"What are you doing?" Li Jingyu said, looking at him with shock.
"Grandma, since I came here with the intent of becoming the junior sect master, I don't need a way out. Leaving me a way to escape would only mean risking the possibility of them taking the Kunpeng Sacred Seal from me. I don't want to leave that to chance. Don't worry, since you promised I won't be killed, I will do everything to not disappoint you." Tianming had made his decision. The ten bane-rings in his blood seemed to tell him that the seal wasn't as simple as a mere means of identifying the junior sect master. And if he were afraid of dying, he wouldn't be here in the first place.
He clutched the seal and felt it resonate with his body. In that instant, he was fully convinced he was a member of the Li Saint Clan, even if he wasn't Li Wudi's son or a direct descendant of the Apex Branch. Even so, his ancestors had definitely descended from that line, and he, by extension, did too. There was no way he would risk having the seal taken away from him just because he wasn't sure he could assimilate it. His instincts told him that it was a treasure beyond any other and he needed to assimilate it as soon as possible!
So, he made his choice.
When he told Jingyu about his decision, he pressed the seal against his bane-rings and it immediately began sizzling. It was as if the bloodline of his countless ancestors was flowing into his body.
Jingyu never would've expected him to be so daring.
"Grandma, I like your personality. Since I call you my grandma, I acknowledge myself to be a member of the Li Saint Clan. I also won't deny that I want to see how far I can go here as the junior sect master, and wonder how much being here will help my cultivation. My mother taught me to always repay the favors we get. You helped me save Ling'er, so I’m eternally grateful to you. We may not be really related, but I mean it when I call you Grandma. By the whims of fate, I’ve become entangled with your family. So, from now on, I’ll do my best to fight for this family. That's why I don't need a way out. I’m only going to struggle with the seal. As long as I won't die, I fear nothing else," he earnestly said.
He was grateful to Jingyu, and wanted to repay her in some way. He found her to be a pleasant character, so he didn't hide his own ambitions either. It was a fact he would be getting lots of support cultivating here, the seal being one such example. He could tell it was something precious on first glance.
Additionally, he would definitely need her protection anyway in this large sect. Since everything had gone well so far, there wasn't much else to consider. He would fight!
His words touched Jingyu, causing her eyes to redden. "Good... You're my chubby wubby grandson alright! Brilliant! Granny has always wanted a grandson like you!"
At that moment, all of the blood in the seal had entered Tianming's body, causing some change in his five bane-rings. It was only a minor change, yet it felt really significant. The rings themselves seemed drawn by an ink brush. The ink droplets scattered nearby, looking like countless oscillating stars. The greatest change was within his decabane body, but he wasn't too sure what was changing within himself. It was as if his old decabane body didn't have any core or soul. But now, after assimilating the ancestral blood, he felt something. His current self was the combined quintessence of the Li Saint Clan's excellence. Each and every one of his ancestors’ wills seemed to flow through his blood, as if they lived on through him! His blood boiled with vigor, and he knew that it wasn't a superficial change. In terms of talent, his decabane body already afforded him full stars.
This time, it was a complete, qualitative transformation right from his very core! From a genius, he became the condensation of all the essence of his ancestors' own Lifesbane physiques. It was almost certain that there was no such historical precedent when others had assimilated the seal.
Tianming was sure he would be able to discover even more benefits the seal conferred upon him. He was a grateful person, and Li Jingyu had already risked much to ensure Jiang Feiling's safety by antagonizing Yueling Long. Li Wudi had given him such a great gift on their first meeting. Since he now had the qualifications to be the junior sect master, he would also have to bear the burdens that came with the position. After all, he was indeed a descendant of the clan. From that moment on, he would take root in the Kunpeng Sacred Hall.
"How do you feel?"
"I see the fight in you. You're a boy with spunk... I like it." Jingyu chuckled as she patted his shoulders.
He joined in the laughter. From now on, she was his grandmother. While they weren't related by blood, it mattered not, so long as their bonds were true. After all, he’d never had a grandmother of his own that loved to spoil him.
"Mu He! Mu He!" All of a sudden, Li Wudi cried out from his room. Just as Tianming was about to check it out, Jingyu stopped him.
"Don't. He's dreaming." Her voice sounded as if her heart was cracking.
"Who's Mu He?" Tianming asked. He was quite curious about Li Wudi, the tetrabane who used to be the top genius of the sect. He used to be the greatest sect master, and the hope of the Li Saint Clan's revival!
"Mu He was his wife and Qingyu's mother. Tianming, even though Li Wudi seemed frivolous in his youth, he's only ever had one person in his heart," Jingyu sighed as she recalled the matters of old.
"How did he end up like that?"
Li Wudi was the greatest thing weighing down on Jingyu. Seeing the old woman's shaky gaze, he knew that she had suffered just as much as Wei Jing had. The day that Tianming returned from Ignispolis and collapsed in front of her, he had seen the expression on her face, as if her heart was crumbling. There was no doubt that Li Jingyu had experienced the same thing. That was why she never faulted him for wasting himself away.
She grit her teeth and said, "It's all in the past. If anyone is to blame, it would be him. He was too arrogant and treasured relationships too much. In fact, I was also at fault for not teaching him to be wary of others. Tianming, there are some things I have to tell you about."
"Grandma, please do."
"This is the most important warning I can give you, so you don't repeat Li Wudi's mistakes. Listen well: in the past millennium, the rate at which our clan fell from grace in the Grand-Orient Realm is staggering. The biggest reason for that is our long legacy. The dilution of our bloodline has led to our descendants having fewer and fewer bane-rings. That’s the core reason for our clan's fall—we rely on talent too much. The moment that talent goes away, our foundations will crumble. I don't need to bring up our glory days too much. Basically, our clan controlled the Grand-Orient Sect. Due to our Lifesbane, the leading position of the sect was inherited through our bloodline.
"Thousands of years ago, our descendants were all unbelievably powerful without exception. Thanks to the strict traditions we observed, we rarely had those who would go against the clan. Not to mention, in every generation, even the second or third son could have Void Kunpengs as lifebound beasts. But in the past millennium, the Grand-Orient Sect began deteriorating as our powerful descendants dwindled in number. However, there are many of those in the sect who used to serve the Li Saint Clan. Their power grew, and they eventually surpassed our clan's. They came to form the council of elders to control the sect. They didn't break the tradition of inheritance, but made sure that our clan would no longer hold any power in the sect. We were relegated to the sideline and excluded from the spotlight. Nowadays, the council of elders has risen even more, while we continue withering away."
Tianming felt the history of the clan was a great shame. They used to dominate the Grand-Orient Realm for millennia, yet they had fallen so far in a mere thousand years. As for the Apex Branch, it would soon end with Li Wudi's generation.
"Tianming, do you know what I'm saying after hearing all that?"
"Then tell me what you picked up from that."
"You told me about the history of the council of elders and the clan, so I know what you're trying to say. To the council, the Li Saint Clan's days of glory are over. So, the new Grand-Orient Sect doesn't need any geniuses from the clan. You all, on the other hand, want to restore the Li Saint Clan by getting a new sect master that can wrest back control of the sect. There’ll definitely be someone who’ll come to extinguish this possibility to stop it from happening. That's why the clan has fallen so far, it’s due to lack of talent."
In other words, the council of elders definitely had something to do with Li Wudi's fall.Previous Chapter Next Chapter