AGM 0085 - Winter Snow
Qin Wentian laid on the stone slab motionless and silent, alone, as gentle gusts of wind billowed past.
Every time night descended, the stone slab on top of the hilly region would emit radiant Astral Light as the starlight from the heavenly layers cascaded down, and it was absorbed by the silhouette on the stone slab. It was as though this was a cycle that would last forever-it happened every night.
The 2nd state of the Dreamcast Art, the Immersed/Creation Dream state, allowed the user to immensely heighten their absorption rate of Astral Energy. Not only that, but Qin Wentian seemed as if he'd been enlightened. The Astral Light was unceasingly absorbed into his body, and was circulated throughout his arterial pathways as it recovered his energy and strength-it even seemed to be attempting to breakthrough, in order to form new circular arterial pathways.
Not only that, but Qin Wentian had also created a dreamscape to practice his Dreamcast Art, fully indulging himself in his fantasy. In his dream, he was omnipotent; there was nothing that he couldn't do.
Cultivators only needed to absorb Yuan Qi or Astral Qi. It was fine if they had no food or water.
As the weather turned colder and colder, there would occasionally be gusts of chilly wind that would billow past, which fluttered his robes. Despite this, his eyes were perpetually closed-as though he was forever in a deep sleep.
And today, the skies had darkened and rain had begun to pour down, onto the body of the youth and making his clothes wet. The youth still remained motionless, with his eyes closed. It was if he'd entered into a state of epiphany, completely forgetting his surroundings, even forgetting himself.
In the darkened skies, rumbling sounds rang out as thunder and lightning snaked around each other in the clouds, before striking down from the heavens. The youth remained indifferent.
Not only that, but his facial features gradually underwent a change. It was as though the lines on his face had become more exquisite, transforming his face into a mask of resolute determination.
The winter snow floated down and covered the body of the youth; it was as if he was wearing a robe made of winter snow.
Snow also floated down towards the Chu Country's royal capital. Today, the youths from all the academies were outside of their dorms, temporarily forgetting about cultivating, and were just standing there to admire the beautiful snow.
In the Royal Academy, there were many students who were leisurely strolling about in the snow. Many of these were couples, and although their level of cultivation wasn't high, it was still fine as they were in their youth. Youthfulness was a period of time where life shined the most brilliantly. After a certain age, if they decided to focus on the martial path, they'd never be able to find their way back to the pureness of this current moment.
The path of the Martial Way was arduous and cruel.
Mu Rou inclined her head as she gazed at the floating snow, and silently sighed in her heart. It had been over two months and she still hadn't seen Qin Wentian appear in the City of Illusions again, or had any other news about him.
Maybe he was the same as many other genius elites-they died in their youth, before they could reach their pinnacle, completely unknown to the masses.
He'd created history in the Emperor Star Academy, as well as propagated both enormous, and incredibly small, commotions. But in spite of this, all of the marks that he'd left would soon be hidden by the merciless passage of time. There'd always be new legends who'd attract the gaze of the crowd.
The vast Royal Capital of the Chu Country had no lack of talented young men.
Last year was Luo Qianqiu, this year was Qin Wentian. However, Luo Qianqiu was still creating his own story.
Next to her, footsteps rang out. Mu Rou turned around and saw Ye Zhan and Liu Yan.
Ye Zhan, making use of his clan's connections, had enrolled Liu Yan in the Royal Academy.
Mu Rou cast a glance at Liu Yan who was next to Ye Zhan. This girl didn't have a bad heart, it was only because she'd originated from a small place, and had experienced many things after arriving in the Royal Capital; it inevitably caused her values to change, as she'd wanted to lead her own life. Her current lifestyle was exactly what she'd wanted.
This couldn't be blamed entirely on her. However, Qin Wentian had saved both Liu Yan and Liu Yue's lives on that fateful day, and despite seeing the situation Qin Wentian had been in, she'd chosen to remain silent, making her choice clear.
However, to each their own. Mu Rou had no qualifications to blame Liu Yan either. At most, she would keep her distance from Liu Yan.
"Mu Rou, I've heard that many other clans, because of you, have distanced themselves from the Mu Clan. Do you want to consider dating Yanaro? After all, Yanaro has always shown an interest in you." Ye Zhan lightly exclaimed, causing Mu Rou's countenance to turn unsightly.
A few months ago, the news of what'd happened in Royal Clan's hunting grounds had been spread all over the Royal Capital. Although she'd emphasized that her choice was hers, and hers alone, she was quickly ignored. The crafty foxes who were in aristocratic clans only cared about the attitude of the 3rd prince, and thus weren't willing to build a closer connection or have good relations with the Mu Clan.
Thus, recently, many other clans had started shunning the Mu Clan. As for Mu Rou, she was under even greater pressure from her clan. Currently, she was no longer even entitled to the cultivation resources of her clan.
"My matters have no need for your worry." Mu Rou calmly spoke, as she silently sighed in her heart. In the past, she'd had such a good relationship with Chu Ling. But after that incident, Chu Ling, contrary to her expectations, hadn't only ignored her for a few days; eventually she even stopped associating herself with Mu Rou. Even when they meet, Chu Ling would always looked at her coldly.
"Hehe, all of this because of a dead man." Ye Zhan sarcastically added, as he walked past Mu Rou.
Liu Yan, by his side, lowered her head, and didn't spoke throughout their conversation.
"Because of a dead man...?" Mu Rou sighed. Was he really dead? Mu Rou didn't understand why was she unable to forget about Qin Wentian. Although this wasn't love, could it be because of the daily spars that they'd had in the City of Illusions that caused her to have a faint feeling that she missed him in her heart?
