AGM 0027 - The Treacherous Human Heart
The sound of warhorses galloping filled the air as they rushed forward in the direction of Qin Wentian and the students from Emperor Star Academy. Ye Mo was motionless, his eyes fixated on Mustang. Since Mustang's interference was just a personal decision, there was no need to be polite to him.
Qin Wentian contemplated his surroundings. Ye Mo's men were still increasing in number, while there were only slightly more than ten students from the Emperor Star Academy. It seemed that this battle would not be easily won.
"Mountain." The bewitching lady next to Qin Wentian called out, and abruptly, the shadow of a tall and sturdy figure sprinted forward, releasing his Astral Souls. Atop his forehead, the shadows of two Astral Souls materialized. The first was that of a demonic ape, emitting a fearsome and domineering killing intent. It was as if the manifestation was truly alive; the second manifestation was that of a stoneman.
"This combination of Astral Souls will grant him an exceedingly strong defense." Qin Wentian's pupils contracted; the Demonic Ape Astral Sou, and the Stoneman Astral Soul were obviously condensed on the basis of forming an unbreakable defense. Not only that, the attack power they granted was not to be belittled either. The majority of cultivators would carefully consider the combined effects of their Astral Souls.
"Tremor." The youth who was named "Mountain" forcefully smashed his fists upon the ground, and abruptly, a terrifying surge flowed towards the platoon of soldiers, causing explosions to appear madly within the ground. These explosions created huge potholes, which made the horrified warhorses cry out in fear.
However, there was still a rider who wasn't caught in the tremors caused by the mini-earthquake. The rider masterfully steered his warhorse and dashed towards Mountain form the side, only to see that Mountain's feet were stomped deep into the ground. His body stood tall and erect, akin to a real mountain.
A long spear whistled as it pierced through the air, aimed for Mountain's head. However, showing no signs of panic, Mountain grabbed the spear with both his hands as his body forcefully collided with the warhorse. That terrifying impact was incapable of moving his body even the slightest bit.
"Indeed, what a terrifying defense." Qin Wentian exclaimed in his heart as he saw that Mountain had smashed both the spear and the wielder onto the ground. Blood spurted all about, causing the terrified warhorse to run away in a frenzy. This ignited confusion within the ranks of soldiers assembled nearby, giving the impression that he alone could hold out against 10,000 men.
Battle erupted in the other directions as well. Qin Wentian saw that there was a person who condensed two sword-type Astral Souls, integrating both as one into his body and emitting a terrifying sword Qi. Wherever he passed, fresh blood adorned the skies like a shower of rain.
All of them were cultivators who had opened two Astral Gates and belonged to the Arterial Circulation Realm. The Emperor Star Academy truly accepted only geniuses amongst geniuses.
However, Ye Mo held an absolute advantage in numbers, and, regardless of everything else, there were still some fish that had escaped the net. They galloped in Qin Wentian's direction, only to find the bewitching female beside him smile lightly as her palms ferociously struck outward. Qin Wentian only saw the flash of a whip's shadow before the figures atop the warhorses were instantly whipped into the air. They were dead before they fell to the ground. That whip was as sharp as a sword-just a single strike was sufficient enough to kill.
"Junior apprentice brother, you need to leave." The arms of the female coiled around the Qin Wentian's neck. As the distance between the enchanting visage of the bewitching lady and Qin Wentian shortened to only half a step, his heart palpitated wildly. He silently cursed that this bewitching women was truly a demoness.
"Go on. With you here, it will only affect us when we enter combat." Luo Huan continued. Qin Wentian lightly nodded his head; he knew that with his current strength, he could only be considered a burden.
"Go." Qin Wentian decisively chose a direction with less enemies and proceeded onwards.
"Elder sister will protect you." Luo Huan's figure followed as she brandished her whip, instantly creating a path of death through the soldiers clustered in the direction that Qin Wentian had chosen.
"Yu Fei, bring up the rear."
"Right." The sword-wielding youth lept through the air, landing behind Luo Huan. A few rays of sword light swept forth, decimating their pursuers.
