When the crisp voice cut through, the quarreling resonance artificers fell into a stunned silence. A hothead shouted, "Which arrogant idiot is that!?" An angry roar of agreement followed his call, and they turned as one in the direction of the voice. Their voices faded away.
They saw a silver-haired youth looking at them with a wry smile on his face.
Beside him was a willowy diva staring coldly at them. Jiang Qing'e.
Her presence confirmed the identity of the young man, and it was mildly amusing to watch their faces contort in embarrassment. As panicked as they were, no one dared to maintain the bluster from before.
"What? No respect for the Young Lord and Mistress?!" Elder Zheng Ping roared.
The resonance artificers hesitated briefly and then murmured their respects in a ragtag chorus.
Pang Qianchi was looking at Li Luo with alarm. He had seen him once before, a long time ago when the house headquarters was still in the City of Southwind. The young Li Luo already showed his resemblance to Li Taixuan and Tan Tailan back then.
Elder Zheng Ping pushed past the crowd and cupped his hands respectfully to the pair. "Young Lord, what did you just say?" he asked worriedly.
"I said that since the position of the Suncreek Villa president lies open, I'll take up the role temporarily," Li Luo said casually.
Elder Zheng Ping stammered in confusion. "Ah... but...."
He was about to say that it was completely against the rules, but this was the young lord. Who else was more qualified to bend the rules as he pleased?
The Suncreek Villa resonance artificers also looked around at each other with a disapproval that they could not voice. They were unsure of how to broach the issue.
Pang Qianchi spoke with just a hint of mockery. "Young Lord, surely there is no need to humble your esteemed self to the lowly position of president. Such roles are not even worthy of your attention, although mere mortals like us work hard to even achieve them.
"If an august presence like yourself sweeps in to take it, then it's rather unfair to us normal mortals who have worked so hard for all these years at the Suncreek Villa, don't you think?"
Pang Qianchi belied his cunning in these words. Every point he made seemed to speak on behalf of the Suncreek Villa artificers. At the same time, they were laced with an underlying challenge.
It was working, and the resonance artificers stirred in response.
Li Luo looked at Pang Qianchi for a few moments. This old fox was indeed harder to deal with than Zhuang Yi.
"I am a resonance artificer too, albeit a second-grade one. I cannot compare to your wiser selves. But I think the job of president is not just about creating spirit liquids and purifying lights. The president must have the ability to make the Suncreek Villa stronger," Li Luo commented mildly.
"I wonder, do you know about what happened at the Tianshu Province's Suncreek Villa? In yesteryears, the profit was roughly 100,000 skygold, but under my leadership it increased to 300,000, a full threefold increase.
"If I remember correctly, the Suncreek Villa headquarters only turns a yearly profit of about one million?" Li Luo asked calmly, soothing the crowd and working to unravel their defensiveness. Had a mere branch of the Suncreek Villa managed to turn a 300,000 skygold profit? That was a full third of the headquarters!
Yan Lingqing stepped forwards. "It is indeed as the Young Lord says. If anyone doubts it, you can check for yourselves."
Seeing how sure Yan Lingqing was, the whispers were fading away now. If it was true, then this young lord was a real monster indeed!
Although ability was important for the role of president, wasn't the ultimate goal to make the Suncreek Villa stronger?
Pang Qianchi's jowls quivered with anger. He had not expected Li Luo to show up in person.
"Young Lord, are you trying to discourage us?" Pang Qianchi burst out.
"Does Vice President Pang find my appointment discouraging?" Li Luo countered.
Pang Qianchi could not reply to this, so he skirted the issue. "I have worked hard on behalf of the Suncreek Villa for all these years, and everyone here can attest to that. I competed against Hanzhi for the president position, but the two House Lords chose him. I accepted my loss. But now Hanzhi's betrayal shows that they made the wrong decision. Why can't the Young Lord work towards righting that wrong?"
