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Luo Lang's face turned bright red at Ling Lan's shocked question. If it had been anyone else, Luo Lang would definitely have raised his fist and punched them, but Ling Lan was his most respected, most loved, most idolised Boss Lan! And besides, he couldn't win against him anyway ...

Unsure what to do, Luo Lang could only stand there helplessly. His lost demeanour actually added an extra tinge of softness to his appearance, truly prompting pity and affection in others. This caused the wailing in Ling Lan's heart to escalate: Boo hoo hoo ... this brat's existence was absolutely meant to harass her. How was she to live with this cruel reality?!

Ling Lan's question caused Xie Yi, who was standing by the side, to burst out into laughter. Finally finding a scapegoat for his anger and frustration, Luo Lang roared and pounced at Xie Yi, and a grand battle broke out once more.

But this time, no one was willing to bother with either of them; even Han Jijyun, who would usually rein them in, did not have the mind to care about them at the moment.

"Boss Lan, long time no see!" Forcefully holding back his emotions, Han Jijyun peered closely at Ling Lan standing before him. Although he had not lost his composure like the others, the typically stoic expression on his face was gone, replaced by a clear expression of pleasant surprise.

Ling Lan hugged Han Jijyun abruptly, patting his back forcefully as she said, "Jijyun, these past three years, it's been tough on you."

Han Jijyun's strategic planning was definitely instrumental in ensuring that Qi Long's team remained secure as the strongest team of the academy. It should be known that Wu Jiong's team and Li Yingjie's team were both extremely strong teams as well — both those teams must have always been eyeing the throne of Qi Long's team ravenously all this while.

Truthfully, those two teams were no weaker than Qi Long's in terms of capability. In fact, it might even be said that they were a hair better, because they were full teams with all 6 members, while Qi Long's team was lacking Ling Lan and so had always been operating with just 5 people. Inherently lacking, for them to maintain their status as the strongest team, Han Jijyun had played a major role with his careful planning and thoughtful manipulations. Without Han Jijyun, no matter how strong Qi Long became, the team would not have been able to fend off the combined challenge of the other two teams.

The approbation in Ling Lan's words almost caused Han Jijyun to break out into joyful tears. Ling Lan recognised all his efforts over these past three years! At this moment, he finally understood the meaning behind the phrase 'a gentleman would die for a patron who recognises his worth' — having a boss like Ling Lan, was truly his good fortune.

Ling Lan released Han Jijyun, and her gaze shifted to look at Lin Zhong-qing. She walked forwards and bumped her shoulder lightly against his. This action, reminiscent of the silent communication between sworn brothers, caused Lin Zhong-qing to be filled with shocked joy. Could this mean that Boss Lan had truly accepted him now, and would begin viewing him as a brother of equal status with Qi Long and the others? He could not help but croak out, "Boss Lan ..."

"Yes!" An extremely small smile appeared on Ling Lan's lips, but Lin Zhong-qing still noticed it. That smile told Lin Zhong-qing that he was not mistaken.

After interacting with Qi Long, Han Jijyun, and Lin Zhong-qing for a bit, Ling Lan looked over at the other two still embroiled in their fight. Curiously, Ling Lan asked, "That's Xie Yi?" Ling Lan recalled Qi Long telling her that he was accepting a student called Xie Yi into their team when she had left the academy. And that person was the combat expert hiding within Class-B whom she had inadvertently discovered during the grand armed melee.

Qi Long nodded and said, "Yes. He's not bad. Willing to train hard with us, just shy of joining us at the advanced mecha warrior level."

Ling Lan's gaze glittered. "Looks like you all are getting along well."

"Yup, this punk's skin is really thick. He is capable of anything ... even we can't take it sometimes," said Lin Zhong-qing, chuckling wryly. He had thought that he was extremely unflappable, that his skin was already thick enough, but compared to Xie Yi, he was really just in the kiddie league — Xie Yi's behaviour showed him what thick-skinned really was ... his shamelessness knew no bounds.

Lin Zhong-qing's words received Qi Long's and Han Jijyun's agreement. All of them believed that no matter what kind of environment Xie Yi was placed in, he would be able to live on resiliently ...

Hearing Qi Long's and the others' opinions on Xie Yi, Ling Lan glanced contemplatively at Xie Yi. Perhaps he would be able to fill in the gaps of Qi Long's team ... of course, this was with the prerequisite that Xie Yi knew what he was supposed to do.

Ling Lan then asked, "How long are they planning to fight for?"

"Until Luo Lang's tired," said Lin Zhong-qing with a laugh. They all knew that the person who really wanted to fight was Luo Lang; Xie Yi was just going along passively. So, when Luo Lang no longer wanted to fight, the fight would be over.

"Then let's just leave them to it." That said, Ling Lan began walking towards the academy gates. When she had left her home, she had been carefully observing the time. She had no intentions of letting her final assessment be affected by her being late. Even though she was not aiming to enter the top military school, that didn't mean that she did not want to enrol in the other schools.

Seeing Ling Lan make a move, Qi Long, Han Jijyun, and Lin Zhong-qing decisively left the two fighting people behind and followed Ling Lan through the academy gates.

Xie Yi, who had been keeping a close eye on Ling Lan's actions, saw that Ling Lan had already entered the gates, and quickly shouted, "Luo Lang, Boss Ling Lan has entered the academy!"

"Ah ..." Engrossed in the fight, Luo Lang had not noticed this at all. He hurriedly stopped fighting, and seeing the backs of Ling Lan and the others entering the school gates, he shouted out, "Boss, wait for me!" He frantically ran after them, leaving his fighting partner Xie Yi behind.

