Wu Jiong's expression turned cold and his gaze became solemn. "It looks like we'll need to work hard! I hope that after two years, our new cadet regiment will be able to become one of the top four factions in the academy. At that time, even if the Thunder King wants to consume us, he will have to stop and think about it."
"One of?" Ling Lan threw an icy glance over and said with a huff, "You only have that little bit of ambition?"
Wu Jiong was dumbfounded. "Boss Lan ..."
"My goal, is not being one of the factions." Ling Lan's words made Wu Jiong somewhat confused, unsure what in the world Ling Lan was trying to say. However, Ling Lan's following words almost made him fall over in shock. Ling Lan raised a finger to point straight up as he 1 said coldly, "My goal, is to unite the factions of the military academy. In other words, by the time I leave the military academy, there will only be one faction in the school, and that will be ours!"
Ling Lan's face was cold as ever, his expression extremely serious — it was clear to see that everything he had said was from his true heart. Despite his stature and build not being as imposing as Wu Jiong's, his force of presence was absolute in its domination of the scene, suppressing everyone present. This made Wu Jiong lament once more the distance between him and Ling Lan. Ling Lan could become the boss, not only because he had enough strength and capability, but also because he dared to think the unthinkable.
"Alright, Boss Lan, just based on these words of yours alone, I, Li Yingjie, acknowledge you full-heartedly as my boss!" A voice carried over from the doorway. Wu Jiong did not have to turn his head to know who it was 2 —— Li Yingjie. This stubborn, prickly, and insubordinate fellow had finally admitted his deference towards Ling Lan.
Li Yingjie's admission similarly surprised Ling Lan. With a quirk of her brow, she teased, "I thought that I was already your boss since a long while back."
Li Yingjie choked, the colour of his face fluctuating unpredictably, and he finally deflated and said, "Forget it. Since I've already acknowledged you as Boss, you can just say whatever you want." Li Yingjie could not refuse to submit — he could not beat Ling Lan in a fight, and he did not have as much guts as the other either. And now, he had even lost to Ling Lan in terms of sheer arrogance. What right did he have still to refute Ling Lan's words?
Li Yingjie's defeated manner made Ling Lan feel rather sorry for him. In the end, she still liked the cocky Li Yingjie better, so Ling Lan pointed at the sofa beside her and said, "Sit, Li Yingjie. I do not wish for you to lose your personality. As long as you are capable enough, I don't think there is anything wrong with being arrogant. In future, if there's anything you can't handle, just look for the others, and if they can't handle it either, come find me ..."
Following Ling Lan's words, Li Yingjie's expression lifted up proudly once more, his eyes shining with vibrant light. Behind him, an invisible tail rose higher and higher. Wu Jiong, Qi Long, and the others turned away speechlessly, unable to watch. Oh, this innocent child ... Once again being coaxed by Boss Lan onto the path of being a great rogue; he had obviously had the opportunity to change his ways and return to the proper path ...
Ling Lan looked at Li Yingjie's expression and felt rather guilty. Bewitching an innocent babe like this to do bad things — would she be struck down by lightning ...?
Time passed swiftly, and very soon it was time for the wagered fight between Leiting and the new cadet regiment. The exclusive combat hall of the military academy had long been filled with students from the various years. Of course, a large majority of the students were there to see Leiting torment the new cadets. Only very, very few new cadets still carried a tendril of hope that the new cadet regiment which was also made up of freshmen would be able to create a miracle, and do them freshmen proud.
Li Lanfeng and Zhao Jun both arrived a bit late, but they did not have to squeeze and shoulder their way to a good position at the front of the arena stage. As high-ranking members of one of the four top factions in the military academy, one of the VIP boxes in the combat hall was reserved exclusively for them.
They took an elevator up, and then walked to stand before one of the rooms to the side. On the door was a square screen of roughly 30 centimetres. Li Lanfeng raised his right hand and waved it at the screen, and then the room door slid lightly to the left, revealing an entrance of about 2 metres wide. The two of them did not hesitate, entering right away.
