Consternation showed on the faces of many of the students present.
No one would have thought that the gallant rescuer Li Luo would bring a supervisor to the table.
"Damn, this Young Lord is an unreasonable one."
"What a coward. He wouldn't be afraid of Zong Fu, would he?"
"A fight between students, and he actually went crying to the teacher?!"
"Right? Eh… but it does seem like the correct thing, right? Internal fighting is actually against the rules though."
"You... you're right, but... but..." One of the spectators stammered. Of course, the one actually in the right was Li Luo. His decision to call the supervisor was faultless.
But why did it just feel so wrong?
As they stood around glumly, Zong Fu hurriedly let go of Zhao Kuo, whose back he had been clinging firmly to. He then turned smilingly to the supervisor. "Mentor, we weren't fighting. Just playing."
"You were clearly going to beat me up," Zhao Kuo said.
Zong Fu flushed as he retorted, "Impossible! Don't slander me."
Li Luo stepped forth with an inviting smile. "Don't worry. Go ahead and speak your true mind. Bravely now."
Zong Fu forced a smile. "It was nothing. Nothing at all."
The teacher sized up the situation and saw the girl from Zenith Academy, built like a bear. He pursed his lips. "Couldn't find a better one to go for?"
Zong Fu was completely embarrassed. Zenith Academy had always been majority male. Female students were few and far between, and this junior sister was the only girl in their top 20, and she was beloved by all of them.
"You, three hours of standing punishment. One minute less and your dean can come and collect you," the supervisor said coldly.
In truth, student fighting was rampant, and they always shut an eye on the situation. But now that Li Luo had come to report it, they had no choice but to respond, or they would lose their jobs.
The supervisor turned to leave after delivering the punishment.
Low snickers came from the crowd, although it was uncertain who it was directed at.
Zong Fu stood there, frustrated but afraid to move. Li Luo walked up to him and smiled. "Did you think I would be so easy to bully? Going after Zhao Kuo to force me out?"
Zong Fu stared at him and then sighed. "Others said the Young Lord was nothing to fear, but I feel that you were the dark horse of these examinations. I just wanted to test you."
Li Luo was surprised. "You see me that highly?"
Zong Fu nodded. "I know how terrifying Jiang Qing'e is. I don't believe her fiance would be a good-for-nothing."
"You've fought Jiang Qing'e before?" One surprise after another.
Zong Fu's shoulders slumped. "Fought my ass. She stared at me once, and my legs were already numb with fear.
"But Li Luo, seeing you so insistent on hiding your moves has got me very curious about what you are truly hiding. I look forward to your performance in the examinations."
"You'll know it when you see it."
Li Luo smiled and clapped Zong Fu on the shoulder. "Well then, keep up the excellent standing form. I'm off to sleep."
He turned and led Zhao Kuo away, their departure followed by many odd glances from others.
Zong Fu watched them leave, screwing his mouth up with frustration. Something dawned on him.
"Damn, standing punishment means I can't attend Shi Huang's rendezvous. He wouldn't think I'm a traitor and not showing him face, right?"
A room, somewhere in the Whitespirit Garden.
Shi Huang greeted Xiang Liang and Chi Su with a warm smile, even pouring them tea himself as he spoke to them with great courtesy.
The three chatted for a while. Chi Su frowned. "Where's Zong Fu, that fellow!"
Xiang Liang felt like something was off too. Zong Fu did not seem like the kind of guy to show no interest in Shi Huang. He would definitely show up if he could.
Shi Huang's smile did not reach the depths of the dark look in his eyes. Zong Fu would not be slighting him, would he?
Just then, there was a knock on the door, and someone entered to whisper into his ear. A look of surprise flitted across Shi Huang's face.
He waved the person away, then turned back to the other two with a smile. "It seems like Zong Fu won't be able to make it tonight."
"Why not?" Both Xiang Liang and Chi Su were surprised.
"He went to suss out Li Luo and ended up getting reported to the supervisor. His punishment was three hours of standing." There was an odd look on Shi Huang's face as he said this.
"Huh?!" both Xiang Liang and Chi Su blurted simultaneously. They looked at each other, not sure whether to be amused or angry.
"Li Luo seems to play against expectations." Xiang Liang could not help but chuckle.
To even go and tattle to the teacher—was he not afraid of being ridiculed?
"Perhaps he knew he was outclassed by Zong Fu, so it was his only choice." Chi Su supplied.
"I already said, there's no need to test Li Luo. He's not the one to watch here. He doesn't warrant such caution." Xiang Liang clicked his tongue dismissively.
Shi Huang said with good humor, "Zong Fu's caution is commendable. If met in the examinations, Li Luo should be dealt with, of course. Avoid any accidents later on."
But he did not seem too bothered by this, instead turning the conversation to the main topic at hand. "Although Zong Fu is absent, our purpose today will not be delayed.
"We all share the same goal: to dethrone Southwind Academy from its prized seat as the best school in the Tianshu Province.
"And the strongest they have this year is Lu Qing'er. As long as we deal with her, Southwind Academy will lose its first-place title. At that time, the number of entrance slots allocated to them will drop as well.
"My suggestion is simple. In the final stage, we must work together to force Lu Qing'er out."
Xiang Liang and Chi Su looked at each other. They both saw the doubt in the other's eyes. "It is not easy to team up against Lu Qing'er. Given her strength, she should still be able to retreat safely. Besides, the final stage will be full of other strong opponents. If we focus too intensely on her, others may slip in and collect."
Shi Huang smiled slightly. "Everything has been arranged. You need only appear at the time and place that I have determined."
The two were silent for a moment, then finally nodded.
"Then it will be as you say. Southwind Academy has led the Tianshu Province for too long. It is time the crown has a new bearer."
Shi Huang's smile widened as he lifted his teacup.
The three toasted each other.
"Well, then. Nice working with you."Previous Chapter Next Chapter