In the cold wind, Tianming sat on Lan Huang's head, heading southwest. Radiant Vines extended from his lifebound space, binding the nine-winged silverblade saintdragon to Lan Huang's body. The dragon looked dull and lethargic, its body covered in blood. The lightning that had charred most of its silver body had also caused heavy injuries.
"May I ask you a question?” Tianming turned to the saintdragon, his robes fluttering in the wind and snow.
"Go ahead.” Entangled by the Radiant Vines, it couldn’t move. Its murky eyes appeared bleak and dismal.
"Has Xuanyuan Yuheng recently been affected by external forces? For example, did someone use some special technique to influence his mind?” asked Tianming.
In fact, he hadn’t planned on killing Xuanyuan Yuheng. At most, he wanted to clarify the doubts in his mind. However, Xuanyuan Yuheng actually pulled out a nine star heavenly pattern tome. If it weren’t for Xian Xian’s quick response, Tianming would have been killed.
"I don't know..." sighed the dragon.
"You’re his lifebound beast. How can you not know?”
"Recently, he often closed off his lifebound space to prevent us from finding out what he was doing,” said the nine-winged silverblade saintdragon.
"Then why were you guys still messing around with him?” asked Tianming.
"To be honest, we never thought he would kill the oceansoul fatedragon,” it said.
"Is that how you got along with your beastmaster?” Tianming shook his head.
"No, we’ve always been brothers and the closest confidants. However, in recent years as the divine blood gradually awakened, he was on guard day and night and didn’t say much to us. After the return of Her Eminence, his emotions have grown more and more out of control. If we said anything, he closed off his lifebound space.”
In truth, beastmasters occupied dominant positions in their symbiotic relationships. For example, the lifebound space is controlled by the beastmaster.
"Why didn’t you immediately inform the elders when he kidnapped Xuanyuan Muxue?!” asked Tianming.
"What do you know? We’re brothers. Since he wanted to do it, then we’d go crazy with him just this once! Li Tianming, Yuheng failed and we have lost, but don’t forget, we’re enemies. I can’t kill you in this life, but you’d better make sure I don't find an opportunity in my next.” Although the dragon was exhausted, its eyes were fiery-red.
"If you’d acted in the nick of time and chosen not to go along with his insane plan, he might still be alive,” Tianming snickered.
"We didn't expect you to have such a strong plant type lifebound beast. That’s why we failed. But if we’d succeeded, Yuheng would’ve had the opportunity to approach Her Eminence without you getting in the way!”
"Why did he want to approach Her Eminence? Don’t you know that’s wishful thinking?”
"It doesn't matter. We’re brothers in life and death. Anything he wants to do, we’ll do too.”
"What about Muxue then? What did she do wrong?” asked Tianming.
"She didn’t do anything wrong. If anything, it’s her fault for being too close to an outsider like you!”
“Stop lying to yourself, pal. His heart was all twisted. He was even willing to sacrifice his own people. Don’t try to wave the so-called flag of brotherhood. I have lifebound beasts as well, but I wouldn’t deal with my sister like that in front of them. Don’t you understand that you must have a moral bottom line?”
After Xian Xian was born, Tianming knew that this was something he had to hold fast to. If he descended into evil ways and allowed his Primordial Chaos Beasts to learn from him, their destructive power would be more terrifying than anyone else’s could ever be. He was very careful to maintain his symbiotic relationship so beastmaster and lifebound beast would be of the same heart. What a failure of a man he would be if beastmaster and lifebound beast had different beliefs.
"Li Tianming, I admit that you’re excellent and I envy your relationship with your lifebound beasts. But isn’t it because they’re stupid that you can control them?” the nine-winged silverblade saintdragon sneered.
“Stupid? Tianming laughed, “ First of all, I’ve never controlled them. Their lives are more important than my own. They’re my family. Secondly, you don’t get to say if they’re stupid or not. Haven’t you heard, the wise may appear stupid?”
The dragon laughed.
"Forget it, I’ve no reason to argue with you. At least you didn’t make things difficult for Muxue, so you still have a conscience,” said Tianming.
"Well, you’re right. Muxue didn’t do anything wrong. I’ve failed Muxue and Lan Ling. After all, we also grew up with them...."
Since Xuanyuan Yuheng died, everything was over. Venting their anger on Xuanyuan Muxue would be a failure on their part. From the very start, they were more clear-headed than Xuanyuan Yuheng, but they had chosen to fight with him anyway.
As tribulation beasts, they would no longer be able to improve their tribulation force, which would slowly dissipate after having lost their beastmaster. However, they would still retain their physical strength and would have no problem surviving in the Abyssal Battlefield. Unfortunately, they were in the death phase so their flesh would decline quickly.
