Under Ling Lan's planning, every member of Ling Lan's team experienced hunting solo. After a week, Ling Lan felt that the others had already gotten used to hunting, and were able to work together well with great rapport. So, she decided not to move around with them anymore.
Ling Lan had only been following them around this week primarily because she wanted to protect them, afraid that they might encounter some unexpected scenarios. It wasn't that Ling Lan didn't want to go off on her own to the areas with higher class savage beasts, but, Little Four told her that there were mecha convoys from the camp scattered around watching over them, both in the air and on the ground. However, with the passage of time, the number of mecha gradually decreased.
Thus, Ling Lan could only bide her time at the temporary outpost. Still, she had the learning space, so it wasn't a complete waste of time. However, these actions of Ling Lan drew the contempt of the mecha operators protecting the students from the skies ...
Just take today for example. After sending Qi Long and the others off at the gates of the temporary outpost, Ling Lan ambled back to the living quarters and lay down to sleep. This lazy and unmotivated demeanour of hers instantly infuriated the mecha operator in charge of this area.
"Hells, this punk is such a goddamn rascal, not going out to hunt again," said the mecha operator angrily to his teammates.
By this point, the mecha operators were no longer protecting the teams individually, but was keeping track of them through radar monitoring. Any hunting team that entered the range of the area they monitored would fall under their protection.
This particular mecha operator's protection range just happened to include the temporary outpost. Every time he saw Ling Lan remaining at the outpost on his own, sleeping sweetly without a care in the world, his mood would take a deep nosedive. He felt that Ling Lan was not living up to all of their expectations.
"Could it be that his credits haven't been used up yet?" One of his teammates asked him distractedly as he gathered information on the hunting teams within their protection range. Many of the children just did not have the guts to go out and hunt unless absolutely necessary.
"If that was the case, I wouldn't be so angry! I'd just have to wait for him to reach that critical point. But he just goddamn won't ever run out of credits because his teammates are actually willing to provide for him without any complaint!" Extremely disgruntled, the mecha operator's voice was deep and sullen. "Even though they returned every single time covered in injuries, they would still just smile and give the quarry they hunted to that brat, and let him exchange it for credits and continue to remain in the temporary outpost."
The operator was somewhat envious, but his heart also ached for those children. For the sake of such an unmotivated and useless teammate, were their actions worth it?
"Ho! Looks like that punk's interpersonal skills are pretty good then." Being able to get his teammates to provide for him willingly was also an accomplishment. The other mecha operators could not help but exclaim in awe.
"Could it be that the punk has an impressive background?" Of course, someone would think of this — maybe this was the reason why those children didn't dare to not support him?
"I asked the captain, and he said that he doesn't have any notable background. It's just that his father died long before he was born in a battle with the Twilight Empire." Very early on, the mecha operator in charge had already asked the captain to investigate the child's data, and found that his background was very average. Even more average than those of his teammates, Qi Long and Luo Lang.
"Perhaps those children pity him for being an orphan of a martyr. Giving him some consideration because of that would be normal," someone speculated.
"That's not the way to be considerate. They are here to see blood — if this brat never sees blood, then how will he grow? Don't they know that this is actually harming him?" The mecha operator in charge was somewhat distressed at the waste of talent.
"What are you worrying for? If he doesn't want to grow stronger, what can we do ..." The other's words had barely faded when he suddenly gasped in shock, and asked doubtfully, "Look up there, what's that?" When he had been browsing through the images, a light had seemed to flicker at the top of the screen. He adjusted the image, and found that countless bright spots had appeared on it, and could not hold back a shout.
All of the mecha in the air immediately pulled up their images as well, and saw that there really were countless bright spots descending from the atmosphere.
"What's going on? Why didn't the camp control tower give us a report?"
"Could it be an enemy attack?"
"No way ..."
Just when those aerial mecha operators were at a loss, Ling Lan, who had already entered the learning space and had started practising her physical skills, sensed a strong signal calling her from the outside. She decisively ended her training and returned to the great hall of the learning space. There, she saw Little Four with an anxious face, who rushed to say, "Boss, I just did an aerial scan, and discovered a mysterious force invading this planet!"
Ling Lan's face changed. She quickly returned to the real world, leapt up from her bed, and rushed out.
Standing in the square of the temporary outpost, she lifted her head to look up at the sky, and could vaguely see several glimmering lights in the skies above.
"Little Four, lock onto one of those bright spots and zoom in," ordered Ling Lan.
A close-up of the scene right by a bright spot abruptly appeared before Ling Lan's eyes. The bright spot turned out to be a giant elliptical metal object. Its outer shell was smooth and glossy, and it looked just like a large egg made of metal — there was no way to tell what it was. Its speed of descent was not very quick, just as if there was a reactionary force pushing against the planet's gravity.
Ling Lan's brows furrowed, suddenly thinking of something. She yelled out quickly, "Little Four, could you check to see into outer space?"
"From here, I'll need to hack into the radar here. Boss, hold on for a few seconds ..." That said, Little Four left. Ling Lan counted under her breath, and when she reached 9, the image before her suddenly shifted to an image of the space right beyond this planet.
