"Sophie you need to focus and dodge the projectiles!" the duke yelled out.
It was the last day of training before the transport ship would arrive to take the qualified candidates to the university entrance exam.
Sophie was standing in the middle of a training field while being surrounded by hundreds of training droids whose red eyes stared down at her figure with menacing hums.
Advanced civilisations did typically have technological advancements in the areas of AI and robotics.
Training droids were small silvery robots created to increase combat experience with tiny wings and energy cannons that fired nonlethal attacks.
Although it still hurt like hell to be hit by one!
Sophie held a black whip in her hand and slashed out furiously at the targets that shifted around the battlefield in erratic patterns. But each attack seemed to find the exact location of the droid as if it were tracked.
Boom! Boom! Boom!
Mechanical parts scattered on the ground as five droids suddenly exploded under the immense pressure of the attacks.
Sophie did not even spare them a glance before leaping backwards to avoid the energy projectiles from the droids in front of her.
"Don't forget to practice using your spider appendages. remember your body is a weapon!" came the harsh reminder from her father.
Sophie was still getting used to the new range of movements from her spider legs but for some reason she found that she was able to produce fluid movement in combat settings.
It was almost like an instinct, the way she could accurately find targets despite not having vision of them.
She activated her movement skill and hopped gracefully around the arena while her deadly appendages pierced straight through the seemingly fragile mechanical shells of the droids that wandered too close.
It had already been five hours so far and Sophie's stamina was beginning to wear out.
There were no more training sessions for the day as her other two teachers were on a special mission to infiltrate the headquarters of a terrorist cell that had popped up on the outskirts of one of her family's lunar colonies.
"Alright old man! I'm going to show you a new move," Sophie c.o.c.kily grinned at her father before tightened her grip on her trusty whip.
Black Viper Art!
Qi flowed from her dantian into her fingertips and passed straight into her weapon. Sophie could feel a subtle connection being established and the whip became an extension of her own body.
She looked up at the remaining droids that hovered menacingly before launching a quick strike against the densest cl.u.s.ter.
A thin black line travelled outwards from her hand and a fearsome projection of a black serpent followed the trajectory.
Destruction followed the wake of the black line's path and all the poor droids could not even track the movement of the attack before they exploded.
The serpent gleefully roamed around uncontested in the air before disappearing once the length of the whip finished extending.
Sophie felt the last of her qi reserves bottom out and she sat heavily on the floor while gesturing to her father to turn off the surviving droids.
With a small push of a button, the light in the droids slowly faded away and they landed on the ground before folding themselves into compact orbs.
Training droids were inexpensive to repair so one of the servants would pick up the scattered parts of the destroyed robots to send to a mechanic shop.
"Barely passable," came the gruff voice from the duke but Sophie could detect a small tinge of pride in his tone.
Sophie just lay on the ground while trying to recover her energy. She felt herself growing stronger day by day but tried her best to reign in any thoughts of overconfidence.
Being a big fish in a small pond did not mean that one would be able to survive in the ocean.
Rokan glanced down at his daughter who just gazed back at him with a pitiful expression and felt his heart begin to soften.
He discarded his initial plan to extend the training session for a few more hours and decided to give his daughter a surprise.
"Okay. well it is your last day so I think we can shorten the training just for today," her father spoke.
"Why don't I take you shopping in the Grand Qalaza Mall?"
Nobles generally speaking would send their servants to buy any items they required that could not be ordered online but Rokan felt that it would be nice to have some father daughter bonding time.
He was originally just one of the many of the late Duke Peterlor's bastards, so he grew up without any servants to tend to his needs.
He used to cook, shop, and occasionally steal to survive as an orphan.
Sophie's eyes immediately lit up and she jumped to her feet with all traces of exhaustion seemingly disappeared. She hurriedly replied with joy,
"You're the best dad!"
(Grand Qalaza Mall)
"Wow!" Sophie exclaimed as she wandered around the vast mall with a sense of wonder. This was the biggest shopping place that she had ever seen before. It was almost like a different world with climate regulators providing a warm tropical breeze.
Each shop was roughly the size of two large apartment rooms and carried a wide variety of goods and services. Her dad held her hand firmly and the two roamed around aimlessly to window shop without any clear target in mind.
Sophie could tell that they were getting stares, but it was more directed at her appearance than the presence of a Duke.
Rokan had retired from the military upon his return to the Federation and rarely participated in politics so he was not well known among the general population.
As for the high nobles. why would they ever shop for themselves?
"Dad! Look at that pet store!" Sophie tugged on her father's arm as they passed one of the shops.
The sign in front of the shop read, 'Emperios Interstellar Beasts'
Sophie had a deep love for animals and fluffy things in general. The pet industry was still highly profitable in this era as many still enjoyed their companionship.
There was even a profession of beast cultivators who shared blood bonds with their partners to unleash frightening qi attacks.
With the vast exploration of the universe, new beasts were discovered all the time and were graded based on which consumer aspect they satisfied.
Combat pets were graded on a scale of common, rare, ultra, legendary, and godly with each tier being progressively more expensive and difficult to control.
It was not always a good thing to aim for a strong beast as an improperly trained animal could turn on its master.
Sophie entered the shop and felt blown away by the strange and mythical creatures in the cages around them. A red bird sung sweetly before spitting out a blue flame which caused a heat wave to wash across Sophie's face.
What appeared to be a metallic armadillo was calmly nibbling on small pieces of iron while spikes jutted out of its hardened shell.
A pale white jellyfish floated in the air with its tendrils wrapped around a mouse that shook twice before melting into a paste- like substance.
And many more fantastic beasts!
Sophie's expression of joy was seen by one of the salesgirls who came up to the pair with an enthusiastic smile on her face,
"Can I help you today young miss?"
"Why don't you show my daughter the combat pet section. price is not an issue," came the dominating reply from her father.
The salesgirl's smile stretched even wider as she brought the pair to the back of the store to take a look at the available combat beasts.