Around an hour later, Tianming estimated himself to be at the halfway point of the mountain. He still had to climb at least half of the path before he would arrive at his goal. Having dealt with Xi Menglin and Fan Wutian, he encountered two more sixth-order wildbeasts that weren't too much of a threat to him.
"Hey, run faster!" The moment Tianming said that, Meow Meow and Ying Huo raced, one frantically flapping its wings and the other jumping about the terrain. All of a sudden, they disappeared.
"It's definitely a heavenly pattern barrier!"
Within it, anything could happen. While barriers weren't really visible on the surface, it would be hard to step out once trapped within, not to mention all the weird goings on within. Heavenly pattern barriers were one of the trials of the Throughpath, and there was little he could do but face it when he entered one.
While Ying Huo and Meow Meow had gone in, their telepathic connection with him was still there. As he wasn't willing to let them face danger alone, he decided to go in with them. The moment he stepped onto where they were last seen, he felt as if he had passed through a thin membrane, then the world changed.
In an instant, the dense forest around him turned into a world filled with bloody mist, not unlike how it seemed within the Bloodbane Barrier. While the density of the mist was far from compare to that legendary barrier, it was still enough to obscure his view. Not to mention, if he breathed the mist into his body, he would feel slightly intoxicated, confused, and drowsy, though he noticed that, for some reason, those effects didn't apply to him, thanks to the Prime Tower.
"Guess it's just a matter of walking out then." He immediately spotted his lifebound beasts using his third eye.
"What in the world is this?" Ying Huo asked, stumbling around in confusion.
"We're within a heavenly pattern barrier. Don't just move around aimlessly. I can see much further, so follow behind me," Tianming instructed.
The quickest way to leave the barrier was to progress through it. As the mist greatly impeded one's sight, it would make it really hard to traverse, but Tianming could at least ensure he was moving up the mountain path with his third eye.
"There's someone fighting up ahead." All of them heard some noise not far away.
"Do we get involved?" Ying Huo asked.
"Let's go and see. If it's the Weisheng siblings, we'll give them a hand."
"Ah... I see," Ying Huo said with a chuckle.
"Hehe..." Meow Meow snickered, too.
"Don't even begin. I'm just doing what Master asked me to."
"As a fellow man, I understand. No need to bother explaining it," Ying Huo teased.
"Don't worry. Once Ling'er wakes up, I'll definitely keep my mouth shut about you flirting around. But mess with this cat's sleep and you'll know what's coming," the black cat said, finally finding something he could use.
"Say whatever you want. I have nothing to be sorry for."
Soon, they had passed through a forest and a ravine, arriving at a river covered in bloody mist. He could see it from higher ground. This was the Throughpath River, a river that flowed downward from Heaven's Elysium. If he followed it, he would arrive near the Throughgate.
The four southsky disciples would have an easier time traversing the river. Right now, a battle was taking place in it, though it was less ‘fair fight’ and more ‘being ganged up on’. A group of wildbeasts were attacking a beastmaster and their lifebound beast.
The beastmaster was clad in a white dress that fluttered in the breeze as she stood atop the river, her eyes completely tranquil despite the situation she was in. The lifebound beast within the river was a large, white whale. It was much bigger than most mature lifebound beasts, to the point that the river could barely hold it. The whale was as large as its beastmaster was beautiful. Tianming had read in some files that this beautiful white whale was a fourth-order saint beast called a Stillocean Godwhale.
It was a terrifying water-type lifebound beast, easily able to control the currents whenever it was in water, making it the ruler of the sea. In contrast, it was slightly weaker on land, though that didn't stop it from utilizing most of its potential in rivers.
Usually, beastmasters with water-type lifebound beasts were considered to have unstable capabilities, for it could span a wide range depending on the terrain they were fighting on. Though, that wasn't without merit, for it made defending the Southsky Sect an easy matter. With the raging ocean surrounding it, most of the sect’s members had lifebound beasts that could roam in the seas. As such, it would be much harder for Heaven's Elysium to swallow them, compared to the Onyx Sect.
As they were operating within a relatively limited river, their combat capabilities were slightly hampered, causing them to have a slightly harder time fending off the sixth-order wildbeasts. Tianming noted that the wildbeasts were all blood-colored bats, around twenty in total. They were ugly, but huge, with many threatening spikes all over their bodies. Their savage air made them contrast quite significantly from the ivory-like whale that truly fit well with a beauty like Weisheng Ruosu. Even so, she seemed a little haggard, having to fend off the bats' attacks at the same time.
"What are those wildbeasts called?" Tianming calmly asked as he suddenly showed up before her.
"Crimsonblood Fiendbats. They have two awakened abilities, Confounding Screech and Crimsonblood Miasma," she said, glancing at him as she put up her guard against the attacks. She leaned against her whale most of the time and was faring quite well, but the same couldn't be said for the lone whale; there were traces of blood on it.
