"That's good then. They are the best batch of this year's talents at the Central Scout Academy. Although it's too early to tell whether there are any aberrant prodigies among them right now, no matter what, they are the treasures of our Federation. We mustn't lose any of them." The senior officer's expression was serious. Every time these children came here, the pressure on him was unbelievably heavy — if any one of them died in an accident while hunting, it wouldn't end well for him.
After some thought, he still felt insecure, so the senior officer added this command, "Let the special-ops team on the ground follow them as well, to ensure protection from both the air and land."
"Roger that, Sir, I'll arrange it immediately!" responded the adviser. He then hurried to pass down this newest command so that the special-ops team could prepare to set out immediately.
Meanwhile, in the camping grounds, that clarion voice rang out once more, "Next, the students who hear their names, please come up to retrieve your chip, as well as your combat uniform and firearm."
With that, a troop of soldiers brought out a whole bunch of things in front of them, and began calling out their names one by one. Everyone went up to the registration point to collect the items mentioned, Ling Lan and the others included.
The chips would be their identity cards in this military camp. Credits that could only be used inside the camp could be saved within them, and could be used to buy things in the camp. Other than free accommodation, everything else in the military camp needed to be purchased using these credits. In other words, to live more comfortably, they would need to find a way to earn these credits — and hunting was just one of the ways. This was just another way of telling the students that only the strong had the right to live a better life — the principle of survival of the fittest being emphasized here once again.
Ling Lan followed the usage methods of the chip and inserted it into the communicator on her wrist. Then, she saw the previous system of the communicator being shut down, and the new system was activated. On the chip, there was no name, just a number. Ling Lan's number was 017717. She peeked at Qi Long beside her, and saw that his number was 017709. It looked like these numbers were just randomly assigned by the computer to each of their 50 classmates, with no underlying pattern to be found.
The chips were preloaded with 1000 credits. This surprised Ling Lan, who had thought that there would be nothing inside. Unexpectedly, the camp was giving them some time to adjust, not being as merciless as she had assumed they would be. As long as they found a way to earn credits before these 1000 credits were used up, then they would be able to survive within this camp successfully.
Considering the fact that they were here for a hunting course, then it was likely that the beasts they hunted could be exchanged for credits. The only question was how much. Of course, Ling Lan was sure there were other exchange methods as well; she just didn't know them yet. Still, Ling Lan wasn't anxious. After all, they would be staying here for no less than 3 months, perhaps even longer, so there would be plenty of time for her to slowly figure everything out.
Ling Lan put on her combat uniform. The clothes fit her almost perfectly — the academy had probably sent their data over to the military beforehand so they would be able to get the correct sizes for the children.
After obtaining these items, the originally anxious students felt a little more secure. The combat uniforms had a certain degree of defensive ability, able to withstand two or three attacks from an H-class savage beast, which would give the students a little more to bank on when protecting themselves. Meanwhile, the firearms provided were all beam handguns, only meant for defence. The firearms were there just in case the students found themselves surrounded by savage beasts and needed the firepower to blast a bloody trail through the beasts to escape ...
The hunting course required them to use cold weapons with their own hands to kill the savage beasts. This was also why Ling Lan had brought two high-efficiency alloy blades. Ling Lan could handle the short blade type of cold weapons well with both hands; in particular, her right hand was so proficient with them that it could be said that it was godlike. However, Ling Lan's left hand was actually most proficient with the tri-edge trench knife. But since almost no one in this era knew how to use the tri-edge trench knife, Ling Lan had no choice but to shelve it for now, otherwise she would not be able to explain how she had learned how to use it.
Ling Lan placed one of the high-efficiency alloy short blades into the outer pocket of her combat uniform by her hip. The other she stuffed into the back of her belt. The one on her belt was prepared for her left hand. In a critical moment, she would be able to draw out the blade in time to hack at a savage beast.
From the start, Ling Lan had been a dual-wielding combatant — she had just projected the appearance of being a right-handed fighter to the outside world to hide her true strength.
After finishing her preparations, Ling Lan took a look around. She saw that the expressions on the students' faces were casual and relaxed after changing into their combat uniforms, and could not help but frown.
It was true that the combat uniforms could withstand two or three attacks from an H-class savage beast — however, this just meant that the other's attack would not break the combat uniform, the force behind the attack would still not be completely negated. 3 to 4 layers of the power behind the attack would still be conveyed to the body, so if the body was not strong enough, the victim would still have their bones broken or incur some internal damage from the force of the attack. Therefore, they could not relax just because they had the uniforms.
In Ling Lan's opinion, they should avoid being hit if they could help it. Otherwise, each hit would bring either death or injury.
