Sergeant Kim stood in front of the line of privates, his chest puffed out and his chin held high. He was a formidable figure, with broad shoulders and a stern expression that commanded respect.
The privates stood at attention, their eyes fixed on the obstacle course ahead.
"Listen up!" Sergeant Kim bellowed. "Today, we will be conducting the promotion Drill This is no ordinary training exercise. This is a test of your physical and mental abilities, a measure of your worth as soldiers."
The soldiers nodded their expressions grave. They knew the drill well.
"Since we have a newbie here, explain to him how it's done, Private Nakamura!"
Sergeant commanded and Hiro stepped forward and starts explaining, while Leon smirked at the sight of his buddy.
"It consisted of four parts: an obstacle course with lasers, if you get tagged by them, the suits will paralyse you for 5 seconds, then we got to push that boulder there boulder from one location to another, a combat robot for martial arts, and a 10 mile run. The winner would be declared by the quickest individual time."
"Is that clear to you boy?" Sergeant's Commanding tone as he waves Hiro to go back to his position.
"Yes SIR!" Leon replied, but then the sergeant turned around, looked Leon in the eyes, and bellowed.
"I am not your uncle her cadet, IT IS EITHER YES SEARGENT OR SARGE?! DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME, BOY!"
"YES, SEARGENT!" Leon replied with no hesitation or fear.
"GOOD!, Now let's go to the site. Follow me, soldiers!" He started walking towards the course.
There were military-grade battle suits that the corporal from the lab commanded us to equip. They started to do so without question in the respective rooms without asking questions.
No one spoke to Leon but did not stop glancing at him and whispering behind his back.
"So He is from the Lawless cocoon?" he heard a few whispers making Leon chuckle.
'well, this was an expected reaction' he chucked as he suits up and Luke approaches him.
"Is there something I can help you with?" Leon asks Him to pretend to not know him or hate him.
"You have a good physique from what I can see, I am Luke Agnus, If you do qualify, I'll be pleased to make you my 'acquaintance'," Luke spoke in a polite tone.
'Acquaintance eh, how many people have you fooled into loyalty with that line.' Leon thought inwardly while we wore a smile on our faces and shook hands with Luke.
"I am Leo Regalis, nice to meet you, but I usually don't go making friends with someone who knows they are going to lose."
Leon replied and then walked past Luke after dressing up while knocking on his shoulder.
"Excuse me, Bruh ?!" Luke was just stunned by the reaction he recieved.
"You are excused…." Leon turned around and smiled, "... and I am not your Bruh" and he exited the room.
everyone looked at each other in confusion while Luke stood there, embarrassed and ignored.
"Take it easy Luke, Just beat him on the test and he won't exist." Denzel reassured him while Luke looks around and sees the others turn their heads away from him.
"Oh we better, lets show that scum his place." Luke growled as a vein popped up on his temple.
After everyone assembled and suited up, Sergeant Kim waited at the start line as the soldiers stepped up to the starting line of the obstacle course.
"the use of your abilities are allowed but if I see any foul play between any of the cadets, I'll personally come and give you all a beating along with a good 5 minutes delay" He threatened them on the spot.
"Yes sir!" They shouted in unison.
'The course was designed to challenge rookies to think and assess their surroundings to all the stimuli possible, while with high walls to climb over, narrow ledges to balance on, they got to dodge as many lasers as physically possible and that is only the first phase....' Leon contemplated as he moved along the group and took his position.
'My abilities are broken but none of them are speed oriented or strength oriented...well best plan right now is get a head start and figure things out on the way.' Leon plans things in his head and took his position on the start line along with the rest of the group.
"On your Marks!
They all rushed into the field while keeping a distance from one and another.
"This is too easy" Denzel charged forward confidently using his cheetah trait.
He got tagged on his back and fell face down as his body was paralysed for five seconds.
'shit!' he cursed in his head and moved his eyes around towards the direction of the other cadets who fell after him as they got tagged.
"Thats what you get for linear movements DJ" Luke commented as he did his best to maneuverer around the obstacles and pass in front of Denzel and then stand straight as he got tagged by the laser, standing his ground.
'that's a smart way to deal with this.' Leon understood Luke's tactic.
Holding one's ground and moving forward in a steady pace is much efficient than collapsing after a short outburst and get delayed in getting up again with the risk of being tagged.
'But it ain't my problem." He grinned ear to ear as he dashed through the gaps as the other cadets ate his dust.
His eyes glowed and moved around in an astonishing speed as he assessed the directions of the incoming lasers and dodged them with minimum effort.
