Few people paid attention when Li Tianming first approached Chief Mentor Mu Wan. For example, in one of the private rooms, the ladies of the Chen Chateau were still absorbed in their boasting. This group were made up of gorgeous, distinguished women, led by none other than Sage Chen’s wife, Madam Xue Lan. All of their husbands were big-shots from Xing & Chen Merchantry, making them some of the most affluent women in Ignispolis.
“Sister Lan is such a natural with kids. Both your sons are so talented and handsome — if only my son could take a leaf out of their book.”
“Chen Hao and Chen Yao must have charmed so many girls in Ignispolis.”
As usual, Xue Lan was enjoying all the flattery foisted upon her, her smug posture suggesting that this was the exact lifestyle she had sought after.
“You all may envy me, but you have no idea how much I have sacrificed for the family, taking care of the boys and a busy husband.” Xue Lan said with a smile.
“Of course, every successful man has a woman standing behind him!”
“I just wish Yao’er can do his best and perform up to standards. Then when he gets first place for the ranking test, he can enter Heaven’s Sanctum and cultivate together with Hao’er.” Xue Lan was looking into the stadium, and her eyes were filled with hope for her children.
“Sister Lan has nothing to worry about, with Yao’er’s talent he can definitely get first place.” The ladies’ praises boosted her ego even further.
Xue Lan suddenly thought of Wei Jing, and that overaged child of hers who would also be attending the entrance exam.
“At his age, that kid is only at seventh level Beast Vein, there is no way he can make it pass the test. Not to mention that his beast is just a wildbeast.” Xue Lan thought to herself, her smile fading just by thinking of them. “I offered you a place to live when you came begging for my help, but you chose to ignore me instead. Now that your kid is gonna fail the test miserably and you are just one step away from your deathbed, I’ll see how you preserve your ‘dignity’.”
Naturally, she did not voice her vicious thoughts, and the ladies around were still prattling on about how wonderful her kids were. Little did she know that it was about to be Li Tianming’s turn to have his lifebound beast tested!
While he found it slightly awkward to approach Chief Mentor Mu Wan again after three years, Li Tianming still worked up enough courage in the end. She was seated behind the table, her body-hugging dress bringing out charming contours.
Li Tianming walked up in a few swift steps and announced his presence, “Chief Mentor Mu Wan, it’s me, Tianming.”
She was observing the star orb, and did not notice the young man at first. Only when she heard his voice did she see that ex-student of hers, and her emotionless eyes instantly fixed onto Li Tianming.
After a moment of observation, she finally said, “What went into your head? Back to just humiliate yourself?”
“No, I’m here to make a comeback,” Li Tianming replied.
“With?” She had her doubts, but she didn’t dismiss Li Tianming instantly. At her level, a brief look could tell her that he had not lost all his beast ki even after losing his lifebound beast.
“Chief mentor, please have a look at this.” Li Tianming summoned the little chick from his lifebound space, marking the first time it made its appearance in the institute.
“How filial of you, I’m definitely in the mood for a chicken dinner.” Mu Wan frowned. There wasn’t anything he could make a comeback with, so was Li Tianming here just to fool around with her?
“Quit joking, chief mentor, this chick here is my new lifebound beast.” Li Tianming justified.
Mu Wan’s eyes shifted between the little chick and Li Tianming. She could tell that he was being dead serious.
“Alright, let me see what you have for me.” She was no longer frowning, and instead rested her chins on her hands in a relaxed manner.
“Please do.” Li Tianming brought Ying Huo to the star orb.
In fact, the moment Li Tianming summoned his peculiar lifebound beast, he had already drawn quite a lot of attention. For example, Chen Ying and Chen Ding were chuckling at one side, given that this was the first time they saw Li Tianming’s beast.
“Is he some kind of a comedian?” Most of the audience simply shook their heads. Just what kind of students were the institute recruiting?
Chief Mentor Mu Wan was the only one who observed Li Tianming with more interest than disapproval. From what she remembered, Li Tianming had always been a hardworking and righteous child aside from that incident. She did not expect him to be back after three years, especially not with a composure that belied his youth.
As such, under the witness of teachers and students of the institute, Li Tianming cut open the legs of the little chick and dripped its blood onto the star orb. As the orb infused with the blood, it started to glow red.
