"Haa... Haa... Haa... Haa..."
Students arrived at the school entrance in tattered or dirty clothes. After finishing 10 laps around the school, most of them dropped upon arrival.
Soon, Tomoe, Imari, and Julie arrived while heaving heavily. They had to stop and catch their breaths after arriving at the finishing line. Their hands were on their knees and their faces were pale.
It takes a journey of about 4 kilometers to go around the school, 10 laps make that 40 kilometers.
Without the enhancement from Astar Marks, a female's stamina would have run out before they finished.
Tomoe, Imari, and Julie are still doing okay. Compared to the male students around them, the ladies were doing peachy.
After recovering slightly, somebody passed them cans of drinks.
"Good job, Imari & Julie."
He made sure to open the drinks for the ladies. He urged them to drink up.
"Go on, chug it down."
Imari grabbed the drink before even confirming the identity of the offeror. She did as instructed, she chugged it down.
"Thank... you very much..."
Julie's blushing from the intense exercise, her bell accessories rang when she bowed slightly. She accepted Noah's drink and she drank it.
"Here, this is yours, Tachibana."
Noah passed Tomoe a drink too.
Tomoe wasn't expecting a drink from Noah. She accepted the gift with glee.
The ladies drank their drinks. Their gym clothes are thoroughly soaked in sweat, the sticky clothes stuck to their skins, revealing their figures.
Imari heaved a huge sigh of relief.
"Complete revival, I thought I was dead for sure."
"Hey, you doing alright?"
Noah chuckled while shaking his head.
"Come on, we've still got three years of this waiting for us. How are you going to make it if you're already like this on the first day?"
Noah looked at Julie who is still panting.
"Right, how did you three join up as a group?"
It's fair to attack another runner upon sight.
This is one of the rules.
Imari, Tomoe, and Tachibana arrived at the same time. It would seem like they decided to run together instead of fighting.
"Imari came up with this idea."
"She suggested a team-up and defend against other attackers. We aimed to finish the 10 laps together."
"We are built differently compared to the male students. We are weaker in terms of physique."
"Also, to prevent waste of energy and time, the group up just came naturally after seeing Imari and Julie."
Noah understood their thoughts.
Imari learned Kendo while Tomoe is adept in the Tachibana Mixed Martial art. However, they are not as well-built as the male students.
As for Julie, Noah hadn't seen her fight but she probably can't do much with that petite stature of hers.
Even so, the ladies did arrive first among their weight class. Even if one were to include the male students, they are still well among the top 10. That proved their agility and stamina.
"I finally understood the power of the Astar Marks after this marathon."
Imari pressed her hand against her bountiful mountains. No, she pressed against the valley between her divine mountains.
"I can't believe I finished a 40-kilometer marathon."
Indeed, they finished a distance equivalent to a normal marathon.
They are just middle school students who hadn't gone through a specialized training regime. The most they had under their belts are martial arts experiences. Completing a marathon is just unthinkable.
Moreover, the terrain isn't exactly smooth. Due to the geography of being close to the ocean, they had to run under constant assault from winds on the fourth or fifth level of the Beaufort scale. It's very tiring compared to running on land.
The students still finished the course in 2 hours.
That's about the same as the world record for finishing a marathon.
Imari's astonishment is understandable.
Imari suddenly asked Noah a question.
"Which place did you get?"
Julie and Tomoe also wanted to know.
Noah scratched his cheek.
"Well, since people rarely picked a fight with me, I finished first."
"About an hour."
Imari, Tomoe, and Julie were too stumped for words. Next, they nodded at the same time.
"As expected of Noah, you're good."
Tomoe, Imari, and Julie finished the 40-kilometers course in 2 hours.
That's the same as finishing the marathon at record time.
What is that?
"We are all Rank I Exceeds. Even if you're stronger than us. I don't think the difference should have been that huge, right?"
"Aside from your mastery over martial arts, do you also have superhuman stamina?"
"My stamina is about the same as the other students. The enhancement of the Astar Mark also placed me close to the other students in terms of physical enhancement."
"I do have a secret to my achievement."
Tomoe, Imari, and Julie's ears twitched. Imari is the first one to jump at the opportunity to ask him a question.
"What's the technique?"
"Focus on raising your stamina recovery and preservation, pace yourself to the point where your energy expenditure rate is about the same as your energy recovery rate."
"That's how I balanced energy consumption and recovery to create an equilibrium. It is also how I finished the marathon without even panting."
Imari jumped back.
"What the heck kind of technique is that?"
"You wanna know?"
"The marathon class is over, I will teach you girls next time."
Noah looked at the path leading up to the finishing line.
Noah can spot a few students stumbling over with red faces. There are also other students behind them.
Noah asked Tomoe.
"I don't know."
"I saw her along the way but she insisted for us to go ahead of her. She said she didn't want to slow us down. She would probably feel bad if we slowed down to stay with her, that's why we ran ahead."
Noah nodded. That was the right move on Tomoe's part.
If Tomoe and the gang really stayed with Miyabi then it would make her feel guilty for holding the team back.
Tomoe is correct in her decision.
In the end, by the time Miyabi made it back, the sky was already darkening.
Miyabi almost collapsed in fatigue by the time she arrived at the finishing point.
Miyabi stayed in her room the whole night, she didn't come out to eat dinner.
On the second day, two students asked to drop out. They wanted to remove their Marks and return to normal society.