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Expression dark, Lin Zhong-qing sprang to his feet and said dejectedly, "It's my loss." However, he quickly raised his head again, and with wide, open eyes, and a face full of tenacity, he added, "But next time, I won't lose to you again." The fight and confidence in his eyes were still present, not at all dampened by this loss.

Contemplatively, Ling Lan looked at him, and then said sedately, "I'll be waiting." This little guy was no fool — with that performance, he had probably drawn the attention of the homeroom teacher.

Sure enough, Cheng Yuanhang started applauding from below the stage, expression approving as he said with a smile, "Not bad, Ling Lan, as expected of one of the higher ranking students in our class." Then, he turned to look at Lin Zhong-qing with an expression of deep appreciation for talent, clearly showing who Cheng Yuanhang truly approved of, and said, "Lin Zhong-qing, your performance was very good. Failure is the mother of success — keep it up, you'll succeed one day."

Hearing this, Ling Lan was speechless — Teacher Cheng, oh Teacher Cheng, when you say this, could you not do it right in front of me? Wasn't this just cursing her to one day lose at Lin Zhong-qing's hands? Ling Lan was currently simmering with resentment.

Receiving Cheng Yuanhang's praise and encouragement, Lin Zhong-qing suppressed the gratefulness in his heart as he replied, "Understood, Teacher. I will work hard."

That's awesome, he had managed to leave a good impression on his homeroom teacher! Lin Zhong-qing gave himself a mental fist-pump. Then, he turned to look at Ling Lan, who was standing across from him with his hands folded before him, and doubt rose in his heart.

Subconsciously, he swept his gaze to the area below the stage and saw Li Yingjie's unconcealed anger at Ling Lan's success in the limelight. At that, his mind settled.

Heaven destroys those who don't look out for themselves!

By this time, Little Four had sensed Lin Zhong-qing's intentions. In the mindspace, he was so angry that he was stomping around, insisting that Ling Lan should teach that horrible punk a lesson — better yet, she should beat him up until his own mum couldn't recognise him. Darn it, actually daring to think of using his boss — did he really think his boss would be so easily taken advantage of?

At this moment, Ling Lan was flipping through the files on Lin Zhong-qing which Little Four had passed to her. She found out that Lin Zhong-qing was a commoner child, and tracing back N-generations, all information indicated that his family was of perfectly normal commoner descent. Lin Zhong-qing's [S] rank body and tier-1 mental strength were definitely due to a type of genetic mutation. The child was really quite pitiful. For the sake of money and other benefits, his parents had given him to the military as research material.

However, after six years of research, Lin Zhong-qing was determined as the result of a lucky genetical mishap, and so did not have any research value whatsoever in the stimulation of genetic mutation. As a material with no research value, the military was unconcerned about his whereabouts. Thus, Lin Zhong-qing became a member of the Central Scout Academy this year.

For such a person of 3-lacks (lacking family, lacking money, and lacking power), what was it that pushed him to challenge Ling Lan? If Lin Zhong-qing had only continued to maintain a low profile and avoid attention, he could have smoothly completed his ten years of education at the Central Scout Academy, and then be free to choose the future he wanted.

But he had instead chosen to grandstand, and though he had indeed managed to attract the homeroom teacher's attention, the disadvantages were obviously greater than the benefits, and Lin Zhong-qing did not seem like an impetuous person.

Thinking of this, Ling Lan said, "Little Four, dig a little deeper. I don't think this matter is that simple."

Little Four patted his little chest energetically, saying, "Boss, don't worry, I'll keep a close all-rounded watch on Lin Zhong-qing. I'll definitely find out his secret!" That said, Little Four scarpered off to write out his comprehensive monitoring plan, seeming as if he would not rest until he found out everything there was to know about Lin Zhong-qing. At this moment, Ling Lan made a silent prayer for Lin Zhong-qing. Being targeted by Little Four basically meant that he would have no more secrets to himself.

And so Ling Lan and Lin Zhong-qing's fight ended just like that, but the ripples following the event were not over yet. Among the special class students of the upper grades, rumours spread about a first grade Special Class-A kid who was extremely strong, so much so that his Class-A classmate, who was also within the top 50, had been defeated with just one blow.

Everyone began to anticipate the ranking battles coming in six months. Every year, the top-ranking student of Class-A had the right to challenge across grades. Who knew how far this first year Class-A student could go? How many grades ahead could he defeat? (These people didn't even consider the possibility that Ling Lan wouldn't be the top-ranking student.) At that thought, the first grade students were keyed up, while the upper grade students were eager as well, ready to teach this arrogant upstart a good lesson. (As the rumours spread, they became more and more twisted, finally skewed in such a way that Ling Lan became an extremely strong and capable punk with a terribly arrogant attitude.)

In the fourth grade Special Class-A, a sunny youngster grinned cheekily as he said to his companion beside him, "Shiyu, with such a formidable kid in the first grade, your little cousin brother's position at the top is at risk."

"That brat Yingjie — if he doesn't take a loss, he would really think that he's at the top of the world." Li Shiyu's face was full of contempt as he said this, as if extremely scornful of his own younger cousin.

"You Li family members are really something. If your eldest cousin brother really has no talent, then why do you all insist on making him the first in line to inherit? Causing your entire household to be full of civil strife, so troublesome." The sunshine youngster was grateful that he was born in the Yun family. Although there were also some messy affairs within the family, in comparison with the Li family, those issues were not really issues at all, so his family affairs could even be described as clean.

