After defeating the little team led by Lian Zhong, the trio occasionally encountered other tough opponents, but these clashes ended with tears on their opponents' faces, and their points in the trio's pockets.
Two hours later.
They were standing on high ground, gazing out at the expanse of wasteland before them. There had been a castle here once, but the ravages of time had brought it low.
A whole field of broken rubble stretched as far as the eye could see.
There were also huge trees and vines that obscured their view of the rubble.
This was Whitespirit Ruins, and also the location of the final battle of the College Final Examinations.
The three of them stared warily for a long while before closing in. At the edge of Whitespirit Ruins, they discovered a shining crystal wall.
There were letters floating on it, detailing the final rules.
The rules were simple. When there were ten people left in Whitespirit Ruins, the College Final Examinations would be declared over. Points would then determine their placings.
Suddenly, their crystal medallions lit up, then a beam of light projected a translucent screen in front of them.
"It's the scoreboard." Yu Lang gasped.
They could indeed see it here at Whitespirit Ruins.
Li Luo examined it. First place was Lu Qing'er, with 9,500 points.
"Hooo. That's hot. How many did she finish off?" Li Luo marveled.
They had used all sorts of tactics, baiting and even the lucky encounter with Lian Zhong. Even so, he had only 4,000-odd points. Lu Qing'er had doubled his score. She must have been a war goddess, cutting down all in her path.
To no one's surprise, Shi Huang was in second place, with 8,300 points.
Those after him hovered around the 5,000 mark, while Li Luo spotted his own name in 17th place.
As for Yu Lang and Zhao Kuo, they were in the thirties.
"Brother Luo, if the going gets tough, you should split. Our ranking is roughly our limit now. We can go down in a flash of glory—that's probably the last bit of use we can be to you. I think Yu Lang's on the same page, eh?" Zhao Kuo said as he scanned the board as well.
Hearing this, Yu Lang was quiet for a few more seconds. "I feel like I still can go."
Zhao Kuo tsked him, shooting him an angry glare. "Go where? You're done."
Yu Lang nodded glumly. Alright, alright, he was done.
Although Yu Lang was not above getting ahead by hook or by crook, on the whole he was of the same mind as Zhao Kuo on this one. The two of them were Seventh Seals, nowhere near the monster that Li Luo was. If they met an Eighth Seal, they were probably bound to lose. And as the number of tough competitors swelled at Whitespirit Ruins, they would quickly turn from helpers to burdens.
Only ten would remain here at Whitespirit Ruins in the end. They could not possibly dream of reaching the final ten without being a huge source of stress and liability for Li Luo.
Even if Li Luo did not mind, they could not accept such an outcome.
Besides, there was not much point in them entering the top 10. As long as Lu Qing'er took first place, then there would be plenty of entrance placements for Southwind Academy, and they would benefit too.
Li Luo smiled at their words. "We'll see when the time comes."
His only goal was to enter the top 10 and get an entrance placement. Lu Qing'er was already there to secure first place for Southwind Academy as a whole, so there was no need for him to steal the spotlight.
"Let's go. We'll find a place to hole up in Whitespirit Ruins."
Li Luo waved them on, leading the way into the confusing terrain of Whitespirit Ruins.
At the same time, at the opposite side of Whitespirit Ruins.
Shi Huang stood before a crystal wall, scanning the scoreboard with a cool gaze. His eyes lingered on Lu Qing'er's name for a long while.
"Boss, Lian Zhong's name is not on the list. Something must have happened to him!" an Eastpool student exclaimed.
Shi Huang was puzzled by that. He carefully checked the list. Indeed, Lian Zhong's name was absent, although he did see Li Luo in 17th place.
His eyes narrowed. He had sent Lian Zhong to take care of Li Luo. And now Lian Zhong was gone, while Li Luo was sitting pretty on the board?
"He must have been ousted by Li Luo," Shi Huang said coldly.
"Huh? Isn't Li Luo just a Seventh Seal? How's that possible?" those around him asked doubtfully.
"He must have something up his sleeve. Besides, did you all really think Li Luo was useless?" Shi Huang said with a cold smile that did not reach his eyes.
"This Young Lord must have been lying low all this time."
"Should we deal with him?"
Shi Huang dismissed it. "The most important target now is Lu Qing'er. Although Li Luo is a bit of a dark horse, he still doesn't warrant a change in our plans.
"Ignore him for now," Shi Huang said, walking into Whitespirit Ruins. "After Lu Qing'er is dealt with, he'll be as trivial as a clown on the bridge."
Not long after entering Whitespirit Ruins, Shi Huang spotted a fresh symbol carved on one of the ruined walls. He grinned and followed the mark onto a ruined street.
A few minutes later, he ended up in a dilapidated hut.
In the gloom, four people awaited. They were Xiang Liang, Chi Su, Zong Fu, and Song Yunfeng, the four whom Shi Huang had an agreement with.
"Shi Huang, you're still trailing Lu Qing'er in points." Xiang Liang smirked as he walked in.
Shi Huang gave a thin smile. "A temporary lead. It does not matter."
"Speak, then. When do we move?" Chi Su asked.
"The most important thing now is to confirm Lu Qing'er's position and complete the plan. Leave her no room to escape. If she does get away, she will not be so easily caught a second time. And she can also play for time or cut the survivors down to the last ten to force the exams to end," Zong Fu stated clinically.
Shi Huang nodded, turning his eyes on Song Yunfeng. "I'm afraid we will have to trouble Song Yunfeng for this one." He smiled.
Xiang Liang and the others also turned to him. Uncomfortable under their stares, he could also feel a sense of hostility emanating from them.
Xiang Liang and the other two were not from Southwind Academy, so it was normal for them to want to take down Lu Qing'er. But Song Yunfeng was also of Southwind, yet he was helping Shi Huang win against her. That was a little distasteful.
Although for their interests, they were happy to have an inside agent like Song Yunfeng, but that did not curb their disdain for his character.
"I'm ready," Song Yunfeng said, trying to repress his uneasiness.
"Then we are much obliged. In this matter, your contribution is the greatest," Shi Huang said, his face the very picture of sincerity.Previous Chapter Next Chapter