Chapter 240: Three Demon Drillmasters?
As the two figures entered the tour bus, every ARC student’s eyes popped wide. The reason for their astonishment was simple: their masks were golden as well.
Beyond that the two were of similar height and build to their Drillmaster, with only slight differences visible. In fact, only their flight suits differentiated them.
Their drillmaster had split himself in three?
Tan Lingyun was not spared the jolt. Two more with golden masks – could this mean they were also God-ranked pilots? When did they become a dime a dozen?
Lan Jue’s deep voice filled the bus’ interior. “These two gentlemen will also be your Drillmasters for the near future. You may refer to them as you refer to me.”
“Hello, Drillmasters!” the students cried.
The red-haired one was obviously Chu Cheng, and the blue-haired one Hua Li. The masks ensured neither need be concerned about their true identity, which was especially important for Hua Li. The two of them nodded in response to the greeting, but said nothing. For Chu Cheng, this was largely due to the fact that he was too busy ogling the several pretty girls in attendance. It was inevitable that both he and Hua Li would eventually turn their attention to Zhou Qianlin, who was seated near the back. They hadn’t expected to see Hera’s doppleganger among the students.
“Off we go.”
The bus lurched forward at Lan Jue’s command. In no time they were out of the school and on their way. Wu Junyi was not present; he’d already relayed his commands to the school and West Hill. From here on out, all decisions were Lan Jue’s, and orders were to be executed upon his request.
The bus rumbled along the road outside of campus and began to pick up speed. West Hill was a lump on the horizon.
West Hill had its own special personnel on staff, who’d been arranged by Wu Junyi to accommodate the training. When they finally arrived, Lan Jue was first off the bus.
“Get off the bus, and hand over all your communicators and any other equipment you can use to communicate with the outside world, “Lan Jue commanded in his regal voice. “If I find anyone holding out, punishment will be severe.”
No outside communication? Suddenly, the students felt like their original idea of a pleasant school outing wasn’t quite what was in store.
None dare deny the God-ranked pilot, so one by one communicators were relinquished to Tan Lingyun and Wang Hongyuan. Hua Li, Chu Cheng and Lan Jue stood in front, silently watching.
What about the Soulcaller gem? Lan Jue’s head swam with Zhou Qianlin’s voice.
That’s fine. You can only communicate with me anyway. What we’re trying to avoid is sharing information with the outside world. Lan Jue was entirely in ‘Drillmaster mode’, so his deep ‘voice’ was somewhat curt.
Once everything had been collected, Lan Jue asked the base personnel to help the students get checked in. He gave them twenty minutes to settle in and return.
“After twenty minutes, gather in the training field. I’m desperately hoping someone shows up late.” His chilly voice was heavy with the promise of violence. His commands relayed, Lan Jue turned and left.
Chu Cheng and Hua Li fanned out behind him. Chu Cheng’s excited voice whispered his way. “Woo, A-Jue, so vicious! Next time lemme give it a try. Seeing you like this brings me right back to when I got my start. Ugh, those memories are hard to remember!”
“No doubt! But it’s damn interesting.” Hua Li responded.
Lan Jue sighed helplessly. “You two are truly a pain in my ass, you know that? And here you are taking pleasure in others’ misfortune.”
Tang Mi and Zhou Qianlin walked side by side as they went to check in. Tang Mi quietly spoke to her friend. “Qianlin, I heard my brother say the Prince of Devils – Nooblet from the first class – is his Master. This whole ARC class is odd! Beginning with the fact they took all of our communicators! The training we took when we enrolled in the university wasn’t anything like this.”
“Better management, probably,” Qianlin replied. “This training will also be much stricter, I think. We should brace ourselves.”
Tang Mi chuckled dismissively. “I’m in awesome shape, it shouldn’t be any trouble. If you’re worried over your delicate feminine curves why’d you join the training!”
Qianlin shot her a glance. “Delicate? Maybe to you. In willpower, though, you’re not even in my bracket. We can put money on that.”
Tang Mi laughed openly. “You wanna compare yourself to me? Do I seem that low-down?”
“Keep your voice down,” Qianlin said with a glare. “Don’t you see everyone staring at you?”
Sure enough it was hard to count how many people were interested in just how ‘low-down’ Tang Mi really was.
“You better hurry, Little Mi. Twenty minutes isn’t much for you lady folk.” Tang Xiao had been walking ahead of them. He’d turned back when he heard his sister’s voice.
Tang Xiao may have had the advantage over the other students, but his advantage was also why he was so apprehensive. He knew very well how vicious his Master could be. When he said twenty minutes, he damn sure meant twenty minutes. A second late, and he was sure Master would make good on his earlier promise.
