Boss Huo found his breath stifled for a moment by Ling Lan's question, but fury soon followed in response to Ling Lan's arrogant words. In his extreme rage, he laughed and said, "What shameless boasting. A tiny first year actually daring to threaten us?" Where did these first year students get the gall to do this?
"Oh no, I'm just clarifying our New Cadet Regiment's principles in dealing with outsiders," responded Ling Lan calmly, "I also believe that, the other groups, including senior's Leiting Mecha Clan, will have something similar to this creed as well. We are just doing what we should."
Ling Lan was not wrong. As an organisation, in order to protect the group and the welfare of its members, there must be some action. For example, the Leiting Mecha Clan's method of doing things was even more bossy and tyrannical than what Ling Lan had said. It went to the extent where if an outsider did not want to submit to them, they would be targeted on all fronts.
However, this was all established on individual strength ... an idea sparked in Boss Huo's mind. He unleashed his full aura and pressed it down on the youth opposite him, and said slowly, "Ambitious, and your words are haughty, but it still remains to be seen whether you have the corresponding level of strength to back them up. Otherwise, it's all hot air, and you will only be laughed at for biting off more than you can chew."
Right beside them, Colonel Tang Yu sensed the great force of Boss Huo's aura pressing down, and his expression could not help but shift subtly. He threw a hurried glance at the main target of this force, but found Ling Lan still standing there with his back straight, expression unchanged, and the colonel's expression eased as he let go of his worry.
Ling Lan seemed to not feel any of the pressure Boss Huo was silently heaping on her. Airily, she replied, "You can try."
Boss Huo was just about to retort to that when Colonel Tang Yu suddenly opened his mouth to interrupt, "The names of the 4th round have yet to be announced, so both of you please leave the stage. Do not affect the continuation of the fights."
Boss Huo cast a contemplative glance at Tang Yu, and then peered searchingly at Ling Lan for a long moment before sneering and said, "I hope we'll have the chance to fight. What you suggested just now is precisely what I intend to do ..." That said, he did not linger. With a dash, he left the stage, returning to Leiting's area.
The corners of Ling Lan's lips quirked at these words, revealing a very light trace of mockery. She of course knew what the other was hinting at. It was nothing more than wanting to take revenge for his team member ... the two of them were destined to fight in the end anyhow; she would just wait and let things be.
Thus, Ling Lan also dashed back to her own territory. Right then, Wu Jiong approached nervously and asked in a low voice, "Boss Lan, can we really win?"
For the first time, some uncertainty actually appeared in Wu Jiong's expression. This greatly surprised Ling Lan — in her mind, Wu Jiong had always been a mentally stable and assured youth who would never lose confidence in himself.
"What are you trying to say?" Ling Lan quirked an eyebrow.
Wu Jiong averted his eyes briefly and said, "Even Qi Long lost, will I ... will I be okay?"
Wu Jiong knew very well that the situation was extremely disadvantageous for the New Cadet Regiment right now. They needed to win both of the final two rounds to win this wagered fight. This meant that, regardless of which match he had to fight, he could not lose. This type of pressure was not easy to bear, and on top of that, he had just seen Qi Long, who was stronger than him by a hair, fighting so hard just to lose in the end anyway. This caused him to begin harbouring a tendril of doubt in his own abilities.
These words of Wu Jiong's made Ling Lan turn her head abruptly, her bleak gaze shooting straight at Wu Jiong.
This gaze pierced Wu Jiong's heart like a sharp blade, causing him to lower his head in shame. He knew that something had gone wrong with his mental state — behaving so disgracefully at this critical juncture, he was really letting Boss Lan down ...
With a 'thwack', Ling Lan flicked a forceful finger onto Wu Jiong's forehead, causing Wu Jiong to look up and cover his forehead reflexively, his expression confused.
"Have you woken up?" asked Ling Lan.
"Ah ..." Wu Jiong was gaping in bewilderment, reflexively making a sound in response. It looked like Ling Lan's finger-flick had really stunned him silly. After all, he and Ling Lan's relationship was unlike that of Ling Lan with Qi Long and the others of his team — childhood companions who had grown up together — but more of a working relationship. And Ling Lan's action just now was extremely intimate, like the way one would treat a beloved follower. This made Wu Jiong emotional and conflicted at the same time, making him unsure how he should react all of a sudden.
"Wu Jiong, frankly, your combat talent is not much weaker than Qi Long's," said Ling Lan after Wu Jiong had calmed down slightly.
"Ah ...?" Once more, Wu Jiong was left stunned by Ling Lan's words. Was Boss Lan trying to console him? Mind you, he had always been suppressed by Qi Long, having never beaten the other even once. It was obvious that his talent was no match for Qi Long's.
"The reason you can't beat him, is that you are not as simple as Qi Long here," Ling Lan pointed to her own chest.
Ling Lan's words confused Wu Jiong, but Ling Lan continued to explain, "Other than combat, Qi Long's heart has nothing else. But you are different. The things you think about are many, such as your future, and the futures of the members of your team ... all these distract your mind from pure combat, which is why you will never catch up to Qi Long in terms of combat."
Wu Jiong grinned wryly at these words and replied, "Qi Long has you, Boss Lan, to help him. Of course he can focus without any distractions ..."
Ling Lan interrupted him to say, "No, remember when I left the academy for three years? Without my help, you still did not manage to chase up to Qi Long. Have you never considered the reason for that?"
