Who was going to go first?
Somebody go already!
A bunch of people eyed each other. They were not satisfied, but when it was time to step up, they all suddenly had cold feet. Wang Zheng had thrashed Atos and had stood his ground against Achilles. They had persevered so far. If they staked it all on one battle and were eliminated, they would feel cheated.
Furthermore, they would be challenging a leader.
Most members quickly calmed down. They recalled Wang Zheng's performance in the first phase and marked him as a silent but difficult opponent.
Atos sneered at the fearful atmosphere and was about to act, but he was stopped by Taros beside him, who shook his head.
Clearly Taros did not favor Atos in a fight against Wang Zheng.
Even though the average people did not respond, this did not mean that the other potential leaders would not respond either, right?
Atos had thought that Achilles would jump at the opportunity to eradicate Wang Zheng the moment the announcement was made. However, the Sun God stood by, motionless.
He felt a little let down. He had been peeved that Achilles had not assented to intervene on his behalf last time. Although Wang Zheng was a bastard, he had stood up for Zhang Shan. He, on the other hand, had two fingers broken and became a laughing stock to boot. Now he had set up this opportunity for Achilles, but Achilles did not act. When had the Sun God become such a coward?
Atos' resentment gave him pluck, but he found himself restrained by Taros' hand, which gripped him as firmly as a steel bar.
Achilles showed no signs of moving, as though the thought had not occurred to him. Lear too seemed to have heard nothing.
What… was going on?
Was Wang Zheng so scary?
In an instant, Wang Zheng's prestige rose significantly.
"Keke, Wang Zheng, when you came to Mars, I already wanted to learn from you. Well, since the opportunity has presented itself, let's get down to it." Raston stood up with a smile.
Wang Zheng answered his smile with one of his own. "Sure!"
Lie Xin was no fool. More accurately, those who came from the prestigious families were not prone to rash actions. Wang Zheng's Ability X could very well be C-rank. Acting without knowing what to expect could lead to no good outcome.
Achilles and Lear held back, and Lie Xin would too. If she had been alone, she would have challenged him without hesitation. But it was clear that whoever went against Wang Zheng first would come out looking badly compared to the other two.
These three were waiting to see who would twitch first. They were engaged in a contest of patience.
Raston could also be counted as one of the potential leaders - he was definitely qualified. To him, the leadership was secondary. What mattered to him was being chosen for the team. He wanted to go to Aslan. He longed to go to Aslan and test himself against the experts that came from all corners of the Milky Way. As a warrior, it was a dream to him.
Whether he made it as a leader or not was unimportant.
Furthermore, Wang Zheng would make a worthy opponent.
And as for Wang Zheng?
He had controlled himself for so long. It was not to say that he liked basic training - that would be a huge joke. To him, it was the most boring thing. He was simply mature enough to know what to do and what not to do. Beneath his fierce concentration was buried a fierce desire to rebel and a thirst for battle.
Control. He had tremendous self-control.
As Raston took the field, the students gave a cheer. It was a rare opportunity to fight, and everyone looked forward to a real battle.
Bata Type V, 1 on 1, practice mecha. Getting destroyed or surrendering counted as defeat.
In the desert practice arena, the two Bata Type Vs approached unhurriedly. The rest were watching silently from the sides.
Raston, hailed as the prince of Caragal, was praised with the title of King of Power. His ability was prodigious and well controlled, and his mecha handling was highly competent. He had heart and maturity beyond peers of his age, which enabled him to bring even more power to bear in battles.
"Table's open, table's open. Those who bet on Wang Zheng keep left. Those betting on Raston stay right. Don't miss your chance now!" Fatty Luo Fei had opened a betting table. He was clearly one who enjoyed watching the world burn.
Both mecha began a series of warm up movements. Nobody had thought that the dry and dreary Earth training would come to a conclusion with the most direct of battles.
"Lie Guang, who do you favor to win?" Lie Xin quietly asked. As the leader, she had to maintain her composure. She knew that if she had stepped up earlier, she might have won a lot of support, but she had resisted.
"Should be Raston. You know what he's capable of. In this battle, Ability X will definitely be used. However you look at it, Raston has a 60 percent chance of success.
Lie Xin did not reply. She was more worried about Wang Zheng's ability.
"Keke, a great opportunity to see what ability this punk Wang Zheng has," Taros said. "Achilles, it's really unlike you to pass up on such an opportunity."
Achilles merely smiled. "When the battle begins, you will understand. This stage is simply too small."
Taros smiled back mechanically. Achilles seemed a little timid. He understood Lear's personality well - he would never take a fight when there was even a slightest chance of losing.
Just as well, he could see for himself if Raston had grown any stronger in these last few years.
A breeze swept through. The harsh sunlight continued to beat down on the arena. Both mecha were ready now.
Tap tap tap tap tap tap…
Both Bata Type Vs started moving at the same time, rushing ferociously towards the opponent, with titanium blades out.
