In the crumbling ruins.
Shi Huang was fuming so hard that vapor was actually rising from his body. There was a demented look in his eyes. He was just on the verge of eliminating Lu Qing'er, his greatest obstacle, and now Li Luo had whisked her away!
The feeling of his painstakingly constructed plan going to ruins was enough to make Shi Huang blow his top. How he wished he could tear Li Luo into a thousand pieces!
Shi Huang's eyes swept the ground for traces of Li Luo's trail, but he saw nothing. The pair seemed to have vanished into thin air.
He searched for a while, then deemed it fruitless. He took a deep breath, struggling for composure. He returned to the three ice sculptures and used his resonant power to thaw them.
All three were blue in the face as they crawled out of the ice, shivering uncontrollably.
It was quite a while later before they finally began to recover.
Shi Huang looked at them. "Lu Qing'er has been taken away by Li Luo. Our mission is not yet complete."
"We must move quickly to find them. I injured Lu Qing'er. She will need some time to recover, and her Hands of Ice Jade are temporarily spent. She will not be able to use them for a while. As long as we find her, eliminating her will be easy."
The three nodded.
They had gone to such lengths, so they did not want to come up empty-handed.
"Just the few of us alone will not be enough, I fear. The terrain is confusing too. I suggest we spread word of Lu Qing'er's grievous wounds. There are also other students in Whitespirit Ruins. In peak condition, they would not dare to cross her, but with her injured and holding so many points, there will be bolder ones who would attack," Zong Fu said suddenly.
The others immediately approved of this, and even Shi Huang's eyes lit up.
"Let's go. Give them no time," Shi Huang ordered. Then they scurried away.
Outside Whitespirit Mountain.
When Lu Qing'er was suddenly rescued, a huge cheer went up outside. After all, for those not invested, the winsome Lu Qing'er was a much more appealing side to back. Besides, she was the underdog.
However, they also knew that Lu Qing'er had been injured. Even though she had been saved, they had only bought some time.
"It seems like it was the Young Lord who saved Lu Qing'er." Cai Wei had a sharp eye, and she seemed to have identified him.
Yan Lingqing cocked her head. "This Li Luo is an oldhand at rescuing damsels in distress. Timing, method, all perfect. What girl could resist?"
Cai Wei gave a half-smile. "Could it be that Qing'e will have a new rival?"
"That will be something to watch," Yan Lingqing said with relish.
The lighthearted atmosphere here was a stark contrast to the mood back in the main pavilion, although the old dean had also lightened up a little with Lu Qing'er's rescue.
Still, he had not spoken, because he too knew that Southwind Academy was in a dire situation.
With Lu Qing'er heavily injured, it was too much to ask to take down Shi Huang.
Beside him, Governor Shi sipped his tea serenely. He was not overly affected by Lu Qing'er's rescue. He also knew that this development had come just a little too late.
She was no longer the biggest problem.
As long as Shi Huang found her and took her points, all would be well.
At that time, the coveted title of best school in the Tianshu Province would fall to Eastpool Academy.
The thought brought a faint twitch of happiness to Governor Shi's lips.
Oh, the rescuer was Li Luo? That House Luolan boy was indeed a vexing one. But no matter; as long as he remained in control of the Tianshu Province, there were all too many options for him to create trouble and instigate House Luolan's fall.
Somewhere in Whitespirit Ruins, Li Luo gently laid Lu Qing'er down in a natural tree hollow.
He lowered his head to find Lu Qing'er's eyes locked dead on his face.
"Although I know the impact of my white knight rescue has devastated you, I hope you can control yourself," said a deadpan Li Luo.
Lu Qing'er bit her lip, her willowy brow dipping in reaction to the sharp pain coming from within. She knew her injuries were not trivial.
"How bad is it?" Li Luo asked.
She sighed, discouraged. "Quite bad. I'll be much weaker in fights from now on. I was too careless."
"That's bad. Shi Huang and his goons will be hunting us desperately. If he's smart, he'll call the other students. We'll be dug out sooner or later." Li Luo frowned.
"I'm sorry." Lu Qing'er hung her head.
"What are you sorry for?" Li Luo asked, surprised.
"I wasn't able to get first place. I let everyone down. Southwind Academy will lose the additional entrance slots," Lu Qing'er said softly.
"How's that your business? Entrance slots are to be earned individually. Additional slots, your first place, all those are your individual accomplishments. If you can't take them, it's just bad luck for the other Southwind students," Li Luo said indignantly.
"The Lu Qing'er I know isn't this shy. Were you hit over the head or something?"
She stared at him huffily. "You're the one hit on the head."
Li Luo grinned. "Oh, I almost forgot. You're injured, and I have a water resonance. I can help you heal!"
"I'm afraid these injuries won't completely heal in so short a time." Lu Qing'er hesitated.
"Heal what you can," Li Luo said. His waterlight resonance was special, and both water and light resonances had rejuvenating properties. Combined, they should be able to work some healing miracles.
He reached out to clasp her small, white hand with his own.
He had just taken hold of her hand when Lu Qing'er jolted upright. She vehemently pulled her hand back, her usually fair complexion now blushing furiously. She stared at him embarrassedly. "Hooligan, what are you doing!?"
Li Luo was startled by her reaction as well. "Using my water resonance power to heal you."
Lu Qing'er stammered. "Well—well don't hold my hand!"
Li Luo shook his head, dumbfounded. "My resonant power is faint enough as it is. Through clothing, it will be even weaker. Or you could turn around and I could pull your clothing down a little?"
Lu Qing'er's pearly whites grated against each other, staring him down furiously like a little mother tiger.
"Fine! No healing! Too hard to coddle! Let's just wait here for elimination, then!" Li Luo was irritated now. This girl was troublesome. Such a fuss over healing!
Even he would get angry!
Seeing him rise, Lu Qing'er hurriedly stopped him. She hung her head. "I was wrong. Continue, please."
Li Luo sniffed, then sat back down. He stretched out a rough hand to take Lu Qing'er's own. Perhaps because of her technique, her small hand was especially cool to the touch, almost like jade itself. It put some naughty thoughts in his head.
But Li Luo kept his expression blank, quickly channeling his resonant power. Blue power flooded through his hand, entering Lu Qing'er's body and repairing damage.
As his water resonance power flooded through her, she was surprised by its purity. Its regeneration was far more effective than she had anticipated.
A slow warmth spread within her, and the pain faded.
She glanced up at Li Luo holding her hand and then dipped her head so her long hair covered her face. Her face was red as a tomato, and her body was also quivering. It was a sight not often seen.
Lu Qing'er was not actually unwilling to let Li Luo hold her hand. But because she cultivated the Hands of Ice Jade, it made her hands especially sensitive when she was not channeling power through them. That was the reason she wore the ice-silk gloves, not allowing others to touch her hands.
Li Luo had grabbing her hand roughly and then later made her apologize—the usually proud Lu Qing'er felt humbled.Previous Chapter Next Chapter