Ling Xiao believed, that Lan Luofeng would definitely tell Ling Lan about how they had met and fallen in love, and about his mecha. (On the second point, he was mistaken. Lan Luofeng hadn't told Ling Lan about his mecha, since Lan Luofeng believed that it was still a bit too early to tell Ling Lan about things to do with mecha.)
Fortunately, Lan Luofeng had once revealed that the place she most wanted to visit was the 'World of Belief', which had been recorded down by Little Four, allowing him to find the correct answer to that earlier question. It had to be said that Ling Lan had passed that test by the skin of her teeth. Still, even if Ling Lan had failed, she could have still gone home to ask Lan Luofeng for the correct answers and attempt the mission again later.
Ling Xiao had not restricted the number of times someone could take the tests, for he himself was afraid that his questions were too left-field that even Lan Luofeng might have forgotten about some of the answers.
Ling Xiao was also afraid that someone would succeed by pure chance, blurting out his mecha's name on a lucky guess, so he had set up another obstacle. If a candidate randomly entered any of the rooms from the main hall, Ling Xiao would let the candidate know the Ling family training methods. If the candidate trained hard with that, he or she would still be able to achieve imperial operator level — his father had trained with that set of methods back in those days; it was truly a pretty good training method.
In this manner, Ling Xiao would be able to pull the wool over everyone's eyes and continue to wait for his child to enter the mission for testing. Because, only his child would know that the Ling family mansion was split between the front and back sections, and be able to find the correct room.
Of the rooms in the back section, such as the bedrooms and other studies etcetera, it wasn't as complicated as Ling Lan had assumed. Ling Xiao only existed within his study. In other words, even if Ling Lan had gone into any of the other rooms, there would be no one there to assign any tasks. Only when she entered the study would she see the holographic image Ling Xiao left behind.
But in the end, Ling Xiao had still been uneasy. After all, the military's strength was truly formidable — he had no way to guarantee that those loyalists from the Ling family mansion wouldn't betray him and leak the mansion's secrets to the military. So, he finally decided to add one last test. The content of this test was truly a secret belonging only to him and Lan Luofeng.
Mind you, Ling Xiao and Lan Luofeng's exclusive Duomo code had never been used on the outside before. In other words, this code was only known to the two of them. As such, the only people who would be able to answer this test would be Lan Luofeng, and one other — who was naturally the person who had personally learned the Duomo code from Lan Luofeng. Without a doubt, this other person could only be his child.
Just as Ling Xiao predicted, Ling Lan used the Duomo code to crack the final test.
Having thought of an answer, Ling Lan decisively turned and left the study. She went to the master bedroom and headed straight for the dressing table to find her mum's jewellery box.
Inside the jewellery box were some luxurious and exquisite accessories. Ling Lan casually pawed through them, but didn't find what she was looking for. She quickly cast it aside and changed directions. She walked to the singular large bed within the bedroom. Ling Lan was very familiar with this bed — she had been sleeping on it from birth. She had only said goodbye to it after she had been able to speak coherently enough to ask for her own bedroom.
During that time, she had found out that Lan Luofeng had a secret compartment to hide her precious things in on this bed. Ling Lan carefully felt along the edges of the bed, touched a spot, and then a small plasma screen suddenly emerged on the smooth headboard of the bed. There was a selection keyboard of 10 number keys displayed on it. Without having to think, Ling Lan directly entered the number code she knew by heart. If Lan Luofeng had never changed it, the code shouldn't be wrong.
After entering the code, it didn't take 5 seconds before the screen suddenly popped out, and an approximately 30 cm by 50 cm drawer appeared just like that before Ling Lan.
As expected, this secret compartment had long been here! The compartment was empty, nothing at all within it, except for an extremely exquisite little box. Ling Lan took out the box and opened it. A large, glittering diamond ring appeared before Ling Lan, shining radiantly under the lamp light. It was the wedding ring that her mum had cherished all this while.
Ling Lan's lips quirked in a slight smile, knowing she had found her target. She closed the box, and holding it in her hand, she made her way back to Ling Xiao's study.
Seeing her return, Ling Xiao asked with a half-smile, "Found what I want?"
Ling Lan just opened her right hand and showed Ling Xiao the box. Without saying a word, she peered intently at Ling Xiao.
The smile on Ling Xiao's lips grew wider. "This is the thing I want?"
Ling Lan still said nothing, only opening the box to reveal the large diamond ring inside it.
"This is your answer?" said Ling Xiao with a raised brow, waiting for Ling Lan's verbal confirmation.
"Lan Luofeng's wedding ring. You gave it to her," replied Ling Lan calmly.
Ling Xiao laughed uproariously. Then, his expression was admiring as he said, "Not bad. You actually found the answer. Could you tell me, how exactly did you figure out that this ring was the answer I wanted for this mission?"
"I only said that this was a wedding ring. I never said that this was the mission answer." Ling Lan's words stopped Ling Xiao's laughter in its tracks. He froze, stunned by Ling Lan's unexpected response.
This time, it was Ling Lan's turn to laugh. Hells, she had finally managed to give her heartless old man a taste of his own medicine! All this while, she had only been helplessly toyed around with by her old man.
