Yanwu Dao and Tianming standing face to face seemed to create an odd sense of contrast. Some people seemed to see Tianming as Yanwu Dao, but with a face. The only parts of them that were different were their hairstyles. Yanwu Dao's hair was spiky and black, while Tianming's was straight and white.
Yanwu Dao clearly saw Tianming's party name. To him, it was a provocation that couldn't be forgiven. Shenwu Fen and Long were already filled with anger, but Yanwu Dao kept his calm. He spoke with a deep voice, each word feeling like a mountain that pressed down on others, hammering his message into their hearts. "Li Tianming, can you stop messing around? Let's just fight one-on-one and consider this matter over. Our time is precious. Attention whoring in front of the universal audience like you is an evil vice, you know."
Tianming knew that fighting one-on-one was the better way of settling things with the mysterians. "That was what I planned to do, but you guys allowed bad-faith crooks like Crimsonjade Cang into the mix, so I don't see any hope for progressing. Since mysterians can simply stop people from going to the sixth level, I choose to not waste my time on him. I think my chances here are better. Over there, you only need one shameless person to stop me. But here, you'll need five shameless people in a party. It’ll be a show to behold for sure," Tianming said, echoing the feelings of all non-mysterians. Tianming leveraged the conflict between mysterians and non-mysterians to his advantage and the drama only drew more attention.
The oppression of mysterians against others wasn't something that was often discussed. Yet there was nothing anybody could do about grifters like Crimsonjade Cang. But Tianming knew that even the mysterians themselves had qualms about using that tactic, while some merely thought that the powerful had the right to do whatever they wanted. Tianming intended to use it to mock the mysterians. It was a deep thorn embedded in their bodies, frustrating them to no end. No doubt, Yanwu Dao and Shenwu Fen didn't like such underhanded tactics either.
Yanwu Dao's forehead seemed to wrinkle when he heard those words. He turned to Crimsonjade Cang and said to Tianming, "Are you certain that you'll only fight in the group battles?" He didn't dare to comment on the mysterians that stopped non-mysterians from progressing.
"That's right. Let’s fight and settle this once and for all. If you guys didn't go around sweeping the battlefield during the Astralium Seeking, I would’ve been the undisputed winner," Tianming said.
"Fine. We’ll do as you wish. I’ll pick two more opponents that you've fought before." Yanwu Dao turned back to the crowd and called out, "Yanwu Ming, Ying, come here."
The two of them should have been part of the top ten during the Astralium Seeking. In the year since their elimination in the fourth level, they had finally made it up to the fifth level. Whitejade Ying looked as shiny as before, and seemed completely tranquil in contrast to Long. Coupled with Yanwu Ming, they formed a group of five with Yanwu Dao and the rest.
Yanwu Dao said, "Fen and Long lost to you, and these two alone teamed up against you and failed. I’ll fight with them, and it wouldn't be an unfair fight. Let's start. Continuing this farce is pointless." It was clear that Weisheng Xi and the mysterious girl weren’t there. Not to mention, Yanwu Dao didn't need them to suppress Tianming, either. Perhaps, to him, this issue only ever concerned Tianming and the mysterians.
"If they're all inferior to me, there's no point. I said that I only want to fight the Celestial Beings," Tianming said. He emphasized his challenge once more.
"The Celestial Beings? We disbanded before joining the Astralium Seeking. It was only a temporary party, so we simply picked an epic-sounding name. It never really mattered in the first place. If you want the Celestial Beings, we'll name ourselves the Celestial Beings. After all, this is a true party representing mysterians. The other two were honored guests from afar. There's no need to trouble them over affairs in the Mysterium Cluster."
"No can do. During the Astralium Seeking, Weisheng Xi was the one who eliminated me. I told him to wait for me on the fifth level. What's wrong? Did he chicken out?"
There was no meaning in defeating the current 'Celestial Beings'. What was that half year of preparation for? Yanwu Dao alone wouldn't be able to move the hearts of the Violetglorians. Only when Tianming was recognized as the top genius of the known universe could he give rise to another wave of fervent believers. That was his ambition.
"Didn't I say he’d keep up the act? My guess was right! The other two will never come and he can keep pretending to be badass," Crimsonjade Cang said.
"Shameless!" cursed many faceless specters that made up most of the griefers on the fifth level. Tianming's every word was directed at them.
Yanwu Dao turned cold at Tianming's insistence. "Stop messing around. You’re someone who’ll eventually have to come to the Mysterium Cluster. Why insist on getting on our bad side? I told you that they were guests."
"So mere guests are allowed to do your dirty and shameless work of unfairly raising their hands against me? Spare me the excuses," Tianming said, stoking the flames of anger and intensifying the tension in the atmosphere.
"You’d better stop before crossing the line, Li Tianming," Shenwu Fen said.
"Let him keep up the act. Let's see how he ends up," Long said.
"You can fight us first. If you win, I'll invite the other two over," Yanwu Dao said. He was there to solve a problem. Tianming's public airing of his grievances about how the Astralium Seeking turned out indeed reflected badly on the top mysterian geniuses, so he had to put a stop to it so that public opinion no longer swayed in his favor.
"No. Eliminating you will stop you from coming back for another month. It's a waste of my time. I want to settle things today," Tianming said.
"Are you courting death?" Long snapped. "You think we'll bend our heads and do your bidding just because you're throwing a fuss?"
"Wow, your acting deserves a reward!" Crimsonjade Cang said.
Even so, there was nothing they could do about it. Tianming had defeated Long and Shenwu Fen back-to-back and swayed things in his favor. If this wasn't dealt with properly, the mysterians stood to lose a lot of face. Once their reputation tanked in the known universe, the juniors would bear quite some fault for it. However, Yanwu Dao himself had no way of summoning the other two.
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