Chapter: 0044: The Examinations Begin


Li Luo excitedly strode into the hall, immediately seeing the well-rounded and soul-stirring Cai Wei. Her egg-shaped face made her seem even prettier than a flower, a wide smile on her face.

However, Li Luo saw her often, so he was completely immune to her charm. He shifted his gaze to what was important: the iron box atop the table nearby. 

He vaulted across without hesitation, instantly ripping the cover of the box off. Within the box rested two short blades, both glinting with cold light.

They were roughly a third of a meter in length. One had an azure-colored handle with a wavelike ripple pattern on it, reminding one of the waves of the sea. The other had a dull-white handle which was supposedly crafted from Sunspirit Metal, able to produce piercing light when the sun shone upon it.

These two shortswords were crafted with metals that contained water resonance power and light resonance power respectively. They would serve as effective conduits through which Li Luo could channel his unique resonant power, further amplifying his capabilities in battle!

The hilts of both blades looked like the mouth of a beast, fangs bared, an extremely intimidating appearance.

When looking at these blades as a whole, they possessed a more obtuse arc than usual, looking slightly bent. Yet this didn't take away from the fact that they gave off a feeling of exceptional sharpness, cold light seemingly flowing through the blades themselves. 

Li Luo immediately grasped the dual blades, gently engaging in a sword dance in an attempt to get a feel for them. All of a sudden, a wind-rending sound could be heard when Li Luo swapped to a backhanded grip in the blink of an eye. His posture and actions made him seem extraordinarily dashing and elegant.

"Not bad," Li Luo contentedly said while nodding his head. "The azure one will be known as the Ripple Blade, while the other will be known as the Flare Blade," he casually stated. 

"These are just standard resonant artifacts. They have not reached the level of treasures." Cai Wei's perspective of things were at a higher level, and she could easily discern the quality of these weapons. Although they possessed a slightly special shape, their true worth was not exceptionally high. 

Resonant artifacts also possessed different grades to differentiate their qualities. There were ordinary resonant artifacts, and those that surpassed them in quality were known as treasured artifacts. 

There was a stark difference when one compared treasured artifacts to resonant artifacts. Treasured artifacts were significantly more powerful and rarer than resonant artifacts. Additionally, each and every one of them was astronomically expensive. 

On the other hand, treasured artifacts required a certain amount of resonant power before they could be utilized. Li Luo was currently at the Seventh Seal Stage, so even if he had one, he would be unable to demonstrate even a fraction of its true might.

"This is good enough. Once I reach the Resonant Master Stage, I will look for a suitable treasured artifact." Li Luo smiled. His two resonant artifacts had been crafted purely for the College Final Examinations.

"Thank you, Elder Sister Cai Wei," Li Luo said with gratitude.

Cai Wei waved her hand. "I believe your final examinations should be starting soon. The City of Southwind seems to have become much more bustling in recent days. The numerous academies within the Tianshu Province have already dispatched their elites here." 

The yearly College Final Examinations was a significant event that attracted countless people. The huge battles were an exciting topic and the atmosphere was often lively.

Li Luo nodded. "There are three more days till it begins."

Cai Wei's beautiful gaze held a trace of concern. "Are you confident you will do well?"

Although Li Luo had finally awakened his water resonance, it was relatively late compared to the rest of his competitors. Hence, Cai Wei was unsure if Li Luo would be able to make up for this difference during such a short span of time.

She was extremely clear of the importance of being able to attend the Astral Sage College. If Li Luo was able to qualify, his influence and prestige would soar. At the very least, some of the people within House Luolan would no longer look down upon him, and he would even be able to bear some of Jiang Qing'e's burden. 

He sheathed the dual blades by his waist, his palms caressing the handles of both weapons as his face let out a contented smile. 

"You can rest assured, Elder Sister Cai Wei. I cannot lose."

If he was unable to accomplish even this step, annulling the marriage would just be a pipe dream!

...

The holidays finally ended.

Li Luo returned to the academy, and both him and Zhao Kuo were summoned by Xu Shanyue almost immediately.

"You've reached the Seventh Seal Stage?" Whilst chatting casually, Li Luo discovered that Zhao Kuo had also managed to enter the Seventh Seal Stage during this holiday, eliciting surprise. 

Zhao Kuo only had a fifth-grade resonance, which was very average. Being able to reach the Seventh Seal Stage demonstrated his tireless effort and the endless suffering he must have endured to attain this result.

The massive, bear-like Zhao Kuo scratched his head and laughed. "I didn't return home this holiday and stayed in the academy to cultivate. The academy provided me with some special training that allowed my last minute efforts to reap this success, allowing me to break through."

"During these past ten days, Zhao Kuo has been cultivating as though his life depended on it!" Xu Shanyue, who was leading the two, chuckled whilst he heard them banter. He had clearly recognized Zhao Kuo's diligence and hard work during this period of time.

Li Luo immediately gave him a thumbs up. "Amazing."

"How can I compare to you? You're handsome and endowed with such perceptiveness when it comes to resonance arts. Now that you've awakened a water resonance, it's very likely you will become a legend in Southwind Academy, much like Sister Qing'e!" Zhao Kuo said honestly.

"Even when I'm famous, I will still be friends with you! You're truly the most honest person I've met, and you never lie. Even though you're a little uncool..." Li Luo nodded and sighed emotionally.

