Air parted with a howl as the Blazing Dragon Chainblade wrapped itself around Yue Lingji’s waist, the tight restraints emphasising the curves on her body. Li Tianming dragged her over, across the ground, and blood left her lips as Li Tianming reached into her cloak for his prize.
“That profound manna is mine now!” Given that two large, uh, obstacles were in his way, it was a considerably tough task, and it took him a while to finally dig out the draconic water obelisk. That was surprisingly easy for a treasure with equal value to the Saintbeast War-Soul, and Li Tianming couldn’t be more elated.
“Big brother, what were you groping just now?” Jiang Feiling’s voice, which now had the aroma of freshly-opened vinegar, echoed in his ear. So that’s how she sounded like when she’s displeased.
“Of course I was looking for the draconic water obelisk!”
“I’m pretty sure what you touched was the Heavenly Pattern Barrier!” Jiang Feiling snapped back.
Heavenly Pattern Barrier? Is it a reference to the shape? Something that was shaped like a hemisphere...
“Wait, that was an accident! The manna is quite small you see…” Li Tianming didn’t know whether he should laugh or cry. Only the heavens knew that that was definitely not on purpose.
“Yeah, like I will buy your excuses!” She still sounded rather annoyed.
“Ling’er, don’t be angry. It was really coincidental. Besides, the only Heavenly Pattern Barriers I’m interested in are yours!” Li Tianming hurriedly explained.
“…” Even though she wasn’t talking, Li Tianming could tell that she was being shy.
Heavens, Li Tianming was absolutely, positively certain that he wasn’t thinking dirty when he looked for the manna!
Hmm. But in hindsight...was he? He wasn't too sure. Ahem.
“Now that I have the draconic water obelisk, the winner for the Abyssal Trials must be me, right?” Li Tianming looked up and found that the barrier was already eating into the Lake of Islands. The Heavenly Pattern Barrier would disappear in half a day.
Heavenly Pattern Barrier… ugh. Simply saying these words makes me feel like a pervert now. The only thing preventing himself from digging a hole and jumping into it was the fact that Ying Huo couldn’t hear their conversation. If it did, given its personality, he would never hear the end of it.
Li Tianming desperately needed to get rid of that awkward atmosphere between him and Ling’er, so he turned to the angry, bound Yue Lingji.
“What do you have to say, now that I defeated you fair and square?” Li Tianming put on his serious face and asked.
“If not for those filthy tricks, you’d never have defeated me! Your lifebound beast is just useless!” Yue Lingji barked back at him.
“Whoa, whoa, I was eating popcorn the whole time.” Ying Huo rolled its eyes.
“Whatever, the draconic water obelisk is mine now. Whether you’re convinced or not I don’t really care.” Li Tianming had no intention to argue with her.
Li Tianming carefully kept the manna. Now that he had defeated Yue Lingji and taken the manna, could the Elysium still declare her as the winner? He even had the other contestants as his witnesses.
“Hmph. Let me go, I will leave now.” She stared coldly at Li Tianming.
Li Tianming glanced at the girl that he had defeated and even shamed. Since he’d already snatched the draconic water obelisk and wasted her lifebound beast, not provoking her now was for the best. Wei Jing’s life was his priority, and his victory should be imminent with the manna in his pocket.
He knew that the rest had all seen him defeating Yue Lingji. Unless Heaven’s Elysium could kill everyone else and only let Yue Lingji walk out of the Azure Domain alone, then surely he was the clear winner. With that in mind, he loosened Yue Lingji’s bonds.
“Haha.” Yue Lingji snickered yet again as she got back to her feet.
“Still trying to act haughty now?”
“Li Tianming, you will regret this.” With that, Yue Lingji hopped onto the lake without a second look. Even though the barrier had shrunk to the point that it now only contained the Island of Lakes, there were still plenty of places where people could hide.
“Regret?” That made Li Tianming narrow his eyes. The trials weren’t over yet — could a new development arise? Although Mu Yang had told them to prioritize their own lives instead of the victory, who else could stop him now that he had defeated Yue Lingji?
“Half a day more and we will find out.” All that he needed to do was to wait for the barrier to bring everyone to him.
He looked towards Mo Lin’s direction, knowing that the three of them must have seen the battle. With this battle, Xing Que and Chen Hao would have lost their will to fight. Xue Lan would hear about their ignominious defeat, and how Li Tianming brought back the greatest glory in the trials.
He was looking forward to seeing her face.
Only one uncertainty remained, and that was Jiang Qingluan. Now that he wasn’t afraid of being discovered, Li Tianming shouted, “Jiang Qingluan, are you there? Come and find me!”
His voice echoed within the barriers. Both him and Jiang Feiling anxiously waited for a reply, since a lack of one could only suggest that Jiang Qingluan was dead.
Seconds slipped by, but there was no answer.
Their hearts pumped faster than ever, and even their fingertips were trembling. Li Tianming thought of the girl who so often argued with him. Even though they never seemed to get together that well, he had always treated her as a good friend.
