"You must learn to deal with stress, not just physical, but also mental. In the battles to come, fairness will not exist. Most times, you will find yourselves battling against the odds. I hope that in these tough times, you will remember your goals and principles," Zhang Jingqi said. Although he did not explicitly say so, they saw what he was hinting at.
One's attitude must be good.
Zhang Jingqi glanced at Wang Zheng. "Wang Zheng, your performance was the best. Come with me."
Wang Zheng left with Zhang Jingqi, a little surprised. The rest looked at each other. Achilles, who had been in a direct confrontation with Wang Zheng, was smiling a little bitterly. Lie Xin's smile was playful, while Lear could not muster one.
They had expended all their energy and ideas, yet they ended up making Wang Zheng look good.
To Achilles and Lie Xin, they would rather have Wang Zheng, rather than Lear, take the leadership.
The Ares College students were overjoyed. At the start, they felt unsure of themselves, but now it seemed like there might be hope.
Strength was confidence.
Wang Zheng had awakened. Regardless of what issues it had, he at least could hold his ground.
And as for battle foundations, he was unbeatable there.
Zhang Jingqi was also surprised at the coolness of the youth beside him. Before IG started, who would have thought that this youth would come out of nowhere? It had been Achilles' playground until this dark horse appeared. One must also move in accordance to the way events played out. Before the power balance had been upset, they would not give him this chance.
"General, he's here," Zhang Jingqi reported respectfully.
Meng Ao nodded. "Come in."
Wang Zheng did not know what Meng Ao was playing at, pulling him out even before the training had concluded, and in front of all the students.
Meng Ao sized Wang Zheng wordlessly, secretly admiring. He purposely remained silent, testing his response.
Calm, and then more calm. His gaze did not waver, but neither was he one to jump to orders blindly. It must be confidence.
At that age, such confidence was rare. Besides a lack of reputation and background, this kid was a good sprout.
"Wang Zheng, are you interested in being the leader?" Meng Ao asked with a smile.
Wang Zheng thought he was going to be questioned about the fight or his Ability X. This was unprecedented.
"What, no confidence?" Meng Ao pressed.
"Sir! I am confident. I will continue to work hard. I wish to go to Aslan and bring glory to Earth!"
Wang Zheng said. Wang Zheng was not lacking in confidence. He simply realized that empty words were useless, and his actions had to prove his wishes.
"Very good. Then now I formally announce that you are one of the potential leaders. One amongst you, Lear, Achilles, and Lie Xin will eventually become the leader."
Meng Ao said. He needed to reward this boy and at the same time add to his burden in order to have him taste responsibility.
This kid had yet to finish maturing. His power was strong and his leadership skills equally good, but he had not yet experienced the responsibility that leadership entailed.
A leader needed not only to be strong, but also to be aware.
On the way back, Wang Zheng was a little bubbly. Although Bonehead's training preached coolness under all circumstances, he was human as well, not a robot. He had taken another huge leap towards Aslan.
However, Wang Zheng did not feel as though he had already won. Lear liked to play his cards close to his chest and would not act until the crucial moment. Lie Xin seemed flamboyant, but she had the advantage that only girls had. Her personal charm was also considerable, and she simply hid her feminine wiles most of the time.
As for Achilles, he was indeed admirable. Strength determined confidence, and he was a worthy opponent.
In the training to come, Achilles, Lear, Lie Xin, and the rest would start to get serious as well. The replacement of Qiu Si and the appearance of Zhang Jingqi marked the beginning of a new phase. If they did not bring their abilities to bear now, then there would be no other chances.
The Earth sector's tests were divided into two major categories, mech control and shooting.
It was completely attuned to testing the students' ability to resist interference and their fine motor controls.
Although Achilles and the rest had started to give it their all, Wang Zheng continued to clinch first place in the subsequent tests in stable fashion. Although the gap was not huge, he was consistently ahead. Achilles and the rest did not use their Ability X again. Ability X, to a mech fighter, was an emergency measure used to save lives. It was definitely not something one used regularly. Furthermore, knowing that Wang Zheng had Ability X as well meant that this would no longer be an advantage.
"How good are Zhang Shan and Wang Zheng? It feels frightening that they can compete against Achilles for leadership." To Yuan Ye, who had no Ability X, he was both filled with admiration and wistful longing. The four Ares College students all had abilities, but only he was unable to awaken.
"I'm not too sure myself, but it's awesome for sure. We have to support Wang Zheng for leader, this nomination is his for sure!" Zhang Shan said.
In comparison to Achilles' aloofness, Lear's pretentiousness, and Lie Xin's arrogance, everyone generally preferred Wang Zheng. But the number of people remaining was not high, and everyone already had their affiliations. To change now was nearly impossible.
Wang Zheng's scores were slightly ahead, but the advantage was not huge. Could this slight edge be enough to overcome the reputation of the other three? It remained a huge problem.
