"You said it!" Tianming said. Right at that instant, Li Xuanchen transformed into a golden beam and appeared right before Tianming.
His arm was golden when his fist struck out. Amidst all the chaos, Tianming squinted and blocked the punch with his black left arm.
It was just like back then when Lin Xiaoting had just left seclusion—he wanted to kill Tianming right away. Tianming countered first by using Bewildering Eye, causing Li Xuanchen to shudder for a moment before his full-strength attack went crashing into the black arm.
Both of them took a few steps back from the collision. The stone tiles under Tianming cracked and shattered into a few pieces, but those beneath Li Xuanchen were fine. He thought he could break Tianming's arm with one strike, yet that punch had landed on Tianming's 'talons'. He looked at his fist and saw it bleeding. It pulsed with pain, while Tianming merely shook the impact off and appeared completely uninjured. He had completely blocked the sudden strike without batting an eyelid!
Li Xuanchen was quite confident his punch was enough to cripple an arm of a fourth-level Unity beastmaster like Li Chenlei or Li Chiling. What had just happened drove him mad with fury.
"Is that the extent of what someone at the sixth level of Unity can do?" Tianming mocked. His insulting expression only poured more fuel onto Li Xuanchen's raging fire.
However, Tianming knew that while the black arm was fine, the beast ki and sheer force from the punch had traveled through the arm into his body and shaken his internal organs. Had it not been for Feiling guiding most of the force away, he would've spat out a mouthful of blood.
The gap between each Unity level was huge, and those at the sixth level were able to utilize the spiritual energy in the natural environment. In a real fight, Tianming definitely wouldn't be able to take on an opponent like him. He had to at least acknowledge the difference between him and this genius of the Grand-Orient Sect! Li Xuanchen could definitely claim to be the sect's top genius, for him to have Yuwen Taiji as his master.
However, seeing Tianming's snide smile at the fact that his surprise attack had failed to achieve much caused Li Xuanchen much grief and frustration.
"Let's continue this!" he said. Not only did he use a surprise attack, he even failed to gain much. That was nothing short of embarrassing. However, he still had another trick up his sleeve. His eyes were already burning with his will.
"Sure, whatever. Come at me quick. Don't bother relying on petty tricks like surprise attacks. How shameless," Tianming mocked.
"Die!" Li Xuanchen cried when he made his next move. To think that Tianming wasn’t afraid of him at all!
But right at that instant, a green silhouette appeared between the two and blocked their way. This figure gave a light push and caused a formless arcane force to manifest and neutralize both their attacks. They both fell on the ground and found it hard to move.
It was a green-robed middle-aged man radiating a domineering aura. Like a sky-piercing tree, he stood really tall and straight, looking righteous and just.
The moment he showed up, everyone fell silent. The second patriarch was the first to react. "Junior Li Xuanyi greets Elder Ye Qing."
The Li Saint Clan was no longer relevant in the Grand-Orient Sect. The ones in the sect with the highest position were the elders, and there were only thirty-three of them in total. Every single one of them was a figure that shook the Grand-Orient Realm in some way. While Li Xuanyi stood at the apex of the Li Saint Clan, he was still way off from becoming an elder. This elder was of similar seniority to Li Jingyu, both of them almost a hundred years old now.
However, he was a saint, making him relatively young among peers of the same level, so he still looked rather vigorous and steady.
"Greetings, Elder Ye Qing," the rest greeted.
Li Xuanchen had started the fight, only to have his arm wounded by Tianming, and right before he went berserk, Elder Ye Qing showed up. His rage boiled over, yet he had no choice but to stomach it, no matter how bad it felt; he didn't have a choice.
Li Xuanyi narrowed his eyes. He knew that this elder was the closest one among the council to the Li Saint Clan. After all, the Ye Clan used to be the second clan in the sect, right below the Li Saint Clan, and had good relations with them. After the Li Saint Clan's fall, the Ye Clan also faced lots of pressure. Nowadays, only one elder on the council was from the Ye Clan.
With Ye Qing deciding to show up on the day Li Xuanyi brought his son out for the position of the junior sect master, it was obvious that Li Jingyu had asked him to come observe by bringing up Tianming's pentabane status.
"Stop fighting. You are all of the same clan, so let's not cause discord amongst yourselves. I've seen the past two battles clearly," Ye Qing announced. When he was done, he turned to look at Tianming and Li Xuanchen.
"Yes, Elder," Tianming said, knowing that his objective today was complete. All he needed was to keep his position as junior sect master to retain access to the Li Mausoleum. With so many ancestors' blessings waiting for him, there was no need for him to die here and now, fighting Li Xuanchen. If his opponent wasn't satisfied, there would be more than enough chances in the future to deal with him.
