The two Violet Vibrance squads faced off on opposite banks while the creek burbled obliviously in between.
Li Luo stood up slowly. "Hello there, friends. Fancy seeing y'all here."
Behind his back, he made a fanning gesture.
Some distance away, Xin Fu faded into the shadows.
Bai Mengmeng took a few steps back as well, positioning herself behind Li Luo and preparing her resonant power.
Yi Lisha and the others regarded Li Luo briefly, then the members looked to their leader for a cue. Yi Lisha's smile was forced. "Fancy seeing you here, Li Luo and team."
The friendliness on both sides was as genuine as a three dollar bill. One almost expected the creek to freeze over with how cold the atmosphere was.
Yi Lisha rubbed his cheek. "Would you believe it," he ventured, "if I said we were just passing by?"
Li Luo regarded him for a few moments. "Understood. So... we part ways?"
Yi Lisha eased up a little. He was very wary of Li Luo's team. After all, Li Luo had even beaten Duze Beixuan before, and he was a dual resonance user. He was definitely a formidable foe.
His squad was busy farming Gold Gleam and Silver Spark squads. If they lost against Li Luo here and now, not only would their earnings halt to a stop, they would even have to give up a third of their points. And even if they won, Yi Lisha couldn't see them escaping unscathed. They might even be picked off by Gold Gleam squads in their weakened state. That would be a crying shame.
So this was not the time to be fighting Violet Vibrance squads.
He believed that Li Luo was of the same mind. Besides, neither had any grudge to settle. There was really no good reason to duke it out here.
As they both tentatively felt each other out, the relief on both sides was apparent.
Li Luo's eyes flicked over to Si Qiuying. Her eyes had never once left him since they met.
Li Luo threw her a friendly smile, then slowly backed away. Both teams made sure they were out of each other’s attack range before turning their backs.
Yi Lisha breathed out. "Phew. We almost went and did it there."
"I don't mind fighting them. I'm curious to see how strong Li Luo's dual resonances are," Qian Ye said recklessly.
"Once we fight, there's no stopping. You want points? Or brief, petty satisfaction?" Yi Lisha asked exasperatedly.
Qian Ye paused. "Points it is."
"There will be more chances. But not right now." Yi Lisha smiled back at him.
Si Qiuying kept silent throughout. She was pretty well acquainted with just how strong Yi Lisha was. She knew that although he was placed slightly lower than Duze Beixuan on the newcomer rankings, Yi Lisha was not necessarily weaker, and she knew both of them quite well.
As the young mistress of House Jinque, Si Qiuying had seen many experts before. Even so, Yi Lisha had her respect. This leader was no ordinary fighter.
But today, this leader that she had acknowledged had treaded very carefully around Li Luo's squad. Timing aside, it spoke of Li Luo's prowess.
Which troubled Si Qiuying. A mere few months ago, when she had met him on the way into Xia City, she would never have dreamed that this young lord from the remote Tianshu Province would so quickly be leading a pack as elite as the Astral Sage College's.
Jiang Qing'e had said that he might well become the best of the newcomers.
She had turned her nose up at that, dismissing it as Jiang Qing'e's defensive retort. But now... she wasn't sure.
"Qiuying, we're leaving."
Yi Lisha's voice broke her reverie. She saw that her two teammates had already gone on ahead.
She pushed her feelings aside. With one last look back in the direction of the river, she turned and followed her squad.
Perhaps this ranking battle would be enough to test if Li Luo could become first among the newcomers.
After parting from Yi Lisha's squad, it had been smooth sailing for Li Luo's squad.
They had fortuitously stumbled across two Gold Gleam squads and three Silver Spark squads, scooping up another wave of points.
And just about this time, Li Luo noticed some special markings, which he had agreed on with Zhao Kuo and the others.
If he just followed these marks, he would meet up with them.
According to their plan, Zhao Kuo and the others would find a way to tail the Governor Squad. Which meant that both would be close.
The Governor Squad was quite strong, and they were out for his blood. If the final showdown was going to be with the Golden Gate squad, then this tumor had to be eradicated first.
The squad picked up speed.
In a dense forest.
A large crowd was lounging about, some standing, some sitting, while some were posted on lookout. It was a sizable group of eight—two Gold Gleam squads.
Four of them were Zhao Kuo's team, while the other four were helpers they had enlisted.
"Zhao Kuo, is Li Luo's squad really going to help us? You wouldn't be exaggerating your relationship, would you?" the other leader couldn't help asking, impatient with how long they had been kept waiting.
His squad was starting to have doubts as well. Although Zhao Kuo was also from Southwind Academy, he was extremely average in strength.
Still, he had sworn that Li Luo would show up to help. Then again, could they really take his word for it?
"And Zong Fu, and you others. Say something," the leader grumbled.
He couldn't really figure out what was up with this team. Out of the four, Zhao Kuo was probably the weakest. In fact, he was so weak that it was surprising he was even a Gold Gleam student. And yet he was somehow the squad leader.
This, and many other reasons, made him and his squad unable to take Zhao Kuo's squad seriously.
Zhao Kuo was calm. "Don't worry. Wait a while longer. They're a Violet Vibrance squad, they must be harvesting points along the way. Of course it will take a while. If they find the markings, they'll definitely come."
Zong Fu backed him up. "Yup. Don't worry, Squad Leader Xu Ge."
"We can't help worrying," the leader called Xu Ge complained. "We're stuck behind the Governor Squad and the Sky Blade Squad. If they rumble with us, we'll be screwed. We won't even be able to escape.
"I'm just saying that if you're not sure Li Luo's coming, just admit it. So we can prepare ourselves."
Zhao Kuo wasn't too happy about their lack of confidence, but he kept his cool.
Just then, he saw Zong Fu suddenly stand up. With a jolt of excitement, he turned to see three people walking over.
Who else but the man of the hour, Li Luo.
"We met a few teams along the way, spent some time finishing them off," Li Luo said to them with a smile.
He smacked Zhao Kuo across the shoulder blades. "Your drawings are seriously ugly," he complained. "You could give Xin Fu a run for his money."
He smiled a greeting at Zong Fu and the others before turning to the other squad.
"Sorry we kept you waiting."
The Gold Gleam squad leader Xu Ge was all smiles now, bobbing his head agreeably. He could tell that Li Luo was much more familiar in tone when he spoke to Zhao Kuo. So Zong Fu had been telling the truth when he said Zhao Kuo was the only one who truly had Li Luo's ear.
And now he understood why Zong Fu and the others were content to have Zhao Kuo as their leader. It was probably not that he was the most capable, but rather he had the connection to Li Luo.
"Brother Luo, how do you do? No, no, your timing is just perfect. Brother Zhao here set everything up," Xu Ge hastily said.
Li Luo nodded. After a short briefing, he was up to speed, and there was nothing else to be said.
"Well, we're all ready now. Let's go."Previous Chapter Next Chapter