Eclipse Hunter Volume 1: Brothers
Original novel in Chinese by: 御我(Yu Wo)
Chapter Four: The Most Important Task—Battling—translated by Trespasserby (proofread by Arcedemius & elisa; C/E edited by lucathia)
Actually, Ri Xiang Ye knew that this was a colossal battle simulator.
The battle simulator gymnasium was Yelan Academy’s most iconic feature. It was rumored that the principal went out of his way to develop it as a collaborative effort. When Ri Xiang Ye had chosen to come to Yelan Academy, a large part of the reason was because of the simulator.
A giant projection appeared in front of Ri Xiang Ye as soon as he walked in. On the screen was a sagely old man. There were so many wrinkles on his face that even a mosquito wouldn’t dare to land there, for risk of being squished between the folds.
But this seemingly virtuous elder revealed a mischievous smile and flippantly said, “Hello, little friend! I am Yelan Academy’s principal, Ah Na Yi. Please enter your password and then you can begin battling to your heart’s content.”
“I do not have a password,” Ri Xiang Ye declared honestly.
Ah Na Yi, who wasn’t acting elderly at all, froze for a moment but switched to a cheerful expression and said, “So you’re a new friend. Don’t worry. Come, come. It’ll be O.K. once we set up a password. Pick a username you like.”
This old man should be a preprogrammed image and not an actual person speaking to me. Ri Xiang Ye came to this conclusion, briskly nodded, and said, “Dark Sun. The password is XXXX.”
“Account successfully created. Little friend Dark Sun, choose your battle gear and weapons.”
After Ah Na Yi finished speaking, all sorts of battle gear appeared in midair. The battle gear ranged from Pikachu suspenders and white and blue flip flops to a Mazinger Z costume. Weapons ranged from blackboard erasers and chalk all the way to a fully armed tank with a cannon.
Ri Xiang Ye looked at the myriad of things with interest. He was originally going to say he didn’t need anything, since Dark Sun was already an ultimate weapon, but he remembered his brother’s instructions again.
Gēge says: You can’t let other people know how strong you are!
Ri Xiang Ye thought it over. If that were the case, he couldn’t battle, but he had to go in to observe Ezart… As he was worrying over it, he noticed a simple outfit out of the corner of his eye.
It was a tight-fitting red shirt and jeans with a pair of tall boots over the jeans. It could be said to have nearly no defensive capabilities, but the most important thing was that this outfit also had a visor to go with it.
Ri Xiang Ye’s line of reasoning was very simple. As long as other people couldn’t tell it was him, he could enter the gymnasium to fight while not going against his brother’s instructions.
“Do you want that one? No problem!”
After he finished speaking, the set of clothes was superimposed onto Ri Xiang Ye.
To avoid being discovered, Ri Xiang Ye even ruffled his tidy hair until it was a huge mess and then checked how he looked. His originally slim figure seemed even slimmer with the tight-fitting clothes. The jeans and boots made Ri Xiang Ye’s figure look taller and thinner. The tousled hair actually looked more stylish than the original neat and tidy hairstyle.
However, Ri Xiang Ye still wasn’t satisfied. He stopped smiling and retrieved Dark Sun’s unsmiling expression from the microchip. Immediately the amiability on his face vanished. The dorky aura he had been emitting became a cold and detached one. His entire persona changed, abruptly going from a good little bookworm to an ice cold bad boy.
“Weapons?” Ah Na Yi asked.
Dark Sun frowned. He knew he had to choose one of the offered weapons. After all, in a battle simulation like this where the participants were real people, he couldn’t use actual weapons against them, or there would be fatalities. Consequently, he could only use simulated weapons to avoid injuring them.
Of course, there were exceptions, too. In the past, all the simulated battles Dark Sun participated in at the laboratory had used real guns.
“Give me a set of knives and a pistol.”
A gun holster was fastened to Dark Sun’s right thigh, and the knives were strapped next to his boots.
“Seeing as this is your first time using this, I, Ah Na Yi, will explain things to you. Opponents in battle could look like anything from strange aberrations and robots to little girls and pregnant women. Some of them might be simulations, but they can also be your classmates. You can form alliances or you can view them all as enemies. In short, whoever is the last to survive is the winner. And with this, I wish you a happy battle, Dark Sun.”
The doors slowly opened with rays of light spilling forth. Dark Sun slowly turned around and waited to enter.
Dark Sun couldn’t be more familiar with battle simulators. Ever since he was seven, the core of his life, aside from surgeries, check-ups, and rehabilitation, was constant battling to accumulate various data the researchers could use to make improvements.
