Tianming had already seen past life and death. He no longer feared the edge of his foe's sword.
"Gaaaah!" He sent Archfiend whipping out like a snake with bloodshot eyes, blocking his alter-ego's flurry of blows.
"That's not it. Again!" He had witnessed Transcendence once at the tomb of the Grim Reaper. The will it took to claim lives like a god of death wasn't something he could easily replicate, so he tried again.
"Once more!" He no longer argued with his foe. Instead, he sought to prove who he was using his actions. While the blessings he had were external, he’d rightfully inherited them. He was the rightful leader of the Primordial Chaos Beasts on their path back to power. Nobody could ever understate his contributions or doubt his dedication.
"Again!" It felt like more than six hours had passed. It was the longest battle Tianming had ever fought. Maybe half a day had gone by. He no longer remembered why he was here—in fact, he forgot about everything, including Prime Tower. His will was entirely focused on Archfiend.
"Die!" Forget life and death and transcend mortality! Archfiend lashed out countless times and sent his alter-ego stumbling back, but each time felt slightly different. That feeling was the core of Life-Death Whip Art. It felt like the grim reaper was there to harvest lives in droves. Wherever the chain struck, lives would be claimed. On the thousandth time he struck, Archfiend broke through everything and embedded itself in the head of the black-haired Tianming.
Poof! The head turned into a white mist and filled the whole place. Transcendence had been achieved! Tianming had done it. Only by breaking through himself could he kill himself. This fight had changed his mentality so much, almost like the time he killed Lin Xiaoting. The moment he struck his alter ego, he felt that his heart and will were as strong as steel. All of his doubts had been dispelled, leaving nothing behind but the intent to void the will of the gods and transcend mortality. Like cast metal, his form was set and firm.
He had once more undergone metamorphic change.
Now, he no longer had any doubts about himself and his relationship with Ying Huo and Meow Meow. Nobody would be able to reach the point he was at before facing themselves first. Once he was done, he was at the brink of death. He had subsisted to the end on willpower alone. But when it was all over, his pain vanished from his body.
He didn't check whether he was injured, as he was focusing on his alter ego dissipating into mist and turning into a white-haired old man. The old man had a kindly expression as he smiled at Tianming.
"Li Tianming, throughout history, there have been none with Aeonic Grandbane that have achieved what you did. You’ve taken the first step by standing firm and fighting with your will. You have to suffer the pain of Lifesbane first. Only then will you be able to enjoy the benefits that allowed our clan to dominate. Li Tianming, on the day you break your Lifesbane curse, even the sun, moon, stars, earth, and the cosmos will have to part to make way for you!"
Each one of the old man's words resonated in his ears. When the old man finished, he turned back into white mist. Tianming didn't know who he was, nor why he had appeared. It was something with no clear answer, but it definitely had something to do with the Li Saint Clan and Lifesbane. He could do naught but remember how he looked and what he said. Most importantly, he learned the name of what he was suffering from: Aeonic Grandbane.
According to legend, it was the very first Lifesbane that emerged from chaos. The key lay in the 'grand' part of the name. It wasn't normal Lifesbane, but a grand version of it!
"Don't tell me there's a clan that's afflicted with Grand Lifesbane too...." He could only guess; it was still too far off. Even so, it gave him endless hope for the future. He knew that from this day forth, he wouldn’t bother to explain himself to those that doubted him.
All he had to do was to prove himself through his actions.
Soon, he felt his ears ringing with the sounds of Feiling, Ying Huo, and Meow Meow. He felt the pain on his body vanish. Looking down, he saw that he was fine.
Perhaps the trial had happened entirely in his mindscape. Even so, he had endlessly benefited from it. Soon, the voices grew louder and he opened his eyes.
It seemed like he had his eyes closed the whole time. It was as if the battle hadn't happened at all. The moment he opened his eyes, he found himself back on the third floor of Prime Tower.
Soon, he heard Feiling's anxious voice. "Big Brother, wake up! Ying Huo and Meow Meow can't take it any longer!"
He just realized that the trial had knocked him unconscious. He didn't know how long he was inactive, but it shouldn't be more than six hours. Now, he saw a battle taking place before him.
Ying Huo and Meow Meow were fighting Yuwen Zhenxing, the Bloodfiend Taotie and Gongsun Chi, as well as his lifebound beast, the Imperial Flame Locust. The locusts frantically tried to attack Tianming, but they were intercepted by Ying Huo. Not to mention, there was a five-sided Spatial Wall protecting him, along with Ying Huo’s Infernal Armor.
Even so, Feiling was at her limits. Tianming felt her fatigue from maintaining so many walls. All she could do was fly around and avoid the locusts while Tianming was unconscious. Ying Huo and Meow Meow, on the other hand, remained far away from her. They were occupied, fighting Yuwen Zhenxing and his taotie.
While their foes numbered few, they were incredibly hard to deal with. Tianming saw the wounds Meow Meow had suffered from blocking the hits of the locusts. Ying Huo, on the other hand, defended him from Yuwen Zhenxing and Gongsun Chi. The Yuwen scion had charged toward Tianming. Seeing that he was unmoving, he figured he was rendered unconscious by the third floor. There was no better time to kill him, so they immediately started the fight.
Tianming watched as the little chick fearlessly battled Yuwen Zhenxing. When Gongsun Chi tried to circle around, it desperately shot back to drive him back. By now, its small body was considerably wounded, but it kept fighting like a true man. Even after it fell, it climbed back up and sneered at Yuwen Zhenxing.
"Baldy, what kind of man fights with numbers? I will fight you to the death!" It didn't fear for his own life, but rather Tianming's, especially with the shifty Gongsun Chi in the vicinity.
"Haha, the little chick wants to play hero." Gongsun Chi didn't bother with it and came from behind Tianming. Yuwen Zhenxing joined in with a warblade in hand. They ignored the chick and came for Tianming. "You pathetic losers!" Ying Huo blocked Yuwen Zhenxing and used Voidgod sword ki to force him back in a magnificent display. However, Gongsun Chi's sickle was about to lop Tianming's head off.
The little chick had given its all to block Yuwen Zhenxing's slash, suffering a wound on its imperial wings that showed its bone. Meow Meow was occupied with the taotie, bloodied all over from the tussle. While it usually liked to mess around, its performance now made Tianming's eyes bloodshot.
They were brothers alright; there was no need for words. What he saw was enough to convey that. He blamed himself for not breaking through the tower's challenge sooner and putting them in so much danger. He had sworn to never let them get hurt. The loss of Midas wasn't something he could ever recover from, and he was angry from almost repeating his mistakes.
"Die!" The little chick watched as Gongsun Chi tried to take Tianming's head off. But right at that moment, the white-haired youth suddenly grasped the sickle. Nobody could imagine what happened next: he reversed the sickle and swung, taking Gongsun Chi's head off while his eyes were still widened in shock. The body collapsed in front of Tianming as he tossed the Flamedevil Sickle to the ground.
Now, Tianming wielded Archfiend in his hand. Looking up, he focused his chilling gaze on Yuwen Zhenxing, who stood where he was and watched Gongsun Chi die.
"Li Tianming, how dare you murder him?!" he bellowed.
"Murder?" Tianming smirked. "You lot dared hurt my brothers. Killing him in retaliation is nothing in comparison. Don't forget that I'm coming for the whole Yuwen Clan, too!"Previous Chapter Next Chapter