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At this moment, Ling Lan would never have guessed that this fight had captured the interest of Little Four, and under his cajoling persuasion, she would be set upon a path directly opposed to her original plan, moving further away from a stable and peaceful life to a life full of bloody carnage …

Blissfully unaware of the difficult battles to come in her future, Ling Lan patiently waited for Ling Qin to defeat the final enemy. Ling Lan was very cautious — before she could be sure it was safe, she had kept a tight lid on her presence. Although she had learnt some combat skills and had survived the primordial forest, this was still not enough for her to go up against these experienced killers.

Furthermore, it was possible that far away from here, somewhere out of Little Four’s radar, stronger mecha were lying in wait, just waiting for her to reveal herself.

Ling Lan did not believe that she was a victor in life, who could exude dominance with just a shake of her body, and easily cut through all clamouring enemies as if they were experience fodder. She was also not the type of female main character who was loved by everyone around her, who would have flowers blooming in her presence (it wasn’t like she could be a female main character right now anyway), who — when in a difficult situation — would have a prince charming come riding to her rescue …

Right then, Little Four suddenly exclaimed in shock, causing Ling Lan’s heart to jump into her throat again. "What’s going on, Little Four?"

Little Four did not answer, but moved the display screen he was looking at in front of her.

On the screen, the two mecha that were busily evading were suddenly surrounded by three different groups of people.

The first group, which was also the most aggressive looking group, had the fewest people. They consisted of only four mecha, but exuded a heavy aura, completely overpowering the other groups in terms of sheer presence.

Their mecha had strange outer appearances, clearly shorter than the other mecha by a head, about 50 to 60 cm, but their torsos and limbs were obviously thicker and bulkier. The joints of the four limbs, in particular, were so thick that they lacked all sense of grace and beauty. But it was precisely this sort of rough and unsophisticated mecha which could strike fear into people’s hearts, mounting pressure on their opponents.

These mecha had clearly undergone reinforcement procedures for all their parts. Whether it be in terms of weapon weight load or melee combat, these mecha would perform better than other humanoid standard mecha. At a glance, one could tell they were killing machines, and their body paint emphasised this — they were not painted in Federation white, but rather in a dark understated crimson, which just added to the overall aggression and bloodlust the mecha exuded.

Clearly, these four mecha had rushed over here after a fight, as there were still the signs of battle on their bodies. They were indeed 413’s squad. Just as they had been struggling to find Ling Lan, fruitlessly and helplessly, Ling Qin’s signal flare had given them direction, and they had finally managed to catch up.

The second group was a troop of six mecha. Their appearance was very similar to Federation regulation mecha, only bearing some slight adjustments. Instead of the uniform bright white, they were a mix of white and blue. Anyone with an understanding of the Federation’s mecha would know that these mecha were captain-level mecha, which were one level above the standard mecha. It looked like this troop was from the federal military.

And the final group was a troop of five, common standard mecha, though painted in a dark grey colour denoting that they were private forces. The Federation had an agreement with the elite families, permitting the families to have their own private forces, but their mecha could only be the most basic standard mecha, and the colour of those mecha must be dark grey. The only way to distinguish between the mecha of differing private forces was the logo painted on the chest plate of the mecha.

The logos on the chest plates of this troop of mecha was the Ling family’s — a blazing fire phoenix, eye-catching and vibrant. This troop was the Ling family loyalists, the mecha troop responsible for Ling Lan’s safety.

The fire phoenix was one of the spiritual totems of the ancient Chinese people, and the Ling family personally believed that they were the descendants of the god-beast fire phoenix. Hence, they had naturally selected the fire phoenix as their family crest.

When Ling Lan had found out the origin story behind her family crest, she had almost been unable to stop herself from bursting out in laughter. Who’d have guessed that ten thousand years later, in such a technologically advanced era, such unfounded myths and legends would still be around? All she could say was that humanity’s love and obsession with the concept of god was just bone-deep.

