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Lin Zhong-qing's decision was supported by many of the students in Class-A — even teacher Cheng Yuanhang was full of approval — but Ling Lan was aggravated by it.

Bastard! Ling Lan cursed in a very unladylike fashion, extremely disdainful of the people who supported Lin Zhong-qing's high-handed way of doing things. Was causing trouble to others really something a real man would do?

Alright, perhaps if she really was a boy, she wouldn't be so confused by this. But dammit, she was a girl, definitely a girl, forever a girl ... if she let a boy serve her in such close range, and if the truth came out, how would she still get married in the future? Ling Lan had still not given up on the idea of getting married as her true self in the future, primarily because she really wanted to give birth to a child of her own to play with.

Adding up the ages of both her lifetimes, she was already an old lady of over 30 years old. Her mental age was definitely at that particular stage where she desperately wanted to get married and have kids. However, Ling Lan was still rational and knew that she could only think about it for now. If she really wanted to have a child, she would still need to wait for this body to mature, and for that, she would still need to wait for about ten years ... or was it twenty years?

When the horrific concept of twenty whole years crashed into Ling Lan's awareness, Ling Lan was immediately reduced to tears. How was she to pass her days from now on? Did she really have to wait until her mental age was already at the level of the grand Monkey King, Sun Wukong, before she would be able to wed and have kids?

While Ling Lan was still caught up in her melancholic musings and her endless resentment at the cruel drag of time, completely lost in her own mind, that extremely troublesome person in her life right now appeared again.

"Classmate Ling Lan, here are the notes for the previous theory class that I've spent all night compiling." Respectfully, Lin Zhong-qing came over to hand over a blu-ray USB storage drive from this world. The storage drive was very advanced — one only had to align one's wrist-communicator to face the drive and turn on the blu-ray function to transfer all the data within the drive into the communicator, to be read at the user's convenience.

Ling Lan wasn't sure whether to laugh or cry at Lin Zhong-qing's good intentions. She really had no need at all for any notes, for Little Four had the ability to record the entire lecture of a teacher, available for her to peruse whenever she needed.

Of course, Little Four's supremacy could only be fully realised within this period of time — when it came to the second half of the year, the first grade students would be allowed to enter the virtual world to study, so they would no longer have to fear being left helpless when they couldn't understand their lessons.

In the virtual world, all the academy's courses had an equivalent virtual counterpart. However, every time one accessed these virtual classes, one would have to spend credits (i.e. money), or use battle points to redeem credits for use.

Lin Zhong-qing's way of doing things was just a troublesome annoyance to Ling Lan, but a particular little brat had been utterly driven up the wall by him.

Within the mindspace, Little Four was throwing a violent tantrum. He felt that Lin Zhong-qing was taunting him, challenging him for his treasured position as Ling Lan's number one follower. The infuriated Little Four lifted the kitchen knife in his hand up high (who knows where he got it from), and swung it around impassionedly. This caused Ling Lan's eyelid to twitch nervously, fearful that Little Four would accidentally cut himself.

Vehemently, Little Four swished the kitchen knife down before him, raging, "I'll kill him. I must kill him. Boss, don't you stop me!"

But I've never even thought of stopping you! Ling Lan would really like to say that, but unfortunately she was afraid that Little Four would start to cry as if tears were free — that amount of tears would certainly be enough to turn her mindspace into an endless ocean ... and she really didn't want to drown to death.

Head aching, she rubbed her forehead and said helplessly, "Little Four, are you able to kill him right now?" Hells, how would an incorporeal Little Four kill a flesh-and-blood Lin Zhong-qing? Don't bring up things that are impossible; people will just laugh at you.

Realizing how idiotic his actions have been thus far, Little Four threw away his little kitchen knife, and pounced on Ling Lan to cling to her thigh as he whined, "Boss, you'll definitely help me, right?"

Was this how the rumoured 'thigh-hugging' felt like? Hn, it truly feels pretty good. Little Four rubbed his face against Ling Lan's thigh. Although Little Four was still just a little bean right now, his actions were already moving towards becoming a little pervert.

Unaware that she was being taken advantage of, Ling Lan stared at Little Four's shameless actions and a vein throbbed on her brow. She dearly wished she could just grab Little Four and give him a good beating. Unfortunately, she had already promised Little Four that she would not resort to domestic violence, so this wish had to be left unfulfilled. This made Ling Lan feel that she had agreed too hastily in the beginning. If she had only known then how much worry Little Four would cause her, she would definitely never have simply agreed to this condition just to cheer him up then.

However, Little Four's next words thoroughly chased away all of these thoughts from Ling Lan's mind. Cold sweat started to flow freely from her pores, and even her legs felt a little weak. "Boss! Just you wait, the moment he logs on to the virtual world, I'll definitely show him! I'll make sure he dies silently within the virtual world, hehehe!"

Little Four's sinister demeanour caused the hairs on Ling Lan's back to stand — how had she forgotten about Little Four's powers within the virtual world? Finally understanding that Little Four's words were not just idle threats, Ling Lan panicked.

