Ch-3 – Reynard and Selection
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Huff Huff Huff Huff

Brian had completed his first test, and had performed very well in it. The other races also went well. After the end of the first test, Brian had placed 7th. The one who had completed the test in just 25 seconds, was a guy with black, short hair and an arrogant look. He seemed to think that these tests were pretty easy, and not meant for him. He thought of himself as someone above the rest, someone better than the rest. But, he was not wrong, as he had his results to show off.


"Very Well, recruits. We may know begin the second test. In this test, all of you will be punching a machine with all your might, and it will show a score based on the power of your punch. There is no need to hold back and only one attempt per person."

The machine was brought in. It was huge and looked very heavy. The machine was red in colour, and there was a screen on top of it. The scores of each individual would show up on that screen.

"Now, the one's whom I call, step forward and strike a punch on this machine."

Names were called out, and the people attempted their best shot at the machine. The scores went up till 4,512 points. The average scores were around 3,000 points.

"Capaneus, step forward."

It was the arrogant guy's turn, and he seemed ready for his turn. He went and stood in front of the machine, and got ready to give a punch.

"Offensive mode!" he shouted.

His suit started to change. The plates near the arm and legs thickened, and the plates near the chest thinned. Offensive mode, a mode that increases the attack power, but decreases the defence. It was perfect for this test.

"Why did I not learn this mode?" Brian thought.


A strong punch on the machine, and Capaneus' score rose high. It was the highest until now, and reached a whopping 7,129 points. Yes, the screen showed that number, 7,129. It was more than twice of that of the average. This just proved why Capaneus was arrogant. It was because he had the skill, power and ability to back it up.

Some more men and woman gave the test, and the scores went until 6,000 points, but no one, even with the offensive mode, could go anywhere near Capaneus.

"Brian Smith, step forward."

Brian walked towards the machine. His right leg, behind his left, and he faced the machine, ready to strike a punch.

Swoosh... Bang

A fast and powerful strike by Brian, and the black screen showed the numbers 4,389. He had scored 4,389 points.

"Not so bad I suppose." Sighed Brian.

The others completed thier turns as well. After two tests, Brian had fallen to the position of 42. He was not very pleased with himself. Capaneus maintained his position of 1.


"Now, for the next test, we will need some help from the other soldiers. They are getting ready, so please wait for sometime."

"May, I..." started out Reynard, "say some lines in the meanwhile?"

"O... Of course sir."

"All of the new recruits. I am Reyanrd, the leader of the Fox branch in the army. I would like to give you some very important advice for your future life. It is, that I ask you to never place any bets in your life. Most of you place bets very casually, but this can come back to haunt you in the future."

All the other leaders sighed, indicating that he tells all the new recruits, the same thing, every year.

He continued, "This is from my personel experience in the past. A very sad and horryfic experience in the past. When I was a naive child, I placed a bet with my friend. It was a bet of who could eat their food faster. The loser would get the punishment, of having to marry before the winner married, in life. Now, this might seem like a very silly bet and nothing dangerous, but Alas how wrong you are! You see, in the grey pandemic a few years back, which killed over 70,000 people in our country, my friend passed away. He died, before ever marrying in life, and hence binding me with the conditions of the bet, and not allowing me to marry ever in my lifetime. Yes, because of this simple bet, I can never marry and will always remain unmarried."

"What the hell is this man saying? Very weird." Were the first thoughts that popped up in Brian's head.


There were some people who were actually crying after hearing this backstory in the army recruits. They cried noisily, and felt a lot of sympathy for Reynard. Brian, and many other could not understand this at all.


And then there were some who were laughing out loud, right in front of Reynard, from hearing his backstory. They thought that Reynard was a comedian. Reynard, on the other hand, stayed calm and composed.

He said, "You can take it as a sad incident, or even as a joke. But let me remind you, that this is a real story."

The crying and laughter continued for some more time until, a soldier started to speak.

"Okay. Silence now. Meet Stain from the Tiger Branch in the army. He is rank 4 in the branch, and will be our test conductor for this test."

