Most importantly, he had always had a good sense of space. Once he became accustomed to things, it was as if he was enlightened and understood things quickly.
On the other side, Achilles patted Atos on the back without a word, but his meaning was clear: since they were fighting, he must not lose.
Atos was austere. He grinned widely. He wanted to make a good name for himself too. He was Atos. The quick Atos. The absolute winner, Atos.
They were free to choose any mech in the space duel. Zhang Shan did not hesitate at choosing the Barton mech. It was a mech made by Earth for space forces and was well balanced in powers... nothing special.
It wasn't that there were no better mecha available, but Zhang Shan knew his own skill level well. A better mech would only be powerful if he could maneuver it well. The Barton mech may appear weak, but it was the one option that could display Zhang Shan's current capabilities to its best.
As the Barton mech slowly made its entrance, the atmosphere started to get warm. This time around, everybody was watching the match from the grandstands. Six enormous digital screens captured the space duel from every angle possible.
Judging by the choice he made, Zhang Shan was very calm.
When Atos appeared on the field, the grandstands broke into commotion.
Avalanche Space Type III!
The most powerful mech amongst the standard space mecha from the Moon. Five stars in speed, five stars in close combat firing, and a five-star shield. Apart from a slightly weaker long-distance firing capabilities, this was a near perfect space mech.
"Damn. Couldn't this dude pick something more average? That's unfair!" Yuan Ye said.
Taros scoffed. "Unfair? The level of difficulty in controlling the Avalanche Space Type III is also ranked at five stars. Incapable of using something better and yet not allowing others to use. What logic."
Some people agreed, while others begged to differ.
Just then, Su Yan's voice echoed, "Rules: there are no rules. Use whatever tactics you like to attack your opponent."
Zhang Shan vs Atos was like dried wood in a blazing fire. The Moon clashing with Earth, they had to battle to straighten things out between them, no matter what.
"Zhang Shan only dared to pick the Barton mech. Goes to show that his abilities are limited." Lie Xin smiled. "Lack of confidence, it seems."
Raston grinned. "This guy likes excitement. I'll bet you ten bucks that Mountain Maiden will win."
Lie Xin glanced at him. "Just tell me if you're short of money. We're in the army here."
"You don't get it, Sister. This is called fun. I'm betting Atos will win." Lie Guang chuckled. There was no doubt that the Moon was the leader in space matches.
The moment the Avalanche Space Type III turned on, it drew a huge arch in the vacuum and stared straight at Zhang Shan while making a tactical defense move.
Zhang Shan used the long-range weapons to fire a few laser shots, but he missed entirely. The Avalanche Space Type III was too fast. Plus, Atos was the best at speed and was 100% confident.
Zhang Shan wisely decided to defend and wait for his opponent to attack instead. Firing at random would only make him lose confidence.
Atos grinned and dashed toward Zhang Shan at high speeds in his mech. He didn't just want to beat his opponent up - he wanted to humiliate him!
Boom... close-range suppression!
The Avalanche Space Type III's close combat abilities were definitely at the top among common space mecha. With a changing Remote Laser Type IX weapon set, a set that combined all close combat weapons but different from the usual Laser swords and spears, this equipment could automatically change laser types depending on the situation. It could change from the beam saber into a beam spear and vice versa, instantaneously.
This type of ever-changing sparring often caught opponents off guard, making it a huge advantage that stood out especially clearly in a duel match.
Seeing Atos sweep at him using the laser spear, watching it turn into a sword in an instant, and cutting close to his arms, Zhang Shan was caught defenseless. He dropped down at high speed and attempted to fly into Atos' blind spot so as to get a chance at striking back.
Atos smiled coolly. This type of dodging movement would be considered high-level on the ground, but in space, this was nothing. The vision of a space mech was different!
Boom.. Boom.. Boom... He fired the laser gun, blocking Zhang Shan's escape route, forcing Zhang Shan to fight him head on.
Zhang Shan gave a vicious look and struck!
The Barton mech's engines fired wildly. Controlling the mech by force, Zhang Shan maneuvered the Barton mech into making a turn and charged back like a typhoon.
Atos was taken by surprise. He actually felt threatened! Boom! The laser sword turned into a spear. The radius of attack was three times that of the sword. He pointed the spear head at Zhang Shan and charged.
The Barton mech stopped abruptly. The laser spear had interrupted it's momentum. He could only take a step back and build the momentum up again.
Atos did not dare to give chase. He turned around and maneuvered the Avalanche Space mech into high speed drive, looking for flaws in Zhang Shan's movement.
Back at the grandstands, there were all sorts of cheering and yelling, mostly in support of Atos. At this point, it wasn't just the IG candidates from the training camp who were watching. There were also soldiers from the space station.