Wu Jiong blinked, his expression troubled. For a beat, he could not understand what Ling Lan was saying, but he was after all a clever person. After turning the idea around in his mind for a while, he figured it out, and instantly chuckled bitterly, "So that's how it is. It's because Qi Long has Han Jijyun, has Luo Lang, has Lin Zhong-qing, has Xie Yi ..."
"Yes, Qi Long's other strength is his willingness to believe in his companions. He believes his companions will handle the other things well, so he does not have to worry, able to immerse his full heart and soul into the path of martial combat," said Ling Lan, nodding, "Qi Long understands his role in the team very well, and has always been working hard to live up to his role."
At this point, Ling Lan peered at Wu Jiong and said, "On the other hand, you, trusting only Ye Xu, have taken on the roles of almost everyone else ... you have too much to worry about, so with regards to martial combat, you of course cannot match up to Qi Long."
As he listened, Wu Jiong ducked his head in shame. What Ling Lan was saying was precisely the problem with his team. Despite being very strong individually, in comparison with Ling Lan's team, his team members were all clearly much weaker in their role designations. Previously, he had always thought it was because the skills of his team members were no match for Lin Zhong-qing, Xie Yi and the others of Ling Lan's team, but now, from the looks of it, he himself was the problem.
"But, from another perspective, you should also be proud of yourself." Ling Lan's words took an abrupt turn, causing Wu Jiong to lift his head in surprise, to stare at Ling Lan in disbelief. He had already behaved so terribly ... why would Boss Lan still say he should take pride in himself?
"Even though your attention had been split up among so many things, you still were not left too far behind Qi Long. Isn't that something to take pride in?" Ling Lan asked, lifting an eyebrow.
These words of Ling Lan made Wu Jiong's heart feel warm instantly — so he really was not that much worse than Qi Long!
"That is why I believe in your strength, that you will definitely win at the critical moment ..." Ling Lan finally gave her answer. All of this talk was actually just to eliminate that little speck of self-doubt in Wu Jiong's heart. As the big boss of the regiment, she really did not have it easy ...
Ling Lan was in fact very bothered inside. When had she also taken on the job of being the spiritual life coach of these children? Li Yingjie was one, and now Wu Jiong was another ... but, upon reflection, Li Yingjie's and Wu Jiong's behaviours were more like those of a normal 16 year old teenager. Qi Long and Luo Lang were the ones who were weird, actually submitting themselves to a round of torment on the field without any reservations.
Could it be that because she was not a normal 16 year old girl, her companions who grew up with her had also become abnormal along with her? At this thought, Ling Lan could not help but feel a bout of remorse. Of course, this feeling only lasted for a very brief moment before being thrown to the back of her mind.
In the course of one conversation, Ling Lan achieved her purpose. From his initial uncertain state, Wu Jiong had now become unbelievably confident. This also allowed Ling Lan to relax — after all, no mistakes could be made in these final two rounds.
"Boss, the opponent has submitted their name list! As expected, it's their weakest member, Chang Le 1 !" Little Four finally piped up from within the mindspace. This time, Leiting had submitted their name list very late, basically right at the border of the allocated 5 minutes. However, following the submission of the opponent's name list, Little Four instantly sent Wu Jiong's name over.
This was Ling Lan's instruction. She had already told Little Four that she would be fighting against that strongest Boss Huo, while the weakest Chang Le would be Wu Jiong's opponent. Thus, when the opponent'name list was revealed, Little Four had sent Wu Jiong's name over without checking in with Ling Lan again.
On Colonel Tang Yu's end, to the naked eye, it looked as if the New Cadet Regiment and the Leiting Mecha Clan had submitted their name list at the exact same time. This made the colonel raise his eyebrows, silently impressed at how unruffled the two factions were, able to wait till the very last second before submitting their name lists. He could not know that this process involved some flawlessly excuted cheating by a miraculous intelligence entity.
"Leiting Mecha Clan vs New Cadet Regiment, 4th round. 4th year Chang Le against 1st year Wu Jiong!"
Following this announcement, Leiting's Lin Zhidong rapped his own head with a fist in frustration. He had initially wondered whether to let Boss Huo go up in this 4th round, but then, he was afraid that that mysterious youth who had crippled Nie Feng-ming in one blow would also be fighting in this round. After much thought, he decided to send out the weakest Chang Le to be sacrificed against the opponent's strongest member, but unexpectedly, the opponent was so calm, actually sending out their regiment commander, Wu Jiong.
At this moment, Lin Zhidong already knew that this Wu Jiong was most likely just the public regiment commander of the New Cadet Regiment. The one truly in charge of the New Cadet Regiment should be that mysterious youth, because the pressure the mysterious youth exuded was much heavier than that of Wu Jiong's ...
"This is good. I really want to personally teach that youth a lesson," Boss Huo suddenly spoke up from beside him, causing Lin Zhidong to jump. With that, Lin Zhidong no longer dared to reveal any more of his frustration, only nodding to show that he understood.
However, both their reactions showed that they did not look favourably upon Chang Le's chances in this match. After all, Wu Jiong was the public regiment commander of the New Cadet Regiment, so he really could not be that weak. The other three who had come out so far were all at Qi-Jin stage, so this Wu Jiong must surely be at Qi-Jin stage as well. It was just unclear whether he was in the early stages of Qi-Jin or the middle stages ... meanwhile, although Chang Le was also at Qi-Jin stage, he was only at the mid-level of early stage Qi-Jin. This match, would definitely be tough to win.常乐: This person's name is so cute. It literally translates into 'always happy'. :3 I wonder how happy he'll be after the fight ... *smirks*