After breakfast, Li Luo and his team eagerly followed their mentor, Chi Chan, out of the building, heading for the Tree of Resonant Power.
They saw a slow convergence of people all headed the same way, a majestic exodus drawn to the locus of power.
Clearly, all the students were headed for the tree, although it was big enough that everyone was headed for separate zones.
Finally, they reached the One Star Hall designated climbing area after 20 minutes.
Here, they could feel the overpowering immensity of the tree. The main trunk's girth was astounding, a pillar of wood that reached up into the heavens.
The branches were so thick that light barely filtered through in specks.
Underneath it, humans were as insignificant as ants.
Most impressive of all was the worldly natural energy. Even before they climbed the tree, they could sense it overflowing, buzzing, pulsing. It was everywhere.
It was a bonanza of energy beyond what they had ever experienced before.
Many other mentors had led their new students here as well, and the place was lively with chatter.
Li Luo spotted a familiar figure. There was a dirty energy that he could detect a mile away.
The dirty man himself, Yu Lang.
Yu Lang's eyes lit up when he spotted him in turn, hurrying towards him through the crowd.
Li Luo watched his hasty approach. Why the eagerness? Was this the power of friendship? Had the absence of a few days made his heart this fond?
Li Luo was just about to greet him when Yu Lang's rough hands shoved him aside. Yu Lang's passionate eyes were firmly locked on Bai Mengmeng. He started forwards.
"What. Are. You. Doing?"
A cold voice rang out behind him.
Yu Lang froze, almost creaking as he turned around, terrified. Bai Doudou was glaring at him.
Yu Lang grinned broadly. "Why, of course I'm here to see my good brother," he said casually, clapping Li Luo on the shoulder and giving him a brotherly shake.
Li Luo played along to a performance that fooled nobody. "How's the canteen food?"
"Er, passable. Haven't you gone?" Yu Lang asked, puzzled.
"Bai Mengmeng has been making breakfast for us, so I haven't gone," Li Luo replied.
Yu Lang's jaw dropped. Damn, this was the paradise he could only dream of. Why couldn't he get Bai Mengmeng's breakfast of love? Why was it Bai Doudou's daily whippings?
Bai Doudou blanched and looked at Li Luo apprehensively. "Mengmeng has been making breakfast?"
Li Luo saw some pity in her eyes.
"Did you eat it all? Did you say anything?" she quickly asked. Li Luo knew what she meant.
"Well, of course we ate it all. She made it so kindly..."
Bai Doudou looked relieved. This made her towards him soften.
"But what's with her?" Li Luo asked. How could she eat something so bad so calmly? Did she not know it was off?
Bai Doudou hesitated. "Mengmeng was hit with a rare poison when she was young," she said in a low voice. "She lost her sense of taste..."
Li Luo's face tightened.
No sense of taste. Everything that passed through her lips was tasteless. Such a cute, adorable girl, stricken with such a flaw. His heart went out to her.
Yu Lang was a little teary-eyed as well. "What an angel of a child."
He rounded on Li Luo. "You ungrateful brats. Mengmeng making breakfast! Even if it were SHIT, I would eat three large bowls!"
His agitation made the last part of his declaration carry a little further than he had intended. Those nearby paused their conversations and looked over in disgust.
This guy could eat three large bowls of shit? Was that something to be proud of?
Li Luo backed away silently, and Bai Doudou buried her face in her hands. "Can you shut! Up!" she hissed at him.
Yu Lang coughed twice, then quailed under her fury, obediently shutting up.
Li Luo laughed to himself. It looked like Yu Lang had been well-trained by Bai Doudou in just a few days.
"One word to my sister, and I will skin you,” she said, then she brushed past Li Luo with a smile for her sister. The two sisters clung to each other happily.
Yu Lang watched them sourly. "Li Luo, have you ever known the tragic pain of having your blissful marital home wrecked before? Why must misfortune befall me so? I mourn my loss."
"Don't worry, you're just a toad squatting on the riverbank, drooling at the swans in the pond. You should still be eons away from knowing that sort of tragedy. In fact, you probably won't live that long," Li Luo said to console him.
"Besides, I think Bai Doudou might be more your type."
Yu Lang stared at him. "We know each other, right? Must you be that vile?"
He took one look at her. "She's a mother shark, all savagery and no feelings. Me and her?" he whispered in fright. "Impossible. No way. I'd rather die. I'll say it now: if there were only two living women left in the world, I wouldn't be with Bai Doudou!"
Li Luo grinned. "Think you're a great catch, do you?
"Bai Doudou has a lower eighth-grade resonance, her potential is immense. Her family is powerful, and she looks really good, she’s just not as charming as her sister. You would rather die? As if anyone's forcing you."
Yu Lang was stung, but he shook his head firmly. "No way. I still think the pure and sweet type like Bai Mengmeng is more my thing."
Li Luo shook his head.
"Oh, yes..." Yu Lang suddenly said. "Have you heard about Qing'er?"
"What's wrong?" Li Luo asked, frowning. Time had passed in a blur in his first two days. There were so many things to tend to, and he couldn't afford to slack in his cultivation. He had barely stepped out the front door.
"Wang Hejiu keeps chasing her," Yu Lang said.
"Qing'er held him back for you during the Choosing of the Mentors. She fought the guy and took a big loss. He was interested in her already, and he has been going over to her place frequently these past few days. Tongues have already begun to wag among the new students."
Li Luo stiffened. He had heard about how Yu Lang, Zhao Kuo, Lu Qing'er, and the others had helped him by absorbing some of the pressure. Of course, he was very touched. He had chosen his friends well.
Yu Lang and Zhao Kuo’s group had been swept by Bai Doudou, but she had clearly gone easy on them. There was no way they could hold her, not even with all the prayer in the world. Li Luo didn't really take it too seriously.
But Wang Hejiu. He must have caused Lu Qing'er a lot of pain.
That was a debt he owed her. As a man, he had to pay it back.
And now this guy dared to harass Lu Qing'er...
She was his good friend and comrade in battle. As if he would let this little poison birdie bully her!
If you fly into a bad place, birdie, you have no one to blame if you can't get away later.Previous Chapter Next Chapter