"Sect Master, vice leaders have to lead a team of more than ten people," Xuanyuan Yucheng said.
"I know. He can do it, trust me," Xuanyuan Dao said.
"Understood!" The disciples turned to Tianming once more.
"I will be leaving for now. Make sure to stand united. Don’t fight for yourself. Only by fighting for the group will you survive. The pride of the sect is resting on your shoulders," Xuanyuan Dao said as he walked to the entrance. "I hope that I see all of you back alive after the second phase."
"We will, Sect Master!"
They were fueled by the anger of seeing their dead comrades. The blood feud had set a spark in their spirits. No matter what clan they had come from, they were all hot-blooded young folks. They left the complicated politics to their seniors, all they had to concern themselves with was revenge, survival, and pride. They would never forget the humiliation and mockery they had received that stayed embedded in their hearts like a thorn. After leaving the Skyorigin Battlefield, their pride had been wounded and stained.
"Welcome, Li Tianming," Xuanyuan Yucheng said as he came forward to give him a hug.
"Apologies for coming late."
"It's fine. Make up for it by killing a few more fellows like Feng Daoyi."
The other disciples laughed at the comment.
"I will. I'm worried I won't be a good vice leader, so I hope Brother Yucheng will help guide my way." Leading a group was a huge responsibility, after all.
"Li Tianming is really easygoing."
"As expected of Her Eminence's disciple."
"Looks like you've been cultivating hard these past few days and managed to become a samsaran. I bet you can defeat third-level death phase samsarans now."
"Everyone here admires your talent. Even though some are a few levels stronger than you, they aren’t your match."
"Your rate of improvement really is shocking."
Everyone huddled around him and began talking. However, Tianming didn't really say much himself and merely paid attention to the briefing about the upcoming battle. He memorized his forty comrades, all of whom were older than him. Most of those who had qualified for the second phase of the summit were third-level samsarans and above, all of whom were past twenty-five.
"Tianming, nice to meet you." A woman about twenty-seven years old in a red dress came to his side. She seemed only slightly older than him and wore a beaming smile. Her mannerisms were also frank and direct, making her out to be a rather attractive older sister type. She was Beigong Qianyu.
"My cousin Lingchen often brings you up. He really thinks highly of you, and you deserve all the praise you’ve gotten, too. During the Deepstar Battle, you were only around Lingchen's level, but now you're caught up to me. How ungodly fast is that?" she said.
Tianming could hardly believe who she was; this was Jian Wuyi's daughter! In terms of status, Beigong Qianyu and Fang Yuewei were the highest, being daughters of sect masters. The reason Jian Wuyi's daughter had the Beigong surname was because his wife was one of the three celestials of the Triflair Celestial Sect. She held a similar status to Jian Wuyi in that sect. The Archaion Sect relied on that marriage tie to remain in good standing with the Triflair Celestial Sect. Beigong Qianyu was the only one of Jian Wuyi's children to keep the Beigong surname.
"Thanks for the kind praise, Sister Qianyu," Tianming said.
"Brother Tianming, we’ll be in your care from now on," she replied. Even though Tianming didn't really know what the Draconis House of Jian's stance was on Feiling, he at least felt that the young ones like her and Jian Lingchen were rather decent folk.
As they spoke, two others watched them from a distance. One of them was Fang Yuewei, cold and calm as a lotus. Beside her was a handsome young man with an intense gaze that made him seem rather cruel and merciless. He was really close to Fang Yuewei and was possibly her lover. That was Fang Chenjing, third rank on the Heaven Ranking and the son of one of the divine marshals of the Archaion Sect, Fang Shenyu. Fang Chenyu, who Tianming had defeated in the Deepstar Battle, was Fang Chenjing's younger brother.
"What in the world is Sect Master Xuanyuan thinking, making him a vice leader? Even if he’s contributed a little and reached the Samsara stage, he's not familiar with his enemies or allies. Not to mention, his youth makes him reckless," Fang Chenjing said.
