As time passed, more and more students arrived at Whitespirit Ruins. Those that made it here were veterans of numerous battles and had risen above the others. They were more or less the elites of their generation in the Tianshu Province.
Their arrival here immediately shattered the gloomy silence of the ruins, heated battles breaking out all over.
The frenzy was reflected on the scoreboards as well, now visible both in and outside Whitespirit Mountain.
Occasionally, a name would disappear and be replaced by another, indicating an elimination.
As the cutthroat battles continued, all eyes were on the rapidly changing board. The numbers dwindled and the stakes rose.
In a broken building.
Li Luo listened to the sounds of battle nearby and then looked at the scoreboard displayed by his crystal medallion. He sighed. "It's too quick."
In just over an hour, the 100-odd students had been cut down to just 60.
In this time, he had not met anyone, and his score had not changed. As a result, his rank had fallen from 17 to 23.
"Brutal." Zhao Kuo agreed.
As they spoke, a blur whizzed in. Yu Lang.
"It's chaos out there. Fights everywhere." Yu Lang had been scouting for information. His wind resonance was well suited for it.
"Found anything?" Li Luo asked.
Yu Lang nodded, suddenly sober. "I stumbled upon Shi Huang. And he has Xiang Liang, Chi Su, and Zong Fu with him."
Li Luo looked up sharply. "They're in an alliance?"
"I suspect they’re teaming up against Lu Qing'er," Yu Lang said solemnly, licking his lips.
In these examinations,no one but Lu Qing'er could trouble Shi Huang.
Zhao Kuo's face turned grim as well. It seemed like their hopes of getting into the Astral Sage College didn't just lie on Li Luo's shoulders. Perhaps Lu Qing'er was the less certain condition.
Only by winning could she secure their school enough additional placements for them to succeed.
Li Luo was looking troubled as well. "It seems likely. Shi Huang's cunningness runs deep. He must have planned for everything. If Lu Qing'er is truly their combined target, she is in danger."
If such was Shi Huang's plan, then they had to ensure that she remained safe no matter what. If Lu Qing'er was eliminated, then the rest of Southwind Academy would fall like chaff before Shi Huang.
Even Li Luo could not handle Shi Huang, Xiang Liang, Chi Su, and Zong Fu all at once.
Li Luo was quiet for a while, then he let out a deep sigh. "Which way did they go?" he asked Yu Lang.
Yu Lang quickly pointed. "Are you going?"
"You know how important Lu Qing'er is. I have to go take a look. If she's in trouble, we're in trouble." Li Luo sighed.
Yu Lang and Zhao Kuo nodded.
"You two stay here. It's easier for me to get around alone."
"Alright, take care."
They understood that they would be in over their heads in a battle at that level, so they didn't object.
Li Luo nodded, then he turned around without a word. He left without a sound, his azure-blue resonant power cloaking him.
Somewhere in Whitespirit Ruins.
Lu Qing'er was sitting on a ruined tower, her features fresh. Her white top was clinging to the curve of her chest and her slim waist.
Her long, white pants hugged her firm rump but let loose her shapely and long legs free. It emphasized her figure extremely well.
Her long hair hung at just about the level of that hour-glass waist.
She was a stirring sight, especially contrasted against the dour and woeful ruins.
She pulled out a little cloth bag from the folds of her clothing. There was some dried fruit inside, and she chewed slowly, replenishing the day's exertions.
Suddenly, she jerked, seeing someone approach.
She looked closely and saw that it was Difa Qing.
They had run into each other at Whitespirit Ruins, and of course the latter had been overjoyed to see her. She had wanted to stick together, and Lu Qing'er had no objections. Since they were peers, she didn't mind helping her out.
"Qing'er, you're truly a champion for us girls. All those guys were crushed by you." Difa Qing gushed over her.
Lu Qing'er smiled slightly. "It's not over yet."
Difa Qing nodded. "In these exams, Eastpool Academy is indeed a strong contender. I'm worried about Shi Huang."
"He's very strong." Lu Qing'er concurred. Even she considered him a threat.
"Mm. That's why same-school students should stick together. That's why I left a mark just now—Song Yunfeng told me about it. He said that if I came across you and felt you needed help, I should let him know with that mark. If he saw it, he would help," Difa Qing said in a sunny voice.
Lu Qing'er choked on her dried fruit.
She stared at Difa Qing frostily. "You're saying you left Song Yunfeng a mark nearby?"
Difa Qing was scared at the sudden hostility. "Y-yes? What's wrong?" she stuttered. "Song Yunfeng is the second best in Southwind Academy. If he helps you, there's no need to be afraid of Shi Huang."
Lu Qing'er looked at Difa Qing for a few dozen seconds. She then stowed her cloth pouch, her face stony.
"I'm leaving. Don't follow me."
"Qing'er... You- what's wrong? Did I do something wrong?" Difa Qing anxiously asked.
Lu Qing'er ignored her. Leaning forward on the balls of her feet, she leapt lightly off the tower, landing on a pile of broken rocks and taking off swiftly.
Although she did not know what Difa Qing's mark would bring, she did not want to reveal her location so easily. It made her feel unsafe.
"Hopefully, it's just overthinking," Lu Qing'er thought to herself.
Just as she was about to slip away, her lithe body suddenly seized up, and the rocks under her exploded with a brilliant green light, snagging her exposed ankle.
The attack caught her off-guard.
Even so, Lu Qing'er was not completely unprepared. She remained calm, sending a current of her ice resonant power towards her foot.
The green light was frozen, and materialized as some sort of green vine.
Clap, clap, clap!
Sounds of clapping from ahead. Lu Qing'er looked up and saw a figure standing on top of a broken wall, smiling at her.
To her flanks and behind her, others appeared, cutting off her escape routes.
"Got you, Lu Qing'er." Xiang Liang's eyes were gleaming as he laughed.
To her front, Shi Huang. On the flanks and back, Xiang Liang, Chi Su, and Zong Fu. All three were formidable opponents.
Things looked dire.
Not far away, a crystal winked, feeding the scene back to the crystal wall at Whitespirit Mountain.
Back at the foot of Whitespirit Mountain, the audience exploded with excitement.Previous Chapter Next Chapter