At the appearance of this line of text, the beautiful valley before Ling Lan's eyes shattered like glass and dissipated. In the blink of an eye, a new scene unfolded before Ling Lan's eyes. She was now in some luxurious hall, a hall which Ling Lan could not be more familiar with. It was the hall of the home she had lived in for a full 7 years —— the Ling family mansion.
Ling Lan's gaze revealed a trace of surprise at this unexpected scene. The cautious Ling Lan did not choose to walk around randomly, but instead stood still where she was. She tapped lightly on her own head as she thought: Was this originally set up this way? Or had the legacy mission extracted this image from her memories to create an impromptu illusion?
She needed to figure this out, otherwise she might make a wrong choice in the upcoming round of tests and fail the mission. Although she had already gone further than any of the other children before her, Ling Lan was still unwilling to accept failure down to her very bones.
Ling Lan decided that she would first investigate the details of this great hall. If this scenery was the original setting of the legacy mission, then it was very likely related to her father Ling Xiao. If that was the case, this mansion drawn from Ling Xiao's memories would most definitely have some differences in comparison to the current mansion. Her father had already been dead for almost 8 years after all. On the other hand, if this illusion was born from an extraction of her memories, then she shouldn't be able to find any differences in her surroundings.
Ling Lan took a careful look around, and very soon, she had found something different. There was an additional woollen army coat on one of the armchairs in the hall, and on the wall behind it, the space beside her parents' wedding photo was empty. It was missing a portrait of herself.
Every year, Lan Luofeng would choose one of Ling Lan's newest photos to convert into a portrait, and then hang it beside their wedding photo in the great hall. The portrait had already been changed seven times without skipping a year. According to Lan Luofeng, she wanted Ling Xiao to keep watching Ling Lan as she grew up.
But in Ling Lan's opinion, Lan Luofeng was clearly just too free and needed to find something to do. Still, to keep her mother happy, Ling Lan was glad to oblige.
"From this, it looks like this scene is definitely not drawn from my memory. From the time I was born, my picture has always been hung here." Ling Lan's lips quirked up in a small smile. Since she had gotten her answer, her following choices would be much easier.
When Ling Lan took her first step, a clear and resounding voice rang out in the hall. "Please choose a room as you wish. The test content of every room is different. Some are easy, while some are difficult ..."
The corner of Ling Lan's lips quirked upwards. This was probably a trap. Ever since she had entered this legacy mission, she had not seen any task that depended purely on luck. This was obviously abnormal if it really was as she thought.
As if sensing Ling Lan's thoughts, the clear voice continued to say, "This has nothing to do with fairness or luck. Sometimes, luck is also a kind of strength." Of course, it didn't change the fact that, whether you liked it or not, this was how it would be.
The clear voice had barely faded when the doors of all the rooms facing the hall swung open in unison with crisp sounds. The opened doorways seemed to beckon Ling Lan to enter.
"Isn't this just a misleading trick?" Ling Lan already had an answer in her heart. If this were someone who didn't know the Ling family mansion, they would definitely be tricked by this scene before them. This mission had been silently eliminating all candidates who weren't from the Ling family from the very beginning. This was probably why all the children before her hadn't been able to pass — they were all not Ling Lan.
"Were you waiting for me? Oh, Father!" By this point, Ling Lan could pretty much confirm that this legacy mission had been created by her father Ling Xiao.
Oh dad, what kind of person are you, really? Ling Lan smiled wryly. She really regretted not having looked up information on Ling Xiao, causing her to be floundering in confusion right now.
Ling Lan settled her emotions and then began walking determinedly across the hall. She ignored the stairways curling off to the sides, walking directly to the centre of the corridor.
There were rooms along both sides of the corridor. Right now, all the room doors were already open. As Ling Lan walked down the hallway, she could see the decorations and contents of the rooms. Some of them were the same as their current counterparts, while others were completely different. Was this how it was in her father's memory?
She walked over to stand before a full-length mirror. The mirror was very tall and large, reaching up to 2.5 metres tall and spanning 4 metres wide.
Without any hesitation, Ling Lan pushed her palms against the mirror and something unexpected occurred. The mirror actually broke apart from the middle, folding in on itself in four different directions until it finally disappeared to reveal a hidden passage. At the end of the 4-metre wide passage was a spacious staircase draped with a shaggy white carpet.
Ling Lan had just stepped into the passage when the mirror reassembled itself behind her, returning to its original appearance in the blink of an eye. It was once more a flawless full-length mirror, its fine cracks imperceptible to the naked eye. Modern-day technology was already able to achieve this flawless perfection.
The Ling family mansion was split into two independent areas. The front section was for entertaining guests, though it naturally included a master bedroom for the master, along with studies and other common rooms to fend off spying.
Meanwhile, the hidden back area was where the Ling family head truly resided. Besides the Ling family head, this secret was only known to a few old loyal servants who frequently visited the mansion.
Therefore, even if other students had passed the previous few rounds by chance, once they got here, they would still be unable to find the correct room. Furthermore, even if someone accidentally touched the mirror, it still wouldn't open. This was because the force necessary to open the mirror corresponded to the position touched. If the position touched was different, the force needed to trigger the mirror to open would also be different.
