When the guard found out that Ling Lan was a member of Special Class-A, who had also chosen to be a day student, he was dumbfounded. After so many years of being a guard at the school, this was still the first time he had met a day student.
From this, we can see that the freedom to be a day student offered by the school was basically just an empty privilege. It's obvious if you think about it — with such a competitive system in place, every student would wish that they could spend the 24 hours each day as if they were 48 hours ... who'd be willing to waste time commuting back and forth from school?
Although the guard was shocked, he still let Ling Lan out of the gates without comment. Of course, Qi Long and the other kids were mercilessly locked within the gates. Who asked them to choose to board at school? Upon becoming a boarder, students were not allowed to take even half a step out of school grounds outside of specified times, even if one was a special class student.
Ling Lan waved goodbye to her companions and stepped out of the school gates. Right outside, the Ling family hover car was already parked, waiting.
This time, the Ling family had sent out five hover cars, and Ling Lan's main escort was the only non-betrayer of the rescue team, Ling Yu. Chamberlain Ling Qin hadn't come because he was busy wrapping things up with the betrayers.
Ling Lan got into the hover car arranged by Ling Yu, and Ling Yu got in after her, and then started reporting on the investigation results they had gathered in the course of the afternoon.
It turned out that Ling Hua had betrayed the Ling family because he didn't want his child to follow in his footsteps to become a Ling family loyalist for the next generation.
Ling Hua's son, Ling Yi, was younger than Ling Lan by one year. At his birth, he was assessed to be just a hair weaker than Ling Lan in terms of fitness and potential. In other words, Ling Yi had a very high probability of becoming an ace operator. However, the offspring of Ling family loyalists had no right to enrol and study in a scout academy — they could only accept the in-house education organised by the Ling family. This meant that Ling Yi's growth would be stunted — he would never be able to pilot a mecha better than the standard mecha, and his chances of being promoted to an ace operator were pretty much nil.
As Ling Yi grew closer and closer to turning six, Ling Hua had been tormented by his internal struggle. It was then that a chance for his son to excel beyond his station had appeared before him, and so Ling Hua's loyalty had wavered.
The other party had promised that as long as Ling Lan died, the Ling family would be dissolved. Then, Ling Hua's family could become regular citizens again, and Ling Yi would be able to formally enrol and study at a scout academy, obtaining a bright and limitless future.
After listening to Ling Yu's report, Ling Lan sighed regretfully. "How stupid."
Ling Yu said dazedly, "Yes, the captain was really so stupid ... if only he had told us about this, he could have used the information to gain enough merit to request for his freedom."
Ling Yu still remembered that there was one rule among the Ling family rules: Any loyalist who performed exceptionally meritorious services could request one thing of the family head that was within the head's means. As long as Ling Hua had related the plan against Ling Lan to Chamberlain Ling Qin, it would have counted as an exceptionally meritorious service, and he would have been able to put forward his request. Ling Lan and Chamberlain Ling Qin would never have refused him.
Till this point, Ling Lan and Ling Yu just couldn't understand why Ling Hua had been willing to walk down this dark path, finally choosing to betray the Ling family rather than use this information as a bargaining chip.
However, once Ling Lan returned to the living room of the Ling family main estate, the waiting Ling Qin told her the rest of the information he had just discovered, which included the other reason behind Ling Hua's betrayal.
With a serious expression, Ling Qin said, "According to those three loyalists, during a fit of boasting, Ling Hua revealed that the other party had promised to provide his son with six tubes of gene stimulating agent every year until Ling Yi could absorb no more. Of course, he had also promised the other three loyalists that their descendants would also be able to enjoy this privilege if their stats were good enough."
"The other party is certainly generous. Looks like this person who's after me is someone powerful." Ling Lan finally understood why Ling Hua had chosen to betray them in the end. Even though the offer seemed to be just six tubes of gene agent, it had given Ling Hua a sense of how powerful the other side really was, implying that crushing the Ling family was not too difficult for them.
"Ling Hua was frightened. He felt that the Ling family would not be able to go up against that person; he didn't want his child to be buried along with the Ling family." Ling Qin naturally understood Ling Hua's mentality as well, and sighed sadly once again.
"Young Master Lan, what do you plan to do with Ling Hua's wife and child?" asked Ling Qin carefully. There wasn't a single family which would accept the orphan of a traitor; many families would choose to eliminate the problem entirely by getting rid of them as soon as possible.
