Although these conjectures caused discomfort in Li Lanfeng's heart and made him feel that the huge difference between them would be difficult to make up for, he would not disregard the other party's strength due to this.
"It couldn't be …" Zhao Jun replied in astonishment. When fighting against an imperial operator, even if it was just a guidance match, it was undoubtedly an insult towards that operator by using an intermediate mecha to take up the challenge.
"Perhaps there might be a deeper meaning to it." Li Lanfeng touched his chin and started pondering.
"What deeper meaning?" Zhao Jun asked in puzzlement.
"Could using a lesser mecha to execute advanced-level techniques help in comprehending those advanced-level techniques?" Li Lanfeng had indeed overthought things; he would always come up with some reasonings to convince himself, just like now. He decided to go redeem an intermediate mecha again after he finished spectating the fight, and experiment using advanced-level techniques on that mecha to see if it would be of help in improving his control over advanced techniques.
Based on Li Lanfeng's current strength and hand speed, he had already achieved the standard to advance to special-class operator level. The reason he had yet to advance was that he felt there were some fundamental movements that he was unable to execute exactly as he willed. He had always borne in mind the words that the rabbit mecha had consoled him with, so without perfecting those techniques, he was unable to convince himself to enter the next level.
He had originally assumed that this problem was due to insufficient practice, but from the current situation, he felt that perhaps it might be because of his lack of thorough understanding and that it was time to change and try another method.
At this moment, Ling Lan was unaware that her execution of techniques surpassing her level had caused Li Lanfeng, who was spectating the fight, to have a different train of thought, hence opening up a different type of training method. This fortuitous misconception gave him new insight towards foundational control.
"Ling Lan, are you still not aware that there's a problem with your control?"
Just as Ling Lan executed a shadow slidestep to continue attacking Ling Xiao, her father's indifferent voice suddenly sounded out in the cockpit. Ling Xiao's voice had always contained indulgence and acknowledgement, yet his current tone actually contained a hint of coldness and reproach.
Hearing his words, Ling Lan was alarmed, but her attack was already a nocked arrow that had to be released. Ling Xiao's counterattack was efficient this time — he launched a palm strike which, with a snapping sound, struck the crook of the arm of the mecha that Ling Lan was operating. It directly destroyed the mecha arm's control system, which basically meant that the right hand of Ling Lan's mecha had been crippled.
With a 'clang', the cold weapon Regretless in Ling Lan's hand dropped to the ground. The right hand which had lost control obviously did not have any means of holding onto that heavy weapon, and so the weapon was naturally dropped.
Ling Lan immediately leaped backwards, increasing the distance between them, and quietly stood stationary while starting to decipher the meaning of Ling Xiao's questioning words.
"Ling Lan, after launching attacks for so long, haven't you noticed your problem?" Ling Xiao's voice once again rang out in the cockpit, asking the same question.
"Is there a problem?" Ling Lan pondered aloud. Indeed, she had not noticed any problems with her own control. Although executing advanced-level techniques which were distinctive to advanced mecha on an intermediate mecha was quite strenuous, she had undoubtedly increased the combat power of the mecha several times over. Otherwise, based on an intermediate mecha's capability, it would have been impossible to exchange blows with an imperial mecha for such an extended period of time and she would have long been knocked down.
"Are you thinking that you've increased the mecha's combat power?" Ling Xiao could make out Ling Lan's thoughts at a glance and so bluntly asked her.
"Yes," Ling Lan replied honestly.
"But are things really what you believe them to be?" Ling Xiao's questioning stunned Ling Lan. Using higher level techniques would of course allow a mecha's power to be greater. Or was she mistaken?
"What's the current damage level of your mecha?" Ling Xiao sighed and could not help but rub at his brow.
As a father, he had lacked severely in fulfilling his obligations. If Ling Lan had not proposed to have him guide her in mecha piloting, he would not have known that his daughter's understanding of mecha piloting would have actually entered a diverged route. It seemed like there were too many things he had to learn to become a competent father. However, it was not serious as it was not considered too late for him to have realised this.
Ling Xiao took a glance at the silent intermediate mecha displayed on his screen and felt certain. As long as Ling Lan realised her mistake, her control skills were bound to improve. Thinking of this, Ling Xiao could not help but feel proud once again. Take a look, this is my, Ling Xiao's daughter. Even though she's a female, she has still managed to inherit my exceptional control talent, and she'll definitely be the best female mecha master.
Ling Xiao had high hopes for Ling Lan and believed that she would inevitably become an ace mecha master. Of course, under his wholehearted nurturing, it was not impossible for her to become the number one imperial operator in the Federation. Thinking of this possibility, Ling Xiao could not help but tremble. Despite being a god-class operator, he was still so moved at the thought of possibly witnessing his daughter ascending to the pinnacle that he could not be calm.
Alright, please forgive a father's feelings. Even if Ling Xiao was a god-class operator, at this moment, he was still an ordinary father who dearly loved his daughter.
Upon hearing Ling Xiao's words, Ling Lan did not delay in asking Little Four, who was currently in control of the mecha, about the mecha's condition.
