Chapter 236 - Where was the Bliss in Life or Pain in Death?
A first-level Unity beastmaster was facing off against one at the sixth level. No matter who emerged victorious, this battle was sure to be recorded in the annals of the clan. Li Xuanchen wasn't afraid of being humiliated; he only wanted to use this chance to get the seal, after which he could still take Qingyu for Yuwen Shengcheng.
Before the astonished crowd, the gold-armored youth furiously clashed with the black-clad white-haired Tianming. When his Aurum Field clashed against Tianming's two large fields, it sparked a violent sizzle. It was soon apparent that the Aurum Field was far more powerful and stable.
However, Tianming's two fields and nexuses that mixed infernal flames together with chaos lightning greatly increased the power of the two fields, to the point they were able to resist Aurum Field.
The Sixteen-winged Gold Kunpeng unleashed its spiritsource ability, Sixteen Wing Aegis. It appeared similar to the Infernal Armor, but was far more beautiful. Each of the golden protective wings layered on Li Xuanchen, affording him incredibly dense protection. It did appear stronger than Tianming's own Infernal Armor, whose purpose wasn’t strictly defensive, but also ignited the Grand Thunderflare Sword and covered it with infernal flames.
Even with Feiling's aid, Tianming still didn't have the upper hand when it came to beast ki. However, that wasn't necessarily the case in other aspects. At the very least, Feiling's Temporal Field and Spatial Wall abilities were still improving. Temporal Field layered invisibly on top of Tianming's two unity fields, greatly easing the burden on him.
Li Xuanchen, protected by the golden wings, fearlessly attacked Tianming with the Immortal Vajra Spear Technique, a precious and expensive unity-ranked battle art that Yuwen Taiji had personally taught him. He thrust his lance as his kunpeng sent its sixteen sharp wings thrusting out.
Meow Meow was at the very front and would take the brunt of the first onslaught of attacks. However, it charged forward regardless of what the opponent threw at him. Staying hidden atop its head was Ying Huo.
"Die!" The thunderous black beast rammed towards them with abandon with its mouth opened wide, revealing the four lightning-charged fangs.
"Watch this!" The little chick flapped its imperial wings and zipped in front of Li Xuanchen, performing one move after another from the Demise of Man-Earth-Heaven. Despite managing to shake Li Xuanchen's golden shields, they didn't break.
The lance thrust out with an explosive stream of energy that sent the chick flying back.
"Golden Hellscape!" Li Xuanchen ordered and his kunpeng glowed with a brilliant aureate light, causing many watching to be temporarily blinded.
Halfway through the execution of the spiritsource ability, the Regal Chaosfiend leaped onto the kunpeng and bit in, only for its teeth to be blasted apart by the protection of the golden wing shields.
"You are too weak!" Li Xuanchen laughed at how he was basically invincible, working with his lifebound beast. Just as finished, Tianming came out swinging with his Demise of Man-Earth-Heaven.
As the main fighter of the trio, Tianming boasted the strongest combat power. He sent out six consecutive strikes, all the way from Spectral-Dance to Heavenly-Judgment.
He had to admit that Li Xuanchen truly was powerful. Even under Temporal Field's influence, he was far too quick and explosive. His lance thrust out furiously with enough power to pierce the mountains, seas, and skies, and his last thrust even directly clashed against Tianming's Apocalyptic-Will. When he executed Three Hundred Piercing Mountains, three hundred thrusts fired out. He then used Six Hundred Sea Piercers for another volley of thrusts, then finished with Nine Hundred Sky Breakers. Nine hundred strands of domination pierced the skies before Tianming's eyes, coloring Tianming's vision an endless, dense gold. His sword clashed against the hundreds of lance tips.
In terms of sword intent, Tianming was definitely superior, whereas his opponent dominated in terms of beast ki and unity field. This time, Tianming was suffering not on account of weaker technique or execution, but raw power.