Just as Ling Lan was about to answer, a commotion broke out at the main gates. A child could be heard crying, "Young Master Lan, Young Master Lan, I beg you, please see me!"
From the sofa, Ling Lan quirked a brow, lifting her head to look at Ling Qin. As such, she saw when a hint of awkwardness flashed past Ling Qin's face. It looked like he knew who the child screaming outside was.
Ling Lan did not ask any questions. She just stood and walked to the gate, with Ling Qin and Ling Yu following close behind her.
The moment Ling Lan arrived at the gate, she saw a little midget just a little smaller than her struggling within the grasp of one of the guards. He was still screaming for Young Master Lan, and when he saw her appear, his eyes lit up with a savage joy.
"Who are you? Why do you want to see me?" Ling Lan asked impassively.
"So you're Young Master Lan?" At Ling Lan's words, the little midget struggled even harder.
Ling Yu, who was standing behind Ling Lan, threw a pointed look at the guard holding onto the child, and the guard immediately loosened his grip and retreated to the side.
"I'm called Ling Yi. My dad's Ling Hua." The midget straightened up and introduced himself after calming himself for a moment.
Ling Lan nodded internally. No wonder Ling Hua was willing to become a traitor for his son — the child was indeed very bright, and could already control his emotions well enough to grasp opportunities in his path.
"They told me that, my dad is dead ... my dad was so strong, how could he die?" There was still hope on Ling Yi's face, as if hoping that Ling Lan would tell him that all this wasn't true.
Ling Lan secretly sighed; Ling Hua may have wronged her, but he hadn't wronged his son Ling Yi. A thought tumbled through her mind, and she replied, "Even the strongest person cannot always fend off an enemy's underhanded schemes. Ling Yi, your father is really dead."
"Who killed my father?" Ling Yi's eyes were clouded with despair.
"I do not know, but we're guessing that the orders came from someone in the upper ranks of the military, and that my father was also killed by one of the opponent's plots," said Ling Lan sadly and regretfully.
Ling Lan resolutely pushed the blame of Ling Hua's death onto the enemy who wanted her dead. She looked forward to Ling Yi's vengeance against the other once he grew up. After all, even though Ling Hua had died at her hands, wasn't the root cause the other party's inducement?
Of course, Ling Lan's words caused a flash of surprise to pass through both Ling Qin's and Ling Yu's eyes, but their expressions quickly relaxed, as if pleased with the way Ling Lan had spun things.
Gaining the answer he sought, the flames of hatred blazed in Ling Yi's eyes. "Young Master Lan, I'll definitely become stronger. At that time, I hope Young Master Lan will give me the chance to end the enemy with my own hand."
Ling Yi's words caused an irrepressible shudder to run through Ling Qin's and Ling Yu's body. A chill settled in their hearts — could this end up being a case of warming a snake in one's bosom?
Only Ling Lan seemed unperturbed, as she nodded and said, "Alright, I promise you this. Also, I must tell you — when your father sacrificed himself, he requested that you be set free, and I've agreed to it ..."
But Ling Yi interrupted Ling Lan to say, "I don't want to leave the Ling family."
"Why?" Ling Lan was curious.
"I want to inherit my father's position. I want to become Young Master Lan's most trusted loyalist." Ling Yi's face was filled with determination. Ever since he was little, he had received education telling him to be loyal to the Ling family and the family head — the thought of leaving the Ling family had never crossed his young mind.
This response caused Ling Lan to fall silent.
Ling Hua, you betrayed yourself, and betrayed the Ling family ... but your child had no intentions to leave the Ling family to begin with. Wasn't that just ironic?
"I really want to agree with your request, but unfortunately, I promised your father first. A person should not go back on their word ..." said Ling Lan regretfully.
Ling Lan's words made Ling Yi burst out into tears instantly. After all, he was only just a five year old child — facing an unknown future, even the strongest and brightest child would not be able to bear the anxiety within his heart. Like the child he was, he wailed.
"Ling Yi, if you want to inherit your father's position, then you can't cry anymore," with reddened eyes, Ling Lan comforted the boy. "Your father wished for you to enter a scout academy, and then obtain a place in a military school, and finally become a professional military man. You cannot let your father down."
Then, Ling Lan patted him on the head and continued, "However, I didn't say anything about sending you away. You will still be a member of the Ling family, only a free man in name. When you've grown up, it'll be up to you whether you want to leave or return to the Ling family."
