Right then, Ling Lan saw the J8 mecha move — some colour suddenly appeared on the entirely grey mecha.
"This is emergency activation. Now it all depends on what mecha it is. The emergency activation time of special-class mecha is between 4 to 7 seconds, while an advanced mecha's is between 7 to 9 seconds ..." Little Four also began to feel a bit nervous; this would determine which mecha would gain the initiative.
For a heat detector to detect heat and relay its findings back to the mecha's cockpit, there would be a 2 second delay. From this point onwards, this mecha battle would become a match of fighting over time ... to see which mecha could react faster, and which mecha operator could respond quicker.
Two seconds after the J8 activated, the J6 mecha found that a red heat spot had appeared on the screen connected to its heat detector. The J6 mecha, whose back was to the red spot, spun on one leg to turn around swiftly, and aimed precisely at the coordinate position indicated by the flashing red dot. But there was nothing there ...
Even so, the J6 mecha did not hesitate. It swiftly pressed down on the trigger of the laser beam gun in its hands. Energy from a clip of the gun's energy storage unit was converted into beam rays, and the rays shot out in a torrent towards the sand dune before the mecha. This round of intense firepower actually turned the dune into a pit in an instant, but there were no mecha remains to be found inside. Besides yellow sand, there was just more yellow sand.
"Emergency activation 5.537 seconds. That J8 mecha is most certainly a special-class mecha. Its luck isn't bad, managing to finish activation within 6 seconds," remarked Little Four. If the mecha had finished activating just half a second slower, it would have been impossible for the J8 mecha to evade the J6 mecha's beam gun attack.
"Not good!" The J6 mecha, which had been attacking the dune, abruptly leapt into the air. In mid-air, it pointed the laser gun in its hands straight down towards the ground below it and pulled the trigger, sending a wave of energy pouring out once more.
At the same time, a beam saber shot out from the sand, heading straight for the J6, while a sturdy beam shield emerged to block off the J6's beam attacks.
Seeing that its beam gun attacks wouldn't be able to fend off the other, the wings on the J6's back spread open to reveal six high-efficiency guided missiles and fired them immediately.
The J8 mecha had intended to pierce the J6 mecha with its saber, but seeing the six missiles headed towards it, it knew that it wouldn't be able to hold them off with just a beam shield.
It quickly reversed directions in mid-air, and under the combined screeching of the mecha's thrusters, it forcefully pushed its own large frame several hundred metres away from the missile's trajectory. At the same time, the mecha's arms crossed behind it, and the J8 took out a beam laser cannon in an instant, keeping away its beam saber on its back.
The mecha lifted the laser cannon with a strong left arm and steadied it with its right hand. It turned to face the six guided missiles coming after it, and the operator decisively pulled the trigger. An immense surge of energy spewed out from the mouth of the cannon, rushing up into the sky.
When this energy surge made contact with the missiles, the missiles were blown up one after another. These consecutive explosions shook Ling Lan's entire body violently, making her feel as if she were really on a battlefield.
The J8 mecha had finally wiped out the six threatening guided missiles, but the J6 had also regained the attacking initiative. It flew up high into the air, aiming its laser beam gun at the J8 on the ground and fired once more.
Meanwhile, the J8 had no means to retaliate at the moment, and could only scurry all over the ground to dodge the J6's attacks. However, Ling Lan didn't think the J6 had the upper hand — instead, she felt that the J8 was already slowly reclaiming the initiative in this match.
This was because Ling Lan could see very clearly that the J8's steps had never become disorganised. It was obviously using the most widespread and most adaptable footwork —— split steps.
Although the J8 looked like it was being forced to flee helter-skelter like a mouse, every step it took was calculated to be on the most advantageous position, neutralizing every attack from the J6 in the air.
The J6 seemed to also have figured out that it wouldn't be able to hit its opponent just by relying on its laser beam gun. It lifted its wings once more, and a new round of high-efficiency guided missiles were launched. The six new missiles descended upon the J8 mecha below in a horizontal line.
The J8 mecha didn't choose to retreat. It lifted its laser cannon again, and this time, it fired three laser beams simultaneously.
What was surprising was that the three shots were timed in such a way that they also created a horizontal line, flying forwards to meet the six missiles head-on.
When the first missile was set off, the following two missiles exploded as well. The concussive force from the explosion of the three missiles and the laser beams then set off the remaining three missiles. Once again, the J6's attacks were a bust. Besides that, due to the violent tremors from the explosion, yellow sand filled the air, obscuring the vision of the J6, preventing him from seeing what was happening below ...
Without thinking about it, the J6 shot downwards desperately with the beam gun in his hand. In the meantime, he was anxiously looking over the indicators from his heat detector, worried that the opponent would take advantage of his momentary loss of vision to fire its laser cannon.
Right then, he suddenly noticed a beam of light shooting towards his lower belly without a sound. This attack came too swiftly — he had no time at all to defend; the body of his mecha was already out of time to dodge the attack.
Quicker than words could say, the J6 decisively threw the laser beam gun in its hand onto the coming light beam. There was a loud 'boom' as the two collided and the J6's laser gun was utterly destroyed by the beam. Still, the J6 was thrown back by the resulting force, away from the path of the light ray, narrowly avoiding the fate of being pierced clean through the stomach. (That area was where the cockpit was. If it were hit, even if the operator didn't die, he would still lose control of the mecha. Either way, the J6 would have lost.)
