In Li Lanfeng's villa, three uninvited guests were there once again, and their expressions were extremely solemn. These three were Zhao Jun, Han Yu, and Wei Ji.
Seated in the living room flipping through video data, Li Lanfeng saw them drop in suddenly for a visit and stared at them in confusion. He asked, "Why are your expressions so horrible? What has happened?"
Zhao Jun's face was dark as he said, "According to the latest news, the Thunder King has come out of Closed Door Meditation."
Li Lanfeng's finger jerked to a stop in the middle of swiping across the screen, then resumed its motion without any fuss. He asked, "He advanced?"
Han Yu sneered and said, "Yes, he has become the first genius mecha operator in our school who managed to advance to ace operator in his 4th year. Everyone is saying that he will be the next General Ling Xiao!"
"This is a good thing. When the time comes for us to apply for enlistment with the divisions, it won't be like this year where the divisions are being perfunctory, only sending some small fry to handle things," Li Lanfeng replied nonchalantly.
"Li Lanfeng, stop looking at that." Han Yu blocked the screen in Li Lanfeng's hands with a palm. Peering at Li Lanfeng, he said, "Don't you know what this means?"
Li Lanfeng regretfully set the miniature display in his hands aside, lifted his head, and said, "I know. The Thunder King's ascension to ace mecha operator means that he has truly become the number one within the military academy. We are no longer able to threaten his top position."
"Not just that. I'm also worried that he'll take the opportunity to dominate the entire school, perhaps even merging all the factions of the school together to become the true king of the military academy," said Wei Ji with a frown. His initial calm and unruffled air had completely disappeared at this moment — it was clear to see how great a blow the ascension of the Thunder King was to him.
"He won't. He has just advanced to ace; his realm isn't stable yet. The Thunder King will not act against us so quickly." After some thought, Li Lanfeng outright denied this possibility.
"There will come a day when his realm will settle. We all know that the Thunder King has wanted to be the military academy's true king for a very long time," said Han Yu worriedly.
"King, is it ...?" This querying tone of Li Lanfeng was airy, and a chill seemed to envelop the other three, only for the sensation to vanish in the very next second. Startled, they stared at Li Lanfeng — he still had a smile on his face, and the warm air around his body had not shifted for even a moment; it was as if that brief sense of cold had just been their imagination.
"If we want to stop him from becoming the king of the academy, we can only become even stronger." Li Lanfeng did not seem to sense the other three's shock, directly offering his own opinion.
"Although we have all advanced to special-class operator, aside from Zhao Jun, Wei Ji and I are both newbie special-class operators. Being able to stabilise this realm is already not easy, not to mention raising our level further. Probably only Zhao Jun has hope of advancing to ace operator, right?" Han Yu turned to look at the hulking physique of Zhao Jun with a hopeful expression, hoping that he would be able to hear some good news from him.
Zhao Jun shook his head. "I've not sensed the possibility of advancing to ace operator. For the near future, I can only solidify my own abilities as a special-class mecha operator."
Zhao Jun's words made disappointment emerge on Han Yu's and Wei Ji's faces. An ace operator who had stabilised his realm would be able to easily handle up to 5 or 6 special-class operators. Even if their Wuji Mecha Clan sent out a team of special-class operators to gang up on him, they would be no match for the Thunder King ... Furthermore, the Thunder King had other strong and powerful teammates by his side as well, and those people were also special-class operators themselves.
"I never said that 'becoming stronger' meant advancing to ace operator level. That's something that depends on serendipity which cannot be forced." Following their discussion, Li Lanfeng could tell that they had misunderstood his meaning, so he quickly spoke up to clarify.
"If we cannot advance to ace operator level, then how do we become stronger?" Han Yu's face instantly became grim and dark. He really hated this demeanour of Li Lanfeng's which seemed to say he had everything under control, as if indirectly showing them up as idiots. But it just so happened that they currently could not separate themselves from Li Lanfeng's strategic planning. Every time they sought out Li Lanfeng, Han Yu always felt as if his face as regiment commander was smacked thoroughly by Li Lanfeng.
"Since we cannot beat him individually, we can only obtain victory through numbers." Li Lanfeng did not seem to sense Han Yu's displeasure, still composed as he calmly stated his recommendation.
"Numbers? Leiting is the number one faction in our school, and it also has the most members among all the factions. What numbers will we use to obtain victory?" Hearing what Li Lanfeng had to say, Han Yu's face turned even darker — was this Li Lanfeng messing around with him?
"Leiting is indeed the faction with the greatest numbers in our school. None of our other factions can match up to it. But what if we combined two factions together? Or perhaps even three or four factions?" Li Lanfeng felt that the current situation did not allow for units to battle individually anymore; it was time for the factions to work together to bring down Leiting.
Li Lanfeng's words made Han Yu's and Wei Ji's eyes light up. Even as Han Yu was moved by the proposition, he could not help but hesitate a little. "Who knows if Tianji and Doha Central would be willing to collaborate." If their three factions joined forces, even though the Thunder King had advanced to ace operator, Leiting still would not be able to eat them all.
"If we want the Doha faction to work with us, I do have a plan. Right now, Tianji is at their lowest. If both your factions challenge them at the same time, I believe that our rankings will go up a little. Once we become the second faction and gain Doha as an ally, we can work with some other factions. Even without Tianji, that will not affect our going up against Leiting." Li Lanfeng dutifully outlined his plan to Han Yu. As for whether Wuji could climb over that necessary step, that would depend on whether Han Yu had enough resolution as a leader.