The moment they entered, a voice could be heard to say, "Haha, speak of the devil 3 ! Lanfeng, come, let me introduce you to a talented young fellow."
Li Lanfeng looked in the direction of the voice and saw Han Yu sitting on a sofa waving at him in a rather irreverent manner. Meanwhile, a fresh-faced lanky youth of about 1.8 metres tall was standing tall beside him. He was presumably a new cadet from this year's batch, and the youth was currently observing him smilingly, a trace of respect in his gaze.
Li Lanfeng's lips curved up slightly, revealing a slight smile, making his entire being seem endlessly warm. This smile startled the other however, a thread of confusion flashing through his eyes, but the other quickly got a hold of himself to regain his original expression.
The smile on Li Lanfeng's lips grew deeper. He turned to look at Han Yu, who had been observing his expression intently, and as if not at all aware of Han Yu's previous impolite attitude, he smiled easily and said, "Han Yu, how nice! Congratulations on gaining yet another great fighter. However, no matter how glad you are, you still need to test him well. Don't let some pretender slip in and profit from the confusion again."
Li Lanfeng's words made Han Yu's complexion shift slightly. They made him recall when he had happily taken in a bunch of freshmen who had come from his planet a few days ago. Back then, he had brought those new recruits over here to show off to Li Lanfeng because not a single person from Li Lanfeng's third-rate planet Azure had managed to get into the First Men's Military Academy this time.
Unexpectedly, those recruits had all been useless fellows — the moment they were pressured by Zhao Jun's aura, they had all actually cowered with their tails tucked between their legs, not daring to say another word. Those timid and cowardly expressions still made him furious when he recalled them now. The reactions of those people had truly disgraced their planet Wuji.
All this was because Zhao Jun and Li Lanfeng were both from third-rate planets. The two were from different planets though — Zhao Jun was from planet Redrock 4 , while Li Lanfeng came from planet Azure. Meanwhile, planet Wuji was a first-rate planet within the Federation, much better in terms of both level, treatment, and resources than the third-rate planets. Therefore, losing face in front of Zhao Jun and Li Lanfeng was extremely infuriating for Han Yu.
Han Yu took a good look at Li Lanfeng, trying to see if the other was intentionally making a crack at him. However, Li Lanfeng's eyes were unbelievably clear and limpid, and his warm smile and gentle aura had not a single shred of malicious intent in it ... could it be that he was overthinking things?
Han Yu could not see anything strange about Li Lanfeng's demeanour, so he sniffed coolly and said, "Hmph, would I make the same mistake again?" He pointed at the youth beside him and continued, "Lanfeng, this is my junior, his name is Zhou Ya 5 . His specialization is military strategy, and he is the first rank in the military strategy specialization among this year's freshmen." When he said this, Han Yu's expression was proud, not forgetting to glance at Li Lanfeng to gauge his expression to see if there was any change. Sadly, his efforts were all in vain — Li Lanfeng's expression was no different from usual, as calm as ever.
Han Yu deflated slightly, turning his head to introduce to the youth, "This is the strategist of our Wuji Mecha Clan, Li Lanfeng. In future, you should learn well from big brother Li. Wuji's future will eventually depend on you and your strategies."
"Big Brother Li, hello, please watch out for me in future." Zhou Ya gave Li Lanfeng a military academy cadet bow, his gaze curious as his eyes roved over this gentle-mannered youth before him.
Before Li Lanfeng arrived, Regiment Commander Han Yu had hinted that he hoped Zhou Ya would be able to replace Li Lanfeng and take his position quicker, to become the primary strategist of the Wuji Mecha Clan. Hearing that, he was naturally extremely moved — Regiment Commander Han Yu's words proved the other's trust and acknowledgement of him. Still, he would not become proud and self-conceited because of this and offend Li Lanfeng recklessly.
Frankly, in his conversation with Regiment Commander Han Yu, Zhou Ya had vaguely made out the regiment commander's wariness towards Li Lanfeng. This proved that the other was absolutely not someone to be crossed easily. Otherwise, he would not have been able to retain such a secure hold on the primary strategist position within the mecha clan as someone not from planet Wuji.
