"Seriously! What did you have in the breakfast?" Jake squinted at his opponent, then he peeked at his digital-knife.
His knife flashed a mark of 40 points. "You feel very... different. Did you get anxious thinking about the upcoming JETs?"
"You're thinking too much," Creed jumped towards him. "I am going all-out today."
"Oh yeah! That's the spirit," Jake ducked casually and struck his back with his elbow. "Show me how much you can take it."
Creed dodged the incoming strike with an immediate block. He knew Jake was not an easy one, so he planned to check how much of effort he could wring out from Jake if he went all out. His primary motive was to gauge his strength against someone with intellect and tactics.
Jake Too appreciated the concept of 'letting out some steam once in a while'. He thought Creed was frustrated and anxious because of the upcoming JETs. So he played along while offering his own counters and attacks, without noticing Creed's actual intentions.
After 10 more minutes of serious repeated exchange, both of them were feeling conflicted. The reason was that they both were struggling in their own ways. Jake was squinting.
Creed was struggling to keep Jake's attacks in check with his own attacks. Whereas Jake was struggling to suppress his desire to open his chakra flow, Jake felt as if for every move he executed, he was being read like an open book.
Since this was the first time Jake felt conflicted during the practice, the situation quickly grabbed his attention. He knew that Creed was also struggling with his lack of strength, but somehow he was evading his every move ... just a split second before.
For the entire 10 minutes, Jake constantly felt the same weird atmosphere, which he used to feel earlier. But earlier it was negligible, since it only happened for a split second whenever he ended his previous duels with Creed.
Jake suddenly had a conspicuous thought."I am not in control of this match."
The next second Jake glanced at his knife, now flashing an 81 point mark. "Has he been learning my attack patterns? for an entire year? No! that can't be right!"
Suddenly Jake felt a chill crawl down his spine. "Or Is he learning it right now?"
What looked like godly learning ability was actually Creed's inherent ingenuity to read and perceive others... his genuine gift. But this time there was a critical difference. He had the strength to keep up with his opponent.
Even If you give the sharpest blade to the most delicate, he would still lose against a master with a blunt blade.
Creed's ability to perceive others never mattered much before, since the gap of strength was huge between him and his opponent.
In previous sparring sessions, Creed had noticed a strange quirk in Jake's actions. Every time when Jake would try to end the spar, in those last attacks, he would always unconsciously use more strength than the necessary. But Creed would always anticipate it right before Jake's execution by his keen perception.
Jake had already opened his root-chakra ... so even if he did not activate his chakra flow, that little additional strength was still too overwhelming for Creed, so Creed would always sneakily let him defeat himself since there was no point in dragging it any further.
Creed let himself loose since it was not beneficial for either of them. Even if Creed avoids Jake's potential last strike with his accurate perception in those last moments, then Jake would throw another one, and then another one, and therefore Creed would get stabbed, eventually.
But Creed never wanted to trick him so he would always do this losing-act subtly, or so he thought. Jake was not a newborn fighter either. His own grandfather, a 'Monarch Echelon head' had honed his instincts, so he sensed something was wrong except he didn't know what.
Jake never had a thought of someone losing intentionally, so he could never rationalize Creed's actual intent. Ultimately Jake concluded that Creed lost because of Gap of strength between them, which was indeed true. Jake never really had the chance to realize how unbelievable Creed's perception was.
Creed believed that there was a logic behind his intentional loss. He believed no improvement would come from dragging the spar because it was like expecting an infant who couldn't even walk to defeat a boy who runs daily. It was a pointless struggle for both of them if he kept on with the facade, but he never realized his actions were triggering anxiety inside Jake.
The feeling of persistent dissatisfaction that Jake used to have in the back of his head in previous sessions with Creed now suddenly magnified and grew very real and intense.
Jake concluded that the gap of strength was the real reason for the slight uneasiness he felt when it was actually the gap of talents between them, where the so-called 'loser' Creed had a slight upper hand. And with teenage boys' personalities, none of them really thought that deeply.
Now with 63 points in his root chakra, Creed had closed the gap to match Jake's physical strength, a little, that is only if Jake keeps his chakra closed. This sudden escalation of events immediately caught Jake's attention.
He almost thought he was not fighting Creed, but someone unknown.
His eyes were still fixed on Creed, but a slightly primitive tint of threat was looming over his face. His expressions were too detached to be called ordinary. Suddenly Creed's mind experienced a jolt of electricity after glancing at him.
"Why the heck are you smiling like a psychopath?" Creed saw Jake smiling like a creep, uttered some words to break the wall of awkwardness. "You thinking something perverted about that witch Alia, aren't you?"
Creed's question entered his Jake Ears, his face stiffened as if he got drawn back from a daydream.
"I don't know what to say but ... dude!! you have improved," Jake looked at him with admiration. "You're training secretly or what? Have you been are training under some hidden master!"
"What?" Creed showed him his digital knife. "I have only 25 points in my knife, show me how much you got?"
"It doesn't matter, I was really, really close to release my chakra flow. That means you have gotten strong. Let's stop the practice for now!!" Jake didn't show him his knife and changed the topic." You can even count this as my first loss to you. Good job!"
