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"Really?" Zhao Jun's interest was hooked. He quickly said, "Then, you should ask the people of your sect, see who's the one who most recently entered the mecha world. Ask him to level up quickly. Damn my hands are itching for a fight with him."

Li Lanfeng glanced at Zhao Jun with a half-smile and did not reply to his words, instead bringing up another topic, "I hear the Thunder King is in Closed Door Meditation. Once he succeeds, he will advance to become an ace operator. You probably won't have a chance to fight him anymore."

As if being doused by a bucket of water, Zhao Jun's initial excitement vanished. He rubbed fiercely at his strong face and said sulkily, "Dammit, that fellow really isn't human. I just became familiar with special-class mecha and built up the confidence to go fight him, and he goes ahead and advances to ace? Is the gap between us really that wide, that I'm unable to catch up no matter how I chase?"

Zhao Jun was rather discouraged — he himself was considered someone with great talent in mecha control, but compared to the Thunder King Qiao Ting, he was still weaker by a hair, forever chasing with all his might behind the other. He had finally caught up this year with great difficulty, at last seeing the chance to fight the other evenly, but immediately found himself being left behind yet again. This feeling was very mentally damaging. Mind you, even now, he had not managed to even touch the gateway to the profound secrets of ace level.

"Not human? Wide gap? You think too highly of him." A trace of contempt appeared on Li Lanfeng's lips, as if he did not consider the Thunder King much of a threat.

"Saying that ... you don't think he's going to advance this time?" Li Lanfeng's words made the low-spirited Zhao Jun revive instantly. Zhao Jun really deferred to Li Lanfeng's judgement. If the other failed to advance, it would prove that he had not been left too far behind by the other.

"I did not say that. Whether or not he can advance, depends on his capabilities, and also, luck." As he spoke, Li Lanfeng flashed a half-smile and a teasing gaze. This expression made Zhao Jun's attention waver involuntarily for a moment ...

Zhao Jun hurriedly gathered his emotions, forcing his eyes away from Li Lanfeng's gaze, shifting his vision to one side. Damn, what kind of spiritual mutation was this exactly? It was too lethal — many times, he would be struck uncontrollably, losing his focus and dropping his guard in an instant. If Li Lanfeng was his enemy, he would have long been dead several times over ... of course, only he knew a thing or two about this ability of Li Lanfeng's. Before outsiders, Li Lanfeng was still very restrained, never activating this particular ability.

Regaining control of himself, Zhao Jun turned his full attention onto the Thunder King. Through gritted teeth, he said, "Right! We still need to look at luck! Damn, I hope his luck is blastedly terrible this time, that he doesn't manage to advance."

"Rather than pinning your hopes on that fickle and uncertain luck, you might as well go and properly study your mecha control and try to elevate your realm as soon as possible ... even if the Thunder King fails this time, he won't be staying as a special-class operator for long," Li Lanfeng reminded Zhao Jun kindly.

Li Lanfeng knew well that Qiao Ting's advancement to ace operator was just a matter of time. If he was lucky, he may just advance to ace operator tomorrow — and even if his luck was terrible, in the two years before graduation, even if he had to grind, he would have grinded his way up to ace operator level.

"I've got it. I'll go now to the mecha world. Not going to waste a single minute ..." Li Lanfeng's reminder made Zhao Jun feel the pressure bearing down on him. Losing the interest to keep nattering on with Li Lanfeng, he immediately went back to login to the virtual world to study his mecha control. The only path to advancement was to train hard and break past one's own control limits.

Li Lanfeng sent Zhao Jun off with a smile. When he was the only one left in the room, his initially warm and smiling gaze gradually turned cold and focused, with a trace of anxiety hidden deep within it.

Li Lanfeng looked once more at the rabbit mecha on the screen. And right at that moment, the rabbit mecha once more blew up its opponent's mecha cleanly and efficiently, proudly turning to leave the match arena. That calm indifference towards victory was so familiar that it made his heart ache. Li Lanfeng's fists curled up tight involuntarily. "Who are you really? Is it him? No, he would not have stopped where he was 7 years ago. But that style is so like him ... could it be a junior brother or junior sister from his sect? Or perhaps his disciple?"

Li Lanfeng instantly made a decision. He would definitely find this rabbit mecha and find out for sure whether he had any relation to that person he had known back then ...

If he was lucky enough to find him ... the anxiety and nervousness in Li Lanfeng's heart suddenly eased a little, the courage inside him rising up once more. Yes, as long as he could find the other, as long as he was willing to teach him again, he would have the confidence not to lose against that so-called destined life 1 !

Right then, Li Lanfeng could not help but recall the dawn of several days back, when his grandfather had called ...

Li Lanfeng, who had just woken up and was washing up, had received a rare video call from his grandpa. Li Lanfeng had been a little startled. Mind you, ever since he had been accepted by the First Men's Military Academy, in order to prevent his identity from being exposed, his grandfather had almost cut off all communications with him. Moreover, he had been shunted from being the inheritor of the main family, to become a branch disciple who was performing acceptably. He had then been living a low-key life at the First Men's Military Academy for four years.

"Grandpa, why are you contacting me?" After his grandfather had hinted that this call would not cause any trouble, Li Lanfeng finally relaxed to ask.

" Lan-er 2 , I hope you can ascend to special-class mecha as soon as possible ..." The Li family patriarch's expression was rather grim.

