It’s Not Easy to Be a Man After Travelling to the Future – Chapter 0465
Chapter 465: A Bizarre Line-Up!
Translator: ryuxenji Editor: H2dH2mr
The Tongli mecha operator had not expected Qiao Ting to not display mobile fixed-point shooting in the end and choose instead to use his best shooting art, so the Tongli operator’s slow speed made things even easier for the N-point Blockade. The Tongli mecha operator was unable to dodge these four shots — three beam projectiles successfully hit his mecha one after the other, causing his beam shield to once again become dull and dim.
Before the Tongli mecha operator could recover from the shots, Qiao Ting pressed his advantage by suddenly bringing his mecha into a rapid stop in the air with only a slight shake to show for the strain. Qiao Ting quickly counteracted the issue with his controls. And then, he once again changed his shooting stance, and a powerful beam shot out from the muzzle of his gun, heading right at the opponent.
“Fixed-point shooting!” This stance that Qiao Ting had shifted back into right before shooting was all too familiar to the crowd, causing almost all of the spectators to exclaim in surprise.
Having already been hit by three shots from the N-point Blockade, the Tongli mecha operator had yet to stabilise his mecha when he was struck by this powerful beam. With a loud boom, his mecha’s beam shield was instantly destroyed by the beam. Without the protection of a beam shield, the mecha suffered an intense explosion and a thick cloud of smoke rose into the skies.
The referee quickly waved the red flag in his hands, suspending the match. In his anxiety, he was also quietly taken aback at how ruthless the students of the First Men’s Military Academy could be, actually blowing up yet another mecha. He could only hope that this time, the Tongli cadet was also safe and unharmed.
After checking on the mecha, the referee sighed in relief. Like his teammate earlier, Qiao Ting’s final attack had only struck the opponent’s head and not the cockpit. After the referee made contact with the contestant inside the mecha, the contestant’s safety was confirmed.
“Who’d have expected that after Qiao Ting had given up on mobile fixed-point shooting, he would still use fixed-point shooting to finish the match? Looks like he’s very persistent …” Zhao Jun was amused.
Ling Lan also smirked silently at those words. She had not expected Qiao Ting to be so persistent, really. Although his provocative actions were very annoying, Ling Lan did not have any strong negative feelings towards Qiao Ting. Just as with the previously arrogant and haughty Li Yingjie, even though she felt that he was rather troublesome, she still did not hate or dislike him.
The referee very quickly declared Qiao Ting the winner. Overall, the First Men’s Military Academy defeated the Tongli Military Academy with a score of 3-2 and advanced to the next round.
With the end of this round’s matches, the First Men’s Military Academy moved into the top 50. However, the morning’s matches were not done yet. After this, there was still an additional round for the competitors to advance from the top 50 into the top 32. However, not all the military academies would participate in these extra advancement round matches. The military academies in the top 10 of the last tournament would directly advance to the top 32 in this tournament, unless any of them were unexpectedly eliminated during the top 50 advancement round.
Consequently, not long after, the First Men’s Military Academy was once again informed by the organizers that they had successfully advanced to the top 32. This meant that their morning matches were done; now they only had to prepare for the top 32 into 16 round.
Right then, Qiao Ting had already operated his mecha to return backstage. He returned the mecha to its spot and then walked out of the cockpit, stepping onto the elevator platform to slowly descend to the ground. Expression stern, he walked over, and when he passed by Ling Lan, he gave her a deep stare.
Ling Lan thought Qiao Ting had something to say, but surprisingly, Qiao Ting just walked on by with that one look, moving over to a chair in a corner to sit down.
That Tongli mecha operator whose mecha had been destroyed by Qiao Ting had also returned from the field. Of course, he had only returned in person as his mecha had already been broken by Qiao Ting and had been taken directly to the repair shop. When he saw Qiao Ting sitting in the corner, he could not hold back his immense frustration and so he scoffed loudly and said, “Hehe, this match was really too godd*mn irritating! Clearly not one’s style, yet insisting on doing things that way, clowning around in front of a true expert … this is a self-inflicted loss of face!”
He seemed to be talking about himself, but anyone with a clear mind could tell who he was alluding to. Everyone could not help but turn to look at Qiao Ting in his corner, wanting to see how he would react.
Qiao Ting did not seem to have caught the other’s allusion, still remaining seated, his expression glacial. Compared to these trivial sarcastic remarks, Qiao Ting was more concerned about having been shown up by Ling Lan in long-range combat. This had put him in a very bad mood.
