"What time is the deadline for registration?" Qi Long felt unsettled meeting the gaze of Ling Lan, who was eyeing him coldly, so he immediately turned his head to ask Han Jijyun. Fine, he really just could not look at Boss and say goodbye.
"Before 12!" Han Jijyun replied without even having to check. The typically careless Qi Long very easily forgot little details like these; this had made Han Jijyun develop the habit of being Qi Long's walking encyclopedia.
Qi Long glanced at the communicator on his wrist and saw that it was only 10:30. There was still time to hang out with Boss. At this moment, he was somewhat regretful — why hadn't he suggested they find a restful teahouse or café to have a nice chat before Boss had said to come here and register?
If the heart moved, then action should be taken immediately; Qi Long carefully tested the waters. "Boss, why don't we find somewhere to sit and have a chat? After all, it's still quite early before the deadline of 12 o'clock."
Ling Lan threw a cold glance at him, "What's there to chat about? Besides, no one knows what other procedures you will have to go through after going in. What if there isn't enough time?"
Qi Long found himself struck dumb by Ling Lan's words. Did he really have to come out and admit that he wasn't ready to say goodbye to Boss just yet? Qi Long, who considered himself a grown man now, felt it was beneath him to do such a childish action.
The others could see that Ling Lan's heart was set, not to be changed, so even if they were in full agreement with Qi Long's suggestion to spend a little more time with Boss, they did not dare to say anything in support.
Ling Lan watched as the five youths walked away, turning back to look at her with every step, faces filled with reluctance, and she almost lost hold of her coffin-face. She could not help but furrow her brow — it looked like she had not perfected her slackface yet. She still wasn't at the point where she could be completely unfazed by anything and everything 1 . These cute expressions of her few little companions right now had almost cracked her icy facade ... it looked like she still needed to train it more.
However, from Qi Long and the others' perspective, Ling Lan's locked eyebrows were an indicator that their boss was displeased with their maudlin display of dragging their feet. And so, they could only harden their hearts and force themselves to stop looking back. They each took out their respective acceptance letters and headed for the gateway's sensors and scanned them.
"Beep! Logging information, registered First Men's Military Academy cadet, Qi Long! Please provide your proof of identity!" Following the instructions of this mechanical voice, Qi Long held out his right wrist, allowing the scanner to scan his communicator.
"Beep! Proof of identity logged. Identity verified, entrance permitted!" The doors of the gateway suddenly slid open, revealing a tunnel about a metre wide. Qi Long walked through it and the gateway closed behind him once more.
Qi Long stood inside and waited for the others to enter as well. After all five of them had entered, they were just about to say their final goodbyes to Boss when they found to their shock that Boss Ling Lan had walked up to the side of the gateway.
Could it be that Boss still had some instructions to pass on? The five of them waited with bated breath, but the subsequent scene caused their jaws to drop, and they continued to gape for a long while.
Ling Lan took out a palm-sized card from her pocket and waved it at them. They could almost see a little devil peeping out from behind Ling Lan, smirking mischievously at them.
"Beep! Logging information, registered First Men's Military Academy cadet, Ling Lan! Please provide your proof of identity!" Exactly the same as when they went through the process, the gateway recited those familiar words.
They stared dumbly at Ling Lan as she calmly lifted her wrist communicator up for the sensor to scan, and then casually walked into the tunnel ...
Qi Long rubbed his eyes forcefully to make sure he wasn't seeing things. Back when he had asked Ling Lan which school he had applied for, he had most definitely said it was the Windchase Mecha Service College on planet Aureolin, and he had also confirmed that he had been accepted for enrolment. Then, why was Ling Lan all of a sudden a cadet of the First Men's Military Academy like them? What in the world was happening? Also, coming into the First Men's Military Academy just like this, will Boss's body be fine? Mind you, during the first year, all that the cadets would be learning would be some advanced and challenging physical training. Anyone with a weaker physical constitution was very unlikely to be able to bear it, not to mention someone like Boss with unhealed injuries.
In his shock, Qi Long could not help but voice his doubts.
Ling Lan held back her humour, and explained calmly, "This acceptance letter was obtained by my dad through a backdoor. As for the first year of physical conditioning, also because of this backdoor, my dad got me exempted ..."
Han Jijyun was the first to regain his bearings. It made sense — as one of the nine great generals of the Federation, Ling Xiao definitely had enough clout to get his child into the First Men's Military Academy. As for the exemption ... Han Jijyun could not recall anyone ever managing that.
Just as Han Jijyun was puzzling over the issue, a sudden spark of realisation flashed through his mind. He gasped in shock, "Boss Lan, do you already have a military rank?" Only students who were already military officers had the right to be exempted from exams for the first year, because their physical training and evaluations would be handled fully by the military.
Anyone who understood how the military divisions worked knew that the divisions' physical training and evaluations would only be tougher than the First Men's Military Academy's. Mind you, the physical training and evaluation of the First Men's Military Academy could only be labelled as a paramilitary training and evaluation. Just the prefix of 'par' was enough to show that it was weaker than real military physical conditioning. Therefore, if someone could pass the military's physical training and evaluations, then they would definitely be able the pass the military academy's physical assessments.
"Hn, my dad has settled everything for me using that backdoor. I only need to focus on recovering from my injuries in the first year." The more Ling Lan elaborated, the more she felt like an entitled loafer. This made Ling Lan, who had always liked to let her strength do the talking, feel somewhat unsettled. It looked like one needed to have a strong heart to be an idle good-for-nothing rich kid, otherwise one just wouldn't have the proper aura for it ...
"General Ling is too amazing!" Qi Long and the others had all regained their senses by now. Hearing what Ling Lan had to say, they exclaimed in astonishment, gazes filled with the light of idolisation, admiration, etcetera. When it came to their dear cherished idol, they were completely blind to the fact that Ling Xiao's actions were already within the realm of abuse of power, an official misconduct.
