The roar of the crowd of the ranking battles was a crescendo that began many days in advance. Whispers and excitement sprouted from individual hearts and minds, sparking off against each other to start little fires of tension, fanned on by the flames of inexorable time marching them all on towards the day of reckoning.
A rousing drum beat sounded in the morning, booming out to every last corner of the school.
As new students, Li Luo and the others were assigned to fight in the west of the Astral Sage College. The undulating mountains and complex terrain made for a good battleground.
The thousands of newcomers were dispersed to various entrances in all directions, awaiting the start.
Li Luo stood in the crowd, looking around. Each squad leader was wearing a badge on their chest reflecting their squad’s status, either gold or silver.
As long as the leader's badge was taken, the team was considered eliminated.
Violet badges were worth 500 school points, gold badges were worth 100 school points, while silver badges were worth 20.
More importantly, the victors were also entitled to a third of the defeated team's winnings as an additional prize.
For example, if you defeated a team that already had three badges, then you could take one of them away.
Which meant that all these students around him were no longer students. They all looked like walking badge stands to him. If he could take all of their points, he would have tens of thousands of school points!
He would treat himself to TWO Royal Saps, not just one. One for making potions, one to sip and enjoy the taste.
Energy liquid, 300 points? Pfft, peanuts.
"Leader, you're staring. And drooling," Bai Mengmeng reminded him helpfully.
Xin Fu was looking at him strangely as well. Li Luo looked like a hungry ghost admiring the roast chickens.
The squads around them sensed it, and they started to inch away uneasily.
Li Luo smiled sheepishly.
"Keke, I was, er, missing food from home," Li Luo said.
"Hmph. Does your food at home look like people?" someone asked aggressively. Li Luo looked over to see a youth with ashen skin.
"Hey, you look familiar... Oh, I remember! You're the stone resonance user who tried to do me in during the Choosing. What's your name?"
Two people had tried to hold him up, and this guy was one of them.
What Li Luo did not know was that after this guy failed, he had met Duze Beixuan and pointed him the wrong way after taking a dislike to Duze Beixuan's attitude.
"My name's Ye Hua. And you better remember it!
"I'll definitely become a Violet Vibrance student in the future," he declared stoutly.
Li Luo nodded encouragingly. "You look like a promising young man. I'm sure you can do it."
He turned away. The guy looked a little slow in the cognition department.
Li Luo looked at a high platform to the right of the area. There sat the five Violet Vibrance mentors. Below them were the Gold Gleam mentors.
Clearly, they were also the facilitators for the newcomers' ranking battles.
"The other Star Halls' battles are today as well, I guess... I wonder how Qing'e is doing?" Li Luo wondered to himself. The school was vast enough to host various halls' large-scale battles at the same time.
In truth, there was little to be worried about over there. Jiang Qing'e had long dominated the Three Star Hall. Each ranking battle was probably just a formality for them to transfer her school points.
That was awesome.
He wanted to be farming chives without a care in the world too.
The Violet Vibrance mentors' magnified voices interrupted his daydreaming. "All students, prepare. The ranking battle will end at sunset. Before then, fight to your hearts' content. As long as your badge is not taken, the fighting continues!
"At the first bell, Silver Spark squads will enter. Ten minutes later, Gold Gleam squads will enter. Violet Vibrance squads enter last."
This was a protective measure for the weaker teams, so they wouldn't be instantly wiped out by stronger teams in the first few moments.
After all, these ranking battles were a case of big fish eating small fish, and small fish eating shrimp.
And they, the Violet Vibrance squads, were, without a doubt, the undisputed apex predators.
He smiled dreamily to himself as the first gong sounded.
There were mad yells as Silver Spark squads rushed in, squeezing through the passage and quickly vanishing into the battlefield.
Li Luo stared after them forlornly. It somehow felt like his school points had grown legs and were running away.
Ten minutes later, the Gold Gleam squads entered as well.
Compared to the first chaotic wave, the Gold Gleam squads entered with much more poise and determination. They were all excellent fighters, placed highly among the newcomers. Some were even stronger than the Violet Vibrance students.
They had simply not been chosen for various other reasons.
After the Gold Gleam squads entered, only Li Luo's squad was left now, in a peaceful silence.
"Does anyone feel like, er, ring-of-swords, got-each-others'-backs, impenetrable-defense kind of vibes?" Li Luo said, looking around him.
"Leader, stay focused," Bai Mengmeng said softly.
"Low-profile." Xin Fu agreed.
Li Luo sighed. He himself was a master of the low profile, but after meeting Bai Mengmeng and Xin Fu, he was starting to feel like this mastery could reach many levels deeper.
The third bell rang.
Li Luo waved them on. "Let's go! Leader here will lead you into a banquet of slaughter!"
Leading the way, he charged into the battlefield.
Xin Fu and Bai Mengmeng followed. Their field of vision expanded greatly after they passed through the tunnel. Not a single squad was to be seen.
"Wow, they legged it really hard," Li Luo said, disappointed. It looked like their job was going to be to flush out some Gold Gleam and Silver Spark teams to at least get some points.
"Let's go cut the chives!" he sang, picking a direction and hurrying along. They were going to have to hit the road hard to catch up to the 20 minute head start.
They didn't go too far before they spotted a Gold Gleam team of four waiting just outside a forest.
"Oh, it's you, stone boy," Li Luo said with surprise. The team was led by that stone resonance user.
"Who are you calling stone boy!?” Ye Hua yelled.
"You wouldn't be here to feed us, would you?" Li Luo smiled.
"Li Luo, I don't believe you're worthy of being a Violet Vibrance student. I'm going to finish you off! Come get us if you dare!" Ye Hua declared.
Li Luo smiled and was about to step forward, but Xin Fu stopped him.
"Leader. Something's off. There are a lot of people in the forest!" Xin Fu warned him urgently.
Li Luo's eyes narrowed in concentration. "Indeed. Hey, stone boy. You ignominious igneous, I wasn't even planning to beat you up. Don't you think you've bitten off more than you can chew? I underestimated your ambition." Ye Hua stiffened. It seemed like their plan was going awry, all thanks to Xin Fu.
"Well, since the ambush is foiled... CHARGE!" Ye Hua yelled, smacking his hands loudly together. The forest behind him shook, and people started to appear.
By rough count, there were no less than ten Gold Gleam squads.
"Li Luo, your Violet Vibrance squad is the strongest here. If we let you have your way, the Gold Gleam squads will be eaten up one by one. We've decided to work together to polish you off first!"
"Too bad not everyone thinks this way. This is all I have," Ye Hua said with some regret.
Li Luo stared at the dozens of hungry shadows in the trees and sighed to himself. This Ye Hua wasn't just promising, he was a bloody genius. The other Gold Gleam squads would be avoiding Violet Vibrance squads, but not this guy. He was going to hunt them instead.
Ye Hua's read of the situation was good too. It was indeed rationally the best choice. The Violet Vibrance squad in the area was always the greatest threat. Before they could establish dominance, it was easier to get other teams to join up.
As time passed and the Violet Vibrance squads built up a reputation for themselves, the other teams would start to fear them, and it would be hard to form alliances like that.
Ye Hua’s timing here was perfect.
Well, Gold Gleam members were thinkers too.
If they got all high and mighty just because they were Violet Vibrance students, they were bound to get the tables turned on them.
"Let's go! Show the Violet Vibrance squad our might!"
Ye Hua exhorted them. He himself led the charge.
Behind him, a swarm of Gold Gleam students joined in.
"Leader, what now?" Xin Fu asked tensely. Bai Mengmeng's fists were tight with tension.
"Run now!!"Previous Chapter Next Chapter