Ling Lan wasn't particularly bothered by Lin Zhong-qing's impudent challenge, but her follower Qi Long was riled up instead. He felt as if his boss had been looked down upon, so with a loud slap on his table, he stood up and shouted, "Dammit, daring to challenge my boss? You're too cocky! Teacher Cheng, I'm willing to accept his challenge and fight on behalf of my boss."
Qi Long's interruption startled Lin Zhong-qing, but then a trace of glee flashed through his eyes. Perhaps no one else saw it, but Ling Lan did. Of course, all the credit should be given to Little Four who was comprehensively monitoring the classroom. No one's expression within the classroom could escape Little Four's sharp eyes.
Qi Long's unexpected request for battle caused rage to cross Cheng Yuanhang's face. Coldly, he said, "Qi Long, don't test my patience."
Cheng Yuanhang had really been angered. How old were these children? Already forming groups and saying boss this boss that — what do they take this sacred Central Scout Academy for? Cheng Yuanhang was of commoner descent, and had only achieved the success he had today via the cultivation of the Central Scout Academy. As such, he deeply loved the academy, and loathed any bad children that might harm the academy's reputation.
And Ling Lan, Qi Long, and the others in his group, were all bad children in Cheng Yuanhang's eyes. Especially Ling Lan. On the very first day of school, he had already made the dean come personally to request leave for him — Cheng Yuanhang was very dissatisfied by this. The esteemed dean was the person Cheng Yuanhang respected the most. In his opinion, getting the honourable dean himself to come and handle the trivial procedures of applying for leave — this must definitely be due to pressure exerted by the power backing Ling Lan ...
Because of this, Cheng Yuanhang privately came to the conclusion that Ling Lan's inclusion in Special Class-A must be due to manipulation of a back door. Against these second-generation rich degenerates who relied on their family background and power, he was full of contempt. Therefore, Cheng Yuanhang had decided to give Ling Lan a harsh awakening right at the start of today, so that the boy would understand that the Central Scout Academy was not a place where he could dominate just with his family connections.
Of course, Qi Long wasn't content to just step back. Just as he was about to argue the point, Ling Lan stepped out from the side and pressed him back into his seat, signalling for him to stop speaking.
Ling Lan then turned to look at Cheng Yuanhang, and asked serenely, "What do you think, Teacher?"
Cheng Yuanhang gave her two options. "You can choose to accept the challenge, or you can refuse. But refusing means that you automatically give up your seat. Student Ling Lan, what is your choice?"
Ling Lan looked steadily at Lin Zhong-qing, and said, "Since Student Lin wants to challenge, of course I shall accept."
When Lin Zhong-qing heard Ling Lan accept, a complicated expression crossed his face. There was a trace of unease, but more a sense of relief — this was not the typical expression a challenger should have.
"Boss, looks like that midget has an ulterior motive in challenging you." Once again, Little Four had caught on to Lin Zhong-qing's change in expression, and spoke up to caution Ling Lan.
"Ok. Let's wait and see." Ling Lan secretly put up her guard. Although Lin Zhong-qing looked rather weak, she had read N-many amount of novels, comics, and anime, and knew that there were many main characters who liked to pretend to be weak to fool their opponents, who knew if this Lin Zhong-qing wasn't someone like this? Ling Lan kept her attention focused as she continued her vigilance.
Ling Lan's acceptance of the challenge caused all the first year Special Class-A students to become excited. Under Cheng Yuanhang's lead, the whole class came to one of the combat halls within the academy.
Walking up to the Information Input Station within the main hall, Cheng Yuanhang personally keyed in Ling Lan and Lin Zhong-qing's battle request, and under 'Nature of Combat', he selected the option of 'Open Arena'.
Pensively, Ling Lan glanced at Cheng Yuanhang. Looks like this teacher was really against her — it wasn't just her imagination.
This wasn't the first time Ling Lan had come to this combat hall. On registration day itself, she had already requested a fight here before together with Qi Long. Thus, she knew very well that there were many options under 'Nature of Combat', ranging from 'Closed and Private', 'Closed Small Arena', 'Semi-Open Small Arena', 'Open Small Arena', 'Closed Arena', 'Semi-Open Arena', to 'Open Arena' ...
Any option with 'closed' meant the fight would be private and hidden, rejecting any viewing audience, just like her spar with Qi Long. Back then, they had chosen a 'Closed and Private' battle, while this battle between her and Lin Zhong-qing was actually best suited for the 'Semi-Open Small Arena' option.
A 'semi-open' battle would open a unique combat room, and audience members would need to have the room's passcode to enter. They would just have to let the Class-A students know the passcode, then they would have been able to fight a match without any outside disturbance. In that situation, even the side who lost wouldn't have his embarrassment broadcast to the public and lose face.
But an 'open' fight was different — this type of battle was open for viewing for all students within the Central Scout Academy. Furthermore, before the fight, the combat hall would even do a comprehensive announcement. As such, open battles were usually only used during the ranking battles every six months, extremely rare under normal circumstances.
Sure enough, the news of the Open Arena battle was announced repetitively by the combat hall, drawing all the other students who were here for their own individual practice to the side of their ring. When this impromptu audience saw that there were two new students on the stage wearing eye-catching red clothes, they knew it was a fight between Special Class-A kids. Pleasantly surprised, they started discussing the fight in earnest, and the atmosphere around the arena became even livelier.
Quite a few students even turned on their communicators so they could contact their good friends to come spectate as well.
Ling Lan and Lin Zhong-qing were currently standing on the left and right side of the stage respectively, facing each other. In contrast with Ling Lan's calm composure, Lin Zhong-qing looked extremely nervous.
