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XE Chapter 2

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Chapter 2 – A Dangerous Awakening

The crowd is split into two sides, leaving a relatively big gap in the middle that allows me to see what’s going on.

First thing that catches my eye is an impatient looking guy that seems to be from a family so rich that they can buy a house with plain cash alone. Behind this guy is a pair of students of similar age. Naturally, the more important thing to judge is their facial expressions. From what I can tell, they should be the children of some nouveau riche parents. Facing this trio is a boy with shifty looking eyes. I can just vaguely remember that this guy’s a second year student at my school.

I can’t help but shift my gaze away from this vulgar plot of one side relying on force to bully others. At least, I didn’t expect to encounter something like this today.

Despite the fact that Canglan High School is close to the city, any sort of interaction with it is rare. Even though it’s a famous school for nobles and right across from us, their school rules are very strict. Not only are the juniors of these rich families not as insufferably arrogant as one might expect, they are also trained to be upstanding people.

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In other words, they aren’t the kind of people to bully the weak with power. In fact, they are actually nicer and more polite than one can imagine. Yet, I still need to single out a certain type of rich people. That is… well… the nouveau riche are just retards.

While I’m not sure if the bullies in front of me are part of the nouveau riche or just plain retarded, this is still the first time I saw such a cliche scene. Whatever. They’ll probably be punished for this when they go home anyway. It seems that the person before me has bad luck, however, as there’s no way he can fight against so many people.

The tongues of the surrounding crowd continues to waggle without pause, yet not a single one steps forward.

No one dares to go over and touch that guy’s moldy head. The same goes for those students of Canglan High School, despite how many of them detest such despicable conduct.

I didn’t expect to run into something that can put me in such a bad mood so early in the morning.

“Ah Jun.” Qian Qian pulls on my sleeve as she whispers into my ear, “Let’s go already. I don’t want any trouble.”

I clench my teeth and lower my head, looking at a brick. Qian Qian tugs on my clothes again and I know it’ll be useless, even if I have a brick. Sighing, I turn to leave.

I don’t even need to guess to know what happens afterward. With some flimsy reason on their side, the bullies will create a stage that allows the three of them to gang up on their victim, beating him up and humiliating him in the process. The bullies derive some weird sort of pleasure from this while the victim from my school will only be able to chalk this up as his own bad luck. I don’t know what sort of conflict they have with one another, but I’m certain that things will play out like this.

Actually, it’s not that I don’t sympathize or don’t have a sense of justice. It’s just that with how normal I am, I’m really powerless in situations like this. Maybe I’d make it out fine if I swung a brick in a surprise attack, but it’ll become really troublesome afterward. It might even involve my big sister. Ah, the life of a person isn’t easy at all…

It’s just… I can’t get rid of this sullen feeling in my heart. Can throwing a brick at them in a place without anyone knowing be better?

Before I left the crowd, I turn to take one last look at those rich kids.

“Tch.” I mutter under my breath, “I really want to give them a good beating.”

It was only an expression of my opinion, but something seemed to fall within the depths of my brain. It issued a faint ‘kada’ sound. I shake my head in confusion, verifying that I’m not hearing things. Yet, it seems that the ‘kada’ sound really did echo from the depths of my mind with its exceptional clarity.

A bout of dizziness suddenly washes over me as the image of that metal world from my dreams every night appears in my head. A voice calls out from the depths of my mind.

[Accepting external command… Authority confirmed…

Analyzing command pattern… Executing… Target confirmed…

Invoking Zenith Remote Void Strike System… Preparing trial strike…

FIRE!]

Just when the voice stops speaking, from the corner of my eye I see a translucent pillar of light with the thickness of a person’s arm descend into the middle of the crowd. It fell and silently disappeared at the foot of the rich kid.

Apparently, no one else saw this beam of light, everyone’s attention placed solely on the people in the center. I shouldn’t have been able to see this either, but for some reason, I’d clearly seen the trajectory of that stream of light.

With the dissipation of that stream of light, I can now see a glowing red hole where it touched the ground. Molten stone is slowly pouring into the hole due to surface vaporization.

What is this? No way is this natural. Is it the work of a god? An encounter of the third kind? Did an alien’s fuel leak out and land here? Is the Jade Emperor pissing wherever he pleases?

A series of explanations flow through my mind in a split second. This is a problem of mine since I was little. My brain can be idle one moment, then becomes chaotic and full of disjointed thoughts in the next. I don’t believe in any of those bizarre explanations since I somewhat think my mind is playing tricks on me. Yet, the sight before me confirms what I thought I’d seen.

That arrogant bully suddenly takes a step forward, as if he wants to do the job himself. He just so happens to step into that lava covering the ground.

In the next moment, I hear the squeals of a pig being slaughtered. “Aoeeeee!”

His clothes are clearly made of flammable material, and the heat of the lava is enough to ignite it. After his pants catch fire and burn to ashes, the rest of the flames spread to cover his body. In just a moment, he’s on fire and numerous students rush in to save him while many others take out their cellphones to text to their friends, [I just saw someone spontaneously combust outside the school gate!]

Yet, I’m not paying any attention to this chaos.

That terrifying voice sounds in my mind once more.

[Trial strike completed…

Recalculating parameters… Calculations complete…

Charging main weapons array… Charging secondary weapons array…

Ready to fire all weapons in ten seconds…

10…

9…

8…

7…]

Whatever this is, I know one thing for certain: something bad is about to happen!

That first trial attack is able to melt the ground, so if this is now the true serious attack, then I think my school will finally make it on TV… as a scene of burned ruins, or an explosion site and so on.

Fuck! Stop! I shout within my heart using all my might, but that strange voice doesn’t speak and just continues with the countdown. I’m sweating bullets now. Just what is the trick to turning this 

“Ah Jun, what’s going on with you? Why is your face so pale?” Qian Qian nervously questioned me after discovering how abnormal I’m being.

Damn it! Damn it! Just what is this thing! Why won’t it listen to me!?

[6…

5…]

Cold sweat drips down my face.

[4…

3…]

“Qian Qian!” I shout out desperately as I grab her hand and start running from this location, dragging her along. Despite my actions, I’m not sure we’ll be fast enough to escape that incomprehensible attack that is about to arrive.

But regardless, I can’t let Qian Qian be harmed because of me!

“Ah Jun, what…” Qian Qian is surprised by my sudden actions and can’t help but shout out in dismay.

[2…

1…]

A dizziness suddenly washes over me and my vision blacks out.

I can vaguely hear Qian Qian calling out my name in panic.

[Critical systems error. An anomaly has appeared in the external command received. External command no longer possesses the highest authority…

Halting Zenith Remote Void Strike System operations…]

Fuck! What the hell is that—that hurts!  

This is my last thought before passing out.


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No spoilers