Chapter 241: We’ll Go All Out!
“Very well,” Lan Jue said in his dispassionate voice. “Let’s get started.” He wasted no time, for as the students looked on in surprise and horror their Drillmaster shoved the giant needle through Tang Mi’s back.
Her whole body went rigid, as though she had been immobilized by some unseen force.
“Xiao Mi!” Tang Xiao and Zhou Qianlin called out in one voice, and Tang Xiao immediately rushed forward to attend to her. He had only the one sister and, even though he knew his Master wasn’t going to hurt her, it went beyond all his instincts not to do something.
There was a flash, and suddenly Lan Jue was holding another, frighteningly long needle. Tang Xiao ran directly in to it in his head-long rush, burying the needle in his own chest. He, too, was frozen in place.
“Did I ask you to break rank? You wanted to protect her from some perceived injustice, and now you’re here right along side her. Anyone else?” Lan Jue glared at the others.
The needles were almost two feet long! And nine-tenths of them were buried in the brother and sister.
Tan Lingyun looked own, grinding her teeth. Logically, she understood that this Drillmaster must have a reason for his actions. However, these were students he was hurting. She only just barely managed to control herself.
“Me!” A powerful, moving and steadfast voice rang through the training grounds.
“Xiao Mi is my friend,” the voice assured, as an alluring figure rose from amidst the others. With deliberate steps, the sleek silhouette walked towards the Drillmaster. “If she has to suffer your punishments, then I will too. Go on then.”
Zhou Qianlin stood a small distance apart, challenging Lan Jue with her stare.
Lan Jue was surprised to see such firmness on her beautiful face. None of the other male students had the courage to suffer the needle’s stick, but here she was asking for it. She might have known who this Drillmaster was, that he would do nothing to harm them. However, just the fact that she was so willing to face whatever it was he was doing with the spike, displayed her bravery.
“As you wish.” He relinquished one needle and, with the flick of a wrist summoned another. In the blink of an eye, he buried it in her chest. She stumbled around, frozen solid, but facing the others dropped in horse stance. As they watched Qianlin’s flush and ruddy face blanched until it was white as a sheet. Her face was frozen in an expression of pain.
And the pain was intense. In truth they did not feel the stabbing sensation of the needle. Instead it was an all-encompassing numbness. At least on the outside. Within their tortured bodies it felt like every organ was twisted, jerking and locked in spasm. Blood rushed through their veins at intense speed, making them feel bloated and swollen. But they couldn’t move a finger.
“Enough! How could you do this?!” Tan Lingyun could finally take no more. She faced Lan Jue, her voice thick with anger and incredulity.
Flash. Suddenly Lan Jue was standing before the Savage Goddess, but before she could react he thrust a needle in to her throat. She froze.
An overwhelming sensation of anger hung over the area like an encroaching tempest. The pressure made it hardtop breathe.
When Lan Jue spoke again, his voice was as detached and dismissive as it was from the onset. “I had told you all yesterday, that once we got started you wouldn’t be able to back out. You had your chance leave. Now you’re here, and this is my domain. I am your master here, and unless you can take me on… unless you can beat me, then you’re going to do everything I say. You’re going to suffer every punishment I levy. And every transgression, will be dealt with harshly.”
His eyes swept across the crouching pilots. “You probably think I’m crazy. Even my assistants are displeased, and now punished. And you’re right… I am crazy. And since this is my domain anyone who irritates me – staff included – will be treated as harshly as you will be.”
As he spoke he made his way to Wang Hongyuan. His second assistant made no effort to evade as Lan Jue plunged a needle in to him.
“So courageous, you young men and women! You witness the cruel treatment of your colleagues, your teachers. You stay where you are. All… but two women. Very nice. If this is the strength of character I can expect from NEU students, I’d hate to encounter a coward.”
“We are not cowards!” Geng Yang, situated near the front, shot to a standing position. He glared hatefully at Lan Jue. “Fellow students, we don’t have to take this! Here’s here to hurt us! How can we sit here and let him treat Zhou Qianlin and Tang Mi this way? If you’re men, then advance!” With that, he charged forward with a rallying cry. Behind him, a golden aura bloomed in to existence much like a small sun. A dozen golden orbs launched out from it towards Lan Jue.
The fiery, metallic orbs raced ahead with malicious intent. However, as they approached the Drillmaster, each other exploded in a shower of golden light.
