"Break!" With the Voidgod Sword Intent, Su Wuyou's flowery moves crumbled like dust. The single slash of divine radiance descended. Nobody would have expected a grade seven beastial weapon like Paradisal Silk would snap in half from Tianming's strike, causing a piece to break off and impale itself in Su Wuyou's lower abdomen.
Immediately, her face paled and she spun through the air and landed on the muddy ground. Blood splattered all over as her hair unfurled, making her look like a madwoman. The moment her sword broke, she felt the pride in her heart freeze and crumble to dust. Nothing was left apart from fear—fear of humiliation, fear of facing her seniors, fear of the cheers Tianming received, and worse, fear of meeting Yuwen Shendu.
She had seen Su Zhen step out to stop Tianming. That meant the battle had ended. It took her all to just get back up from the pain, chief of which came from her abdomen. She didn't dare pull the blade out herself, lest she cause herself to bleed out even more.
"I... I've lost...." It was an undeniable fact.
"No, you've been dominated." Tianming didn't continue his assault, but that didn't stop him from delivering yet another figurative blow that caused her to vomit out even more blood from rage.
"Li Tianming!" She grit her teeth, wanting to say more, but realized that her every word was shuddering; she didn't even dare to insult him. With the battle so horribly lost, she was swept up in currents of humiliation.
This wasn't even a fight. Tianming hadn't even been injured and had only used a few moves the whole time, fighting alone without his lifebound beasts. It took only the Life-Death Whip Art to defeat the Thousand-eyed Serpent. Then, he followed that up with one strike from the Voidgod Sword Intent and obliterated her. For her to lose like this, she was no longer befitting of the rank of prime disciple. To think that she had boasted being an unprecedented genius and the only female prime disciple in three generations.
She didn't dare look up, for she knew everyone only had mockery for her and praise for Tianming. She used to be hailed as the most beautiful female disciple and was even called the Snow Mountain Beauty for her cold, aloof demeanor. Nobody would have guessed she would end up so haggard.
Today, she felt horrid leaving the battlefield; her heart was crushed. Tianming had awed the audience and shattered their expectations once more. Before the battle, one of them had said, "For someone as scary as the junior sect master, there's no need for us to guess any longer. I bet he'll defeat Su Wuyou, since he was the one who made the challenge."
That man proved to be right, but only halfway. It wasn't even a battle; it was domination. Many immediately felt the same thing Ye Shaoqing did, that he was a monster.
"Prime Disciple Li Tianming!" someone shouted. Passion was like a poison that spread easily among crowds of people. Even many Grand-Orient guardians joined in the cheering. More than eighty thousand people cheered in unison, shaking the entire arena. Even countless lifebound beasts that lingered in the Grand-Orient Mountains turned toward the sacred mountain. The sect had never been so lively.
Tianming's reputation soared through the clouds, surpassing even that of Yuwen Shendu to a level no disciple had managed to reach. The disciples were filled with fervor for his sheer monstrous abilities. He was a man that could awe the world, move their hearts, and earn their respect.
In actuality, nobody thought Su Wuyou was weak. Even so, she agonized over it, feeling like Tianming had stomped her face into the mud and earned the crowd's cheers for that. She wasn't aware of how grim Yuwen Shendu’s father, grandfather, and the other members of the Yuwen Clan were.
It was enough that Tianming had emerged from Prime Tower, but now Yuwen Shendu was probably utterly disappointed in her. That was the thing that made her shake the most. At least, she could already see that her uncle, Su Zhen's, face was so dark it was turning purple. He came to help her out, pulled out the sword fragment, and stopped her bleeding.
"I'm sorry," Su Wuyou said, tears flowing down her face. The battle wasn't scary; her utter defeat was. She wasn't even left with a shred of dignity.
"Tell your father and grandfather that. It's pointless to apologize to me."
"He's too strong..." she said, shaking.
"Yes." He didn't dispute that point. Even he had to admit that Tianming grew at an astonishing rate. Su Zhen brought her out of the arena and toward Fengtian Mountain's hall. She then recalled Qingyu and Yuwen Shengcheng's matter and felt much better. Turning back to Tianming, she suddenly smiled.
"Everyone will have a time when pain comes beckoning. I hope you don't rejoice just yet," she said softly. Tianming missed her words completely. He was being bombarded by cheers, after all.
"Big Brother, you're now a celebrity," Feiling said.
Becoming a prime disciple meant his standing in the sect was firm. Feiling felt moved to tears. They had taken one hard step after another to reach where they were today. He was now on the same level as an elysian child. It had only been three months since he left Ignispolis, but he was now on the level of Wei Zikun and the rest.
"From now on, our paths will be much easier. Ling'er, you also played a huge part in this," Tianming said.
"I was only there to cheer for you. You three are the truly strong ones," she demurred.
"What a sweet mouth you have. I must reward you when we’re shielded from other people's prying eyes."
"I don't want it. Not to mention, your master will probably be staying by your side to protect you from now on."
"Well, I expect that much to be the case, but there's no way I'll let him stop me from teasing you, Ling'er." He knew that becoming a prime disciple meant everything was different now, and even more people saw him as a thorn in their eyes to be eradicated. But Ye Shaoqing would be there to defend him. As for Tianming, he had even more important things to consider, having achieved his goal.
