Skyfire Avenue Chapter 41-50


Chapter 41: Before Class

The Electives Department had it’s own mess hall wherein the teachers and students ate in separate areas. The food was rather good – well, according to your average teacher at any rate.

Lan Jue carried his tray to a nearby corner and sat, having only picked a plate of steamed vegetables and a bowl of rice.

“You eat so little, Mr. Lan!” Jin Yan’ fair voice reached him as she placed her tray across from him and sat.

Lan Jue smiled. “I’m not very hungry.”

“But you’re so tall and strong,” she replied with a smile of her own. “Surely that isn’t enough nutrition there.”

Lan Jue only laughed.

So accustomed to fine cuisine, Lan Jue had lost his taste for the more conventional fare, but still he finished everything on his plate. Not a grain of rice went to waste. If the food wasn’t to your liking you could eat less, but you absolutely must not


Lan Jue made no effort to press the conversation further, so Jin Yan ate in silence.

After he’d finished Lan Jue made no motion to leave, instead sitting quietly until Jin Yan had cleaned her plate. But he was sure not to stare – after all, staring at young women was not polite.

Even still, Jin Yan’s pretty face still grew slightly flushed. It had been somewhat abrupt, she felt, to sit beside him in the mess hall. But for reasons she didn’t quite understand Lan Jue’s every word and deed made her feel at ease, and not the slightest bit awkward.

“All done.” Finishing off her last bite she glanced at Lan Jue’s cleaned plate. She smiled in appreciation. “No wasting, that’s a good habit.”

His only response was to smile. He waited until Jin Yan had risen, and followed taking his own tray to the drop-off counter.

“So this afternoon is your first class, Mr. Lan. Would you mind if I sat in?” She’d known him for only a very short while, but Jin Yan’s interest in Lan Jue had grown considerably. This young gentleman with his noble demeanor and sharp clothing seemed almost perfect to her. It was the first time she had felt this way.

“Of course! It would be my pleasure,” he said with an amicable nod.


Jin Tao ran a hand through his peach-colored hair, making them gather together in the center of his head all the more. A cigarette hung from the corner of his mouth, the smoke curling around him as he sauntered towards the alumni’s section. He hadn’t any friends lately, but it hardly bothered him. He entertained himself.

“The following is an announcement,” a melodious female voice called.

Jin Tao in turn paused, listening. It appeared to be a school- wide broadcast, so he was curious what it had to say.

“Announcing a new Elective Course: Etiquette and Lifestyle Training. The first class will commence at two o’clock this afternoon. Instructor Lan Jue leading. Any students with time and interest are invited to attend.”

The broadcast repeated three times, echoing throughout every nook and cranny of the campus.

Jin Tao’s lips curled in contempt. “The hell is that? Etiquette? Pfft.” As he spoke he stuck in middle finger up to the sky in defiance.

Just at that moment he spotted a couple figures in the distance making their way towards him. His eyes lit up… and he darted out of sight.

Two women in school uniform were walking his way. The first woman was wearing the formal dress of a university lady. White shirt, a black skirt stopping at the knee, white stockings and a black suit constituted her outfit. Her black hair hung loose, free to flow down her back, and her glimmering blue eyes seemed like they could look right through you in to your soul. Her beauty was breathtaking.

The second young lady stood at her side and was wearing a tight-fitting mecha-pilot flight suit. These flight suits were excellent at protecting the body, but it also served to perfectly outline the figure of this long-legged beauty. She had a hair full of blond hair and deep, penetrating green eyes that shone like quartz. The uncommon length of her legs might have been somewhat off-putting, but her posture and well-built figure exuded a tameless, alluring beauty.

The normally fearless Dumb-mutt Jin had a reason for hiding away. Upon seeing the black-haired vixen he had been immediately smitten. However, that blond Amazon filled him with an odd sense of fear.

She was a name among the Mecha department. The NEU had but a few Special Grade pilots, and this was one – Special Grade second rank. But rumor said, she was just a hair’s breadth away from Special first rank. And what’s more,  a  Sophomore National Scholar like the black haired beauty she accompanied.

Jin Tao had managed to earn a Third Rank in piloting with no small amount of effort, still the lowest rank to be found in the school. In front of this beautiful maverick he wouldn’t dare act arrogant.

What’s more, both were top of the charts for the most beautiful girls on campus. At at the very top? Black Beauty. Some students might not even know who the Dean was but the Blue-Eyed Goddess Zhou Qianlin, not a soul was unfamiliar.

“So what do you think, Qianlin. Why do you want to check out this Etiquette class? Could it be you have some lifestyle defect? I really don’t know what the university was thinking, suddenly opening this class,” Tang Mi said querulously.

Zhou Qianlin walked beside her textbook clutched to her chest, and said in resignation, “I’m not forcing you to go with me. It’s you who really wants to tag along.”

Tang Mi snorted. “Hmph, you still really don’t understand public sentiment do you! Who do you think are the people with nothing better to do than attend electives? Problem students. You rush over there and they start to harass you, what then? I get the worst of it, that’s what!”

“What are you talking about,” Qianlin muttered quizzically.

Tang Mi giggled in response. “Don’t you remember? You said if I were a man, you’d have married me. You’re my woman!”

Zhou Qianlin stuck her tongue out at her friend. “Big breasts and no brains.”

“Nonsense,” Tang Mi blurted out, “Mine clearly aren’t as big as yours!” Her voice had risen markedly. Hidden behind  a nearby tree, the racy visions surging through Dumb-mutt Jin’s head threatened to send him spiraling in to a coma.

“Fine. Long legs and no brains, how’s that,” Qianlin grumbled.

After the two beauties passed, Jin Tao remained hidden, dizzy from what he assumed must have been a sudden lack of blood. The two campus belles were going to join the Etiquette class eh? Awesome, a chance to see these gorgeous ladies up close and personal!

This was a secret he definitely wasn’t going to share!

Off he went with that thought still ringing in his head, directly to his dorm room to change clothes. If he wanted to make a good impression on those girls he needed to look his best!


At the same moment Lan Jue had already arrived in the first classroom he’d use as a teacher.

The classroom they’d assigned him wasn’t large. It looked capable of holding only maybe fifty students. There was no fancy teaching equipment. Just a blackboard, a podium, and the chairs which would hold his charges.

Chapter 42: The First Class

Wu Junyi looked at the time flashing on his communicator’s display screen, and couldn’t stop his features from scrunching in to a frown. He looked at the young man standing on the teaching dais, calmly arranging his teaching materials.

His first impression of this Lan Jue had been pretty good; intelligent, modest, and refined. He was precisely as a teacher should be.

But in his capacity as the Teaching Director, and keeper of the rankings, he couldn’t simply make decisions based on appearances alone.

This gentleman had been hand-picked and appointed by the university’s Dean himself, and given the title of associate professor. It was, in a word, unprecedented. Elective teachers had a rather high turn-over, and as a result weren’t very reliable. Generally they were just given a lecturer post. This guy became associate professor in a day, which needless to say was quite the pay bump. Wun Junyi had argued vociferously, and the Dean had agreed to hire this Mr. Lan provisionally as a normal teacher.

He didn’t appreciate this guy’s willingness to circumvent the normal order, sneaking in through the proverbial back door. But more than that, he simply didn’t agree with the course subject.


If it hadn’t been expressly permitted by the Dean, Wu Junyi definitely would’ve considered whoever made the decision to add the class had been hit on the head. It was utterly useless.

