"I don't know. Zhang Jing-an has not said anything more!" replied Han Ye, "However, according to my sources, he will go pay a personal visit to that person today." He randomly drew a card from his hand and threw it onto the table, and then stroked his jaw and said, "I really want to know right now — if that aberrant prodigy really joins Zhang Jing-an's faction, who will be the true leader of the Doha Central Scout Academy faction?"
The plain youth smirked and said, "Zhang Jing-an has made a wrong move! If that person is truly as aberrant as he said, he will definitely not be able to suppress the other." That said he glanced at the cards on the table and said, "I pass on this round! Zhao Jun, it's your turn."
Zhao Jun looked at the cards and shook his head, signalling that he too could not play this hand, and gestured for the next player, Li Lanfeng, to play his card.
Li Lanfeng pulled out a card and placed it down, saying, "Well, you can't really say that. Perhaps he is willing to become the other's assistant ..."
The plain youth glanced at Li Lanfeng and asked, "You think Zhang Jing-an is that broad-minded?"
Li Lanfeng closed up his cards, thinking seriously for a moment before saying admiringly, "Wei Ji, looks like you are still the one who understands Zhang Jing-an better!"
Wei Ji smiled, as if basking in Li Lanfeng's words. "I've been fighting him for 4 years. If I still don't understand him, would I still have the right to sit by your sides?"
Han Ye chuckled. Although the four of them came from different planets, ever since they entered the military academy, they had been working with each other to fight against the Doha faction. The collaboration among the four of them was integral to the current situation of being able to easily keep the Doha faction in check beneath them.
"That's why I say we still need to continue cooperating. We cannot let Zhang Jing-an find a chance to put on airs," said Han Ye.
Zhao Jun shrugged and said, "Leave me out of all this plotting and scheming. If a fight breaks out, just let me know then."
Wei Ji side-eyed him and said tonelessly, "We don't expect you to come up with any strategies anyway. All you need to do is fight."
Zhao Jun glared at him angrily, but just as he was about to say something, Li Lanfeng spoke up, "Zhao Jun is the best among us in terms of mecha piloting. If we don't rely on him for fighting, who should we rely on?" That said, he threw an admiring gaze at Zhao Jun, snuffing out the rage in Zhao Jun's heart instantly. He patted his chest firmly and said, "Don't worry, leave the fighting to me!"
Han Ye and Wei Ji shared a glance subconsciously, a trace of apprehension in their eyes. However, they soon regained their composure, one resuming his airy manner, the other still smiling as deviously as ever.
Li Lanfeng did not seem to detect the swift change in the two youths' eyes. He looked at Han Ye and Wei Ji with a warm smile and asked brightly, "Are we still playing?"
Han Ye threw the cards in his hands onto the table and stretched expansively. Only then did he stand up and say, "No, let's stop. Before figuring out the situation on Zhang Jing-an's side, I can't rest easy sitting here."
There were several cadets chatting not too far away. When one of them saw Han Ye stand up, he rushed over to say, "Leader?"
"Let's go!" said Han Ye to his team member.
"Leaving so soon? Busy?" Wei Ji frowned lightly and stood up as well. He did not really have much desire to leave, but since Han Ye was about to go, there was not much point in him staying behind.
Han Ye smiled and said, "I have to go arrange some of my people to keep watch on Zhang Jing-an ... I have to find out how strong that aberrant even Zhang Jing-an respects is. I really do not want to let the Doha Central Scout Academy faction rise again!" It had taken them much effort to lead the planet Wuji factions to suppress the Doha factions — he had no intention to relinquish his position as the third in power.
Wei Ji nodded and said, "Then I'll go with you!" At this time, Wei Ji's team member had also run over, and the two youths left the villa with their respective team members.
Seeing their figures disappear from sight, Zhao Jun sniffed and threw down the cards in his hands. "D*mn, really taking me as their hired thug now?"
Li Lanfeng also threw down the cards in his hands, a subtle smile on his face. "Since it's a cooperation, some price must be paid. It's fine as long as this price remains within our control."
Zhao Jun turned his neck from side to side, relaxing his body that was somewhat stiff from sitting too long. In a somewhat disgruntled tone, he said, "I really don't know why you chose to join them back at the start. Wouldn't it have been better to join forces with the number one and number two factions?"
Li Lanfeng shook his head and said, "Joining the number one and number two factions, we would not have any speaking rights. That would truly make us hired help ... conversely, joining them — to protect their third position, they would definitely value us highly. We can only truly establish a foothold within the military academy with the speaking rights this affords us."
Zhao Jun knew that what Li Lanfeng said was not wrong. He glanced at Li Lanfeng worriedly and said, "But, they have still begun to fear you."
Li Lanfeng smiled and said, "It's fine. A lone wolf like me, even if they fear me the fear won't grow by much. It'll be okay as long as you don't act as if you're too close to me."
"You told me to pretend to be a simple-minded brawny character, while you're the mediating character between me and them. If I'm not close to you, who am I close to?" Zhao Jun huffed coldly. If he was not close with Li Lanfeng, then that would truly be suspicious.
"It's actually not a huge problem. As long as you act as impulsive and eager for a fight as usual, they will think it's very easy to control you, and hence not worry about me too much," said Li Lanfeng.
Zhao Jun harrumphed and said, "Right now in the military academy, who doesn't think of me as the impulsive and eager to fight Tyrant Zhao?"
Li Lanfeng laughed at these words. "Isn't that pretty good? Anyone who wishes to avoid trouble will certainly avoid disturbing you, right?"
Zhao Jun fell silent for a long moment before opening his mouth to say, "When will we be able to go up against that Thunder King?"
