With a half-smile, the dean looked at Lieutenant General Xu. The teasing glint in his good friend's eyes caused Lieutenant General Xu's face to burn slightly, and he said embarrassedly, "Aren't I just concerned about Ling Xiao's child? So much that I've forgotten this is your territory ... how could you not have made arrangements? I've worried for nothing."
"Being concerned for Ling Xiao's child is a good thing. How about this, why don't you pass me the thing that Ling Xiao left in your care?" The dean's smile was even deeper than before.
Lieutenant General Xu didn't even have to think about it, refusing immediately. "No way. The item that Ling Xiao left with me before he was deployed may very well be the secret behind his ascension to god-class operator. It belongs to the Federation, and to our military."
The dean's smile disappeared. "Ling Xiao left me a message that that item is to be left for his child. Old Xu, don't cross the line. Ling Xiao sacrificed his life for the Federation — we cannot wrong him, and wrong his child."
Lieutenant General Xu's expression turned a little ugly, and he said heavily, "That’s why I've been spending so much effort to protect this child, even raising his secrecy level, and finally sending him into your care. Besides, not giving him Ling Xiao's relic is also for his own safety. The legacy of a god-class operator ... is something everyone would go crazy over. That child would not be able to protect it."
"Xu Tingzhu! You godd*mn bastard!" The dean slammed his hands on the desk and stood up, no longer able to maintain his composure.
"Ye Yifan, calm down." Lieutenant General Xu glared back just as fiercely. Over this matter, every time they met, they would leave on bad terms.
"Calm down? I am already calm enough, tolerating you for six years. Right now is the time when this child needs guidance for initiation, and which instructor could be better than a god-class operator? That is Ling Xiao's legacy!" said the dean seriously. "This is the right of Ling Xiao's son. He has the right to inherit everything of his father's."
"I did not say that I wouldn't let the child inherit. Once we have deciphered it, we will reproduce a copy for him. He will still be able to obtain everything of Ling Xiao's." Lieutenant General Xu was very angry at his old friend's misunderstanding. He wasn't planning to rob Ling Lan of his rights, but only wished that Ling Xiao's legacy could be circulated around the military, perhaps even becoming standardized. It could be imagined how impactful that would be — the Federation's combat power would certainly get a swift boost, perhaps even becoming a terrifying force powerful enough to be a deterrent for the bordering enemy nations. It should be known that Ling Xiao had been the youngest god-class operator of the Federation who had advanced the fastest.
The dean said mockingly, "It's been six years. Has your military department cracked any bit of it?"
Lieutenant General Xu was silent. After 10 seconds, he replied solemnly, "I believe that, after another few years, we will definitely be able to decode it and obtain Ling Xiao's legacy."
"Stop lying to yourself. You all have no idea what to do with that thing." Although the dean was just the dean of the Central Scout Academy, that didn't mean he was ignorant of all the news and secrets of the internal military.
Having the truth thrown into his face by his old friend, Lieutenant General Xu's expression was a little awkward.
The dean pretended not to notice Lieutenant General Xu's awkwardness and continued to say, "This proves that some activation condition must have been set on that thing by Ling Xiao. Perhaps only his successor can activate it."
Lieutenant General smiled bitterly at these words. In truth, he also knew that it was highly probable that that was the case, but he just couldn't let it go and wanted to try for a little longer. "I'm also doing this for the future of the Federation. If we could just decrypt that thing, even if it doesn't result in another god-class operator for the Federation, it could still help the Federation cultivate a countless number of high-level operators. If our luck is a bit better, even imperial operators are possible."
The dean's tone gentled. "That's why, I have given you six years. If you all had cracked it, I would make a copy for Ling Lan, and consider Ling Xiao's will done. However, you all still have not cracked it, and Ling Xiao's child has now officially entered this academy. At the start of the next six months, he will have the right to enter the virtual world and accept initiate instruction. I have to pass on Ling Xiao's relic to that child so that he is not held back."
Lieutenant General Xu was still noncommittal. "Passing it on to that child, how far can he go? None of the children of a god-class operator have been able to break past their limits to become a high-level operator. Even if we use agents to heavily cultivate them, advancement to ace operator level has already been considered a grand feat. But if the item remains with the military, once it's decrypted, there will be countless aces, even imperials! Old Ye, no matter how you look at it, it's more beneficial in my hands, just give me a little more time, alright?"