Li Lanfeng was gobsmacked at these words. "Why? Grandpa?"

A few years back, Li Lanfeng had once told his grandfather that a mecha expert in the mecha world had instructed him on the importance of the basic mecha controls. Furthermore, he had already tasted the fruits of mastering the basics — if he truly did well with them, he could even manage a cross-grade challenge. His grandfather had been extremely supportive regarding the matter. So why would he suddenly make such a request today? It should be known that he was still that little bit away from fully mastering the basic controls of advanced mecha warrior level. This was why he had kept staying back instead of advancing to special-class operator.

"A few days ago, I asked the Zhuge family head to help read your fortune. The signs show that that king is already by your side ..." Grandfather Li's voice was extremely grave, even a little troubled. "All these years, making you conceal your identity and hide your face, sending you off far away and cultivating you in secret — all of this was to let you become supremely strong, so you would have the capability of changing your destiny ... now the signs have shown that that person has appeared. There is no more time for you to slowly accumulate your strength. If you are not strong enough, and catch his eye, how will you escape your destined Phoenix Thrall Fate?"

Li Lanfeng heard that the king had emerged and his heart jolted. His brow became deeply furrowed, and when he heard that annoying Phoenix Thrall Fate being mentioned again, he could not help but clench his fists tightly. His fingernails almost broke through the skin of his palms, but that minor pain was nothing compared to the rage brewing in his heart.

Every direct descendant inheritor of the Li family would always have the family head of the Empyreal Zhuge divine their life fate, to better determine the cultivation pathway best suited for their destinies.

From birth, he had been assessed to have astounding talent. His grandfather had been overjoyed, thinking that he would become the most outstanding prodigy of the Li family, but the Phoenix Thrall Fate reading of the Empyreal Zhuge had instantly slammed him down from the skies into the dust ... this was also why he could not appear blatantly in front of the other Li family members, because the first inheritor of the Li family definitely could not become some king's plaything. The Li family could not suffer that disgrace ...

His grandfather had been too soft-hearted though, at the same time unwilling to give up on his talent, and thus had decisively hidden away this reading. His grandfather had then announced to the public that his talent was not good, and sent him off to the third-rate planet Azure. To the outside, his grandfather appeared to be letting him while away in obscurity, to live or die on his own merits, but in truth, his grandfather was spending a lot of effort in cultivating him. If not for these arrangements by his grandfather, he would long have been confined within the family's forbidden district by the other Li family members. They would wait for him to grow up, then deliver him right into that king's hands to become the other's personal plaything, to trade some favours for the Li family ...

Li Lanfeng could not help but snort in his heart. What godd*mn Phoenix Thrall Fate? He was a man! How could he ever submit and lie below another man's body 3 ? Even if the other was a king with unparalleled strength, he would not submit to fate. He had trained hard to improve himself, racking his mind to plot and plan, all for the sake of going against the heavens to change this fate. He had gotten so far; he was definitely not going to give up now.

Although his grandfather's words made Li Lanfeng fearful and indignant, they did not make him lose his cool. He replied softly, "Grandpa, I understand. Don't worry, I will arrange everything. In just a little more time, I believe I will be able to advance to special-class mecha operator level."

"As long as you know what you're doing." Grandpa Li was silent for a moment before reminding, "Lan-er, be wary of the strong people that appear by your side this year, or perhaps those geniuses advancing to ace operator this year. Your destined king may very likely be among them. Keep your distance from them as much as possible. Don't let the other become interested in you ..."

Li Lanfeng smiled bitterly and said, " Looking like this, how could someone still have interest in me 4 ?"

Had grandpa become overly caught up in that reading? Honestly speaking, he had always been sceptical — was the reading really that accurate? If it were that accurate, then why would the Zhuge family head cooperate with his grandfather to try and help him go against the heavens and change his fate?

Grandpa Li fell silent once more. How could he tell his grandson that, at times, interest in someone was not purely due to appearance? It could be due to attitude, behaviour, or perhaps one's way of handling things ... "In any case, you have to be careful!" That said, he hung up and ended the video call.

After hanging up, the Li family head on planet Doha had a trace of contemplation on his grim and weathered face. He was thinking back on the reading by the Empyreal Zhuge — peeking out from under the dazzling Phoenix Thrall Fate was an undefined Supreme Commander Fate — if not for that last half of the reading, he would not have invested so much to arrange for his grandson to defy his fate, even if his potential had been so astonishing ...

"Grandpa has helped you as much as I can. Now it's all up to you to choose." The family head of the Li family sighed softly, gaze distant as he looked out the window. For him, the best outcome was undoubtedly for his grandson to become a supreme commander.

Li Lanfeng looked at the blank screen with a deep frown, thinking, "Who could that king be? Rumour has it that the Thunder King is about to advance to ace operator? Looks like it's about time to think of a way to restrict the Thunder King's faction."

T/C: Looks like our cheetah-boy has a huge issue on his shoulders. Lol! Li Lanfeng's grandpa actually calls him by the same nickname Mu Shui-qing uses for Ling Lan. Seriously, it's the exact same characters too (蘭儿). :3 Even the original Chinese was very, very suggestive. <.< T/C: Curious statement. As far as we know, he's only wearing a mask. I wonder if his face is modified in any way behind the mask.

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