Chapter 23: The Scout Academy’s Test
Translator: ryuxenji Editor: H2dH2mr
"Little Young Master, are you ready?" Standing before the room where the strength test was taking place, Ling Qin’s expression was even more nervous than Ling Lan’s who was about to be tested.
Ling Lan’s lips twitched. This grandpa chamberlain had completely lost his usual calm ever since they had entered the scout academy. Did he really have such little faith in her?
Uh … well of course there were things that were out of her control, like, who knew that the test of intelligence would be so incomprehensible …
Recalling her shame in that part of the test, Ling Lan’s face darkened. Still, to reassure her grandpa chamberlain who truly loved her from the depths of his heart, she said, "Relax, Grandpa Qin. I promise I will complete the mission."
If not out of sincere worry for her, why would Ling Qin lose his usual composure? He was a trained combat expert!
At her words, Ling Qin seemed put at ease. "That’ll do, that’ll do."
Ling Lan was standing here now because it was finally time for little Ling Lan to enter a scout academy. According to Federation law, every child must enrol at a scout academy at the age of six, and receive ten years of mandatory schooling there.
So even if Lan Luofeng was reluctant, she had no choice but to bring Ling Lan to the scout academy to take the enrolment tests which would decide which class she would be in.
There were four parts to the enrolment tests — intelligence, strength, stamina, and speed.
The first part, the intelligence test, was easy. It was so easy that most did not even consider it a real test, as all they did was let the child being tested talk to the appointed examiner for 3 to 5 minutes, and then the results were out.
Ling Lan only scored 80 marks in this test. Placed among the sea of 90 marks scored by the other children, this score was humiliating, leaving Ling Lan speechless. Till now, she still could not figure out how her mature mentality honed over 30 over years of life had lost to the intelligence of those 6 year old brats. How did that even make sense? Who knew how those examiners determined the scores — there did not seem to be any basis whatsoever.
Regardless of how wronged Ling Lan felt, she had no choice but to accept this result. According to regulations, any objections about scoring could only be raised after all parts of the enrolment test had been completed.
The second test was the test of strength. Ling Lan grimly swore that she would redeem herself in the following tests. No way would she let those little brats continue to beat her. The learning space in her mind was no joke!
Finally, Ling Lan’s name was called. As she prepared herself to enter the testing room, Ling Qin pressed lightly on Ling Lan’s little shoulder. "Do you remember what the mistress told you? You must not disappoint the mistress!"
Lan Luofeng was waiting for them outside the academy. Perhaps worried that her agitation would affect Ling Lan’s performance, she had decided to remain outside and wait for them to come tell her the final results.
Ling Lan obediently nodded her head. "Yes, Ling Lan will do it. Mummy should relax, Uncle Qin too." Acting cute was rather embarrassing, but this was the only way to reassure these people who loved and cared for her, so Ling Lan had learned to ignore her shame and just do it.
Under Ling Qin’s fond gaze, Ling Lan stepped into the examination room.
In the area set aside for the strength test, two soldiers in military uniforms were seated in one of the rooms. One of the officers was flipping through Ling Lan’s intelligence test results and its accompanying examiner comments. The shockingly low 80 marks stood out starkly, causing him to frown, but he could not help but exclaim in surprise when he saw the examiner comments written below it.
Curious at his partner’s reaction, the other officer asked, "What’s up?"
"Calm and collected, no sign of leaps of logic, lacking imagination … we’ve been in charge of testing children for almost three years, but I don’t think we’ve seen these sort of comments before."
After listening to these comments, the other officer said with some dissatisfaction, "I’m not going to comment on the rest, but what’s wrong with calm and collected? In battle, only the calm survive. Isn’t this scoring a bit ridiculous?"
"Who do you think is in charge of intelligence testing? They would never let this sort of child who’s hard to brainwash and hard to win over into the special classes and waste their resources." The officer who had read out the comments curled his lips, full of scorn for the examiners of the intelligence testing.
"Hehe, that’s true. Those great clans are only concerned with recruiting talent for their clans for their own profit, having long forgotten about the good of the Federation. Quite a few promising talents have been shunted into the regular classes because of them, losing the chance to be cultivated with better resources, and in doing so losing the Federation some great talent," the other officer said with some regret. Unfortunately, those people had both power and authority, and held a lot of influence and decisive power. For example, they have claimed priority in arranging the enrolment classes of the scout academy, letting them place students loyal to them in the better classes. The other common soldiers involved in the process were powerless even if they wanted to help some of the unaffiliated talents.