With effort, the dean held back the rage within his chest, and said, "This is all based on the assumption that you all will be able to crack it. What if you all cannot crack it within your lifetimes? Or perhaps Ling Xiao has set it so that if it's not his successor, it's impossible to obtain his legacy? Forcefully trying to crack it might trigger it to self-erase via formatting; that way, we won't be able to get anything at all. Not just that, we would also have caused Ling Xiao's child to lose out on obtaining his legacy. We cannot be that selfish."
Lieutenant General Xu was a very tenacious person. Once he had decided on something, he typically would not change his mind easily. Even if everything the dean said was true, he still didn't want to accept the dean's words.
The dean felt rather helpless. He also understood his good friend's personality — more susceptible to persuasion than coercion — so he thought of a compromise. He said, "Old Xu, let's try a different method. Since your military department hasn't been able to crack it so far, then let's put it in the virtual world of the Central Scout Academy. We can allow all the children free access to it, and let the children challenge it. Perhaps then, we might be able to obtain some unexpected rewards. You should know, the way children think is very imaginative and unrestrained, completely beyond what we adults can do.
"Also, hiding this thing among all the other open missions — I believe no one would imagine that this would be Ling Xiao's legacy. Even if Ling Xiao's child really obtains the legacy, there shouldn't be any danger."
Hiding in plain sight, was it? Lieutenant General Xu considered the plan, weighing the potential costs and benefits. Seeing that Lieutenant General Xu was a little persuaded, the dean decided to add more fuel to the fire. He patted Lieutenant General Xu's shoulder and said, "Old Xu, don't forget, these children are truly the future of the Federation. No matter who obtains Ling Xiao's legacy, our Federation will have everything to gain and nothing to lose."
Lieutenant General Xu was finally convinced, but he put forward a request, "That item has to remain under our monitoring."
This way, no matter who obtained the legacy, they would be able to receive the inheritor's information immediately, so that they would be able to seek him out to get him to divulge the contents of the legacy, giving the Federation the means to become stronger.
The dean thought for a moment, and then agreed, but suggested that before anyone managed to crack it, the monitoring staff may not have private contact with the world outside the academy. In other words, before there was any change, they would have to stay put within the academy as instructors and wash their hands of any messy and improper conduct.
Lieutenant General Xu agreed to that in turn. After all, when their monitoring staff entered the Central Scout Academy, it was only reasonable to play by their host's rules.
The two of them agreed on a time to transfer Ling Xiao's legacy, and then Lieutenant General Xu bid farewell and left.
Seeing Lieutenant General Xu get onto a mecha and leave, the dean exhaled a shallow breath, and said softly, "Ling Xiao my boy, this is all I can do. Whether or not he can obtain your legacy will be all up to your son now."
Ling Lan, who had just ended her match, could not know that in the dean's office just a few kilometres away, for the sake of her rights, two old men had gone through a spirited debate. Some parts of it were even laden with the stench of gunpowder, but the dean had managed to win her the chance to obtain the legacy in the end.
Ling Lan got off the arena stage and was immediately surrounded by Qi Long and the other two. Qi Long in fact had just pounced, but was kicked away by the conservative Ling Lan. She was still a virgin maiden, okay? How could she just let any man hug her so easily?
As Wu Jiong’s injury was a little severe, he had to lie down in a recovery healing pod for a length of time, so the 3rd and 4th rank determination battle would be delayed by half an hour. Meanwhile, Ling Lan and Qi Long's match would be held after Wu Jiong and Li Yingjie's match.
Ling Lan's group of four was just about to go to the side to rest when, after taking just a few steps, Ling Lan felt that familiar tyrannical suction coming from the learning space.
D*mmit, here we go again. Cold sweat poured from Ling Lan's forehead as she fought desperately against that suction force.
Right now, she was a little confused — why would this awareness-sucking phenomenon of the learning space appear randomly in the light of day? Previously, it had always only happened when she was about to go to bed at night.
