Legend of the Supreme Soldier - Chapter 576: Distance I
Chapter 576: Distance I
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
The journey back to base was not without difficulty. They encountered a few more waves of wild creatures, and suffered more casualties. Ye Chong did not interfere too much, as he decided to let the students do most of the fighting. His objective was to train the students. Being overprotective would not serve this purpose. As long there were no mass casualties, he would refrain from interfering.
This process of elimination was cruel, but necessary.
Once they were back to base, everyone felt relieved. In the next few days, Ye Chong did not bring them out for more battles. Instead, he ordered them to analyze their fights. The analysis process would help new soldiers mature faster, and help them understand more about teamwork.
The students had now experienced the cruelty of battles first hand. No one slacked in their roles. That would be like giving up one's life. When battling in groups, survival relied on more than just on individual strength, but also teamwork.
Xi Yan approached Ye Chong. "Teacher, all the backup parts for the mechs are done. What do we build next? The metals in the warehouse are piling up. If we don't use them fast enough, we'll have to build a new warehouse." Xi Yan was now the manager of the technical division in their base, leading a busy life.
Ye Chong took a moment to appreciate how plentiful Darkniss was. It was a huge metal wonderland, more than enough to satisfy the needs of five thousand people. All the liquid metal they harvested from Lava River was now starting to challenge the capacity of their warehouse.
The backup standard mechanical parts for all the mechs were completed, and still they could not use up the metal stored in the warehouse. Ye Chong never imagined that he would one day face a problem of having too much metal in his hands.
He considered the issue, and then said, "Build armor for the stronghold's outer walls. Hmm, change all the support structures to alloys too."
"Yes sir," Xi Yan agreed readily. Indeed, a stronghold made of rocks was risky. To Xi Yan and his comrades, Darkniss was a dangerous place. Fitting metal armor to the stronghold was a sizable operation, but not as complicated as building mechs. It should not take too long for them. Besides, he would be able to solve the problem of overstocking metals in the warehouse.
"We might as well expand the stronghold while you're at it. Extend five kilometres outwards. Do this in stages, from one corner of the stronghold to the next." Ye Chong reminded Xi Yan of the precautions. Safety was always their utmost priority. When the modification work was underway, the stronghold's defences would be lowered. If any wild creatures decided to attack the stronghold while they work, it would very well be very fatal to them.
Xi Yan nodded in understanding.
Ye Chong thought of another problem. He asked Xi Yan, "How are they doing?"
Xi Yan knew that Ye Chong was referring to the technicians. He smiled and said, "Those guys are giving it all they got, they know it's a chance of a lifetime. Since Teacher has offered so much precious knowledge to them, they're learning as fast as their minds can take it."
"How's their progress?" Ye Chong asked.
Xi Yan considered the question. "Not bad, especially the younger ones. They learn faster. However, the others are more experienced, so they're ahead of the group. I think, though, the younger people have more potential, but it will take time to nurture them."
Ye Chong nodded and thought about his assessment. He then said, "Divide them into groups of five, and allocate a lab for each group. If they need any materials, they can get them from you, but if they require equipment, have them figure it out themselves. Hmm, they'll have access to all the equipment available."
A laboratory needed a lot of equipment to be functional. Ye Chong hoped that the technicians could get more hands-on experience. They must first learn how to use the advanced equipment available to them, and then move on to building their own equipment. The latter would be hard, requiring not only a firm base of fundamental knowledge but also physical strength to tinker with nuts and bolts. Ye Chong did not expect all of them to reach this stage, to all become Masters. Instead, he hoped that this arrangement could help them absorb new knowledge faster.
Xi Yan nodded, understanding the reasoning behind Ye Chong's decision. "Alright, consider it done."
The battle analysis session was finally over. Ye Chong was surprised by the thick reports that the students handed in to him. They were doing much better than he expected. In the reports, the students pointed out the mistakes and oversights made during battle, and ways to rectify them. The analysis was detailed but holistic. Aside from a few minor things, Ye Chong found them to be perfectly acceptable.
Appilok, Duan Qian and Shu Mo'er had also handed a personal report each. Duan Qian and Shu Mo'er focused more on the details of the battles, but Appilok's lengthy report surprised Ye Chong the most. After he was finished reading it, he decided to make Appilok the commander of his soldiers. When Appilok was put in charge in their first venture outside, he had convinced the other students of his abilities. Had he had not made a few crucial decisions in battle, they would have suffered even more heavily.
In the next few days, tension gradually seeped out of the students' minds.
On the training ground, it was easy to identify which students who had seen actual combat and which did not. The former trained with more specific goals in mind.
Soon, Ye Chong arranged for another round of real battle experience. This time, Appilok was made leader. 100 students were chosen from the first commando troop, and were each in charge of five students who had never seen real battle. Ye Chong could not be there every time for his students. He must let go for them to learn to be truly independent.
600 mechs eagerly left the stronghold. They were about to experience the realities of actual combat.
Back in the stronghold, the students who were left behind trained even harder. They knew that their turn would come, and the only way to stay alive when it happened was to become a capable combatant.
Ye Chong, who stayed behind as well, went to his laboratory. He wanted to build a pulsed signal relay station, one big enough to cover the whole of Darkniss. Ye Chong was familiar with pulsed signal relay stations. Back on the trash planet, he had lived right beside one. Pulsed signal relay stations were the main medium and the fastest way for interplanetary information transmission.
