On Shenxiao Mountain in Li Mausoleum.
When Yuan Chen attacked me that day, he was even stronger than Su Mu, which was why one punch from him could make me cough blood. But now that I have mastered sky saint-ranked battle arts, things will be different. If I can learn the second phase and understand the concept behind it, I will be much stronger, Tianming thought to himself. After all, even the first ancestor had only reached the third phase.
In the Theocracy of the Ancients, the Grand-Orient Realm is but one of the many regions. Yuan Chen is about the same age as me, and he’s already the number one prodigy in the Earthorigin Sect. Even then, Jun Niancang and him have limited power in the Theocracy. I should aspire to compare with the geniuses of the Theocracy instead. Even though Tianming had never seen that land before, he set it as his goal.
If godfather is capable of crushing Heaven’s Elysium and bringing peace to the sect, I should really take a trip to the Theocracy. Tianming was extremely curious about what kind of powerhouses and geniuses walked the land of that ancient regime. In terms of talent, no one in the Grand-Orient Realm could match him, other than Jun Niancang, who was a few years older.
As time passed by, tension continued brewing in the Grand-Orient Realm as if the battle would restart at any time. Tianming spent most of his time inside the Li Mausoleum, studying the golden heavenly patterns on the golden gate of his Grand-Orient Sword. Under Ying Huo’s supervision, both Tianming and Meow Meow mastered Fulguros Imperius. They had reached a point in their cultivation where Tianming, who was in charge of leveling and battle arts, became the trio’s main focus. On top of that, he needed to have a good understanding of the fusion strikes in order to understand his Imperial Will.
Studying heavenly patterns was a mentally draining process, and Tianming would practice the fusion strikes of the Shenxiao Sword Art in the Mausoleum with the Grand-Orient Sword when he was tired.
This is a fusion of fire with lightning. At least this is easier than trying to fuse fire with water. The trick to this sword art isn’t just physically merging the two elements, but making sure that every bit of the two elements can exist in harmony, Tianming thought. The fusion of lightning with fire was something that even the first ancestor hadn’t done before, meaning Tianming had no one to learn from this time.
Recently, Meow Meow had been having the time of its life. Ever since it finished learning Fulguros Imperius, it spent most of its time sleeping. It had even slept on every single one of the ancestors’ graves, or as Ying Huo put it, slept with every single ancestor.
At that moment, Tianming approached and lifted it up by its neck.
“What do you want?” Meow Meow growled but could do nothing to resist as its neck was its weakness.
“Get down here and help me with my sword arts.”
Sadly, Meow Meow had no room for negotiation, as a sword-wielding Tianming chased it and Ying Huo down.
“Use Pyros Imperius and Fulguros Imperius, I’ll take the both of you on at the same time.”
“Are you an idiot? Where’d you even get your confidence from?” Ying Huo scorned.
“Brother Chicken, Ling’er is with Qingyu now. Shall we teach him a lesson?” Meow Meow was equally angry at having its rest disturbed.
“Let’s go, it’s time to bring down Tianming!”
Ying Huo could use Pyros Imperius with its Goldflame Featherblade, whereas Meow Meow needed to use its claws in place of a sword. While Meow Meow’s claws were weaker in terms of strength, the venom from the Venomfiend Bloodclaw made up for it.
The battle between the three almost turned the Mausoleum upside down. It was a tough fight for Tianming, as Ying Huo and Meow Meow were fearsome foes. Still, he battled on in order to understand the fusion of the two sword arts better. The two beasts stuck to using Pyros Imperius and Fulguros Imperius, while Tianming would intermittently switch between the two. As he practised, the time he needed to switch became shorter and shorter.
“If I can use both sword arts at the same time, it means I’m one step closer to fusing them. It doesn’t matter how many times I need to practice it, or how long it takes!” Tianming had plenty of time until Heaven’s Elysium made their next move.
“Even with my talent, figuring out the fusion strikes is proving to be an incredibly difficult task. I doubt my godfather can do it.”
Tianming was learning battle arts of the same level as Li Wudi, and they weren’t simplified, as the Demise of Man-Earth-Heaven had been. Ever since he had reached Heavenly Will and gained Imperial Will, Tianming was capable of using the three demises and the Voidgod Sword Intent to their fullest potential. In terms of battle arts, he was already miles ahead of his peers. But that wasn’t enough to satisfy Tianming, and he yearned for something challenging, like the fusion strikes.
Their battles carried on for days without stopping, causing Ying Huo and Meow Meow to plead for mercy.
“We’re sorry, boss, we shouldn’t have laughed at you.”
“Please, have mercy, we’re only a year old!”
“That’s right, how dare you do such things to me when I’m still underaged meow!”
Why did that sound… wrong?
“Stop whining. Get up and fight me!”
“Meow…” Meow Meow purred with tears in its eyes. It had no choice, or it might just be stabbed in the balls.
Fuse, fuse! Tianming couldn’t even count the number of hours he spent. His mind was fixated on the image of lightning merging with flames, each collision resulting in an overwhelming burst of energy.
Many days later, Tianming’s efforts finally bore fruit. As he swung the Grand-Orient Sword just as he had tens of thousands of times before, he could tell that he’d succeeded. It was the second phase, with the power of fire and lightning completely unified as one. When he pointed his sword toward the sky, a beam of sword ki shot through the Bloodbane Barrier and into the heavens. It even managed to punch a small hole through the barrier. If one were to look closely, the beam was made of both fire and lightning entwined together.
“Finally!” Tianming was overwhelmed by a sense of achievement. On the other side, the two little creatures were panting and wailing on the ground, as if something unspeakable had been done to them.
“Get up, it’s time to study heavenly patterns,” Tianming instructed.
