In fact, all the twin beastmasters were well-known experts, and they often lived their whole life under the spotlight. Anyone would envy a twin beastmaster, and Li Tianming was no different. But he never imagined that he could become one himself one day. Not just that, he still had nine eggs that were unhatched, which marked him as an up-and-coming decuplet beastmaster. Just the thought of having ten lifebound beasts was overwhelming.
In Vermilion Bird’s history existed sagas of triplet beastmasters, and even then, those were just myths with no concrete evidence. Having ten lifebound beasts was out of anyone’s imagination. The only thing Li Tianming knew for sure was that his body would be completely modified by the bloodline of his ten beasts, and his strength would also be the sum of the ten. Such were the benefits of symbiotic cultivation, where the numbers and grade of the lifebound beasts determined the talent of their masters.
As for why Li Tianming knew so much about twin beastmasters, it was because he personally knew one of them. That person was none other than his foe Lin Xiaoting, famous for commanding two lifebound beasts!
“This is just the first step of my revenge.” Li Tianming looked at the four battle arts in his hands. It was only going to get tougher from here on, but he was ready for the challenge.
Mu Qingqing was in this city too. Four years ago, they arrived at Ignispolis together, helping each other out and clearing the entrance exam together. Li Tianming thought those were the happiest days of his life. But he could never expect that the woman he trusted the most betrayed him for wealth and power, stabbing him in the back together with Lin Xiaoting.
He hated Lin Xiaoting, and of course he hated Mu Qingqing. He was no saint, and would not hide his yearning to kill them both. There was no room for negotiation around that, as that was the only way he could honor his brother, Midas, who had fought alongside him for more than a decade. The goldroc was never as lively or as talented as the little chick, but Li Tianming knew that he owed it its life. Every feather that was torn out from Midas on that stormy night was like a dagger that stabbed straight into Li Tianming’s heart. If only he had not trusted the wrong person, if only he was strong enough…
Li Tianming stood still in the Xing & Chen Repository as the waves of flashbacks and memories hit him. It has been three years, and he had finally returned to this city. He was nearing them, and they might even meet during the entrance exam two days later!
“Li Tianming?” While he was still deep in thought, Li Tianming heard someone mention his name. He quickly set his memories aside and was surprised to see some familiar faces.
Standing behind him was a brilliant-looking boy surrounded by a group of youths of the same age, all of them studying Li Tianming. He was none other than the young master of this Xing & Chen Repository, Sage Chen’s youngest son Chen Yao. They had just met at Chen Chateau yesterday.
“You know my name?” Li Tianming recalled that he didn’t introduce himself during yesterday’s meeting.
“Of course, you have quite the reputation around here.”Chen Yao replied with a grin, causing the group to snicker.
“Most people around here know your stories, although if you hadn’t returned, they would have forgotten about you by now,” said one of the girls beside Chen Yao.
“Ying’er, don’t be so rude to brother Tianming. It’s not easy for scum like him to muster the courage to come back and make a fool of himself.” A hulking boy about the height of two meters laughed. The group of them were all younger than Li Tianming, perhaps around Liu Qianyang’s age.
Li Tianming didn’t expect his name to be so well-known. It seemed that Lin Xiaoting had put in a lot of effort to defame him.
“Chen Ying, Chen Ding, don’t mock him. If he ever decides to take his own life in shame, you are all accountable.” Chen Yao smiled.
“Brother Yao must have underestimated him. His face was thick enough for him to not die of shame three years ago after the atrocities he committed,” Chen Ying muttered, causing the group to chuckle again. It was sad to see kids from reputable families being brought up like this, Li Tianming thought.
Chen Yao walked towards Li Tianming, and spoke in a threatening tone, “Was that granny yesterday your mother? What a hideous sight, don’t you ever bring her near my mother again. Not only do you dirty Chen Chateau, you are also besmirching our reputations.”
Li Tianming could never tolerate anyone speaking bad of his mother. While he initially held no hostility towards this young master, he had changed his mind after these words. Then again, the both of them wanted to compete for the slot to Heaven’s Sanctum, making the two of them rivals during the entrance exam.
“Chen Yao, remember that there are some things that should never be said. You never know when you will be regretting them,” said Li Tianming.
“What, you mean that I’ll regret looking down on you and your dying mother?” Chen Yao was cracking up. As for the group behind him, they were already rolling around in laughter, as if Li Tianming was some kind of clown.