Most of these soldiers were born and raised on the Moon, so they naturally recognised Atos as one of the Eight Stars from Moon.
"The opponent is from Earth? Heh. Atos is making a fool out of him."
"Woohoo! Atos! Let's go!"
Hearing the cheers from the soldier's ring, Lie Xin smiled. Was Atos really just putting on a show?
"If Atos hadn't changed weapons earlier on and forced the laser sword on him, Zhang Shan would have been doomed."
Raston smiled. "He's not putting on a show... he's afraid. The more cocky he is, the more vulnerable he feels. Zhang Shan barely defended and Atos has become wary."
Raston had venomous, sharp eyes.
The Moon people were calm. They saw that Atos was using his true abilities to fight and was not that weak.
Just then, the situation took another turn. Atos adjusted himself and charged right down. Making use of the mech's high speed advantage, he gained an upper hand in launching attacks while Zhang Shan could only defend and... defend, leaving him with no chance to fight back.
Boom! The two beam sabers struck. Zhang Shan was at a complete disadvantage, and he felt like he was bound to lose. Zhang Shan did not will himself to feel that way. His opponent was indeed faster and fiercer than he was. After they fought head on once, his opponent had stopped scheming and refused to risk anything. He was merely consolidating his advantages and making Zhang Shan feel helpless.
Zhang Shan's understanding of space did not translate into a direct victory. Was knowledge and intelligence that negligible in battle?
He felt indignant and was reluctant to be defeated. On top of the sense of loss, Wang Zheng's departure had given them lots to think about.
Why am I here? Why do I have to be so hard on myself?
"Wang Zheng, how are you so powerful? Come on, share some of your techniques! Feels like a clever brain has no use in a battle."
Zhang Shan had always prided himself in his level of intelligence. Even if he was defeated in training, he remained proud of it. But as the selection went on, his pride drained as he was no longer a physics student.
"Battling smart can still help you win the war! When you have no clue of what to do, treat your opponent like a physics question."
Spinning silk into cocoons!
All of a sudden, Zhang Shan got it. He was clear-headed now. Atos was not letting down on his high-speed attacks, but he felt much less stressful now.
But right now, as Atos attacked rhythmically, Zhang Shan could only cling on to two things: to stay calm and adapt.
After he rid himself of the mental burden, Zhang Shan's movements indeed became a tad faster and smoother. He could fully display the Barton mech's specialties and even suppress some of Atos' killer moves.
Atos was so mad that he wanted to murder someone. He actually had even harsher tactics up his sleeve, but he was wary of Zhang Shan's ability of warping.
That ability was much harder to deal with in space, and so, before he forced Zhang Shan into using his one-use-per-day ability, he couldn't set his his heart on launching a sure-kill.
However, at that very moment, things took for a turn. Zhang Shan was now on par with him in the battlefield! Although he still had the upper hand, Zhang Shan was like a hedgehog, poking at him, making him feel uncomfortable.
Eventually, Atos could not hold it back any longer. The fight had gone on for far too long. Even if he won, it wouldn't do him any good. It would only give Zhang Shan a good reputation.
Roar! He wanted to force Zhang Shan into using his Ability X, but under such circumstances, things were no longer within his control.
Extreme speed ability, go!
The Avalanche Space mech's speed immediately changed. It was an eerie change. It didn't appear fast, but when paid close attention to, you would notice the mech left behind something like a crack in space. Atos's extreme speed ability was a fine control of speed when used on a space mech, not just pure acceleration.
Taros gleamed and cheered loudly.
Achilles looked on approvingly too. Atos had been controlling his speed, but it was rather problematic. His extreme speed advantage alone was quite a sight in the Solar System, but it was nothing if compared to the entire Milky Way's IG. His exquisite control of speed, though, was on a whole different level. Atos had gone through many things and had made all sorts of mistakes, but when this ability was used, he could hold some ground in the IG world.
Zhang Shan felt giddy and a little nauseous.
The opponent's speed caused some change in his perception.
Zhang Shan forced himself to calm down, and... the look on his face changed. If he had not misjudged, this feeling...
If it were others, they wouldn't feel what Zhang Shan felt. That was the exact same feeling he had when he couldn't get used to space at first!
Zhang Shan smiled. He might've been doomed if it was another ability. Or if Atos sprang right at him without showing off his high level of speed control, he could only use his warp Ability X to get away. Now, the happily showing off Atos looked like a flea jumping around in Zhang Shan's eyes.
Right at the brink of a crisis, he moved at an incredible speed, avoiding Atos' wild attack.
Zhang Shan could only displace himself a short distance, but in space, he appeared light and floating. A life-saving move indeed. It was just that...
Staying alive alone was of no use.
Having forced Zhang Shan to use his ability, Atos was feeling full of himself. He could maintain his speed for some time.