Qin Wentian sprinted madly away, not even bothering to turn his head to witness the battlefield. After seeing the strength possessed by the Emperor Star Academy's students, he felt that he was truly insignificant. Regardless of him attempting to compare himself to Mountain or Yu Fei, as long as they entered combat, they would easily be able to slaughter their opponents no matter how many Body Refinement Cultivators they were pitted against. Only those at the Arterial Circulation Realm would possess the qualifications to clash against them.
"Junior apprentice brother, where are we going?" Luo Huan closely followed Qin Wentian's side, as if she was strolling idly by the courtyard. No hints of exertions were visible as she easily matched Qin Wentian's pace.
"Elder Mustang and the rest of the respective seniors, are they sufficient to deal with the enemies?" Qin Wentian asked.
"No. Among us, other than teacher Mustang who is at the Yuanfu Realm, the strongest is only at the 7th level of the Arterial Circulation Realm. Our opponent, Ye Mo, other than being a Yuanfu Realm cultivator, still has plenty of Arterial Circulation exponents under him. And those aren't the extent of his strength! As long as one more Yuanfu Realm cultivator makes an appearance, the situation will quickly deteriorate for our side. Once that happens, the members of our Emperor Star Academy will prioritise fleeing."
Although Luo Huan was matching the pace set by the madly sprinting Qin Wentian, her words were still extremely clear. She fully understood how terrifying Yuan Fu realm cultivators were and knew that without a doubt, as long as even one more appeared, her apprentice brothers would have no choice but to flee regardless of how strong they were. They must do so at their fastest speed.
Qin Wentian lightly nodded his head as he stated, "Thank you."
Evidently, these people had appeared in Sky Harmony City for the sake of saving him, bearing huge risks on their part.
Luo Huan laughed, as she questioned, "So where are we going?"
"Star River Association." Qin Wentian replied, causing Luo Huan's expression to undergo a change. She asked again, "You joined the Star River Association?"
"No, but I'm acquainted with a grandmaster weaponsmith in the Star River Association, and he promised me that we would be able to find refuge there," Qin Wentian replied.
As if she were pondering something, Luo Huan's expression flickered before she replied, "Is it possible for us not go there?"
Qin Wentian, astonished by her reply, cast a glance at Luo Huan before saying, "The rest of my family members might be there, and furthermore, since Sky Harmony City is sealed, the Star River Association is the only safe place left where we can seek refuge."
Luo Huan ceased the conversation and continued following beside Qin Wentian, sprinting in the direction of the Star River Association with no indication of taking a rest. Once Qin Wentian reached the Star River Association, the effects of the potential-igniting needle technique dissipated. All the fatigue from earlier invaded and assailed his body, causing Qin Wentian to wish that he could just faint and seek comfort from the darkness-but at this moment, he couldn't do so.
Within the Star River Association, both Qin Ye, Qin Yao, and the rest had arrived, but when compared to before, only half of their numbers were left. Most of the deaths had been caused by the defenders sacrificing themselves, losing their lives in exchange for the safe passage of the Qin Clan members. Although they'd managed to survive, their bodies were riddled with injuries.
"Wentian." Qin Ye and the rest immediately hurried over upon seeing Qin Wentian enter the Star River Association.
"Do you have news about your second uncle?" Qin Ye asked.
Qin Wentian froze as he shook his head, causing Qin Ye and Qing Shang's faces to grow pale.
"Seems like my predictions were accurate, the Qin Residence was indeed destroyed." From the side, a sarcastic voice in a high-pitched tone, drifted over.
Lin Yue was here today for the collection of her divine weapon, and seeing the sorry state the Qin Clan members were in, she couldn't help but add salt to their injuries.
The sounds of footsteps rang out. Step by step, Qin Wentian walked slowly towards Lin Yue with a cold look in his eyes that emitted the sharpness of a sword. Lin Yue's face stiffened as she asked, "Your clan's annihilation wasn't caused by me, so why are you taking out your anger on me?"
