The more Li Tianming converted spiritual energy into Aeternal Infernal Beast Ki, the more acclimatised he was with the spiritual energy storm raging around him. It had even gotten to the point where he could practice his new battle arts, and cultivate the illusion veins on his third eye on the side. For the past few days, Li Tianming had shifted his focus from converting beast ki to training his Flaming Shadow Flash and Three-Spring Heavy Strikes. Paced around the inner ring, he continued to practice his moves.
Obviously, that had caused quite the commotion, and Li Tianming was soon the center of attention for many disciples cultivating in the pagoda. The discussions about him and his mother Wei Jing never ceased, but Li Tianming had long blotted them out, focusing only on his battle arts. After a while, the sight of a fiery figure circling the fifth rings and punching out regularly had become a fixed attraction in the pagoda. It was obvious with every punch that Li Tianming’s postures were getting better, and his boxing art was integrating well with his movement art.
“Damn, not just perfect synchronization, but training battle arts beside the rock?”
“I’m level two synchronization level, but it’s not like I can practice my moves in the second ring.”
“He really is a monster when it comes to cultivation. It’s just too bad that he passed the prime age for cultivation already.”
Li Tianming didn’t hear any of these, his mind fixated on punching out his fist towards the Flameyellow Rock. It was as if he used the rock as an imaginary enemy.
Li Tianming used the first stance of his Three-Spring Heavy Strikes and punched the rock. While he did not touch the rock, the impact of the punch was met with the reacting force from the spiritual energy storm, giving him an accurate feedback on how his punch was.
Li Tianming craved for power. He needed it, he was running out of time!
Li Tianming’s strikes got more and more powerful, as the impacts clashed with the storm from the rock. That was even more shocking to the disciples of the sanctum. How could someone punch the treasure and show it such disrespect?
But that was exactly what Li Tianming did. For days, he made use of the feedback from the spiritual energy storm to learn his advanced source-ranked arts until he could execute them successfully. Even his strikes were increasing in power as well. On the fifth day since he started practicing his boxing arts, Li Tianming noticed that when the impact of his punch landed on the Flameyellow Rock, the black heavenly patterns on it seemed to move. With each punch, the patterns continued to wiggle, causing the formation to change. Li Tianming could almost feel that the Flameyellow Rock was a living thing that was interacting with him! Jiang Feiling did mention to him before that throughout the course of time, the rock even developed its own self conscious. If then, was that the rock’s consciousness playing games with him?
Li Tianming was amused.
“Take that!” He increased the speed of his punches, his fist getting closer and closer to the rock. That being said, as long as he didn't make direct contact with the rock, he would be fine.
Pow! Pow! Pow!
The stronger and faster his attacks were, the greater the changes to the heavenly patterns on the rock.
“Why do I feel like the patterns are congregating?” Jiang Feiling suddenly pointed out.
“I think you are right.” Li Tianming saw it too. Initially, the patterns were spread across the surface of the rock like a formation, but whenever he punched towards the rock, the patterns seemed to wriggle towards him.
The quicker he punched it, the faster the patterns moved. Like uncountable black tadpoles, the patterns were concentrated in Li Tianming’s area.
“What if I group them all together?”
Heavenly patterns were said to be the most mysterious thing in this world. For a beastmaster to cultivate beyond Unity, he would have to first understand the mystery behind the heavenly patterns.
In the world of cultivation, Beast Vein, Spiritsource, and Unity were stages that focused on the usage of the lifebound beast’s bloodlines. But once a cultivator reached Heavenly Will and above, the beastmaster’s intelligence would play a more important role, as he guided his beast in their cultivation. Simply put, in the early stages the lifebound beast’s bloodline and spiritsource abilities would decide the tide of battle, while in the later stages the beastmaster will use his intelligence to guide them in understanding the mysteries of heaven and earth.
Li Tianming was only at Spiritsource, so he knew nothing of the knowledge concealed within the heavenly patterns. He could, however, feel that something peculiar was happening.
He continued throwing his fist out, one strike after another. The patterns gradually gathered around the area of impact.
A large patch of black was directly in front of him. At this rate, the patterns would all congregate and form a black circle right in front of him in another fifteen minutes.
“What is Li Tianming doing?”
“The heavenly patterns are changing!”
“They are all gathering together.”
It was a change never seen before on the Flameyellow Rock.
“Quick, get the supernal mentors!”
The disciples of the sanctum had no idea what was happening, but the changes to the Flameyellow Rock was making them nervous. It didn’t take long for some of them to scuttle off.
