AGM 0103 - Riddle within the painting
In the outskirts of the Royal Capital, there was a region that was overgrown by lush green shoots of bamboo. This bamboo forest was situated right in front of a part of the Dark Forest, and was extremely peaceful and quiet.
Qin Wentian and Lu Feng arrived at this particular location, staring at the bright greenery of the bamboo forest that was filled with a sense of brimming vitality.
"We've arrived, however I'm unable to accompany you inside." Lu Feng bitterly smiled. "No one would dare to barge in and enter the forest unannounced."
Qin Wentian lightly nodded his head as he carried Little Rascal, taking a step forward as he called out. "Qin Wentian of the junior generation pays his respect to Senior Gongyang."
"You may enter." Within the bamboo forest, a voice drifted out. Qin Wentian only saw the bamboos in front of him seemingly come to life as they shifted their positions, opening up a path through the middle.
"I shall say my goodbyes here." Lu Feng smiled.
"Many thanks." Qin Wentian nodded as he entered the pathway, strolling through the bamboo forest.
This pathway was extremely long, and after a certain distance, Qin Wentian noticed a simple-looking lodge in front of him. It was peaceful and quiet, giving people a feeling that it was separated from the rest of the world.
"What a wondrous place." Qin Wentian silently exclaimed in his heart. As he approached, he noticed that Gongyang Hong was sitting in front of the lodge, inscribing something. In front of him, there were many scrolls of paintings that were inscribed with incredibly complicated runic outlines. It was as though all of them were Divine Imprints.
"Senior Gongyang." Qin Wentian bowed to show his respect.
"Little fellow, you sure arrived fast. Come over here and take a look at this painting." Gongyang Hong remarked to Qin Wentian.
Qin Wentian nodded as he sat down on the seat. Gongyang Hong passed a painting over to him, causing Qin Wentian's countenance to stiffen. The painting in front of him was actually yet another Human-type Divine Inscription painting.
"Senior, this is?" Qin Wentian inquired.
"Naturally, it's a Divine Inscription painting as well. How long would you need to comprehend the Divine Imprints in it?" Gongyang Hong asked.
Qin Wentian furrowed his brows upon hearing the words of Gongyang Hong, as he studied the painting.
In the painting, there was an silhouette of a ravishing beauty pointing her finger forward. From it, one could sense an overwhelming pressure gushing relentlessly forth, stabbing into the eyes of the spectator.
"Buzz!" The mind of Qin Wentian shuddered violently as he involuntarily let go of the painting, his heart trembling with shock.
"I'm afraid that the Divine Imprints in the painting are of 4th level inscriptions. It's impossible for me if I want to gain any insights regarding this in the short term." Qin Wentian replied. "Is this painting inscribed by Senior?"
"How could I have such a high level of comprehension?" Gongyang Hong smiled as he shook his head.
"Regarding your painting, how did you successfully inscribe it?" Gongyang Hong continued.
"Under a special state of epiphany, I had wanted to transmit the energy within my body into the painting, and due to a lucky combination of various factors, I managed to succeed." Qin Wentian respectfully replied.
"Transmit the energy within your body to inside the painting?" Gongyang Hong repeated as a bright light flickered in his calm eyes.
"Yes, and sometimes I wonder, are Divine Imprints not the same as innate techniques? After all, they share several unique characteristics." Qin Wentian nodded his head as he continued. However, his casual musings actually caused Gongyang Hong to abruptly tremble, as though sudden waves of realisation hit him.
"Divine Imprints, the same as innate techniques?"
Gongyang Hong's body lightly shook as he wondered about all of the possibilities.
"Innate techniques, innate techniques." Gongyang Hong mumbled as though he had grasped something, his gaze fixated on the Divine Inscription painting in front of Qin Wentian.
"If this painting was an innate technique, what type of innate technique would it be?" Gongyang Hong murmured, gazing at that painting blankly.
4th level Divine Inscriptions were countless times more intricate when compared to 3rd level Divine Inscriptions. Qin Wentian had no way to decipher them. As he focused his attention onto the painting, he only felt an terrifying sharp, overwhelming sense of pressure gushing towards him.
