Chapter 292: The Second Stage of Training

    Chapter 292: The Second Stage of Training

    Through the process of the twenty-day Gob program, students had completely absorbed the stimulation from Lan Jue's bioelectricity. Everyone's progress was slightly different, but the largest improvements were almost exclusively seen physically. They were stronger, and leaner than when they started. It also meant the energy they could sustain through their Disciplines was stronger. It was most evident after their training, however, as there were no more screams or whines as they sat in the boiling water.

    But if there was one Lan Jue had to choose as most improved throughout the whole process, it would have to be Zhou Qianlin.

    Fifth rank! In this short time she'd actually progressed that far. More than just the students around her were surprised, Lan Jue was absolutely stunned. More than that, he still couldn't tell what her Discipline actually was. It was exceedingly strange for a fiftth-ranked adept to still be waiting for their Discipline to awaken.

    All he could tell was that her congenital energy reserves were far more abundant than average Adepts. At fifth rank, she had a higher energy volume than most sixth-ranks, and exceedingly pure comparative to sunlight. And there was more, something else hidden inside. It was an enigma. Lan Jue, sadly, wasn't yet strong enough to pierce the veil and see more.

    "Do you know what day it is today?" Lan Jue, in his golden mask, regarded the gathered student body. His voice was cold, which his demeanor shared. It demanded attention and respect.

    The students had greater and greater respect and fear for their instructors as time passed. There was a simple reason for that, and it was that everyone had already improved much further than they could have dreamed. At the outset, Lan Jue had assured them that he could raise their Disciplines by at least one rank. The words still rang in their ears. When he'd said it there were many who doubted the promise. By now, however, all of those doubts had been put to rest.

    And yet, though they were certain of their progress, there were likely many of them who would have passed this chance up if given a second chance. They didn't even dare think about the trials they've been through. The memories were too painful.

    Thus there was fear for their Demon Drillmaster. Now, as the first part of their training came to an end, there was a great deal of anxiety swirling around what Lan Jue would have in store for them next.

    He went on, his voice even. "This is our one month mark. You've been under my charge for a full thirty days. You haven't experienced much, but you're keeping up have proven that you're qualified. Now it's time to take things to the next level."

    Next level?

    Even the hard-as-iron Tan Lingyun couldn't entirely suppress a shiver. Throughout the month, she'd developed almost a fearful reverence for 'Lei Feng' throughout the course of the month. He was heartless! But she, too, could sense her improvement. She felt as though she may have even broken through to ninth rank.

    "Our training time is two months. The first month was to test your mental fortitude, and make it stronger. To make you aware of what kind of training this is." Lan Jue went on.

    Test mental fortitude... it was the most terrifying test they'd ever taken.

    Fifty one souls, students and teachers. All of them felt like their willpower had undergone a change.

    "For the remainder of this training I will personally guide you, mold you in to true soldiers."


    The words washed over them, and the Drillmaster's charges looked back, confused.

    In the East, everyone had to serve in the military once reaching adulthood 1. Everyone enrolled in an institution of higher learning was required to participate, without exception. One difference between that training and this one, was that after graduation they could directly join the armed services.

    Their military responsibility was for two years, unless special circumstances required more. If not, they passed through on to other things. It was mostly considered a training regime in service to the population. Therefore, it was also a way to raise the fighting capabilities of the whole Alliance.

    There were many more male students than female gathered now. Many of them had dreams of being soldiers, of charging their metal suits in to battle. However, their skills and training were far below expectations for a true warrior. Then there were others who desperately tried to avoid the required training.

    Dodging military training was a felony, and was strictly forbidden unless under extreme circumstance.

    And now here was their drillmaster, telling them he'll turn them in to soldiers. But while there was no small measure of apprehension, there was also curiosity growing in the students' hearts.

    "Starting now, you've got thirty minutes to gather your things for a field trip. We're going in for a change of scenery. Remember, there is no quitting. You had your chance when the classes started. Anyone who tries to give up, will wish they were dead, plain and simple. If you aren't standing here in front of me in thirty minutes, I'll find you and help you pack. Trust me, you don't want that. Disperse!"

    If these students had learned anything over the last month other than how much torture they could handle, it was how to follow orders. Before the word even left his mouth, the students were at a ran to their bunks.

    Tan Lingyun trotted over to Lan Jue. She spoke with a low voice. "Lei Feng. What are we bringing these kids out to do? We have to ensure they aren't in any danger."

    Lan Jue locked her in place with a hard stare. "You are an assistant drillmaster. I make the calls here. You have no right or qualification to be second-guessing my training regimens. You just need to obey. Twenty-nine minutes, no exceptions."

