Silence greeted Chi Chan's remarks.
The three students were still reeling from the magnitude of the information they had just received. No one had told them about the cruel reality of their world before.
They understood, however. Such news would cause widespread panic. It was best kept classified.
"The Nobles' Battlefield is special. Although death and danger are everywhere, they come hand in hand with opportunities. According to some rough statistics, there are far more Dukes who rise to King on the Nobles' Battlefield compared to their counterparts outside.
"There are also many brave Dukes who volunteer to go and train themselves.
"But whether volunteers or conscripts, everyone who goes to the Nobles' Battlefield deserves our respect," she said softly while looking at Li Luo. "Because they have gone, those of us who remain can cultivate in peace and improve ourselves.
"They are heroes."
Li Luo was silent. Heroes? He felt a little sick. Given the choice, which parent would willingly abandon their child for that place of death?
"Although the Nobles' Battlefield is the main channel through which Others enter our world, it is not the only one. The Others are constantly opening new pathways, which we call Other Nestportals.
"Other Nestportals are unpredictable. Each unpredicted appearance causes countless deaths. Entire nations have even been wiped out before, with no one left alive within a 10,000 mile radius.
"Other Nestportals are the grim objective of the Academic Federation. Once one appears, all schools must immediately send their best to exterminate it.
"The various nations are constantly locked in endless conflict, and even the schools are always competing. But against the Others, all differences are put aside."
She spoke gently, knowing the impact of what she had just dropped on these children. In a few short moments, their peaceful bubbles had been shattered. Now they were faced with a greater reality, and their stress was compounded.
"There is no need to worry too much about this. The Others are a common threat to all of humanity, but that's not something you kids should worry about. If the sky falls, taller people will hold it up," she quipped wittily.
They forced smiles. Such news needed time to digest. But she was indeed right—such information was meant to broaden their horizons. Given their current strength, they had neither the ability nor the position to worry about the Others. It was a distant problem.
But now Li Luo understood why Jiang Qing'e had been so reticent on the topic. It would only have added to his worries needlessly.
He couldn't very well go charging to the Nobles' Battlefield where his parents were, no matter how worried he was.
He felt anew just how important it was to be powerful.
The Others had to be put aside. He had to worry about conquering the Astral Sage College first. No matter how scary they were, they couldn't be any scarier than him being dead in five years, could they?
How was he supposed to be scared of anything if he was dead?
This seemed to ease the tightness in his chest a little.
As they each dealt with the information in their own ways, the atmosphere of tension slowly ebbed.
Mentor Chi Chan did not speak further on the Others or the Nobles' Battlefield. "From now on, you three will live in the adjacent building. There are three floors, one for each of you.
"I will individually instruct you each day during cultivation, and also apply for cultivation resources for you."
Li Luo's eyes lit up. "Can we get spirit liquids and purifying lights?" he asked eagerly. "I just need sixth-grade ones. Not too many, even ten a month would be good."
She shot him a look. "You think the Astral Sage College is a charity?" she demanded. "Who's going to pay for ten sixth-grade spirit liquids a month!?"
"What about five?!" Li Luo argued.
"None! The Astral Sage College doesn't hand out spirit liquids like door gifts!" she snapped at him.
"But if you really need spirit liquids and purifying lights, I can help you speak to the Resonance Artificers Hall. They produce some, but you will have to pay. Since you're a student of the school, they might give you a ten percent discount."
Li Luo sighed. He had thought things would go a little more smoothly.
"Mentor, can I ask another question?" he tried again.
She stared at him, then at Bai Mengmeng and Xin Fu, who were quiet. This Li Luo was an unruly one.
"Please," he asked seriously, "would you tell me how to get Royal Sap?"
"Royal Sap?" she repeated. "You're really not one to aim low, are you?" she said with some dry humor in her voice. "Royal Sap is a precious resource in the school. If you contribute to the school, you might be rewarded with some."
"What counts as contribution?" he asked curiously.
"For example, winning glory for the school and what not... Didn't I just get through telling you that the Astral Sage College is not without its rivals? Even in the East Divine Continent, there's endless competition. Powers as numerous as the stars, and sage colleges are not rare. They're our rivals for sure. Who doesn't want to become the strongest school in the East Divine Continent?
"You should know that the strongest school in the East Divine Continent is richly supported with resources from the Academic Federation. The entire school benefits. The competition to win that title is intense.
"And of course, the competition cannot be between the mentors or principals. That would be unbecoming. It has to be in competitions between students.
"If you do well in those competitions, the school would be happy to provide you all the Royal Sap you wish."
Li Luo's face fell. This smacked strongly of the same process as Southwind Academy. Wasn't Southwind just as obsessed with being the best school in the Tianshu Province? The Astral Sage College was just as shallow! Just what kind of irony was this?
More importantly, he was just a One Star Hall student. Where was he going to get resources to fight for the Astral Sage College? Clearly, that was for stronger students in the Four Star Hall, or those like Jiang Qing'e, right?
"Besides interschool competitions, if you can earn 5,000 points in school, you may also redeem a Royal Sap," Chi Chan added.
"School points? 5,000?" All three looked curious.
"There's nothing strange about it. Your daily performance and missions will earn you points. Each month's exams, school missions—there are countless ways to earn points. The school point system is meant to encourage the students' cultivation. It is a time-tested method.
"Do not underestimate these points. They can not only get you many special cultivation resources that only the school has, they can even get you Duke energy cultivation arts. They have many uses, and they will follow you through your entire school life. It’s best to accumulate those points diligently," she advised them.
"Monthly exams?" Li Luo repeated doubtfully. These school points seemed hard to get.
Perhaps he could buy them off others with skygold?
All sorts of clever thoughts were springing forth in his head. He was the young lord of House Luolan after all. He still had some sort of backing.
Mentor Chi Chan seemed to read his mind. "Points must be earned individually. They cannot be traded, and the school severely punishes such actions. Each student must respect this well."
Li Luo blushed inwardly, but he showed nothing at all outside. He turned to Bai Mengmeng and Xin Fu. "Heard that, guys? Remember the mentor's teachings, and don't sully our group's name."
Bai Mengmeng blinked back at him innocently. Xin Fu just looked at him.
"Also, you three are a group from now on. If there are any missions, you three will probably move together. It's best that you choose a group leader among yourselves. Someone to sort out internal troubles when they pop up," she continued, ignoring his rubbish.
Li Luo recoiled inwardly. No privileges and all responsibility. Definitely a euphemism for scapegoat. No thanks.
Only an unlucky child would be saddled with such a role.
Li Luo entered a state of great mindfulness. With his eyes, he observed his nose. With his nose, he took in the smells of his being. He was peaceful, he was invisible. The moment one of the other two made a sound, he would jump behind them, full support, no questions asked.
"Xin Fu is moving... Youngsters, they just can't sit still."
Li Luo could sense a disturbance by his side. He smiled in victory.
Xin Fu raised his hand. A bare whisper came from under the hood. "I... forfeit."
Bai Mengmeng looked at the floor. "Me... me too," she said in a small voice.
Mentor Chi Chan nodded, then turned to Li Luo. "They've forfeited. That means Li Luo's the leader," she said decisively.
His smile froze on his face. He swore inwardly.
Damn! He had let his guard down. These clowns were even weaker than he had imagined.
“I was still observing you guys! Yet you quit on me?!”
What kind of fighting spirit was that?!Previous Chapter Next Chapter