“I’m here! What do you want to do first? Combat training? Or Commander Battles?” Arisa energetically asked after she had logged into the server that Luon had set up.
Luon gave it some thought before he asks, “More importantly I’m wondering how long are you willing to train with me. Don’t you have some important duties to attend to?”
“No problem, I can stay and train with you for the entire week before the exams start, ” Arisa said with vigor.
“Alright… oh, maybe the others might be free to join us for some training as well, ” Luon said.
Just before Luon could even contact them on his BMPU Arisa yelled, “Stooppp. Why would you want to bother doing this? Just let them do their things, I mean who is willing to train for an entire week non-stop?”
Luon looked at Arisa strangely as her words contradicted her actions. If she was willing to train with him for an entire week in reality then why wouldn’t the others not want to do so? Luon thought that at least Bendan would be happy to do combat training for an entire month or two in the simulated world.
Seeing how Luon wasn’t convinced by her argument, Arisa said, “Look, Shizuka is probably busy with something involving Novera Corporation, your friends are probably taking the week off to relax and Belle… is doing her thing. And even if one of them did come, how can you guarantee that there will be an even number of participants? One of us would have to sit out in that case, and these old-fashioned commander battles that we’re doing for the exams are much longer than the usual ones. It’s just a waste of time to invite them.”
Luon felt that she did have a point, he didn’t want to interrupt them if they had their own plans. It wasn’t like they were waiting for him to call or message them. Luon decided to take what he could get, he looked at Arisa gave her a shrug and said, “Well I guess we should make some arrangements so we can get an equal number of commander and combat training done. How long is a single match for the commander exam anyway?”
To Luon’s remark, Arisa pondered a bit before saying, “It depends on the matchup, although you are randomizing the setting both teams are still within the same era and solar system. Which is typically before the time when we advanced into space travel, so if it was based on say the Nexus solar system then we’ll be using guns, tanks, and planes. On the other hand, if we were using the Plana solar system, it would be a single race like orcs, elves, humans, and demons.”
“So you’re saying that if it was based on the Sea Kingdom’s solar system, one of us might lead an army of sea monsters and the other fishmen? Isn’t that a little too one-sided,” questioned Luon, he found the notion ridiculous. If it was like that then couldn’t the examiner cheat the match to make it better for themselves? Luon couldn’t help but dismay at the horrible passing rate that could emerge from rigged matches.
“Technically yes, the match could end up one-sided. However, we’re being graded based on the tactics we used and not whether we win or lose. Also, we aren’t battling against instructors, rather strangers that they have arranged for us. So it’s hard to rig a match to their own favor considering the skill level of the person they’ve arranged,” Arisa said.
“How about the combat portion of the exams? Is there anything peculiar about that?” Luon asked seeing how they were still on the topic.
“For the combat exams, we aren’t fighting against instructors, monsters, or anything along the lines of that. We are fighting against each other while being graded on our performance. Of course, winning is typically the largest determining factor on how good you end up doing,” Arisa said.
To dumb it down, Luon realized that to get a good grade he needed to win, and if he were to lose, then he might get an okay grade. Winning is all that should matter, and to do that he needed to arrange their training schedule properly. Luon asked, “Okay taking in the multitude of scenarios we can account for, how long does it take to complete a match?”
Arisa raised her hand and had one finger sticking out as she said, “1 day, on average it would take only 1 day to finish our match depending on the placement locations.”
Doing some quick matches, Luon thought they may be able to get around 50 virtual matches done before the exams with some training in between. That only depends if the average took a single day though.
Right away Luon and Arisa sparred each other for a while until one of them had bested the other. Arisa looked triumphantly over Luon as she reached out her hand and said to him, “That’s one for me. Hopefully, you’ll manage to get one win or else…”
“Or else what?” Luon asked out of curiosity.
“Or else you’re guaranteed to lose to me if we get paired with each other,” Arisa said with a teasing smile.
“You can’t win them all, I don’t believe it,” said Luon wryly replied back as he got pulled up by Arisa.
After their first combat session, the two of them fought against each other in the commander battle.
For their first commander match, Luon was assigned several human footmen and knights while Arisa had a similar build but was less mobile as they were composed of the dwarven race.
The match went underway on an open plain with a forest that was several kilometers away, this kind of map enhances the ability of the calvary that Luon has, and at the same time devalues the dwarven units who specialized in fighting in close quarters on foot.
