Chapter 220 - Humongous Nexus
Both of Tianming’s techniques were being cultivated at the same time at a much improved rate, thanks to the pressure from the Imperial Ninefold Gates. The two little animals also had to protect their eight unhatched siblings from the huge pressure. Tianming grasped this turning point of an opportunity to regulate the flow of the Aeternal Infernal and Genesis Chaos Codexes, working just as hard as the other two.
Their lightningsources and infernalsources circulated at the same time, using a unity-ranked technique as a guide. The pressure coming from the gate caused a void field to manifest. Tianming, the little chick, and the black cat achieved synergy in their beast ki. At that moment, the infernalsources and lightningsources linked with their counterparts and allowed the beast ki to flow.
An audible hum got louder and louder. The first step to achieving Unity was to form a bipolar domain outside the Beast Vein when synergy was achieved. In other words, it was the formation of a field. As time passed, two weak fields manifested near Tianming, one on top and the other below, like a stack of two plates that formed some sort of contour.
The Imperial Ninefold Gates were truly effective. Without it, Tianming figured it would be incredibly difficult for him to reach this point. The pressure really did enhance his connection and understanding with his lifebound beasts. All of a sudden, he almost felt like he’d fused with them.
"There is me in you and you in me," Tianming said.
"Sounds a little gross," said Ying Huo.
"I know," Tianming replied.
The process hadn't ended yet. The longer it went on, the more Tianming understood how useful the gates were. Even without Yuwen Shengcheng provoking him, he would have chosen to come here to break through to the Unity stage on his own accord. Given his decabane talent, there was a good chance he could reach the ninth level of Unity and catch up to the prime disciple! The gates continued pressing down on him at increasing speeds, causing the manifestation of the unity field to speed up.
It's said that fourth-order saint beasts have more than forty spiritsources and can generate more than forty nexuses. I wonder how many my unity field can have?
The number of spiritsources and nexuses were determined by the tier of the lifebound beast. Beastmasters with eight-star lifebound beasts could have eight spiritsources and eight nexuses, and use eight spiritsource abilities. Overpowered fourth-order saint beasts, on the other hand, were said to have forty to forty-nine stars, with the beastmaster being able to manifest more than forty spiritsources and nexuses. Not only that, they would be able to gain as many spiritsource abilities as the number of spiritsources they had! It was said that saint beasts had no upper limit to the number of spiritsource abilities they could have, thanks to their abundant number of spiritsources.
However, the huge number of spiritsources could cause complications for purgatory refinement, making it much harder. So, beastmasters with saint beasts would only retain a few of the strongest spiritsource abilities, and discard the weaker ones. The sheer number of spiritsources and nexuses was what differentiated an average beastmaster from a talented one.
Take, for instance, a beastmaster with an eight-star lifebound beast and one with a fourth-order saint beast. If they were both at the first stage of Unity, the former would have four or five times fewer spiritsources than the latter, creating a huge disparity in their combat prowess.
Naturally, there were no disciples with fourth-order saint beasts in the Grand-Orient Sect, but even those with third-order saint beasts were monstrously talented; they would have between thirty and thirty-nine spiritsources and nexuses. Incidentally, Li Wudi had had thirty-nine nexuses in his prime.
However, Tianming had only ever had one spiritsource that had continued expanding in volume. Now, it was about ten times larger than a normal one. While it could still expand in the future, the number was probably fixed.
He could almost feel it. Each of his fields only had one humongous nexus, but they were about ten times as large as a normal one! The Infernal Field and Chaos Field beside him were slowly forming a domain.
Tianming realized Ying Huo's Infernal Blaze could span the entire Infernal Field, which had a diameter of more than twenty meters. Meow Meow's Chaos Voltball also spanned the Chaos Field, with about the same range. Initially, the fields were rather flat, but now they were inflated into large balls with Tianming and his two lifebound beasts at the center. One was a burning ball of hellfire, while the other was a globe full of chaotic lightning. Anyone attempting to approach Tianming in combat would be in for a hard time, especially since his unity fields seemed far more damaging than normal ones.
These fields had diameters of more than twenty meters; Tianming was the core of both of them, while Ying Huo and Meow Meow each occupied the center of their own respective field. When both of the fields resonated at a range of roughly fifty meters, their power reached its full potential, though when they were out of range from one another, the resonance would vanish.
Even so, their individual fields were still powerful in their own right.
Currently, his humongous nexus was absorbing spiritual energy from the environment nonstop. Tianming knew that with his nexus, they would be able to gather spiritual energy at an even more frightening rate.
"The Unity stage!"
