Chapter 318: Geng Yang’s Crisis
Plumes of acrid dark smoke rose to the skies, as angry fireballs dotted the Crimson Star’s surface. Explosions roared like thunder.
A battleship rose from the fray, heading toward the atmosphere. Its sleek surface was painted orange by the dancing flames below. It rose under cover of the planet’s defense systems, just as they went offline.
Feng Lin’s chins quivered in fear, and his eyes flashed with enmity. The Crimson Star was his territory. He’d poured years of blood and sweat in to making it his, but now this bastard was taking it away.
The moment the saw the blue ship crash in to the planet, he knew he had no chance to fight them off. Zeus was too strong. More than once he’d seen video of what Zeus did to pirates. He dispatched the whole of his mecha warriors, while ordering his closest subordinates to join him on their flagship.
The battle below was in full swing. Zeus and his people were on the path to wiping them out, but they needed time. Why, then, should he stick around, Feng Lin thought? No point in pining for grass when you were off to greener pastures.
Thankfully, Feng Lin’s caution helped. His ship’s systems and communications weren’t connected to the planets, so the Accountant had no means to stop his escape.
The young man reacted quickly, however, when he saw the ship angling for escape trajectory.
“Jewelry Master, a battleship is attempting to flee. Should I give chase?” he asked.
“No need,” was Lan Jue’s response. “Keep up your analysis of the battlefield situation. I’ll deal with that boat myself.”
There was a flash of blue light, with gradually rose in intensity until it was a blazing orb of golden energy. It released the condensed energy in a lancing bolt of lightning, which raced in to the heavens and disappeared.
About a thousand pirates remained, with three hundred mechas among them. It was enough for three standard military companies. This was something rare for a pirate clan to organize. Among them were also several proficient pilots. Pirate life made for effective motivation. If you didn’t learn a skill, you died.
Geng Yang’s rifle muzzle smoked. In front of him, the headless body of a pirate collapsed to the floor. The enemy mecha twitched, expelling a shower of sparks.
Things on his end of the field weren’t going precisely as planned. His team was responsible for storming the compound together with Charlie and Echo. But despite having three squads, the enemy’s numbers were far superior. In this area alone, the Accountant’s analysis read one hundred and fifty enemy soldiers. They had thirty.
As the fight began, the enemy soldiers were in disarray. With their suits, Discipline and the element of surprise, the students smashed through their perimeter defenses and began to clean house. Twenty mechas were destroyed in the opening moments, but the pirates were experienced in the ways of small skirmishes such as these. They recovered quickly and mounted a defense.
A pirate’s life was lived on the edge of a sword. Every one of them had taken a life before. They were fiercer, tougher, and far less scrupulous than the NEU students – worse than they’d thought. Still, the young pilots cut intimidating figures in their Warsuits.
The fight against the An Lun soldiers had left Geng Yang with a profound impression. He and Jin Tao had worked well together, giving their own team an opportunity to regroup and reengage. Unfortunately, they had been completely annihilated.
This time, he was determined to protect his soldiers. And so, from the very beginning he threw everything he had in to the advance. More than six enemies had been felled by his gun already, at this point.
He staggered, but recovered quickly as the enemy forces began to focus their fire his way. He swung around rifle first, and used it to deflect a laser blast. He took the opportunity to steady himself.
Geng Yang was a first-class pilot, and their trump card. He had an innate talent when it came to mecha control. He dodged the enemy’s shots with fluid feints left and right, then fired his rifle in to the soldier next to him at point blank range. The pirate screamed helplessly as he was blown away. But Geng Yang turned to the other one who’d tried to get the drop on him, simultaneously drawing the alloy blades fixed to his back. In three chops, the enemy sneak attack was put down.
Geng Yang felt his Discipline flood through him, growing strong and prosperous. A golden aura sprang up around his Warsuit, condensing in to a vibrant amber as it empowered his weapons. Out of the corner of his eye, he spied another contingent of pirates heading his way. He twisted, and with a mighty sweep of his blades sent out a blast of power over ten meters long. The force knocked the enemies flying. It would buy his team a few more moments.
The young pilots were even more practiced in technique and cooperation this time. A result of their affair in An Lun, certainly. However, nerves had to be considered, and some were so nervous it was effecting their combat effectiveness. After all, this was a real fight, where the consequences of failure could very well mean death. Under conditions like these, how could these students – who had never taken a life before – not be nervous?