The Emperor Star Academy, in a pavilion-a graceful figure of otherworldly beauty stood there. This was none other than the number one beauty of the Chu Country-Mo Qingcheng.
"Qingcheng, why do you have the time to come and look for this old fool today?" An old man walked over. This old man, named Gu, was none other than the esteemed teacher of Mustang.
"Grandpa." The beautiful eyes of Mo Qingcheng flickered as she asked, "Is there any news of him?"
Old man Gu naturally understood who the 'him' spoken in Mo Qingcheng's speech was, as he sighed in his heart. So many days had passed, and yet there was still no news of Qin Wentian; most likely, the worst case scenario that they'd anticipated had came true.
"Qingcheng, if I remember correctly, you don't really concern with yourself with others." Old man Gu laughed, as though he wanted to change the topic of conversation. Mo Qingcheng rolled her eyes, as she continued, "Is there no more hope left?"
"Sigh!" The old man's eyes gazed off at some place in the distant horizons, before he shook his head and displayed a bitter smile, "I underestimated Chu Tianjiao. Never had I thought that he'd be so ruthless and decisive, actually using the banquet as an excuse to act directly, as well as ignoring any public opinion. Not only that, but Qin Chuan was used as bait as well. He's many times more ruthless when compared to the Chu Country's First Prince."
"What a pity, it doesn't seem too likely that the First Prince will take over the Chu Country."
"Grandpa, why did our Mo Clan not step out and aid the Qin Clan?" Mo Qingcheng asked, "After all, the Mo Clan and Qin Clan used to have an extraordinary relation together."
"Things aren't as simple as you think. Behind this, there were too many layers and webs of complications. It's not so easy for the Mo Clan to openly interfere in this matter." Old Man Gu calmly replied, "do you still remember how your grandfather1 once had an agreement with Qin Wu? If their descendants were both a boy and a girl, then they'd be betrothed to each other, and engaged as a couple."
Old Man Gu had a smile on his face, "If the Qin Clan hadn't declined and used to be the Qin Clan of the past, then maybe, between you and Qin Wentian, you'd have been bound by karma."
"When was that, I don't remember. Anyway, Qin Wentian isn't the real son of Qin Chuan." Mo Qingcheng laughed. Naturally, she'd heard of her elders speak about this before. But after the Qin Clan had relocated to the Sky Harmony City, the relations between their Mo Clan and the Qin Clan hadn't been as close as before, due to living in different locations.
"Now, I only want that fellow to live..." Mo Qingcheng sighed as she too cast her gaze across the horizons, and silently prayed in her heart.
"How's Qin Yao now?" Mo Qingcheng suddenly asked. Previously, the people from the Emperor Star Academy had formed a search party to search for Qin Wentian. In the end, they hadn't found any traces of Qin Wentian, but had found Qin Yao instead, and had brought her back to the Emperor Star Academy.
"She's in the academy-at least this way, she won't be in any danger." Old Man Gu replied, as Mo Qingcheng lightly nodded her head.
"Chu Tianjiao will never let Qin Yao off." Old Man Gu added in a low voice, "Based on my understanding of him, because the trap he set up in the Dark Forest didn't succeed, he'll never give up."
"Grandpa, you mean to say that Chu Tianjiao will make use of Qin Chuan in order to deal with Qin Yao again?" But he already used this tactic once, will it really work again?"
"For those that value emotions and relations, and with Qin Chuan as bait, even if Chu Tianjiao used this tactic a hundred times, Qin Yao would still willingly jump into the trap." Old Man Gu shook his head. He clearly knew this logic, and so did Chu Tianjiao.
Mo Qingcheng could only remain silent.
In the Dark Forest, snow, likewise, blanketed the ground. At this moment, near the boundary of the Dark Forest, atop of the snow, a gigantic Blackwind Condor descended down.
A youth jumped down from the back of the Blackwind Condor. This youth was about 17 years of age, and was clad in beast-skin clothing. His features were no longer immature, and even had a hint of demonic charm. This person was none other than Qin Wentian
"Senior, for the kindness that you've bestowed me, thank you." Qin Wentian turned and thanked the Blackwind Condor. If the Blackwind Condor hadn't aided him previously, he would've already died within the Dark Forest, and would've become food for the countless demonic beasts inside.
A low sound rumbled out from the Blackwind Condor's mouth, and Qin Wentian laughed as if he didn't have a care in the world, "Don't worry, I've already engraved the matter Senior Condor requested my help with into my heart. In the future, after I'm able to control the power of my Bloodline Limit freely, I'll definitely fulfil my promise, and gift Senior Condor with 3 drops of my blood essence."
It was as though the Blackwind Condor could understand Qin Wentian's speech. Screeching, it flapped its wings and soared up into the skies, causing a terrifying gust of afterwind to billow past. Soon after, the Blackwind Condor transformed into a black-colored speck as it disappeared into the horizons.
Qin Wentian inclined his head, as he regarded the disappearing Blackwind Condor. His heart was filled with puzzlement. He didn't understand why the Blackwind Condor had wanted his Blood Essence.
Maybe, his blood had some special characteristic to it. Previously, when he'd fainted in the Dark Forest, several demonic beasts had passed him by, some had even given him quite a wide berth.
Not bothering to think about it too much, Qin Wentian turned around. With his back facing the Dark Forest, he started to walk towards the connecting city.
On top of the snow, footprints appeared one after another. A glint of light flickered in Qin Wentian's eyes that was even sharper that a swords.
He vowed that this towering Royal Capital, with all it's insidious plots, would not be able to block the path that he wanted to tread in the future.
1. The grandfather referenced here is Mo Qingcheng's paternal grandfather, because in Chinese, the character () represents a paternal grandfather, while () represents a non-paternal grandfather