If even his lifebound beasts were fighting so hard to survive, how could Tianming let them do it alone? He took three slashes from Yuwen Shendu on his arm, causing him to tumble and roll from the force. This time, he was being horribly beaten up, but it only fueled him even further. He got up again with sword in hand. As long as he was still alive, he had a chance.
"Do you still want to hold on? Can't you tell I'm toying with you? You would've died otherwise," Yuwen Shendu said, snickering. He had never been a person like that, but this time, his heart was twisted.
"I heard those of the Li Saint Clan have an unyielding will that allow them to completely turn the tables. Li Tianming, I'd like you to show that to me. In this world, power dominates. There's no such thing as going against fate. That's why your vain struggle is only a joke at the expense of the Li Saint Clan. Otherwise, you wouldn't be in such dire straits that anyone can push you around like that. Changing fate is nothing but a fool's dream."
He was fully capable of saying that, as he currently held an overwhelming advantage. His next sword strike targeted Tianming's chest, parting his skin and revealing his ribs. Even so, Tianming still stood back up and glared coldly at Yuwen Shendu. He moved his hand as well as his sword.
Tianming was completely immersed in his own world. Nobody knew how he still managed to muster that kind of willpower. Even when blood was spurting out of his chest nonstop, he didn't so much as furrow his brow. Not to mention, they couldn't see the tower within his lifebound space letting out a warm, white light that stopped his bleeding and was gradually healing his wounds.
"Big Brother, can you let me go all out?" Feiling asked. She, too, had felt the pain of the cut in her chest. Seeing him get physically hurt made her feel even more pain than he did. Her eyes in her spiritual form shone with radiant, fiery brightness. It was a golden glow that had never been seen on her before. What was she going to do?
"Ling'er, it's fine. I'm only one step shy. As long as I can take that step, we'll survive!" He was now putting up his last stand. Nobody could suppress the rampant emotions he was feeling.
"I know. I don't want to die either, Big Brother. Let me give you a push for that last step, alright?" she asked with a shaking, but determined voice.
"Is grade twenty synchronization not enough?" Tianming knew that had it not been for her help, he would've long been killed.
"No. I can go one step further, but...."
"I'm afraid I'll be in deep sleep for some time. But at least it's better than dying!"
"What do you mean?"
"My fifth ability just awakened. It's called Soulburn. It's a little like Spiritual Attachment, but used on the enemy's body. I’ll be able to burn up most of his beast ki and greatly weaken him!" It was unquestionably a strong ability.
"So there's a side effect?"
"Yes. After Soulburn, I will be forced to remain dormant in spiritual form for a time. Thankfully, I have a suitable vessel to inhabit: Ling'er's Love." She knew what he was worried about and clarified immediately.
"I got it." The speed with which he communicated with her was much faster than even his telepathic communication with his lifebound beasts.
"Big Brother, while I might have to leave your side for quite a while, at least we’ll survive. It won't be the perfect ending we were hoping for, but I know you well enough to know that you'd pick this over anything else, right?" She knew how much he must be agonizing over her, but they didn't have the luxury of choice this time around. At the brink of death, there wasn’t much else to consider.
"I hope that when I wake up next time, I'll be able to see how strong you've become." It seemed she wasn't going to give him a chance to refuse. This was their only hope!
"Guess I'll be imposing on you for this. Don't use it again without my permission, alright?"
"I know. I’ll definitely ask you whenever I want to use it." She smiled. Even in her spirit form, that didn't detract one bit from the radiance her eyes were emitting. There was nobody who looked nearly as stunning as her. Even though Tianming had basically chosen suicide, she was no different. Even so, she shone far brighter than ever. It was utmost bliss for her that she could manage to contribute to those she cared for. Before now, she wasn't powerful enough with only her four abilities. But now, when the seal on her thumb was finally removed, this golden flame was her first ever fang.
Soulburn! The moment Yuwen Shendu came in for another slash to kill Tianming for good, a golden flame gathered on Tianming's body and shot toward him.
"What's this?!" he said with a start, then circulated his beast ki to force the flame back. Little did he expect that his beast ki would fuel the flame even more. What was worse was that the flame immediately seeped into the forty-five spiritsources in his body, setting them alight. As he burned, his beast ki deteriorated at blinding speeds. This was something he had never experienced, nor even heard of all his life, yet it was happening. Soulburn was a nightmare for beast ki; it was even more powerful than Spiritual Attachment.
"Yuwen Shendu, the world is filled with all kinds of possibilities. You thought you had our lives in your hand, but we’ll show you that underestimating us will cost you!" said the flame. It was the voice of a brave girl who had finally bared her fangs. In the next moment, the flame swallowed the last of his beast ki, making him feel true fear for the first time. When he looked back up and saw Tianming's gaze, he shuddered.
"I swore I wouldn't let anyone harm her, but today I had to make her risk her life for my survival. Yuwen Shendu, there are many different kinds of people in this world. Don't think you've seen through all of them already."