'It seems the gods have put all my stats on evasion when I was born huh' He chuckled as he broke through the crowd and climbed the ropes and crawled through the mud.
and before he knew it he completed the obstacle course and moved forward to the strength test while the rest of the cadets were still only half way through.
"I can't be losing to some hooligan from 6th!" Luke cursed under his breath while he felt the wind of another person dashing through the gaps between the cadets in an inhuman pace.
It was Private Alice Johnson.
The second one to break out of the crowd as each of her steps were like long jumps and spontaneously changing the directions.
when It came to the ropes, she squatted down and jumped across the entire course and started the crawl to catch up.
"That's Alice for you" Luke grins which soon faded as he turns to his left as he sees someone pass forward.
Hiro crosses right in front of Luke, using him as a cover as Luke gets tagged again.
"You can't be serious" A vein popped onto the side of his face as his body froze once more.
"Well that's what happens if you take the problem linearly Luke" He heard DJ's voice who decided to go invisible ad continue the obstacle course and then use his speed to catch up to the rest.
"You know that's not what I meant!" Luke retorted back as he was now the fifth in the race!.
"The boy is indeed interesting as you said chief. I didn't expect him to make it in the top 3." The sergeant commented as they watch the cadets down the watch tower.
"Well neither did I but this batch is not to be underestimated, there are quite the few bigshots this time." Lana commented back as she took a puff of her cigarette.
"Lets see if he can still stay on the top."
meanwhile, Leon places his hands on the boulder and looks at its size.
'Loki said he crafted his body to withstand my talents, Let's see if that bastard's words had any truth in them.'
''Not so easy..ugh!!" He gritted his teeth and pushed the boulder in a decent pace but it was not completely circular and its smooth surface was not helping the task at hand.
"Looks like he is not a strength based one," Seargent smirked as he saw the end of the obstacle, another one break through and start their second task.
Alice ran straight towards the boulder and kicked it with the force that pushed the boulder half way the distance between her and Leon.
'shit!' Leon's forehead started to sweat as he saw her prepare for another kick.
"Need to keep up!" He started to put in even more effort as Denzel joined in followed by Hiro and Luke.
Swoosh!, A boulder flew past him and crashed ahead as Alice glanced at him on the way forward charging for another kick.
It didn't take long for Alice to make it first and surprisingly move ahead to the next stage while Hiro and Leon made it to the third stage at the same time and looked at each other.
'Damn..' Leon gulped as he stared at Hiro's steaming fists.
Just like Alice's boulder, Hiro's was almost broken up into pieces with multiple impact pits as if it collided with something hard.
"What did the rock do to you?" He asked jokingly while Hiro rotated his wrists.
"I am not the pushy kind" Hiro joked back while they heard a shout from behind.
"Don't you look down on me!" Luke yelled a battle cry as he pushed the boulder in a surprisingly fast pace as his sweat drips down from his hair.
"Well we get going I guess" Hiro mumbled and smiled at Leon who nodded and smiled back as they both rushed into the third stage.
A martial arts showdown with a combat robot.
They saw each cadet seems to get their own bot and Leon heard the impact noises from Alice's current fight.
"Ki! Yah!!" Alice groaned as she sent another kick flying towards the bot which countered her move with a perfect fine tuned counter attack of the same style and then ending the sequence with a round house kick to the chest, sending her back while discarding the damaged piece of its leg which collided.
"Tch" she clicked her tongue and wiped the sweat off her forehead and rushed back in.
'A robot was programmed to mimic the movements and attacks of real-life opponents, they spent a decent buck on this.' Leon concluded and looked at his bot as it got up and its eyes glowed up.
He looked back at it and grinned.
'Then the game plan is simple, destroy the machine before it adapts with a sure kill.'
'Time to face this bloody bot.' Leon braced himself, his muscles tensed as the robot approached.
He was quick, his movements graceful as he dodged every strike which came at him his eyes glowed for a moment showing his attention to the two bad spots under the bot's arm which moved a tad bit slower than the rest of its movements.
"And Strike 1" He rolled a dodge of its jab and bent down and strikes the spot with his fist.
Sparks started to shoot out as the bot slowly its arm's movement delayed and started malfunctioning while Leon closed in further, taking the opportunity Leon struck the other spot which was straight at the bot's chin with an uppercut with his fist which loosened the neck joints.
"Strike 3!" He performed a crescent kick with that momentum and ripped the bot's head off the body as the rest of it falls down.
"this was way too easy," he thought with a grin and started running the final stretch of the test before he could dance for his victory as soon as he noticed Alice and Hiro and surprisingly even Luke were already done with wreaking their bots.
"Where did you find this guy…" Kim asked the chief while hiding his surprise and maintaining his composure.
"He came to find me to be honest," Lana replied.