If Ling Lan had shown this strength in close combat, Qiao Ting would not have felt this way, but this had just so happened in long range. Qiao Ting had been very confident that there was no one in the military academies who could rival him in long range. When he found that Ling Lan’s skills in long range were no weaker than his, even good enough to forge a special move when he could not, his initial sense of superiority was blown to pieces and he found that he could no longer maintain his composure.
Han Yu glanced over at Qiao Ting with schadenfreude in his eyes. He was very happy to see Qiao Ting fail to reproduce Ling Lan’s attack method and lose face. In the same year as Qiao Ting, he had been so frustrated from being suppressed by him for five years. Just seeing Qiao Ting suffer and lose face gave him a sense of catharsis.
Meanwhile, Mu Shaoyu looked contemplatively at Qiao Ting and then glanced at Ling Lan — he decided to maintain the high ground and not get involved in this mess.
Zhao Jun was grinning widely. With his tough and built appearance, combined with his smile, he really had the look of a silly giant, looking for all the world like he did not have a single deep thought in his head. This appearance of his made quite a number of people think that he might really not have understood the allusion that had been made.
Only Ling Lan turned a piercing cold gaze over when she heard this!
The Tongli mecha operator had originally wanted to throw another verbal jab at Qiao Ting, but Ling Lan’s sudden and unexpected cold glance made him shudder violently. Ling Lan could already control her force of presence freely, so although she still gave others a very cold impression, she already no longer gave others the same oppressive feeling as before. This was also why she had been overlooked at one point during the tournament.
However, Ling Lan had threaded this stare of hers with her force of presence, stabbing directly at the other’s mind, inflicting terror so the other no longer dared to say anything more.
The other observers were waiting for the Tongli mecha operator to continue mouthing off, but unfortunately, after just that one opening salvo, his expression had changed and he had suddenly fallen silent. The observers felt it was a bit of a shame — they had wanted to see some drama unfold.
With nothing to see, the crowd’s attention dispersed. Only then did Zhao Jun’s smile retract, and then he asked quietly, “Boss Lan, why did you help?” This was clearly a chance to deal Qiao Ting a blow — why did Boss Lan want to prevent it?
Ling Lan glanced coolly at Zhao Jun and said, “We’re representing the First Men’s Military Academy!” That said, she turned and walked away.
This statement jolted Zhao Jun’s heart. He was abruptly enlightened, and cold sweat broke out all over his body … his apprehension towards Qiao Ting had made him forget that right now, he and Qiao Ting were not opponents but comrades-in-arms. When a comrade had been insulted by someone else, he had just stood on the side-lines and watched — this had completely tarnished the term ‘comrade’. Zhao Jun felt very ashamed.
Standing to one side, Mu Shaoyu had also heard what Ling Lan had said. He too was stunned to awareness, and like Zhao Jun, he was silently ashamed at himself. Watching Ling Lan’s upright back, his emotions were complicated. He had not expected that he would lose to a junior three years younger than him in terms of magnanimity.
Likewise, Han Yu had also heard Ling Lan’s words. His expression changed, and even as he felt frustrated and regretful, he also could not help but begin envying and hating Ling Lan. Who was Ling Lan to say this? They were the seniors, the seniors! Did he think they did not already know this?! Did they need him to teach them this? Unable to face the darkness in his own heart, he could not help but push the blame onto Ling Lan and get angry at her instead.
Qiao Ting had also heard every single word Ling Lan had said. He snapped his head up and looked towards Ling Lan’s back, his gaze dark and difficult to fathom. After a good long while, he sighed heavily and said with a wry smile, “Having such a junior is really an unpleasant thing!”
Qiao Ting’s dejected mood after coming off the field was completely gone. He stood up and prepared to leave, and as he passed by Zhao Jun and Mu Shaoyu, Mu Shaoyu suddenly called out to him, “Qiao Ting, sorry for earlier.”
Qiao Ting glanced at him calmly and asked, “Sorry? What for? We’re not gossiping aunties. Why should we quibble with others?” He had not been bothered by the opponent’s words to begin with — this type of low-level methods … he, Qiao Ting, did not think much of it.
Qiao Ting’s words made Zhao Jun and Mu Shaoyu laugh, and there was a sense of the tension of unresolved emotions dissipating. At this time, Han Yu also walked over and with a hint of pride on his face, he said, “Qiao Ting, during this time, I am no longer the regiment commander of Wuji!” The connotation being that he would cooperate in playing the role of being purely a member of the First Men’s Military Academy for this duration of time.
Although Han Yu’s attitude was not the best, his words truly showed that he was willing to lay aside all grudges for now to work together. This result pleased everyone else there — the rather motley group which struggled to cooperate thus far had finally stepped onto the right track.
