AGM 0123 - The past is now past, the future is too far away.
Emperor Chu District. The skies had already darkened, and atop the Azure Dragon Jadeite Seat, Chu Tianjiao glanced at the darkening skies as he stated, "It's getting late, let's stop here for today. I believed that the competition tomorrow will be even more fascinating."
As he spoke, Chu Tianjiao stood up. Although he wasn't that old, he had a sense of maturity that far exceeded his age.
Those of the Royal Clan grew up surrounded by political games of schemings and intrigue. They would naturally be more mature when compared to their peers.
As the voice of Chu Tianjiao faded, the rest of the invited guests all stood up and raised their cups in honor of Chu Tianjiao, respectfully drinking a toast to him. After which, Chu Tianjiao departed, smiling in response to the farewells of the surrounding spectators.
As Qin Wentian glanced at the departing back view of Chu Tianjiao, he faintly discovered that Chu Tianjiao's steps were always half a step behind those people around Luo Qianqiu. These minor details might not be noticed by the crowd in the spectators' stands, but as he knew of the background of those standing around Luo Qianqiu, Qin Wentian thus made the connection.
The Nine Mystical Palace was the main character supporting the Chu Country, Snowcloud Country and ten other countries from the shadows. Although only a few of them came to Chu, their positions and statuses were equivalent to the future emperor of Chu. Thus, Chu Tianjiao didn't dare to offend any of them.
Qin Wentian naturally understood why the Nine Mystical Palace had such great influence. A sect and yet was placed above and greater than an empire, there could only be one reason - because of strength and power.
The stronger a cultivator grew, the wider the gulf that separated the beginning realms and the next. And thus in Chu, there were several cultivators at Yuanfu and countless at Arterial Circulation but, only an extremely limited minority had successfully crossed this great threshold that was Yuanfu.
As for those that successfully surpassed Yuanfu, almost all of them had already left the Chu Country. The Chu Country was too tiny, it couldn't contain them. The majority of them would join the Nine Mystical Palace or other similar-tiered powers.
"A penny for your thoughts?" Suddenly, Mu Rou appeared beside Qin Wentian. As she saw Qin Wentian staring at the horizons ahead, she couldn't help but smile involuntarily as she asked.
"Nothing. Seem's like you are in a pretty good mood." A warm and gentle smile broke out on Qin Wentian's face upon noticing Mu Rou.
"I still have yet to thank you. Only now did I know what an extraordinary figure Senior Gongyang was. A past champion of the Jun Lin Banquet, with extremely profound accomplishments in the realm of Divine Inscriptions. And because of your painting, Senior Gongyang had given me a promise, which had proved to be an immense help to me." Mu Rou explained, but didn't elaborate more on the last part of her sentence, however, Qin Wentian could easily guessed at what she meant.
"It's just a gift for your birthday, don't mention it. We are friends aren't we?" Qin Wentian intentionally stated, which caused Mu Rou's lashes to flutter, adding to her beauty. This fellow, why was he good at causing people to feel warmth in their hearts?
"What about my birthday? Would you also gift me a present?" At this moment, a mischievous-sounding voice rang out. Qin Wentian turned his head, only to see the silhouette of Mo Qingcheng appear.
The countenance of a peerless beauty adorned with a smile, it was as though a ray of the purest sunlight lit up his heart.
"What do you wish for?" Qin Wentian smiled.
"Hmm I have to consider this carefully. A present from a 3rd level Divine Inscriptionist Grandmaster, I must not waste this chance." Mo Qingcheng was seemingly in serious contemplation, appearing extremely adorable.
From a distance, the remainder of the crowd that had yet to disperse were all jealous of Qin Wentian. Why did this fellow had such great luck with women?
Luo Huan, Qin Yao, Mu Rou, they could all be considered top class beauties. And in addition to that, the number one beauty in Chu, Mo Qingcheng, also had such a close relationship with Qin Wentian. How could this not engender envy and jealousy in the hearts of others?
"Don't kill me with your request." Qin Wentian shrugged helplessly as he stared at the countenance of Mo Qingcheng.
"Relax, treat it as though you still owe me a gift first, you must not forget it okay?" Mo Qingcheng laughed as she continued, "Continue to work hard tomorrow, I'm rooting for you."
After which, Mo Qingcheng departed with a smile on her face. Mu Rou, who was standing beside Qin Wentian, had a strange feeling in her heart as she observed the leaving back view of Mo Qingcheng. Although her looks could be considered beautiful as well, she knew that she could not be compared to Mo Qingcheng.
In the spectators' stands, the gaze of Autumn Snow was fixated upon the youth that was standing so far away. The expression displayed on her face was extremely complicated.
Once, this youth was her fiancé, but was disdained and held in contempt by her. Yet now, beside him, there were so many peerless beauties. Even if she wanted to compare herself with them, just based on her talent and strength, the distance between them would only grow further and further apart.
That night outside the Bai residence, the words of the youth that was filled with a resolution akin to steel had gradually became reality.
"Autumn Snow, let us depart." Bai Qingsong whispered at the side. Autumn Snow nodded her head, as she left the place with her father.
Although many of the crowd had already departed, preparing to rest for the night, there were still several that had yet to leave, and intended to spend the night here, waiting for the commencement of the competition tomorrow.
"Boss, want to go for a stroll together?" Fan Le squinted his eyes as he continued, "Heaven's Wonder payout rate for you - if you attain the top position - is at an astounding rate of 1:400. Do you want to bet a few Yuan Meteor Stones? Although your hope of attaining first is flimsy at best, but what if you really managed to be incredibly lucky and end up defying the heavens?"
