The atmosphere seemed to turn still as Jiang Wuxin glared at Tianming, awaiting his answer.
After some thought, Tianming said, "Jiang Wuxin, the fact that you're threatening me with this matter means you only care about whether I die, not the specters at all. Since that's the case, don't even bother morally impugning me. If you really want others to look up to you and to turn over a new leaf, you should become a proper avenger. Back then, you were powerless to do so, but now it's changed. I killed your loved ones, and you want revenge. This is perfectly fine, and you have the chance to do so right here and now. I’ve been an avenger myself, but even then I didn't go against my conscience and blackmail others using innocent bystanders as bargaining chips!"
Tianming glared at Jiang Wuxin angrily, his every word seemingly slamming into his chest and burning with righteous flames. "Don't bother lying to yourself! Since you embarked on this path, don't use your master as an excuse! Back then, those of you from the Hexapath Sword Sect came to the Number One Summit to kill disciples from my sect and force us to hand over the goddess. I killed your lovers because they wanted to kill my comrades. This is perfectly normal in the course of battle and war. It has nothing to do with good or evil. I never considered your desire for vengeance evil. You’re doing what’s right for you! But don't ever use the specters as bargaining chips. Doing so will only make you look lowly and pathetic!"
That was all he could say to protect the divine body. With Jiang Wuxin in his current frenzied state, there was no way Tianming would believe him. If he really chose death, who would be able to stop the specters if Jiang Wuxin chose to release them anyway? That notion wasn't even funny to ponder.
Hearing that, Jiang Wuxin burst out laughing. "As expected of the founding ancestor's reincarnation. With a few short words, you managed to make your fear of death sound so noble and right. Color me impressed."
In his eyes was seething mockery. "I understand now, Li Tianming. You just don't want to die. You’re willing to betray your own beliefs and the dao you cultivate. You’re even willing to let billions of people come to harm. Make sure you remember that this was all your own doing when you see hell unleashed upon the human realm!"
"Since our intentions are irreconcilable, let's just fight!" Tianming drew the Grand-Orient Sword and pointed it at Jiang Wuxin. "No matter how it all ends, you’ve wasted your master's sacrifice. I honestly look down on people like you. The fact that you don't dare to fight me fairly only means you're afraid of me."
Jiang Wuxin's eyes were completely bloodshot. He grit his teeth and stared holes into Tianming. "Tell me. How have I wasted my master's teachings?!"
"Well, you dragged him into this and claimed that he was the one who led you astray. Even though you've already done him in and supposedly settled it, you're now trying to pin the blame of the specters' return on me. Did your master's sacrifice mean nothing to you?"
"Shut up! Shut up shut up shut up!” Jiang Wuxin roared, his voice echoing throughout the cauldron. He lowered his body in a bestial manner.
"You misunderstand me. I’ve never claimed to be a saint. I have my fair share of sin and I also work in my best self-interests. But at the very least, I uphold my principles and never cross my bottom line. I have a path to tread on and seniors to guide me, unlike you!"
That was all thanks to Wei Jing, Li Muyang, and Li Wudi, and to some degree, Great Emperor Xuanyuan, whom Tianming had never met before. They had all influenced him and helped him forge his own path. Li Muyang wanted him to be a man of noble character, while Li Wudi wanted him to be a noble warrior who wasn't afraid to kill.
Jiang Wuxin, on the other hand, had Feng Qingyu, who had encouraged him to be a man without heart, something which not even he had managed to do himself. Now, these two youths with polarizing worldviews stood against each other with the fate of all humanity at risk.
"Shut up!" Jiang Wuxin repeated, then pounced like a wild beast.
Now that Tianming didn't have Feiling by his side, Jiang Wuxin's power was a real threat to him. He blocked the first punch with his sword, but was still sent slamming into the wall of the cauldron. His bones seemed on the verge of breaking. Wiping off the blood at the corner of his mouth, he cracked a smile and said, "You want me to shut up? Are you afraid of what I'm saying? That means you know that I’m right! You're just afraid to face the truth!"
Jiang Wuxin didn't respond to that at all. Instead, he looked at his fist and mumbled, "How were you able to kill Dugu Jin with that little power?"