He walked into the light. Battle mode activated at the same time.
The setting of the battle was an empty city. There were a total of twenty-six enemies in the vicinity. Twenty of them demonstrated hostile intentions. Ten already had the intent to attack. Two were already within range of attack.
“Where’d this idiot come from? Picking that sort of useless equipment, he must think he’s some sort of hot shot, trying to act all cool!”
“Ha! He’s really a fool. Look at him. He’s only got a pistol and some knives! He’s practically feeding us points!”
As soon as Dark Sun turned his head, he saw two people wearing light, bullet-proof armor. One person was holding a submachine gun with a high bullet capacity. The other person was holding a shotgun with high firepower.
“O.K. Let’s kill him quickly. There’s still a lot of people waiting for us to blast them apart, hahaha.”
The person holding the submachine gun lifted up his gun and revealed an excited smile anticipating his kill…
After the barrage, the ground was peppered with countless bullet holes and a cloud of dust billowed upwards. Under that kind of heavy fire, no one would have been able to escape…
“Where’d he go?!”
The two gun-wielding guys shouted. The way it usually went, the dead participant would simulate a dying pose and be forced against the ground, unable to move an inch, only able to wait for school personnel to retrieve them. However… They only saw the ground littered with bullet holes and not that person’s figure.
When the guy with the submachine gun looked around him, he suddenly heard the guy with the shotgun make a gurgling sound. When he turned his head to look, blood splashed across his entire face. Alarmed, he scrambled back, finally realizing the shotgun-wielding guy’s throat had been split open, blood gushing out unceasingly from it.
Within a few seconds, the system had declared him “dead.” He was then slowly forced against the ground by the system, his eyes showing he was not resigned to his fate at all.
“Bastard! Where are you?!”
The guy with the submachine gun was partly furious, but an even greater part of him was terrified. He desperately strafed the area with his gun, but before he had even finished expending his last bullet, he was already toppling over. He had no idea why and was just about to protest that the system had made an error, that he hadn’t died yet…
“What amazing speed.”
With a head of eye-catching red-orange hedgehog hair, a frightening dragon tattoo on his face, and steel boxing gloves on his hands, Ezart walked over and even flipped the “dead body” onto its back.
“Idiot! You were attacked even before this guy had his throat slit.”
Seeing that the dead body on the ground was looking at him with eyes full of discontent, Ezart coldly huffed and said, “The knife was too fast. After stabbing into your liver, it was immediately pulled out. Someone had already gotten rid of you without you even feeling a thing.”
The dead body on the ground gasped, and his eyes went to his abdomen. As expected, there was a wound there. The wound’s opening wasn’t large, but it was like a water faucet that endlessly poured out blood. It showed just how accurate the knife was at striking a vital point.
“Where’d such a strong fighter come from? It doesn’t look like it’s that Bai Lian Xing guy.”
Ezart smiled with excitement. His fists slammed together several times, sending out the ringing sound of steel as well as a warlike aura that reached the heavens.
Then, Ezart strode away, heading in the direction that person had gone.
Dark Sun walked wherever he felt like. Although he perceived there were numerous people following him, he didn’t pay them any mind unless they wanted to attack him.
What he wanted to do the most at the moment was to find Ezart. Watching him battle other people would be fine, and if he could battle Ezart himself, then he might as well. In short, Dark Sun just wanted to record the battles of strong people and have his microchip analyze and learn from them, so he could become even stronger and accomplish with certainty his purpose of protecting his brother.
Dark Sun searched for a while but had yet to find Ezart or any other strong people. He stopped and watched several battles along the way, but none seemed to match Dark Sun’s criteria for him to want to record.
Searching in this way won’t lead to results! In that case, by eliminating the others, the last person remaining can be confirmed to be Ezart.
Dark Sun set upon a plan and stilled. He took a look around.
“He’s going on the attack!”
The people following him nearby weren’t amateurs. The moment they saw Dark Sun still, this thought emerged in their hearts. Just as they were about to tighten their defenses, Dark Sun took a step onto the wall and used it to leap high up, drawing his gun at the same time. Several rapid fire gunshots rang out. Many groans came from all directions, followed by heavy thudding noises.
None of them are Ezart. Their skills aren’t strong enough.
After he landed, Dark Sun holstered his gun and changed to pulling out his knives. He quickly and agilely sought out his enemies. Some people didn’t even have enough time to turn around and catch a glimpse of him; the knife had already sunk into their brain stem. By the time they were forced to the ground, they would still be puzzled and would curse the system for making an error.
