In the mirror, a little boy was wearing the rumoured military-style uniform of Special Class-A. The bold red, the fitting tailoring, the glittering bronze leather boots that were so polished that one could almost see one's reflection in it, and the leather belt with a metal buckle around his waist β all of it added a dash of charm to the already handsome boy, swaying the heart of the woman beside him, causing her heart to swell with motherly love.
Lan Luofeng framed her face with her hands, expression dreamy as she said, "Lan Lan, you really look so much like your daddy today β so handsome beyond compare."
Ling Lan couldn't help but roll her eyes. Praise her if she wanted to praise her β why did she have to bring up her old man? Could it be that she was praising her on the surface, but was actually thinking about her old man?
Thinking about Lan Luofeng's long previous history of such occurrences, Ling Lan was pretty sure her mum was caught up in her own romantic fantasies again. She decided to disregard the woman, turning to say to Ling Nanyi directly, "Grandma Chamberlain, I leave mum in your care."
Ling Nanyi was Chamberlain Ling Qin's wife. This time, moving into the scout academy, Lan Luofeng and Ling Lan had brought Ling Nanyi along, tasking her with the running of the villa. And Ling Nanyi had then also selected a servant girl who was deadly loyal to the Ling family with an impeccable record to come along with her, to help her with the cleaning of the villa.
With a smile, Ling Nanyi replied, "Young Master Lan, please don't worry."
That done, Ling Lan waved goodbye to them and walked to the villa doors. Just as she opened the door ... Lan Luofeng finally shook herself out of her love-dazed state. "Ling Lan, what do you take your mother for? You ingrate!" Lan Luofeng bellowed from behind her. She had just registered what Ling Lan was implying, and her ire was raised.
Ling Lan turned to look back with a smile. "Congratulations, Mum, you haven't become a complete idiot." That said, she slipped out of the house.
"Crash!" Some unidentified item slammed into the doors, and Lan Luofeng's lion roar could be heard once again. "Ling Lan, just you wait, you'll get it once you get home!"
With a smile on her lips, Ling Lan left the villa behind. She knew her mum was just talk β when she really returned later, her mum would definitely hug her close and kiss her all over her face, almost seeming as if she wouldn't stop until Ling Lan's face was visibly swollen with her love. There was a time when Ling Lan wondered whether this bad habit was something her mum had learned from her dad ... but unfortunately she had no frame of reference, and so the truth would never be known.
Ling Lan slowly walked over to the main road which led to this patch of villas. At this dawn hour, there were already quite a few children and teens about, dressed in the same red uniform. Though their ages ranged, the direction they were headed in was the same β towards the learning area of the scout academy.
It turned out that this villa area that Ling Lan was boarding in was specially allocated for the Special Class-A students β from the first grade to the tenth grade, all of them were in this area.
However, very few of these students were walking like Ling Lan. They wore shoes which jetted air out backwards and were flying freely over the main road.
These shoes were called jet-rollers, very similar to the roller skates of Ling Lan's previous world, which had wheels attached to the bottom of the shoes in either two rows or just one single row. However, jet-rollers were even more advanced than roller skates. On both sides of the shoes and the heel area, miniature drivers were installed, which could draw power from the energy storage unit to power the jets. When a certain velocity was achieved, the shoes would lift off the ground along with the person wearing them. Of course, their maximum achievable height was only about 2.5 metres.
Ling Lan was a little puzzled. The school rules did not allow students to use external powers to fly or speed around within school grounds β how could these special class students be so daring to do so so blatantly?
"It can be confirmed that these students are all second grade and above," Little Four jumped out to say.
"Look it up, why can they use jet-rollers in school?" Ling Lan didn't believe that they were so free just because they were in Special Class-A; there must be some other reason.
"Found it! Apparently they used battle points to redeem those jet-rollers, which is why they can use them in school." Little Four was reliable as ever, piggybacking on a random wireless signal to log on to the school intranet, and quickly finding the answer that Ling Lan needed.
"The redeemed jet-rollers are specially customized by Central Scout Academy, tagged with the Central Scout Academy's identification code, which is why they can be used within the school grounds. Other jet-rollers are forbidden β if found to be used, demerits will apply, and the student will immediately be downgraded by one class level." Without waiting for Ling Lan to prompt him, Little Four continued to supplement his explanation.
That's more like it! Ling Lan had just been wondering how the academy could differentiate between redeemed jet-rollers and those brought in from the outside, but Little Four's explanation answered all her questions. She stared enviously at those seniors zooming around, and decided that she would also redeem one when she had the chance later on.
Ling Lan walked to one of the hover car stops servicing the villa areas. The academy was just too vast β if the students were to walk, they would definitely not get to the learning area within an hour. And as new students, they didn't have jet-rollers, so the only way they could save time was to rely on these hover car stops set up by the academy.
Even before she arrived at the stop, Ling Lan could see the long line of people in wait. A little put off, Ling Lan scratched her brow. Looks like she wouldn't be able to take the first few cars, but hopefully she wouldn't be late still. Ling Lan had actually left the house a little late due to Lan Luofeng's fussing.
Ling Lan maintained her current speed as she walked towards the stop. Right then, she heard a familiar voice shouting out from somewhere not far behind her, "Jijyun, Luo Lang, hurry up! We're going to be late ..."
It was Qi Long! Ling Lan was extremely surprised; what a coincidence to bump into Qi Long and the others here. A mischievous smirk appeared on her lips. The three boys still didn't know she had started boarding at the school, so they probably wouldn't expect to bump into her here so early in the morning.
Sure enough, Qi Long didn't notice that the person walking in front of him was Ling Lan. Just as he was about to zoom past Ling Lan, she stuck a foot out in his path.
