Alone in a corner, Lin Zhong-qing stood with his head bowed, carefully reading through the information on his communicator about his fight venue and match order. He heard the voices of the surrounding students consoling the 34th place and surreptitiously lifted his head to look at Ling Lan, who was currently engaged in conversation with Qi Long and the others. His gaze was complicated and hard to decipher.
Of course, Lin Zhong-qing had known that Ling Lan was very strong, otherwise he wouldn't have been able to get Qi Long and Luo Lang, whose strength was on par with the top three of Class-A, to submit to him. Even the abnormally intelligent Han Jijyun had willingly acknowledged him as his boss. (One could tell all this just from their conversations and how they acted.) Still, he hadn't expected Ling Lan to be this strong. Advancing this far with consecutive one move take downs ... it was quite terrifying.
It should be known that this result would be brag worthy at any school. Even the self-titled ultimate genius Li Yingjie was unable to do this. Although Ling Lan seemed very cold and aloof, he was not against helping out if it was something he could do with a lift of his hand, just like when Lin Zhong-qing had needed his help previously ...
Thinking of this, a bitter smile pulled at the corners of Lin Zhong-qing's lips, and regret settled on the surface of his heart.
Sometimes, what's lost is lost. If he hadn't thought to take advantage of Ling Lan back then and had chosen to serve him sincerely instead, perhaps he might have had a chance to obtain Ling Lan's friendship. Unfortunately, now it was no longer possible. No one would be willing to be friends with someone who had once used them.
Lin Zhong-qing's gaze cleared up instantly, as he ruthlessly strangled the rebellious bit of hope within his heart. The experiences of his youth had made it impossible for him to put down his defences to trust in someone else ... which was why he was destined to be forever alone. Friendship and sentiment and anything else along those lines were all just passing clouds.
Lin Zhong-qing was patiently awaiting the start of the fights, when he found that two people he loathed had appeared beside him. It was Li Yingjie and his lackey, the one who was third-last in Class-A.
Lin Zhong-qing really looked down on him. Although they were insignificant in Class-A, being at the bottom of the heap, that didn't mean that they should throw away their dignity to become someone else's lackey, allowing another to order them around and yell at them, just for certain benefits. Of course, if they were like Qi Long and Luo Lang, who submitted due to the other's personal charisma and strength, and called the other Boss out of their own personal will, he would never view them with contempt, but would instead admire them.
Unfortunately, this punk Li Yingjie, other than being stronger than others, really had no charisma or qualities that would lead others to submit to him. He was just no match for Ling Lan. At this time, Lin Zhong-qing still hadn't noticed that his heart had already acknowledged Ling Lan.
Perhaps sensing Lin Zhong-qing's contempt for him, Li Yingjie's lackey, that third-last in Class-A, actually took the initiative to mock, "Yo, isn't this our dead last Lin Zhong-qing? Who knew you would still be in Class-A, how lucky." Since the second-last had already been thrown out of the class by the Class-B second-place, he could only seek a little sense of superiority from Lin Zhong-qing.
Lin Zhong-qing did not care about the other's taunts. If he didn't even have this bit of tolerance, how could he have survived those six years as a research lab rat? He only glanced impassively at the lackey, before lowering his head to look back at his own communicator. This clearly dismissive behaviour made the other's face flush red immediately.
Lin Zhong-qing's attitude caused the surrounding students to break out into laughter. Lin Zhong-qing was on good terms with most of his classmates, and could be considered a socially intelligent person. However, when it came to Li Yingjie's group, Lin Zhong-qing's attitude was rather unfriendly.
No matter how tolerant a person was, when someone pressed the wrong buttons, they would not be able to just continue tolerating. Lin Zhong-qing, who had already lost six years of his freedom, prized his independence the most. Meanwhile, Li Yingjie had wanted to use forceful measures to get Lin Zhong-qing to become his subordinate, and be at his beck and call. This, had completely stomped all over Lin Zhong-qing's buttons, which was the main reason for Lin Zhong-qing's hostility against Li Yingjie. Unfortunately, till now, Li Yingjie still didn't know where he had gone wrong, and was still trying to use force to get what he wanted, causing Lin Zhong-qing to hate him more and more.
Lin Zhong-qing's attitude enraged Li Yingjie's lackey. He couldn't help but shout, "Don't get too cocky! Later, Boss Li will definitely teach you a lesson!" By the end, his tone held an obvious trace of schadenfreude.
After hearing this, Lin Zhong-qing lifted his head and looked at him strangely. That look was the look one used to look at an idiot. Seeing this, the lackey was about to blow his top, actually raising his hand in preparation to teach Lin Zhong-qing a lesson right then and there.
Lin Zhong-qing waited. If the other initiated an attack, then he would have an excuse to retaliate.