"It doesn't matter now," Fang Yuewei said.
"Does the matter of your younger brother still concern you? Even though Xingque was quite disrespectful toward you, he was still your younger brother."
"It's not a big deal anymore. Let's focus on what counts."
"Looks like it really doesn't matter to you anymore, but it still does to me."
"We can only survive if we stand united. Stop messing around."
"Why don't we just leave with all the disciples from the Fang house? We'll be able to move much faster with smaller numbers and might just survive that way. What do you think?"
"I won't be going."
"Have you been brainwashed by them too? For all they said about your so-called glory and passion, they're still letting you die in their fights."
"No. It's because Yuan'er and the others died in the Skyorigin Battlefield. It's a grudge I have to repay."
"If you put it that way, you also have a grudge against this rookie."
"Chenjing," Fang Yuewei said sternly, "enough. I know what I'm doing, alright?"
"Fine. But I want you to understand this about where I'm coming from."
"What about it?"
"I don't care about grudges or whether they survive. I just want us to live past this," he said sentimentally.
"Alright. If we live through this, let's get married."
Fang Chenjing had been waiting to hear that for far too long.
The second phase of the Number One Summit was finally beginning. More than four hundred of the most powerful geniuses on the Flameyellow Continent would be facing off against each other in the Nether Battlefield.
At dawn, the various factions entered the Dimensional Battlefield. The three sect masters of the Archaion Sect and the various lords and elders entered from the east walkway. At the same time, some ten people entered from the other direction.
Fang Taiqing, Xuanyuan Dao, and Jian Wuyi stopped in their tracks as they stared back at the group of people that had just come. They were from the Yinyang Demon Sect. The two sect masters of the sect were both there, their thirst seemingly visible to the naked eye. For some reason, everyone from the Archaion Sect laid eyes on one of them: a girl dressed in thick white clothing. Her hip-length hair was as straight as a tall waterfall, with phoenix hairpins that glittered alluringly. Her eyes were calm and clear, complementing her enchanting smile. A light hint of pink was visible in her eyes, further enhancing them as objects of desire. Her gaze seemed to speak and peer through the deepest depths of others to arouse their deepest desires.
She was no doubt a most enchanting beauty in terms of both looks and aura. It was as if her presence alone demanded the worship of all. Though she looked like a young girl in every respect, she was someone who had been cultivating for ages.
Despite the superficial positive aspects of her looks, Fang Taiqing and the others' gazes were fraught with caution. Even though they had more people on their side, the numbers seemed to have been equaled by her presence alone. In comparison, the male sect master beside her seemed all too normal; everyone had their eyes drawn to her, rather than her counterpart. All too nobly, she looked wistfully at the three sect masters of the Archaion Sect and pursed her lips. "To be honest, I don't really want all of your disciples to die."
They just stared at her quietly.
"That's because if they all die, you'd be so terrified you'd surrender immediately and hand the beheaded girl of yours to us right away. I know Nonahall thinks it's better this way, but it's too boring for me. I’d prefer it if you protected your little goddess instead. You know why? I want to wipe you out for good, the whole Monorigin Sect. Now don't give up before we've fought for real, alright?"
Her cohort laughed when she finished.
"The Nonahall Ghost Sect will apply pressure on you and even try to convince you, but I trust your three sect masters aren't spineless cowards. Please don't surrender and kill your goddess yourself. I beg you, alright?" She carefreely led her subordinates away.
An hour later, Tianming and the other disciples came to the Number One Battlefield once more. The battle was officially starting. According to the regulations, the disciples of the Nonahall Ghost Sect would enter first. They had the largest number at around eighty. The one with the fewest combatants was the Quadform Sea Sect, having only twenty or so people, much fewer than the Archaion Sect.
Gradually, they stepped into the Ninefold Nether Battlefield. Everyone watching from all across the Flameyellow Continent cheered excitedly. This was the battle they had been waiting for.Previous Chapter Next Chapter