Geng Yang’s breath came quick and haggard. Sustained use of his Discipline was exceedingly draining. He took a quick glance at the battlefield analysis to see that at least one hundred and twenty enemies remained locked in conflict. He was unfamiliar with the terrain, but he could see they were trying to position around and encircle his squad.
No good! That would certainly lead to injuries or deaths.
The An Lun Warsuits were equipped with thick armor and a powerful core. The central energy core was also tied to a reserve shield system. If the suit were to encounter an attack it couldn’t survive, the shields would come online. It was in part due to this functionality that Lan Jue’s students had yet to report any incidents. However, energy had its limits. Because they were nervous, many of the inexperienced pilots begun the fight pouring all of their powers in to the opening charge. Now, about halfway through, they were starting to fade.
In regards to mecha piloting, these fearsome pirates were no less adept than their attackers. As their Talent advantage waned, naturally the pirates’ response strengthened.
In another part of the battlefield, Tang Xiao was taking to the fight like a duck to water. His eighth-ranked Discipline was a terrific boon, and even the enemy suits could be manipulated by his powers once he got within range. His enemies fell, ended by their own weapons. At the outset, at least four pirate mechas were destroyed before they could engage their shields. Tang Xiao forced their metal cockpits to fill with spikes. They were dead before they even knew what happened. His smarts and Discipline currently had him at the least of most confirmed kills.
Jin Tao, on the other side, had just bust through the enemy line. His Discipline was, in essence, amplification. When poured in to his mecha it increased the machine’s power and speed to frightening levels. Him and his melee-focused team maintained blitzkrieg speed, so the pirates never got a chance to regain their footing.
Unfortunately, Geng Yang was having trouble. Him and his team were distance attackers, and as the battle continued they found themselves squeezed in to a tighter and tighter box. By virtue of their combat experience, the pirates had eventually surrounded their position and were closing in. Naturally, the closer they got, the harder remaining alive would be.
The only way Geng Yang could defend his team was to be everywhere at once. Under the pressing drive of their energies, his people’s mecha energy reserves and Discipline continued to deplete. They couldn’t keep this up for long, even with Geng Yang’s support.
“Tang Xiao, we’re getting overrun.” He didn’t want to ask for help, but he wouldn’t let his pride result in the injury of his friends. These weren’t students fighting for the attention of pretty girls – they were fellow officers locked in a life or death struggle.
“Lead the fight to me,” Tang Xiao said without hesitation. “I’m moving in to support.”
“On my way!” Geng Yang swords burst in to golden flame, as he viciously carved a path. Once a path was cleared, he ordered his team to retreat through the opening. They joined up with Tang Xiao’s squad immediately, giving them a chance to catch their breath.
Just then, though, Geng Yang turned his eyes toward an ominous sound. As his vision swept the field, he saw an enormous crimson mecha barreling their way. He was fast – too fast for Geng Yang to react when the enemy slammed in to the student in front of him. He watched helplessly as his teammate was thrown aside.
Surprised and enraged, he raced forward in the hopes of saving his comrade.
By then the dark red mecha had turned to face his newest challenger. As Geng Yang drew near, he saw that the suit was constructed to resemble a beast. It had features like a lion, but locked in an eternal roar. The mane around its head was a series of compacted metal spikes. The whole suit was built in the same fashion, with sharp claws on its hands and feet. Wings fastened to its back were the lone exception.
After smashing in to Geng Yang’s friends, the beastly mech made landfall on all four feet. He turned and in the blink of the eye, leapt at Geng Yang like a wild animal. A hungry blood lust filled the air as red light surrounded it. The enemy’s clawed hands reached out for Geng Yang’s shoulders.
He was also an Adept, and not a weak one!
The NEU star pupil had only half a second to make a decision. He set his feet, gripped his weapons, then lifted them high!
He wasn’t, sadly, very used to the use of these alloy blades. He was more proficient with spears in melee combat. There wasn’t much choice in the Warsuits they were so generously given – all were standard construction.
The beastly mecha twisted violently in the air to whip its frame around. This caused Geng Yang’s blades to skin passed, leaving it unharmed. Light flashed off of the beast’s claws as they groped for him.
Geng Yang hastily retreated a step, in attempts to avoid the grab. However, an angry, crimson light fired from behind the lion-looking suit which propelled it forward faster than he was expecting. The two mechas collided chest-first to the sound of crunching metal.
Dark red light shimmered along the dozens of spiky thorns surrounding his enemy’s head. Geng Yang’s eyes widened – if his shields couldn’t stave off what was coming, he might not make it home.