The supernal mentors all acted as if they were unrelated to the matters at hand, as they kept quiet out of fear.
Despite the supernal mentors’ status, just a few words could make the supernal mentors lower their heads. Li Tianming immediately knew whoever had just arrived was a major figure in Heaven’s Sanctum, at least a Heavenly Guardian in status.
“Vice-Potentate.” Li Tianming heard many people address him as such. He hadn’t expected the newcomer to be Heaven's Sanctum future potentate, Mu Yang.
The man who entered was dressed in a blue robe, with a golden belt and black boots. His figure and features were majestic, and were so awe-inspiring it seemed he could take on an army. However, he didn’t look like the overbearing sort, and instead had an amiable appearance. When he smiled, he looked like the harmless sort. His words just now seemed angry, but he was still wearing a charming smile.
It reminded Li Tianming of Mu Wan. They looked like the same type of person — as expected of siblings.
As he entered, his gaze swept across Li Tianming, but his expression didn’t change much.
All the supernal mentors present rose to their feet when he entered. While the Guardian of Ancestry was of lower status than him, he was still his senior. They were also on good terms, and hence, the Guardian didn't get up.
“Nephew, why have you come to my Hall of Ancestry this day?” The Heavenly Guardian of Ancestry, Jun Yuancang, smiled.
“Uncle Jun, I come here often even without any business to drink with you.” Mu Yang smiled back.
However, the other supernal mentors turned more grave.
“Still, ranking battles have been our institute’s trademark for a thousand years. We’ve always upheld fairness and the prime disciple has always had the right to join Heaven’s Sanctum. This is something Heaven’s Sanctum must uphold. So, I don’t quite approve of the supernal mentors sending away the prime disciple today.” Mu Yang moved on from exchanging pleasantries to targeting the eighteen supernal mentors.
As his eyes swept past them, they all hurriedly lowered their heads. After all, they were all aware he would be Heaven’s Sanctum’s new master in a few years.
“I agree. Still, the supernal mentors have their own difficulties. The prime disciple this time is indeed a little substandard.” The Guardian of Ancestry explained.
“That won’t do. We must uphold our promise to the prime disciple as long as the rules for the ranking battles haven’t changed. I ask you, supernal mentors, who is willing to accept him?”
While Mu Yang was still smiling, Li Tianming could tell the authority loaded in his words.
Mu Yang never really looked at Li Tianming. From his perspective, he simply didn’t want Heaven’s Sanctum to break its promise. However, all the supernal mentors simply shook their heads helplessly.
In the end, Mu Yang couldn’t punish all of them no matter how great his authority was. Together, they made the cornerstone of Heaven’s Sanctum.
“Fine. Then we’ll let the prime disciple choose. What’s your name?” Mu Yang finally looked at Li Tianming.
“Li Tianming, choose whoever you want. I guarantee whoever you choose shall be in charge of guiding you. That is the word of Heaven’s Sanctum.” Every word of Mu Yang was filled with boundless power.
As the future potentate, this man stood at the apex of Vermilion Bird. To Li Tianming, the man wasn’t just powerful, but was strong in will and prestige.
He also held a virtue the other supernal mentors lacked: integrity.
“Really, Vice-Potentate? I can choose anyone?” Li Tianming asked.
The supernal mentors weren’t very comfortable with this development, but they had no choice. The moment to test their luck had arrived. Surely, they wouldn’t be the unlucky one among eighteen people, right?
As the Vice-Potentate had spoken, the roles had swapped. Now, it was up to Li Tianming to choose them and not the other way around.
Li Tianming looked through them all, his gaze finally landing on supernal mentor Liu Xueyao.
“Do you choose Liu Xueyao?” Mu Yang asked.
Liu Xueyao had already noticed Li Tianming looking at her, and her eyes gave Li Tianming a warning gleam. She had thought Li Tianming would never choose her given his relationship with Mu Qingqing.
However, if Mu Yang forced it, she had no choice. Furthermore, if Li Tianming was placed under her charge and she didn’t teach him well, Mu Yang would definitely find trouble for her given his personality.
