In a private manor on planet Azure, an old man was staring anxiously at a closed login pod to the virtual world. Soon, he saw the lights inside the login pod turn off and the pod's door suddenly opened. An androgynous, pretty child of about eleven or twelve years old was lying inside the pod. His face was pale and his entire body was currently drenched with sweat, as if he had been through some strenuous exercise.
After several seconds, the child slowly opened his eyes. Seeing the old man before him, he smiled weakly and said, "Major-domo, why are you waiting here?"
"Are you still planning to fool me? Young Master, your body is not well. Didn't your grandfather tell you not to go online?" The major-domo's eyes held a trace of remonstration, but was mostly heartache.
The pretty child continued to smile and said, "No matter what, I still have to go online a few times. Otherwise, I won't be able to keep up with the pace of studies at school."
The major-domo held back and said nothing more; he could not tell his young master not to study after all ... he could only walk up to lift his young master out of the login pod, and put him into the prepped recovery pod at the side to rest.
Looking at the sleeping figure of the lovely child before him, the major-domo heaved a heavy sigh. His heart was filled with affection and heartache for the child — it wasn't that easy to be the first in line to inherit ... the young master excelled in every way, but his physical body was just too weak. His spiritual self mutation was just too much of a burden on the body.
Meanwhile, Ling Lan, celebrating for finally leaving the dangerous person behind, continued to browse the streets of the capital. It had taken so much trouble to come out this once — she should make full use of the chance and see her fill. Unknowingly, she found herself on yet another mecha street. This mecha street wasn't made up of mecha stores selling toys and figurines like those in the Central Scout Academy, but actually had stores selling real mecha, the strongest weapons of the Federation.
Ling Lan took a cursory look as she walked down the street, and then chose to enter the Anji 1 mecha store at random.
The moment Ling Lan entered the store, she saw several shop assistants chatting behind the store counter. The men and women were about to come forward to offer their assistance, but seeing Ling Lan walk in on her own, they stopped.
Little Four pouted and complained, "Not coming forward to serve us ... do they think we have no money?"
In contrast, Ling Lan wasn't too surprised. "My current appearance is that of a 16 year old, with no accompanying guardian. Would you think that I'd be able to afford mecha? It's perfectly normal for them to ignore us. Besides, without them following us around, won't it be easier to browse as we like? Even more fun?"
Little Four seemed to come to a realisation, "That's true! But I must still make sure they know in the future that Boss is a wealthy person. Buying the best mecha here is not a problem!" Little Four's expression was proud and cocky.
Ling Lan's glanced at him. "Looks like you've earned quite a bit in the virtual world?"
"It's alright, not that much, probably about several hundred thousand billion." This world may be lacking in some things, but it was certainly not lacking in people, especially bored people. He had just randomly posted several novels online, and they were now all doing very well. Just the 'monetary awards' from fans alone had contributed several hundred billion to Little Four's account.
Ling Lan smiled and said, "Good job. Keep up the good work."
Receiving Ling Lan's praise, Little Four was extremely happy. He was even happier over this than when he had 'conquered' this virtual world. In his heart, he was more determined than ever to get all the Federation's money into his wallet.
Let us give a round of applause for Little Four's grand goal ... and let us wonder when Little Four will find out that the Federation's money will never ever run out.
Right then, from among the shop assistants, a cheerful young man stepped out voluntarily. He approached Ling Lan and greeted her politely, "Hello, I'm assistant 017 of Anji Mecha Store. May I know if you require any assistance?"
"Thank you, but I'm just looking around." Ling Lan was a bit startled, but she demurely refused 017's offer of service.
When Assistant 017 heard Ling Lan's response, he did not reveal any sign of disappointment. He just continued to smile brightly and said, "Customer, this should be your first time getting close to mecha, right?"
This customer with eyes full of curiosity — this should be the first time she is stepping into a mecha store. This scene made him recall his nervous excitement the first time he himself stepped into a mecha store. Back then, he had not known where to start and had really hoped someone would help him out; perhaps this girl would also require some guidance like him did ... it was this feeling that made 017 ignore the other shop assistants' jeering and come over voluntarily.
Ling Lan nodded firmly in answer to his question, for this was the truth.
Assistant 017 smiled at this and indicated for Ling Lan to walk with him. He then brought Ling Lan to a section filled with basic mecha — this area was a place suitable for novices to purchase mecha. Inside was various models of basic mecha, totalling about ten different types.
Ling Lan took a quick look and couldn't help but frown. These ten or so mecha all had differing shapes, but could overall be split into three categories. One category was bestial mecha, another was avian mecha, and the remaining category was the most commonly seen humanoid mecha.
The reason Ling Lan was frowning was that these mecha models were much cruder than the two mecha she had seen at the mecha battle stadium. Whether it was in terms of colouring, form, or even in terms of weaponry and equipment, these mecha here were completely incomparable. If the two mecha she had seen at the mecha battle stadium were considered adults, then these mecha here were undoubtedly toddler-level. This made Ling Lan feel rather disappointed.
Ling Lan's displeasure was clearly seen by assistant 017, but he wasn't at all surprised by this.
