Chapter 214：The God-Ranked Battle
The constant, high-speed maneuvers were difficult for Lan Jue to keep track off. Indeed, he’d already lost track of how long he’d been dodging. He did know that, at around the thirteen-minute mark, he’d begun using his lightning discipline. Thankfully the machine worked as the Bookworm assured – it was able to read and translate his discipline in to the simulation. Through that power he was able to inject his mecha and make it move the way it did.
But really, it was a carefree and enjoyable experience to test one’s limits! He’d been involved in very many tests over the years, but in all of those he couldn’t recall one that went to the length this one did.
His hands ached, but there was a competitive excitement in his eyes.
It was a gift, and to him it seemed like there really was no difference in the simulation and the real world.
Also, through the course of the test, he found himself to be stronger than he remembered after his recovery. Even his hand speed had improved.
“Test complete. Hand speed: ninety CPS 1. Total peak hand speed unknown. Peak hand speed for the first test: ninety CPS.”
Ninety?! I’ve reached ninety commands! Lan Jue stifled a gasp at the surprising results.
He’d been stuck at eighty-seven for six years. It wasn’t as though he hadn’t vigorously trained to change that in the past, but he hadn’t had many opportunities to train it.
Now he was hearing from the simulation that he’d reached that hurdle, and passed it.
What’s more, that may not even be his peak speed.
Of course Lan Jue was not aware that his mysterious increase in power was a result of the Silkworm Discipline that’d saved him. The power that had poured through him was enough not only to heal his ruined body, but improve it. Lan Jue was only starting to clearly see the benefits his troubled have reaped.
Outside the simulator.
Slap! The Bookworm viciously smacked the armrest of his chair with a wrinkled hand.
Su He, recently returned from checking on the comatose Accountant, jumped at the sound.
“The kid actually passed! Hmph! But we have more fun in store for him, and I doubt he’ll be able to handle it!”
Within the simulation.
“Practical combat skill determination commencing. Please note, pilots will feel the simulation as they would in real life. Battles will continue until complete, or until the pilot sustained critical, life threatening damage.”
The cold mechanical voice hung in the small sim pod.
Practical combat, eh? Lan Jue’s eyes flashed with anticipation. He was excited to get started.
Several sorts of weapons, of many different styles and sorts, appeared before the silver mecha for selection.
Lan Jue picked up a spear with very little consideration necessary. He reached out for another, but they all vanished.
A beam of red light appeared in the distance. It was a mecha, ruby in color, that released a fiery red aura as it raced his way. This was a practical combat test, he recalled, not a competition. As such, there wouldn’t be any starting whistle or other outside indications.
His simulated opponent bore a large sword, with a blade as red as the rest of the suit. In the span of a few breaths, he’d arrived before Lan Jue.
The silver mecha braced itself by shifting its left foot back and bringing its spear up before it.
The encroaching red light fell to earth. Lan Jue did not move.
With a flash the red light washed over him. It was startling, but left no damage. The Jewelry Master suddenly thrust his weapon straight upwards.
Dink! The sound of impact rang out. The red mecha shivered, lost its balance and tumbled to the side.
It was clear now that the first appearance of the red mecha had been a mirage. The simulation was employing ghosting techniques.
The Silver mech moved the instant the red light flashed over him, shimmering with arcs of blue electricity. He was like a bullet, charging ferociously towards his enemy with spear outstretched.
The red mecha, in response, swept its sword back once it got back to its feet. A fiery red aura sprung to life around it.
The silver mecha continued its approach. The suit’s forward motion was clear at the onset, but suddenly Lan Jue shifted, approaching obliquely. A flash, and then his direction changed again. He left a dazzling blue contrail in his wake, tracing his erratic advance.
The spear flashed keenly in the Jewelry Master’s hand. The strange conical blue light that followed him vanished, as the silver mecha disappeared from view. Then, without warning, Lan Jue barreled headlong in to the red mecha.
Booooom! The ensuing impact was so intense that it seemed the whole simulation shook. Lan Jue’s opponent was thrust to the ground like a sack of metal parts. The fire that surrounded it spread out in all directions. Lan Jue took the moment to recover his balance and, with a vicious swipe of his spear, obliterated the spot where the pilot’s cockpit would be.
Boooommmmm! Lan Jue’s unfortunate opponent exploded, with shrapnel flying every which way. The pieces dissolved in to disparate flashes of light, then vanished.
As his first opponent vanished in to oblivion, a second mecha appeared a distance away. This one was orange, and a sniper judging by the similarly-colored rifle it bore. A moment after appearing, a frighteningly fast orange light raced towards him. The orange mecha reappeared at Lan Jue’s back.
The silver mecha vanished, as though it ceased to exist in the simulation. When he was spotted once again, he was floating in the air overhead. With a ferocious blast, the mech raced towards the orange attacker at impossible speeds.
It was working. His power was flooding through the suit, forcing it to move at the speed of a lightning bolt!
