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Ravens of Eternity

Chapter 20

20 Jealousy, Pt When they were awoken the next cycle, the sergeants skipped the run and allowed the cadets to get cleaned up and have a relatively slower start. They all had endured their lessons incredibly well, and so were afforded this little luxury.

Afterwards, they jogged over to the sparring gymnasium, where they once again got into their duo wings and started to spar lightly.

The atmosphere was rather relaxed, even though they were all still training diligently.

The two sergeants had approached Eva and Chengli, and discussed the matter of their training. Since they were above the rest in terms of raw physicality and talent, they didn’t have anything that could challenge them properly.

That worried them, as they did not want them to leave less prepared than the others. Great strength meant nothing in a hostile galaxy filled with hungry beasts.

“We honestly are not sure what to do with you two,” said Sergeant Akim. “We can teach you our hand to hand skills, but no-one else can match you physically, except yourselves.”

“Well,” said Sergeant Elyn, “the two of us could spar with either of you, but we’ve got a whole mess of cadets to instruct and can’t just ignore ’em.”

What Elyn said was true. Although they weren’t as tough or strong, they could still match them very well using their vast experience alone. But if they did that, it would have been favoritism, and would have resulted in the decline of the other cadets’ lessons.

They were stuck in a rather interesting dilemma, as Eva and Chengli had gotten used to each other’s fighting styles already. While that meant they could fight each other very well, it didn’t mean that they could fight with others as easily.


Basically, they needed more variety in terms of opponents. It was the only way they could continue to grow.

“What if we talked to the other squadrons here?” asked Eva. “Maybe they’ve got a few refugees that would wanna spar?”

It was a good suggestion, so Elyn nodded, but before she could respond, a few cadets had interrupted them.

“Drill sergeants!” said one of them.

The four of them turned to look at the group of cadets with curiosity in their eyes. There were half a dozen of them, all with aggrieved faces. Eva and Chengli even knew one of them. 𝚒𝐧𝙣𝘳𝒆𝐚𝘥. com

“Yes, cadets?” asked Akim.

One of them stepped up, probably the bravest one. He held his chin up as he spoke, but it was easy to tell that it was a little forced. He was, after all, speaking to the four toughest people that he knew.

“We’ve got grievances with the refugee cadets.”

Elyn’s eyebrow arched. She had the sneaking suspicion that some of the cadets held little grudges against Eva and Chengli, but couldn’t say anything without proof.

“Speak your mind, cadet,” she said.

“We don’t think they should be allowed in the academy. Just look at them! They can’t possibly be human! Haven’t you thought that maybe they’re creations of Tetragrammaton Tech? Since when did the Federation allow synthetic life in the ranks? Weren’t they banned from service?”

The thought shocked Chengli, and his eyes went wide. Synthetic? He wasn’t real? He hadn’t considered the state of his own reality before, and needed to think more on this.

The cadet was aggrieved that he lost the ability to become a squad leader by default. How would anyone know if he, or anyone else, was a better leader than either of them?

“And more than that,” he continued, “how can we compete against them? We already lost to them in the first week, and there’s nine to go! They’ll keep humiliating us with their abilities. Are we supposed to accept we’re inferior? How’s that supposed to help us?”

All of them agreed that he was right. No-one else could top them, and it was pointless to try to compete against them with anything.

But he was also completely ignorant.

It didn’t matter if these two were superior or synthetic. The fact was, everyone had their strengths and weaknesses. Everyone.

Anyone’s weaknesses could be exploited, and their strengths overcome.

But that wasn’t the important part. The important part was that in a military, or society in general, people’s weaknesses were covered by other people’s strengths. That was what defined society in the first place.

It was how little villages grew out of the mud and turned into enormous civilizations that spanned continents.

Akim sighed with exasperation and responded loudly, so all the cadets could hear him.

“As for your accusations of cadets Freya and Zhulong, rest assured that their medical data confirms them having human DNA. Synthetic DNA is engineered to be flawless, while human DNA has... natural errors. Chaos is necessary for evolution. These two very clearly have errors in their genetics. There is no question of their humanity, otherwise, they would never have been admitted at all.”

The jealous cadet who was speaking turned pale. Their first argument was refuted quickly, but their second was still solid.

At least, until Sergeant Elyn spoke.

“Cadet Freya,” she said. “Spar with me. This is a good opportunity to teach everyone something important.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Everyone!” shouted Sergeant Akim. “Stop your sparring and watch the lesson.”

Sergeant Elyn walked to the middle of the floor and took off her uniform top and tied it around her waist. This left only her tank top covering her upper body, which revealed her incredibly well-defined and sculpted body underneath.

She was just like Eva wherein she looked like a sculpture. No, even better, with regards to musculature.

Well, she was a professional soldier after all. She was built mean and lean, and was a weapon of war. Tall and long-limbed, she most certainly had a warrior’s well-honed physique.

It was as though she was designed purely for combat. She was truly Amazonian.

She also had a few cybernetic muscle replacements, likely from old battle wounds. There were also a number of scars that crossed her body, their ridges visible from underneath her tank top. It must have been a hell of a battle.

When she raised her fists, her calloused knuckles became taut.

“Come at me without reservation,” said Elyn.

Eva realized that she was in for it, and simply nodded.

They both bowed to each other, then got into their stances.

The two of them circled each other and studied each others’ movements.

Eva was still rather inexperienced, especially compared to Elyn. She was still looking for an opening when Elyn suddenly launched her attack.

It was a quick jab that Eva could easily dodge to the side. She quickly launched her counter-attack, but to her chagrin, Elyn blocked her immediately with one hand.

So fast! she thought.

Elyn’s other hand slipped through Eva’s defenses and struck at her stomach, which knocked the wind out of her.

Her strike was strong! More than that, Eva could tell that she was controlling her strength. She still had more punishment to give...

This woman was truly a lioness – fast, powerful, and deadly.

Eva knew that she herself was still stronger and tougher, and could still take a lot of her hits regardless. If she could trade blow-for-blow like she did with Chengli, then she had a shot at lasting a while.

She backed up a couple of steps as she recovered, but immediately got back on the offensive and threw a strong right hook.

But she was countered with an expertly-timed throw by a grinning Elyn, and all she could do was grunt as she rolled into the impact. As she got up, she found herself under another ruthless attack! Elyn did not let up!

Brutal, was a word many cadets shared when they described Sergeant Elyn.

They were right.

Eva grit her teeth and spun underneath Elyn, and kicked squarely into her side. It was a solid hit, though Eva held back much of her strength right at the end. She didn’t want to break anything.

Elyn was knocked back, but she recovered quickly, and immediately hopped back on the offensive. As if she never got hit at all.

Relentless, was also another equally descriptive word that the cadets discovered.

She quickly sidestepped Eva’s next attack, chopped at her neck, and drove a knee into her ribs. This stopped all of Eva’s airflow for a moment, which left her grasping at her throat and seeing stars.

Before she could recover, Elyn grabbed her by her lapels and threw her over her shoulder.

Eva groaned as Elyn planted her knee on her back and locked an arm with her vice-like grip.

Dazed and out of breath, the only thing she could do was tap out.

Elyn stood up and looked around at all the other cadets.

They were all wide-eyed and astounded. Eva, the same person who spent hours and hours beating herself up, was taken down with a few quick moves by the sergeant! Like she was nothing!

Elyn then said, “No-one is unbeatable.”

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