"Elder, I still want to settle my fight with him! I need to know who’ll win!" Li Xuanchen said with grit teeth.
"You're at the sixth level of Unity. What can defeating a Spiritsource beastmaster prove?" the elder countered. That immediately shut Li Xuanchen up. After all, Tianming had already survived his punch.
"Xuanchen, stop causing trouble," Li Xuanyi said as he pulled his son away.
"Li Tianming, you better watch your neck. Don't let me catch you, or I'll make sure you won't keep even a single one of your teeth," Li Xuanchen threatened. Li Chenlei was his minion and he was fixated on avenging him, though the greater part of his grudge came from not being able to get the Kunpeng Sacred Seal.
After he left, everyone watched as the elder picked up Tianming's arm to inspect the five bane-rings, then touched his white hair.
"Have you entered the mausoleum?" Ye Qing asked.
"Paid your respects to the ancestors yet?"
"The Li Saint Clan existed for a glorious myriad years, with their dominance unchallenged. That precedent is something we should try to emulate. The Lifesbane we have has the potential to change fate itself. It represents the will of our bloodline. Elder, did I get that right?"
In Tianming's eyes wasn't a hint of the naivete common to most youths.
"It's only an opinion of yours. There aren't any rights or wrongs. However, I see that you're pretty sensible and thoughtful. You don't seem sixteen at all," the elder said.
Well, of course. Tianming was twenty, after all, though Ye Qing had no way of knowing. He was merely praising his precocious mentality.
The elder turned to the three patriarchs and said, "Even though this is an internal matter of the Li Saint Clan that I shouldn't meddle with, this is the birth of a pentabane. So, let me say a word or two about it. This child's talent makes him deserving of the position of junior sect master and heir of the Li Saint Clan and their customs. With him being a pentabane, whether or not he's really Li Wudi's son is no longer important. It's not like he has any other sons anyway. Since Tianming has already assimilated the Kunpeng Sacred Seal, you would be killing off the only miracle to happen in ten thousand years—the resurgence of a pentabane—for your petty ambitions. I feel anyone that does that no doubt has ill intentions for the Li Saint Clan in mind." Ye Qing turned to Li Xuanyi and continued, "Li Xuanyi, do you want to be such a person?"
"Elder, I must say, isn't it too soon to say that he's really a pentabane? We all know what that represents. Either way, I personally don't believe that a pentabane would ever grace us ever again."
"Then tell me. What kind of talent do you know of that will allow a Spiritsource to defeat someone at the fourth level of Unity?"
Li Xuanyi and the rest of those in the three bloodlines were silent. There was no explanation for that.
"But, I suppose what Li Xuanyi said does make some sense," Ye Qing suddenly said.
"What do you mean, Elder?"
"As far as I know, being a pentabane only affects the speed of cultivation. Tianming claims that he reached the eighth level of Spiritsource in half a year of cultivation. That seems to match up to the speed of a pentabane's cultivation. However, there’s no witness for his claims. So, all we need to prove it is to monitor his future progress within a set time frame, let's say half a year. If he can reach the third level of Unity in that time, we can be sure that he is indeed a pentabane. It's only half a year, after all, so you, Li Xuanyi, shouldn't have anything to worry about. If you really want your son to inherit the legacy of the Li Saint Clan, just wait half a year."
Ye Qing's words finally convinced every one of those in the three bloodlines.
"That's right. There's no rush. Let's give Tianming half a year."
"We'll see how much he can progress in that time!"
"He could be boasting about reaching the eighth level of Spiritsource in half a year, for all we know. So, we'll see how it goes from now."
"Reaching the third level of Unity in half a year from where he is now, eh?"
"I recall that Li Xuanchen spent two years from when he was at the ninth level of Spiritsource at twelve to reach the third level of Unity at fourteen. He only reached the sixth level of Unity at sixteen."
"Li Xuanchen is a tribane. If Li Tianming is four times faster than him, he's definitely a pentabane, no doubt."
Li Xuanyi seemed a little uncertain, hearing their discussion. He then said, "Elder, what you're suggesting is if he doesn't reach the third level of Unity in half a year, then..."
"If he doesn't, I won't be able to interfere if you choose to change the junior sect master," Ye Qing said with a smile. He shot Tianming a glance, indicating that his words were for the youth’s ears as well. He was most interested in the existence of a pentabane; if Tianming wasn't one, things would be different.
"Thank you, Elder," Li Xuanyi said and smiled. He shot a secret glance at Tianming. Nobody in the sect could cultivate four times faster than his son, so he wasn't worried one bit.
Half a year was but a short time.Previous Chapter Next Chapter