That's right. Although she did feel that Lin Zhong-qing was bothersome, and also wanted to get rid of this bother — that didn't mean she wanted him to die! No matter what, Lin Zhong-qing was still an adorable little kid ... although she didn't like this kid so much since he was a little complicated.

She rushed to talk down Little Four, speaking gently to try and dispel this terrifying notion from Little Four's mind. "Little Four, don't worry, that punk is no threat to you. Little Four will forever be the most precious follower in my mind."

At this moment, Ling Lan was unstinting with all the flowery sweet talk she could muster, just so she could get rid of Little Four's killing intent. All this to save a totally irrelevant 'Villager A' — why was life so hard?

Ling Lan's words made Little Four blush instantly. Happily wriggling his little bottom, he asked coyly, "The most precious, most important, number one follower, right?"

Ling Lan nodded decisively. "That's right. Little Four is my most precious, most important, number one follower — no one can take away your position. So Little Four, you can just enjoy looking down upon the other followers fighting beneath you ..."

Er ... she had never thought of continuing to collect followers though ... why did the conversation take such a weird turn as she was speaking with Little Four? Dammit, it must be Little Four's fault. He must have some strange ability to distort the topic of conversation. Ling Lan resolutely put all the blame on Little Four.

Little Four had no idea what Ling Lan was thinking, but hearing what Ling Lan said, he seemed to come to some realisation. "Boss, I understand now. You mean, those other followers are all followers of this follower!" he said, pointing to himself gleefully.

Ling Lan could almost cry. That wasn't really what she meant, right?! Unfortunately, at that moment, she didn't dare not to nod. If Little Four went crazy again, it could be predicted that half a year later, a large swathe of Special Class-A students would be dead. That would definitely result in a terrifying upheaval, and she would most likely be implicated. Therefore, she needed to stop Little Four now.

Alright, so Ling Lan didn't really have the saintly love of a matron goddess; in the end, she was still just looking out for herself.

Decision made, Ling Lan nodded again firmly. In her mind, a scene formed where Qi Long, Han Jijyun, Luo Lang, and the others were chasing the kiddy Little Four around yelling out 'big bro', while Little Four had his little hands on his waist, laughing long and loud into the sky above.

Ling Lan was instantly pained, sweating internally as she made a silent apology: Sorry dear brothers, for the sake of world peace, and humanity's safety, you all will just have to put up with this.

Because she had never imagined that she would actually bring this "nuclear weapon" down upon this world — she was culpable!

Finally, it seemed that Little Four was hit by Ling Lan's candy-wrapped missiles, and calmed down. He stated grandly that he would be merciful, and let that Lin Zhong-qing go this once.

When Ling Lan heard this, she immediately turned up the sugar level, cajoling Little Four until he was all smiles again, no longer having any thought of almost losing his precious number one follower position. Only then could Ling Lan relax and turn her attention to the sticky problem of Lin Zhong-qing. When all was said and done, the root of all the problems was Lin Zhong-qing.

This time, Ling Lan no longer wanted to reject diplomatically. She pushed the USB drive back directly, and said coolly, "I don't need it." She had even refrained from putting it more politely — do you see how much effort she was expending just to save this fellow? Even Qi Long and the others had had to pay a 'painful' price for this objective, although they weren't aware of it ...

Ling Lan's brusque refusal froze Lin Zhong-qing's expression, but he soon regained his composure. He hesitantly took back the blu-ray USB drive, and pretended not to notice Ling Lan's cool dismissal, continuing to ask with a smile, "Classmate Ling Lan, where will you all be going later?"

There was just one period of Mandarin class in the early afternoon, and then it was all free time until lunch time. As Ling Lan's personal attendant, Lin Zhong-qing needed to know what Ling Lan was going to do next.

Ling Lan merely glanced coolly at him, saying nothing. Ling Lan already had no more patience to continue going back and forth with Lin Zhong-qing.

Beside her, Han Jijyun seemed to have picked up on Ling Lan's mood, so he spoke up, "Lin Zhong-qing, we do not welcome you here, and we do not need your so-called service. We hope that you do not come looking for our Boss Lan anymore."

Being rejected formally and verbally for the first time, Lin Zhong-qing could no longer maintain his smile. His face fell and he looked at Ling Lan with a troubled expression. However, this time he did not continue to cling on with words, but just bowed politely to Ling Lan before he turned and left.

Lin Zhong-qing's abrupt departure puzzled Qi Long. "What does he mean by that? Will he not bother us anymore?"

Uncertainly, Luo Lang replied, "Probably. We've already said it so clearly."

Han Jijyun watched Lin Zhong-qing's gradually departing figure, and his brows furrowed as he said, "Boss Lan, this person ... is probably not so easy to chase off."

Ling Lan nodded. "Yes. Him sticking to me is not because he lost the challenge, but for some other purpose."

Han Jijyun was startled. "What purpose?" He had not sensed anything at all, thinking all this time that Lin Zhong-qing was simply doing this so he could fulfil his bet, to show how trustworthy he was and gain some brownie points in the teachers' eyes.