After they stopped they both went to attend some theoretical lectures and then both went back to their own quarters. Jake had a faint smile on his face the entire time.
"Dammit, I should not have taken him lightly." Creed looked at his knife's numbers.
"The guy is a fucking battle maniac. Dad also used to have the same smile when he fought. I should have realized this sooner."
After that, he could only hope that Jake wouldn't think too much about this. He went back to his same old routine of synthesizing, killing, and hunting. He did not want to delay his progress as this was necessary before the JET begins.
Eight more days passed and with his steady progress, he got 26 points which raised his total points from 63 to 89 points. He kept his hunting in control because if he was much showed what kind of godly progress he had made in the last 24 days to anyone, they would spill blood.
JETs were only 10 days away, Creed now knew that he will cross the threshold by his way in less than 8 days. So he felt he should take things easy and sell all the overflowing beast hides and materials in his room first. He dropped his plan to hunt today and wanted to clean up his room as soon as possible, so he left his room with a bag full of dead creatures and went to the local market.
When he reached the local market he went inside a custom-made shop with a board that said 'Mistress of the Moon'. This was a shop that was owned by a veteran mercenary. Cadets usually called her the 'Gorilla Cyclops'. Her actual name was Luna Agnes.
She had opened her own shop in the camp. She was very powerful and mysterious. People often mentioned that she is as strong as a Monarch Echelon.
"They never saw her fight, still they spread many fabricated rumors about her. She was ordinary in appearance, but people nicknamed her 'gorilla cyclops' because of her bionic arms and an unexpected temper."
Over the entire year, she had taunted him and made many disgusting remarks on him too, but Creed didn't pay attention to that stuff and occasionally did business with her since her price was fair and she had also detached from the army, so she could save him a lot of trouble of keeping hides and carcasses a secret from others.
"So the biggest loser of the century came again, eh?" Luna mocked her customer with a sneer. "How can I offer my services to you, lord of the stinks?"
Creed kept his bag down on the floor.
"Hello! Lady Luna, I want to exchange the beast hides and some leftover carcasses from some long-range and mid-range weapons!"
"Why bother? You will die in JETs, anyway!" Luna taunted him after a sarcastic grin. "So why waste weapons ?"
"Thank you, ma'am, for advising me about the potential dangers ahead," Creed showed her a pile of dead skin and bones. "But I would still like to go along with it."
"For this much, I can only give you two mid-range plasma bombs or one long-range energy blaster," Luna sighed as she glances at the pile. "No returns, no negotiation, take it, or leave it !"
"Ma'am I am very sorry but actually I have 9 more bags, such as this, can you please recalculate the price?" Creed asked politely.
"9 mo... don't fucking test my patience kid!" Luna gestured him to leave "Just bring the whole damn thing, then I will decide the price"
After that, he brought all the bags one by one. She gazed at the pile, then asked him.
"You still have your root chakra closed, right?" Luna got curious about the gigantic pile of beasts' bodies. "When did you kill so many beasts? "
"Yeah, I still haven't opened it yet, but I am getting close to it. Half of these are my entire year of effort." Creed then presented her with a made-up story. "Half of them are Jake's but he couldn't come so he asked me to sell them."
"Kid, don't lie to me ... these beasts are at most two months old, even if you preserve them." Luna had a peculiar look on her face now. "But I don't like to pry in other's business, so I'll let it slide ... that is, if you answer my one question ."
"What is it, Ma'am? " - Creed had no option but to ask.
"Have you ever heard about a man named 'Paurush' ?".