Tianming noted that the bats would often gather together and let out an ear-piercing screech that could easily confuse and stagger people. Not to mention, they spat out the bloody mist nonstop, filling the area within the barrier. If Weisheng Ruosu didn't leave soon, she would be in trouble.
"You think?" She rolled her eyes at him.
Ying Huo laughed and patted Tianming's head. "Now, my little bro, go save the damsel like a hero."
"You do it then!" Tianming said, taking the chance to fling the little chick toward the bats. "Here's a snack for you!"
Ying Huo rammed straight into the head of a bat, only to get up and see the bat glaring back at it.
"What are you looking at?" it snapped.
Just as the Crimsonblood Fiendbat was about to erupt, Ying Huo spat out Infernal Flame at its face. Almost instantly, the bat was set aflame as it spiraled down into the water that didn't help extinguish the flames one bit.
"The way you use your whale is too restricted. It should be fighting at its best in the ocean. Leave this here to me," Tianming said as he took out Archfiend. This bloody weapon was the most effective one to use against the bats.
As for Meow Meow, it was still testing out the capabilities of its poisonous claws. They were dealing quite a bit of damage to the bats. After morphing into a Regal Chaosfiend, Meow Meow jumped up and latched onto a bat with its teeth before tearing its chest apart with its toxic claws.
Ying Huo, on the other hand, used both battle arts and abilities, decimating a wide area despite its small size.
As for Tianming, he remained pretty still, only flicking his wrist to lash out with Archfiend using Soul Hook, easily piercing the heads of the bats. The three of them ushered in a complete bloodbath. With Weisheng Ruosu helping them out, the bats were soon eradicated, with the remnants escaping with their lives.
"Done deal," Tianming said, calling his critters back to him.
Weisheng Ruosu carefully tended to her whale's injuries by applying some spirit herbs on its wounds before letting it into her lifebound space to recuperate. Turning back to Tianming, she said, "Thank you so much, really."
"It's no big deal. Let's go," Tianming said.
"Do you want to travel with me?"
"I do. My master asked me to look after you."
"Who is your master?"
"Oh, my father's friend," she said with a smile. She then tagged along with Tianming as he scanned for the path with his third eye.
"Seeing your performance just now, I believe you're a pentabane and that you defeated Yuwen Shendu," she said, looking ever so alluring, like a ruby clouded in bloody mist. However, Tianming didn't dare ogle her, for Feiling was literally resting on his chest. He felt a slight pang of guilt the more he looked at her unnecessarily. As for Ying Huo, it kept snickering the whole way before Tianming stuffed it into his lifebound space.
"So you didn't believe me before?"
"Why is that?"
"I trust my dad's judgment, not to mention you didn't seem like someone who would claim to do more than you actually could." She looked at him as if he was some interesting specimen.
"Well, you're not wrong. I'm pretty low key myself." He was freaking out over the assignment his master had given him. Initially, he felt fine about it, but after the little chick's teasing, he now felt like he was doing something wrong. It didn't help that her lifebound beast was a freaking whale.
What was even worse was, with how large the heavenly pattern barrier was, it was easy for him to lose his way even with his third eye. That sapped quite a lot of time from him and he felt he might not be able to make it. All he could do was hurry up along the way without chatting too much.
Weisheng Ruosu treated him rather well. If it were any other Heavenly Will disciple, they would die laughing right after hearing that Tianming was sent to protect them.
"I'm going to speed up. Can you keep up?"
Tianming then went all out, and much to her dismay, she found herself having a little trouble keeping up as she wondered if he was truly only at Unity. It was one thing for him to be able to kill Yuwen Shendu; perhaps the latter's cultivation at Heavenly Will hadn't been stabilized yet. Not to mention, battles to the death were hard to predict by nature.
As for killing the Crimsonblood Fiendbats, it could be that his techniques were uniquely suited for the task. But for his speed to be even higher than hers, something had to be amiss. All she could do was push herself to keep up, forcing her to drop any notion of keeping up appearances as the Heavenly Will disciple among the two.
With their rate of ascent, they would soon reach the Throughgate. Tianming was already at the foot of the door, just about to head in. Right then, he saw around six people nearby. If all of them entered the door, there would only be one place left. Thankfully, they hadn't done so yet. The barrier had delayed all of them quite a lot after all.
However, what were they doing standing outside instead of going in? Tianming immediately recognized the leader of the six as the Cloudmist Sword School's Sikong Tianchen. From their encounter yesterday, he could tell that he was rather powerful, with his sword intent in particular being rather sharp.
Kneeling in front of Sikong Tianchen was a youth clad in green and covered in sword cuts, bloodied all over. He was Weisheng Qingluan. Sikong Tianchen had a sword to his ear and would be able to take it whenever he pleased. Though, he wasn't looking at Weisheng Qingluan, but rather in the direction of the path. He soon spotted Tianming and Weisheng Ruosu.Previous Chapter Next Chapter