Chapter 599: Piercing God
Gu Shaoyu and Xuanyuan Ganggang left with sour faces, unable to do anything in the Swordking Faction's territory. As they were leaving, Jian Xueyi looked around and said, "Disperse!"
"Yes, Senior Sister!" the surrounding disciples chorused and went on their way.
Jian Xueyi had come with her followers, which included hall lords and chiefs, who were all powerful in their own right. While they numbered fewer than the Dragonmight Faction, they had the power to match. Tianming stood directly in front of the woman who was equal to him in height. She smiled as she looked at him daringly, her eyes scanning him whole before settling on Brightnight.
"Can a sky saint like you even use that?" Jian Xueyi asked.
"Works well enough. Let me try," Tianming said.
"Better put it back. I, the big sister, left it here for the chosen one. I don't like little kids like you," she said.
"How old are you?"
"No way. How are you so huge?"
"So huge? What do you mean by that?"
"Nothing." He didn't dare bring up what 'top-grade mount' meant.
"Whatever. I was just joking, I'm actually twenty-two."
"Oh, you're younger than me. So, you can only be my little sister," Tianming said.
"Are you serious? You're in your twenties? With that face? I could've sworn you were seventeen."
"Can't help it, I just look fresh." His comment earned him a few more dirty looks.
"This sword is a pair with Darkdawn. You’d better put it back, lest others think I'm spoiling a so-called little brother," she said.
"That won't do. I bought this with my money, so it's mine. It's got nothing to do with you any longer."
Right that moment, a cold-looking youth clad in black snapped, "Li Tianming, don't forget who saved you today!"
"Zhao Yijue, what are you doing? I was just joking around with him," she said with a glare, then turned back to Tianming with a smile. Stretching her hand out, she said, "Let's shake hands. You're a member of the Swordking Faction now."
"Can I squeeze it a little?"
"You can try, but I'm sure you don't need any more bounties on your head from those around us right now," she said with a bright giggle.
"Forget it then." Tianming gave her hand a light pat. "Faction Lord, if you don't mind me asking, why’d you save me? I'm just a nobody who’s offended the Dragonmight Faction. It's not worth it."
"Nonsense. I looked into you. Your cultivation’s soared during the time you’ve been in the sect. I also happened to see how you fought from a distance. You're a ruthless one, aren't you? Normal men would drool over a beauty like her, yet you just stabbed her in the heart."
"So, Big Sis thinks you have potential. You look like the illegitimate son of some huge figure in the sect who’s superbly talented but didn't get enough resources to cultivate. You’ll definitely shoot to the moon after joining the sect, so Big Sis has decided to bet on you. Come to think of it, how did you manage to defeat a fourth-level empyrean saint despite being only a sky saint?"
"Shhh, that's a secret. I can't reveal it."
"You're asking for a beating, you.... If you're not careful, I'll take you into my harem!" she joked.
"You have a harem?" Tianming's horizons were expanded.
"I don't, but I'm planning to make one. It's a shame that no man has caught my eye yet. And to think you even bought the Brightnight I left there to bait a gold mine...."
Tianming didn't know how to respond and could only shoot her a thumbs-up. "You're really something."
After that, she introduced him to the others as an official member of the Swordking Faction. The black-clad youth that chided Tianming was the vice faction lord, Zhao Yijue, who was said to be rather powerful. He was still quite cold to him, saying nothing but a few words. He was also introduced to the other five hall lords, all of whom were powerful in their own right.
"Here you go," Jian Xueyi said as she tossed him a chief’s emblem. "The faction battles begin in a week, so we'll be getting busy. Once the battles are over, I’ll help you form your own chapter. For now, you'll be representing your chapter on your own."
As the faction lacked manpower, they couldn't just give him subordinates to command, despite being a chief, for the rest were caught up in training. Reorganizing at this point in time would only cause chaos.
"Thank you, Faction Lord."
"No need, and stop calling me that. It's too formal."
"Then how should I address you?"
While that didn't sound formal at all, it was flattery to the nth degree.
"If that's all, may I leave?" Tianming was still in a hurry to train. With the chief's emblem, he would be able to train for three hours a day in the Old Deepstar Path, which would greatly enhance his speed.
"Go ahead. Watch out when you go to public places. Don't get yourself killed before the faction battles begin."
"It'd take more than them to kill me," Tianming said.
"That just happens to be the last words of many bodies that found themselves buried in the snow the next day," Zhao Yijue said.
