Darkness was slowly descending on the City of Qing. The Sun turned a darker shade of blood red. Down below, rivers of blood flooded the streets.
Up in the air, a magnificent pair of giant wings looked evermore pale against the darkness of the clouds. Loose feathers fell onto the crowd, to whom Ling Xian appeared an Immortal.
All eyes were fixated on him. Besides adoration, envy, and fear, the one mutual feeling shared by every spectator in the crowd that day was respect.
Respect reserved for the Immortals.
After a long moment of pause, cheers suddenly erupted from all corners of the City.
"God bless, I can't believe what I just witnessed! A mighty foundational cultivator slaughtered by a 15-year-old!"
"Unbelievable, Ling Xian is truly unbelievable! He is undefeatable!"
"Just imagine what the future has in store for him!"
Countless cultivators joined in unison to recognize the talent and potential of this youth.
Surviving members of the Fang and Qi Clans were becoming increasingly agitated and fearful for their future. The leader of the Fangs was now dead. The Qis were next.
Of course, the Qis were next. One could only guess what fate awaited the Qi Clan's Leader.
Some of the younger and feebler members of the two defeated Clans began crying out loud over what punishments awaited them, while others cunningly took this moment of confusion to escape quietly into darkness.
The Lings, on the contrary, had never been more jubilant. They also felt enormous respect for him, but no more than gratitude for saving them, their Clan, and their legacy.
In their hearts and minds, the image of Ling Yuan as the guardian of the Ling Clan had been replaced by an erect, youthful figure in a black cloak.
Ling Xian had become the undisputed guardian of the Ling Clan the moment he descended from the Heavens and turned the battle around.
The world was witness to Ling Xian's skills and bravery. Not yet a cultivator of the foundational level, he emerged from a battle with a much stronger enemy completely unscathed. He had solidified his image as the best of his generation and the future of the Taoism Community.
In this crowd of spectators, there had been many young female cultivators who had by now become hopelessly infatuated with Ling Xian.
His inconceivable victory over a much stronger opponent pricked at the heartstrings of every young admirer.
Seeing the flushing cheeks of so many young girls in the crowd, Ling Fei pursed her lips in displeasure. She muttered bitterly, "What a bunch of obsessed maniacs, Ling Xian is mine. He'll never pay attention to such plainness."
"What a smart girl, seems like you know he'll never pay attention to you," Ling Tian Xiang mocked her. Seeing that Ling Xian had earned his victory and was now safe from stronger enemies, the giant rock in her heart finally settled.
"Humph... even if he doesn't pay me any attention, don't think that you and him will ever become anything," Ling Fei responded.
Ling Tian Xiang opened her lips to reply but was stopped by Ling Tian Qing, who shouted at the both of them, "Stop it! Both of you! The battle is not over. That Qi fellow is still alive, many things could still go wrong!"
"You can rest assure, brother. Ling Xian had no problem defeating Fang Ming Yuan. This one is even less of a threat. We are all here to support him." Ling Tian Jiao reassured his elder brother confidently. Having just witnessed Ling Xian's stunning performance, he knew this little City was no longer big enough to hold his ambitions. He was destined for much greater things, and both Ling Tian Xiang and Ling Fei will soon watch him leave, never to return.
Just as he predicted, shortly after killing Fang Ming Yuan, Ling Xian joined the battle between Ling Yuan and the former Qi Clan Leader.
The two former Leaders were more or less evenly matched in skills and prowess. But when Ling Xian joining the battle, Clan Leader Qi had suddenly become a tiny leaf abandoned in a vast ocean, helpless and waiting for the last wave that would bury it forever.
After roughly two dozen rounds, the Qi Elder watched in vain as Ling Xian's sword struck him for the last time. Decapitation failed to wipe away his dying expression of anger and regret.
With the death of two former Clan Leaders, this epic battle had finally come to an end.
The surviving members of the two defeated Clan, under the rallying of their Clan Prefects, had no other choice but to fight until their certain deaths.
However, this was no longer a battle. This had become a one-sided massacre.
Spells flew across the City streets and the skies above indiscriminately. The Lings had no trouble finishing every last one of their desperately disorganized opponents.
Like a defenseless, confused three-year-old, the rest of the invading army fell into a state of total confusion and disarray. Their doom was near.
