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However, no matter how angry or resentful the teacher was, he could do nothing about Ling Lan. If the children in Class-A were the talent that they treasured and wanted to cultivate, then Ling Lan was most certainly the largest pearl deep within their hearts. The appreciation they had for him was immeasurable. This was why the teacher could only yell somewhat angrily at Ling Lan for a while, reminding him to not be so heavy-handed next time to save them the trouble.

Even if they really, really cherished Ling Lan, they still had to maintain their impartiality on the outside. No matter what was said, the other children were also the future pillars of the Federation — they couldn't just give up on them.

The teacher's demeanour really resembled that of a parent whose child had hit a child from another family. As a parent, he had to scold his own child just to placate the other party; as for whether he was actually gleeful inside ... hehehe, I'm sure you all understand.

Just like that, under the teacher's repetitive nagging, Ling Lan could only nod obediently to show she understood. It couldn't be helped. Ling Lan still had to take the oppression of the academy for another 10 years, so she had no choice but to carry on with her tail between her legs. Of course, Ling Lan was personally a child who was so obedient that she couldn't be any more obedient, so obedient that she had never gone through a rebellious phase in her previous life ...

Thinking of this, Ling Lan considered — should she try being rebellious once in this life? But when her mum Lan Luofeng's tear-blurred eyes appeared within Ling Lan's mind, paired with her loving yet melancholic expression, Ling Lan just couldn't muster up the heart to think any more about it. Yup, she definitely couldn't handle the acting of her Oscar-level diva mum. If Ling Lan was a little fox still in training, then her mum was definitely a grand fox demon that had been through a thousand years of cultivation. They were just on completely different levels.

More than once, she had lost to her mum's waterworks. Even if she knew that Lan Luofeng was just faking it, she still fell for it. It was all because she couldn't bear to see others cry. This weakness that she had brought with her from her previous life caused her to be fully trapped within the manipulations of her thousand-year fox demon mother. Just like Monkey-Sun within the Buddha's hand, she would forever be unable to escape from her mother's palm.

At this thought, Ling Lan was shrouded in gloom. She began resenting that dad of hers who had died so early, leaving behind such a troublesome burden for her. If her dad were still alive, this thousand-year fox demon would have been her dad's responsibility.

However, this was all just fanciful thinking by Ling Lan. Lan Luofeng was, in fact, Ling Lan's sweet burden for this life, which she carried with pain, yet also with much joy ...

When the morning's official advancement battles ended, the children who advanced had no more business in the hall and were free to do whatever they wanted. Meanwhile, the students who had been eliminated continued to remain in the combat hall to wait for the system to once again announce the battle pairings for the rankings of the 26th place to the 50th place. Of course, this had nothing to do with Ling Lan's group of four so they went straight to Qi Long's and the other two boys' villa. There, they settled down on the living room sofa, and comfortably watched the fights while having warm drinks.

Among the first grade Special Class-A 26th to 50th ranking battles, the only one whom they were concerned about was Lin Zhong-qing. Who asked Lin Zhong-qing to have impure intentions towards them at the beginning? This caused Ling Lan and the others to involuntarily start paying attention to him.

During the advancement battles from top 50 to top 25, Lin Zhong-qing had been up against the Class-A second-place, Wu Jiong. Lin Zhong-qing had lost as everyone expected; however, unlike what everyone expected, he had not been defeated quickly by Wu Jiong. Instead, he had battled with Wu Jiong for over 100 moves before finally being brought down by Wu Jiong, who had been patiently waiting for an opportunity, when he ran out of stamina.

These results caused an uproar among the Class-A students. However, what the students were stunned by was not Lin Zhong-qing's incredible improvement, but rather, Ling Lan's strength. Because they still remembered how, when school first started, Ling Lan had once beaten Lin Zhong-qing easily with just one punch. Didn't this prove that Ling Lan's strength was already far beyond the top 3 of Class-A?

At that time, the gazes directed Ling Lan's way from the other students had been filled with deep apprehension. The children from Class-A had forgotten that half a year had already gone by since Ling Lan's fight with Lin Zhong-qing — Lin Zhong-qing's current strength could no longer be compared to his strength back then. If Ling Lan fought with Lin Zhong-qing once more, she might not be able to defeat him in one move anymore ... however, doing so in two moves was still very possible.

However, Lin Zhong-qing's subsequent performance gradually eased their classmates' fears. In the ranking fights to determine his actual ranking, Lin Zhong-qing proved his strength. He consecutively defeated many people, finally settling in the 28th spot.

This result may not seem brilliant, but compared to his rank at the start of the school year, his improvement was undoubtedly astonishing. It should be known that the Class-A rankings were not upset so easily because Class-A was made up of various prodigies from all over, who were all exceptional. To go up in rank among this group of freakish talents ... it was really extremely difficult. This also proved that Lin Zhong-qing's natural talent was prodigious, though of course he also put in more effort than the other students, otherwise he wouldn't have improved this much.

Lin Zhong-qing's performance this time made Ling Lan's group of four start to take him seriously. This little fellow who had a belly full of plots and schemes, though unlikely to be a threat to Ling Lan, could very well become a rival for Qi Long and the others. Han Jijyun, especially, felt the pressure most keenly because Lin Zhong-qing's future development was looking to be an intelligence-type soldier just like him.