“Red, so it’s a one-star beast?”
“Is this the biggest joke in the institute’s history?”
But before the audience could react, the orb suddenly turned orange in color, and the radiance was also brighter. Generally, a star orb would display the color reflecting the beast’s grade directly, and such a transition of color was a rare case. In these cases, the latter color suggested the real grade of the beast.
A two-star lifebound beast was still a laughingstock, but seconds later the star orb had changed its color yet again to yellow.
What followed next was beyond the audience's comprehension. The color of the star orb continued to change, its radiance continuing to intensify. Soon, it was already green, suggesting that the little chick was a four-star lifebound beast.
But at the next instant, the orb turned a bright blue, one that was much deeper than most of the teenagers around him. Most holders of the Flameyellow Order had five-star lifebound beasts, out of which high-tier ones were already considered the leading beasts in the institute. With that bright blue color, there was no doubt the little chick was a high-tier five-star beast!
Just as people thought it was over, the star orb turned light indigo! Indigo was a sign of six-star lifebound beasts, just like the Hex-starred Clinquant Lion that Chen Yao had. Out of the thousands of people the institute tested so far, only a dozen of them were six-star beasts, with most of them being low-tier and only Chen Yao’s lion being high-tier. Most of the six-star beasts were magnificent creatures, and it was hard to imagine the cute little chick being a six-star beast.
Still, that wasn’t the end. The onlookers gasped as the star orb’s light shade of indigo turned darker and darker, almost nearing violet! That could only mean that the little chick was a high-tier six-star beast, same level as the Hex-starred Clinquant Lion. Perhaps the chick was even better, as people could clearly see the color from the orb was even brighter and deeper than the lion’s!
Just like Chen Yao’s case, the bright glow had turned the entire stadium’s attention towards Li Tianming and Ying Huo. The color eventually settled at dark blue. Had the star orb continued changing color, the crowd could only assume that the star orb was spoiled. After all, seven-star lifebound beasts required top quality manna to evolve into, and were almost impossible to be born naturally.
“Is the star orb spoiled?” Most of the audience stared at Li Tianming and the little chick curiously, as it was hard to believe that such a cute tiny thing was a six-star beast.
“Get me another star orb, now.” Even Chief Mentor Mu Wan was startled by the result. With a new star orb and everyone scrutinising the process intensely, Li Tianming dripped another drop of the little chick’s blood onto the new orb.
The result was the same, a dark blue even brighter than that of Chen Yao’s! Star orbs going faulty was rare, least to say two of them malfunctioning together. That was enough evidence to prove that Ying Huo was a high-tier six-star lifebound beast. As an extra precaution, Mu Wan had even confirmed the six stars in the little chick’s eyes as well.
Within seconds, discussions about Li Tianming rippled across the stadium, as most people there didn’t know who the young man was.
“Tianming, you lucked out? It’s very, very rare to find the youngling of a six-star wildbeast, and I’m pretty sure blood pacts have quite a low success rate.” Mu Wan stared into Li Tianming’s eyes, her expression totally different from just now.
“Chief mentor, folks say that handsome people tend to be quite lucky, and I’d say that they are right.” Li Tianming cracked a joke.
“Not bad, you seem to have matured. Seems like I’ll have to talk to you in private sometime.” Mu Wan batted her eyes, her charm enough to make any man’s thoughts stray.
“Just the two of us? Might reflect badly on us, and I’m scared of being beaten up by your suitors,” Li Tianming replied with a smile.
“I’m impressed you still have the mood to joke around. Do you think that things will get easier just because you have a six-star beast?” Mu Wan didn’t understand where his confidence was coming from. She, of all people, knew how much impact the incident three years ago had, and once his name was announced he would be thrown right into the middle of a storm.
“Of course not, but I've been preparing for three years.” Li Tianming stopped smiling at these words, gazing at Mu Wan with a determined look.
That got Mu Wan even more interested in the young man; she couldn't fathom how a person could change so much in three years. What exactly happened in that period?
“Well, I hope you put up a good show.” Mu Wan was confident that she wouldn’t put her faith in the wrong person. She could only hope that Li Tianming had plans that even she wouldn’t expect.