“He suddenly appeared.
“Although I froze for a moment, the gun in my hand didn’t. I fired right away, but he merely jumped forward to the left, as fast as a leopard on the hunt! He left immediately after dodging the bullet. I thought I’d lucked out, but then the system gradually forced me to the ground. It told me that I had already been killed by Dark Sun… It was then that I realized my own throat had actually been slit wide open and was spraying blood!
“Dark Sun. I’ll never forget that name.”
This was recounted by someone who had been killed during that hunt.
These ones are no good either. Dark Sun’s knife was already covered in blood, but he was still unable to find Ezart or a strong person who could take his place. All he could do was continue wandering about everywhere.
Suddenly, the sounds of intense fighting reached his ears. Dark Sun spent only a moment and decided to head toward the sounds of the fighting. He soon drew very close to the source of the sound after a short run.
Dark Sun surveyed the surroundings. The multistoried buildings and street that had originally been there was already halfway to becoming ruins. Walls with holes and corners missing were everywhere. Snapped street lamps and trees were scattered all over. Not to mention the street’s window displays; none of them had escaped damage.
Seeing this scene, Dark Sun knew he had finally met strong fighters. He nimbly jumped onto a building with only its walls left and slowly drew closer without making a sound. As he moved forward several dozen meters the half ruined surroundings gradually turned into ruins. Going even further on left only a large area filled with rubble. It was impossible to tell what the area had originally looked like, but he could finally see the fighters.
Two people were locked in battle. One was powerfully built and had eye-catching orange-red hedgehog hair. It was Ezart, who Dark Sun had been searching for this whole time.
The other person’s figure was in distinct contrast with Ezart’s. His build was exceedingly slender, but at around 180 centimeters, he was considerably taller than the equally skinny Dark Sun. He wore old-fashioned Chinese clothing, and surprisingly, the weapons in his hands were a pair of sai.
Dark Sun stood calmly on the ruined wall, unwaveringly watching the two people fight.
Ezart wore huge steel boxing gloves on both hands. His punches were heavy and fierce, frequently gouging holes into the earth. It was clear that he was to blame for at least eighty percent of the surrounding devastation.
The other person, whose strength paled in comparison to Ezart’s, belonged to the agility type. His movement was like that of a treacherous, impossible-to-predict snake. He evaded Ezart’s fists effortlessly. It was just that his strength wasn’t enough to deal a serious blow against Ezart, who was clad in heavy armor. He could only slice here and there to gradually let Ezart bleed out.
If Ezart were to land a single punch, the man in Chinese clothes would likely be unable to stand back up again. Only, the blow had to connect in the first place. In reality, compared to those fists with freakishly high power yet not enough speed, the slivers of stone thrown up by Ezart’s punches were actually what caused the man the most trouble. From time to time, he’d get nicked and start to bleed.
The two people were both very powerful. Ezart’s exceptional strength didn’t help Dark Sun, but the shifting figure of the man in Chinese clothes would greatly contribute to improving Dark Sun’s evasive capabilities.
A skilled fighter needed but an instant to make his move.
The man in the Chinese clothes made a strange twist with his waist, and with an impossible stance, slipped past Ezart’s fists, fitting himself in front of his opponent’s chest. The two sai bored into the heavy armor, crossing to pierce Ezart’s throat and emerge from the back of his neck.
However, despite having been stabbed through the neck, Ezart still tightened his hands around the slender waist of the man in the Chinese clothes. The man was unable to break free. He could only forcefully rip out his sai. Blood from Ezart’s arteries sprayed everywhere, and Ezart finally let the man in the Chinese robes go. He was slowly forced down by the system.
The man in the Chinese robes held his waist and coldly said with displeasure, “You truly are tenacious. Even when you’ve already lost, you still insist on holding on!”
Ezart lifted his eyes to look at him. His eyes were full of a feverish battling spirit of wanting to fight one more time.
“If you want to fight, wait until the next practical.” The man in the Chinese clothes impatiently turned his head to the side, shouting out to the ruins that had not a soul in sight, “Have you seen enough?”
Dark Sun frowned. He shouldn’t have been detectable. Had he slipped up?
No matter what, Dark Sun wasn’t planning on fleeing. Actual battle had always been the only path to becoming strong.
“Don’t think I didn’t notice. You were all taking advantage of my battle with Ezart to snipe me from behind!” The Chinese robed man’s expression was full of contempt as he spoke.
