Chapter 921 - Clash of the Titans
Tianming had made quite quick work of Fang Taiqing. Their encounter was an unavoidable one, and only one man was left standing. The twenty-four days of hard training with the guidance from the caeli of Great Emperor Xuanyuan and the specters allowed him to reach the eighth-level death phase. Now he was just a step shy of rising to the next life phase, mostly thanks to the new insights he had gained from the ascendant caeli.
Killing Fang Taiqing meant that he was now among the strongest fighters on the continent as a whole; at the very least, he was the strongest on Archaion's side. If it weren’t for the specters, the battle today would have focused entirely on Dugu Jin and Tianming alone. Even so, he wasn't the slightest bit proud of it.
"All of us are still in deep trouble." He flew over the crowd together with Ying Huo, past the many who had fallen in battle. Their bodies slowly sank into Xuanyuan Lake. It was a battle of epic proportions and much death. Fortunately, Tianming's treasures had been incredibly useful.
In the days leading up to the battle, many among the six hundred thousand had managed to break through. Coupled with the support provided by the tribulation pattern tomes and Xuanyuan Lake's defenses, they were pretty well off. The only hitch in the plans was Dugu Jin.
Tianming already saw him on the battlefield. He, the strongest fighter of the Flameyellow Imperial Sect, was unstoppable with his sword baton, Godbane, and his two blood dragons. Li Yuntian and the other sect masters were three levels lower than him and unable to hold him back at all. It looked as if Dugu Jin alone would be able to kill countless tribulation elders and tear the sect's defenses apart.
The sect masters focused the attacks from their tribulation pattern tomes entirely on Dugu Jin. Tianming had heard the activation of the tomes when he was still fighting Fang Taiqing. When he charged toward that location, he saw streaks of fire, lightning, and ice flashing through the air. The power of the tribulation pattern tomes restricted the blood dragons of Dugu Jin quite handily, slowing Dugu Jin down.
"For now, the damage he's causing is still under control! However, the three tomes are almost expended. No matter whether or not I'm his match, I have to stop him! That way, neither Dugu Jin nor Di Zang will be able to do much, allowing our six hundred thousand troops to push their eight hundred thousand away!"
Even though the final results would be rather staggering, they had no choice. They were defending their final stronghold and no longer had anywhere to retreat back to.
"As long as we persist, there’s hope! We must do it at all costs!"
Before he left, Tianming locked onto Dugu Jin and flew toward him. Meow Meow and Lan Huang were still going all out against the two remaining phoenixes who, upon seeing Fang Taiqing's death, were still putting up a final resistance to defend the Fang house. Though, given the current situation, they decided to retreat instead, so Meow Meow and Lan Huang didn't give chase. Instead, they returned to Tianming's side.
When Dugu Jin heard of Fang Taiqing's death, his expression immediately shifted. "What in the world?!"
He had just endured the powerful blasts of the tomes with his dragons and seemed rather haggard at the moment. "Fang Taiqing was killed by Li Tianming? But he was a twelfth-level life samsaran!"
It was utterly unbelievable. Half of his plans had been ruined from the outset! "As long as Li Tianming is alive, I won't be able to put any plans into action!"
He had planned to fight his way into Soulburn Hall to kill what he considered to be his most pressing threat, Xuanyuan Xi, only to discover that he should've been focusing on Tianming all along.
Enraged, the two of them locked gazes. "You have to die!" they simultaneously shouted.
Dugu Jin broke his way out of the tribulation elders’ encirclement as his dragons pushed the others away from him.
"Feeling a little impatient, are we? And to think you claimed you could ascend to godhood. Laughable," Tianming mocked as he made his approach.
Dugu Jin had lain low for most of his life, then relied on the Blooddragon Sealing Formation to rise to sudden prominence. Later, he had managed to single-handedly win the trust of the ghoul kings and even killed some specters himself, which allowed him to form the Flameyellow Imperial Sect that had even eclipsed Nonahall at its strongest. He was a capable fellow by any measure. However, even he felt a little mentally destabilized after witnessing Tianming's miraculous feats one after another.
With Xue Yi, Fang Taiqing, and many other experts dying by Tianming's hands, it only showed how much of a nightmarish threat he truly was. Growing increasingly anxious about Tianming, he rushed him with his dragons.
Their clash drew the attention of the entire battlefield once more. This was a clash of two titanic figures that would shake the entire continent. Who would be the last man standing? The oppressively powerful Dugu Jin or Tianming, someone who had become one of the strongest people alive before the age of thirty?
Right after their clash began, many people began losing the desire to fight altogether. The Flameyellow Imperial Sect was formed from four or five disparate sects to begin with, united solely by their leader, Dugu Jin. If something happened to him, the sect would no doubt fracture and dissolve.
While the members might have served Dugu Jin with all they had before witnessing Tianming's exploits, the fact that Dugu Jin didn't have a powerful, historic background was undeniable. As such, after Fang Taiqing's death, the sect's army no longer fought as hard and dragged the battle out, focusing on mainly defense instead.
Dugu Jin didn't fail to pick up on the changes. With his insight and wisdom, he knew that his dreams of solidifying his hold on the sect would amount to nothing if he didn't kill Tianming and exterminate Xuanyuan Xi. Today was the day he would prove himself to all of them for good. His surprise attack on Po Suo would only carry him so far.
"Li Tianming, your life shall be a tribute to my Flameyellow Imperial Sect. I’ll use your blood to unite our sect and nurture its growth!"
"I know the idiots behind you might buy all your bullshit, but it won’t work on me. Save it for the masses," Tianming said with a smirk. He could tell that Dugu Jin was trying to kill him, but he wouldn't give in so easily. Even if he couldn't defeat Dugu Jin, he was more than capable of holding him back. Using the Celestial Wings alone, he could even avoid combat altogether.
He immediately began flying around, messing with the new sect master. "Dugu Jin, your Blooddragon Clan betrayed Great Emperor Xuanyuan and humanity as a whole in an attempt to become specters themselves. They almost cost humanity our victory! Our founding ancestor exterminated your clan because of the combined rage of all humanity. How dare you smear him by calling him a tyrant?! Without the founding ancestor, humanity would've never achieved prosperity! Aren't you embarrassed for being nothing but a pathetic parasite?" he yelled as he fought.
"You don't have any proof of your claims," Dugu Jin coldly replied.
"Oh, but you do for your smear campaign on Great Emperor Xuanyuan? Talk about double standards." Tianming's argument shut Dugu Jin up entirely. He was challenging Dugu Jin's legitimacy in his newly formed sect step by step. "Your patchwork sect will fall after you die! After that, I will reign supreme! If someone like me, who’s only in my twenties can kill Fang Taiqing, it's obvious which of us is stronger! I know you have a lot of people on your side now, but time will prove that they have chosen the wrong side!"
Tianming laughed heartily, robbing some of the courage from those from Nonahall, Heptastar, and the defeated Sterling House of Fang.