At this moment, Han Jijyun felt a little lost; he had self-categorized himself as the intelligent strategist in Ling Lan's group. He had categorized himself this way because his combat ability was no match for Qi Long's — Qi Long was a natural born fighter, certain to be a high-level mecha operator in the future. Already aware of Qi Long's superior combat prowess, Han Jijyun was mentally prepared, and so wasn't too depressed by it. But he had never expected that Luo Lang, who joined in later on, would also be stronger than him in combat ability. This caused him to abruptly lose his self-set place, so he had no choice but to search for a different position he could fill. Very quickly, he had noticed that their group was still lacking a wise strategist. With regards to this character setting, Han Jijyun felt that he was quite suited to the task. So although he didn't state it outright in front of his companions, his actions and the learning courses he chose all started leaning in that direction, a clear sign of his determination.

However, Ling Lan's words floored him once again. Could it be that he wasn't suited for this character setting after all? The more Han Jijyun thought about it, the more insecure he felt, and his mood dipped significantly.

Seeing Han Jijyun's expression change, Ling Lan felt a headache coming on again. Why did these little fellows by her side all require so much care?

Ling Lan could only deepen her wry smile and say, "Actually, I'm not too sure myself. It's just that every time Lin Zhong-qing looks at me, his gaze gives me that sort of feeling ... perhaps I'm just thinking too much."

Although Ling Lan's expression was a little exaggerated to the point of suspicion, those words weren't actually lies. She really still wasn't sure what Lin Zhong-qing's motives were in trying so hard to get on her good side. However, Ling Lan wasn't anxious. She believed that with the passage of time, she would naturally learn of the other's plan.

Besides, they were all just six year old brats right now, not involved in much power struggles for wealth or political clout. No matter how much Lin Zhong-qing plotted, not much harm could come to Ling Lan. This was yet another reason why Ling Lan was not at all impatient, and could just ignore Lin Zhong-qing.

Ling Lan's words let Han Jijyun temporarily push away the uncertainty in his heart. With a serious expression, he said, "Since Boss Lan has said so, there must be something wrong with Lin Zhong-qing. We need to be a little more careful." Despite Ling Lan's rather ambiguous explanation involving intuition, Han Jijyun decided to put his faith in her full-heartedly, and started cautioning the others to be more alert.

It wasn't just Han Jijyun who trusted Ling Lan — even Qi Long and Luo Lang were the same, nodding firmly to show that they understood.

The unquestioning faith of her companions surprised Ling Lan slightly, and an indescribable swell of warmth rose within her heart. Was this what was meant by the trust of one's companions?

In her previous life, Ling Lan had always been stuck in the hospital, constantly struggling at the border between life and death. She had never experienced what the term 'companion' meant, but now, Ling Lan felt as if she understood it a bit better.

It was soon proved that Han Jijyun's judgement was very accurate — Lin Zhong-qing was not someone who easily backed down.

At noon, Ling Lan and the others had just walked into the school canteen when they heard a familiar voice cry out, "Classmate Ling Lan, here, over here."

Ling Lan lifted her head and looked over, and saw Lin Zhong-qing waving at them enthusiastically with a wide smile on his face, just as if that awkward situation earlier that afternoon had not happened at all. She was thoroughly impressed by Lin Zhong-qing's thick skin. Already having been denied so heartlessly, how could he still greet them so passionately? This child's resilience was really just too strong.

Qi Long and the others looked at one another, unsure how they were supposed to react. All their lives, they've never met such an agreeable child — they couldn't find it in themselves to keep rejecting Lin Zhong-qing in the face of his unreserved smile. Even the typically cold-hearted Han Jijyun had nothing to say.

Ling Lan exhaled a quiet breath. Fine, she too found it impossible to continue refusing such a resilient child, so she said, "Let's get to know him a little better. The four of us, against one of him — no matter what how you look at it, we won't lose."

These words were unanimously approved by all three of her companions, and so they headed towards the beckoning Lin Zhong-qing.

However, internally, Ling Lan was more vigilant than ever. This Lin Zhong-qing was so unbelievably tolerant — what he wanted must not be trivial.

She couldn't help but sigh again. The children of this world were definitely non-human ... even with two lives worth of experience, she could only stay ahead of them by a little. If she compared her true six year old self from her previous world with these children, she would undoubtedly lose all the way to distant Siberia.

A character from the Chinese classic  who has a really, really, really long life.A concept that has been covered in a previous chapter. Here, it functions as a pun since Little Four wants to rely on Ling Lan's help (metaphorical meaning) but is also literally hugging her thigh.Literal phrase here was 'her tofu was being eaten'. If your tofu is being eaten by someone, it means they are taking advantage of you physically, typically via molestation of some sort. As for the origin of the phrase ... perhaps smooth white skin just looks like tofu to the Chinese?This a rather literal translation, but I thought it was cute so I kept it. :p Basically, lose really, really badly.
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