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"Requesting login to the virtual world. Requestor: Ling Lan, age 16 years. Requirements for login fulfilled. Please wait a moment!" Logging into the great hall, Ling Lan finally saw this approval notification. This was because Ling Lan had not participated in the barrier-crossing mission when she had been 13 years old, so her true identity could only officially enter the real virtual world after she turned 16 years old.

Of course, Ling Lan was already long familiar with the real virtual world. The only reason she was using her real identity now to login was that Qi Long and the others wanted her to enter the virtual world and join the exciting world of mecha.

Ling Lan's login spot was the camping grounds of the First Men's Military Academy. However, this camping ground was only accessible to cadets; outsiders had no way of entering. There was a mecha training hall inside the camping grounds itself — as long as one could graduate from the test there, they would be able to enter the mecha world.

The moment she stepped into the mecha training hall, she came to the hall where one chose their beginner mecha. The same handsome soldier stood there as before, along with those three basic mecha. She had just approached when the soldier spoke up to ask, "Recruit, do you want to first understand more about the combat styles of the three mecha, their controls, or do you just want to choose a mecha directly?"

This time, Ling Lan naturally chose to select her mecha immediately. Perhaps out of habit, she actually chose the option of bestial mecha. Before Ling Lan could regret her choice, the soldier waved expansively, and the large spin wheel which had snubbed Ling Lan once appeared before her once more.

Seeing this familiar large spin wheel, Ling Lan could not help but sweatdrop. Tenaciously, she asked, "Can't I just choose directly?"

"A beginner's mecha is gifted by the system. So, a beginner has no right to choose the mecha. Which mecha model they get will be determined randomly by this spin wheel. Luck, is also a form of strength. You should anticipate your luck and hope it brings you a strong and powerful mecha!" The soldier was still reciting the same script as before, each word exactly the same.

Ling Lan could not help but direct a middle finger at the sky, full of contempt for the system's rigidity. Unexpectedly, this action of hers actually caused the soldier's expression to turn stern and he issued a warning, "The recruit behaves disrespectfully to the soldier. Luck value deducted by 100!"

Ling Lan almost spewed blood — the system was truly brutal.

Eagerly, Little Four asked quietly within the mindspace, "Boss, do you want me to erase this punishment?"

Ling Lan immediately stopped Little Four. After all, she was using her true identity to login. Who knew whether this area was being monitored, or if there would be some record left behind of the proceedings? Besides, it was only her luck value that was being deducted. At most, when she was choosing a mecha, her luck would be bad enough to end up with a most terrible mecha. With her current abilities, even the worst mecha would not have its battle power reduced by much.

After consoling Little Four, Ling Lan resolutely spun the large spin wheel. In her mind, she was thinking — with such low luck value this time, she should not obtain a rabbit mecha again, right? It should be known that that rabbit was still one of the newer mecha developed by the Federation, so its combat power was actually above average.

So thinking, Ling Lan heard a 'poof'. Colourful confetti swirled before her eyes, and an extremely adorable giant rabbit abruptly appeared before her ...

D*mmit, why was it still a rabbit?! Wasn't it said that the rabbit was one of the newer models to be developed by the Federation, only able to be drawn if one's luck was great? Ling Lan still remembered what the soldier had said back when she had first drawn the rabbit — he had smiled and commended her for her luck. Today, her luck had dropped by 100, and she still drew the rabbit? What the hell was this?

The soldier saw the rabbit mecha appear, and his face revealed a smile filled with schadenfreude. "Congratulations, recruit, on obtaining our Federation's newest rabbit mecha model." He raised his hand to pass the remote control for the rabbit mecha to Ling Lan.

At this moment, Ling Lan really wanted to slap herself a few times — why did you have to choose bestial mecha, why did you have to even think of rabbit, now reality has really conjured it up ... with a bitter expression, she accepted the remote control. D*mmit, she really did not want to meet up with Qi Long and the others controlling a rabbit mecha!

Just imagine it ... a cold-faced unsmiling youth, operating an adorable rabbit mecha, and when the rabbit mecha paused, it would even nibble every once in a while on a carrot ... Oh my god! She felt completely unwell, almost being able to imagine how Qi Long and the others would be bowled over with laughter ...

But to change to a new mecha, one needed a massive amount of points. Moreover, the points of the mecha training hall were extremely difficult to accumulate — the points needed to switch to a new mecha required a long period of foundational control training to gather, and right now, what Ling Lan lacked most was time. Qi Long and the others were waiting for her in the mecha world — she needed to enter as soon as possible to meet up with them.

She might as well go to the mecha world and take part in the mecha arena fights. As long as she did not lose, it was relatively easy to collect points there to redeem a higher level mecha in the shortest period of time! Ling Lan decided that she would not contact Qi Long and the others right away after she entered the mecha world. Let her switch her mecha first.

Ling Lan boarded her rabbit mecha and immediately chose to take the assessment. With regards to mecha, the mecha she was most familiar with was most likely the rabbit mecha. The moment the controls were in hand, Ling Lan instantly found her groove, controlling the rabbit mecha just as if it were an extension of her limbs.

In order not to reveal too much, Ling Lan suppressed her hand speed, slowing things down by a full three brackets. Still, even so, her final results were good enough to place her within the top ten. Ling Lan decisively chose to remain anonymous; she did not want to be targeted by unknown enemies.

The assessment ended, and the same phrase popped up — do you want to graduate and leave — and this time, Ling Lan naturally chose yes.

