After the rest of the people left, only Tianming, Jingyu and Qingyu remained in Kunpeng Sacred Hall. The little chick and the awakened black cat were off fishing in the river. The aquatic creatures of the area would surely have nightmares of those two in the days to come. Jiang Feiling ended the Spiritual Attachment and left Tianming's body.
"Tianming, even I have never seen anything like Ling'er's ability. She's definitely really precious to you. You’d better treat her well, since she went so far as to leave home to come with you. I'm really satisfied with my granddaughter-in-law, truly!" Jingyu said.
None of them were willing to address the matter of Qingyu's marriage for now. Feiling, at being called 'granddaughter-in-law', blushed profusely.
"Granny, Big Brother treats me well," she said bashfully.
Tianming froze. Even though he hadn't called Jingyu his grandma yet, Feiling had beat him to the punch. It was no wonder she was so lovable.
"Good, very good," Jingyu said with her eyes glowing.
"Will it get troublesome for us five days from now?" Tianming sternly asked.
"Well, it’ll no doubt be a little annoying. Those from the other three bloodlines are much harder to deal with than Li Linghe, and it'll take some effort before you lot can settle down here in peace. While the junior sect master position isn't that big a deal in the Grand-Orient Sect, those of the Li Saint Clan still pine for it. After all, millennia ago, that position represented the heir of the sect itself," Jingyu said with a sigh.
For the position of heir to fall to a point where nobody really cared much about it was a stark contrast from what he had known in Vermillion Bird. Either way, Tianming was going to settle down in the sect. He was quite interested in the sect itself; after all, Fatepath Peak was but a small place.
Right at that moment, a figure appeared in the hall, stumbling forwards towards them. "Tianming, my son, come, let daddy look at you! I looked away one moment, and you're already sixteen! Daddy really failed you!"
Tianming turned to look at the person. He saw a man struggling to walk straight bumbling towards him with an anxious look. His hair was so messy it looked like he hadn't taken a bath for three whole months. All kinds of things stuck to his beard, including some still-evaporating alcohol. He held a jar of strong-smelling wine in one hand, but the smell on the man himself was even stronger than pure alcohol vapor. While his face was flushed from the alcohol, Tianming could see some black streaks underneath his skin, akin to miasma.
The black miasma crawled about like worms through his flesh. Tianming didn't need an introduction to know that this drunkard was none other than the current sect master, Li Wudi.
"Ohh! My beautiful daughter got even prettier! Come, have a drink with daddy," he said as he stumbled over with a stupid smile on his face.
Qingyu merely gave him a glance and said, "Granny, I'm leaving first." She immediately turned to leave, as if she didn't want to say a word to Li Wudi.
"Ling'er, help me ask Qingyu about her marriage," Tianming whispered.
He, Feiling, and Qingyu would be living in Kunpeng Sacred Hall from now on. Feiling was only a few years older than Qingyu, so she could probably console her somewhat and they were sure to become friends. With their departure, only Tianming, Jingyu and Li Wudi were left.
"My son, you’ve finally seen your dad after such a long time. I bet you're overwhelmed. Aren't you excited?"
The smell of alcohol wafted nonstop.
"Darn it, don't tell me you didn't take a bath the whole time I was away!" Jingyu said, sighing and shaking her head.
"Bathing? It's a waste of time, of life! Why would I take time away from my beloved drinking party with our ancestors?" he said, caught between a chuckle and stutter.
Looking at her pathetic son, Jingyu felt really troubled, but there was naught she could do. What in the world had the former top genius of the Grand-Orient Sect experienced to become such a hated sect master?
Li Wudi's unfocused gaze fell on Tianming, as if he was checking him out.
"Good! Come, let me see your five bane-rings." He tossed the jar to Tianming and approached him, casually raising Tianming's right arm and exposing it to the sunlight. "Wow, it's so cool! I feel the true power within! It's much cooler than my four bane-rings!" he said with awe.
Tianming's expression darkened. Was he going to become this man's adopted son and address him as father in public?
"Just address him using his whole name. Everyone in the sect does that anyway," Jingyu said.
What? So just call him Li Wudi? He was still a senior, so Tianming wanted to at least show some respect.