Of course, this did not exclude the possibility of someone being phenomenally lucky, being able to pass every round of the test by sheer luck ... This sort of person would obviously be someone favoured by the heavens, a destined winner in life, the main character of a story — Ling Lan would have no regrets losing the legacy to such a person; it was stupid to try and match an abnormality.
Ling Lan slowly walked up the staircase. For some reason, her heart started pounding dramatically and her palms started oozing sweat. Would Ling Xiao, her father in this life, really appear in that room?
Ling Lan finally arrived at the study. Her mum Lan Luofeng had once said that this study belonged to Ling Xiao. Flipped around, it meant that Ling Xiao also only existed within that study room. The moment Ling Xiao walked out of that study, Ling Xiao was no longer Ling Xiao, but Lan Luofeng's hubby.
Ling Lan had always felt that her mum was rather domineering — she just hid it very deeply. In particular, her soft-touch methods were on a level of its own; tears especially, were one of her sure-win tactics. Many times Ling Lan had surrendered to these methods, and she believed that her father would also have been powerless against them.
Thus, Ling Lan chose the study. Since this was a legacy mission set by Ling Xiao, then he would only be able to pass on the legacy when he was truly Ling Xiao.
Ling Lan took a deep breath and placed her right hand on the door handle of the room. With a strong push, the door easily swung open, and everything within the study was revealed before her eyes.
Abruptly, silent tears fell from Ling Lan's eyes ...
Behind the study desk, a handsome young man was smiling gently as he looked at her. And that man was her father, Ling Xiao.
Only then did Ling Lan notice that, over the span of these 7 years, under Lan Luofeng's daily nagging and bombardment of stories, she had already subconsciously accepted this man before her as her father. It was only because Ling Xiao wasn't physically around that these affectionate emotions had been deeply buried within Ling Lan's heart, and had never been discovered by herself. And now, really seeing her father standing before her, Ling Lan could no longer control the emotions in her heart. The tears could not be stopped as she involuntarily began to cry.
The current Ling Xiao should be a memory-entity from 8 years ago. He was utterly unmoved by Ling Lan's emotional turmoil, only giving her a slight nod before saying, "Being able to get here, you should be my child Ling Lan."
However, he quickly scoffed at himself and said, "Well, not definitely. I believe that the military will not let go of this legacy so easily. Perhaps you all really managed to crack this mission. After all, the previous rounds and questions weren't that difficult." With these words, a cold glint suddenly flashed across Ling Xiao's eyes. Ling Lan abruptly felt a crushing wave of pressure sweep towards her, almost flattening her to the ground. Fortunately, Ling Lan had already been fashioned by the learning space into a little anomaly — she immediately leaked a little essence of Dao to bear the burden of this endless pressure.
Still, just this small taste had told Ling Lan that her father was, as expected, very strong. Anyone who could issue a legacy mission was no ordinary person.
It seemed that Ling Xiao only wanted to posture a little, and he may also be wary in case the one who passed was really his child. Very quickly, he had retracted the pressure emanating from his body.
"If the one inheriting my legacy is not my child, I have only one wish. After you have learnt it, look for my child, and pass these things on to him." Ling Xiao's words made Ling Lan's tears fall even more fiercely; this legacy had really been left for her by her father.
Ling Xiao's attitude gentled abruptly, and he said, "If you want to receive my legacy, there is one more mission you must complete. Find me something I need."
With those words, Ling Xiao said nothing further, only looking straight at Ling Lan with a smile. Ling Lan hurriedly wiped away her tears. This wasn't the time for her to mope and be melancholy; she had to finish this mission first.
Ling Lan asked carefully, "Could you give a little more detail?"
All that answered Ling Lan was still just Ling Xiao's smile. Ling Lan tried a few other things, beating around the bush, but unfortunately, Ling Xiao just smiled at everything. Ling Lan was rather put out by this, a little resentful that her dad had made this legacy mission so complicated.
With no other choice, Ling Lan could only observe the study room closely in hopes that she would be able to locate some kind of clue. Sadly, Ling Lan was quickly disappointed. She noticed that this study was almost identical to the study in her memory. Other than Ling Xiao sitting behind the desk, all the decorations and furniture in the room were exactly the same. It was clear to see how much Lan Luofeng had treasured Ling Xiao's study, unwilling to change any bit of it after his death.
Ling Lan was frustrated. What should she do? What thing could her old dad need? Ling Lan could only take a closer look at Ling Xiao, and hope that she would be able to discern something from his facial expressions and body language.
At that moment, Ling Xiao looked as if he were enjoying the show. His jaw was cradled in his left hand, which was leaning artlessly against the arm of the chair. His right hand was tapping lightly on the surface of the desk as he looked at her with a half-smile.
Dammit, this heartless old man of hers, actually tormenting his own child so ... Ling Lan was full of complaints.
Although Ling Lan understood deep down that the Ling Xiao before her now was the Ling Xiao of 8 years ago who knew nothing of the person standing before him now, and that this sort of irritating attitude was definitely not targeted at her specifically ... she just couldn't help but feel annoyed.