“Disciple Li Tianming greets the hall overseer.” Li Tianming recognised this man, and hurriedly paid his respects. This man was one of Flameyellow Scions Institute’s five hall overseers, specifically the Hall of Phoenix, Wei Zikun.
In the institute, only the chancellor and several personages from Heaven’s Sanctum held higher positions than the five hall overseers. To command the Hall of Phoenix, Wei Zikun had to be young and promising. Despite being slightly younger than Li Yanfeng, he was already at the peak of Vermilion Bird.
When Li Tianming had been studying at the institute for a year in the past, he had never really met this overseer before. Yet, he unexpectedly appeared here today.
Naturally, it wasn’t for him. The overseer gave Li Tianming a once-over. “Mu Wan, this is your new disciple?”
“Yes, hall overseer.” Mu Wan’s words were respectful and serious, a far cry from her usual personality.
“The ranking battles are in three days. Although you’re on the older side, your strength is still passable. Get a good rank, and bring glory to our Hall of Phoenix. After all, they don’t care about your age there.”
The admission test would consider the participant’s age and deduct the appropriate marks.
However, the ranking battle wanted a standardised system. Furthermore, there was only so much difference to the ages in the apprentice class, so age wasn’t considered. Hence, Li Tianming’s age would be an advantage and not a disadvantage.
Mu Wan glanced at him. “Why are you still acting so stunned?”
“I’ll do my best, hall overseer,” Li Tianming said seriously.
“The overseers shall be attending the ranking battles. I’ll be watching your performance.” Once he was done speaking, he smiled at Mu Wan, “Are you ready? The Lantern Festival is about to begin.”
“Yes, hall overseer.” Mu Wan nodded.
“When we’re out to relax, there’s no need to be so formal. Brother Kun will do fine.”
“Yes, brother Kun.”
The two must have made an appointment to go and see the Lantern Festival together.
The overseer had been waiting for Mu Wan for a while, when they heard the commotion and came over. Now that Fang Zhao had been driven away, they were naturally going to leave. As they were leaving, Mu Wan gave Li Tianming a glare, a warning for him not to cause any trouble.
Now, only Li Tianming and Ying Huo were left.
“Heartbroken? That old man is chasing your Chief Mentor Mu Wan,” the little chick gloated.
“It seems you can’t tell. Look at how respectful she was, she obviously doesn’t like him. I heard long ago that the hall overseer was interested in her, just that she’s always rejected him,” Li Tianming said indifferently.
In truth, Mu Wan definitely had some kind of background to always be able to reject the advances of someone with Wei Zikun’s status. In the Hall of Phoenix, Wei Zikun’s words were law, and the Hall was itself practically one fifth of the whole Institute.
To be honest, all of these weren’t very important to him. What was important were the ranking battles in three days from now.
It was definitely going to be ten times more bustling than the admission test.
Not only would the five hall overseers attend, but so would some important figures of Ignispolis. In fact, this also included people from the Vermilion Bird royal clan, Lightning Manor, Occult Athenaeum and Xing & Chen Merchantry. After all, they had juniors participating in battles to decide their prospects and reputation.
How the apprentice class was ranked and who became the prime disciple were matters the entire Vermilion Bird paid attention to. These juniors were the future, and the medium through which the clans’ legacies passed down.
A clan needed to spawn droves of geniuses if it wanted to stand the test of time. And how could it be determined if they had these geniuses? Simple, through the Flameyellow Scions Institute ranking battles!
The geniuses of Heaven’s Sanctum like Lin Xiaoting and Mu Qingqing might also be spectating from some private room.
Li Tianming continued his training.
He was especially hardworking. Although he could let the little chick do the work and relax on the side, he chose not to do so. He was making progress steadily, so that he would have more to work with during battle.
Two days passed in a whirl. Tomorrow was the day of the ranking battles.
Li Tianming naturally hadn’t forgotten the promise he had made with his mother. She wanted to personally witness his fight. There would be no time the next day, so he planned to pick her up that night.
This was very important to Li Tianming. This might be his only chance to enter Heaven’s Sanctum, which was key to curing his mother. He hoped his mother could watch him. Because then, he could unleash 200% of his potential!
Li Tianming hadn’t seen Wei Jing for several days as he was busy cultivating. “I wonder if she’s gotten used to living to living in Ignispolis yet.”
He had hired an auntie to reside there and provide for her meals. Wei Jing should be living comfortably apart from her illness. In the dark night, he threaded through the dark alleyways to return to the newly bought house. It wasn’t far from the institute, so it would take him about seven minutes to reach it. The Lantern Festival was celebrated for days in Ignispolis. All the roads were jam-packed with people carousing, a picturesque scene of happiness. The hustle and bustle of Ignispolis was one Flamehaven would never have.