Ling Lan knew she couldn't hold on for too long, so she tugged on Qi Long's arm and said, "Qi Long, I'm not feeling so well. Quick, help me to a recovery pod."
Due to her strong resistance against the suction, Ling Lan's face was extremely pale, causing Qi Long and the others to become very worried.
Han Jijyun indicated for Qi Long to hurry up and help Ling Lan to the recovery pods, and asked concernedly, "Boss Lan, has the acceleration you did earlier caused damage to your body?"
Ling Lan was just cracking her head trying to think of an excuse for her strange condition when Han Jijyun unexpectedly delivered up this perfect excuse to her. She nodded and said, "Yes, that acceleration movement draws on the body's energy, which is why I don't use it normally. But as long as the draw isn't too much, there isn't really a problem. I just need to lie down in a recovery pod for a while to recover."
Ling Lan's reply reassured Qi Long and the others. Qi Long abruptly thought of something most important, and quickly opened his mouth to ask, "Then, for the match with me later, can you make it in time, Boss?"
Ling Lan smiled wryly. She herself had no clue how long those few instructors within the learning space would hold her for this time — it might just be for a few minutes, but it could also be for a day, or even for several days and nights. Unable to say for certain, Ling Lan could only say ambiguously, "This depends on how much energy I have used up this time. If it's just a bit, then I'll be fine after a few minutes, but if it's more, I may not be able to make it to the final match."
Ling Lan's words made Qi Long deflate instantly. He had really been looking forward to fighting a great match with Boss Ling Lan.
Seeing this, Ling Lan said sternly, "Qi Long, regardless of what happens, you must persevere. You must not make our grade one Class-A lose face."
Hearing this, Qi Long was taken aback, unsure what Ling Lan was talking about.
Han Jijyun understood however, and seeing Qi Long's face perplexed face, he hurried to explain, "Boss Lan means that if, in the end, you are the one to represent grade one Class-A to challenge the upper grades, you must not disgrace our Class-A."
Qi Long understood then, and he nodded solemnly to show that he understood. "Don't worry, I'm like a roachie that can't be killed!"
Although Qi Long wasn't sure what the 'roachie' Ling Lan had mentioned before meant, he really liked how it was described as impossible to beat to death, thinking that the description fit him very well.
Ling Lan couldn't help but laugh, though of course she kept her reason for laughing to herself. However, she hadn't laughed for long before her face paled even more. The force trying to suck Ling Lan's awareness into the learning space was gradually increasing in intensity, and Ling Lan almost didn't manage to resist it, almost fainting right then.
Seeing Ling Lan's face becoming even paler, Qi Long and the others no longer dared to talk to Ling Lan and affect him even more. Soon, they had rushed to the recovery pods which had been supplied by the combat hall for the students.
Luo Lang hurriedly opened one of the recovery pods, and Qi Long and Han Jijyun supported Ling Lan to lie down in it. Ling Lan only had enough time to say a breathy 'thanks', and then she could no longer resist the yet stronger pull and fainted on the spot.
Qi Long saw Ling Lan close his eyes and enter a deep sleep, and then they slowly closed the recovery pod. Seeing the healing fluid envelop Ling Lan, their faces were writ with worry, but for now, all they could do was watch over him. There was nothing they could do to help Ling Lan but wait for him to recover. They only hoped that this time would go by faster.
However, in the end, Ling Lan did not wake up in time, and so was absent for the final match. This was equal to a loss by forfeit.
Qi Long became the grade one Class-A 1st-rank, and also received the right to challenge the upper grade Class-A top rank. This was the cross-grade challenge tournament that all the students were excited about.
The cross-grade challenge tournament would begin tomorrow. Within the combat hall, there would be only one arena. The lowest grade would keep challenging upwards until he lost. Of course, he could also keep winning until he reached the final match, successfully claiming the peak to become the true scout academy number 1.
Still, all the children of grade one Class-A knew that Ling Lan was the true top rank, the undisputed king of grade one Class-A. On this point, even Qi Long himself had no doubts.If a statement is said to be filled with the smell/stench of gunpowder, it means that the tone or words were very aggressive and liable to start a fight. Think verbal bullets.Also known as cockroach. Chinese have this nickname for cockroaches that literally translate to 'little strong', which is what was originally used here.