Ling Lan glared at Little Four exasperatedly, "You still have the free time to worry about other people? Have you figured out the secrets of that One-Inch Punch yet?"
At those words, Little Four puffed out his cheeks. This request of his boss was just too unreasonable — how could the secrets of the One-Inch Punch be so easily deciphered? Such little consideration for her followers, this was obviously child labour abuse!
Hmph, he wanted to lodge a complaint ... er, that is, find a helper!
Little Four's gaze was mournful as he took one last glance at Ling Lan, whose attention had already shifted back to the outside world, and slowly disappeared from the mind-space, going heaven knows where.
Luo Chao's victorious return gave Luo Lang and the others the heart to go check out Luo Shaoyun's and Li Jinghong's battle results. As expected, Luo Shaoyun successfully advanced into the top 100, but Li Jinghong failed. The students of Special Class-A were not herbivores — to achieve an upset was really as difficult as mounting the heavens.
When Luo Lang discovered who Li Jinghong's opponent was, he couldn't help but pity him for his bad luck. It turned out that Li Jinghong's opponent was the second-rank, Wu Jiong. Even Luo Lang himself was uncertain if he could beat that fellow for sure — if they fought, the odds would be fifty-fifty, or perhaps Luo Lang's odds of winning might be even lower.
Not long after, Qi Long bounded back happily. His opponent had been someone from the merit classes, and so had not given him much trouble. He had handily defeated the other within ten moves and now returned triumphant.
Meanwhile, Yuan Youyun was still fighting and probably wouldn't be done for a while longer. Soon after, the fourth matches began. Han Jijyun and He Chaoyang went up, and they were followed by Luo Lang for the fifth match and Ling Lan for the sixth match. Just like that, they all took their turns on stage, and Ling Lan's group of ten finished their fights for the first half of the day.
Both Li Jinghong and He Chaoyang from the merit classes had ended their run, while the remaining eight had successfully entered the top 100, guaranteeing their places in the special classes. Clearly, the positions of the original special class students were very secure; for any child from the merit classes to overthrow anyone, the journey was still long.
Of the students who advanced to the top 100, Ling Lan was the one who advanced the most easily — defeating the merit class student she was up against with just one move. Of course, this method of winning almost crumbled the other child's confidence. Luckily, the refereeing teacher immediately provided some counselling and spiritual guidance, thus saving the child's future. Because of this, Ling Lan received quite a few displeased glares from that teacher. His gaze was clearly saying that she should have shown some mercy and let her opponent show off some moves at least, why did she have to be so ruthless ...
Against the teacher's pointed gaze, Ling Lan could only rub her nose and quietly slink away. Frankly, she could not be blamed. The moment her opponent had moved, she had clearly seen the other's weak point. This weak point had shone with such a brilliant light that she had thrown a punch before she knew it. By the time she was aware of it, the opponent had already been knocked off the stage, so it was too late even if she wanted to let the other show off a few moves.
Aside from the oddball Ling Lan, the next best results were those who managed to defeat their opponents in ten moves. There were quite a few in that category — the top 5 of Special Class-A all managed it, along with Qi Long and Luo Lang.
Just like that, the battles in the first half of the day were over. Li Jinghong and He Chaoyang collected their emotions and happily joined in the celebrations of their companions who advanced. Together, they came to the school canteen and prepared to indulge in a good feast to reward themselves.
Ling Lan decided to be generous at that moment, agreeing to withdraw 5000 credits so they could order several delicacies and treats they'd been drooling over for a long time in celebration. All of them ate happily. After eating their fill and resting for a bit, they welcomed the second round of the fights for the day where the top 100 would be narrowed down to the top 50. In other words, it was the final battles to determine the Class-A positions.
Because the number of combatants had been halved, there were only three match slots in the afternoon battle rounds. Ling Lan was no longer the finishing act this time, but was up first instead.
Ling Lan's opponent was a student from Special Class-B. In these top 100 to top 50 advancement rounds, the Special Class-A students would not be placed in a situation where they'd have to face one another. The academy wouldn't be so brain dead as to let the outstanding students face off so early and lose their chance to advance that way. Therefore, if the Class-B students wanted to enter Class-A, they would have to defeat a Class-A student to prove their worth.
The moment Ling Lan stepped on stage, she sensed an extremely blatant warning stare. She looked towards the source of the stare and immediately felt a little guilty, cold sweat beading her forehead. Dammit, why was her luck so terrible?
It turned out that the referee in charge of their arena was, of all people, the same teacher referee from her morning bout. Seeing Ling Lan appear, the narrowed gaze of the teacher was filled with warning, wordlessly telling her that she should tone down a little and not hurry to end things this time. No matter what, she should still leave some room for her peer to keep his confidence.
Ling Lan secretly wiped off the sweat from her forehead, reminding herself that she could not make the same mistake as in the previous round. For this reason, she purposefully put both arms behind her back and gripped each arm with the other tightly, so they would keep each other under control. This way, no matter how strong her reflexes were, she wouldn't be able to move so quickly.
Although Ling Lan was doing all this out of good intentions, in the other's eyes, Ling Lan's action of putting both arms behind her was really just too arrogant and obviously demeaning. He felt as if he had been shamed; his small young face turned bright red in anger.