Dark Sun paused. He finally understood; the man in the Chinese clothes hadn’t been talking about him. After some planning, he decided to remain patient. He intended to wait for the Chinese robed man to finish dealing with everything else, and then have a battle to his heart’s content.
After the Chinese robed man shouted, the people hiding in the vicinity were each scared witless and fled at once. It didn’t matter if they were the sniper the Chinese robed man was talking about or not. Who knew who that was? It was better not to be the scapegoat!
Dark Sun detected that there were several people around them pursuing the people who had been hiding, all with strengths greater than the people he had come across earlier. In a few moments, they had disposed of all of the ten plus people.
After they finished them off, three people returned to the side of the man in the Chinese robes.
The three people had a subservient manner toward the Chinese robed man. It was clear from a glance that they were along the lines of subordinates to the man in the Chinese clothes. There was a man wielding dual guns, an icy beauty with claws on both hands, and an ugly midget whose strength couldn’t be determined.
“Have they all been dealt with?” the Chinese robed man coldly asked.
“The system indicates that there is still one other player beside us.” The woman looked at the man in the Chinese clothes, and the iciness in her eyes melted a little.
“There’s still one left?” The Chinese robed man’s face showed annoyance.
The three underlings all revealed expressions of unease, only they really could not find the whereabouts of the last person.
Suddenly, doubt flashed through the eyes of the man in the Chinese clothes. He turned his head to look at an inconspicuous broken wall, suspiciously looking at its shadow… Were my eyes playing tricks?
He wasn’t certain. He didn’t sense anyone’s presence, and furthermore, after he suddenly turned to look, if a person had been hiding there, they should have at least fidgeted.
Not seeing anything wrong after staring intently for a while, the man in the Chinese clothes slowly turned back around and decided he was too high-strung. He hadn’t heard of anyone among the classes participating in the practical today with the capabilities to evade his expert perception.
Unmoving, Dark Sun watched the Chinese robed man. Once the Chinese robed man stopped scrutinizing his hiding location, he abruptly leaped out. He stabbed the man with the dual guns in both eyes with his fingers, and followed that up with a kick that nearly caved the icy beauty’s chest in. Then with a turn, a punch hit the midget man squarely on the nose.
Although the man in the Chinese clothes was inwardly astonished, he proved himself to be someone who had received specialized martial arts training, an expert who had defeated Ezart. Without waiting for his mind to catch up with events, his hands had already reflexively blocked in front of him with his pair of sai. The air echoed with a melodious reverberation.
The sai and knife collided together again and again at a speed that even shocked both the fighters.
Dark Sun was amazed. Although this wasn’t his fastest speed, he had already surpassed the speed at which humans should be able to think and attack. He didn’t expect there would be someone who would be able to match him.
The man in the Chinese robes was having unspeakable difficulty. At first glance, his dual sai should give him the upper hand, but it was in fact the opposite. Using dual sai required considerable coordination and thought.
But at the moment, the speed behind their attacks and defensive maneuvers allowed him no room for thought. He was relying completely on his body’s reflexes to conduct his attacks and defense. How long can I sustain this?
The Chinese robed man’s complexion was unsightly. This person is strong. Extremely strong. He had already reached his limits, but it seemed his opponent still had more up their sleeve. The Chinese robed man was able to understand this fact through their fight without needing to think about it.
“Who are you?” The man in the Chinese clothes finally couldn’t resist asking. The price for his lapse of attention was a line carved into his arm, the wound spanning his entire forearm.
In the past, Dark Sun would definitely not have allowed himself to get distracted in battle by doing something as pointless as replying to the other person’s question. But now, Dark Sun wasn’t an unfeeling battling machine. He was still Ri Xiang Ye!
And Ri Xiang Ye thought that since the other person had asked and he had the capacity to answer, what was the harm in replying? In addition, his brother wanted him to choose to favor his emotions to make decisions. So Dark Sun still decided to reply in the middle of battle.
“What is your name?” Dark Sun was even a bit curious as to what his opponent’s name was.
“Bai Lian Xing!” It seemed Bai Lian Xing was gritting his teeth as he replied. His hands’ movements had grown slower because of the wound and made his unfavorable situation even direr.
Damn! How can my opponent use an ordinary knife to execute such brutal attacks?
Although Dark Sun knew he only had to use his highest speed and the person before him would immediately be defeated, he wasn’t in any hurry to do so. Bai Lian Xing’s snake-like movement had great value as reference material. Dark Sun was happy to study it longer, so much so that he even lowered his speed to avoid determining the outcome of the battle too soon.
