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There was a loud 'boom' — due to the collision this time, the intermediate mecha was sent flying back. Meanwhile, Ling Xiao's body actually wavered slightly as well due to the astounding power behind this stomping art.

"This is no ordinary stomping art ..." Ling Xiao was stunned. Could it be that his daughter had added some special technique into this stomping art?

Before Ling Xiao's astonishment could fade, something even more surprising occurred. The intermediate mecha actually flew backwards at a greater speed than that which it had used to attack Ling Xiao. In the air, Ling Lan flipped her body without trying to control the mecha, letting it careen as it would towards the walls of the private room ...

"Ah ah ah, he's going to hit the wall!" Despite being extremely dissatisfied with how the intermediate mecha was using basic assessment moves to fight, when he saw the other leave his mecha alone to let it just hurtle towards a wall at high speed, Zhao Jun was instantly yelling out in concern.

Only Ling Xiao and Li Lanfeng had a gleam of light run through their eyes at the same time, though the meaning behind each gleam was vastly different.

Ling Xiao believed his daughter was not that weak — he believed that his daughter would not really crash into the wall. On the other hand, the name of a skill which belonged solely to the rabbit mecha he knew had floated into Li Lanfeng's mind: 'Rabbit Sky Leap!' . Oftentimes when it had seemed like the situation was completely out of control at high speeds, the rabbit mecha would use this move to turn things around.

Sure enough, just as the intermediate mecha was about to slam into the wall, Ling Lan, who had long been prepared, operated the mecha's two strong and powerful legs to kick out forcefully at the wall. There was a loud 'boom', and the entire room suddenly began to shake violently, almost sending the spectating Zhao Jun's and Li Lanfeng's mecha tumbling off their feet.

Meanwhile, following this push off the wall, the intermediate mecha used this surge of rebound force to send its body shooting like lightning towards the imperial mecha standing in the middle of the stage ...

Zhao Jun and Li Lanfeng reacted quickly to steady their mecha. Once they were stable once more, they turned their eyes towards the stage again and saw the intermediate mecha zipping around like lightning back and forth across the private room.

Clang! Clang! Clang! Clang! ... the powerful sounds of collision reverberated like the wild rain of a thunderstorm within the combat room. The two mecha sparred — one as quick as lightning, its movements almost untrackable, while the other was as steady as Mount Tai 1 , taking moves as they came, unmoving as a mountain 2 .

"This is just the stomp technique, countless applications of the stomp technique ..." Zhao Jun peered closely for several 10 or so seconds, then felt his eyes were somewhat raw, with even a trace of pain. He could not help but raise his hands to rub at his eyes. It turned out that the speed of the intermediate mecha had already exceeded the capacity of Zhao Jun's motion vision — having stared intently at the screen all this time, he was now feeling rather overwhelmed.

"Yes, it's the stomp technique ..." But this was no ordinary stomp technique, otherwise that imperial mecha would not have surreptitiously shifted its original stance. In contrast to Zhao Jun's carelessness, the conscientious Li Lanfeng had caught the shift. The imperial mecha, who had initially been standing straight with its legs together, had now spread its legs, and its knees were slightly bent. This was the specific stance of a mecha stabilising its lower body. It was clear to see that the intermediate mecha's stomp technique was dealing significant impact to the imperial operator, causing the other to have no choice but to use this most stable stance while defending.

And the only one who could utilise the stomp technique so proficiently, in Li Lanfeng's memory, was the rabbit mecha and no other. Could it be that the rabbit he had searched for in these 7 long years was this intermediate mecha warrior before his eyes right now? 3 But based on the rabbit mecha's strength, he should not have remained stuck at intermediate mecha level ... One question in Li Lanfeng's heart seemed to have been answered now, but this answer merely spawned even more questions ...

Just as Zhao Jun was kneading at his eyes and while Li Lanfeng was plagued with questions, the intermediate mecha, who had been moving at high speeds all this while, suddenly dropped to land at a corner of the stage after one more violent clash with the imperial mecha. Due to its sudden stop from a high speed, the mecha was sent sliding forwards 5 metres or so before it found firm footing.

Perhaps extremely used to this type of abrupt stop from high speeds, though the intermediate mecha slid for about 5 metres, its upper body did not waver at all. This proved that this amount of slide was within the intermediate mecha's calculations.

Li Lanfeng and Zhao Jun shared a look, unsure why the intermediate mecha had suddenly chosen to stop its attack when the situation was looking so optimistic. An idea sparked through Li Lanfeng's mind. He remembered the rabbit mecha saying once that this type of high-speed stomping actually put a great burden on mecha. Trainee mecha would not be able to withstand it for long — could it be that it was the same for intermediate mecha?

Seeing this, Ling Xiao stood up from his defensive stance and said to Ling Lan with a smile, "Looks like you understand now."

"Yes, thank you, father, for your guidance," replied Ling Lan gratefully. That combination of moves she had just performed was so familiar to her they were embedded in her marrow — it was no effort at all to execute, perhaps even casual and easy.

Still, whether in terms of speed or attack power, that set of moves had not been any weaker than any of the other advanced techniques she had used previously. In fact, they could even be considered better, because she still had energy to spare in her controls, unlike before when even as she drained herself, her mecha was forced to operate over its capacity, damaging its lifespan.

This also made Ling Lan realise on a profound level what Ling Xiao's words meant. Having understood, she stopped her attack, because she had already obtained what she wanted from this instructional fight. Mission complete, it would be a waste of time to continue fighting.

