“Three bane-rings! She has the bloodline of three incarnations! Who would have thought that we could find an heir with three-bane rings in this far-flung desolate land?!”
Unknown to Li Tianming and Wei Jing, there were two figures hiding in the woods, a short distance from the Rainforest Pavilion. One of them was an elderly woman, her back hunching and her voice hoarse with age. Beside her was a young girl, and while her features were hidden in shadow, the contours of her body were enough to make her a breathtaking beauty.
“Gran, are you sure there’s three rings?” the girl whispered.
“I had a clear view! She definitely has the bloodline of three incarnations, a true miracle! Including you, the entire Li Saint Clan has only less than ten youngsters with three bane-rings, and yet... yet! Who would have thought that we could find such a genius?! According to our ancestry records, this is one of the furthest branches of our bloodlines and yet, we could find a descendant with three bane-rings!” The old lady couldn’t hide the excitement in her voice.
“Gran, are we taking this elder sister back to the Grand-Orient Sect with us? Our Saint Li Clan desperately needs geniuses like her to support the clan,” the girl said.
“Of course we are. We have travelled to eighty-nine nations, but simply bringing back one heir with the bloodline of three incarnations would make that all worthwhile.” The old lady smiled. “Haah. Who could have known that the previous rulers of the Grand-Orient Realm, the Li Saint Clan, would fall to such a state? We even have to visit such rural lands just to find bloodline descendants. But our efforts aren't futile, and we finally found the talent we needed!”
“It’s alright gran, things will get better for us, for sure,” said the girl, Li Qingyu.
“Let’s observe her for a few days more to make sure that her personality and morality are fine.”
“Her son looks like he has one ring as well. Do you want to take him too?”
“We'll leave it up to her. A bloodline of one incarnation should qualify him to join the clan.”
“Why does your Lifesbane feel so different?” Wei Jing assessed Li Tianming, clearly confused.
“How so?” Li Tianming asked.
“Your hair is slightly whiter, and your body also seemed more vigorous than it was. It’s almost as if you were cured of the Lifesbane the moment it appeared — you don't even seem to have suffered from it at all.” In other words, Li Tianming’s state was more similar to Wei Jing’s state after she was cured. That would also mean that he could cultivate at an even faster pace.
“Hmm, I suppose your unique cultivation technique had broken its curse the moment the Lifesbane appeared,” Wei Jing continued, much to Li Tianming’s relief.
“Oh right, is Lifesbane shared by both beastmaster and lifebound beasts?” Li Tianming asked.
Li Tianming grabbed the little chick and the black cat. The little chick now had a little black dot under one of its wings, which was probably the same thing that Li Tianming found on his elbow. As for the black cat… well, it was covered in black fur, so it was impossible to find the black rings to begin with. Since there was nothing wrong with their bodies as well, Li Tianming decided to just throw the matter to the back of his mind.
Since he had no idea what the Lightning Manor was up to anyway, Li Tianming returned to the Flameyellow Pagoda for his cultivation. Not only was Mu Yang there to help him today, but Sage Chen was also present.
“Tianming, it’s time I bring you to the second floor of the pagoda,” Mu Yang said. He was evidently planning to personally guide Li Tianming today.
Soon, they arrived. The first thing Li Tianming saw was countless images of himself, before he realised that the second floor was in fact enclosed by four walls of mirrors.
“These are the four Flameyellow Mirrors. They have purple heavenly patterns, and they too will provide you with generous amounts of spiritual energy to help you cultivate. While it may not be as strong as the Flameyellow Rock, there’s four of the mirrors on this floor for your use alone,” Mu Yang introduced.
“The primary purpose of the Flameyellow Mirrors is for you to learn battle arts. By looking into the mirrors when you practise your arts, you get to observe and reflect on your moves. One mysterious thing about the mirrors is that they magnify the mistake that you make, thereby helping to correct these moves," Mu Yang explained. "You also get to study and observe the wonders of the battle arts, laying a good foundation for your studies of heavenly patterns in the future. By cultivating here, you will find out that cultivation is not just about building up your beast ki or learning arts and abilities. There's so much more you can do once you reach a higher level.”
Li Tianming stared into the mirrors, and his head began to spin. Everywhere he looked, he could see his own figure, and after trying out some moves, it indeed lived up to its reputation. Truly, it wasn’t just any ordinary mirror, but one of the most precious treasures of Heaven’s Sanctum!
“Tianming, do you still want me as your mentor?” Mu Yang suddenly asked.
“Of course, it's something that I always aimed to work towards,” Li Tianming replied. Since he could already easily crush Wei Guohao, he had long met this criterion.
“Well, I would advise you against that idea,” Mu Yang said, his expressions serious.
“What? Why?” Li Tianming was in shock.
“You have done more than enough to impress me, and you never fail to surprise me with your incredible performance. At your current level, staying in Vermilion Bird would be a massive waste of your talent. Lin Xiaoting may have equally massive moral flaws, but you should follow his example and find a place to stretch your wings,” Mu Yang said. That was also his dream when he was younger, but a dream that he had dropped for various reasons.
