“Free him now!” Liu Qing said once again, her heart aching just by looking at Liu Qianyang’s suffering. Li Tianming couldn’t help but sneer, knowing that she was the very person Liu Qianyang desired the most.
“Relax, I still have a question for our friends from Lightning Manor. According to your rules, I have defeated all your disciples. Then do I, a friend of Princess Qing, have ownership of the manna now?” Li Tianming really was like a crazed demon, his actions unpredictable. There was no way Li Tianming would lose with Liu Qianyang’s life as his bargaining chip, even to those with greater seniority and strength than him.
Liu Qing gritted her teeth, “I admit the manna is yours.”
“Aha, since you’ve admitted it, then make sure y’all don’t regret this later. You've all lost enough face today.” Li Tianming’s voice was loud and clear, echoing through the city.
“That’s enough, let go of him.” Li Yanfeng’s patience was at a dangerous level. Li Tianming was right that he had lost enough face today.
“No, no. Just one more thing, something more personal.” Li Tianming grinned.
“Don’t push my limits, Princess Qing can’t save you from everything!” Li Yanfeng threatened, forcing the words out one by one. He wanted to scare Li Tianming using his aura, but Li Tianming wasn't going to succumb to that!
“Of course not. It is my humble wish that the governor would send the winner of the Flameyellow Order off just like what you did for previous selections. And you will wish me a bright future in the Flameyellow Scions Institute!” Li Tianming declared, shocking the city yet again.
To Li Tianming, he was merely repeating his request a month ago, and it was something more important to him than the manna and the Flameyellow Order combined. It was a matter of dignity for both him and his mother. He would not let Li Yanfeng silently evict the pair from the city, nor did he want the city to just laugh and forget about them. It was a move to ridicule the governor in front of the entire Flamehaven!
At that instant, Li Yanfeng went silent.
“Are you not going to agree to my conditions? Surely you wouldn’t want to disappoint your new bride right?” Li Tianming smacked Liu Qianyang in the cheeks again while staring coldly at Li Yanfeng.
“Just agree. Get him out of my sight.” Liu Qing’s mind had gone blank looking at the state her brother was in. She had done so much to help him get the Flameyellow Order and manna. But now, everything went to Li Tianming instead.
“Oh and please prepare a horse cart, a slightly bigger one than usual.” Li Tianming added. He could even feel the air around Li Yanfeng freezing, knowing that the thought of killing him must have crossed Li Yanfeng’s mind at some point in time. But no matter what Li Yanfeng said, he was still scared of the jade pendant. Considering that he had plans and ambitions in the Lightning Manor, he couldn’t afford to make enemies with the wrong people.
“Horseman!” Eventually, Li Yanfeng shouted to his subordinates. He didn’t address Li Tianming, but the word was enough to show his concession. This result was good enough for Li Tianming.
A short while later, a luxurious horse cart had parked itself in front of Li Tianming. The three horses were all tamed one-star wildbeasts, a guarantee of the cart’s speed. Now the only step left was for the governor to send them off personally, before Liu Qianyang could be released.
“Thank you Mr Governor.” Li Tianming acknowledged the gift with a light bow, his smile speaking of his defiance. Without hesitation, Li Tianming walked towards the courtyard, Liu Qianyang dragged along in his hand like a broken rag.
“Mother, are you ready? It’s time to go.” Li Tianming poked his head into the courtyard.
“Let’s go then.” To his surprise, Wei Jing had already woken up, and was standing at the doors. She had kept her lifebound beast in her lifebound space, and there was no other luggage with her.
She walked up to Li Tianming, gently wiping off the blood from his face. She didn’t mention a word on the day’s happenings, but from the relieved smile on her face, Li Tianming could tell that she was freed from the pain that Li Yanfeng had brought upon the family.
“Mother, after you.” At the center of everyone’s attention, Li Tianming escorted an elderly woman out of the courtyard. Even though her hair was an ashen white and her skin wrinkled, onlookers could tell from her elegant posture that she was once a charmer.
With a ragged Liu Qianyang in one hand and his mother in the other, Li Tianming carefully supported her up the horse cart.
Before the curtains of the cart lowered, Wei Jing took a final look in Li Yanfeng’s direction. He was dazed by her gracefulness, as it reminded him of her charm during their youth. Back then, he often wondered what he had done to deserve this wonderful woman.
But now, as she disappeared from sight with a smile still on her face, Li Yanfeng couldn't help but feel ashamed. She was as calm and composed as ever, as if Li Yanfeng never deserved her in the first place.
But she was the one that was sick and dying! Why was it that even when she’s leaving the city, she was more dignified than he ever would be? Her smile was like a knife, hurting him more than anything Li Tianming had done so far. But as the curtain closed completely, he had lost his final chance to question her, and they would never meet again.
