Garen smacked Jamie's shoulder with his palm, and sent him flying out mercilessly, falling hard onto the grass nearby.
He shook his head, sweeping his gaze over the five people lying on the floor.
"That's how much you've progressed over the past week?"
The disappointment on his face was plainly evident.
Quentin tried her best to prop up her body, but her legs kept shaking, as though cramped.
That figure in the middle of the arena was like a demon god, completely unbeatable!
They had lost track of how many times they had pounced at him, but the result every time was exactly the same, the agonizing, cramp-like shivers had become an image to represent Garen's reputation.
Even Dahm, whose nerves were the numbest, lowered his head and refused to look Garen in the eye.
"Do you guys think this is training?" Garen's voice reached their ears. "Of course, this is indeed training, but I hope that you will come at me with the intention to kill."
"This is just a regular training, is that necessary?" Hochman lay on his back as he asked. The sweat all over his body had drenched his clothes, and his muscles were bulging slightly, he no longer looked as gentlemanly and weak as he did before, only his glasses showed the last traces of his scholarliness.
"We don't have a choice…" Garen held his hands open, "Because you're too weak, so weak that I don't even want to hit you…"
His voice had a matter-of-fact air of complaint, for some reason, the others all had the urge to beat him up.
"You can get slightly stronger like this, I was thinking..."
Garen buttoned the top few buttons on his black shirt.
"Forget it, we'll call it a day, don't disturb me unless there's something important."
"Since you've said that." Dahm suddenly said, his voice stopping Garen in his tracks. "Then what about this!!?"
He pulled a black handgun from out of nowhere, aiming it straight at Garen, his voice turning abruptly louder.
Suddenly the other four around them exclaimed softly.
"Dahm, what are you doing!!? Put down the gun!" Quentin barked sternly.
Hochman pushed up his glasses, saying nothing.
In truth, all five of them were already thinking of Garen as their teacher and master, the five of them were also treating each other as siblings in training.
When it came to Dahm's thoughts, he understood it somewhat, and was not too surprised.
Of the others, Jamie and Raelan were another duo who were closer to each other, the five of them had split into three circles, Jamie and Raelan, Hochman himself and Dahm, and Quentin was actually alone. The three circles actually had Quentin as the belt between them.
Nobody understood Dahm as well as he did…
Hochman looked at Garen with a hint of anticipation and apprehension in his eyes.
"So, what will you do?"
"How will you deal with guns? Guns and cannons are the main themes of this era that you so admire…" Dahm's face was slightly pale due to the training, but he gave a slight yet vicious grin. "You can't blame me, you're the one who said we need to come at you like we want to kill you! That way, something like this counts as well, right?"
Garen suddenly chuckled softly, then he turned around, lifted his chin slightly, and looked at Dahm with an unprecedented gaze of contempt.
"This is getting slightly interesting…"
He pointed his finger at his temple.
"Here, shoot here. Don't worry, just fire."
His gaze, as though looking at a bug struggling under his feet, instantly triggered Dahm's fury, the vicious grin on his face immediately turning dark.
"You think I don't dare to?"
"Do you?" Garen's lips curved slightly, "Do… you dare?" He said slowly, with pauses between each word.
There was the sound of a gunshot.
At almost exactly the same time, Garen's figure appeared in front of Dahm, and he kicked Dahm's stomach hard.
Dahm's eyes rolled back in agony, and he instantly sprayed blood and vomit from his mouth, the gun falling out of his hand and to the ground. His whole body curled up like a shrimp, and he was kicked far and away, plastered onto the wall nearby.
Garen went over and grabbed a fistful of his hair, lifting him up.
"How does that feel like?" He asked with a smile.
"Real… real good…" Dahm forced out a few words weakly, his bloodied mouth still trying desperately to smile.
"Don't move!" A voice came from behind Garen.
It was Hochman!
He held a sharp knife in his hand, pressing it hard against the back of Garen's waist.
"We need to come at you with the intent to kill! That's what you said." Hochman held the knife, but there was a constant sweat on his forehead.
He did not really notice it when he was so far away, but now that he was in close proximity with Garen, he could clearly tell exactly how terrifying the pressure coming from Garen was.
The psychological trauma from these past few days of being beaten up and the terror in the depths of his heart kept pricking his nerves, telling him to get away as soon as he could! Get away from this unbeatable man.
"I won't lose just like that!" Hochman kept yelling at himself in his heart.
"Hochman?" Garen threw Dahm aside with one hand, turning around, and nonchalantly blocking the sharp knife at his waist. "To be able to attack me from behind soundlessly and tracelessly, you've improved."