Li Luo smiled at him. "Vice President Pang has indeed worked hard on behalf of the Suncreek Villa for many years. But now? Will it be for Pei Hao?"
"Pei Hao is also a disciple of the two House Lords. I am loyal to House Luolan, and all I do is for its sake!" Pang Qianchi asserted stoutly.
"Hanzhi's betrayal means that the Suncreek Villa is now short an experienced fifth-grade resonance artificer. If the Young lord continues to break all the rules, the Suncreek Villa might well lose another experienced master." His threats were coming forth more clearly now.
With Pei Hao supporting him, evidently Pang Qianchi was not afraid of Jiang Qing'e and Li Luo.
After all, Pei Hao could kick up a real fuss if they did anything to him. That would only harm House Luolan further.
"Pang Qianchi, you insolent—!" Elder Zheng Ping was red in the face.
Pang Qianchi was unafraid, lifting his head defiantly. "I just want the Young Lord to be more reasonable. All that I have done is for the Suncreek Villa's good!"
"Will you all support me?" He turned to the other artificers.
There was some hesitation, then they slowly came forth one by one. "Vice President Pang is indeed the best choice to be president."
Their views were not wrong. In terms of ability and experience, there was no better candidate.
But... How could these be the only terms they had considered?
Hearing their voices, Li Luo empathized. Who would choose an unknown young lord over the familiar presence that Pang Qianchi held in their hearts?
He did not get angry. Instead, he walked forwards to the stage. "Do you know how I managed to raise the Tianshu Province's Suncreek Villa to where it is in a mere two months?"
They looked at each other, curious. After all, he was a mere second-grade resonance artificer. How had he managed to turn around an entire branch of the Suncreek Villa?
"It's very simple. I mastered a special watersource. I believe that with this watersource, the Suncreek Villa's headquarters will also see a huge improvement. Entering the top 10 will not be beyond reach."
There was a loud uproar of surprise at this.
"Secret watersource?! The Young Lord has a secret watersource?!"
As resonance artificers, they knew how incomparably precious secret watersources were to a villa. The formula for one's own trademark waterlight resonance was worth more than millions of skygold.
After all these years, the Suncreek Villa still had not come up with its own patented watersource, such was its rarity.
As for the famous villas in the Xia Kingdom, each had multiple secret watersources and formulas. Therefore, if the Suncreek Villa wanted to become a top villa, the foremost requisite was to find their own patented formula.
Hearing that Li Luo actually had his own patented formula was enough to knock them out of their preconceived notions.
Pang Qianchi's expression did not slip. "Even though you have a secret watersource, how pure is it? Something just above average will not be able to make up for the gap."
Li Luo had to smile at Pang Qianchi's stubbornness. He pulled out a few glass bottles and tossed them out to the resonance artificers.
Stubbornness? I have just the cure.
Elder Zheng Ping took one bottle as well. After quickly opening it, he poured out a few drops and tested what was inside. There was astonishment on his old, creased face.
"This... this secret watersource is at least a seventh-grade! A high seventh-grade in purity!"
The other resonance artificers tested the purity, and everyone was equally amazed. Their hands shook as they passed around the bottles reverently.
Upper seventh-grade... A watersource of such quality could perhaps only be found in the best of the Xia Kingdom's villas!
All of the artificers looked at Li Luo with a new light of enthusiasm now.
With such a pure watersource, they could not only refine much better spirit liquids, but frequent refining with it would also improve their own resonance arts. With some luck, they could break through their respective bottlenecks and reach the next grade.
This was similar to how Li Luo had helped Yan Lingqing create a fifth-grade spirit liquid back during the Festival of Purifying Spirits...
This was why all resonance artificers wanted to join villas with watersources of high purity. It was better for them to hone their refining skills there.
And with that seventh-grade secret watersource, Li Luo had stolen away all of their hearts...
Li Luo looked at Pang Qianchi with a half-smile on his face.
"Anything else, Vice President Pang?"Previous Chapter Next Chapter