Little Four replied that although he had tried his utmost to maintain the mecha's balance, its current damage level was already at 32.77% due to Ling Lan overextending the mecha by repeatedly executing advanced-level techniques. That was to say, if Ling Lan were to continue fighting in this manner, the mecha would only be able to sustain itself for another three minutes before it would completely fall apart.
"Damage level is at 32.77%." Ling Lan had not expected that the mecha's damage level would be so high. She somewhat dejectedly relayed this answer to Ling Xiao.
Ling Xiao quirked his brows, somewhat surprised. He had assumed that, with Ling Lan frantically overextending the mecha, the damage level was sure to be more than 40%. Unexpectedly, it was only slightly over 30%. It seemed like his daughter normally took great care of her mecha and made sure that every function of the mecha was adjusted to near optimum levels, thus being able to keep the damage level this low.
Ling Xiao was very satisfied by this. Only a mecha operator who truly cherished their mecha would be able to understand the significance of a mecha to an operator, and thus be able to bring out the true potential of the mecha without restraint. Without him having to bring this to her attention, his own daughter had been able to naturally comprehend this aspect. This proved that his daughter was a natural-born, outstanding mecha operator.
Ling Xiao, who was filled with appreciation for his daughter at this moment, was not aware that his daughter was absolutely not as great as he imagined. The mecha's low damage rate was completely due to Ling Lan's cheat, the omnipotent Little Four, who had done his utmost in preserving and maintaining the mecha. However, Little Four was exclusively Ling Lan's and could be considered as part of Ling Lan's ability, so Ling Xiao could not be considered to have been joyous for nothing.
"According to this damage rate, you'll only be able to continue for another three minutes. Do you perhaps think you can defeat me during those three minutes?" Even though Ling Xiao was very satisfied with his daughter, his tone was still cold. At this moment, he was not playing the role of a gentle father but a strict teacher. Since a problem with Ling Lan's mecha piloting had surfaced, then Ling Xiao needed to let Ling Lan understand her problem and keep it in mind.
"No, I've never thought so. Even if father were to abandon your defences and stand there like a sandbag for me to attack as I wish for three minutes, I would still be unable to defeat you." Ling Lan was clear about the difference in strength between her and Ling Xiao. She had merely had the extravagant hope of landing an attack on him once … only now did Ling Lan realize that her wish was actually so insignificant. From the start, she had been so oppressed by her father's powerful aura that she was somewhat breathless.
"I was only hoping to let father witness the techniques I have mastered. Of course, were it possible, I very much wished to land a strike on you." Ling Lan honestly revealed her own thoughts.
"Do you think you can achieve that?" Ling Xiao snorted and used the tip of his mecha's toe to point at his current position. Ling Lan subconsciously looked over, and what she saw caused Ling Lan to be transfixed. Her expression which had still been quite calm and collected suddenly froze.
"Have you understood?" Ling Xiao asked coldly.
"Yes, I was too egotistical," replied Ling Lan with a bitter smile; she saw that despite all her advanced attacks that she had racked her brains to think up, it had all been insignificant to her father Ling Xiao. Because from the start, the feet of Ling Xiao's mecha had never moved; he had stood there all along. Currently, he was still standing in the same spot and even his feet had not lifted once.
"It's not a problem wanting to win, but the problem lies in you. After executing those ineffective advanced-level techniques, why did you obstinately persist in using them? You clearly knew that if you were to repeatedly execute those techniques, not only would it be a huge burden on yourself, it would be the same for your mecha … Ultimately, there would have been no need for others to defeat you as you would have caused your own defeat. Is this something a qualified mecha operator should do?" Ling Xiao questioned with a grim expression.
Ling Xiao's questioning caused Ling Lan to lower her head in shame. He was right — other than having talent and capability, a cool head could not be lacked as this was related to the decision-making and methods of coping during a battle. A rash action could very well bring about an extreme crisis for a mecha operator and, at the same time, implicate their comrades. Earlier on, she had been too excited, agitated and rash. There had only been one thought in her mind at that moment and that was to successfully land a strike on her father as, after all, he was a god-class operator … In the world of mecha, a god-class operator was equivalent to a god-like existence.
"You've forgotten something more important. In my legacy, I should have repeatedly emphasized that the foundation is of greatest importance for any techniques." Seeing that Ling Lan understood her own mistake, Ling Xiao sighed gently and his tone softened.
"Wasn't I using the foundational controls for advanced mecha?" Ling Lan asked in astonishment.
"Were they foundational controls? They should be a set of foundational controls built on other foundational controls, techniques specially developed for advanced mecha. If you were currently using an advanced mecha, I could have just barely agreed with your viewpoint. However, are you using an advanced mecha at this moment?" Ling Xiao once again answered her question with a question.
Ling Lan was left speechless by Ling Xiao's questioning and knew now that her viewpoint had been wrong. Perhaps for an advanced mecha, the techniques she had used were more or less the same as foundation controls and not particularly difficult. However, when using an intermediate mecha, they were undoubtedly challenging advanced-level techniques and indeed could not be related to foundational controls.