Ling Xiao's awkwardness only lasted for a moment. He quickly collected himself, and said with some amusement, "In that case, why did you bring it here to show me?"
"Because, you need it to open the door to get the thing you need." Ling Lan took out the ring and waved it at Ling Xiao.
"Oh? I really don't know what thing I need other than this ring. I'm very sorry, you've failed the mission." Ling Xiao's smile turned cold, and he mercilessly declared Ling Lan's failure. His clearly disappointed expression seemed to tell Ling Lan that she had really been mistaken.
"This is just a proposal ring, not a proposal token. Although it's only different by one word, what's wrong is wrong. Right? Oh, father of mine?" Ling Lan mercilessly tore apart Ling Xiao's lie. "Stop faking. If I were to really choose this diamond ring as my final answer, then the mission would truly be a failure."
Ling Xiao seemed utterly unmoved. He only sighed softly and said, "You've already come so far. If you fail just like this and go back, you'll probably be unable to accept it either. Let's do this. I'll give you one chance. I hope you'll be able to convince me."
Ling Lan knew that this was likely a part of her dad's test as well, and so did not bother being polite. She walked directly to stand behind her father and poked him with a finger, saying, "Dad, please move aside for a moment."
With an indulgent expression, Ling Xiao stood up, cooperatively giving up the study desk. Since he had already chosen to give the candidate a chance, let him do as he will.
Ling Lan brazenly sat down in the chair Ling Xiao had just vacated, and pulled out the middle drawer of the study table. She reached into it with an open palm, palm first, to lay her hand flat against the underneath of the desk surface. After waiting for 3 seconds, nothing changed. Ling Lan abruptly realised that within this memory of Ling Xiao's 8 years ago, the Ling family safe hadn't yet been programmed to recognise her fingerprints.
Moodily, Ling Lan stood up and said to Ling Xiao, "Lend me your palm."
That said, she pulled over her father's palm and placed it against the bottom of the table surface, holding it there for 3 seconds. Then, a soft, almost imperceptible click could be heard coming from a bookcase to the side.
Ling Lan walked right up to the fourth bookcase. The bookcase was already filled to bursting with all sorts of paper-based reading material. This sort of ancient reading method was rarely found anymore in this modern generation. Now, in this world, all existing paper-based reading material were old texts inherited from several centuries up to even a millennium ago. Whenever a typical person saw this type of old texts, they would feel respect well out from within; they wouldn't dare to move around the texts recklessly, much less even try to touch these precious artefacts.
However, Ling Lan's following actions were barbaric. If her actions had been seen by any lovers of old books, she would most certainly be mobbed and critiqued to death.
Ling Lan savagely grabbed hold of one particular book and pulled harshly. The book was torn and a round shaped hole with many facets was revealed.
It turned out that Ling Lan had only torn off a protective back cover on the 'book'. Of course, if she hadn't used her father's palm print to unlock the cover first, even if Ling Lan had used all of her strength, she still wouldn't have been able to peel off this protective covering.
Ling Lan lined up the diamond side of the ring against that multi-faceted round hole, and it fit perfectly. This time, the wait was longer — after about 6 seconds, a 'clack' came from within the bookcase.
The book Ling Lan grabbed this time was just right beside the 'book' with a hole. This time, Ling Lan didn't pull, but pushed it forwards. Following that, the entire shelf of books abruptly disappeared, revealing a square safe about 30 cubic centimetres large.
Apparently, the diamond ring was only the key to open the safe. However, the diamond ring itself was also a test — if a candidate randomly lucked out during the search and found it, he would be tricked by Ling Xiao's earlier words and really take the diamond ring to be the real answer Ling Xiao wanted. In that scenario, what the candidate would receive in the end would still be that set of Ling family training methods and not Ling Xiao's true legacy.
Of course, if this were the real world, Ling Lan wouldn't even have to take the extra step to find the ring. Many times before this, when Lan Luofeng hadn't been around, Ling Lan had let Little Four 'communicate' directly with the A.I. of the safe, opening it easily that way.
However, right now, they were in the mission world, so Ling Lan had no choice but to be a little more careful. She didn't know what the consequences would be if she skipped this step — what if her old man was a stickler for tradition and required everything to follow its proper procedure? If she tried fooling around with any shortcuts in that scenario, she would just be tanking her own chances. Ling Lan decided that it would be better to play it safe. She would rather spend a little more time and make sure this mission was completed properly.
Ling Lan skilfully entered the code to open the safe. Lan Luofeng had never changed the passcode, so the code she knew was the same as the one used here.
Inside the safe were plenty of antiques, along with many strange and rare odds and ends. They had all been collected by the many generations of Ling family heads, including some cool stuff that Ling Xiao himself had found, such as the exquisite writing brush Ling Lan had once used.
Ling Lan desultorily pawed through the items and picked out three from the pile. She placed them in front of Ling Xiao and said, "Dad, this is the proposal token you wanted. All three of them."
All three items looked exceedingly common — a white sheet of paper that could be bought from any road-side stall, a chip that couldn't be more common, and a keychain shaped like a mecha.