Early that morning, the main entrance of the Central Scout Academy was already bustling with people. Countless hover cars weaved through the air — if the local government hadn't taken the proper precautions by sending out police forces to maintain order, the traffic would most likely have jammed up and several collisions might even have occurred ...
It couldn't be helped, as there were just too many cars. Every year, almost ten thousand students enrolled in this scout academy, and the parents of the students who were only allowed to go home on off days every week were out in full force. They were the main culprit behind the unusual congregation of hover cars in the air today.
After all, only the top hundred kids who qualified for the special classes had the right to be day students, and could freely choose the courses they were interested in. The other children had no choice but to accept the school's arrangements to live on campus and were only allowed to go home on off days every week.
However, these children could still change their fate — every year, there were two chances to enter the special classes. To encourage competitive spirit in the children, the Central Scout Academy would rerank the entire school every six months. It didn't matter if you were in the special classes, the merit classes, or the regular classes, no one was exempt, and only those who managed to rank within the top hundred would be taken into the special classes for the next six months.
Of course, for the children from the merit classes and the regular classes to score within the top hundred and enter the special classes ... although it couldn't be said that no one succeeded, the chances of it happening were highly unlikely, rarer than rare. From the beginning, the children from the special classes would receive education and resources far beyond the means of the regular classes; half a month's time was more than enough time for the gap between them and the children from the other classes to grow exponentially.
Nevertheless, this was still considered a sort of fairness mechanism — a chance given by the school for those children in the merit and regular classes to break through their limits and reach for the stars — whether the children succeeded in doing so depended solely on them.
On one of the fields of the scout academy, Qi Long, Han Jijyun and his cousin Han Xuya, as well as the twin siblings Luo Lang and Luo Chao, were gathered together. They were peering out into the sky with their heads lifted as if searching for something.
They had arrived at the scout academy bright and early that morning. Ever since they had found out that they had qualified for the special classes, they had been filled with anticipation for the first day of school.
That's right, the final results confirmed that all five of them had been grouped into the special classes. Qi Long, Han Jijyun, and Luo Chao had all entered Special Class-A, while the two girls had successfully entered Special Class-B. This result had sent the girls into joyous fits — none of the adults had expected much of them at first, predicting that it was more likely for them to end up in Merit Class-1. So when the results came out, the two girls had been smug about it for weeks.
Besides that, Luo Shaoyun and Yuan Youyun, who had taken the exam with them, had also managed to rank within the top hundred, successfully becoming members of Special Class-B. And while the final two people in their exam group had scored a little weaker, they had still got into Merit Class-1, which was the top class right after the special classes.
Han Xuya and Luo Chao knew in their hearts that these exemplary results were all thanks to Boss Ling Lan. (Since their elder brothers had already recognised him as their boss, of course they'd choose to follow suit.) However, they also knew that it was all up to them from this point onwards — they really did not want to be the first students to drop out from the special classes.
"Qi Long, you still haven't found Boss' hover car?" chubby-girl Han Xuya asked Qi Long rudely.
Han Jijyun marked her tone and frowned. He really disliked the way his cousin sister ordered Qi Long around; she shouldn't lose her manners just because they were familiar. This character of his cousin's made it very easy for her to offend others without even knowing it.
Qi Long did not respond, not because he was angry or anything, but just because he was too lazy to deal with Han Xuya. He just kept his eyes glued to the sky, but sadly, he still saw nothing.
Seeing how Qi Long was ignoring her, Han Xuya was a little ticked off. But just as she was about to say something about it, she saw her elder cousin brother glaring at her, so she could only swallow her words resentfully. What could she do? Her parents had told her to listen to Han Jijyun in all things at school.
Finally, Qi Long could take it no longer. He reeled back his gaze, rubbed his hands over his tired eyes, and said helplessly, "No sight of that hover car Boss was riding before ..."
Luo Lang jeered, "Calling someone 'boss' yet forgetting to get his contact number — tsk, only you."
It turned out that, in his excitement back then, Qi Long had forgotten the most important thing — to exchange contact information with Ling Lan. As such, now he could do nothing but keep scouring the skies with his eyes for any sign of Ling Lan's hover car among the countless other hover cars in the sky.
Qi Long threw an unimpressed glance at Luo Lang, retorting, "Didn't you forget too?" Who was he to criticize him when they were the same?
"You ..." Qi Long had hit Luo Lang right where it hurt, riling up the boy once again.
Han Jijyun rubbed his forehead in consternation and began to play mediator. "Ok, ok, since we've all acknowledged the same person as our boss, we're all on the same boat now. We should be a bit more united, to avoid giving Boss Lan any trouble."
Perhaps Han Jijyun's phrasing of 'giving Boss Lan trouble' was effective, for the two troublemakers subsided, although they both still sniffed loudly once before turning away to ignore each other.
Han Jijyun smiled wryly to himself. These two were certainly a handful — looks like their issues could only be resolved once Boss Ling Lan gets here to force them to get along. Alright, so the one who had always been watching out for Qi Long, Han Jijyun, had also learned how to shift responsibilities, summarily deciding that these two troublemakers were Ling Lan's problem now.
At that moment, a loud siren rang out through the Central Scout Academy!
This siren was to warn everyone present that some weaponised force had entered the outer perimeter of the Central Scout Academy.
Heavens, who would be so daring as to attack Doha's Central Scout Academy? Did they not know that the school had a squad of military mecha in permanent residence?