It was then when everyone could finally see what was happening. It turned out that after swathes of yellow sand had been blown into the air, and while visibility was poor, the J8 mecha had sprung upwards and, working with the power of its thrusters, it had flown up into the air in a split second. It had gotten close to the J6, and then, the J8 had purposefully discarded its laser cannon in favour of stabbing its beam saber at the J6.
A laser cannon shot produced heat, which would have been captured by the mecha's defensive systems, taking out the element of surprise from its attack. Thus, the J8 had chosen to use its beam saber, which was formed from cold light, because it was undetectable.
However, the J6 had reacted extremely quickly. It had sensed danger within that split second and decisively surrendered its weapon in exchange for a chance at survival.
Still, having lost its beam gun, the J6 could only fight with the J8 in melee combat. The moment they clashed, Ling Lan knew that the J6 mecha was definitely going to lose. In terms of combat instinct, the J6 was clearly weaker than the J8; they were on completely different levels.
Of course, the other audience members did not have Ling Lan's vision and couldn't tell. After all, the two mecha were both fighting passionately, no clear winner or loser between the two of them. The fight looked like it was neck-and-neck, extremely exciting. The reason why Ling Lan could tell at a glance was completely due to her innate talent —— Profound Insight. From the very beginning, she had identified the J6's weakness, and had also noticed that the J8 was not yet fighting with its full strength.
Thus, Ling Lan knew that the difference between the J6's and J8's melee combat skills were actually very large. As expected, a cross-level challenge was not that easy.
She lowered her head and sighed, choosing to withdraw. A mecha fight was actually not that much different from a real physical fight. With just a glance, Ling Lan could tell that quite a few of the moves had been inspired and based off of real physical combat. It was just that these moves were much swifter and more incisive in real combat, while they looked obviously clumsier when executed with mecha.
Ling Lan had just withdrawn from the scene of the fight when she sensed something strange. The entire battle stadium was eerily silent and still. Everyone was sitting in their seats, unmoving — it looked like their attention had been completely captivated by the game fight in the other space.
Still, she was a little creeped out by the stillness of the silent scene. She couldn't help but twist her neck around, just moving a little to prove that she was still a living person.
"You didn't watch till the end?" The man beside her suddenly spoke up. Caught unprepared, Ling Lan was almost scared witless. Still, Ling Lan was still Ling Lan after all — after going through the insane torments of the learning space for so long, Ling Lan's little heart was unbelievably strong.
"Yes, aren't you doing the same?" asked Ling Lan reflexively after collecting her wits.
"The J6 is losing for sure. What else is there to see?" The man didn't seem to be in a good mood.
"You chose the J6's viewing angle?" asked Ling Lan, tone almost certain.
"I had wanted to see how a weaker person would be able to beat a stronger opponent ... unfortunately, that J6 wasted his own advantage." The man seemed to have a lot to complain about the J6's performance.
"What advantage did the J6 have?" His combat instinct was obviously off, so Ling Lan really couldn't think of a way the J6 could win.
"That J6 is a famous marksman, but unfortunately, he didn't show any of that skill in this match," said the man regretfully. It looked like he was very familiar with the J6's skills.
"Marksman? With beam shields, there shouldn't be much a marksman can do though. Right?" Ling Lan was recalling how the J8 mecha's beam shield had pretty much withstood the power of the laser gun.
"The J6 should have chosen to snipe. Melee combat is the J8's specialty." The man knew both combatants well.
Ling Lan thought back to the attack when she had first started school — it had been so troublesome to be targeted by snipers — and nodded in agreement.
Sniping was the best ambush, impossible to guard against absolutely. After all, a beam shield could only protect a specific spot and not the entire body. Moreover, sniping was undetectable. If the J6 had chosen to snipe from the very beginning, the outcome of this match might have been harder to tell.
Seeing Ling Lan agree with his opinion, the man's mood took a turn for the better. "But an upset is still a very difficult thing after all. Even if the J6 had scraped a win in this match, he would still lose the next match. The outcome would not change."
Ling Lan understood what the man meant. If the J6 had sniped his way to victory in this match, his opponent in the next match would definitely be prepared with anti-sniping gear. In other words, the J6's sniping advantage would only be effective once, in the end, he would still have to rely on his own physical skills to pass.
"Perhaps the J6 understood this, and so decided to try a ranged attack where both sides could see one another. I think that if he won two times in a row, he would definitely use his trump, sniping, in the third match." commented Ling Lan, putting herself in the J6's shoes. If it were her, she also wouldn't have used her pocket ace right at the start and let the opponents figure out a counterstrategy.
The man was silent, a little taken aback, before he made a low noise of agreement. Yet, Ling Lan could clearly sense that the other's mood had gotten worse somehow ...
This wasn't looking good. If the other's emotions became so terrible that he lost control, wouldn't she be in danger? Ling Lan had not forgotten that the other was a spiritual mutant turned spectre that was capable of killing her consciousness.
"I have to go now. Bye, Big Brother!" That should be right, right? Even though she couldn't see his face clearly, just based off that lower jaw and those upturned lips, the man was clearly an adult ...
"Ah? Big brother?! Uh, goodbye!" The man seemed to be rather taken aback by Ling Lan's address, pausing for a beat before responding.
Ling Lan did not notice this; she was anxious to get as far away as she could from this dangerous man. After she heard him say goodbye, she hurriedly walked off, quickly leaving the man behind as she distanced herself from the mecha battle stadium.
The man muttered moodily to himself, "Could it be that I really look that old now? Calling me big brother? ..." In a dark mood, he chose to exit from the battle stadium and then left the virtual world.