Chapter 306: Lan Jue’s Tactics
With one charge a fifth of a squad was defeated, as anticipated. He had a wealth of talent and experience in military matters, and knew what to expect. Right now, though, the most important thing was finding Lan Jue. If his younger brother were allowed to direct these students, joining their Disciplines and the mechas, he was afraid of the result. If he wasn’t there with his soldiers, they’d probably be wiped out.
His eyes narrowed. This wasn’t just a contest between student and soldier. This was a duel between brothers.
Over the last month the two engaged in several ‘exhibition matches’, none who which Lan Jue won. However, Lan Qing was very clearly able to see his brother’s improvement.
In fact, Lan Jue’s progress was no less than the students he led. He was a ninth ranked, seventh degree Talent – how could he be advancing so quickly?
Lan Jue was also aware of the changes. He felt like he was undergoing a second awakening, and under the direction of his militant older brother he was improving quickly. His Discipline was as strong as ever, but he saw greater improvement in all other aspects. This was especially true for his level of fitness. After continuous training, he could now ward Lan Qing’s Mantra of Clarity and maintain stability in combat, and sustain much longer during mecha battles.
“Prepare to engage.” Lan Jue’s voice was cold and hard. The laser rifles rose to a ready position. All of the suits around Lan Qing were sharpshooters, so the signal interference the enemy was using didn’t much affect them. They could accurately peg anything within their field of view.
The enemy’s suits were outfitted the same as theirs, so Lan Qing knew they couldn’t stand against the concentration fire of thirty attackers. That was what brought doom to Geng Yang and the others. They’d tried to employ their Disciplines when first spotting the rush, but they nonetheless dropped like flies under the volley from his sharpshooters.
An ominous sensation tickled at the back of Lan Qing’s mind. It was a feeling he hadn’t felt for a long time. As a ninth ranked, ninth level Talent he was very nearly a Paragon, with the ability to command protogenic power. He’d long ago learned to pay attention to his feelings. “Defensive positions,” he shouted.
Less than a second later, the surprise attack commenced.
The An Lun soldiers had been organized in to a single file battle array. The benefit of such a formation was permitting for mutual support if they got caught under fire. It also spread them out to control more of the battlefield. If they encountered a more tenacious force, the head and tail could wrap around to surround the enemy and attack them from every side.
But the benefits of this formation were castrated when the surprise strike arrived. It was too quick, and from too many directions.
Errant laser blasts tore through the area as the ferocious charge ensued. The surface of An Lun was once more a war zone.
Lan Qing looked at his tactical map to discover that they were attacking from five points. They were evenly spaced, and designed to attack his battle array at its weakest positions. The execution had been perfect.
How could be make such an accurate prediction, especially with their radar blocked? Lan Qing was stunned, but that didn’t stop him from engaging the enemy. As the An Lun soldiers fought back, energy shields flared around the attackers. There was still some distance between the two sides, so they exchange rifle fire as they neared.
Lan Jue led the charge with Mika and Xiuxiu on his heels. They sped around the middle section of the formation, and engaged it’s left end.
A corona of blue light sprang up around the black mecha, leaving behind a stream of pale color as Lan Jue sped forward. The demon drillmaster knew his window of opportunity was a small one. It wouldn’t be long before Lan Qing joined the fray. How much damage he could inflict would be a matter of skill.
He hadn’t chosen a sniper mech, sticking to his preferred sword-bearing model. The alloy weapon in the mechas hand vibrated ever so slightly, then began to crackle with electric energy like the rest of it. The electric power coalesced with the blade at its center. When he jabbed the weapon toward the heavens, all of the lightning was released in a terrifying blast of power. Forest of Lightning!
He and his students were outnumbered two to one, this was not the time to hold back. Manifestations of his power tore through the small contingent of soldiers like a deadly wave. Their shields fluctuated and flashed as they attempted to save them from the attack.
Lan Jue’s mecha was not, unfortunately, Thor. His attacks did not have the benefit of employing power gems to beef them up. All of his strikes would be pure Discipline. However, that didn’t stop the waves of lightning from tearing through the shields, and immobilizing the pilots within.
Lan Jue kept up the assault like some kind of nightmare. His sword, coursing with power, exploded outward in to shards of pure energy. It was like a hail of a hundred million tiny daggers.
In this moment, the individual potency of the An Lun soldiers was revealed. There were certainly adepts among them, but none with strength enough to contend with Lan Jue.
Lan Qing arrived to aid his beleaguered soldiers. Gusting winds with a faint cyan hue gave the supersoldier a tailwind, so he arrived quick as a flash. But even before he arrived, cyclones were converging on Lan Jue’s location from all directions.
The younger Lan twisted in midair, and the errant bolts of electricity which surrounded his suit congealed to form a solid layer of armor. In the same instant, several orbs of surplus lightning were cast toward his assailant.
The Forest of Lightning and the thunder orbs cost energy, but Lan Jue did not hesitate to use them. This was their chance.
Mika and Xiuxiu, who had followed him at the onset of his charge, weren’t with him now. They had charged toward a different section of the formation, cutting off one part of the group from the others. The remaining section were focused on their flank, where Tang Mi’s Echo squad had their attention. Mika and Xiuxiu put pressure on them from the opposite side. Although they had a disadvantage in numbers, they were out-positioning their enemy.
Lan Qing knew well what Lan Jue was planning. He would keep Lan Qing at bay while Mika and Xiuxiu mopped up.
The battle unfolded between them. Alpha, Bravo and Charlie joined the fray against sixty hardened soldiers.
Could they succeed? Other than himself, the others had Gao Lei to contend with. They only had a few small squads of soldiers, so how realistic was winning? His brother had done a masterful job in seizing an opportunity, but the end result would be the same.
But as before, the NEU wouldn’t be counted out. They had the Savage Goddess, Wang Hongyuan and Tang Xiao, and they had yet to make their presence truly felt.
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