"That's wonderful! Boss, we can be together again!" In his excitement, Qi Long glomped Ling Lan and would not let go, the initial morose uncertainty in his heart vanishing without a trace. Only now did he realise that, all these years, his Boss Lan 2 had already become the pillar of support in his heart. As long as Ling Lan was standing by his side, his heart would be filled with courage, confidence, and strength. Even if the path ahead was filled with countless trials and tribulations, he would be able to scream at the skies. Even if the skies of the Federation were to be ripped asunder, he would have no fear.
"Boss, you're so mean! Actually tricking us!" Luo Lang did not want to be left out. He also pounced over and hugged Ling Lan and Qi Long. Draping himself over the both of them, he snuggled forcefully into the nape of Ling Lan's neck in discontentment. He did not notice that when he said 'tricking us', his tone had lilted up at the end, the sounds drawn out, giving his words a sense of coquettishness.
Luo Lang's voice and actions made Ling Lan shudder and push him away. "Luo Lang, don't hang on me and act cute. You should remember you are a man! A man!" By the end, a growl could be heard in Ling Lan's voice; it was clear to see how deep her resentment ran on this matter.
D*mmit, why did her own voice have to be so cold, so flat? Sometimes, she had tried to intentionally curl her tone of voice at the end of her sentences, trying to warm up the atmosphere, but it only came out sounding even more threatening than before ... Fine, she had now utterly given up on acting cute in this life. Her mum had not given birth to her with talent in this area; she could not force it!
Luo Lang flushed, his face becoming even more alluring with its pink glow. It was so pretty the others could not bear to look at him directly, all of them turning their heads away. Luo Lang said rather sadly, "Boss, when did I do that? Aren't I just being happy? Also, I'm a man to begin with. It's not like I wanted to look this way ..."
His eyes were blurry with a light sheen of moisture, and there was a hint of a nasal tone to his voice due to his sadness, making his retort sound soft and weak. Anyone who heard it would instantly feel compassionate, reflexively wanting to speak up and comfort this cute and lovely sweetheart before them ...
At this, even Ling Lan could not help but feel her face start to twitch. She pressed a hand to her forehead, trying to dispel her headache — for Luo Lang to enter the all-boys First Men's Military Academy looking like this ... was this really a smart move? All kinds of BL stories she had read in her previous life surfaced in her mind ... a boys' military school was fertile ground for cultivating homoerotic relationships!
"Little Four, control yourself!" Ling Lan's headache felt even worse. This Little Four — actually sneaking out at this moment to come and cause trouble for her ... those BL stories that had appeared in her mind earlier had all been Little Four displaying the stories he had archived.
"The fertile ground of homoerotic relationships!" Little Four cheered in the mindspace. Of course, he secretly fantasized — would his boss go have a steamy gay fling at the military academy just once? Little Four started to feel excited, thinking that he had found a fun new game to play.
Right then, Ling Lan could not know what Little Four was thinking. She merely threw Little Four into the learning space, packing him up so he would not be able to come out and mess with her thoughts. Looking at the teary Luo Lang, Ling Lan thought of her own situation and could not help but sigh internally.
Forget it. She was already unintentionally on this road of cold and aloof dominance; having Luo Lang, who seemed to be developing unstoppably in the direction of having a face as fair as a flower and as lovely as the moon 3 , by her side, was somehow a comfort to her. Perhaps this was a gift from the heavens — specially gifting her a little companion to share her androgynous fate. This path was no longer as lonely as before!
Ling Lan consoled herself. This way, she could now accept Luo Lang the way he was. And thus, Ling Lan put down the conflicted feelings she had in her heart. She walked over and patted Luo Lang on his shoulder, saying, "Then just stay like this! We only need to be ourselves!"
Ling Lan's words had a double meaning, but this could not be known by the other five. Only she herself knew that she was also consoling herself as she was consoling Luo Lang.
Luo Lang's feminine appearance had always been a bitter pill in his heart. Originally, Luo Lang had thought that Boss Lan would be just like his other teammates, somewhat disapproving of his looks, but unexpectedly, Boss Lan had said such a thing to him instead. He was instantly greatly moved, abruptly gripped by a profound sense of being understood. "Boss, thank you!"
Boss, only you understand my true heart. Luo Lang is still the same Luo Lang as before — I won't change just because my appearance has changed! Thank you, Boss. Having your trust, even if everyone else in the world looks down on me for my looks, I will not be angry or depressed, or ever doubt myself!
Luo Lang's internal frustration with his looks disappeared. He smiled joyfully, radiantly, and even more beautifully. His initially still somewhat concealed radiance was fully unleashed at this moment, causing the others to feel as if they could not look at him directly ...
But all the companions knew deep down that — Luo Lang had become stronger again! Because his charisma had risen to a whole new height! The companions who had grown up alongside him all knew very well that Luo Lang's capabilities and his charisma were correlated. The stronger he was, the brighter his charisma would shine!
Ling Lan did not know that her inadvertent consolation had let Luo Lang untie the knot in his heart. The release of the bindings caused his mental state to level up, increasing his initially secured physical skills plane once more, allowing Luo Lang's charisma to be improved and enhanced. This point would incite a great storm later on, causing their team to have a much harder time in the military academy with a never-ending string of conflicts!
And this storm would also lead a cadet with very hidden depths to stumble into Ling Lan's life ...雷打不动天塌不惊: The original phrase here is fun. Literal translation is 'unmoved by thunder and unafraid if the sky falls'. T/C: awww, 'his' Boss Lan. :3 花容月貌: literally 'flower face moon appearance'. Usually only used to depict women.