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"Although we'll lose a great warrior on the battlefield, the Federation will gain an extra measure of deterrent power. I wouldn't want to see something like what happened to Major General Ling Xiao happen again." As Old Lian said this, his expression was overcast with shadows. Till now, he just could not understand — for that inconsequential battle, why had they sent out an IN mecha, the Federation's ultimate weapon, so randomly? Even more hilarious was the fact that a god-class operator, so prized by the Federation, had actually been killed so easily by the enemy nation's trap ... Had the personnel of the Federal Intelligence Agency all gone to eat sh*t?

Every time he thought of the matter, rage would burn hotly in his heart. He really wanted to f*ck up those idiots who had come up with this strategy ... if the Premier Head of State hadn't immediately apprehended those people for questioning, the Federation soldiers would very likely have stormed into the military to drag out all those involved and put a bullet into their brains before being appeased.

"Stop bringing up sad history. What happened with Major General Ling Xiao is a thorn in all the hearts of us people in the Federation." Cheng Yuanhang's expression dimmed. Even though ten years had passed since that incident, the citizens of the Federation still could not accept this cruel reality.

Cheng Yuanhang looked towards Ling Lan in the distance, and his complexion improved. Rallying his spirits, he said, "Those two kids I mentioned, though their talent is great, and their strength is also sufficient, still, they aren't the strongest in my class ..." This one in a million prodigy could perhaps remedy their pain one day.

These words of Cheng Yuanhang's flustered Old Lian. "Ah ... they still aren't the best?" He clapped a hand onto Cheng Yuanhang's shoulder roughly, and said with envy, "You little punk, how are you so lucky? The first time taking a class, and you get such exceptional young prodigies."

Cheng Yuanhang said proudly, "Don't you see what class I'm leading? .... It's Special Class-A which has gathered all the top talent within the Federation!" There was a radiant light in his eyes — thinking back, when the dean had first told him the news, he had almost been overwhelmed with joy and surprise.

"Already said you have the devil's own luck," huffed Old Lian.

Cheng Yuanhang pretended he heard nothing, turning to point at Ling Lan, who was currently motionlessly observing the layout of the starship, and said, "There, that's the one. He's who I'm referring to. His name is Ling Lan. What do you think? Not bad, right?"

Old Lian peered intently at Ling Lan for a moment, and then could not help but rub his chin excitedly. He nodded and said, "Hn, not bad. I like that alert gaze of his. A very level-headed little fellow, isn't he? No matter how curious and excited he is, he's still putting his own safety first — it's obvious that he's trying to memorize our military formations."

"It's not just that. This kid's combat ability is also a level beyond the others. Putting it bluntly, this kid, other than lacking some physical strength, on all other fronts, the men below you ... will most likely be no match for him." Cheng Yuanhang had full confidence in Ling Lan's capabilities — his tone was sure when he said this.

"How could this be?" Old Lian could believe that Ling Lan's talent was exceptional, but he definitely could not believe this claim of Cheng Yuanhang's. He felt that Cheng Yuanhang was just praising his own wares ... think about it. A little brat of not even 10 years of age, no matter how insanely talented he was or how quickly he picked up combat, should still be unable to beat the battle-experienced veterans under him.

"Don't believe me? If there's a chance, just let your subordinates try him," suggested Cheng Yuanhang with a half-smile. He was obviously telling Old Lian that they were the real deal — real gold did not fear the test of fire.

Old Lian descended into a thoughtful silence. He pulled at his jaw, looking at Ling Lan with a contemplative gaze ...

On the starship, six people were assigned to one room. So, Ling Lan's team directly applied to stay together. Besides Ling Lan's team, all the other teams also chose to do the same.

It wasn't long before the starship disengaged from the navigation frame, and officially departed. Very quickly, they left the spaceport behind for the endless starry skies. This time, their space journey would take seven days for them to arrive at their destination. At the beginning, the students were still in an excited state. Eagerly watching the starry skies go by, time seemed to pass rather quickly. But after two consecutive days of the same thing, their excitement slowly waned and they calmed down. The monotonous scenery could no longer hold the children's attention; the students, who were used to the hustle and bustle of campus life, began to feel bored and restless.

As if sensing the children's boredom, the starship captain suddenly announced that a sparring match would be held between the students and the starship's crew. This reignited the students' excitement — besides sparring with other students and sometimes the teachers in the academy, the students had really never fought any other adults before.

Every child had their dreams of becoming strong. They too wanted to know how wide the gap was between them and grown adults in terms of combat ability.

Qi Long was a pure battle maniac — hearing this news, he immediately dragged Ling Lan and the others to the combat room to watch the fights. Of course, he also intended to go fight a match for himself.

There was an extremely spacious combat room inside the starship. Ling Lan noticed that the walls of the combat room were made of highly resistant metal-composite steel plates. Anything below 1 tonne of strength would not leave a mark on them; this was definitely a room which could let fighters fight as hard as they liked ...

Cold sweat beaded on Ling Lan's forehead. It looked like the crew members of this starship were all battle maniacs, otherwise they would not have specially used such an expensive and precious metal just to make a combat room.

By the time Ling Lan and the others got there, in the combat room, there had already been quite a few students who had sparred with the starship's crew members. Although the Class-A children were considered exceptional among the students of the same grade at school, compared to these crewmen, they were really all too green. It only took a few moves for the students to lose; even the one who performed the best was not able to last more than 10 moves.