Ling Tian Qing challenged the two current Clan Leaders of the enemies' Clans all by his lonesome. Backed by skyrocketed confidence, he effortlessly chopped off their head one after the other.
The rest of the Ling fighters fought more bravely than ever before. Knowing their hero was fighting alongside them, they needed no help in defeating their own opponents.
Ling Xian did not interfere but chose to let the battles rage on around him. His killer instinct dissipated along with the lives of the dead Leaders. He was not interested in the lowly fighters of the enemy Clans.
"Can't compete with youth!" Ling Yuan sighed heavily. Despite feeling somewhat inadequate in front of Ling Xian, more so than not, he felt pride in Ling Xian's accomplishments and excitement for his future.
"You flatter me, Elder. I have simply had more luck than others," Ling Xian replied humbly.
"Ha ha, don't be too humble, that'll sound disingenuous. The world has now witnessed the true extent of your powers. First, you killed Fang Ming Yuen, then Qi Xiu Yuan, that has already surpassed my capabilities." Ling Yuan laughed as he continued praising him.
Ling Xian flapped his wings gently and said, "Lucky, they were too weak."
"Ha ha, if they heard you now, perhaps they'd come back to life just to die of anger." Ling Yuan continued, "A year ago, your performance at the skills contest made me remember your name. But I couldn't imagine how far you'd grow in merely a year. Even I can no longer defeat you."
"Too many things have happened in this time." Ling Xian reminisced over the last century of his life and couldn't fathom if that was indeed real.
Then he shook his head and decided to get it out of his head. Perhaps it had all been a dream. However, that's not important. His growth and skills now were what mattered.
If the Fantasy had been a dream, then a dream it shall remain. If it had been real, then he was a survivor.
Sensing that Ling Xian was no longer interested in this conversation, Ling Yuan smiled. He did not pursue. Perhaps a year ago he would have reacted with anger. But now, he was beginning to see Ling Xian as his equal.
Down in the streets, the battle had finally ended. The Lings celebrated in jubilation as their enemies laid dead or escaped in shame.
This unexpected result stunned the spectators.
The Master of the City, Ye Xiao Tian, watched Ling Xian closely. He couldn't help but admit that Ling Xian had become the true hero of the City and master to the hearts of every resident of the City of Qing.
"He hasn't even broken through to the foundational level. When he does, perhaps no one within the walls of this city will be able to challenge him. He will become undefeatable," Ye You Lang exclaimed with a mix of emotions.
She had been considered one of the most gifted cultivators in the City of Qing, one of the best of her generation. But with the rise of Ling Xian, her position will be at risk.
Ling Xian was only 15 years old, three years younger than Ye You Lang and had already conquered the eighth realm. Not to mention a dual she couldn't even handle a single blow of.
"You Lang, look on the bright side. You can't compare yourself against a freak like that." Ye Xiao Tian patted her head. "My power is equivalent to that of Fang Ming Yuan. I am no match for Ling Xian either. He is destined to become the best in the City."
Ye You Lang was stunned to hear those words from her father, usually an egotistical man who would rather die than admit defeat. This was a true testament to the future he saw in Ling Xian.
The best in the City of Qing?
A 15-year-old youth?
Ye You Lang observed the youth silently, examining him from head to toe. The sword in hand, the wings on his back, how was this possible?
Inside the Treasury, Gong Suo Xin let out a long, hapless sigh. A curious look flashed across her face. Throughout her lifetime, she had seen the emergence of countless youth with incredible talent, but not one of them had left a mark in her memory.
However, Ling Xian was on a completely level. Her talents were nothing compared to his.
Recounting details of their last battle, she was forced to admit she was no match for him.
"Perhaps no one could have predicted this outcome, especially not the Fangs and the Qis. They came looking to exterminate the Ling Clan but got themselves wiped out instead. From now on, there will no longer be three noble Clan in the City of Qing, but only one. It's time I prepare some gifts and pay them a visit."
Just as Gong Suo Xin said, from this day on, the Fang and Qi Clans will be yanked out of the ground by their roots, and the Ling Clan will rule the City of Qing."
Ling Xian will also become a household name that will spread across the neighboring cities like wildfire. The rise of this star will be swift and unstoppable. His story will become a legend and echo through the ages.