In the meantime, Ling Lan and the others also watched several matches of the popular upper grade students. As expected, they were all formidable opponents, full of amazing moves. Ling Lan was delighted, making Little Four copy everything down. If they could decipher just one or two of the moves, Ling Lan would already benefit greatly.

The combat arts taught by the learning space was definitely top-notch but was way too lethal. Every move, every stance, was aimed at an opponent's fatal spots, making it rather unsuited for this sort of arena sparring tournaments held by the academy. And while the Ling family had their own combat arts, it had the same problem — the combat arts of the loyalists were naturally geared towards killing an enemy efficiently. Of course, the Ling family did not lack for those so-called 'orthodox' combat arts as well, but with Ling Xiao's death and Lan Luofeng falling out with the entire Ling family, Ling Lan never did have the chance to learn those combat arts.

This was why Ling Lan couldn't drag out the fight for a few moves before defeating her schoolmates. The moment she moved, it was a killing blow — how could the fight be prolonged? Therefore, Ling Lan was extremely interested in these random skills and techniques she saw in the academy though they were looked down upon by the instructors within the learning space.

Ahem, she needed to give face to the academy teachers, didn't she? At the least, she should show that she had already listened to their advice.

When all of the fights ended, Ling Lan's group prepared to eat lunch. However, this time they didn't go eat at the canteen but went online directly to order some takeout, requesting the canteen to send several deluxe set meals straight to the villa.

After they had eaten, Ling Lan and the others rested for a little while and then headed back to the combat hall. Right now, the combat hall was no longer as raucous as it had been at the start; it had already become extremely quiet. Other than the Class-A students of the ten grades, who were waiting for their match-ups to be announced by the system, almost everyone else had gone back to their dorms to watch the ranking battles of the top 25.

Very quickly, the notifications came. Ling Lan opened it to look and was immediately dumbfounded. It turned out that she had received a bye for this round. It was very likely that the academy was afraid that Ling Lan would commit another one-hit-kill and cause them trouble, so they had arranged for her to just move on for this round.

The moment the news spread, the other children in the top 25 actually cheered in unison — it looked like no one wanted to go up against Ling Lan so early. Although they still needed to fight a proper match, it was still better to have some hope instead of having to face the hopeless situation of going up against Ling Lan.

The match-ups of the fights this time were truly randomised. There was no longer much differentiation in strength among the top 25, so they would be paired up randomly by the system to fight it out. But in this way, tragedy struck. On Ling Lan's side, Han Jijyun and Qi Long were matched as opponents, creating the first occurrence of an internal fight between the members of Ling Lan's group. This made the other students extraordinarily happy — there was no helping it, Ling Lan's group was just too strong, so one less to worry about was a great stroke of luck.

Han Jijyun reacted in a straightforward manner. The moment the fight started, he raised his hand to signal his surrender. He knew he was no match for Qi Long in terms of combat. The two of them often sparred together for practice, so Han Jijyun knew very well what the final result would be. As such, there was no reason to waste his strength.

Luo Lang's opponent was comparably weaker. Still, the students who entered the top 25 all had exceptional strength — against them, Luo Lang did not have an overwhelming advantage; the odds of him winning were 60-40 at most.

Luo Lang, who was only just a little stronger, was very cautious in his fights. He could clearly remember Ling Lan's reminder at the start of the battles. Capsizing a boat in a ditch? He would never allow that sort of thing to happen to him. Still, Boss was really Boss. Why was everything he said so meaningful ... Ahem ahem, yet another unwitting little guy had been won over by the charm of this sort of olden sayings; unknowingly, his admiration towards Ling Lan had risen a little bit more.

Luo Lang fought very carefully and seriously, giving his opponent no chances from start to end. And once his opponent's stamina was about finished, Luo Lang swooped in to grab hold of an unintended small opening exposed by the opponent, knocking the other off the stage, and advanced to the top 13.

The original top 9 ranks of Class-A, as expected, all successfully advanced. However, the 10th rank unexpectedly lost to the student who was originally in 14th place and was knocked out. Including Ling Lan, Qi Long, and Luo Lang, those within the top 13 were officially settled.

After that, the ranking battles to determine the 14th to the 25th place were held. Han Jijyun performed impressively, defeating two people, getting a bye, and then finally going up against the original 10th place to score a win. He ended up in rank 14, which was a significant improvement from his initial rank 21.

However, as his original results had been purposefully suppressed by the hacker of the Bladed Special Ops Team, this was just him returning to his rightful spot now. Of course, if he hadn't had to go up against Qi Long during the advancement rounds into the top 13, he might have perhaps even gone up a few more ranks.

Just like that, the day's ranking battles were over and Ling Lan remained firmly in the category of those who advanced with ease. Qi Long could also be considered as one within that category — after all, he hadn't had to fight at all for his second match since Han Jijyun had just surrendered, letting him advance easily. Luo Lang was the most exhausted one. When they returned to the villa, without saying a word, he immediately shuffled off to lie down in the restoration pod within his room to rest up properly.

There was no time to waste right now; he had to seize every minute and every second he could to recover his energy. Tomorrow morning, there would be two critical matches — from top 13 to top 7, and from top 7 to top 4 — and Luo Lang didn't want to stop there. If possible, he still wanted to participate in the afternoon's semi-finals and finals ... and to realize that wish, he could not afford to be the least bit sloppy.

Basically, to behave.Foxes are often considered trickster spirits in Asian folklore.A twist on Sun Wukong. (Mentioned before in a previous chapter.)failing an easy task out of carelessness or stupidity.
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