Three years. It had been three years.
He was dressed in a dark blue robe, a mint scarf around his shoulders despite the summer season. Everyone’s attention turned towards him as he stepped out of the Flameyellow Pagoda in his black boots.
Although the likes of Mo Lin and Xing Que were already considered handsome when compared with the rest of the disciples, they lacked the one thing that made Lin Xiaoting stand out. It was his demeanour, his aura. The way he smiled was as if he was the master of the world, a kind of temperament even the seniors in the sanctum lacked.
Three years had passed. The Lin Xiaoting now seemed more mature and composed, not to mention much more confident as well.
Ever since he revealed himself, the crowd was silent. Many of the disciples gazed at him with envy and longing. Like his name, he was cool and humorous, yet struck like a storm. His sudden appearance could be likened to a lightning bolt, stunning everyone assembled outside with his mere presence. Coupled with his dashing face and his slender figures, calling him ‘one-of-a-kind’ and ‘unique’ didn’t seem that far off.
“Master, Chancellor.” Out of all the seniors present, he only greeted Mu Yang and Wei Tianxiong.
Mu Yang waved his hand casually. “Don’t dally.”
Lin Xiaoting nodded and smiled at the girl bouncing towards him. Mu Qingqing ran into him and hugged the man that she had dreamt about for nights on end. But when she took her head out of his chest, the first thing she saw was Li Tianming’s eyes. What were his eyes trying to tell? His calm exterior hid a suffocating killing intent, and Mu Qingqing could feel it wash over her. It wasn’t a momentary impulse, but a festering, bloodthirsty hatred that had bubbled for three whole years.
But Li Tianming had done well. He wasn’t one to lose his cool at the drop of a hat, even if his whole body burned just by seeing those two. He was stationary, Jiang Feiling’s hand in his.
It’s already been three years, what’s a few days more? Don’t worry. I’ll take my time to enjoy this hunt. I’ll skin you two, and watch the blood drain from your bodies.
Mu Qingqing’s blood chilled at these eyes and the message behind them. Bloodshot eyes didn’t scare her; no, what truly did was the visage of a determined killer. Lin Xiaoting was talking to her, but those eyes had rattled her to the point he noticed.
“What’s wrong?” Lin Xiaoting asked.
“What about... you kill him here?” Mu Qingqing bit her lips, as a shiver ran down her spine.
“Where?” Lin Xiaoting released her from his arms. His eyes locked on to Li Tianming moments after following her gaze.
From his expression, Li Tianming could tell that Lin Xiaoting was not at all surprised about his return. Evidently, he was still aware of the world outside, even in seclusion. His lips curved briefly when he found Li Tianming.
“How lucky,” he exclaimed softly, although Li Tianming was not close enough to catch that.
Li Tianming smiled with equal placidity. But he hadn’t forgotten the feathers those monsters had plucked out one by one, or that night’s storm of blood and rain. Words weren’t necessary to express Li Tianming’s emotions, nor would they ever be sufficient. All that Li Tianming asked for was to do everything Lin Xiaoting did to Midas back onto him.
Lin Xiaoting too, shall be drenched in rain and blood. His own blood!
But Li Tianming had underestimated Lin Xiaoting. The latter walked towards him after releasing Mu Qingqing, his erstwhile lover.
“How unfortunate. I’m not a patient person. This revenge tale ends here.” He spoke without stopping his steps, and suddenly accelerated as he finished the last word, closing in on Li Tianming like a lightning bolt. Li Tianming had not only underestimated his personality, but also his power! That flash, though seemingly insignificant, was a mortal threat that could claim his life. Lin Xiaoting was true to his nature! He had planned to kill the moment he saw Li Tianming, and he did just that on the spot without any hesitation whatsoever.
Li Tianming, in that moment, understood what his next course of action had to be. No one could help him, since not even Mu Yang expected Lin Xiaoting to be this bold. He opened his left hand and used the Bewildering Eye. Lin Xiaoting might have been fast, but even he couldn’t escape the Bewildering Eye as long as he could see and had a soul.
It was super effective! The moment the Bewildering Eye took effect, Li Tianming could see the traces of the punch that was infused with the power of lightning. In the nick of time, Li Tianming dodged back with his Flaming Shadow Flash and used his black arm to absorb the impact.
The two collided loudly and Li Tianming flew backwards for more than a hundred metres, blood streaming from the corner of his mouth. But he simply walked it off and snickered at Lin Xiaoting. “Seriously? Just this after three whole years, or did you not have lunch?”
The punch shook his innards, but it wasn’t enough to deal any significant damage. It all happened in a flash, and public opinion at Lin Xiaoting’s crudeness hadn’t even fully formed yet when it was replaced by surprise at Li Tianming’s survival.
Well, that was awkward.
Lin Xiaoting stood on the spot and stared at his own fist. That has to be an illusion, no? Why does his palm have an eye in the middle?
The eye gave off a feeling of sheer evil and menace, and as a result, his punch was five times weaker than it should have been. Otherwise, his prided punch should have killed Li Tianming! After all, the Lin Xiaoting three years ago could have killed Li Tianming in one hit, let alone the Lin Xiaoting today.
He frowned for a moment, but that didn’t stop him from continuing. The next moment, he struck out towards Li Tianming again.