Taking advantage of the terrain, Luon spread his forces over a kilometer e, and by using his workers, he created a makeshift outpost to oversee the battlefield. However, the amount of time it took to do all of this was more than what he expected. He was dissatisfied by the fact that he was unable to use his tools to help him do this monotonous task, and the fact that his troops had to be directed by messengers made things was the worst factor.
That was until the battle started and he had learned about something worse than inaccurate messages, and that was ignorant and arrogant rationality of humans.
“Why? Why did Count Suclair advance without my permission?! Messenger, what do you have to say to this?” asked Luon who was filled with rage.
“Sire, he was dissatisfied at how we’re progressing in the battle and took the initiative to make a name for himself. He told me to report to you once he started his attack as it was his duty to do so,” the Messenger cowers before Luon’s rage.
“Name? Name for himself? He’ll have a name alright, and it’s going to be on his tombstone when we’re done with this,” Luon couldn’t help but mutter.
Feeling stress at the inconsiderate actions of his teammates had done he couldn’t help but facepalm at the fact that some of his men decided not to listen to him, and act on their own.
Unlike the previous matches where units are spawned naturally with mana, they were able to use terrain to gather resources. Luon had surrounded Arisa, and the plan was to merely wait before they could lay siege upon their enemies using the trees he was able to gather from a distance.
Arisa had decided to dig herself in the middle of the plains, and she built a bunker. Although dwarves were expert at digging there is only so much they could do as they created a miniature fortress with several gaps to cut down the production time. She could have tried escaping, but the stubby legs that the dwarves have made it difficult to accomplish. However, with Arisa’s ingenious design they managed to make use of the excess gaps to entrap Luon’s units. Luon did not assault the base directly as he found that half of the dwarves were armed with rifles.
But this action earned the dissatisfaction of the other noblemen who led their own individual forces. Unlike the previous simulations his men had personality, they can feel fear, pride, greed, and anger.
Luon found their personalities annoying to deal with, but Thanatos found it rather refreshing as he said, “To command an army properly, you need to study more than just tactics. You need to know what the mindset of a soldier is like. You can’t sacrifice people for the greater good, and you can’t treat humans as pawns on a chessboard. Every person has value and a quirk. It’s up to you to learn to utilize it properly.”
“Utilize it properly? I would be surprised if those idiots could even move properly. Let alone that, how am I suppose to know what these noblemen are like if they are randomly generated every time? Memorizing their names was already hard enough. Nevermind that, let’s just wait until the match is over. I am guaranteed to win as long as we get some catapults set up,” Luon said in dissatisfaction.
Although Luon had trouble managing his troops he eventually won because of the advantages his army had over Arisa’s. In a situation where there was an obvious winner not much can change the ending. If Arisa could use mind-control magic, then she might have been able to cause some in-fighting between Luon’s forces. Luon realized this factor when Arisa took the corpses of his soldiers and hung them to dry, she incited the anger of his men as she stripped and tortured them before their eyes.
This was a gruesome tactic however it did work in her favor as some of his men abandoned their post and attacked her. After committing this act, Luon considered studying methods to manipulate the morale of his own forces as well as his opponents to his favor.
From the commander battles, Luon learned that not every human is willing to listen to his suggestions. Creative real-time actions could only be executed by excellent generals and subordinates, and although Luon did have some bad seeds, there were several individuals where he focused his forces around.
He needed to find the right place for all of his troops, and he found that by placing the over-enthusiastic and incompetent ones in the back gave him less to worry about and would less likely be a failed assaults. As for the ones who have too much pride he had also tossed them to back as they were easily influenced by their enemies tactics.
After their first match, they continued to battle against one another and for several segments of their battles they found that their troop’s actions would overturn that basic logic of how things should be run and done. Because of this both Arisa and Luon liked using ranged units as they were less troublesome to deal with.
The two of them made full use of the simulated world’s capabilities, and since they could pause their commander match, their daily routine was stable. A quick spar in the morning and commander training for the majority of the day.
Of course, they didn’t spend the entirety of the whole time just training. They knew when to rest and when to relax as the two of them spent the majority of their time together. The only thing they didn’t do was go offline at all during this entire period.
The time for the final exams came before they knew it. Although Luon felt prepared, he felt like he had just missed something by the end of their training period. Arisa bade farewell and wished Luon the best, despite the fact he was still ignorant of her feelings. She didn’t voice it out as she didn’t want to add more pressure to the table. In the end, although she felt like they had gotten much closer, they were still distances apart.