Chapter 229: Blitzkrieg
Tan Lingyun, in her brilliant peridot mecha, immediately recognized the sorry state of the instructor’s suits. The corner of her lips curled in a frown. Could this mean that this mysterious teacher was not the one she sought? She felt her hope slipping.
“Join your unit, then. If you’re to join, you’ll follow instructons just like the others. You’ll participate in the test like them. They’ll fill you in on the details.” With that said, Nooblet and Little Flea lumbered away to give them space.
Wu Junyi’s black mecha vanished. Tan Lingyun coaxed her suit to join the gathered students.
They expressed the situation to her, and she was surprised to discover that this drillmaster and his assistant were expecting to take all on of these advanced students on their own, with subpar mechas. These kids may not have been the best in the East, or even to the level of Tan Lingyun, but compared to a couple base-model sabermechs they were practically juggernauts.
Even if they truly were a God-ranked pilot, the likelihood of them being able to take on every one of them was slim to none.
Tan Lingyun couldn’t help but ponder on the possibility that one of these was Lei Feng. If that were the case, the two already had a massive advantage.
“Well, since they’ve told us to put together a battle plan, I suppose I’ll do it. Tang Xiao!”
“Here’s what I need from you…”
The Savage Goddess quickly ran through their plan for the coming struggle. Nooblet and Little Flea remained separate in a distant corner of the simulated campus arena.
“Are you sure about this, Professor Lan? Two against fifty-one, you think there’s a chance?” Wang Hongyuan’s tone was skeptical.
Lan Jue’s response was indifferent. “What’s wrong? No self-confidence?”
“Comparatively I am much weaker,” he answered. “How can I not be a little concerned?”
Lan Jue’s voice crackled through his communicator. “If I didn’t have an answer for this, how could I ask you to call me Teacher. If we win, hopefully that will convince you that I really have something to impart.”
“Alright!” Wang Hongyuan spoke without hesitation.
Lan Jue went on to explain his plan. The dance instructor nodded repeatedly as he listened, and with each word he felt his blood grow hotter. By the time they were ready, his pulse was pounding, ready for battle.
In order to teach someone with significant talent, it was important to first prove you had something to offer. Once your domination was confirmed, then you needed their respect. Only then would they listen to instruction, and execute them fervently.
And so, today’s class had one purpose, as far as Lan Jue was concerned; flexing his muscles.
Relying upon her familiarity with the students, Tan Lingyun quickly allocated jobs to each of them. Every one of the fifty students had their specific purpose. She was in her natural habitat, commanding others. With fifty-one against only two, she was confident victory would be theirs. According to her own experience, a top-level mecha pilot needed a complimenting suit to truly employ their strength – not a couple rickety training mechs.
They may be God-ranked pilots, she thought, but their mechas weren’t. Even with sovereign mechas they may stand a chance, but these? The limitations of their mechas meant there were many skills and tactics they’d be unable to perform. Sustain, strength, speed… they were deficient in every category.
They would know savagery! So what if they were God-ranked, she thought. Arrogance often leads to defeat! This was something she would teach them. She would not allow them to look down on the capabilities of her students!
A hard, stubborn light shone in Tan Lingyun’s eyes. For days she had been furiously searching for that man, all to no avail. Further, as the center of everyone’s attention her mood swings had become more severe. News of a mysterious woman god-ranked pilot had already begun to circulate through the internet.
She knew she wasn’t. She was disgusted with the reports, ashamed. And yet she was unable to refute them, or explain the situation. It brought honor to the university, and she couldn’t in good conscious take that away.
This was a fine opportunity, she thought. Someone blindly stumbled in to her sights, and now it was time to let off some steam.
An explosion sent a shudder through her, and she saw the fires on the periphery of her vision.
Fifty faces turned towards the source of the blast.
What they saw was a mecha reduced to slag, glowing red-hot as fires twisted the metal. The frightening screams of a student rang in their cockpits.
They came one after the other; boom, boom, boom! Three tearing blasts like frightening peels of thunder. Three more suits were reduced to scrap.
“What’s the meaning of this?! We were never told to begin!” Tan Lingyun roared over the communicator.
The drillmaster’s dismissive hiss crackled through every communicator. “You expect your enemies to alert you when they choose to strike in a real fight? I told you five minutes, and five minutes has passed. Each passing second is a grain on the hourglass of your life, Professor. Your ancestors have paid in blood to teach you that.”
Her eyes shot to the time on her control console – five minutes had indeed passed.