The orange suit was pretty quick itself, but whether from programming limitations or simply a failure of the suit, it couldn’t compete with Lan Jue’s speed.
The following encounters between the two were brief, vicious, and in the end there was nothing left of the orange mecha but a pile of scrap metal. Arenas were really no place for a sniper.
In no more time it took to tie his shoes, Lan Jue had defeated two challengers, both coded to be god-ranked. They were only just the beginning stages of God-ranked, though. Despite his apparent dominance, he knew that extended battles like this would really put a strain on his capabilities.
More importantly, though, it was also pushing him towards the peak of his prowess. The unbridled emulated combat, his hand speed… he lost himself in the moment. There was nothing else he need consider but for the obstacles before him.
The result: two God-ranked challengers, defeated in less than five minutes.
The next enemy to reveal themselves was a yellow mecha. The moment the mecha appeared, Lan Jue knew it wasn’t like the others.
The orange mecha hadn’t had time to completely employ its Discipline before Lan Jue put an end to it. This yellow one, though… it was smart enough to use it right away.
The moment it landed the ground beneath its feet became an earthen yellow 2. Immediately following, great boulders extricated themselves and rose of their own accord in to the air. Lan Jue stood in the midst of them and, as he looked on, the numerous crushing stones fell towards him from all directions.
The yellow mecha blended well with the tempestuous boulders, disappearing among them.
Earth Discipline! What’s more, even the topography bowed to the whim of this simulated enemy.
The question was, how would it manifest itself?
The silver mecha rose in to the air amidst a shower of sparks and lightning. The boulders raced towards him and just as Lan Jue’s escape seemed impossible the sky suddenly became a deep, navy blue. From the cloudless sky, scores of angry lightning bolts crashed to earth.
The arcing bolts of electricity blanketed the entire Arena. As they fell, they exploded against the levitating hunks of stone. The fractured pebbles were flung every which way, as the many earthen projectiles were obliterated.
Strength in the face of one’s enemies! This was Lan Jue’s creed!
His enemy’s invisibility was too strong, his cover too wide. He decided to play upon the strength of his Discipline: to blanket the world in lightning!
Under that terrifying anger from the heavens, and the cascading debris of burning rock – who could survive? His enemy had chosen to become his element. Lan Jue used his own to destroy it.
The skies quieted abruptly, the shuddering roar of thunder peeling through the sky. Bits and pieces of the yellow mecha – most no bigger than a screw – tumbled to the ground in a shower of slag.
Lan Jue had no respite. Next came green, cyan, blue and purple mechas.
Lan Jue determined that they must also possess elemental powers. Notably the purple one, which bore a very rare Discipline: Darkness. Now, not only would Lan Jue have to contend with the inherent caustic properties of the Discipline, he’d also have to do it in the dark.
It took him ten minutes.
Seven battles. Seven mechas. Seven heaps of scrap.
Scars and scraps dotted Lan Jue’s battered silver warrior. However, despite the damage it looked ready to take on another seven.
Within the sim pod, Lan Jue was soaked through with sweat. His eyes were bright as the stars.
Outside of the sim pod, the bookworm clutched the armrest with a white-knuckled grip.
Within the simulation, sunlight flashed off of a silver mecha as it came to ground a distance from Lan Jue. It was slower than its predecessors, more dramatic. It gave Lan Jue a moment to catch his breath.
Lan Jue could sense that, after seven intense battles, his Discipline was strained. It was to be expected, since his enemies have all been God-ranked ninth-level adepts!
The purple mech he’d disposed of was ninth-level seventh rank Darkness adept. That was where he’d expected the majority of his energy. Where it not for his innate double Disciplines, for their combines power, he’d probably have lost long ago.
Now came the eighth. Judging by the exterior, this silver mecha looked a lot like his own.
Lan Jue could instantly sense a danger about this one. It was a sensation he was familiar with.
If the former sequence was being upheld, then this time he’d be facing a Ninth-level Eighth-rank fighter. With his powers so diminished, how could he defend himself?
A ghost of a smile emerged on Lan Jue’s sweat-soaked face. He lifted his left hand from the keyboard, and slowly clenched his fingers in to a fist.
A halo of dim blue light slowly spread outward. The light wasn’t strong, and bore no intense aura. But there was something strange.
Lan Jue’s eyes flashed a bluish-purple, and the light that surrounded his suit adopted the same hue.
Outside of the sim pod.
“The hell is this? A phylactery?” The Bookworm shook with impudent rage. He’d seen Lan Jue defeat the seven previous mechas. Seven of them, all God-ranked! And still he fought.
His simulated opponent had unlimited energy to employ. A real adept had so such luxury! These fights had drained him immensely, and already Lan Jue was surprised he had more to give. How much longer could he hold out?
- Commands Per Second. ↩
- As an interesting aside, yellow is the color of earth in China. I assume, though I have no proof to back it up, it’s because the color of the soil – especially in the north – is a very pale tan, almost yellow. Compare this to, say, farming communities in the U.S. where healthy dirt is very dark. ↩