Just as Liu Xueyao was getting worried, Li Tianming smiled. “Vice-Potentate, if I may be frank for a moment. All eighteen supernal mentors look down on me and are worried I’ll embarrass them. I’m thankful for the chance, but since we lack the ties of fate, I think I won’t force matters.” These words were definitely beyond the supernal mentors’ expectations, because that was a very dumb choice. Mu Yang had already stood up for him and given him a chance to stay on at Heaven’s Sanctum, but he had chosen to give up.
Of course, this was a kind of dumbness pleasing to the supernal mentors. Liu Xueyao in particular heaved a sigh of relief.
“Are you sure?” Mu Yang’s mouth curved slightly as he examined Li Tianming closely for the first time, having not done so before to this youth who had some ‘incidents’ with his third disciple years ago.
“Is it worth it? You’ll lose the chance to join Heaven’s Sanctum.” Mu Yang asked curiously.
“That, I won’t.” Li Tianming said.
“Why?” Mu Yang’s curiosity ramped up.
“That’s because I don’t want to become a supernal mentor’s disciple, but rather the Vice-Potentate’s.” Li Tianming raised his head, meeting Mu Yang’s gaze.
Li Tianming was more mature than others his age, which allowed him to deliver his words clearly even before such an important figure.
The words stumped Mu Yang for a moment.
Then, the first snort rang out. It spread, as all of the usually stern supernal mentors were unable to hold back from their derisive chuckles and snorts. They exchanged glances with those sitting besides them and shook their heads.
“The prime disciple this batch really is lacking when you compare him to the previous prime disciple. The gap is vaster than heaven and earth,” Liu Xue Yao said helplessly. She had originally been planning to bank on her relationship with Mu Qingqing to accept Lin Xiaoxiao, but it had been ruined by Li Tianming.
Everyone knew Mu Yang was now the vice-potentate. He was no longer a supernal mentor and wouldn’t be accepting new disciples. The exception was a new disciple that had the potential to become the future potentate, someone at least on Lin Xiaoxiao’s level. Even the chancellor’s son and Princess Qing of the Vermilion Bird royal clan weren’t qualified to be Mu Yang’s disciple.
These words from Li Tianming were no different from a toad wanting to eat swan meat, dreaming beyond their station in life.
No one could understand why this fellow kept acting like a laughing stock. Was this the recklessness of youth, or just plain stupidity?
Several of the younger disciples couldn't hold themselves back, their bodies shaking from their laughter.
“Li Tianming, stop making trouble and seize this opportunity!” Wei Zikun frowned. He had been happy when Mu Yang had given Li Tianming such an opportunity, because he could then answer to Mu Wan.
And yet, with such a golden opportunity, right when he was about to give Li Tianming some suggestions, Li Tianming had destroyed the opportunity within a few words. And when Li Tianming said he wanted to be Mu Yang’s disciple, even he laughed in a mix of fury and exasperation.
He found it embarrassing to have brought Li Tianming here. He distinctly remembered Li Tianming hadn’t been like this in the ranking battles.
Still stunned, Mu Yang asked, “You do know who I am, no?”
“Yes. You are the vice-potentate, and the future potentate.” Li Tianming replied.
“And you still want to be my disciple?” Mu Yang chuckled.
“Am I underqualified?” Li Tianming asked, further stunning Mu Yang.
To be frank, Mu Yang wanted to laugh with the others. However, he could tell Li Tianming wasn’t messing around. He didn’t want to scorn him, so he replied with full seriousness, “It does seem so, from what I see now. Alright then, we’ll do it this way. Since you don’t have any interest in the supernal mentors, and I’ve already declared you won’t be going back to the institute, then from now on, you shall cultivate autonomously in Heaven’s Sanctum! If and when the day arrives I find you qualified, I’ll accept this bond of master-disciple with you.”
This was the best possible result for Li Tianming. He didn’t really want to invite scorn upon himself by studying under those supernal mentors through an act of charity. However, now Mu Yang had shown him respect and a promise, even allowing him to join Heaven’s Sanctum.
It was just that it was lonely not having a master in Heaven’s Sanctum. Still, it wasn’t as if he was friendless here, with Princess Qing and Jiang Feiling here.
However, he still asked, “Then, what do I need to accomplish to be considered qualified by the vice-potentate?”