"How heartless!" complained Xie Yi. If he hadn't pitied Luo Lang for his plight earlier, he would not have laughed and given Luo Lang a way out to vent his embarrassment. Of course, there was another reason for his obvious laughter. Back when Ling Lan had first faced the others, those true emotions revealed had made him feel like an outsider, which made him very uncomfortable. Thus, he had taken the chance to tease Luo Lang, egging him into a fight to push aside this feeling.

"So I have to get Boss Ling Lan's acknowledgement? How troublesome ..." Xie Yi frowned, ambling unhurriedly after Luo Lang to enter the school gates.

Still, he did not wish to be excluded by the others anymore! Xie Yi found that he really hated that.

Luo Lang and Xie Yi very quickly caught up to the others. The six of them slowly walked to the nearest hover car stop, and prepared to take a hover car to the assessment centre.

While they were waiting, Xie Yi thought for a moment, then walked over to stand before Ling Lan. He said seriously, "Boss Ling Lan, I'm called Xie Yi. Leader Qi Long and the others said that only if I obtain your acknowledgement will I be a true member of the team ... I hope that Boss can acknowledge me."

Ling Lan glanced at Xie Yi coolly. This glance gave Xie Yi a chill, as if he had been laid bare by it. Initially filled with confidence, he suddenly began to doubt himself ... could he really obtain Ling Lan's acknowledgement?

He didn't know how long he waited — perhaps it was just a second, or perhaps it was 30 to 40 seconds — when Ling Lan finally responded, "Why should I?"

Xie Yi rallied his spirits and replied, "I will not hold the team back."

"There are many who won't hold the team back. You're not indispensable," answered Ling Lan indifferently.

Xie Yi was struck dumb by Ling Lan's words. Dammit, can't he tell that he was just being humble?! Was he supposed to be blatantly honest and say that he was the best at fighting, and that his strength was top-shelf material?! Xie Yi's expression was awkward, but this moment fully displayed the extreme thickness of Xie Yi's skin. He regained his composure once more and said with a laugh, "Of course, I can also fight very well."

"To join our team, it's the most basic thing to be able to fight well."

Xie Yi choked once more on Ling Lan's merciless words. True enough, he finally felt the legendary difficulty of Boss Ling Lan — he was truly impervious against flattery and common tricks 1 , utterly unpredictable. That stony expression, that unruffled tone ... Xie Yi really had no clue where he should apply force.

He could only chuckle bitterly and fall silent. This time, it was his loss; he could only retreat for now.

Right then, a hover car arrived. Ling Lan was the first to board, followed closely by Qi Long and Han Jijyun. Meanwhile, Lin Zhong-qing, Luo Lang, and Xie Yi were prepared to take the next hover car.

Han Jijyun had just boarded, the car door still open, when Ling Lan suddenly turned her head to say to Xie Yi, "Xie Yi, what do you think your presence can bring to the team? When you can answer this question, then I will give you a clear answer!"

Ling Lan's words had barely faded when the car doors closed. Han Jijyun keyed in their destination on the hover car's A.I., and the hover car sped off into the sky, quickly disappearing into the distance.

Xie Yi was taken aback by Ling Lan's parting words. He had thought that Ling Lan would not be giving him a response today, so he had already been planning to work on it for the long haul. Unexpectedly, Ling Lan had suddenly thrown him this question. Even as it boggled him, he was a little lost, because he had never thought about what he could bring to the team.

"Xie Yi, what are you blanking out for? Come in quickly!" Luo Lang's impatient shout came to his ears. Xie Yi blinked and saw that Lin Zhong-qing and Luo Lang were already on a hover car, waiting for him to board. He quickly boarded and closed the car door.

The hover car flew swiftly towards their destination, but Xie Yi's heart was fully occupied by Ling Lan's question. "What do you think your presence can bring to the team?"

Really, what can I bring to the team? Strength? I cannot match Qi Long, and am even slightly weaker than Luo Lang, only just a little stronger than Lin Zhong-qing and Han Jijyun. But Han Jijyun's role is that of the team's tactician, so his combat power has never been the most important thing, while Lin Zhong-qing ...

Xie Yi thought back on the role Lin Zhong-qing played in the team, and found that for every mission, all the information, mission-appropriate equipment, and necessary medicinal agents, had all been prepared perfectly by Lin Zhong-qing ... it looked like Lin Zhong-qing had secured himself the role of being an excellent logistics support for the team.

Only then did Xie Yi realise that everyone in the team had their own designated role. Moving on to the second strongest, the bad-tempered Luo Lang — at the start of every mission, he would fulfil the role of advance guard. He would scout ahead and test the surroundings, reporting the situation back in a timely manner to the team. And whenever he did this, Luo Lang would always complete his duties perfectly.

Meanwhile, the team leader Qi Long had always been in charge of coordinating the team. In contrast, he had always been lounging on the fringes, simply moving wherever the team went. Now, thinking back, he had not known what position he played in the team at all. This was probably the reason why Boss Ling Lan had asked him this question.

That's right, what gave someone the confidence to say that they had the right to become a true member of the team when they themselves had no clue what their own position was in the team? At this thought, cold sweat broke out across Xie Yi's entire body. He had really been such an idiot ...

"No, I am not an expendable person on the team. I will definitely find a role that belongs only to myself. But ... what is the role that would suit me best?" Xie Yi felt that his brain was a muddled mess. Groggy and confused, he unknowingly found himself already at the assessment centre.

Original phrase here is 'impenetrable by oil and salt'. Basically, cannot be buttered up and is unimpressed by common seasonings. :p

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