The room was so silent that one could hear a pin drop.
The black crystal ball was emitting a faint radiance that reflected Li Luo's unsettled countenance; it was a strange sight.
He was currently embroiled in an impossible choice.
His parents' hard work had unearthed hope of a new dawn for his blank palaces. However, he had never expected that this hope would come with such a heavy cost.
Li Luo would only have five years left to live.
If in five years he could not enter the Duke Stage and undergo a life-changing metamorphosis, then he would come to an unsatisfactory end.
Five years to become a Duke?
He was only seventeen now, and in five years he would be twenty-two... 
Even after reaching deep into his knowledge, he had never heard of such a young Duke in the history of the Xia Kingdom.
Exactly what sort of culmination of talent, opportunities, and effort would allow one to construct such a miracle?
Li Luo did not know... and hence he could feel a huge sense of pressure envelop him. He even found it hard to breathe.
The current him could continue to live a mediocre life. His parents had left behind House Luolan, which still possessed a decent amount of businesses. Even if he could not control any of it and gave it all up, he could still live the life of a leisurely Young Lord, free from any worldly worries.
The path of the acquired resonance would place him on the edge, constantly struggling and making every second count. He would have to struggle and wholly strive, squeezing out every last ounce of potential, all to fight against the heavens and to eke out a shred of vitality, all just to barely survive.
Two wholly different paths—just what should he do?
Li Luo closed his eyes, his heart engulfed in turmoil.
His mind flitted through numerous scenes. He thought of the strange gazes he received from others at the academy. People often liked to say that a tiger had given birth to a dog. How could such illustrious parents give birth to a son with such poor abilities?
He thought of the person with a pair of pure and beautiful golden pupils. Deep down, he did feel a sense of love and yearning towards Jiang Qing'e, this he did not deny. However, Jiang Qing'e's exceptionalism was attractive and she had a hoard of other fans. Such an elegant and unparalleled lady could only be matched by a man of heroic and extraordinary temperament. This was only human nature, and there was nothing shameful about it.
When they were young, Li Luo and Jiang Qing'e often competed in all sorts of areas. However, due to all sorts of different reasons, Li Luo lost more than he won. As the two of them grew older, such interactions lessened.
This was especially noticeable after their palaces manifested. Li Luo knew that the gap between the two had only widened, transforming into an uncrossable chasm.
Jiang Qing'e had also begun to reduce their friendly competitions from that point on.
The encounters over the years looked as though they had smoothened Li Luo's edge over time, as he seemingly became much more mellow. Only he knew that deep down, his desire to win and compete had never diminished, only further stoked ablaze by his apparent weakness.
The reason he was willing to challenge Jiang Qing'e was not simply because he was coerced—he wanted to do so.
In a normal situation, even catching up to Jiang Qing'e, who had already left him in the dust in the cultivation race, was as impossible as surmounting the heavens. However, there was a brief sense of hope now.
Was he going to give up on this hope?
His real answer was that this was impossible!
Li Luo eyes flashed open, and a trace of sharpness could be seen in his gaze.
He stared at the apparitions of Li Taixuan and Tan Tailan before saying, "Dad, Mom, I have always had a wild heart. However, those who know of my condition would laugh at me if they heard this, as if I don't understand my own situation... I'm not only interested in catching up to Sister Qing'e, I want to surpass her! And not just her, I want to surpass the two of you!" A grin hung on his face, displaying his pearly-white teeth.
"I dream that in the future, people will not recognize me for being Li Taixuan and Tan Tailan's son. Instead, I want others to see you and know you as Li Luo's parents!" He chuckled. "Dad, Mom, I am very thankful for this gift you have left for my seventeenth birthday. Rest assured, I will not let you down. All I have to do is reach the Duke Stage in five years. No biggie. I, Li Luo, accept this challenge!"
As he made his final declaration, his eyes lit up with resolve and he no longer hesitated, reaching out with his palm, lightly pressing them onto the black crystall ball.
The black crystal ball responded brilliantly, and Li Luo could feel a piercing pain transmitting through his palms. It was as though countless needles were piercing into him.