"Yun Xiu, you look down on my eldest cousin?" Li Shiyu's expression was a little strange as he glanced at him.

Yun Xiu threw a sarcastic look at him, "You think? He's older than you by a few months, but he couldn't even qualify for the Central Scout Academy. I heard he was sent by your grandpa family head to the Li family origin planet of Azure to study at the scout academy there? Looks like your family head isn't optimistic about this first inheritor of your family."

Planet Azure was a third-rate planet, and was one of those planets that were rather behind on resources; it could not compare at all with the premium capital planet of Doha. Typically, any child with even a speck of talent would never be assigned there.

"Who knows ..." Li Shiyu's expression was a little lost. He had not had many encounters with his eldest cousin because ever since his eldest cousin had been born, he had been taken away by Grandfather for personal training. From young, the times they met were fewer than few, countable on just one hand. But even so, he had a very deep impression of this elder cousin brother of his. This profound impression was not due to his status as first inheritor, but was something caused by the very essence of his elder cousin himself.

His eldest cousin had a warm aura about him that invited others close, mysteriously drawing in the people around him. Even if everyone in the Li family said that his eldest cousin wasn't fit to be the first inheritor, he had never seen a trace of resentment or dissatisfaction in his cousin's bearing. That never-changing, warm smile led others to become reflexively happy in his presence.

Although Li Shiyu was also a strong contender for the right to inherit, every time after he met his eldest cousin, the yearning to fight for it would lessen just a little more. Sometimes, he even felt that letting his eldest cousin become the family head wasn't such a bad idea. He would be very willing to help his cousin blaze his way forward, eliminating any rebellious Li family members in his path ...

Li Shiyu shook his head, trying to dislodge this notion. His parents would never allow him to do so. He couldn't help but sigh softly. "My eldest cousin, is hard to understand ... viewing him as an enemy is very difficult."

Ever since their eldest cousin brother left for planet Azure, he had not returned in four years. Quite likely, Li Yingjie had very little memory of this cousin brother, which was why he was so fixated on getting the inheritor position. If he really met their eldest cousin, he would very likely start gradually losing the motivation to steal this right from him.

"The old grandfather of your family is still going strong anyhow. Any fight over the position will still have to wait for many years later. It's still too early to think about all this. But, I'm curious. When that self-important younger cousin of yours gets robbed of his rank at the top, what will his expression be like?" Yun Xiu smirked evilly — it was his favourite thing to see the expressions of those pompous brats who thought they were geniuses when they were being ground into the dirt.

"Ho, so your vulgar taste remains unchanged ... well, you'll see in six months," teased Li Shiyu, expression light and casual. Li Yingjie wasn't the eldest cousin he didn't want to fight; he would gladly see him become a laughing stock. Alright, so brotherly ties were weak in the Li family to begin with — it's just that this generation had produced an oddball like his eldest cousin brother.

"Leave me alone, aren't you even more vulgar? That's your younger cousin, you know." Yun Xiu smacked Li Shiyu's shoulder in mock anger. Li Shiyu's interest in seeing Li Yingjie make a fool of himself was no less than his own, as expected of someone from the Li family.

Li Shiyu just laughed at Yun Xiu. One really didn't need that many friends, sometimes just having one who really understood you was enough.

Ling Lan's study life had officially begun, or we should say, Ling Lan was getting along just fine. Although the homeroom teacher Cheng Yuanhang had treated her rather harshly on her first day, he had changed his original view of her after seeing her impressive performance, and consequently no longer went out of his way to give her trouble. This was one of the pay offs of her battle with Lin Zhong-qing ...

Another pay off was her popularity among the Class-A students. The entire class consisted of boys (Ling Lan's current identity was that of a boy, so we can just ignore this irregular case), and they followed the mentality of 'survival of the fittest'. As such, Ling Lan's defeat of the last place Lin Zhong-qing in one move was greatly admired by all her classmates, so they all wanted to be friends with her. This was because they felt that they themselves would have been unable to pull off what Ling Lan had done.

Of course, there were still some who were averse to Ling Lan, such as the small group that was led by Li Yingjie. They shunned her subtly, and were even a little combative at times.

Regarding this, Ling Lan was apathetic. She had never considered herself as a femme fatale invincible from all angles — someone who had flowers blooming in her presence, people falling at her feet, who caused havoc on heaven and earth, disturbing gods and spirits alike with her beauty ... (Ling Lan was of the opinion that such a woman was definitely not human.) Thus, it was perfectly normal for there to be people who didn't like her. Furthermore, speaking of Li Yingjie, she also didn't like him in return. That smug look of his was just like that of a narcissistic peacock, not cute at all.

Fine, although Ling Lan wasn't a pure 'face-con', she was a certified 'moe-con', only being fond of pretty and adorable children ...

However, the fight didn't just bring Ling Lan good results, it also brought along a large problem.

And that was this uninvited guest, Lin Zhong-qing, before her. Even though Ling Lan had refused the month of service he owed her after he lost his challenge, Lin Zhong-qing would not accept it. He still insisted on paying this debt with full diligence. According to Lin Zhong-qing, you reap what you sow — he took the gamble, so he must pay the price — this was what a true man must do.

A pretty direct translation from the chinese saying, fashioned after other 'complexes' like lolicon, shotacon, and siscon. I don't know if there's an actual English equivalent for this, but it just refers to someone who considers external beauty a key factor in producing strong affection.Like 'face-con', except with 'moe' in place of external beauty. The concept of 'moe' has already been covered in a previous chapter.
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