He had thought that Tianming was really powerful after Dugu Jin's death, yet now he seemed far too weak in that clash. It made Jiang Wuxin even more frustrated. "Since you want to ignore the consequences of your actions, I'll just kill you myself!"
He punched Tianming again, breaking his Mortal Dao Sword counter. Not only did he have boundless power, his body was also incredibly tough and was able to withstand the cutting power of the sword. The barrage of attacks forced Tianming to gradually retreat. "You're far too weak!"
Tianming's mind raced on as he parried the rapid strikes. If I hold back, he might get the impression that he'll be able to kill me quickly and easily. That’ll keep him from touching the divine body for a time. I might only have one chance to go for the kill!
He knew that there was a small part of Jiang Wuxin that didn't want to release the specters. Otherwise, there would be no need for him to go through all these hoops to confront Tianming. He could have just let the specters out and Tianming would be doomed either way, unless he chose to ignore the masses and go into hiding.
Human nature was indeed complex, and there were things that even Jiang Wuxin struggled to comprehend, like Feng Qingyu's expression as he took his own life. Now, Tianming didn't have much of a choice other than reducing the risk as much as he could. Whether Jiang Wuxin really intended to release the specters or not, Tianming's only course of action was to wait for a chance to kill him, so he feigned weakness.
With the Greenspark Tower, Jiang Wuxin wouldn't be able to kill Tianming that easily without intentionally tearing him into countless little pieces. Still, Tianming had to keep the act up. Ying Huo joined the fight and allowed him to fare much better. In fact, against someone as monstrous as Jiang Wuxin, he wouldn't be able to gain much of an edge within a short time even if he were to go all out.
Soon, fire abilities were launched all over the inside of the cauldron. Right as Jiang Wuxin had drawn the Firmament Godsword, it was broken by Tianming, so he had no choice but to rely on his fists. Now that he had consumed so many lifebound beasts, he was incredibly agile and vigorous. As long as he wasn't directly struck by the Grand-Orient Sword, he would be fine.
"Die!" He avoided another sword strike and went in for a punch, slamming Tianming back against the wall of the cauldron. "And stay down!"
Jiang Wuxin quickly caught up and kicked at Tianming's head, threatening to crush it flat. However, Tianming reacted quickly by using the Soulshaker Eye. The sun-sized eye that appeared caused Jiang Wuxin to fall into confusion. In a brief time, Tianming was fully healed from his injuries and evaded the fatal kick.
With a loud boom, Jiang Wuxin crashed into the wall. Before he could turn back, Ying Huo’s Sixpath Infernal Lotus slammed into his body, causing him to growl in rage. He wanted to hunt Tianming down immediately, but couldn't see him through the countless Infernal Haze clones. When Jiang Wuxin noticed that quite some time had elapsed since the battle began, he knew that something was wrong.
"So you're unkillable too? Looks like you have quite a few treasures! Ah, I see! You're trying to feign weakness to distract me from the divine body, eh? I almost fell for it too! I was thinking there was no way you could be this weak!"
Jiang Wuxin had figured out the plan before it could even be put into action. He came to understand that if Tianming were serious about staying alive, even releasing the specters wasn't something that would be enough to kill him, given his techniques and treasures. However, Jiang Wuxin was dead set on revenge. That means there’s only one path for me to take. Master, don't blame me. Since Li Tianming wasn't willing to sacrifice himself for humanity, I have no choice! This isn't my fault, it's his!
Jiang Wuxin would rather see Tianming accept his death for the sake of the Flameyellow Continent’s peace. "If I can't avenge Little Yin and Little Yu, then whether the people of the world suffer or prosper no longer matters to me!"
He roared as he pushed Tianming aside and turned to the divine body, charging toward it like a mad demon. "Be destroyed, you sick hypocrites!"
He was filled with hate. However, he seemed to see Feng Qingyu stepping forth to block in front of him. Move aside! Get out of my way!
Just then, a blue chain came from behind and wrapped around his body. Tianming had taken out a chain with fifteen tribulation patterns from the ring, Skydragon. "Get over here!"
He gave it a pull, causing Jiang Wuxin to smash into the ground.
"Do you think you can actually stop me?" Jiang Wuxin snickered and pulled the chain so hard that it actually snapped.Previous Chapter Next Chapter