‘How is this possible? Her use of the NG-Arms was too profound,’ thought Luon as he laid on the ground exhausted.
Only after battling with Lin did the group realized their ineptitude. She expertly dodged their disorganized attacks and retaliated by hitting their weak points. The moment they thought they had her, she somehow accelerated past the group as if she were a butterfly flying between still flowers. When Luon saw her do so, he thought it was similar to the system Zekar had installed in the NG-Arms, she denied it.
And as for why Luon knows that Lin was female was because he had used his Eye of Insight on her during and after the fight, despite the fact he was making ironic remarks about identity protection. Shouldn’t one be very curious about how powerful their opponents were if they were easily beaten by them? Luon thought that if he accidentally saw her gender while checking on her combat abilities, it couldn’t be helped.
The most surprising factor was that she was level 60 just like Luon, however, after equipping her NG-Arms she rose to level 81, surpassing his limitations by a mile.
‘How frustrating,’ Luon thought as he turned to check the condition of his friends. They were beaten as bad as he was. Although they were severely beaten they were smiling, it wasn’t because that besides Luon, the others had found out that Lin was a girl, neither was it because they developed a new type of fetish while being hit. It was because they had just discovered a new realm of strength.
Unknowingly Luon was also smiling as he thought about how authentic this training program was going to be. With this new profound strength, they believed that they were going to cause a storm during the tournament matches.
Lin who saw the smiling battle junkies frowned as she said, “Well you will only have a week of me teaching you guys so although you might not be able to accomplish what I have done, I think it would be good enough for actual combat.”
Luon slowly got up and asked, “Why did you start this program? There’s no point in teaching people how to use NG-Arms unless you were rich or enlisted in the military.”
Lin looked at Luon after he had questioned her and said, “When you enlist in the military when do you think you’ll be able to train handling techniques with NG-Arms? Only a few weeks of basic maneuver training and off you go to the battlefield where a single mistake can cost you your life. This program helps people prepare for it also… ”
Lin had a bright smiled as she said, “During the arena portion of the program I get a participation fee from the organizer, and since I know the combat abilities of my student and his opponent I can roughly estimate whos going to win… and with that information I tend to gamble a little bit.”
‘She’s way too greedy. participation fee, gambling money, premature graduation fee, the amount she makes must be higher than the average salary, and she doesn’t have to worry about thugs with her strength,’ thought Luon.
“Alright guys, go back to your rooms and rest a bit. I’ll be making individual training programs for each of you so you will have a one on one session with me several hours later,” Lin said.
With that remark, she left the groaning injured men on the ground and entered the building. When Luon and the others were able to move again without groaning in pain, the artificial night had begun to set.
Luon stared at the fake sky above him and thought, “The simulated world I lived in was fake, and this world as well. However, everything I experienced was real, my feelings aside, what is the reality? Is it what I can perceive? And what actually happens after death? I’m afraid of stepping into the unknown and at the same time… I might be looking forward to it.”
Luon pondered for a while before ultimately making a firm decision. A pure thought appeared in Luon’s mind, ‘Life or death, real or fake, all of that doesn’t matter as long as life is interesting. And the most interesting thing in this world is web novels, light novels, manga, and in general, books!’
With that remark, he started to read a couple of web novel series freely listed on his BMPU. There were a few novels that had interested him recently like there was one called The seekers of truth which was a sci-fi adventure story in space, or My otherworld fantasy which was a warlike series about young nobles rise to power.
As Luon was loitering away his time he had soon received a message on his BMPU, and it was from Instructor Lin with regards to the teaching schedule. There were a total of 6 foundation classes, which in total, make up 18 hours a week in real life, which was actually a weeks worth of training in the virtual world.
Since his first lesson was in the morning, Luon decided to get an early night’s rest, although he didn’t need it he decided it was better for his mental sanity to do so.
Luon used to spend his nights cultivating the circuit establishment meditation technique but found that his body no longer grew powerful as he did it, the benefits were negligible at most. Besides clearing his mind of unnecessary thoughts, it was practically just for show now.
If Luon wanted to improve his physical abilities at this point of time, he needed to absorb the blood from powerful bloodlines into the Asura book he got from Arisa and into his own body. The concept was as simple as eating turtle soup to provide the nutrition to harden a person’s body, and vigorously exercising to refine it.
After a night of rest in virtual reality, Luon got up early because someone had woken him up. It wasn’t a beautiful childhood friend, sister or lover that would inspire his libido and desires first thing in the morning. Instead, it was the smashing of a door, overturning the heavenly blankets before soaring to space, or at least out the window.
Luon who had experienced these rapid changes reacted immediately by slamming his hand on the ground before he had made a fool of himself. The force behind his palm managed to repel him a meter off the ground before backflipping in a more balanced posture.
Luon looked up at the window of where he came from only to see the dazzling smile from Lin’s face as she said, “If you checked the schedule I sent you last night you would have noticed that your first class started a few minutes ago, since you weren’t up I took the liberty of waking you up. Aren’t I so kind?”
Luon checked his BMPU only to find that she had sent the schedule only four virtual hours ago. Luon thought, ‘How am I supposed to know that, I was clearly sleeping. Was it because she was sleeping all day that she had this much energy now?’
