“Hmmm, interested in finding out?” Mu Wan answered the little chick’s question with a sinister smile. Terrified, Ying Huo jumped back into Li Tianming’s lap.
“What do you know about the supernal mentors? Any target in mind right now?” Mu Wan turned to ask Li Tianming.
“Not as for now. I don’t know anyone there.”
Mu Wan threw him a wink. “Hmm, how about you come to my room tonight, and I’ll tell you all about it.”
“Chief mentor, surely it’s not appropriate if the two of us meet in your room at night, right?” Li Tianming asked cautiously.
“Of course it’s appropriate. Plus, I’m really interested in what’s so special about you that can make even that Princess Ling hug you.” Mu Wan tilted her head. Li Tianming knew that wasn’t a good sign.
“Don’t worry, I’m not gonna eat you.” She smiled dubiously, casting another layer of suspicion on her.
“Chief mentor, I have to send my mother back home first and spend some time with her. Do you mind if I find you the night after…” Li Tianming asked sheepishly. He had to meet Mu Wan at least once, and there was no escape from this…
“Sure, I can take my time with you.” Mu Wan continued to tease him.
That being said, Li Tianming wasn’t going to fall for that. He wasn’t narcissistic enough to think that the goddess of the Hall of Phoenix, the woman that even the overseer sought, would be charmed by him. Chances were that if he ended up believing what Mu Wan said, he would only be bullied even harder.
All in all, the test was over, with him achieving everything that he could possibly desire. Li Tianming was brimming with joy, and of course the first thing he thought of was to share the moment with his mother!
Li Tianming parted with Chief Mentor Mu Wan, heading towards the spectator stands. There were still a few battles going on, but the audience was on the verge of leaving.
Finally, he saw her. Dusk was at hand, with the setting sun dyeing her pale white hair a brilliant orange. The light also made the wrinkles on her face more obvious, but that didn’t hide the bright, blissful smile on her face.
“Mother!” Li Tianming bounced towards her, embracing his mother and spinning her around in his excitement.
The little chick joined in. “I want to hug mom too!”
“Haha…” Wei Jing held Li Tianming shakily with one hand, Ying Huo with the other. She was smiling, but visible tears were forming at the corners of her eyes.
“Mother, it’s ok for you to be touched by my performance, but there’s no need to cry,” said Li Tianming.
“Who told you I was about to cry?” Wei Jing was a little embarrassed.
“Well given your son’s outstanding results, it’s perfectly normal for you to be so touched to the point of shedding tears of joy,” Li Tianming bragged.
“And what makes you think I’m touched? In fact, I’m very disappointed in you right now,” Wei Jing rebutted with a straight face.
“What? What else could I have done better today?” asked Li Tianming.
“I’m not talking about the test, I’m talking about Princess Ling. Tell me, since when did you find such a good girl without me knowing?”
“It’s not confirmed yet, things are just getting started.” Li Tianming didn’t know whether he should laugh or to cry about that.
“Really? You better keep me updated if there’s any progress.” In the end, Wei Jing still wasn’t able to control her tears.
Li Tianming smiled. “Definitely. I will bring her to you one day.”
“That’s more like it.” Wei Jing cheered up instantly.
“Mom, forget about this blockhead who has zero ideas on how to pick up girls. You’ll be better off expecting a grandson from me soon.” The little chick chuckled, making the little family laugh even harder.
Just then, a very different group happened to walk past, a callback to how both parties had crossed paths at the start of the ranking test. It was none other than Xue Lan’s group, which had quite a number of people there. Other than Xing Que, Chen Hao and Chen Yao, Madam Yuan Yu of the Xing Mansion was accompanying them too.
Xue Lan and Yuan Yu were leading the group with sullen faces, and no one made a sound. Their mood only worsened when they saw Wei Jing and Li Tianming laughing at one side. Xue Lan’s face twitched violently, almost shaking off the layer of make-up powder that she used. Not only had Li Tianming defeated Chen Yao to become the prime disciple, he was even unnaturally close with Princess Ling. That was enough to suggest his superiority over those two sons of hers. Simply thinking of how she was now eating her words made her fume.
As they walked past, the two disciples of Heaven’s Sanctum, Chen Hao and Xing Que, stopped in their tracks and glared at Li Tianming.
Chen Yao gritted his teeth. “Brothers, take revenge for me. I want him to beg for mercy at my feet.”
“That’s bound to happen once he enters the sanctum. He is the same age as us, and his age advantage will disappear completely there. That’s when we can slowly deal with him,” said Chen Hao.
“Rest assured, younger brother, that scum only got to where he is today by bullying those younger than him. Once he enters the sanctum, he’ll definitely be the weakest.”
“Mother, let me have a moment with them,” Chen Hao suddenly said.
“Sit back and watch.” Chen Hao glanced at Xing Que, and the two of them approached Li Tianming.
“Li Tianming.” Chen Hao stopped in front of Li Tianming, his posture hinting out that he was the true elite of their batch.
“What do you want?”
