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It wasn't long before the mid-year wide-scale rankings were finally here, and the theoretical exams for various subjects were the first to be held. Ling Lan was very confident regarding these exams. She always had a great memory and now she also had the ultimate cheating machine, Little Four, so it was almost impossible for her not to get full marks.

However, Ling Lan soon found that she had celebrated too soon. Any child who could enter Special Class-A was no simpleton — their IQs were all terrifyingly high, as proven by the publicized scores on the digital bulletin board. Almost all the Class-A students scored full marks, with the exception of a few kids who lost one or two marks out of carelessness.

Alright, so only two students didn't get full marks, and one of them was Qi Long. Furthermore, he was the one who had the most marks deducted, one mark each for two subjects, tragically putting him in the last place of Special Class-A, which Qi Long felt was a great loss of face.

There was no helping it. His brash and forthright personality made it impossible for him to be as detail-oriented as Han Jijyun and Luo Lang — lacking the patience to check his work, he could only lose marks. Luckily for him, he only made minor errors in two subjects; based on Han Jijyun's pre-exam prediction, Qi Long would have at least lost marks in three to four subjects.

Meanwhile, the other student had only been deducted one mark. But that one mark was enough to drop him below rank 100, for among the children of the other classes, there were more than a few who scored full marks as well.

Of course, Qi Long, who had been deducted two marks, was no longer even within the top two hundred. One could clearly see just how intense the competition was within the academy.

Of course, the current rankings were only temporary — the final rankings were still pending on the combat results, for that was where the real test was. The Central Scout Academy placed the highest priority on combat arts. As long as you defeated everyone, even if your theory grades were average, you would still be the uncontested number one of the Central Scout Academy.

Of course, the theory grades were not unimportant, for the combat exams were held under an elimination system. The children who were eliminated would be given their final rank based on their theory results. Only if two eliminated students happened to have the same theory results, then the two of them would have to go through an additional combat match to determine their final rank.

For example, when the top 8 progressed into the top 4, four students would be eliminated. Based on their theory grades, the one with the highest score would automatically be ranked 5th, and so on and so forth. In the situation where same scores appear, like say the 5th and 6th place had the same theory marks, then the 5th and 6th would have an additional fight to determine the actual 5th and 6th places. If this happened with the 7th and 8th, it would be the same thing, where the 7th and 8th would battle to confirm the 7th and 8th ranks. If the 6th and the 7th had the same theory grades, then the 5th rank and the 8th rank would be confirmed first, and then the 6th and 7th would battle each other to determine the true 6th and 7th ranks ...

Therefore, the theory results were not very important for the winners but were crucial for those who failed. At times, the difference of just one theory mark could spell the difference between heaven and earth.

And so, the much anticipated ranking tournament officially began within the combat hall of the Central Scout Academy.

Because this was the combat ranking battles held every six months, all the arenas in the combat hall were opened. The options for closed battles were removed so all the battles could be displayed openly for public viewing. The students could choose to spectate in person or watch a live broadcast of the all the arena ranking battles from their dorms.

The ranking battles were fought on an elimination system — the ten grades of the scout academy were split across approximately three thousand arenas. On the first day, those participating in the ranking battles were just the regular class students. The winners would then move on to the second day to battle the merit class students. On the third day, the Special Class-B students would officially join in, while Special Class-A would only take part on the fourth day.

These few days, Ling Lan had just stayed put in her own villa. She told the others that she was meditating to centre herself, but in truth, she was actually entering the learning space and making full use of the time she had left to resolve the problem of her loss of mental control.

Ever since she had confirmed her desire to have an excellent kid as her purpose for becoming strong, when Ling Lan had once again accepted a bloody mission from the learning space, she actually found that she would no longer lose herself like before when she entered combat mode. She could retain a little of her awareness now — though this duration was short, it was still undoubtedly a good sign, giving Ling Lan hope that she would be able to regain full control of herself.

Ling Lan was glad that she had the learning space. The ranking battle was almost here so there wasn't much time left in reality, but her time could be considerably extended within the learning space. Without any hesitation, Ling Lan had taken the initiative to ask Instructor Number Five to extend the time within the learning space to the maximum so that she would have sufficient time to resolve her problem.

She knew that this decision would also extend her time of suffering under Instructor Number Five's hands, but in order to accomplish her objectives, Ling Lan no longer feared anything.

Number Five was extremely receptive to Ling Lan's request for further self-torture and had agreed without question. After three years time (time which had been prolonged by the learning space) of bitter suffering, Ling Lan regained her sobriety bit by bit. Finally, she succeeded in mastering her self-control within the time limit. Moreover, due to the additional torments she had endured within this period of time, her heart had become unbelievably strong, and her mental strength had become extremely solid.

Ling Lan believed that, even if the world were to be destroyed before her eyes now, she would be able to face it with a calm face and a steady heart, as serene as ever.

While she had succeeded in mastering her mind, Ling Lan had also discovered that she now had a new understanding of the combat arts she had previously learned ...

Early on the fourth day, Ling Lan, who had perfectly resolved her control problems, left her residence.

She had just arrived at the hover car stop when she saw Qi Long and the other two boys waiting for her a little further ahead.

