Seeing that Ling Lan had come to a realisation, Ling Xiao continued, "One more thing. In order for a mecha to display greater combat power, is it only possible by relying on those fancy and intricate moves? Ling Lan, have you ever thought about this question?"
Ling Lan was stumped by these words. The higher the difficulty of the mecha controls, the harder it was for the enemy to fight against it. This was the universally accepted standard of the mecha world ... but now, Ling Xiao seemed to be suggesting that the truth was not so. Could it be that the entire mecha community was mistaken in their understanding? Or was it her father himself who was mistaken?
Ling Lan instantly eliminated the possibility of her father being wrong. If her father was mistaken in his theoretical understanding of mecha, then how in the world had he come by his god-class operator status? Thinking about the fewer than few god-class operators within the Federation, Ling Lan could not help but think, Could it be that the official understanding of the mecha community on mecha control was actually wrong, which is why there are so few god-class operators? And my father just happened to understand it correctly, thus breaking the age record to become the youngest god-class operator of the Federation ...?
Considering this possibility, Ling Lan's spirits rallied. Did this mean that she was about to learn the truth of mecha control? No wonder it was said that truth was only accessible to a chosen few 1 .
Seeing the radiant light shining from Ling Lan's eyes, Ling Xiao knew his daughter had figured things out. He continued, "Have you heard of 'keeping things simple'? This phrase can also apply to mecha control."
"Does it mean that, it is actually the simplest controls that have the greatest power?" asked Ling Lan with a quirked brow.
"Hn, not quite. It should be more like, being able to control a mecha like your own limbs, using the least amount of effort to bring out the greatest efficiency of a mecha — that is what a true mecha operator needs to do." Ling Xiao shared his insights, "Those special moves which require tremendous effort with equally tremendous power are not unimportant, but they are just unnecessary outside of those life-or-death moments or some other critical juncture. Using them would just drain and damage your mecha for no reason. If you can use the simplest control methods to deal with an opponent, then why be so wasteful?"
At first, when he had clambered out of the black hole and had been faced with a sky full of enemies, he could only use grand and domineering top-class techniques to frighten the enemy forces into submission. Reality had forced Ling Xiao to use those majestic moves exclusive to god-class operators, but the associated massive drain had secretly made Ling Xiao wince as well. Even though god-class mecha could replenish their energy from the stars automatically, after those two astoundingly powerful areof-effect attacks he had performed, his god-class mecha's energy bank had descended to a point where red warnings had been flashing ... Still, as the Federation managed to obtain the ultimate victory in that battle due to this expenditure, Ling Xiao felt that the cost was worth it.
However, this kind of operation was only applicable under that sort of critical scenario. If he had been facing a smaller group of enemies instead, Ling Xiao would never have made the same choice. Mind you, for a mecha operator, once their mecha's energy source was completely drained or was destroyed, it would mean certain death. As such, this was not something a good mecha operator should do. A good mecha operator would do their best to protect themselves even as they dealt with the enemy. They would understand that they only had one life — only by keeping this life would they be able to kill more enemies.
A flash of valour — Ling Xiao did not approve; a flare of brilliance — Ling Xiao did not feel it was worth it. Only by extending one's life could one be considered a good mecha operator, though deserters naturally did not count.
Thus, Ling Lan's fixation with chasing after grand and powerful controls had let Ling Xiao see Ling Lan's problem. This was a common issue with the Federation mecha operators — everyone felt that only the most powerful moves could represent the strength of a mecha operator, when in truth, this thinking was wrong. On the battlefield, the warriors who could survive till the end were often those mecha operators who seemed average in strength but had solid foundations. In the end, they would grow to become even stronger.
Meanwhile, those prodigious mecha operators who caused others to be in awe of them, despite possessing countless grand and elaborate moves, would often die young on the battlefield. Chasing the problem to its roots, every single case could be chalked down to depletion of energy or mecha breakdown, which led them to be struck down by their enemies to sleep forevermore among the stars.
Ling Xiao's words made Ling Lan begin to contemplate deeply. Indeed, regardless of how strong the enemy was, preserving oneself was the most crucial thing. Seeking a moment of valour and glory completely went against Ling Lan's original intentions. Ling Lan had only wanted to continue living on freely and safely; she did not want to let herself become a hero whose name would be carved on some memorial monument.
Enlightened, Ling Lan said solemnly to her father, "I understand now. From now on, I will change my fighting style. Thank you, father, for your guidance." Mecha controls which would let her continue living on was what she truly needed, as well as being the most worthy of her time.
Although her father had only said such a simple few sentences, those words had obviously included the insight Ling Xiao had gained over his 33 years of operating mecha, and so was extremely valuable. From them, Ling Lan could feel Ling Xiao's abundant fatherly love. This made Ling Lan feel extremely moved deep inside, but used to being cold and aloof, she just could not make herself do anything overly warm in response and thus could only sum up her emotions in a simple statement of thanks.
"Alright, since you understand now, then show me your foundational controls properly. I hope you won't disappoint me too much." Ling Xiao naturally could feel Ling Lan's gratitude — he had a slight smile on his lips, but his tone was still stern and grim. At this moment, in order to ensure his daughter would continue to live on safely, he chose to be a strict teacher and not a kind father.
