In order to celebrate Yan Lingqing's promotion to president, an extremely elated Yan Lingqing invited Li Luo and Cai Wei to join her in the evening. This was when Li Luo saw the true extent of her drinking stamina.
Even more terrifying was Cai Wei matching her cup for cup heroically. The two were flushed from their relentless drinking, and Li Luo was left cowering in fear like a little quail.
"Li Luo, as long as you can increase that secret art watersource support, I will definitely be able to make the Suncreek Villa's spirit liquids and purifying lights the best in the whole Tianshu Province!" Red-faced and pumped full of liquid courage, Yan Lingqing turned a fiery and beautiful eye to Li Luo.
"Of course. I will do my best." Li Luo smiled and nodded. He was only at the Seventh Seal Stage. If he could reach the Resonant Master Stage, the quality of his resonant power would rise correspondingly. At that time, he would be able to provide even better watersource.
If the Suncreek Villa could dominate the spirit liquids and purifying lights market in the Tianshu Province, then House Luolan's annual profits would soar, allowing Li Luo to rise.
"Well then, a pre-emptive toast. To the Suncreek Villa's monopoly in the Tianshu Province."
Cai Wei gave a coy smile. The alcohol had relaxed her already pretty features, giving them a different but equally alluring look.
The three touched their cups together with smiles.
After helping Yan Lingqing settle the Suncreek Villa's internal dispute, Li Luo felt a weight lift from his chest. In the following days, he was seen less often at the Suncreek Villa.
As the holidays were soon ending, Li Luo had another important matter to consider: the College Final Examinations.
The College Final Examinations would determine who would be nominated to enter the Astral Sage College. As the most elite college in the Xia Kingdom, it was the holy grail for many young men and women.
No power in the Xia Kingdom dared to look down upon the ability and status of the Astral Sage College. Before the Xia Kingdom had been founded, there had been other dynasties. These dynasties had come and gone, and still the Astral Sage College endured, a testament to its deep-rooted power.
There were also rumors that there were King Stage experts in the Astral Sage College.
That was why even being the Young Lord of House Luolan was nothing compared to being an Astral Sage student. For Li Luo, there was no other option to secure a brighter future.
Besides, there was that promise with Jiang Qing'e.
The College Final Examinations would encompass all of the middle and high schools, and each would be able to send their 20 finest students to compete for places at Astral Sage.
The number of places varied year on year, but generally speaking, the top 10 were more or less guaranteed to make it in, while things were less certain for the remaining.
Therefore, Li Luo's target was to make it into that secure top 10.
"Reaching the top 10... won't be easy."
Li Luo's face was creased with worry as he sat in the skygold room, having just finished his training. Although Southwind Academy was the best school in the Tianshu Province, that was no reason to dismiss the other schools. Although most of the other schools' candidates were indeed largely not worthy of consideration, there would be a few capable ones amongst them, and those would add up to a considerable number indeed.
Besides, there was also Southwind Academy's greatest threat and rival, Eastpool Academy.
One could only imagine how hard it would be to break free from the cutthroat competition.
Li Luo was at the Seventh Seal Stage, and his waterlight resonance should reach the sixth-grade before the examinations. Still, it made him restless with worry.
He was improving, but so were the others.
Li Luo could not afford to take these examinations lightly.
He focused seriously on his own abilities and techniques, and discovered a shortcoming.
His most glaring weakness was the lack of a powerful offensive technique. Previously, against Song Yunfeng, he had managed to run rings around him and used his Water Mirror Art to fight him to a draw. Impressive as it was, all the more did it declare Li Luo's lack of an offense. He did not pose a threat to Song Yunfeng in their fight.
But this was not a problem limited to Li Luo, rather it was a challenge that all water resonance users faced. It lacked the destructive punch of the fire, metal, and lightning resonances.
Of course, the water resonance held the edge in drawn-out battles, but that was too passive a style for Li Luo's taste. He had to think of a way to improve his offense.
Other water resonance users might be stumped, but not Li Luo. He was not just a pure water resonance user, he was the ultra-rare waterlight resonance user!
Coming out of his musings, Li Luo got up and left the skygold room, heading for his private library.
Governor's Mansion, City of Southwind.
Every citizen of the Xia Kingdom fell under the purview of the governors - the Governor's Mansions were therefore the centers of power and influence.
"Keke, my old friend Song, I have been wanting to invite you to the Governor's Mansion for some time now. A pity that I was just too busy recently and couldn't make time until today."
From within the guest hall of Governor's Mansion, bright laughter. Its source was a gaunt middle-aged man. Although he was smiling, he had an authoritative bearing about him.
