Chapter 163 - Propping Up the Sky!

Li Tianming conveyed Qin Xuanyu’s message to Mu Yang.

“Yueling Ji's here already, but where's Lin Xiaoting?” Mu Yang stared at the opposite side, confused.

“Would be a shame if he can’t fight anymore,” Li Tianming said.

“What do you mean?”

Li Tianming explained what he saw during the wedding.

“Let me check with our spies in the Lightning Manor. They can hide the challenge, but if anything happened to Lin Xiaoting, there’s no way they can hide that.”

Mu Yang walked off, only to return minutes later, an amused look on his face.

“What is it?”

“Gelding Blight,” Mu Yang simply said.

“Hoh…” Li Tianming nodded.

So that meant Lin Xiaoting was impotent now, turning Li Tianming's curse, back before they entered the Abyssal Battlefield, into reality. He had wished for them to die heirless; in fact, it was possible that Mu Qingqing's choice was influenced by his words.

“Unfortunately, that's not necessary anymore, since he only has three days left to live.” Li Tianming rested his Grand Thunderflare Sword on the ledge of the window, its tip pointed towards the Lightning Manor. No matter what happened, Lin Xiaoting would be making an appearance two days later.

Just then, cheers erupted from the crowd.

“Sir inspectors! Vermilion Bird King!”

The stars that everyone had been waiting for finally arrived. Witnessed by a fervent, bubbling, crowd, Jin Yixuan and Song Yixue sat down on the fanciest seats that had the best view of the arena, smiles on their faces. Lightning Manor and Yueling Clan were on their left, whereas the numerically inferior Wei Clan was on their right. Their arrival signified the start of the Sanctum Replacement Challenge!

The group from Lightning Manor was seething with fury, probably because of how Lin Xiaoting was impotent now. Out of them all, Lin Zhao and Lin Tianjian resembled wildbeasts the most. They didn’t expect Mu Qingqing to hang herself in front of the institute, and by the time they got there, the body was already taken away by Lin Xiaoxiao. Now that the challenge was about to begin, they couldn’t even take vengeance on her body, so they could only vent their frustration on the Wei Clan.

With everyone's eyes on him, the Vermilion Bird King, who had appeared together with the inspectors, announced, “As everyone knows, we are here today for the Sanctum Replacement Challenge. This is bound to be an exciting battle, and I hope both families can prove their worth in this arena. It is my fortune to host and invigilate this battle with the two inspectors, on behalf of the citizens of Vermilion Bird!”

“For now, I will cut short the introduction. Today marks the battle between the older generation of the two clans, so it’s time to send the beastmasters into the arena!” The conflicts between Wei Clan and Lightning Manor was nothing new to the spectators, so there wasn’t any need for an introduction.

“A moment, please.” Just then, Jin Yixuan interrupted. The stadium fell silent immediately as they awaited the vice-inspector’s words.

He smiled briefly as he whipped out a transparent orb from his pocket. Suddenly, the orb bounced out of his hands and expanded rapidly, until a huge Heavenly Pattern Formation covered the entire arena. It stopped at the edge of the arena, right before the spectator stands. “This Heavenly Pattern Formation is different from the one at the Abyssal Trials. Nothing can escape the bubble, which means that the beastmasters can fight without having to worry about collateral damage. Only when the victory is decided will I open a passage and let the contestants out. ”

The Heavenly Pattern Formation back at the Abyssal Battlefield was a lot bigger, and anyone who ran into it would be teleported to a random corner within the formation. On the other hand, the formation here was an invisible wall containing the contestants and the aftereffects of any attack. 

“You may begin.” As Jin Yixuan finished his words, two holes ripped open on the Heavenly Pattern Formation, one in front of each clan.

Today was the battle between the older generations. For the Wei Clan, only two people were qualified to battle today, the two being Wei Qing and Wei Tiancang. Without hesitation, Wei Qing leaped into the arena like a bolt of lightning.

“Wei Qing of the Wei Manor, here to fight!” Sparks flew from the old man’s eyes as his words sent a clear message to the crowd. The Wei Clan would not go down without a fight! Even the formation trembled from the might of that shout, as Heavenly Will beast ki gushed out of Wei Qing. Even the spectator stand was ignited by his burning zeal.

“Wei Qing was known as the battle maniac of Wei Manor, and even nearly defeated his elder brother before. Even at his current age, he has so much vigor!”

Wei Qing’s spirit was no doubt respectable, serving as a good example for Wei Tianxiong and the rest.

Immediately, a stout old man landed in the arena on the opposite end and answered, “Who dares to challenge I, Lin Sheng of the Lightning Manor!”

Lin Sheng was the Lightning Seigneur’s seventh sibling, and was ten years younger than Wei Qing. Once a beastmaster was older than fifty, their cultivation would start declining, making them weaker with each passing day. Lin Sheng was significantly younger than Wei Qing, and was just a bit older than Wei Tianxiong; he was still at the peak of his cultivation.

The Lightning Seigneur Lin Zhao had a total of three brothers, ranking third, fourth and seventh in the family. In general, men tend to have an advantage over women in terms of cultivating, and most clans and powers in Vermilion Bird were controlled by men.

“Wei Qing, have you washed your neck?” Lin Sheng sneered menacingly. It was the first battle, and winning it would be a great boost to morale.

“Cut the talking. Only a coward would try to provoke his opponents before a battle!” The two had only exchanged one look, but the killing intent in the arena had already reached the peak.

