Was Ying Huo just a high-tier six-star lifebound beast? Of course not, since the star orb couldn’t recognise the blood of a Primordial Chaos Beasts. Ever since it became a lifebound beast, the potential within its blood was hidden, and the orb could only detect what was revealed. Everyone could see the six stars in its eyes, but who would have known that each star could be a starfield on its own?
As Li Tianming and Mu Wan talked, most people in the stadium were restless as they still did not know who this mysterious youth was and where he came from.
“What is the species of this little chick?” Mu Wan asked. She considered herself to be quite knowledgeable for a chief mentor, but the six-star little chick was beyond her ken.
“The... the Blazingly Fiery Birdie…?” Li Tianming came up with a random name on the spot. Ying Huo, the Aeternal Infernal Phoenix, was clearly unsatisfied with this lame name, but before it could complain, Li Tianming shut it up by grabbing onto its beak.
At the same time, Chief Mentor Mu Wan announced, “Li Tianming, your lifebound beast is the Blazingly Fiery Birdie, a high-tier six-star lifebound beast at ninth level of the beast vein stage.”
In actual fact, Li Tianming was still at the eighth level of Beast Vein stage. But when Mu Wan tested the little chick’s beast ki, it was clearly stronger than that of a beast at ninth level. Since she could see that they had clearly not reached Spiritsource stage, she could only classify it under ninth level Beast Vein.
The announcement came as a shock, not because of the little chick’s grade, since everyone witnessed the light from the star orb for themselves. What really caught people’s attention was the name Li Tianming. Gossip rippled across the stadium, as those who knew of the scandal three years ago told it to those who didn’t. Soon, the whole stadium would be aware of who he was, and it wouldn’t take long before the entire institute and even the capital would hear of his return!
That was also part of Li Tianming’s goals today. He was never afraid of making a scene, and in fact, his plans for revenge would eventually place him in the spotlight anyway. Since it was going to happen sooner or later, he might as well make use of this opportunity to declare his return, and spare himself from the same damn response every time someone realised he was back in Ignispolis.
“Li Tianming! He was the punk who drugged Lin Xiaoting’s girlfriend three years ago and had his lifebound beast executed!” It didn’t take long for the whole stadium to know the story. To add fuel to the fire, the other person involved in this story, Lin Xiaoting, was the number one genius in the institute, the idol of countless disciples here.
At that moment, Li Tianming could hear the myriad of insults thrown at him, as well as countless contemptuous looks directed his way. Yet, he stood as calm as the sea, as he had seen all these coming his way. Such was life, and the only way he could prove himself was to become even stronger, strong enough to overthrow those who had defamed him.
To be honest, he even enjoyed part of the attention, as he could certainly feel that there were people panicking because of him. Take the example of Chen Ding and Chen Ying queuing behind him. They had known Li Tianming’s identity for quite some time, but when his six-star lifebound beast was revealed, they couldn’t hide their horror. Especially not when the ‘scum’ they looked down on was better than not just themselves, but also the brother Yao they so admired.
It was interesting to watch their expressions, but it was still incomparable to that of Li Yanfeng and Liu Qing’s. Having thought that the little chick was just a one-star wildbeast, they had long come to the conclusion that Li Tianming was a nitwit who could never climb out of the Beast Vein stage. This was also one of the key factors why Li Yanfeng gave up on this son of his. But now, with the result from the star orb showing them how wrong they were, the pair stared at each other awkwardly.
“No, no way that’s true! The star orb is broken! I saw its eyes and there was definitely only one star!” Liu Qing exclaimed. A six-star lifebound beast would make a whole world of difference, and it wouldn’t be surprising for Li Tianming to even surpass Li Yanfeng in the future. Had they known that earlier, Li Yanfeng probably wouldn’t even give up on his son. But her frantic denials had ended when Mu Wan tested again with a second orb.
“Could it be that the little thing actually evolved with the manna? But there's no way a one-star beast could possibly absorb the manna’s power…” Liu Qing mumbled on.
As for Li Yanfeng, his brows were knitted together as he watched the saga unfold. He had never had high hopes of Li Tianming, even when the boy managed to take the manna and the Flameyellow Order. That was because he knew better than anyone that Li Tianming would be useless, what with his lifebound beast dead and the replacement a piddling one-star wildbeast. But the tables had turned. Li Tianming’s only weakness was gone, and he had returned as a talented young man with a bright future ahead.
As the father who made the decision of abandoning his son, Li Yanfeng sure was feeling nauseated right now. Thinking back, Li Tianming’s request for Li Yanfeng to wish him a bright future and Wei Jing’s composure when leaving Flamehaven all seemed to point at the fact that the mother and son would not falter right there.
“Yanfeng, just forget about him. There is no turning back, and no matter what Li Tianming does in the future, it has nothing to do with you anymore.” Liu Qing saw through his thoughts instantly.
“I… I have underestimated him.” Li Yanfeng ground his teeth.