His face was not visible because he was wearing his suit on.

"Hey, new recruits. Hope you are all performing well till now. So, the next test is going to a test where you will need to dodge my blows, as much as possible, for 30 seconds. The aim of this test will be to avoid getting hit by me. Do you think you can do it, recruits?" Stain said.

"Yes sir!" replied all.

"Great, so let's begin. Whose ever name I call out, step inside this circle of radius 10metres. Stepping outside of this circle, will get you a negative score, so beware. Blocking my hits, will not count as a hit."

The ones who were called, stepped inside the circle. All of them, were striked badly by Stain. There was no one, who had been striked less than 5 times. It seemed impossible to avoid getting hit, so, many decided to block his punches and kicks, but his speed allowed him to strike before his opponent could react to his blows.

While the test was going on, Brian had a thought in his mind.

"Why is no one using trackdown mode? It would help them dodge his attacks more easily. Is it that no one knows how to use it?"

Trackdown mode is a mode, in which the user's senses increase significantly around 10 metres from where they are standing and increases reaction speed. It can be used to predict an opponent's moves, and also to be vary of sneak attacks.

There were some who were using defensive mode, but that only allowed them to block many of Stain's attacks. Some of the attacks were just not possible to defend against in time.

"Brian Smith, step inside the circle next."

Brian walked inside the circle and immediately activated Trackdown mode.

"You ready, recruit?" Stain asked.

"Yes sir!"

The buzzer went off, and stain immediately started attacking. Brian could somewhat predict Stain's moves.

"Firstly a punch at my face."

Brian bent down to dodge the blow.


"Next an low uppercut."

Brian performed a backward flip to dodge Stain's next blow. Stain immediately went for his next strike, a kick near the gut. Brian knew that the attack was coming, but did not have enough time to dodge it.

"I will have to block it!"


Even though Brian blocked it with both of his fists, he was thrown back. He was still inside the circle with still no hits on him, but Stain did not stop. Stain continued his barrage of attacks. Brian ducked, then rolled sideways to dodge Stain's quick punch and kick. Stain then rushed towards Brian, and Brian kept avoiding him, by moving away from him. He maneuvered in a zig-zag manner to stay clear of Stain and his attacks.

Stain quickly closed up the distance between them, and proceeded to attack again.

"A punch at the face." Brian knew that Stain's attacks packed a punch, and it was not possible for him to block Stain's attacks with 1 arm. He tried to block Stain's punch with his arms.


The punch was lighter than last time. Brian understood what Stain had done. He could not find an opening, so he created one. Now Brian, could not not block Stain's attack. A kick right at the gut, and Brian went flying, almost outside the circle.

Brian felt pain. Lots of pain, and it was just a kick. He had never experienced such pain before. He had thought that the suit would lessen the pain, but he had forgotten that the suit connects to the nerves of the user for easy handling. This also made the pain inflicted on the suit be felt by the body.

23 seconds had passed, when Stain, again, rushed at Brian. Brian quickly rolled on his right to dodge and got on his feet. Stain, this time, went for a sweep. Brian jumped high to dodge it, but then realised his mistake. He could not fly yet, and was stuck midair. Brian knew that blocking Stain's attacks was no good, and dodging was not an option. In the same manner as the last time, Stain first gave a punch to Brian, which Brian blocked. Stain then followed this with a kick, which struck Brian in his waist.

Brian crashed down to the ground. It hurt again. He was in a lot of pain. He wanted to cry, but had to stop himself.

"I am now a part of the army! This is just a test. Training might be harder than this everyday. In real fights, this pain is nothing. I will have to fight until I drop dead!"

Brian pulled himself up again. The buzzer went off again. Brian had accumulated only 2 hits. This was the best score until now.

Stain gave Brian a pat on his back, saying, "Good one recruit."

Brian was walking away from the circle, to take some rest. He sat down on a bench. He felt the pain fade away. He relaxed completely, and felt fine again. The 3rd test was going to be over, with only 5 recruits left. The next one to give the test was Capaneus.