From her spirited laughter, Li Luo knew his loan plan was not going to float.
But damn, he was a beggar when it came to school points.
The 5,000-point Royal Sap was still waiting for him. Now he needed the 3,000-point 12 Step Weave and a 300-point energy liquid?
"Mentor, you might as well not have said anything," he grumbled.
"Well, at least now you have a goal."
She laughed. "There's a monthly ranking battle coming up, right? If you can score well there, it's a nice injection of points."
Li Luo was immediately interested again. "How many points can I get?"
She addressed Xin Fu and Bai Mengmeng as well. "The monthly tests are different from what you have experienced before. They are team battles, which means the three of you need to work together. Understand each other's abilities and styles. Only then can you bring out the best of your team.
"In the ranking battles, points are assigned based on the teams you beat. A Violet Vibrance team is worth 500 points, a Gold Gleam team is worth 100, and a Silver Spark team worth 20."
Li Luo could barely keep himself from drooling. Why did he feel a sudden urge to purge the entire newcomer population?
No, no. He had to have a conscience. He would let Zhao Kuo and the others go.
Qing'er could pass too. Although, she had an absolute abomination in her team by the name of Qin Zhulu; it wasn't really clear who was going to give the pass here.
The opposition team? No chance. Li Luo had privately dubbed Shen Jinxiao's team the opposition team.
But ultimately, the ranking battles were team battles. So far, Li Luo had never tried working with anyone in battle. During the Tianshu exams, he had worked with Yu Lang and Zhao Kuo, but they had not become closely synergizing teammates.
The dynamics of a team battle were definitely more advanced.
"There will be team battles for future school competitions as well. This is a necessary process to get used to your squads. Most importantly..."
She hesitated but pressed on. "If you need to fight the Others in the future, the chances of survival are higher in a squad."
They shuddered. Others... Although they had never encountered one before, ever since their first day at the Astral Sage College, they knew about the existence of a higher danger that was intertwined with their futures. They had to become prepared.
"As for the monthly ranking battles, I don't have too high a demand for you. If you want points, by all means go and fight for it as you naturally would. School points are the currency for cultivation resources, which means a step up over other students. So you can decide for yourselves how important the ranking is," she said simply.
Li Luo licked his lips, passion burning in his eyes. He had the greatest stake here.
If their cultivation was delayed, both Xin Fu and Bai Mengmeng could accept it, unpressured as they were. He, on the other hand, had a sword hanging over his head, which would drop when his five years were up. As easy-going as he might seem to those around him, deep down he wrestled with a hellish anxiety daily.
"Well, whether points are important or not, if our results were terrible, we would be letting you down, Esteemed Mentor! You said you have some sort of rivalry with Mentor Shen Jinxiao, didn't you? As your protégés, we feel compelled to help you win this rivalry!" Li Luo vowed sincerely.
"And if anybody doesn't work their butts off for this target, then they would be disrespecting you, Esteemed Mentor!"
Bai Mengmeng and Xin Fu were absolutely boggled, staring at Li Luo suspiciously. Why did it feel like they just had a huge burden placed on their shoulders?
Had they just been volunteered involuntarily?
But still, Li Luo's words were not without their own logic. They couldn't let Mentor Chi Chan down, could they?
The two eventually nodded assent.
"We are all excellent and filial students," Li Luo said with relief. "We will indeed repay our mentor for all her precious guidance."
He knew firsthand just how weak-willed his two squad mates were. The memory of them forfeiting the leadership was still fresh in his mind. He had been worried about the ranking battles. If they continued in that vein, he would be a one-man sitting-duck team against the opposition team.
It was not like he was giving them much choice anyway. He made it sound like they were tying their mentor to a stake and kicking down the graves of their ancestors if they said no. How could they not say yes?
Chi Chan stared hard at Li Luo. She had no idea what he was thinking, but she chose not to rumble with him. After all, it was quite a feat that he had managed to rally the likes of Bai Mengmeng and Xin Fu.
"In order to train your squad's synergy and familiarity, I'll give you special training."
Chi Chan lifted her hand, and her resonant power streamed forth, eventually becoming a blue tiger of light.
