“Chen Yao's performance was outstanding today, his preliminary rating is even 20 points higher than Xing Que and Chen Hao’s,” from inside one of the Stadium’s private rooms, a lady dressed in a luxurious purple dress exclaimed. She was none other than the mistress of the Xing Mansion, Madam Xue Lan’s closest sister, and Sage Xing’s wife, Madam Yuan Yu.
The two of them were the women behind the Starry Twins’ back. When they were young, they were amongst the top beauties in the entire Ignispolis, and even at their age now they were still as charming as ever. Their complexions were as tender and fair as twenty year old girls, thanks to the amount of care and effort they had put in.
“The chief mentors must have a good idea of Yao’er’s strength, which is why they put him at the top of the leaderboard,” Xue Lan said proudly. “But this is not the final score. He worked really hard for the past few weeks and has improved tremendously.”
“Yao’er is such a good son. Even if he grew up pampered and free of worries, he still put so much effort into cultivation. How I envy having a son like him,” Madam Yuan Yu exclaimed.
“Sis Yu, please don’t say that. Even if you only have one son, we all know how well he is performing at Heaven's Sanctum now.” Xue Lan smiled. “You are Yao’er’s godmother. These three sons are our sons.”
“Oh Sis Lan you sure know how to make me happy, it's no wonder that Brother Chen fell for you.”
“And you too, charming Brother Xing throughout the years.”
“Cut it out, you two. You're giving me goosebumps.” Just as the two were joking around, a voice sounded from outside the room. They turned around to find two handsome youths walking into the private room.
The two of them each had their own characteristics, one of them slender and charming while the other bulky and intimidating. The slender one resembled Chen Yao, suggesting that he was Chen Yao’s elder brother, Chen Hao. The other one of them was Sage Xing’s son, Xing Que. It was Xing Que who interrupted their conversation earlier.
“Bro, be more polite to our mothers.” Chen Hao smiled.
“They're gonna turn into little girls already if we get anymore polite.” Xing Que shook his head and grinned.
“How rude of you, you should look at how caring Hao’er is. I told you to come and support your youngest brother, but you’re too late. He’s already made it to the top of the Flameyellow Leaderboard.” Madam Yuan Yu rolled her eyes.
“Getting first place now is pointless. I heard the stories going around, and it’s probably quite difficult for Yao’er to become prime disciple, considering that he’s competing with the likes of Lin Xiaoxiao and Li Shufan. That Li Shufan is the prime minister’s direct disciple, and he was said to be the minister’s best disciple too. As for Lin Xiaoxiao, need we say anymore? She’s quite close to that monstrous prime disciple four years ago.”
“Are those two that strong?” Xue Lan frowned, clearly feeling the pressure now.
“Of course. Had mother been more strict to Yao’er and pampered him less, he would have a much better chance. As for now, he has a 20% chance, at most.”
Madam Yuan Yu shook her head. “Even so, he still has a chance. I told you all to come and support your youngest sibling, what kind of brothers are you two to say such discouraging things.”
“Of course we would support our youngest brother,” Xing Que said.
“It’s just that he can’t obtain the title of the prime disciple this time round. Even so, with his own discipline and our family background, within three months we can get him to join us in the Sanctum,” Chen Hao further explained.
“Yao’er really is talented, and can at least rank among the top three in his generation. If only he had put more effort into cultivation, his odds would increase to 40% today.” Said Xing Que.
Xue Lan let out a sigh of relief. “Well, that’s good enough! Once he enters Heaven's Sanctum he can rely on the two of you, and no one would ever dare to touch him.”
“What are you saying mum? Who would ever dare to seek trouble with the Xing and Chen Clans? If anyone dares to so as much as touch Chen Yao’s hair, I’d personally send him to hell.” Chen Hao smirked.
“Don’t forget about me.” Xing Que clenched his fist and grinned too.
Xue Lan smiled too, happy with how bonded the brothers were and also with their capabilities. They were truly the future of this nation! She then thought of that dying woman, and the taunt that her disgraced son had challenged Chen Yao with. That made Xue Lan crack up instantly.
“Godmother, what’s so funny? Anything good happened lately?” Xing Que asked.
“Ha, it’s just that some people have no idea where they belong.”
“Who are you talking about?”
“You will find out soon.” Xue Lan was acting all mysterious.
“Li Tianming, it’s your turn, make a move.” After a long period of waiting, Chief Mentor Mu Wan had finally turned her attention to him, as she hurried him onto the arena.
Mu Wan was having a busy day, and she was already sweating from the burning sun. But that just made the beauty more attractive than ever.
“Who am I facing, and what level?” Li Tianming asked. He wanted a stronger opponent, so that he could get a higher preliminary score and not waste his time.
“Ninth level of Beast Vein.” Mu Wan replied.
“Oh c’mon, you must be looking down on me.” Li Tianming grumbled.
“What can I do, you are registered as ninth level of … Wait, you reached Spiritsource?” Mu Wan realised that there was something inherently different about Li Tianming, something that didn't belong to a Beast Vein beastmaster.
“Then all the more you should calm down and take your time. Don’t worry, I will keep assigning you opponents until you lose,” Mu Wan explained with a serious tone.
That was enough to soothe Li Tianming. Some chief mentors might give Li Tianming a biased score based on first impressions, and even if Li Tianming had won, if he wasn’t allocated any more matches, he wouldn’t be able to raise his score.
Li Tianming took to the arenas. Since there were over ten battles happening at the same time, not many had noticed him yet. In a while, his opponent was guided up the arena by another chief mentor.
