In the darkness were two large, bloody eyes that looked like a magnified version of Tianming's Bewildering Eye. The beast's eyes were no longer sapphire blue like before. Even its tiny claws and fangs turned into bloody beastial talons that were sharp as daggers, while its four canines looked like four swords. Each strand of its thick fur was formed from countless lightning bolts. It was a beast of titanic proportions radiating dense demonic aura, resembling something like a fusion of a lion, tiger, and panther. It had a lion's strength, a tiger's balance, and a panther's speed, as well as the combined bloodthirstiness of the three beasts.
"Everyone likes fierce beasts.... Guess they won't be disappointed with this fellow," Tianming said with relief.
The black cat had used a spiritsource ability it had refined from the Devil-Monarch Wildsoul that had been modified when it bonded with the cat’s bloodline. Now, the spiritsource ability was called Regal Chaosfiend, which allowed it to transform into a beast of the same name. Tianming finally had a presentable mount.
He imagined his white-haired self riding on the thunderous, demonic beast. Even if Li Chenlei was at the fourth stage of Unity, how could he compare?
Meow Meow roared in anger, but it didn't sound too different from before despite its changed form. Tianming thought it rather fortunate that the black cat always directed its anger at his foes, rather than himself.
"Defeat him and I'll let you sleep for three days straight," Tianming said.
"Rooooaaaar!" Currently, the Genesis Chaos Thunderfiend was almost as large as Li Chenlei's lifebound beast.
"What kind of lifebound beast is that?"
"The demonic aura is overflowing! It's outright terrifying! Its natural capabilities are definitely far stronger than other beasts of its rank!"
Since Tianming couldn't count on Meow Meow to learn beastial arts, he decided to let it fight by relying on its powerful body and lightningsource.
The sky rumbled as the Skythunder Yinwater Kunpeng shot a bolt of lightning toward the black cat, but it did nothing other than tickle it. Lightning-type spiritsource abilities were the least of its fears, since that was its forte to begin with. It didn't take long for Li Chenlei to notice it.
"Dive!" he ordered. The next moment, his beast morphed into its huge, black kun form and they both dived into the river. They would fight Tianming in their home element.
With a loud boom, the black cat suddenly spat out a black ball. It was a ball of chaos lightning at least five meters wide.
"Dodge!" Li Chenlei cried in a panic. The black kun attempted to swerve away with him, but the ball of lightning exploded the instant it entered the river. Countless black lightning snakes surged through the thousand-meter river, completely electrifying and blackening it.
"Gaaaaaaah!" Despite being a dual-type beastmaster of ice and lightning, Li Chenlei paled when he was struck by the chaos lightning. The black cat jumped into the river to engage in its favorite pastime: fishing.
The kun swam frantically as it avoided the cat’s razor-sharp claws and fangs. Its spiritsource ability could infuse the river with frost energy, but the black cat's own demonic chaos aura was far more terrifying than that. It had to be noted that the chimera of lion-tiger-panther was undoubtedly a perfect killing machine. Tianming even felt that legendary dragons and phoenixes couldn't compare.
Dragons were far too long, after all.
Perhaps these mythical beasts were more powerful in other aspects, but when it came to close combat, the Regal Chaosfiend was no doubt superior. Whether it be beastmaster or lifebound beast, once it was approached by the fiend, it would be over for them.
The others could only watch as the fierce chimeric beast frantically clawed at the black kun. At the same time, Tianming executed Demise of Man-Earth-Heaven with his Grand Thunderflare Sword while Li Chenlei was still held back by the aftereffects of the ball of chaos lightning.
Demise of Man, Spectral-Dance, Soul-Extinction! Li Chenlei frantically countered these moves with a unity-ranked battle art. Next came Demise of Earth, Earth-Quaker. Tianming’s footwork allowed him to zip around above the river. Each slash of his split into nine, all of them surging toward their target like a torrent of water.
Demise of Earth, Hell-Shaker split the river and forced Li Chenlei out of hiding. Demise of Heaven, Divine-Fury coalesced the rage of the gods and sent it piercing straight through Li Chenlei's lower abdomen.
"Urrggh!" Li Chenlei cried. He turned and looked blankly at the white-haired youth, feeling his legs give way.
This was someone Tianming couldn't kill. The Li Saint Clan was already in deep trouble, so killing one of their prominent members would no doubt invite nothing but trouble. While Li Chenlei had come at him with the intent to kill him in order to retrieve the seal, Tianming was someone with restraint. He gave Li Chenlei some time to recover after piercing him through, but had the battle really ended?
"Do you yield?" Tianming asked.
Wham! Another punch later, Li Chenlei's teeth fell out when he opened his mouth to cry in pain. Not one tooth was left untouched.
"Do you yield now?" Tianming asked with a smile.
Li Chenlei looked at his kun that was almost being toyed to death and finally nodded. "I yield! I yield! Waaaah!"
"If only you’d yielded earlier, you wouldn't have lost your teeth. It must hurt, huh?" Tianming tugged on him by the collar and tossed him to the fourth patriarch, Li Yunting.
"Meow Meow, that's enough," Tianming said.
The next instant, the black cat turned into a bolt of lightning and returned to his hand in its shrunken form. When it turned over, it had already fallen asleep.
"This guy really doesn't waste a second to sleep!" Tianming was quite perplexed about what to do about his chronic sleepyhead of a lifebound beast. He hurriedly returned it to his lifebound space, lest its behavior embarrassed him more. Nobody would figure that the tiny creature was the very same monster of titanic proportions that had effortlessly toyed with the Skythunder Yinwater Kunpeng just moments ago.
