Li Tianming reached Spiritsource about half a month before the incident three years ago. Together with Midas, they had gathered the strength of their eighteen beast veins to form five spiritsources on their body.
“The step from Beast Vein to Spiritsource is a breakthrough from one stage to another. It could take hours for some, but years for others, and in certain cases people have tried for a decade with no success,” Li Tianming muttered. “Such a breakthrough requires not just hard work, but also experience and the correct methods of cultivation. More importantly, the cultivator needs a stable state of mind as well as a spark of enlightenment. I've reached Spiritsource before, so no other ninth level Beast Vein cultivator can be more experienced than I am. And in terms of cultivation methods, Ying Huo’s Aeternal Infernal Codex is absolutely unsurpassed too. ”
Now that he had satisfied the first two criteria, Li Tianming just needed to adjust his mindset and feel that spark. After escaping the assassination by the skin of his teeth, Li Tianming could feel that he had entered a state of transcendence. He was calm and rational, yet his blood boiled with passion and fury. It was an otherworldly feeling — his beast ki was rushing through his body, but everything was kept under control by his faith and determination.
Ying Huo could feel his passion and his determination too. His actions were like a battle cry, calling out to the little chick to stand up against their fate.
“Fine, you want to breakthrough, I’ll accompany you,” said the little chick, a fire beginning to burn in its eyes too.
“Then let’s get started!” Li Tianming sat himself down in the dim courtyard, the little chick resting on the top of his head like a ball of fire. As their beast veins connected to each other, the duo gradually became one.
Li Tianming could clearly remember the last time he tried to reach Spiritsource. From the starting point, till eventually getting there, he had taken a total of three months. In those three months, he and Midas had tried thousands of times, made thousands of errors, before he eventually achieved Spiritsource.
But this time, as the little chick started running its Aeternal Infernal Codex, and as their beast ki joined together and ignited, the correct answer seemed so blatantly obvious to Li Tianming! There was only one path ahead of them, and it was a path that would eventually lead the pair to greatness. Without hesitation, Li Tianming and Ying Huo started their breakthrough, their mind fixed on their goals and unimpeded by any obstacles.
Just as Li Tianming had said just now, having survived that assassination, he felt that no one in this world could kill him anymore. At that instance, he charged on towards the Spiritsource stage, and nothing could deter his burning ardor!
“Rahh!” He let out a ghastly roar to vent out the emotions that were building up in him. He recalled his downfall, thought about Midas and ran through everything that happened in the past three years! And all of them were his motivation to cultivate, to seek the path to achieving true strength.
The method that they were using to form the spiritsource was known as the Infernalsource. It got its name from the Infernal Realm, a mythical place where everything would be burnt to ashes, and neither chaos nor reincarnation could escape its blaze. It was a fiery hell spoken of only in legends, a world where nothing survived but flames.
As Ying Huo guided him with the Infernalsource, their eighteen beast veins joined together to circulate their beast ki in their bodies. A while later, Li Tianming could vaguely see the position of their spiritsources. Since Midas could give him five spiritsources, Li Tianming expected the little chick to give him six since it had six stars in its eyes and was considered a six-star lifebound beast. However contrary to his expectations, he only felt a single spiritsource form, located at his dantian!
The number of spiritsources beastmasters and their beasts had not only decided the maximum capacity of their beast ki, but also the number of spiritsource abilities they could refine. Six spiritsources could mean six vastly different spiritsource abilities, but with only one spiritsource they could only refine a single ability. On top of that, they would be basically handicapped when fighting opponents of the same level, as others may have six times the beast ki.
As a three-star lifebound beast was the minimum requirement to reach the Spiritsource stage, beastmasters with a single spiritsource probably never existed before. Obviously, such a phenomenon was a surprise to Li Tianming.
Yet he was not worried at all, given his trust towards Ying Huo. It was the Aeternal Infernal Phoenix, its bloodline prestigious and sacred; there was no way their spiritsource would be ordinary. Li Tianming reckoned that the spiritsource they formed was none other than the infernalsource itself!
The two of them each developed a single infernalsource. While Li Tianming’s infernalsource was in his dantian, Ying Huo’s one was in its stomach. Considering that it was a being that feasted on suns and stars, the position of its spiritsource was an apt metaphor for its nature.
As all his beast ki flushed towards this only infernalsource that he had, Li Tianming could feel the infernalsource expanding from the sheer amount of Aeternal Infernal Beast Ki. It was the size of a normal spiritsource at first, but as time went passed, it expanded continuously.
The formation of spiritsources was much more complicated than the formation of beast veins, and the time it took was exponentially longer too. While other cultivators would develop their spiritsources one after another in sequence, Li Tianming had been working on that one single spiritsource from the beginning.
