After Wu Jiong and Li Yingjie left the cafeteria silently with their teams, Qi Long approached Ling Lan and said, "Boss, what do we do next?"
With his capabilities, he had naturally heard Ling Lan's speech on taking control of the ship as well — though of course this was also because Ling Lan had no intention of hiding it from him to begin with. Qi Long was thoroughly fired up by Ling Lan's plan, ready to move.
This was his boss, forever daring to do what others would not dare to do! Qi Long's heart was bursting with pride!
"You are required here to hold the fort. Delay for us as long as possible — attract and hold the crew's attention," instructed Ling Lan in a low voice. Qi Long's task was very important. According to her plan, it would be best if Qi Long could fish out the captain from his room.
"Later, first let Luo Lang step up to help Peng Jiayen! You stay put and keep an eye on things. Wait for my final order!" Ling Lan's expression was extremely serious. Whether or not things would go smoothly on their end depended on the situation here with Qi Long; she hoped everything would turn out well.
"Got it, Boss!" Qi Long replied solemnly.
"Here, Boss!" Xie Yi replied hurriedly.
"While Luo Lang is holding everyone's attention, you go and gather all the students of Class-A and Class-B from the cafeteria, and get them to come back to the main hall. Remember, do it stealthily. If you can't, it's better not to move at all than to move recklessly!"
Their plan did not have many steps, but each step required finesse. Moreover, Ling Lan did not want the students to leave the cafeteria en masse — this would make those crew members suspicious.
"Understood, Boss," replied Xie Yi somewhat nervously. Ling Lan's request was not easy; his task would definitely be very challenging. However, Xie Yi did not want to disappoint Ling Lan.
After assigning these tasks, Ling Lan brought Lin Zhong-qing and Han Jijyun with her out of the cafeteria into the main hall.
Right now, there was already a significant number of Central Scout Academy students gathered there. They were almost all Class-A and Class-B people. While she had been arranging things with Qi Long and the others, it seemed that Wu Jiong and Li Yingjie had not been idle.
Seeing Ling Lan appear, the spirits of all these students rallied, fighting spirit filling their eyes. Earlier, back when Wu Jiong and Li Yingjie had called them out, they had told them that Boss Lan was going to lead them in playing a grand game today.
Everyone was wondering what this 'grand game' was referring to; many of them were guessing whether it would be like the grand armed melee, but against the crew. Thinking of the possibility, their blood began to boil with excitement. Ever since the grand armed melee, they had not encountered a stage as thrilling as that again. They had really missed that feeling. Furthermore, they did not have a favourable impression of the ship's captain and the crew — it could perhaps even be said that they hated them. As such, they were extremely willing to engage the crew in a vigorous battle.
Wu Jiong and Li Yingjie were currently staking out a corner each, quite a crowd gathered around each of them. When they saw Ling Lan enter the room, they nodded at her silently, signalling to her that they were ready.
However, Ling Lan did not say anything in response nor signal the attack. Instead she walked back to her seat and sat down, at the same time telling the others to do the same. "Watch the show for now!"
Just as everyone took a seat, baffled, rousing cheers rang out from the cafeteria, along with bellows of rage from the crew. A Central Scout Academy student ran into the hall, shouting, "Luo Lang has attacked!"
Luo Lang's actions represented the decision of the uncrowned king, Ling Lan. He would not bow his head to the opponent. It was just like with the grand armed melee back then — he would rather fight valiantly, never submitting even if he might lose terribly.
Everyone turned to look with expectant faces at the seated Ling Lan, waiting for him to give the order.
"Wait a little longer!" Ling Lan glanced at her communicator and said calmly.
At this time, several Class-A students were trickling in from the cafeteria. When they saw the group assembled within the hall, pleasant surprise flashed through their eyes. However, they remembered Xie Yi's warning, so they did not react outwardly. They made their way almost casually to Ling Lan's side, demeanours natural as they found empty armchairs to sit in. It was as if they did not know one another, or perhaps were not very close; everyone treated each other indifferently.
Right then, Ling Lan appeared at ease, but she was in fact anxiously collecting data on the situation around the whole ship with Little Four. Little Four was very reliable. He had already managed to infiltrate the mainframe to use its surveillance systems to monitor the entire spaceship. He then marked the danger zones and areas where the crew were gathered on a map, to facilitate Ling Lan's subsequent actions.
At this time, on the ship, almost everyone's attention was focused on the cafeteria. Even the captain in the captain's room was also focused intently on the conflict in the cafeteria, only checking on the students in the main hall every once in a while.
However, by now, the video feed the captain was seeing was an edited version by Little Four. In his screen, there were only a small few within the main hall, and those few were scattered loosely around the hall with no signs of grouping together.
Meanwhile, Little Four placed the people 'missing' from the hall within the feed of the cafeteria. In this way — in and out, plus and minus — Little Four managed to conceal the movement of the students and the true situation in the main hall.
Soon, there were over a hundred people gathered around Ling Lan. Ling Lan finally gave Little Four the signal to let Qi Long make his move!
