The sky was unbelievably clear, so much so that nobody could remember the last time they had such calm weather. However, the cold was still bone piercing and the landscape was still covered in snow like usual.
Outside Xuanyuan Lake on the snowy plains, Tianming was crossing swords with a man dressed in gold. His sparring partner seemed dashing and brave, and somewhat resembled Xuanyuan Dao. He was Xuanyuan Xuanyi, the son of Xuanyuan Dao.
Xuanyuan Xuanyi was forty-three this year and was a sixth-level life samsaran, making him a first-origin tribulation elder. Before the age of thirty, he used to be at the top of the Heaven Branch's ranking when he was at the fourth-level death phase. When his prime training period was over, breaking through had become more and more difficult, so he’d only made three during that thirteen year period. Even so, he was still among the fastest-improving people across the entire continent, with few of his age being able to match his prowess.
As his growth had slowed and the insights from Old Deepstar Path grew less useful, he’d had to rely on nothing but himself to cultivate. However, he had developed quite a lot in terms of style and technique after lots of fighting to hone his skills, which made him an expert in combat.
He had practiced certain moves tens of thousands of times, to the point of complete mastery, and was also a sword user, making him the perfect sparring partner for Tianming in his training of the Ninesky Beastsoul Formation. Sparks flew as their swords clashed; so far, Tianming hadn't managed to manifest the formation one bit.
"This technique of yours seems really deep. Where’d you learn it from?"
"Her Eminence taught it to me."
Most people didn't know about the existence of the Hexapath Samsara Sword and attributed Tianming's techniques to Feiling instead. Even if they did know, they wouldn't expect a mere mortal like him to be able to learn the most powerful sword art made by a god.
"I'm envious. Watch out for this move then!" The youths of the Xuanyuan house mostly had heroic personalities, and that, paired with Xuanyuan Xuanyi's experience in the military, only embellished that trait of his. When fighting one on one using the Ninesky Beastsoul Formation, Tianming wasn't able to defeat him. However, if they were fighting seriously, he stood a chance if his lifebound beasts could join the fray.
After an hour, the two of them were panting from exhaustion.
"This won't do... I can't even defeat a young fellow like you. I really need to rest. Let's continue this tomorrow," Xuanyuan Xuanyi said.
"You're not that old yourself, you know," Xuanyuan Yu said.
"Aunt Yu, don't even start. Tianming's growth is godly, to say the least. Just last month he was still a Heaven Branch disciple, but now he can defeat most first-origin tribulation elders. He might be able to catch up to you soon, too."
"That'd be even better," she said with a smile. Beside her was Jian Wuyi's younger brother, Jian Wufeng, but he rarely spoke.
At that moment, Yi Xingyin came to them.
"Palace Lord," Tianming greeted.
"Imperial Son, please just address me by name," he said.
"That won't do." Tianming paused for a moment in thought and said, "Thanks for going through twice the trouble for the matter of the Kilostar Domain."
"You don't have to be so polite with me. I understand that Her Eminence has reservations about this, and one can never be too careful.”
As they spoke, Xuanyuan Xuanyi took his leave, leaving Jian Wufeng and Xuanyuan Yu to stand listlessly at the side. Protecting the imperial son was a tedious and uneventful job indeed, especially considering the fact that the sect was basically sealed off. The risks Tianming would be exposed to were far and few in between. Not to mention, he spent most of his time in the Deepstar Pool and Soulburn Hall. As Yi Xingyin was a familiar face, the two of them didn't pay too much attention to him. Tianming seemed to be having a rather good conversation with him.
"Palace Lord, I'll be making my way to Soulburn Hall to continue cultivating now."
Yi Xingyin hurried forward and said, "Are you in that much of a rush? Let's talk a little more. I'm a little curious about you now.""Palace Lord?" Tianming suddenly noticed that something about his smile was off. His instincts told him he was in danger, but it was already too late to make some distance. Is Yi Xingyin being controlled? It didn't seem possible when he thought about it. After all, he was a third-origin tribulation elder and among the top ten strongest in the Archaion Sect, so nobody on the Flameyellow Continent should be able to puppet him around. Did that mean he was doing it willingly?
It all happened in an instant. A shawl suddenly appeared from his sleeve. It was ethereal and dreamy and it looked like it covered the entire sky, immediately confusing his vision and binding him up, leaving only his head exposed. It was a peak-grade tribulation artifact; Tianming saw fifteen tribulation patterns on it! The enemy's power was far beyond his imagination and he couldn't move at all. Not only that, it seemed to bind his lifebound space and stopped his beasts from leaving, forcing them back the moment they attempted to come out.
"Stop struggling, brat. It'll hurt." Now, Yi Xingyin's voice sounded like a dainty woman's as his visage began to morph and shift. Soon, 'his' bones cracked as they moved into place and her innards also reconfigured themselves. The person now appeared shorter, with a slimmer face and a full bosom. It was a complete change of gender!
"It's the Fatedream Shawl! That's Li Caiwei!" Xuanyuan Yu cried in shock.
"We've been infiltrated! It's the Yinyang Demon Sect's Li Caiwei!" roared Li Wufeng as he charged in. Soon, roars of beasts could be heard all over Xuanyuan Lake. It could even be heard all the way from Soulburn Hall.
"Save the imperial son!"
The sounds of chaos reverberated throughout, shattering the month-long peace in the sect. Many people rushed toward them. Tianming was in the eye of the storm as he watched this pink-eyed 'girl' with awe. How had she managed to trick so many powerful elites and approach him without them noticing? It was also his first time ever witnessing that transformation ability of hers. It immediately occurred to him that the person that had approached him was never Yi Xingyin to begin with, but it was already too late. There was nothing he could do when one of the most powerful people on the continent had come to abduct him. He could only count on someone else to save him.
Why would she even dare to attempt something like this on their home turf anyway? Almost instantly, she pulled the shawl toward her, and Tianming along with it. Xuanyuan Yu and Jian Wufeng were already closing in to surround her. Jian Wufeng's swordbeasts entered his sword, while Xuanyuan Yu's two ice dragons were out and ready to attack; all of them had about eight hundred stars.
"Lunar Master, you shan't escape!"Previous Chapter Next Chapter