When the final bell rang, there was a congratulatory mood among the audience as they processed the results.
Clearly written, first place.
Li Luo, Southwind Academy.
This win was beyond everyone's expectations. Back when the exam had first started, no one thought that it wouldn't be the hot favorite, Lu Qing'er, or perhaps the only threat she faced, Shi Huang. Definitely not the under-the-radar, no-results-to-speak-of Li Luo!
The young lord of House Luolan was no stranger to the people of the Tianshu Province—after all, House Luolan had begun at the City of Southwind before expanding to the Xia Kingdom. They were once the pride and joy of the Tianshu Province, their bragging fodder to outsiders.
And as the son of those two, Li Luo could not help but receive attention. But when his blank palace came to light, everyone sighed inwardly. Li Taixuan and Tan Tailan had burned so brightly all their lives, but their son had inherited none of their talent.
"Like a tiger giving birth to a puppy." Li Luo had heard such remarks all too many times over the years.
Some had even said that perhaps Jiang Qing'e was the true child of Li Taixuan and Tan Tailan, and that Li Luo must have been adopted or something.
The nasty remarks went on and on.
And with today's result, their impression of the young lord was renewed. Although this youth might not have the sharp, invincible air of Jiang Qing'e, he was warm and enigmatic. It seemed like you would only know what cards he had to play when crunch time came.
A different look from his parents, and even Jiang Qing'e.
Outside, the Southwind Academy teacher Xu Shanyue looked up at the board, frozen in a thrall. Finally, he broke out of it. "You see that? Li Luo's first!!"
Beside him, Lin Feng's expression was complicated. He did not know if he should be happy or sad.
Although Southwind Academy had maintained their best school title, the glory had not gone to his First School. It was with the Second School, whom he had poured scorn on.
Although Li Luo had shown some promise during the last few weeks, Lin Feng had dismissed it. His read was that no amount of catching up from Li Luo would bring him to Lu Qing'er or Song Yunfeng's level. After all, he had lost so much time.
But now the winner of the entire exam was Li Luo.
He turned to look at Xu Shanyue, features twisted in wild triumph. He felt a strong squeeze of regret grip his chest.
He regretted not letting Li Luo back into the First School when he had shown signs of a comeback.
And now that Li Luo was champion, Lin Feng would be regarded strangely from now on. After all, Southwind Academy had never had a champion that wasn’t from the First School before.
He, Lin Feng, would be spurned, while Xu Shanyue would be glorified forever.
So although Southwind Academy had managed to defend its title as best school, Lin Feng felt a sudden urge to wail.
Xu Shanyue had just gotten his emotions under control when he suddenly noticed the expression on Lin Feng's face, bitter as though he had been forced to eat out of the toilet. He shook his head in sympathy, at the same time feeling gratitude.
"Teacher Lin Feng, you're a real brother. I won't argue with you next time!"
Lin Feng gave a smile as though he had been eating lemons whole. His voice wheezed out of him faintly.
"Eh, hehe... wer, we're all brudders... same house... too kind..."
Cai Wei and Yan Lingqing stared at the first place name for a long time and then exploded with joy.
"What a surprise!" Cai Wei rejoiced.
"Fufu, Li Luo sure plays it quiet. If word of this gets to Qing'e, she'll be completely astounded." Yan Lingqing nodded approvingly.
"If the Young Lord can get into the Astral Sage College, his prestige in House Luolan will rise as well. Perhaps he will take some of the burden away from Qing'e," Cai Wei mused.
Yan Lingqing nodded. Although House Luolan was plagued by problems both internal and external, there would always be those loyal to the king, namely Li Luo. After all, he was the blood kin of the two House Lords, and his right to rule was the most substantiated, even more so than Jiang Qing'e.
However, his blank palace conundrum had cast a dim pallor on his future. Some had given up on him, but if he continued to perform well, he would be able to unite them again. At that time, he should be able to firmly take the House Lord seat, with Jiang Qing'e's support.
At that time, House Luolan would finally return to stability.
Both women were very much looking forward to that day.
In the main tent, Governor Shi was completely silent when the result was declared, but the thunderous aura radiating from him scared everyone off.
The old dean didn't care. He was on his feet, clapping as hard as he could.
"Well done, my lad. Truly the son of Li Taixuan and Tan Tailan. Everyone looked down on you, even this old myopic geezer!" he roared.
Governor Shi gave a short bark of laughter. Without a word of farewell to the dean or Anlie, he rose and left.
Mentor Anlie shrugged and turned to the dean. "Congratulations, Dean Wei Sha. Southwind Academy has clinched the best school title again."
On the scoreboard, Li Luo and Lu Qing'er were in first and second place. This was Southwind Academy's best result in recent years, and the full 21 entrance slots would be swept up by Southwind Academy.
One could only imagine how many families would go through fire and brimstone to send their children to Southwind in the near future. Even if those children could not win slots themselves, the sheer power of the school's reputation might see them into the Astral Sage College.
Dean Wei Sha could not stop grinning.
While all this was going on, the students within the arena were starting to exit as well. The cheers were especially loud when Li Luo and Lu Qing'er appeared.
This was a real bother for Li Luo, who had been thrust into the spotlight. His handsome looks were already troublesome enough, and now adding strength into the mix?
That was way more pressure than a young man could handle!
"Brother Luo, you were so cool!" Zhao Kuo yelled ecstatically. He might have been eliminated from the top 10, but given Li Luo and Lu Qing'er's result, there was a slot in the Astral Sage College with his name on it, considering his rank in Southwind Academy.
The other Southwind Academy students were all smiles too, looking at Li Luo respectfully. Those additional entrance slots had been won for them, almost all of them, thanks to him.
There was a Chinese saying that went: when one ascends to Heaven, even his chickens and dogs rise with him.
Li Luo shared a big smile with Zhao Kuo, clapping him on the back. He turned to search for Yu Lang in the crowd.
He found him fervently clasping the hand of a particularly cute junior, his face serious. "Do you know why Li Luo could beat Shi Huang? It was all thanks to my painstaking efforts to unsettle Shi Huang. That's why Li Luo won. Half the credit is mine, but being such a great brother, I don't begrudge him the glory. I'm not that kind of guy."
The naive little girl stared at him with adoration.
Li Luo was speechless at the guy. His brain ran on a different wavelength from others.
Lu Qing'er, who had been talking to a bunch of junior girls, turned to him with a faint smile. "They say that today is a great day, and there will be celebrations tonight. They ask if you're attending."
Li Luo sighed. These gatherings didn't mean much one way or another. Everyone would come fawn over him, and the girl fan club would try to make moves on him. Today, they would be more ferocious.
Therefore, he nodded in assent in the end.Previous Chapter Next Chapter