Seeing how he couldn’t retort to her remark, he looked away from his BMPU and back to the window of his bedroom where Lin was at. However, she wasn’t there anymore, before Luon knew it she had disappeared. Just before Luon started to look around for her, a sword appeared from behind his back only a few centimeters away from his neck. Instructor Lin who appeared behind Luon said, “If I were an enemy, you would be dead by now.”
Luon was surprised by her presence, although it was a little arrogant to say this. Luon felt confident about his level of perception. The fact she escaped his noticed signified that despite their similar level, her abilities had exceeded his by a margin.
Luon thought about how Lin was able to do this but could only come up with one solution. That he was overreliant to comparing combat levels. Combat levels are the accumulation of personal battle capabilities. There was still a class differentiation that had caused Luon to realize something.
During their first match of the tournament he recalled the battle with the heavily armed knight like brothers, he was unable to stop them if he were to face them on foot. On the other hand, the arch-mage despite being the same combat level was able to eliminate them at ease.
‘Lin, on the other hand, must have specialized in assassination techniques which classified her as an assassin. Similar to Kiri she has a stealth ability,’ Luon came to a conclusion. So what did that make Luon? He had a few sword abilities, but other than that he was an engineer. Luon lacked inherit abilities to make him an assassin, and he lacked powerful magical spells to make him a magician. He was sort of a jack of all trades, the only closest thing he could think of was a magic swordsman.
Sheathing her sword while Luon was occupied in his own thoughts, Lin then said, “Alright let’s begin our lesson with some small warm-up exercises to see what you can do.”
Luon questioned her, “Didn’t you see our capability yesterday? What’s the point of doing the basics.”
Lin looked away from Luon as she laughed lightly and said, “Originally it was supposed to be like that, but I got a little over excited and didn’t pay attention to how well you all did.”
‘So our beating was for nothing?!’ Luon made a cracked smile as he grudgingly said, “Alright let’s begin with some warm-up exercises.”
Lin was an excellent instructor and went through Luon with the basics, from how to fly, fuel, and maintenance she covered everything there was to know about NG-Arms except for manufacturing methods. After less than an hour she nodded and said, “You have indeed mastered most of what you need to know about NG-Arms. If you went to the military right now, I wouldn’t be surprised if you were made the captain of a squad.”
“This can’t be everything right?” asked Luon. He thought how pointless this trip was if all he did was some essential exercise. Gizmo, Tyron, and Bendan might learn something from this program. Luon would be left out doing nothing at all.
Lin nodded as she said, “It isn’t everything. However, the next step is a paramount journey that you may never reach the goal of. Follow me, I can at least teach you how to start within this one week period.”
Lin leads Luon to a pond which Luon was unable to see the bottom of. As Luon continued to stare deep into the darkness, Lin said, “During combat as long as your perception and strength is high you are able to predict your opponent moves. Have you ever felt this before?”
Luon nodded at her remark, with his strength he was able to foresee and predict their actions a quarter of a second ahead. Seeing Luon confirm this Lin nodded as she said, “There are several ways for a person to reach immortality or to obtain powers beyond their capabilities. Enlightenment, luck, or external sources, people since ancient times have searched for these methods. However, only the most diligent didn’t need any of those factors. Although it was quite common back then, people were able to train their bodies beyond their mortal bindings. The first step of this was the ability to predict the movement of other beings besides them, this is called the perception of god. The stage beyond that is to move beyond that perception, to exceed what you can predict yourself doing, like how you can command your body to pick up a rock. Instead, you thoughtlessly picked up the rock as if it were natural, but at the same time maintain reasoning.”
‘To pick up a rock without thinking while thinking? What is she going on about? That’s a paradox,’ thought Luon.
Seeing his confused expression, Lin smiled as she said, “Your thoughts are bound by mortal reasoning. Don’t worry about it, just try it out yourself and see. If you cannot manage to grasp this then just treat it as random gibberish that I told you. Regardless this exercise will help you train using your NG-Arms even if you can’t manage to feel it. It’s simple, for the remaining classes you are to dive into the pond and move deep inside it with your NG-Arms on. I’ll come by every once in a while to check your progress.”
With that remark Lin left Luon alone, he only thought, ‘Well if there’s nothing to teach me I guess I’ll just do as she said to do while waiting for Tyron, Gizmo, and Bendan.’
During his first diving session, Luon found that he wasn’t able to use any source of light, it was as if the darkness in the pond consumed it. The further he got into the darkness he lost his sense of perception, if Luon strayed too far away from the surface, without any sense of direction he would stay in there forever. Days passed since he dived down daily as he Luon found himself traveling aimlessly in the darkness. His body moved without his mind telling the direction to go because even he didn’t know where to go.
As he told Lin this all, she only gave Luon a nod before telling him to begin training as if he was fighting an illusionary enemy. So Luon who dove deep into the darkness imagined himself fighting different types of Inzektor, however, as he did all he could see was defeat and death.
His body moved sluggishly from the water pressure, while the fake Inzektors moved without restriction. Why did he not apply water physics to his illusion? Because he cannot imagine what would happen if they did face this water pressure.
Days passed as he began to win against his illusions, barely dodging their moves, Luon moved his body naturally somehow entering the stages of moving with and without thought.
And before he knew it, classes were over in a blink in an eye, after a week of training in dark depths instructed by Instructor Lin. Luon had somehow managed to feel the starting stages of a new realm of strength. How did he know this? It was proven by the numerical increase of two level after equipping his NG-Arms.
How much difference could this one level make? The only way to find out was in the arena.