Heaven Branch, the Number One Pavilion.
Lin Xiaoxiao had returned. The Archaionfiend lay in the snow, a heap of white piled on its body. Upon noticing Lin Xiaoxiao, it rose to its feet and turned its dark red eyes on her. "Where were you?”
"Weren't you wondering where Xuanyuan Yuheng went last night? Well, I went out to ask around,” said Lin Xiaoxiao.
"He kidnapped Xuanyuan Muxue to lure Li Tianming out and kill him.” Lin Xiaoxiao stared coldly at the Archaionfiend.
"And what was the result?” it asked.
"Li Tianming is dead.” Lin Xiaoxiao gritted her teeth.
"Really? That's good. What a pity Xuanyuan Yuheng probably came to a miserable end as well. It wasn’t easy confusing a medium,” the Archaionfiend lamented.
"Have you been exposed? Li Tianming is your only threat so it doesn't matter if your medium is gone. You can slowly look for another one. No one’s competing with you anyway,” said Lin Xiaoxiao.
"Lin Xiaoxiao, are you trying to trick me?” it shouted.
"Why argue with me? Do you dare say Xuanyuan Yuheng's behavior has nothing to do with you?”
"I merely magnified his emotions and resentment. Otherwise, how could I get him to listen to me? Don’t you understand there’s a reason behind everything?” the Archaionfiend sneered.
"Serves you right! Everything you’ve worked for has gone down the drain,” said Lin Xiaoxiao.
"What do you mean?”
"Tianming killed Xuanyuan Yuheng. His progress is faster than anything you could ever achieve. Didn’t you say you can fuse Heavenly Wills? But why do I get the feeling that you can’t?” Lin Xiaoxiao sneered.
"He killed Xuanyuan Yuheng?” The Archaionfiend was stunned.
"You’re clearly shooting yourself in the foot and inviting humiliation,” said Lin Xiaoxiao.
The Archaionfiend's expression turned gloomy. It had never expected it would lose control of Xuanyuan Yuheng.
"That’s impossible. How could his progress be faster than my fusion of Heavenly Wills? Even so, his lifebound beasts shouldn’t be able to keep up!” It crept in the snow, eyes dripping blood.
"What are you going to do next?” asked Lin Xiaoxiao.
"It’s alright. He doesn't have Fiend Shackles and isn’t strong enough. He can't touch my eye for the time being. I’ll look for another medium. Anyway, there’s tons of people filled with resentment. Otherwise, I’ll have to wait for you to achieve samsara then find a way to enter the Fiend Palace. Perhaps you could ask Tianming to take you in. He’ll only grow more powerful in the sect. After some time, such a request would be easy for him,” said the Archaionfiend.
Lin Xiaoxiao nodded.
"Additionally, I need tribulation manna. Ask him for one.”
With the Number One Summit just around the corner, all Heaven Branch disciples were cultivating in retreat; there was almost no one to be seen. Tianming ascended the Heaven Sacred Mountain.
"Tianming, come and have a drink,” Ouyang Jianwang shouted from atop the Heaven Cauldron.
"Brother Ouyang.” Tianming descended before his eyes.
"I heard about you and Xuanyuan Yuheng,” said Ouyang Jianwang.
Nodding, Tianming glanced at the red-faced 'poet' and asked, "What did you mean by ‘The weather is dry. Beware of fire’? Were you warning me about this?”
"Take a guess.”
"That must be it,” said Tianming.
"You’re right. When Xuanyuan Yuheng began to act, he was spotted by a friend of mine,” said Ouyang Jianwang.
Xuanyuan Yuheng's actions were sudden and unexpected, so stopping him would have been impossible. Thus, Tianming didn't bother himself with the issue.
"Why didn’t your friend stop Xuanyuan Yuheng?”
"Since things were already set in motion, we had to see what the kid was going to do. Last night, I watched the entire process and witnessed your performance. The power of your lifebound beasts is unprecedented. I’m amazed by their coordination.” Ouyang Jianwang smiled.
"What about the end?"
"In the end, you were quick to attack and I was careless. I thought he seemed a little strange and decided to wait until the end of your battle to investigate further. When he pulled out the heavenly pattern tome, I was going to help you, but I didn't expect that tree of yours to be so ferocious,” said Ouyang Jianwang.
At the time, Xian Xian could have just thrown aside the heavenly pattern tome. However, being a newborn, Xian Xian’s first reaction upon perceiving danger was to get angry and worry about Tianming’s safety. It was so frightened that it stabbed Xuanyuan Yuheng to death with its Bloodrain Sword. Xian Xian couldn’t be blamed for that; it was just a baby. Though highly intelligent, it had little experience and a strong sense of self-protection. On the other hand, Ying Huo had experienced many situations with Tianming.
“I see.” Tianming nodded.
"Since I failed to deal with it promptly and caused the trail to go cold, I won’t report it to the Xuanyuan Clan. It’s fine that you know about it.” Ouyang Jianwang patted him on the shoulder.
"Sure, I won't say anything,” said Tianming.