Qin Wentian sat down cross-leggedly as he closed his eyes, activating the Dreamcast Art as he stepped into his dreamscape. An instant later, he appeared on that patch of shore near the ocean from before.
In front of Qin Wentian, the divine inscription painting of that ravishing woman also appeared.
"Transform." Qin Wentian's dream will commanded, and the Divine Imprints in the 4th level painting seemingly came to life. The ravishing beauty manifested inside his dreamscape, inundating the space in front of her with her attacks.
The current Qin Wentian was still unable to decipher what types of innate techniques the 4th level divine inscription painting contained. However, in his dream, he could test his hypothesis, allowing the painting to undergo all kinds of transformations, deducing the nature of the Divine Inscription painting.
After the manifested figure underwent countless transformations, Qin Wentian discovered that if he were to regard each individual Divine Imprint inscribed upon the painting as a unique innate technique, it had an undying energy to it, as though it would never be extinguished. Every attack was as though it could continue on indefinitely.
After he exited his dreamscape, Qin Wentian saw that Gongyang Hong was still in that state of bewilderment from earlier. Abruptly, Gongyang Hong woke up and stared at Qin Wentian, stating, "Use the energy you sensed from the painting to attack me. Quickly."
The attitude of Gongyang Hong shocked Qin Wentian a little. This Divine Inscription painting seemed to be of paramount importance to Gongyang Hong.
After which, Qin Wentian stood up and stabbed his finger in the space in front of him. The space between them continuously trembled as the finger attack landed on Gongyang Hong's body.
However, Qin Wentian felt as though he had stabbed his finger right into a wall of steel. He had no way to even move his opponent a little.
"Finger technique, staggered attacks? There's no such innate techniques. I'm sure of it." Gongyang Hong's eyes reflected a struggle.
"Senior, the technique I used was a finger-type innate technique for certain. But what I could sense was merely the tip of the iceberg. There's a possibility that this might be a spear-type technique or sword-type technique and not only so; within it, there seemed to be an inexhaustible current of energy." Qin Wentian spoke.
"Spear-type technique, sword-type technique? Inexhaustible, undying energy?" Gongyang Hong deeply immersed himself in his contemplation and after many moments, he abruptly and explosively stepped to the side, piercing out with a sword. In front of him, as his Sword Qi howled with madness, wanting to destroy everything, the wind created from the swing of the sword transformed into a raging hurricane, lacerating everything as bamboo shoots after bamboo shoots were sliced into nothingness in front of him.
"Is it this type of innate technique?" Gongyang Hong inquired.
"Highly possible." As Qin Wentian felt the sword intent, his heart trembled violently. The strength of Gongyang Hong had already reached such a terrifying level.
"Nine Swords of Life, this is the Nine Swords of Life." Gongyang Hong was extremely agitated as he glanced at Qin Wentian, before rushing into his lodge in a fluster.
An instant later, Qin Wentian only saw that Gongyang Hong had retrieved three more Divine Inscription paintings as he passed them over to Qin Wentian. "Quickly, help me to take a look and tell me what they contained within."
Gongyang Hong was an expert weaponsmith and had extremely high comprehension regarding Divine Inscriptions. But the current him seemed to be akin to a mad man. Which paintings was it that could cause Gongyang Hong to be in such a fluster?
"Right." Qin Wentian lightly nodded as he studied the 2nd painting in his hands.
The figure in this painting extended his palms out, as similarly, a terrible, devastating energy gushed out. However, just like the earlier 4th level Divine Inscription painting, Qin Wentian couldn't decipher anything.
Qin Wentian once again entered into his dreamscape and observed the countless transformations, then exchanged information with Gongyang Hong. However despite this, Gongyang Hong couldn't seem to find a matching innate technique for it.
"Senior, maybe you had never cultivated this innate technique before." Qin Wentian gently stated as he looked to Gongyang Hong.
