Li Tianming spent the day training Spectral-Dance and familiarising himself with the Grand Thunderflare Sword, while he spent the night cultivating by the Flameyellow Rock. The black cat could only sleep away the day, since it was dragged along to cultivate at night with Li Tianming.
When dawn broke the next day, the results of the previous day's training was evident. Li Tianming, in front of the Flameyellow Mirrors, personally witnessed his hair turning a light grey like Wei Jing. Combined with his left arm, which was wrapped in white cloth, he now looked something like a demon of sorts.
A third ring had also appeared on his right arm, and with that, he looked like Wei Jing, save for the difference in gender.
“What’s going on? You don’t have the symptoms of Lifesbane, but you have its benefits?" Mu Yang massaged his head, confused. "For every ring you Wei Clan members get after overcoming Lifesbane, your cultivation speed will rise by a fold. Jing’er seems to be cultivating three times faster than twenty years ago, since she had three rings. But since we're talking about someone who has perfect synchronisation with the Flameyellow rock, your speed's pretty much off the charts. Of course, I don’t know if that will still hold true after Spiritsource.”
“There are other improvements. Your ability to sense the spiritual energy of heaven and earth, convert it, as well as your comprehension abilities have all risen as well.” Mu Yang sighed. “The more rings you have, the greater your talent shall be. I just don’t know if you’ll have side-effects like Wei Jing.”
Those twenty years had been a nightmare for Wei Jing. She had returned to being twenty, but it had come at the cost of much pain. From Mu Yang and Sage Chen’s discussion, Li Tianming obtained new knowledge about the three rings.
Li Tianming spent the new day practicing the Three Demises sword art. He found his mind much clearer again. Each movement of Mu Yang was recalled with perfect clarity, each detail of Spectral-Dance magnified.
His sword continued to flicker, on and on.
What was talent? Talent was the ability to understand even the hardest of things. The more one had, the faster they learned.
“That’s the feeling!” Li Tianming’s sword suddenly stabbed out. His body moved in a ghostly fashion. Despite making only one thrust, a few thousand mirages had followed at the same time.
“Finally, a success. Continue!” A gleam of praise shone in Mu Yang’s eyes.
Li Tianming didn’t need his prompting to continue. The next attack was made with light steps.
One strike, two strikes…
Li Tianming had unleashed thirty strokes of Spectral-Dance. However, each was different.
“Every single one a success, impressive! You’ve mastered Spectral-Dance. We'll move on to Soul Extinction, but while you're learning and practicing it, you are to integrate it with Spectral-Dance," Mu Yang instructed.
Sage Chen watched quietly from the side as the vice-potentate continued to teach Li Tianming, but his mind was currently as well. The little chick had caught his attention; it was earnestly listening in as well, using its wing as a sword while shuttling around and leaving afterimages in its wake.
“Is this seven-star beast a freak?” Sage Chen gasped in amazement. A freaking little chick could learn a simplified heavenly-ranked battle art?
In comparison, that napping black cat with its legs sticking up in the air was too lazy. Still, it was fortunate there was a lazy one, or else other people would be too embarrassed to continue their cultivation journey, given the two little monsters' talent.
Li Tianming, meanwhile, was immersed in the world of Soul-Extinction.
The sword would pierce through the heart and end the opponent’s soul in a sure-kill hit. It lacked the hallucinatory effects of the first stance, but it had more killing power.
The Demise of Man comes with a single blow. Use Spectral-Dance to land Soul-Extinction!
The sword, fast, precise and vicious, whistled through the air. The beast ki in Li Tianming’s body, born from his infernalsource and lightningsource, wound together and surged into his Grand Thunderflare Sword, igniting the thousand thunder gem and four crimson gems on it.
The sword struck out, carrying a might that could only belong to a soul-shattering Demise of Man!
“That’s it. I can confirm your comprehension abilities have risen a lot after getting three rings," said Mu Yang.
Sage Chen chuckled. “Do you think a fourth will appear tomorrow?”
Li Tianming was curious too. Four would put him ahead of his mother.
Perhaps I have a body with Lifesbane. However, the moment it was triggered, it came into contact with my Aeternal Infernal Body and Genesis Chaos Body. Hence, it never truly flared up, but I got its benefits? Li Tianming had a feeling that this odd result was the aftermath of the Lifesbane coming into contact with the Primordial Chaos Beasts. After all, his two lifebound beasts had three dots as well. And if his guess wasn't wrong...so did the other eight eggs!
When night fell, Li Tianming descended to the first floor of the pagoda. He confirmed that his speed of absorption and conversion of spiritual energy was threefold his original, and that running the Aeternal Infernal Codex and Genesis Chaos Codex was much smoother.
