Chapter 60 – Top 16

“Tsk, tsk, simply not there yet,” Luon said as he was sharpening his blade. While he was doing so a familiar groaning sound resonated in the surroundings, the source of this noise was Tyron, Gizmo, and Bendan laying defeated on the ground.

The R Zero Program with Lin was over as Luon, and the rest of the members had successfully graduated from her class by obtaining 5 consecutive victories. However, the time they took to finish the program varied because of a surprising turn of events.

Due to Lin and Frank’s intervention during the second portion of the program the group were forcefully pitted against each other, out of the four members, Luon and Tyron had finished within the first week, while Gizmo and Bendan took another week to complete.

When Luon who roleplayed as the female fighter Saiko fought Gizmo who disguised himself as a female named Ozmos, the crowd they gathered surpassed the average daily amount of viewers that month, reaping in a numerous amount of revenue.

As both contestants were introduced into the arena, the crowd cheered at majestic and beautiful figures that they had created, which later caused them to cringe more than ever when they heard that the number of viewers was more than they could imagine, as it was publically replayed in the underworld network.

The viewers who dedicated their free time to watch this battle expected an epic catfight from these two figures, only to disappointingly receive some unexpected results.

Rather than a brawl, it was more of a one-sided slaughter, Luon had easily defeated Gizmo before the numerous of viewers. Although Gizmos had significantly improved his NG-Arms handling skills, he was no match against Luon who has reached a new realm of strength which allowed him to surpass his previous limitations.

The match started with the two separated from each other by a several hundred meters which initially gave Gizmos the advantage over Luon. The average time it took a person to traverse this distance was 10 seconds of uninhibited movement. This was enough time for Gizmo to handle Luon as he was able to run and gun him down from a distance.

Although Luon was able to see the bullets and was able to dodge them because of his NG-Arm capabilities, his mind wouldn’t let him react fast enough to avoid a streamline of bullets while chasing Gizmo continuously. This was the simple results that would have happened before he entered the training program. However, the results of the training program were openly displayed in this battle.

As Gizmo attacked Luon from a distance while creating more space between them, Luon dove pass the bullets with a minimal amount of movement. Since Gizmo was flying backward, his speed was naturally slower than Luon who had barely changed his direction and was continually accelerating. Soon enough, as more of Gizmo’s bullets missed their target, Luon had caught up and effortlessly ended his life.

The crowd was shocked, and a good portion of fans cheered, while another group cried, not out of joy, but in sadness in losing their bets. Lin’s underwater lesson had taught Luon a method to improve his response time, he was now a person who could act before he could think while maintaining a rational train of thought.

Luon felt like he was one of those ancient martial art masters that would reactively catch a fly with a pair of chopsticks if it had bothered him during a meal.

The next match to no surprise was between Tyron and Bendan. Bendan only learned the necessary foundation of the NG-Arms, because of this Tyron, who had a similar amount of experience, won by kiting Bendan to death.

To easily dodge bullets without thinking about it too much, an average person would succumb to their fear, while a veteran would still fall before it, avoiding or catching bullets was a realm that only true masters could do and to keep consistent motion was even more unreasonable.

After Luon and Tyron finished the program, the two of them continued to train using Lin’s previously taught methods. Initially, they were going to wait at Lin’s residence in the virtual world until both Brendan and Gizmos finish the program. However, they voluntary left after Lin attempted to obtain room rental fees from them. They had already given her tons of money through arena duels, how could she demand even more from them? Not wanting to provide her with a single coin the two had practice in a structure that Zekar had provided for them.

When Gizmos and Bendan finished the program, Gizmo had challenged Luon to a duel right away to redeem the pride he lost in the arena, which was devastatingly shamed him in front of numerous viewers. The two clashed once again, the result was the same, Luon had easily beaten Gizmo up as if he was a martial arts teacher lecturing a student.

After the battle, both Tyron and Bendan were interested in comparing their improvements with Luon. They also asked for a duel which in turn caused them both to lose miserably. Seeing his defeated comrades, Gizmo’s requested a group battle versus Luon who in turned shrugged his shoulders at that option.

There was nothing to lose, so they tried it out, and surprisingly Luon came out on top. Handling the three of them was exhausting and stressful, detecting the range projectiles that Tyron and Gizmo had launched while sparring Bendan was impossible for the previous him, however, the current Luon was like a fish in water.

Using the laws of nature, he would repel Bendan away using him as a footstool to catch up to the two ranged attackers. Every session they had turned up as his victory due to several key factors. One, his combat level was already higher than them. Two, he was more experienced in handling the NG-Arms. Lastly, he was over geared, Luon had access to numerous amount of resources, every match he would contemplate on how to perform better which caused him to craft more devious, yet situational devices.

Like this days had passed and the one month break which was used to improve the contestant’s strength, shroud their weakness while studying their opponent’s tactics was over.