Li Tianming seated himself on the cart too, personally manning the horse cart. Liu Qianyang was still by his side, only to be freed once they left the city. As the group rode off, Li Tianming turned back and shouted at Li Yanfeng. “Esteemed Governor, remember to keep up! Wouldn’t it be sad if I just dump this genius beastmaster outside of the city and no one even picks him up?”
There was no one to reply to him, as Li Yanfeng was still pondering over Wei Jing’s reactions. But as Li Tianming rode off into the distance, they had no choice but to run after him in fear of Liu Qianyang’s safety!
What a rare sight it was for Flamehaven! A group led by the governor Li Yanfeng himself, consisting of disciples of Lightning Manor and the officials and generals from Flamehaven, chasing after a horse cart! Li Tianming drove along the familiar streets of the city he grew up in, with all the rich and famous behind his back ‘sending him off’!
Countless citizens watched his departure in awe, his achievements today something they would remember for life. They would never forget this image of Li Tianming breaking free from this city, while all the big-shots could do nothing to stop him.
Li Tianming could feel the gentle breeze caressing his face, as all the buildings and stunned residents flew past his sight. It was a refreshing feeling that he had never experienced before!
“Perhaps this is the purpose of all my cultivation, to fight for my dignity and to be the master of my own life!” From now on, Flamehaven was history to him. He would never return to this heartless place, nor see these cold-blooded people. His goal would be the Flameyellow Scions Institute, the place where he had lost many things, and also the place where he would take everything back!
“What a badass. From now on, you should change your name to Tianming the Badass, so you can truly cut all ties with your father!” said the little chick who was positioned on top of one of the horses.
“Screw off!” Li Tianming laughed. He may have cut ties with many family members today, but he had gained a new brother. In fact, there were many more siblings in his lifebound space, waiting to join him, and that was more than enough for him.
Li Tianming could already see the city gate by now. Even the travelling time felt so much shorter when he was in a good mood. The moment he crossed the gate, he casually tossed Liu Qianyang away. By the time Li Yanfeng’s group caught up and brought Liu Qianyang back to his feet, Li Tianming was already disappearing into the distance.
“Lord Governor, you forgot to wish me a bright future in the institute!” Even as he left, his voice seemed to linger across the city.
“Where’s the Thunderfire Chain?” Li Yanfeng realised something was wrong when he helped Liu Qianyang up. Obviously, Li Tianming had pocketed that precious grade three beastial weapon.
“That bastard!” Li Yanfeng stood up and prepared to chase down the horse cart, knowing that they got fooled yet again.
“Forget it, we have lost enough face today. Can you imagine what the people would say about us if we pursued him now?” Liu Qing shook her head. Indeed, every single one of them there had been played by the young man, and they really shouldn't stoop any lower.
“He wouldn’t be laughing much longer. Even with the Flameyellow Order, he can’t make it into the Flameyellow Scions Institute since it is impossible for him to clear the entrance exam,” Zhang Chong stated, hoping that it would make everyone feel better.
“It would be a joke if a one-star lifebound beast made it into the institute,” replied Jiang Tao.
“I heard that the Entrance Exam this year would be extra difficult since it is a very competitive year. We are seeing a large number of capable youths, but the number of people admitted to the institute is fixed.”
“That’s right, and no matter how many prodigies there are, out of all the disciples who can clear the entrance exam, only one of them gets to become the prime disciple and enter Heaven’s Sanctum directly!”
To get first place in the entrance exam and directly enter Heaven's Sanctum was every youth’s dream. While there were still plenty of opportunities to be enlisted in the sanctum, the honor of being the prime disciple in the quadrennial examination was something unique.
Four years ago, the prime disciple of Li Tianming’s batch was Lin Xiaoting of the Lightning Manor! And today, he had become the number one genius in Heaven’s Sanctum!
“Four years ago Lin Xiaoting won the position as the prime disciple. I wonder who would be the lucky one this year?”
“I’m not sure about the rest, but our very own Lin Xiaoxiao is definitely one of the popular picks. She is the closest to Lin Xiaoting’s level in the past four years.”
“Not only is she Xiaoting’s younger sister, she is also a twin beastmaster just like him! Both of them commands two lifebound beasts!”
“Xiaoxiao had been putting in a lot of effort in the past years to reach her brother’s standards. Even if we have strong contestants from families like the Vermilion Bird Clan, I suppose our Lightning Manor prodigy will shake the world once more.”
Naturally, Li Tianming didn’t hear all these discussions going on in Flamehaven. Four years ago, he had barely made it past the entrance exam to study in the Flameyellow Scions Institute. While it was a marvelous result for Flamehaven’s standard, it was nothing in Ignispolis.
But this time, Li Tianming’s goal was different. This time, the only result he would accept would be to become the prime disciple!