Because she had tried to reduce the impact of the battleaxe, Lin Xiaoxiao herself sustained injuries from the backlash of retracting her beast ki.
“Grr!” Her inwards shuddered and twisted, and a small fountain of blood erupted from her mouth.
“How did he even do that?” Lin Xiaoxiao’s face paled with shock. However, she was in no position to figure that out, as Li Tianming’s Thunderfire Chain was still wrapped around the Vajra Berserk Ape’s neck. Furthermore, the Vajra Berserk Ape was weakened by Lin Xiaoxiao’s attack, and this was the perfect opportunity for Li Tianming to counterattack!
Making sure that the chain was tightly bound to the ape, Li Tianming’s next move horrified the entire stadium. With a swing of his arm, he sent the ape, which was a few times bigger than him, flying into the air and then crashing back into the ground, repeating the process with a vicious grin on his face.
“Fly! How do you like that, ha!” Minor earthquakes rocked the stadium, and within moments, the ape had slammed into the ground three times, struggling to pull the chain off its neck the whole time!
The ape would spin in mid-air, before gravity and Li Tianming’s strength worked together to slam it back down, over and over, creating sonorous thumps everything this happened. It was a terrifying sight to behold.
The Vajra Berserk Ape was enraged, but it couldn’t make a noise. Its face was paler than paper, given that the chain was about to strangle it any moment.
This was made possible because of Li Tianming’s mastery of the chain. Compared to weapons like the Voltaic Dragon Battleaxe, the Thunderfire Chain was as nimble as a snake, allowing Li Tianming to strike at every single weak point of his opponent.
But he had underestimated the beast as well. As it made contact with the ground a third time, a frightening golden bolt erupted from the ape’s body. The bolt quickly traveled through its torso and onto the chain, threatening to electrocute Li Tianming a moment later. It was its spiritsource ability, the Golden Flux! The sheer strength of this move — enough to put Li Tianming out of commission — was evident, and Li Tianming hurriedly released his chain right before the bolt could hit him.
As for the Vajra Berserk Ape, the Golden Flux clearly took all the strength it had left. Right after letting out the bolt, the ape collapsed completely, clearly on the brink of death. Not only had it suffered considerable blood loss, a good handful of its bones were broken after being swung around by Li Tianming. It was evident that the Vajra Berserk Ape was out of this battle!
Li Tianming’s action was astonishing, as he had not only blocked Lin Xiaoxiao’s Sky-Ripping Three Strikes , but also made her injure both the ape and herself. That was enough to turn the tides of the battle.
At the same time, the battle of the two flying beasts had reached a climax too! The Tri-Coloured Darkthunder Bird’s Sky-Ripping Three Claws were on par with the little chick’s Netherfire Ghostclaw, and it wasn’t about to lose out in speed too.
However, when it used its spiritsource ability, Fusion Wave, to launch a tri-coloured lightning bolt at the little chick, it was greeted with a smirk.
“Wanna compare your ability with mine?” Ying Huo grinned, as it opened its mouth to spew out a blazing phoenix!
The Infernal Blaze charged towards the bird, vaporizing the Fusion Wave in its way and crashed directly onto the Tri-Coloured Darkthunder Bird!
Ying Huo laughed. “Burn, you stupid bird!”
The bird screeched as it fell from the sky, engulfed in flame. Its intention was to extinguish the fire by rolling on the floor, but it didn’t know that the Infernal Blaze would burn on forever. Without the little chick’s mercy, it had but one fate — a fiery death.
All of these happened simultaneously as the ape collapsed. Lin Xiaoxiao could only gasp at her two lifebound beasts, one gravely injured and the other spazzing out from the burn.
“LI TIANMING!” Lin Xiaoxiao’s face paled even further, knowing that she was at her wits’ end. But she was a warrior of the Lightning Manor, and there was no way she would concede here. Once again, she picked up her Voltaic Dragon Battleaxe and charged at Li Tianming and the little chick, without any help from her lifebound beasts.
