The next day, Li Luo was whistling happily as he skipped down the stairs.
When he reached the first floor, he was surprised to see many familiar faces gathered.
On the left, Jiang Qing'e, hair elegantly tied up. She was glowing like a jewel in the morning sun, a living, breathing fantasy.
Beside her, Yan Lingqing, elbows against the table and hands propping up her face, on which there was a look of mischief.
Jiang Qing'e and Yan Lingqing were sitting opposite Lu Qing'er, who was graceful as a willow leaf, skin as fair and lustrous as the morning dew on it.
Yan Lingqing's amusement was clearly directed at Lu Qing'er. They had met along the way, and Lu Qing'er had boldly greeted them again instead of running away after her last defeat.
Jiang Qing'e showed no signs of attacking this time, instead speaking calmly as though nothing had happened before. Eventually, they arrived at Li Luo's place together.
Both girls looked rather calm, although there was an intangible tension flowing.
In the middle of the three girls, Bai Mengmeng stood innocently, a fresh, white lotus flower blooming by herself.
As the host, she was dutifully pouring tea for the three girls.
Jiang Qing'e, Yan Lingqing, and Lu Qing'er spoke occasionally, although even Bai Mengmeng could tell that there was an air of coolness.
The descended Li Luo was immediately the focus of attention.
"Er, why are you all gathered?" Li Luo asked with uncertainty.
He also spotted Xin Fu at the foot of the stairs, who was concentrating hard on his easel, as though trying to capture this scene.
"Leader," he said hurriedly upon seeing Li Luo, "would you like to appreciate my latest masterpiece?"
Li Luo laughed carelessly. "No need, I already deeply understand your artistic ability."
Xin Fu glared at him with growing resentment.
Li Luo ignored him, walking over to the table. "Well, my three lovely, radiant suns, you set our humble abode alight."
Jiang Qing'e gave him a small smile. "Congratulations, first place."
"It wasn’t all me, Mengmeng did a lot as well," Li Luo said modestly.
Behind him, Xin Fu looked up. “What the hell?!”
"Keep it up. When you defeat Qin Zhulu, you'll be first among the new students," Jiang Qing'e said.
Li Luo shrank a little inside. It had taken everything he had to beat Wang Hejiu's squad, even pulling out a clutch dual resonance attack just to secure his Pyrrhic victory. Against Qin Zhulu? The odds were maybe 30-70.
Him 30, Qin Zhulu 70.
After all, while his dual resonances might be roughly equal to an upper eighth-grade resonance, Qin Zhulu had a Second Pattern on top of that...
Plus, Qin Zhulu was an absolute monster in battle. Li Luo highly doubted he would be able to stop his attacks.
"Go for it, Li Luo," Yan Lingqing sang playfully, looking over at Lu Qing'er. "Remember, Qing'e said she would reward you if you were first."
A slight disturbance crept up on Lu Qing'er's face, like the first crack of ice over a frozen lake.
Jiang Qing'e carelessly swept up a banana on the table and stuffed it in Yan Lingqing's pouty mouth. "Eat your bananas."
Yan Lingqing protested furiously by taking a savage bite out of it.
"I, ah, I'll do my best."
Lu Qing'er joined the conversation now. "Since we get some time off after the ranking battles, I came to find you so we can go back to Xia City together."
Li Luo nodded and smiled. "Great. But before that, there's something I have to do. Wait for me, Qing'er."
"What is it?"
Li Luo grinned.
"I just earned myself a hard-won 5,000 points, didn't I? Time to go get what I need the most."
Bank of Points.
Li Luo, Jiang Qing'e, and Yan Lingqing.
"Wonderful morning! One serving of Royal Sap, please!" Li Luo said breezily, handing over his badges to the mentor with a grand flourish.
Many students were looking over curiously. Royal Sap was one of the most prized resources, and not many students could redeem it.
Especially One Star Hall students.
"That’s the guy that got first place in the ranking battles, Li Luo. No wonder he has so many points," they whispered.
"Wow, just a month into school, and already 5,000 points..." Another sighed.
"Is that Jiang Qing'e with him? I heard they're engaged. That's one lucky dog." The general sentiment was that ten Li Luos were still not equal to one Jiang Qing'e, his win notwithstanding.
After all, she had so many wins, she had to be tired of them by now.
Li Luo ignored the comments he had heard too many times before. He was fully focused on the mentor before him.
After ascertaining the amount, he took out a dark-green box. The life force inside it was tremendous.
He opened the box and carefully retrieved a bamboo container roughly the size of a palm. It was thin enough that a viscous liquid could be seen sloshing within.
The paste-like substance seemed to be the embodiment of life itself. It morphed and shifted between light and liquid with a life of its own.
Runic patterns were carved all over the bamboo container, containing the energy within.
It was impressive. Very impressive.
"That's Royal Sap?" Li Luo marveled, his anticipation building.
The mentor placed the green box in front of Li Luo.
"That's a lot... seems plenty for my use?" Li Luo stretched out a hand.
The mentor blocked his hand. "What do you think you're doing?" he demanded.
"Isn't it mine?" Li Luo asked, perplexed.
"All yours?!" the mentor almost screamed. "You couldn't afford this box of Royal Sap even if you sold off the entirety of House Luolan!"
Li Luo stared at him.
The mentor was not jesting. He took out a specialized syringe made of bark and extracted one drop, which he transferred to a green vial the size of a thumbnail.
"There you go." He placed it in front of Li Luo.
Li Luo stared at the mini green bottle with immense disappointment.
He had no idea how much Royal Sap Ox Biaobiao would need to make him the miracle paste, but there was no chance this measly drop was going to cut it!
I saved up 5,000 points for this?! You're ripping me off!!
He stared angrily at the box of Royal Sap.
The mentor noticed.
"Student Li Luo," he warned him with a drawl. "Control yourself. Since the day the Astral Sage College was built, not a single person has successfully stolen anything from this place."Previous Chapter Next Chapter