Eleven days had passed. Ever since he defeated Xing Que and Chen Hao, Li Tianming had not come across anyone else. He did come across a good number of wildbeasts, but he chose to avoid unnecessary battles. The beasts that roamed the Azure Domain were mostly water-type, and their abilities were unlikely to suit the Aeternal Infernal Phoenix.
While he still did not know the exact rules to the Abyssal Trials, Li Tianming had two main goals in mind. The first would be to look for beast souls and mannas. Ever since they obtained the royal manna, the subsequent ones they found were manna of the lowest tier. Even after refining, there were no changes to the little chick at all. The difference between normal manna and royal manna was just too huge. He would have to rely on Jiang Feiling’s ability as well as his luck for that.
His second goal was to find Jiang Qingluan! Jiang Feiling couldn’t rest easy without finding Qing'er, as she nagged about her every day, and in the first place, Jiang Qingluan was why Ling’er entered the Abyssal Battlefield to begin with. Though they weren't sisters by blood, their relationship rivalled or even exceeded that of real sisters. Even for Li Tianming, he felt uneasy without having Jiang Qingluan to argue with, since she was already a close friend of his. Therefore, finding Jiang Qingluan was an even higher priority than finding manna.
“Seven from Torch Dragon, seven from Aquamarine, and six from Vermilion Bird. We've only met Ji Changyan, Xing Que and Chen Hao so far. Where are the rest? And where's Mu Qingqing?”
The Abyssal Battlefield was the best place to get rid of her, and there would only be one result should he run into her here. He would only be much more cold-blooded than he was with the twins.
This was one of his main aims for participating in the Abyssal Trials to begin with. With Lin Xiaoting reaching Unity, Li Tianming was afraid that he would leave once he finished his seclusion. Time was running short for Li Tianming, and so were the chances of killing his two foes.
Li Tianming continued his search.
“I reckon the Heavenly Pattern Barrier's already half of its original diameter.” Li Tianming saw the membrane of the barrier once again, but he was now somewhere near the center of the domain. With the diameter half of what it was, it went without saying that their arena was much smaller too. That also meant the twenty of them should be closer to each other as well, since they would be less scattered across the map.
But since Ji Changyan was dead, only nineteen of them were left. In fact, Li Tianming wouldn’t even know if he was the first to die. Perhaps there were more who had died.
Should have asked Xing Que and Chen Hao whether they met anyone else, Li Tianming thought.
“It’s quite likely that around the twentieth day or so, the barrier would enclose only a tiny fraction of the whole domain. Once that happens, everything would end within ten days. If so, what will the rules be, and what will decide who can enter Heaven’s Elysium?”
Li Tianming didn’t think he was the only one who had that query in mind. Was it really like what Ji Changyan had said, that he would have to end up killing every other participant? It was a growing possibility, one that neither he or Jiang Feiling would accept.
Day thirteen of the Abyssal Trials!
“You lazy ass, when are you gonna get up?” The little chick was poking around the lifebound space, an egg in front of him. It was kicking the egg, which already had three cracks on it. If Li Tianming was to look within the crack, he would observe black lightning sparkling inside the egg.
“Just how lazy are you? A gentle push and you’ll be out. What, need your elder brother’s help?” The little chick was an impatient thing. Back when it was hatching, it was even more eager than Li Tianming about coming out of its egg.
The second brother had shown signs of hatching as early as Ying Huo did, yet two months had passed with nothing happening. Many signs of it hatching had appeared, only to fizzle out disappointingly a while later. The two had already gotten used to it, in a way.
Li Tianming took the egg out of his lifebound space and held it in his hands.
The rumbling of lightning shook the space around them, as thunderclaps shook the skies above. Even the black lightning visible through the cracks of the egg seemed to resonate with the catastrophic weather outside.
These had to be the portents of a Primordial Chaos Beast hatching!
However, Li Tianming wasn't going to hype himself up. Right before the thunderstorm reached its peak, the clouds around them dispersed, along with the black lightning inside the egg.
“So?” The little chick asked.
“It’s asleep. Again,” Li Tianming answered.
This was already the third time this happened! Each time, thunder and lightning would manifest around them in the most dramatic fashion possible, but the beast would go back to sleep with a purr, without fail. The fellow's personality was obviously a complete opposite of the hardworking little Ying Huo.
“It’s just lazing around in bed. Don't mind me, I'm just going to peck open its shell…" The little chick glanced at the asleep egg, a threat in its eyes.
“Forget it, I don’t want the case where it flees from home right after it hatches.” Li Tianming decided to just go with the flow, since there must be something special about the Primordial Chaos Beast to begin with.