“That’s it, just admit defeat now. Don’t let your lifebound beast suffer,” Li Tianming called out. If this persisted, the Tri-Coloured Darkthunder Bird would burn to death. Such was the terror of the little chick’s ability.
Lin Xiaoxiao was never his foe to begin with. All Li Tianming needed was the victory, and he didn’t need the girl to pay any price for the crimes that her brother had committed. Three years ago, she was but a twelve year old girl, uninvolved in the incident. She had done well today, even struggling to fight till the end. Looking at the Tri-Coloured Darkthunder Bird being tortured by the Infernal Blaze, Li Tianming thought of Midas. That had hit a soft spot in his heart.
“No! I shall not lose, not to someone like you!” Lin Xiaoxiao stared at him, eyes bloodshot as she dashed towards Li Tianming.
Clang! Li Tianming’s Thunderfire Chain was swifter than her battleaxe.
“Too young, too naive.” He knew that Lin Xiaoxiao had gone hysterical, and with her injuries, she wasn’t much of a threat. Therefore, his chain shot at the Voltaic Dragon Battleaxe and tore it out of her hands. With a swing, the battleaxe was sent flying out of the arena, landing directly in front of Mu Qingqing! As it slammed into the ground, the faint vibration from the impact even caused Mu Qingqing’s hair to flutter.
Having lost her weapon, Lin Xiaoxiao could only face the reality that she could not fight any longer. Looking at her lifebound beasts, their injuries brought tears to her eyes.
“I concede.” Her voice was feeble and coarse, as she glared at Li Tianming with teary eyes.
“Should have done that earlier. Ying Huo, spare her lifebound beast,” Li Tianming said to the little chick.
“Don’t worry, it wouldn’t die. At most it'll be bald for a few months.” The little chick sucked the Infernal Blaze back into its stomach. By then, however, the pretty Tri-Coloured Darkthunder Bird was charred all over. Even if it was prettied up later, it was still going to be featherless for some time.
The fight to become the prime disciple was over! There was a clear winner, since one of them had both her lifebound beasts injured and she herself had conceded defeat. The expected winner — Lin Xiaoxiao — had lost, causing the whole stadium to fall into a deathly silence. Most of the audience stared mindlessly at Li Tianming and the little chick, who was still strutting around and bragging. Within the Lightning Manor’s private room, Lin Tianjian, Li Yanfeng and Liu Qing were all dumbfounded. And in the Xing & Chen Merchantry’s room, Madam Xue Lan was gritting her teeth.
They could be annoyed at him, some even angry about his victory, but now? They could only swallow those sentiments!
“Ha, who are you all looking down on now!” Li Tianming thought. At this moment, he was the star of the stadium!
“I don’t dislike Lin Xiaoxiao, but there’s just so many things I can prove by defeating her! Mu Qingqing, Madam Xue Lan, and Ignispolis! Watch me, for I am back!”
This victory had significant value for Li Tianming, as he was no longer just the laughing stock from three years ago, but also the prime disciple of Flameyellow Scions Institute! It was an identity that couldn’t be ignored, since every single one of the past prime disciples turned out to be the elites of Vermilion Bird!
That was just what Li Tianming needed for now. For now, his name will be known by the entire nation, not just because of his past, but also because he was the best disciple in these four years! But Li Tianming wasn’t going to be full of himself, and neither had he forgotten his purpose. He knew that this was just a beginning, and ultimately he would show the world who were the scumbags three years ago!
He surveyed the audience, most of which were wearing faces of disappointment and disapproval. It was only natural that most people didn’t support him as the prime disciple. Someone who was overaged and had a stained record just wasn’t worthy of such a prestigious position. Most of the youths his age, such as Chen Hao, Xing Que, Mu Qingqing and Lin Xiaoting had all entered even higher levels, and Li Tianming was but an above average teenager compared to them.