Ten minutes till two, and not a single student had arrived. If, in the end, no students chose to attend it would still be recorded in the annals of university history. And would be remembered as a big joke.

But in truth, his respect for this teacher has grown despite his reservations. Even now, with not a student in attendance he did not appear the least bit flustered. He revealed no sign of anxiousness. This sort of temperament was hard to come by.

“Mr. Lan.” A voice arose from the door of the classroom. Directly following a young woman in a long white skirt entered. Jin Yan.

She had intentionally changed her clothes in the interim, wanting to appear more youthful and attractive.

“Ah, Miss Jin. You’ve come,” Lan Jue greeted with a smile and a nod of his head.

“I’ll sit in the back,” she stated. “Oh! Director Wu, you’ve come as well.” She smiled as she noticed his presence.

Wu Junyi had always been a man of stony countenance. At fifty five, conservatively dressed, and with cold and piercing eyes he certainly fit the look for a teaching director.

“Mm,” he responded with a nod of his head.

Jin Yan peered toward Lan Jue, witnessed his composure, but in her heart she harbored a secret anxiousness for his situation. The director was present but not a single student was to be seen. This definitely did not look good.

She moved to the back, and chose a seat not too distant from Director Wu.

Just that moment, a silhouette filled the doorway. They rushed in, yelling as they did so: “Is this the Etiquette classroom?”

“It is,” Lan Jue responded. But once he saw who it was that had rushed in to the room, a frown came unbidden to his face.

In the same instant Jin Tao also recognized who he  was talking to, and stood with a stupid look on his face. “You’re that cheap-ass with the bicycle! You’re a teacher? Ya sure looked like a cool dude at first, but you sure were some kinda miser. Imma ride that thing later, and don’t be surprised if I’m not mister manners about it.” As he spoke he shook his fist towards Lan Jue.

“Jin Tao!” The growling hiss had come from somewhere in the back of the classroom.

“Who asked y-“ it was then he saw the two people he least wished to meet in the whole school.

“O-older Sister…” He trembled visibly upon noticing Jin Yan. And then, half a second later, the formidable figure of the Teaching Director drew his eye. He was a problem student, and

he sure knew who the director was.

Suddenly he found himself at a loss for words. Meek as a mouse, he took a seat in the front row and sat in silence.

Lan Jue drew his eyes towards the director. The man had said not a word from beginning to end but that suffocating presence was stifling. Secretly Lan Jue had begun to fill with doubt.

His first inclination towards Jin Tao certainly wasn’t a friendly one, but he hadn’t known he was Jin Yan’s younger brother. But beyond that what could he say – he was his very first student.

Maybe it was Jin Tao’s peach-colored Mohican that brought him luck, but after he’d arrived students suddenly  begun  to enter in twos and threes. In each of them was the tell-tale shimmer of curiosity in their eyes.

But to Lan Jue’s consternation, no less than half of the newly arrived students had oddly colored heads. It made his classroom look like a dye-works. A host of young men looking for cute girls and trouble. A Pervert Legion.

Luckily the Director’s presence alone served to frighten these potential troublemakers in to silence. A few had tried to flee once they noticed him sitting there, but at a glance from the intimidating man they sat in obedient silence.

Much to Lan Jue’s pleasure the Director appeared to be acting in the capacity of a monkey trainer. It saved him a fair deal of trouble.

Lan Jue extricated a pocket watch from his vest and peered at the time. He made his way towards the door, preparing to begin his very first class.

As the door began to close, a slender hand suddenly pressed against it.

“Wait a moment!”

A young blond haired woman squeezed through. The crestfallen Pervert Legion inside, a moment before visibly dejected, suddenly came to life. Their eyes widened and if he didn’t know any better, Lan Jue could have sworn he saw the glint of saliva in the corner of the young men’s mouths.

Another figure slipped in behind the blond, this  one  with black hair. The thunderous sound of the Pervert Legion’s jaws collectively striking the floor was deafening.

But it wasn’t just them, even Director Wu Junyi’s face betrayed a hint of color.

Two pairs of eyes met. Zhou Qianlin regarded Lan Jue as though they had never met, offering only a nod. She pulled Tang Mi with her towards the back row. The Director’s presence kept the Pervert Legion at bay, restricting them to muttered hellos and coy smiles. The two young woman found some empty seats and settled in.

The collective hate of the young men towards Director Wu was almost palpable! If it weren’t for his presence, they’d all be scrambling to surround the two campus belles. Of course now, no one dared move a muscle.

Lan Jue followed Zhou Qianlin as she made her way to a seat. His eye lid twitched imperceptibly. She was just going to pretend she had no idea who he was. And she was the one so insistent on him coming here to be her bodyguard…

He shut the door, and slowly made his way back to the podium. His eyes swept over the students, most of which were here for the promise of being near the two beautiful girls. He cleared his throat.

“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome. Henceforth, I will be leading our class in Etiquette.”

“I imagine you’re all curious. What is this class all about? After all, who doesn’t know the basics of proper living? What I aim to teach you is character. Meaning. I’m going to turn each and every one of you, in to aristocrats.”

Chapter 43: This Is Aristocracy!

“I’m going to teach you all how to be aristocrats.” As the words hung in the air, nearly every face held a disdainful smirk. A few openly sneered. Tang Mi was one of those, but Zhou Qianlin merely revealed a knowing smile.

“Qianlin, you really want to listen to this? Teaching us how to be noble, it’s laughable,” Tang Mi whispered in to Qianlin’s ear, her tone full of contempt. “The teacher’s definitely more handsome than I expected, but he’s probably just eye candy. All looks and no brains.”

“Stop spouting nonsense,” Qianlin muttered, her face red.
Visions of that night not long ago swam through her head.

Lan Jue turned to the blackboard and began to write. And though Tang Mi’s voice was low, he heard every word.

“All looks and no brains.” His chalk snapped.

He took a deep breath, then finished writing.

The words he’d written were scrawled in a bold and fine script. Director Wu looked at them in appreciation. In this high- tech day and age few took the time or effort to work on their penmanship.

What is aristocracy? These three words stared back at the congregated students from the blackboard.

“So, who can tell me. What is aristocracy?” Lan Jue set the chalk aside and turned to regard the forest of students splayed out below him.

A girl with massive hoop earrings dangling from her ears chimed in. “Isn’t it just about about living in a mansion, driving a high-alt verti-car, being surrounded by bodyguards, having a beautiful girl on your arm? Is that not what you guys think?”

“Nonsense, bodyguards don’t mean anything. You need at least a unit of mechas. That’s style,” Jin Tao interjected. “And one girl’s hardly enough. If you wanna be a noble your whole mecha unit should be piloted by smokin’ hot babes. So that means board-cheated, flat butt girls like you are out.”

“You lookin’ to die eh, Dumb-Mutt?!” The girl slammed her

fist against the table top and rose to her feet. Clearly she’d forgotten the director seated quietly in the back.

Jin Tao extended his pinky finger and motioned her over. “Bring it.”

“Silence!” Wu Junyi’s deep voice boomed through the classroom. The ruckus threatening to engulf the auditorium was instantly suppressed. Director Wu hadn’t planned to intervene, but a flash of surprise had fluttered across Lan Jue’s face, a look as though he were questioning the integrity of the school. Embarrassment had forced him speak out.

The blond haired girl with the giant hoop earrings pointed at Jin Tao, the sinister look in her eye almost capable of ending him right there.

“You’re both wrong. What you’re talking about isn’t nobility. That is the nouveau riche. The new money,” Lan Jue replied in even tones.