He finally succeeded. With Ye Shaoqing's guidance and the pressure of the Imperial Ninefold Gates, everything fell into place. He felt that his combat capabilities had improved by miles after his breakthrough, and with his main obstacle gone, he was free to explore all of his untapped potential.
The effect was strongest when Ying Huo and Meow Meow's own unity fields resonated with his, for they would be able to freely use the energies from one another's fields, thanks to the resonance. Tianming could even use his nexus to borrow spiritsource abilities from his lifebound beasts.
The infernal flames and chaotic lightning pulsated with power within his stable and mature unity fields. That could only mean that he had broken through by training at the ninth gate! While there had been many disciples of the sect who had broken through at the Imperial Ninefold Gates, Tianming was no doubt the most unique one. He had only one nexus—a sign of having a one-star lifebound beast—but even that wasn't as noteworthy as him being the first one in thousands of years to break through at the ninth gate.
He didn't know the kind of shock he’d caused when he started training at the ninth gate. Within ten breaths of time, some had gathered to watch him condense his field and mock him for attempting suicide. Ten breaths later, their expressions froze. On the thirtieth breath, they wore expressions of disbelief and their lips shuddered when they talked. After sixty breaths of time, Tianming had manifested his field and humongous nexus, causing everyone to watch him in dead silence. They were far too young, and didn't know what that meant.
"Is the ninth gate broken?"
"That's impossible. It’s never been broken before."
"Then what is this supposed to be? I heard his lifebound beasts are only seven-star beasts."
"I have an idea."
"Only fourth-order saint beasts can withstand the ninth gate. Are his lifebound beasts at that level?"
"He's a pentabane and has fourth-order saint beasts? Isn't that outright ridiculous?"
They no longer mocked or laughed at him. Instead, they were laughing at their own relative ineptitude. They had been blind to who Tianming really was. This was the first time in a long while the Imperial Ninefold Gates had been so quiet. As Tianming made his breakthrough, Yuwen Shengcheng and the girls around him had the most interesting expressions.
Yuwen Shengcheng merely stood there awkwardly with his face getting darker and darker as Tianming’s breakthrough went on, as if he were being slapped with a bag full of soot. However, Su Li and Gongsun Yu’s reactions were even worse.
"Shengcheng... what... what's going on here?" Su Li asked in a daze.
"That's right. Since when did he have a fourth-order saint beast? I recall that even your elder brother doesn't have one. Is the junior sect master more powerful than your brother?" Gongsun Yu asked through quivering lips.
They looked at the white-haired Tianming like they were witnessing a miracle. Seeing him achieve Unity, their legs began giving out on them.
"Shut up!" Yuwen Shengcheng groaned, causing the girls' faces to pale with fear. They hurriedly took a step back.
"What's going on, Shengcheng?"
The young boy grit his teeth and bellowed, "I don't believe this! Something must be wrong somewhere!"
If Tianming really had a fourth-order lifebound beast, Shengcheng would truly be a mere monkey for him to toy with. He would be utterly humiliated! His face flushed so hard it was hot to the touch for the first time in his life. Having a fourth-order saint beast was his lifelong dream, yet some rando from nowhere was living his dream! It simply couldn't be! The more he agonized over it, the more embarrassing his display became.
"He reached Unity... it's over." When Su Li said that, Yuwen Shengcheng gripped both his fists and sharpened his gaze. Everyone was looking at him. He was mocking Tianming just now, and now he had to eat his words.
Tianming stabilized his condition and ended his cultivation session, then stood upright. Everyone turned their eyes to him as he walked toward Yuwen Shengcheng.
Were they going to fight? It seemed likely in the eyes of the other disciples. They had seen how Yuwen Shengcheng was being pushed to his limit with seething venom. However, Tianming didn't give him the time of day and simply left the gates.
The kid was just far too young. He was merely talented in some regard. Tianming was someone with standards, who would only pick worthy opponents. Yet, he didn't think that ignoring Yuwen Shengcheng would only cause the kid’s face to pale further with anger.
"Li Tianming! Don't think I don't know you must've used some kind of trick! There's no way someone like you can have a fourth-order saint beast!" he spat. He was reaping the seeds of humiliation he’d sown earlier. Seeing his outburst, the other disciples stopped speaking.
Only then did Tianming turn back and look him in the eye. "Kid, what's wrong with your face? You look like you swallowed a pile of shit."
The crowd immediately burst into laughter at the apt description. Yuwen Shengcheng's face was indeed contorted in disgust. Tianming, still ignorant of what the youth was angry at, had only added fuel to the fire.
"I want you to die!" Yuwen Shengcheng roared as he pushed apart the beauties before him, charging at Tianming. He struck out full force with his palm, propelling it forward with the speed and pressure of a torrential river.