Wu Jiong, who entered soon after, looked at Ling Lan seated on the right, and with a smile, he moved to sit at the round table to the left of Ling Lan's. Ye Xu and the other members of his team followed him.
It had to be said that the positions Ling Lan and Wu Jiong had chosen were the best of the three tables. Their tables were positioned closest to the big screen, while the position of the other table was obviously not as good as theirs, its line of sight being partially blocked by them.
The spaceship's screen displayed the scenery outside. The passengers could enjoy drinks while viewing the scenery outside; Ling Lan, who was extremely curious about everything, would naturally be unwilling to get a lesser seat.
Han Jijyun seemed to be very familiar with spaceships. He tugged on the arm of Lin Zhong-qing, who was also staring around in awe like a country bumpkin, indicating for him to follow him. From who knows where, they found some iced canned drinks, and together they brought the drinks over to the rest of Ling Lan's group.
This caused the other children to look on in envy, but they did not dare to follow suit. Having never set foot on a spaceship before, they really were unsure where they could get those drinks, and there were no service staff or customer service etcetera on hand to help them. If they messed up and caused some trouble by any chance ... that would be troublesome.
Ling Lan used her the pad of her index finger to rub gently in a circle around the top of her can, luxuriating in the chill given off by the body of the can. Although the weather now wasn't extremely hot, being able to enjoy a cool refreshing drink like this was still a true pleasure.
Ling Lan glanced at Han Jijyun, who was currently talking with Qi Long. Sensing her stare, Han Jijyun turned to look and saw Ling Lan looking at him. So, he raised the drink in his hand and gave it a slight shake in her direction. Moreover, his expression was somewhat teasing in nature.
Ling Lan's lips quirked. "Your family's intelligence is very accurate, eh?"
A light flashed through Han Jijyun's eyes, and his lips split into a quick grin. Shamelessly, he said, "Boss, isn't this all just to serve you better?"
Ling Lan couldn't help but laugh. She held onto the can in her hand, and raised it to knock lightly against the other's canned drink, signalling her acceptance. The two of them lifted their heads in unison and took a drink. Their eyes met — everything that needed to be said was conveyed in silence.
Ling Lan knew very well that, with these actions, Han Jijyun was telling her which stratum he came from ... the Intelligence Agency? What a scheming brat. If Little Four had not gathered detailed information on all of them early on and passed it to her, Han Jijyun's subtle hint this time might have really just flown over her head.
Is it because some things just can't be said out loud? Especially with his special family background, Han Jijyun was clearly much more 'black-bellied' than before. Looks like cultivating him into the team's brain would not be a problem.
Han Jijyun was satisfied; the smile on his lips deepened. This once again proved that Boss Ling Lan was an intelligent person that only needed a small hint to understand everything. This time, by bringing out the drinks — firstly, he wanted to tell Ling Lan about his family situation; and secondly, it was out of a small selfish wish to test Ling Lan.
Originally, Han Jijyun had acknowledged Ling Lan as boss largely because of his childhood friend Qi Long. Because Qi Long was determined to follow Ling Lan with all his heart, as his best mate, Han Jijyun could only bite the bullet and follow him.
As they grew up year by year, Han Jijyun asked himself more than once — could he really follow Ling Lan with all his heart like Qi Long, acknowledging him as his boss? Han Jijyun knew very well that if he could not be truly sincere in his loyalty, forcing it would eventually lead to a split one day due to a conflict of interest. If that happened, both sides would be hurt, so he might as well make things clear now and rebuild their relationship. Perhaps then, their relationship could be more permanent.
Han Jijyun did not deny that Ling Lan's strength was extraordinary — in terms of combat, he had never seen anyone else as talented as Ling Lan — it was like he was a peerless prodigy born for the sole purpose of fighting. This was also the reason why Qi Long was so deathly loyal to Ling Lan; as a battle maniac, of course he would idolize this unparalleled combat genius.
But Han Jijyun knew that he wasn't like Qi Long; he wasn't that obsessed with combat. Compared to fighting, he much preferred studying all kinds of space campaigns. The various unusual space strategies drew him in completely, and he was also deeply interested in starship command. Thus, Ling Lan would not be able to receive his submission with just combat ability alone. Han Jijyun liked to use his head, so he hoped to find someone who could out-think him to submit to.
However, in these past few years, Ling Lan's cool attitude towards Lin Zhong-qing made Han Jijyun feel that Ling Lan was not a simple person. Han Jijyun understood that Ling Lan must know that Lin Zhong-qing was not simply what he appeared to be, which was why she was treating him so coldly. Han Jijyun had sensed Lin Zhong-qing's duplicity because of his experience from staying by his father all those years before he came to school. Still, as long as Lin Zhong-qing did not do anything to harm them, he also would not be mean and expose him.
In any case, the matter of Lin Zhong-qing proved that Ling Lan was definitely not a simple-minded person. This made Han Jijyun extremely happy, even starting to feel that following Ling Lan just like this wasn't too bad after all. However, it still wasn't enough to secure his full loyalty. In order to resolve this matter as soon as possible, he intentionally arranged this hint-laden scene. If Ling Lan did not catch the hint, of course Han Jijyun would not give up so easily — he would give Ling Lan three chances. If Ling Lan did not sense anything for all three times, then he could only regretfully tell Ling Lan about his position.