“Don’t worry. Of all people, Li Tianming chose to offend the Lightning Manor’s ‘little monster’. If anything, being stronger will only speed up his own doom, since he will eventually try to seek his revenge on Lin Xiaoting. As for us, I’d say that we just stay away from him, and watch as he ruins himself.” Liu Qing hung on to his elbow. They were on the same ship now.
“What are you thinking? Of course I wouldn’t regret my own decisions. I have chosen you and the Lightning Manor over him, and I would never regret cutting ties with that brat.” Li Yanfeng shook off his uneasiness, knowing that Li Tianming had nothing to do with him anymore. “And as you said, he got into trouble with the wrong people. It won’t end well for him.”
“Thank you, Yanfeng, for valuing our family. One day, we will have our own child,” Liu Qing said, her cheeks flushing bright red.
“Of course.” Li Yanfeng put his arm across her waist, a smile reappearing on his face. But no matter how much they tried to just ignore Li Tianming, the youth shone like a star inside the Flameyellow Stadium, his presence sticking out like a sore thumb.
In fact, they were not the only ones feeling that way. From within the private room, a certain Madam Xue Lan was sharing the same sentiments as them. As she was still receiving praises from the other ladies over how amazing Chen Yao was, a much brighter spark from the stadium had caught their attention.
“Who is that?” Many of them were curious.
“Must be a real talent to have the star orb shine so bright. Unfortunately, Chen Yao’s light is still stronger,” said one of the ladies. But that was an obvious lie, as anyone who wasn’t blind could see that this new radiance was way brighter.
Xue Lan was displeased that there were disciples who stole the attention away from her son. But then again, Sage Chen had already mentioned that the exam this year was going to be extremely competitive. The Vermilion Bird Clan, Lightning Manor, and even the Occult Athenaeum had brilliant youths participating this year. As such, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to see a spark stronger than her son’s.
She wasn’t too concerned at first, but the fervent discussion going on got her curious about the boy’s identity. She was in a good position, and could clearly see the boy’s appearance.
“Huh?” She was stunned for a moment, rubbing her eyes for a closer look. But when she realised that she did not see wrongly, she couldn’t help but shriek, “How could it be him!”
It was unlike her to lose her composure, especially when there were other ladies in the room as well. But she was just too shocked to even realise that.
“No,no… But his lifebound beast is dead, and with that pathetic wildbeast, he was supposed to be the joke of the institute! This shouldn’t be happening...” Xue Lan mumbled inaudibly to herself.
“Sister Lan, do you know who this person is?”
“Sister Lan even knows this kind of young talent we’ve never seen before, just how knowledgeable are you?” The rest of the ladies asked after seeing her reaction, and even then, they did not forget to flatter her.
That did nothing to cheer Xue Lan up. What was she going to say? That the person over there was Wei Jing’s child, who did better than her son? Hell no! She could only shake her head and reply, “No, I saw wrongly. I don’t know who this boy is.”
Of course, the ladies immediately realised that something was not quite right with Madam Xue Lan. It was obvious that troubles were weighing down on her mind, to the point that she was near-hysterical. In silent accord, the others decided to leave her alone — it looked like the best course of action for now. After all, trying to guess her thoughts might only get them into trouble with the mistress of Chen Chateau.
It was only when Chief Mentor Mu Wan announced Li Tianming’s name did one of them remember the scandal that spread in the entire Ignispolis three years ago. “It’s that boy. I heard from my kid that he tried to drug a girl who turned out to be Lin Xiaoting’s girlfriend, and he ended up having his lifebound beast executed.”
“I can’t believe it, he has such an obedient look too!”
“How disgusting of him, using dirty techniques to get girls that are way out of his league.” The ladies said in disgust.
“Yes, I do wonder what kind of upbringing he had to become such a flop.” It was only when Xue Lan said this, did she feel better about herself and her son.
The discussion in the room was just a snippet of what was happening in the stadium. From eyeing him with envy to gazing at him in despise, the crowd jeered his doings three years ago.
“Are you upset to hear all these?” Mu Wan asked him gently.
Li Tianming was grateful for his chief mentor, as she seemed to be the only one who trusted him. While he and Mu Qingqing’s relationship was never made public, as their teacher, Mu Wan probably knew that they had been dating for a year. With that knowledge, it was evident that Li Tianming had no reason to drug her.
“Chief mentor, there is nothing that could upset me more than seeing them kill Midas right in front of my face.” Li Tianming sounded composed. After everything that had happened, mere words would not hurt him.
“A changed man, huh.” Mu Wan grinned. But that only lasted for a split second, before she continued with a straight face, “You have wasted enough time here. Move on to the next segment of your test.”
“Yes, chief mentor. I'll aspire to be your disciple again this year,” Li Tianming said.
“Don’t be too confident, there’s still one more test.” Mu Wan’s eyes flickered.
Just as Li Tianming turned around to leave the invigilator table, he could hear Mu Wan shout, “All of you shut up! We still have tests going on here, so bring your discussions elsewhere!”