As the rankings were announced, a bunch of fireworks exploded overhead, and four words appeared above the students.
Fairness & Justice Squad.
"Wow, it's beautiful! Yay leader, the whole school knows about Fairness & Justice squad now!" Bai Mengmeng clapped her hands happily, the pyrotechnics above mirrored in her lucid eyes wide with happiness.
Li Luo stared glumly up at it. "That ain't much use."
It was merely there to tickle the pride of the students. No real use. Zero stars!
Xin Fu nodded approvingly. He didn't like ostentation, and was just about to voice his rare support for their leader.
"The fireworks are too small. If they have one over the whole Xia City, that would be a lot more sincere." Li Luo said.
Xin Fu swallowed his words back down and stared at Li Luo with a disgusted look of betrayal. I overestimated you, leader. You're shallow as ever.
Another shower of fireworks, and another squad name was shown.
Fire Fairy Squad.
It came from where the Two Star Hall students were competing.
Li Luo recalled Ye Qiuding, who he had met with Jiang Qing'e previously. He wondered if that guy was from Fire Fairy squad.
He had also heard that the Three Star Hall battles had ended early, taken by a team called Black Swan squad. Of course it had to be Jiang Qing'e's team.
As for the Four Star Hall students, they no longer participated in ranking battles. After all,those with decent talent were already at the Earth Fiend General stage, while the best among them were reaching the Heavenly Dipper stage. This was a standard not to be disrespected even throughout Xia Kingdom.
Battles without the threat of real blood and fire had already lost its meaning for these students.
While the new students were distracted by the fireworks, mentor Chi Chan walked up, a purple scroll in hand. Li Luo's heart leaped.
Li Luo sensed that she was smiling behind the veil. "The first place squad wins an additional Duke-level energy cultivation art, the 12 Step Weave. It is worth 3000 school points."
"However, there is only one energy cultivation art, so one of your squad must be chosen to receive it. The other two will win an additional 3000 school points."
They were the center of envy. The 12 Step Weave was a rather special Duke level cultivation art that allowed those with a 6th-grade resonance to use it. That was very tempting for many 6th-grade resonance users, although of course the price of 3000 school points was just as much of a barrier. By the time they had accumulated that much, most would be Two Star Hall students already.
Not every team was a Violet Vibrance squad like Li Luo's, bagging thousands of points each time.
For the others without the 12 Step Weave, the additional 3000 points was an incredible bounty indeed.
Leader Li Luo stepped forward as representative. He took the 12 Step Weave solemnly from Chi Chan's hands, and then turned to the crowd. "It is a great honor to win this prize today," he said gravely. "The one I'd like to thank most is mentor..."
He suddenly felt a curious pressure swamp him, and his breathing became labored.
It continued for a few moments, until Chi Chan realized what was happening. She stepped forward to break the hold on Li Luo.
"Mentor Shen Jinxiao," she said mildly. "I believe you don't have the right to stop students from making their prize speeches?"
Shen Jinxiao answered with a sneer, and shot a warning look at Li Luo.
Warning him to quit while he was ahead, and not push it.
Li Luo naturally received the message. Loud and clear. He smiled back. Threatening him? A Duke expert who could only glare at him? Shen Jinxiao's hands were tied.
The status of Violet Vibrance mentor created many excuses for Shen Jinxiao to target Li Luo. But at the same time, his position within Astral Sage College limited what he could do as well.
His Duke powers were well able to squash Li Luo like a bug.
Yet now he could only glare warnings. Sticks and stones, Shen...
Li Luo coughed. "Well, actually it's nothing much."
The Violet Vibrance mentors looked a little disappointed. They had been on the verge of pulling out the popcorn.
Li Luo opened his mouth suddenly. "I firstly want to thank mentor Shen Jinxiao for the generous sponsorship for us new students. So I want to say something to mentor Shen Jinxiao..."
"Keep it up! Don't stop!"
The students cheered and clapped loudly. They took up the chant. "Don't stop! Don't stop!" None of them knew the hidden meaning in Li Luo's words, or the reason why Shen Jinxiao had offered the 12 Step Weave. All they knew was that this mentor had paid out of his own pocket for the welfare of the new students. Although they had not gotten any share of the reward this time, it gave them a good impression. Mentor Shen Jinxiao was a swell guy!
Of course it was best if such welfare didn't stop!
Eager glances were all turned Shen Jinxiao's way.
Li Luo smiled warmly. "Mentor Shen Jinxiao is the soul of generosity. I represent all of us and make this plea: we hope that mentor Shen Jinxiao can continue the extra incentives. It's not about how much it is, but the gesture alone will touch us."
"I've even thought of a great name for this. The Jinxiao Scheme!"
Many students nodded approvingly, and the anticipation was stoked to a new high.
"I wonder if mentor Shen Jinxiao will agree to this childish request of us students?" Li Luo said plaintively.
Shen Jinxiao looked like he was having a stroke, facial spasms barely suppressed.
Li Luo the bastard, he really could kill without knives.
He? Support an additional prize for the ranking battles? Perhaps once or twice would be negligible, but over a year or two it was a gigantic sum.
More importantly, the students might be oblivious to the meaning behind Jinxiao Scheme, but his colleagues would be sure to laugh their asses off.
He looked over at Chi Chan, Cao Sheng, and the others, who had taken a sudden interest in observing the floor and the sky. They seemed to have not heard what Li Luo had just said, but he could sense the barely suppressed amusement leaking out of them.
Shen Jinxiao had tried to trip Li Luo up, but now the tripwire seemed to be wound around his own neck.
Shen Jinxiao spoke up with a neutral voice. "It's a good suggestion, but this is no small matter, if it is continued in the long term. It needs the vice principal's approval."
"Let me speak to vice principal Su Xin and get back to you."
He turned and stalked off.
Li Luo grinned and waved him off. "Excellent. Capital. Safe journey, mentor Shen Jinxiao. I will ask you regularly about Jinxiao Scheme!"
Shen Jinxiao had a dark aura that seemed to absorb the pale moonlight shining down on him.
The other mentors were snickering quietly among themselves. They looked at Li Luo but said nothing, turning away.
"Li Luo, you won first place, and today's the Ghost Festival. How about a celebration?" Lu Qing'er's sweet voice came from nearby. Her beautiful figure was even more breathtaking under the gentle moonlight, and her legs were getting even more attention than the lunar rock of the same pale color.
She drew many stares as she passed.
Li Luo looked up at the bright moon in the sky with some wistfulness. Another year, another Ghost Festival. It was a day for family, and he missed his parents.
He wondered how they were doing on the Nobles' Battlefield...
He swept the thoughts to the back of his mind. There was nothing that could be changed about that. The only thing he could do now was focus on getting stronger. Reach the Duke stage, and then he could go after them.
He smiled back at Lu Qing'er.
"Great windfall today. Call Yu Lang, Zhao Kuo, and the others... I'll treat them to a champion leader's dinner. Tell them not to miss it."Previous Chapter Next Chapter