Will a fourth one pop up tomorrow?
The next day quickly arrived. When dawn broke, Li Tianming examined his right arm under the sunlight, watching as the fourth ring formed to the right of the previous three, creating a chain of four connected circles. In the process, Li Tianming’s body underwent shocking changes.
Li Tianming entered the pagoda’s second floor.
Mu Yang hadn’t come yet, while Sage Chen had left for home. In the mirrors, Li Tianming could see his hair, which was coloured in a shade of grey so light that it couldn't be distinguished easily from white.
Let’s continue with Soul-Extinction. Li Tianming was struggling to wrap his head around the concept of one new ring every day and decided to throw it to the back of his mind.
Li Tianming's first attempt of the day was met with success. Every attempt that followed was equally anti-climactic; all of them had been executed perfectly.
“Amazing. Did you get a fourth?” Mu Yang and Sage Chen entered, their eyes filled with shock. Was this the same youth they had thought could never catch up to his peers?
Now, he was the one his peers in Vermilion Bird couldn’t catch up to.
“Alright then, we’ll move on to the first stance of Demise of Earth, Earth-Quaker!”
Demise of Man was designed to make killing others easy. Demise of Earth, however, strove to shock and awe.
“You need to pay attention to your footwork arts. Demise of Man is a combination of sword arts and movement arts, while Demise of Earth is a combination of swords arts and footwork arts.” Mu Yang's eyes glinted. “Leg arts aren’t a means to attack, but to sense the throbbing of the earth and draw on that force. Which is why you need to go down and learn this on the soil, even though the Flameyellow Mirrors are here.”
“Understood!” Li Tianming was excited. If he couldn’t sense the throbbing of the earth, how would he ever get the chance to shake hell? Those two stances were imposing and styling, and in his hands, the Grand Thunderflare Sword would become a heavy sword.
The disciples on the first floor began to whisper as Li Tianming followed Mu Yang down.
“What is Li Tianming doing here?”
“The vice-potentate is personally teaching him sword arts. Looks like he’s already accepted him as a disciple.”
“I’m so envious. Then, everyone kept saying he was mediocre, but I heard he’s already defeated the combination of Xing Que and Chen Hao!”
“That sword is so powerful!”
All the disciples who were familiar with him were all sighing with praise.
In the distance, Wei Guohao and Wei Lingxuan were watching with displeasure as well. Wei Guohao in particular was jealous to see Mu Yang guiding Li Tianming. These thoughts of displeasure, however, were scattered and reformed into fright when Li Tianming struck out.
“Big brother Hao, my dad said Li Tianming is the future potentate. It’s over for us.” Wei Qingyi said, pronouncing each word with extreme reluctance.
“It’s still too early to say. Wait for my Devilblue Incantation to recover. There will come a day I defeat him.”
“Yes, prove to grandfather who’s the strongest!” Wei Lingxuan gritted her teeth. She snorted and turned away. “Let’s go!”
This group of problem children still hadn’t let go of how Wei Jing and Li Tianming had snatched their limelight. That was because they were the true direct descendants of Wei Manor!
On that day, Li Tianming gained basic mastery of Earth-Quaker. For major mastery of it, it would probably take four or five days, according to Mu Yang.
However, did he really need that much time?
On the fifth day, a fifth ring appeared on Li Tianming’s arm, turning his hair even whiter.
“Is he dyeing his hair?”
“Does he think white hair is cool? Actually, FINE. Dammit, it’s cool!”
“Now that I look at him, he does seem worthy of Princess Ling. He is a descendant of Wei Manor, after all.”
None of them were aware of how high Li Tianming’s talent had risen with five rings.
However, Li Tianming had the premonition it wasn’t over yet.
The sixth day!
Li Tianming walked out when dawn broke and examined his arm.
The sixth ring didn’t appear.
“It’s ended.” Li Tianming found it slightly regretful that it had come to an end. Still, when he stood in front of the Flameyellow Mirrors, why did he get the feeling that his hair was even whiter now? It wasn’t the dry kind of white now, but rather, a lustrous silver-white that made Li Tianming’s hair look like fine silver threads.
It didn’t look aged, but rather full of vitality.
Li Tianming felt his talent was even more terrifying than yesterday. In that case, why didn’t the number of rings increase?
“Boss, it did increase. You just didn’t see it.” The little chick chuckled. It had felt itself become even more terrifying, a similar sensation to unlocking bloodline shackles.
“What do you mean?”
Could it increase beyond five rings? If no new one appeared on his right arm, where was the new one? Could it be...
Struck with enlightenment, Li Tianming examined the area between his legs.