"Have you ever heard of a man named 'Paurush'?" Luna glanced at him, narrowed eyes."No, I haven't." Creed shook his head, rubbing his chin. "Is he someone related to you?""Dievi Krita Zem Eldr,"Luna chanted some strange words and asked. "Ever heard of this phrase before?""No, Maam... I don't understand what that means either!"Luna glanced at him for an extended moment, the eye contact flustered Creed. Her focused gaze told him that she was seeking something. Creed found himself stuck in an awkward moment."If you don't know, then nevermind!" Luna sighed and changed the topic abruptly."For all the beast bodies, I will give you 22 mid-range weapons or 10 long-range weapons."'... Hmm, As I thought, the market price is higher! She is selling them at a cheaper rate! If it wasn't for her rudeness, this place would have been packed with customers.'See that Creed was thinking about something a moment later. She presented
When Creed saw that Wolf was on his team, his blood boiled. He also saw that his ring was hanging from his neck in form of a necklace. He just wanted to beat him to death, but he couldn't right now. Creed couldn't ignore the fact that Wolf Hilton was a troublesome fly and a crafty fox.What Creed needed right now was patience. His mind was clogged with surviving the current predicament than their petty squabbles. Wolf wasn't weak, but now Creed was no bug either, so he waited patiently to deal with him later with his element of surprise.There was a total of 10 teams who were taking part in this year's JETs, each with around 10-12 members. As Creed predicted, authorities had assigned him to squad-5, which comprised 11 members, including him. They were a balanced team. The place which authorities decided squad-5 to explore was called 'Tomb of Cerberus', a newly discovered labyrinth.Lin started the conversation, "I am the team leader for our team. Some of us know
"Crap! What happened?" Wolf looked at the gate. "Where did he go?""Fuck! what do we do now?" Guss's panicked like a herd of sheep."Did he just teleported beyond the gate?? Is he alive or dead?"The Ancient Gate being an active teleporter was the last thing that everybody expected. Even more, its destination coordinated, and the range was also unknown. He could be anywhere, buried miles inside the ground or even deep inside the bottomless sea."I guess, we will have to find that out ourselves!" Lin sighed heavily."Alright! I am going in, you can choose not to come... but," Lin proceeded towards that door then looked back. "Let me say it clearly, Whatever we find from that side will only belong to those who risk their lives."This time Lin gave everybody a choice instead of an order as a squad leader. Lin's primary objective behind this was to filter out people who can really stand straight against an unknown danger. It wa
"Damn it! I think we've lost them!" Lin asked Roy, annoyed. "Can you sense anybody?"Roy shook his head. "Nope! everyone is too far away... "Earlier when the alpha beast appeared, they all ran in different directions and luckily one of the smaller beasts followed Roy and Lin while the alpha followed someone else. Lin and Roy took advantage of this situation and ran away to save themselves.For Roy and Lin, things became pretty straightforward after that. The small one followed both of them and got killed by those two since it was already comparatively weak in front of their teamwork. But now they were too far away from their prior location. Wolf seemed to have run along with Remy in a different direction too.Creed and Mira also got detached from the group. Now they were all lost and scattered. The Hall seemed very huge and spacious since the pillars were blocking their vision in every direction. They couldn't track themselves or others. Lin and Roy gues
*Cough**Cough* ~huff ~huffMira opened her eyes, gasping for deep breaths."Seriously! What a shitty dream!" Mira's vision was still fuzzy, "Dying on the first da—Wait!"A sudden familiar throbbing pain rushed out to her. She held her head. A possibility that this all wasn't a dream crept up in her mind. She got up in haste. Though she had recovered completely, the smell of excreted skin and puss still lingered. This pungent smell was the biggest disadvantage of the beta-pill.The secretion of spiked enzymes and metabolism boosters inside the body consumed the energy of the body with an unrestricted speed which leads to rapid activation of the cells. The activated cells repair the body but they die fast as well leading to a heinous outlasting stench.Mira lost balance and tripped on her butt when she tried to get up too fast."Shit!! it wasn't a dream!!""How am I even alive? And what happened to him?"A barrage of
"Mateo!""You are alive! But I saw the beast took you." Mira couldn't believe her eyes. "How did you survive?"When they came closer to the pillar, it stunned both of them. They saw Mateo sitting wounded on the floor against the pillar; He was eating something from his pocket. His left hand was badly injured while his clothes were painted with blood. He looked exhausted."Mira!! ... and Creed!!""Where did you come from?" He turned at them, startled, " And how did you guys find me?""We were coming this way to search for others, luckily we spotted you..." Mira replied."Others!!" Mateo retorted, surprised. "So they aren't with you? How did you all scatter?"."Don't ask, It's a long story. All of us got separated so me and Creed are searching for others," Mira explained hastily, then asked. "More importantly, what happened to you after the fight? I almost assumed you were --""Dead!" Mateo interjected, "Well, you weren't t
##NOTE - Sometimes I am calling the 'floating heart' the 'floating tumor' or 'tumor'... I did this because the appearance of the Floating Heart is very grotesque, almost like a tumor. ##"Well, somebody needs to check it out, right?" Roy wanted to save his skin, so he went with fake compliments. "Creed's got the finest luck out of all of us!""Shut up! I am not going there alone," Creed howled angrily."How is that thing alive?" Mira kept gazing at the gruesome details of the floating tumor. "It has a rhythm, but it's so menacing!""Listen, this is just a waste of time, somebody needs to check it out!," Mateo kept looking at Creed."Okay!! how about we select two people out of us randomly?" Lin looked at others for their input, "How about we do it by a lottery? The chosen two will check it out .""Fine, then. Let's do a lottery." Creed replied.A sense of relief washed over Creed. He didn't want to go near that obnoxious thing. Every
"What do you mean by 20%?" Mateo glanced at Creed with agitation. "No!! 20% is too low !!""It's either that or nothing!" Creed replied hastily. "And every minute those odds get worse, so decide fast!""I have no problem," Mira said as she looked at Creed."In fact, I like those odds, at least it's not a 'Zero',""I am fine too... it's better than nothing at least," Lin and Roy agreed as they saw this as their last hope. "We don't have a plan anyway!""Yeah, me too," Remy said as she was still slaughtering the newborns."No problem here either," Wolf agreed too."Okay, so if everybody is on board then let me tell you my plan..." Creed kept making gestures and explained his plan while fighting, they all kept listening while keeping the newborns at bay. After he finished explaining everyone went silent, nobody made any comment. Though Mateo's soul seems to be leaking out of his body."That's your plan?" Mateo howled angrily,