“Stop.” But he didn't get a second chance, as Mu Yang was now standing in his way.
“Master, get out of my way. I need to kill him.” Lin Xiaoting wasn’t exactly the model disciple people expected him to be, and there was an odd glow in his eyes when he glared at Mu Yang.
“Unity?” Mu Yang asked indifferently.
“Yes,” Lin Xiaoting replied in an equally indifferent tone.
That meant that Lin Xiaoting had satisfied Heaven’s Elysium’s criteria for him. He would soon be a disciple there.
“Your talent may earn you the right to be rude to me, but you are not killing him under my watch,” Mu Yang sneered.
“Why should master oppose me for the sake of an old flame?” Lin Xiaoting smiled coldly too, and the crowd gasped.
That was definitely not the way Lin Xiaoting should be talking to Mu Yang, especially since the latter was his mentor that had been guiding him and helping him get to where he was today. Respect and filial piety were the most treasured qualities in Heaven’s Sanctum. Lin Xiaoting’s words, however, had crossed some untouchable lines. And yet, none stood against him, since a bright future in Heaven’s Elysium awaited him.
“Oppose you?” Suddenly, Mu Yang slapped him right in the face!
The crisp and clear slap sent Lin Xiaoting rolling onto the ground, smearing dust on his face.
“Get this straight. So long as you’re not a member of Heaven’s Elysium, my words are law. Is that how you address your mentor who has guided you for four years? With a personality like yours, what can you achieve even if you enter Heaven’s Elysium?” Mu Yang was so fast that no one even saw his hand ripping across Lin Xiaoting’s face. He too used to be the number one genius in Heaven’s Sanctum back in his day, and Lin Xiaoting would need nothing short of another fifteen years to match him.
The turn of events took people by surprise, as everyone watched the show unfold before the Flameyellow Pagoda. But that being said, most were on Mu Yang’s side. He was the mentor, after all, and it was a lowly move to taunt his mentor right after he obtained strength.
He might be a genius, but an ungrateful genius wouldn’t earn him the respect of anyone. Even if Mu Yang didn't know Wei Jing, he wouldn’t allow Lin Xiaoting to kill any disciple, let alone one who would be taking part in the Abyssal Trials. One shouldn’t forget that he was the vice-potentate of the Sanctum.
But Lin Xiaoting had changed too. Instead of being mad or embarrassed, he started laughing, even clapping his hands. With a swollen face, he said, “Very well, this slap marks all that you have done for me in the past four years. Mu Yang, let it be known that when I return from Heaven’s Elysium, you shall either bow at my feet, or I will pinch your head off.”
He spoke in a casual tone, but there was no doubt the promise he made was a vicious one. But even Wei Tianxiong dared not refute him, since even he feared the day Lin Xiaoting returned!
Needless to say, none of the supernal mentors spoke up against him. Everyone knew he was being an ingrate right now and that he was in the wrong, but he happened to have the power to frighten everyone into keeping quiet.
“Tell me that when you return alive.” With another slap, Lin Xiaoting had returned back to the ground again, the other side of his face swollen.
“Get the hell away from me. From this day, I never had a disciple by the name of Lin Xiaoting. Threaten me all you want, but I will give you a slap for each word you say.” Mu Yang kicked his body and sent him rolling to one side.
“Let’s go.” Mu Yang called out to those attending the trials, and the four other than Li Tianming and Mu Qingqing silently followed after him.
Mu Qingqing dared not move at all, given that Lin Xiaoting was still on the floor right beside her. As for Li Tianming, he was back at Jiang Feiling’s side, watching the argument between Mu Yang and Lin Xiaoting silently.
This man really has some balls. Li Tianming couldn’t help but compare Mu Yang with that wimp of a father that Li Yanfeng was. The two slaps and one kick from Mu Yang was enough to make his blood boil and crave for more. Li Tianming and Jiang Feiling walked past Lin Xiaoting, who had just gotten up with the help of Mu Qingqing.
“Lin Xiaoting, if you are not a coward, you better not leave first. Wait for me to come back from the Abyssal Battlefield.” Li Tianming glanced at his swollen face. Although Lin Xiaoting could hardly be called handsome now, there was still a cold smirk on his face.
“And I will wring every last drop of your blood over Midas' grave,” Li Tianming said.
“That’s enough reason for me to wait for you.” Lin Xiaoting snickered.
“Don’t disappoint me.”
“Of course I won’t miss out on something so interesting.” With that, Lin Xiaoting patted Mu Qingqing’s back and signaled her to go ahead.
“Come on.” His smile appeared even more menacing with his swollen face.
“Qingqing, you only have one chance.” Lin Xiaoting added, to which Mu Qingqing nodded before catching up with the rest of the group. When she left him, Li Tianming could see how pale her face was.
Neither Mu Yang nor Li Tianming turned back to look at Lin Xiaoting, as they headed towards the bottomless pit. In front of the pagoda, no one dared to approach Lin Xiaoting either.
“Big brother, are you out of your mind? Why would you disrespect the vice-potentate?” Lin Xiaoxiao finally walked up to him, her tone clearly displeased.
“Get lost.” But Lin Xiaoting just pushed her off to one side, his eyes glaring at the direction Mu Yang had just left. When Mu Yang grovels at my feet... should I stab him in the heart? Or take his head off?