Li Luo made a mental note to teach Wang Hejiu a lesson, but with thousands of new students milling around, he couldn't really wade around in search of Lu Qing'er. That would have to wait.
A booming gong sounded from the top of the Tree of Resonant Power.
The mentors below were on hand to maintain order. "Students, you may climb now. Remember the leaf number you're holding, don't go to the wrong place."
The eager students swarmed up the meandering path on the trunk, shepherded by their mentors.
Li Luo and the others followed the flow of people up. They pattered up the wooden ladder, listening to the whispering rustle of leaves around them. A few minutes of climbing later, the Astral Sage College was but a tiny dot below them. The vertigo was dizzying.
Along the way, many branches broke away from the main trunk. They shimmered bronze, with a generous smattering of silver and a more modest splash of gold, marking the concentration of resonant power within.
Each of these leaves were twice as wide as the leaves on Southwind Academy's own Tree of Resonant Power. Even from a distance, Li Luo could sense the power concentrated on each leaf.
Li Luo marveled in wonder. Its existence was a miracle. Just how deep did the Astral Sage College's power run? And the Astral Sage College, with all its might, was just another member of the Academic Federation. Even now, he was still wrestling with the scale of it all.
No wonder it was the greatest power in mankind.
While Li Luo was gaping like a fish, he spotted a familiar figure up ahead in the crowd. Lu Qing'er herself.
Lu Qing'er's leggy figure was clad in her usual, short skirt and white lace socks. But today, she had sensibly taken off her extra top layer and wrapped it around her waist for modesty.
It gave her an even more girl-next-door feel, and many students were sneaking glances as they climbed.
Her figure-hugging, short-sleeved top showed off her alabaster skin to full effect, and her long limbs and sleek figure were all on display. She seemed to grow even more alluring with each passing day.
Li Luo quickly caught up to her. "Well, well. Isn't this the golden flower of Southwind Academy?"
The sudden call startled her, but she very quickly recognized his voice, turning around with an expectant smile.
"Oh? It looks like the Young Lord still remembers me. I thought you would have forgotten your old friends, now that you have a new compatriot."
As for who the new compatriot was, it went without saying.
"Rubbish. Can our special relationship be compared to that of shallow acquaintances?" Li Luo objected.
Her look softened. "And what exactly do we have between us?" She bit her lip.
"Comrades in battle, just like Yu Lang and Zhao Kuo. I have an idea. The four of us should form a team as the Four Heroes of Southwind. No one will dare cross us."
She glared at him like he was the biggest idiot in the world, then continued on ahead at a brisk pace.
"My spot, " she said abruptly, then she turned away towards her violet jade leaf.
"Li Luo, you moron!" she screamed inwardly.
“Four Heroes of Southwind? You three can go ahead and be the Three Idiots of Southwind!”
Li Luo watched her huffy departure, nonplussed. He hadn't even gotten the chance to ask her about the little poison birdie. What was her hurry?
"Was there something wrong with the Four Heroes of Southwind?" He frowned. It was an excellent plan. If anyone messed with Lu Qing'er then, they could have a reason to jump in.
"Maybe she wasn't feeling well. I'll properly explain the idea to her next time..."
He shook his head as he continued up the wooden ladder. A few minutes later, he reached the place where he should turn off.
His eyes trailed upwards, round with amazement.
Violet mist clung to the leaf, which was about a few square feet in area. It glowed like a piece of purple jade.
Worldly natural energy was gathering rapidly, dense enough that the naked eye could see it.
This mist was actually worldly natural energy in a potent density.
It was indeed much denser compared to the gold leaves that he had seen earlier.
Li Luo was almost drooling. He could not wait to test out the effects of this violet jade leaf.
When he started forward, a figure loomed before him.
A dark-skinned terror that Li Luo needed not face to recognize.
Li Luo coughed once, and Qin Zhulu turned around impassively.
"Although I don't know why you're standing here, if I had to summon all my intellect and make a guess, you're lost and cannot find your violet jade leaf," Li Luo said apprehensively.
The quiet rustling of leaves was the only response he got. Qin Zhulu stuck out his violet jade tablet.
"I'm not trading!" Li Luo hastily said.
Qin Zhulu scratched his head. "Help me find where it is, then."
Li Luo gave in. He checked the number and took note of their location. "You just head along this way for eight more turns, then go right and take the third branch, then another left. You'll see your leaf there."
Qin Zhulu was quiet for a few seconds. "Take me there?"
Li Luo was dumbfounded. "That was clear enough! Damn, is there nothing but fighting in that head of yours? How about some orientation, huh?"
Qin Zhulu took his jade tablet back and moved on, head hung.
Li Luo's heart went out to him. "Hurry up, then. Let's not waste time."
He brushed past Qin Zhulu, setting a quick pace.
Qin Zhulu hurried after him.
A few minutes later, Li Luo had led him to his leaf.
"Here it is." Li Luo pointed and turned to leave.
"Thanks." Qin Zhulu hesitated. "Hey, your dual resonances are cool. Wanna fight me some time?"
Li Luo was speechless. Was your idea of thanks to beat people up?!
“There's something wrong with your brain!
“Alright, I, Li Luo, am officially scared of you now. I'll definitely avoid this muscle-brained fool from now on!”
"Well, thanks for that," Li Luo said churlishly. He quickly retraced his steps back to his own violet jade leaf.
The faint mist that swirled around him was refreshing. It felt like the flow of resonant power in his body was growing quicker.
There was a wooden, lotus-shaped seat in the middle of the violet jade leaf.
Li Luo sat down and felt his heartbeat slow. With his eyes half-closed, he excitedly began his first cultivation here at the Tree of Resonant Power.Previous Chapter Next Chapter