AGM 253 - Friendly Reminder
There were two elders that stood beside Yang Fan. One of them had an extremely solemn countenance and had eyes as sharp as a sword.
The other looked somewhat frail and had a scholar's disposition. His black hair hung about his shoulders, and his eyes shone like a beacon in darkness. Upon seeing him, many in the crowd had expressions of admiration and respect on their faces.
"Grandmaster Fenrir." Many Divine Inscriptionists bowed.
A brilliant light flashed in Bailu Yi's eyes as she explained, "Grandmaster Fenrir, a fourth-ranked Divine Inscriptionist. To think that the Star-Seizing Manor actually managed to invite him, it seems like they're truly attaching a lot of importance to the exchange this time round."
"Has everyone arrived? Can all Divine Inscriptionists that are keen on participating make your way towards the training ground? Grandmaster Fenrir will be the judge for this exchange," that solemn-looking elder faintly spoke. The volume of his words wasn't loud, yet they contained a penetrative quality to them.
"Grandmaster Fenrir as the judge..." The eyes of the spectators all gleamed as the participants stood at the platform.
Three people made up a team, and those present were all representatives of major powers in the Eastern City of the Moon Continent. There were no factionless Divine Inscriptionists participating in the exchange this time.
This was a normal occurrence. Powerful Divine Inscriptionists had no need to participate alone. The major powers would offer sky-high prices to invite them. As all the participants took their place on the platform, many in the crowd drew in a huge breath. Many of those rarely seen Inscriptionists were actually showing their faces at this exchange today. The lure of the secret realm undoubtedly caused the major clans to throw caution to the winds, using astronomical prices in exchange for the aid of these powerful Inscriptionists.
"Ghaus, you are here as well." A voice drifted over, and Grandmaster Ghaus turned. From the direction of where the voice originated from, there were three old men whose features greatly resembled each other. Upon noting the three of them, Grandmaster Ghaus involuntarily frowned in displeasure. How troublesome, these three eccentrics were actually participating too.
"The Li Clan's three brothers." Bailu Yi furrowed her brows, "The three of them are blood brothers, whose real names are unknown to many. However, they're exceedingly famous in the Moon Continent because all three of them are third-ranked Divine Inscriptionists, and can even read each other's hearts and intentions. As long as one of them starts to inscribe something, the other two would instantly know what it is and can immediately act to complement it."
The eyes of the other major powers also narrowed upon noticing the Li Clan's three brothers. Damn it, their hope of obtaining first place in this exchange was gone. Initially, most of them believed that Yan Tie's chances of victory were the highest, but it didn't seem like that was the case now. Ghaus was the representative for the White Deer Institute, Li Clan's three brothers for the Watermoon Mountain Villa, not to mention that the representatives for the Scarlet Thunder Sect and the Demon Cult were all extremely powerful as well.
Especially for both the Yan and Leng Clan, who had visible expressions of worry and agitation on their faces. The pressure on Yan Tie was too great, even being in the top three would be difficult to achieve.
"F*ck, damn it, it appears that the rumors were true. We have no choice but to miss this opportunity." Many cursed in their hearts.
However, Yan Tie didn't appear to be worried at all. He only had eyes for Qin Wentian. The Heavens were helping him indeed, since Qin Wentian was here to participate in the exchange, he would make it so that Qin Wentian would never leave this place alive. He had to find a chance to slay him during this exchange.
However, the rules regarding how one obtained victory in the exchange were unknown yet.
There were a total of nine teams that participated. Each team consisted of three people which equated to a total of twenty-seven participants. All of them represented the nine major powers of the Eastern City in the Moon Continent.
Grandmaster Fenrir stood on a high vantage point. An amused expression could be seen in his eyes as he gazed at the participants. "I once entered into the Divine Inscriptions' secret realm. That place is a brutal testing ground, filled with many traps, layered with formations and powerful Puppets. In any case, despite the benefits gained, it is an extremely dangerous place. Only the most elite have the ability to return alive. Regretfully, I've exceeded the requirements set, if not, I would definitely enter that place again."
Grandmaster Fenrir other than being a fourth-ranked Divine Inscriptionist, was a Heavenly Dipper Sovereign as well. Hence, it was impossible for him to re-enter the secret realm.