That was symbiotic cultivation. They shared life and death together, and neither party would be able to escape the consequences. Creating a lifebound spirit was already considered fighting for a better end.
All of these encounters made Tianming even more aware of how lucky he was to have been able to embark on this path of symbiosis with his lifebound beasts. He loved them from the bottom of his heart. What they shared was a sort of blood connection, a resonance of the soul.
Therefore, it wasn’t at all surprising that the saintdragon had chosen to accompany Xuanyuan Yuheng in committing such a crazy act. Beastmaster and lifebound beast were bound to each other in life and death from birth, grew together, and learned about the world together. Sharing the same fate undoubtedly meant that they were close to each other, and perhaps on certain levels, closer than family.
Ying Huo and the others were straightforward and reckless; they didn’t speak affectionate words, but Tianming was an affectionate man. Thus, he was more sensitive than anyone else. Every time they fought side by side, each time they teased and joked was seared into his memory. He was with Midas for sixteen years, and its death had taught him to cherish the opportunity and feelings. If the Primordial Chaos Beasts needed a guide to help them renew their understanding of this world, then Tianming was willing to play that role; it was his mission.
On this snowy night, Tianming was lost in thought.
"Xian Xian.” He touched the little girl's head. Its spiritform was obediently nestled in Tianming's arms, curiously looking at the outside world and listening to their conversation.
"What’s wrong, half-daddy?” asked Xianxian.
"Welcome to our big family. I’m very honored to be your partner, and I’ll teach you to love this world. Although it’s cold and cruel, it signifies life and is the hope of countless living beings. Life is filled with ups and downs; it’s very exciting. When you grow up, you’ll have an opportunity to experience it all. Do you understand?”
"I do. I’ll only eat half of what half-daddy gives me in the future. I won’t even eat if my belly is grumbling.” Tilting its head, Xian Xian lay on Tianming's arm, eyes wide as she swore her solemn vow.
"Do you know what the most important thing is?”
"What’s most important is to not let our friends and partners down. Be worthy of those who live and die with you, alright?”
"Mhmm, I got it. It’s all up here in my head.” It looked at Tianming with adoration.
"Good girl. Don't worry, as long as I’m alive, you won’t go hungry. You must savor the delicacies of the world, not swallow them in one gulp.”
"Yay! I’m so happy. I’m going in to play with Big Brother Meow Meow!”
Ying Huo hung from Lan Huang's head. Upon listening to their conversation, it remained motionless, fixing its feathers in the wind.
"Chicken Bro,” said Tianming.
"Yeah? Is there anything you’d like to say? Like beastmaster and beast, together forever without regrets?” Tianming teased.
"Fuck, you’re giving me goosebumps!” Ying Huo said in disgust.
In the abyss to the south of the Taiji Peak Lake, a black dragon was coiled around a girl dressed in pale blue, waiting in the darkness.
"Big Brother Yuheng can't win,” the girl said hoarsely.
"I know.” The black dragon let out a mournful cry and lowered its head.
"What’s wrong? Why didn't you refute me?” the girl asked.
"He's gone,” said the black dragon.
It slowly loosened its body, releasing Xuanyuan Muxue.
"He’s gone?!” Xuanyuan Muxue fell to the ground, her frosty eyes trembling. Xuanyuan Yuheng was dead? Was he defeated and killed, or....
Staring blankly at the black dragon at the entrance of the cave, she said, "So, will you vent your anger and kill me?”
“There’s no point in that. Muxue, you’ve suffered. Let's go.”
The black dragon flew out.
"Where are you going?” shouted Xuanyuan Muxue.
"To die with them,” it replied.
"Don't do this. Take me with you,” Xuanyuan Muxue said anxiously.
"Let's go then.” The black dragon left with her.
The stormy winds whistled amid the endless snowfall. Under the night sky, Tianming met up with the black dragon and the young girl on its back.
The emperor abyssalfiend saintdragon stared at Tianming. His appearance signified Xuanyuan Yuheng’s defeat. After placing Xuanyuan Muxue on the ground, the black dragon swept into the cold sky and rushed toward Tianming with no regard or fear of death.
"It’s useless Hei Tu. Don’t waste your effort.” Raising its head, the nine-winged silverblade saintdragon looked at the black dragon, its eyes dim.
The black dragon stopped.
“Where are they?”
"They’re all gone. I came back so Muxue could live,” it said.
"You were so badly defeated?”
"Yes, everything’s gone. We were wrong,” it said.
"You should kill yourself. But don't stop me, I’ll die for Yuheng!” said the black dragon, its gaze fiery.
"No, I don’t want to live out a hopeless life,” said the emperor abyssalfiend saintdragon.
Staring down Tianming, it charged forth with the determination to kill its enemy.Previous Chapter Next Chapter