There were many reasons to a pulsed signal relay station. The most important one was to keep the mechs connected to the stronghold no matter where they were. Another was the possibility to send out drones like the Hummingbirds to study Darkniss.
These were two practical and urgent functionalities that Ye Chong needed.
Pulsed signal relay stations were not too much of a challenge for Ye Chong. The technicalities were not an issue, and his stock of luxurious and advanced equipment was definitely enough to build one.
The main issue he faced was power. After all, if the relay station was to cover the whole of Darkniss, it would have to send out and receive strong signals, and be active at all times. The operation was highly energy consuming.
Since Ye Chong did not have many energy crystals at the moment, considering that his students still needed them for their training, he would have to find the spatial windows that lead to Western Frost or Northern Lands soon. Eastern Cloud would be the last resort.
Even with limited amount of energy crystals, Ye Chong decided to go ahead with building the pulsed signal relay station. It was simply too important for the stronghold. As for the matter of re-stocking energy crystals, if Eastern Cloud was not willing to sell them to him, he would take them by force. Ye Chong considered the latter as a viable alternative. Even though he had grown familiar with Sun Sieha, he would not hesitate to rob the King.
Seven days later, a tall metal structure towered over the stronghold. The students watched with intrigue. The pulsed signal relay station was 135 metres tall, visible from afar. The red blinking light at the peak of the tower was like a beacon in the dark sky of Darkniss.
The pulsed signal relay station was not the handiwork of Ye Chong alone. Aside from the initial design, he had left most of the work to his apprentices. Ye Chong only needed to teach them how to use the complicated equipment. He would repeat his teachings to them for as many times as necessary. These people were the backbone of the technical division, and must be nurtured with care.
The pulsed signal relay station took longer than he expected to complete, but Ye Chong considered it worth the effort.
In the following days, Ye Chong continued to work on other projects. He built a good quantity of improved Hummingbirds. These drones were larger than the original version, and could fly longer. Each improved Hummingbird was fitted with a miniature holographic scanning system. The drone would be able to perform scans and send the result back to base.
The improved Hummingbirds allowed them to explore Darkniss on a larger scale. The drones cost little, and were easy to make. Since exploring Darkniss was a long term operation, the Hummingbirds were not fitted with any defenses. If it was to encounter an aerial creature like the gold-striped black dragon, it would most likely be destroyed. That was only a small trouble for Ye Chong. The Hummingbirds were used primarily to avoid human casualties.
Hence, Ye Chong took to building 100 improved Hummingbirds, and then released 50 of them into the wilderness. He also set up a comms station in the stronghold, and assigned some students to the place. Ye Chong was confident that he would uncover all the secrets of Darkniss with the improved Hummingbirds flying out there,.
Deep in the purple mist, Rui Bing and Sang Kan ran and ran. Rui Bing's Guardian still gleamed without blemish in its characteristic gold. Sang Kan carried Aried on his back and trailed behind Rui Bing.
For the past few days, the trio had left a bloody path in their wake.
Madam Rui Bing was strong! Guardian was strong!
Sang Kan had to give it to her. His help was not needed so far. The red-tailed beasts were not a threat to Madam Rui Bing at all. Most of all, Rui Bing had good endurance, never showing any signs of faltering.
Sang Kan was not afraid of the red-tailed beasts that came for them. Compared to the Beast Stampede, this was child's play.
This was Day Five. They had been running in the purple mist for five days. Sang Kan did not need a watch to know how much time had passed.
The red-tailed beasts here were not powerful. In fact, they were pitifully weak. The flesh nests did not look right too, but the three of them could not spare time to ponder on their observations. Their priority was to get out of the purple mist as soon as possible.
In the past few days, Rui Bing had killed many, many red-tailed beasts. This was probably why there were fewer of them attacking in the last two days.
Thus, they advanced much faster than before.
The purple mist was now growing thinner. It was encouraging news for all of them, and they hurried along the way. Aried was having the easiest time of the three. He was shocked at first, carried on Sang Kan's back, but had slowly gotten used to it. Mostly, he occupied himself with his own thoughts, and then went to sleep when he got tired.
"Sang Kan had wide, comfortable shoulders to rest on! What a good student I found myself," Aried mused to himself.
Rui Bing and Sang Kan both had good stamina, but all the running in the past few days was taking a toll on them. Rui Bing had to fight on top of running, and she was beginning to look tired.
On Day 10, they finally emerged from the purple mist.
Rui Bing and Sang Kan looked back at the purple mist, feeling very much relieved. Aried yawned indulgently on Sang Kan's back.
The three of them rested for a while, and then continued on their way.
The terrain began to transform again. Instead of an endless stretch of flat land, there were now mountain ranges around them. Curiously, some of the mountains were bald, but others were covered with lush greenery. There was a sense of discord in seeing these mountains in between each other.
Rui Bing and Sang Kan exchanged a look, and saw the wariness in each other's eyes. The stranger a place looked like, the more likely it was to harbor strange things, and these strange things were more often than not dangerous to them.
Suddenly, they heard a scuffling sound from one of the bald mountains some distance away. There was a cloud of dust on that same mountain.
The two exchanged a look, and decided to investigate. They were near the dust cloud in no time. On Sang Kan's back, Aried yawned again and proceeded to nap.
When Rui Bing and Sang Kan went closer, they saw that it was actually two wild animals fighting.
However, both Rui Bing and Sang Kan, who were not frightened by anything they had encountered in the purple mist, found themselves alarmed by what they saw.
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