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Ling Lan was oblivious to the things happening within Mecha World because this news had been announced a second before Ling Lan logged in, so she just so coincidentally missed this alert. If Ling Lan had known about it, she definitely would not bring her dad gallivanting all across the town ...

Very swiftly, Ling Lan received a friend request from [belief]. Seeing that familiar name, Ling Lan could not help but sweatdrop. How much did her dad love this name really?

After she accepted, the other party instantly sent over a private chat request. When Ling Lan accepted it, she heard her dad's warm voice coming through, "Ling Lan, where are you?"

Ling Lan immediately told her dad her location — when she had logged off previously, she had been outside hunting monsters. Not because she wanted to collect any points from the monsters, but because in her mission to advance to advanced mecha warrior, she needed some items which would drop from these monsters.

The route Ling Lan was taking was different from other people — she never ever looked for monsters to level up, instead mostly choosing to enter the arena fights for cross-level challenges to gain a large amount of experience points in one go. This was also why Ling Lan had been able to earn enough points to advance to advanced mecha warrior in such a short amount of time. Of course, Ling Lan's personal mecha control skills were already high enough in terms of standards, allowing her to bring out the greatest combat power of the mecha she piloted, which was why she could take this shortcut.

If she had been like Qi Long and the others who had started from zero, she would have had to take her time and accumulate the fruits of hard practice. Thus, Qi Long and the others had spent a full three years to train up from trainee mecha to advanced mecha warrior. Meanwhile, at Ling Lan's speed, it would not be long before she caught up to Qi Long and the others. However, Ling Lan was planning to pause once she hit advanced mecha warrior level, because she wanted to lead Qi Long and the others personally at that point. Through verbal teachings, self-modelling, and sparring with them using mecha, she wanted to push them into mastering all the control skills of advanced mecha warriors so that they would be able to transition smoothly into the realm of special-class operator.

Well aware of the importance of foundational controls, Ling Lan did not want her companions to fall into the common pitfall of neglecting those skills. Once they had all successfully mastered those, at that time, it would finally be time for her to let them spread their wings and fly freely.

This was because once one entered special-class operator level, one's mecha piloting would begin to display one's individual style and character. No one else would be able to help with the development of these control skills — one could only rely on oneself to contemplate and seek insight. This was also the true reason why special-class operators were also called mecha masters, while advanced mecha operators could only be called mecha warriors.

However, entering special-class operator level was still only the first step. Only by advancing into ace operator status could one prove that one's personal control style had matured and become complete enough to be considered a distinct style of its own. Many mecha masters had ended up being stuck at this level — many people would only be able to be half-assed special-class operators for their entire lives, unable to push through to find a place among the ranks of those who held true strength, ace mecha masters.

It had to be said that Ling Xiao had left Mecha World almost twenty years ago, so he had to be rather unfamiliar with this Mecha World which had been updated countless times since then. Whatever the case, Ling Lan had to eliminate the monsters in the area she was in a whole 26 times before she saw Ling Xiao's mecha landing beside her, fashionably late.

Ling Lan herself did not really care how long she had to wait; after all, she was still trying to get the mission item she needed to drop, so this was not a waste of her time. Still, when she saw Ling Xiao's mecha, her initially calm heart became unsettled, the corners of her eyes twitching noticeably.

Damm*t, just how much of a showoff could her dad be?! Did he really not know how much attention operating such a bright and gleaming mecha — almost bright enough to make her blind — over would bring? Ling Lan sensed motion in the distance — it looked like her father's pretty mecha had drawn some attention.

Ling Lan did not know that she had only guessed part of it — a greater reason was that this was a relatively low-level hunting ground. For such a high-end mecha to appear here was definitely unusual; thus, everyone could only think — could the person operating that mecha be that top-class elite [belief] mentioned in the system announcement?

Regardless of whether he was or not, they would not let go of any bit of possibility. Therefore, everyone who saw this mecha all headed after the mecha in the direction it was flying in, chasing after it. The fact that no one had chased up to Ling Lan's location was all thanks to how much the speed of Ling Xiao's mecha outstripped that of all of the mecha here.

Ling Xiao's mecha was indeed extremely perfect. It was neither a standard mecha nor a modified mecha, but a mecha listed by Mecha World as a top-class redemption reward, an imperial mecha. This was the only top-class mecha the people playing Mecha World could use points to redeem. As for the rumoured god-class mecha, it could only be obtained by completing a mission. And that mission had already been confirmed by the majority of people to be humanly impossible.

There were six types of imperial mecha that could be redeemed, and Ling Xiao's mecha was one of those six types. Ling Lan had taken a cursory glance at it when she was redeeming her current mecha — it was called < Wind's Shadow 1 >. As its name implied, this was a mecha characterised by its speed. The entire mecha was uniformly white silver in colour, its form streamlined and elegant. Any equipment and structural design that could influence its speed had been discarded, leaving only those equipment and weapons which were necessary. It could be said to be a very extreme type of mecha.

These kinds of speed-type mecha were generally built for long-range attacks. Ling Lan saw two long and thin particle beam long-barrelled guns 2 slung on its back, and knew her guess was not wrong. However, Ling Lan's gaze was then drawn by the two sword hilts sticking out at the mecha's waist. Based on the direction the hilts were facing, one could tell that they were not the general swords used by mecha. They were very likely short swords similar to high-frequency blades, but since the mecha already had the standard equipped high-frequency blades on it, Ling Lan could not understand why it would have more short swords with almost the same function equipped.

