Even if there were any treasures, they should've all been taken by then. Not to mention, wasn't Li Wudi crippled? Why did Tianming feel that he was a completely different person in the mausoleum?
He finally spotted the difference—Li Wudi seemed so much more confident now. Though his body seemed to be in just as bad a state as before, his gaze and mindset were completely different.
"Tianming, I don't have a son of my own, but I'm quite satisfied with you. I saw you defeat Li Linghe, and can tell you know what you're doing. You're a talent on my level. Based on your good bone structure, the shape of the back of your head and pelvis, I can tell you have a talent for cultivation! Since fate has brought us together as father and son, I shall give you some pointers. From now on, you’ll train here in the ancestral grounds. As your father, I will slowly unveil the astounding depths of the Li Saint Clan to you. Behold, mere mortal! Be prepared to shudder at our might!" Li Wudi cackled like a madman.
"Are you high?" Seeing the man prance around like a three-year-old, Tianming felt a headache festering. He didn't seem like a man who bore a grudge at all. His belly was even rather round from all the meat and wine he’d consumed, being about the size of a pregnant woman in her sixth trimester. How could someone like him have any pointers for him? Tianming simply didn't believe it.
"So, you doubt me, eh?" Li Wudi said with a smirk. "Prepare to be blown away! I look forward to seeing your expression."
"Alright, stop putting on airs."
As they squabbled, they finally reached the peak. Shenxiao Mountain was quite high, and Tianming had initially doubted that the half-dead Li Wudi would be able to make it to the top. Yet not only did he make it, he even seemed more lively than ever. Right after he reached the peak, he yelled, "Li Shenxiao you old crook! You said I have no son? I'll show you! My son is more amazing than you can even imagine!"
He was bragging again, but this time to a tombstone. It was painted black and looked like a normal boulder. On it were the words: Here Lies Li Shenxiao. It had cracked from its age and seemed like it would crumble at any moment. Countless dark-red ants crawled all over it. It was run-down and old, completely different from what Tianming had imagined. It was the founding ancestor's tombstone, so it should be grand, shouldn't it?
"This is it?" Tianming asked.
"Kneel and pay your respects," Li Wudi said.
Tianming nodded and knelt. "Founding Ancestor, your descendant Li Tianming pays his respects!"
"Prostrate yourself to the founding ancestor."
"Understood." Li Tianming kowtowed thrice to the tombstone.
"Now, piss on the tombstone."
"Huh?" The whiplash shocked him speechless.
"This old crook has a refined taste, you see... he loves virgin pee," Li Wudi said with a chuckle.
"Haha, enough messing with you. Son, I'll show you how sly this old crook really is!" Li Wudi's expression turned dark, as if he was filled with discontent. He took out a large jar of wine from his spatial ring.
"Old crook, drink up! Drink till you die!" He poured the wine all over the tombstone.
Tianming watched with his mouth agape as the tombstone was splattered with the wine, causing the entire area to smell of alcohol vapor. The wine smelled like it was brewed from top tier spirit herbs, yet it was spilled all over the ground just like that. Why would he bother doing that?
After he poured it all out, Li Wudi raged on. "Oh, Li Shenxiao, you... you stinking crook! Stop toying with me! I brought my son here, but you still won't give me face? Fine! I'll make sure you die drinking! Oh, wait, you're already dead."
He proceeded to pour another jar of wine as he sighed, "Come on, drink a little, my old ancestor. I don't have much left...."
Tianming watched the show and wondered what sort of shenanigans Li Wudi was up to. Just as he was about to leave, having had enough of the madman, Li Shenxiao's tombstone suddenly exploded with brightness so eye-piercing that it almost blinded Tianming.
The mountain itself shook. In an instant, the run-down tombstone was renewed and looked pure white, like it was made of the most precious spirit stones! It was so blindingly white that it oozed spiritual energy.
Tianming couldn't even begin to describe it; to him, it felt like the spiritual energy that radiated from the tombstone was ten thousand times as strong as that of the Flameyellow Rock! The Flameyellow Rock, with its black heavenly patterns, was ranked eighth tier. However, Tianming could spot white heavenly patterns on the tombstone, a whole eighty-one of them. Those eighty-one heavenly patterns made the tombstone breathtaking to behold.
"White heavenly patterns.... They're saintly heavenly patterns. Do you know what eighty-one saintly heavenly patterns mean?" Li Wudi asked with a smile.
"Nope." It was the first time Tianming had seen anything like it.
"It's fine, you'll find out in time. For now, all you need to know is how terrifying this is."
"So, my son, feeling gobsmacked yet?"
Tianming stared at him with shock. His expression was a feast for the old man’s eyes.
"The founding ancestor's tombstone changes like this if you pour wine on it?" Tianming couldn't believe what he was saying; it was far too childish!
"What else? You think it'll change if you meditate here or kowtow thirty thousand times?"
"How did you find out about this?" Tianming figured that many of the founding ancestors didn't know about it either. After all, who would dare splash wine over the founding ancestor's tombstone, not to mention pouring more than one jar of wine over it? The most any sane person would pour was a few cups!
"Well, it's simple... I've been drinking here for almost fifteen years now... haha...."
“Did anyone do this aside from you?"
"None, as far as I'm aware."
In other words, he was the first to cause such a change in the founding ancestor's tombstone using this method that nobody could've figured out.
"This tombstone was made by the founding ancestor himself. Nobody else in the ten-thousand-year history of the Grand-Orient Realm has the craftsmanship to inscribe eighty-one saintly heavenly patterns onto spirit ores. In fact, it's not just this tombstone that can be activated by splashing wine. The other top ancestors will also reveal their secrets in the same manner. In other words, they're alcoholics—even in death!"