Ling Lan's words reignited the hope in Ling Yi's heart. He wiped away his tears, and said, "Yes! I'll work hard, Young Master Lan. I'll definitely come back." He said this with steel-like conviction.
He then turned around with a serious look on his face to speak to Ling Yu, who was behind Ling Lan. "Brother-in-law Yu, I'll leave Young Master Lan to you for now. Once I've become stronger, I'll definitely come back to take your position from you." That said, he bowed to Ling Lan in farewell and left the Ling family main estate.
With a face full of worry, Ling Yu asked, "Young Master Lan, isn't this arrangement too risky?" If Ling Yu ever found out the truth, it was very likely that he would turn against them instead.
Ling Lan smiled a slight smile. "Isn't it more interesting this way? Whether or not Ling Yi becomes useful to me in the end, he is still a good chess piece."
Ling Lan's words rendered Ling Yu speechless — he really couldn't figure out what Ling Lan's true thoughts were now.
Ling Qin's expression was a little unsettled, but in the end, he said nothing.
Ling Lan turned her head to face Ling Qin with a harsh expression. "Grandpa Chamberlain, you've already handled the traitors and those prisoners, right?"
Ling Qin's heart skipped a beat, and he stared at Ling Lan intently.
Ling Lan asked, "About Ling Hua's betrayal ... besides the three of us, who else knows?"
Ling Yu hurriedly shook his head. Out of caution in case there were other traitors within the Ling family, the three traitorous mecha squad members had been interrogated personally by him and Ling Qin. No one else knew any details.
Ling Qin's verbal response corroborated this. After Ling Yu had left, he had continued the interrogation on his own, which was how he had found out the key reason behind Ling Hua's betrayal.
"That's good. After getting rid of those people, as long as the three of us keep our mouths shut, Ling Yu should never be able to find out the truth." Ling Lan's words sent cold sweat running down Ling Qin's and Ling Yu's back. Was this Ling Lan's subtle way of warning them?
"What if the person who tried to buy Ling Hua comes out to tell Ling Yi the truth?" Ling Qin was still uneasy about this; Ling Yi was clearly a ticking time bomb.
"Perhaps then we can inculcate the idea in Ling Yi that all of it is a plot by the opponent ... Anyway, it's a bigger problem if he doesn't reveal himself. If he comes out, we could then follow the vine to get the melon, and find out once and for all who is trying to harm our Ling family." Ling Lan's expression was sly.
Ling Qin's eyes lit up. "This is a good plan." If Ling Yi really managed to draw out that venomous snake from the shadows, it was worth it to take the risk.
Just like that, the three of them discussed things a little more, and then Ling Qin and Ling Yu went off to handle their respective matters. Meanwhile, Ling Lan was left sitting alone on the sofa of the large living room. Once she confirmed that the two men had left, she sighed softly, "To save Ling Yi, was it really necessary to make things so complicated?"
On the surface, Ling Qin and Ling Yu had seemed as if they really wanted to tear the weed out by its root, but in truth, everything they did was to salvage Ling Yi's life. Otherwise, how could the little Ling Yi suddenly appear at the main door of the Ling family main house?
The loyalists protecting the main house must have received the order to let Ling Yi through to the main doors, and both Ling Qin and Ling Yu should have something to do with this order ... The moment Ling Lan saw Ling Yi, she had understood this immediately.
Although Ling Lan had no intention of taking Ling Yi's life to begin with, this sort of intentional arrangement annoyed her.
It was great that the Ling family rules were humane and reasonable, however, they weren't ideal for warding against insubordination. In times when the family head was weak while the servants were stronger, this type of subtle nudging without the master's express permission was likely to happen. Although they didn't mean any harm, and there was no negative impact on her currently, if she let this go on unchecked, it might end up causing her a lot of trouble someday.
Perhaps she should think of a way to change the current status quo, otherwise, it may really become impossible for her to continue putting her trust in the Ling family people. And that, would truly be a tragic thing. Both for Ling Lan, and for Ling Qin and the rest.Basically, raising and sheltering one's own enemy.A literal translation of a Chinese saying. Should be pretty clear imagery, but just to clarify, it means to trace the clues back to their source.i.e. Exterminate the problem completely. Here, Ling Yi could be a potential problem in the future, so the smart but ruthless thing to do would be to just kill him.