"Impossible!" The marshal rejected the request without even thinking about it.
The First Men's Military Academy was the central focus of the entire Federation. Any student who managed to be accepted into the school was the Federation's cream of the crop, each and every single one of them sufficiently exceptional on their own merits. From the very establishment of the school, in order to preclude any injudicious acceptance of students via backdoor dealings which would ruin the golden reputation of the school, there was supervision from both the military and the government. This completely prevented any possibility of abusing special rights to get into the school via a backdoor. So, even if he wanted to help Ling Xiao, he had no way to handle the government side of things, especially that wily old first premier.
"Marshal!" Ling Xiao's entire expression darkened. He stared intently at the marshal, gaze filled with dissatisfaction. For the sake of his child's future, he would not back off on this.
Seeing this side of Ling Xiao, the marshal was extremely troubled. Though Ling Xiao seemed very agreeable on the surface, he was actually very stubborn in his bones. Especially once he had decided on something, he would not rest until his objective was achieved.
"Godd*mmit!" The marshal breathed in an aggressive lungful of smoke, burning his cigarette down to the root. He rubbed out his cigarette butt heavily in the ashtray on the tea table, and with an exasperated expression on his face, he said, "If I could help you, I would definitely do it. But to enter the First Men's Military Academy, it's not just up to me. At the very least, you need to get through the first premier of the State Council."
Having said this, the marshal calmed down a little and continued to advise, "Ling Xiao, even if we allowed it, and your son was accepted, have you ever considered the fact that your son's body will not be able to endure past the first year? If his body was injured irrevocably because of this, won't you regret this?"
"Don't we have you?" Ling Xiao shot this question back at the marshal.
"What do you mean?" The marshal found that he could not keep up with Ling Xiao's train of thought.
"As long as you issue special dispensation, allowing Ling Lan to be exempt from the first year's exams, won't that be fine?" Ling Xiao had already made up his mind; in the first year, Ling Lan would not participate in any training at the school, only continuing to focus on recuperating.
"Ling Xiao, don't you go too far!" The marshal was about to blow up. It wasn't like the Federation's First Men's Military Academy was run by his family ... he couldn't just waltz in and do as he liked!
"I recall that, as long as military headquarters issues a special cultivation plan for a student, they can have full jurisdiction over the student's first year of training." Ling Xiao had already thought of everything. However, this special cultivation plan still required the marshal to sign off on it, which was why he was still here holding up the marshal, trying to obtain his agreement.
"Let military headquarters issue a fake special cultivation plan? No way, this involves too much ..." The marshal wanted to refuse instinctively.
"Didn't you say our 23rd Division was free to choose our mid-level and upper ranking officers as we liked? I can issue this special cultivation plan, with the intent to cultivate Ling Lan as a central pillar of the 23rd Division." For his son's future, Ling Xiao did not mind exploiting his power for personal gain.
"Ling Xiao, giving you command of the 23rd Division is not for you to play dictator!" When the marshal heard Ling Xiao declaring his blatant intention to abuse his power, he was instantly furious. Hells, couldn't he keep himself in check a little in front of him? No matter what, he was still the commander-in-chief in charge of monitoring all the army divisions of the Federation!
"Marshal, setting the relationship between Ling Lan and I aside, just based off Ling Lan's talent and potential alone, if he had not suffered an assassination attempt by an enemy nation three years ago and had remained healthy, would he have been accepted by the First Men's Military Academy this year?" The marshal's fury did not ruffle Ling Xiao; he merely continued to explain his point of view calmly.
The marshal nodded. Ling Lan's talent was no weaker than Ling Xiao's by much — if he had been able to grow up without interruption, even if he did not achieve Ling Xiao's heights, it would pretty much be no problem for him to become an ace operator.
"Then, at that time, when he graduates from the First Men's Military Academy, would he be qualified to be a central force of an army division?" pressed Ling Xiao.
The marshal said huffily, "Any student that comes out from the First Men's Military Academy is fought over by all army divisions for recruitment." Unsaid was the underlying agreement that if the assassination attempt had not happened, Ling Lan's future would be just as Ling Xiao was describing.
"Therefore, what I am planning to do is not abusing my power for personal gain, but rather, taking responsibility on behalf of the military." Ling Xiao's eyes were glowing with conviction. "Ling Lan was only injured in an assassination attempt because the enemy managed to infiltrate one of the troops sent by the military into the academy to protect the students. In other words, on this matter, the military should definitely take responsibility."
Frankly, the marshal also knew very well that the military should indeed take on the full responsibility for Ling Lan's assassination attempt. It was their carelessness and negligence that had allowed the enemy to infiltrate the academy successfully, finally resulting in this regretful mishap.
"We only need to bear the responsibility of shielding him for one year, and we would have salvaged the future of a prodigy. The debt the military owes him, I am only trying to help the military pay it back," said Ling Xiao righteously, just as if he truly had no personal stake in this at all.
The marshal did not know whether to laugh or cry at Ling Xiao's words — this Ling Xiao was truly unscrupulous in fighting for his objectives. But, he liked it, because this reasoning was sufficiently just and honourable.
"In that case, it is not necessary for you to issue this special cultivation plan. I will make the arrangements." The marshal did not want Ling Xiao to bear the bad name of abusing his power.
Ling Xiao did not care if he had to bear this so-called bad name or bad reputation, but since the marshal cared, he would not press the issue. Ling Xiao knew very well how to leave a favourable impression on his superiors — a suitable degree of obedience and compliance was absolutely necessary.
