Of course, Ling Lan could also choose to fight by just reacting to the opponent's moves — however the opponent chose to fight, that'd be how she'd break the move. Unfortunately, Wu Jiong was unwilling to play along with this plan of hers. In other words, Wu Jiong was determined not to take the initiative and attack but wanted Ling Lan to start attacking.
As such, Ling Lan was currently having a headache. This was also why Qi Long's side had already exchanged over a hundred moves, but here on Ling Lan's end, only ten or so tentative moves had been exchanged. In other words, a majority of the time was wasted by the two fighters just circling each other.
However, whatever Ling Lan may lack, patience wasn't one of them. Even Instructor Number One had mentioned before that Ling Lan's patience was of an abnormal level, except when she herself did not wish to tolerate something. It could be predicted that this stalemate of theirs where they continued to circle around each other would continue indefinitely. This caused many of the spectating students to lose their patience, leaving in droves, while a majority of the teachers also shifted their gazes from Ling Lan to observe the situation at some of the other arenas.
Within the mindspace, Little Four had also become increasingly agitated at the current endless circling. "Boss, aren't you dizzy at all?" They've already circled for around fifty to sixty circles, right?
"I'm fine. No dizziness at all." Ling Lan replied, self-mockingly. She was rather helpless to do anything about the current situation. It should be noted that during several of her attacks, she had intentionally exposed some small openings, but unfortunately, Wu Jiong's patience and self-discipline were both excellent, actually managing to resist the temptation to attack.
"Boss, just KO him directly," urged Little Four. His boss could obviously finish this with just the tip of a finger, why did she have to make things so complicated? Little Four really didn't understand what Ling Lan was worrying about.
KO directly? If only it were that easy. Ling Lan threw an angry glare at Little Four, telling him to stop making this sort of useless suggestion.
Ling Lan's distrust made Little Four very angry. His little cheeks immediately puffed up in anger, and his lips were puckered tightly in a deep pout. Huffily, he said, "Boss, why do you need to fight at his pace? Won't you be able to hit him if you just move faster?" Little Four knew Ling Lan's abilities very well — her attack speed could go even higher, so if she just raised it by a notch, this detestable punk before her would definitely be unable to dodge.
Ling Lan was stunned for a moment, but then started chuckling wryly. She found that she had really wedged herself into a box — why did she have to target the opponent's weakness to attack? True, she possessed the ability to see the opponent's weakness with one look, allowing her to find the opponent's fatal weakness in the moment of the other's attack to defeat them. But that's not all she possessed. She still had her own strength, speed, and reflexes that were superior to the average person's. It was entirely possible for her to rely on these other things to steamroll her opponent ... this was the true display of strength.
"Little Four, you're really my good little brother. Thanks!" Ling Lan, who had resolved her dilemma, bestowed a wide smile upon Little Four, warm like the sun in winter, so warm that Little Four's little heart began pounding wildly, as he basked in this warmth that made people never want to leave.
Little Four felt as if his entire being was suffused with warmth — his puffed up little cheeks deflated, and the corner of his lips twitched upwards involuntarily.
Her problem solved, Ling Lan did not hesitate to go out at full speed, and with a quick stomp of her feet, she used the force of the spring to dash towards Wu Jiong on the opposite side. At the same time, her fisted right hand punched out fiercely at the opponent.
Wu Jiong was startled by this series of actions, but it was just a momentary lapse. He quickly raised up both his hands into a blocking stance, preparing himself to block this powerful hit of Ling Lan's.
Internally, Wu Jiong was very surprised and confused, because this attack sequence had already been used by Ling Lan at the start of the match, and he had blocked it perfectly then. An attack method that had already proven to be useless ... why did Ling Lan want to use it again?
Wu Jiong couldn't figure it out, but he very quickly found out why. The same block, the same stance, the same speed ... expecting that he would be able to block it perfectly the same way, Wu Jiong was shocked to find that the fist heading straight for him suddenly — just when it was about 30 centimetres from his face — disappeared.
Yes, the fist that had clearly been right in front of his eyes a moment ago, vanished from sight just like that.
Absurdity! What in the world happened? Even as his mind struggled to comprehend what had happened, Wu Jiong knew that he was in trouble.
The thought had barely surfaced in his mind when he felt his left shoulder being struck by a heavy force. This force sent his body flying backwards uncontrollably, where he then started falling rapidly towards the ground.
"Not good, I'm hit!" The intense pain radiating from his left shoulder made Wu Jiong suck in a cold breath, however, he did not give up. Holding back the pain, he forced himself to twist in mid-air, discharging the force with a somersault to land firmly on the floor. He pressed his right hand to his left shoulder, swiftly checking on his injury.
"Okay, it's just a muscle injury!" Wu Jiong was relieved. The force behind Ling Lan's blow hadn't been too strong, just inflicting a light surface wound, which wouldn't affect him in his following fights.
However, Wu Jiong only had time to rejoice for a moment — right after he confirmed that he had only received a light wound, Ling Lan's next attack had arrived.
"This time, I must be able to see the attack!" Wu Jiong was not convinced by that last strike. He thought that his miss was because he had let down his guard a little; after all, he had managed to defend perfectly against that attack several times in the ten moves or so before it. He did not believe that he would make the same mistake again this time with his full focus engaged.
