Chapter 195: Don’t Move!
“Don’t move.” Lei Feng’s body stiffened. He was seated in close quarters, embracing a beautiful woman whose pert backside was nestled firmly in his lap. Beautiful suffering. And it only got worse the more she squiggled.
“Oh.” She stopped. “So what next?”
Lei Feng’s deep voice replied. “Later, when I tell you to employ your Discipline, make sure you exude it outwards. Follow my instructions to the word, and pay close attention to what happens. Remember everything you see and feel today, because this is what will improve your abilities.”
“Who the hell are you?” Tan Lingyun blurted out.
Lei Feng was silent for a moment. “Not important. All you need to know, is that I’m here to help.”
“But why are you helping?”
“We’re about to begin. Concentrate.”
Su He was already in his suit, and moving towards the arena.
Two long arm stretched from around Tan Lingyun’s tiny waist. Slender fingers settled on the suit’s controls.
Her heart skipped a beat. Unconsciously, she dropped her head, and saw the pale hands as they worked. They were thin, but not bony. Pretty, was how she would describe them.
Pretty indeed, especially for a man’s hands. She found it curious a man could develop such feminine fingers.
She also spied the strange green ring on his left little finger. The diamonds, sapphires, and that strange triangular jadeite, all twinkling in the cabin’s dim light.
It was the ring that struck her most. She didn’t understand why, but it felt familiar. Where she might have seen it, however, she couldn’t say.
Where this any other man with such a ring, she’d look upon him with contempt 1. However this ring, on this man’s hand, was somehow different. It filled her with suspicion.
Those hands became a blur as they danced along the controls. Their movements didn’t effect Tan Lingyun at all, as though she weren’t even there to impede them. Lei Feng was doing his best to sit straight, with arms stretched forward to reach around her. It was very much like her was holding her in his embrace. She felt his breath at her ear as he craned his head to one side of her neck, in order to watch the screen.
His warm breath, proximity and indeed even his aura caused her face to redden visibly.
The saber mech lurched in to motion. Large steps swept the suit through the prep area, following on the rifleman’s heels.
“Professor Su. Please choose the arena.” Wu Junyi called out towards the sim match’s loser, giving him the opportunity to choose the battlefield as per their agreed upon rules. He, along with Shi Jiujiu of Lir, were the acting referees for this fight just as they were for the students.
“Arena.” Su He called out his choice without indecision. Indeed, the Arena would be his natural choice. It was the simplest and most direct terrain to experience his opponent’s God-ranked mastery and Discipline. That was his aim, to witness and experience the powers of a God-ranked pilot, to challenge himself under such pressure 2. He was almost sure the struggle would lead to a personal breakthrough.
What he didn’t know, was whether this God-ranked pilot he faced was going to apply enough pressure.
To Tan Lingyun it felt like her heart was beating a hundred-sixty times a minute. She could hear its thud in her ears.
“What are you thinking? Pay attention to what I’m doing. Listen for my command to use your Discipline.” His voice snapped her back to the present.
She was the Savage Goddess, she reminded herself, a woman whose emotions were far better managed than the average young woman. She bit the tip of her tongue, hoping the pain would quell her discomfort with the situation. She fixed her glimmering eyes on the hands in front of her.
The audience outside was buzzing, both with excitement and anticipation. As the battle neared, so too did the fervor of the crowd rise.
The screens overhead where replaying the recently completed sim battle.
They watched once more as Su He’s yellow mech first displayed it’s ghosting abilities, humble though they were. Then came Tan Lingyun’s display, shocking them all over again. It proceeded to the battle within the clouds, culminating with Su He’s oblivion.
The fight hadn’t been an overly low or long one. The entire thing had been over in around ten minutes. The audience watched as the replay continued in slow motion, though they were surprised to find that, even despite the slower speeds, it was still difficult to clearly determine what was going on. The primary reason for this was that the suits were incredibly fuzzy when employing their ghost techniques, even at greatly diminished frame rates. It was a poignant testament to just how fast they really were.
The students of both universities couldn’t pull their eyes from the screen. For them, still in school, they knew the opportunity to watch an exchange of this caliber was a rare treat. It left a deep impression on every single pair of eyes that watched the screen.
Who wouldn’t want to reach such levels of mastery, after all? Of course their desires were tempered with the understanding that only an exceptionally few people ever reached that level. For the vast majority this was the closest they’d ever get to God-ranked, and they drank in every moment like a fine wine, savoring it.