“Metamorphosis?” Lan Jue watched him approach with interest, but his reaction time did not suffer. Almost unconsciously he weaved a net of interlacing electric bolts – a net of crackling electricity. As the orbs interacted and collided with it, they subsequently exploded in to nothingness.
Geng Yang’s call to arms ignited the fiery passions of several young men. They rushed at the Drillmaster, eyes red with rage.
They knew they stood no chance, but how could they not be incited to action after what they’d seen and heard? Were they not men? The women they admired and desired had stood up in defiance, it was unthinkable for them to cower like children.
The sky lit up as Disciplines of a dozen different colors flared. They charged at their Drillmaster from all directions.
“Do any of you believe you stand a chance, in the face of my power?” He shot out a leg and viciously kicked Geng Yang away. Lan Jue vanished, only the briefest glimpses of him visible as one student after another was viciously thrown from the crowd. They tumbled to the ground, with needles jabbed in various angles within them. They then lay on the floor, their bodies frozen in the instant they were stabbed.
Chu Cheng and Hua Li stood in the distance, watching the students revolt. Chu Cheng leaned towards Hua Li, and spoke softly. “Look at this punk. Why does he get to have all the fun?”
Hua Li responded with a lilting sigh. “But… he also never told us not to get involved. Onward!” Hua Li dissolved in to a beam of pale blue light, and was on the move.
Chu Cheng, naturally, could not refuse the promise of entertainment and himself raced off in the other direction. The two insidious young men launched themselves in to the fray of angry youth and wild discipline. Neither employed their own powers – they didn’t have to. As they danced among the rioting students, they would grab one, then throw them towards Lan Jue.
Lan Jue’s response to their assault was relaxed. He handled them easily as they came. With the addition of his two companions, the revolt was quickly settled. In no time at all every students was motionless, sporting a two-foot long syringe jabbed somewhere or another.
“At least your response proves you still have some measure of courage. But you’re weak, pathetic, and rash. For that, you shall pay the price.” Lan Jue’s derisive voice hung in the quiet air.
The Prince of Devils raised his right hand, and within a crackling blue light was revealed. Slowly, the orb of electric light grew and changed, until it was an undulating ball of golden power. They couldn’t move, couldn’t react, but each one of the students stared in terror as their Drillmaster prepared their next punishment.
He wants to kill us, they thought. He’s going to kill us!
They barely had time to fear for their lives, before the orb shot up in to the air and exploded a few feet overhead. The syringes jutting from each student acted like a lightning road, guiding the golden bolts right to them.
Before long, a dim golden aura hung over every frozen figure. Every one of them were frozen in twisted positions. Their mouths were open, but despite their pain, fury and fear, not a sound would come out.
It was difficult to imagine what they were going through! Just the initial jab from the needle alone was difficult to bear, however now it felt like they were being ripped apart. And then compressed, and then torn to ribbons. This wasn’t pain, to them – this was obliteration.
It wasn’t simply a physical pain they experienced, but a horrible affliction that scarred their souls. No adept, no matter how strong their Discipline, could mitigate how monstrous this pain felt. In fact, it was like their Talent had been sealed away.
As Chu Cheng and Hua Li looked at their handy-work, they spied no end of twitching students. Some just showed the whites of their eyes – their pupils had rolled back in to their skulls.
Lan Jue walked among them, stopping occasionally to slap them.
As he did, the golden aura blanketing some of the students would react by weakening visibly. Others would grow stronger. Wang Hongyuan and Tan Lingyun, for instance, shown with brilliant golden light.
It took several minutes for the release of power to be modulated in this way. Once he’d finished, Lan Jue returned to his original position.
He stood before Tang Mi. Gently, he turned her around so she could see the destruction he’d wrought. He spoke to her softly, calmly. “The suffering they are experience, is directly as a result of your actions. They endure this torture, because you were too stubborn to follow orders. If this were a battlefield, your fellow soldiers would all be dead – because you had to make your point. You could die a thousand times and never make up for a mistake of that magnitude. When the moment comes that lives rely on you, remember that you are not one person. You are part of a team. You are all part of a unit. The next time you decide to act, think first about how this will affect your companions.”
Tang Mi had no way to respond to the Drillmaster’s instruction, by word or deed. Her eyes were dim, and she could barely hear what he was saying. She only wanted to die… she so badly wanted to die.
Lan Jue took a step back, and looked at Hua Li. “You may begin.”