Beastmaster of the Ages - Chapter 587
The area the Archaion Sect was located in was called the Taiji Peak Lake. The lake was round and split in two halves like a yin-yang symbol, but it could also be split into three circles: the outer circle, center circle and inner circle.
The outer circle was where the Human Branch was, and also the largest of all three circles, taking up sixty percent of its space. The center circle corresponded to the Earth Branch and took up thirty percent of the area, while the inner circle was the Heaven Branch and took up ten percent. But in terms of space in proportion to the number of people in each circle, the Heaven Branch only had five hundred disciples to split the area.
The Human Branch spanned mountains and seas, with disciples’ residences built on high altitudes and underwater too. Even so, most of them stayed in the mountains.
Oldwind Street was located in the mountains. Tianming had to pass through vast forests with towering trees, under which who knows how many corpses were buried, to return to his residence. The Human Branch was really lax on discipline, after all, and nobody really cared about what happened in the wilderness.
It didn’t help that young cultivators were all rather hot blooded and had short fuses. They were fierce and twitchy, easily getting into fights with one another. Most disciples aimed to leave the lawless Human Branch and join the Earth Branch. Only then would they be considered proper disciples of the sect. If they weren’t able to achieve that goal before reaching thirty, their only option was to join the Archaion Army to defend the realm. It was a path with severely limited opportunities for growth.
In other words, the sect was the breeding ground for the strong and powerful of the realm. Only those that showed promise would be allowed to remain in the sect. Even if they left as Human Branch disciples and had far higher status than normal folk, they would lose the chance to stand at the top of the continent.
The Nine Divine Realms weren’t peaceful by any metric. In the past two hundred thousand years, battles raged without cease as a result of the constant stream of ore veins, resources, and treasures to be fought over. That was also the main reason the sect had celebrated Feiling’s return as a god. The day she returned, the troops at Archaion’s border got ready to fight just in case. It was a time that would see the rise of heroes.
One day, a youth from the walled off lands came to the center stage of the Flameyellow Continent and obtained a samsara-ranked art, officially embarking on his path of cultivation as a disciple of the Archaion Sect. It remained to be seen to whose whims the continent’s prosperity shall be swayed.
Lately, the weather was rather cold. As the sect was located near the north of the Flameyellow Continent, half of each year saw near-constant snowfall. Parts of Taiji Peak Lake had frozen over, and it wouldn’t take long before frost would cover the whole place. Even the leaves were beginning to yellow and fall.
Tianming’s white hair contrasted against his black robes as he walked through the forest. Lin Xiaoxiao wore a black mantle and huddled within it as she walked behind him.
“Walk faster, slowpoke!” Tianming chided.
“Okay.” She grit her teeth and quickened her pace.
“Don’t you feel miserable wearing that long face all day long?”
“Not in particular.”
“Come closer.” Tianming couldn’t really be bothered about her right now as they walked even faster.
“Stop!” someone called out from behind.
“You asking me to stop?” Tianming turned back and saw eight young men and women coming his way. The leader was dressed in a tight yellow dress and leopard print coat. Depending on one’s tastes, it was either luxurious or gaudy.
“That’s right, I’m talking to you!” the girl said coldly.
“What’s wrong? Did you finish counting the three hundred million saint crystals? Seeing how quickly you chased me down, I’d think you were trying to confess your feelings for me,” Tianming said without holding back. They hadn’t come with any good intentions.
“Insolence! Do you know who you’re talking to now?!” said one of the few men who spread out and surrounded Tianming and Lin Xiaoxiao. Every one of them were empyrean saints.
Tianming now knew that they were able to become empyrean saints thanks to the Old Deepstar Path and being born from parents at the Samsara stage. It was far easier for them to reach this level compared to Li Wudi. It could all be attributed to their luck for being born in Archaion, not their talent, for the more talented ones had long joined the Heaven Branch.
Empyrean saints that could shake the whole Theocracy were just average goons here. Tianming looked at the girl in the middle. Her name was Xuanyuan Xixi and she belonged to the Archaic House of Xuanyuan, the first house of the sect.
Tianming recalled that he hadn’t done anything to offend her at all, but when he looked around, he understood what was happening. Standing behind the girl was a large and burly youth glaring at him sinisterly.
“So it’s you? I didn’t think you’d recover this quickly and come to cause trouble again.”
“You’re just a rookie and you dare talk back like that. Don’t you know where the Human Branch is? Are you retarded or something?” Fu Bo said.
