After giving the abstract a short read, he decided that was the technique he would pick. "Sect Master, I've made my choice."
"Second-origin? Are you sure?" Xuanyuan Dao asked.
"Yes. I'll give it a try. Even if I can't use it to its full potential, I can benefit from the insights I'll gain from trying to figure it out."
"It's best you pick a first-origin art to go along with it."
"Thank you Sect Master! I won't hold back then!" He knew that Xuanyuan Dao thought he was overestimating himself, but he didn't think he would be so generous as to offer him another technique rather than stop him from taking the second-origin one. He definitely held Tianming in high regard. Even though Tianming hadn't actually become the goddess's disciple yet, Xuanyuan Dao already saw him as one. Even though someone like him was nothing more than a joke to those that were trying to kill Feiling, he was second in terms of importance to the Archaic House of Xuanyuan.
The two of them left the Hidden Dragon Pavilion together.
"Tianming, I noticed that many disciples from the other eight divine realms know of your identity, looks, and level of power. Your status is far too sensitive and I feel like you're risking too much by going onto the battlefield. The Number One Summit will have more than sixteen hundred disciples and at least a thousand of them will be out for your life. Are you sure you don't want to reconsider?"
"Sect Master, I'm not afraid of dying. I'm afraid of drowning in my own patheticness," Tianming casually said.
"A true man. Her Eminence was right to pick you," Xuanyuan Dao said with a resigned smile as he patted his shoulder.
"Sect Master, does that mean I'll be quite famous among the crowd in the Number One Summit?"
"That's correct. The speed information travels through the nine divine realms is terrifying. The participants in the summit will definitely be the first to know everything, including what Her Eminence has given you, what you did here, and who you defeated. Many will try to approach you and even attempt to kill you. Do you know the gravity of the situation now?"
"Yes, I do."
"Are you sure you won't change your mind?"
When they returned to Soulburn Hall, Tianming saw Fang Taiqing and Fang Qingli talking.
"Tianming, are you really going to join?" Fang Taiqing asked.
"I believe in your abilities. Show your opponents what you're made of."
"I definitely will."
Fang Taiqing smiled and greeted Xuanyuan Dao, then left for Heaven Divine Hall.
"Why don't you go in and greet Her Eminence?" Fang Qingli casually said.
"I won't be. I'll come back after the fight."
Tianming bade them farewell and left in a hurry, filled with worry and intent on not wasting a single second he could use to improve.
"Her Eminence sure is open minded to let him participate in the fights."
"How could someone like you come close to knowing Her Eminence's intentions?" Fang Qingli said as she left.
The past few days felt like years to most, but Tianming wished he had more time. His mission was a daunting one. He absorbed tribulation sword ki and astralsources like he usually did, and also made sure to use Archfiend to absorb more of the Archaionfiend Eye's essence. He had almost no extra time at all and didn't even return to his residence.
Ever since returning from the Hidden Dragon Pavilion, he also had to cultivate the Eight Desolation Fienddragon Whip. He was skipping the whole first-origin level and heading straight for the second-origin level. While he didn't have any tribulation rings, he would be stronger than anyone using a first-origin samsara battle art no matter how weak he was, assuming he could understand the move's intricacies. Not to mention, if he could even use the strongest sword art on the continent, why wouldn't he be able to use this battle art?
Before the Number One Summit, he managed to achieve a few main goals: the first was absorbing the essence of the Archaionfiend Eye every night. Now, Archfiend had three tribulation patterns and was possibly even stronger than the weapon Xuanyuan Yuheng had used. Second, he broke through to the eighth level of the Empyrean Saint stage.
"Last time, Xian Xian only managed to evolve with some help from the Astral Wills on the Old Deepstar Path. It looks like my cultivation speed in the Samsara stage won't be as fast as it was as an empyrean saint, but at least being in the eighth level will help me survive."
With the Prime Tower, he didn't really need to worry about dying unless he didn't even have a chance to run into it to hide. As for his third goal, he made up for the wood astralsources that he hadn't had a chance to absorb before. With more than three hundred astralsources now, he would be virtually unmatched in close combat.
His fourth goal was to absorb another eight hundred strands of tribulation sword ki. Ying Huo didn't lag far behind, managing to take in around five hundred. With all four goals complete, Tianming and all his lifebound beasts grew considerably in power.
"Hard work does pay off after all." Even with his talent, he made sure not to take it easy in the slightest. "Only those that give it their all have the right to claim to protect their loved ones."
He didn't ever want to experience something like losing Midas ever again.
"I notice that the air around you is different lately. You've grown from boy to man," Ying Huo said.
"Stop flattering me, it won't work."
"Haha, if only Ling'er would help you finally graduate from the last bastion of boyhood...."
"Graduate?" Where did that shameless chicken learn the use of that word?
"Half-daddy, prepare more food for me! We're about to fight soon, and I'll strike if you make me do it on an empty stomach!" Xian Xian's spiritform said from where it lay on Tianming's head.
"Didn't you just eat your fill? You eat more than your cat brother sleeps! Did you even practice that whip art like I asked?" Tianming said.
"I forgot... It just takes time away from my feeding. I won't do it!" she said shyly.
He turned to Ying Huo and said, "I just noticed that you're the only one I can remotely count on."
"Don't obsess over me... I'm just a legend," Ying Huo confidently said.
"Oh no... your narcissism's gonna make me puke..."
At dawn in the Deepstar Pool, Xuanyuan Muxue asked, "The others from the eight divine realms are here. The battle starts tomorrow. Are you ready?"
"Yes." Tianming was still refining astralsources and seemed to be sweating from the pain.
"My eldest brother, Xuanyuan Yucheng, is the strongest disciple in the sect so far. You two should look out for each other."
Tianming had heard about the man who was at the prime age of thirty. Had he been born a year earlier, he wouldn't be able to participate in the summit.
"Why would your brother need me to look out for him? He should be looking out for me, if anything."
"Enough. He's facing ten times more pressure than you are, and has been really high strung lately. Just like you, he bears a huge burden," she said, biting her lip from the worry she felt. The whole sect was worried about what was to come, let alone her.
"Anyone that can bravely bear the burden of that responsibility is someone worthy of respect," Tianming said.
"Yeah. I asked him if he’ll let go of the matter concerning Brother Yufeng and Brother Yuheng. He told me that he's impressed that you were willing to participate in the summit, so he’ll treat you as a comrade during the battles and come to your aid."Previous Chapter Next Chapter