Li Lanfeng paused, his entire being suddenly turning extremely cold and forbidding. However, this shift in his aura only lasted for a split second. In the blink of an eye, he had recovered his usual warm aura, and he articulated his answer word by word, "There will be a chance."
Zhao Jun peered intently at Li Lanfeng, and the bleak aggression about him grew thicker. "I'll be waiting!"
Right then, a light breeze swept through the garden, ruffling the hair of both youths. Warm and gentle, bleak and forceful — the two distinctly different types of aura melded surprisingly well together, without any sense of irregularity.
The first thing the cadets did upon entry to the military academy was to carry out all the registration procedures, collecting the uniforms prepared by the school and finding out where their dormitories were at the same time. The accommodation provided by the military academy were all stand-alone villas. Each villa could hold six people; Ling Lan's team very coincidentally were all arranged to stay in one villa.
Qi Long and the others were naturally very surprised by this — only Ling Lan knew that this was definitely the work of her dad. In order to prevent his daughter's gender from being exposed, Ling Xiao had pulled all strings to arrange for Ling Lan to live together with these followers of hers, in hopes that they would be able to protect Ling Lan.
Of course, Ling Xiao had only done this after doing a lot of private investigation — he knew Qi Long and the others greatly admired Ling Lan, and were the type of sworn brothers that would give their lives for Ling Lan. This put a somewhat sour taste in Ling Xiao's mouth even as he was proud of his daughter. He just kept having the feeling that this bunch of brats were here to steal away his precious daughter ...
The students from Doha were pretty much distributed within the same district. During this registration period, Lin Zhong-qing and Xie Yi had used their own individual abilities to take the opportunity to understand some things within the military academy, such as the distribution of power among the factions as well as the ranking situation.
Students from Doha made up the majority, but they were split up into various factions of different sizes, each unwilling to defer to another. Of these, Zhang Jing-an's faction was the largest, and could be considered the representative of the Doha Central Scout Academy faction. But even so, his faction was still firmly pressed down by three other large factions, unable to budge.
They were respectively the number one faction, the Leiting faction 1 , the number two faction, the Tianji faction 2 , and the number three faction, the Wuji faction 3 .
When they passed on this information to Ling Lan and the others, Qi Long was infuriated, thinking that Zhang Jing-an had disgraced all of the Central Scout Academy. Mind you, every year, the Central Scout Academy was the school which supplied the most number of successful applicants to the First Men's Military Academy in the entire Federation.
Ling Lan and Han Jijyun shared a glance, a trace of understanding in their eyes. Han Jijyun voiced a reminder, "Looks like, Zhang Jing-an will soon be coming to find us." He turned to ask Ling Lan, "Boss Lan, what should we do?" Collaborate or refuse him?
"Let him come!" Ling Lan did not state her stance just yet.
Han Jijyun's eyes glinted, as if understanding something, and he said nothing further. Seeing this, Qi Long and the others cleverly asked no questions. They had long learned that when Boss Lan and Han Jijyun were speaking, they would need to go through several twists to fully understand what was going on, so it would be pointless even if they asked.
Sure enough, just as Ling Lan finished washing up and was lounging on the living room sofa to rest, Zhang Jing-an came to visit. Being able to source Ling Lan's address at such short notice, Zhang Jing-an was still rather capable.
Zhang Jing-an had brought his few team members along; Qi Long had already been instructed by Ling Lan to let them in without giving them any trouble.
Seeing Ling Lan sitting on the sofa, Zhang Jing-an said with a smile, "Ling Lan, seeing that you managed to enrol into our military academy, I am extremely glad!"
At this moment, Zhang Jing-an no longer had any of the dejected air he had had after his failure at the grand armed melee that year. Although his faction was currently being suppressed by the other three major factions, he was still the leader of the fourth ranking faction after all. He appeared spirited, and even with a smiling face and a friendly attitude, he still retained a trace of the prideful air of a superior.
Zhang Jing-an's words and his attitude made a trace of displeasure appear on the faces of Qi Long and the others. They would not allow anyone to disrespect their Boss Lan. Even if Zhang Jing-an was their senior back then, they would not condone it.
Ling Lan only quirked a brow at his words, before pointing at the sofa before her and saying calmly, "Senior Zhang, please sit!"
Since Zhang Jing-an was treating her with the air of a superior, Ling Lan naturally needed to strike back. She immediately treated Zhang Jing-an like a subordinate follower, casually instructing him to sit.
This breezy attitude made the expressions of the team members who had come along with Zhang Jing-an to change. One of them was about to bark out a warning at Ling Lan when Qi Long abruptly swept an icy glare at him, harrumphing loudly.
This loud harrumph reverberated by his ears, and that person felt a jolt in his chest, his blood and vital energies roiling. The cry he had been about to utter seemed to become lodged in his throat, no longer able to come out. His expression changed drastically, and he stared in vacant shock at Qi Long who was standing beside Ling Lan ...
Zhang Jing-an's expression changed as well, his initial haughty manner disappearing to be replaced by a share of grimness. He glanced at Qi Long with a complicated expression, and signalled for that team member to back down.The author actually uses 雷云 (Leiyun) here, which literally means 'thundercloud'. However, in later chapters, she never ever refers to this faction as Leiyun again, instead switching over to call it 雷霆 (Leiting), which means 'thunderbolt'. For consistency, I will just use Leiting from here. 'Tianji' can mean 'heavenly chance'. 'Wuji' has already been explained previously. It's the same as the planet and galaxy mentioned previously. Decided to stick with pinyin for all the factions here for consistency.