There were a total of eighteen refinement grounds and secret realms in the Grand Xia Empire. There were places where only cultivators at the Arterial Circulation Realm could enter, places where only cultivators at the Yuanfu Realm could enter and even places where only cultivators at the Heavenly Dipper Realm could enter. The Divine Inscriptions' secret realm was evidently a place where the requirements were set at the Yuanfu level.
"There will be a total of three tests today." Grandmaster Fenrir slowly walked out, standing in the air. With a wave of his hands, a shimmering gigantic portrait abruptly descended from the skies.
Rumble! A thunderous sound rocked the void, and within the portrait, the crowd saw a picture of a landscape filled with rivers and mountains become reality, pressing down upon the immense training platform, the vibrations from the impact trembling the ground.
"The trial in the secret realm has countless dangers hidden within. I have no way to emulate that degree of danger, but one thing is for sure, if you can't even pass this first test I've administered - to identify hidden Divine Inscriptions within the landscape - you would be better off not entering the secret realm. The test is this, we will go in a round robin fashion until no one is able to identify any more hidden Inscriptions, before we conclude it."
Fenrir continued faintly, "You guys can begin at any moment, as long as you can identify one, the hidden Inscription will automatically disappear."
"Let me take first blood," remarked Old Third from the Li Clan's three brothers. After which, he pointed forth with his fingers as Astral Light sparkled, causing the runic outline of a phoenix to shimmer into existence, flying skywards into the clouds before disappearing from sight.
Yan Tie stood beside him, but since it was only the beginning, he didn't want to make a move yet. Signalling his assistants with his eyes, one of them carried on and pointed in a certain direction, causing the faint shadow of a ferocious tiger to manifest before fading out of existence. After which, the other assistant provided by the Leng Clan to help Yan Tie also made his move.
Next, the representative from the Scarlet Thunder Sect made his move. The ones remaining were those from the Demon Cult and White Deer Institute. The representative team from the Demon Cult had a total of three members as well. What astonished many was that the one in the lead was actually a youth! He sat there with his eyes closed, as one of the middle-aged figures acting as his assistant then walked out and identified an Inscription.
"My turn." Bailu Yi moved, causing the runic outlines of a long spear to shimmer before it faded away from existence.
In the blink of an eye, all nine teams easily identified the Inscriptions, but gradually, after the time it takes for a candle to burn, the test became increasingly difficult and some people were already having trouble with identifying the hidden Inscriptions. Luckily, there were three members in a team, so if one failed to identify any, the other two could take his place as well.
After nine rounds, a total of 81 Divine Inscriptions had already been identified. Currently, it was the turn of the Han Clan from the Eastern City. However, all three of the Divine Inscriptionists in the team shook their heads in embarrassment. Apparently, none of them were able to identify any more Inscriptions and were thus eliminated from the competition.
"Our Han Clan withdraws from this exchange." Below the training platform, an elder from the Han Clan coughed awkwardly.
Evidently, the preparations made by the Han Clan weren't enough.
Old Second of the Li Clan's three brothers stepped forth, as he struck out at the landscape with his palm. The location where his palm strike landed, wavered about as a palm-type Divine Inscription surfaced, causing the region it was hiding in to crumble into pieces.
Next, Yan Tie personally acted, identifying a hidden Divine Inscription by himself. Apparently, his assistants were unable to identify any more, and so they had no choice but to step aside and leave it to Yan Tie.
After two more rounds, Bailu Yi was similarly stuck. Qin Wentian glanced at Ghaus only to see Ghaus sitting there calmly with his eyes closed, remaining unperturbed despite the fact that Bailu Yi was in his team. Seeing Bailu Yi in such a difficult position, Qin Wentian couldn't help but whisper, "Ancient Tree."
Bailu Yi shifted her attention to a grove of trees as she sent out a palm strike, revealing a hidden Inscription within. After which, a bitter smile surfaced on her countenance as she glanced back at Qin Wentian.
Qin Wentian nodded lightly, consoling her. He understood her intentions, she couldn't proceed any longer, it was time for Qin Wentian to act.
After a few more rounds, more and more people withdrew from the test. Although Fenrir didn't publicly announce their elimination, all of them knew that they no longer had any chances to obtain one of the top three rankings for this exchange.
