Chapter 413: Scolded for an Entire Month
The vision suddenly vanished as Tianming's Insightful Eye blinked. He could now see that he was still standing on the top level of Infernal Soul Barrier, and hadn’t fallen into it at all.
"That vision must’ve come from the barrier itself," Tianming guessed. He looked at the barrier a few more times and noticed that nothing about it had changed. He lowered his head and saw the barrier beneath his feet, but couldn’t see the volcano from before.
"The eighty thousand people I saw just now are definitely the Infernal Soul Race that the Theocracy is suppressing. They’ve been surviving at the bottom of Infernal Soul Volcano for twenty thousand years; it's a little too cruel. The most terrifying thing in the world is not having the slightest bit of hope and living in a cage for eternity."
How could someone doomed to be caged for life not lose all hope to despair? Tianming found it hard to even imagine being in that position.
"Why were the Theocrats so cruel? Did they need to go so far just to make an example out of them?" He recalled what he had just seen. "The sacrificial ritual fused all eighty thousand souls into one person. It’s truly remarkable. I wonder if that youth named Feng is still alive down there. At least, I can be sure that the rest of the Infernal Soul Race are all dead. In other words, he's the only one remaining."
It was truly depressing. This was a grudge so deep that it would even cause a sea to overflow.
"The fusing of all those souls, their hates and hopes... I wonder if the weight of all that will cause that person to crumble..."
Tianming was still unable to calm down. But just as he slowly snapped out of it and opened his eyes, he found himself surrounded by thousands of people. They were all youths from the Ancient Qilin Clan who were glaring at him with hostility, their gazes almost boring holes into him.
The closest one stood only ten meters away from him. The crowd had filled the area to the brim. It seemed that they had managed to locate him easily, despite how large the area was. Tianming saw Bai Zijin in the distance, closely watching the crowd. That was the only reason they hadn’t gotten any closer to him.
"Nonsense, he was just pretending to cultivate just now."
"He's probably terrified!"
Everyone there was filled with rage, and some couldn't help but take a few steps forward. However, those ahead of them stood their ground and didn't dare approach.
"You vile beast!"
"If it weren’t for his animal of a father, how could my cultivation stage be so low? I’d be four levels higher at least! It's all his dad's fault!"
"It's the same for every one of us."
"Tianming's my bitch! Everyone, beat him as you please!"
There were thousands of insults being thrown his way, but as long as they maintained their distance from Tianming, Bai Zijin wouldn't do anything.
"Li Tianming, fight me if you're a man! Don't cower behind the protection of a woman!"
"Useless coward who sucks up to women. Haha, what a dolt!"
"This retard's only pretending to cultivate because he's afraid! Everyone knows that the spiritual energy within the Infernal Soul Barrier is really sparse. The seniors use it all to keep the barrier operational."
Tianming could tell what they were doing. So they don't dare to touch me and are trying to make me attack them first, he thought. Even though it was troublesome, he could shut them up if he wanted to.
"Just do your own thing," Bai Zijin said as she came to him. She coldly stared at the rest and drew her sword. "Stay a hundred meters away, or I'll give you a harsh lesson."
"On what grounds? This is the territory of the Ancient Qilin—"
Before that person could finish, Bai Zijin delivered a slap to her face, sending her flying off in pain.
"I don't care if you annoy Li Tianming, but I can't stand it when you annoy me! Go away now!" she snapped.
"Fine, a hundred meters it is."
"Yeah! We can still scold the bastard!"
"Softy trying to pretend he’s a badass."
They dispersed and left a wider circle of space, but they didn't leave. Instead, they continued throwing insults, though at a much lower volume this time. Bai Zijin turned back and saw that Tianming was completely unaffected. In fact, he seemed to be immersed in cultivation.
"Is he cultivating his Heavenly Will with the Grand-Orient Sword?" She saw the sword laid on Tianming's legs. He was touching it with his black arm, but oddly enough, the heavenly patterns of the Infernal Soul Barrier were gathering on the sword. Then, they transferred to his left arm and swirled about.
"This fellow really does have some secrets, if he’s able to cultivate here. Then again, the spiritual energy here is too sparse—is there a point to it at all?" she wondered with her hand on her chin. "He’s really shut himself off completely, even though he’s being scolded nonstop. What an impressive and patient young man, a rarity in this day and age, for sure."
Little did she know that Tianming had long forced himself to isolate his sense of hearing. Given his temper, he definitely would've fought back after hearing a word or two more.
"It's working far better than before. This arm has exceptional control over the mysteries of all sorts of heavenly patterns, and I can clearly feel their essence. The light gold gate and the Infernal Soul Barrier's arcane mysteries have been gathered up!"
Once he crushed the heavenly patterns and infused them into the Grand-Orient Sword in his sea of consciousness, the sword grew. His Imperial Will was also being further solidified and sharpened as the black and gold sword underwent all sorts of changes in his sea of consciousness.
