After leaving the academy, Li Luo did not rush to the old manor but instead to the Suncreek Villa.
The Suncreek Villa's protectors had recently become accustomed to the sight of Li Luo turning up, hence they respectfully greeted him before returning to their duties.
Entering the lightly scented Suncreek Villa interior, Li Luo could feel his spirits slightly lifting. This period of studying the resonance artificering arts had truly developed his interest in this matter.
"Haha. The Young Lord has truly been diligent in coming to the Suncreek Villa for these past few weeks." Just as Li Luo was in the midst of pondering how he could best refine a first-grade spirit liquid, he was dragged out of his daze by a certain laugh.
Turning his head to look, he noticed Vice President Zhuang Yi beaming right at him.
"I heard that the Young Lord has manifested a fifth-grade water resonance," Zhuang Yi said curiously.
Li Luo had already spent many days practicing the tempering arts, so the news of him possessing a fifth-grade water resonance had already started to spread.
Li Luo closely observed this Vice President who had thrown his lot in with Pei Hao, gently nodding. "Indeed, I'm currently learning the tempering arts from Elder Sister Lingqing."
Zhuang Yi continued to smile. "Vice President Yan is a genius of the Astral Sage College. Her abilities truly aren't bad. However, her experience has some limitations. If the Young Lord wishes to learn the tempering arts, your humble servant may not be talented, but I believe I can provide some constructive advice."
Li Luo smiled upon hearing this. This Zhuang Yi truly seemed to be big-hearted with those words. However, even an idiot would know that he was trying to closely monitor Li Luo and then personally report the news to Pei Hao. Would he even sincerely guide him?
The choice was obvious if he had to choose between Jiang Qing'e's best friend and a lackey of Pei Hao. There was no hesitation.
Hence, he lightly shook his head. "I feel that Elder Sister Lingqing isn't bad. Perhaps when I do have unanswered questions, I will personally look for Vice President Zhuang."
"Ah, that really is a shame." Zhuang Yi gave an emotional sigh as though he felt that this was truly unfortunate.
Li Luo did not continue to speak and was about to leave before he suddenly recalled something and turned back. "Oh, yes, Vice President Zhuang, I do have a question. I've heard from Elder Sister Lingqing that some of her refining workshops do lack specific materials from time to time. In fact, I heard that you're in charge of procuring more materials. Would you be able to replenish the stock?"
Upon hearing the request, Zhuang Yi frowned slightly before responding in a troubled tone, "Young Lord, this is unfortunately something I cannot assist with. There are times when the materials we purchase encounter some quality issues and thus shortages do occur from time to time. Since the Young Lord has raised this concern, I will pay greater attention to it." Facing Zhuang Yi's respectful tone and the seemingly reasonable, watertight excuse, Li Luo did not push the matter but gave him a deep look before turning to leave.
Zhuang Yi, on the other hand, continued to observe Li Luo as he left, the smile on his face gradually disappearing.
At Zhuang Yi's side was a lackey who softly said, "Vice President, it's truly unexpected that the Young Lord has manifested a fifth-grade resonance. This is truly shocking..."
"It must have been a heavenly treasure left behind by the two House Lords. It truly is a waste to lavish such an expense on a wastrel," Zhuang Yi indifferently commented.
"However, it is just a fifth-grade resonance. It's not exceptional and it won't be so simple for the Young Lord to re-emerge as a contender for the house." Waving his hand, he ordered, "Bring this news to Young Master Pei Hao. Furthermore, let's expedite the confiscation of the first-grade refining workshops. That bitch Yan Lingqing is truly an eyesore."
"Yes, my liege."
Li Luo had just entered a first-grade refining workshop. Numerous compartments with crystal walls as barriers divided the room, with each compartment possessing an individual hard at work.
Furthermore, Li Luo noticed the tall and slender Yan Lingqing walking around, in her long robe and both hands in her pockets. Her expression was clearly icy as she patrolled the area.
She then paused in front of a particular compartment, unenthusiastically observing a particular first-grade resonance artificer's refining process.
Being directly observed by Yan Lingqing caused the resonance artificer to feel a little nervous. He quickly drew out a thin crystal needle engraved with a precise measuring scale.
This was a tempering measurement needle with a simple function. It was used to check the tempering strength of a completed spirit liquid or purifying light.
The crystal needle dipped into the liquid within the crystal bottle and then the measurement scale gradually lit up increasingly.
In the end, it settled at the 46% mark.
Yan Lingqing saw this and coldly commented, "If this sort of spirit liquid and purifying light were taken out for sale, it would only ruin the Suncreek Villa's reputation." The resonance artificer could only dejectedly lower his head.