"Hopefully this child will perform better in the following tests, or else he will have no hope of getting into Special Class-A."
"Class-A? He should thank his lucky stars if he gets into Class-B. He might just end up being pushed into one of the regular classes …" The other officer did not think highly of Ling Lan’s chances with such a low intelligence score.
"Hello, examiners. Ling Lan is here for testing," said Ling Lan loudly. When she had entered the room, the two officers were in deep whispering conversation, so she had walked up till she was about 2 meters from them before standing at attention and announcing her presence.
"Oh, he’s got presence." One of the officers laughed. They were used to seeing nervous and timid children, so it was rather refreshing to meet one so brash and unafraid.
At heart, Ling Lan was an adult, and she had also had to withstand Instructor Number One’s terrifying killing aura more than once — the weak presence of the two officers before her was really no threat at all in her eyes.
The other officer smiled kindly, and pointed over to a row of barbells at one corner of the room, saying, "Lift the barbell that you can lift. Don’t force yourself. This is just a test, not a competition."
Hearing this, Ling Lan nodded. She walked over to the barbells, and saw that each barbell was labelled with their weight. Ling Lan knew her body well — she had finished learning the foundational stage of the Ling family martial arts, and had now moved on to train in combat techniques, so she was very clear on the limits of her strength.
Ling Lan did not choose immediately, but turned to ask, "Could you tell me which weight would give full marks?" Her abysmal intelligence score meant that Ling Lan needed to get as much marks as she could in the remaining three tests, because she just had to qualify for the special classes. This was also the mission given to her by her mom.
It wasn’t that Lan Luofeng wanted the glory, but only those students enrolled in the special classes had the right to build their own study plans, select their preferred instructors, and choose to stay at home. For the sake of protecting Ling Lan’s secret, this was the only option.
The two officers glanced at each other. This child was certainly full of himself — even now they would not dare to claim that they could lift 500 catties 1 . And this child wanted to take on the 100 marks challenge?
"500 catties!" one of the officers finally replied.
At this, Ling Lan strolled over casually to stand before the 500-catty barbell. She clenched her fists over the bar, considering — 500 catties was already slightly over her best established record. If she were to brute-force it, she could be injured if she was unlucky. Still, Ling Lan wanted to try. After all, it was not like there was no chance of success, and she had her reliable Qi exercises to fall back on if she really did get injured, so she was not afraid of the consequences.
Of course, another reason why Ling Lan wanted to try was that the strength test was a section where points were easy to get. The marks in this section were all objective — how much you could lift equalled how much score you would get, unlike in the following tests of stamina and speed where there was some room for interpretation. Although Ling Lan also had confidence for the next two tests, she was also wary of inexplicably losing marks again like in the intelligence test.
Still, Ling Lan would not recklessly go ahead and lift the barbell. She wanted to protect her body as much as she could, so she surreptitiously circulated her Qi once and filled her entire body with energy. Only then did she grab hold of the bar with all her might, lifting up the barbell with a mighty bellow.
She waited till the monitor rang out with the signal sound of success before placing the barbell down again. The heavy thud of the barbell hitting the floor roused the dumbfounded officers from their stupor.
"He really did it …"The two officers’ shock and disbelief were writ all over their faces. One of them even ran over to the monitor display to take a closer look. When he saw the distinct word of ‘SUCCESS’ on the screen, he was instantly too excited for words.
"Who’d have thought that after three years, I’d have a candidate come out of my hands with a full strength score." The officer was both moved and proud — this wasn’t the intelligence test, where the score could be manipulated due to its black-box workings. This result was a direct reflection of strength. He was actually witness to the birth of a new combat genius! (The higher the strength, the easier training would be — approximately half the effort for the same results.)
The two officers wrote down Ling Lan’s score with excitement and added their comments at the bottom. Their comment consisted of only two words: Combat genius! Only these two words could represent what they felt at this very moment.
In their excitement, they did not notice Ling Lan’s strange pensive expression when she put down the barbell. Of course Ling Lan was puzzled — she actually still had strength to spare when she lifted the barbell. She had initially thought that 500 catties would be a little beyond her limits, but when she actually lifted the weight, it was rather easy.
Gee, could it be that she had eaten some sort of strength-enhancing pill without her knowledge?
Unable to figure it out, Ling Lan could only let it go for now as she walked out of the room and got ready for the next test.