“Think what you want, but you will see for yourself what I mean soon.” Li Tianming said, unaffected by the taunts. After all the things he had gone through, he was no longer affected by insults like these. Li Tianming knew better than anyone, that the best way to retaliate was to trounce them when the right opportunity arrived. What was the fun in beating them now, when he could do so during the entrance exam in front of thousands of audience, and crush his hope of entering Heaven's Sanctum?
“Is this a challenge?” Chen Yao looked at Li Tianming as if he was some kind of an idiot.
“What a poor thing. It looks like the accident three years ago had permanently damaged his brain.” Chen Ying said.
“Brother Yao, what do you think this fool is doing in the repository? Look at the four battle arts in his hand, do you reckon he might be here to steal?”
“You’re right, this is the source-ranked battle art area, each of these is worth a fortune! There’s no way he can afford all four of those!” The youths were not joking when they said that, and it would have been true if it wasn’t for the mysterious man’s help.
“Don’t let him take them, someone, chase this thief out of the repository!” Chen Ying urged.
“Just chasing him away is enough? We better teach him a lesson,” Chen Ding commented.
They thought they were acting clever, and it was true that they had the backing to. But in Li Tianming’s eyes, such arrogance and insolence would never get them anywhere in life.
At the young master’s words, a bunch of guards closed in on Li Tianming, ready to pounce on him anytime.
“Thief?” Li Tianming snorted at their imagination. He couldn’t be bothered with these immature kids, especially not when he was in their territory. His main goal for the day was to select battle arts for himself. There were ample opportunities to shut those brats up after he mastered them.
Li Tianming walked towards the counter. Naturally, the cashiers had witnessed the happenings too, and were watching him closely. While the exit may be right beside the counter, Li Tianming would be naive if he thought he could make a run for it. The Xing & Chen Repository was filled with trained experts who could take down Li Tianming within seconds.
At the center of everyone’s attention, Li Tianming handed the battle arts to the cashier. “That’s all, please pack it up.”
The cashiers were probably thinking of the same things as the youths, and one of them said, “Sir, do you know what’s the consequences of messing with Xing & Chen Repository?”
“Huh, is this how you treat your customers. How eye-opening.” As he spoke, Li Tianming drew out his pouch, emptying its contents onto the counter. The yellow patterned crimson gems splattered across the table, and Li Tianming only stopped pouring after he counted four hundred and seven gems.
Li Tianming smiled.“I pay for what I want, no? If this is considered as ‘messing around’, then the repository will have quite a lot of people to deal with.”
The moment Li Tianming started pouring out the crimson gems, the cashiers were already bemused. That applied to Chen Yao’s group as well, who were ready to see Li Tianming make a fool out of himself, but now, they were just standing there stupidly.
Li Tianming was amused. Of course he would not tell Chen Yao that the money in his pouch right now all came from Chen Yao’s father.
“Pack it up and stop wasting my time,” Li Tianming reemphasized.
“Yes, please give us a moment.” The Xing & Chen Repository had strict regulations, and even the young master couldn't stop Li Tianming as long as the latter followed all the rules. In fact, Chen Yao himself would have to pay for what he wanted in full sum, as the Xing & Chen Merchantry wasn’t Sage Chen’s personal business, but instead a union run by a varied group of people.
Chen Yao and friends could only watch as Li Tianming walked past them with the four battle arts that he paid for.
“These are at least intermediate source-ranked arts, what use do you have for them, to fuel your stove?” Chen Yao had heard from his mother that Li Tianming was only seventh level Beast Vein.
Li Tianming turned around with a smile and said, “Of course, please drop by and try my cooking once I’m done. Better not piss yourself after trying it.” Before the rest could react, he had already left the building.
“Gosh, why would he dare taunt brother again, just what is he thinking…” Chen Ying found it unbelievable.
“Forget it, we shouldn’t lower ourselves to his standard.” Chen Yao shook his head. In hindsight, some of the things he said today weren’t that appropriate, and reflected poorly of him. After all, why should a lion bother himself with a mere cripple?
It was already noon when Li Tianming returned to the inn. He wasted no time and started cultivating immediately, chewing on crimson gems while the little chick guided their cultivation. Li Tianming himself made use of this time to study the battle arts as well, since he was running on a very tight schedule.
After using over a hundred yellow patterned crimson gems, Li Tianming and the chick had finally made it to the eighth level of the beast vein stage. As for their small loan, only four hundred gems remained. Cultivation was costly business indeed, but at least they were putting the money to good use.
Before long, the day of the entrance exam had arrived, and it was time to put their skills to test.