Chapter 776: Sparring

    Chapter 776: Sparring

    Lan Jue's face betrayed the ghost of a smile and his fingers danced over the controls like flowing water. Thor moved so fast its image blurred, breaking through a gap in their encirclement before soaring into the air.

    But Lan Jue didn't escape without cost. The sword Thor bore had been buried too deeply in the liquid metal mecha, and he'd been unable to pull it free. Said mecha reformed into its typical portly form before crouching low. The other attackers quickly spread out, unperturbed by Lan Jue's escape.

    Star Division's commander didn't press the attack. He was more interested in seeing how well this team worked together, how strong they'd become. Their opening gambit had been pretty good. If he had been slower, if it wasn't for Thor's superior construction, that fat mecha would have gotten him.

    Lan Jue wasn't given much time to think about it. The large mecha suddenly launched itself into the air like a cannonball, heading straight for him. In response he pulled Thor to the side to try and dodge - one could imagine the damage something that heavy could do, even if it clipped you.

    But just then Lan Jue felt the controls grow sluggish. Though he dodged the fat mecha's charge something had set him off balance. His sapphire mecha staggered in the air. He instinctively looked to the ground where he found another mecha who'd captured him in a beam of yellow light.

    Gravity capture, he suddenly understood. The Adept below was using their gravity Discipline to try and pin Thor down. But it was still the fat mecha that surprised him most. Hovering behind him in the air it underwent a tremendous transformation.

    Its lumbering body compressed, changing from a silvery soldier to an angry violet orb. Tentacles lurched out from within it and tried to wrap around Thor.

    An alien planet?

    He was flabbergasted, it was the last thing Lan Jue expected to see. Could an alien planet just appear here? His shock and alarm took its toll, Thor hesitated. Another mecha appeared over his head, while the one that had been dragging him from below vanished.

    The sudden change in the gravitational field put him off balance again. He pulled Thor around and urged the sapphire mecha toward the ground. But, just then, an explosion burst from above him. A rush of air struck his Thor, sending it careening out of control right for the liquid metal warrior.

    Alright guys, time for my Discipline.

    Violet tentacles groped at Thor, ready to wrap him up. Lan Jue was forced to employ his Discipline. At just the right instant a blue light sprang up from within the mecha to create a net of electricity around it. The airburst behind it was cut off, and the tentacles in front met a wall of lightning.

    Thor descending toward the ground and extricated itself from between its foes.

    Fighting in the air against a gravity Adept was inadvisable. Although the Discipline didn't effect Lan Jue much, its effects were significantly magnified against Thor's weighty body and made control much more difficult. On the ground the adverse effects wouldn't be as dramatic.

    He had to deal with the enemy's battlefield control first. He came up with a plan.

    Opponents who could control the flow of battle were the most troublesome. Through their skills they broke one's rhythm and forced them to fight on their own terms. The fight was already ten on one, making his position even more precarious. So, Lan Jue's first target was that gravity-manipulating Adept.

    Thor slowed as it reached the ground - a result of increased gravity. Clearly this Adept was pretty strong, ninth rank he suspected. Anything less wouldn't be effecting him so dramatically.

    Lan Jue figured it out, but by now it was already too late to use the information. His only course was to reach the ground and deal with the Adept with his lightning Discipline, in order for Thor to be able to use its speed advantage.

    Lan Jue was heading right for his target, but all of a sudden his path was blocked by another. A large mecha appeared with a mighty shield between it and Thor.

    Thor suddenly sped up and punched at the shield with a fist. A sword constructed of amalgamated lightning burnt into being within its free hand. Making a weapon with his Discipline was no difficult feat for the Demon Drillmaster.

    Boom! Thor laid into the shield with the full force of its weight behind it, but the shield bearer only retreated half a step. He watched the shield undergo three changes in rapid succession; first it shook, bent, then snapped back into shape.

    The expertly timed flexibility diffused Thor's attack. What's more, it stopped the mecha in its tracks.

    Impressive shield control.

    He only had a moment to appreciate the skill before a blinding light and teeth-clenching impact struck.

    Lan Jue had only just coalesced his powers into the shape of the sword, so Thor would need a moment before the weapon could be employed. Evidently his opponent had planned for this and was ready. His foe would not be thrown aside.

    But Thor staggered backward a few steps.

    Meanwhile, the 'alien planet' above them descended to join the fight. The others mechas surrounded him again.

    Lan Jue figured the shape-shifting orb of metal was his wretched apprentice. There were others besides him who's Disciplines involved metalmorphosis, but none so crafty as to know that changing into an alien would frighten his opponents and give him an edge.

    The one who got him with the sneak attack in the air had to be an Adept with control over air. Their mecha piloting abilities were stellar, he hadn't seen the attack coming until he was right on top of him.

    The door in front of him had also left an impression. Crowd control and shield defense. The defender's Discipline had to involve the shield somehow, otherwise they wouldn't have such precise control.

    Screech! The ear-splitting sound of an alarm filled the cockpit. Lan Jue's screens were reading an energy systems crash.

    "What?" Lan Jue looked at the error messages, which told him the energy transfer line had been cut. Thirty percent of Thor's energy was gone.

    Cloaking! His fifth enemy had the ability to make themselves invisible - their whole suit invisible. But that was impossible! Did the mecha have a cloaking system as well?

    He had to react. Thor split into identical copies, each one going a different direction. Ghosting. The invisible opponent just made this fight much harder.

    One on one things would have been different Lan Jue would be able to make quick determinations and enact a plan. But this wasn't one on one! There were ten enemies, and each of them were formidable. With all this support the cloaking mecha had plenty of opportunities to make his life hell.

    He suddenly realized Su Xiaosu must have cheated him.

    This couldn't be a single unit. All of them were at least ninth level - what team had so many strong adepts? It's was the only way to explain how much trouble he was having.

    But I hope you don't think you're beating me.

    Lan Jue grunted, and he drew his electric sword through the in air a circle. Both Thors performed the same action to separate itself from the series of successive attacks.

    One of the double images vanished, revealing only the true form. He thrust forward with his sword, and the arena shook from the sound of crashing waves.

    Focused flow!

    As he struck with the weapon, Thor seemed to enter an entirely different state. It sparkled with a deep blue light like it had suddenly become a living gemstone.

    To his opponents, it felt as though the air had turned thick like mud. Their speed suffered markedly. Although Thor pierced only the air with its weapon, to the other pilots it felt like that sword was coming right at them.

    Everyone felt it, powerful and overbearing. A beam of blinding light was spat from the crackling weapon that drew all the light from the blade itself, leaving it a deep cobalt blue.

    All at once the arena looked as though it was submerged in water, everything was painted that shade of blue. Waves of energy crashed through the opposing mechas.

    Discipline and martial arts. It doesn't matter if your Disciplines change a thousand times, I'd still keep you down with this. Direct strength overcomes!

    This is all he did. But then something happened he did not expect.

    After a moment of surprise his enemies reacted. They were slower but could still move - after all they were ninth level Adepts with mechas that enhanced their abilities.
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