"I think it might have something to do with the Archaionfiend Eye. If you’re going to cultivate, you must be careful. The eye was originally a demonic object, but it’s suppressed by the Heaven Cauldron. If we lose control of it, there’ll be hell to pay,” said Ouyang Jianwang.
"The Archaionfiend Eye?”
"That’s right. It’s true that Xuanyuan Yuheng resented you, but now your status is different. With his intelligence, there was no way he would’ve behaved so hysterically. Something must have affected his mind. Since he’s never left the sect, I don't think it’s the Yinyang Demon Sect at work. In the days to come, you must be mindful of your surroundings. It’s easy to dodge an open attack, but not a hidden one,” added Ouyang Jianwang.
"Alright.” Tianming nodded. "Brother Ouyang, can I ask a question?"
"Who do you, Yi Xingyin, and Gou Yuqiu represent?”
"I’m a straightforward man, so I won’t beat around the bush. We represent the three great clans among the Tribulation Peak elders. We’re natives of the Ancient Divine Realm, but not the core of the Archaion Sect. Do you understand?” asked Ouyang Jianwang.
"I get it. So the famous tribulation elder, Dugu Jin, is one of you? Tianming asked.
"No, he’s a maverick. An exception,” said Ouyang Jianwang.
"Then what's your relationship with the three major clans?”
"We’re on ordinary terms with the Draconis House of Jian. There’s no conflict between us, but our relationship with the Sterling House of Fang isn’t so good,” replied Ouyang Jianwang.
"So you’re on better terms with the Archaic House of Xuanyuan?”
"The Archaic House of Xuanyuan is the legitimate successor of the Archaion Divine Realm. Although the entire realm has always respected the Archaic House of Xuanyuan, they’ve had their ups and downs. In truth, they’re not at their strongest right now. We’re not considered close, and there’s been certain past estrangement. After all, Tribulation Peak is an amalgamation of forces, not a unified whole,” Ouyang Jianwang explained.
"What do you mean?”
"Our goals for the near future coincide with those of the Archaic House of Xuanyuan, and that is to hold on to Her Eminence. However, the Archaic House of Xuanyuan is wary of outsiders. They’re very nervous about the matter, and don’t exactly trust us. Since you’re Her Eminence’s disciple, we hope to gain her trust through you,” said Ouyang Jianwang.
"You’re being so honest,” Tianming laughed.
"We have no choice. Anything regarding Her Eminence is a sensitive matter. Even if those of us who are passionate want to fight for our home, the stubborn and conservative Archaic House of Xuanyuan refuses to believe us. Right now, they don’t trust anyone besides those from Xuanyuan Lake. After all, Her Eminence was almost assassinated in Soulburn Hall. Who can tell who’s an enemy and who’s a loyal servant?” said Ouyang Jianwang.
"I understand,” said Tianming.
"I don't insist on Her Eminence’s trust, as long as you understand us. Time will prove everything. Tianming, we love this place. Change is coming, and that calls for us to bravely step forward. When the time comes, it’ll be clear who’s loyal and courageous, and who harbors rapacious designs.”
Ouyang Jianwang patted him on the shoulder.
"Yes, only time will tell,” said Tianming.
"Furthermore, judging from your performance last night and your progress during this period, we all agree that you might one day become the eleventh supreme god in the history of the Flameyellow continent.” Ouyang Jianwang smiled.
"That’s all too far in the future. We’ll talk about it when we get there,” said Tianming.
"Very well. You’re a special child, I’m optimistic about you. If the day you become a god comes, don't forget there was once a talented poet on the Heaven Cauldron,” said Ouyang Jianwang.
"Of course.” Tianming smiled.
"Are you going to participate in the Number One Summit?” asked Ouyang Jian.
"Remember, stay alive.”
"I won’t die,” said Tianming.
"There’s a fine line between brilliance and death. The Number One Summit is the biggest obstacle in the Archaion Sect. If you don’t make it through, many hearts will crumble, but if you survive, we’ll be filled with passion and hope.”
Tianming understood the significance of this battle.
"If Her Eminence dies, the Archaion Sect’s future over the next hundred thousand years will be bleak. Time will distinguish the heroes and the villains!”
Just as the words left his lips, sword ki whistled in the distant sky. The harsh sound alarmed the entire sect.
Tianming looked up at the sky and noticed thousand-meter long sword lights amid the clouds and mist accompanied by the mighty roars of gigantic beasts that shocked the earth.
"What's the purpose of being so aggressive?” Tianming asked coldly.
"Naturally, it’s an initial show of strength,” Ouyang Jianwang sneered.
"Who are these people?”
"With sword ki soaring to the sky, it’s obvious they’re the Hexapath Sword Sect of the Sixpath Divine Realm.” Having cultivated the sword his entire life, Ouyang Jianwang was eager to fight them.
People from one of the other eight divine realms had arrived.
Soon, the powerhouses and geniuses of the other divine realms would follow. The day when they all gathered would be the Number One Summit.
"Are you going to the Heaven Divine Hall to welcome them?” asked Ouyang Jianwang.
"No, I’m going to take a look at the Archaionfiend Eye.”
Eyes surging with tribulation sword ki, Tianming glanced in the direction of the Hexapath Sword Sect.Previous Chapter Next Chapter