Published at 21st of November 2020 07:51:46 PM
"Perhaps Ying Huo and Meow Meow will be able to undo more of their bloodline bindings with these manna and reach the level of saint beasts. Let's see who's going to hunt who!"
It wasn’t the right time to evolve now. He proceeded through the fog as he cautiously eyed his surroundings. Ying Huo and Meow Meow both sat on his shoulders, on guard as well. Even though this was a place the founding ancestor had made, it was still the greatest challenge in the Prime Tower.
"Is this not the end yet?" Tianming recalled he had traveled through the mist for at least a quarter of an hour. The third floor of the tower shouldn't be that wide, yet he felt like he hadn't moved from where he was at all. An hour had already passed. If he hadn’t made any progress after six hours, he would be eliminated.
"Let's not rush. I have to be wary of Yuwen Zhenxing and the rest." They were definitely frantically looking for him. After he calmed down, he felt much better.
Another fifteen minutes passed and he finally found something on the ground ahead of him. Approaching it, he found that it was a white object of some twenty centimeters in height.
"Isn't this the Prime Tower?" Tianming was shocked to find a miniature tower in front of him. He slowly approached the odd object. There was definitely something about it being placed on the third floor of the tower.
"Ying Huo?" All of a sudden, he noticed that Ying Huo and Meow Meow were gone. They weren't in his lifebound space, either. In fact, their telepathic connection to him was cut off, as if they had completely vanished from the world. What was worse was the eight other primordial chaos beast eggs in his lifebound space were gone, too.
"Ling'er?" Unsurprisingly, she was unreachable either. It was the first time he had felt truly alone, but that was something that definitely couldn't happen. He looked at his surroundings and didn't see them anywhere.
"The oddity of the third floor finally showed up." What kind of trick could cut him off from the beasts and Feiling? The mysteries of heavenly patterns were truly endless. Tianming couldn't bother analyzing what was going on, for something even weirder was happening before him.
The miniature tower in front of him actually morphed into a person with black hair, wielding Onyx Dragon and looking at Tianming with a snide smile. Tianming was shocked to see what he looked like; he was completely identical to him, aside from having black hair. That person resembled what he looked like when Ying Huo hatched. Even the left arm and the eye on his left palm was exactly the same. Most shockingly, he wielded Onyx Dragon.
"Do you want to die by your own hands?" the black-haired Tianming asked as he approached, pointing Onyx Dragon at him.
It felt really weird, as if he were confronting a mirror image. The words of the figure even felt like they had come out of his own mouth, despite him never having actually spoken. In the next instant, the black-haired Tianming charged at him with a downward slash, using Onyx Viledragon sword ki containing the power of his two beast kis as well, infused into the Countercurrent technique.
It was the first time Tianming had been on the receiving end of his own attack. Having no other choice, he struggled to fight back.
"What are you?!" His foe attacked in the exact same way he would. Their similar Voidgod Sword Intent strikes clashed. The equal measure of force caused neither of them to be better off than the other.
"I am you. You're too weak, so I want to replace you." The alternate Tianming jumped up right after he bounced back from the first clash and executed the seven strikes of Demise of Man-Earth-Heaven in succession. His attacks were furious and overwhelming, like Tianming's own.
Tianming felt like he was being pushed into a corner.
So I guess I'll pass the test once I defeat you!
With that thought in mind, Tianming no longer cared who, or what, he was fighting. However, he would soon find out how tough it was to fight himself. The alternate Tianming knew him as well as he knew himself. All his techniques, including Starfall and Life-Death Whip Art's Soul Hook—even the Bewildering Eye—could be used by his counterpart with equal power. There were no secret moves. Tianming felt his mind was about to explode. The two were fighting a battle to the death.
"Have I ever been so strong?" It was the first time he found himself to be troublesome to deal with.
"You're not strong. I am," said the copy. His Archfiend almost pierced through Tianming.
In this battle alone, Tianming had skirted close to the line between life and death more than he ever had. Even when his sword struck his copy, he would also take a bloody wound. After fifteen minutes, both of them were bloodied and panting. However, the copy still smiled sinisterly.
"You're going to lose. Once you do, I’ll be the one to enjoy all the benefits you enjoy. Li Tianming, you don't deserve what you have. From now on, I'll be the one to own the ten Primordial Chaos Beasts, Jiang Feiling, and Lifesbane." While he seemed evil, he didn't fear death at all. In a way, he was even more fearsome than Tianming. Not to mention, Tianming had to consider how to deal with Yuwen Zhenxing and the others. Yet this battle alone could see him dead. The more he thought about it, the more chaotic his mind became.
"What have you done to deserve all this? Let me tell you this: without your luck, you're nothing but the lowest peasant. You have no right to change your destiny. Without Primordial Chaos Beasts, you're useless." The words didn't fail to weigh down on Tianming. He was constantly doubted for his abilities. Sometimes, even he wondered what he would amount to without Ying Huo and the rest.
"I, however, am different from you. I’m destined to be stronger than you. With me owning all that you have, I'll spread your name all throughout the Flameyellow Continent. You can't protect Ling'er, but I can. Come to think of it, if a three-year-old enjoyed the benefits you have, he might do much better than you," the copy said with a smirk.
His strikes using Onyx Dragon and Archfiend were growing ever more savage. He was an existence that didn't fear death, which allowed him to suppress Tianming. Each of his strikes put him at risk for getting hurt from retaliatory strikes, but Tianming didn't fare too well either. He even got stabbed through his abdomen, the pain of which sent cold sweat trickling down his face. All he saw now was death. Death was like a grey sky that descended on him the more blood he lost.
"What am I without the Primordial Chaos Beasts?" This sentiment kept ringing through his head. The trial on the third floor was formidable indeed. In an instant, he thought about lots of things, including his death, as well as the challenges his copy levied against him.
"That’s not an issue! It is a fact I have the Primordial Chaos Beasts! I only need to consider what I need to do to strive to be even better using what I have! How can I help the others around me? I don't know what others would amount to if they enjoyed what I have, but I can say for sure I'll do my best to stand tall and proud for my family and friends!"
The copy said that even a three-year-old would be better off than Tianming, but it was meaningless sophistry. He hadn't been perfect on his way here, but he slowly grew alongside Ying Huo and Meow Meow without doing anything wrong.
Even now, they were brothers to the death. Since he had no shame about his own behavior, there was no way he could be criticized! While others might not see what he had done, he knew he could stun the world. He contemplated his death and Lifesbane. Soon, he stood up from the pool of blood.
"You are no doubt me, but merely me from one point in time. I’ve long known that the only way to defeat myself is to grow stronger!" His eyes began burning with passion. How could he grow stronger without lifebound beasts and cultivation? There were only two choices: Life-Death Whip Art's Transcendence, or Voidgod Sword Intent's Cosmic Break. He put down Onyx Dragon and picked Archfiend up.
"I need to thank you for bringing me so close to death!" How could one transcend life and death without being on the knife’s edge?
"You talk too much. Trying to hide your incompetence?" The copy smirked and continued his assault. He used Onyx Dragon and Archfiend in tandem, but Tianming used only the Life-Death Whip Art to counter. His black-haired self was the ideal training partner.
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