Twenty minutes later the three Drillmasters and two Assistants were waiting on the training field. Lan Jue was waiting in the center, with Chu Cheng and Hua Li on either side. Wang Hongyuan and Tan Lingyun were beside them.
Students had been steadily trickling in. Tang Xiao, with his bulging belly and trunk-like legs, had been first to arrive.
The female students were naturally among the last to arrive, with Tang Mi being the final comer. Lan Jue was watching the clock.
Seeing this, Tang Mi was running to join the others. Her heart was racing as she remembered her first run-in with Nooblet, and the subsequently cruel defeat she suffered from his Brunois Assault. It made her furious 1. Tang Mi, who was almost never tardy, was moving slowly on purpose. Not only was she the last to arrive, she was also ten seconds late.
“Drillmaster, all fifty students have arrived.” Tan Lingyun eyes Tang Mi as she gave her report.
Lan Jue nodded.
“Tang Mi, to the front.”
She did as commanded, and separated herself from the group. Her head was held high, and there was a defiance in her eyes that said ‘what are you going to do about it?’
“To the front,” Lan Jue said softly.
“Alright,” Tang Mi replied. She took another large step forward, bringing her a few feet from the Prince of Devils.
Lan Jue first turned his attention to the other gathered students. “If you recall, I said twenty minutes. Within that time frame, everyone one of you arrived on time. Except for Tang Mi. Now, I’d like everyone to spread out one arm’s length.”
The students all raised their arms at his command, without hesitation, and spread out to give each other room.
Tang Mi was beginning to sense doubt snaking its way within her. What was this Drillmaster doing, asking her to stand in front?
Lan Jue went on. “Spread your legs, and drop in to horse stance. I want your thighs level with the ground.”
Horse stance? Everyone could do this. They did as instructed.
Lan Jue then turned to regard Wang Hongyuan and Tan Lingyun. “I’d like our two assistants to serve as examples in the front.”
Tan Lingyun blinked behind her mask. He was going to have her do the horse stance as well? Was this his ‘training’?
Despite her misgivings, she moved to the front and dropped in to the stance. Wang Hongyuan did so without any hesitation or internal grumbling – his hope was to truly improve.
With the two assistants as examples, Lan Jue stood between them and went on. “Horse stance is your foundation. I hope you all can hold it, otherwise – like a poorly built house – your foundation crumbles. If you can’t, you’ll join Tang Mi in her punishment.”
“Yesterday, you all felt the catalysis of the electric strike. Afterwards I put my mind to it, and I came up with an even better way to instigate your Discipline. In the next two months, I’m certain every one of you will enjoy this process. But today, Tang Mi will be… awarded… the first demonstration.”
Tang Mi stood before the gathered assembly, fearlessly staring at the others. What was he going to do, shock her again? She lived through it once, what was there to fear? She was sure she could handle it.
Unfortunately, her back was to Lan Jue. She couldn’t see what was occurring behind her. But the students in front of her could, and every one of them was staring in abject horror.
What are they looking at?
A silver light shimmered in Lan Jue hand and then, without pretext, a long steel needle appeared. It twinkled with a strange, surreal light, and was about the length of Lan Jue’s forearm. The unnatural light caused no small number of students to shiver uncomfortably.
Tang Xiao’s mouth was wide open, literally slack-jawed. He wanted to call out, but Lan Jue’s harsh glare stopped the words from coming.
The Prince of Devils approached Tang Mi until he stood at her back. He spoke softly. “Bioelectricity had a profound effect on the human body, even down to the molecular level. Student Tang Mi, what is your Discipline?”
“Metal domination,” she said curtly.
Her own Discipline was different from Tang Xiao’s metalmorphosis, but were in the same vein. Tang Xiao’s was slightly better, for it involved both attack and defense. Tang Mi’s own powers were more suited for attack, as her own body couldn’t become metal. As a result, she was slightly behind her brother. A sixth-ranked adept.
Lan Jue nodded. “Very good! Metal dominion, somewhat similar to a Mental Discipline. It relies on the strength and will of metal. In today’s world we encounter metal everywhere. It’s a good Discipline. So, if we want to improve your Discipline there are two locations that are best suited for the task. The first is your Core, and the second your brain. Judging by the waves of power from your aura, your core isn’t located in your brain. If it were, your Talent – and thus your metal domination – would be better. In my estimation, your core is located in your chest. Is that right?”
Hearing this, Tang Mi couldn’t help but be both confused and surprised. Lan Jue was precisely correct with his determination. Her core was indeed in her chest.
“That’s right,” she said.
- The Chinese reads as ‘anger not coming from one place’. In Traditional Chinese medicine, the emotion of anger is said to come from the liver. This expression notes that the anger is coming from many places, so it’s more than just normal anger. It’s pissed the f*** off. ↩