When Li Tianming reached his home, he saw from afar that all of the lamps had been doused and the place was pitch-black. “Mother went to sleep so early?”
Li Tianming stealthily opened the door so that he wouldn’t wake up. He walked to the east wing of the house, which was the largest room and also Wei Jing’s bedroom.
However, what greeted Li Tianming wasn’t even breathing, but pained gasps!
Wei Jing was definitely inside. Moreover, something had clearly happened! Whether it was her illness or other reasons, Li Tianming would only know after going in.
In the dark night, Li Tianming’s two eyes couldn’t see clearly, but the eye in his left palm had night vision; to him, the dark night was like daytime to him. Without any hesitation, Li Tianming directly opened the door and entered.
“Please don’t let there be anything wrong,” Li Tianming prayed.
Wei Jing was very weak now, which left Li Tianming’s heart pounding.
When he entered, Li Tianming saw Wei Jing lying down on the bed, covered in a blanket. While it seemed to be normal sleep, she was tossing and turning, her breathing feeble and laboured.
“What’s going on?!” Li Tianming felt his heart clench. Seeing Wei Jing in pain was what he couldn’t stand the most. He sped to his mother’s side, and ripped off the blanket. The next moment, his eyes turned bloodshot when he found dozens of worms, blood-coloured and thumb-sized, crawling all over her body.
The worms were all nausea inducing. They possessed rings of sharp teeth that they were currently using to gnaw on Wei Jing’s flesh and suck her blood!
Li Tianming felt his heart being ripped apart by the sight.
“Bloodhell Worms!” Li Tianming immediately recognised them, much to his horror. Bloodhell Worms were a type of leech that fed on human blood.
Wei Jing didn't have any ability to resist. Her lifebound beast was suffering from Lifesbane as well and was currently sprawled in a corner of the room. Its body was covered with even more Bloodhell Worms than Wei Jing.
But, who put them on Wei Jing, a defenceless and sick person?
Beast ki began to leak out from Li Tianming. If he had gotten back just a bit later, Wei Jing might have been a desiccated husk.
If that happened, he would be left guilty for the rest of his life.
He didn’t need to be told that there was someone else in the room with him, the very culprit for this.
“Flameyellow Scions Institute disciple Li Tianming, you’ve kept me waiting.” A sorrowful voice drifted towards Li Tianming from behind.
When Li Tianming turned around, he only saw a man dressed in skintight black clothes lurking within the shadows. His face was covered in a black veil that revealed only his eyes. The most eye-catching thing was the beautiful blood-coloured flower on his chest.
“Bloodflower Chamber.” Li Tianming made the obvious conclusion from that dead giveaway. In Vermilion Bird, Bloodflower Chamber was a name that could make people jump in fright just with its name. They were an underground organisation that handled contract killing. While they demanded high prices, their success rate was high, which afforded them a high reputation in the world of killers.
However, Li Tianming had never expected them to come after him. It was obvious Wei Jing wasn’t the target, or else Wei Jing would have died long ago.
Li Tianming didn’t bother asking who had called the hit on him. It was a basic tenet of the opponent’s job not to share details of their employer. In fact, it was likely he didn’t even know. The assassins would never meet the employer.
For the opponent to be sent to kill him, it meant they were certain of his strength and had sent someone who was guaranteed to kill him.
Now, Wei Jing and Li Tianming were in a crisis, one they were likely to perish in.
Contract killers were cruel and merciless, and would never pity their prey. It was a completely different sort of opponent from anyone Li Tianming had faced before. Previously, Li Tianming could still casually joke around, but now, he felt the very real possibility of death was pressed against his throat.
As the man spoke, Li Tianming saw a giant worm as thick as a thigh wriggling about on the ground. Both its head and tail had an opening.
The head’s opening was filled with rows of sharp teeth, while the thumb-sized Bloodhell Worms continued to pour out of its tail opening in the thousands. The Bloodhell Worms had already filled everywhere, from the roof, floor to the walls.
This giant worm was definitely a Bloodhell Broodmother!
This was a fierce lifebound beast that wasn’t exactly a beast. Bloodhell Broodmothers were a doubly special lifebound beast, special in both species and type.
Their species was a leech, a kind of annelid lifebound beast. Its type was a broodmother-type, which could spawn large numbers of offspring to use for attacks. Some ant and bee queen lifebound beasts would belong to this type. Hence, this Bloodhell Broodmother was a broodmother-type annelid lifebound beast!
Li Tianming was furious. Wei Jing was his reverse scale! For tormenting her so, Li Tianming would definitely rip this man to pieces.