Behind Wei Qing, a giant purple roc took to the skies, lightning rolling beneath its giant wings. It was a giant lifebound beast, and even for Li Tianming, it was his first time seeing Wei Qing’s beast. It was the Sky-Propping Violet-Lightning Roc, a high-tier seven-star beast just like the Blizzard Dragon. But unlike the dragon, it was an adult beast that was in its prime, making it three times bigger than when it was younger. The wings were so huge that when they spread, they even threatened to block the sun out.

Clang! With a crisp sound, Wei Qing had produced a Lightning Halberd in his hands. He was prepared to protect the Wei Clan behind his back at all cost!

“Lin Sheng, come forth and accept your death!” It was a charisma rarely seen by anyone in the stadium. Now who would still claim that Wei Manor would crumble by a single touch? Wei Qing would prove to them that the three days of battle had only just started! Even if he was going down, he would take as many with him as he could.

Within seconds, the arena erupted into action. Lin Sheng summoned his Sky-Thunder Black Cheetah, a high-tier seven star beast like Wei Qing's lifebound beast. Lightning ran through the giant cheetah’s furs, and its menacing face expressed its lust for blood. Li Tianming found himself hoping that the black cat would develop such cool features when it grew older. This cheetah was way scarier than Liu Qianyang’s Lightning Bolt Cheetah.

A second later, the two figures in the arena clashed together, Wei Qing’s halberd and Lin Sheng’s longsword slamming against each other at a blinding speed.

“So this is the power of Heavenly Will!” Li Tianming stood before the window and gazed at the ongoing battle.

Rightfully, it would be impossible for a beastmaster at Spiritsource to understand the essence of a battle between masters in Heavenly Will Stage. But for Li Tianming, training in Demise of Man-Earth-Heaven aided in his interpretation of the on-going battle. He began to practice the three Demises while watching the ongoing battle, and with a jolt, realised that his comprehension of the three moves were growing rapidly.

It would seem that he was the only one in the entire stadium who wasn’t completely absorbed by the heated battle.

“Each strike by a beastmaster at Heavenly Will Stage is infused with their own heavenly will. While I may not be able to sense that power, their opponent can definitely feel it.”

This battle was only possible with decades of experience accumulated by both sides, but even that was too difficult for Li Tianming to understand. But simply figuring out a tiny aspect of their battle would be of great aid to his cultivation.

Within the formation, spiritsource abilities, unity fields, and heavenly-ranked battle arts of all kinds clashed and erupted within the arena. Each movement and each encounter would shake the seats within the stadium and even its walls. Both beastmasters controlled the power of lightning, making the battle even more violent.

Back in the private room, Li Tianming continued practising. He would start from Spectral-Dance, proceed to Heavenly-Judgement, and then get stuck at the final stance, Apocalyptic-Will. He would then take a look at the battle before starting all over again, his cultivation progressing along with the battle.

“That wouldn’t be enough to defeat me!” Wei Qing’s voice rumbled like thunder, echoing around the formation.

Both Lin Sheng and the Sky-Thunder Black Cheetah collapsed on the floor, bleeding and panting. The battle was tense at first, but Lin Sheng had started to falter at around the five minutes mark. Wei Qing claimed his victory moments later.

As Wei Qing pointed his halberd at the Lightning Manor and the Yueling Clan, the Wei Clan puffed themselves up. Nobody had expected Wei Qing to win with such ease as the stadium went silent.

“Looks like the Wei Clan wasn’t just a punching bag after all, eh?” Many people began to doubt whether this would still be an one-sided battle.

As for the Lightning Manor, dark faces could be seen in their ranks, the group pumped with killing intent. Clearly, even if it was Yueling Clan fighting to be the ruler of the sanctum, the main bulk of the fighters would still come from the Lightning Manor.

“Lin Sheng is defeated. Next contestant from the Lightning Manor, come up!” announced the Vermilion Bird King.

“I, Lin Hao, am here to fight you!” Lin Zhao’s fourth brother, Lin Hao, was the next to battle. As he landed in the arena and looked at the still panting Wei Qing, he smiled.

“Wei Qing, we have fought eighteen battles our entire life, and I have lost all eighteen.” Lin Hao was the same age as Wei Qing.

“Make that nineteen today!” Wei Qing stabbed his Lightning Halberd into the ground, and behind him, his Sky-Propping Violet-Lightning Roc lit up with a renewed brilliance.

“Nineteen? So what? Even if I lose, I still have my third brother to back me up, but who do you have? Even if you are strong, what can you do when my brothers and I finally exhaust you? What can you do about it, huh?" Lin Hao replied, breaking into laughter a moment later.

Wei Qing frowned slightly. Of course he knew. The Lightning Manor’s greatest advantage was in their numbers. And they weren't shy in exploiting it.

“Cloudspark Mosquito!”

Once again, a high-tier seven-star beast appeared. This lightning-type insect beast was even scarier than the previous opponent, considering its high mobility. It was the biggest mosquito that Li Tianming had ever seen, its spear-like needle barbed with thorns. Even its legs were covered in razor-sharp spikes, arcs of electricity winding around it. Even simply flying would create an irksome buzzing, enough to rattle anyone's mind.

“Die!” Lin Hao disappeared from his spot, charging towards Wei Qing with his mosquito. “This is but the beginning. My brothers and I will have plenty of time to deal with you and your pathetic family!” 

His laughter continued to echo through the stadium.

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