“Pfft.” A few students in the front couldn’t stop themselves from expressing their opinion.

Lan Jue acted like he hadn’t heard, and continued. “Today, the first day of our new class, I’ll simply explain exactly what I mean by aristocracy.”

“In the minds of most, attending a noble school would afford you noble treatment. You would live a noble lifestyle. As a result many richer families send their children to the Western Alliance for nobility finishing school in the hopes they  will  be aristocracy when they graduate. But when they discover that even in the best schools students sleep on plank beds, eat simple fare, endure strict training drills – they find that their lives are more difficult than the students of public schools. They don’t understand that this Buddhist-like asceticism is the key to the noble spirit.”

“In fact this shouldn’t be the least bit surprising. Aristocracy is different from the nouveau riche. It’s does not conflict with spirit of civilians, and especially different from a lifestyle of leisure and self-aggrandizement. Instead it is about cultivating a pioneering character based on courage, honor, self-discipline and responsibility. “

There was no change in the students as Lan Jue spoke, but seated in the back Wu Junyi’s eyes were fixed upon him. He gave a slight, almost unconscious nod of approval.

“The most famous nobility finishing schools in the Western Alliance implement strict, arduous military drills for the purpose of instilling cooperation and self-discipline in their students. True nobles are possessed of an iron will, and a mighty strength of spirit. It’s a sense of character that must be instilled from a young age. Public schools in their alliance also employ these methods to foster many first-class citizens such as General Wellings, who defeated Admiral Hu Na and his Tiger Brigade of the Northern Alliance. He was the top student of a Western public school. His name is renowned in the three alliances, famous in military history. There is a story about that decisive battle with the Admiral: At the time he was at the front, observing enemy positions while taking heavy mecha artillery fire. His staff repeatedly urged him to withdraw but he refused. Seeing that he would not be swayed, they asked him for his last words in case he were to fall in battle. Without turning his head to regard them he said, ‘Tell them my final words were like me, unbowed.”

Lan Jue recounted the story in ordinary tones, but as he finished the tale of General Wellings the classroom had lapsed in to an attentive silence.

The disdain upon Tang Mi’s face had melted away, and Zhou Qianlin listened in rapt silence. Wu Junyi remained as stoic as before, and Jin Yan’s eyes glittered.

“Wealth is about things, but nobility is about the soul. A noble spirit means first and foremost that the individual has self- control. Restraint. They sacrifice themselves in service to the people. Take for instance Prince William and Prince Harry, royals of the ancient Western Alliance. Both were sent to military officer school for training, and after graduation Prince Harry went directly to the front lines to do battle with the North. As an ordinary pilot. The royal house of the ancient Western Alliance knew, of course, of Harry’s royal blood. They also knew the risks of fighting on the front lines. But sacrifice, the assumption of risk for the people, is what makes a man truly noble. During the Eastern Alliance’s first war with the West a photo saw wide circulation. The commander in chief of the Eastern forces, Field Marshal Qi Mu, went to the trenches to survey the situation. He stood before the door of a ramshackle house, staring in at a woman as poor as a church mouse and asked her ‘Pardon me madam, would it be alright if I entered?’ He was showing respect to the most vulnerable of society. Because a true noble knows that respect is not reserved for the rich.”

“1910, October 28th of the Former Era. An old man gave up all of his possessions to the poor in order to save his suffering spirit. He left his vast manor, dying as a vagabond in some train station. That man was Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy, celebrated writer of Former Era Russia. Years later another famous Former Era writer called Stefan Zweig said of Tolstoy: ‘This inglorious, menial death in no way diminished his

greatness. If he did not bear the suffering of the people, then Lev Tolstoy would not be considered a human treasure, as he is today.”

His words hung in the air, and in the silence he swept his eyes over the gathered students. Suddenly, his voice grew fierce, and rang through the auditorium. “This… this is aristocracy.”

Chapter 44: Telling Tales

“This is aristocracy!” The three simple words hung over the classroom.

Unconsciously Jin Tao had sat a little straighter and a twinkle invaded his eyes, stirred by the exciting speech. It was a sentiment shared by almost all in attendance.

Wu Junyi’s hard expression had softened perceptibly, and beside him Jin Yan’s breath had quickened to match her flushed face.

Tang Mi’s jade green eyes shone. Beside her sat Zhou Qianlin, and though her expression was unchanged, her heart was beating with excitement.

“Before the eighteenth century of the Former Era, nobles were still an integral part of society. They were important. Even today the older families protect and pass on their titles of nobility, and grant them to subsequent generations. When the nobility became the common citizenry, the bourgeoisie didn’t rise up, didn’t rail against their culture. On the contrary they sent their sons and daughters to finishing schools in the hopes of becoming aristocrats themselves. They bought titles, figures

and insignia’s, anything they could to inherit the mantle of ‘noble’. The reason why the noble institution has continued until today is because it has earned the approval of the people. Because the people believe that the noble spirit represents a certain honor… A certain dignity.”

“In the old days battles were all more or less the same; on the field they were enemies. Back home they were neighbors. Looking back on them now people see these fights like schoolyard scuffles.”

“Long ago in the former era a king died. Both his grandson, Henry, and his sister’s son Stephen thought they were entitled to the throne of England. Stephen had already been in the country when the king passed, so he was first to arrive. He rushed forth to claim the throne as his own. Henry, meanwhile, was on the mainland and upon hearing the news grew resentful. So he raised an army of mercenaries to confront Stephen. But Henry was young, inexperienced, and he deployed his troops without the proper planning or strategy. His mercenary army arrived from afar to land on his native shores, and disembarked to find that he had spent all of his money. Their food, too, was gone. What was he to do? It was then he came up with something a normal citizen couldn’t; he wrote to his adversary Stephen begging for aid. I have embarked on an expedition, he claimed, but have failed to bring the proper provisions. I ask you to send financial assistance so that I might disperse the

mercenaries and send them home. Surprisingly, Stephen acquiesced and sent his second-cousin some funds. And in response Henry later began a second bid for the throne.”

As he related the story Lan Jue had returned to his normal, soft-spoken persona. A small smile was on his face, and as he continued he had the attention of every ear in the hall.

“Someone offers you financial assistance, and you return the favor by trying to murder them. Most would call this ungrateful at the very least, but nobles believe that affording your enemies a measure of leniency is a matter of course. If competition is required, then there will be competition. And so a few years later Henry lead his armies against Stephen in a second go. At this point he had grown older, wise, and this resulted in Stephen’s defeat. He had won his victory, but the result was quite interesting. The two signed a treaty wherein they agreed Stephen would remain upon the throne, but Henry would become his successor. Not long after Stephen succumbed to age and Henry became king. To the average man earning only a successor’s title after winning such a difficult victory hardly seems worth it. But this is precisely the spirit of nobility. Henry use the code of aristocracy to repay Stephen for his earlier leniency.”

Lan Jue paused as though lost in thought. Gradually the look

in his eyes grew more serious. “In regards to the noble spirit there is yet another story that makes me shiver, an unforgettable tale. It was back when I was still a student, a story my own professor told me. Today I’ll tell it to you.”

“In the former era mankind had produced a massive cruise ship. They christened it the Titanic.”

“The name Titanic had been borrowed from Greek mythology, referring to the giants called Titans. The Titans wished to wage war against the god Zeus on behalf of the mysterious forces of nature. They were ultimately defeated, and banished to the depths of the Atlantic ocean, buried deeper than the eighteenth level of hell itself. Thus it was people said the name ‘Titanic’ was poorly chosen, ominous, and would invite catastrophe.”

