"Warning, because the mecha used an irregular movement, some damage has occurred, some damage has occurred." Right then, the rabbit mecha's A.I. sounded out a warning.
Ling Lan was currently fully immersed in her mecha control; she ordered calmly, "Check damage level of mecha."
"Mecha damage at 30%. Warning, still sustaining damage. Please decrease speed by 50% immediately ... damage at 31% ... please decrease speed by 50%!" The A.I. repeated its warnings mechanically.
"How much longer can it hold on?" Ling Lan didn't choose to decrease her speed. For one, the speed of the moving obstacles around her no longer allowed her to decrease her mecha's speed. And secondly, her current speed was from the rebound energy of the Rabbit Sky Leap — the mecha itself had no way to control this speed anyway. Reality made it so that Ling Lan had no choice but to continue moving at high speed.
"Estimated that after 2 minutes, the mecha shall enter breakdown condition. Warning, damage level at 31%, please reduce speed by 50% immediately."
"That's enough time." To prevent the warning sounds of the A.I. from affecting her control, Ling Lan simply turned off the A.I.'s vocalization. Her expression calm, she once again controlled her mecha to evade the continuous ambush of the obstacles.
It had to be said that Ling Lan's adaptive ability was at an abnormal level — this had always been one of Ling Lan's strongest innate talents, and combined with the study and training provided by the learning space, this talent improved even more, its effects becoming even more obvious. After dodging somewhat clumsily for the first few abrupt attacks, Ling Lan got used to the mecha's present speed.
Very quickly, yet another horizontal wooden beam suddenly swept out from left to right, Ling Lan controlled the mecha to push off another obstacle once more to fly into the air, dodging it cleanly. This time, the movement seemed to flow easily, with no sign of the previous fumbling. Not only that, Ling Lan controlled the mecha with pinpoint accuracy to twist so it could step on the flying wooden beam, and pushing off it, she made the mecha fly forwards once more like a cannonball.
"That adaptive ability is really abnormal. Only after adjusting 3 or 4 times, he has already grasped hold of the mecha's new speed and the ability to leverage force." The cheetah mecha operator was similarly amazed by Ling Lan's insane level of ability.
Sure enough, Ling Lan's subsequent performance was just as the cheetah mecha operator expected — the airborne rabbit mecha's leaps were never again as flustered as it had been at the start, moving with ease and grace to spare. In the end, Ling Lan safely completed the assessment mission.
"Congratulations, 40, for graduating the basic mecha controls course with a result of 1 minute 58 seconds. This record has been entered into the top 1000 of the elite leaderboard." A line of flashing green text suddenly appeared on Ling Lan's mecha's screen. Right below it, an option appeared soon after — Name: Reveal/Hide.
Ling Lan immediately chose the option to hide, and then a line of red text appeared on the highest section of the mecha's screen. It was just like the text which had appeared when the cheetah mecha had completed his test: "Congratulations, XXX, for graduating the basic mecha controls course with a result of 1 minute 58 seconds. This record has been entered into the top 1000 of the elite leaderboard."
"Slower than me by one second, and also on his first assessment as well! As expected, gifted mecha operators exist everywhere. Even here on this small planet of Azure, there is someone whose talent is equal to mine." A sense of threat welled up in the cheetah mecha operator's heart — he would never forget the words his grandfather had once said to him ... if you want to change your destiny, you will need to rely on yourself!
The cheetah mecha operator was just about to take the assessment again to graduate and officially leave the status of newbie behind, when he noticed that the rabbit mecha's operator actually chose to return to training like he had previously.
The cheetah mecha operator was extremely curious. He had chosen to return out of curiosity about the rabbit mecha's assessment results, but why would the rabbit mecha choose to return as well? The cheetah mecha operator knew very well that it couldn't be because of him, for he hadn't even chosen the option to retake the assessment yet.
Perhaps Ling Lan's superhuman control and adaptive ability had piqued the cheetah mecha operator's curiosity, for he did not choose to continue and take the assessment. Instead, he backed out from the assessment space, prepared to go look for that rabbit mecha, and ask him why exactly he had chosen to return.
After all, the rabbit mecha's result was extremely outstanding — a normal person would have been thrilled and chosen to graduate in a hurry so that they could go off and make a living in the real world of mecha.
Ling Lan, who had returned to the great hall of the mecha training hall, was reflecting deeply on how it had felt to control the mecha earlier during the assessment. Then, she sighed, saying, "Who knew that controlling mecha is not all about pushing the limits of speed ... sometimes, alternating the speed between fast and slow to control the rhythm is better."
"Congratulations, Boss, on breaking past your bottleneck!" At this moment, Little Four finally piped up to congratulate Ling Lan. Earlier, Little Four had been smothering his mouth with both of his hands, afraid that in his excitement, he would accidentally make some noise to disrupt Ling Lan's breakthrough and realisation. If that had happened, he would have truly become a fiendish felon guilty of a thousand years of sin.
"This time is all thanks to you, Little Four. Thank you!" Ling Lan knew that this successful breakthrough had all been because Little Four had brought her to the outside virtual world and let her encounter mecha. And then, she had seen the images of the cheetah mecha during his assessment at the mecha training hall. This series of events had all led to her epiphany and subsequent breakthrough.