Inside the cafeteria, the standoff between the two sides had been broken due to Luo Lang's interference. The crew members turned to anger in their shame, and tried to band together to mob Luo Lang. But who was Luo Lang? He was the third rank on the verge of obtaining second rank (Ling Lan excluded)! Although he might still be a distance away from Qi Long, he was about the same level as Wu Jiong. If not for the fact that Wu Jiong's combat style countered his, he would not have had to bear the frustration of being the academy's third rank.
After Luo Lang beat off the third batch of crewmen who wanted to teach him a lesson, he was beginning to feel the strain. The crew members were all very strong and capable — if they had not been intent on subduing him without harming him, he might very likely have not been able to fend off these three batches.
"Tsk! Actually being beaten by a little lady. You all are such a disgrace!" Along with this voice, a young man appeared at the entrance to the cafeteria. His hairstyle was stylish, his expression mocking, his gaze wicked as he ogled at Luo Lang, making Luo Lang feel extremely uncomfortable.
When the crew saw the young man, they called out in unison, "Leader!" It was unexpected that this crew member who looked to be the youngest of them all was actually their leader. Luo Lang and the waiting Qi Long both frowned in silent accord, caution rising in their hearts.
"Tch tch tch, who knew there would be such an exquisite item ... why don't you warm my bed tonight?" said the young man predatorily, as if having discovered some great thing.
"Shut up, bastard!" screamed Luo Lang in response, his face turning red with anger from the other's offensive words.
But this angry appearance only made him even more enchantingly gorgeous! The lovely picture he made stunned all the crew members present. If their hearts and minds had been less steady, they might really have become bewitched by Luo Lang.
A keen light flashed through the young man's eyes, but he continued to mock irreverently, "Asking me to shut up? Then, you are inviting me to take action instead?" That said, with a quick dash, he was reaching out his fingers towards Luo Lang's jaw. It could be called an attack, but could also be called an attempt at molestation.
The other's action caused Luo Lang to become even angrier. He immediately blocked the other's fingers, kicking out fiercely with his right leg at the same time.
"Whump!" The other reacted quickly as well, blocking Luo Lang's attack with a leg of his own. The two of them retreated two steps back — it looked like it was a draw. The students cheered with raised arms for Luo Lang's impressive performance, but only Qi Long frowned lightly once more. He knew that the other's capability was likely slightly better — Luo Lang would have a tough fight now.
Luo Lang too knew this very well. The rage consuming his heart was abruptly pushed aside, his entire being becoming cool and collected. This ability to swiftly adjust his emotional state made the young man's eyes light up, exclaiming in wonder in his heart. Who knew that this girlish youth before his eyes was actually so proficient at controlling his emotions? Just a moment ago he was still raging at the skies, and now, in the blink of an eye, he had become so calm and composed. The young man greatly admired this smooth transition and control. It should be known that unstable emotions would affect one's ability to perform — it was possible that it could add to one's strength, but it was much more likely to cause weakness instead.
"This punk!" Qi Long's initially furrowed brow eased. He had not expected Luo Lang to be so daring, actually activating his innate talent right now. Mind you, Luo Lang's innate talent was very dangerous — it was entirely possible to unleash a dark character instead. It was considered an unstable innate talent, and Luo Lang typically would not activate it.
It was probable that Luo Lang was feeling pressured by the task Boss Lan assigned to him. Now, with the addition of an opponent stronger than him, unwilling to just admit defeat, Luo Lang had chosen to take the risk and activate his innate talent.
Undoubtedly, Luo Lang's luck today was exceedingly good. The character his activation brought out turned out to be his cool persona, which was extremely suited for battle. This made Luo Lang's combat power rise exponentially — even Qi Long now was unsure whether he could beat Luo Lang under the influence of this persona.
Luo Lang and the young leader clashed again, and this time, Luo Lang was again pushed back by two steps, but the young leader retreated a whole four steps. This made the leader's expression shift. From that last crossing of blows, he could already clearly sense the sudden increase in his opponent's strength. The youth who had initially been slightly weaker than him had suddenly become stronger than him by a hair, putting him at a disadvantage.
"What kind of abnormality is this?!" The young leader could not help but wonder silently. Mind you, he had always been called a prodigy, which was why he could enter the optimal peak of Refinement at such a young age, now just one insight and one chance short of entering Qi-Jin stage. In contrast, the opponent had originally been at the peak level of Refinement, but had suddenly shot up to a half step into Qi-Jin ... yes, it was a level even closer to Qi-Jin than optimal peak. He had believed the level to be a myth, but it had unexpectedly appeared in reality, and he had just encountered it.
In the captain's room, the captain saw the young leader and Luo Lang's fight, and his eyes lit up. "Good. This brat may look like a sissy, but his explosive power is astonishingly horrifying. Lil' Ghost has met his match."
In the time it took him to say this, Luo Lang and the young leader had exchanged several more moves. Currently, the leader was beginning to have trouble keeping up with Luo Lang's moves. Everyone could see that the young leader was the one who was disadvantaged; this reality caused the faces of the crew members at the scene to change ...
Right then, Qi Long received a message from Ling Lan. "Move!"
Without thinking, Qi Long darted out like an arrow, throwing his right fist straight at the young leader who was busily blocking Luo Lang's attacks.