Yan Lingqing did not become softhearted at this display of remorse, only continuing to mercilessly tear into him. "Your previous refinement had no less than four errors. The White Leaved Fruit was not refined with sufficient heat control, the Moonlight Juice used was too thick, the Smokeless Water was too thin, and most importantly, at the final step, your water resonance power did not attain the minimum saturation requirements.
"Refine it again."
After which, she turned and immediately swept her gaze across all of the first-grade resonance artificers. Everyone was silent out of fear, burrowing their heads into their work and focusing on refinement.
Yan Lingqing carefully wiped her glasses, her beautiful face remaining as chilly as ever. It was clear that the results of this first-grade resonance artificer were not up to standard.
A trace of gloominess could be seen in her pupils. Although she had come at the behest of Jiang Qing'e, she had come in without any assistance, and her influence within this branch could be considered to be even less than Zhuang Yi's.
Within this branch of the Suncreek Villa, there were three refining workshops. They were split into first, second, and third-grades. Different graded refining workshops were thus responsible for the refinement of different grades of spirit liquids and purifying lights.
Upon receiving Jiang Qing'e's order, Yan Lingqing had taken over the first-grade and second-grade refining workshops. However, the third-grade workshop remained firmly within Zhuang Yi's grasp.
The two parties had, as a result, clashed multiple times both openly and secretly for the control of these refining workshops. Whoever controlled these workshops would indirectly control the majority of the resonance artificers. As the Suncreek Villa existed to refine spirit liquids and purifying lights, resonance artificers were the most important resource available.
However, Zhuang Yi seemed to be unable to sit still any further in recent days. He had started to make moves on the first-grade refining workshop. His reason was that he had managed to raise a disciple that could refine a 56% tempering strength first-grade spirit liquid.
This would be the highest tempering strength available in the Suncreek Villa's first-grade spirit liquids and purifying lights. Hence, with this reason, Zhuang Yi spread rumors that Yan Lingqing was unable to guide the first-grade resonance artificers effectively by extension and was not a good fit to be in control. In fact, in recent days, there were signs that some of the first-grade resonance artificers were slightly moved by this rationale.
Yan Lingqing could faintly feel that if things were to proceed this way, control of the first-grade refining workshop would be seized by Zhuang Yi.
Although she possessed the backing of Jiang Qing'e and Cai Wei, Zhuang Yi was not doing anything wrong on the surface. They were unwilling to directly boot this old man from the Suncreek Villa when he had yet to do anything wrong, as this would also be bad for morale. Such an action would also cause chaos to ensue within the management of the Suncreek Villa and would ultimately affect the amount of refined spirit liquids and purifying lights. In the end, House Luolan would end up being the loser.
Her heart was slightly disgruntled and in turmoil as she proceeded to walk into Li Luo's refining workshop. She gave a quick glance and did not say anything.
Li Luo was also very casual as he strode into an empty refining compartment. Beside him, a gorgeous young lady softly said to him, "You're back, Young Lord." Li Luo smiled as he nodded and proceeded to tidy up the materials on the refining platform. He also softly replied, "Sister Yinghua, why does it seem like Vice President Yan's mood isn’t that great?"
The young lady who was addressed as Sister Yinghua stuck out a tongue at him in response. "We've all been scolded for an entire afternoon now...." Then she gave him the rundown of the current state of things.
After Li Luo heard all this, he finally understood that everything was for control of the first-grade refining workshop. This was indeed no small matter. If Zhuang Yi were able to take control of it, it would also be a massive blow to Yan Lingqing's influence and prestige. Her position in the Suncreek Villa would only shrink from that point on.
Li Luo frowned as he didn't want to see such a sight. Furthermore, the Suncreek Villa was a large portion of House Luolan's Tianshu Province income, almost half of it. At a point where he required large amounts of capital, he did not want such a complication to arise, as it would affect him significantly.
Most importantly, Zhuang Yi was Pei Hao's lackey. With his personality, the entire Suncreek Villa might even be completely swallowed by that white-eyed wolf.
However, all these thoughts were pointless now. Li Luo could only focus on what was ahead of him. The formula for the first-grade Azure Jade Spirit Liquid was on the platform in front of him as he prepared the materials, beginning his practice for the day.
Two hours of practice went by quickly, and just as Li Luo was getting more familiar with the refinement process, the large doors to the first-grade refining workshop had suddenly been pushed open. Everyone halted in their tasks as they glanced over towards Zhuang Yi and his minions who had just barged in.
Merely looking at the way they had busted their way in, one could tell that they had ill intentions.Previous Chapter Next Chapter