"Could it be that the results of this batch of students are all pretty good? Even if there are some who are a bit weaker, in order not to waste anything, they decided to take in everyone?" mused Han Yu, following the logical flow of Li Lanfeng's comment.
Wei Ji said in agreement, "This New Cadet Regiment is from Doha, with most of the students from Doha's Central Scout Academy. Their abilities won't be too far off the mark. Taking all of them in, Leiting would not lose anything. But I suspect this matter will not be that simple ... could it be some scheme of Leiting's? His objective may not be the entire New Cadet Regiment, but a particular person within the New Cadet Regiment. However, in consideration that that person may be proud and unruly, he decided he might as well take in the whole lot?" Wei Ji raised another possibility.
"That aberrant Zhang Jing-an mentioned?" exclaimed Han Yu, as if coming to some realisation, his eyes shining.
That aberrant, who Zhang Jing-an was afraid of, would most certainly not be someone easy to bring to heel. Perhaps Leiting was afraid that if they targeted him alone, the aberrant might not have any reservations, thus ending up like that 4th year genius mecha modifier, stubborn to the end, still unwilling to submit even now. Perhaps after that experience, Leiting had chosen to change their methods. By taking in the entire group, that aberrant would have no choice but to consider his companions beside him, and thus lower his head and submit.
"A feint! Certainly a great strategy!" sighed Han Yu, a trace of admiration in his gaze, "Even if Qiao Ting isn't around, the vice regiment commander Lin Zhidong is not someone to cross."
A faction could not last for long by relying on one person's strength alone. Leiting had been able to remain as the top faction in the military academy for so many consecutive years due to the exceptional vice regiment commanders it had, especially the adviser Lin Zhidong. Although this first vice regiment commander was not from the strategy specialization, he was no less capable than those of the specialization.
Li Lanfeng did not refute the two's suppositions, merely nodding in agreement as he smiled softly. However, the gazes of the four were then drawn once more by the stage, for the representative of the New Cadet Regiment had emerged. It was the public regiment commander Wu Jiong. He had been the one to step up and accept the wager with Leiting, as well as raise their own conditions for the wager. If by any chance the Leiting Mecha Clan lost, then they would have to be responsible for the safety of the New Cadet Regiment for the next two years. This meant that, in those two years' time, if some other faction challenged the New Cadet Regiment, all the fights would be the Leiting Mecha Clan's responsibility.
This wager would in fact indirectly make the entire Leiting Mecha Clan into the fighters and protectors of the New Cadet Regiment, but in comparison with Leiting's wager, the New Cadet Regiment's wager was not that unreasonable. Since Leiting wanted to consume the entire New Cadet Regiment, the New Cadet Regiment naturally could also request Leiting to become their helpers. Besides, the New Cadet Regiment did not have ill intentions — they only stated a period of two years, leaving Leiting no way to refuse.
As expected, the vice regiment commanders of Leiting very quickly agreed to the terms after a brief discussion. After all, Leiting too did not want the other factions to covet the promising New Cadet Regiment. If Leiting lost by any chance, this would ensure the cadets would not be taken in by any other faction in the upcoming two years. And two years later, Leiting would have another chance to consume the New Cadet Regiment. Therefore, this wager had no downsides from Leiting's perspective.
When Colonel Tang Yu declared that the wager was established, the upper ranks of all the factions could not help but sigh. With this, even if the New Cadet Regiment won by a fluke, they could do nothing within the next two years. No matter how tempting the regiment was, they could only watch without doing anything, because they still did not have the guts to go up against the Leiting Mecha Clan ...
At this time, they could not help but exclaim in admiration at the strategic thinking of the New Cadet Regiment, coming up with a wager that Leiting could not refuse. Whether they won or lost, the New Cadet Regiment would still obtain the protection of the large tree of Leiting — it was all just a matter of duration.
After the wager was agreed upon, all the representatives of the Leiting Mecha Clan and the New Cadet Regiment walked off the stage, to await the start of the first match. Colonel Tang Yu had already mentioned the rules of the fight. For each match, both sides would have five minutes' time to arrange things. Within those five minutes, each side must decide the candidate for their team. If they did not submit a name within the given time, the referee would give the victory to the opposing side.
Walking off the stage, Ling Lan looked pensively at the people on Leiting's side. Earlier on the stage, she had secretly evaluated those people's skill level, and had a rough idea of their capabilities in her mind. However, other than herself who could beat anyone handily, it would be a little risky for Qi Long and the others ... Ling Lan furrowed her brow slightly, beginning to consider the order they would use for the arena fights.
This time, Ling Lan had chosen Qi Long, Wu Jiong, Luo Lang, Li Yingjie, and herself to be the fighting representatives. Originally, she had wanted to see how the opponent would send out their candidates before making her final arrangements. However, Colonel Tang Yu's speech threw her plans out. Concealing the name list before announcing it at the final moment made Ling Lan lose all direction.
"Boss, have you forgotten that you still have me?" Just when Ling Lan was fretting, Little Four began making a ruckus moodily inside the mindspace. Of course he was moody — why did Boss always forget his existence during these critical moments? It should be known that he was the best cheating device!
"Fie fie fie, what was that random thought just now? I, Little Four, am a youth of five virtues 1 — I would never do such a tasteless thing as cheating," said Little Four, happily justifying his own actions and twisting words, "We are fighting a great battle of information! Taking the initiative by procuring information on the opponent is the bedrock of success — all of this is just the means in service to this ultimate end! History shall be written by the victors!" Little Four had recently become addicted to military stories; who knew where he had stolen this particular block of text from ...