Ling Lan did not know that her offhand remark would lead the First Men’s Military Academy to be united like never before; she had set down solid foundations for the final battle royal.
Very quickly, the afternoon arrived. Qiao Ting, Ling Lan, and the rest once again came to the combat field to wait for the organizers to announce the name list for the matchups of the top 32. The announcement time was set as 1 p.m. — Ling Lan peered at the time displayed on the large screen and saw that there was still about half an hour before then.
As all the participating students of the top 32 round had come to the backstage to wait, the initially empty and spacious backstage was now rather crowded. In particular, it was packed three layers thick on top of another three layers thick before the large screen.
“Ah ah! We still came too late,” said Mu Shaoyu regretfully, looking at that large pile of people before the screen. He really did not have the confidence to squeeze his way through that many hulking stout men.
Nonchalantly, Zhao Jun said, “We’ll definitely find out what the results are eventually. We don’t have to rush it down to this minute and this second.”
Ling Lan had even less interest to go squeeze with the crowd and be squished — she immediately sought out an empty corner and sat down. With Little Four around, even if she did not stand watch in front of the large screen, she would still be able to get the match-up lists at soonest notice.
Seeing Ling Lan find an empty spot and sit down, Qiao Ting also found a spot three seats down from her and sat down. Seeing that both their public leader and secret leader had chosen to sit down and wait, the other three very quickly found seats as well and sat down.
Soon, half an hour had passed. In their drowsiness, they heard someone shout out, “The name list is out!”
In her seat, Ling Lan was resting with her eyes closed, utterly still, just as if she were completely unmoved by this, her expression calm and centred. This patient and unruffled demeanour affected Zhao Jun and the others as well — they saw that the area around the screen was even more crowded now due to that shout, and so they did not stand up either. They decided to wait till the crowd dispersed before going to take a look.
In reality, Ling Lan did not move because she had already received the match-up list. Little Four was as reliable as always, stealing a copy of the name list as soon as it came out.
The First Men’s Military Academy’s opponent was the military academy from planet Tianyu. The Tianyu Military Academy was ranked number 32 in the entire Federation, thus making it the weakest among all of the military academies, even worse than the Tongli Military Academy. For them to win three matches against the super strong First Men’s Military Academy … hehe, unless the First Men’s Military Academy dropped the ball themselves, it would be completely impossible. It should be said that as soon as the match-up list was out, the First Men’s Military Academy already had half a foot into the top 16.
On the other end, when Jiang Shaoyu from the Second Men’s Military Academy found out who his academy’s opponent was, his brow furrowed lightly. Their opponent was the rank 22 academy whose mecha operators were all pretty strong. He would have to think well on the matches to win three of them.
Jiang Shaoyu had been feeling very stressed in the past few rounds; having been banned for five rounds, he was very afraid that his academy’s team would encounter a strong team early on. The First Men’s Military Academy had been thoroughly studied by the other schools, but they still managed to enter the top 32 with little trouble due to their formidable strength. In contrast, the Second Men’s Military Academy had had to take great pains to change their line-up and come up with versatile arrangements to avoid pitfall after potential pitfall, shakily making their way into the top 32. There had even been a few matches where there was a certain element of luck to their victory, making Jiang Shaoyu’s heartrate swing high and low, enduring quite an ordeal. Without him to hold the fort, the strength of the other mecha operators of the Second Men’s Military Academy was just too average, not much different than that of the other military academies. This was another reason why the Second Men’s Military Academy was finding it difficult to advance.
Jiang Shaoyu then went on to inquire about the opponent of the First Men’s Military Academy. When he learned that it was the Tianyu Military Academy, he could not help but envy and hate the First Men’s Military Academy for their amazing luck, actually being matched against the weakest academy of the top 32. Barring any accidents, they were almost confirmed to advance into the top 16.
Reality turned out as Jiang Shaoyu had predicted. Against Tianyu, the First Men’s Military Academy won a clean set of three straight matches to advance to the top 16. It should be said that this kind of outcome did not surprise the audience. What did surprise the audience was that the First Men’s Military Academy’s thus far fixed and unchanging battle line-up had changed.
The first to fight had actually been Qiao Ting. When the large screen displayed the pair for the first match, the appearance of Qiao Ting’s name had gobsmacked the entire audience. In everyone’s impression, Qiao Ting had always been the one to hold the fort and fight last. They had never expected to see the day where he would play the role of vanguard.
As Qiao Ting being the first to take the stage had shocked the audience so much, whoever took the stage after that could no longer shock the audience as much. Even though the second to take the field was Ling Lan, and the third was Zhao Jun, and the two of them were nothing to sneeze at, the audience was still not as stirred up after that.
