit.
Booommmm! The rumbling thunder of impact echoed through the forests. The monster fell to ground, reduced to countless smoldering pieces.
Wu Junyi did not stop to bask in victory. Immediately he was racing towards his teachers. There was no way of knowing how many of the things were still out there. He had to protect his people.
He had made relatively quick work of it, but still a haze of anxiety and depression filled him. There were forty teachers, separated in to various groups. Luckily his own had him to protect them, but what of the others? Lingyun’s group may be fine, but the other three…
Tan Lingyun raced ahead of the others at break-neck speed. As she did, her perception was expanded outward to read the changes in the environment. She couldn’t stop for the quiet necessary to feel vast distances, but her Supernatural Discipline allowed her to maintain a five hundred meter diameter around them without issue.
Suddenly, somewhere to her right, she sensed the appearance of a fierce and violent thing. It moved with incomparable speed. Just as she was preparing to react, however, the presence vanished as quickly as it had come. She was decidedly unsettled by the situation. But, she didn’t stop, couldn’t stop – she just kept going.
Overhead, a gigantic blue figure raced by like a bolt of lightning, a dangerous-looking spear in hand. It was racing towards another monstrous violet beast. This one was more akin to a scorpion. It was perhaps fifty meters long, but facing the mighty blue figure it might as well have been an toy. The stench of something burning wafted from the creature’s body. Like the other, a purplish-red mist oozed from it, killing the surrounding wildlife. But it simply snaked around the enormous newcomer, having no effect.
Suddenly that bolt-like blue spear was in flight, cutting a deadly path towards the scorpion, then pinning it to the ground. As it did, the blue figure was in motion. A dazzling, dangerous blue light shone from it’s head to fan out in a semi-circle. A moment later, it vanished like a bolt of lightning in to the distance.
Lan Jue followed close behind Tan Lingyun, his brows furrowed. Flickering bolts of electricity raced just behind his eyes.
It was Thor who tore through the heavens around them, called forth by Lan Jue through Thor’s Promise. The ring allowed him to communicate with his mecha, not unlike the spirit-caller gem he used with Qianlin. Everything the suit saw, Lan Jue did too. He could see the horrendous things, and the damage they were dealing.
Like Junyi, his priority was the safe evacuation of all those on the planet. He made sure Thor was there to watch, and protect.
Luckily they hadn’t entered too deep in to the rainforests before things went south. In fact, Tan Lingyun’s group had been the one to venture farthest in. The various teachers were still relatively fresh, so their retreat was a speedy one.
“We made it!” The base camp spread out before them. Finally, the slightest sense of relief crept in to Tan Lingyun’s heart. They rushed forward towards it, and spied a host of uniformed soldiers rushing to the forests around them. They each carried laser weapons, and spread out to face the encroaching threat.
“You all don’t have any heavier artillery?” Lan Jue grabbed a passing soldier to ask.
“No, the soldier responded with a wry smile, “the environmental restrictions mean no artillery emplacements. We’re restricted from using any high-yield weaponry here. Machinery, too, like mechas. All we got is what we can carry.”
“Then don’t go rushing out on a fool’s errand,” Lan Jue said, “Whatever the hell these things are, they’re strong. You’ll need mechas if you want to stand a chance at wiping them out. Just pull everyone back.”
The soldier reacted with a hard stare. “Our obligation is the safety of the public. There are still many tourists who haven’t made it back. It’s our job to go out and protect them.” With that, the soldier raced in to the jungle. However, a few feet in to the dense overgrowth he stopped. He turned back towards Lan Jue.
“Hey guy… thanks for the concern. I hope we have an opportunity to meet again.”
With that, he snapped to attention, and raced off in to the jungle.
Lan Jue’s eyes followed him as he disappeared in to the trees. This was the quality of the East’s soldiers. They were full of pride, almost arrogance, but an arrogance born of their life of service. Their pride was worthy of respect.
“Hurry, get on the ship!” The commanding voice brought him back to the present. He was suddenly wrenched around by a powerful hand. The scenery around him went lopsided, pulled through the air by Tan Lingyun until they arrived at the ship’s loading doors.
“Hurry up, no wasting time. Get on the plane and wait for evac.” Tan Lingyun’s pretty face was hard and serious. She released Lan Jue from her grip, then raced off to find more teachers.
“Professor Lan, hurry and get on.” Jin Tan’s timid voice called from behind him. Lan Jue turned to see her already on board, urgently waving for him to follow.
Lan Jue took a deep breath. He watched the teachers racing towards the ship, then decided to board as well. The interior of their transport was nearly as chaotic as the outside. Nearly a dozen teachers had already arrived, They panted and stammered about what was happening outside.
Lan Jue returned to the seat that took him here. He shut his eyes, reaching his consciousness out to Thor.
Thor’s advantage lied largely with it’s speed. It’s power and rapid response ensured that most of the NEU’s teachers returned, more scared than hurt. In around twenty minutes, more or less all of the remaining teachers had found their way back.
But Lan Jue could see others, tourists from other parts of the East who’d come to sample Taihua’s beauty. There were ten other sites like their own encampment, with perhaps a hundred other ships parked about. That meant there could be another ninety thousand tourists still running for their lives.
Worse, from Thor’s vantage, that ominous magenta coloration had spread to cover almost the entire planet.
It was a disaster… not just for the Eastern Alliance, but a true catastrophe for all of mankind.
“Our obligation is the safety of the public.” The soldier’s words – likely his last – rang in his ears. He looked like he was young, in his early twenties perhaps. There was a resolution in his smile. He had been calm, and arrogant, as he ran headlong to his death.
Lan Jue’s eyes shot open. Fixed in determination, he shot to his feet and made for the door. As he reached the exit, a clearly dumbfounded Wang Hongyuan was just boarding.
“Where are you going?” He looked at Lan Jue in a shocked curiosity.
“To help,” he replied softly.
“To help? And just how can you help?” The dance instructor’s voice was thick with scorn.
Lan Jue stepped out of the way and let him enter. “However I can. There are still many, many people who haven’t returned.”
He didn’t wait for any more of Wang Hongyuan’s doubts, and ran towards the forests.
The haughty man watched him go. He shook his head as a strange feeling overcame him. Is this guy crazy? He thought. He’s actually running in to the forest. What the hell is he going to do?
And yet he didn’t move, fixed at the cabin entrance. He watched as Lan Jue slowly disappeared in to the distance.
He’s for real… not just for show? He was genuinely surprised. In a flash, he was racing down the steps and after the etiquette instructor.
“Where are you going?” The hard voice shouted at him from nearby. He slid to a stop and turned a dark glare towards Tan Lingyun. “You’ve done enough! This is not the time for your nonsense. Professor Lan just ran off in to the forest, going to help more people. I’m going to make sure he doesn’t get himself killed.”
“What?!” Tan Lingyun stamped her foot in anger. “Who the hell does that waste of space think he can help? All he’s doing is bringing trouble by not staying on the ship like instructed! Don’t just stand there, go drag his ass back here!”
Wang Hongyuan grunted. He was off again, following Lan Jue’s footsteps in to the rainforests.
Tan Lingyun wasted no further time in speculation over these events. She was off in another direction. There were others to bring back.
Gradually the remaining teachers were gathered together, returning with Wu Junyi. Upon seeing Tan Lingyun, he stopped her. “What’s going on,” he said, “what state is your group in?”