This kind of one-sided fighting was not at all exciting in the crewmen's eyes, causing the spectating crewmen to yawn non-stop. "The captain must be really bored to monkey around like this, actually getting us to fool around with these little brats. Just watching Lil' Jin and the others fighting like this is really uncomfortable." As they were afraid to hurt the children by accident, every crewman that went up to fight had to be exceedingly careful with their strength. These people observing were depressed just watching this.

Being used to battles with real knives and guns, these fights were truly just like child's play to the crewmen. They had no interest at all in playing along, which was why they were rather put out at being forced to do this by their captain's command.

These words drew the indignation of the surrounding Central Scout Academy students. However, after these few rounds of sparring, they too knew that the gap in strength between them and the crewmen was just too large. Even if they rushed forwards, they would just be delivering themselves up for bullying.

The students of Special Class-A had always been a privileged lot in the academy. The academy had instilled the notion in their minds that they were the best of the bunch, so their pride was naturally stronger than the other students by far. Against this sort of terrible defeat, they were of course unwilling to just admit defeat — they wanted to get some dignity back!

"The ones you have beaten aren't even the strongest in our class. Wait till you've defeated those strongest few before saying anything more," said one of the students huffily.

These words were soundly approved by all the students in attendance. "That's right, the strongest person in our class isn't here yet. Don't look down on us."

"Defeat him first before talking big ..."

The angry words of the children made the crew members burst out into laughter. One of the crewmen even moved to point at one of the skinnier crew members and said, "Quan, later, why don't you be the one to meet their strongest fighter?"

"Me? But I'm a JMC, combat isn't my specialty," said Quan softly, scratching his head. It was general knowledge that JMCs were the crew members with the weakest combat ability on board the starship.

"That's why you're perfect! At least then we'll be able to see them hold out for about 50 moves, giving them some face." These crewmen were all old shipmates who followed no restrictions or taboos — their unfiltered words were definitely not polite, immediately causing many of the scout academy students to almost combust from anger.

Ling Lan had just been quietly watching the proceedings, when suddenly, a voice rang out by her ear, "Even now, you're still holding back?"

It turned out that Wu Jiong and his team had arrived, just in time to hear these words. Right now, veins were popping out on his forehead, and his eyes were lit with the flames of rage — it looked like he was pretty angry.

"You could go up and give it a try," suggested Ling Lan. She was not so impulsive that she would rush forward just because of some words. It's not like being insulted would cause any additional hairs on her head to fall off.

Wu Jiong said darkly, "Aren't you the one who's the strongest of us all?" Ling Lan could tolerate to this extent? Didn't he have any pride of being strong at all? Wu Jiong just could not figure it out.

"If they could be defeated by someone who's not the strongest, wouldn't that be even more exciting?" said Ling Lan lightly with a quirk of a brow.

Wu Jiong cast a searching look at Ling Lan, and then a mocking smile appeared on his lips. "True!" That said, he readied himself to move forward when a hand suddenly reached for him.

Wu Jiong reflexively tried to dodge, but found that he had no chance — that hand had sealed off all the room he had to dodge ...

"It's not yet time for you to go out." Ling Lan was the one who had stopped Wu Jiong.

"Lin Zhong-qing," Ling Lan suddenly turned to yell out.

Startled, Lin Zhong-qing blinked for a moment before replying in a hurry, "Boss, what's up?"

"You go and test that person," ordered Ling Lan. "Use only the scout academy's foundational combat arts."

"Alright ..." Although Lin Zhong-qing did not know why Ling Lan refused to let him use any secret arts, since the Boss had said so, he would follow through even though he did not understand.

"To fight with our strongest top-rank, a JMC is unqualified." Lin Zhong-qing's voice cut through the crowd, causing the Class-A students to cheer after they got over their surprise. They had seen that Ling Lan, Qi Long, Wu Jiong and the others of their team had all come. Moreover, Lin Zhong-qing was part of Ling Lan's team. His coming forward must have undoubtedly been approved by Ling Lan.

Wu Jiong watched as Lin Zhong-qing walked onto the combat area, and asked Ling Lan worriedly, "Will he be fine?"

"Facing a JMC who isn't specialised in combat, as long as Lin Zhong-qing keeps his head, he won't lose." Ling Lan could tell at a glance that that crewman Quan was not a real combat expert. Although Lin Zhong-qing's skills and techniques were very common, his foundational combat arts were very solid. Against this kind of person with weak combat basics, he shouldn't have much difficulty.

"I'll take your word for it." Wu Jiong had faith in Ling Lan's judgement. After all, in terms of combat, within their class, if Ling Lan claimed to be second place, then no one would dare to claim first place.

"Oh oh oh oh ... Go, Quan, go!" The crew of the starship began to make a ruckus.

Under the egging of his companions, Quan finally walked onto the combat area. In his mind, he thought that even though he couldn't beat his comrades-in-arms, dealing with these bunch of brats would still be no problem.

1000 kilogramsI can't remember if this phrase has been explained previously. It's a pretty common saying in Chinese novels, so I took it for granted, but it just occured to me that newer readers may be unfamiliar with this. So, here goes ...
'Face' is like dignity for the Chinese; think 'looking good in the public eye'. It is often used in the context of 'give face' (leave someone with their dignity; or show some respect for them), and 'lose face' (being shamed; losing dignity). Also common is 'keep face' or 'save face', which you all should be able to figure out on your own by now. ;)
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