Flameyellow Scions Institute took up a lot of land, with the Hall of Phoenix being the largest hall. It was built around Mount Phoenix, with thousands of buildings and tens of thousands of pavilions.
The Hall of Phoenix had three classes. The elite class were located at the summit, while the journeyman class was halfway up and the apprentice class all the way down at the foot. Naturally, the elite class had the best area when it came to spiritual energy of heaven and earth.
Many disciples would drop out in their climb from the apprentice to the elite class. It was the norm for students to fail in keeping up with the pace; they would retain and then finally withdraw from the institute. Hence, simply graduating was already an accomplishment.
The Muwan class was still at the same old place next to the Soaring Spirits Lake. There were over a hundred buildings, and the fifty disciples of the Muwan class would spend their time cultivating here. Since her previous class had been promoted, the lake area had been cleared out.
Li Tianming was the first to join this new generation of disciples, but he had gone to visit his mother first after being admitted.
When he returned, Soaring Spirits Lake was already bustling with activity. The new disciples were currently full of excitement as they toured around.
“Li Tianming, come in.” Li Tianming heard Chief Mentor Mu Wan’s voice as soon as he arrived, and briefly wondered if she had eyes everywhere here. How else would she be able to catch him as soon as he showed up?
He was summoned to Mu Wan’s Mu's Chamber. It was where she usually cultivated and taught her disciples.
Li Tianming knocked before entering, only to see Chief Mentor Mu Wan reclining lazily on a couch in the courtyard. She was covered in a mink fur blanket, her long and snow-white legs poking out of it. She happened to be stretching as Li Tianming entered, placing her charming curves on full display.
However, Li Tianming acted like an upright gentleman, keeping his expression honest and not letting his gaze stray. He was all too clear that too long a look would present an excuse for Mu Wan to find trouble with him.
“So, you’ve gotten smarter. I don’t even have the chance to find an excuse to beat you up now.” Mu Wan chuckled.
“Impossible. Chief mentor, you’re so graceful and kind! How could you ever beat anyone up?”
“Quiet. Come and help me massage my shoulders.” Mu Wan directed a charming smile, loaded with meaning, at Li Tianming.
However, if he took it to be an invitation, he would be in for a beating.
Li Tianming cleared his throat, feeling that was some trick afoot.
“You ungrateful little thing. Do you know how much heat your chief mentor had to take to accept you? Come and help me destress.” Mu Wan rolled her eyes.
She was telling the truth. Li Tianming did have to be grateful. The other nine chief mentors had all ignored Li Tianming’s performance.
Li Tianming went behind her back and started giving her a massage. To be honest, giving a pretty woman a shoulder massage wasn’t much of a hardship.
Li Tianming enjoyed the exercise, while Mu Wan also enjoyed his show of skill.
“Take out your lifebound beast for me to play with,” Mu Wan suddenly said.
Li Tianming thought that he shouldn’t suffer alone, so he immediately summoned it out. It was still snoring away as Mu Wan picked it up.
“What the heck-” The awoken little chick was just about to cuss out a storm when it opened its eyes to a beauty. Moreover, the beauty was putting it on her chest.
It quickly retracted its angry look and lay limply in Mu Wan’s hands as she played with it.
Li Tianming gaped in bewilderment. He didn’t expect Ying Huo to be that shameless.
“Your little chick’s quite fun to play with.” Mu Wan turned to look at him.
“Chief mentor, those words of yours are very misleading," Li Tianming said bashfully.
“So, Li Tianming. You dare to tease even me now? I’m punishing you with one month of shoulder massages for me.”
He had fallen for it...
Still, that didn’t sound bad at all.
“As long as it makes the chief mentor happy, I’ll give you all the shoulder massages you want, even if I have to go through hell or high water,” Li Tianming said solemnly.
“Hmph. You’ve enjoyed yourself well enough so far, I hope. I called you over for official business today." Mu Wan turned serious. Li Tianming stopped his hands as he listened.
“So, there was a mighty coincidence three years ago I found rather interesting. Not ten days after your incident, information of Lin Xiaoting finding a Saintbeast War-Soul spread.” Eyes glittering, Mu Wan looked at him squarely.
“Where are you going with this?” Li Tianming asked.
“I was just wondering if, by any chance, the Saintbeast War-Soul belonged to you? After you returned from Abyssal Battlefield, I found a sort of ancient aura about Midas’s feathers, but I didn’t overthink it.” She continued to fix her eyes on him.