Ling Lan's words made Ling Xiao's smile deepen. Ling Xiao knew very well that Ling Lan had achieved true understanding, once again proving that his daughter's learning ability was absolutely superior to others'.

"Your stomp technique should have been integrated with some other special technique. How did you think of it?" Ling Xiao was extremely curious. Mind you, those who had only begun to learn mecha control would just rotely follow instructions to complete the training exercises. Normally, they would never even think of combining or improvising on any of these controls ... Ling Lan's ability to do so undoubtedly surprised Ling Xiao greatly, because even he had not been able to do so when he had been younger.

"By coincidence. Back when I first started learning mecha control, I met someone else who had also just begun learning mecha control. The other was a control genius, able to execute each move to utter perfection. His results were very good; I was no match for him at first. This made me determined. Things he could do, what was stopping me from doing them too? So I thought hard on how to increase my mecha's speed, and worked hard to perfect my transitions between all types of actions. Without knowing it, I applied a leg technique from physical skills to my mecha control, and discovered that it actually produced a certain effect. And so, I began to experiment ..." Hiding part of the truth, Ling Lan told her father the story of her meeting with the leopard mecha 4 back then ...

As Ling Lan was telling the story, she realised that a large part of her proficiency with the basic assessment controls should definitely be credited to the leopard mecha. The other's companionship had undoubtedly made that dry and routine training time of her life become considerably more interesting. Upon closer examination, of all the basic controls Ling Lan knew now, this set of basic assessment controls was the one Ling Lan was most adept and comfortable with. This was why when Ling Xiao had insisted for Ling Lan to use basic controls, she had chosen this set without thinking. Reality proved that this was the set that had seeped into her bones, the set which had become part of her basic instinct, the set of basic controls that she had truly mastered.

Understanding all this, Ling Xiao prepared to go offline. Although he did not care much about the enlistment assessment results of the military academy, as the head of the division's assessment delegation, he should still at least show his face and ask cursorily about the results at the end of every day. Otherwise, the administrators of the school might misunderstand and assume that the 23rd Division did not care at all about the First Men's Military Academy ... In order to successfully accept his daughter into the 23rd Division later on, he needed to maintain a good relationship with the school no matter what.

After saying goodbye to his daughter, Ling Xiao instantly logged off from the private room. The next time he went online, his mecha would automatically appear within the main hall of the mecha combat hall. If Ling Lan required instruction again later, he would not have to spend the effort finding his way here anymore ...

Seeing the imperial mecha vanish, Li Lanfeng knew the pair was about to leave. Impulsively, he rushed forwards and connected to his general comms to say, "Hello, can you please wait a moment?"

Ling Lan was just about to go offline — hearing this, she paused and raised her head to look towards the advanced mecha who had spoken.

Seeing the intermediate mecha looking at him silently, Li Lanfeng hesitated for a moment, but then asked resolutely (because he did not want to miss another chance), "May I ask, 7 years ago, were you at the capital city of planet Azure?"

"Planet Azure? The capital city?" Ling Lan's face was filled with confusion. Seven years ago, she had indeed let Little Four secretly bring her out into the virtual world, but back then, the place she had asked Little Four to bring her to had been the capital city of Doha!

"Uh, Boss ... I forgot to tell you. Back when you asked me to take you to the capital, I accidentally chose planet Azure ..." Little Four, who had been drawn out by the advanced mecha warrior's question, revealed his blunder to Ling Lan.

At these words, Ling Lan instantly had her guard up. "How could he know that I was at planet Azure 7 years ago? Could it be that I was exposed somewhere?"

Little Four became agitated by this supposition — that's right, back then, he and Boss had been undercover, so how could someone else have discovered this? Little Four quickly scanned the other's spiritual power ...

"Hmm?" Li Lanfeng frowned lightly. He had sensed some strange disturbance in his surroundings, but could not say for certain what it was. Cautious and vigilant, he immediately wrapped up his spiritual power with his spectre ability. Regardless of whether he was being paranoid, Li Lanfeng's first reflex was still to choose and protect himself.

"Ah ... what a familiar energy signature!" Little Four sensed Li Lanfeng's spectre power and instantly exclaimed in shock. He swiftly dashed back into Ling Lan's mindspace and rummaged through his memory bank of energy signatures, comparing them to the energy he had sensed. Soon, he had dug up the long-buried information of the leopard mecha, that is, the spectre whom they had met back then.

"Boss, we've bumped into an old acquaintance!" replied Little Four excitedly. Because Ling Lan had forbidden him from taking the initiative to venture out and test the spiritual power of others, Little Four had not noticed anything before this even though Li Lanfeng had already been standing there for a long while. Of course, this was also because Little Four had been busy helping Ling Lan control her mecha at the time, with no mind to spare.

"Who?" asked Ling Lan, brow lifted in curiosity.

"It's that leopard mecha! That spectre who watched the mecha fight with us!" Little Four responded enthusiastically.

"So it's him ..." Ling Lan was floored. She had just been telling her father about him, and now he actually showed up? It appeared that she and this leopard were truly tied by fate.

稳若泰山: Mount Tai is a mountain of historical and cultural significance located north of the city of Tai'an, in Shandong province, China (wikipedia, 2018). Due to its significance, it is often referred to in idioms and quotes, this being one of them. You all can check out more of them in the cultural references section on the Mount Tai wikipedia page. It may seem redundant to use a mountain reference again so soon after Mount Tai, but that's what the author did. <.< T/C: YES!!! From this point on, the author switches from 'cheetah mecha' to 'leopard mecha'. I'll switch accordingly here, as I don't know what impact this change will have on future chapters. Past chapters will not be edited to match.

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