Li Tianming sped to her side with all the speed he could muster — he wasn’t about to let such a beautiful girl die in front of him.
The trees transformed into a blur as the little chick hung on for dear life. Screeching, its claws clung onto Li Tianming tightly, its little body buffeted by the passing air.
“Ahhh, Li Tianming! So this is the kind of person you were. Hoes before bros, you horndog?!” The little chick cursed as the violent jolts shook it.
The distance continued to shrink, allowing Li Tianming to view the girl’s overwhelming beauty with greater clarity, especially that extraordinary lustre that surrounded her.
Then he saw the girl smile adorably, her dimples and twinkling eyes lighting up his vision.
The wildbeast behind her was quite scary, but Li Tianming fortunately made it in time. He reached out, and grabbed hold of the girl’s slender waist!
A moment later, her body abruptly crumbled away, vanishing like a puff of smoke!
“What happened?” The strange event seemed to justify the little chick’s address of ‘female ghost’.
He sensed a comprehensive increase of his power. First came his body. After enjoying the Primordial Chaos Beast treatment, his Aeternal Infernal Body possessed already higher than average strength. And yet, his bodily strength somehow began to surge. His Aeternal Infernal Beast Ki followed suit a moment later. Although his beast ki’s quantity didn’t increase, it had imbibed an odd quality that made it more explosive.
When Li Tianming lowered his head, he noticed that his skin had taken on the same lustre that had infused the girl just now. He was now giving off that sparkling light now as well — what in the world was going on?
“Big brother, please dodge.” A gentle voice entered his ears. Such a pleasant voice had to belong to that girl — Li Tianming was sure of it.
If she hadn’t died or crumbled to bits, where was she?
As Li Tianming continued to wonder, the voice said, “Big brother, now’s not the time for that. Why don’t we run first?”
“Sounds like a good plan!” That murderous wildbeast had already found a new prey in Li Tianming. It was a tall and savage ape, with a muscular body that sported golden, sharp fur from head to toe.
Li Tianming recognised it as a two-star wildbeast, the Golden Ape. Overlords amongst their two-star brethren, they could contend with the eighth level of the Beast Vein stage upon maturity. Obviously, the one in front of them had already reached adulthood.
The star rating for wildbeasts and lifebound beasts were similar, but for lifebound beasts it was chiefly determined by their potential, unlike wildbeasts where their strength determined it. While a lifebound beast that had reached its limits was going to be strong, a six-star lifebound beast still in its growth phase wasn’t necessarily a match for a grown two-star wildbeast.
There was no time to hide. At this critical moment, both Li Tianming and the little chick chose to fight!
Using Ghost Step to sidestep the enemy’s pounce, Li Tianming clenched his fist, delivering a Dragon-Mammoth Heavy Strike towards the back of the ape’s head.
The ground shook. The Golden Ape had blocked the strike, but the force from it had sent it flying away, such was Li Tianming’s strength.
“That strong?” The man himself was a little confused. He could feel he was stronger than when he beat Li Zifeng by two whole levels. However, he had only broken through once since then. It therefore went without saying that that fairy-like girl was the reason!
“Take this, you nugget!” The fierce little chick seized the opportunity to rush straight at the ape’s eye, targeting its weak spot.
Battle arts had martial and beast arts. Dragon-Mammoth Heavy Strike’s beast art counterpart was the Dragon-Mammoth Heavy Claw, which the little chick was already proficient in. Its tiny claw was in no way an impediment to unleashing mighty power.
“Running?” Under their encirclement, the ape fled as soon as it got up. Primates like these were right at home in Red Twill Mountain Range. If it wanted to run, it wasn’t going to be possible to catch up. There wasn’t much point in chasing either.
And with that, the crisis was averted. Still, Li Tianming was left rather bewildered. After all, if the girl hadn’t caused that increase in strength, the little chick and him would have been no match for the Golden Ape.
The woods were finally quiet. “Haha, you’re glowing all over! Well, at least you’re bright now… physically!” The little chick rolled over laughing.
Li Tianming lowered his head, just in time to catch the lustre receding. It regathered in front of him, returning into that girl earlier on within a moment. Li Tianming could now see her clearly. She really was like a fairy, possessing almost inhuman beauty.
Hold up, was she attached to him just now? Was this actually a person, or some kind of ghostly possession?
“Big brother, thank you for saving me just now.” The girl seemed to enjoy smiling, giving another adorable and dimpled smile.
“Errrr?” Li Tianming’s mind went blank, his words slurring into an incomprehensible mess.
“Pretty girl, ignore him. He’s just a regular old nitwit.” The little chick hopped onto Li Tianming’s shoulder, speaking solemnly. “Let me introduce myself. The name’s Huo, Ying Huo. I’m this nitwit’s guardian chicken.”
