The next morning.
Li Luo had risen and washed up. He was standing on the balcony on the third floor, looking out at the grounds. Across the carefully gardened greenery, he could see groups of students wearing heavy, specialized suits of armor and running in cadence, sweat pouring down their backs.
This heavy armor was able to suppress one's resonant power. Therefore, the wearer had to constantly expend resonant power to counter its weight, or be crushed under it. Privately, the students gave it the nickname of troll armor.
This was life at the Astral Sage College.
Full of hope and light.
Li Luo stretched lazily. He patted his groaning stomach and then headed downstairs.
On the second floor, he saw an easel set up, and a black-robed figure hunched over it, moving his brush with great concentration.
Li Luo sauntered over. "Morning, Xin Fu," he greeted.
Xin Fu glanced at him from under his hood and gave him a barely perceptible nod.
After a day together, Li Luo already knew that he was as reticent as could be. He was like a living shadow. If you did not look out for him, you would totally forget he was there.
Still, Li Luo was the leader, so he felt like he should show some concern for his fellow teammates.
He stood beside Xin Fu and looked at his easel. He scratched his chin and appreciated his work. "Your chicken drawing has great charm, I say."
Xin Fu's brush stopped. A few seconds later, he quietly said, "I'm drawing a phoenix."
Li Luo almost fell over backwards. He looked at the little chicken, er, phoenix, on the canvas suspiciously... The thing was a few grains of rice away from a chicken drawing, damn it.
A phoenix? Just how underfed are your phoenixes, for goodness’ sake! They're scrawny!
"Did you just start painting? It's not a bad hobby. Helps to regulate the emotions and all that," Li Luo finally said after some long thought.
Xin Fu's brush started its unsteady journey across the white paper again. "I've been painting for ten years now," he finally said after an even longer pause.
Li Luo almost added a spray of blood across the painting. His mind couldn't take much more. Ten years? And he was still this bad? I could draw better with my feet!
Forget it, a strange teammate. Let it be.
He quietly headed downstairs.
On the first floor, Li Luo was just contemplating what to do for the morning meal when Bai Mengmeng appeared in a short skirt-apron in the living room. She carefully placed breakfast on the table.
Looking up at Li Luo with large, liquid eyes, her face broke out in an endearing smile. "Good morning, Leader. I've made breakfast, no need to go to the school canteen." Looking at this adorable, little angel, Li Luo's heart lightened. Luckily, he had one normal teammate.
Considerably cheered up, he said thanks and sat down. The first mouthful of food stopped right behind his teeth, as if frozen in time.
He stared at the food, appalled. It looked like it had been prepared with great care, but it tasted like pig feed. He could not imagine how she had done it.
Careless, he was.
A normal teammate, he thought he had.
Just kill me now, I'm tired of it all.
"Leader, what's wrong? Is it... not good?" Bai Mengmeng asked anxiously, seeing his odd reaction.
Li Luo looked at her anxious face. So pure. So cute. He swallowed, both the food and his real thoughts. "Delicious," he said with a smile.
She gave him a happy and relieved smile.
He spotted Xin Fu coming down the stairs. "Brother Xin Fu, come quickly!" he called out heartily. "Mengmeng has made breakfast!" Xin Fu stared at the very pleased Li Luo suspiciously, but he ended up walking over. Bai Mengmeng quickly offered him up a serving of breakfast too. He said an awkward thank you and took it.
The first mouthful of food stopped right behind his teeth, as if frozen in time. He looked up at a beaming Li Luo with a complex expression. He swallowed, then reached for another big bite. "Leader," he mumbled, "Mengmeng's hard work was all for us. We will finish the food."
"Damn, this guy doesn't hold back," Li Luo thought. Under the earnest and hopeful gaze of Bai Mengmeng, he began to shovel it down too.
Bai Mengmeng's eyes crinkled happily. She hummed as she served herself and then began eating with enjoyment.
Looking at how happy she was, Li Luo and Xin Fu stared at each other, confirming confusion in the other's eyes. Did she actually like the food? The Bai family was an ancient family from the Gusu Province. They held great power in the Xia Kingdom. Surely their food could not be this bad, right?
Li Luo shook his head in sympathy for Bai Mengmeng.
The door was pushed open, and Chi Chan strode in. She waved to indicate they need not rise.
"Today, we will begin the first lesson. Later, you will go with me to the underground training room," she said.
"Mentor, when can we go to the Tree of Resonant Power?" Li Luo asked.
Bai Mengmeng and Xin Fu looked up as well, interested. It was perhaps what all newcomers looked forward to the most. The Tree of Resonant Power, whose canopy shaded the school. It was the symbol that everyone recognized.
"The worldly natural energy near the Tree of Resonant Power is too overwhelming. New students can only go there once every three days as it is too much for you," she explained. "So you can only go tomorrow."
They nodded, impressed. The Trees of Resonant Power in their previous schools were daily visits. Here, they could only go once every three days because of how powerful it was...?
What a luxurious reason.
After breakfast, the three eagerly followed Chi Chan to the underground room.
Guidance from a Duke Stage expert!
First up was Li Luo, while Bai Mengmeng and Xin Fu sat cross-legged at the side to observe.
"Give me your hand."
She reached out with her own.
Li Luo hesitated a moment, but eventually he stretched his hand out.
He knew that she wanted to examine the dual resonances within him more clearly, to better guide him.
He hesitated because of his third resonant palace.
At this stage, he did not want to reveal it yet. Dual resonances were enough to make his enemies sit up and notice the young lord, but things were still under control. But if his third resonant palace were exposed, he would be public enemy number one.
House Luolan's enemies would not wait until he continued maturing. They might strike immediately, and perhaps not even a Violet Vibrance mentor would be able to protect him from them. The Astral Sage College might be a strong deterrence, but why even put himself in such a situation?
Still, there was no reason to refuse here. His third resonant palace had yet to be opened; it was currently hidden deep in his body. If she did not go too deep, it would be hard to discover.
Calming himself, he stretched out his hand, allowing her to grasp his wrist.Previous Chapter Next Chapter