"Impossible, absolutely impossible. If what you say is true, that innate techniques are hidden within the Divine Imprint, I would know for sure. I had never cultivated the Nine Swords of Life before as well." Gongyang Hong replied with resoluteness. According to Qin Wentian's request, Gongyang Hong executed over 100 types of innate techniques, and the whole area in front of him was decimated.
"Senior Gongyang knows too many innate techniques. Even if he has never cultivated them before, he can still instantly understand the essence and meaning of them. How terrifying."
Qin Wentian felt immense shock in his heart. At this moment, he took another glance at the painting as he mused, "Maybe, could the innate technique contained within this painting be a technique that consists of many different transformations?"
"What did you say?" Gongyang Hong seemed to have understood something upon hearing the words of Qin Wentian.
"Senior, maybe the innate technique itself contains many different kinds of transformations?" Qin Wentian replied. Gongyang Hong drew in a huge breath as he took a step forwards, pushing his palms outwards. This time round, he didn't do anything, but Qin Wentian had a feeling that the next strike of Gongyang Hong would contain a myriad of transformations within it.
"Yes, this was the feeling I felt." A bright light shone in Qin Wentian's eyes.
"Formless Art." Gongyang Hong murmured as he spoke to Qin Wentian, "Look at the next painting."
Qin Wentian nodded. The inscriptions of the 3rd painting were beautifully and wondrous and were also exceptionally mystical. However, it didn't seemed like an innate technique. The two of them lost themselves in discussion and even when night descended, they still had no conclusion.
Forgoing sleep, the two of them continue their analysis. And finally, Gongyang Hong made a sudden movement, without any charm or grace, and even seemed to be extremely clumsy. However, this caused the light in Qin Wentian's eyes to brighten.
"There's a high probability that this is it."
"This is the beginning stance of a body movement technique. Its name is Connecting Steps and it's comprised of many changes within."
Gongyang Hong mumbled as he continued, "The last painting."
Qin Wentian nodded his head as he analysed the last painting. This painting was the only painting with a male figure in it. The figure stood in the painting unmovingly, but the eyes of it shone with an incredibly extraordinary light.
Gongyang Hong only cast a few glances at it before sighing, "The three earlier innate techniques, I've only understood them but did not cultivate them before. As for this final innate technique, I know what it is - Eyes of Death.
As the sound of Gongyang Hong's voice faded away, his eyes transformed into tunnels of endless depth. Qin Wentian trembled in fear but in that same instance, Gongyang Hong's eyes turned back to normal.
"This eye-type innate technique is one that I'm most proficient with, while the Nine Swords of Life was her favourite technique. As for the Formless Art and the Connecting Steps, I've also heard of them. Why did I only realised today that these four types of Divine Inscription paintings contained within them four types of innate techniques."
Gongyang Hong drew in a deep breath as he stared at the empty space.
"Nine Swords of Life, Eyes of Death, Formless Art, Connecting Steps." Qin Wentian mumbled, "Life and death are two independent entities. No, instead, it should be - life and death are interconnected!"
(Check TN Notes for a clearer meaning - the meaning can also be "We live and die together")
As the low voice of Qin Wentian drifted over to Gongyang Hong's ears, it was as though a bolt of lightning flashed past, striking right into his mind, causing him to freeze on the spot, lost in contemplation.
At this moment, Qin Wentian felt a sense of pressure. The whole space seemed to be filled with a horrible silence.
"Life and death are interconnected, HAHAHA, life and death are interconnected! Gongyang Hong, you should be cursed to live a life of eternal damnation!" Abruptly, Gongyang Hong bellowed in anger, as he spat out a mouthful of fresh blood. His Qi roiled chaotically and attacked his heart, as he slumped heavily onto the ground.
His eyes however, remained wide open. In the depths of his eyes, one could see utter despair, as well as boundless regret and hatred!
If translated literally =
Life Nine Swords, Death Eyes, No Form Innate Art, Compliant/Connecting Human Step:
"Life, Death, No, Connection. No, it should be: Life, Death, Forms, Connection!"
But despite this, "We live and die together" fits the context better. I will be using "We live and die together" in the next chapter.