Before they knew it, a month had passed at the Astral Sage College.
In this month, they had started to ease into the rhythm of school. Things were starting to look less foreign and more familiar. Now getting into their respective grooves, their natural optimism was making them look to the future again.
As the end of the month neared, things started to get lively in anticipation of the battles.
At the end of each month, the ranking battles were fought, squad against squad, to determine where each of them stood.
The ranking battles were a highlight at the Astral Sage College, spurring students on against each other. The generous rewards were also a major source of school points for many students.
School points were extremely important in the Astral Sage College, and this alone was incentive for students to prepare as best they could.
Which made the ranking battles always interesting to watch.
Astral Sage College, a window seat in the canteen.
Li Luo was seated with Yu Lang, while Zhao Kuo, Zong Fu, and a few others were also nearby.
"Just three more days to the ranking battles."
Yu Lang looked around grandly. "Well," he said, carelessly examining his nails, "hopefully none of you will be unlucky enough to meet me. I don't show mercy."
"Just leeching off Bai Doudou, aren't you?" Zhao Kuo pointed out shrewdly.
The others heaped scorn on him accordingly.
Li Luo was about to join in when he spotted Lu Qing'er in the distance. He waved her over.
She looked at him with a contemplative look, but she eventually joined them.
"Why do I feel like you've been afraid to see me these days? You're always slow to reply to meal invitations," Li Luo said in suspicion.
"N-no idea what you're talking about," Lu Qing'er said, lowering her head for a nervous sip of water.
"Really?" Li Luo said doubtfully, but he did not pursue. He turned back to Yu Lang and Zhao Kuo.
She blew bubbles into her glass, disturbing the reflection of her beautiful face. Her mind was full of the encounter with Jiang Qing'e the other day.
Especially that wantonly bold statement... Did Jiang Qing'e know how many restless nights that had cost her?
Lu Qing'er flushed as her imagination started to run wild. She was starting to feel a little hot.
"Are you sick?" Li Luo asked, noticing.
"No!" She turned her head away from him.
Li Luo was about to press, but Zhao Kuo interrupted him. "Brother Luo, actually, I asked you to meet here today because I need to tell you something."
"You remember Shi Huang?"
Li Luo nodded. Of course. His biggest rival in the Tianshu Province. Although, he had not heard anything about him since entering the Astral Sage College. There were thousands of newcomers after all.
"Is he up to something again?"
Zhao Kuo wouldn't mention a guy like Shi Huang for no reason.
He nodded. "Brother Luo, the Violet Vibrance squads are at the top, so your eyes are firmly set only on the other Violet Vibrance squads. I don't think you know how intense the fighting is at the Gold Gleam level.
"In this month, there have been countless clashes between Gold Gleam squads, and there's one team making a huge reputation for itself. It's called the Governor Squad."
Li Luo started. "Governor Squad? What kind of name is that?"
"Others gave them that name because all four of them have a common point. Their fathers are all provincial governors in the Xia Kingdom," Zong Fu told him.
In the Astral Sage College, Violet Vibrance squads had three members, while Gold Gleam squads had four. Silver Spark squads had five members.
"And Shi Huang is in this squad?" Li Luo caught on.
Zhao Kuo nodded. "The leader of the Governor Squad is called Shen Ya. He's quite strong, actually. Ranked 10 on Yu Lang's newcomer rankings. Everyone thought he would be chosen by a Violet Vibrance mentor, but he ended up being left out."
"Quite unfortunate." Li Luo agreed with sympathy. Five Violet Vibrance mentors, choosing 15 students. You'd think tenth place would get in easily enough.
"Besides Shen Ya, the other two in the Governor Squad are called Feng Ze and De Xiyan. Both also placed in the top 20...
"A very strong squad. Rumors say their goal is to defeat a Violet Vibrance squad," Zhao Kuo said solemnly.
"You mean... me?" Li Luo grinned.
They nodded seriously.
"What, they think our team is weak?" Li Luo said unhappily. "Isn't there a bottom scraper called Yu Lang out there as well?"
"How dare you!" Yu Lang cried. "You think you can compare to the might of Great Leader Doudou?"
"They chose Brother Luo's team probably because of Shi Huang," Zhao Kuo continued. "But they are well prepared. From what we hear, the Governor Squad is not just intending to do it alone. They've coordinated with one more elite Gold Gleam squad."
Li Luo frowned. Two elite Gold Gleam squads? This couldn't be taken lightly. These were strong opponents. With numbers, he could very well be taken down.
"That was important information, lads. I owe you one," Li Luo said seriously. Without forewarning, this double ambush might well have turned things against him.
Zhao Kuo snickered. "Actually, that's not even the main thing we came to tell you today."
"There's more of them?" Li Luo said, aghast. Was he that hated? Who else was coming for him?!
"No, no..." Zhao Kuo assured him. "It's like this. We just happen to have some beef with that elite coalition the Governor Squad has formed. Also, we want their points. So..."
"... so we also formed our own coalition and plan to end them." Zong Fu finished.
Li Luo stared at them in surprise. The mantis intent on hunting the cicada does not notice the oriole behind. Was this the level of scheming going on among students nowadays?
"Well, I approve," Li Luo said. He was always happy to see trouble headed the way of his enemies.
"But... there's a problem," Zhao Kuo added. "Even with our squad alliance, we might not be able to take down that elite group."
So it wasn't an oriole behind the mantis. It was a drooling locust.
"Then what the hell was the point of this conversation??"
"Well, we were thinking... Maybe Brother Luo could send one person from your squad to support us for a bit? If you could just delay the Governor Squad a little, we could swallow them whole." Zhao Kuo grinned.
Their audacity left him without words. "Well. Aren't you guys real geniuses."
So in the end they were asking him to help them get a big feast of points.
Still, their plan was workable. If he had to lend them one person to attack, it would have to be Xin Fu. Bai Mengmeng wasn't strong enough. Which left him and Bai Mengmeng to hold off the Governor Squad for a time?
Li Luo considered it while they all looked at him expectantly. Finally, he nodded.
"Let's do it."
The others whooped. "We knew you'd say yes, Brother Luo. We even gave the plan a name."
"There's a name? What is it?"
"Operation Protect Us Brother Luo!"
Li Luo sprayed their faces with a mouthful of rice.Previous Chapter Next Chapter