"Can he be trusted?" Kim asks to which Lana shakes her head
"No, He has his uses and I plan on dealing with him after he has served his purpose, but till then I will search what and all I can get on him" Lana said as she continues to view the drill.
"But if casualties are caused because of him, the fault will be on your head." Kim warned.
"I know, I know" she shrugged it off.
The last challenge was the 10 mile run.
It was not a big deal for ability users though but for Leon, he had pushed himself to the limit, his legs pounding the ground as he raced towards the finish line with all he got.
"Just a little jog,.. C'mon!" he thought with a smirk. "I've got this in the bag."
He has always been a fast runner and running was what Leon was most confident in as he always loved doing it, even from his problems to be fair.
He picked up the pace while Luke and Hiro were still shoulder to shoulder compared to Alice who managed to maintain her position in the first place and speeding ahead.
"Gah!.." Alice grabbed the side of her head as the pain increased and her pace reduced compared to before.
"My time has come!" Luke roared and shoulder pushed Hiro and charged forward, now just behind Alice.
"Not happening." Hiro persisted and was once again was about to be toe to toe with Luke but then another person pushed him aside and appeared.
"Just stay where you are" Denzel appeared on the track securing the current third place.
"shit" Leon cursed as he saw that they have about a mile left.
'They have all used their abilities to a decent level and their head must be already killing them by now'
'But still, At this rate, I won't be able to win.' Leon bit his lip and pushed himself to their proximity.
'I-..I am sorry' He stared dead straight at Alice who had a secured first place and his eyes glowed green.
"argh.." Alice suddenly clenched her head as her vision started to get blurry and then turned upside down, making her trip and fall on Luke which made him fall and both Denzel and Hiro who were unable to react in time crashed into them.
"Hey, you alright?" Luke asked Alice who was holding her head but nodded slowly and then looked at Denzel and Hiro who fell over them who stuck out a thumbs up in the air before he could ask.
Fortunately, No one was injured but Before they realized it, the silhouette of Leo's iconic red hair crosses over their visions before them ran with all his might towards the finish line.
"Fuck! Get up!!" they pushed each other up and unanimously chased after Leon who got a head start now.
Luke gritted his teeth while Alice also decided to push herself they both stared at Leon's back as all three of them almost reached the finish line.
They all cross the line and jogged to slow down the pace and turned towards the screen.
1- Leon Regalis
2- Alice Johnson
"We got a monstrous batch, this time even though those guys slacked a bit in the end." the Sargent looked at the board and then at Leon who was trying to catch his breath.
"Especially after seeing that fella heartlessly crossing over his fallen comrades, its going to be an interesting turn of events." The chief nodded and stared at Leon.
"..That...was incredible..." Leon murmured with his eyes wide as he was catching his breath and leaning on his knees with sweat dripping down on his chin.
'In the last moment, deception worked up and did something to them...but overall...'
Leon turns around to see the rest of them who were on the floor panting.
'Winning is an EXHILARATING FEELING!' Leon grinned as felt the joy of crushing people, It was especially satisfying seeing Luke's expression.
He then turned his attention to Alice who was apologising for the accident.
Soon the rest of them arrived. Few people failed to come in within the right time and were disqualified from the promotion.
21 cadets remain.
Sergeant Kim approached the finish line, his eyes scanning the soldiers as they caught their breath. "Well done, soldiers," he said, a hint of pride in his voice.
"Despite the small instances, You've all shown remarkable strength and determination today. But there can be only one winner."
Sergeant Kim walked over with a proud smile on his face. "Well done, Leo" he said.
"Thank you sir!" Leon bowed and the sergeant nodded and turned around.
'heh' He then winked at the chief who's eyes widened by surprise and then turned around in a huff and then walked towards him and sealed a badge on his uniform.
"Congratulations, you are now directly a First class Private." She smiled.
Meanwhile, a certain drunk girl wakes up late in her bed with a throbbing headache….
'...ugh…. What happened last night…. I stink…." she slowly got up and went to the bathroom but ended up puking in the toilet.
'Ugh… why does that name keep coming up in my head….
Quest 1 - [Military drills are baby steps - part 1]
BECOME A SEARGENT [1%]
Subtask 1 -NEW LOOK[Completed]
Subtask 2- Get yourself admitted into the military [completed on paper]
Subtask 3 [optional] Get a girl [Not started]
Subtask 4- Get awakened [Completed]
Subtask 5- Attain the corporal rank [initiated]
Subtask 6- ???
Penalty: Death offered by Hel
Reward: Unlocking a random rune.
Quest -2 collects 3 human souls [Not started]
Deadline [ 90 days left]
Penalty: Permanent Death