Frankly, Han Jijyun was overthinking things; clever people were very likely to make this mistake. Ling Lan's words were all just plain reassurances; there was nothing more to it. As for why they worked so well — all we can say is that Ling Lan was just too highly regarded within group 072, so everyone believed her without question.
Their small group walked to the area set aside for the first-grade ranking battles. Along the way, Qi Long subtly tugged on Ling Lan's arm and Ling Lan reflexively slowed her steps.
Seeing that the other companions beside them weren't paying any attention to them, Qi Long whispered quietly, "Boss Lan, has your problem been solved?"
The other companions may not have known about Ling Lan's problem, but as an unintended victim, Qi Long knew very well that when Ling Lan put his full attention into battle, he had issues with losing control.
Ling Lan's heart felt warm as she nodded at Qi Long, saying, "Don't worry, I'm fine now."
Qi Long smiled in visible relief. "That's great." Suddenly, his expression turned serious and he said, "Boss Lan, this time, I will fight with my full strength." When he said this, Qi Long's eyes were full of fighting spirit — it was clear that he really wanted to defeat Ling Lan just once.
Ling Lan nodded, accepting the challenge.
Right then, the two of them felt the communicators on their wrists vibrate powerfully. Their eyes lit up — the notification of their battles had arrived.
Sure enough, the communicators displayed their fighting grounds and match order. Qi Long's fight was at arena 33, the third match, while Ling Lan's was at arena 35, the sixth match.
"Boss Lan, this time, my fight will end before yours." Qi Long was very excited. This way, he wouldn't miss out on watching Ling Lan's fight.
Their other companions had also received their respective notifications. Several of them were browsing through their notifications when Han Xuya abruptly yelled, "Ah ah ah, why is my battle the first match?! Ah, I'm not mentally prepared yet!"
Luo Chao hurriedly consoled her, saying, "Mine's not much better, I'm fighting second."
Luo Shaoyun and Li Jinghong yelled out at the same time. The three of them anxiously stuck out their arms, lining up their communicators in a row so they could compare their fight arenas. When they found that they weren't assigned to the same arena, the three of them let out a breath of relief. Luo Chao in particular was patting her chest lightly, trying to calm her pounding heart. Everyone's luck was pretty decent; they didn't have to fight amongst themselves from the start.
None of them wished to fight one of their own companions and send the other out.
Both Qi Long and Yuan Youyun were up for the third match, but just like the others for the second match, they were at different arenas. Han Jijyun and He Chaoyang were up for the fourth match, again at different arenas, causing all of them to sigh in relief.
Luo Lang was up for the fifth match, while Ling Lan was up for the sixth. Although they didn't know if there was a seventh match or more after that, this was the best arrangement possible for Ling Lan's group. The knowledge that the strongest Ling Lan was going up last, was an intangible source of inspiration and mental support for them.
The first up was Han Xuya. The first match was at arena 32 and she was up against a chubster from the merit classes.
The fights arranged by the academy were never dictated by luck — the students from the special classes would be fighting against those students from the merit and regular classes who had battled their way up, so if those students wanted to rise up beyond their station, they would have to defeat a special class student fair and square.
The two chubby kids standing together on the arena stage made for a humorous picture. Han Xuya, in particular, had a strange quirk — she liked to chew on jerky during battle, so her chubby cheeks were forever bulging, just like an eating hamster.
Of course, only Ling Lan felt this way. The other companions were all watching arena 32 anxiously, waiting for Han Xuya's battle results. They became superstitious at this time, hoping that Han Xuya could bring back the first win and bring them all luck.
Han Xuya didn't let them down; the chubster across her didn't give Han Xuya too much trouble. Not long after the fight began, Han Xuya caught onto one of the opponent's careless mistakes and threw him to the ground. Before the other could climb back up, Han Xuya barrelled right at him like a mini torpedo.
A heavy "BAM!" of impact made Ling Lan and the others observing gasp in sympathetic fright, teeth aching. Sure enough, the little chubster was utterly stunned by Han Xuya's heavyweight blow, allowing Han Xuya to sit on him without much resistance, wherefore she began pummeling him left and right.
The teacher refereeing the match couldn't help but break out into a cold sweat. He hurriedly called an end to the match and declared Han Xuya the winner. He was afraid that the little chubster would end up dying if he yelled any slower.
Smugly, Han Xuya walked off the stage. Qi Long asked Han Jijyun beside him, "Have you all learned a new move?" Han Xuya's teeth-aching method of barrelling into someone was something she couldn't do before.
Han Jijyun nodded and said, "Yes. For this ranking battle, the elders in the family specially arranged some special training and taught us a few tricks we could use right now."
Qi Long's expression grew grim. Most likely, any student with hereditary family martial arts would have had special training in preparation for the ranking battles. This competition wasn't as simple as he thought it would be.
When Luo Chao went up next, this point was proven. Luo Lang and Luo Chao hadn't wasted any of their prep time either. Luo Chao's physical strength was obviously weaker than Han Xuya's. This time, Luo Chao fought in a very smart manner — she didn't engage the opponent directly like Han Xuya, but danced around the opponent, saving her strength as much as possible as she looked for the opponent's weak points.
Luo Chao's opponent was also a member of the merit classes, who had solid basics — even though his every move and stance was nothing special, they also had no obvious weaknesses.
"Your sister may be in trouble," Qi Long commented worriedly. Although he and Luo Lang didn't really get along, he was still rather protective of the bashful Luo Chao. Seeing the fight entering a stalemate, he couldn't help but say something.