Ling Lan was just about to say something more when she saw countless red warning signs appear on her mecha's screen. Abruptly, she recalled that she had shut off the A.I.'s vocal functions during the assessment mission. She hurriedly turned it back on, and then the A.I. could be heard blaring out warnings in a frenzy: "Warning, mecha damage level at 67%. Please choose to repair immediately, please choose to repair immediately."
Ling Lan stuck out her tongue. Who could have guessed that the Rabbit Sky Leap skill would cause that much damage to the mecha? No wonder the learning space had emphasized again and again that the physical body must be extremely flexible to use this skill, otherwise the user could incur some latent injuries.
"Repair!" Right now, Ling Lan didn't want to choose a new mecha just yet — after all, she still hadn't passed the learning space's standards for the basic controls of this rabbit mecha.
Registering Ling Lan's order, the A.I. immediately displayed the contact numbers of the major mecha repair shops in the capital. All Ling Lan needed to do was call. As Ling Lan still hadn't graduated yet, she wasn't allowed to take the mecha out of the mecha training hall. So, she could only call for someone from one of the repair stores to come here and service her mecha. Ling Lan swiftly chose a repair shop closest to the mecha training hall, called its number, and secured an agreement for them to send someone to the mecha training hall to check her mecha in 5 minutes.
As Ling Lan was waiting, a cheetah mecha appeared again in the great hall of the mecha training hall. It looked left and right, and when it saw Ling Lan's rabbit mecha in the hall, it suddenly ran over. When it was about 10 metres away from Ling Lan, Ling Lan's mecha received the other's contact request.
Ling Lan was extremely surprised — why would this evolved spectre come looking for her? Out of responsibility for her own safety, Ling Lan seriously tried to recall if she had done anything that might have offended the other. Coming up with nothing, she approved the contact request and accepted the communications channel he established. Then, she asked hesitantly, "What's up?"
Against the mysterious ability of a spectre, Ling Lan was still very wary. She would try her best to avoid offending the other as much as possible.
"Excuse me, I just wanted to ask. Why didn't you choose to graduate earlier, coming back here instead?" The voice of the cheetah mecha operator was still the same voice; it was just as Little Four had said — the operator of the cheetah mecha was that evolved spectre.
"My mecha's broken." Ling Lan's reply obviously surprised the other. It was true that mecha would often get damaged with newbies piloting them, because some people with terrible control skills would ram the mecha into obstacles until they were almost unrecognizable during basic training. Just like when Ling Lan slammed into walls repeatedly at the beginning of her training. However, Ling Lan was obviously an expert at control, so she wouldn't make this kind of low-level mistake — so how did the other's mecha get broken?
The doubts of the cheetah mecha operator merely flashed through his mind, unsaid, but Ling Lan's reply still did not explain his decision to return. "Even if you choose to graduate, you can still get the repair shop to come and repair your mecha, just at a different location."
"Oh, this is just one of the reasons. The main reason why I chose to return is because there are still many things wrong with my basic control. I still need a lot of practice to make sure there is no chance for error." The cheetah mecha operator also had a hand in Ling Lan's breakthrough — the other just didn't know it — so, the grateful Ling Lan decided to reveal a bit of her secrets of evolution to him. As for whether the other believed her, that was not something she was responsible for. She was just going to act in a way that would give her peace of mind.
Of course, Ling Lan also thought of building a good connection with the other. If the other really took her words to heart, and trained up his basic mecha control, it was very likely that he would be able to achieve the rank of special-class mecha operator at the least. In Ling Lan's opinion, the other's innate talent with mecha was even better than her own.
"Didn't your result already make it into the top 1000 of the elite leaderboard?" The cheetah mecha operator did not understand. "Doesn't this result prove that your basic training is already very outstanding?"
"Outstanding doesn't equal perfect. Besides, aren't there about 1000 other people in front of me? I don't want to lose to them," said Ling Lan calmly. These were words spoken from her heart — although she wasn't sure what realm her father had achieved with his ultimate immersion into perfecting his basic control, she couldn't lose to any other random people out there, right?
The cheetah mecha operator seemed to have been shaken by Ling Lan's words; only after a long while did he reply, "So that's why. But we can still practise our basic control outside; we don't necessarily have to stay here in the training hall."
"There are too many distractions outside. People are very easily attracted by fresh new things. At that time, I'll definitely get distracted and won't be able to focus fully on training my basic control. So I might as well get rid of all these potential problems from the start. Here, there's nothing, so all I can do is train my basic control. I'm not a very strong-willed person, so I can only use this method to fix that. But Big Brother, you are different from me. Perhaps you can stand the loneliness and resist the temptations ..." Ling Lan started teasing the other, making the other unsure whether to laugh or cry.
At this moment, 4 to 5 people accompanying a repair mecha walked into the training hall. Ling Lan knew that this was most likely the repairmen she had made an appointment with, so she bade farewell to the cheetah mecha operator, and walked over to greet the group.
The cheetah mecha operator sat within his cockpit, thinking. In the end, he found that what Ling Lan said was true — he also could not confirm that if given the choice to learn a new move, he would be able to resist the temptation, and choose to practise that instead of continuing to focus on his basic control.
"Ambitious. Actually planning to defeat all those other prodigies before him. How interesting ..." The cheetah mecha operator rubbed the control stick in his hands, a slight smile on his lips. Talking to himself, he said, "Since I plan to spark a revolution, then I will need to achieve the pinnacle of strength in this world. Then, starting now, I can't lose to anyone. How can I be satisfied with just being within the top 1000 ..."