“The Abyssal Battlefield is, bluntly put, the reflection of our Flameyellow Continent, filled with darkness and slaughter. I expect there to be countless entrances through the whole continent. Your acquisition of a Saintbeast War-Soul is a testament of how many secrets lay hidden there. There are no rules or laws, only endless slaughter and priceless treasures. Manna. Spirit ores. Spirit herbs. Spirit hazards. After all, the treasures that were in our continent were more easily unearthed.”
However, Mu Yang didn’t know that as he illustrated the terror that was the Abyssal Trials, Li Tianming’s expectations just kept mounting.
“Alright, go and visit your mother. Remember, don’t make her worry!” Mu Yang said.
“Yes, Uncle Yang.”
“If you have any doubts, come find me at Mu Manor. I’ll try to prepare some things for you over the next few days.”
“No need. Surviving will be the best thanks you can give me,” Mu Yang said.
“I really wish I was your son instead. Li Yanfeng and you are worlds apart,” Li Tianming chuckled helplessly.
Logically speaking, Mu Yang should neither have liked him nor taken care of him. However, he still treated Li Tianming well, and was the only one who had unconditionally given him his support in Heaven’s Sanctum. There was no way Li Tianming wouldn’t be grateful to him.
“Don’t say that, you’ll stroke my ego like that.” Mu Yang chuckled to that and gave Li Tianming a pat on the shoulder. He actually had a lot of things he wanted to say, but he held himself back to a simple, 'Go'.
Jiang Feiling and the little chick had been waiting for Li Tianming. This might be his goodbye to his mother, so it was a good thing Jiang Feiling was coming along. Li Tianming had always intended to go to Wei Manor today; Wei Lingxuan’s interception had merely delayed his visit. When he entered Wei Manor, Li Tianming cast aside all thoughts of the Abyssal Battlefield. The only things that remained was a smile, Jiang Feiling, who was holding his hands, as well as Wei Jing.
The members of Wei Manor naturally saw his arrival. Even though he was walking hand in hand with Princess Ling, that didn’t stop the snide remarks.
‘It’ll be for the best if he dies in the Abyssal Trials.” Wei Zikun was standing at a faraway building, his gaze icy as he looked at Li Tianming.
“You hate him that much?” Wei Tianxiong asked.
“You don’t? Even ignoring the embarrassment Wei Jing wrought on father, Li Tianming is obviously unfilial to the clan. Furthermore, we can see what kind of person he is from what happened three years ago,” Wei Zikun said.
“Three years ago? I’m afraid that matter isn’t so simple,” Wei Tianxiong said.
“What do you mean?”
“It’s not important. Actually, father giving him hope also goes to show father has softened his stance.”
“You mean he had harboured thoughts of saving Wei Jing?”
“There definitely is. He’s father in the end. How could he be that cruel? Today was actually for the best. If Li Tianming didn’t force him, he may have been unable to resist doing it. However, by forcing him like this, father now has a clear conscience in ignoring Wei Jing,” Wei Tianxiong said indifferently.
“And if Li Tianming succeeds?”
“Oh please. You think that’ll happen?” Wei Tianxiong gave him a look.
“Impossible. In fact, no one may succeed in all three countries.”
“Correct. It’s obvious we have no disciples here that meet Heaven’s Elysium’s requirements, apart from Lin Xiaoting. That’s why I believe there are some issues with the Abyssal Trials this time.”
“If so, then Li Tianming is talking a fool’s dream.”
“He got some lucky breaks and thinks he’s a big deal now. He even dares to disrespect us. How far do you think someone like that can go?” Wei Tianxiong snorted.
“Something must be wrong with Mu Yang. Why is he still thinking of Wei Jing fondly the way she is now? And he even likes to take care of her son like he’s the dad? What a moron.” Wei Zikun couldn’t stop himself from cursing.
“What a pity. Nonetheless, he is still the future potentate,” Wei Tianxiong said gloomily.
“Hmph.” Wei Zikun sneered. However, whether that sneer was born from mockery directed outwards or inwards, no one knew.
“Mother, look who I brought!” When Li Tianming entered Rainforest Pavilion, he saw Wei Jing lying languidly in the courtyard, sunbathing.
“Hello, auntie.” Jiang Feiling was more nervous, and positioned herself behind Li Tianming.
There was no reaction.
It turned out that Wei Jing was napping.
“Oh no, get up! Someone’s stealing your money!” Li Tianming gave her a pat on the shoulder.
“What!” Wei Jing shot awake, before realising it was Li Tianming. Her expression changed, and she prepared to scold him. However, her attitude took a hundred and eighty degree turn when she saw Jiang Feiling.
She switched to a smile. “Oh, Princess Ling has come to visit!”
Wei Jing had seen her before in the ranking battles.
“Hello auntie. Just call me Ling’er.” Jiang Feiling smiled radiantly.
Wei Jing nodded, inwardly giving Li Tianming her approval.
“Go and make food,” Wei Jing said.
“Go and make food. A girl is visiting, and you want her to go hungry?” Wei Jing said.
“Fine. I’ll let you all try my fantastic cooking,” Li Tianming smiled.
Li Tianming knew Wei Jing was waiting for him to leave so she could have a private conversation with Jiang Feiling.
In the kitchen, Li Tianming relaxed, having heard laughter and chatter. “It’s good there’s no conflict between the mother-in-law and daughter-in-law.”
Dinner was quickly prepared. Li Tianming had been independent since young, so making a meal wasn’t anything difficult.
