"Only we know," Han Jijyun was the first to respond.
Ling Lan's expression eased immediately; things weren't that bad then. Right now, Ling Lan still hadn't noticed that she had actually already accepted these few children into her heart, which was why she was unconcerned that they knew about this situation.
Han Jijyun was carefully observing Ling Lan's expressions. He smiled a subtle smile — Ling Lan's reaction pleased him because it meant that he had also acknowledged them in return.
Qi Long, Luo Lang, and the others were not as meticulous and contemplative as Han Jijyun. Brimming with excitement, they surrounded Ling Lan and started bombarding her with curious questions about how it felt to ride a mecha.
Facing these questions, Ling Lan was a little embarrassed. She was at a loss on how to answer since she couldn't very well say she was unconscious for most of the flight.
No way. To protect her glorious image, she definitely could not let this weakness of hers be exposed.
Vaguely, Ling Lan said, "When you all get the chance to ride one yourself, then you'll understand."
Hearing this, Qi Long and the others were naturally disappointed, which made Ling Lan feel bad for being so flip towards these children who admired her. So, she added, "There are some things that, if told to you by others, will always belong to them — you must experience these things yourself for them to belong to you."
These words sounded deep, and as if coming to some realisation, Qi Long and the other children's eyes lit up. Once again, they were taken in by Ling Lan, who had spouted such profound words with such flair.
Seeing the idolisation on these children's faces — even the intelligent Han Jijyun's eyes were shining with pleasant surprise — Ling Lan's heart wavered as she sweated internally.
She had never intended to deceive children! How was it that she had once again raised the level of idolisation these children had for her?
Finally, Qi Long, Luo Lang, and the others dropped the topic of mecha, and began chatting about what they all did at home after the test. All of them had trained; it looked like Ling Lan had truly inspired them.
When Ling Lan was asked about his activities for the past month, they unexpectedly saw his face turn white, before he said listlessly, "What else could it be like — I was training, just like the rest of you."
Luo Lang and Han Jijyun could just tell that that training he mentioned was not ordinary, otherwise Ling Lan wouldn't have such a traumatized look on his face. Only Qi Long remained clueless and continued to pester Ling Lan for details.
Weakly, Ling Lan replied, "I was experiencing death, in various forms ... Would you like to try?"
Ling Lan's words, said in an eerie dead tone, sent chills running across Qi Long's body. No matter how brash he was typically, this time he dared not say anything more. Moreover, even Luo Lang and Han Jijyun distanced themselves from Ling Lan, afraid of being dragged in as well. They had no doubt that what Ling Lan said was true ... because they could already feel the malevolent aura seeping from Ling Lan's body. This wasn't something that could be achieved through just normal training.
Very quickly, Ling Lan and the others had finished registering and had set their study schedule. As Ling Lan had chosen to be a day student, she had tried her best to squeeze all her classes together. Unfortunately, even so, she only managed to keep Wednesday free, as several of the classes required attendance for consecutive days, making it unavoidable. Next, they went to the logistics department to collect two sets of tailored uniforms each.
As today was just the registration day, the school did not arrange any classes yet, merely allowing the students to wander around campus to familiarize themselves with the surroundings and the facilities. Ling Lan also took the chance to tour Qi Long, Luo Lang, and Han Jijyun's shared dorm. Although special class students could choose to be day students, almost none of the special class students would choose to do so. As such, this privilege was considered by the students of the Central Scout Academy to be the most pointless and pretentious privilege ever.
The three boys were assigned the same living quarters, a villa just for the three of them. More precisely, all Special Class-A students would be assigned a villa when they chose to board at the school. This was one of the perks of being a member of Special Class-A.
The villa was rather luxurious, and it was free. The kitchen and living room was well-equipped, and aside from the three bedrooms, there was a training room, a gym, and specialised login pods for the children to enter the academy's virtual reality system.
The Federation was very strict when it came to minors' access to virtual reality. Any child below the age of sixteen was only allowed restricted login. Meanwhile, young children who hadn't entered scout academies did not even have the right to enter virtual realities, and could only browse web pages on a screen.
However, once the children entered a scout academy, it meant that they were now allowed to access virtual realities. Of course, this access was limited — they were only allowed to log into the closed virtual reality of the scout academies. There, the only people they could interact with were teachers and other students of the scout academy. They could receive guidance from teachers there, or have a virtual spar with the other scout academy students, but that was it. This was protection provided by the school, to prevent the children from premature contact with the complicated world of adults, which could influence their growth and development.
The conditions of the villa were top-notch. Luxury and comfort, combined with a high level of integrated technology — Ling Lan was overcome with envy, almost wishing that she could board at school after all.
As for the living quarters of the two girls, Ling Lan and the boys did not go over to look. Although the children were still small, they already knew enough to distinguish between the sexes and knew that it wasn't right for boys to simply enter the girls' dorms.
By the time the two girls were done settling in and returned to meet up with them, it was already time for lunch. Qi Long magnanimously declared that he would treat them to lunch for today.
With the commoner mentality of never passing up a free meal, Ling Lan quickly agreed, even though the amount of credits she had personally was staggering. These past few years, Little Four had become a famous online writer — rumour had it that he had N-many crazed fans supporting him — and although Little Four would purchase some gene agent every once in a while, it hardly made a dent in the amount of credits Ling Lan had.