My opponent slowed down? Although he felt it was strange, Bai Lian Xing didn’t think about it further and increased the tempo of his attacks. At times his figure would still, and at others, he would attack with the viciousness of a rattlesnake. If his opponent hadn’t been the cyborg Dark Sun, who was more powerful, an ordinary person would have long been unable to tolerate it.
This was why Ezart considered Bai Lian Xing to be his greatest rival, in addition to never having won against him, even though both his naturally gifted monstrous strength and the skills he obtained through training practically made Ezart an undefeatable fighter!
That was also why everyone in the school feared him, yet he had to meet Bai Lian Xing, a fellow freak with snake-like skills.
It was like a sweet rain after a long drought for Dark Sun. In the laboratory, although they had all sorts of battle simulators, the simulations had been modeled after ordinary people. There hadn’t been any unique talents like this to fight against!
Regarding Dark Sun’s fundamental setting to never stop growing stronger, he obviously had to strive to record battle information, to analyze it and learn from it.
But what Dark Sun was unaware of was that as he was recording someone else, his own battle was also clearly visible to others.
Outside of Yelan Academy’s battle simulator was a massive television screen. In front of the screen was a spacious plaza that allowed people outside to observe the fights. In the beginning, it had been divided up into many smaller screens, broadcasting the situation of each person inside. As more and more people died off, there were fewer and fewer divisions on the screen, and of course, each image on the screen grew larger and larger.
This was now the real start of the show. Every student outside hungrily scanned every battle. Some people were there purely for the excitement; some were there to observe others’ fighting to become stronger themselves; and of course, there were also many who came to support people they admired.
And now, there was only one battle left on the screen. Although two of Bai Lian Xing’s three followers still hadn’t died yet, they didn’t dare to blindly charge in. The two of them knew that while Bai Lian Xing was battling, he loathed being disturbed the most. So the screen had no divisions and just showed one image: the two men battling.
Every person was speechless, their eyes fixed on the battle onscreen. This was a rare sight. Normally, the plaza in front of the screen would be filled with chatting, analyses of the battles, and the flag waving and shouting of people cheering on the ones they admired. In short, even three marketplaces put together wouldn’t be so noisy—but at the moment, there was just a blanket of silence.
“Has Bai Lian Xing met his match? Someone who’s always been unrivaled has finally met his match?” a person finally said to themselves after a long period.
“It seems he’s at a disadvantage, too?” Another asked themselves with an odd expression.
“Who’s that Dark Sun guy? He’s so fast, even faster than Bai Lian Xing… How can he be that quick?”
Once a person had asked as such, everyone looked at each other, and one after another began asking those around them. In a moment’s time, the scene was filled with:
“Is he from your class?”
“Is he an outsider who applied to participate in the battle?”
“Does anyone know Dark Sun?”
Even though the scene was like a pot that had been covered for too long and had suddenly exploded, there was one person who remained unruffled—Ezart.
He had known Dark Sun was strong from the start, so he had followed him. Only, he hadn’t anticipated suddenly meeting Bai Lian Xing along the way, and the two of them had started fighting as usual. And as usual, he had still lost.
But he wasn’t disappointed in the least because another strong fighter had finally appeared in the school. A fighter even stronger than Bai Lian Xing! That’s right! Ezart had seen early on that this Dark Sun’s strength was greater than Bai Lian Xing’s… No, he far outstripped Bai Lian Xing!
“Bai Lian Xing is going to lose for sure.” Ezart spoke a single sentence.
Oddly enough, despite how noisy the plaza was, his words were like a great bell, causing everyone to take note. The people closest to Ezart fell silent, and the silence spread outward from there.
At that moment, as if to prove Ezart’s words true, Dark Sun launched his attack. Bai Lian Xing had long since been weakened and his arms were covered in wounds. After he blocked a few more times, the sai were sent flying, one burying itself in the ground and the other in the ruined wall, so deeply that only the handles were left sticking out.
Onscreen, Bai Lian Xing had likely known he would be defeated sooner or later. He wasn’t very surprised and didn’t struggle further. Instead, he showed a somewhat grim smile and said, “Dark Sun. I will remember you.”
The knife sank in beneath Bai Lian Xing’s smile. A brilliant flower of blood bloomed from his throat.
“Yes, Bai Lian Xing. I will remember you as well.” Dark Sun was merely stating a fact. He would place the name Bai Lian Xing along with his martial arts techniques in a file within his microchip.
Bai Lian Xing revealed a strange smile in response, yet he also seemed satisfied. He slowly toppled over…