Tianming had seen how fiercely Meow Meow and Ying Huo had fought to protect their family, to the point that they had to stuff their leaking innards back in to continue fighting. He had seen Feiling consume herself to burn Yuwen Shendu's beast ki and give him the slightest chance of survival. None of them were people he could afford to let down. Tianming felt like he was a volcano that had lain dormant for ten thousand years; the magma was gathering at his chest, and it all burst out this moment.
He clasped Onyx Dragon with both hands, his blood flowing down and fusing with the sword. Looking up, he saw the Prime Tower, upon which the countless heroic ancestors of the Li Saint Clan were sitting, observing him. Soulburn could only lower Yuwen Shendu's level. If he wanted to survive and not waste Feiling's sacrifice, he could only rely on himself. His body burned and surged with countless bolts of lightning.
"You called the Li Saint Clan a joke that can be pushed around by anyone. You said that changing fate is just a lie I tell myself. That only shows that you’ve never truly understood our ancestors. You've done nothing but cultivate and think yourself above others, yet you don't know the kind of struggles mere mortals have to face to resist their fate.
"Yuwen Shendu, you've never been able to see their hardship, training on your privileged pedestal the whole time. What's worse is that you don't understand how people like me have to forge our own path to cultivate and break the chains of fate. Since you don't know, you have no right to comment on our path, nor mock our fighting spirit. Ignorance is no excuse. Not everyone can afford to master the life and death of others from up high! You'll never understand how people like me can change our fates by fighting to survive to the point we're able to stand here and face the lofty likes of people like you!"
He wasn't trying to preach to Yuwen Shendu. Instead, he was reminding himself that the Li Saint Clan never cowers in the face of death. That had been the case since the founding ancestor had fought to form the sect through five decades of turbulent hardship.
"Without the Li Saint clan, the Yuwen Clan would never have come to exist as it does today!"
Tianming had joined the fight to trade his life away. From the very beginning, he had shown more courage than Yuwen Shendu, challenging someone far beyond his league. The whole time, he’d been considering what he needed to go from Starfall to Cosmic Break, and now he understood.
The moment Yuwen Shendu looked down on his clan's heroic spirits—even mocking them—the moment he told Tianming that he could control and toy with his life, Tianming finally crossed the last divide. With his mortal body, he transcended life and death, went against the current of nature, felled the stars, and broke the cosmos!
It wasn't just him; Feiling was also a mere mortal, an existence not unlike that of an ant. But now, the both of them together showed Yuwen Shendu what fighting spirit, courage, mastery over fear of death, and changing their fates looked like.
The audience saw Tianming fearlessly charge toward Yuwen Shendu with Onyx Dragon raised in both hands and cheered. Right now, he was without Feiling's Spiritual Attachment. Even so, the will of the Voidgod Sword Intent soared to a hitherto unimaginable peak. The ancestral blood in the Kunpeng Sacred seal gathered into his sword intent. Even the ten bane-rings eerily glowed, as if they were about to be torn apart by Tianming's will. He unleashed Cosmic Break, sending sword ki bursting out. His sword intent took the form of a divine black dragon charging out of its prison, a sight that shocked even Yuwen Shendu.
"Go away!" He hated the feeling of being suppressed. It was as if he was the weakling even though he hadn't lost yet. He was once more fueled with unending rage.
"Li Tianming, it's over!" He used the strike he’d just comprehended a few days ago: Darksoul Hellblade, Rebirth!
This strike was even more fearsome than Pagoda. It embodied the will of a reaper harvesting droves of souls. It was just like Yuwen Shendu, who loftily decided the fate of the so-called mere mortals. This slash symbolized his endless pride.
But when he struck out, he immediately winced as he noticed there was barely any beast ki he could utilize for the move. This was the greatest mistake he had ever made. He had underestimated Soulburn and Cosmic Break's might, but the power behind his strike was still substantial. The grey aura that surged from it crushed many rocks to dust.
Even so, it was no match for Cosmic Break when it came crashing down.
"Dieeeee!" Tianming roared. Everyone watched as the strike came crashing down, breaking through Yuwen Shendu's slash like it was bamboo and sending Necrodiabolus flying. Right after, Onyx Dragon speedily cut into Yuwen Shendu's head.
The audience immediately fell silent. Yuwen Shendu had blanked out the moment his blade was knocked from his hands, then again when Onyx Dragon cut into his head. He had never felt this pressured before, but it looked like it had all ended. Everything disappeared with an instant of pain—he had been completely bisected by that strike and died, just like that.
That strike was too fast, fierce, cruel, and explosive. If Yuwen Shendu had a move just as powerful, Tianming would've died long ago. He could never understand to what extent someone fighting for their survival would go, and Tianming didn't even give him an instant to make his peace. He ended him with a strike without any hesitation at all. Yuwen Shendu wasn't even given the chance to feel fear, nor speak a single word. Even if he had, nobody would find out about it, for it was all over.
The bisected corpse blasted apart and let out rivers of blood, staining the only youth that remained standing red. Tianming breathed out deeply, picked up his sword, and turned to charge at the Saintfiend Taotie without so much as sparing Yuwen Shendu’s fresh corpse a glance.
By now, he had dominated the battlefield in its entirety.Previous Chapter Next Chapter