The scout academy's canteen was very large, taking up a full several thousand square metres. Everywhere you turned, there were food options for the children's selection — it was a dazzling smorgasbord of any variety of food you could imagine.
Qi Long, Luo Lang, and Han Jijyun were all descendants of mid- to high- rank military families, certainly not the type to lack for money. Since he had decided to treat, of course he must treat the best available! After asking one of the teachers on duty, Qi Long grandly led the way to a particular corner of the canteen. It was said that the food there was the most delicious and exquisite, naturally with a suitably steep price.
When Ling Lan saw the random dishes of several thousand credits per platter, she felt that she should really rebuild Qi Long's value system. Ling Lan had already found out the value of credits in this world. One credit was roughly equivalent to one Chinese yuan in her previous world, which meant that even the cheapest dishes before her now was easily one thousand yuan each ... they weren't eating food, they were eating money!
Ling Lan was determined. From now on, she would hold onto the money of all these babes — she just couldn't allow them to be so wasteful anymore.
Consequently, all the allowance of the five children were confiscated by Ling Lan, who only gave them 1000 credits each from that. Of course, they could ask for more if they spent it all, but they would need to report what they spent it on, and if any wastefulness was discovered ... The five children had no idea what the consequences would be, since Ling Lan didn't tell them, but the cold smile on Ling Lan's face told them that it would not be good.
Han Jijyun had no objection to all this. Although he didn't know why Ling Lan would care so much about the way they spent money, he believed that Ling Lan had no ill intentions, and may perhaps even have some profound motivation for his actions ... could it be that he wanted them to become more independent? At that thought, Han Jijyun visibly lightened up.
Er ... that was the problem with intelligent children, they would always think too much. Ling Lan really wasn't thinking much about it at all — she just felt that the way they spent was too wasteful. Although Ling Lan was also able to be wasteful now if she wanted to, the commoner mentality embedded in her bones still felt that wastefulness was a sin ...
Because they knew they wouldn't be able to eat this way again from now on, the children dug in with gusto, fully prepared to consume the future's worth of food now. After all, all the credits had already been transferred over to Ling Lan. And so, they ate and drank, and ate and drank, and then they noticed that the other three people from their exam group had also come to the canteen for their meal. Qi Long thought that since his credits would be confiscated from today onwards, he might as well use more now, and so generously invited them to join in as well. Thus, the six-person group expanded into a nine-person group, packed tightly around the round table.
The lively air at their table drew the attention of everyone around. After all, they were all new here — the old students would only be here a week later — so it was rare to see a group as large as Ling Lan's hanging out together, which naturally drew the envy-jealousy-hate of various parties around them.
One such example was this frowning fellow. He was watching them with a face full of displeasure because his should-be underling Li Jinghong had actually decided to leave his side to join them. This displeased him greatly.
"Li Jinghong, why don't you introduce us?" Although he was furious, he could still maintain his calm. Before he found out more about the opponent, he would not be so rash as to start fighting — he kept the Li family teachings close to heart.
"Ling Lan, Qi Long, Luo Lang ... long time no see," greeted Li Jinghong energetically. With that, the companions of exam room 072 were all gathered, and Li Jinghong's arrival was met with a hearty welcome.
Han Jijyun noticed the darkening of the handsome face behind Li Jinghong, and couldn't help but snicker internally. From Li Jinghong's impatient demeanour, as well as the other fellow's arrogant expression, he could just tell that the fellow wasn't all too likeable.
"Ahem." An impatient reminder of his presence.
With an affected expression of realisation, Li Jinghong pointed at the boy behind him with exaggerated motions and said, "This is the third grandson of our Li family head, Li Yingjie."
Li Yingjie stood proudly, waiting for Li Jinghong to continue elaborating, but Li Jinghong wasn't as cooperative as he had assumed, stopping with just that brief introduction. This made Li Yingjie's expression turn even darker, and he looked on the verge of blowing his top.
By now, even Qi Long had figured out Li Jinghong's stance. It was clear that he really did not like this Li Yingjie, but only tolerated him as another member of the same Li family. However, Li Jinghong could not outright offend him, because Li Yingjie was a descendant of the main family after all, while he was just from the branch family. At the end of the day, he was still one of the members being shaded by the large tree of the Li family.
That said, Qi Long and the others did not share Li Jinghong's concerns — since their comrade didn't like that person showing off in front of him, then they should definitely bite the bullet for him and chase the annoying fellow away.
"Li Yingjie was it? Hello! But we're eating right now, so we don't have time to entertain you. Please show yourself off." Qi Long's blunt dismissal caused Li Yingjie's expression to change dramatically. He had never encountered such treatment before — in the Li family, no one would dare to treat him this way. Mind you, he was a favoured child, for his assessment results at birth had placed him securely before his two elder cousin brothers. Although he was not the first in line to inherit the Li family leadership, he believed that once he grew up, he would definitely be able to usurp his elder cousin's position and obtain the right to inherit.
"You're way too arrogant," bit out Li Yingjie vehemently. If it weren't for the Li family teachings, he would have already charged over to give the other a good pummeling.