“Either way, I will guide you as your Uncle Yang. And honestly, I'll be very pressured if you were to call me master.” Mu Yang smiled.
“Ha, he’s always like this, getting stressed from just about everything and anything,” Sage Chen joked at one side.
“Alright then.” That said, it didn’t really matter whether Mu Yang accepted him as a disciple. In Li Tianming’s mind, Mu Yang would always be the one that he respected the most.
Wei Tianxiong always thought that Mu Yang intended to let Li Tianming inherit the Sanctum, but he was mistaken. Mu Yang was far more ambitious, and he wanted Li Tianming to explore the lands outside of Vermilion Bird and even the peninsula.
“Oh right, Uncle Chen!”
Li Tianming took out the leaf of the helios fruit that he had obtained back in the Abyssal Battlefield. "This is for my debt. Is this enough?”
A spirit herb with blue heavenly patterns was more than enough to pay for ten times the price of a thousand yellow-patterned spirit gems.
“Kudos for returning me my loan on time. Saves me the trouble of having to hunt for it.” Sage Chen smiled.
“Tianming, the two of us are bringing you here today to help you adjust your cultivation methods, and also to let you maximise your advantage as a twin beastmaster,” Mu Yang explained.
That was exactly what Li Tianming needed. He had been struggling to find a path for himself in the past, and things would be a lot easier if there was someone to guide him.
“Before we start, I have a question. What do you think of weapons other than chains?” Mu Yang asked.
“I guess I still prefer the likes of the Blazing Dragon Chainblade. Anything wrong with those?” Li Tianming asked.
“It’s not wrong per se, but the chain is too unorthodox a weapon. As a result, if you are too used to using it, it might affect your learning of other types of weapons in the future. Practise your chains, but you should master a more conventional weapon too. Since doing so gives you more options in battle, there's no harm in picking up one more weapon.”
“Mastering a more conventional weapon? Sounds reasonable.” Li Tianming nodded. He could see where Mu Yang was coming from. He was familiar with fighting using chains, and he was in love with that feeling. The most memorable experience he had was when his Blazing Dragon Chainblade pierced through a Volcanic Torch Dragon to instantly destroy the beast from inside out. He could still remember the menace of the weapon as it plunged into the beast. But if he carried on with that, it would be difficult for him to adapt to any other methods of battle. Furthermore, the ferociousness of his chainblade might even become an unshakable habit in his fighting style. Therefore, it made sense for him to learn a more conventional weapon.
“If that’s the case, Uncle Yang, what weapon suits me the most right now?” Li Tianming asked.
“You should learn the way of the sword. The sword is a nobleman’s weapon, and I myself have practised it all my life. If you were to look for a teacher for swordsmanship, then no one in Ignispolis is as qualified as I am,” Mu Yang replied.
Li Tianming has always thought that swords were too mundane for his liking, so he rarely used them, if ever. But as he spent more and more time with his chain, he was beginning to see that there was much more to the way of the sword than what he had known.
“I’m willing to try it out.” Li Tianming accepted the offer without hesitation. It didn’t mean that he would forgo his chains though; it wouldn't hurt to master two completely different weapons.
“Excellent. Now go ask Uncle Chen what he has for you.” Mu Yang grinned.
“What he has for me?” Li Tianming was startled for a moment, as he looked towards a laughing Sage Chen. The two of them clearly knew that he would accept this offer and had already prepared a sword, which was nestled in Sage Chen's hand.
“Tianming, this is the most suitable weapon I can find for you in the Xing & Chen Merchantry. Are you willing to give grade six weapons a go?” Sage Chen asked.
“Definitely!” Li Tianming’s eyes sparkled as he looked at the sword. It was a splendid piece of work, its blade well-sharpened and its body split into two different colours. The middle of the sword was darker than the night sky, while the blades were covered in a brilliant red hue as if the edges were burning. In the middle of the hilt was a dark purple gem, which held an overwhelming amount of lightning energy, with the constant rumbling of thunder proof of the sheer power within. Four slightly smaller crimson gems sat at the four corners around the purple gem, each of them burning with dark red flame. The weapon was a perfect balance of fire and lightning power!
“This is the grade six weapon, the Grand Thunderflare Sword. Its body is made mainly of thunderwraith profound steel, together with ninety-three different kinds of spirit ores. The thousand thunder gem embedded on the hilt is a spirit gem with blue heavenly patterns, holding the power of a thousand lightning-type spirit hazards with blue patterns. The four crimson gems are used to augment and channel the power of the lightning spirit hazards into the sword, thus forming the unique Grand Thunderflare Sword Ki.” Sage Chen held the blade up.
“In other words, this sword has both the scorching might of flames as well as the destructiveness of lightning! I have never seen or heard of twin beastmasters with dual-types like you before. Even since the Grand Thunderflare Sword was created, it had never met a beastmaster that could truly wield it. Given its high price, it went unsold in the Xing & Chen Repository as well."
“But I believe that you are the only one capable of releasing the true potential of the Grand Thunderflare Sword.”