Five minutes wasn’t an adequate amount of time to plan, and what’s more Tan Lingyun had arrived late. In fact, it had already passed the five-minute mark by the time she’d arrived. Lan Jue had been carefully watching the clock.
Nooblet and Little Flea had used the time and their students’ distraction to circle around and flank them. Once it was time, they struck.
Caught off guard, the students’ team paid with the ‘lives’ of four of their own. When it came to mecha combat, Wang Hongyuan couldn’t hold a candle to Lan Jue. However, that didn’t mean he was a weakling – he was a Sovereign-ranked pilot, after all. The students were about as distant to him as he was to the etiquette teacher.
Tan Lingyun was livid, wrath filling her heart, and yet could find no means to contradict the drillmaster. She expressed her frustration with an indignant snort through gritted teeth. “Everyone, spread out!” Even before her instructions were complete, she was on the move. Her green mecha was a beam of shimmering light as it raced towards Nooblet and Little Flea.
Her strategy was simple; keep the battle to one front, with remote attacks keeping their enemies pinned to one location. They would take full advantage of their superior numbers, thus increasing their over-all destructive capability. With the distant long-range mechs carpet-bombing her foes, she doubted their simple sabermechs could withstand it.
It was a fine plan, and in fact the right determination, but for the fact she’d forgotten to keep track of the time. The lapse had thrown their strategy in to disarray.
A flash of color filled her screen, and suddenly there was something tearing through the sky toward her.
It was an act so perfectly timed it instantly filled her with unease.
The figure cut her off at the highest point of her trajectory, just before she’d planned to plummet towards her two foes. She’d already input the commands, leaving herself open to the strike.
She did the only think she could, and twisted so that the spikes dotting her mecha were positioned to intercept the rush.
Tan Lingyun watched it coming, and saw that it was the alloy blade of a sabermech.
The spines and blade collided. What followed was bizarre and infuriating for, as she watched, the blade seemed to vibrate and deflect off the spikes to deal a blow against her mecha’s frame.
Immediately Tan Lingyun called up her photomask shields. She’d broken in to a cold sweat, after just barely avoiding destruction.
She had no choice but to pause in midair and react.
Below them, Nooblet was on the move. After throwing his weapon, he had not stopped to watch the result. His deft movements danced between incoming missile salvos. His movements brought him dangerously close to a group of students.
Closest suit was a close-combat mecha, bearing a long spear. It faced the incoming assailant without hesitation or retreat – a fine display of talent and experience. With a flick of its metallic wrist the pikeman’s weapon split in to three opaque silhouettes, aimed at Nooblet’s head and shoulders.
Nooblet’s forward rush would not be dissuaded. The simple mecha twisted mid-charge and the spear strikes bounced harmlessly off the metal armor. Nooblet grabbed the weapon mid-strike, while in the same motion lifting a knee.
Bang! The muffled crunch of metal-on-metal prefaced the student flailing in to the distance. The spear now rested in Nooblet’s hands.
Without even pausing to look, Nooblet swung its new weapon in an arc to deflect the three strikes coming his way from the students’ allies.
By all accounts this basic model suit should be far less of a threat than these high-classed mechas, and yet each their strikes met one of his they were inexplicably deflected without much effort. Nooblet extricated himself from their attempts to pin him down.
The students had begun to recover, filing in to their tactical formations. The long-distance fights spread out around the arena’s edges, while the close-combat fighters repositioned for the rush.
BOOM! One of the long-ranged fighters became a cloud of smoke and debris. It’s laser rifle glinted in the hands of another sabermech. The simple mecha’s alloy sword was softly glowing in the raging fires of the defeated enemy, protruding from the enemy’s energy reserve apparatus. It was the sudden release of so much energy that had caused the terrifying explosion.
Little Flea’s figure appeared between the dancing fires. The gun in its hands shook as ten beams of condensed destruction fired outward.
Laser rifles, obviously, required sustained energy infusion to work properly. Riflemen mechas were designed to continuously pump energy in to the gun. This is what allowed them to fire off so many rounds at once. As a result, Little Flea would be able to fire off a few rounds, but it was not sustainable.
It was all he needed. The ten blasts raced off towards ten mechas. The students only saw a flash of light before everything went dark.
Self-preservation was a natural response when under assault. Though intending to focus on the distant Nooblet, the students providing cover fire stopped to pull up their close-range shields.
The pause in their attacks was enough time for Nooblet. Little Flea was also on the move, sword once more in hand. His next target was the nearest close-ranged mecha.