Li Tianming took a closer look, and he was surprised that he recognised that fellow. His opponent was none other than the ‘genius’ of Lightning Manor, Liu Qianyang of ninth level of Beast Vein.
“What a coincidence. Life sure is funny sometimes, no?” Li Tianming grinned broadly.
Liu Qianyang’s expression was exactly opposite of Li Tianming’s. He had personally witnessed Li Tianming defeating Chen Ding. Furthermoe, his nose bone had yet to totally recover from Li Tianming’s punch. Therefore, he shuddered when he realised that he was matched up against Li Tianming once again.
“Chief mentor, I refuse to battle this person!” Li Tianming never expected Liu Qianyang to yell at the judging chief mentors the moment Liu Qianyang saw his face.
“This person is named Li Tianming, and he was expelled from the institute three years ago for immoral acts! He does not have the right to return to the institute, neither does he have the right to battle me!” Liu Qianyang’s eyes were wide open, and his tone hysterical. It was clear that he really didn’t want to battle Li Tianming.
“Bullshit. Li Tianming was not expelled from the institute three years ago, and we have judged that he has the right to re-enter the institute,” said Chief Mentor Mu Wan, who was just a distance away, “Liu Qianyang, you do not have a right to refuse the battle, or you will be automatically eliminated from the ranking test.”
She had made her stance very clear.
“I disagree! Why can an animal who drugged other people before become a member of the institute?! The Flameyellow Scions Institute is a sacred place, and should not tolerate filth like him! I refuse to battle him!” Liu Qianyang roared, his face flushing bright red.
The only reason why he was not chased out of the stadium yet was because he was a member of the Lightning Manor. Instead, many had caught on to what he had said, and they were beginning to notice Li Tianming’s existence. That name reminded many of the joke that had happened three years ago. While Li Tianming was just another average joe, the other member involved in the story was Lin Xiaoting, the prime disciple four years ago and the top disciple in Heaven’s Sanctum now.
“So that's Li Tianming?”
Li Tianming’s name had started an array of discussions. “That Lightning Manor disciple is right. We can’t let such an indecent human be a member of the Flameyellow Scions Institute, it's a sacred place after all.”
Even Li Tianming himself did not expect the attention he was receiving right now, since his first battle had not even started. The crowd today was easily ten times that of the admission test’s, and there were simply too many pairs of eyes on him right now.
“What a filthy scum, he belongs in the drains with the rats. He’s achieving nothing here but shaming himself.”
“Thankfully Lin Xiaoting arrived in time to save the goddess of Heaven's Sanctum, or he would have laid his filthy hands on her.”
“I know, those two make such a good couple.”
“I wonder if they are here looking at this brute too?”
Discussion of this kind was going on in all corners of the stadium.
Liu Qianyang did not expect his little trick to be so effective. Just as he wanted to add fuel to the fire, he heard someone calling him.
“Qianyang!” The boy turned back to see his sister, Liu Qing.
Her face was stone-cold, as she announced, “Battle like a real man, and stop shaming the Lightning Manor. Children of the Lightning Manor will never escape from a battle.”
“But sis… ”
“Quiet, the seniors are watching.” Liu Qing’s voice was as cold as ice.
How could Liu Qianyang not get the hint! Liu Qing was in the room allocated to Lightning Manor, and if she stepped out now it means she was carrying the orders from the top personnel from Lightning Manor. To piss off the seniors of the manor was even more frightening for Liu Qianyang.
Before the chief mentors could come to a decision on what to do, Liu Qianyang had summoned his Lightning Bolt Cheetah and shouted at Li Tianming, “I changed my mind! It is my role as a member of the Lightning Manor to punish people like you!”
His words had raised cheers from the crowd. Real heroes would punish evildoers, and only cowards escaped from battles. In fact, many in the stadium were applauding Liu Qianyang’s actions right now.
“Lovely. I owe you my thanks, Liu Qianyang,” Li Tianming said.
“Thank me? For what? For letting the world know that the joke is back in town?” Liu Qianyang sneered.
“Pretty much, your announcement had put me into the spotlight.” Li Tianming smiled.
“And you are useless to me now.” Having said that, Li Tianming walked towards Liu Qianyang without even summoning his little chick.
“How dare you look down on me! Children of the Lightning Manor will never go down without a fight!” Liu Qianyang roared, as he charged towards Li Tianming along with his Lightning Bolt Cheetah. He wanted to make use of Li Tianming’s ego and attack before the little chick was even summoned.
A fiery mirage flashed past, followed by a crisp sound of a slap. An instant later, the audience saw Liu Qianyang spiral into the air, spinning a dozen rounds, before he finally landed with a thud in front of Liu Qing. His body convulsed violently, and strength fled from his body entirely.
Another slap followed. This time, the cheetah was sent spinning too, till it eventually landed beside its master, unable to get up either.
The battle lasted for less than a fraction of a second. Showered by the confused looks from the spectators, Li Tianming rubbed his hands together. Everyone was still in doubt of the result, and shocked by the swiftness of the battle. Had Li Yanfeng been here, he would have seen how Li Tianming dominated Liu Qianyang yet again. This time, it was with a single slap!
As for what happened three years ago, many had been fooled. Therefore, before he could exonerate himself completely, Li Tianming did not want to make any explanations.
In fact, he just wanted to tell Mu Wan: Bring me the next one! If he was lucky, he would be able to challenge the current first place of the leaderboard, Chen Yao, within an hour!
And then, trash the shit out of him.