“Stand back, Fu Bo. Why are you the one talking? You make us look like bullies,” Xuanyuan Xixi said, glaring at him, then turned to Tianming. “Lin Feng, we suspect that you have snuck into Steadfast Pavilion to steal a samsara-ranked art. If you know what’s good for yourself, hand it over. Don’t force us to take you down. You’ll save yourself a beating if you comply. However, if we do find the stolen goods on you, you’ll be sent to the Judgment Hall for another round of punishment.”
“Judgment Hall? You mean your parents, right? It’s a little harsh for you to beat me up here and take me back to your parents for another round, don’t you think?”
“Stop your baseless accusations. We have good reason to mete out judgment. The Judgment Hall is always fair,” Xuanyuan Xixi said solemnly.
“That’s right,” the others chimed in.
“Xiaoxiao, are there many shitstains like them in the Archaion Sect?” Tianming asked.
“Why wouldn’t there be? They have their families backing them. Only by getting rid of others can they stand a chance to make it to the higher branches.”
“Whew, that’s low of them.”
Xuanyuan Xixi laughed and said, “Stupid errand boy, you should know better now. If you’re afraid, you shouldn’t have joined the sect in the first place! This isn’t lowly, this is the right of the mighty!”
“It’s always better to maintain harmony with your peers. There’s no point in harming each other’s progress,” Tianming said.
“Alright, I’ll spare your life! That should be harmonious enough!” Fu Bo said.
“Enough talking! Get him! Anyone that dares touches me, Xuanyuan Xixi, is insulting me! You think this gal is someone you can make a fool off? It’s your fault for coming alone, errand boy!”
Tianming had just come from the Divine Capital and hated the Theocrats’ descendants with a passion. While he was harsh on his enemies and harsher on himself, he wouldn’t throw his weight around like a hoodlum. Yet the Archaion Sect seemed to be in a constant state of gang warfare. Tianming now knew that even though the world was unfair when it came to talent and might, at least it didn’t discriminate in terms of intelligence.
There were some that lived longer and gained shocking amounts of experience. However, twenty-year-olds were just that. No matter how powerful they were, they were still brats that acted without thinking about the consequences.
All seven of them, excluding Xuanyuan Xixi, summoned ten lifebound beasts, immediately surrounding him and Lin Xiaoxiao before attacking. There was no avoiding this fight.
“Go to the side and get out of my way,” Tianming said as he pushed Lin Xiaoxiao’s head and sent her flying.
“What are you doing?!” she snapped as she almost rammed into a tree, her hair all messed up. She knew that Tianming was afraid he would hurt her by accident, but there wasn’t a need for him to be that rough.
Immediately, Tianming summoned his own lifebound beasts. Lan Huang started off with Primordial Soundwave. The staggering volume of a seventh-level sky saint beast caused its foes’ ears to ring. Then came Azure Oceanic Purgatory, which instantly turned the mountains into an ocean. While some of his opponents had aquatic lifebound beasts, Tianming still managed to cordon off some of them.
Fu Bo didn’t know that Tianming had made a breakthrough since their last encounter. As far as he was concerned, there was no way a sky saint could defeat a group of empyrean saints. Just as he finished that thought, a flash of starlight came so quickly that he wasn’t able to dodge it, causing him to suffer a lash on his lower thigh.
“Aaaaaagh!” He cried in pain as he grabbed the part that was struck. “An empyrean saint?!”
After Tianming had broken through to the seventh level of Sky Saint, his three saint springs contained enough saint ki to rival a first or second-level empyrean saint, and that was before he used the Grand-Orient Sword. He decided to not rely on the divine artifact. Even though Feiling had told him it probably didn’t matter, he wanted to save the trouble.
Instead, he was using the Nine Yang Sword he had taken from Lin Xiaoxiao and hadn’t returned. He had saved her, after all, and he was no charity. With the sword in hand, he struck with terrifying speed alongside Ying Huo and Meow Meow.
Meow Meow’s ability caused lightning to explode and swallow up the whole area. Amidst the ocean, Lan Huang fought five enemies by itself without relenting one bit, thanks to its huge figure, and it was just a sky saint lifebound beast.
Even without Feiling’s aid, Tianming had grown much stronger after breaking through twice. Not to mention, he still had a soul servant to speak of. Lately, he was able to feel its presence and could communicate with it somewhat. He felt that it had some unique abilities, the first of which was the manipulation of his foes’ weapons. As it was still weak, Tianming let the soul servant do as it pleased while he slaughtered away with Ying Huo.
“Taste my Sword of Endless Grief!” Ying Huo cried as it mercilessly fought.