With that being said, he was curious about the beast inside. After all, it was capable of calling upon the power of lightning from within its egg to stir up a thunderstorm outside. No matter what the beast was, he would be a twin beastmaster after it hatched, meaning that he would not only possess the Aeternal Infernal Power but also the power of the black lightning. He could sense there was something special about that black lightning, almost as mighty as the infernalsource.
“Ohhh! It's a tiger, a really ferocious one too!” the little chick exclaimed.
“Tiger? Even more ferocious than Xing Que’s Solar Horned Tiger?”
The little chick nodded. “That’s right, millions of times more ferocious than that pussy. It is the master of the storms, shrouded in lightning and capable of destroying an entire world.”
“How did you know?”
“I saw it through the cracks. It looked like the king of all beasts, and people would flee in fear just by seeing it.” The little chick said.
“Guess I’m finally gonna get a fearsome looking beast! Ying Huo, look at that stupidly cute face of yours. How are you the eldest brother?” Li Tianming jeered, something which he would do every time he brought out the other eggs.
“How would I know, I guess life is just unfair to me.” The little chick pouted, but Li Tianming did not catch its evil grin.
“The power of lightning…” Li Tianming knew that Lin Xiaoting controlled lightning too, along with both his beasts.
“Once this second brother hatches soon, I'll be the true master of lightning!"
The little chick had already proven itself to be the mightiest phoenix in the world, and Li Tianming had faith that his second beast would be the king of lightning too. Since it had gone back to sleep, Li Tianming popped it back into his lifebound space, before continuing his search.
Day fourteen of Abyssal Trials!
Li Tianming’s group arrived in front of a lake.
“Look, there are traces of battle here!” Li Tianming saw that the patch of jungle right next to the lake had been mostly destroyed, many of the trees burned down to their roots. At least one third of the water in the pond had splashed out, forming thousands of puddles around it.
Underneath his feet were the corpses of countless fishes and prawns, the age of the corpses suggesting that the battle here had happened one or two days ago.
“Looking at the damage done, the lifebound beast should be quite a massive creature, probably a water-type one too. Hmmm and the burnt trees, there must be a fire-type beast here too.” Li Tianming walked around the battlefield. Suddenly, he spotted something out of the corner of his eye that made his heart skip a beat.
“What is that?” Jiang Feiling asked nervously.
Li Tianming picked up that item and shook away the dust. It was a blue feather about the size of his palm.
“That is Blue’s feather!” Jiang Feiling gasped, her voice trembling slightly. ‘Blue’ was Jiang Qingluan’s seven-star lifebound beast, the Bluefire Vermilion Bird! Having spent all her life with Jiang Qingluan, she was familiar with the beast too.
“Qing’er, what about Qing’er? What happened to her…”
“Don’t panic, it’s just one feather. Plus, there’s no bodies around, not even any bloodshed. We can only tell that she had fought someone here, but that must be a few days ago. She might be somewhere else now.” Even though he said those words, he knew that they needed to hurry and find her!
“We need to find her, big brother…”
Li Tianming had the same thought in mind, but how? He glanced at the vast Abyssal Battlefield around him. Not far away was a pond with a strange, oval shape.
“This must be the aftermath of the lifebound beast's fight with the Bluefire Vermilion Bird, since there’s no bodies of wildbeasts around. Looks like a water-type one.” Li Tianming wanted to look around for evidence.
“Who was Qing’er fighting with?”
“Probably someone from Aquamarine — they have the most water-type beastmasters. There isn't any hatred between the two nations, so she should be fine,” Li Tianming explained.
“Don’t worry, let me take a look around first.”
Li Tianming used the Celestial Wings, so that he could fly higher and check out for other traces. As he scanned the surroundings, he took a second look at a particular pond, which looked like something a lifebound beast's body could create.
“I forgot about someone. She is a water-type beastmaster too.” Li Tianming’s voice was now cold, icy.
“Mu Qingqing.” Li Tianming frowned, “I heard that with the help of Lin Xiaoting, her Deepsea Bluewhale evolved from five-stars to seven-stars, into a Rage-Dragon Whalelord! The shape of this pond is the exact shape of the whalelord!”
The Rage-Dragon Whalelord was a massive creature, and it was also the largest lifebound beast present in Vermilion Bird’s Heaven’s Sanctum! Even though Mu Qingqing came from Windhaven, where wind-type lifebound beasts thrived, she actually had a water-type beast.
“So this battle was probably between Qing’er and Mu Qingqing, then.” Jiang Feiling felt more at ease now, since Mu Qingqing barely made it into the leaderboard. She shouldn’t be as strong as Jiang Qingluan.
“Let’s go and find them.” Li Tianming took a deep breath; his revenge was drawing closer and closer.