Despite the commotion outside, Li Tianming remained concealed by the storm, his mind focused on punching towards the rock. He had nearly achieved his goal, and naturally, whatever happening outside wasn’t of interest to him. Unknown to him, the disciples had brought Vice-Potentate Mu Yang over. Beside him was another middle-aged man, his eyes resembling stars. If Li Tianming turned around, he would immediately recognise that man — he was Sage Chen.
“What’s he doing?” Sage Chen noticed Li Tianming the moment he walked in.
“I don’t know, I have never seen the rock behave like this.” Equally puzzled, Mu Yang himself was on the verge of walking up to check out the situation.
At that moment, Li Tianming punched out one last time, a punch that made all the patterns gather into a black circle. For a moment, time seemed to come to a standstill, the black circle painfully perfect.
But at the very next second, a terrifying suction pulled at Li Tianming ! It was a force that he could not defend against, as if the Flameyellow Rock was throwing a fit at him. The rock sucked Li Tianming towards it, and his whole body rammed into the rock!
If someone tried to just touch the rock, the spiritual energy storm was enough to rip the aggressor into pieces. But now, Li Tianming’s entire body was stuck onto the rock, every inch of his skin in contact with the heavenly patterns! He wasn’t the only one, as the little chick was sucked to the rock too, with its wings spread wide as if it just had a fall.
Both Mu Yang and Sage Chen realised that Li Tianming might have enraged the Flameyellow Rock. Things didn’t look good, and Li Tianming might be ripped into pieces any second now. The two of them dashed towards the rock simultaneously.
“Get out of the way!” Mu Yang roared. It was a situation they had never experienced before, and even he couldn’t be sure what would happen next.
The disciples scattered from the rings, some of them still cursing at Li Tianming. Just what was he up to again.
“He’s better off dead,” Chen Hao spat as he backed off from the rock.
“Don’t you know curiosity kills the cat?” Xing Que smirked.
By then, Mu Yang and Sage Chen had both appeared in front of Li Tianming.
“Get him out?” Sage Chen asked.
“Wait, no. He’s still cultivating!” The disciples had never seen the Vice-Potentate so shocked before. They looked towards Li Tianming and realised that instead of a corpse, the fires on the boy was even stronger now.
Li Tianming and the little chick were like vortexes, sucking in all the spiritual energy they could from the Flameyellow Rock.
“The spiritual energy storm is gone… It’s gathering spiritual energy and channeling it to Li Tianming? That’s like cultivating with the best ores and herbs.” Sage Chen frowned.
In fact, this was the tamest the Flameyellow Rock had been since anyone could remember. The two of them were standing in what was supposed to be the fifth ring, but they could not feel the storm at all. That was because the spiritual energy was being channeled to Li Tianming in a far milder manner. But that didn’t change the fact that it was even more effective than what perfect synchronization could offer him!
Li Tianming could feel the speed of his cultivation multiplying.
“It’s overflowing, overflowing!” The power surging into him was like a feast, as he watched his infernalsource rapidly expand. The Aeternal Infernal Beast Ki flowed through his body like magma, empowering his every cell.
Third level of Spiritsource!
But no, it wasn’t over.
Two hours later.
“Two levels at once! Fourth level now!”
Li Tianming and Ying Huo made a breakthrough again, and the pair reached fourth level at an unimaginable speed. Credit had to go to Jiang Feiling too, since she had been helping to guide the spiritual energy in Li Tianming’s body too.
Even though he was just fourth level, with the nature of his Aeternal Infernal Beast Ki, his strength was probably even stronger than what he imagined!
With an explosion, the rock blasted Li Tianming away. Seconds later, the heavenly patterns dispersed from the place where he was previously stuck to. It didn’t take long before the spiritual energy storm reappeared — the Flameyellow Rock had returned to normal.
When Li Tianming crawled back up from the floor, he could clearly feel newfound power running through his body.
“Just what did the Flameyellow Rock bless me with?”
Li Tianming even wanted to practice his boxing art once more, so that he could get more spiritual energy from the rock. But clearly that wasn’t possible, since the rock had already rejected him. If it could, there was no reason to send him out. The Flameyellow Rock probably had its own limits, and it had reached that limit by helping Li Tianming attain fourth level Spiritsource.
“Well, that’s fine. I can always try again next time.” Li Tianming was happy enough with what he had obtained today. Even he himself didn’t have a clear idea of how strong he was.
But he did know one thing: he'd shocked everyone in the Flameyellow Pagoda yet again.