Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
The party continued on without a pause.
That road… No, it couldn’t accurately be called a road. The places they passed over looked no different than the rest of the Outer Reaches. Bogner seemed familiar with the place, not even needing supplementary equipment to be able to easily tell the direction. He knew where the wells were and where there would be a cave, which meant no one doubted the guy had really gone that way before. Xi Ping had already joked about that with him, though Bogner couldn’t help but show his disdain for jungle card artisans.
“Are they weak?” Chen Mu asked, finding it strange. As he saw it, just to be able to exist in the jungle would require a certain amount of strength.
Bogner disagreed and said, “These people’s individual strength isn’t weak, and there are certainly some aces among them. But they’re a mob when they get together, and once they encounter a regular army, they just turn turtle.” His expression made it seem as though he were commanding a regular army just then.
Then, Bogner rubbed his chin and said thoughtfully, “We might consider recruiting a few from there. Every base has an oddball, which can be very interesting. But it would be tough to attract them.”
The troops’ forward progress was rapid—quicker than Chen Mu had thought it would be. They encountered more wild beasts along the way than they could count. The newly recruited card artisans didn’t get a single day’s rest. From when they still had an adverse reaction in the beginning until now, after more and more battles, they gradually got used to the disciplined routine and the fighting.
The way it was going, they were paying a high price. Among the five small teams, not one remained completely intact. The situation with the first team was the best; they still had 22 battle units left. The rest of the small teams basically only had 18 fighting units left, and even the elite group had lost two of their fighting units. It looked as though the losses were extremely high, though when you considered the more than 70 injured, they could return to battle once they healed.
The card artisans looked quite disciplined when they fought; they were orderly in their advances and retreats. They’d seen a lot of battlefields by then, and they’d made considerable improvement in their psychological qualities.
Chen Mu suddenly discovered that he seemed to have grown idle. The fighting didn’t come around to him, and up until then, they hadn’t run into anything as fierce as the twin-hooked beast. If they did, it still wouldn’t fall to him to do anything since Wei-ah was there. In the same way, Sue Lochiro didn’t intervene in treating the injured card artisans anymore.
For the first time, Chen Mu found that he really didn’t have anything to do, so he simply went into a transport shuttle car. The inside of the transport car was packed with all kinds of materials, and he casually found a corner and sat there. The guy driving the shuttle car had pretty good skill, and it went along quite smoothly.
After some thought, Chen Mu entered the mysterious card. He had completed half of the fourth type of energy model for the training of perceptual acuity. Since he had increased the quantity of his training during that previous period, his progress with the models was slow. Now, he had slowed down his other training, and he could concentrate on the energy models.
The number of energy blocks contained in fourth type of energy model was a lot higher than the third. It was composed of 30,000 of them. The complexity of the composition was perfectly evident, and it made a person’s scalp go numb.
What Chen Mu found the most magical, however, was certainly the fifth kind of energy model. The fifth model of energy composition was composed of only 3,000 energy blocks. Still, that didn’t mean the fifth kind was any less difficult than the fourth. Just the opposite was true. The fifth type of energy model was the most difficult of the five.
That was the most peculiar energy composition Chen Mu had ever seen based on its countless subtleties. Those were like the composition of the little pendulum unit; every little unit was in a state of constant motion. What Chen Mu had to do wasn’t only to use energy blocks to build the compositions, but he also needed to make each unit’s oscillation frequency match the corresponding rules.
Just by looking at it, Chen Mu understood it was a kind of extremely elastic composition, which would have quite a few derivative compositions. It could produce extremely rich features. Still, everything had to be done piece by piece.
Looking at the fourth model in front of him, Chen Mu settled his mind and started to do the boring training.
No one was surprised at Chen Mu suddenly going into the transport car. The boss had always been mysterious, and who knew what he was fiddling with inside? But everyone was conscious not to disturb him. Ru Qiu really wanted to go in. Although she had come with the idea of learning some skills from Chen Mu, what she was doing at that time was just some miscellaneous work. That half month of danger was a lot more danger than she had ever gone through.
No one quite realized it had been half a month since the boss had entered the car. He would sometimes come out to eat with a dull expression, as though he were contemplating some problem. Seeing him that way, no one dared to disturb him. Both Xi Ping and Bogner knew their boss was a grand-master-level card master. Who could know if he was planning out some great creation in his mind or researching some world-class problem? Oh, good lord, to bother the boss at such a time! It would be a huge sin to disturb whatever creative thoughts were in his mind!