Yet, this overaged teenager could make it into Heaven’s Sanctum and enjoy the resources and treatment reserved for the prime disciple! Clearly, the system had its own flaws. But rules were rules, and Li Tianming had topped the test fair and square. No matter how many people might find Lin Xiaoxiao to be a more suitable candidate, they couldn’t alter the result.
For Li Tianming, there was something even more important. That was his mother’s pride and joy. He knew that he had done Wei Jing proud with his performance today, and Wei Jing could easily be the happiest person in the stadium right now. And the happier she was, the sulkier Xue Lan would be. Just thinking of Xue Lan’s stinking face made Li Tianming grin.
Most importantly, Mu Qingqing had witnessed the entire battle in close proximity. She was fully confident in Lin Xiaoxiao, as she thought the siblings were at levels that Li Tianming could never dream of touching. But now that Li Tianming had made his comeback and easily crushed Lin Xiaoxiao, could Mu Qingqing still stare at him with that indifferent manner?
Of course not. Li Tianming caught the look on her face momentarily, and it was an expression of dismay. Her slender fingers gripped on to the side of her dress, and the shade in her eyes reminded him of that fateful night three years ago. But this time, it was mixed with a tinge of disbelief and fear. She didn’t worry about Li Tianming’s current strength, but he would no doubt be a factor of instability in that peaceful life of hers.
Seeing that look on Mu Qingqing’s face, Li Tianming smiled in relief. If he could, he would tell her personally, “This is just the beginning, and I will have plenty of time to deal with you!”
Three years ago, they tore Midas’ feathers off, one after another. And now, Li Tianming would shred them up piece by piece, be it their body or their soul!
“Midas, just a while more. Just give me some more time, and I will let you rest in peace. I will send you off with their blood!” Li Tianming could feel his urge for vengeance burning stronger than ever.
The result of the battle was justified, and the five hall overseers could also only accept that result. For the Hall of Phoenix’s overseer, Wei Zikun, to have the prime disciple come from his hall was an honour in itself.
“As everyone has seen, the result may be surprising, but there is no doubt to it. Therefore, on behalf of the Flameyellow Scions Institute, I congratulate Li Tianming on being the prime disciple for this year’s ranking test. At the same time, you are now officially a disciple of Heaven’s Sanctum, and you will be continuing your cultivation there.” With Wei Zikun’s announcement, Li Tianming’s victory had been made official.
From there, there were still a few more battles to adjust a few minor details. But since the prime disciple had already been decided, not many paid attention to the rest of the battles. The quadrennial ranking test was nearing its end.
Lin Xiaoxiao didn’t have time to sulk over her loss. She hurriedly returned her two lifebound beasts back to her lifebound space, where they would rest and gradually heal up.
“Big sis Qingqing…" She was still in disbelief, unable to accept her defeat. It was something that she had never felt before, and she could only seek Mu Qingqing’s comfort. But when she looked up, she saw that the way her sister Qingqing looked at Li Tianming was no longer as calm as it used to be.
“Xiaoxiao.” Only after a while did she notice Lin Xiaoxiao, and she pulled the young girl over to pat her on the back. “Don’t worry. With the Lightning Manor and your brother, you will end up in Heaven’s Sanctum anyway. It’s just a matter of time. This battle says nothing of your cultivation level, considering that he has a five year advantage over you.”
“I know, but to lose to him… ” Lin Xiaoxiao felt like she was useless. She promised to help Mu Qingqing teach Li Tianming a lesson, but it ended up being the exact opposite.
“Xiaoxiao, there are more important people worth your attention. Even if he defeated you today, he’s not worthy of being your opponent in the future. You need to cast your gaze higher,” Mu Qingqing consoled her.
But Mu Qingqing herself didn’t even believe what her own words. Her fingers were still grabbed on to the tip of her dress, and red marks had formed on her hand from her tight grip. Mu Qingqing couldn’t see it for herself, but even the veins of her eyes were swollen with blood.