The blades clashed in a shower of sparks, filling the arena with a piercing sound. At the same time, their engines rumbled, Raston's fist flying out, while Wang Zheng's knee jerked upwards.
Both mecha fighters leaped apart with a rotation, creating some distance. They had both dodged the opponent's attack. After spinning around, Raston seized the initiative. Their brief clash had given Raston a rough gauge of his opponent's power.
An interesting fight! It had been so long since he had found an opponent that could get his blood pumping.
Power and one's explosive movement determined the upper hand.
What made Raston's physical state fearsome was his faster-than-normal recovery times, and in his explosive attack, could counter-attack just a hair of a second faster.
His Bata Type V had already attacked before Wang Zheng. As his titanium blade cleaved downwards, Wang Zheng, who had lost the initiative, could only defend.
The force of the blow was earth-shattering.
After the deafening sound, Wang Zheng's Bata Type V was steadily forced back. The desert terrain was not suited for a solid defense. Once forced on the backfoot, gaps in the defense would readily present themselves.
Raston seemed to have become a different person. Under his deft handling, the Bata Type V moved as though it was a super-class mech, its titanium blades gleaming under the sunlight, again cleaving down.
Raston's attack patterns were unusual. His rhythm was good, defending as he attacked. It was deceptively slow, but he was actually moving with speed and fury. Not a single blow was lacking in power, and no opponent could recover quickly.
Raston's footwork was not lacking either. It complemented his energy and his slashes, leaving Wang Zheng no other option but to continue backing up. If it was not for Wang Zheng's own solid foundations, he would long have been cut to pieces.
"What did I say? This fellow is just a load of talk. Him as captain? Pigs would fly!" Atos spat viciously on the floor.
"Atos, some manners." Milo frowned.
"Milo, what makes you bend over backward and speak up for him?"
"I'm not speaking up for anybody. I'm just saying we represent the Moon here. It's best to speak with our actions."
Milo could not resist retorting. Due to Atos' inciting behavior, everybody else had started to look at the Moon with an unfavorable eye. This would affect Achilles' reputation as well. Although the opinion would probably not be voiced, it would undoubtedly affect the larger scheme of things.
"Tch. Aren't I speaking with my actions now? Without me, there wouldn't be this opportunity to beat this brat up!"
Atos boasted complacently.
"Enough! The battle is not over yet." Achilles glared at Atos, a warning look in his eyes.
He was not one to lose control easily, but Atos' repeated taunts were wearing on his nerves.
Atos mumbled a little to himself, but he held his tongue. Everyone else was focused on the arena, oblivious to Atos' venomous outburst.
Wang Zheng, who had been defending all the while, finally could no longer keep it up and was sent flying by Raston.
But Raston did not press forward. He realized that the blow had lacked sufficient power, and Wang Zheng had used it to spring himself back. If he had recklessly pressed forward, he would have been vulnerable to a counter-attack.
Wang Zheng was surprised by Raston's coolness as well. His Bata mech skidded seven or eight meters and circled to a stable halt.
It was a good feeling. The long treks had left him with no unfamiliarity with the mech. It had helped Wang Zheng to complete the harmonization with the mech.
The Bata Type V crept forward. With a roar of the engine bursting to life, Wang Zheng attacked.
Tap tap tap tap tap tap…
The mech cut towards Raston, flashing with the harsh sunlight that hurt to look at. Raston was unaffected. No big deal.
Raising a blade to block, Raston was unconcerned with any direct attack.
However, his expression suddenly changed. After a fumbled response, his titanium blade had been knocked over.
What ferocious power!
A judgement error.
He immediately cut downwards with his titanium blade. As expected of Raston. A normal person would have been left undone by such an error, but with his explosive power, Raston forced the blade back in a reverse cut.
He did not block. In this situation, he would have been too slow to block. A life for a life; a good offense was the best defense.
Nobody expected such risky moves in the second clash. How could Raston have slipped up?
Wang Zheng would not exchange blows with him. With a violent whirl of the mech, he swiped the opponent's attack aside with a shrill screech of the blades. He followed it up with a roundhouse kick that Raston completely failed to respond to. A direct hit.
The Bata mech was sent flying back, and Raston immediately resisted it forcefully. To think that he took a direct kick.
Wang Zheng did not press. He smiled. "Raston, show me your true strength, or the crowd is going to be disappointed."
Wang Zheng was trying to tell him that this level of ability would not be sufficient to subdue him.
Raston smiled too. He was also one of those with strong foundations, and the most troublesome opponent was someone as stable as he was. One could not tell before clashing with Wang Zheng that he was a monster in action.
Raston's Bata Type V growled. Gunning his engine, his titanium blade was raised high.
The mech exploded forward, advancing!
A chop from up high!
As the titanium blade scythed downwards viciously, wielded by the fearsome strength of Raston, a whistle could be heard as it sliced the air. Being cut by such an attack would be no fun matter.