1317 25 Minutes too Late

    The entire fusion process had taken longer than expected. In a pant of a breath and a blink of an eye, more than forty days had passed since the start of the procedure. In no time at all, graduation day arrived.

    On this day, all classes and training were put on hold to welcome everyone to be part of the ceremony. All students, graduating and new, were gathered in the hall to be part of the spectators. A graduation ceremony there was looked upon as a grand event.

    When the sun in the sky hit its peak, the entire ceremonial grounds blared with spirited music. In time, Commander Alexis ascended to the stage and toward the podium.

    As the master of Redstone, Commander Alexis was held to the highest honor. It was only natural for him to be the first to be welcomed to the podium.

    "All hail Commander Alexis! Glory to the Valsalrian Army!"


    The same chant was repeated as Commander Alexis walked up to the podium, and with a swinging hand gesture, the crowd died down. Such was only a display for the master of Redstone.

    "It's been three years since I've attended the last graduation ceremony and I must say, the previous batch had served me well. Everyone of them had become part of my crew, serving their best to further the glory of the Valsalrian Army! I have no doubt that there are those amongst the graduates of this batch who shall share that glory, to follow me into sailing to the unknown territories of uncharted space! To dive into the realms of the unknown! I will not wish, nor hope, but merely state it clearly that all graduates shall join me to become part of the strongest army in the universe!" Alexis gave his speech. Like magic enchantments, his opening speech sent a wave of fervor to all that listened to him.

    "Sieg Val! Sieg Val! Death to all the enemies!"

    "Sieg Val! Sieg Val! Death to all the enemies!"


    While all the attendees were spellbound by Commander Alexis' opening speech, only one was quiet.

    "What in the name of Redstone is that Jiang Fei doing?!"

    Ottogackt frowned. The ceremony had officially started and Jiang Fei was nowhere to be seen. He had not disturbed Jiang Fei for the entire time he trained, hoping that he would not be distracted from his training. Even on the last day, he had hoped that Jiang Fei would proactively arrive at the ceremonial grounds punctually. It was akin to blasphemy for anyone to arrive later than Commander Alexis himself!

    Ottogackt was presenting as a senior trainee and must remain present throughout the entire ceremony. It would be disrespectful if he left the scene to check in on Jiang Fei. He might hold special authority in the training academy but never in the face of Commander Alexis. He was the true master, the real figure of authority. If he overstepped his boundaries, even though Alston had no power over him, he would be digging his own grave.

    "Come on! Being a little late is fine, but you can't be absent for the entire ceremony!" Ottogackt murmured.



    A green button lit up on the side of the medical pod. The fusion process of the Blackhole Core has only just completed. Jiang Fei was awake but due to the fact that he had been lying down for far too long, he was unable to move freely.

    Beep. Woosh!

    The lid of the pod opened and a thick cloud of white gas flowed out. Slowly, Jiang Fei moved, fingers first and slowly, his legs.

    "Ah... What a feeling..." he said when he was out of the pod. Instead of feeling sluggish and fatigued, Jiang Fei felt refreshed, stronger even. It felt like every vein and artery in his body had been cleared. It was all smooth in his power circulation. Best of all, he could feel every bit of power flowing, coursing through his body. It was as if he could feel every single blood cell in his body.

    In Chinese Martial Arts terms, every vein in his meridian system had improved drastically. So much so that power flow was immediate and smooth. Half of his body structure had been modified to be a perfect conduit for energy. If his previous meridian system was like an intricate maze, his current meridian state would be like a systematic highway with only a few branches to specific muscles. Power delivery was so fast and instant that Jiang Fei did not even need to concentrate on channeling energy anymore! Before, he needed to slowly channel his energy to his fist or his legs to perform some form of attack. Now, without restriction, Jiang Fei could simply summon the strength and release any form of attack from any location of his body at whim.

    "Congratulations, Captain!" 0541 said.

    "I feel so good that I could take on five grand masters!" said Jiang Fei.

    "If it's on the grand master level you are setting the benchmark, in your current state, you could fight 200 of them at the same time," said 0541. With the Blackhole Core fused into his body, Jiang Fei's combat level could be adjusted at will to defeat even Commander Alexis!

    "Awesome!" Jiang Fei roared from the top of his lungs. The feeling of power surging through his body like vomit, was unlike vomit at all! In fact, it felt so great!

    "Captain, I must remind you again. The ear pin on your left ear must be with you at all times. You must never lose it as even a slight damage to it would be a catastrophe."

    If the limiter were to be lost, there was a chance that Jiang Fei might lose control of the core inside him. In the worst case scenario, he would be consumed by the core.

    "I understand," Jiang Fei said. Taking in the Blackhole Core was similar to carrying a portable nuclear fission reactor everywhere he went. Yes, it might be providing him with an almost endless power source but a single mistake would be, quoting 0541 himself, a catastrophe.

    "How long was I in there?" Jiang Fei asked. For him, although it only took more than a month, it felt like an eternity.

    "It has been forty-five days since the start of the procedure," 0541 reported.

    "Forty-five days? That means... it has been one day and a half on the outside," Jiang Fei stated, with the graduation ceremony that Ottogackt had him prepare for long forgotten.

    Jiang Fei got a new set of clothes and while he was fastening his pants on, something came to mind but he couldn't quite put his finger on it.

    "0541? I seem to remember something important happening today but I can't remember what it is."

    "Today is the graduation ceremony. I'd say it has already started."

    "I see... Wait, what?" Jiang Fei's eyes grew big.

    Panicking, he quickly dashed to the exit of the training room. After a quick pack, Jiang Fei left the academy in haste for the ceremonial grounds.

    At this point, he was still unable to recharge his Core of Will and was still unable to use Omnisurge. Even so, he was still strong enough to take on the trial. With over 3,000,000 combat level in his dormant stage, he would be undefeatable, for the time being...

    Jiang Fei ran so fast with so much power that he left deep footprints on the ground. Even so, he was still too late.

    As soon as he entered the field, he heard the announcement of his disentitlement.

    "Trainee Jiang Fei! Absent and hereby ineligible for graduation," Alston announced.

    "Damn you, Jiang Fei!" Ottogackt barked as he saw Jiang Fei arriving. All he could do was say those words as he was helpless to do anything. Alston held the authority over him then.
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