Jiang Qing'e said indifferently to Si Tianming, "Li Luo has a knack for using his advantages."
Si Tianming could do nothing when they were that united. With a final warning to Li Luo, he left with the squad and a slightly wounded heart.
Jiang Qing'e turned to Li Luo. "Done with the registration?"
He showed her his jade tablet.
"Let's go, then. To Newcomers' Hall. The Choosing of the Mentors will begin there," Jiang Qing'e said.
"Must we go together?" Li Luo grinned.
"At this point, there's nothing left to hide," she said, then she blinked innocently at him. "But I must say I quite like the way things turned out. You always lack a little pressure. Perhaps this is for the best."
"Best?!" Li Luo objected as he followed her.
"What's up with Duze Honglian anyway?"
"Just someone who lost to me for three straight years. Perhaps she turned on you after finding no breakthrough against me."
"That's heartless. I'm just a child."
"Child? I think the rumors of me and Duze Honglian fighting over a husband will never end."
"Oh well. The defense of the weak; all I had to attack her with were words. It made her suffer a hundred times worse than any slap though."
They walked away as they spoke, ignoring the glances thrown their way.
Within the crowd were the sisters Bai Doudou and Bai Mengmeng as well.
"Was that Jiang Qing'e? She's beautiful." Bai Mengmeng marveled in her breathy voice.
"Ninth-grade light resonance..."
Bai Doudou was mesmerized. "Truly a legend. That light resonant power just now was unnervingly strong. Even someone as strong as Duze Honglian had her defense easily broken."
"Is Li Luo the young lord of House Luolan? Is he really engaged to Jiang Qing'e?" Bai Mengmeng giggled. "But he is very handsome."
Bai Doudou gave her a stern look. "Stay away from that guy, you hear me? You're not allowed to have any relations with him."
"Elder Sis, what are you talking about?" Bai Mengmeng said lightly. "I'm not interested in him. I just want to research spirit liquids and purifying lights."
Bai Doudou nodded approvingly. Her younger sister was too soft. She would curl up when bullied, and that Li Luo looked like he could eat her for breakfast. It would be best if she kept the two apart.
"Excuse me, are you Bai Mengmeng?"
From behind, a warm and compelling voice greeted them. The two sisters turned around and saw a youth with bangs and a small frown on his face.
"Hello, I'm Yu Lang. I wonder if we could become friends." The downcast youth gave her a bright smile.
Bai Mengmeng took one look at him and hid behind Bai Doudou without saying a word.
"Go away," Bai Doudou said acidly.
"I have no other intentions. I just want to get to know her and be friends," Yu Lang said very sincerely.
"I give you three seconds to disappear from our sight. Otherwise, you won't even make it to the Choosing of the Mentors," Bai Doudou said. She had spoken with a quiet lack of emotion that was especially unnerving.
His sense of danger as acute as ever, Yu Lang was gone almost as soon as she spoke.
Bai Doudou sniffed. "Ball-less rat. You dare flirt with my sister in front of me?"
"It's a gall-less rat." Bai Mengmeng poked her cheek. "Sis, Dad and Mom have corrected you many times. You have to get rid of that habit. It sounds too vulgar for a girl."
"Ball, gall, it's all the same," Bai Doudou said impatiently. She took her younger sister by the hand and left.
Li Luo, meanwhile, had arrived at the site of the Choosing of the Mentors with Jiang Qing'e and Yan Lingqing, which invited many stares.
It was a huge, circular hall with a dome roof that exposed the sky. The outer edge was lined with many rings of spectator stands built in a theater style.
The arena was packed full of people, a sea of black heads bobbing about. There had to be thousands of people here.
"Your position should be written on your newcomer jade tablet. Go find it, then wait for the Choosing of the Mentors to begin," Jiang Qing'e told Li Luo.
"It starts here?" he asked quizzically.
"No, this is just a holding area. When the Choosing of the Mentors begins, there will be a transport design beneath the hall that will bring you to a special place," Jiang Qing'e clarified.
Li Luo nodded hesitantly.
"Good luck, Li Luo. We'll be watching you from here." Yan Lingqing waved encouragingly, then she dragged Jiang Qing'e by the hand to the spectator stands.
Li Luo looked at the two beautiful girls disappearing off into the crowd and then tugged his eyes unwillingly back to the crowd in front of him.
He looked at his jade tablet.
"Third northern ring, vertical 39, horizontal 56."
Li Luo puzzled it out and headed for his designated position.
He had spotted complicated markings on the ground, with circles a meter and a half in diameter drawn at regular intervals. He guessed that these were the transport designs, and their jade tablets told them which design they had been assigned to.
He finally found his position, but he was surprised to see that everyone else was giving the area a wide berth.
He saw that there was a single person standing in the middle of the circle.
His heart almost stopped. A sight to instill fear in even the bravest hearts.
Shoulder-length hair, a swarthy complexion, and tiger stripes on his face. Li Luo immediately understood why people were avoiding him. Number one on Yu Lang's power rankings, Qin Zhulu.
"He is truly terrifying."
Li Luo shook his head in amazement. The drawing had been enough to make him wary, and the real deal was far scarier.
No wonder no one dared to go near him.
Li Luo double checked. Qin Zhulu was standing in the space he was assigned to.
He hesitated, then stepped out.
As he neared, Qin Zhulu's eyes shot open. They were as cold as death, and Li Luo felt like he was being stalked by an apex predator.
He did not falter, but continued forwards.
"Excuse me." He gave Qin Zhulu his best friendly smile. "Sorry, but you're in my spot."
Qin Zhulu looked down at the position marker, then looked back up with a stony face, dumb as a post.
"Excuse me. This is my spot," Li Luo repeated.
Qin Zhulu stared at Li Luo. "Are you challenging me?" he rumbled in a deep, bestial voice.
Li Luo was speechless. “How did you work that one out? I was just telling you you're in the wrong spot, for goodness’ sake.”
"I'm not challenging you," he clarified. "But this is really my spot. Show me your jade tablet."
Qin Zhulu pulled out his newcomer jade tablet and stared at it.
Li Luo peered over. "Look, yours says sixth southern ring, vertical 76, horizontal 58. You can just head over there."
Qin Zhulu stared at Li Luo and stuffed his newcomer jade tablet back into his pocket. "Are you challenging me?" he asked in his deep voice.
“Who the hell is challenging you, damn it! You're the one challenging me, eh?!”
Li Luo was dumbstruck. Was this guy from military school or barbarian school?
Did he even understand human speech?
Li Luo stared at him for a moment. "You can't find your position, right?"
It was indeed a rather confusing layout here in the arena, and even Li Luo had taken a while to puzzle it out. This guy seemed to lack any sense of direction. He likely had a simple mind.
Qin Zhulu stared at Li Luo even more fiercely, but Li Luo sensed that he was covering up some insecurity.
"He can't be this weird," Li Luo thought to himself. "Look, give me your jade tablet, we'll swap. You can stand here, and I'll go find the other spot."
He offered his jade tablet.
Qin Zhulu looked at the proffered jade tablet for a good, long time. Finally, he took out his own and made the swap.
Their trade done, Li Luo stared at him with odd fascination. This guy really had just decided to wing it after he could not find his spot.
Qin Zhulu accepted Li Luo's incredulous stare impassively. He was still dumb as a post. For some reason, Li Luo felt that his dark face had gotten even darker.
Finally, he shook his head and turned away with the tablet.
Qin Zhulu watched him go. Then he closed his eyes again and started meditating.