"That high?" Qin Wentian was stunned. Heaven's Wonder didn't put him in their eyes at all. But considering the fact that there were monsters like Luo Qianqiu and Sikong Mingyue, that was only natural. It doesn't seem too plausible for him to attain the top position. Although to him, the reason why he participated in the Jun Lin Banquet was only to obtain the top position, but Qin Wentian also dare not say for certain that he would definitely be the one to become the champion.
"They are looking down on you." Fatty shrugged, as though he was intentionally trying to rouse the spirit of Qin Wentian.
Qin Wentian glanced at Fan Le, as he spoke. "You go ahead, I still need to cultivate."
After which, Qin Wentian bid his farewells to the surrounding crowd, as he mounted Little Rascal and departed the area. The speed of Little Rascal was so fast to the point that it transformed into a white blur of shadows and moved with the speed of a raging tornado.
Outskirts of the Royal Capital, Bamboo Lodge.
The lodge had its back against a mountain peak of the Dark Forest, and over there, there was a river. At this moment, a silhouette with a head full of white hair was sitting there, angling for fish. The sounds of the water flowing gave people a harmonious sense of peace and tranquility.
"Why do you have time to be here?" The old man stated in a low voice, he had already sense the presence of Qin Wentian approaching him from his back.
"The first day of the Jun Lin Banquet just ended, I'm here to visit Senior, to see if you are still doing well since that day we parted." Qin Wentian sat down beside Gongyang Hong. Quite a long period of time had already passed since their past meeting when Gongyang Hong's hair had turned white overnight. Qin Wentian would obviously be concerned, Gongyang Hong's situation back then was extremely worrisome.
"You do have the heart indeed." A smile flickered in Gongyang Hong's eyes. The current him, had aged a lot visibly, when compared to that day when Qin Wentian saw him in the Display Hall of the Royal Academy.
"The Jun Lin Banquet is the grandest event hosted in the Chu Country. Instead of coming here you should work hard in your cultivation and strive to enter the top 9 rankings. Not only would you be able to obtain many rewards, if you somehow could become the champion, you would be able to ascend to the 7th level of the Heavenly Star Pavilion." Gongyang Hong calmly stated. Although he had long stopped paying attention to events like this, he had grew up in Chu during his younger years after all and naturally knew a lot of things.
"A night worth's of time, it's the same if I cultivate over here at Senior's place as well." Qin Wentian smiled. "I remember that previously, Senior had warned me before. If I met a girl that could moved my heart, I must seize the initiative and never miss the chance. Since Senior felt regret at the events that happened in the past, why didn't you try to make up for your mistakes?"
"Make up for my mistakes? How can that still be possible?" Gongyang Hong shook his head.
"How would you know if you had never tried? Even if compensation is impossible, would Senior be content with state things are now? This doesn't seem to match the logic behind the warnings Senior had for me. Senior, the reason why you didn't want me to miss my chance is that you didn't want me to have any regrets, right?" Qin Wentian continued smiling.
Gongyang Hong gradually turned about, facing Qin Wentian. And upon seeing the bright smile akin to sunshine on the face of the youth, his heart couldn't help but tremble slightly.
Years ago, he was also the same as Qin Wentian, an elegant and graceful youth. But now, there was no difference between him living or being dead.
Time was the cruellest existence in the world.
Qin Wentian's gaze shifted, the radiance of his smile grew even brighter as he continued, "Is Senior thinking how good it would be if you could go back to the time of your youth? And if you could, you would never have chosen to live a life filled with regrets? But in actuality, for those that cultivate, we can maintain our youth and even reverse aging. With Senior's cultivation base, your age couldn't be considered old. If you lament about the regrets of ages past, would you not also regret your lack of actions today 1,000 years later?"
Qin Wentian spoke in a low voice as he gazed at that majestic mountain peak ahead. "How many people regret and lament the passing of time, and yet how many of those truly wish to repent and make up for their mistakes? If they truly wanted to repent, why don't they make good use of the present? The past is now past, and the future is too far away. Only the present matters."
"The past is now past, and the future is too far away. Only the present matters."
The words of Qin Wentian caused huge torrential waves to rise in Gongyang Hong's heart. How could such a youngster utter such a statement that was filled with wisdom.
Silence reigned as only the sounds of the flowing water could be heard, the atmosphere was exceptionally tranquil and harmonious.
"In the end, I'm still not comparable to this youth." Gongyang Hong lamented as he stood up, before slowly walking back to the lodge. His heart was in disorder, embroiled in a vicious struggle.
The chance which he missed all those years ago, could he still make up for it?
Qin Wentian didn't follow him. The knot in Gongyang Hong's heart had to be untangled by himself. He only strongly felt that with Gongyang Hong's current cultivation, he was the envy of everyone. Why couldn't he cherish what he had, and do the things he wanted to do? Trying his best to make up for past regrets, even if he failed, he would at least have tried before.
Withdrawing several Yuan Meteor Stones from his interspatial ring, Qin Wentian closed his eyes and started cultivating, entering into his dreamscape.
The darkness of the night gradually deepened as the constellations in the skies shone as brightly as before. Columns of Astral Light cascaded downwards, landing on the body of the youth. Some distance away, on the roof of the bamboo lodge, Gongyang Hong sat there, bathing in the starlight. As he gazed at the youth sitting by the river, a quiet smile could be seen upon his face.
The youth before him was many times more outstanding when compared to him of the past. Such a youngster, how could anyone dislike him?
"I will leave Chu after the Jun Lin Banquet is concluded. I wonder, will your name be able to shake the world?" Gongyang Hong smiled as light beamed in his heart. At this moment, It was as though he had discarded all that was burdening him, resulting in him being extremely relaxed!