"Now that I've managed to find some stable footing in the sect, you no longer need to hide, Ling'er."
She had remained hidden the whole time. While it didn't pose too many problems for her life, it was a little unfair for her. It was one of the reasons he had fought so hard. While their path from now on would no doubt be hard, he at least wanted her to be known to the sect.
"Okay," she said, uncharacteristically softly.
"Ling'er, it's a trick. This fellow wants you to undo the Spiritual Attachment so he can take advantage of you. If I were you, I'd continue hiding in his body so he can't touch anything," the little chick spouted at such a touching moment.
"Ying Huo, want me to make you a eunuch?" Tianming snapped.
"Oh? Turning to anger, I see. I guess that was your ploy after all."
"Hahaha..." Feiling couldn't hide her laughter. Her voice sounded ever so sweet and moving.
"I only want others to see Ling'er and decide who the true number one beauty in the sect is," Tianming said. Feiling felt overjoyed, hearing that, but she retained her cool.
Tianming smiled, knowing that they were the most important people in his life. To protect them, he would work even harder and smarter to let them enjoy peace and the adoration of the other members in the sect, as well as earn the elders' acknowledgment.
"Silence," Huangfu Fengyun said, immediately quieting the whole arena down. "Everyone, it doesn’t bear repeating that Li Tianming's performance has astounded us all. He passed through the trial on the tower's third floor and defeated Prime Disciple Su Wuyou. By law, he is to replace her. As such, I represent the council of elders and the Grand-Orient Sect to grant Li Tianming of Azure Dragon Sword Mountain the rank of prime disciple!"
His declaration as the first elder was filled with authority.
"Congratulations, Li Tianming."
"Thank you, First Elder. I also thank the council for this honor," Tianming politely said as he formally bowed to accept the rank.
"Not bad. Your growth and safety will now be the council's concern," Huangfu Fengyun said, stroking his long beard with a smile. His words were filled with subtext. On the surface, it implied that the council would nurture him as a prime disciple, but hidden within was a warning to the faction that had grown within the council and considered themselves unbeholden to it.
Everyone knew Tianming was Li Wudi's son, the son of a man who bore a blood feud with the Yuwen Clan. Now that the Yuwen Clan reigned supreme, they would never allow the son of their enemy to continue growing. Tianming's future was sure to be fraught with even more trials.
The Prime Struggle still hadn't ended, though, as Yuwen Zhenxing and the others still hadn't left the third floor. Everyone looked at Tianming and the first elder as they gossiped about what might've happened.
"Come to think of it, what kind of expressions would those of the Yuwen Clan, the Su Clan, and their allies be wearing on their faces?"
"I wonder how Su Wuyou will face them later... Hahaha...."
"I heard she's usually pretty arrogant, and even changed the name of the Fengling Faction to the Wuyou Faction. All the female disciples in the sect also have to pay respects to her."
"Who could imagine she’d suffer such a humiliating defeat?"
The thought of her loss brought smiles to many of their faces. Many people were already going to leave, even though the event had yet to conclude—some elders included. Tianming returned to Ye Shaaoqing's side. Ye Qing, Ye Shaoqing and Ye Yuxi stood unmovingly, staring at him blankly.
"I understand. My handsomeness shocks even me from time to time," Tianming said. What he didn't expect, however, was that his master would come forward and hug him hard.
"My disciple, from now on, your life is my life," he solemnly said.
"Wait, why are you so serious? I knew you couldn't resist the temptation! My handsome face will bring me ruin someday! Woe is me and the sinful burden I bear!" Tianming mock mourned.
Ye Yuxi was the first one to burst out laughing. "You little brat, why are you no different from Li Wudi when he was your age? It's no wonder you became father and son," she said, shaking her head.
"Perhaps this is something shared by all handsome people. I suppose ugly people have it easy," Tianming said.
"Enough crap. You and your father look as good as I look taller than Azure Dragon Sword Mountain."
Ye Qing shook his head at the banter. While he couldn't include himself in their banter, he had been keen on observing Tianming's growth over the past three months. He patted Tianming on the shoulder without saying anything, but his gaze seemed to say that they would ensure that the pentabane of the Li Saint Clan would have no issue growing until the day they retook the Grand-Orient Sect.
"Is Qingyu not back yet?" Tianming looked around, but she was nowhere to be found. He was a little worried; he knew she wouldn't be one to miss his battle.
"That's right. Even at a snail's pace, she should’ve finished a round trip by now," Ye Yuxi said.
"Then I'll send someone to look for her. You two keep watch on Tianming," Ye Qing said.
"No need!" Ye Shaoqing said when he looked out the window. He vanished from Tianming's view, having zipped out of the hall.
"What's going on?" Tianming was shocked and worried at what that meant. He hurriedly looked outside and saw some Grand-Orient guardians entering First Grand-Orient Battlefield from the south just as the audience of a hundred thousand were about to leave. The guards numbered close to a dozen. Some pulled carts, within which were objects covered in bloodstained white cloth. The foremost cart was carrying three covered bodies!
At the very front of the group, two elderly guardians carried a girl between them as they entered. While her hair was messy, it was moon-white in color. Her body was covered in ropes and she could barely move. While she had her head lowered, Tianming, Feiling, and the rest of the Ye Clan immediately knew she was Qingyu.Previous Chapter Next Chapter