From midnight all the way till the break of dawn, Li Tianming channeled beast ki into his infernalsource until it had swollen to an unfathomable size. Having prior experience, he knew what the size of a normal person’s spiritsource was and how much beast ki it could hold. Compared to that, his infernalsource was currently seven to eight times bigger than normal ones. That meant when fighting opponents of the same level, not only was his Aeternal Infernal Beast Ki already superior in terms of quality, but he could also store more of it. This placed him at the level of beastmasters with eight-star lifebound beasts, maybe even nine! Li Tianming had never heard of people with eight-star lifebound beasts before, as not a single one had ever appeared in Vermilion Bird’s history. In this nation, anyone who owned a seven-star lifebound beast was enough to make the nation tremble!
As such, Li Tianming was essentially invincible when fighting at the same level. He could even easily fight opponents of a higher level than him with that superior beast ki of his!
The only question that remained was how many spiritsource abilities could Ying Huo refine with that single infernalsource? Or could it be possible that it didn’t even need to refine spiritsource abilities from wildbeasts? As their cultivation approached its end, and the hell-like infernalsource formed completely, Li Tianming had a rough guess in his mind.
He observed his infernalsource, and realised that it looked just like a real inferno. It was now the core of his body, a center that connected to all nine of his beast veins, and also a passage to Ying Huo’s infernalsource. Ying Huo might be much tinier in size, but the nature of its infernalsource was just the same as Li Tianming’s.
The little chick suddenly exclaimed in excitement. “I can feel it! My body, it’s awakening!”
Li Tianming opened his eyes. The sun had yet to rise and that the world was still deep in slumber. Just then, the little chick raised its head, letting out a cry like a rooster crowing.
It released a ball of flame that floated in the air! The golden flame was about ten times the size of its body, and immediately took on the shape of a blazing phoenix as it charged into the air. The phoenix stayed aloft like a miniature sun, lighting up the entire district that they were in. Phoenixes were mythical creatures that appeared only in the oldest legends, and were a symbol of faith for many. The Hall of Phoenix in the institute took its name after this king of all avian beasts, and Li Tianming had read legends describing its looks there, which was why he could confirm that it was a blazing phoenix.
With another breath, Ying Huo sucked the phoenix back into its stomach.
“Hmm, if wildbeasts could get abilities after reaching Spiritsource, then what I just used was that ability. It’s called the Infernal Blaze, and it’s a fire that will burn eternally and cannot be extinguished unless I retract it myself,” Ying Huo explained proudly.
“This must be different from the spiritsource abilities that lifebound beasts have. Those were refined from beast souls of wildbeasts and then channeled into their spiritsources, as lifebound beasts born with no abilities,” Li Tianming observed. “For your case, this is more of a bloodline ability that was gifted by your blood.”
Li Tianming had seen the power of the Infernal Blaze! As long as it came into contact with an enemy, there would be no way to get rid of it. They would need to test it out in battle to see how well it worked, but of course they had complete faith in the bloodline ability of a Primordial Chaos Beast.
“We still don’t know whether my infernalsource is capable of refining beast souls to form spiritsource abilities. We shall try one day, but then again there’s no way those would be stronger than my Infernal Blaze.” Ying Huo was proud of its newfound strength.
“I feel like you possess the traits of both wildbeasts and lifebound beasts. It’s likely that you had your own bloodline abilities like wildbeasts, but at the same time can refine beast souls like lifebound beasts too,” Li Tianming guessed.
Even if Ying Huo had turned from a Primordial Chaos Beast to a lifebound beast, it had not lost all of its power. In fact it may have opened up other possibilities for the little chick as well. While other beasts’ spiritsource could only contain a single spiritsource ability, his infernalsource already came with its own Infernal Blaze. Considering its size and capacity, they wouldn’t be surprised if it could refine beast souls to obtain spiritsource abilities as well.
The duo eventually ended their cultivation, and the heat building up in the courtyard slowly cooled. Li Tianming felt the beast ki running through his body, realising how much stronger he had gotten.
“I’m finally back at the level I was at three years ago, but I’m so much stronger now,” Li Tianming exclaimed. While he had five spiritsources three years ago, it simply wouldn’t compare with that one infernalsource in his dantian.
“It’s time to bring our mother to the institute,” the little chick declared. “Should I find out who tried to assassinate us and hurt our mother, I will make sure his soul burns in the depth of hell!”
Li Tianming was not in a rush though, since he was confident that they would find out the truth eventually. For now, the more important thing was to get into Heaven’s Sanctum.
The sun began to rise, marking a new day... and the beginning of the ranking test!