Since they were already very close to Xia City, the convoy slowed its speed and blended in with the flow of traffic. The thoroughfare was starting to get lively as well, with foot and vehicular traffic both swelling. Xia City was truly a large metropolis.
In the carriage.
Li Luo recounted his story of the College Final Examinations in a moderate tone. "I just wanted to slip into the top 10 and get an entrance slot, but those people forced my hand."
Jiang Qing'e was sprawled on the table, one hand propping up her chin. "Lu Qing'er seems quite interested in you." She smiled.
Li Luo almost choked. Was that the point of his story?
"We're just platonic. Classmates," he clarified.
"That doesn't mean anything. I always thought that she was quite good. If you can win her favor, that means you're quite attractive," she said sweetly. Li Luo looked at her lovely face, deep into her golden eyes. He could sense that she was truly not very bothered.
But her not being bothered made him bothered. It meant that Jiang Qing'e hadn't really started to think of the two of them as a pair.
She had her own feelings, and there was no doubt that they were complex. Perhaps she thought of him more as a childhood sweetheart, or an older sister and her younger brother.
Perhaps she didn't know herself.
But there was one thing he was sure of: Jiang Qing'e might be his fiance in name, she might trust him unconditionally and do many things for him, but in truth, she had yet to think of them as lovers.
Still, not even lovers were as trusting of each other as this complex relationship that she shared with Li Luo.
He sighed. He knew that such things could not be rushed. He just had to go at his own pace. If he wanted to sort this mess out, then the one necessary step was to cancel the engagement between them.
Only then could Jiang Qing'e be free of her complex feelings, and truly begin to consider what they were to each other.
Making a move on Jiang Qing'e was not to be taken lightly and could not be done prematurely.
"Still, I have to congratulate you. Your results in the exams were outstanding," Jiang Qing'e said appreciatively, oblivious to the internal struggle that Li Luo was going through.
"Does this mean I've reached your expectations for the first goal?" he joked.
"Exceeded expectations, I must say."
She had truly not expected him to do so well. Two months ago, he was a blank palace cultivator. Surpassing all of his peers in this time was testament to his talent and effort.
"Any additional rewards?" Li Luo asked.
She thought about it. "Well, I'll let you spar with me."
Her lip twitched. "If you win, there really will be a reward."
Li Luo paled. “Fight with you? Do you think I'm so keen on receiving a thrashing? If I could beat you, would I still be here talking crap with you? I would beat you up and take vengeance for all these tough years!”
"But I'm more surprised that you actually turned House Luolan's profits in the Tianshu Province around. It's at a historical high, and Cai Wei has told me that it's all thanks to your contributions at the Suncreek Villa," Jiang Qing'e said with real feeling.
"I had no choice. If I hadn't found a way to increase our profits, I'm afraid I wouldn't even be able to feed myself," Li Luo grumbled.
"Did Cai Wei tell you I need a ton of spirit liquids and purifying lights? I've used a lot of them in the past two months."
Li Luo stretched out his palm, showing her his blue water resonance power. The purity made her eyes widen.
"When you first solved your blank palace problem at the old manor, your resonance grade was not this high," she said.
From the purity, she would believe him even if he said he had a 7th-grade water resonance.
But she clearly remembered that his resonance was far from this when she saw it back at the old manor.
This had to be the result of the huge quantity of spirit liquids and purifying lights that he had consumed.
Still, she was doubtful. Had he truly consumed so many liquids and lights in a mere two months?
"It's because of the acquired resonances. My palaces can take a lot more impurity than others. That's why I can use spirit liquids and purifying lights without care to increase my resonance quality." Li Luo grinned. This was the only person he could trust fully. There was no need to hold secrets around her.
She was still shocked. So this was the power of acquired resonances. No wonder he had improved so quickly.
"My resonance is already at the sixth grade, so I need a lot of sixth-grade liquids and lights. House Luolan's profits in Tianshu are already insufficient to feed me, you know."
It was his turn now to act cute with Jiang Qing'e. "So... Sister Qing'e, please feed me~"
She laughed and ignored the teasing. "How many sixth-grade liquids and lights to advance?"
"About 200. Conservative estimate," Li Luo quickly said. Sister Qing'e was the best. Cai Wei was too soft, she couldn't be depended on.
Jiang Qing'e did some quick calculations. Sixth-grade liquids and lights went for 30,000 skygold apiece. 200 meant... six million skygold?
She shook her head. "Forget it. I can't afford you. I think I'll get someone to take you back to the City of Southwind."
Li Luo was devastated. "Jiang Qing'e! House Luolan has businesses across the land. Have you been embezzling the money? It's just a mere six million, why can't we afford it?"
She glared at him. "Businesses across the land? The great roof of Luolan has been leaking non-stop. I've been desperately trying to fix it, but it's like plugging a flood with a pacifier. The savings have been dwindling these past few years.
"And Pei Hao. He's taken three pavilions, finances, and the human resources divisions too. You heard him as well. His three pavilions won't send another penny to headquarters. How on earth would you think House Luolan is rich?"
Li Luo was aghast. He had looked forward to coming to Xia City so he could tap on House Luolan's headquarters' resources. But they were poor here too?
Then what was the point of being a young lord?!
"Two hundred sixth-grade spirit liquids and purifying lights. I can't get them immediately, but don't worry. I'll purchase them for you here and there. It will take some time though," Jiang Qing'e said.
Li Luo breathed out. Well, that was to be expected.
"But thanks to your great work at the Suncreek Villa, I intend to involve you in the Suncreek Villa's headquarters. Pei Hao has been vying hard to take control there. If you can have it firmly in hand and grow it to a top-10 villa in the Xia Kingdom, then I think a mere 200 liquids and lights will be chump change for you." She gave him an encouraging fist pump with her dainty, little hand.
"Wow, thank you very much for your kindness," Li Luo said tonelessly.
Make the Suncreek Villa a top-10 villa... Jiang Qing'e, you blackhearted maggot.
Listening to the sounds outside, she opened a window, and a majestic view of the city rolled into view.
Turning her golden eyes back to Li Luo, his youthful and almost childish features were reflected in her wide eyes.
She reached out a hand and placed it on the back of his. It was cool, firm, perfect.
She leaned in and spoke softly, her words clear as a cold ray of moonlight despite the din outside. They reached deep within him and calmed him.
"Li Luo, welcome to Xia City.
"And, I'm really happy you could come here," she said with a knowing smile and a glint in her eye. She was truly happy.
A beauty's smile was a weapon in itself, and Jiang Qing'e's smile was a godly weapon. Li Luo was sunk.
He suddenly felt a strong urge to fight someone for her.
Speak, Sister Qing'e! Who shall we cut down today?Previous Chapter Next Chapter