At that moment, Li Wudi let go of his arm and ruffled around in his clothes for a good long moment. Then, he took out a black ball-shaped object and said, "My son, I am really happy with how you turned out, so I'm giving this Kunpeng Sacred Seal to you! I’ve got your back from now on. The whole sect is my turf. You can do whatever you want, even beat up anyone you see! See a girl you like? Take her right there and there. Dad will establish a harem for you and let you enjoy all the luxuries life has to offer. If you like cultivation, go find your grandma. Manna, spirit ore, spirit herbs, beastial weapons, get my son all of them!" He drank as he spoke, then collapsed on the ground, completely out cold.
Jingyu couldn't bear to see him like that and picked him up. Tianming noted that she didn't blame him at all for the sloppiness. Instead, her eyes were filled with hurt and regret. Normally, any mother would wish their child to aspire to be more.
"Let me do it," Tianming said, helping her lift him up.
"Help me take him back then."
Tianming carried him into Kunpeng Sacred Hall. It was a large hall, where their ancestors had been laid to rest. After he put Li Wudi down and left him to his sleep, Tianming saw that Jingyu was still staring at her son with a daze.
"He gave you the Kunpeng Sacred Seal." She seemed a little surprised.
"What is it?" asked Tianming as he toyed around with the black object in his hand. It looked to be made of an odd material. It seemed like it could be jade and metal at the same time, yet it was soft to the touch.
"It's a seal formed from the condensed blood of the clan's ancestors. It contains traces of the blood of the clan, all the way from the founding ancestor to my husband. Blood essence, if you will."
Her husband was Li Wudi's father, and he had long passed away in Li Wudi's youth. Those of the Li Saint Clan's Apex Branch seldom lived long lives.
"So, it's the condensed blood of countless ancestors of the clan?" Tianming seemed a little taken aback. To be honest, he found the burden of carrying it too heavy. He looked at the object and felt the accumulated will of countless heaven-defying experts. It was a legacy of the entire bloodline, something everyone yearned for! Only the greatest of clans would have an heirloom like that. Who would've thought that it had been hidden in Li Wudi's pockets, soaking up all the alcohol smell.
"That's right." The gaze Jingyu shot the seal was one of awe.
"Is the Kunpeng Sacred Seal good for anything?" Tianming curiously asked.
"This is the symbol of the sect master and junior sect master. The seal has been passed down since the ancient days of the Li Saint Clan. There are two of them, each infused in the blood of the sect master and junior sect master, respectively. Someone without the blood of the Li Saint Clan won't be able to assimilate it," she said solemnly.
"Will assimilating it increase my strength?" Tianming asked.
"No, it won’t. But you need to have it on you for you to be allowed entry into the Li Mausoleum to pay respect to the ancestors."
"In other words, as long as one can assimilate it, they’ll be recognized as the junior sect master without doubt, right?" Tianming asked.
"So are there fortunes inside the mausoleum?"
"Nope, but the others in the clan believe there is. However, they don't possess the blood of the Li Saint Clan, so they can't enter even if they have the Kunpeng Sacred Seal. If there were fortunes inside, our sect wouldn't have deteriorated for the past millennia."
"So the whole point of condensing the blood of the ancestors is just for identification?"
"That's right. That's why the three bloodlines are scrambling to go inside and take a look. After all, they never believe whatever we tell them."
"But I'm quite distantly related to the Li Saint Clan. Can I really assimilate this seal?"
"Distant or not, you’re a pentabane like the founding ancestor. There is a good chance it'll work."
"Then, can't I just become the junior sect master now by taking the seal in and destroying the plans of the other three bloodlines?"
"Theoretically it should work out that way, but I wouldn’t encourage you to do it before convincing the rest first."
"Because once it’s assimilated, the seal will only come back out when you die, with the only difference being a drop of your blood will have been added to the blood essence."
"So you're saying if I assimilate it without convincing them, they might kill me to retrieve the seal?" After all, the three bloodlines were targeting the position of the junior sect master and, by extension, the seal.
"That’s what I expect will happen, but as long as I'm here, nobody can kill you. However, assimilating it will bring you beyond a point of no return. If the other three bloodlines aren't convinced, you'll be in a precarious position!" Jingyu's words were like an oath to him.
"I see." He had already made up his mind. He smiled and asked, "So, how do I get started?"
"Make a cut at the part of your skin where the bane-rings are. The seal will enter your blood through the cut."
The moment she finished speaking, Tianming retrieved the Blazing Dragon Fang from his spatial ring and made a cut across his five bane-rings.Previous Chapter Next Chapter