She was the first person to ask Li Tianming such a question in three years. For everyone else, no one would believe it even if Li Tianming said the truth.
Li Tianming didn’t respond. Mu Wan lay back down and continued, “So, even though I’m an outsider, I came up with a story. Would you like to hear it?”
“Naturally. I love storytime.” Li Tianming said.
“Once upon a time, there was a boy and a girl. They were together for a year. The boy was deeply in love with the girl, but the girl seemed to have other thoughts. One day, the boy found a great treasure. The girl was the only one he told, but he never expected her to use this information as a stepping stone to latch on to a powerful clan’s young master. They colluded to snatch away the treasure from the boy, as well as defame and cripple him in the process.”
An expression appeared on her face, both a smile and not a smile. “So, do you think that story sounds like fact or fiction?”
“Chief mentor, you do have a good imagination. But don’t you think it sounds fake when you keep addressing them as ‘boy’ and ‘girl’?”
She wasn’t joking around.
“I may be a little selfish and like to tease people, but I do still have a bit of a sense of justice. If that young man from the story can somehow fight his way out of his predicament, I’ll be inclined to give him a helping hand.”
“That young man sure is lucky. Good people aren’t that common these days,” Li Tianming said.
“Still, I have to remind him not to rush his cultivation after he gets his new chance. And he definitely can’t let revenge blind him and ruin his newfound chance. After all, the saying goes that a gentleman can wait ten years for their revenge. It’s only been three years,” Mu Wan said seriously without beating around the bush.
Li Tianming understood what she meant. These words were her purpose for finding him today. He was grateful that he could still meet a chief mentor like this during these chaotic times.
He sighed heavily. “Chief mentor. Perhaps he wants to say that he’s been nursing his grudge for three years so that he can send his enemy to hell. He’s not a gentleman who can wait ten years.”
“Well, I can’t stop him if that’s what he thinks. Still, he has to remember not to attempt the impossible. The real tragedy is if he fails in his revenge and his enemy goes scot-free for another hundred years!”
“Still, what if it's the chief mentor who underestimated him?” Li Tianming asked.
Mu Wan pursed her lips wordlessly.
“His goal now is to enter Heaven’s Sanctum. Succeed, and anything will be possible. Do not worry, chief mentor. He has willpower others don’t have. No one knows just how much he’s suffered in these three years. Such people cannot and do not lose!”
Li Tianming could feel blood rushing to his head. Li Tianming hadn’t expected to lose his cool around Mu Wan and start to crazily vent like that. Like a wild beast, all he could see was red.
And within that redness, that unforgettable scene of Midas’s feathers all being plucked off played again and again. The scene was filled with its tears and blood.
Save me, Tianming!
Even now, those three words continued to stab at his mind, the pain enough for anyone to lose their rationality.
Li Tianming could no longer even breath properly.
It had been three years. Was Midas happy in its next life? Did it hate him for avenging it yet?
Wait for ten whole years? Screw that!
He felt like his chest was filled with magma that kept increasing by the second, threatening to erupt at any moment now.
“Kiddo…” At this moment, he felt himself fall into a warm and gentle embrace. Such things intrinsically possessed the gift to calm people down.
Finally, the red in his eyes receded.
As she gently hugged him, Mu Wan gently stroked his head and back, calming the beast within him. This sort of hug was unforgettable.
“Hey, if I act like that more often, does that mean more hugs?” Li Tianming suddenly asked.
“Naughty boy!” However, she didn’t let go. Perhaps, she found it satisfying to use warmth to cool down a volcano. Still, she did pinch Li Tianming’s neck, which caused him to grimace in pain.
“Now you know the punishment for teasing me,” Mu Wan gloated.
“Well, I still profited here.” Although his neck still hurt somewhat, it was hard to forget that warmth and fragrance just now.
“Get lost.” Mu Wan realised she could no longer control him. Li Tianming had changed. Three years ago, he had been obedient and pure.
“Alright, time to split!” Li Tianming caught the little chick who was watching the show from the side and quickly fled.
After all, he had already enjoyed himself, and if he stayed on, he would probably need to pay a price..
However, when he breathed in a mouthful of air, he realised that the fire in him hadn’t been fully doused yet.
He raised up his head to look beyond Mount Phoenix, in the direction of Heaven’s Sanctum. It was possible that those two had heard about his return by now.