This was the governor of the Tianshu Province, Shi Qing. He was a Heavenly Dipper General, the second sub stage of the General Stage.
In a lower position near him sat the head of the Song family, Song Shan.
"The esteemed Governor is always busy, of course you would not have time like us idle peasants," Song Shan replied laughingly.
"Brother Song, you mock me." Shi Qing smiled in response. He lifted up his teacup and looked at the leaves floating on the surface. He remarked casually, "The Song family's movements have not been discreet lately. You must have enjoyed much at the expense of House Luolan."
Song Shan replied, "All thanks to the great Governor."
"A pity, House Luolan. If those two had not disappeared, House Luolan might well have led the five Great Houses in the future." Shi Qing smiled humorlessly.
"Well, the brightest candles burn quickest. If not..." He suddenly paused.
"House Luolan is floundering to keep its head above water. May the Song family treasure every opportunity," he said while looking at Song Shan.
"Many thanks to the governor for his instruction. Our Song family will definitely remember your grace."
Shi Qing smiled and then changed the topic.
From the nearby lake outside the guest hall, Song Yunfeng listened to the faint murmur of voices within and then cast his eyes towards the water.
There was a white-clothed youth there, his hair trimmed short, save for a long ponytail at the back. His hands were full of fish food, and he was busy feeding the fish.
After he was done, he dusted off his hands, then a maid respectfully offered a cloth. He casually wiped his hands and then came walking towards Song Yunfeng.
As he neared, his features came into view - an ordinary-looking face, with a ghost of a smile hanging on his lips.
But looking at this unremarkable-looking youth, a slight tingle of trepidation shot through Song Yunfeng.
This was the governor's son, Shi Huang.
He was also the top student at Eastpool Academy.
"Yunfeng, my father has said that in this year's College Final Examinations, I have to help Eastpool Academy take the title of best school in the Tianshu Province," Shi Huang said with a smile.
"With senior brother Shi Huang's abilities, it seems entirely probable," Song Yunfeng replied.
"Not at all. Your Southwind Academy's Lu Qing'er is no slouch. She will make a formidable opponent," Shi Huang said.
Song Yunfeng nodded in agreement. He knew of Lu Qing'er's strength.
"Although I do not fear her, I dislike unknown factors. Therefore, I might need your cooperation on some matters regarding the College Final Examinations," Shi Huang stated mildly.
Song Yunfeng's face changed, and he frowned, troubled. "Senior Brother Shi Huang, are you asking me to betray Southwind Academy?"
"Sheesh, you make it sound so ugly. Do you really think of Southwind Academy as your own family? It is but a stepping stone in our journey of cultivation. As long as you clinch a top 10 spot, you'll naturally be able to advance to the Astral Sage College. At that time, will you even care about Southwind Academy?" Shi Huang chortled.
"Anyway, don't worry. I won't ask you to do anything too noticeable."
He sketched a casual gesture in the air. "It is also my father's will. The dean of Southwind Academy had a feud with my father in the past. He tried to stop my father's rise at every turn. Therefore, the golden title of best school in the Tianshu Province must be taken away from him."
Song Yunfeng thought about this for a long time, and finally nodded in a pained way.
Only then did a warm smile fill Shi Huang's face. He reached out and gently patted Song Yunfeng's shoulder. "Oh, and I hear Li Luo has a resonance now? And you two fought to a draw?"
Song Yunfeng's eyes clouded upon hearing those words, and he said stiffly, "He pulled a fast one on me, that's all. If we meet in the exams, he has no chance of even a draw."
Shi Huang pondered for a moment. "A pity. I wanted to test the young lord during the examinations. But hearing that from you has dulled my interest considerably."
"There is no need for Senior Brother Shi Huang to trouble himself with such a brat. If the opportunity presents itself, I will clean him up," Song Yunfeng said.
"Just as well.
"This person... I haven't met him many times, but I have quite the dislike for him," Shi Huang snorted.
Hearing that raised Song Yunfeng's suspicions.
Seeing his reaction, Shi Huang laughed, and he said resentfully, "An ugly matter. Back then, my father went to House Luolan, seeking Jiang Qing'e's hand for me...
"Haha, in the end, the two House Lords rejected him.
"How dare they... They wanted to keep her for their son...
"A pity their son grew up so useless. How can he hold on to such a fine woman?"
Song Yunfeng was taken aback when he heard these words. Now he finally understood why the governor's family had moved in secret to support the revolution and help them devour House Luolan. So this was why...Previous Chapter Next Chapter