"Yes, father!" Even as Ling Lan replied, she decisively used an advanced mecha repair kit on her mecha. After the repairs were done, the mecha's screen displayed that it was back at 100%. Even the right arm's control system which had been wrecked by Ling Xiao was restored to normal. Clenching and unclenching the mecha's right hand, Ling Lan found that there was no problem at all with its functioning; Ling Lan was extremely pleased.
Fortunately this place was the mecha world ... mecha were able to be repaired and adjusted to optimum condition in a short period of time without wasting time which could be spent on sparring. If this had been the real world, to repair a mecha and restore it to full fighting power would require quite a few hours, no matter how skilful the repair master was.
Even as Ling Lan sighed internally over how convenient the mecha world was, she controlled her mecha to pick Regretless up from the ground and slung it back over her back. Then, she assumed the most simple and unbelievably familiar stance everyone who used mecha would know.
The spectating Li Lanfeng and Zhao Jun saw the intermediate mecha suddenly change its initial attack style — its complex and dazzling advanced mecha skills and techniques were suddenly replaced with simplicity.
"Lanfeng, isn't this the basic assessment stance before entering Mecha World?" Zhao Jun stared at this stance which seemed so distant in memory and yet was so memorable, and could not help but ask dubiously.
Li Lanfeng responded affirmatively, "Yes, it is!" The basic assessment moves were the mecha operation movements he was most familiar with. That was the set of moves he had trained to proficiency alongside the rabbit mecha. There had even been many times when the two had challenged each other to see who could complete it faster and better. Who knew that many years after that, these basic assessment moves which could hardly be seen in Mecha World would appear right here before his eyes? This scene brought him back to that time, when he had been secretly watching the rabbit mecha train ...
While Li Lanfeng was lost in his memories, the intermediate mecha moved. It used the most basic out-toed sprinting art — this was a type of high-speed sprinting method for mecha which was also extremely stable, a basic control movement that was able to support the body in executing any type of attack. However, in the later stages, after obtaining the better criss-crossed sprinting method as well as the more advanced Z-shaped body flash art, almost all the mecha operators would scorn the out-toed sprinting art for looking crude and ungainly. Moreover, its speed and evasion ability was also no better than the other two types of sprinting control skills, and so this most basic out-toed sprinting art was set aside.
Later on, with the appearance of even more advanced skills like the Figure-8 Spin, Phantom Light Stream, Gamma Whirl, Light-and-Shadow Skim, and other high-speed flight evasion arts, this most basic out-toed sprinting art became utterly extinct among the advanced mecha warriors.
"Impossible, how can his speed be that fast?" Zhao Jun suddenly shouted in shock, startling Li Lanfeng from his reverie. Li Lanfeng eyes focused as he looked over, and sure enough, even though that intermediate mecha was using the most basic of basics, the out-toed sprint, that speed was no lesser than what they could achieve using the criss-crossed sprint or the Z-shaped body flash art at present. It could even be said that the other was one level higher; this was another reason why Zhao Jun would exclaim in such surprise.
"He's attacking now. It's the simplest bash attack." The intermediate mecha that had been running circles around the imperial mecha master suddenly drew close to the other, both fists efficiently striking out at the other's head without any bit of subterfuge.
"Using such a simple attack, how could he land a hit?" said Zhao Jun irritably. The other could obviously execute much more complex attacks, so why didn't he do so instead of using this type of attack method which was clearly not going to work?
Sure enough, the imperial mecha lifted an arm and blocked the intermediate mecha's fists. But right then, the intermediate mecha's fists retracted the moment they touched the other, and immediately after, its feet kicked off the ground and swung powerfully at the other ... It looked like that blatant dual-fist attack was actually just a feint — the true finishing move of the intermediate mecha was from its feet.
"This is the basic stomping art! Hells, what exactly is he trying to do?" Zhao Jun could not help but wrap his arms around his head and wail. He wanted to see an instructional fight, not watch as an intermediate mecha displayed the basic assessment moves one after the other ... could that even be considered a real attack?
Li Lanfeng, who had originally been responding to everything Zhao Jun said, was unusually quiet at this time. Within his cockpit, his expression was one of intense shock, filled with disbelief ...
"This is the rabbit mecha's most habitual attack move. It's also something he created. Whenever he had something he couldn't resolve, he would default to using this move ..." Across the distance of 7 years, this familiar move emerged once more before his eyes — even as it made him emotional, he was filled with shock and doubt.
Ling Xiao was rather taken aback by this unexpected kick of Ling Lan's because this stomping art was not an attack technique. Instead, it was a type of basic movement skill which worked together with the out-toed sprint to help shift directions and speed. Ever since the out-toed sprint fell out of favour, this stomping art had also been forgotten by the mecha operators.
Ling Xiao did not find it surprising that Ling Lan would use the stomping art, but the fact that Ling Lan had actually made some improvements to it and integrated it into her attack did surprise him. He was even greatly pleased by it — this meant that his daughter's mastery of the basic controls had already reached an apex, otherwise she could not have evolved these basic moves so naturally into attack techniques. It looked like Ling Lan had taken his legacy to heart — she had learned the foundations extremely well, securing them solidly.
"Not bad!" Ling Xiao did not hold back on giving his daughter praise, even as both his hands rose to meet Ling Lan's feet.Attributed to Plato, this saying refers to how the true state of things is often first grasped by a select astute few rather than the masses.