Out of the nine major powers in the Eastern City, four teams had already withdrawn, leaving only five behind. Qin Wentian and the others from the White Deer Institute, Li Clan's three brothers from the Watermoon Mountain Villa, Yan Tie from Yan Clan, the youth from Demon Cult and the white-bearded old man from the Scarlet Thunder Sect. The white-bearded old man was named Zuo Yu, a third-ranked Inscriptionist, and could be considered quite famous in the Moon Continent. He knew that he no longer had any hope in making further breakthroughs in his cultivation, hence he decided to devote his efforts in the Dao of Divine Inscriptions instead.
"The ones remaining are all experts. To think that at this stage, they are still able to identify the hidden Inscriptions." The crowd had these thoughts in their hearts as Old Third of the three brothers, found yet another hidden Inscription within the landscape.
Yan Tie continued on, after which Zuo Yu, and that youth from the Demon Cult all succeeded. Qin Wentian then flicked his sleeves, as the runic outlines of a swordfish splashed out of the rivers before fading away.
"He's so powerful, could it be that even Little Yi's talent in the Dao of Divine Inscriptions can't even compare to him?" Bailu Shan remarked in a low voice, in the area where those from the White Deer Institute stood at. Bailu Yi had already withdrawn, she no longer had the means to continue, while Grandmaster Ghaus's brows twitched in surprise; he was shocked by Qin Wentian's capabilities. This young brat's perception wasn't bad indeed.
And finally, when it was Zuo Yu's turn, he calmly surveyed the landscape before stating, "There are no more hidden Inscriptions."
"Are you sure?" Grandmaster Fenrir who stood in the air, replied with a laugh.
Zuo Yu frowned as he nodded his head, "Yeah, I think so."
"Oh, how about you?" Fenrir directed the question towards the youth from the Demon Cult. The youth remained silent but as he flicked his finger, a huge slab of stone disintegrated as the runic outlines of a sabre shimmered, before fading away. This scene caused Zuo Yu's countenance to sink as he sighed silently. However, he didn't voluntarily withdraw. This only meant that his perception was slightly weaker compared to the others, he still had a chance at victory for the remaining two tests.
"How about you guys?" Fenrir turned his gaze upon the White Deer Institute's team. At this moment, Ghaus opened his eyes as he replied, "There are still some remaining."
Just when Qin Wentian was about to act, he retreated upon seeing Ghaus stepping forwards. With a wave of his hands, Ghaus identified another hidden Inscription, the act causing the countenance of Zuo Yu to sink even further.
After that, the Li Clan's three brothers also identified a hidden Divine Inscription and when it came to Yan Tie's turn, he frowned slightly as he stated, "There shouldn't be any more hidden Inscriptions remaining."
Ghaus narrowed his eyes as he contemplated the landscape, and as Qin Wentian noticed Ghaus hesitating, he whispered, "Grandmaster Ghaus, inside the swamp!"
"Do I still need you to remind me?" Ghaus glared unhappily at Qin Wentian. After which, with a violent flick of his sleeves, a flood dragon emerged from the swamp, letting out a great bellow before fading away, causing many in the crowd to marvel at the profoundness of Fenrir's portrait.
"Grandmaster, Qin Wentian was only trying to help." Bailu Yi tried to smooth things over. After all, Ghaus was an elder, and although Qin Wentian's reminder wasn't wrong, it felt as though a junior was guiding a senior, causing Ghaus to feel extremely embarrassed.
"Haha the last Divine Inscription is over there." Old First of the Li Clan's three brothers laughed uproariously as he caused yet another hidden Inscription to manifest. Grandmaster Ghaus nodded as he stared at them, "Indeed, the three of you do have the capability to be my opponents."
"Is there nothing else?" In the air, Fenrir asked again.
"No more," the three Li brothers spoke in unison.
"No more," Ghaus spoke with utter confirmation.
Fenrir only laughed, and just when everyone thought that the exchange had come to an end, Qin Wentian suddenly sliced down with his fingers with terrifying speed, followed by a horizontal slash.
Two beams of light formed in the shape of a cross, erupting forwards and abruptly, the runic outline of a gigantic sword burst out of the mountains, emanating a fearsome keen.
At this moment, the eyes of everyone shone with an intense light as their gazes riveted onto Qin Wentian. The expression on Ghaus's face couldn't be any uglier.
Qin Wentian disregarded Grandmaster Ghaus's displeasure, and continued to stand serenely in place. Since Ghaus had berated him for his earlier reminder, he might as well forego the formalities and take matters into his own hands!