"Thank you for the warning, Vice Faction Lord."
"Expect a summons once the faction battles begin."
At the Old Deepstar Path, Tianming could train three times as long thanks to his new position. Even Lin Xiaoxiao was able to get a deacon’s emblem and train for two hours there. This time around, Tianming could go farther on the path and gain the Astral Will left behind by even stronger seniors. Naturally, it took time to walk along the path. That was the reason disciples from the Earth and Heaven Branches entered the path in the midsection rather than from the very start. Thankfully, Tianming was always surrounded by countless stars, something he'd become famous for there.
Now, he was observing the heavenly will of a senior named Xuanyuan Yin. His heavenly will was called the Domination Will and shared many commonalities with Tianming's Imperial Will. Once his time there was over, he left the path with Lin Xiaoxiao, feeling rather refreshed.
"If we can't return to our residences, where shall we go?" she asked.
"Just train wherever. We can just sit down and cultivate. Don't be so picky."
"Fine." She grit her teeth with dissatisfaction.
"However, once I make another breakthrough, we won't have to avoid Gu Shaoyu and Xuanyuan Ganggang any longer," he said, cracking a smile.
"Will it be soon?" She didn't dare to cultivate in front of him, so she had to go back.
Taiji Peak Lake was shaped like a Yin-Yang diagram, being split into two with smaller dots in each one of them. One of the small dots was a 'mountain amidst a sea', and was called Tribulation Peak. Legend had it that the old monsters at the Samsara stage trained hard there to overcome their tribulations.
Its counterpart, the 'sea amidst mountains', was called Xuanyuan Lake. It was the only part of the sect that actually belonged to the Archaic House of Xuanyuan; no other clan actually owned land in the sect itself. It was so wide it could be called an ocean.
Right in the middle of the lake was a saintly palace that nobody dared to approach. It was entirely white and seemed to be made from some kind of precious stone, making it exude elegance. The palace was Soulburn Hall, a name the tenth goddess, Xuanyuan Xi, had picked. Now that the goddess had returned from the dead, she had moved back into Soulburn Hall and would come to shape the Flameyellow Continent from there.
Within the hall was a girl dressed in a blue dress sitting under a pavilion in an elegant garden. She shook her fair bare legs and got snowflakes to fall on them.
"Snow really is pretty," Feiling said as she stared blankly at the snowscape in her garden. She had been doing this for the better part of the day. "It's really boring. If only Big Brother were by my side on a day with such good weather like this.... We could warm each other up."
She stood up and walked barefoot toward the hall. She came to a pillar and counted the brush marks she had made there and scratched her head. "It's so annoying... There's so many days left! Why is time passing so slowly? I knew I should've asked him to come once every ten days, hmph! I wonder if he's doing well in the Human Branch... Should I summon him? Would that ruin everything?"
She wasn't daring enough to do it. Now that she didn't have enough information, there was a good chance that others in the sect would figure out that she wasn't Xuanyuan Xi herself.
"I’d better wait.... Cultivating every day without being able to talk to anyone really is frustrating."
She pouted as she exited the palace and sat on the snowy ground. When she looked up, she saw blood-colored lightning above. "Huh? What's that?"
The bolt of lightning came striking toward her. She felt the threat of death, thanks to her divine body's instinct, but she couldn't react to it in time as she was too weak.
"Protect Her Eminence!" someone cried.
The next moment, Feiling felt her eyes blur as a gigantic creature charged into the skies. It was a green phoenix. Piercing sounds rang out from above as the lightning bolts fired, instantly turning the sky into an endless sea of crimson.
With two loud rings, she saw a drop of red shooting toward her leg. She quickly withdrew it and saw a black arrow where she had stood. The arrow shook and pulsed with crimson lightning and some traces of blood, causing her to run. Who's trying to kill me?
She began panicking, now that Tianming wasn't by her side.
"Who dares do such a thing?" someone yelled in the sky. It took quite a while before the commotion died down.
With a loud bam, the green phoenix slammed into the garden before her. The lord of Godservant Hall, Fang Qingli, also fell with a pale look. It seemed that she was the one who had taken the brunt of the black arrow. The green phoenix seemed to have been pierced through.
"Your Eminence, it’s fine now," she said as she knelt and shivered.
With another loud boom, a green-robed man fell to the ground. "Mother, are you alright?"
Feiling recalled that he was the sect master of the Heaven Branch, Fang Taiqing, who held the seniormost rank in the sect. To think that his mother was Fang Qingli...