That said, the marshal suddenly found that he had been unknowingly led astray from the main problem by Ling Xiao. "Why are we skipping to the end? Ling Xiao, you need to first convince the first premier. As long as the other agrees, then there won't be any problem on my end. Including everything else after, I can arrange it for you."
"Why is it necessary to convince him?" A smile bloomed on Ling Xiao's lips. Even though it appeared as warm and kind as ever, the marshal could just sense the hidden trace of deviousness behind it.
"I recall that there is this particular rule in the federal military ordinances. To commend the contributions of a soldier to the Federation, when a soldier becomes a general of the Federation, his son shall have the right to a secured place in the First Men's Military Academy. As long as the first marshal approves, he can enter the First Men's Military Academy directly to commence his studies. Since this is something granted by military authority, the government system has no right to object ..."
The Federation was a militaristic nation where military exploits were supreme. No jurisdictional agency nor private individual could prevent a contributor of military exploits from using his special rights.
The marshal's face twitched as he looked at the general's outfit on Ling Xiao's body. He suddenly found himself regretting his actions — why had he moved so fast on Ling Xiao's promotion?
Apparently, the marshal had taken advantage of Ling Xiao's sudden return to life to suggest promoting Ling Xiao to the military rank of general while the other factions were still in disarray. As Ling Xiao's capabilities were unequivocally recognised, and his reputation preceded him, on top of the fact that the factions were utterly confounded by the news of his return, no one had found a reasonable excuse to object at short notice. Moreover, the government also wanted to use Ling Xiao's return to divert public attention, to stabilise the somewhat volatile domestic state of affairs of late, and so had given their energetic support to the suggestion. And so, under these myriad coincidences and circumstances, Ling Xiao's promotion to general did not garner much opposition, passing smoothly.
Afraid that things might change again, the marshal had signed off on the agreement right then and there, and this matter had thus been settled. He just hadn't imagined that his kind intentions would come back to smash him in the foot, leaving him in the awkward position of riding a tiger 1 .
Mind you, this special right had been set aside for the commendation of a general's contributions to the Federation, but practically everyone assumed that it was just an honorary special right. This was because no one would ever use it, as it was almost impossible for someone to become a general before the ages of 60 to 70 years old. By that age, let alone sons, perhaps even their grandchildren would have already wedded wives and sired children. Who then would think to use this special right?
The marshal abruptly found that quite a few military special rights of the Federation at the moment were all just honorary in nature, for there was no one who could actually enjoy those benefits. But now, their existence was obviously there to open backdoors for Ling Xiao ... Ling Xiao's age was just much too young.
"Alright, I've got it," said the marshal, resigned.
Seeing Ling Xiao still standing tall before him, he said exasperatedly, "What else do you want?" If this fellow dared to request anything else, he would definitely throw him out of here.
"The acceptance letter of the First Men's Military Academy!" demanded Ling Xiao.
"Ling Xiao, you really think I'm an omnipotent god? Seek and ye shall find — able to pull an acceptance letter out of thin air? Godd*mmit, scram! Go home, and wait there patiently!" roared the marshal.
Ling Xiao grinned at these words, and then saluted him respectfully, "Yes, Marshal!" He turned neatly to leave, but when he reached the doorway, he suddenly looked back to say, "Marshal, actually, I was just waiting for this statement of yours!" That said, he laughed loudly as he walked out the door.
"Darn brat!" The marshal couldn't help but scold even as he smiled. Only Ling Xiao would dare to be so impudent before him, asking for so much. This gave him a sense of kinship with the other. Ever since becoming the Federation's first marshal, on particular fronts, he had lost many things.
The moment Ling Xiao walked out the door, a major waiting patiently by the door perked up, his eyes brightening as he rushed over to salute and say, "General!"
"Let's go!" said Ling Xiao. He then led the way out of the 1st Division's headquarters to come to the courtyard gates.
A black luxury hover car was gliding towards them to slowly stop at the gates. Its position was very precise; Ling Xiao only needed to walk down 3 steps to get into the car.
The major rushed ahead of him to open the car door.
Ling Xiao stepped into the car and sat down. Only then did the major close the car door, taking a seat himself in the assistant's seat 2 .
This hover car was not controlled by an A.I., but by a human driver. A chauffeur was already seated in the driver's seat. His epaulette showed that he was also a major, clearly marking him as no ordinary chauffeur.
"Return to the temporary military camp!" said the major in the assistant's seat to the chauffeur.
The chauffeur nodded and began to slowly guide the hover car out. His driving was steady and his speed control was excellent — the passengers could not tell at all that the car was in motion.
Even though the hover car was driven very stably, its speed was not slow. In the blink of an eye, they had already disappeared into the horizon, heading swiftly to their destination.
Sitting in the hover car, Ling Xiao's feelings were currently very complicated.
He needed to go home now! He wondered if Luofeng would forgive him. After all, he had left mother and son alone for 17 years!
At this thought, Ling Xiao's heart cringed. Still, he knew that if he only returned home after the official announcement, Lan Luofeng would most certainly kick him out again.
He must go home as soon as possible! Ling Xiao did not know why, but he just had the feeling that his return this time was marked by terrible odds in his favour ...Still remember this proverb? :3 Psst, last reference in chapter 119. I could explain again here, but where's the fun in that? :p Next time, there will no longer be a footnote on this. I guess the luxury hover cars have a specific seat for assistants/aides to sit at? Cause it's not the passenger seat, but a seat somewhere in the back section with Ling Xiao.