Now, the battle had finally concluded. Li Chenlei cried in his father's arms with his mouth empty of teeth. The kunpeng, on the other hand, was nowhere to be seen; it had probably retreated to its lair right away.
The whole crowd was silent. Tianming stepped forward as the first, third, and fourth patriarchs stared blankly at him. Even the saintly Li Xuanyi furrowed his brows as he wordlessly judged Tianming. He’d heard those from the Wind Bloodline mention that Tianming could execute simplified heavenly-ranked battle arts, but he didn't believe it back then. It was only just now that he managed to get a good look. In fact, Tianming was much stronger than they had initially described!
Li Chenlei and Li Chiling were powerless to resist him, and almost immediately lost. They had yielded to him, and none of the youths from the three bloodlines could deal with Tianming, who was only considered sixteen as he claimed.
But that wasn't the focus; what was truly shocking was that he had managed to defeat them despite only being at Spiritsource. There was no other explanation for his talent aside from him really being a pentabane like the founding ancestor. As long as he could prove that, he wouldn't even need to prove himself to be Li Wudi's son, since that wasn’t so significant.
The key was nobody would be more suitable to become the junior sect master than a pentabane. He would be the hope of the Li Saint Clan's restoration.
Tianming put his sword away and said, "Let's be frank. We’re all members of the Li Saint Clan and want to bring our clan back to its former glory. I hold no grudges against all of you here. This battle took place today merely to prove that I came back to the clan to become the junior sect master. With me being a pentabane and the hope of the clan, there’s nobody more suitable to take up the position. That's why, I hope the three bloodlines don't try to take the Kunpeng Sacred Seal from me for your own ambition. We, as the descendants of the Li Saint Clan, must behave in a manner that won't embarrass our ancestors. Let's not forget that the glory of the clan in the past millennia was all thanks to the Apex Branch. Even the ancestor of all of us, the founding ancestor, is from the Apex Branch!"
Nobody could dispute what he said. He had already awed them with his talent. Even Li Xuanyi could do naught but squint. His plan had been totally ruined by Tianming.
Amidst the silent crowd, a youth in a gold robe slowly walked forwards. His eyes were gold and his expression seemed a little cold. Even the sheen of his skin seemed a little metallic.
"Dad," the youth said when he came to Li Xuanyi.
"Xuanchen." When he saw his son, Li Xuanyi had another idea. Currently, the youth was looking straight at Tianming.
"I am of the same age as you, so I will challenge you for the position of junior sect master. You will have to defeat me to claim that position," the golden-eyed youth said.
"Who are you?"
"I'm Li Xuanchen of the Metal Bloodline. This year, I'm sixteen and at the sixth stage of Unity. Ninth Elder Yuwen Taiji is my master. Might I ask if I am qualified to be your match?" the youth asked.
The impression he gave off was completely unlike the former two. He didn't seem the slightest bit arrogant or anxious, but his eyes radiated a cold, calculating opportunism.
Naturally, Tianming had been made aware of him, the top genius of the clan. He was someone nobody in Vermillion Bird could hope to match. Even ten Li Chenleis or a hundred Lin Xiaotings weren't his match. Even Lin Xiaoting, who had joined Heaven's Elysium with Tianming’s Saintbeast War-Soul, would be utter trash compared to Li Xuanchen.
He was also the one with the best odds of becoming junior sect master. The three bloodlines had come to make a bid for Li Xuanchen's appointment to that position. Not to mention, he was the disciple of the strongest man in the Grand-Orient Sect! Tianming had been wondering why Li Xuanchen hadn't showed up until now.
"What do you think, Li Tianming? If you fear death, you may hide in your shell like a tortoise. That's basically what Li Wudi is doing. He hides in the mausoleum like the tortoise he is. Like father, like son, I suppose."
His words sent laughter through the crowd. Li Wudi had often been mocked as a cowardly tortoise in the past decades.
"I wonder if a new tortoise will be born?" another youth mocked. There was no other way they could vent their frustrations at being completely dominated by Tianming, after all.
"Tianming, you don't have to do this. It’ll take far more than a pentabane for a Spiritsource beastmaster to defeat one at the sixth stage of Unity. That's nothing short of a miracle," Jingyu hurriedly said. Xuanchen’s challenge was far from reasonable.
Li Xuanchen was forcing Tianming to accept his challenge. Perhaps he was trying to provoke him into fighting to kill him and retrieve the Kunpeng Sacred Seal. However, Tianming had already proven himself. He had no obligation to engage in another battle to the death. How, then, would he deal with this hot-blooded youth?
People watched as he took one step back and said, "Come!"
He knew he couldn't defeat him. If he could, everyone could forget cultivating. It would be over for the rest of them. However, that was no reason to refuse a challenge! While it might be easy for Li Xuanchen to defeat him, he would be in for a challenge if he wanted to kill Tianming. With the Celestial Wings alone, there was a chance Li Xuanchen wouldn't be able to catch up to Tianming.
Flying oneself and flying on a mount were completely different matters. Not to mention, Feiling's Temporal Field was sure to lessen the odds of Tianming getting killed.
So, there was no reason for Tianming to refuse the challenge with his dignity on the line. As long as Li Xuanchen couldn't kill him, he would eventually have to shiver and grovel before him like Lin Xiaoting had.Previous Chapter Next Chapter