Although he had lowered his body's qualities and abilities down to the same level as these people, his own level as King of the Century was not something he could change, this was a state of his heart that had a far deeper understanding of and experience with secret techniques than normal people.
Under these circumstances, the fact that Hochman was able to hide himself and sneak up on Garen, was already a tremendous step forward.
"Stab me." Garen's left hand moved upwards, pressing his chest, "Stab me here."
"Do you dare?" The same words that he had given Dahm just now, he was giving them to Hochman now.
An invisible breeze blew in from the distance, blowing past the grass, and turning all the cold sweat on Hochman's body into an icy chill.
"I'm standing right here." Garen stared at him calmly, "Just stab me. Weaklings have no right to hesitate."
The sharp knife was shaking.
The sweat on Hochman's body was about to utterly seep through his clothes.
He lowered his head and did not dare to meet Garen's eyes. He could feel his hand shaking, he was scared.
In that instant, the sharp knife stabbed forth.
Hochman howled madly, the veins on his face bulging, using all the strength in his body to stab Garen.
It was completely quiet on the grass.
The five of them stared at Garen's right hand in a daze, nobody believed that this was real.
The knife, was flicked away and snapped!
Just as Hochman stabbed forth with all of his strength, Garen flicked his fingers, and his gloved right hand touched the knife lightly, the blade snapping on cue.
Everything happened in an instant.
A palm smacked Hochman on the right arm, and he somersaulted like an acrobat, flying into the air, and just happened to land beside Dahm, who was nearby.
The two of them were covered in wounds, this time the injuries were not like before when Garen was holding back, these were truly internal injuries.
He did not hold back, the power Garen used was not what he had been using for training.
So the two of them were actually grievously injured.
Their bodies were broken, bones snapped and blood clots everywhere, their organs were hurting intensely. Both of them could not help but bite down hard on their lower lips, so that the pain would not make them cry out.
Garen grinned, glancing at the remaining three, Quentin, Jamie, and Raelan, all three of them did not fully comprehend what was happening as it happened so fast. Right now, they were still staring at Garen blankly.
"Let's end it here today. But not bad, you have some understanding of it now." He tossed them a few words, and strode away from the field.
This was behind an abandoned garden, the grass that had once been neat was now completely a mess, there were dents and holes in the wall next to them, and the cement was still falling even now.
After Garen left, the few of them did not move for a long time.
A group of medical personnel rushed over, as though used to it, and checked all of their bodies in a familiar manner, collecting data, giving them recovery drinks, and handling their wounds.
"These injuries are very serious!" A doctor checked Hochman's and Dahm's bodies, his brow instantly furrowed deep. "Internal bleeding, many shattered bones, unnaturally high blood pressure, accelerated heartbeat… No! Inject some antihypersensitives stat!"
"We have some here!"
"Send them to the main hospital! Now now now!"
A group of people pushed the two of them hastily and left in a hurry.
"This time, President was not holding back…" Quentin fell to the ground, sitting on the grass, and releasing a long breath.
"Doesn't it feel like Hochman and Dahm are going crazy?" Jamie sat down beside her as well, smiling bitterly. "Especially Hochman, his changes are making me wary, he seems to be becoming more and more like the president, but not quite the same. I don't know if it's just me."
"He and Dahm, they're both getting stronger. It's not just you." Raelan stood beside them, saying deeply. "I don't know what the president is planning, by training us like this, but I do know, that Dahm and Hochman might be getting closer to what the president is hoping from us…"
Jamie and Quentin looked at Raelan, the red-haired girl was beginning to leave her hair long, they had not noticed it, but there was a sharp and decisive air about her now, especially between her brows, there was a sense of invasion that made others look away. The feeling of that piercing, arrow-straight gaze was a bit like President Garen's darkly feminine side, and it began to appear on her face slowly.
Dahm and Hochman used to be their familiar companions, and Raelan as well, but now they were slowly becoming more unfamiliar, that unnamed air of mysterious danger was slowly seeping from their bodies day by day. All this made Quentin and Jamie feel more estranged.
Not just from this world, but from the companions that they used to know so well.
"Faster, faster, faster! Send them to the ambulance! The patient's heartbeat is not coming down at all!"
"Switch to matandol(1)!! Max concentration!!"
"No… no! It's no use!"
"Switch again to antherin!!"
"No, the needle can't go in!" The nurse was about to cry.
Hochman opened his eyes abruptly, his eyes seeming to light up with a white light in the dark night.
He yanked the oxygen mask off his face, and actually sat up,
While the ring of doctors and nurses around him stared in shock, his gaze had a trace of joy, satisfaction, and violence buried deep within.
"The terror that surpasses death… So this is how it feels like…" He murmured softly, all the powerful muscle on his body shivering and twisting like flowing water, expanding and turning black.