Li Lanfeng politely returned a bow of his own, and said with a smile, "Zhou Ya, right? Don't be so formal. I'm not specializing in strategy. It's just that Regiment Commander Han Yu was lacking such an important role, so he made do with me filling in. Now you're here, I can take the burden off my shoulders. It's like Regiment Commander Han Yu said, the future of the Wuji Mecha Clan will depend on you all."
Done speaking, Li Lanfeng did not forget to pat Zhou Ya's shoulder in encouragement. Then, seeking out a random sofa, he sat down. True to his words, his expression was clearly much more relaxed, as if he had genuinely spoken from the heart.
This made Han Yu and Wei Ji, both of who had been closely observing Li Lanfeng, to furrow their brows. This was why they had always been wary of Li Lanfeng — Li Lanfeng's expression was always very composed, gentle, and unassuming. It could perhaps even be described as somewhat easygoing and content with one's lot ... but would there really be a cadet, outstanding on all fronts, who had no ambition whatsoever? Both their gazes involuntarily met once more, reading the same suspicion in the other's eyes.
Wei Ji turned his gaze away and suppressed the misgivings in his heart. Standing up, he greeted with a smile, "Zhao Jun, what are you standing at the door for? Still not coming over to sit? I too happen to have a talent from Wuji for you to meet." He pointed at the seat next to his, indicating for Zhao Jun to come over.
Zhao Jun had initially been coldly watching the attacks, both open and covert, being exchanged among the people in the room. Now, seeing Wei Ji calling him, a trace of interest instantly appeared on his austere face. He walked forwards, eyes trained on the youth with a somewhat lazy expression standing by Wei Ji's side, and asked seriously, "A prodigy at mecha piloting?"
Wei Ji choked at those words, and said sulkily, "Zhao Jun, you know that these students have just started working with mecha. No matter how talented, it would be impossible to tell in such a short amount of time!"
Zhao Jun threw a disgruntled glare at Wei Ji. "You know very well that I am only interested in mecha piloting. Why would you mislead me?"
Wei Ji prodded at Zhao Jun helplessly for a moment, finally saying with a bitter chuckle, "Fine, fine, fine, just say it's my fault. But this Wang Hui is a combat genius from our planet Wuji, already at the optimal peak of Refinement stage, just a half step away from entering Qi-Jin stage." Wei Ji's tone was threaded with a faint trace of pride.
Mind you, these past few years, Zhang Jing-an was the only one who had already advanced into the early stage of Qi-Jin before entering the military academy. The others, no matter how strong, had only been at Refinement. Even the number one of the military academy, the Thunder King Qiao Ting, had only been at the peak of Refinement when he had first entered the academy, a level weaker than Wang Hui.
Of course, when the Thunder King had been a freshman, he had already displayed his terrifying talent in mecha piloting, which was how he had begun suppressing Zhang Jing-an ever since the second year. By now, he had completely left Zhang Jing-an several horse heads behind 6 , shooting straight up to become the number one of the military academy.The following parts refer to Ling Lan as 'he' since it's seen from Wu Jiong's perspective. T/C: Well, I mean, the dude did just announce his name very loudly ... 说曹操曹操就到: FYI, the Chinese version goes like this — 'speak of Cao Cao and Cao Cao arrives'. Cao Cao being a famous Chinese warlord of the Three Kingdoms period. Look him up on wikipedia for more info. 赤岩星: pinyin being planet 'Chiyan'. I had wanted to find a grander word for 'red rock', but geology really isn't my forte and my google searching didn't give me anything appropriate. Oh well, the name's here to stay now. :p Recap: This character first appeared in Chapter 222, along with Wang Hui, at the space fortress. They are both cadets from another planet, and Zhou Ya is the one who sees Han Jijyun as a rival. 甩了张京安几个马头: This is a rather direct translation of the phrase, but it makes sense to me in English too. For those who are unfamiliar with the concept, think of horse-racing and consider the length of a horse's head as a unit of measurement. The Thunder King's 'horse' is quite a few horse heads ahead of Zhang Jing-an, i.e. ZJA is now trailing behind TK in the race for advancement.