The glowing tiger gave a lifelike growl. They could sense how savage and strong it was.
"Three hours per day.
"If you beat it, you get to eat."
Her veil fluttered as she snorted in amusement.
"If you don't beat it, starve."
A terrifying roar came from the tiger, and the training ground exploded into action.
The glowing tiger raked the air, shimmering with resonant power.
Ping, ping, ping!
In one graceful leap, it broke out of the three students' surround. One bat from its paw smothered their attacks in a flash and then them sent them flying to the edge of the arena.
The blue tiger paced within, staring at the three mouse-like students outside.
They sat up and stared at it in dismay.
"The tiger's really strong," Bai Mengmeng said, crestfallen. This was the third day they were fighting it.
For all three days, their combined efforts had failed to defeat the glowing tiger made from Mentor Chi Chan's resonant power.
Li Luo rubbed his face. "The tiger is about a 2nd-tier Resonant Master in power. It's a whole class stronger than us. Plus, it's made of resonant power, but it's sentient. If I'm not wrong, it even has battle experience from its time with mentor Chi Chan."
"Mentor Chi Chan's amazing," Bai Mengmeng said in admiration. It was a casually summoned resonant power tiger, and it had them in the dust. If not for the fact that it wasn't out to kill them, they would already be dead many times over.
Such was the power of a Duke Stage expert.
On the other side of the training field, Chi Chan enjoyed lunch on her short table. She took one look at her three miserable students, then flicked her hand, sending three flatbreads whizzing to their hands.
"Haven't beaten it yet? Continue the flatbread diet," she said mildly.
They bit down on their cold, tough flatbreads vengefully.
"We've eaten the flatbread for three days already," Li Luo complained through sore teeth. "It's stale flatbread."
"Leader, I'll make you guys some food after Mentor Chi Chan leaves," Bai Mengmeng said kindly.
Li Luo's teeth stopped moving, and this time it was not because of the flatbread's resemblance to baked leather. He shared a furtive look with Xin Fu, their panic mirrored in each other's eyes.
"Mengmeng," Li Luo said, drawing himself up, "although our mentor won't know, we can't let ourselves down like that. To become strong, we have to depend on ourselves and press on. Since we made a promise to our mentor, we will only eat these cold, hard flatbreads until we beat her stupid tiger.
"It's a test of our will."
Xin Fu nodded solemnly in agreement.
"I'm sorry. You're right, Leader," Bai Mengmeng said contritely.
"Being able to know one's wrongs is a great blessing." Li Luo nodded sagely. They had truly dodged a bullet there. Compared to Bai Mengmeng's food, he would rather eat the flatbread.
Still, he couldn't very well say that, or he would hurt her feelings. Plus, she had a demoness for a sister that wouldn't let them off.
Of course, he could always pin the blame on Xin Fu's head, but he still had his limits. He was the leader after all.
"Still, we can't keep eating flatbread forever. We have to get rid of that thing ASAP." Li Luo swallowed the rest of his flatbread in two huge bites since chewing didn't seem to improve its texture much. He stared at the relentlessly pacing blue tiger.
"In these three days, I realized that my speed drops a lot when I'm within five feet of the tiger. I think it might be the Heavywater Halo, a water-based resonance art. It slows the opponents' movements and attacks. That's why it can dodge us so easily," Li Luo explained.
Xin Fu also volunteered information. "Once, my attack landed, but didn't penetrate. There's a powerful defensive resonance art on it as well."
Li Luo frowned. This was impossible.
"Um, Leader," Bai Mengmeng said meekly. "I realized that when we attack, it always turns a scale on its left breast away from us. Could that be its weak spot?"
Li Luo nodded. "I noticed that too. Let's give it a crack."
He conferred some more with the two, kneading his forehead with his fingers as they made plans.
"One more crack at it. If we win here, dinner's my treat at the canteen," Li Luo said.
"I can make dinner too." Bai Mengmeng enthusiastically spoke up.
Li Luo bit the inside of his cheek. Way to crush the morale, Mengmeng.Previous Chapter Next Chapter