“Senior speaks correctly. Not many know of the truth. Do you have any advice for me?” Li Tianming asked respectfully.
Indeed, him lacking a backer had been one of the reasons for his failure.
“Not really. No one can help you get back what you’ve lost, especially when it’s against Lightning Manor.” Then, he caught sight of Ying Huo, which he stared at for a while. “It seems I underestimated you. I thought your trip back was meaningless. However, I never expected your new lifebound beast to be a six-star one!”
He must have seen the six stars in the little chick’s eyes. However, he would not expect that the truth actually wasn’t that simple.
“It’s a true miracle to do this with a blood pact. That shows you’re rather lucky, except that you’re still lacking a backer.” The man continued.
“You want to take the entrance exam again?”
“The exam will be easy. Entering Heaven’s Sanctum is another matter altogether. You’ll most likely need a few years in the institute before you get the chance.”
“How exactly did senior know that was my goal?” Li Tianming suddenly asked.
“Could senior have heard my conversation with my mother?” Li Tianming continued that line of questioning.
“Your eyes remind me of someone too. Chen Yao from Chen Chateau. Would you happen to be…”
“Alright, no need to continue. What a smart kid.” The man chuckled. As soon as he revealed a flaw, Li Tianming had asked a quick three questions that pulled aside the veil of his identity.
“Sure. I’ll just take it as you’re one of my mother’s friends,” Li Tianming nodded. He knew when to quit. Obviously, the man didn’t want to reveal his identity if he had hidden his face. Furthermore, his first action upon revealing himself was to make Li Tianming not wake up his mother.
And most of all, Li Tianming didn’t believe he himself would attract such people.
“I feel slightly more relieved now that I’ve seen your new beast. Take good care of your mother.” Now that Li Tianming had guessed his identity, he had become more forthcoming.
“She’s a great person, but also plagued by misfortune. I’ll naturally do whatever I can.” Li Tianming said.
“I heard what you said during the day. You’re one filial kid alright.” The man praised. Li Yanfeng, who cursed his son everyday, wouldn’t have agreed... but he didn’t know that. Filial or unfilial, it really depended on the parent.
“Senior really was eavesdropping.”
The man spluttered, “Don’t let your mom know I came here today, understood? Otherwise, it’ll be more troublesome for me to help you in the future.” The man gave a solemn reminder.
“Don’t worry. My lips are sealed.” Li Tianming hurriedly said. Only an idiot would reject it when this man wanted to help him because of his mother.
“Mine too!” Ying Huo interjected.
“Interesting,” The man nodded before taking out a crimson gem with red heavenly patterns and placing it into Li Tianming’s hand
“It’s kinda stingy for your greeting gift to just be a crimson gem with red heavenly patterns.” The little chick stared. After all, those were the spirit ores of the lowest value.
The man chuckled. “This contains my power. Crush it if you meet trouble you can’t resolve. It’ll help me locate you. However, it’s only good for one use.”
Li Tianming had just known there was no way he would be so stingy! He quickly kept it. It was a good item. After all, there were definitely going to be lots of unresolvable troubles on this trip back.
“Remember, I can’t help you openly,” the man warned.
“Don’t worry, senior. I know the score.”
“Fine. I wish you luck for the exam. I’ll be going now.” The man was rather satisfied with Li Tianming.
With his strength, he could easily vanish in the blink of an eye, so Li Tianming hurriedly shouted, nearly loud enough to wake Wei Jing up, “Wait a moment!”
“Softer!” The man was rather panicked too.
“My bad,” Li Tianming said.
“What else is it?”
“Senior, any chance I could take a really small loan?”
“...” The man stared at Li Tianming with a strange expression, before snorting with amusement. “Your personality is rather like your mom’s while she was younger. Very direct. You don’t beat around the bush, do you?”
“Thanks. Still, when I make big bucks in the future. I’ll pay you back ten times. Not one cent less. And I’ll do it within a year.” Li Tianming said sincerely.
He needed more capital for the entrance exam. And, he needed even more to become the prime disciple. Still, he was really poor now, so he needed money! That was no way he would let the chance pass when such a helper appeared!
“What if you can’t afford to pay up?” The man’s expression was unreadable.
“Well… You can have the chick, I suppose. It’s like my brother. You can’t place a price on that bond. Losing it will be like losing a part of me.” Li Tianming said righteously.
“You traitor!” The little chick nearly coughed up blood.