“And as predicted, the ship sank to the bottom of the sea in an accident.”

At the mention of Zeus, Zhou Qianlin inadvertently raised her head. Her eyes found Lan Jue’s looking directly back at her.

Lan Jue continued. “But the difference between this great

ship and the titans of lore was that the only thing that sunk was it’s steel.. it’s bolts… it’s people. It’s spirit was never conquered. That is to say that the titanic sunk, taking with it the lives of one thousand five hundred passengers. But the invincible spirit of human civilization remained. Unsinkable.”

Lan Jue’s voice grew louder as he pressed on.

“As the boat sank eight musicians calmly stood upon the deck, playing their instruments. Those notes embodied the dignity and honor of the human spirit, refusing to bow it’s head to the ruthless acts of nature. Just as the famous writer Hemmingway wrote in his book The Old Man and the Sea: A man is not made for defeat. A man can be destroyed but not defeated. The sharks following the old man could gnaw on the fish lashed to his boat until there was nothing but bone, but they couldn’t gnaw the sailor’s undaunted spirit. This was the burning fire of the inner spirit, the will of man, that not even the entire ocean could extinguish.”

“Even many years later people still laud the actions of those musicians and sailors. How could they have so much courage when they faced drowning in the brine? How is it they could adhere to their duties when death lay in those tumultuous waters? How is it they could retain the noble sentiment to wait until all the women and children had filled the lifeboats before

thinking of themselves? Statistics state that seventy-six percent of the sailors died in the accident, a ratio that outstripped the first, second and third class passenger deaths combined. The sailors even had evacuation preference over the passengers – but they gave their opportunity to others. They took on that hopelessness for themselves. Nor was it one, or two sailors who did this. All nine hundred staff, including sailors, waiters, firemen and even the cook all chose to stay behind; so many people, willing to do what they did. As we think on it today, this sort of towering spirit of humanity is not unlike what they said about the sinking of that great ship. It is almost unbelievable.”

Chapter 45: Genuine Nobility

Lan Jue’s voice grew more passionate, his voice commanding the classroom. Every eye was on him, silent and attentive.

“Later investigations found that sailors had jumped in to lifeboats two and six. However, when their commanding officer called them back they wordlessly returned to the deck to perform their duty.”

“A famous writer later explained it thusly; It was due to an ideal instilled in them at birth, the ideal that duty was to be considered above all else. In the hours before the sinking of the Titanic, this illusive ideal was proved by their strength of moral character.’”

“Indeed it was this spirit of responsibility that made George Henry Cavill turn around and return to the Number Four Boiler Room. He had made his way up, but returned to see if any of his fellow boiler men were still trapped; It was this spirit of responsibility that kept signalman George Thomas Rowe atop the deck sending messages in Morse code, even when all was beyond hope; It was this spirit of responsibility that made lifeboat paddler Samuel Earnest Hemming remain behind so that others could take his place, and waited until the last possible moment before releasing the boat in to the water; It

was this spirit of responsibility wireless operators Jack Phillips and Harold Bride employed to remain working diligently in the radio room until the very last minute when Captain Smith came to relieve them of duty, imploring them to abandon ship – but still they remained, tapping away at that radio to send death tolls, dispatches and final wishes; It was this spirit of responsibility that filled Chief Engineer Joseph Bell and all under his charge when they toiled in the engine room, knowing they had given up any chance for escape; It was this spirit of responsibility channeled by band leader Wallace Henry Hartley and others of his band when they played their ragtime tunes, ending in their solemn rendition of Nearer My God to Thee until the rising waters drowned their music and their lives…”

“Calling this simply ‘bravery’ does not do it justice. There is a Western proverb that states: ‘Even heroes will be cowards in a hopeless situation.’ But the Titanic shows us that the myriad of common people can be heroes! This spirit of responsibility lifts humanity, makes us brave, makes us dignified, makes us beautiful.”

“That is nobility! In my eyes, each one of them is noble.”

“The survivors of the Titanic gathered to discuss who lives and who passed, and discovered that the number of female survivors far outnumbered males. They attributed it to the

success of the rule “women and children first.” However, the company who had launched the Titanic stated that there were no maritime laws requiring men to sacrifice themselves. It was merely the strong taking care of the weak, and had no bearing on whether it was at sea or on dry land. This was a choice made of their own volition, not the requirements of some institutionalized law. It was an adherence to those ancient and eternal human values.”

“At that time multi-millionaire John Jacob Alistor asked the officer in charge of the lifeboat if he could join his pregnant life onboard the skiff. The crewman stopped him, telling him to allow women and children first. He did the gentlemanly thing and sat quietly on the deck, until the ship sunk, and it’s smokestack smashed in to the Atlantic ocean. Alistor was the only multi-millionaire on the Titanic, and was in fact one of the richest men in the world at the time. He had enough money to build eleven Titanics.”

“The Titanic’s captain, Smith, had a good relationship with nearly all the rich and powerful aboard his vessel. Not a few were his good friends, including Alistor. But even though Alistor knew Smith well, he didn’t go to him for any unfair advantage, to pull strings and get him on a boat. He had as good a reason as you can ask for, as his wife was five months pregnant. And yet he didn’t, or perhaps the thought didn’t even cross his mind. It was not an era of favors and backrooms

dealings, but instead a time of striving for gentlemanly conduct, of being a true man. He was genuine nobility!”

“Another man with riches only surpassed by Astor himself was traveling aboard the Titanic that day, named Isador Straus. He was traveling with his wife, and the two had brought over a dozen servants and attendants with them in the event the boat’s help wasn’t sufficient. You can get a sense of their wealth and lifestyle. After the ship had collided with that ice burg Madam Straus had managed to board the number eight lifeboat, but the moment before her foot left the deck she had changed her mind. She returned to her husband, and said, ‘We have been living together for many years. Where you go, I go.’ She gave her spot to a young woman, and threw her fur coat to the maidservants. ‘I wont be needing it,’ she said.”

“Someone spoke up, saying ‘I promise there is no one who would appose you climbing in to this boat’. Straus’ response; ‘Far be it for me to take another man’s place.’ Taking his wife Ida’s arm, the two staggered away to sit upon a pair of deckchairs, an affectionate couple spending their final moments together in silence.”

“Pipeline magnate Benjamin Guggenheim also knew his time was nigh. His response was to don his finest dining jacket. He said ‘I wish to die with dignity, like a gentleman.’ He handed his

female companion a slip of paper upon which he’d written; Not a woman remains on this ship because I have helped them in to the lifeboats myself. I will not die like an animal, but I will instead die like a man. I am nobility!’”

According to my research all of these stories appear to be true. The author credits parts of this story to Danny Allen Butler’s Unsinkable: The Full Story of the RMS Titanic

The stories ended, and Lan Jue’s eyes had grown moist in their telling, but were full of an enthusiasm that had infected everyone in the room.

“I cannot know if you will be called noble in the future, but I stand here today as an instructor of the National Eastern University, and in this first class it is my duty to teach you – what is the noble spirit.”

“It doesn’t not mean riches, for not all wealthy are noble. Nor is it possible to purchase with riches! If one day you all can stand tall, raise your head and call yourself nobility, then I would be filled with pride!”

Chapter 46: DreamNet

Lan Jue rolled down the street on his antique bicycle, leisurely meandering down the lanes with a small smile curling the corners of his mouth.