Luo Lang's hands had already clenched into fists by his thighs. He was the one who was the most worried for his sister, but he still remained calm as he said, "Don't rush, just wait a little longer ... as long as she can find a weak point, Luo Chao will definitely be able to defeat the opponent." Luo Lang had seen Luo Chao's hard work all this time; he hoped Luo Chao's efforts wouldn't go to waste here.
This match was the longest of all the first-grade matches — Luo Chao's match was still unfinished by the time Luo Shaoyun and Li Jinghong returned. And at this moment, Qi Long and Yuan Youyun had already received the notification to get ready, for their matches were about to start.
Qi Long and Yuan Youyun hadn't left for long when Luo Chao's movement speed slowed noticeably, and Luo Lang's expression changed dramatically.
At the same time, Luo Chao's opponent was startled for a moment, but then his eyes gleamed with joy. He quickly sped forwards and thrust a fist directly at Luo Chao's chest.
Although Luo Chao had quick reflexes, turning her body to evade, her left shoulder was still hit, and a trace of pain appeared on her young face. However, her left hand didn't slow down at all, grabbing hold of the opponent's right arm which had struck her.
"Not good!" The opponent felt his right arm being grabbed and knew that he was in trouble. As expected, Luo Chao's right fist came right at him but he had no way to dodge. Who'd have expected that such a delicate-looking girl would have the courage to exchange a fist for a fist — this was thoroughly a lose-lose situation where both sides would be injured.
"Oh no! They're both hurt! Is Little Sister Luo Chao alright?" Seeing this scene, the newly returned Luo Shaoyun and Li Jinghong couldn't help but exclaim in shock — they really liked this pretty sister of Luo Lang's.
Luo Lang said nothing in response but looked at the scene with a cold expression. Equally injured? Not necessarily!
Luo Chao's opponent naturally didn't want to just take Luo Chao's punch without resisting — he brought up his left arm in a horizontal block in front of his chest and readied himself to take Luo Chao's attack. In his opinion, girls were naturally weaker so his left arm should be enough to parry the attack and diffuse the power behind it.
However, when Luo Chao's fist met his shoulder, he felt a great surge of energy crashing onto it and then a snapping sound could be heard coming from his left arm. Intense pain radiated from his arm straight to his heart and he couldn't help but scream, "Aaaaaah ..."
Luo Shaoyun gulped. "Luo Lang, is your sister a freakishly strong woman?" This strength appeared to be even stronger than his own. It should be noted that children nowadays had extremely sturdy bodies due to the absorption of gene agents to repair and supplement the body. Although it wasn't at the level of copper skin and iron bones, it was still strong enough that normal levels of strength shouldn't be able to hurt them.
"No, this is one of our family combat techniques — One-Inch Punch!" Luo Lang wasn't secretive about it and he started giving Luo Shaoyun and the others a detailed explanation.
The One-Inch Punch wasn't an advanced technique; many families had similar strike techniques, so Luo Lang wasn't worried about others knowing its name. If the technique wasn't orally taught along with a physical demonstration, observers wouldn't be able to learn its secrets, so there was no need to fear it being stolen by others.
"Little Four, did you save a recording of Luo Chao's attack earlier?" Ling Lan's eyes lit up. This sort of strike technique was pretty good — it would be a good idea to take some time in the future to research it.
"Saved." Little Four's answer was met with Ling Lan's hearty approval. When Ling Lan wasn't paying attention, Little Four smugly made a victory 'V' with one hand. He would never tell Ling Lan that everything that had happened throughout her life, every moment from her birth till now, could be found within his databases. There would never be any storage problems.
Seeing that the child's arm was broken, the teacher in charge of Luo Chao's arena immediately called a stop to the match and declared Luo Chao the winner. Although Luo Chao's opponent was unwilling to surrender, he could do nothing to fight this result and so could only walk off the stage with teary eyes. This time, he had lost due to impatience. He shouldn't have rushed, for his chances of winning had actually been much higher than Luo Chao's.
Luo Chao leapt at her brother excitedly and Luo Lang caught her in a hug. But then, with an unhappy expression, he chided, "Why did you use this method?" Although he was happy that his sister won, he didn't want his sister to win in a way which required her to get injured.
Luo Chao peered up timidly at Luo Lang. "My stamina was running out, and the opponent was still very steady, revealing no weak points. has said before that my attacking speed is very slow, so, if I didn't use this method, I was afraid I wouldn't be able to hit him."
Luo Chao still wanted to nag, but Han Xuya interrupted a little unhappily, "It's fine as long as she won — did you want to see Luo Chao lose?"
Luo Lang was flabbergasted. "H-how could I?" And with that, he couldn't scold Luo Chao anymore. After all, Luo Chao had won!
Luo Chao sighed internally and sent a grateful look at Han Xuya. She still wasn't good at handling her elder brother's disapproving gaze. Surreptitiously, she glanced at Ling Lan and found Ling Lan looking back at her with a bright smile on his face and approval in his eyes. Her face bloomed red instantly.
He ... is looking at me now! Luo Chao felt as if she was going to faint; her heart was throbbing so violently.
"Eh? Boss, after that little girl looked at you, she looks like she's going to faint. Oh, it must be that you're too fierce and scared her." Little Four recalled the violence he was subjected to when he first met Ling Lan and immediately empathised.Referenced Wikipedia for this. Apparently, it's a favoured technique of Bruce Lee's as well.