    Lan Jue could actually hear the Savage Goddess grinding her teeth. But ultimately she said nothing, and left to prepare like the others.

    As he watched her leave, his heart was full of a dark satisfaction. If you want to tame the Savage Goddess, you have to be twice as savage.

    Thirty minutes later everyone was in place, standing at attention with their rucksacks slung over their shoulders. A hoverbus was waiting for them.

    Lan Jue clapped his hands. "Let's go!"

    The students made their way on to the transport in single file. This did not include all Zeus' Amazons, though. After consideration, Lan Jue chose to bring only Mika and Xiuxiu. Lin Guoguo and Ke'er were left behind to look after the shops on the Avenue.

    But where were they all going?

    The same question was on the mind of every student. However none dared ask - even the Savage Goddess had lost her nerve.

    The bus took them to the cival air hangar, where they made their way to a private lot. Lan Jue's building came in to view, and when the bus stopped they filed out of the bus as organized as they'd gotten on.

    The students each took in the large blue building as they got off the bus. The massive metal doors slowly spread wide as they approached, revealing what waited for them inside.

    An airship hangar? Was he planning to take them off the planet? Where in the galaxy were they going?

    Excitement began to intermingle with fear and curiosity. Among them, a number of students had never left Skyfire's atmosphere. It was a fun prospect, to be leaving the planet for the first time.

    Before long the doors were open, and the hangar's interior was bare to all. What they saw was a dazzling, sapphire blue airship slowly taxying out in to the open air.

    Perfectly streamlined, a comfortable and dark blue, the machine was a marvel of modern technology. It was the boys who reacted most dramatically, their eyes wide, replacing fatigue with excitement.

    What a beautiful ship! It must have been prepped for battle, they reckoned, but since when were patrol ships so pretty? It must have been built to spec.

    Tang Xiao swallowed when he saw their ride, and shot Jin Tao a glance. The psycho was almost quivering with anticipation at his shoulder.

    "Hey dumb-mutt. You think this thing belongs to our teacher?" Tang Xiao's voice was low, and furtive.

    Jin Tao returned the clandestine glance. "So what if it is? Professor can do anything. Long Live the Master! Man, so sexy - I've never been in a battleship. This is too damn cool."

    The magnificent blue ship rolled free of the hanger, then stopped. The hangar doors shut behind it.

    A beam of light exuded from the leading end of the aircraft, projecting on to the floor.

    "Oh man, a state-of-the-art traction beam! Awesome! This has got to be a fighting ship." A student called from somewhere.

    Lan Jue's sharp words interrupted their thoughts. "Fall in ranks, and board!"

    As he spoke, he turned his face to Wang Hongyuan, bearing a silver mask at his shoulder. The Dance Instructor was no less surprised by the affluence than any of the students. He'd already known Lan Jue's background was... different, but he'd never have guessed the guy had his own damn battleship.

    And if the students had any doubts, he had none. He was sure the NEU didn't have anyone with the skill set to fly a boat like this, much less possessed the funds to buy and outfit one. It looked smaller than your average patrol boat, but just glancing at its appearance and the tractor beam showed how much money had been poured in to it. He had some serious cash!

    Neither was it possible that this thing belonged to Tan Lingyun. The fire in her eyes burned more fiercely than the young men.

    In truth her excitement had begun once she heard Lan Jue express his plan to turn them in to fighters. In truth, she'd enrolled for military service after she'd graduated from university, but once her family found out they'd forced her to give it up. They found her a job as an instructor, because they wanted her to be safe. In her family's eyes, what sort of female made a good soldier?

    She'd been interested in battleships specifically since a young age. Of course she'd been on them before, though the feeling she'd had before and the one she was experiencing now were worlds apart. Previously she was always going with someone, and it felt more like a visit. Now she felt like a participant.

    Tan Lingyun didn't wait for Wang Hongyuan to lead them through. With great strides of her long legs, she was through the beam and unceremoniously vanished from view.

    The students followed, entering one after the other as Mika and Xiuxiu kept them in line.

    The familiar hum of Zeus-1's engines spooling up filled the air.

    1. This is something they do in China. Once while in middle school, and again while in high school and then college, students are required to undergo 'military' training, which lasts about a month if I remember correctly. In middle school they spend this time making kites and singing patriotic songs. In high school/college this becomes standing in formation for hours in the sun, then running several kilometers. In the end there's no real connection to the military. Thankfully I was exempt when I was doing my schooling.
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