Cheng Yuanhang looked at the two people on the stage and asked them, "Are you two ready?"
The two nodded in confirmation, and Cheng Yuanhang issued the command, "Battle, start."
Lin Zhong-qing heard Cheng Yuanhang's call to start, but he didn't choose to attack immediately. Instead, he retreated swiftly, putting some distance between him and Ling Lan.
"What is he trying to do?" asked Little Four in confusion.
"We'll know when we fight. By the way Little Four, while I'm fighting, don't make any sound to distract me," reminded Ling Lan worriedly.
She still remembered the time a while back when she had been going through combat training with the Ling family loyalists. Due to Little Four's importune interruption, she had been struck heavily by one of the loyalists, almost gaining a serious injury. Fortunately, the Ling family medicinal bath and the Qi exercises were very reliable, supporting Ling Lan so she didn't have any lasting damage. Still, that one time was enough to scare Ling Lan half to death — it turned out that her life was still not guaranteed.
Little Four immediately pulled an imaginary zipper across his mouth in response, signalling that his lips were sealed. He would definitely not cause Ling Lan any trouble.
Ling Lan activated her Qi circulation, and could instantly feel all her senses heighten. When she looked at Lin Zhong-qing once again, she had the feeling as if the entire course of the battle was within her grasp ... it was glorious.
This was also part of the results of two nights of training under Number Five — a newly discovered ability. Although it had only been two nights in real time, due to the time rate conversion, Ling Lan had actually been tormented viciously under Number Five's hand for a little over two months, almost driving Ling Lan up the wall.
Luckily, this ability had progressed from its erratic functionality based on her mental condition, to its current stable functioning of working 5 to 6 times out of 10. Ling Lan's suffering had been worth it.
The next second was it! Ling Lan's intuition told her that Lin Zhong-qing's attack was coming.
Sure enough, of the two people facing off, Lin Zhong-qing was the first to attack. He swooped in abruptly, and his angle of attack was a tricky one.
Many of the higher grade students nodded in approval when they saw Lin Zhong-qing's attack. Lin Zhong-qing's timing was spot on as well — the time he attacked was the precisely the point when a human's mental focus would wane after intense concentration; it was when people were the slowest. Moreover, his attack stance was also great, not just any regular combat art.
However, Ling Lan's reaction shocked and awed the watching students. As if well-prepared, Lin Zhong-qing's attack only made her move a tiny step, and with a slight tilt of her body, she had easily dodged his attack.
"F*ck, this kid is just too confident in himself. Actually choosing to dodge in such a narrow range, isn't that too much?" The older students were all rather stunned, and started criticizing Ling Lan for being too reckless in her evasion movements.
Qi Long and Luo Lang looked at one another, and read the shock and surprise on each other's faces. They knew very well that using the smallest angle possible to dodge was Ling Lan's specialty. This was definitely the most energy efficient way of dodging, but only Ling Lan would dare to do so. Qi Long and Luo Lang didn't even dare to try — this was closely related to confidence and ability, and they just weren't at that level yet. However, what shocked and surprised them was not that they were familiar with this evasion move, but because they had sensed that Ling Lan had an even deeper understanding of this type of small-range evasion now, which made her movements look extremely graceful and natural.
Lin Zhong-qing's first strike struck air, but he didn't retreat directly, choosing to follow up with a flurry of combo punches, moving forward with the determined air of wanting to defeat quality with sheer quantity. Unfortunately, Ling Lan's strength was really just too far above him — this sort of tactic was no problem at all for Ling Lan.
Gently swaying her body, Ling Lan swiftly dodged all of Lin Zhong-qing's combination attacks, and somehow, she found herself once again in that strange state she had achieved during her fight with the five alpha wolves. This state was still currently not under Ling Lan's control, so whether she could enter it or not was really up to her luck.
Once she entered this state, all of Lin Zhong-qing's attacks became weakness after weakness in Ling Lan's eyes. With just one punch, she would be able to knock Lin Zhong-qing down ... it's just, now, seeing Lin Zhong-qing's desperation as he attacked with clenched teeth; his rage and stubbornness made Ling Lan decide to just wait a little longer.
Lin Zhong-qing's boxing skills only consisted of a few moves, and after Ling Lan saw the second repetition of the attack pattern, she knew it was time to end this.
Ling Lan did nothing other than make a simple fist, and throw it out firmly at the largest weak point in her eyes.
Bam! Ling Lan's fist smacked into a soft ball of flesh, and then that thing was sent flying out like a cannonball, to land heavily on the arena floor.
With just this punch, Lin Zhong-qing had been hit, and was now lying still on the ground without any sign of getting up.
All the observing students were gobsmacked. Was this not a battle between two Special Class-A students, but rather a battle between a Special Class-A student and someone from the regular classes? They knew very well that although Special Class-A had a ranking of 50 spots, all the children didn't really differ much in terms of ability, and were practically on par with each other. But this scene before them shattered everything they knew — was there such a large gap, such as that between clouds in the sky and dirt on the ground, even among the Special Class-A students?
"You've lost," said Ling Lan calmly towards the fellow lying on the stage who was still unwilling to get up. Although her punch had seemed heavy, it definitely would not have done any significant damage to the opponent.Original literal phrase here was 'liked to pretend to be a pig and consume a tiger'. Basically, play a fool so that strong opponents would underestimate you, and then you would be able to defeat them with ease.Original literal phrase here was 'kill a master with a flurry of wild punches', which refers to overwhelming a skilled fighter with sheer luck and unrestrained raw power.