Sadly, he would never get an answer to that what-if. Three years on, she now stood with the Lightning Manor, supporting her opponent with the countless other spectators in the stadium.
She had appeared without any fuss, looking at Li Tianming as if he was a stranger. It was as if the young man had never left a mark in her life. From the very start, she had been inside the Lightning Manor’s room, taking in everything that had happened so far. Only when he was about to battle with Lin Xiaoxiao did she walk out to stand beside Lin Xiaoxiao, supporting her lover’s younger sister.
Their arrival in Ignispolis, their struggle to survive in this big city... everything seemed like just yesterday when all that happened. But now, she had adapted to this land, surpassing her contemporaries here.
Li Tianming had no desire to mourn for their ruined relationship. Nor did he want to cover that burning hatred in his heart. He could handle her betrayal, but he would never forget the cruel murder of Midas at her — and Lin Xiaoting’s — hands!
His eyes blazed with anger. The mere sight of her had torn open the wound in Li Tianming’s heart. Personal emotions shouldn’t affect his upcoming battle with Lin Xiaoxiao, but just seeing her standing beside Mu Qingqing was enough to rile him up.
Of course, everyone in the stadium knew the story, but it was the version that she and Lin Xiaoting had made up together. In this story, Li Tianming was but a laughingstock, a disgrace of a disciple. Now that their paths had crossed again, especially under the public eye, things were bound to get interesting.
“Long time no see, Li Tianming,” she said gently as her sight landed on him. Surprise flickered through his face as she initiated the conversation — according to her script, he should be the detestable, immoral brute.
“It’s been some time,” Li Tianming replied.
“I have never imagined that you could reach this step.” Her words were emotionless, neutral.
“Disappointed?” Li Tianming said coolly.
“No. I’m happy you have turned over a new leaf and found your direction in life again. Remember to not make any more mistakes.”
“Thank you for your advice. I’ll make sure not to make mistakes next time,” Li Tianming replied. What ‘mistake’ meant to both of them, however, varied vastly. For him, it meant his meeting and saving of her, back when they first met. But he wasn’t ever going to say it.
“Then, I wish you all the best for your future,” Mu Qingqing said.
“And I wish you to die heirless.”
How could Li Tianming not understand her intention to act benevolent in front of the public? Evidently, Mu Qingqing herself was too absorbed with that story she co-authored with Lin Xiaoting.
There was no point tearing off her mask since no one would believe a word he said. But his wish for her die heirless was genuine. Since Mu Qingqing and Lin Xiaoting were together, it was as good as wishing for the Lightning Manor to end in their generation!
Anyone could hear the aggressiveness in their conversation. Mu Qingqing was a magnanimous girl, who didn’t just forgive Li Tianming, but also wished him all the best. In contrast, Li Tianming had started alright, but the vicious curse at the end was enough to shock everyone. In everyone’s eyes, this was living proof that leopards never changed their spots.
“Getting you to start afresh and forget the past seems impossible after all.” Mu Qingqing shook her head regretfully and sighed.
“Big sis Qingqing, don’t bother yourself with this kind of person. He doesn't know how to be grateful for your forgiveness, and he probably still hates you for executing his lifebound beast.” Lin Xiaoxiao was generally a good-natured girl, but even she couldn’t control her temper.
“Hm.” Mu Qingqing smiled at her and held her hand. The hint of disappointment in her eyes was so realistic, Li Tianming would have given her a prize for her acting.
“Challenge me, Li Tianming! Scum like you have no place in the institute, let alone Heaven’s Sanctum. No one here will even support you!” Lin Xiaoxiao pointed at the largest arena.
No one will support him? But he never needed it in the first place. His mother was sitting in the audience, and wasn’t that enough? He also had Chief Mentor Mu Wan, which was another huge plus!
At that moment, Wei Zikun announced, “The final battle for the prime disciple position will hereby commence!”
The announcement tossed the stadium into applause and cheers once again. But before the fight could commence, something unexpected happened. Two girls walked out of one of the private rooms and approached the arena. Their appearance riled up the crowd, and Li Tianming’s jaws dropped in disbelief!
“Look, it’s the sixth princess Jiang Qingluan, and the Vermilion Bird Emperor’s goddaughter, Princess Ling!”
“It’s no wonder why they call her the number one beauty of Vermilion Bird. Her beauty is otherworldly.”
“She’s always giving off this unique, fairy-like aura that makes even Princess Qing look mundane when placed beside her.”
“That’s right, ‘goddess’ is the only suitable word to describe her.”
“You can’t say that. If the Sixth Princess was by herself, she would be a looker too.”
Li Tianming’s mind went blank for the briefest of moments. He knew that Jiang Feiling and Princess Qing were in Ignispolis, that they belonged to the Vermilion Bird Clan, but their appearance here was... unexpected.
They must have been with King Xuan previously.
Li Tianming looked up to see the two of them. He only found out today that Princess Qing was the Sixth Princess, Jiang Qingluan. She was quite a sensation in Heaven’s Sanctum, having gotten in there with the emperor’s help without even having to attend the entrance exam. Even on the Heavenly Leaderboard, the sanctum’s internal ranking, her name was ranked among the very top.
Having not seen them in a few days, Li Tianming missed the way Jiang Feiling stood out in the crowd. It was like she could make him forget all his worries and focus just on her, befitting her nickname of ‘goddess’.
“Number one beauty of Vermilion Bird, huh?” Li Tianming smiled. It was a suitable title. Mu Qingqing wasn’t a serious contender for that title, now that he’d seen both princesses. He recalled how he thought Princess Qing was Jiang Feiling’s maid — Mu Qingqing must have felt that way when she stood beside Jiang Feiling.
Jiang Feiling was just charming in all aspects, be it appearance, aura or elegance. It was a charm that transcended gender. As an illustration, Mu Wan, whose eyes were glowing right now, was currently whispering in Li Tianming’s ears, “Even I would want that Princess Ling.”
“Errrrr...” Li Tianming didn’t expect his chief mentor to be so open-minded.
“Look at them walking towards the arena, do they want a better look at the battle?”
“Or are they going up to support Lin Xiaoxiao?”