For this round, the First Men’s Military Academy had seemed to be using a regressive line-up, with the strongest coming out first and the weakest coming out last. In the eyes of the audience, this kind of arrangement was an extremely retarded move. If not for the fact that the members of the First Men’s Military Academy were overall stronger than the opponents by a head, this kind of retarded arrangement might have caused them to be eliminated right in the top 16 round.
The afternoon matches did not end there — once the top 16 were determined, the round for the top 16 into the top 10 began immediately after. First, the 16 remaining academies were matched up to fight to determine the top 8. From there, the losing 8 academies would again fight against one another until the final 2 spots in the top 10 could be determined.
This time, the First Men’s Military Academy’s opponent was the Federal Defence Military Academy which was part of the top 10 in the past. Compared to the Tianyu Military Academy, the Federal Defence Military Academy was much stronger. Due to the First Men’s Military Academy line-up in their last round, after much consideration, the Federal Defence Military Academy decided to arrange their line-up in the following sequence of strength: 5, 1, 2, 3, 4.
However, the line-up of the First Men’s Military Academy had changed again this time. The first to fight was Mu Shaoyu — with his strength at the top-level of special-class operator, he felt no pressure at all against his opponent who was someone who had just advanced to special-class operator level. He managed to gain the upper hand right from the start, and after 30 plus moves, he had completely whittled away all of the opponent’s points to clinch the opening victory.
Many of the audience believed that the First Men’s Military Academy had regained their reason and would now arrange their line-up in a logical order, but the second person to step out once again upended this view — Qiao Ting had been sent out again!
This unexpected opponent here left the Defence Academy students beating their chests in frustration — their second fighter was the one they had pinned their hopes on to win their first match for them; he was the strongest special-class operator in their military academy. However, even the strongest special-class operator had no chance of winning against the ace operator Qiao Ting.
Here, the Defence Academy cadets were even a little suspicious — while they had been arranging their line-up, had there been a First Men’s Military Academy’s spy by their sides who had stolen this intel for the opponent? Of course, this was impossible. The Defence Academy cadets were well aware that this was just a spur of the moment insight on the part of their opponents. It could only be said that the First Men’s Military Academy was just too lucky (having calculated things so accurately?).
Having lost two matches in a row, the Federal Defence Military Academy had their backs to the wall now. Their only hope was that the third person to fight for the First Men’s Military Academy would be their weakest member — this way, they could still win one match with their second strongest operator and save some face. However, reality was cruel. When Zhao Jun stepped up, they knew that their hopes were dashed.
Zhao Jun, who was a special-class operator endlessly close to breaking through to ace level, the third rank of the single mecha combat event … how could he be someone the second strongest of their military academy could defeat? Sure enough, once the two contestants started fighting, the Federal Defence operator was completely suppressed by Zhao Jun. After struggling to hold out for around 10 moves, he was defeated by three combo hits from Zhao Jun.
Just like this, the First Men’s Military Academy won three straight sets, easily entering the top 10. This also pushed the Federal Defence academy who was initially part of the top 10 into the extra round, where they would have to fight with the other 7 military academies who had lost to fight for the final last spots in the top 10.
However, another military academy that was initially considered no weaker than the First Men’s Military Academy unexpectedly lost as well, and that was the Second Men’s Military Academy. This was the fifth round of Jiang Shaoyu’s ban — as long as his academy could weather this round, Jiang Shaoyu would be able to officially take the field for the rest of the tournament.
But the Second Men’s Military Academy’s luck seemed to end here. Their opponent was the 7th strongest in the last tournament — their individual mecha’s strengths might perhaps not be as good as Qiao Ting’s or Jiang Shaoyu’s or Lin Xiao’s, but their overall strength was rather substantial. All six participating members were all at the top tier of special-class.
Although Jiang Shaoyu tried all kinds of methods to hold out for five rounds, his school still lost with a score of 2-3 in this latest round, resulting in the greatest upset this tournament thus far. Fortunately, they still had the opportunity to participate in the additional round to fight for the final two spots in the top 10 along with the other 7 defeated academies. In all this bad news, the Second Men’s Military Academy still had the consolation of one piece of good news — Jiang Shaoyu would be able to officially take to the field again in the extra round. This significantly increased the chances of their school advancing into the top 10.
It should be said that Jiang Shaoyu’s ban had lifted at a very timely moment. In the extra round, due to the presence of Jiang Shaoyu, after several tough matches, the Second Men’s Military Academy obtained one of the final two tickets into the top 10 along with the Federal Defence Military Academy.