At the same time, the black crystal ball began to shatter, and within its interior quietly lay two objects.
One was a black-colored jade slip. As expected, this ought to be the instructions to cultivate the Acquired Resonance Godly Forging Art.
The other item was mysterious-looking. It looked like a liquid and yet seemed to be an illusory item made of flowing light. It was azure in color and seemed to be emitting minute rays of sacred light.
Li Luo's gaze was affixed onto that illusory liquid object.
He knew that this was something that would change his destiny.... His parents had spent blood, sweat, and tears to refine this acquired resonance.
Additionally, by merely setting his eyes on this strange object, Li Luo could feel a sense of compatibility with it from the depths of his soul.
It was as though this was something that had always belonged to him.
His parents clearly weren't lying when they said that this acquired resonance was crafted from his own blood essence and spirit soul. The compatibility between man and resonance was instinctive.
"Ah..." Just as Li Luo was completely enthralled by the mystical acquired resonance, a complicated sigh echoed from behind him.
Li Luo raised his head and saw that his dad's apparition had begun to act again. The expression on its face was clearly filled with complications.
"Little Luo, it looks like you've made your decision," Li Taixuan unhurriedly said.
"As your dad, your choice does make me feel a little sad. However, from the perspective of a man, I feel relieved and proud of you. Your future path will undoubtedly be full of danger and peril. But as the son of Li Taixuan, how can these obstacles faze you?"
His mom's eyes were also splashed with a tinge of wetness. It seems that when they had left these apparitions behind, they had already predicted this outcome. Perhaps this feeling was also unbearable for her. As a mother, she found it hard to accept that her child would only have five more years of life.
Yet she did not dissuade him, as she knew that this decision was for Li Luo to make. Furthermore, he had clearly made his decision, so she would do everything she could to support him and believe in him.
"Little Luo, since you have chosen your path, let Mom tell you exactly what sort of acquired resonance we have refined for you." Hearing his mom's words, Li Luo perked up.
"Your dad and I experimented with this acquired resonance countless times before finding the most compatible treasures to forge it.
"This is a 4th-grade water resonance supplemented with a light resonance."
Li Luo was a little shocked before he gave a bitter smile. "Wait... why a water resonance?"
Amongst elemental resonances, there weren't elements that were better or worse than one another in general. However, there were differences when it came to practical uses. If one was interested in power and penetrating strength, fire, thunder, and metal were definitely the best-in-class. Water resonances were usually more nurturing and defensive in nature; it was a more flexible sort of element.
He had never imagined that his acquired resonance would be one that was more on the side of soft and yielding.
"Haha, Little Luo, you must surely be thinking that a water resonance is soft and weak, something that runs contrary to the strength you wish for in your heart. Don't underestimate the might of a water resonance. Although they might initially be more feeble in terms of sheer destructive ability, its affinity for vigorous, sustained attacks is unparalleled and will allow you to grind down any other element. If you are able to exhibit the strengths of the water resonance, it will not be any weaker than other elemental resonances.
"Furthermore your water resonance is not a normal one. It also has the power of a light resonance supporting it. If you are able to fully utilize the power of the two, the final result will definitely exceed your imagination!
"Of course, your parents did not just give you a waterlight resonance for no reason. There are two more important reasons for this.
"You will lose a large amount of your blood essence and a large portion of your life during your first absorption of a acquired resonance. It will inevitably bring about grievous injury to you. Water resonances are gentle, and this water resonance’s power will nourish your injured body, allowing you to recover quickly." It was as though Li Luo had been enlightened. So this was the reason why. In terms of recovery prowess, a waterlight resonance would definitely be top tier in terms of healing.
"Then what's the second reason?" Li Luo asked curiously within his heart.
Not before long, his dad continued to explain. "The second reason is that we hope you become an amazing resonance artificer, to supplement your future cultivation
"Do you remember the fundamental requirement to become a resonance artificer?" Li Luo paused momentarily. "Being a resonance artificer requires one to either possess a water or light resonance."