"Of course! I will need Brother Luo to look out for me during this final examination."

"Easy. Once I'm in the top position, I will directly drag you into the Astral Sage College."

"Wow how tyrannical!"

"..." Hearing their shameless bragging, Xu Shanyue's face turned a little gloomy before turning around to snap at them. "Quiet, you fools. We're here."

Li Luo and Zhao Kuo immediately snapped to attention and stopped spouting their nonsense. Ahead of them was a patio where quite a few individuals were roaming around. These were the top 20 in Southwind Academy.

Li Luo recognized Lu Qing'er, Song Yunfeng, and Difa Qing's familiar silhouettes.

Currently, the group was staring at the two in amusement. They had clearly heard all of their nonsense while they were bragging proudly…

Despite the ridiculing gazes that the group was giving the two, Li Luo's demeanor was indifferent and unshaken. As long as he didn't feel embarrassed, the ones who would be feeling the heat were the ones that mocked them!

Zhao Kuo, on the other hand, had a simple and honest smile on his face, demonstrating his ineffable and cheerful personality.

In the end, the group only shook their heads and went back to what they were doing.

These two had the thickest skins they had ever seen.

Li Luo was clearly a little in over his head. He had previously barely managed to eke out a draw between him and Song Yunfeng, and now he was claiming he would take first place? He hadn't even asked Lu Qing'er for her opinion!

Within the group was also the old dean. His gaze was filled with mirth as he shot a glance at the duo. Seeing that everyone had arrived, he said, "It looks like everyone is here. Since that is the case, I will now explain the rules of the final examination." 

Everyone trembled when they heard those words. They all immediately focused on each and every word the old dean was about to say.

"The College Final Examinations will officially begin in three days’ time. The twenty of you will represent Southwind Academy as the representatives. I only have one request, and that is to defend the title of the best academy in the Tianshu Province! Additionally, the Astral Sage College has announced that fifty students from the Tianshu Province will be selected to join them during this round."

The group seemed to have become more tense upon hearing this. Fifty spots meant that there were several fewer positions than the previous year. In this case, the competitors would undoubtedly struggle even harder than before.

"As per the previous round, the top ten in the College Final Examinations will automatically receive the opportunity to join the Astral Sage College. The remaining forty positions will be distributed amongst the top ten academies. The academies in the eighth, ninth, and tenth position will be allocated one slot each. fifth, sixth, and seventh will receive two slots. Third and fourth will receive five slots, with second place receiving six slots. Finally, the top academy will receive fifteen slots!"

When the last sentence was uttered, it instantly caused a hubbub to erupt. No one had thought that the College Final Examinations would allocate such a significant share of slots to the top academy.  

Even in previous years, although the top academy would receive more rewards, it had never been as unbalanced as this.

Teacher Lin Feng from the First School had a face full of smiles and encouragement as he looked at Lu Qing'er. "Qing'er, in order for the academy to obtain the position, we require your help to take first place." The old dean nodded as he looked warmly upon her.

Their hopes were pinned on Lu Qing'er. This was also normal as she was the trump card of Southwind Academy. 

Under their ardent gazes, Lu Qing'er remained as calm as before, only lightly replying, "I will do my best to fight for victory."

The old dean nodded and then informed her, "However, you must keep an eye out for Shi Huang of Eastpool Academy. He is extremely strong and will be your key rival." Upon hearing that name, Lu Qing'er's expression became slightly grave and she attentively nodded.

"From tomorrow onwards, you will no longer have to come to the academy. Instead, you will head to Whitespirit Garden. That is the location where the numerous academies of the Tianshu Province will gather. In three days, you will enter Whitespirit Mountain. That will be the battleground for the final examinations." After this last series of exhortations, he summarized his parting words. 

"Southwind Academy has been led by this old man for dozens of years. Its honor is more important than my life. Hence, I sincerely hope that all of you will do your best during this final examination to preserve the honor and reputation of the academy." The old dean's face was dignified as he gave a final bow. 

The twenty students were immediately taken aback by this development, quickly returning one as well.

In the end, the old dean waved his hand to dismiss the group, leaving everyone with mixed emotions.

Li Luo walked out of the patio, staring wistfully into the blue sky, feeling his heart lightly surging.   

The College Final Examinations had finally arrived.

It was a pity his parents weren't around to see this...

If they really were... perhaps they would be looking at him disapprovingly and saying something along these lines... 

"This son is just too dumb. Completely different from our brilliant Qing'e!"

It was said that when Jiang Qing'e took her final examination, she completely suppressed each and every student from every other academy. She was so dominant that they wouldn't even dare to let out so much as a fart without hiding in fear. No one would dare to infringe upon Southwind Academy's prestige.

Only when she finally entered the Astral Sage College did the numerous academies of the Tianshu Province begin to rile up in celebration, tears filling their eyes. 

Compared to Jiang Qing'e's blinding resplendence, Li Luo had encountered all sorts of ups and downs.  

In fact, just a month ago, no one even held any hopes of him participating in the final examinations…

Thinking of all this, Li Luo's excitement tampered down a notch, as though someone had dumped a bucket of cold water over him. 

"Just what is the meaning to all this?!" he lamented.

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