His right hand still felt the grip of the  teaching  director, who’d vigorously shaken his hand following the class. ‘Thank you,’ he’d said before leaving.

As for the students, they left the classroom with slack or terrified expressions. Lan Jue, meanwhile, felt a contentment in mind and body as the class concluded. Perhaps it was the transmission of positive energy that had him so upbeat.

He still remembered clearly his own days as a student, that stodgy professor who’d taught a class very similar to his own. Even now it was like that enlightening voice was speaking right by his ear. He’d experienced so much in these last few years, but his origins were still fresh in his memory.

Leaving the university, Lan Jue meandered towards Skyfire Avenue. Suddenly he stopped, and slapped his forehead as though he’d forgotten something. “Wrong! This is an Etiquette class, not a philosophy course! I have to teach them how to live

a quality life. I went way off topic…”

Beep. Beep. Beep. The familiar ring of his communicator interrupted his thoughts.

“What,” Lan Jue spat in to the communicator, distracted.

On the other end Zhou Qianlin looked at the number scrawling across the communicator on her wrist. She heard that familiar listless voice, and for a moment confusion crept in to her face.

Was this really that impassioned teacher from before? The one who had made those rowdy students sit in silence for more than ten minutes, who even after class filed out wordlessly?

“You taught well,” she said. Although her tone was somewhat frigid Lan Jue couldn’t help but feel a smile of pride turn his lips.

“Only, weren’t you supposed to be here to protect me?”

“Right!” It sounded like the thought had just come to him.

Zhou Qianlin’s voice snarled through the communicator. “Then where are you?”


Lan Jue applied the brakes, slowly coming to a halt. “Heh.. ehm… I forgot. I’m heading back now.”

I’m a bodyguard! Lan Jue quietly chastised himself.

“Where can I find you,” he asked evenly, suppressing his agitation.

“I’m in the mecha combat department. Come find me here.”

“Didn’t you say being seen with me would hurt your image,” Lan Jue asked. “Not scared of that anymore?”

“You can’t stand a little ways off? Just don’t talk to me.

You’re a teacher, you can go anywhere on campus and no one will pay attention. We’re in the simulation area, classroom three.” Zhou Qianlin hung up.

Lan Jue slapped his forehead once more. This HATEFUL woman! He fought off the sudden gloom that had surrounded him and turned the bike back towards school.

The mecha combat department wasn’t the most important sector of the school, but it took up the most room. Proper mecha instruction needed a host of high-tech equipment and sufficient space to use them. The area was split in to various areas for theory, simulation, operation and more.

The Simulation Wing Zhou Qianlin had mentioned was the mecha combat department’s most oft used training module.

Learning to operate a mecha was a rather lengthy process. Before even beginning a certain level of Talent was required, otherwise the body couldn’t endure the effort or control the machine. Lately each of the three Alliances had ways of promoting the capabilities of normal people to perform the job, but only the highest ranked Talents could hope to be top-level mecha pilots.

Mechas were expensive to manufacture, and required delicate advanced technologies to produce. If students were permitted to train with real mechas, it was not only dangerous but financially wasteful. As a result the Simulation Department was created for the need. In fact, the simulations were just as good as the real thing. They emulated mecha combat reactions and situations very well, and so were just as effective as reality. The results were fewer accidents and less upkeep.

Only, wasn’t Zhou Qianlin a postgraduate mecha pilot? Why was she studying mecha operation?

But when he arrived at the simulation department’s third classroom, he had nothing to say. Because Zhou Qianlin wasn’t anywhere to be seen.

The classroom was massive, and looked like a giant metal warehouse. It’s interior was filled with over a hundred spherical simulators, each three meters in diameter. It was easy enough for Lan Jue to find it, thankfully, though that was due to the instructor microchip they’d installed in to his communicator.

Several of the large spheres shuddered and shook within the warehouse, occupied by students in the midst of training.

Unfortunately all of the spheres were sealed! Zhou Qianlin had said she was here, but how to find her?

Lan Jue had no option but to ring her communicator again. ‘I’m here. Which pod are you in?”

“Wait for me at the door,” was her terse response.

I guess I really am her bodyguard! His eyes, bearing no small measure of anger, swept the warehouse. He spotted a pod, it’s side open.

He clambered into the pod with practiced motions and took a seat. He couldn’t suffer standing around in vain, and there was an open pod available. Leaving the lid ajar, he shut his eyes and leaned back in the makeshift cockpit.


Simulation Department Number Three Classroom,  Corner, Pod 12

Zhou Qianlin sat quietly in the cockpit, but had no begun her scheduled training regimen. The conversation with Lan Jue concluded, she found her warm moist lips pressed tightly, and a tear filling her eye.

“Lan Jue… A-Jue… Zeus…”


“Zzzzzzg—“ the trembling of the pod caused Lan Jue to awaken with a start. To his surprise the door to the cockpit quickly began to close.

He knew he had the capability to leave the cockpit effortlessly and with time to spare, but just at that moment he saw two students approaching from outside. To leave quickly would mean revealing his Discipline.

And as he hesitated, the door to the simulator sealed shut.

“Ding. Scanning microchip.”

“Greetings, Instructor Lan Jue. Welcome to the National Eastern University Simulation Department. Will you be using an existing DreamNet account, or would you like to register a new account?”

Lan Jue was temporarily stunned. It had been a long time since he’d used a simulator. DreamNet was a an interstellar company developed jointly by the three Alliances, made specifically as a large-scale network platform for simulated mecha training. It was used both for study and recreation.

Well, it’s better than doing nothing, he thought. Might as well mess around a little bit.

“New account.”

Five minutes later, a new face was wandering DreamNet. Meandering through the Eastern Alliance, along the avenues of the NEU, Nooblet appeared…

Chapter 47: Prometheus

Eastern Alliance, Planet An Lun

Rolling hills and stretching mountains surround a valley. Within the valley buzzes a world of metal; metal buildings, metal machinery, metal verti-cars. And massive metal mecha suits.

The valley’s sky is torn by countless soaring peaks, the tallest among them lying to the west where it’s head was hidden by clouds.

Two people stood upon the summit of that great mountain.

Clouds and mist roiled like a floating sea, causing their figures to appear indistinct like spirits.

Chu Cheng stood with his hands in his pockets. The flickering light of a cigarette flickered through the mists, a fiery red like his hair.

“So I guess you didn’t just call me here to shoot the breeze

with you, boss.” Chu Cheng’s lazy drawl hung heavy in the surrounding clouds. He was always like this, no matter the situation, like he’d just woken up.

A man stood a few paces from him, dressed in black military fatigues. He was tall, stocky, with wide shoulders and a straight back. However it did not approach the level of excessive – he wasn’t overly robust, but instead was like a javelin.

A golden star had been affixed to the epaulet of his uniform.

A general! This raven-haired man, certainly no older than thirty, was in fact a general.

As the era of science and technology progressed, it took a special level of talent and military ability to rise above the rabble.

By the estimation of most military organizations, a man at thirty was only beginning to work his way up the totem pole and nothing more. The average general in the Eastern Alliance was fifty-one. With the average life expectancy at one hundred and twenty, a thirty year-old general was unheard of.

“How is he,” the man asked, turning to face Chu Cheng.

His eyes were a viridescent green, and when paired with his black hair gave him a wicked appearance. However at present, their firm expression pushed the sinister light away. His face was stoic, weathered, as though it were chiseled by a knife. An almost imperceptible, oppressive power exuded from him like some indestructible blade.