In space, there was nothing. All was silent, just as if those unidentified flying objects had just appeared in their vision from thin air.
"The other side might be using some cloaking system to evade radar scanning, and so were not discovered," explained Little Four, "Let me try to change their radar scanning system ..." This so-called 'cloaking' was not true concealment — it was just recognizing an opponent's radar scanning system and preparing a corresponding countermeasure. So, a minor modification to the scanning system would solve the problem.
Little Four's words had yet to fade when Ling Lan saw two massive interstellar motherships suddenly appear in a corner of the initially boundless starry sky. Beside them were four escort starships. Right then, those elliptical metal objects were being launched in a never-ending stream from the mothership's launch port. The four escort starships were positioned at four corners, carefully guarding the two motherships in the centre.
"Searching for their emblem ..."
The starships within the image began to rotate, until, on one side of one of the ships, a blood-red sun was revealed ...
"The Twilight Empire ..." Ling Lan's gaze narrowed, her mind swiftly registering the severity of the matter. Immediately, she said, "Quick, transmit the images to the camp's control tower ..."
"Already done." Little Four had instantly transmitted those images to the control tower.
Ling Lan's gaze filled up with killing intent — the Twilight Empire ... that was the main culprit in her father Ling Xiao's murder. She had originally thought that she would only get the chance to get revenge and kill the people of the Twilight Empire once she grew up, but unexpectedly, this opportunity had presented itself here at this mysterious planet.
Of course, Ling Lan also knew very well that their appearance here most likely meant that some problems had also emerged within the inner workings of the Federation, just like back when Ling Xiao had been killed. Only this time, she wondered who their target was.
When the control tower received Little Four's transmitted images, they instantly sounded the alarm ... The entire camp leapt into action under the blaring cacophony of the alarms. All the resting soldiers rushed out, grabbing their weapons and their mecha.
Meanwhile, the mecha operators in the air still observing those unidentified bright spots in the atmosphere had also received the warning of an enemy attack from the control tower.
"Warning, this is an enemy attack ...! Warning, this is an enemy attack!"
"Get ready for battle!" The cold voice of the captain came through the public communications channel.
"Yes!" All of the mecha were fully armed, and they watched suspiciously as those countless flying objects drifted down towards their planet. The moment the captain gave the command, they would charge.
In the meantime, the hunting students had also received the notification to return to the camp or the closest outpost.
When the opponent had drifted down to a certain altitude, the flight-capable winged mecha or humanoid mecha all flew up into the sky as well, waiting in formation.
Meanwhile, in space, the commanding officer of the mothership who had supervised the launching of the metallic giant eggs, was closely watching the feedback images of the situation below. When he saw that the opponent had already noticed them and were prepared to attack, he instantly pounded the table in anger. "Baka, how did they discover our concealed airstrike strategy? Which bastard ratted us out?!"
Originally, they had wanted to overwhelm the opponent with the element of surprise, but was unexpectedly faced with this sort of direct faceoff. His heart started to twinge in pain — the sneak attack this time involved their empire's most exceptional mecha column, if any accidents happened and they were lost here, it would definitely be a severe loss.
This commanding officer naturally didn't know that the reason the opponent was prepared was due to Little Four, this intelligent bio-entity from the miraculous planet Mandora ...
"Attack!" When the control tower gave this command, all the air-borne mecha launched the first wave of attack. The metallic eggs right at the bottom were instantly caught in the explosions of this intense firepower. Losing the anti-gravity deceleration, they dropped like stones, hurtling downwards at full speed. The mecha in formation paid no mind to these falling eggs — everyone knew that at that speed, even if there were protective fittings inside, the people inside would still be at death's door even if they didn't die.
These images were transmitted back to the motherships in space, causing the commanding officer to yell 'baka baka' non-stop, yet he was helpless to do anything. Now that things had developed into the current situation, it was no longer something he could resolve.
"Sir, can we let them break out of the shells and act now?" The adviser beside the officer wiped away the sweat on his forehead, and reminded him with a bow. Since there was already no chance of a sneak attack, they might as well fight outright pitting strength against strength.
"Sano-kun's suggestion is good. Give out the order to act!" The commanding officer finally calmed down.
Once the order went out, all the falling metallic eggs cracked open by themselves, revealing the black mecha hiding within each one. The sight of those black mecha, along with the crimson sun emblazoned on their chests instantly drove all the Federation's mecha operator's into a collective rage.
"Curses, it's mecha!"
"The bloody Twilight Empire!"
"Dammit, kill them all ... avenge Major General Ling Xiao!" It wasn't clear which mecha operator said this, but it summed up the burning animosity of the mecha operators well.'idiot' in Japanese. A pattern is really showing up here with this 'Twilight Empire' ... *sigh* Please don't shoot the translator; content is beyond my control.'-kun' is a Japanese suffix for names, generally used by people of senior status addressing or referring to those of junior status, or just in general to refer to a male person whom one has a close relationship with.'Yes' in Japanese.