“Just asking, is this your mother?” Chen Hao smiled, only to be greeted by Li Tianming’s frown.
Chen Hao snickered. “Seems like it, though she looks way more like your grandma.”
“If you have nothing else to say, please get lost.” Li Tianming glanced behind him, his eyes fixating on how those two ladies were watching.
“No, no, I have good stuff for you actually. Do you know where block 187 of the Ignihills Street is?” Chen Hao asked.
Li Tianming was silent.
“You will find a coffin shop owned by Xing & Chen Merchantry there. I think your mother needs one soon, so I decided to gift you one to congratulate you on your victory today. Once you get there, just mention your name and they will bring out the best coffin they have there. After all, you won’t want to end up dumping her body on the street, right?” As he finished, he and Xing Que began to laugh. Even Xue Lan smirked at the joke, dispelling that sullen mood she had.
“How could you say such a thing?” Auntie Li mumbled, displeased with what he had said.
“Shut up, lowly servant.” Xing Que flared up immediately, aiming a slap at her.
Thankfully, Li Tianming was fast enough to block that slap with his left arm, or it would have easily killed Auntie Li. Xing Que was near the peak of Spiritsource, and he was far stronger than Li Tianming. Even if Xing Que had not used much of his strength, Li Tianming had to back off a few steps after taking the hit with his black arm. He could even feel pain travelling up his shoulder.
What Li Tianming didn’t know was that Xing Que was in fact far more surprised than he was. Hitting Li Tianming’s arm was like slapping a chunk of steel, and even his own palm was smarting from that.
“Chen Hao, Xing Que, let’s go.” Madam Xue Lan held her head up like an arrogant rooster.
“More surprises will await you in the sanctum once you get there. You will soon find out that making enemies with the Xing and Chen clans is the worst mistake you will ever make.” With one last threat, the brothers turned around to leave.
Li Tianming remained silent. There was no point arguing with them, and his mother did not want to have anything to do with those people either. Time would prove the real victor. If he could crush Chen Yao today, then it wouldn’t be long before he could catch up with those of his age. Mu Qingqing, Chen Hao, Xing Que and even Lin Xiaoting were all his targets.
“Mother, don’t waste your time on them,” Li Tianming said. It was quite a lowly move from their side, insulting Wei Jing on her strange illness.
“I’m not angry, I’m just sad that so much has changed. Not many things could withstand the test of time.” Wei Jing sighed. The Lan’er that she knew and loved and the Madam Xue Lan of today were already two completely different people.
Auntie Li sighed.“Madam is right. We average citizens have it much worse, and life has been tough for me too.”
“Thank you for all that you have done for us,” said Wei Jing.
“Don’t worry, we are all in the same boat now. It’s difficult for people like me to just stay alive, and I’m lucky enough to meet madam and young master.” Auntie Li said sincerely, “I pray that young master makes a name for himself, and madam lives a long and prosperous life. Surely the heavens will reward kind people like you.”
She herself was very aware that she had nearly died just now.
Li Tianming took Wei Jing onto his back. It was time for them to leave the stadium too.
“Mother, now that I have gotten into Heaven’s Sanctum, you have to tell me who can help you with your Lifesbane,” Li Tianming said earnestly, having noticed that Wei Jing was still hesitant about it.
“Don’t worry, no matter what stands in our way, no matter how hard it will be, I promise you that I will do it. I, Li Tianming, promise you that even if I can’t cure your Lifesbane, you will not die alone.” Li Tianming would stay true to every word he had said.
“Alright, I will tell you once we get back.” With such a vow, Wei Jing was unable to reject him. After all, he had lived up to his words, and became the prime disciple! She put her arms around Li Tianming’s shoulders, and leaned on his back.
“Ming’er, you really have grown up. I’m… just so proud of you. My life was not a fortunate one, but you have always been the greatest treasure in my entire life.” As Wei Jing said this, Li Tianming could feel tears dripping onto his ears.
“Don’t say that, there’s so many things wrong with that sentence,” Li Tianming stood still and said seriously.
“Why?” Wei Jing tried her best to hold back her tears.
“Your life will be a fortunate one, as you still have many, many years ahead of you.” She couldn’t see Li Tianming’s expression from her angle, but she could sense his determination.
“Alright.” She could barely control her emotions. She cried not because of her misfortune, but because she realised that the gods had blessed her with the greatest fortune she could ever hope for, her son.
“Life may be tough, but there are always things to look forward to in this world.”
“Tianming, mother doesn’t want to die. I want to see you start your family, to see you prosper and succeed, and to see you take your revenge and fight for what you have lost. Tianming, I… I don’t want to die!” She could no longer hold back her tears, and they began to flow down Li Tianming’s neck in earnest.
Li Tianming stood still on the spot, letting the tears slide down his skin. He could feel the cold tingling sensation of the beads, and it ignited an even stronger determination in him. Without another word, he readjusted Wei Jing so that she was comfortable, and continued forth on their journey!
From here on out, nothing could stop him!