Xi Ping and Bogner carefully influenced everyone else’s behavior. When it came to meal times, no one would dare make too much noise. They all breathed a sigh of relief when Chen Mu re-entered the shuttle car like a ghost.
Actual fighting was the best training for card artisans. As far as those card artisans who had experienced such strict training were concerned, actual fighting could enable them to grow more quickly. Everyone already understood that the more panicked they were, the more likely they would be to die. And, given their endless daily recapitulations, the summaries within each small team, the recapitulations among the captains, and Bogner’s occasional pointers, the captains and team members were indeed quickly growing.
With the tempering of a month’s worth of bloody battles, there was an essential transformation in the card artisans’ temperaments. The praise in Bogner’s eyes was more and more frequent.
The five small teams were influenced by their captains. The teams started to gradually form completely different battle styles.
The first small team, which included Jiang Liang, was doubtlessly the one Bogner was most pleased with. Jiang Liang was the most outstanding about the big picture, and the first small team’s battle strength was the most powerful. They had a tough style, and their tactical compliance was the best.
The second small group was good at rapid firing, and they had the strongest attack ability. The team members’ firing frequency could reach seven shots per second, which was the fastest among the five.
The third small team was good at wrestling. Their team’s coordination was perfectly remarkable, and they maintained outstanding, continuous firepower in wave after wave of attack.
The fourth small team was the most valiant, which was directly related to their captain’s fiery character.
The fifth small team was perfectly average and had no outstanding advantages, but they also had no outstanding shortcomings. While they didn’t demonstrate anything fancy, they were utterly reliable.
The elite group was a lot trickier, being good at seizing the moment and always able to mount a mortal attack.
Altogether, Bogner was rather pleased. He could see it from the battle losses. As time went on, although the beasts they encountered kept getting stronger, the casualty rate kept decreasing. Everyone had also realized their own progress. Ever since experiencing the grief of their first casualties, they had started to become more self-confident.
“There is a base up ahead, Chief,” the scouting card artisan reported excitedly when he returned.
“Oh.” Bogner was rubbing his chin, as was his habit. He said to himself, “Ok, so this base still hasn’t been abandoned. It’s been quite a few years since I’ve been there, and I don’t know what has become of it.”
The news spread quickly among the troops, and everyone got excited. To finally encounter a place with people after walking for so many days was clearly a great piece of joyful news for those rookie travelers.
That was just when Chen Mu came out of the shuttle car. Bogner and Xi Ping knew at a glance that he was in a different state that day than normal. The two of them looked at one another, and Xi Ping asked carefully, “Are you hungry, Boss?” That had previously been the biggest reason he would come out of the shuttle car.
Chen Mu shook his head and stretched, taking in a few deep breaths. “I’m not hungry.”
From that, Bogner and Xi Ping immediately knew the boss had awakened! Bogner came forward and said with a laugh, “Were you enlightened about something this time, Boss?”
Chen Mu was taken aback and nodded unconsciously. “Mmmm, I did realize something.”
Bogner then asked, “Was it worth anything?”
“I don’t know yet.” Chen Mu was taken aback again as he thought carefully before shaking his head.
Bogner couldn’t help but look crestfallen as he muttered, “You thought for that many days and didn’t come up with anything valuable…”
Xi Ping was comparatively more serious. He reported on the current situation, including the most recent intelligence.
“There is a base up ahead?” Chen Mu couldn’t help but feel a little excited when he heard the news.
Bogner languidly nodded. “Yep. There was one 20 years ago, and it was previously abandoned. I never thought it would still be used after 20 years. I don’t know what it might be like now.”
“It was previously an abandoned base?” Chen Mu nodded, showing a flash of understanding. He said, “Then, let’s go see if we can replenish ourselves.”
The boss immediately signaled, and Bogner contained the joking look on his face, turning serious.
All of the fighting personnel were organized and put into a state of alert. Only then did Chen Mu discover to his surprise how huge the transformation in the troops really was. It was like day and night compared to before. He had been bent on delving into the mysterious card’s energy models for that period and wasn’t paying attention to the transformation of the troops. Then, he suddenly saw them and felt it was a completely different team.
By the time he looked them over, he was still more surprised. The temperament displayed by everyone, including Sue Lochiro, Ru Qiu, Borna, and all the non-combat personnel, was quite a bit different from before.
The team moved quickly, and they finally saw what Bogner had called an abandoned base.
“Yikes!” Bogner couldn’t hide his shock when he first saw it.