Chapter 618 - Rising to the Top
"Xuanyuan Yufeng is dead! Li Tianming killed him!"
The whole battlefield was shocked when Xuanyuan Yufeng drew his last breath. Even those who watched the battle merely looked blankly at Tianming, already on the verge of collapse. Soon after, many sharp cries of terror sounded out, cementing the gravity of the situation instantly.
"Impossible! It must be an illusion!"
"Stop fighting already. Let's get closer and take a look!"
"There's no need. He's really dead!"
The many others who were fighting nearby had completely stopped amidst the chaos. Every one of them knew that Xuanyuan Yufeng had come from the core of the Archaic House of Xuanyuan: the Trioptic True Dragon Branch. His death would no doubt be felt throughout the entire Human Branch. At the very least, the disciples of the Dragonmight Faction didn't fight even more desperately to try to avenge their dead faction lord, but merely despaired instead.
"This Li Tianming must be a monster. Did he really grow that quickly or has he been hiding his power from the beginning?"
"How can someone be so daring to even kill one of the Trioptic True Dragon Branch?"
"I bet that he’s committed a grave mistake. If he survives more than a single day after the end of the faction battles, I’ll spell my name in reverse!"
"He must've completely antagonized the Sterling House of Fang and the Archaic House of Xuanyuan, right? Those are the two most powerful forces in the Archaion Sect."
Many people looked at Tianming begrudgingly, being able to do nothing else.
"The faction lord is dead. I quit. I'll be leaving now."
"Let's go. There’s no more point in fighting. Without the lord, Dragonmight won't be able to catch up. We already dropped to eleventh place."
"It’s our bad luck for meeting someone as crazy as him. I accept the loss!"
From that day onward, Tianming's fame exploded throughout the entire Human Branch to the point that even some disciples from the Heaven and Earth Branches knew about him. He was no longer just some nobody in the Archaion Sect.
Amidst the dead silence on the chaotic battlefield, Tianming was still fighting Xuanyuan Yufeng’s three dragons. Despite having lost their beastmaster, they didn't escape, but rather doubled down, roaring in search of vengeance, indiscriminately targeting Tianming and his three lifebound beasts. It didn't matter which as long as one of them was there to be their target. Perhaps only those from a clan with more than two hundred thousand years of history could have such fighting spirit, much more than the Nineshades Clan had ever shown.
The battle intensified. Tianming gave himself some simple first aid before charging in with the Grand-Orient Sword and Prime Tower to aid Ying Huo and the rest. The three purple-eyed truefiend dragons were all really powerful, with a number of incredible abilities. The whole battle lasted half an hour. The dragons were ready to fight to their deaths, while Tianming and the others took their suicidal attacks just as fearlessly.
Relying on the Prime Tower's suppression to take out one of the dragons made it much easier. What really inspired respect in others, however, was how the two dragons didn't stop and continued fighting to the bitter end, until the last drop of blood was shed.
Tianming and his lifebound beasts were injured throughout the battle; Tianming himself suffered the least and was still able to fight. As for Lan Huang and Meow Meow, they were completely covered in bloody injuries, and darkness corrupted much of their innards. Ying Huo, on the other hand, almost had a wing snapped off. It was likely that they wouldn't be able to fight in the coming ten days at all.
Without delay, Tianming had them enter his lifebound space to quickly heal with the aid of the Prime Tower, leaving him alone on the battlefield with a pair of bloodied Grand-Orient Swords. Both the audience and the participants were dead silent.
Jian Xueyi had witnessed the entire scene clearly. "I didn't think he would be that powerful," she muttered.
"It truly is amazing, I'll give him that. However, if he doesn't have any backing, it’ll be the end of him after the faction battles," Zhao Yijue said.
"I’ll have my parents back him!" she said.
"Stop fooling around. Your clan is but a small one within the Draconis House of Jian. How can you compare with Xuanyuan Yufeng's clan? Any single one of them can make your parents kneel."
Jian Xueyi grit her teeth in frustration. As impressive as this fight was, it was impossible to predict the consequences down the line. "Sigh, this brat was far too stubborn. It would’ve been enough if he’d defeated his opponent, yet he insisted on killing him," she helplessly said.
"I can't keep up with him anymore," Lin Xiaoxiao said. She was able to see everything clearly from the top of the hill she stood on.
"That might not be the case. Go down and take a look. Even if he manages to enter the Heaven Cauldron, he still won't be able to get my eye. It’s a part of my body after all. I’ll have a much easier time taking it than he does," the Archaionfiend said.
"Xiaoxiao, whether you’ll lose is not set in stone."