Ling Lan very honestly voiced the doubts in her mind, and Ling Xiao laughed and replied, "This is the frightening aspect of this mecha. Everyone assumes that it's a long-range attack type mecha and so are usually on guard against long-range attacks, neglecting its ability to close in swiftly ..."

Ling Lan's eyes lit up. "Father, you mean that, this mecha is an all-rounded mecha which is proficient at both long-range and close-range?"

Ling Lan's offensive manoeuvres were inclined towards close-range combat, but the designs of close-range combat mecha were typically very bulky and heavy. This clashed somewhat with Ling Lan's need for speed, and furthermore, Ling Lan was still a girl at heart, so she much preferred light, graceful, and elegant mecha over those great, hulking, towering types. This was why when she heard that this pretty mecha was also strong in close-range combat, her heart was moved.

"Yes, because it's extraordinarily fast, it can switch freely between close-range and long-range attacks, flustering the opponent. This is its strength, but also its weakness at the same time." Seeing that Ling Lan had great interest in this mecha, Ling Xiao began introducing it in more detail, "It requires its operator to satisfy three conditions. Otherwise, even if one has this mecha, they would be unable to use this mecha to its full capacity."

"What three conditions?" Ling Lan was listening very carefully. Although she could not possess this mecha which she coveted right now, this did not prevent her from making this mecha her future goal; for things she needed to pay attention to, Ling Lan would take them extremely seriously.

"One, the operator's reflexes must be exceedingly quick to be able to keep up with the speed of the mecha itself. Two, the operator's hand speed must reach a frighteningly high rate, otherwise they will not be able to execute any sequence of action transitions during high-speed movements. Three, the demand on the operator's physical condition is high. It should be known that executing action transitions at high speeds puts three to four times the burden on the body than piloting a mecha at regular speeds. Without a strong and stout physique, one can never operate this mecha well. Otherwise, the operator would become injured simply by making a few moves, to say nothing of operating this mecha into battle."

Ling Xiao listed out each of the requirements to pilot this mecha, when in fact, he really wanted to say outright — Oh daughter, this mecha is not destined for you. A girl's body was just inherently weaker, unable to reach that level of toughness required even with stringent training.

Ling Lan only nodded after hearing all this, though of course she did not forget to ask what Little Four, who was within a little black room, thought about these conditions.

Why was Little Four in a little black room? Well, this had to be explained from the beginning. Every time they met with Ling Xiao, Little Four just could not keep his composure. Therefore, whenever Little Four regressed into a mindless fan, Ling Lan would shut him up in a small black room for a while so he could calm down. Of course, if Little Four behaved well, he would be let out again. Today, Little Four had once again lost control when Ling Lan had been drinking iced red tea with Ling Xiao in stilted silence. That was why he was currently stuck inside that small black room, waiting for Ling Lan to show mercy again.

Little Four was just being bored out of his mind in the little black room when he heard Ling Lan's question. He instantly patted his little chest and guaranteed that as long as he, Little Four, was around, his boss could have as tough a body as she wished. She could control whatever , , or anything else she wanted.

Little Four's answer made Ling Lan relax. She secretly set obtaining this mecha as the goal she would accomplish within the next few years. Meanwhile, Ling Xiao thought his daughter had understood his intentions and received his counsel, and so relaxed as well. Ling Xiao did not know that Ling Lan had indeed listened to him, but her choice was completely contrary to what Ling Xiao was hoping for.

Of course, Ling Xiao was not the type to take things for granted; he was about to personally ask what Ling Lan thought when he suddenly heard some commotion coming from a distance. He could even vaguely hear someone saying 'is it over there?' … This made Ling Xiao hold back on what he had intended to say, turning to look in the direction of the noise with a troubled expression, uncertain what was going on.

Ling Lan had also heard the voices and figured things out instantly. She said to her father, "Not good. Let's run."

Huh? Run? Ling Xiao did not know why they had to run, but seeing that his daughter had already activated her mecha and was swiftly running towards a dense forest in the distance, he dared not tarry, chasing after her quickly.

They had just dashed into the forest and concealed themselves when quite a number of mecha showed up in the initially endlessly empty grass fields. These were the people who had been attracted by Ling Xiao's mecha and had rushed here in pursuit.

"It's not here either! Looks like this isn't the spot." Everyone saw the empty fields before them and turned to leave despondently.

Even if there was the possibility of hiding in the dense forest ahead, everyone had naturally overlooked this avenue of thought. This was because they subconsciously believed that no one would do so and seek death. It should be known that the savage beasts in that dense forest were several times stronger than the savage beasts in the plains — even if it were a special-class operator going in, they would be coming out horizontally 3 .

Right then, they had all forgotten that the one they were seeking was a top-class elite — how could he be afraid of these savage beasts? It could only be said that these people were fooled by their own preconceptions. They were all low-level mecha operators — even special-class operators were existences that they had to look up to — so it was very likely that they just could not comprehend what a top-class elite truly meant.

如影随风: This was very tricky to translate, and even now I'm still uncertain about the final result. Most accurately, it translates to 'like a shadow chasing the wind', but that seems rather too long and unwieldy for a name, not to mention rather strange too. Note: mecha names will be in '<>' (angle backets). 粒子长枪: I'm not 100% sure these weapons are translated correctly as their use is not described. The term '长枪' can mean either a 'spear/pike' or a 'long-barrelled gun'. =.= One is a cold weapon while the other is a firearm, and since the term 'particle' came before it, I went with the firearm option. Will edit later on if that proves not to be the case. i.e. dead or severely injured, carried out flat on their back.

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