Before Qi Long, Luo Lang, and the others could react, a dark grey mecha could be seen approaching rapidly from the horizon. Its imposing large body, as well as the two giant beam sabres on its back, sent tremors of fear running down the back of anyone who saw it.
However, the Central Scout Academy also responded quickly — six blue-white mecha had already appeared to fly forward to meet the dark grey mecha.
The only reason they didn't just open fire was that the signal being transmitted by the dark grey mecha registered as friendly, but they still couldn't afford to drop their guard.
Watching this, the children on the ground were slack-jawed and wide-eyed with wonder. Some of them had never seen a federal mecha before — at most, they had seen pictures, or even 3D animations — and while others may have seen the real thing before, they had still never seen a real battle between real airborne mecha.
Regardless, all the children here shared one thing in common. All of their eyes had lighted up at the sight of the mecha, glittering and bright. Unquestionably, they had been utterly captivated by the formidable figures of the mecha.
In contrast, the adults surrounding the children were in no mood to admire the mecha — if that dark grey mecha turned out to be an enemy, they knew that they were in grave danger. The power of mecha was truly horrifying — not only were their equipped weapons fearsome, the mecha itself was fearsome. Their self-destruct sequence before death was not something a normal person could withstand. Even just standing here, they could be drawn into the path of its destruction.
However, the following events helped to settle the fears of everyone there. The six mecha seemed to have reached an agreement with the dark grey mecha, and soon, under the escort of the six mecha, the dark grey mecha had landed at a designated landing spot.
Right then, Qi Long suddenly asked Han Jijyun, "Jyun, the picture on the dark grey mecha's chest — doesn't it look familiar? I feel like I've seen it somewhere before."
Han Jijyun was already on the case. He felt that vague sense of familiarity too, so when he heard Qi Long's question, he nodded and said, "Yes, you're right, it is familiar. I'm sure we've seen it somewhere before ... could it be one of the elite families we know?"
The dark grey colour of the mecha meant that it was a privately-owned mecha, and totems were the favoured symbols by elite families to represent themselves — Han Jijyun's thoughts naturally led in that direction.
Luo Lang, however, was derisive of their actions. In his opinion, it was just an exceptionally ordinary red bird. There were so many elite families within the Federation, large and small, and there were plenty among them who used totems similar to this one. Perhaps they had seen something similar to this before somewhere, hence the sense of familiarity.
Han Jijyun and Qi Long searched their memories but came up with nothing. None of the elite families close to them used anything similar to this totem, so where could they have seen this before?
And then, Luo Chao, who had been standing to one side, spoke up softly, her entire face blushing red, "On Boss Ling Lan's hover car, I think I saw something very similar."
"Ah!" The three boys gaped in surprise; Luo Chao's words were just too unexpected.
Han Jijyun was especially troubled. Could it be that he and Qi Long had also seen it then, but hadn't registered it consciously? Instead, had their subconscious remembered it, resulting in this strange sense of familiarity?
On the other hand, Qi Long had immediately cast away all his doubts after Luo Chao's words. Since he had the answer now, he wasn't going to waste any more effort thinking about it.
Luo Chao was frightened by the response of the three boys, and had immediately scampered like a rabbit to hide behind Han Xuya, and refused to say another word after that.
"Sister, come here, come here. Come tell your elder brother how you know that Boss Lan's hover car has this picture on it?" With a face full of pleasant surprise, Luo Lang hurried to call his sister out for a detailed explanation.
Seeing everyone's attention on her, Luo Chao became even shyer, replying in a low voice, "I wanted to know more about Boss Lan, so I paid special attention to the car that came to pick him up."
And there was the answer. When it came to a boy she liked, a girl would be willing to dig three feet deep just to find out everything she could about the other, and the bashful little Luo Chao was no different than any other girl in this respect.
Luo Lang felt a pang of sourness in his heart. Was the little sister he had grown up with going to be taken away by another just like that? No way. Even though he had submitted to Ling Lan, that didn't mean that he would just give up his little sister on a silver platter ... Luo Lang silently determined that he would think of a way to minimise contact between Boss Lan and his sister. He wouldn't allow his own precious baby sister to be snatched away by someone else — not even Boss Lan.
Han Jijyun did not spare a thought for Luo Lang's internal conflict; he watched the dark grey mecha land safely, then turned on the communicator on his wrist.
"Aiya, so you finally remember me, Master! May I know how I can help you?" An extremely sweet and pretty voice could be heard coming from the device, its tone flirty and playful.
This prompted the Luo twins to turn around with curious looks, because Han Jijyun's communicator was clearly different from theirs, actually containing an intelligent system. Theirs just had boring selection buttons, not personable whatsoever.
On the other hand, Qi Long and Han Xuya were already used to it, and so remained impassive. Han Jijyun had always liked to fiddle with this sort of little curios, and had actually managed to piece together this one functional little gadget over the years.For those who are new to this term (like me), a day student is basically a student who only goes to school for classes and then goes home, in contrast to boarders, who stay on campus all the time, only going home on holidays.The original phrase used here translates literally to '[as rare as] phoenix feathers and qilin horns', but it seemed jarring in context, hence the change. Anyhow, just note that you can't get much rarer than body parts of mythological creatures.Original saying here is "a chance for them to leap like a carp over the dragon's gate", referring to the ancient belief that carps who managed to accomplish this would ascend into dragons.