Of course, it was only called the fire phoenix within the Chinese Federation and its allied countries; in the neutral countries or the enemy nations, it was often referred to as the ‘undead bird’, and ever since Ling Lan’s father Ling Xiao had become a legendary operator, it had degenerated into being called ‘that dead bird’— you could just see how deep the enemy’s hatred ran.

The three groups saw each other almost simultaneously and raised their respective guards immediately. However, the Ling family troops drew closer to the Federation troops, seemingly intent on allying themselves with them to oppose the other team, the one with the four fearsome looking mecha.

Ling Lan couldn’t help but frown, asking Little Four, "Little Four, could you zoom in closer, and hack their communications?"

"Zooming in is fine, but I can’t hack their communications. Your current mental strength cannot support such long-distance hacking." Little Four’s words contained a tinge of contempt, and combined with the stink eye Little Four was giving her, there was only one conclusion — she was being looked down upon by Little Four.

Ever since Ling Lan had found out that her body may be ravaged by her mental strength if it was too much for her body to handle, Ling Lan had been very wary of her mental strength. She had not forgotten the daily suffering she had gone through in her previous life because of it. That’s why, in this life, Ling Lan did not dare to cultivate her mental strength on her own, fearful that she would overdo it and end up causing irreparable harm to her body.

As such, no matter how much Little Four wheedled, Ling Lan had never used her honour points to redeem anything related to mental strength training within her mind-space. Still, even so, at six years old, Ling Lan’s mental strength was already at the peak of tier-4 — with just the right push, she would naturally break past the tier-4 barrier to enter tier-5.

Of course, Ling Lan’s impressive three tier increase in mental strength since birth was not really because of her talent in mental strength, or because it grew too fast — from the beginning, Little Four had sealed up two tiers of Ling Lan’s mental strength. But now, as Ling Lan’s physical body slowly developed and grew stronger, Little Four had gradually unravelled the seal around her mental strength.

The potential problem of her overwhelming mental strength was so quickly resolved due to Ling Lan’s diligence in practising her Qi exercises.

In truth, Ling Lan’s mental strength at birth was actually tier-4. The information Lan Luofeng, Ling Qin, and the military had received was actually fake, a result of manipulation by Little Four.

It was for this reason that, back during Ling Lan’s newborn assessment, the assessment device had started screeching in warning. The assessment devices for public use were only able to withstand up to tier-3 mental strength, military-use assessment devices excluded.

Why did the public-use assessment devices have such a setting? That was because without special care, any child with tier-4 mental strength would certainly die within the womb, body collapsing under the weight of its mental strength. It was impossible for a child with tier-4 mental strength to be born naturally without advanced technological support. Of course, Ling Lan was able to grow well enough in Lan Luofeng’s body, primarily due to Little Four’s assistance — as mentioned, Little Four had sealed away the excess mental strength.

However, both success and failure were two sides of the same coin — when Little Four discovered the capabilities of the assessment device to measure mental strength, he had released all of Ling Lan’s mental strength out of curiosity, wanting to know how high Ling Lan’s mental strength was. Unexpectedly, this almost ended in disaster, almost blowing up the device. If it weren’t for Little Four’s fast reflexes, quickly resealing Ling Lan’s mental energy back to tier-2, the results would have been catastrophic.

Frankly, Ling Lan’s body at birth could bear up to tier-3 mental strength, though her body would certainly be a little weakened. However, prioritising safety, Little Four had fixed Ling Lan’s mental strength at tier-2.

In any case, Ling Lan had not wasted these past six years. With the passage of time, Ling Lan’s mental strength had grown till the peak of tier-4. It shouldn’t be long now before all her efforts culminated and she naturally ascended to a mind-blowing tier-5 at her age.

If the federal military ever found out that a six year old child had managed to achieve tier-5 when most grown men couldn’t, they would certainly be floored. She was certain to be hailed as a genius among geniuses in terms of mental strength.

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