“I accept the deal.” The man said cheerfully, “Six-star beasts do make rather nourishing soup. Since you’re giving such a good interest rate, I could consider lending more. What’s the most you can handle?”
“No need to be polite. The sky’s the limit!”
“Pretty gutsy. Take care of it. I’ll be back for debt collection in a year. Let’s see how much you can cough up then.” The man searched his chest area for a little, before tossing a pouch of money onto the ground, where it landed with a loud thud.
The two men and one chick flinched.
The man hadn’t expected such a loud sound since he was busy talking.
They stared at each other, going completely silent until they were certain Wei Jing hadn’t woken up. Finally, they heaved a sigh of relief.
“Li Tianming, remember. Ten times!” With those parting words, the man flew out the window.
The two left exchanged a look.
“Quick!” The chick quickly burrowed into the pouch, before coming back out. It looked pitifully at Li Tianming, “Welp, you’re kaput.”
“How much is there?” Li Tianming asked.
“Take a look yourself.”
Li Tianming picked it up and opened it, upon which spiritual energy gushed out. He casually took out a crimson gem. It was currently burning at a high temperature and a yellow heavenly pattern was on it!
Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet. Yellow was the third from the bottom. Yellow heavenly markings made it worth ten crimson jades with only orange markings. It was wealth only a Spiritsource beastmaster could use.
“And there are one thousand of them. You have to return ten thousand in one year! Kaput. You’re done for, Li Tianming.” The little chick looked at him mockingly.
“Alright, Ying Huo. In such situations, we need to think this through rationally. Who’s going to become chicken soup if I can’t pay up. Me? Or you?” Li Tianming said solemnly.
A shudder ran through the little chick’s body. That’s right, he was the one bound to become soup if Li Tianming failed!
“You’re inhuman, Li Tianming!” The little chick raged.
Jokes aside, Li Tianming really hadn’t expected this much wealth. A thousand crimson gems with yellow heavenly patterns was definitely worth a lot. It would help him resolve many troubles.
Still, he had his principles. Since he had borrowed it, he would pay it back. He hadn’t been joking when he said he would pay back ten times.
These one thousand gems were like charcoal sent during winter, something very much appreciated!
Li Tianming was very thankful to that man, even if he couldn’t say the identity he had guessed out loud. Even moreso, he couldn’t let his mother know. She wouldn’t accept it.
“Grace accepted today will be paid back another day.” Such kindness shown, especially when he was down on his luck, had to be paid back in spades one day! That was his belief!
Their cultivation speed would reach terrifying speeds with this, and it would let him choose some good battle arts. He was clear that what he had wasn’t enough if he wanted to rank high in the exam.
The exam had two parts: the admission and ranking tests.
The admission test was just to decide if you could join the institute if you passed. After entry, you would receive guidance and enjoy the resources of the Flameyellow Scions Institute.
Participation in the ranking test rested on passing the admission test. It would generate a ranking list of the new disciples.
Placing first would grant a direct ride to Heaven’s Sanctum. Those that ranked well would also be allocated more resources.
However, Li Tianming had barely passed four years ago. His ranking had also been towards the tail-end, so he hadn’t had much resources in the institute. As for Lin Xiaoting, he had clinched first and joined the Sanctum.
Li Tianming’s current power would easily let him be admitted. However, the ranking test would be difficult. “I’ll make a trip first to Xing & Chen Repository. They’ll have some good battle arts. When the admission tests start in three days, I’ll need good battle arts to showcase myself.” Li Tianming immediately made a decision.
Xing & Chen Repository was the trade and commerce hub Xing & Chen Merchantry had set up in Ignispolis, the largest in the country. The land it took up, a third of Flamehaven, was enough to fit a small city. It was called a ‘repository’ as it supposedly held anything and everything inside. Li Tianming would find what he needed as long as he had the money.
As it was late, he and Ying Huo simply ate the crimson jades to cultivate. The senior likely hadn’t expected they had such an abnormal way of training.
The little chick had been peckish for quite a while. They made smooth progress towards the eighth level, enough that Li Tianming had the feeling they would reach it within the three days.
The next day, he prepared breakfast for his mother before making his way to Xing & Chen Repository.
“I originally thought I was going to sell the Thunderfire Chain. However, if I find a suitable battle art for this grade three weapon, it’s going to be much stronger than the Crimson Blood Dagger."
The two quickly reached their destination!