“I demand a change of beastmaster! Preferably someone soft and fluffy, like our superior mount!” Ying Huo cried.
“I agree meow!”
Days slipped by, and Tianming did a rough estimate.
“It’s been eighty days since my godfather defeated the Cloudmist keepers and Elysian purifiers. I’ve finally reached third-level Heavenly Will.” In other words, nearly three months had passed, which was equivalent to three years for Tianming. While he still had a youthful look and showed no signs of aging, his body was equivalent to that of a twenty-eight year old.
For this period of time, he had been hard at work cultivating, spending one month to reach second-level Heavenly Will, then another fifty days to reach the third level. It would only get more difficult as he progressed further. He had also learned the first two basic stances of the Shenxiao Sword Art, and even completed the second phase with much effort. Thanks to that, his strength had once again improved.
Even though I can start challenging some of the seniors now, I mustn’t slack off, as there’s a lot more to learn! Tianming knew that his talent came from his extraordinary lifebound beasts, but diligence and perseverance were his most valuable traits.
In a pavilion on top of Sacred Mountain, Ye Shaoqing was playing chess with another middle-aged man dressed in blue. The two gave off the same kind of gentlemanly vibe, and the man was none other than Weisheng Tianlan. Just then, the red-haired Li Wudi walked up to them.
“Gentlemen-wannabes, we have work to do.”
“You have news for us?” Ye Shaoqing raised his hand and scattered his pieces across the board.
“Hey, that’s cheating!” Weisheng Tianlan was speechless, as he had been just about to win the game.
“Brother Weisheng, we have more important matters to attend to,” Ye Shaoqing said with a straight face.
“Screw off.” Weisheng Tianlan adjusted his collars and turned to Li Wudi. “So what does Jun Shengxiao want?”
“It’s simple, he wants assistance.”
“What do you mean?”
“He gifted the Cloudmist Sword School’s territory to the Earthorigin Sect in exchange for a hundred and fifty thousand Earthorigin defenders. Their troops have already moved into the Grand-Orient Realm,” Li Wudi said with a contemptuous look.
“He’s crazy!” Ye Shaoqing frowned.
“The Grand-Orient Realm hasn’t lost any land for the past ten thousand years. He’ll be cursed for centuries to come for doing such a shameful act as the ruler of the Grand-Orient Realm,” Weisheng Tianlan said with a cold gaze.
“He must’ve lost his sanity when his son died. His sins can only be repaid by his death,” Li Wudi sneered and took a sip of wine. He seemed rather relaxed despite the bad news.
“That’s a hundred and fifty thousand Earthorigin defenders and a hundred and eighty thousand Elysian purifiers we have to face. That’s even more than what we had to deal with originally. What’s your plan, Li Wudi?” Weisheng Tianlan asked.
“I’ll need to see what plan they have first,” Li Wudi answered.
“Will Earthorigin Sect attack the Grand-Orient Sect while Heaven’s Elysium ambushes the Southsky Sect? Or will it be the other way around?” Weisheng Tianlan wondered.
“I’d say neither. First, the Earthorigin Sect will never attack alone. They’re here for their own interests, and don’t intend to sustain any injuries. Second, Jun Shenxiao changed his original mindset of not wanting to take any casualties. As long as he can take down the Grand-Orient Sect, sacrificing a hundred thousand people is no different from sacrificing seventy thousand to him,” Li Wudi calmly analyzed.
It was perfectly reasonable to assume that Jun Shenxiao wanted the Grand-Orient Realm at all costs. The Earthorigin Sect was unlikely to help them tackle the Grand-Orient Sect alone as well, as their allied forces were now able to conquer Southsky Sect together.
“So, you’re saying that the three hundred and thirty thousand people will gather their forces and take us down one after the other.” Weisheng Tianlan frowned.
“Likely. They’re already stronger than the original two hundred and fifty thousand Elysian purifiers. Can you survive their assault?” Li Wudi asked.
“It would’ve been possible, but now that’s unlikely, since the Elysian Emperor is taking a different approach,” Weisheng Tianlan worried.
“Rich of you to still be worrying about the Southsky Sect. Our own Grand-Orient Barrier, and even the imperial dragon pulses have been stolen by your son, so how are we even going to defend ourselves?” Ye Shaoqing asked.
“Don’t you worry about that. I have my trump cards,” Li Wudi laughed.
“Then stop being shameless and tell me what they are.”
“It’s no longer a trump card if I tell you about it, right?” Li Wudi grinned.
“Whatever, you’ll be the one regretting it forever if this screws up,” Ye Shaoqing said.
“You shouldn’t worry that much. Jun Shengxiao hates me to the core. Even with the Onyx Sect, the Grand-Orient Barrier isn’t as strong as the Sounthsky Barrier. They’re much more likely to kill me before they attack you. All we have to do is to destroy their troops once more and make sure they have no power left to touch your sect,” Li Wudi told Weisheng Tianlan, even leisurely taking another sip of alcohol as he finished.
“Is that even possible?” Weisheng Tianlan didn’t know where Li Wudi’s confidence was coming from.
“Time will tell,” Li Wudi said.
“So be it. I’ll put my faith in you, then.”
“That’s right. Just make sure to defend your Southsky Sect,” Li Wudi said confidently. They had been on the defending side since the beginning of this war, and the barriers were the reasons why they had lasted this long.
“But what if their alliance attacks the Southsky Sect first?” Weisheng Tianlan asked.
“Then all we can do is pray for you,” Li Wudi answered.
Weisheng Tianlan was speechless. Clearly, he could only hope for Jun Shenxiao to attack the Grand-Orient Sect first, as not even he knew exactly what Li Wudi’s trump card was.Previous Chapter Next Chapter