"Qi Long, watch out!" From behind, Luo Lang could see this very clearly, but because he was too far away, he couldn't do anything to stop Qi Long aside from yelling out to him, hoping that he would notice in time.
Qi Long truly had the intuition of a wild beast β Ling Lan had stuck her foot out at the most perfect timing to catch him unawares, but even so, just before the moment Qi Long would trip, he managed to catch himself in time to draw his feet back enough to just slide by Ling Lan's foot, escaping the fate of being tripped. However, everything happened too fast, so Qi Long's rhythm was still thrown off. His landing was uneven and he stumbled, almost falling down anyway.
"You goddamn bastard ..." After finding his feet, Qi Long turned around, raging, fully prepared to teach the sneaky fellow a lesson, but was faced with Ling Lan's cheeky grin instead.
"Boss, it's you!" Qi Long was overjoyed. He took a large step forward and enveloped Ling Lan in a bear hug, before voicing his doubts, "Why are you here?"
Han Jijyun and Luo Lang had also rushed over angrily in the meantime, but at Qi Long's joyful shout, their anger melted away into pleasant surprise. Han Jijyun's eyes were even sparkling as he asked, "Boss Lan, you've decided to board at school?" Seeing Ling Lan here, there should be no other possibility.
Helplessly, Ling Lan said, "I had no choice. The school forcefully cancelled my day study right, so I could only board at the school."
"That's great! Now we can always learn and train together." Qi Long was the most pleased by this; he finally had someone who could keep up with him in a fight. Yesterday, he had sparred with Luo Lang, but Qi Long had not been satisfied at all. Sparring with Boss Lan was still the best, although he would always be thoroughly trounced by Boss Lan.
Han Jijyun and Luo Lang's expressions were also pleased though, and amidst laughter and chitchat, they arrived at the hover car stop. By this time, there was already much fewer people waiting in line. Han Jijyun flashed his communicator at the stop's sensor, and the sensor responded in an automated mechanical voice, "The hover car you require will arrive in 3 minutes and 20 seconds. Please be ready."
Very quickly, the students lining up before them had all boarded a hover car and left, and their group of four was next. The academy's hover cars were all built for four people, with two seats in the front row and back row respectively, and looked quite like a convertible car from Earth. Their hover car arrived very punctually, 3 minutes 20 seconds later on the dot from the time Han Jijyun had checked. Ling Lan's group of four seated themselves randomly on the two rows and selected the first year Special Class-A classroom as their destination.
They had just arrived at the classroom doors when the preparatory bell indicating the start of class rang out from within the classroom. The children within the classroom immediately found their seats and began their final preparations for the day ahead. When Ling Lan walked in, she drew their curious gazes. Because Ling Lan's was an unfamiliar face, they quickly surmised that Ling Lan was the mysterious student of probable remarkable origin who had taken leave on the very first day of school yesterday.
Han Jijyun signalled Ling Lan to follow him. It turned out that the homeroom teacher had already assigned everyone's seats yesterday, and Ling Lan's seat was directly behind Han Jijyun's, while Qi Long and Luo Lang were seated to the right and left of Ling Lan.
"How did it end up this way?" Ling Lan was very surprised. This arrangement was very convenient for them to converse and interact, but it was just too coincidental for all four of them to be seated together.
With a resigned expression on his face, Han Jijyun replied, "Your seat and mine are according to the teacher's original arrangement, but Qi Long's and Luo Lang's are the results of battle." It looked like Han Jijyun had tried to stop Qi Long and Luo Lang, but had not succeeded.
"What do you mean 'results of battle'?" Ling Lan was curious.
Qi Long piped up excitedly from the side, "After the teacher finished assigning the seats, he said that if anyone was unhappy with their seats, they could challenge the student who had the seat they wanted. If they won the challenge, then they could switch seats; if they lost, then they'll have to serve the student they challenged for a month. Both Luo Lang and I won."
Ling Lan was speechless. This world was truly a dangerous world β they were all so young, but the teacher was already starting to cultivate their fighting spirit. Looks like she really couldn't take it easy if she wanted to achieve something in this world.
Right at that moment, the bell signalling the official start of class reverberated through the classroom, and an elegant and refined youth sedately entered the classroom. He was their first grade Special Class-A homeroom teacher.
In the new students' first week, there was no official teaching. The first half of the day was taken up by a course teaching them about the academy's rules, while the later part of the afternoon was allocated for physical training and getting used to the academy's training machinery and facilities.
The homeroom teacher of Special Class-A was named Cheng Yuanhang. When he saw Ling Lan, his gaze turned cold, and then he announced to the class, "Yesterday I said that if anyone had a seat they preferred, they could challenge the owner of that seat as they liked. Originally, the activity should have ended yesterday, but because a student was absent yesterday, we could not just end it. So, I'll ask again today β does anyone here want Ling Lan's seat?"
Ling Lanβs brow furrowed. Looks like the homeroom teacher didn't like her, otherwise he wouldn't specifically call her out by name.
The students looked at one another, but no one made a peep. Nobody wanted to challenge Ling Lan. Think about it. Challenging a fellow student with unknown capabilities just for a seat that was not that much different from another β and if you lost, you'd have to serve the other for a month ... no matter how you looked at it, it just wasn't worth it. Although Ling Lan's rank was only 17, Qi Long and Luo Lang whose rankings were behind him had risen up like dark horses and had shown just how unexpectedly strong they were. The students couldn't help but be wary after that.
Just as Cheng Yuanhang thought no one would challenge, a weak and skinny child stood up and said, "I want to challenge!"
"Lin Zhong-qing?" All the students were in an uproar. The dead-last of Special Class-A actually wanted to challenge the upper middle ranking Ling Lan? Wasn't that just looking for trouble?!