Atos only returned after two days, and he had fallen behind considerably. His fingers had made a full recovery and his hatred for Wang Zheng had not diminished. To be accurate, he disdained everything about Earth.
To have lost face in front of so many had made Atos even more sullen. Even his friends were disapproving of his rage.
Only Taros treated him well, and in that period, Taros became his confidante.
In the end, all training was for the sake of battle. Atos kept harping on this point, having no intention of changing. He felt that this was a lost cause and that Earth's sh*tty training was meaningless. His results continued in the downward spiral.
Finally, the training reached its conclusion. Everybody was gathered together. Till the end, they had not had the chance to actually fight with mecha.
Zhang Jingqi surveyed the bunch of youths in front of him. In this period of training, their basics had been polished to excellence. Of course, he was aware that these youths thirsted for battle and to train with blood and fire. But this thinking was naïve. As a soldier, such opportunities would come by more often than one wished. In fact, it was at these times that one would look back longingly on the luxury of training.
"According to the training results, Wang Zheng, with a high score of 92 points, receives Earth's vote. Therefore, in the fight for leadership, Wang Zheng need only receive one more vote to become the official leader!"
As Zhang Jingqi spoke, the Ares College students burst into cheering. They had been waiting for this moment.
Wang Zheng's performance was the inhibitive type. It was as though he had been born for the training. Behind his back, he had become the instructor's pet. Whatever the instructor said, he followed to the letter. They had never seen someone so serious about it. Although everyone was serious during training, no one threw their heart and soul into every moment. They could not bring themselves to do it either, without the thrill of competition that is. But Wang Zheng had completed every last detail.
As long as the instructor set the task, he would finish it perfectly. On this point, he had been recognized by Zhang Jingqi. As a soldier, the most important thing was to carry out one's orders perfectly.
Although the saying went that those who only followed orders blindly were weak, Wang Zheng was not one of those.
What was curious was that Zhang Jingqi had a nagging feeling that Wang Zheng did not seem like a new soldier. His execution of orders was fairly flawless, as though it was like clockwork.
Besides a louder-than-average Zhang Shan, there was lackluster response from the rest. They did not know how to voice their dissatisfaction. They did not wholeheartedly agree with the vote.
In the end, it came down to the fact that Wang Zheng's solid foundations were not indicative of his true ability.
All it meant was that he was good at training.
But this was Earth, and Earthlings' decisions held water. Everybody knew that protests were futile and could only swallow the fact that their training skills were not the best.
A silent majority did not mean complete silence. Atos could not hold himself back.
He was clearly beyond caring.
"Sir!" Atos raised his hand.
"May I say my piece?" Atos said.
"Permission granted. Speak."
"Although foundation training is important, if you consider the Solar System, no, the Milky Way, such one-dimensional training only produces grunts, not leaders, let alone generals who can change the world. If our Solar System Federation is to break through, we need strong people with leadership, and not obedient babies. Excelling at training is useless. As you Earthlings say, only a race will tell if it's a stallion or a donkey!"
Atos said, completely ignoring the heated looks from Zhang Shan and the rest.
"For example, although Zhang Shan's results are significantly better than mine, if we switch to mecha, I can thrash him with ease!"
Atos had started to taunt the crowd again. Zhang Shan stared. He had pushed himself hard throughout this training in order to get his revenge as well.
No one else said anything, but their expressions were approving. Although the military had set the rules, they were not formal soldiers. Would they not consider some form of concession?
Zhang Jingqi quickly sized up the general sentiment, reading their expressions. He turned to Wang Zheng with a smile. "Wang Zheng, seems like some of them feel you haven't proved yourself fully yet. What are your thoughts?"
Wang Zheng smiled. As Bonehead would say, a snarling dog did not bite. While Bonehead had ruthlessly cured his bad habit of snarling a long time ago, the world was not the same."
"I welcome all challenges!" Wang Zheng replied.
"Excellent. As the last task of the training, to obtain this vote as leader, everyone is to accept challenges. The victor will obtain the vote. If a leader loses, they must give up leadership. If a member loses, they will be eliminated."
Zhang Jingqi stated. This was clearly no last minute decision, but something he had already prepared.
Zhang Jingqi wanted to convey a message to them: That if one wanted to gain something, one must pay the price. A person like Atos, who fought and gave up at a whim, had nothing but street-brawl attitude.
Everyone was exchanging glances. Who would have thought that after all that training, there would be such a golden opportunity in front of their eyes?
Challenge Wang Zheng!
Nobody actually knew Wang Zheng's true strength. Until now, nobody actually had the opportunity to fight with mecha.
He had proved he could drill, but how was his battle ability?
Risk and opportunity went hand in hand. Everyone could hear their hearts thumping loudly, evidently affected.