The finalisation of the top 10 also marked the end of the second day of the group mecha combat competition. The night passed in silence, and then it was the third and last day of the group mecha combat competition. On this day, the top 10 military academies would decide the final champions and runner-ups, as well as the rest of the ranking. The top 10 academies were rubbing their metaphorical palms in anticipation, prepared to go all out to bring honour to their school.
In the morning, the top 4 would be decided. The original top 8 would be paired up to compete against one another, with the winners becoming the tentative top 4. At this time, the two academies who had obtained the final two spots in the top 10 would be able to challenge any of the defeated four academies. If they succeeded in their challenge, they would be able to continue on to challenge one of the top 4, and if they succeeded in that challenge as well, they would replace their opponent to become a top 4 candidate.
Likewise, if any of the four defeated academies managed to defend and hold their ground against that first round challenge, they would also earn the right to challenge any of the top 4 academies again. If their challenge succeeded, they too could replace the opponent as one of the top 4. Thus, a first round win here at this stage of the competition did not mean that the winner would be able to laugh till the end.
Very soon, the top 8 into top 4 matches begun. The closer to the end of the competition, the narrower the gap between the strengths of the respective academies became. It was possible for either side to win or lose. The First Men’s Military Academy’s opponent was the Jingan Military Academy, ranked number 6.
The Jingan Military Academy was very strong, but when they found out that their opponent was the First Men’s Military Academy, their expressions became very troubled. No matter when, the First Men’s Military Academy was not an opponent any military academy would like to meet early on in the competition.
It could not be helped. In terms of mecha piloting, the First Men’s Military Academy was clearly a head above all of the other military academies. Even though the First Men’s Military Academy had always ended up ranking second in the Grand Mecha Tournament overall, they had still never lost the championship position in the mecha combat competition for both single mecha combat and group mecha combat. This also showed that the First Men’s Military Academy was holding absolute dominance in the arena of mecha combat.
The Jingan Military Academy did not pull anything strange in their line-up. They arranged their members from the weakest to the strongest in ascending order. The First Men’s Military Academy’s strange and unfathomable line-ups in the previous two matches had made the Jingan Military Academy give up any thoughts of trying to take advantage of an opportunistic line-up.
Backstage, the five members of the First Men’s Military Academy were huddled up together. With a sour expression, Mu Shaoyu asked, “Are we still going to continue using this method to arrange our line-up?”
Zhao Jun grinned and said, “Mu Shaoyu, don’t you think this is very interesting?” Zhao Jun was very willing to play along with this; he felt that this way of arranging their line-up was very fun.
Han Yu’s expression was filled with displeasure, just eager to get on with things. He tugged harshly on his own sleeves and said impatiently, “Hurry up, hurry up! It’s almost time to submit our line-up!”
Qiao Ting frowned at Ling Lan and asked, “Will it be fine?”
Ling Lan quirked a brow and answered calmly, “We just need to win three matches.” The implication being that she did not really care.
Qiao Ting glared pointedly at Ling Lan — this idea had been his to begin with, and now he was acting like all this had nothing to do with him … it was really quite irritating. Qiao Ting turned to look at the other three there and said, “Let’s do it!” He definitely would never admit that he too found this way of arranging their line-up rather exciting.
“Ping, Ling, Pang, Lang —— Cai!” Following this cry by Mu Shaoyu, the five of them put out their hands!
“Haha, this time, I’ll be the first to fight!” Zhao Jun raised his scissors-hand up high, laughing gleefully. The other four had actually all chosen to throw paper this round, and so he had managed a one-hit kill.
“Tsk, this guy is just too lucky, getting to be among the first three to fight for three times in a row!” Han Yu was unbelievably annoyed. He had already been unable to fight for two rounds already and was about to be bored to death. Tenaciously, Han Yu rolled his sleeves up high, and with the air of a gambler intent on turning things around, he shouted, “Once more!”没心没肺: The original phrase here is ‘no heart no lungs’, which can sometimes mean someone doesn’t have any feelings/compassion, but here I took it to mean that Zhao Jun looked like he had no depth, an empty big well-built husk of a body.心胸气度: Literally ‘heart and chest capacity and general air of bearing’. Generally used to refer to one’s ability to be a bigger person. I like this definition by the Merriam-Webster dictionary for ‘magnanimity’ which explains the concept being conveyed here pretty well IMO. “Loftiness of spirit enabling one to bear trouble calmly, to disdain meanness and pettiness, and to display a noble generosity.”天宇星: Well, if I had to translate it out, this would be ‘planet Skyworld’, which is … meh. So, I chose to leave it in pinyin.Think of this like the utterance for a kids’ game, like ‘iniminimainimo’ or ‘alakazam, walakazoo’, etc. It doesn’t particularly mean anything.
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