“What is this little chicken even talking about? Whatever. Li Tianming, I have one more thing for you.” Jiang Qingluan stared at him.
“In a few days’ time, I will have to leave the institute for a period of time. You better protect Ling’er properly, but don’t you dare bully her. If I return and find out that you’ve done bad things to her, you’ll become eunuch Li.” Jiang Qingluan was fiercer than ever.
“You’re leaving?” Li Tianming’s eyes lit up. Does that mean… unlimited dating with no one to interrupt the two of us?
“This is a stern warning. Do you understand, eunuch Li?”
“Aye aye, don’t you worry. I’m the most pure and innocent person I myself have ever known.” Li Tianming grinned, and Jiang Feiling, who was watching them talk, giggled.
“Qing’er, let’s go, the Vice-Potentate is still waiting for him,” said Jiang Feiling.
“For the sake of your lower half, you better watch out!” Jiang Qingluan left with one last warning. It was only after the two vanished did Li Tianming belatedly realise that he hadn’t questioned her about why she was leaving and where she was going to. Oops.
Once they were gone, Li Tianming hurried back to Mu Yang’s side.
“You had a bit of a conflict with Lingxuan?” Mu Yang asked.
“Just some small issues,” Li Tianming replied.
“Alright. Just do what you deem fit,” Mu Yang replied.
Li Tianming had half-expected Mu Yang to tell him off for getting into trouble, but to implicitly encourage it? Now that was another story. “Vice-Potentate, what do you mean?”
“Simple, really. If you want to earn a place in Wei Manor for you and your mother, you have to earn it through your own performance. If you manage to leave the Wei Manor disciples in the dust, I’ll be able to talk more about you in front of my master,” Mu Yang explained.
“What’s there to talk about with my pathetic level?” Li Tianming rolled his eyes; those in the Wei Clan were a haughty bunch.
Mu Yang smiled. “Levels are nothing. Your talent — your perfect synchronization — is something I can talk to him about. I won’t be asking about your mother, and instead, I'll bring up topics like your Saintbeast War-Soul and your synchronization with the Flameyellow Rock.”
“I see. Guess it’s better to have something to talk about. If I, who was born and raised outside, can exceed the descendants that he raised himself, surely that would make him appreciate me more,” Li Tianming said. His strength would show just how effective Wei Jing’s teachings were.
“Glad you understand that. Let me explain one thing my master has always worried about.” Ever since Mu Yang met Wei Jing, he had always been on their side.
“Wei Manor is the core of Heaven’s Sanctum, and for countless generations, most Potentates were members of the Wei Clan. For my generation, I managed to surpass Wei Tianxiong, allowing me to become the new Potentate. Normally speaking, I would focus on nurturing my master’s grandkids, so that the Wei Manor would regain control of the sanctum. This is my way of showing my gratitude to my master. The sanctum had been running this way since its very beginning, which is also why the Wei Clan had always been in control of the sanctum,” Mu Yang explained, letting a sigh a moment later. “However, I have never accepted Wei Guohao, nor any other member of the Wei Clan, as my apprentice. Though you may consider them to be the best in the sanctum, they are not good enough for me.”
“So is the Vice-Potentate saying that their talents are lacking?” Li Tianming clicked his tongue.
“Not exactly lacking, but as members of the Wei Manor, they really should at least be able to put up a good fight against Lin Xiaoting. So it’s not because I don’t want to accept Wei Guohao, but because my master doesn’t approve of him and doesn't allow me to take him in,” Mu Yang said.
Li Tianming got the picture now. Wei Guohao was definitely not an average disciple, but if he were to be the future Potentate candidate, he had to be the champion of the sanctum. Only then could he resume the tradition and let the Wei Manor control the sanctum once again. In other words, Wei Tiancang was unsatisfied with his grandkids.
“And this discontent he has with his grandchildren is the second sore point of his. You should very well know what the first one is.” Mu Yang sighed again. He knew Wei Tiancang far too well. For a legendary figure like himself, his descendents had sure failed to live up to his expectations.