In a flash, eleven days passed and Tianming's Imperial Will was at the fifth level. Through symbiotic cultivation, the Prime Tower gathered the spiritual energy contained within the spirit threads of the barrier, allowing his three spiritsources to once more improve. His fourth energy reserve, the Grand-Orient Vortex, was also given a boost. The vortex beyond the light gold gate seemed to grow the slightest bit weaker as Tianming’s comprehension of his Imperial Will continued improving.
"The breakthrough to the fifth level was a success! However, since I have time left, let's continue. I need to train my way to the Saint stage as soon as possible to get another hundred years of lifespan, which is only about ten years to me. I only have five years of effective time to train! Given my current state, it should be possible to reach the Sky Saint stage in five years, right? That way, I'll have five more years of effective lifespan."
The thought of his Aeonic Grandbane dispelled any apathy that remained in his mind, especially as he was close to reaching the Saint stage after his recent breakthrough, giving him hope of an increased lifespan.
"Next, let's go for the sixth level." His mind was calm and his goal was clear. Now that he had paused his cultivation, he heard the thousands of people insulting him again.
"Coward, do you have any dignity?"
"I really admire you for pretending to cultivate there. I've never seen someone so weak and shameless."
"Why don't you just sleep instead of pretending?"
"I really wonder how someone like Li Muyang managed to give birth to this joke."
One of the voices sounded familiar. He turned and saw Qin Feng there, though his teeth were all gone and his words were a little muffled as a result. Beside him were three youths that looked more or less the same. They were probably triplets, and their insults were even harsher. After ten days straight, half of the hecklers had left, leaving only around a thousand remaining.
"This is really pointless."
Tianming shut them out again and returned to his cultivation. Ying Huo and the others really did grow incredibly fast. That was why Tianming had assigned the task of mastering Olympos Imperius to Lan Huang. Lately, he would find some time every day to figure it out with his newest lifebound beast. Once Lan Huang mastered the strike, Tianming could finally get a feel for the third strike of the Shenxiao Sword Art.
His current training circumstances were definitely the most unique ever. He could see a thousand youths cursing at him every time he opened his eyes.
Ten days passed yet again, and it had been almost a month since Tianming had arrived in the Infernal Soul Purgatory. He was now at the sixth level of Heavenly Will, and it was just as smooth sailing as before. That was mainly thanks to his black arm helping him overcome most of his obstacles. Thanks to the barrier spirit threads and the spiritual energy the youths of the Ancient Qilin Clan provided, Tianming's three spiritsources grew once more.
"I broke through twice within a month." He smiled at the thought of his rate of improvement. "I'll need two more months at most, at this rate. In other words, I'll have completed the Heavenly Will stage in three months, total. I bet even the geniuses in the Divine Capital would take at least four to five years for this."
Those people had been training since the age of three, many reaching Spiritsource at five, and Unity at eight. Most reached Heavenly Will at the age of twelve.
"If all goes well, the latter half of my six months' stay here should be enough for me to break through and become a saint!"
Tianming knew that once he reached that stage, his combat power would definitely be equivalent to that of a third- or fourth-level Earth Saint.
"Ling'er's not here, though. If she were here, I’d be able to take on Jun Niancang without relying on the Spiritburn Tome, as I am now. Even so, I still have to master the third strike of the Shenxiao Sword Art. Lan Huang successfully grasped Olympos Imperius and is now working on Oceanos Imperius. It's up to me now."
The third strike was Tianming's alone; his lifebound beasts wouldn't be able to use it. Tianming's understanding of heavenly will was rapidly growing lately, and he now had a rather deep comprehension of the way of mountains and waters. He had a feeling that the effort he would need to put in to train the third strike would be easier than it was when he trained the second.
"I have to fuse Olympos Imperius with Pyros Imperius and Fulguros Imperius."
It was a shame that the area was a little limiting. It would be a little hard for him to train, as he needed to be standing to practice his swordplay. So, he halted his cultivation for now. It had been almost a month, and he still saw around two hundred people when he stood up.
"Damn, they've been cursing me for a whole month! Just how much do they hate me?"Tianming was a little speechless. The ones that remained were definitely those that hated him the most.
"Oh, he's standing up. He's putting up quite a convincing act. Does he really think he trained for a whole month?"
That comment elicited a round of laughter. Tianming merely shot them a glance.
"Wow, what a fierce glare. I'm afraid he'll come to beat me up. Oof...."
"What's there to be afraid of? I bet he'll have his ass kicked before he even tries."
The mockery came from the three youths standing near Qin Feng. The three of them were indeed triplets, called Qin Ding, Qin Yuan, and Qin Ming. Qin Feng was their cousin, and their father was the Qilin King of Ink Manor, Qin Dingtian. Their status in the Ink Branch was on the higher end—much higher than the middle-class Qin Feng. It was said that they had lots of backers.