“Not so good.” Chu Cheng lazily rubbed his nose, struggling for a response in the face of the man’s piercing presence.

The raven-haired man’s eyes softened somewhat. “Three years, and he still hasn’t come out?”

Chu Cheng’s voice was thin as he responded. “You know his temperament. If it were so easy to get him out why would we be worrying about him. Boss, if you have the time the best thing is to go see him yourself. You guys have your misunderstandings, but you’ve always been the most convincing. Not to mention you’re his older brother by blood.”

This seems a little clunky, but the distinction has to be made because the use of terms like ‘brother’ and ‘sister’ in China

aren’t exclusively reserved for immediate family. These terms can also refer to cousins, good friends, etc

The man’s eyes once more grew cold and hard. “He isn’t wrong to blame me. It was my miscalculation that lead to Hera’s fall.”

Chu Cheng’s brows creased. “Boss, we all know what happened. You don’t need to pile all the blame on your shoulders. Look, in three years he hasn’t returned home but you? Three years in this camp, drilling your soldiers like a machine.”

“I called you here,” the general growled, “not so you can tell me how to live my life. His decadence, your lack of progress – you both have your own messes to clean up.”

Chu Cheng gulped, and subconsciously retreated a step. “You’re mad at A-Jue boss, don’t take it out on me!”

“This isn’t me angry,” the man responded faintly. “My own abilities need honing, and luckily here you are. Show me how you’ve progressed these last few years.”

As he spoke his long legs took him forward, and in that instant his green eyes shone with a dazzling light. The clouds around him dispersed, replaced with a towering column of blueish-green.

“Boss, you’re serious?” Chu Cheng quailed, his standard indolent expression melting away. A blazing flame burst from his back. It began as a pure red, but in the face of that opulant teal pillar before him it became orange, then crimson, ultimately settling on an undulating maroon. The heart of the fires burned black.

The raven-haired man said nothing further. He lifted his hand, and the column of light melted in to his arm, blooming like a lotus flower to create a blazing spear of light that engulfed Chu Cheng.

In the valley, the bustling personnel paused to look when the peak of the western mountain was consumed in light.

In the space of a moment the entire horizon was tinted teal, and within it flickered a persistent maroon. The two coronas of colored energies clashed, and their fluctuating exchanges caused the clouds over the valley to flee.


Half an hour later…

“Boss, you’re downright inhuman!” Chu Cheng pressed a hand to his red, swollen face and sat on the ground with a sigh. His clothes were nearly in tatters.

Parts of the raven-haired man’s clothes were burned and blackened, though he remained as straight and dignified as before they’d fought.

“There was no will to fight. I derived no pleasure from beating you,” the man responded flatly.

Chu Cheng’s face grew dark. “You beat me then start talking down to me? How can anyone say you brothers are decent people? You’re bloodthirsty, and A-Jue’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing, wicked smart to boot. I’m outta here! And I’m damn sure not coming back. If you feel bad, go take it out on your little brother.”

“I’ll go find him,” the man responded.

Chu Chung stood to leave, but stopped in surprise at the revelation. “You’re really going to find him…”

The raven-haired man only nodded his head.

“But I heard you’re on the cusp of a promotion,” Chu Cheng said. “Can you even leave right now?”

“What’s in a title.” The man’s cold eyes fixed on Chu Cheng.

Chu Cheng stuck out his thumb. “Good. You deserved to be called Prometheus.”

Faintly the man responded. “Out here, call me Lan Qing. I’m only Prometheus in the field.”

Prometheus, the god of wisdom!

“I’m off. I’m looking forward to hear about when you beat on A-Jue. If ya like let me know when, and I’ll go check out the festivities.”

Lan Qing waved, and turned back towards the valley.

With the clouds gone the valley looked crisp and clear. The world of metal reflected sunlight off of every surface, their sharp rays absorbing his figure.

Chu Cheng stood quietly as them an left, and with a smile on his face flicked a middle finger at his back. He began to hobble his way down the mountain, but stopped after a few steps. A beam of red light shot down from the heavens, with a monstrous black figure standing in it’s center. A sanguine light glowed from it.

Among his four brothers, Chu Cheng also had a nickname…

Hades, Lord of the Underworld.

Chapter 48: Whiteboard Nooblet

White waist coat, and big shorts. That’s what Lan Jue had chosen to wear. At least, so it was in DreamNet where he’d earned another moniker: Whiteboard.

’Whiteboard’ here is like the equivalent of ‘fresh slate’, totally untested

Lan Jue was eight the first time he’d logged on to DreamNet, and he hadn’t been this much of a newb since then. Pair that with calling himself Nooblet, he couldn’t have appeared more virginal.

Looking down to view his ridiculous clothes Lan Jue couldn’t help but laugh. “Definitly the fabled ‘fresh meat.’”

The better schools were given the opportunity to apply for their own ‘space’ in DreamNet. That is where Lan Jue currently stood, the student’s center of National Eastern University’s DreamNet zone. There weren’t any public shops or ornaments here, only training areas for mecha instruction.

What’s would a new guy do, he thought. Lan Jue patted his

forehead, as he certainly had no idea. After all it had been many years since he’d been new.

“Hey kid, stop!

As Lan Jue was recalling his comical first few steps with the original Whiteboard the voice stopped him in his tracks.

Three large figures loomed before him, each clad in flight suits.

Ah, right, I should probably go buy a flight suit first. They should be free as this is a school. Then find myself a basic mecha. Yeah, that’s what I should do.

He was brought back to the present by the three figures standing before him.

“Hey, I’m talking to you. You deaf?” One of the guys, a kid in his early twenties, kicked at Lan Jue and caused him to stagger.

“Ach,” Lan Jue grunted in pain, and it had indeed hurt

somewhat. The DreamNet here had been fixed with pain simulation to make combat more authentic. In the civilian market pain meters could be adjusted between one and thirty percent, but in the school the meter was constantly fixed at fifty percent.

“Newbie, eh. Take out your new bonus,” the young man said threateningly. He approached and grabbed Lan Jue by his thin collar.

Ahh that’s right. Newbies get a bonus – should be fifty DreamBits for buying the essentials. DreamBits were actually a virtual currency, but actuality they could be exchanged for real currency at a whim. In fact it was accepted as a fourth universal currency in all the three Alliances.

“No,” Lan Jue responded in true miserly fashion.

The young man pushed him, causing him to tumble to the floor. “Listen kid, clearly you don’t understand the situation. So I guess I’ll have to beat some knowledge in to you. The pain meters here are set. And in DreamNet, no one knows who we are – a strict secret hidden in the DreamNet mainframe.”

Lan Jue pulled himself to his feet. He certainly didn’t intend to come here and beat on people, but nor was he inclined towards masochism. Unfortunately DreamNet didn’t have any Adepts or Disciplines. He was just a normal healthy Joe, possessing only the very base level one Talent needed to pilot the lowest level mechas. If he didn’t adapt to the circumstances, getting beat on what to be expected.

The other two guys moved to flank him, Lan Jue now surrounded. Obviously this wasn’t the firs time they’d done this.

Lan Jue sighed, and fixed each of the three youths in turn with his eyes, pity heavy in their depths. He began to move his virtual avatar.

Suddenly, a pretty voice rang out from behind him. “You three again!”

Following the call a figure like lightning skittered closer.

