“Let’s finish this!” Li Yiming’s golden sword grew larger and larger as he mustered his power.
At this point, a retreat was no longer an option for Yun Yiyuan. He launched his strongest attack, and a giant spear then came falling from the skies and slicing through the clouds as it made its way toward Li Yiming
“Die!” Li Yiming picked up his sword and swung at the sky above him. As his sword was soon about to collide with the oncoming spear, a golden shadow resembling an extremely thin staff appeared behind him.
The collision of the two weapons unleashed a destructive blast onto the surroundings.
“That staff…” Stargaze could not believe what she was seeing.
The staff did not escape Li Huaibei’s eyes either, although he had only taken a look at it for a split second before closing his eyes, trying to wrap his head around the situation.
Following the shockwave produced by the sword and the spear colliding, space itself was being ruptured, resulting in a continuous stream of explosions. Big Beard instantly erected a barrier around him and his teammates.
“You cannot defy the Heavens…” Yun Yiyuan suddenly released his spear, and his weapon dissolved in an explosion of light. The vanishment of his silhouette followed, and the giant spear in the clouds suddenly began to dazzle and increase in size.
Li Yiming let out a battle roar, and the color of his eyes turned red with tints of gold. The giant golden sword disintegrated, revealing a much smaller, silver sword, which was decorated with golden runic glyphs.
A second deafening explosion was heard, nearly blowing Big Beard’s mecha away. A gigantic crack could now be seen in the middle of the sky, revealing a menacing, all-consuming tenebrous space on the other side.
“Break!” Li Yiming roared and a golden pillar lit up the sky. The runic glyphs which had been inscribed on his sword jumped out of the blade and began swirling in the air.
“That’s impossible… You’re only level six… What is this sword?” As the giant spear shadow in the sky was sliced into two, Yun Yiyuan cried in disbelief.
Li Yiming pushed on with his attack and completely shattered Yun Yiyuan’s apparition in the sky.
“Li Yiming…” After one last venomous glance at Li Yiming, Yun Yiyuan thrust his palm to his own chest where his heart was and suddenly vanished.
“You’re not getting away!” Li Yiming yelled and swiftly directed his sword toward where Yun Yiyuan was, but to no avail
‘We didn’t get him…’ Bai Ze sighed.
“Yun Yiyuan lost…” Qing Linglong could not believe Li Yiming had won. Li Yiming’s attack continued through, making its way through the clouds effortlessly until it seemingly reached the Heavens with a golden flash.
“One less sage…” Stargaze smiled bitterly. It was a strange feeling to see those who rose to fame at the same time as herself become stripped of their power in an instant. As a sage herself, she knew very well the price Yun Yiyuan paid to escape — the sacrifice of his own Heavenly Vein. Such was the ultimate fate of the man who once stood at the top of the world.
“You’re not leaving?” Stargaze crossed her arms and her body became enveloped by starlight. As Heaven’s punishment neared, she had no choice but to escape the domain.
“You know what, I don’t want to leave anymore.” Li Huaibei opened his eyes and stared at Li Yiming. The shadow of a miniature sword appeared within his irises.
“It’s already a miracle that he’s able to defeat Yun Yiyuan. What more do you expect out of him?” Stargaze stopped gathering energy.
“I want to see him defy the Heavens…” Li Huaibei stood up slowly and shook the dust off of his clothes.
“You really believe that he’ll find a way to save everyone?”
“I just don’t feel like leaving anymore…” Li Huaibei smiled and started walking toward Li Yiming.
Although Li Yiming had won against Yun Yiyuan once before, Li Yiming’s friends did not witness the battle. Seeing Li Yiming defeat a sage in a one-on-one duel was nothing short of a striking spectacle, but it was still too early for them to celebrate.
His teammates all kept their attention on Li Yiming while trying to avoid thinking about Sai Gao, who was still under Liu Meng’s care.
Sai Gao looked at the giant sword apparition in the sky and seemed to have recovered enough to stand up without Liu Meng’s help.
“Are you okay?’ Li Yiming landed slowly, his sword turning into a small silver metallic sphere above his head.
Li Yiming’s friends stayed silent. However, Qing Linglong, after a quick glance at Sai Gao, suddenly dashed toward him and struck his chest.
“Linglong!” Eyeglasses’ reactions were too slow to stop her, and Qing Linglong’s blow sent Sai Gao flying back.
“Sis?” Qing Qiaoqiao interposed herself between her sister and Sai Gao, and Liu Meng’s fists lit up with fire.
“Thank you…” Qing Linglong’s action caught Li Yiming off-guard at first, but he quickly caught onto the situation.
‘Thank you?’ Qing Qiaoqiao thought bemusedly. ‘Does he also want Sai Gao to…’
Liu Meng was also just as confused at Li Yiming’s change of heart. Eyeglasses quickly pulled Qing Linglong back with shaking hands, while Big Beard silently stayed in his mecha.
“Why?” Li Yiming asked as he walked toward Sai Gao.
“You’ve done enough for me. I’m a camouflager…”
“You’re my friend.”
“But if I don’t die, you all will!” Sai Gao shouted.
“Is that why you tried to end your life just now?” Li Yiming’s question finally made everyone understood what was going on.
“I wanted to die by my own accord, but now…” Sai Gao put his hand to his chest, realizing that what little energy he had gathered to end his own life had been obliterated by Qing Linglong.
“I don’t know about you, but I haven’t been a guardian for very long…” Li Yiming said.
‘You haven’t been a guardian for very long? You’re a sage!’
None of Li Yiming’s teammates expected the first statement.
“What do you think Heaven’s Laws are?” Li Yiming continued his monologue.
“I think that there exists a will for every object and every living being in this world. Those wills accumulate to create domains, but what are they at their core?” Li Yiming continued.
Li Yiming’s question went unanswered. Although everyone around him had thought about the question, it was one which largely exceeded their own concerns and responsibilities.
“The purpose of guardians is to destroy these wills. We call it being guided by Heaven’s Laws, but the first will I’ve encountered was love, the second one was protection, the third one was survival, and the last was goodwill…”
“Are we truly supposed to be destroying them? Do we really not have a choice?”
“You’ve given me your trust once in Tianshan, and that’s why you’re here. There’s no stopping Heaven’s Punishment. We’ll be safe if we kill Sai Gao, but then, what’s the point of it all?” Li Yiming asked.
“My thoughts are simple. If I see a street full of litter, I’m not going to start yelling slogans and force everyone to clean the streets, but I am going to pick up whatever garbage I see around me. I’m not going to try to change Heaven’s Laws, but neither am I going to let it change me. I’m sorry for dragging you into all of this. Our opponent this time isn’t going to be the world’s strongest person, but rather the Heavens themselves. I have no idea if we can survive what’s about to come, but I can guarantee you that I’ll be the first one to die.” Li Yiming concluded.
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