Lu Qing'er was the girl on the second floor, at a window in a posh, private suite. There were many others in there with her, other young people with eminent backgrounds. This was a reunion.
Only, Lu Qing'er was not too interested in this reunion.
When she spotted that familiar figure in the hall below, a small smile spread across her small face.
"Qing'er, what are you looking at? It's rare to see you smile."
A brawny youth laughed warmly from behind her.
Lu Qing'er turned to him. "Big Brother Ning Zhao."
"Aunt Yu asked me to take care of you and show you around Xia City, so I invited friends over today, but it seems I read you wrong. You don't like crowds, huh?" The youth called Ning Zhao gave a rueful smile.
He gestured at her. "You were just a small girl when I first met you all those years ago... And you're a beautiful young woman now."
Lu Qing'er gave him a dutiful smile back. Ning Zhao's father was the vice president of the Golden Dragon Bank's head office. He was an experienced man, and second in status to her own mother, Yu Hongxi.
Ning Zhao himself was also a student at the Astral Sage College. He would probably enter the Two Star Hall this year, and would be her senior in the future.
Still, she cut him off mid-speech. "I have a friend downstairs. I'll go meet them."
Turning, she bounced away quickly.
Ning Zhao watched her elegant figure leave, letting his feelings show in his eyes. He was honestly taken aback by her transformation. A few years ago, she was a refreshing little girl, but now she was an enigmatic beauty.
When she entered the Astral Sage College, there would be plenty of admirers drooling over her.
But recalling the rare pleasure on her face, Ning Zhao frowned slightly, his gaze drifting downwards to the hall as well.
On a crystal counter.
The pretty girl took out a few boxes made of jade, opening them carefully for Li Luo. Within were precious rare materials, deeply steeped in earth and wood energies.
"Great Sir, these are all 1,000-grade rare materials of wood and earth resonances."
Li Luo marveled over them. He had come to the right place indeed. The selection of 1,000-grade rare materials was extensive. Each one would be a rare find at the Tianshu Province's Golden Dragon Bank.
Li Luo carefully looked them over, feeling out their energy levels. After a long while, he regretfully put them down.
"Sir, are you not satisfied?" she asked with concern while showing no impatience at all. For one with such divine looks, even a frown was charming.
Exactly her cup of tea.
Li Luo shook his head. "It seems like 1,000-grade materials will not do. Do you have 10,000-grade rare materials?"
Her eyes lit up even brighter. 10,000-grade rare materials were worth tens of thousands of skygold. This young man was even richer than she had thought.
But just as she was about to speak, another voice came from the side. "I'll take care of this customer from here."
She looked up indignantly. Who was trying to steal her man away?
Whirling around, she saw a small and pretty face, and she almost lost her composure in fright. She quickly rearranged her irritated expression into a compliant one. "Young- Young Mistress... You're here?"
Of course she knew the daughter of the Golden Dragon Bank's President Yu.
"This is my friend. I'll see to his needs," Lu Qing'er said with a small smile.
Nodding hurriedly, the girl turned and left obediently, albeit regretfully.
Li Luo was not too surprised to see her here, considering who she was.
"Young Lord, you have been dazzling our young girls nonstop since you set foot in the Golden Dragon Bank. If you became a frequent customer, would our business operations grind to a halt?" she teased.
"I am sorry," Li Luo said with a show of great regret. "It's my parents' fault. I had no say in the matter."
Lu Qing'er rolled her eyes at him. He was getting bold indeed.
"I came to Xia City earlier than you. My mother was pestering me to accompany her... Oh, and I heard about the Suncreek Villa. Are you alright there?" Lu Qing'er asked with frank concern, her earlier playfulness vanishing.
"I got played out by someone. It's normal, and definitely nothing new in these past few years." Li Luo shrugged.
"Good luck, then. Given your abilities, you will definitely be able to restore House Luolan to its former glory." She encouraged him.
"You think that highly of me, huh..."
He laughed and shook his head, changing the issue. "So," he said suggestively, "you said you would... see to my needs?"
"Any need. Just say the word," she answered his smile with her own, extending her arms and charging her ice silk gloves with frost energy until they gleamed dangerously.
"What service do you wish for?"
"Just look at that attitude..."
Li Luo scolded her piously. "Well? What are you still fooling about for?! Bring me your 10,000-grade rare materials."
She shot him a withering look. "10,000-grade rare materials are few and far between even for the Golden Dragon Bank. Especially wood and earth resonance ones. We normally keep them in the auction room. I can bring you in for a look."
"Well, then, woman. Less yapping, more walking." Li Luo waved her on imperiously.
Lu Qing'er was irritated at being treated so unceremoniously like a waiting woman, but she swallowed the impulse to trounce him soundly and led the way.
Still, her amusement was showing clearly on her fair features.
On the second floor, Ning Zhao watched Li Luo and Lu Qing'er walk away, his thoughts melancholy as he nursed a wine cup.
He had seen the look of happiness on Lu Qing'er's face, one that he had not been able to bring out.
Who was that silver-haired youth?
"Keke, that's House Luolan's young lord, Li Luo..." a bright voice said from beside him.
Ning Zhao turned around and saw a suave, blue-haired youth by his side, grinning down at Li Luo.
"Young Lord Beixuan seems well acquainted with him," Ning Zhao replied with a smile. This was the young lord of House Duze, Duze Beixuan.
"We of House Duze are very concerned with every move that House Luolan makes. Our rivalry runs deep. Of course I know my enemies well," Duze Beixuan said with a wicked grin.
"House Duze has recently poached the Suncreek Villa's president and made the Suncreek Villa a laughing stock, I hear," Ning Zhao said.
"Of course, the bigger joke is Young Lord Li Luo taking up the role as a second-grade resonance artificer."
Duze Beixuan chuckled. "They couldn't very well give it to Pang Qianchi. He's Pei Hao's man."
"Oh, Brother Ning Zhao, can you help me find out what Young Lord Li Luo is doing at the Golden Dragon Bank?"
Ning Zhao looked down. "I'm afraid that's against the rules. Protecting customer secrecy is one of the Golden Dragon Bank's tenets."
Duze Beixuan smiled. "I hear that Lu Qing'er and Li Luo were very close back at Southwind Academy. He even saved her during the college entrance exams..."
Ning Zhao's look turned dark. Lifting a wine jug nearby, he filled his cup to the brim, then downed it in one go before striding away.
Duze Beixuan followed, still grinning.Previous Chapter Next Chapter