Chapter 233 - Over After a Killing
The moon hung beautifully in the sky, casting its light on the two girls standing under it. One was performing a sword dance while the other watched. Fullmoon Blade glowed as Qingyu moved incredibly quickly. With a loud clang, a flash of moonlight shot out and struck down a huge tree. Wearing an androgynous white and black robe and letting her grey hair down, she looked like a moon goddess.
"Qingyu's so handsome," Feiling said enviously. She wanted to perform a sword dance herself, but that was beyond her abilities, thanks to her weak arms.
"Am I as handsome as Big Brother?" Qingyu asked, sheathing her blade.
"Not even close."
"Too bad. For a girl as beautiful as you, Feiling, you sure have rather bad taste," she said, squinting mischievously. Sitting down beside Feiling, she pulled her sleeve up and revealed the five bright moons on her arm.
"Ling'er, I've scoped out what the Pentamoon Skybane is good for," she said.
"Quick, tell me."
"On nights when the moon shines, I can use it to blend with moonlight. The power of moonlight will permeate my surroundings and assimilate into my body, allowing me to infuse it into my beast ki, enhancing it in the process.
"During a full moon such as this, I feel like I'm half a level stronger, almost like when you use Spiritual Attachment on me."
She managed to achieve that on her own. Even though it required moonlight, it was already rather impressive.
"Awesome. You're going to transform into a moon goddess," Feiling said, smiling.
Goddess? Qingyu didn't quite like that term. If it were up to her, she would rather become a demoness. Her sixteenth birthday was tomorrow; it should have been an occasion worthy of celebration, but the marriage contract ruined it.
"Is Big Brother still in the mausoleum?" Qingyu asked.
"He might return tomorrow. Don't worry, he'll definitely be there," Feiling said confidently.
"Thank goodness you two are with me. Otherwise, I don’t know how I would’ve spent the night," Qingyu said with her head lowered. She raised her long, curved blade. "Actually, I've never killed before. I wonder if I'll have to do that tomorrow."
She stared at her blade dazedly.
"Don't worry!" Feiling clasped Qingyu's hand and smiled. "With him around, you won't have to fight. All you have to do is stick close to your big brother."
"Really?" Qingyu felt like she was dreaming. It truly felt good to be spoiled by a big brother. No matter what trouble awaited her tomorrow, she was no longer so fearful. It was merely a matter of life and death, and would be over after a kill.
"Just a little bit more..." Tianming said with a furrowed brow before Li Shenxiao's tombstone. He didn't manage to reach the second level of Unity like he had expected. It wasn't that he didn't have enough time; he just lacked one final bit of insight.
"It seems like I underestimated the difficulty of cultivating at Unity. No matter how much talent, or how many resources I have, I still have to take it step by step. Each breakthrough at the Unity stage tests the beastmaster's mental synchronization with his lifebound beasts and the degree of their Unity field's resonance. Going from the first level to the second requires not only an increase in strength, but also synchronicity. However, Ying Huo and Meow Meow have different attributes and distinct spiritsources. Having to synchronize between us three will be much harder than just two!"
He had planned to break through to the second level in ten days, but failed. This was the first time he’d tasted failure since he became a decabane, and he would have to leave the mausoleum today, or Qingyu, Jingyu, and Feiling wouldn't be able to deal with the elites from the three other bloodlines.
"I must’ve been having it too easy. That's why fate threw an obstacle my way.... My Lifesbane."
Tianming looked at the garish characters on his arm. On some level, his tenfold rate of aging affected his cultivation. While he could endure it, his endurance didn't stop Meow Meow and Ying Huo from being affected by it as well. The Unity stage required all three of them to fuse. It wasn't surprising that he failed to advance to the next level, because the three of them failed at precisely that fusion. Noteworthily, even though their spiritsources were large enough already, the fusion of their unity fields wasn’t up to par.
"Today's fight is too important, far more important than defeating Yuwen Shengcheng. Yet, fate played a trick on me. Then again, I've been dominating my enemies for the past six months."
Had he been able to make a breakthrough today, he was confident in his victory. Now that he had failed, however, he felt frustrated and distraught.
"Perhaps this is only the start of the Lifesbane curse. There might be more coming my way in the future."
Even though he hadn’t managed to make a breakthrough, he did receive two new benefits. First, he had made great progress with the Life-Death Whip Art after ten grueling days of training; it was even more difficult than Demise of Heaven, Apocalyptic Will.
Secondly, Ying Huo and Meow Meow had evolved using the profound mannas imperial wing and electric fang, bringing the number of stars in their eyes to eight.
While their star count may not correspond directly to that of other lifebound beasts', as far as the others were concerned, they were no longer low class seven-star lifebound beasts. Their evolution had also helped unlock even more latent power in their bloodlines. The infernalsource and lightningsource had expanded to ten times the size of a normal spiritsource, while Tianming's humongous nexus was now ten times the size of normal nexuses.
Basically, Tianming's spiritsource was already superior to beastmasters with eight-star saint beasts. Additionally, the Aeternal Infernal Body and Genesis Chaos Body further strengthened his physique. The unlocking of more bloodline seals caused the three's abilities to rise even more, with Tianming now comparable to a beastmaster with a saint beast and the little chick and black cat gaining new tricks.
Ying Huo, for instance, had grown longer wings. Now there were a few black patterns marking its yellow wings and covering the bane marks. The new 'imperial wings' were sharp like two swords.
As for Meow Meow, it revealed its enlarged, lightning-charged, sword-like canines when it opened its mouth—electric fangs. Those two powerful mannas were really suited to their current forms. With Ying Huo's Demise of Man-Earth-Heaven and Meow Meow's melee combat improved, Tianming was prepared to face the upcoming challenge despite not having broken through.
"Godfather, Li Xuanyi will be bringing his son to take Qingyu away for the marriage. Will you come along with me?" Tianming asked.
Li Wudi merely rolled over and continued snoring. Tianming didn't say much else and returned to Fatepath Peak. From a distance, he saw a large group of inbound lifebound beasts dotting the skies with the second, third, and fourth patriarchs in the lead. They were dressed for the celebratory occasion and even came along with an escort band.
Given how high profile they were being, they seemed determined to take Qingyu away. Tianming squinted and rapidly zipped to Kunpeng Sacred Hall ahead of their arrival. Standing there, he watched as the whole group arrived and descended with the beastmasters standing tall on their mounts, looking down at him.