Little Four was still throwing words around to extol the virtues of his behaviour, while Ling Lan's eyes had lit up at Little Four's timely interruption. That's right! How had she forgotten that Little Four was a god of the virtual world? If she wanted to know the name list the opponent had set, wasn't it just a simple matter? Her only hope was that the opponent would not choose to key in their selection at the last second. Otherwise, even if Little Four could obtain the information, she still would not have the time to enter her own selection.
Little Four had finally re-established his own self-image, soothing his soul, and he immediately sensed Ling Lan's concerns. In response, he said disdainfully, "With me, Little Four, around, would you still need to enter it manually? You only need to think of the name in your head, and I, Little Four, will be able to instantaneously send it over ..." Such a simple matter — why did his boss have to worry so much? Wasn't this just making light of his, Little Four's, abilities? Little Four could not help but pout in silent protest of Ling Lan's lack of faith in him.
Seeing this demeanour of Little Four's, Ling Lan's heart settled. In a great mood, she kneaded Little Four's face inside the mindspace, laughing loudly as she said, "Good. Little Four, I leave this matter to you." Only within the mindspace would Ling Lan laugh so unreservedly. The smile behind the laugh made Little Four lose focus ... Boo hoo hoo, why did the charm of Boss's smile seem to have increased limitlessly once more?
Thinking of this, Little Four once again reaffirmed that it was safer for Boss to remain slackfaced. Otherwise, even though he was a god in the virtual world, he would be reduced to a puddle of goo by his Boss's smile ... Little Four abruptly recalled that he seemed to have very low resistance against Daddy Ling Xiao's smile too — could it be that smiles were his fatal weakness?
At this thought, Little Four suddenly felt a sense of danger invade his heart. This was because he remembered that intelligent bio-entities could not be found to have any obvious weaknesses, otherwise they would be recalled for repurposing. Little Four shiftily looked around, and finding no other intelligent bio-entities in the area, only then did he relax. He pounded his chest — luckily he was not in the Mandora star system right now, so no other intelligent bio-entity had observed his abnormality.
Little Four had barely settled from his fright when Ling Lan came up with another question. Even though she may know the skill levels of those people, she had no way to match the person to the name on the opponent's name list.
Little Four became absorbed by Ling Lan's question instantly, forgetting his earlier fright. When he figured out what his boss was worried about this time, he could not help but roll his eyes contemptuously at his boss. D*mmit, and he had thought what kind of difficult problem his boss had now ... it turned out to be such a small matter!
Very swiftly, the named datasheets of the Leiting representatives appeared in Ling Lan's mindspace, along with a 3D rendition of their appearance. Ling Lan quickly matched the people to their names — now, the moment the opponent entered the names, Ling Lan would be able to tell which level their physical skills were at, and make the appropriate counter.
With this, Ling Lan's mind was greatly eased. Ling Lan was prepared once more to mimic Tianji's horse racing — sending out the fighters on her side strategically according to the strength level of the opponent. As long as they won three matches in the end, the New Cadet Regiment would have the right to their own freedom!
"Boss, the opponent's name list is out!" Little Four yelled out in the mindspace, and then the opponent's fighting order and corresponding image were displayed in Ling Lan's mindspace.
"D*mmit, actually starting off with the third strongest. Looks like the opponent is also guarding against this strategy of mine, actively working to win this competition." Ling Lan could not help but frown as she read over the other's name list; the opponent had indeed dealt a good hand.
Ling Lan turned to look at her companions beside her, and her gaze finally landed on Luo Lang. "Luo Lang, get ready to fight!"
"Yes, Boss!" Luo Lang's pretty face lighted up — he had not expected Boss to send him up for the very first match.
Meanwhile, seeing that Ling Lan had chosen Luo Lang, without waiting for her to give the order, Little Four instantly sent Luo Lang's name to the referee Tang Yu.
Observing Luo Lang's excited expression, Ling Lan had no choice but to be a wet blanket and calm him down a little. With a stern expression, she said, "The opponent is a master at the peak of early stage Qi-Jin, while you have just entered Qi-Jin. The Qi-Jin in your body has not settled yet, and so is unsuitable for a hard confrontation. Draw things out to start, and then figure something out after you've gotten used to the pace."
Ling Lan had chosen Luo Lang because Luo Lang currently needed a tough fight to help him stabilise his realm of first level early stage Qi-Jin. This was also why Ling Lan had not gone up first to just win the match. Even as she ensured the final victory would be theirs, Ling Lan hoped for her companions to improve through the fights.
Ling Lan knew her arrangement might cause Luo Lang to suffer a tough fight, perhaps even being beaten very badly; however, for the sake of her companions' growth, she needed to harden her heart. Sometimes, losing was not a disgrace, but a type of progress.
"Understood, Boss!" Luo Lang nodded his pretty head seriously, showing that he had heard her advice.
Right at this moment, the five minutes ran out. Colonel Tang Yu shouted from the stage, "Leiting Mecha Clan vs New Cadet Regiment — first round matchup: 5th year Qi Ya against 1st year Luo Lang."五好少年: This is something rather hard to explain. I had to look it up as it's a Chinspecific reference, and if I understand correctly, it's the national standard of being a good citizen of five virtues. The explanation for each virtue can be quite long-winded, so I'll try to summarise as best as I can.