Han Yu's complexion was shifting rapidly — his eyes met Wei Ji's and there was an exchange of opinions. Li Lanfeng's recommendation had perfectly scratched the itch nestled deep within Han Yu's heart. He did not dare to oppose Leiting, but he had been eyeing Tianji's number two position for all this time. And now, with Li Lanfeng's reminder, he realised that it was truly a great opportunity to snatch the position of second ... he was moved!
Finally, Han Yu stood up abruptly and slammed a heavy fist onto the tea table before him. Through clenched teeth, he said, "Let's do it."
Having found some direction, Han Yu and Wei Ji quickly said goodbye to Li Lanfeng, while Zhao Jun planned to stay back for a while longer. According to him, Han Yu and Wei Ji were going to busy themselves planning and arranging this matter, and these were things he hated the most, so they should leave him out of it. As long as they told him the time and place of the operation once they were done discussing, that would do.
Han Yu and Wei Ji did not force him, for they knew Zhao Jun was a fierce brute who was all brawn and little brain. And besides, they were indeed returning to look for the top ranks of the Wuji Mecha Clan to discuss things, such as how to best use this chance to join forces with Doha and push Tianji off its pedestal to obtain the number two position in one go. As such, Zhao Jun and Li Lanfeng, as external collaborators, were indeed rather unsuitable to be present at their meeting with the upper ranks of Wuji.
Zhao Jun walked the two out of Li Lanfeng's villa and then returned to the living room. He peered intently at Li Lanfeng for several seconds and then asked, "You're really that nice?" Knowing how black-bellied Li Lanfeng was so far and how he liked to entrap others, Zhao Jun just did not believe Li Lanfeng would be so generous this time and give out such a good suggestion freely.
Li Lanfeng stretched leisurely, cast an accusatory glance back at Zhao Jun, and said, "I've always been very nice, okay?" He definitely would not admit that he was a black-bellied fellow.
"Always?" Zhao Jun's lips twitched. These words were just too fake!
"Fine, I do indeed have some small ulterior motive. I want to know, when the Thunder King is still unable to become the true king of the military academy after advancing to ace operator level, will he be angry enough to vomit blood?" admitted Li Lanfeng with a laugh. He too felt that his previous words were too far off the mark.
"Lanfeng, do you hate the Thunder King very much?" After a beat of silence, Zhao Jun suddenly spoke up to ask.
Li Lanfeng's smile stiffened as he turned back to ask incredulously, "Zhao Jun, why would you think that?"
"Frankly, whether or not the Thunder King manages to consolidate all the factions in the school has nothing at all to do with us. We might be collaborators with Wuji today, but we might not be tomorrow. We have had no issues in contention at all with the Thunder King, but every scheme of yours seems to be setting up roadblocks in the Thunder King's path to becoming king ... I can't help but suspect your motives."
Zhao Jun was very frank — he, like Li Lanfeng, was from a third-rate planet. It could be said that qualifying for the First Men's Military Academy was definitely a one in a million chance. Therefore, besides them, no one else from their respective planets had managed to get in — this caused them to feel like they did not belong to any of the factions. Many times, Zhao Jun felt as if Li Lanfeng was just playing with the world around him. With deft and skilful manipulations, he would incite conflicts between several large factions, like just now, especially hopeful that they would actually break out into a great fight.
Zhao Jun's words made Li Lanfeng laugh once more. "I have no grudge against the Thunder King, but just imagine this — the Thunder King has everything within his grasp, but because of us small fishes from third-rate planets, his path to domination becomes riddled with difficulties and challenges, so much so that he will not succeed. Don't you think that's very interesting?"
"You ..." Zhao Jun gaped at Li Lanfeng in shock. He had never known that Li Lanfeng was holding such thoughts.
"I only want to prove that even if we come from third-rate planets, we can still stir up a storm of bloody trouble within this military academy ..." Even though I am still weak and vulnerable right now, I can still prevent that person from becoming king ... The smiling Li Lanfeng adeptly secreted his true thoughts deep within his heart. There were some secrets that should never be shared.
Zhao Jun could only shake his head in resignation at those words. "Alright, your words are convincing. I would also like to see if that Thunder King can overcome all the difficulties to climb to the pinnacle of the school." Watching the show and whatnot were the things he most liked to do 1 .
Even though Li Lanfeng still had a smile on his face, there was an emptiness in his eyes, along with endless coldness.
"I have another question. If we plan to ally with other factions to go against the Thunder King, why do you want Wuji to go challenge Tianji? That's obviously against your original plan." Zhao Jun very quickly came up with another question. He was not at all as simple-minded as Han Yu and the others thought he was — the things he needed to know, he picked up on them much better than Han Yu and the others would.
"Compared to the Thunder King, you hate Tianji even more." Knowing Li Lanfeng too well, Zhao Jun stated his conclusion with conviction. "So, even if the timing is inappropriate, you still egged on Han Yu and the others to act against Tianji. Why is that?"
"Have you not heard about the horrific incident which happened a few days ago?" Hearing Zhao Jun ask this question, Li Lanfeng's smile finally disappeared.
"The murder of Shi Mingyi?" That was the first thing that sprang to Zhao Jun's mind.
"Since Tianji had such a shameless and despicable vice regiment commander, it's about time they paid the price," said Li Lanfeng coldly. At this moment, he no longer had any trace of warmth around him — it was clear to see how deep his hatred of this sort of thing ran 2 ...T/C: Welcome to the popcorn club, Zhao Jun. T/C: Here we are probably seeing Li Lanfeng projecting his fears and taking it out on Tianji. And so Li Lanfeng takes his turn beating up Tianji after Boss Lan has already had her fun.