Ling Lan gave a serious warning to Qi Long and the others, dousing their excitement from obtaining the combat uniforms. Their expressions turned grim instantly, knowing that they had relaxed too soon. It was just as Ling Lan cautioned — even though the combat uniforms would increase their chances of survival, that did not mean it was foolproof. Everything still depended on their own capability to work hard and survive this cruel hunting exercise.
Once everyone was ready, Ling Lan raised her head to glance at the sun. Even after half a day, it had not shifted in position, still hanging high up in the sky.
Ling Lan found a soldier on duty in the camp and asked him about the planet, and found out that the switch between day and night here was different from that of the galaxy they lived in. A day here consisted of 120 hours, and the nights were just as long. The watch soldier also told Ling Lan that the mass of this primitive planet was just too large, which was why one self-rotation required that much time.
As for how they decided when to eat or sleep, the decision was up to them. After all, every person had different adaptability, and the rest time they needed varied as well.
Ling Lan then asked about the departure time for the hunt, and was told that a car would bring them to the hunting grounds from the campsite in an hour. As such, Ling Lan decided to first go and fill up her belly, lest she have no strength to hunt later due to hunger.
She also asked about the food matters of the students, and learned that there was a special large canteen set up to provide meals for the campground staff. There, one could eat whenever they wanted, though the food needed to be purchased with credits.
Ling Lan did not continue to inquire further after that. Instead, she led Qi Long and the others straight to the canteen. Wu Jiong's team, which had been keeping an eye out on her movements, knew what she was planning, and decided to follow her lead.
The two teams ate a meal of the simplest and cheapest fast food, which costed them 50 credits each. Ling Lan noticed then that the camp really was not giving them much time to prepare at all — if they could not find a way to earn money after three days, they would not be able to afford any more food ...
While they ate, Han Jijyun suggested that they first head to the credit exchange area to learn how they could earn more credits. He felt that they needed to learn the trading methods here before they went hunting, especially with regards to the exchange rates for the beasts. They wouldn't want to kill a savage beast after much difficulty just to find out that it wasn't worth much credits ... that would be such a waste.
Ling Lan agreed that that was wise. So, everyone sped up to finish their meal, cleaning their bowls out within a few minutes. Then, they hurried to the credit exchange point to inquire about the various ways to trade for credits. There, they found that only the path of hunting had been left for the students.
It looked like the camp was worried that the students might put too much priority on surviving that they would forget the main purpose of their trip. Thus, they might as well fix the credit exchange method of the students from the start. Fortunately, the items they would be able to get from most of the savage beasts were all worth quite a lot — as long as they caught something every day, they definitely would not starve.
Ling Lan then spent another hundred credits to buy a copy of this planet's catalogue of savage beasts, saving it into her communicator.
Although Ling Lan's heart ached a little at the loss of this 100 credits, she felt that it was money well spent, because the data on the savage beasts on the catalogue was very comprehensive. Their physical characteristics, attack methods, strengths and weaknesses, and even their skills were detailed very clearly. Besides that, the catalogue also contained a detailed listing of the exchange prices of all the different parts of the various savage beasts. This way, they would be able to target the more valuable savage beasts when hunting, gaining much more for the same amount of effort.
After preparing all this, Ling Lan then brought her team back to the assembly point for the students. As Wu Jiong's followers had not known what Ling Lan's group was planning, they had eaten at a slower pace. By the time they finished their meal and got out, they had already lost sight of Ling Lan's team, and so could only slink back sullenly to the assembly point. Thus, they were already there before Ling Lan's team.
Not long after, a stout officer led a squad over to them. Looking at the little bean sprouts in front of him, he chuckled and said, "Hi, darling brats! I'm your leader for the activity this time. Please call me 'leader'."
Seeing the scouts' attention all on him, he continued, "Later, I will be taking you all to the hunting grounds. Remember, listen to my commands. Don't act on your own, or else don't blame me for not warning you when you die."
The officer's words caused the students' hearts to leap up into their throats once again.
"Also, do you all have any teams? Team leaders, raise your hands," asked the officer.
Among the students, six hands, including Ling Lan's, were raised. The officer's brows creased. He had not expected there to be so few teams in this term's batch of students. Initially, he had thought that in teams, the students would be able to coordinate and work together better, increasing the safety of the hunt. However, the current situation was not as good as he had hoped.
Helplessly, he raised his right hand and shouted, "Those with teams, leaders, bring your team members over here to my right hand side. Team leaders stand first in line, all teams in a row."
Very quickly, Ling Lan and the others had lined up by the officer's side. Qi Long stood in for Ling Lan as the leader at the front. Just like that, the six teams made six lines, and it became clear that Ling Lan's team was the one with the most members, five people. Meanwhile, the other teams had either four or three people, with one team even having only two.