“Here are the green pepper chicken drumlets.”
“This is some chicken soup I stewed. It’s good for the body.”
“These are some pickled pepper chicken claws. Ling’er, try some. Are they too spicy?”
“And these are stir-fried chicken gizzards. Not bad, right?”
Li Tianming was quite pleased with his cooking.
“Why are there no vegetables, only meat? How is a girl supposed to eat this?” Wei Jing scolded.
“What? Of course there's vegetables. I’ll be right back.” Li Tianming went in, and soon brought out another plate, announcing, “Here, cabbages in chicken soup. It’s tasty, do try it.”
“Ying Huo, what are you doing?” Li Tianming suddenly whispered in its ear, and the chick jumped three metres from sheer fright. “Are you scared? Don’t worry, we don’t have mushrooms today, so you’re safe for now.”
“Hmph, why would I be scared? I’m a phoenix! Eat, eat up!”
Laughter echoed out for a while, as if they were a normal family with the normal bliss that entailed. If only this could last forever...
He could tell Wei Jing was rather happy today, which was a good thing, for she hadn’t been this happy for a very long time.
“Mother, I’ll be gone for a month or so. While I’m away, Uncle Yang will take care of you. You also have to take care of yourself,” Li Tianming said casually, when night had fallen.
“Is it dangerous?” Wei Jing asked.
“Nope, it’s something easy,” Li Tianming spoke unconcernedly.
“Will Ling’er be going with you?” Wei Jing smiled.
“I…” Jiang Feiling hesitated.
“She won’t be,” Li Tianming answered.
Jiang Feiling lowered her head and didn’t say anything.
“It’s up to you. Just remember to come back. Also, don’t flirt with any women outside and let down Ling’er,” Wei Jing urged.
“Of course not. I’m not a fool. With Ling’er, all other other women are nothing to me now,” Li Tianming said.
The sky had darkened entirely; it was time to send Ling’er back. Hence, Li Tianming got up and bade farewell to his mother. As he was about to leave, he noticed Wei Jing looking at him, dazed.
“What is it, mother…” Li Tianming felt pained.
“Come back alive,” she said.
“I will.” Li Tianming knew Wei Jing had seen through his facade when he had acted casual just now. She knew that the danger he would face was inversely proportionate to his degree of casualness. Therefore, she was still worried in the end. Knowing that no number of guarantees were enough, Li Tianming kept it to a smile.
“Goodbye, beautiful,” Li Tianming said.
“Goodbye.” Wei Jing waved.
For Li Tianming, that moment of turning around was a moment of great courage. Was this the last time he would see her? He didn’t know.
All he could do was leave it to fate.
“Big brother.” Not long after they left, Jiang Feiling stopped. Under the red lanterns of the manor, her fair skin looked particularly mesmerising. Her eyes were misty, evoking a sense of sympathy upon gazing at them.
“What is it?” Li Tianming asked.
“I want to go to the Abyssal Trials with you,” she said earnestly.
“No need for that. I can take care of myself. But, it’s too dangerous for you.” Li Tianming smiled.
“No.” Jiang Feiling beckoned him forward.
Li Tianming came forward, and she grabbed his hands, placing them in front of her eyes. Her hold was tight, and within her ten fingernails, incomprehensible power flowed.
“Firstly, I can’t not worry about Qing’er. It’s too dangerous for her to be alone. I was already trying to think of the ways to help her. She’s actually not that brave. We’ve never been separated for so long in all our years. If I don’t go, the guilt will torment me.” Jiang Feiling strengthened her grip, and her tone became more serious.
“Secondly...” Jiang Feiling paused, and lifted her head, her eyes meeting Li Tianming’s own. “In this life, I will share life and death with you.”
Li Tianming felt like he had been struck with lightning. His body shook as he heard words he had never imagined a girl saying to him.
Share life and death! They were four simple words, but they were enough to make a man tremble. It wasn’t from fear, but instead from being caught unprepared. Li Tianming was aware that he should have been saying these words, not her.
“Big brother, can I go to the Abyssal Battlefield?” Jiang Feiling looked at him with eyes filled with hope. She grabbed Li Tianming’s fingers tightly, as if she was fearful that Li Tianming would pull away if she didn’t use enough force.
“Yes.” Li Tianming actually had much, much more words he wanted to say. He could have sworn all sorts of oaths to protect her. But somehow, they all got stuck in his throat. All the things he wanted to say were condensed into one word.
The only thing Li Tianming wanted now was to give her a hug. He gently extricated her fingers. Under the lantern light, he gently hugged her. It wasn’t an excessive or rude hug, but he could feel her warmth.
“From now on, we’ll be together forever, ok?” Li Tianming whispered into her ear.
“Alright.” She bit Li Tianming’s collar, her face reddening.
Her bashful expression was shockingly charming. Li Tianming felt that perhaps, he would never spare another girl a look after today. That was because no girl could exist that was as beautiful as Jiang Feiling was at this moment. It would have been perfect if time stopped here.
Alas, he had forgotten the existence of one certain living thing around.
Ying Huo, who was currently irritated over Li Tianming’s chicken banquet.
How could it not act to break up this beautiful scene? Leaping at Li Tianming, it said with a sickly-sweet voice, "Big bro~ Mhm, I wanna share life and death with you too! Gimme a hug and kiss!”
“I’ll rather give all your ancestors a kiss!” Li Tianming pinched it, and made a crucial, life-changing decision a heartbeat later: supper was going to be charcoal grilled chicken.