But reality stunned Wu Jiong — this time, he not only did not see Ling Lan's attack movement, even Ling Lan himself disappeared from his sight.
He saw it well — at about a distance of 3 metres away from him, Ling Lan’s entire body suddenly disappeared.
Goddammit, could it be that Ling Lan could also turn invisible? Wu Jiong couldn't help but curse internally. Of course, he knew this was impossible, and the reality was that Ling Lan's speed was too fast for his eyes to keep up with. Was this really possible?
The few students who were still watching Ling Lan and Wu Jiong's match couldn't help but also yell out in shock at this time. Because, just like with Wu Jiong, Ling Lan had disappeared from their view. Of course, they could see much better — the split second after Ling Lan disappeared, he reappeared right in front of Wu Jiong, but because he was in a crouch, Wu Jiong did not see Ling Lan below him.
Qi Long was so excited that his entire body was trembling. He clutched at Han Jijyun's hand and said, "Heavens, Boss has become stronger again. This speed ... it's just too goddamn cool."
Hearing this, Luo Lang could only nod vigorously beside him. Both his eyes were trained on the match, unwilling to be distracted, afraid that he would miss an even more spectacular motion.
"Become stronger again?" Han Jijyun was the only one who was doubtful. Ling Lan's performance didn't seem like he had suddenly become stronger, but was more like his strength had been unsealed.
With a "Pow!", Wu Jiong once again flew through the air with a muffled grunt.
"Ling Lan!" Everyone couldn't help but shout, for the crouching Ling Lan had directly thrown an upper kick to send the unprepared Wu Jiong straight up into the sky.
The explosive strength from the legs was much stronger than strength from the arms, and this time, Wu Jiong was hit on his right shoulder. This time, it was no longer just a surface injury — after the initial sharp pain, Wu Jiong could only feel an expanse of numbness in his right shoulder; he could not feel his entire right arm anymore.
Cold sweat broke out over his entire body. What was the condition of his right shoulder? Had his bones been shattered by the kick? Although the Federation had developed regenerative healing fluid, which could speed up the recovery process of wounds, shattered bones were not so easily fixed. An injury like that in the wrong place could affect him for life.
This kick of Ling Lan had looked fierce, but she had actually controlled her strength so that she would not cause long-lasting damage to Wu Jiong. Although she couldn't be certain that there wouldn't be any fractures in the bones, there would definitely be no serious injury such as breaks or shattering of the bones.
"Pow! Pow! Pow!" Ling Lan's attack didn't stop there. Three consecutive meetings between fist and flesh — the airborne Ling Lan no longer gave Wu Jiong any chance of retaliating, directly striking him out of the arena perimeters to fall below the stage. Then, she landed firmly on the arena stage, gaze impassive as she waited for the referee's final declaration.
Perhaps Ling Lan's attack speed had been too quick, or perhaps Ling Lan and Wu Jiong had dithered for too long in the early stages of the fight — whatever the case, the referee teacher responsible for the match actually froze in shock for a full 30 seconds.
The scene was still and silent. No one dared to say a word in the face of Ling Lan's ferocity. His performance before and after were just too different that everyone was in disbelief. Just before, the two combatants were still circling each other endlessly, and now, within the blink of an eye, the outcome was determined? That second-rank was so easily KO-ed? Was Ling Lan just playing around all this while?
Everyone was speechless, unsure how they were supposed to face Ling Lan after this. They bemoaned in their hearts — why did such an aberrant existence like Ling Lan have to appear in their grade this year? He was so strong that they could not even imagine defeating him anymore.
The teacher suddenly woke up and hurried to declare, "This match, Ling Lan advances. Congratulations to Ling Lan for entering the finals!"
The referee teacher's declaration caused Qi Long and the other two to cheer. And then, scattered applause could be heard until the entire arena was filled with the sound of applause. Even some of the upper grade seniors watching the match were also clapping.
Ling Lan was just too strong. After a brief bout of despondency, the first grade children were all convinced by Ling Lan's strength — the ideology of 'survival of the fittest' made them acknowledge Ling Lan's supremacy.
The applause from the upper grade seniors wasn't out of acknowledgement for Ling Lan, but more in admiration of Ling Lan's success in achieving an upset. The probability for a lower-ranking student to win all this way and advance into the finals was actually very, very low, and though it wasn't unheard of in the history of the scout academy, such occurrences were fewer than few. But this year, people were shocked. Because two people managed to achieve upsets at the same time to advance into the finals. Undoubtedly, both Ling Lan and Qi Long had established a new record, a new history, at the Central Scout Academy.
In the dean's office, two people were currently observing the match.
"Old Xu, what do you think?" Smiling, the dean pointed at the cool-faced Ling Lan left standing on the stage.
"Not bad, Ling Xiao truly has a worthy successor now." The man called Old Xu was dressed in a trim military uniform, and the stars on his shoulders and the insignia on his chest told the world that he was a lieutenant general.
Lieutenant General Xu asked pressingly, "Have you arranged an initiate teacher for the child? If you don't have a suitable candidate, I can arrange something."