Seeing a private battle about to break out, everyone's gaze was drawn over. Li Yingjie, who was standing by the side, frowned slightly, and yelled out tersely, "Yuan Li, draw back, now!"
Li Yingjie's shout made Yuan Li stop immediately, and he scurried back to Li Yingjie's side with a panicked expression. Ever since agreeing to become Li Yingjie's follower, he had certainly received quite a few benefits — high-grade gene agent, which he had to save up so hard for before, was now given to him, one tube every three months. This was also the real reason why his strength had remained consistent enough so he could keep up with the others, however, at the same time, he also lost a lot to get this, such as his pride ...
Li Yingjie stopped Yuan Li, and only then did he look at Lin Zhong-qing, and say haughtily, "Lin Zhong-qing, stop taunting my subordinate. Purposefully picking a fight ... why don't we make a bet instead?"
Lin Zhong-qing snorted in laughter. Taunt Yuan Li? Was he so free that he had nothing else better to do? Bullsh*t!
Li Yingjie didn't care whether Lin Zhong-qing agreed with him or not. He continued, "Next round, should be the fight between you and me. Why don't we make a bet? If you can hold up against me for 50 moves, then I'll forgive the past, but if I defeat you within 50 moves, then you'll have to acknowledge me as your boss." In the end, Li Yingjie still hadn't given up on bringing Lin Zhong-qing under his control.
When Lin Zhong-qing heard this, he couldn't help but burst out laughing. "Hey, Li Yingjie, is your brain dysfunctional?"
At these words, Li Yingjie's entire face turned dark and cold. From his perspective, he had already given Lin Zhong-qing plenty of face, but unexpectedly, his kind intentions made Lin Zhong-qing become so brazen. Actually daring to be so impudent to his face, he must really want to die. A fierce light flashed through Li Yingjie's eyes. He decided that in the upcoming match, he would utterly destroy Lin Zhong-qing, and chase him out of Special Class-A for good.
However, Lin Zhong-qing's response ripped through Li Yingjie's scheming. "You should probably confirm who your opponent actually is."
Li Yingjie's first reaction was to assume there had been a mistake. He hurriedly searched for the notification on his communicator, and saw that he was up against the 50th place. Wasn't the 50th place Lin Zhong-qing?
He continued to read the rest of the notification, and sure enough, the name listed at the 50th place was not Lin Zhong-qing, but a name he wasn't familiar with, meaning that that person was definitely not someone from Class-A.
With a flash of realisation, Li Yingjie abruptly understood. The Class-B second-place who had defeated their Class-A second-last in the previous round, had been automatically assigned last place in their class by the academy's A.I. because he had just qualified for Class-A. Meanwhile, Lin Zhong-qing had automatically risen by one rank, becoming the 49th rank. In other words, his next opponent was not Lin Zhong-qing, but the new ex-Class-B student. He had been mistaken.
"What a shame ... I had really wanted to bet with you." Lin Zhong-qing slowly drew closer to Li Yingjie. Just as he was about to brush by, he suddenly stopped, and threw down this statement. "50 moves? How weak. Ling Lan would have been able to defeat me in 1 move. Compared to him, you are really too weak."
These words made Li Yingjie 's face burn red in anger. He clenched his fists, forcing himself to stay calm. The academy prohibited students from fighting privately. If any such incidents were discovered by the academy, the students involved were very likely to be downgraded and punished. This was something Li Yingjie could not accept — the moment he dropped down to Class-B, he might even lose the right to contend for the Li family inheritance.
Meanwhile, Ling Lan's group, who had already noticed the commotion around Lin Zhong-qing, had heard the words Lin Zhong-qing said as he left, and all of them couldn't help but frown.
"This punk is again adding to your hate value." These days, Han Jijyun had started habitually using some of Ling Lan's vocabulary from her previous world when he spoke. He felt that those terms were just too descriptive — such as this 'hate value', apt and brilliant.
A fierce expression appeared on Luo Lang's pretty face. "I'll go teach him a lesson."
"Count me in," said Qi Long hurriedly. He wasn't in it to teach the other a lesson, but was just looking for a chance to fight.
Ling Lan lifted her hand to grab hold of Luo Lang's cheek, and pinched and pulled at it harshly for a bit, until Luo Lang was begging for mercy, before letting go. "Don't be hasty. If we really taught him a lesson, that would just be playing into his hands."
"Ah ..." Luo Lang was stupefied, a little uncomprehending.
Han Jijyun eyes, however, lit up, thinking of something. Ling Lan shared a smiling glance with him. It was always so easy talking to intelligent people.
Qi Long rubbed his head, but didn't say anything. He believed that Han Jijyun would explain things for him sooner or later.
Qi Long trust was not misplaced; as expected, Han Jijyun began explaining things to Qi Long and Luo Lang, "Lin Zhong-qing is currently struggling to find an excuse to interact with us. If you go look for him, isn't that exactly what he wants?"