“How cute!” The girl picked it up and placed it onto her palm, her eyes shining as she rubbed its head.
“Pretty girl, don’t do that. I’m neither a pet nor someone easy!”
“Oops, sorry!” The girl returned the little chick to Li Tianming, then looked expectantly at him. “Big brother, could you give it to me?”
“No problem. Remember to add some mushrooms when you stew it. Satisfaction guaranteed!” Li Tianming happily captured the little chick, cursing it internally, “Let’s see if you’ll dare pick up girls again!”
The girl chuckled in amusement. Li Tianming really liked the simple pure smile she had. Once upon a time, there had been a girl like that too. However, after she had joined the Flameyellow Scions Institute, competition had gradually changed her.
“Big brother, you really are rather funny. I was just joking, I know it’s your lifebound beast. I’m Jiang Feiling. What’s your name?”
“Ahhh well his name is honestly kinda, really, very dumb. He’s called Li Tianming, the ‘Tianming’ that means fate.” The little chick cut in.
“Big brother Tianming.” The girl smiled again, clearly amused by the temperament a cute little chick had.
“Lil’ sis Ling’er, you’re quite pretty.” The shameless little chick continued.
“Thank you, big brother… Ying Huo.”
“Little sister Ling’er, where’s your lifebound beast?” Considering how shameless the little chick was being, Li Tianming had no choice but to follow up
“I don’t have one. I never was born with one.” Her voice was casual, like she didn’t care.
Li Tianming realised she seemed to be like an ordinary person, without any beast ki at all. If you didn’t have a lifebound beast, you couldn’t cultivate.
“You don’t? Then just now…”
“Although I don’t have a lifebound beast, I have some special abilities. These are secrets, but there’s this strange sense of familiarity I feel, like we’ve known each other for years, that makes me trust you.” She looked at Li Tianming guilelessly.
“You have that feeling too?” Li Tianming’s heart trembled. Why? The more he talked with her, the more he breathed in her scent, the stronger the sense of comfortableness and familiarity grew.
He felt like they had known each other forever, but he could have sworn they had never met before.
“I find it strange too. My ‘Spiritual Attachment’ reached complete synchronisation for the first time in my life just now. The best synergy I’ve ever had is Qing’er, who was born on the same year, same month, same day as me. Even then, it’s a grade six attachment.”
“What is Spiritual Attachment?” Li Tianming asked curiously.
“It’s the process that lets me transform my physical body into a spiritual body. It’s an innate gift of mine that can comprehensively increase the combat power of whoever I attach myself to. A perfect attachment would likely raise it by a full stage.”
“That is rather miraculous.” A girl, born without a lifebound beast, was able to attach her spirit to others to boost their combat strength?
The trust she had for him and that sense of familiarity didn’t seem so far-fetched with a complete synchronisation.
“Take a look at my fingernails.” She raised her hand, revealing ten slender and snow-white fingers to Li Tianming. He grabbed them on reflex, luxuriating in the soft warmness he felt.
“Big brother…” The girl hurriedly pulled her hand back, her face reddening with a cute shyness.
“Oops,” Li Tianming hurriedly said. He had acted before thinking just now.
“Just look at my fingernail.” Her face was still flushed as she raised her hands.
Strange symbols resembling heavenly patterns covered eight of them. They were complicated and abstruse, and simply gazing at them was already giving him a minor headache.
Only two didn’t have such markings. They shone like jewels, with strange power seemingly circulating within them.
"They say I have ten special abilities, except they’ve been sealed since birth. I’ve unlocked two of them, one of which is Spiritual Attachment,” she indicated her right pinky, “And this finger grants me the ability of Temporal Field. It lets me create a region of space where I can control the flow of time.” She said, slightly proudly.
Although she wasn’t a beastmaster, these two special abilities did make her seem to be Vermilion Bird’s most unique existence. Furthermore, there were eight other fingernails left which would unlock at some unknown point.
“Ling’er, why not marry Li Tianming? It’ll be ridiculously overpowered if those two abilities of yours support Li Tianming!” The little chick suddenly said.
“That wouldn’t be a good idea, right? We just met…” The girl replied, flustered.
“Ignore it. It hasn’t had a proper diet since young, so its brain has certain… ah, deficiencies. Putting it bluntly, it’s mildly retarded.” Unable to endure it any further, Li Tianming tossed the chick back into the lifebound space, preventing it from babbling anymore nonsense.
“Li Tianming, you traittooooorr…” The little chick vanished before completing its curse, and peace returned once more.
Li Tianming was just about to take advantage of the situation and ask about her identity to create further opportunities to meet. when someone suddenly shot out from the right. Pushing Li Tianming away, the newcomer stood between the two, cutting his words short. “Who are you, scoundrel! How dare you disrespect Ling’er!”