"Scram." Qin Wentian spat out a word, causing Lin Yue to be dumbstruck. Scram? This stray dog from a defeated clan actually dared to ask her to scram? In spite of her annoyance, however, the pressure that Qin Wentian was currently exerting was capable of causing her heart to tremble in panic.
"Grandmaster Francis." At that moment, Francis had arrived. Lin Yue revealed an expression of joy on her face as she ran towards him.
"Get lost." Before Lin Yue had even reached Francis' side, she heard Francis's cold voice ring out. Lin Yue halted mid-step, her face pale.
Extremely displeased, Francis was currently in a terrible mood and had no time to bother with Lin Yue. Ignoring her, he directly approached Qin Wentian and expressed his welcome, "Young Master Wentian, you have arrived."
"Grandmaster Murin has entered closed-door seclusion to craft and refine weapons. He will be out shortly. Please, all of you, follow me to the grand hall for a rest." Francis was extremely courteous, causing Lin Yue's pupils to widen in shock as she stood at the side. Qin Wentian and the rest politely nodded their heads in agreement. They went to the side to take a rest, yet the atmosphere within remained extremely heavy. None of them had any idea regarding what had happened to Qin Chuan and the others who were still fighting at the Qin Residence.
"Why are you still here? Scram. Don't look for me here in the future." Francis ignored the look of humiliation in Lin Yue's eyes as he harshly spoke.
Many in the Star River Association stared at the members of the Qin Clan while sighing in their hearts. The once impressive Qin Clan, capable of commanding the winds and clouds, was now crumbling. They were hanging on by a thread in their darkest hours.
Time flitted past, and yet Murin had not emerged. The thunderous sounds of horses galloping rang out from the outside as a platoon of soldiers stopped within 100 metres of the Star River Association. Ye Mo and his soldiers had arrived, and after dismounting, they reached the entrance of the Star River Association, coming face to face with the members of the Qin Clan. As their eyes met, a surge of terrifying pressure permeated the atmosphere.
Relentless sounds of horses galloping resound through the air. All the men under Ye Mo, including Asura Wu himself, had arrived.
The members of Qin Clan all felt a heavy feeling weighing down in their hearts.
"Everyone, sorry for the wait." At this moment, a clear and straightforward voice sounded out. Murin, one of the division leaders of the Star River Association had arrived, accompanied by that arrogant lady who was always by his side.
"Qin Wentian, have you come to a decision about my past proposal?" Murin smiled as he asked with a gentle expression, causing people to feel comfortable and relaxed around him.
"Proposal?" Qin Wentian froze.
"The matter about joining our Star River Association and becoming my disciple."
"Grandmaster Murin, I thought you said that we would be the guests of the Star River Association?" A lack of comprehension appeared on Qin Wentian's face.
"No, no...... the Chairman has spoken. He decided not to accept guests. It would still be better for you to consider my previous proposal." Murin continued smiling as he explained.
The eyes of Luo Huan, who was standing beside Qin Wentian, narrowed to slits. Only now did she roughly understood the situation. Moving her mouth close to Qin Wentian's ears, she whispered, "Do you have something they want in your hands? With the status of a guest, they don't have binding power over you, but once you've joined the Star River Association, you will have to do what they say."
Qin Wentian wasn't stupid, and neither were the members of the Qin Clan. At this moment, their hearts went cold when they saw the gentle smile on Murin's face. That smile was like a poisonous snake, causing people to be terrified.
It was very obvious that Murin had intentionally delayed the time he appeared, waiting for Ye Mo's soldiers to arrive and force the members of the Qin Clan into desperation. Once he walked out, they were left with no choice but to submit to his demands.
"What a crafty fellow." Francis's silently admonished in his heart, his eyes filled with the flames of anger. He had already thought he wasn't a good man, but when he was compared to Murin, they were still worlds apart. He felt that he himself was too "naive". As to why he was in a terrible mood, it was because the 2nd level divine imprint Qin Wentian had given him had been "borrowed" by Murin. When he asked Murin to return the divine imprint today, Murin had refused, causing Francis to suffer humiliation.