When Han Jijyun saw Ling Lang arrive, he used the sensor to call for a hover car to bring the four of them to the colossal combat hall.

Right now, the combat hall was not as crowded as it had been in the last three days. After all, only 200 combatants were left for each grade, so the total of all ten grades only made up 2000 people. Adding on the friends and classmates who were here to spectate, there was still only 5000 to 6000 people. Compared to the first day when there were 70 to 80 thousand people rubbing shoulders, this was nothing.

"Qi Long, here, here!" A strident voice rang out from a corner of the combat hall. Ling Lan looked over and saw that it was the two girls, Han Xuya and Luo Chao, and beside them were some of the other original group 072 members.

Luo Lang was very excited and was the first to rush over while Qi Long, who had been called for directly, naturally went together with Luo Lang. Ling Lan and Han Jijyun shared a smile, and then slowly walked over as well.

The female dormitory where Han Xuya and Luo Chao were staying was on the opposite end of Qi Long and the other three's dorm, so it wasn't very convenient for them to meet up anywhere else but here in the combat hall.

"You all came too." Ling Lan nodded in greeting to the others.

"Yup, we've all been lucky enough to squeeze into the top 200." Li Jinghong was the one who spoke up. As a member of the merit class, he was thrilled to make it into the top 200. It should be known that there were 2000 students in the merit classes. Anyone who could enter the top 200 was undeniably outstanding, for among these top 200, the 50 Special Class-A students were also included.

"Good luck. As long as you win one fight, you might have a chance to enter the special classes," Qi Long cheerfully encouraged Li Jinghong as he patted his shoulders. The top 100 were the special class students, with the only difference being whether one was in Class-A or Class-B.

If Li Jinghong really managed to win his upcoming battle, he would definitely be considered a successful contender and would probably become the centre of attention for a long while.

Li Jinghong was a little embarrassed. "I don't dare to think that far. Everyone here is strong — I can only say that in the earlier fights, I was a bit luckier. The opponents I faced were all not very strong."

Hearing this, He Chaoyang, who was also in the merit classes with Li Jinghong, was a little displeased. "Jinghong, it doesn't matter if we can do it or not, but we shouldn't lose our spirits. Since we've already made it here, we should fight our best."

Li Jinghong was enlightened, and nodded energetically, "Chaoyang, you're right. Since we're already in the top 200, if we don't try our best then it wouldn't be fair to our previous efforts."

"That's how it should be." He Chaoyang smiled. The two of them were the only two of the 072 group to enter the merit classes. Being in the same environment had made them become very close — they'd helped each other, supporting one another as they progressed together.

Seeing this, Luo Shaoyun said worriedly, "Ah, Li Jinghong and He Chaoyang are working so hard ... looks like our positions aren't safe."

Luo Shaoyun's words caused Han Xuya and Luo Chao to become worried in turn.

"You're still alright, but it'll be difficult to say for little Luo Chao and me." Han Xuya sighed heavily. She found that the pressure from entering Special Class-B was much higher than that of entering the merit classes. This time, she had only narrowly made it into the top 200 — if the opponent hadn't fallen over before she had from a lack of stamina, she might already have lost in the battle moving from 400 to 200. Heaven knows if she would be able to continue on this time ... if she couldn't make it into the top 100, she would drop into the merit classes.

Staring at her own fingers, Luo Chao timidly said, "I ... I'm also very worried."

Her expression rendered Luo Lang speechless — unfortunately, he couldn't fight on behalf of his sister, otherwise he would definitely not let Luo Chao be so worried.

"At this stage, it's no longer a matter of just strength, but more of spirit." Seeing the misgivings on the two girls' faces, Ling Lan, who was also a girl at heart, couldn't help but speak up.

"How so?" Apart from Qi Long, Luo Lang, and Han Jijyun, the other children all looked at Ling Lan with expectant faces, hoping that Ling Lan would enlighten them.

"The strength of those who managed to enter the top 200 is actually roughly the same, so it's possible for either side to win. In the end, victory will depend on whose confidence is stronger, and whose endurance is greater, that's all." Ling Lan kept her arms folded behind her back, and secretly crossed her fingers. Her intent was just to encourage them; she wouldn't take any responsibility for anything beyond that ...

Han Xuya's gaze brightened. "Just like my previous match! I just have to hold on for a second longer than my opponent, and victory will be mine."

Ling Lan nodded, indicating that what Han Xuya said was right.

Luo Chao looked at Ling Lan, blushing, and thought to herself: "Ling Lan definitely must not like girls who give up easily. Yes, I must work hard, I must hold on until the end ..."

Ling Lan settled everyone's nervous jitters with a few words, and their eyes all began to shine with confidence. Han Jijyun stared keenly at Ling Lan. He hadn't expected Ling Lan to be so astoundingly proficient at handling the hearts of people as well — where the hell did he come from really? An elite family? Some unknown formidable force? Or perhaps ...

Han Jijyun didn't dare to probe too deeply. He took a deep breath and pushed aside all the stray thoughts in his mind. He warned himself — Ling Lan was just Ling Lan, their Boss Lan. All he needed to do was remember this.

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