"Die!" Li Xuanchen roared as he gave his lance another thrust, prompting the little chick to swing its small wing out and execute Apocalyptic-Will. Finally, Li Xuanchen's Sixteen Wing Aegis shattered. The little chick managed to parry the strike that would've been fatal for Tianming. Meanwhile, the Sixteen-winged Gold Kunpeng turned into a golden kun with sixteen sharp fins. Faced with the barrage of attacks from the Regal Chaosfiend, it went berserk and sent out golden blade-like waves—essentially a meat grinder—toward Meow Meow.
"Kill it!" Li Xuanchen yelled, smiling savagely at the comeback. He didn't notice that a blood-red silhouette had struck the gold kun at that precise moment.
It was the power of Soul Hook. That whipping strike was so rapid that the gold kun had no way of defending against it at all, and was able to do naught but squeal in pain. It had been rapidly spinning, which only served to make it easier for Archfiend to wrap around its body and embed its spikes into the kun. The force of the spin even dragged Tianming over.
At the most critical moment for Meow Meow, Tianming had struck with Archfiend and intercepted the golden kun's ultimate move. The next instant, Meow Meow exploded with rage and sent a Chaos Voltball towards the kun's mouth, then caused it to explode. Black lightning enveloped the whole kun in an instant, breaking the golden wing shields that had manifested on it just as Li Xuanchen's had been broken.
"How dare you?!" Li Xuanchen shot toward them like a beam of golden light. Little did he know, he would be greeted by a barrage of flaming needles: Ying Huo's Skyscorch Featherblast.
All he could do was block like a maniac, but that didn't stop tens of needles from piercing into his body and immediately causing infernal flames to burn all over him.
"Don't think I'll let you pass!" the little chick said with bloodshot eyes. It had been a long time since it’d faced a foe like that. "I'll burn you to a crisp if you dare touch my brother!" As it said that, it drew the needles that didn't hit their target back to its body and let them blast out once more.
"I'm going to kill you for sure!" Li Xuanchen yelled in agony as he charged toward the little chick, who immediately turned tail and ran, though Li Xuanchen would soon catch up to it with his speed.
At that instant, his lifebound beast let out a horrible shriek. Li Xuanchen turned back to look and saw that Tianming had cut off one of the kunpeng's wings. The kunpeng had turned into its roc form and tried to fly into the sky, only to be slammed to the ground by Archfiend and pulled toward Tianming. One Hell-Shaker later, the wing had come off.
That didn't stop Li Xuanchen from his pursuit.
However, while he could definitely get the little chick given a bit of time, would he be able to defend his kunpeng? The moment he turned back to the little chick, he saw a flash of blood red in front of him.
Nine Hundred Sky Breakers! A crisp sound rang out as weapons collided. The bloody, snaky object came attacking once more, much to Li Xuanchen's surprise.
"I will tear you into a million pieces!"
A beam of golden light darted toward Tianming. Li Xuanchen's lance strikes were too forceful, easily breaking through Feiling's Spatial Walls. Tianming had Ying Huo and Meow Meow take care of the injured Sixteen-winged Gold Kunpeng while he pinned it to the ground. Flames burned in his left eye and lightning crackled in his right.
"Li Xuanchen, I have to admit you're much stronger than I imagined. You made me understand how endless the path of cultivation is, and how much I still have to learn. I admit that I'm not your match, but I also want to thank you for making me realize that there are many ways victory can be obtained on the battlefield other than raw power!"
On the endless path with countless experts, pride was the greatest pitfall!
"Only raw power and cultivation decides life or death! Since you're weak, you deserve to die!" Li Xuanchen bellowed.
"Is that so? Then I'll show you what undying willpower looks like!" Tianming's Soul Hook had struck the kunpeng, and his next move agilely snaked around. Each time he was sent stumbling back by Li Xuanchen, he stood up and found more wounds on his body. However, his bloodied figure was proof that he wouldn't fall. Li Xuanchen couldn't kill him!
"As long as I'm here today, none of you can take Qingyu away. I won't let you, because she's my little sister and family. Unless I die, you will not be able to touch my family. Otherwise, crooks like you shall be beset by countless disasters!"