This was especially true for those in the know, who could recognize the fighters’ level of ability and illuminate the fact to their peers. They were the ones who got the passionate responses going.
Yes, it was a treat for all that they could watch such a high-level exchange with their own eyes. It was largely this fact that resulted in Lir University’s dean, Han Ruchao, change in mood.
He sat in quiet reflection, wondering whether he should work to mend the strained relationship between their respective learning institutions. They had a God-ranked pilot, after all!
There were probably only three universities in the whole of the Eastern Alliance that were capable of possessing a God-ranked pilot on staff. Only two saw their preeminent pilot involved in any actual teaching, and only rarely.
If word got out about this pilot, Han Ruchao mulled, the NEU would certainly enjoy a much higher enrollment rate. Worse, they’d adopt the attitude that came with being a famously strong university.
It was no wonder, then, why Poseidon had chosen to hold his concert here. Han Ruchao suspected and feared his presence was likely due to the fact they had a God-ranked pilot here among them. And a beautiful woman, no less.
Xu Renjian, unlike his Lir counterpart, wasn’t consumed by the gossip. As the Dean of the NEU he was absolutely clear on the abilities of his school and staff. This was especially true for Tan Lingyun. He could even say he watched her grow up. She held herself apart, was often cold and prickly, but was in the end a very fine young woman. She was frank, and dutiful. Where she truly a God-ranked pilot, she wouldn’t have kept that a secret from him.
He had been present every step of the way, as Tanglingyun had grown and progressed. He’d never heard any indication that she was such a talented pilot.
There was a great chasm between a God-ranked pilot, and a Sovereign. It was a chasm that was famously difficult to cross. This he knew.
So what was going on? Tan Lingyun, despite all he knew, most definitely displayed the mastery of a God-ranked pilot in the simulation!
Xu Renjian’s confusion roiled within him. He certainly had to find Tan Lingyun when all was said and done, and ask her about this whole situation.
At one corner of the bleachers.
Zhou Qianlin sat among her peers, biting her pink lip as though deep in thought.
Is that him? I’d asked him to help Professor Tan, was this his work? But how? And now here, in the real fight, there’s likely little opportunity to help her. How can he?
She was suddenly assailed by a pang of regret. Of course she wanted to help her class leader, to save her from embarrassment. However, she was also afraid of having her bodyguard reveal himself. If he revealed his true powers, it would be impossible for them to maintain their close proximity. He wouldn’t be able pick her up or drop her off, or protect her at all.
Every spectator watched, their moods as numerous as they were. They waited in anticipation for the fight to begin.
The two mechas entered the arena; one swordsman, one rifleman.
Every soul present watched the screens before them, especially those in the mecha combat department. The last fight had been hard to imagine, with their high-level mechas and the separation of DreamNet. But these were suits these students used every day, about to employed in ways they could only dream.
What could these machines do, in the hands of top-level pilots? Not to mention the Discipline employed by the powerhouses. The students of the NEU all knew their Savage Goddess was an eight-level Talent, and would become stronger when paired with the suit she commanded.
The two suits lumbered in, then separated to opposite sides of the arena. Su He pulled his laser ripple in to his hands, and fixed his shining eyes on the distant challenger.
The saber mech’s stride was slow and easy. There was nothing in the gait that revealed its pilot’s frightening proficiency.
But was that so?
For Su He, that was not the case. He could see that each step of his opponent was covered by subtle defensive maneuvering. Each step was just as capable of defense as explosive attack. He had no doubt Tan Lingyun could coax her suit to its top speed in the blink of an eye, any moment she wished.
As the young instructor looked on, the statistics and information of their respectful suits danced through his mind.
Considering the suit statistics had reference value, however a pilot’s Discipline had to be taken in to account. It was that variable that made determining the enemy’s power and speed almost impossible.
“Ready to start.” Lei Feng’s deep voice hummed in Tan Lingyun’s ear.
She felt a nervous twinge rattle through her. Her eyes rose to the screen, and her hands rose to grip the harness that pinned her to the masked man. Her predicament forced her in to a demur posture she wasn’t used to, but there was clearly excitement at the prospect of what was to come.
Suddenly, a powerful attractive force arose from behind her. Tan Lingyun yelped, as she felt herself pressed tighter against the wide, warm chest of her benefactor.
It was an electric attraction, somehow forcing the two of them in to tighter proximity. Her presence in the tight cabin made it infinitely more difficult for Lei Feng to control the suit. The motion of the suit during combat was also likely to set her off balance, or cause injury. Lei Feng anticipated this, and pressed them together until they were practically one body.