The moment he heard the referee yell 'start', he pounced. There was no probing involved; he attacked directly with a powerful whirlwind side kick. The force behind the kick could certainly be considered as all the strength his body could muster — it was clear just how angry the opponent was, almost driven to the edge of irrationality, which was why he had charged headlong at Ling Lan to attack without any other considerations.
Regardless of how much Ling Lan had prepared before the fight, it was all, unfortunately, useless. Ling Lan saw the opponent's fierce kick coming at her, and as it got closer and closer, an absolutely fatal opening appeared before her.
Typically, any move, when nearing the end of its force, would have this sort of opening. The only question was, how big the opening was.
Ling Lan's reflexes were definitely top-notch. Seeing this opening, she didn't even have time to think, reflexively counterattacking ...
Wasn't Ling Lan's arms gripping onto each other behind her back? Why could she still counterattack?
Indeed, Ling Lan's arms were gripped tightly with no way of attacking. However, who asked the opponent to attack with his feet? Thus, Ling Lan also reflexively fought back with her feet, instinctively sending a leg kicking out.
When her foot slammed heavily into a human body, she already knew that she had messed up. Unfortunately, by this time, it was too late for her to pull back her strength. The one saving grace was that she had not used the Wave Stacking Art she had learned from the learning space and had even controlled her own physical strength to 50%.
Even so, the opponent was still sent flying off the stage by her kick. This beautifully clean kick drew shocked gasps from all the students in the audience, as well as made the senior students who had inadvertently witnessed the scene sober up. The scene also drew the infuriated gaze of the teacher referee. Dammit, didn't I ask you to take it easy? Why are you doing it again and again and again ...
The teacher's eyes were full of resentment and blame — Ling Lan couldn't take it any longer and shrunk back, jumping off the stage to slip away.
Ling Lan's clean and decisive one-move defeat of her opponent drew the attention of all the first grade students. Remember, Ling Lan's opponent had been a Special Class-B student — although the Class-A students were indeed stronger then the Class-B students by a head, it wasn't at the level where the former would be able to defeat the latter in just one move. Ling Lan's impressive performance caused everyone to start speculating in secret. Ling Lan was most likely the strongest within the first grade — the current best student or first rank was all just in name.
The subsequent matches seemed to prove the point. The Class-A first-rank Li Yingjie had gone up against a Class-B student and had only managed to defeat the other after 28 moves. This result, in comparison with the results of previous years, was actually quite outstanding. Unfortunately, in comparison with the aberrant Ling Lan, Li Yingjie's performance became extremely average. This caused Li Yingjie to be filled with anger and hatred, and he now had yet another reason to hate Ling Lan: That arrogant fellow had stolen the wind from his sails, he was really too despicable ...
Qi Long's performance was also pretty good — he managed to defeat his opponent at the 30th move — while Luo Lang did a little worse, but also managed to defeat his opponent within 50 moves. These results were already considered above average within Class-A.
Meanwhile, Han Jijyun had got caught up in a drawn-out battle. It couldn't be helped, for Han Jijyun's strength was his exceptional intelligence, while his combat abilities were considerably weaker. In addition, he didn't have any finishing moves and so could only draw out the battle to while away his opponent's stamina. Finally, after almost 300 moves, the clever Han Jijyun managed to find an almost imperceptible opportunity and used it to defeat his opponent, successfully making it into the top 50.
Han Xuya, Luo Chao, Luo Shaoyun, and Yuan Youyun, who had originally been part of Class-B, were all stopped here. They couldn't make it into the top 50 and so would remain in Class-B for the next six months. This proved once again that progressing even just one step further was definitely not that easy.
At the end of this day's battles, the name list of the top 50 was officially released. 49 names stayed the same, remaining as Class-A members, while 1 member was changed. The original 2nd place from the bottom was defeated by Class-B's 2nd place from the top, who successfully took his place on the new roster. Successfully advancing into the top 50, he became the only child who managed an upset.
This result really made the 1st place of Class-B want to cry. In fact, he was actually stronger than the 2nd place, however, he had lost to the last place of Class-A, Lin Zhong-qing. His luck was really a little terrible; Lin Zhong-qing's strength was actually much stronger than the person ranked before him, leaving no chance for the Class-B first place to win. In the end, he could only watch as his weaker classmate successfully advanced, while he had to wait for yet another six months.
In reality, the classes were basically settled by the end of this day. Over the following few days, the internal class ranking battles would be held and the ranking battles for the top 50, in particular, would be the centre of everyone's attention.
On the fifth day, the internal class ranking battles began. The match-ups were announced on the day itself and, as usual, had been determined by ranks. The 1st-place was matched up against the last place, the 2nd was up against the 49th, and so on and so forth.
Seeing this match-up list, the Class-A 34th place was the first to start wailing. The first person he was up against was the one who had advanced into the top 50 by defeating all of his opponents in one move — Ling Lan. The classmates who were on good terms with him all patted his shoulders in consolation, but they were actually secretly sighing in relief, glad it wasn't them.The more literal translation here would be 'vegetarian', but I felt 'herbivore' captured the essence better. (Call out to Hibari Kyouya from KHR, anyone? XD) Basically, weak people or pushovers, with the assumption that people who don't eat meat are less aggressive and have less strength.