Unexpectedly, Ling Lan's response was so rapid that he was rather shocked — this truly proved that he and Qi Long had not chosen the wrong boss. At the very first hint, Ling Lan had got it, even using doublespeak to point out his background. He was thoroughly convinced now. This proved that Ling Lan was very likely much more astute than he had thought ...
The final clinking of cans was his promise to Ling Lan that he, Han Jijyun, would only recognise Ling Lan as boss in this life from now on, with no more reservations.
Ling Lan had not known that Han Jijyun had been struggling over this issue. Frankly, she had never taken Qi Long's and Han Jijyun's acknowledgements as boss too seriously, thinking that these were just the playful words of children. What she didn't know was that the children of this world all matured way too early; they took their promises extremely seriously, and would never break them easily.
Ling Lan's and Wu Jiong's teams each took one round table; when Li Yingjie finally showed up near the end, he saw that the two best spots had been taken by Ling Lan and Wu Jiong, and glared angrily at them. But in the end, he could do nothing but sit down sulkily at the round table behind them. Who asked him to arrive so late? There was really nothing he could say about not getting a good spot.
Cheng Yuanhang swiftly did a head count, confirming that all the students of his class had boarded the ship. Only then did he inform the spaceship pilot to depart for the spaceport.
This leg of the journey took about one hour. Ling Lan was slightly disappointed in the scenery along the way. It was okay at the beginning, when they could look down at the entire Central Scout Academy campus — Ling Lan was once again awed at just how vast the academy was. It was so unbelievably amazing, almost as large as a special-class city. But once they were high up in the air, other than white clouds there were just more white clouds. In the end, Ling Lan lost all interest in looking at the scenery, instead half reclining in her armchair with her eyes closed to rest for a bit.
They arrived at the spaceport not a second over their estimated arrival time. All of the students got off the spaceship in an organised fashion, and saw that they were now in an endlessly large spaceport. Standing at its centre looking out, one would feel as if this spaceport was vast beyond imagining. There were over ten thousand starships stopped by the gates of the port. From one gate to another, walking would require around one hour — if one goes to the wrong gate by mistake, it would be difficult to change to the right gate in time. Of course, the federal government was smart, so they made sure that countless transit trains dedicated to the various gates would appear here.
Their teacher led them to board the hover train dedicated to gate 117. The transit was quick; Ling Lan and the others arrived at their destination within 5 minutes.
When they got off this time, Ling Lan saw that a colossal and fearsome-looking cone-shaped starship was parked at gate 117. The missile heads bared to the outside proved that this was a weaponised starship, definitely not a leisure cruiser for citizen usage. The scars left on its body by missiles just drove the point home that this was no simple starship.
Ling Lan cast a curious look at the teacher Cheng Yuanhang at the front, wondering how he had found such a fearsome starship. Mind you, this kind of battle-experienced starship couldn't possibly belong to the scout academy.
Cheng Yuanhang led the students into the starship. At the main door, a strong man stood ramrod straight. Although he wasn't dressed in military uniform, Ling Lan could still clearly sense the stamp of the military on him. It was as if the unsatisfied bloody killing intent freshly back from the battlefield still lingered around him.
"Old Lian, I didn't think it'd be you. We'll be troubling you this time." Cheng Yuanhang was extremely warm towards the other, and his tone had a clear thread of respect.
"Haha ... Little Cheng, what are you saying? As long as I'm free, I just love accepting assignments from your academy. Many of my brother subordinates are from your place, you cultivated them well!" said Old Lian with a boisterous laugh, clapping a hand on Cheng Yuanhang's shoulders.
That said, he pulled Cheng Yuanhang aside subtly, and asked quietly, "Give me some hint. Of the students you've brought this time, how many are you satisfied with?"
Speechless, Cheng Yuanhang glared at him, "Don't even think about it. They're still kids."
As if having been caught harbouring some ulterior motives, Old Lian chuckled awkwardly. He did not dare to say anything further, hurriedly turning to order his subordinates in a loud voice to bring Cheng Yuanhang and his students to their waiting room.
Seeing the students disperse, Cheng Yuanhang surreptitiously pulled Old Lian aside, and indicated for the other to look in Wu Jiong's direction. "That Wu Jiong comes from a military elite family. You should know his grandfather, that support pillar of the military Wu family."
Old Lian stuck his tongue out, gasping in surprise, "Who'd have guessed that is his grandson? He should probably be the most talented one of your bunch then."
"He's not!" said Cheng Yuanhang curtly. He pointed out Qi Long and Ling Lan, and said quietly, "That boy with the silly grin, the one that's speaking so brashly ... his talent is definitely no less than Wu Jiong, perhaps even better. He's called Qi Long. In fact, his father isn't a simple character either. Qi Yaoyang, you should know him, right?"
"Of course I know! That's the strongest ace operator of our Third Division mecha operators. I heard that he's about to advance to become an imperial operator this time, but who knows if that's true ..." Old Lian was rather tongue-tied in his shock; the backgrounds of these kids were frankly quite frightening.
"Well, it's about time for him to ascend. At the beginning, he purposely held back and delayed his advancement just so he could be deployed successfully. After these past few years, he probably won't be able to hold back any longer." As Cheng Yuanhang had a direct line to the academy dean, his information was generally quite reliable.basically the same meaning as the explanation in a previous chapter on 'having black innards'. Manipulative, full of plots and schemes.