Lu Qing'er's patience was wearing thin.
In the last few days, Wang Hejiu had come calling incessantly. The moment there was time to spare, he was on her front door, trying every possible method he could conceive of to create a reason to meet.
She had never met a more tiresome person.
This time was no different.
She had lingered after cultivation because she wanted to talk to Li Luo. She should have foreseen that Wang Hejiu would come after her yet again.
"Qing'er, I think we grew close during our battle. I was too heavy-handed during the Choosing. I couldn't sleep for nights afterwards, so I kept coming to you to apologize."
He said this with deep contrition. Deep down, he was checking her out. Sexy, lace thigh-highs under a short skirt, and a waist so slim he wished he could slip an arm around it. Best of all was her unblemished, alabaster skin, and those hands sheathed in the ice silk gloves that did nothing to hide their perfection.
He could not stay away from her.
"No need to apologize," she replied, projecting as much disinterest as she could into her tone. "We were opponents during the Choosing. You did nothing wrong, so please stop using that as an excuse to find me."
"Qing'er, must you be like that?" he asked plaintively. "I have no other intentions but to get to know you better. Please believe in my sincerity."
She turned on her heel and walked away.
His jade fan reached out, a grin on his face as he prepared to stop her from leaving.
When he lifted his hand, a whistling sound made him pause. He whirled around, coating his fan with resonant power as he lifted it defensively.
A few water arrows melted away, dripping harmlessly to the ground.
"Hello there. Your upbringing is horrible, friend. If harassment was all that was needed to chase girls, would there still be single men in this world?"
Lu Qing'er turned at the humorous and familiar voice. Li Luo pushed his way out of the crowd, walking over with a smile.
Wang Hejiu frowned when he saw Lu Qing'er's face brighten up. "Are you Li Luo?" He cocked his head.
"I might be a little arrogant about this, but it's really hard not to recognize me, given how handsome I am," Li Luo said.
Wang Hejiu's eyebrows almost spasmed. He knew that Li Luo was trying to goad him, but the urge to beat him up was hard to hold down in the face of such shameless remarks.
His face smoothened. "Li Luo, don't try to create trouble. We have no enmity. Why are you doing this?"
"Indeed, I often assume that everyone is good," he replied, walking up to stand in front of Lu Qing'er. "But from the moment you injured her in the Choosing, you chose to sow the seeds of hostility between us."
Lu Qing'er had stopped Wang Hejiu for him. Since Wang Hejiu had hurt her, Li Luo was obligated to stand up for her like a man.
The Choosing of the Mentors was a free-for-all. He had no problem with Wang Hejiu coming at him for a violet talisman. But to harass Lu Qing'er after the Choosing? That was going overboard.
Lu Qing'er was staring at Li Luo's back with shining eyes.
The tension here was immediately noticed by others nearby. After all, this was Li Luo, the man who had just broken the resonant luminescence time record by a gigantic margin.
Versus Wang Hejiu, second in strength only to Qin Zhulu.
It was going to be epic.
Wang Hejiu looked at Li Luo with disinterest. "And what can you do about it?"
"I hope you can leave my friends alone. This sort of harassment is not only ineffective, you're only going to make her hate you more."
Wang Hejiu laughed derisively at him. "I have my ways. Who are you to teach me, Li Luo?"
"You stubborn little poison birdie." Li Luo rolled his eyes.
"What did you say!?" Wang Hejiu snarled.
"I was speaking nicely to you, but you didn't listen. Are insults the only thing that will get through?"
“You better go check. I, the young lord of House Luolan, have never lost a verbal battle before!”
Wang Hejiu's fan glowed green, and he waved it, sending a wave of smoking, green energy forth.
Li Luo's own resonant power answered. Bending two fingers, he slapped the jade fan aside.
Both attacks were equally nullified.
"Oh? The Flowering Seed Tier already?" Wang Hejiu said, reassessing Li Luo. From his strength during their brief clash, he could tell.
"Seems like the resonant luminescence did you good.
"Do you think you're the only one who gained something?"
Wang Hejiu clapped his fan shut, then he showed the full extent of his resonant power aura, resulting in gasps from those around.
"That resonant power..."
"Wang Hejiu's broken through to the second tier of the Resonant Master Stage, the Pattern Genesis Tier!"
"Well, he was already at the Upper Flowering Tier. It wasn't far, and he had the resonant luminescence too."
"Amazing. No wonder he's ranked second."
Wang Hejiu calmly let his aura fade. "Let me teach you something else, kid. Never make contact lightly when you're fighting a poison resonance user."
He gestured at Li Luo's finger. A green light still lingered on it, a poison that was eating away at his body.
Li Luo lifted his finger, inspecting the poison curiously. It was special indeed. Even the briefest contact had allowed it to spread.
However, he did not panic. He simply channeled his wood resonant power. The two shades of green collided at his finger.
In a trice, the poison was nullified.
Wood resonance had antitoxin properties.
"That little bit of poison?" Li Luo yawned. "Couldn't kill a chicken."
"Impertinent!" Wang Hejiu's eyes flashed with anger.
"Wang Hejiu!" A voice interrupted him. "I already said that I'll deal with Li Luo."
Li Luo looked toward the source of that voice. Duze Beixuan, already closing in on him.
Lu Qing'er looked around. Was he planning to fight?
She took a step forward, ready to stand by Li Luo's side, but she was interrupted by flower vines suddenly twisting around her feet.
She reacted instantly, frost energy coming up to guard herself. Turning her head, she saw a girl with a ponytail grinning at her.
This was Qi Luozi, the teammate of Wang Hejiu and Duze Beixuan.
"Li Luo!" Duze Beixuan called. "I was careless at the Choosing. Let's go again!"
He tensed, ready to spring at Li Luo.
But suddenly, a dark bolt of energy slammed into Duze Beixuan's stomach.
He doubled over at the attack, punching out reflexively with a blast of energy that dispelled it.
He turned to see a figure clad entirely in black, standing in the shadows nearby.
"Xin Fu?" He noted coldly.
A phosphorescent light appeared above Lu Qing'er's head, lowering itself on her. The vines holding her feet receded rapidly.
Lu Qing'er saw a small girl, sweet and adorable, giving her a bashful but friendly smile.
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