"But I would be going to teach him a lesson," said Luo Lang stubbornly.
Han Jijyun smiled wryly as he shook his head. "You won't be able to handle him. If he thickens his skin and clings to you, you probably won't be able to deny him. Just think of what happened before ..."
Luo Lang abruptly had nothing more to say. That one month, Ling Lan had always kept cool and ignored Lin Zhong-qing, Han Jijyun had been sly and had not given Lin Zhong-qing much opportunity to get close, while Qi Long had focused on his training, unconcerned about anything else. Only Luo Lang had found himself subconsciously talking to Lin Zhong-qing, and he had even helped Lin Zhong-qing out of several tricky situations ...
"Alright, I'll keep away from him." Luo Lang's strength was that he would always fix his mistakes if he knew about them, although he might still make the same mistake again later on ...
The morning battles officially began. This time, there were only two match rounds. Han Jijyun was up for the first round, while the remaining three were all up for the second. However, by the time Ling Lan and the other two had returned after their battles, Han Jijyun's fight was still ongoing — it was clear just how difficult it was for Han Jijyun to fight.
In the end, Han Jijyun's stamina was better than his opponent's, so he managed to outlast the other. Even so, Han Jijyun was almost burned out and was immediately sent to a healing pod to recover his energy.
Qi Long and Luo Lang did not have much difficulty. Qi Long had defeated his opponent after exchanging roughly 50 moves to clinch the victory, while Luo Lang did slightly worse, only managing to defeat his opponent after nearly 80 moves to advance. As for Ling Lan ...
The moment the fight began, Ling Lan had not dared to open her eyes. She was afraid that she would again see some fatal weakness, and then her body would reflexively attack and steamroll the opponent.
After a night of research, Ling Lan had finally figured out the reason. These uncontrollable reflexive movements were the final remnants of her mental loss of control. There wasn't actually a problem — her body and mind were still in the process of syncing up after she returned to normal, so the issue would resolve itself after another one and a half months. Ling Lan could only blame herself for recovering too late, so there wasn't enough time for the residual effects to clear out, resulting in her current predicament.
To prevent once again defeating her opponent in one move, Ling Lan decided to close her eyes this time. She thought that, if her eyes were closed so she couldn't see the opponent's attack, then it would be impossible for her to attack reflexively anymore, right? Of course, Ling Lan only dared to do so because she had full confidence in her two ears. In the learning space, one of her training sessions under Number Five was in a pitch-black sealed room, where she had to dodge the attacks of hidden weapons without sight. In the beginning, she had died horribly countless times, but eventually, she managed to evade everything to emerge unharmed. This experience had given her a pair of extremely sensitive ears, with the trained ability to discern movement and positions just by listening to the wind.
However, even so, after dodging about 10 moves, Ling Lan could hold back no longer. With just a slip in attention, her eager foot shot out in a kick.
And then, the opponent was cleanly sent tumbling off the stage ...
Ling Lan opened her eyes, and immediately saw the almost apoplectic referee. Her heart dropped — why was it this teacher referee again? As Ling Lan had kept her eyes closed the moment she stepped on stage, she had really not noticed that the one in charge of refereeing her match this time was still the same referee from her previous two matches.
Ling Lan hurriedly put an innocent look on her face, her large bright eyes broadcasting only one thing — she really hadn't done it intentionally. In order to escape responsibility, Ling Lan decided to play up her cuteness just this once.
The referee charged over, the muscles on his face a little twisted, as he said through gnashing teeth, "Couldn't you have pretended to struggle for a few moves with your opponent before defeating him?"
Ling Lan's expression became even more innocent. Didn't she already dodge for about 10 moves?
Seeing that Ling Lan still hadn't figured out her mistake, the teacher couldn't take it anymore, yelling, "You bloody kept your eyes closed, and kept both hands behind your back, and waltzed around cockily daring him to hit you — do you really think we're all blind?"
Clearly, in others' eyes, Ling Lan had still defeated her opponent in one move despite what she did. Moreover, the blow to the other child's confidence this time was even more severe.
In her previous two matches, they could still comfort the children who lost that Ling Lan was just lucky, or that he had just been born with supernatural strength, or perhaps the children themselves had been too careless and had lost to Ling Lan's sneak attack ... these excuses had been enough to salvage the children's confidence. But now, what Ling Lan just did was obviously telling his opponent that he really didn't even consider him a threat. Even if he kept his eyes closed and gave you a 10 move handicap, you would still be unable to hit him, and in the end, he only had to use one move to defeat you. This blow was just too heavy. The teachers were at a loss, unable to find any excuses to use to comfort the losing child this time — tell me, how could they not be frantic?
This was why the teacher could no longer hold his temper. This brat Ling Lan was clearly a talent killer!