"Alright. Guess we'll see."
"If you don't kill him, someone from the Sky Plunderer Clan, he’ll pose a grave threat to us in the future. Don't you get it?"
"Hehe, you’ll eventually know," the Archaionfiend said, cracking a smile. "They’re fierce savages. If he doesn't get my eye, or he finds out that you took it first, you will be the one he kills."
The disciples participating in the faction battles within the illusory battlefield were unaware that chaos had broken out outside the formation. Xuanyuan Yufeng was actually a disciple of the Earth Branch. Many of the seniors and juniors who witnessed the battle were completely enraged.
In the corner, Xuanyuan Muxue's third eye turned completely cold. She tightly clenched her fist as she shook, her eyes bloodshot, seemingly causing her surroundings to cool down considerably.
"How is it?" Xuanyuan Yuheng asked.
"You were right. An enemy is an enemy. This is something that is set in stone and cannot be changed," she said.
"Your brother was quite nice to you. You should avenge him if you have the chance."
"Are you planning to use me to kill him?" she asked coldly.
"You shouldn't put it that way. Li Tianming was the one who stretched his neck out, and I’ll merely use you, a blade, to slice it. It's got nothing to do with me," he said with a shrug, though there was one implication that remained unsaid: he was satisfied with how things turned out.
Within the private room...
"That was too cruel...."
Around thirty disciples of the Sterling House of Fang were completely flabbergasted by the turn of events.
"So he killed Xuanyuan Yufeng just like that? He was one of the Trioptic True Dragon Branch. Fresh as he may be, only being able to mingle around in the Human Branch and planning to join the Archaion Army, he was still someone of status. How can the Archaic House of Xuanyuan accept this?" Fang Xingque spat.
"Xingque, does this mean we don't have to make a move?" Fang Xingying asked respectfully. He was a slender young man, with the main eye-catching part of him being gray l.u.s.trous hair that made him look much older than he was. Even though he was Fang Xingque's elder cousin, he obediently did his bidding.
"No, it’s the opposite. We have to act," Fang Xingque said with a smile.
"Why is that so?"
"The Archaic House of Xuanyuan will definitely try to kill him. If we act first and make the kill, depriving them of their catharsis, won't it make things even more exciting? We’ll get to vent and they won't!"
"That's right. Xuanyuan Muxue in particular loves to put on a dignified act, always glaring at our Xingque. She’ll definitely be livid if we kill him first. I wonder what her expression would look like?"
"Understood!" Fang Xingying said, nodding.
"All you have to do now is the stand guard at the exit of the battlefield. Once it ends, act immediately. Don't even wait three days," Fang Xingque said.
"Yes," Fang Xingying said before he left.
"Do your best, cousin, I’m counting on you," Fang Xingque said with a chuckle, causing the others to join him in laughter.
Meanwhile, at the tallest point of Dimensional Battlefield, Jian Wuyi stood with his hands behind his back, taking everything in.
"Sect Master, can you tell?" Jian Binghe asked.
"Yes, I can."
"Is it the Hexapath Samara Sword?"
Jian Wuyi intentionally dodged the question. "Binghe, you seem to have quite an understanding of that sword art. Normal people can't even tell. The move has been lost to time."
"I only did some digging because I respected it too much," Jian Binghe said, humbly.
"You shouldn't try it in your next life," Jian Wuyi said.
With the flick of his finger, Jian Wuyi pierced his head.
A change of unprecedented magnitude had occurred in the illusory battlefield. Now that the Dragonmight Faction was leaderless, there was nobody who could bring them back to first place. Knowing that victory was hopeless without Xuanyuan Yufeng, many of them just chose to surrender.
Having lost all morale, they scattered like sand in the wind. Many more chose to flee the battlefield to avoid the Swordking Faction. Dragonmight was officially no more.
Anyone who looked up into the skies could see that their ranking was now at twelfth place. Having suffered twenty percent casualties, it was over for them.
The Swordking Faction, on the other hand, dropped to fourth rank, while Azureriver had dropped from first to sixth. It went without saying that Swordking ranked the top among the three great factions.
However, the top three factions were minor ones that had hidden themselves away and weren't discovered yet, hence their low casualties. Though, Tianming and the Swordking Faction still had five days. It was enough time for Tianming to lead them on a hunt for the top three factions and completely obliterate them.
Every single day, Swordking's rank rose. By the time there were only two days remaining, they had risen to the top. Tianming planned to give the faction in second place another heavy beating to ensure that Swordking stayed in first place before retreating to Silverriver Valley to wait it out.
Soon, that day arrived.