"Frostriver Algae, half a strand.
"Panshan Vitality Roots, three.
"Qianxi water, three standard measurements.
Within the Suncreek Villa refining workshop, Yan Lingqing was issuing crisp, clear instructions, all of which Li Luo was swiftly following. He would measure out whatever she needed and hand it over.
As Yan Lingqing picked up each crystal vial, she added water resonance power to crush the ingredients and release their special properties.
There was no idle chit chat now, not during the competition. It was going to be a sprint from start to finish.
However, Li Luo was picking up many things from the efficient way that Yan Lingqing was working. Her understanding of ingredient integration was superb.
She deftly worked through the complex steps, and he knew that he would have ruined everything if it was left to him.
She was indeed quite an expert in refining.
But Li Luo also knew that this was just the start.
Outside, there were commentators discussing the competition. Although those outside might not fully understand the processes, looking at the tense expressions of the resonance artificers helped them feel immersed in the situation. The tension was infectious.
More and more crystal vials began to line up on Yan Lingqing's rack, twinkling with blue light. Their preparation was finished.
Beads of sweat had started to appear on her beautiful face, but she did not even have time to wipe them. All her attention was concentrated on the vials in her hands. Her water resonance power worked nonstop, fusing yet more ingredients.
The fusion of ingredients looked simple, but it required precise control of one's resonant power to remove the impurities from within them. One had to wield the resonant power for hundreds of passes before the required essence could be properly extracted.
To the untrained eye, it looked like just a channeling of resonant power into the crystal vials, but there were invisible changes happening behind that image.
A classic case of the experts watching the hustle and the laymen enjoying the bustle.
This was a time for the resonance artificers with higher-grade resonances to distinguish themselves. A higher-grade resonance was easier to wield, and it could compensate for a lack of experience.
Watching her beautiful face carefully, Li Luo hesitated for a moment. This time while arranging the ingredients, he flicked a finger and injected a dribble of waterlight resonance into it.
"Skyleaf Juice," Yan Lingqing said. Li Luo immediately handed it over to her.
Yan Lingqing took it, imbuing her water resonance power and crushing it entirely. But this time, as the ingredients fused, her hands clenched tightly.
She was shocked. This fusion had gone much more smoothly than before. When channeling her resonant power into the crystal vial, there seemed to be another special force inside making things effortless.
However, this was a competition, so she had no time to examine it carefully. She could only quickly finish her work and move on to the next step.
Li Luo was still carefully watching her expression. Seeing her not panicking was a relief. So his bit of resonant power had not interfered with the fusion. Perhaps it was helping.
This was no surprise. After all, Li Luo's resonant power worked like a special watersource; it could accommodate other water and light resonances. His waterlight resonance was a sixth-grade one, but compared to single-element resonances, it was definitely comparable to a seventh-grade.
Yan Lingqing's own water resonance was a lower seventh-grade. Therefore, Li Luo was technically stronger than her based on pure resonant power alone.
However, because she was the main artificer, and Li Luo's power was a weak Ninth Seal's, his waterlight resonance had only helped to ease the situation.
Besies, he knew that Yan Lingqing did not actually need his help for the Cyanobacteria spirit liquid. Therefore, his assistance had been just a testing of the waters.
Time continued to pass under their frenzied and tense pacing.
At this step, the refining was in its final phase. Li Luo breathed easy now. There had been no problems with her refining, and the fourth-grade Cyanobacteria spirit liquid had been completed.
A bell rang out, and the voice of the judges could be heard.
"Greenlight Villa, Zhao Feng. Fourth-grade Greenlight purifying light, success. Tempering strength: 55%!"
"Whitefang Villa, Liu Tong. Fourth-grade Whitefang spirit liquid, success. Tempering strength: 56%!"
As these were announced, Yan Lingqing did not seem fazed, calmly holding up her Cyanobacteria spirit liquid.
However, her composure did not hold up for long, because a surprising announcement was made.
"Pine Nut Villa, Song Qiuyu. Fifth-grade Dainty spirit liquid, success! Tempering strength: 53%!" Wow!
The entire arena broke out in an uproar. Many were looking at Song Qiuyu, who was holding up a vial with a smile on her face.
Fifth-grade spirit liquid?!
The Pine Nut Villa's Song Qiuyu had actually completed a fifth-grade spirit liquid?!
Many of the other resonance artificers paled. They were virtually all fourth-grade resonance artificers. No one was a fifth-grade artificer, and yet Song Qiuyu had produced a fifth-grade spirit liquid? That would crush the competition!
Whether this was a stroke of luck or otherwise, it had been produced in the competition, and it was rightfully her result.
Song Shan and Mo Ling both grinned triumphantly.
As for House Luolan's side, the flower fan in Cai Wei's hand faltered and her lovely goose egg-shaped face stiffened. She looked worriedly over at Yan Lingqing and Li Luo's refining workshop.
The atmosphere was thick with tension.
Yan Lingqing had been focused on her ingredients, and suddenly she froze as if petrified. The crystal vial in her hand did not move an inch.
She stared at it, and the energy began to leak out of her.
"How could she have... a fifth-grade spirit liquid?" Yan Lingqing stammered to herself.
A slip of her resonant power, and the crystal vial shattered. The liquid dripped down her fingers. She placed both hands on the desk to steady herself. Her head was hung, her long hair covering her face entirely.
There was no point in continuing now...
Song Qiuyu had produced a fifth-grade spirit liquid. Even if her Cyanobacteria spirit liquid turned out to be a resounding success, it would still fall short.
Li Luo looked at her, her resignation obvious. Through the strands of her hair, he could see that her eyes were watery.
It was his first time seeing Yan Lingqing so vulnerable.
Li Luo looked up at Song Qiuyu. She was gloating, her victory assured. Li Luo saw her looking over at Yan Lingqing with a superior sense of mockery.
He was silent for a few moments, then he suddenly spun Yan Lingqing around. He stared into her watery eyes. "Sister Lingqing," he said tersely, "you are definitely better than Song Qiuyu. I don't know how she managed to refine a fifth-grade spirit liquid, but if she can do it, you can do too!"
Yan Lingqing shook her head. "I've never succeeded, not even once," she whispered hoarsely.
"Perhaps not before, but perhaps you can do it now. We're already behind anyway. What's there to lose?" Li Luo whispered back.
He took her fair hand and wiped it dry with his clothing, encouraging her tenderly. "Sister Lingqing, I don't really care about what victory or defeat here will do to the Suncreek Villa. I just think that you're an excellent artificer. How could you lose to her?"
She looked blankly at his chiseled features. Although still raw with youth, there was a strong will there that drummed up the courage in her.
She bit her lip and gave him a small nod.
"Then... let's try."Previous Chapter Next Chapter