“I get what the Vice-Potentate means now. By encouraging me to challenge Wei Lingxuan and even Wei Guohao, you are trying to show him that he has a capable grandkid. And if I manage to be the solution to his second sore point, then chances are that he might just fix the first one himself. If he treasures his face so much, then all I have to do is make him proud of me.” Li Tianming had found a hope for saving his mother, thanks to Mu Yang’s advice.
“Not bad, if you understood my message. I figured this is the only opportunity you had after talking to my master these few days. Once rumours that you’re from Wei Manor spread, and when people know that your mother is Wei Jing, would he still possibly let her die alone in the Rainforest Pavilion?” Excitement crept into Mu Yang's voice; he too did not want Wei Jing to die.
“I understand now.” Li Tianming was now clear on what he needed to do. Both his goals of taking revenge on Lin Xiaoting and saving his mother shared the same process: cultivate! Become stronger!
“I didn’t put much hope on you to begin with, because I thought you weren’t worthy. But with your synchronization level, and how you got the Saintbeast War-Soul, I’m having second thoughts about this. Things might look tough for you right now, but I have faith in you,” Mu Yang said, patting his back. Li Tianming never thought that he would meet a senior that trusted him so much.
“Li Tianming, even though I pointed out the way for you, there is one thing you need to be clear on.”
“I’m listening, Vice-Potentate. ”
“Even if my master doesn’t approve of Wei Guohao’s generation, it doesn’t mean they are bad. For the you right now, they are impossible targets. Remember, your perfect synchronization is impressive, but their fourth level ones aren’t much worse than yours. You have about a year's time to achieve that, as I can keep your mother alive for only that long. If, within this year, you cannot overcome them, then there’s nothing I can do too,” Mu Yang said. “The old man is more stubborn than you can possibly imagine.”
“I understand.” Li Tianming couldn't wait to get started, as he finally had a specific direction to work on.
“Oh. In the days to come, Wei Guohao would leave for the Abyssal Battlefield. You better pray that he doesn’t find any fortuitous encounters there, or you’ll never be able to match him again.”
“Will Princess Qing be heading to the Abyssal Battlefield too?”
“Yeap, they are the same batch.”
Just as Li Tianming wanted to ask him their purpose for going to the Abyssal Battlefield, Mu Yang changed the topic. “You made a breakthrough beside the Flameyellow Rock, no? I’m willing to help such talent shine with all my might. Just tell me if you need anything, be it battle arts or other resources.”
Mu Yang also had a vested interest in keeping Wei Jing alive, which was why he wouldn’t be stingy when it came to helping Li Tianming, even though he wasn’t Li Tianming’s mentor.
“If you face any other difficulties in cultivating, feel free to find me at the Mu Manor. Your Chief Mentor Mu Wan misses you too.”
“Thank you, Vice-Potentate. In fact, I’m looking for some advanced source-ranked battle arts.” Li Tianming seized the opportunity when he saw it. He was rather familiar with the Nine Flying Bolts and the Skyfire Soulbinder, all intermediate source-ranked arts. But in order to face opponents like Wei Guohao and Mu Qingqing who were above eighth level Spiritsource, he needed stronger skills.
“Very well then, I will bring you to the Hall of Combat and you can pick for yourself.”
The Hall of Combat was where the sanctum stored its battle arts. Ever since he entered the institute, Li Tianming had heard stories of how the Hall of Combat was home to some of the most unique and powerful arts of all levels.
The Hall of Combat was under one of the four guardians, the Guardian of Combat, Zhao Yuanji. He was the youngest guardian, someone in the same generation as Mu Yang.
The hall itself was hidden in a secluded forest down the western side of the sanctum. Generally, supernal mentors themselves would bring their disciples here to choose a battle art. This time, however, it was Mu Yang who brought Li Tianming there.
A hulking middle-aged man in black robes walked out of the hall as they arrived. There was a deep scar on his face, the kind that would scare the living daylights out of any disciple who dared to lay eyes on him. This man was none other than the Guardian of Combat, Zhao Yuanji.
“Elder apprentice-brother.” He called out to Mu Yang.
As it turned out, this Guardian of Combat was Wei Tiancang’s disciple too.