Within Whitespirit Ruins, things were a mess.
The remaining students had all received messages from Shi Huang's camp that Southwind Academy's Lu Qing'er was badly injured and in hiding.
It sparked a wave of greed. Everyone knew that she was first on the leaderboard. If Lady Luck brought them to her, wouldn't they shoot up to first place instantly?
Usually, they would be afraid of her strength. But now that she was injured, what was there to fear?
And so the greedy students-turned-bounty-hunters started to comb the area for her energetically.
Shi Huang was perched on a tall, brick feature, emotionlessly monitoring the changes in Whitespirit Ruins. They had been searching for an hour now, but Li Luo and Lu Qing'er seemed to have vanished. No one could find them.
"I don't know what's going on. It's unsettling," Shi Huang said, cocking an eye at Xiang Liang and the others.
Zong Fu said, "There's no need to panic. With such a methodical search, they won't be able to hide much longer."
Shi Huang let out a long sigh. He knew that getting nervous was not going to help. But he could not dispel the uneasiness that weighed on his mind.
Suddenly, he heard a rustle. Turning, he saw Song Yunfeng walk out from the ruins nearby, someone in hand.
"I should be able to help you force Li Luo out," Song Yunfeng said with a small smile.
He gestured to the trussed up figure with him. "This person is called Zhao Kuo, a good friend of Li Luo in school. He and Yu Lang were following Li Luo before.
"Li Luo was able to track you down probably because of Yu Lang. What he didn't know was that while he was tracking you... I was tracking him.
"When you fought with Lu Qing'er, I went in and caught Zhao Kuo. But Yu Lang got away."
Zhao Kuo was bound hand and foot, and even gagged for good measure. He could only stare furiously at Song Yunfeng.
They had actually been aware of Song Yunfeng's presence, but they had dropped their guard against a schoolmate. After all, it did not make sense for them to compete against one another, which would be counterproductive.
And yet Song Yunfeng had struck deviously.
In that moment of crisis, Zhao Kuo had thrown himself at Song Yunfeng, buying Yu Lang time to get away, but sacrificing himself.
Song Yunfeng ignored his furious gaze. "Although we cannot kill during the exams, we can play with this guy. I'm sure that once Li Luo gets wind of it, he won't be able to resist coming to save his good friend."
"Haha, Yunfeng, you're a godsend!" Shi Huang laughed loudly.
He turned to Chi Su. "Put this Zhao Kuo up in a prominent place. I want to see whether Li Luo will choose his brother or Lu Qing'er."
Zong Fu frowned. "Isn't that a bit excessive?"
Shi Huang dismissed it with a wave. "It's all Li Luo's fault for poking his nose in. All of this started because of him," he said indifferently.
Chi Su obliged. She lifted a hand, and green vines stretched out to bind Zhao Kuo.
In the tree hollow.
Li Luo opened his eyes, looking at Lu Qing'er, still blushing red as a tomato and quivering. He found it peculiar. "You alright?"
Her teeth were biting hard against her rosy lips as she shook her head. "Is it done?" she asked in a faint voice.
Li Luo nodded and smiled, letting go of her hand. Her entire body relaxed, as though relieved of a heavy burden.
The blush slowly receded while Lu Qing'er checked her wounds. She was astonished. "My injuries are more than 80 percent recovered."
It had been just about an hour, and Li Luo had worked a miracle.
Were his healing powers so strong?
"Li Luo, you're amazing!" Lu Qing'er squealed.
Li Luo sketched a bashful gesture. "Make use of what time we have—recover some resonant power."
Lu Qing'er dipped her head, shutting her beautiful eyes. She started to channel her own energy cultivation art to recover power.
When Li Luo stood up and poked his head outside the tree hollow, his expression turned dark as he spotted something.
Glancing back at the recovering Lu Qing'er, he used his water resonance power to cloak himself in the Water Shadow Art, then he slipped out of their hiding hole.
Li Luo moved swiftly through the wrecked landscape. A few dozen minutes later, he paused in a well-hidden place, watching the scene ahead.
High on a weathered tower, Zhao Kuo hung.
Shi Huang and the others were around him, keenly watching their surroundings.
"Li Luo, I know you can see us. I'll cut the crap. Give us Lu Qing'er, and I'll free your friend," Shi Huang shouted loudly.
Silence all around.
"If you don't come out, then your friend's pride will be ground to dust today." Shi Huang sneered. He picked up a stone, crushing it into pieces in his hand. With each flick of his fingers, he sent a piece smashing painfully into Zhao Kuo. The pain was intense enough to make him break out into a cold sweat.
He had been ungagged, but still he gritted his teeth, not making a sound. He knew that they were doing this to lure Li Luo over.
"Tough, aren't you?"
Shi Huang said with a cool smile. Flick, flick, flick. Now the pieces were charged with lightning resonance, and they thudded into Zhao Kuo with dull shocking sounds.
He writhed and thrashed like a fish on the hook.
Just at this moment, a green streak breezed in. "Shi Huang, you ball-less scum! When I get my hands on you, I'm gonna dip you in the latrine!"
Shi Huang cocked an unconcerned eye at him. "That's Yu Lang," Song Yunfeng informed him.
"Zhao Kuo, I'm here to save you!"
Yu Lang shouted. He shot forth like a bullet towards the hanging Zhao Kuo.
Song Yunfeng snorted. He sent a casual backhand into Yu Lang, who did not defend himself, taking the blow.
Blood spurted forth from Yu Lang's lips, but he still moved like a leaf cutting through the wind, drawing ever closer to Zhao Kuo.
Shi Huang frowned. He attacked.
But suddenly, a burst of green light spewed from Yu Lang's mouth. It landed squarely on Zhao Kuo's chest, smashing his crystal medallion.
Yu Lang suddenly froze. Song Yunfeng was stalking him like a hungry tiger. Calmly, he plucked the crystal medallion from his own chest and then crushed it.
"Haha, I've got no medallion now. I'm out. Come fight me, then."
Yu Lang hooted with glee as he danced a little jig, taunting them.
Shi Huang, Song Yunfeng, and the others all paused. They had assumed Yu Lang was here to save Zhao Kuo. But in truth, he had never intended to do so. He was here on a suicide mission to eliminate them both.
They could not do anything to eliminated students. That was against the rules.
As the reality of the situation dawned on them, their faces were as sour as if they had swallowed lemons.Previous Chapter Next Chapter