During their final practice session, Bendan got up from the ground and said, “No more! Why is everyone using NG-Arms!? Can’t we all just settle things with our fist or swords like real men? Just let me fight someone without NG-Arms!”

“Bendan, don’t worry about it too much. Your NG-Arms ability is already many times better than professional soldiers. We’re in a one of a kind, a premium type of school with the cream of the crop, however…” Gizmo said as he slowly got up and looked at Luon.

“You’re facing a monster,” said Gizmo which caused Luon to laugh dryly.

“I didn’t do anything too special. I even taught you the method that Lin had taught me to improve my reaction speed. It’s just that I learn a bit faster than normal,” said Luon.

“If it was easy to learn I would already be a master, we already spent a week doing the same thing you did, and not much has changed for us,” Gizmo retorted which caused Brendan and Tyron to nod.

“Well, I guess anymore practice now is meaningless. How about we stud-”

At this moment Thomas messaged Luon about the contestant details he had piled over the last month, the amount of information he gathered shocked Luon. There were only a few hours left before the opening ceremony, so Luon decided to brush it off and told him to retell the crucial details before their matches.

Luon and the other decided to rest as an alarm later woke them up signifying that the start of the ceremony was in a few minutes. The team gathered in a private lobby and briefed each other over some small details of their progress this month with Thomas. Soon enough they were invited into a server where they entered to find a well done virtual venue.

It was a colosseum ring with many displays which was used to monitor the combatants battle.

In the stands were numerous of students cheering for their favored team’s victory like soccer fans prior to the start of a soccer match. The 16 remaining groups lined up to their designated areas and stood before podium where a man rose up to give a ceremonial speech. He lectured about history, pride and various other topics causing a wave of drowsiness to hit the spectators.

One of the fellow teachers noticed this in the stands as they had found the other teacher sleeping as well. He thought to himself, ‘What fearsome ability! To send both students and teachers to sleep!’ Seeing the wave of influence was about to hit him as well, he quickly pulled the speaker down and behind the podium, hidden from everyone’s view.

From a distance one could hear the groans of a man saying, “Hey, wait for a momen- there’s still half of what I wrote down to go thro- stop beating me!! Ahh somebody hel-”

Several minutes later the hero who saved the world stood before his peers as he said, “That’s it for the opening ceremony, without further ado, let the matches begin!”

The digital display started to generate a tournament bracket before the viewer’s eyes. As it had done so, the unnamed hero slowly got off the stage and returned to the stands while dragging some kind of baggage behind him, he muttered to himself, “Volunteers are no good, especially if they’re new. next time we should randomly pick the speaker…”

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Slowly the brackets were made, and the first team they were up against was called Team Diva, the team all turned towards Thomas for some details as they were the third match of the day.

Thomas who understood their glances gave a cough before relaying some details about Team Diva, which they found to be utter nonsense.

It wasn’t that there were no details about them online. It was more like there were too many details, most of it unnecessary. They were an upcoming pop idol group formed in Nexus University about a year ago when Luon had first started school, it was a group of 5 girls who sung and fought graciously winning over numerous of fans. Just as Thomas was going over the team leaders name, a group approached Luon on the stadium causing some cheers in their surroundings.

They turned to face the intruders which caused Luon to see a very familiar face but he was unable to recall it, the female stranger angrily said, “There you are! To think your our opponents today, it looks like your out of luck.”

“Excuse me, do I know you? You act as if you know me, but who are you?” questioned Luon.

At this moment she began to curse out loud, but before she could her fellow team members covered her mouth causing her to mumble.

Luon stared at the scene confused until Thomas tapped his shoulders and indifferently said, “That’s our opponent today, Janet Myrail, team leader of Team Diva.”

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“Oh,” said Luon as he realized that they were their opponents for the first round. He stuck out his hand and said, “Well let’s have a nice fight Team Diva.”

Janet who was freed from her teammates smacked his kind gesture away before turning around and leaving. One of the team members who looked like the intellectual type as she wore glasses said, “I hope we have a nice fight as well, especially against you, Luon Fate.”

Luon appeared confused as he asked, “Is there anything in particular about me? Why are you looking forward to battling me?”

She said, “It’s because some time ago, when the new year started you rammed into Janet like a bull, throwing her several meters off the ground. Who wouldn’t hold a grudge against you? We didn’t know who you were until a month ago and Janet has been looking forward to this match. Well if you can excuse me, we will be strategizing your demise. We’ll see you in a few hours.”

With that remark team, Diva came and left like a storm. The other team members crowded around Luon, gave a sigh and said, “Although, you’re somewhat popular. It’s with the wrong girls.”

“I’m popular?” Luon appeared even more confused as he thought, ‘Every girl I’ve met so far are bullies, thieves, battle maniacs, or simply act cold towards me.’

Seeing the dumbfounded expression on Luon’s face, the group hit his back extremely hard as they left mumbling curses towards him.

Left alone Luon thought, ‘Can somebody tell me what’s going on?’

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