He explained kindly, "Customer, all the mecha in our Federation are actually variations evolved from these three categories of basic mecha. If you want to become an outstanding mecha operator, you'll need to master the controls of these three types of basic mecha. If you do this, no matter what type of advanced mecha you try to operate in the future, you'll be able to pick it up quickly."
Hearing this, Ling Lan was moved; she packed away her initial scorn. She would never forget the importance of basics — both the learning space and her father Ling Xiao had strongly emphasised the importance of basics — it played a large role in determining the final outcome of an individual's personal growth.
A warning flag rose up in Ling Lan's heart; she couldn't believe that she had actually made the low-level mistake of judging by appearances. It looked like the previous period of smooth sailing had made her forget to be humble and cautious, and actually become as arrogant as Yelang 2 .
Ling Lan's shift in attitude made Assistant 017 nod internally, his impression of her becoming even better. He continued to say, "Actually, I don't recommend you to buy a mecha right now. In fact, the virtual world has mecha training halls that specialize in teaching the controls of the basic mecha. Customer, you can first go there to learn more."
Ling Lan thanked Assistant 017. If it weren't for his help, she wouldn't have known that the virtual world had these things. After she asked Assistant 017 how to get to a mecha training hall, she left the Anji Mecha Store.
Assistant 017 sent Ling Lan off with a smile, and returned to the counter. He was welcomed back by the scornful jeers of the other shop assistants.
"Wasted your energy, didn't you? I told you that that girl had no money ..."
"At that age with no guardian along, she was definitely just here to look around. She would never have bought something as expensive as a mecha. 017, you just wouldn't believe it and still wanted to go forward. See, you've got nothing to show for it ..."
"Even if you wanted to gain more sales to earn a higher commission, you still need to find the right targets."
Assistant 017 did not get angry, only replying with a smile, "I wasn't doing it for sales. I just felt that she naturally belonged with mecha."
Assistant 017's words caused the other shop assistants to burst out into uncontrollable laughter, all of them mocking him and asking him when he had become a fortune teller. Mind you, girls, due to biological reasons, very very rarely advanced to become high-level mecha operators. So, among the millions and millions of mecha operators in the Federation, just having a thousand female mecha operators was already considered a lot.
017 was unperturbed by the mass mocking, only smiling and shaking his head in response. This carefree attitude of his soon sapped the interest of the others in mocking him, and they all left to do their own things.
All of them did not know what 017 was thinking — the closer he got to that girl, the more he had sensed it — the future of that girl on the path of mecha was boundless ... 017 smiled again. "It's also a good thing to build up some good karma ..."
Very quickly, Ling Lan had found the mecha training hall. The moment she neared the entrance, a line of text appeared before her eyes. "Do you want to formally enter mecha combat?"
"Oh ... so this here is also a mecha fighting game!" Little Four exclaimed when he saw these words.
Ling Lan understood then that the mecha training was most likely connected to the mecha fighting game. Ling Lan would naturally have to join the game, or else how would she be able to learn and train in the mecha controls?
The moment Ling Lan made her choice, she was transported straight into a large hall. Inside, there stood a handsome soldier, and there were three hulking basic mecha standing beside him.
Ling Lan walked to stand before the soldier, but before she could say anything, the soldier asked, "Recruit, do you want to first understand more about the combat styles of the three mecha, their controls, or do you just want to choose a mecha directly?"
Ling Lan was a cautious person — she did not understand much about mecha yet, so she of course chose to first learn more about the three mecha's combat styles and controls.
Very quickly, two images appeared before Ling Lan. One of the panels was playing a video of the movements of the mecha from the outside, while the other panel showed the movements of the mecha operator inside the cockpit which caused that movement.
Ling Lan saw a pair of hands flying rapidly within the cockpit, and following the motions, the mecha in the other panel made a reactionary movement. For just one basic movement, the fingers in the cockpit had to make over 10 motions.
For instance, just taking one step involved the mecha's pelvis, knee, ankle, balance, as well as the energy distribution between its two legs. Ling Lan had counted, and just such a simple movement required 18 control motions from the cockpit in an instant — and this was still considered an easy movement.
"It's very challenging, actually being all manually controlled. There's a lot of pressure on hand speed." Ling Lan was very surprised. She had always thought that operating a mecha was just like driving, with a control stick or something similar.
"Aren't these things what Daddy has been teaching? If it weren't for the fact that Boss you were having trouble with it, we wouldn't have come out to sightsee. I wonder if you mix your training with operating a mecha, would the effect be better. If we could just break past Boss's bottleneck in one go, that'd be great," suggested Little Four.
By now, Little Four was already calling Ling Xiao 'daddy'. This was because Ling Lan had once heard Little Four say Boss's daddy something something blah blah blah ... and felt that it sounded somewhat awkward. Besides, she had always considered Little Four, who had travelled along with her to this future, as her little brother, so she decided to just ask Little Four to call Ling Xiao 'daddy' alongside her.Actual sound of the Chinese characters. Literal translation of the name would be: Serene Luck i.e. arrogance due to ignorance