Bang! Pow! Crack! Thwap! In what seemed like less than a second the three guys went flying in all directions like scattered leaves. They came tumbling down, screaming, a dozen or so

meters away.

A heroic figure appeared then standing before Lan Jue.

Lan Jue stood stupefied as he looked at her. At her  long blonde hair, sky-blue eyes, and exceptionally long legs. Wasn’t this Zhou Qianlin’s friend? The one who’d accompanied her to class?

Tang Mi hadn’t changed a thing about her avatar in DreamNet.

The three boys stumbled to their feet, and without looking back raced away. Obviously, it also wasn’t the first time they’d met Tang Mi.

Tang Mi seethed. “If I knew which class those degenerates belonged to, I’d beat them until they couldn’t wipe their own backsides. Hey, whiteboard, you alright?”

“I’m fine, thank you,” Lan Jue said sincerely.

Tang Mi pointed to a tall building before them. “Newbs head over there to sign up and get a mecha. Grab one then head to the combat area for training. If you run in to those punks again just call out. The Campus security will be there right away. And you don’t need to worry about those guys, they scare all the new blood but they aren’t dangerous.

“Ah.” Lan Jue responded.

Tang Mi turned and left, her valiant figure pacing off in to the virtual sunset.

Quite the sense of justice in this girl, Lan Jue silently praised.

A sign hung over the high-rise building, ‘The Classroom Building’. Five minutes later, Lan Jue exited, newly registered and with a brand new flight suit. He did regret, however, the ‘Nooblet’ scrawled across the back of it.

Next was choosing a mecha. Mecha development ensured the machines were humanoid in appearance, but there were different sorts of mechas for various specific purposes.

And so as a blank slate Lan Jue had his choice of two suits; long range, or close combat. He picked the close combat mecha without any hesitation.

“Would you like to select this model, and enter the training area?”


A light filled his eyes and in an instant Nooblet was settled in the cockpit of his new mecha.

Saber-Mech, that was the name of the suit Lan Jue had chosen. Ten meters tall, weighing in at thirty tons, the light mecha was equipped with a shield and sword of titanium alloy.

His ten fingers flew across the cockpits control panels, and in respond Saber-Mech rose to it’s feet. Steadily it began to lumber forward.

Modern mechas were controlled by a combination of physical manipulation and brain wave reading. Pilots with particularly high Talent were able to even fuse with their mechas, in a

matter of speaking, amplifying their power. But that required top-level suits.

Operation by brain waves alone was unstable, and influenced by one’s body. Operation by hand, meanwhile, didn’t allow for quick enough reaction. Together, though, they allowed for complete, perfect control.

The training area had been separated in to three regions; for elementary, intermediate, and advanced pilots. Ten victories in the elementary region advanced you to intermediate. One hundred victories earned you a spot in the advanced area. Once a thousand victories were earned, even higher levels were made available. However it was usually only National Scholars who reached that level of success. In fact earning a thousand victories in DreamNet sim combat was a requirement for graduation as a National Scholar. Bachelors required only a hundred.

As a result every mecha combat student was required to enter here. Their courses required a basic mastery of control, and that meant a minimum of ten victories was needed to earn course credit.

Chapter 49: Abuse

Like the real world DreamNet permitted you to use communicators. In that it was to find Zhou Qianlin that Lan Jue had entered the combat area, not for mecha training. But Qianlin had to be somewhere around here practicing, and although entering DreamNet had been an accident, finding her here was no different than doing so outside.

“Where are you? I’m in the DreamNet NEU sector,” Lan Jue said.

“You came in?” Somewhat surprised, Qianlin continued. “I’m in the intermediate area. Defense maneuvers today. Wait until I’m done training then sending me home, that’ll be all. Just remember, don’t let other people find out you know me. I’ll call you when I’m done.”

DreamNet’s Nooblet rubbed his nose. Am I that disgraceful? Still with this demand that we pretend not to know one another.

Intermediate area?


Nooblet shook his head and entered the elementary area. Ten victories to enter the intermediate level. It would take no time at all.

DreamNet’s iteration the NEU had been simplified, so that as he entered the area he was instantly transported to a wide open space.

The sector was round, like a giant sports arena three hundred meters in diameter and rising fifty meters. It was the standard construction for a combat arena, and was the most commonly used.

There was a flash, and suddenly a black mecha had appeared before him – another Saber-Mech. But in contrast to Nooblets, this one had pieces of silver plate armor affixed to it’s head and legs.

In DreamNet students were able to upgrade their mechs with payments of DreamBits or winning point from victories. In theory this meant that the lowest levels mechs could be upgraded to top-ranked fighting machines, but that would

require exorbitant amounts of time. In reality most of the better pilots simply exchanged their old mechs for higher-end models and upgraded those. It ended up saving them a lot of time and effort.

Clearly the Saber-Mech in the opposing corner had seen some improvements. Judging by what could be seen, it looked like it had had it’s speed and defense upgraded.

“Nooblet? Haha, lucky me! It looks like I’m finally getting my tenth win.” The voice that echoed from the mecha was supremely arrogant. Without warning the thrusters burned at the mechas back and it advanced hurriedly.


Jin Tao was really excited. He’d been moved by the stories he’d heard in Lan Jue’s Etiquette course, to the point that his customary laziness had melted away. He’d went immediately to the training area to work on his skills. Though a student of mechanized combat, he still hadn’t managed to pass the elementary stage. He’d only just managed to master the very basics.

Maybe it was the inspiration he’d gained from Lan Jue’s class, but today he felt as though his control of his mecha was better than ever. He’d just won a contest, bringing his total wins up to nine. He only needed one more, then he’d finally be considered Intermediate.

Like this, he wouldn’t have to worry about the finals this semester. If he got to intermediate, staying enrolled another year was a given.

The one before him very obviously had just enrolled in DreamNet. His Saber-Mech hadn’t ben refitted at all. He’d never been so lucky! He remembered his own time as a newbie, and clearly recalled the blows his self-confidence took when he was beaten down by upperclassmen. He never even hit them.

Ahh newbie abuse, that’s definitely something he could enjoy.

In a flash Jin Tao’s Saber-Mech was standing before Nooblet’s, and his titanium allow sword was cutting  a murderous arc towards his enemy’s throat.

Nooblet, apparently frozen with fear, did not move. The glimmering blade came streaking right for his face.

Jin Tao was filled with self-satisfaction, and yet a sense of pity snuck up within him. If this newbie had worked even a little bit, it’d show off his own skill all the more!

In this moment of consideration, Nooblet suddenly moved. It was so simple… he squatted!

Jin Tao’s sword skimmed right over Nooblet’s head. And that right arm bearing his sword kept right on going, flying off in to the air. Everything went dark, and an emotionless digitized voice spoke in his ear.

“Defeat. Mecha damage has exceeded forty percent. Please repair your suit, and continue.”

Defeat?! How is that possible? Jin Tao couldn’t understand how that could happen, and quickly hit the fight replay button.

The fight had been brief, and it took Jin Tao only a moment to see what had happened. He sat in the simulated cockpit, incredulity veritably bursting from his eyes.

In the midst of his coup de grâce Nooblet had crouched, as

he’d seen – but what he missed was the unfitted mecha’s right foot pinning his own before Nooblet’s sword masterfully severed his arm from it’s joint.

His pinned foot prevented the suit from recoil and added to the power of the strike, which ultimately lead to his arm flying off in to the distance. Nooblet had then taken advantage of the strike to sweep behind him, weapon poised. The whiteboard’s strike obliterated the power unit on the back of his head, and the fight ended.