When it came to cultivation, there were naturally numerous auxiliary professions that arose to support it. A resonance artificer was just one of many. They were able to refine and improve the grade of one's resonances with the usage of magical treasures.
There were also alchemists; however, those required one to possess a wood or fire resonance.
There were also resonant artifact crafters, those who could craft resonant artifacts used for battle. This required metal, fire, or earth resonances.
resonance artificers and alchemists were similar in many ways. The key difference was that one improved the grade of their resonances, while the other directly increased resonant power.
Water and light resonance cultivators had purifying powers, which was the key reason why they were ideal for becoming resonance artificers.
"But why do I need to become a resonance artificer?" Li Luo was a little unconvinced.
Just as he asked that question, Li Taixuan's voice once again continued his explanation. "That is because you have a blank palace. You're able to undergo unlimited refinements of your resonance grades. If you become a resonance artificer, you will gain a deeper understanding of the process and your own palaces, allowing you to strive for perfection.
"Additionally, other resonance artificers either only possess a water or light resonance. Your waterlight resonance power, on the other hand, contains two elements that can mutually support each other. This is unheard of. If you don't become a resonance artificer, it would be a waste of a heaven-bestowed talent.
"The spirit liquids and purifying lights you produce will clearly outclass any made by any other resonance artificer."
Tan Tailan then coyly covered her mouth and laughed. "Little Luo, this is a back-up plan that your dad and I have left for you. If House Luolan has been squandered to destitution by you, you'll at least have a set of skills that will allow you to survive."
Li Luo's jaw dropped at his parents' plan. In the end, he could only shake his head. He was absolutely speechless. He could only say that his parents had planned for every contingency. Even the profession they had in mind for him had been picked to capitalize on his first acquired resonance's strength.
"However, Little Luo, do keep in mind that this first acquired resonance is just the initial step. Your dad and mom were able to help you refine it with your blood essence and spirit soul. The processes of creating your second and third resonances will be increasingly complicated. You will have only yourself to rely on to discover the route ahead.
"We recommend that you break into the Resonant Master Stage before searching for a way to craft your second acquired resonance. We have left some possible suggestions on the paths you can take for it as well within the jade. Our experiences have also been recorded for your reference.
"The Acquired Resonance Godly Forging Art within this jade will only allow you to craft a second acquired resonance. The complete method to craft the third acquired resonance has been left in Xia City for you to retrieve when the time is right."
At this point, Li Luo noticed that the apparitions of his parents seemed to have dimmed a little. This led him to realize that this transmission was finally coming to an end.
"Dad, Mom..." Li Luo couldn't help but to reach out and grab hold of the light apparitions, only for his hands to pass right through them.
The two continued to look at him with gazes that were full of love and doting compassion.
"Little Luo, it looks like things are about to end...
"Your dad and mom believe that since you have chosen this road, you will definitely succeed in breaking out of this five-year limit.
"We know that you worry for us, but rest assured—before we meet you again, nothing will happen to us.
"Lastly, Little Luo, you must remember that no matter how worried you are, you cannot search for us without reaching the Duke Stage."
Finally, the apparitions began to flicker and eventually faded into thin air. The entire room was once again subsumed in darkness and silence.
Li Luo continued to sit in front of the black crystal ball, his eyes watery and red. In the end, no tears fell. He rubbed his eyes and made a commitment. "Dad, Mom... Thank you for giving me everything. Please wait for me. When we meet again, I will definitely shock you and be your source of pride."
He gradually composed himself, soothing the turmoil within. After which, he reached out towards the black piece of jade and stashed it away before his eyes landed upon the azure and sacred light-emitting object.
"From today onwards... I will be someone who has manifested a resonance!"
A blazing fervor could be seen within Li Luo's pupils, along with excitement that had finally reawakened. Without hesitation, he reached out towards the azure acquired resonance.
At the moment of contact, he first felt an icy feeling wash through him, followed by an indescribable, acute pain exploding throughout his entire body.
This acute pain intensified and built up, to the point that it completely overwhelmed Li Luo's consciousness. His vision suddenly turned black and his entire body gradually collapsed onto the ground with a heavy thud.
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