The screen of her mecha turned white, and when the image stabilised once more, she was already in another world. Ling Lan knew that this was the mecha world. Ling Lan had been here before. However, at the time she had not taken a close look before logging off, in a hurry to return to the learning space to assimilate the insights she had gained during the assessment. After that, she had not used that fake identity to log in again, so she was unclear on the situation in the mecha world.

The scene depicted on the screen was that of a desolate wasteland, as if the world had been through armageddon. There were overturned buildings and crumbling walls — ruins everywhere without a person in sight.

At this time, a block of text emerged on the mecha's screen. "Welcome to the mecha world. Your login number is SH291786907R9. We recommend you personalise your username."

Heh, this number was really very long. It was clear to see just how many people there were in the mecha world. They could be professional mecha operators from the military, or they could be simple mecha enthusiasts, or perhaps mecha experts from the general public ...

Ling Lan knew that the serial number was not suitable for interaction. She needed to pick a name that would be easy to recall and easy for her companions to use in conversation. Of course, this name needed to carry the words ' Lingtian 1 ', because Qi Long that punk had chosen to name their team as the Lingtian Battle Clan 2 ... this fearless fellow — naming the team so arrogantly, drawing hate.

Ling Lan randomly chose [ Lingtian First-String 3 ]. Surprisingly, it was accepted straightaway — this truly made her doubt whether her luck had truly been docked by 100 4 ... Or maybe her luck was currently already nature-defying, so it would not matter no matter how much it was deducted?

Ling Lan shook her head uncomprehendingly and decisively threw aside her doubts. She began to browse through the indicated missions on her screen. Right now, she was standing in the wasteland area which all newbies needed to challenge. There would definitely be some hint here telling you where the nearest town where humans gathered was. You would be able to leave if you found the hint, but if you couldn't, you would be stuck here forever. Even if you died, you would still be revived here in this wasteland.

Many newbies would be stuck here for quite a long while. For one, it cultivated the observational skills of the newbies, and secondly, it would also polish the newbies' mecha control. Before they reached a certain standard, they would not be allowed to enter the true mecha world.

This was because even if they managed to enter the mecha world before their skills were up to snuff, they would still end up being bullied and kicked around, and not be able to improve. There were many newbies who used shortcuts to enter the mecha world, and then voluntarily withdrew due to being unable to progress further, losing the courage to operate mecha in the end.

Ling Lan randomly chose a direction and began walking. Here, it was wasteland on all four sides. The first direction chosen would obviously be just trying one's luck, so Ling Lan did not bother wasting brain cells over it.

After swiftly disposing of two waves of mutated rodents, Ling Lan found a hint. It looked like the path to the human town was underground, but it was unfortunately taken over by a large swarm of mutated rodents. To leave this place, she would need to clear out the entire batch of mutated rodents.

According to the average newbie's abilities, a newbie would have to wait until more people gathered here on this map to form teams and collaborate. But who was Ling Lan? Even if she had been given the rabbit mecha which was best at acting cute, this task posed no difficulty for her. She naturally would not choose to wait, immediately controlling her rabbit mecha to invade the underground tunnel.

Right at that moment, a humanoid mecha just happened to log onto this space. He had just appeared when he saw a large rabbit nibbling on a carrot hopping merrily into the underground tunnel. He was about to yell out for the other to stop, but found that the other had already disappeared ...

"That's just asking for it! The rabbit mecha is one of the mecha with the least fighting power. Can one person overcome the overwhelming swarm of mutated rodents?" The humanoid mecha operator shook his head, prepared to wait for the other to revive and then get him to wait together for more teammates.

Three minutes went by, and the rabbit mecha still had not appeared at the revival area. The humanoid mecha exclaimed in surprise, "He's unexpectedly capable, actually holding out for so long ..."

Five minutes went by, and still the revival area was still and silent. The humanoid mecha began to frown — could it be the other had become afraid and chosen not to revive?

Ten minutes went by, and still there was no sign of the rabbit mecha's reviving figure. The humanoid mecha began to fidget — what in the world had happened?

When twenty minutes had passed and the rabbit mecha still had not revived. The humanoid mecha could hold back no longer, "If I die, I die. I need to see what has happened ..."

Decision made, the humanoid mecha moved to dash into the underground tunnel. The moment he entered, he saw the ground littered with the corpses of mutated rodents. Zooming in on the image of the dead rodents, he could immediately see that all the rodents had been killed with one strike, never requiring a second blow. Each strike had been clean and efficient, as if having been calculated by a computer. Not a share of energy wasted, not a share of energy less than what was needed.

"What amazing attack skills!" The humanoid mecha sped up, and the further in he went, the more corpses of mutated rodents he found. By the time he got to the centre point, the corpses of the mutated rodents were stacked in towering heaps. In these numbers, even though he knew they were just dead carcasses, the humanoid mecha could not help but feel mentally creeped out ...

凌天: The 'Ling' in Lingtian is the same character as Ling Lan's surname, while 'tian' refers to sky. In short, it implies the skies dominated by the Ling. I considered using 'Ling-sky', but it just seemed rather awkward. 'Clan' here is used in the context of gaming, since the entire mecha world is technically like a large-scale virtual game. See this wikipedia page for more info: 凌天一线: In pinyin, 'Lingtian yixian'. 'Yixian' is rather vague and could be interpreted in myriad ways, varying from very literal to very metaphorical. :p My working username here was 'Lingtian First Line', but after more thought, 'Lingtian First-String' actually works better while sticking pretty close to the literal form. 'First-String' conveys the following meanings: main regular player; starter member; top player; the best; first-rate (i.e. of the first order of size, importance, or quality).
Yep, sounds like Boss. I'm happy with this now. :3 T/C: Hehehe, looks like someone understands the frustration of having username after username rejected.

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