Soul Hook or Apocalyptic-Will didn't matter. The strongest thing in this world wasn't techniques, but rather fighting spirit. Tianming hadn’t died in the past three years, and had managed to kill Lin Xiaoting within two hours before an audience of thousands. He had completely changed. Nobody knew how truly cold he had felt during those two hours. At the very end, he had even smiled as Lin Xiaoting breathed his last breath under his blade.
He had truly turned into a demon at that moment.
On that day, he had said that his emotions were his inner demons, and he couldn't outrun them. As long as he couldn't stop his blood from boiling, he wouldn't be able to stop being influenced by his emotions, whether they be love, friendship, familial affection, gratitude, or protectiveness. All those things formed the person that was Tianming. He didn't fear death, for where was the bliss in life and pain in death?
If he was to die, he would go out with a bang.
However, he had made a pledge on that day to kill, but never be killed. That was his will to defy fate itself! As such, he didn't fear foes like Li Xuanchen, who were stronger than him. He was brimming with sword ki as he broke free from his chains.
The black and gold figures clashed and exploded into a fight in front of Kunpeng Sacred Hall. It seemed that Tianming would be getting pretty beat up today; however, his spirit burned with passion to the point that his gaze sent chills down Li Xuanchen's spine. He had never seen anything like this… it was as if the most savage of beasts had been angered from having its fur or scales ruffled.
While he might not have been that worried about it in the beginning, he eventually felt fear as the fierce gaze remained locked on to him the entire time. Not to mention, he still hadn't managed to kill Tianming. Every time he got close, he would be intercepted and the enemy would grow even more ferocious.
"Die!" Li Xuanchen's thrust broke through Tianming’s Infernal Armor and struck him on the shoulder, embedding the tip of the lance three centimeters deep. While the lance was caught on his bone, Tianming grabbed it with his other hand. Li Xuanchen had wanted to pierce the lance through his heart, but froze when he saw Tianming smile.
A gigantic shadow suddenly appeared and slammed Li Xuanchen to the ground, then blasting a Chaos Voltball his way, electrocuting him so badly that he turned black from the shock. His ear-piercing shriek echoed through the air. In the next moment, his body was wrapped in chains. His golden chain mail couldn't protect his entire body, so the spikes of Archfiend found their way through the weak points in his armor.
Li Xuanchen yelled as he exploded with beast ki. He shivered, feeling the spikes embedded deep in his body. The more he struggled, the deeper the spikes would dig their way into him.
"Stop struggling, loser."
When Li Xuanchen looked up, he saw Tianming holding the Grand Thunderflare Sword against his heart.
"Your next move might just kill you."
When he saw the white-haired youth's smile, he shivered and ceased all motion. Looking in the distance, he saw his bloodied lifebound beast on the ground and a blood-covered chick standing on top of its head, mockingly chuckling in Li Xuanchen's direction.
Li Xuanchen had completely lost, and felt true fear. Losing wasn't the terrifying part; admitting his loss was. What was worse was that Tianming motioned toward his two lifebound beasts after restraining Li Xuanchen with Archfiend and manifested his unity field, actually beginning to train in front of Li Xuanchen.
He even smiled and said, "Li Xuanchen, I have to thank you for helping me comprehend the Unity stage even deeper. The essence of this stage is the beastmaster fighting alongside his beasts, counting on one another with their lives on the line. I’ve finally gained insight and am about to make a breakthrough!"
It was finally time for him to advance to the second level of Unity. What infuriated Li Xuanchen even more was that Tianming hadn't defeated him after his breakthrough, but rather before. If he had broken through during the battle, Li Xuanchen would've been more convinced of his loss. Instead, it had happened in the opposite order!
It didn't help that he couldn't move at all while Tianming was training, or he would risk even more spikes piercing into him.
Tianming was only a step away from breaking through before the battle. When he linked hearts with his lifebound beasts, he managed to make his breakthrough and step into the next level in only ten breaths of time.
He was now stronger than ever before, much to Li Xuanchen's admiration.
Seeing the youth growing stronger, Li Xuanchen felt powerless and spat out a mouthful of blood. He then slumped to the ground, struggling to find the tears he didn't have from the sheer shock he felt.
Kunpeng Sacred Hall was completely silent. The crowd’s shocked gazes mirrored that of Li Xuanchen.