The whole thing took less than three seconds. Nooblet’s movement were not fast, nor fancy. They were just very, very accurate.

Jin Tao cursed under his head, and left to repair his mangled mecha.

Each mecha combat student was required to learn suit maintenance, in order to improve their own combat efficiency. Students were expected to repair their own units after a fight, and though you could certainly pay to have them restored the price was outstanding.


Just as Jin Tao was being made aware of his defeat, Lan Jue also heard a digital voice addressing him. “Victory. No damage to your suit was sustained. Perfect victory. Total wins: one. DreamBits earned: five.”

Elementary victories earned pilots anywhere from one to five Dreambits on average. Clearly Lan Jue’s display earned him full marks.

Heh. Lan Jue’s grin bordered on obscene. With a push of a button he continued to his next fight. Lights flashed and he was back in the same area, though this time a Gunner-Mecha stood as his opposition.

Gunner, eight meters tall, nine tons, equipped with the standard laser rifle.

Gunners had the advantage in flexibility and speed, while also have considerable reach. Saber-Mechs, on the other hand, were more capable defenders and had a higher base attack power. Each had it’s advantages.

The Gunner-Mecha seemed to know what it was doing, and quickly drew it’s laser gun to aim towards Lan Jue. Nooblet, in return, did something unexpected.

Moving quickly to the side his left arm shot out, the shield that had been held there tore through the air like a Frisbee. The vicious arc raced towards the mecha, the impact sure to sever both it’s legs.

Chapter 50: Nooblet vs. The Ace

The Gunner jumped, startled, and hurriedly moved to dodge the shield attack.

His control was significantly better than Jin Tao’s, which allowed the shield to skim harmlessly past his legs. Still, the screen went black.

“Defeat. Mecha damage has exceeded thirty percent. Please repair your suit, and continue.”

How’d that happen?! The Lancer’s pilot reacted in much the same way Jin Tao had, and pounded the replay button.

Nooblet hadn’t just thrown the shield, but in the next moment had thrown his sword as well. The attack had caused the Gunner to reel away, and he’d essentially impaled himself as the undefended cockpit was pierced by the titanium allow blade.

“Which one of us is long distance anyway?!” The Gunner- Mecha’s operator roared.

Hehehe! Lan Jue cackled wickedly and hit the button for his third fight. Rocking newbies really did make you feel good! And no one even knows who I am!

Another flash. Another fight. Another Saber-Mecha.

Much like Jin Tao the Saber-Mecha raced forward to attack Lan Jue’s Nooblet. As he did, Lan Jue saw clearly the name floating above it’s head: The Ace.

What ironic parallelism!

The Ace flew forward, titanium allow sword in it’s right hand, and again like Jin Tao attempting to strike at the neck.

Nooblet waited until the last moment, lifted his right foot, and tried to surreptitiously pin his opponent.

But it was Lan Jue’s turn to be surprised, for either by coincidence or from true skill his enemy lifted his leg the instant before his foot found it’s mark. The action caused Nooblet to ram his abdomen right against the rising knee, while the sweeping sword overhead buried itself in his shoulder with

a staggering blow.

The two were locked together, a hair’s breadth apart, affording no room to maneuver.

Nooblet turned his wrist to point the tip of his blade upward and thrust at the Ace’s exposed arm. In the same moment he slammed his shield against his adversary’s side.

Ding ! peng!

The two sounds rang out almost concurrently. The Ace drew it’s arm back and the crossguards of the two swords clashed. The second muffled sound was Nooblet’s shield striking against the enemy’s knee.

The strike came at an angle and caused the Ace’s suit to tilt. When you and your rival’s equipment were the same, victory came down to control.

The Ace made no effort to stabilize itself, instead spinning around and out of reach. It’s steps were irregular and erratic , causing the body to twist.

But instead of toppling, it was clear the body was compensating intentionally with the steps.

Disordered Stepping? Lan Jue looked on in surprise. It was a pretty standard close combat move for intermediates, used to avoid both close combat attacks and ranged artillery.

This was a technique an unfitted cadet could pull off?

This guy was full of surprises, and it certainly piqued Lan Jue’s interest. He changed up his own footwork, matching the disordered stepping of his opponent and swerving in to his path.


Tang Mi’s pretty face was a hard mask.

What the hell was this? It wasn’t easy finding a way to re- register a new account, specific to prevent this sort of newb abuse. And who could have known a landmine would find a landmine? This Saber-Mech’s shield strike had expertly offset her rhythm. How long had it been since she’s seen something like this?

And this guy still dares rush me, you really think I’m that much of a push-over?

Suddenly a vicious thought came to Tang Mi! The titanium sword in her hand lashed out, the blade twinkling, and like mercury wound towards her rival.

But in that exact moment Nooblet saw her hand rising and the tip of his sword rose to meet the flat of her blade. The Ace’s streaking blade was knocked away. Tang Mi was mad enough to spit blood!

Nooblet’s figure rushed quickly, and almost as though he’d flashed right through her.

Clink! The soft sound wafted towards her.

Tang Mi’s reaction was could not be called slow. She sent her mecha spinning outward, slashing towards Nooblet.

However, to her continued amazement, when she turned Nooblet was nowhere to be found.

Clink, clank, chink, clang, chink! The sound of metal striking metal filled the cockpit from behind her.

Tang Mi was flabberghasted. She changed up her footwork with each step, but no matter what she did she couldn’t catch a glimpse of Nooblet.

A drop of sweat raced down her forehead. Is he.. shadowing me?

Mirroring was an expert close-combat technique. The greatest sin of close combat was giving your enemy your back, and a master at mirroring could take advantage of that when their strength is inferior to stick close to their adversary without them even knowing.

But Tang Mi knew where her assailant was, why couldn’t she shake him?

Suddenly, everything grew black and calm. A computerized voice filled the cockpit.

“Defeat. Mecha damage one hundred percent. Please repair

your suit, and continue.”

What? ONE HUNDRED PERCENT damage?! Tang Mi sat in utter confusion. Simulated and real mecha combat were almost exactly the same. She knew what a hundred percent damage meant. That sort of thing only happened with massive, direct frontal explosion. How could a saber mech possible do something like that?


She reached out and slammed the button.

It started from the beginning of the fight, with The Ace rushing towards Nooblet. He squatted, she kneed him.

The Ace broke in to disordered stepping.

Nooblet, disordered stepping…

And then that supernatural strike. That one strike, that offset the Ace and allowed Nooblet to get behind her.

After that is was cut after cut, and a clear line was open to finish the fight. But he’d just kept swinging that sword .

The titanium allow sword glinted with a brilliant metallic luster. No strike was exceedingly powerful, but the speed was inhuman. Even in the replay Tang Mi had to slow down the speed to see clearly what had happened.

As she looked on in shocked admiration, she noticed that nearly all of Nooblet’s strikes found a joint – but they did not sever them completely.

When his final cut struck home, her mecha stiffened, and collapse in to a heap of slag. A pile of scrap. Like a toppled tower of toy bricks.

Tang Mi knew this technique, or to be precise, had heard of this technique!

The Brunois assault! It was a technique rarely seen on the battlefield, since it was largely impractical.

Slaughtered! The Ace slaughtered by Nooblet!

Perfect victory!
DONASI VIA TRAKTEER Bagi para cianpwe yang mau donasi untuk biaya operasional Cerita Silat IndoMandarin dipersilahkan klik tombol hati merah disamping :)

Posting Komentar