Tianming looked at Li Shenxiao's tombstone, still shaken. The spiritual energy was too dense. He couldn't imagine how terrifying it would be for him to cultivate next to it with his decabane body.
"Is it okay for you to tell me a revelation of this magnitude just like that?" Tianming didn't really dare to believe it. After all, they had been perfect strangers until a short while ago.
"What else would I do? Tianming, the world is huge. Since you of all people came to become the junior sect master, it means we’re bound by fate. Fate is the ultimate law of the world, and sometimes, we just need one glance to know what we need to do. Perhaps you think I'm not fit to be your foster father. But I knew from the first time I saw you that you were worthy," Li Wudi said with a casual smile. However, it sounded a little weird.... Those lines somehow sounded more suitable for a man wooing a woman. But Tianming couldn't discount the fact that most of Li Wudi's favor for him came from the fact that he was a pentabane. After all, the only other person to have that kind of constitution was the founding ancestor himself! In other words, it meant he had the potential to at least become a sky saint.
"I never thought you were unfit," Tianming said.
"So you'll acknowledge it then?"
"Not yet. I'll see how you act, I guess. Who would just call a random person their father right after meeting them?"
"Haha, you're an interesting sort." Li Wudi waved when he stopped laughing. "Go now. Let these old crooks protect you. Let's see if your fate is intertwined with theirs. After all, the two of you are the only pentabanes in the clan's entire history."
Tianming looked at the glowing tombstone, seeming a little perturbed by it; it was the founding ancestor's, after all. But when he thought more about it, it made sense. It was like Li Wudi had said: it was all fate. Since they were fated to meet, he shouldn't hesitate any longer. He just had to follow his heart. Without thinking too much, he approached Li Shenxiao's tombstone.
"It feels great!" The yellow chick laid down on his shoulder and bathed in the blinding light, feeling really good about how it looked. Right after that, Tianming touched the tombstone. In that instant, all eighty-one saintly heavenly patterns gathered at his arm.
At that moment, he felt he grasped the entire world! He began channeling the Aeternal Infernal Codex and Genesis Chaos Codex. Coupled with his decabane body and the tombstone, Tianming had become the most fearsome cultivation monster in the whole world!
He let himself wander through his thoughts one more time. It was clear that becoming the junior sect master and adopted son of Li Wudi would mean he’d have to face even fiercer challenges down the road, challenges that could cost him his life. However, it was worth it. For all the treasures he received and the good the Li Saint Clan had shown him, he would definitely return their kindness manyfold.
Li Wudi had already brought him here and showed him his greatest discovery, so Tianming decided he would fight his way through all the dangers coming his way! What was that to a hot-blooded young man? Lady Long, Yuwen Taiji, Yuwen Fengtian, the council of elders, other geniuses and experts... what was so scary about them?
Tianming as he was now had the support of the first ancestor on his side; the same ancestor that protected and brought the clan to glory!
Not to mention, Li Wudi had said that the other ancestors were alcoholics, too. Who knew what kind of wonders he'd discover by splashing wine on their tombstones? He looked forward to all of it! The Li Saint Clan gifted him a sense of pride, and the achievements of his ancestors caused his blood to boil with excitement.
Perhaps it was due to the blood of his ancestors completely assimilating into his, but from then on, he would be more ambitious than anyone else to propagate the glory of the clan. He would bring it back to its former glory! His clan was now in a sorry state, and reviving it was no doubt a magnificent endeavor.
At that moment, unnoticed by Tianming, Li Wudi shed a tear. His gaze calmed, and he pulled open his robes. Near his heart was the black Venomdrake Spike. It pierced through and emerged from his back. Countless black miasmas swam across his body like black snakes.
Li Wudi placed his palm at the dragon head of the spike and gave it a light pull. At that moment, the ground shook, the mountains rumbled, and the winds howled. Everything in the Bloodbane Barrier cried and shook, and the countless giant beasts formed from the bloody mist fled in panic.
All the tombstones of the ancestors were quaking as silhouettes formed in front of them, all of them casting their gazes on Li Wudi.
"It’s been fourteen years!" Li Wudi said with a maniacal smile. "For fourteen years, I’ve been cultivating at the brink of death! I’ve stepped on the line between life and death countless times! I crossed the Yellow Springs and the Bridge of Helplessness! I have seen demons and gods!" He turned his head toward the Grand-Orient Sect.
"Yuwen Taiji! The moment I pull out this spike is the moment your whole family will be reduced to dust! You had me live a life of suffering for fourteen years, yet you didn't know that I didn't fear death. I bet you also didn't know that I was engaging in vein-severing cultivation!
"Rising from the ashes of death, one life for nine deaths... that is the true nature of Lifesbane that nobody is aware of! The affliction of the Li Saint Clan depends on no heaven, prays to no god, and fears no demon! All we believe in is our will and spirit! Our desire to change fate! Just you wait.... On the day that I return, the whole Grand-Orient Realm will kneel before me! The Li Saint Clan will one day rise again! Let's see who is the true hegemon of the Grand-Orient Realm!"
The figures of countless ancestors gathered around him. Tianming was too awed by the arcane mysteries of the saintly heavenly barriers to notice what was occuring behind him.
"Mu He, legends say that gods can revive the dead. I failed you in this life, so, I will become a god. Don't go too far on the path to the Yellow Springs. You must wait for me. The time will soon come... Mu He, you must wait for me!" A hint of kindness softened his savage expression.
At that moment, Tianming's attention was completely focused on the tombstone and he didn't feel the shocking change that was occuring in the mausoleum.Previous Chapter Next Chapter