But now the possibility that Jiang Qingluan was dead was looming over them! It was a result that neither Jiang Feiling or Li Tianming could accept.
His call was greeted by nothing but silence, which persisted for a while more, only to be broken when the voice of another girl replied to his question.
“Jiang Qingluan? You wouldn’t be seeing her anymore.”
Li Tianming spun around. It was a voice that he was just too familiar with! Even if it sounded rather coarse, weaker than it normally was, Li Tianming recognized the owner of that voice at once. He would recognize it even if it was a croak!
Mu Qingqing! Li Tianming had been looking for the chance to kill her ever since the start of the Abyssal Trials, and his chance had finally arrived! Seated at a corner of the lake was the white-clothed girl, her legs dangling off the rock she was on. Her face was a ghastly white, her body unnaturally thin. Even so, the purple pattern on her forehead was shining radiantly, visible even from miles away.
“Li Tianming, did you hear that? She’s dead, and I killed her. She’s as dead as that Midas I told Lin Xiaoting to kill.” She rose to her feet, looking like a madwoman.
“Qing’er!” That announcement was enough to overwhelm Jiang Feiling!
Li Tianming could feel that she was panicking, and her spiritual form now extremely unstable. The Spiritual Attachment enabled Li Tianming to enter a berserk state, and now that she too was in such a state, Li Tianming could feel the power in his body boiling!
“Ling’er, wait. She’s not necessarily telling the truth!” Li Tianming could only console Jiang Feiling since they have yet to see the body, and also because he knew Mu Qingqing to be a fox through and through.
Even then, the odds of Jiang Qingluan being safe was slim. Such were the rules of the Abyssal Trials, and Jiang Qingluan herself should have been prepared to not leave this battlefield alive the day she chose to join the trials.
For now, Li Tianming needed to comfort Jiang Feiling before she broke down. He knew exactly how she felt, since his own brother had died to this woman three years ago! And now, this same woman was saying that she had killed Jiang Qingluan too!
To Jiang Feiling, Jiang Qingluan was closer than a real sister, and she’d taken the risk to enter the battlefield with Li Tianming, just to make sure nothing happened to her. Mu Qingqing’s casual claim that she’d killed her had made him see red.
Blood gushed into his head, his desire to kill flooding his mind. A similar feeling had appeared when he was fighting Yue Lingji, but he managed to hold back at that time. But against Mu Qingqing, with old grudges and new hatreds piling together, he was no longer able to control himself.
The events of that fateful, stormy night flashed through his mind again. Midas, who was drowning in a pool of blood, with all its feathers pulled out. Mu Qingqing, who was in Lin Xiaoting’s arms, that damned emotionless expression she had on her face, as she looked at him and Midas.
Li Tianming thought about Jiang Qingluan, and the days the three of them had spent together. Back when they first met, Ling’er could sense his hatred and his agony when she first attached to him. It was his turn now. Her devastation, her misery, her sense of loss... everything she now felt he now could feel. His emotions began to run amok with his new feelings, and the volcano that had lain dormant for three years began to erupt.
He had been waiting for this day for way too long. His emotions, bottled up for three years, finally broke free. And there was only one reply Li Tianming could give, as he faced that white-clothed girl with her disgusting smile.
“Mu Qingqing, I want you dead! I. Want. You. DEAD!”
Li Tianming didn’t know why she still had the confidence to fight after seeing the battle he had with Yue Lingji. All he saw was her cold indifferent stare, as well as that purple pattern giving off an eerie glow on her forehead.
“Li Tianming, clearly the draconic water obelisk is not suited for you. Don’t you think that it’s destined to be mine?” She tilted her head slightly with a trace of arrogance. He narrowed his eyes. How could someone who could barely stand have such confidence?
“Big brother, she is using a taboo technique called the Purple Blood-Imprint. Have you heard of it before?” Jiang Feiling was running out of patience too.
“I have. Blood to control wildbeasts, right? She must be mad. But that’s how she was from the start! She’ll do anything to achieve her goals! She would place her ambitions before anything else in this world!”
Li Tianming knew her better than anyone. The Purple Blood-Imprint was nothing for her, and if Heaven’s Elysium told them to kill everyone to win the Trials, then she would do it with zero hesitation. The way she hired the Bloodflower Chamber when he returned to Ignispolis was a perfect example of her malice and her decisiveness.
No one had imagined that she owned such a taboo technique, and neither did anyone expect her to use it here. The seeming lack of regulation over these trials was probably why she dared to face Li Tianming in such a fashion.
“Li Tianming, you are in my way again. If I can destroy you once, I can always do it again!” With that, the Rage-Dragon Whalelord leapt out from the water, its dazzling blue dragon scales dazzling.
The whalelord was the biggest beast around, and it was followed by a group of wildbeasts that were all staring at Li Tianming menacingly.
At the same time, a storm began to gather, a black sea of clouds forming above everyone’s heads. And within Li Tianming’s lifebound space, a black egg began to hop around, its surface covered in cracks.