AGM 0106 - Insidious Intent
In front of the Emperor Star Monuments, all of the elites were sat on the stone seats on the stage. The attention of all the other students was riveted onto them.
At this moment, a figure in front of the monument laughed, "Only one more month to the end of the year. Being able to sit here together with my various brothers and sisters to discuss our experiences in cultivation and exchange pointers is really one of the happiest things in the world."
"Senior Qiu is too polite. Just being able to sit here and chat with Senior Qiu can already be counted as a fortuitous event." Someone politely added.
"This person is named Qiu Mo, and is extremely powerful. Among the ranks of the 10 prodigies, there are two from the Emperor Star Academy. Qiu Mo is one of them, and he's ranked 4th within them." Luo Huan whispered to Qin Wentian. Qin Wentian seriously cast a glance at Qiu Mo. This person looked to be 18 to 19 years of age, and had a scholarly disposition, looking gentle and refined, radiating warmth and approachability.
"And who's the other one?" Qin Wentian curiously asked
"The other one is standing by the side of Qiu Mo. His name is Jiang Xiu, ranked 10th out of the 10 prodigies in the Royal Capital. However, you cannot underestimate any of the 10 prodigies. The 10 prodigies are all the strongest elites in the Royal Capital below the age of 20, and among all arterial circulation cultivators, their cultivation bases are the closest to stepping into Yuanfu. Their martial prowess is also many times stronger when compared to others at the same level."
Luo Huan continued, "The 10 prodigies, without a doubt, will attend the Jun Lin Banquet every year. Naturally, the ranking with the prodigies will also change following the conclusion of the grand banquet."
"Luo Cheng, for the past year you've stayed hidden in the Asura Faction, and there haven't be any traces of you. Your martial prowess must have improved significantly, do you mind sharing your experiences and exchanging pointers with the rest of us?" The 4th ranked among the 10 prodigies, Qiu Mo, was silently regarded as the host of the gathering, and he took the initiative to gaze upon a mature-looking youth.
Although Luo Cheng wasn't that old, he was already over 20, and had a maturity to him that couldn't be compared to people his age. Not only that, there were also traces of a frenzied wildness in his eyes.
Those from the Asura Faction were all mad men. They were extremely cruel to themselves and would temper themselves in the Dark Forest for long periods of time, disregarding their lives. Thus, their combat ability and martial prowess were also above the norm.
"Is there anyone who wishes to try?" Luo Cheng calmly spoke, causing the countenance of all to freeze slightly.
Last year, Luo Cheng had a cultivation base at the peak of the 6th level. Rumor had it that currently, he had already stepped into the 8th level of Arterial Circulation and had overwhelming combat abilities.
"Let me try then." A figure spoke, and momentarily the gazes of the spectators all shifted to him. Following which, Mountain approached the centre of the stone stage as he looked at Luo Cheng, "Let me see how much you have improved."
"Mountain, be careful." Luo Huan shouted. Mountain grinned as he nodded to Luo Huan and Qin Wentian.
"What is Senior Mountain's current level of cultivation?" Qin Wentian looked to Luo Huan as he inquired.
"Peak of the 8th level." Luo Huan replied.
Luo Cheng rose from his seat and approached Mountain. In his hand, Astral Light coalesced into the form of a great sabre, emitting waves of icy chill.
Boom! Luo Cheng burst forward, akin to a demonic beast. His body sank as the great sabre swung downwards, hacking through the void. A sabre light could be seen trailing behind the arcs of his attack, resplendent and ice cold.
Mountain shouted as his fist exploded forwards, as tough as steel, blasting forth to meet the sabre attack.
However, the sabre lights of Luo Cheng changed direction with the speed of lightning, aiming straight for chopping the throat of Mountain. Even though the sun had not yet set, the spectators could already feel traces of coldness.
The sabre edge was too cold.
"What a unpredictable sabre. Senior Mountain will be at a disadvantage in this battle." Qin Wentian intoned in a low voice.
Indeed, after a few exchanges, Mountain was already exhausted. The power of his attacks didn't lose out to his opponent, and even exceeded Luo Cheng's. However, the sabre attacks of Luo Cheng were too unpredictable, and extremely mysterious to the extent where one couldn't even begin to identify which innate technique was he using. Not only that, the sabre attacks contained within them a murderous intent, as though it was only used for killing.
"Pu......" Another beam of cold light flashed by, as both of them halted their movements. The sabre of Luo Cheng disappeared, as Mountain stood dumbly beside him, stating, "I've lost."
A few strands of hair drifted down from Mountain's head. Mountain trembled as he recalled the last exchange of blows. If Luo Cheng had shifted the angle of his sabre attacks ever so slightly, he would've already lost his life.
"Your attacks are too direct and orderly. Your innate techniques do not contain the slightest bit of concept from your own insights, how could you not be defeated?" Luo Cheng calmly spoke as he walked back to his seat and sat down.
"Many thanks for the guidance." Mountain recovered swiftly as he smiled at Luo Cheng, before returning to his seat. He didn't seemed to be too bothered by his loss earlier.
In that instant, Qin Wentian understood why these types of gatherings were hosted. An exchange of pointers between geniuses, learning from the experiences of others, understanding where one's weaknesses lie. This lesson, one would never be able to learn it through normal classes. It was only through directly experiencing it would they be able to understand where their limit was.
"Indeed. Innate techniques were created by people before us. Why couldn't we incorporate our creativity, concepts and own insights into the innate techniques that we learnt? The sabre techniques of Luo Cheng obviously incorporated his own insights. The insights gained at the border of death through death-like training would naturally have more killing power behind them." Qin Wentian silently exclaimed in his heart as he thought, once again, of the Divine Inscription painting he had created. In that painting, the pinnacle of his attacks was something he wanted to attain, yet he was still unable to gain enlightenment.
Afterwards, the other elites also started sparring, and each had their own special characteristics.
A youth exerted the strength of Arterial Circulation to its peak. Every part of his body felt as though he could use them for attack. This person caused Qin Wentian to realise that there would be something he could learn from everyone who was qualified to participate in the gathering.
Below the stage, the other students were watching the sparring of their seniors attentively. To them, this was a hard-to-get opportunity.
At this moment on the stone stage, Qiu Mo's gaze landed on Qin Wentian, as he said with a smile, "Junior Brother Qin's talent is extremely outstanding. Able to become a 3rd level divine inscriptionist at such a young age, his name resounding throughout the Chu Country. Do you want to share your insights regarding cultivation with any of your senior brothers and sisters on this stage?"
Qin Wentian was still in his first year. Not only that, he was the only new student atop of that stone stage. Naturally, the other elites there were his senior martial brothers and sisters.
"Compared to all the seniors sitting here, my cultivation base is shallow and I don't dare to speak about the sharing of experiences and exchanging of pointers. Observing and learning from the exchanges of others, this is the thing I should do." Qin Wentian replied humbly. It wasn't that he was overly polite. Although his talent was extraordinary, and his martial prowess outstanding, he still felt that he had a lot to learn before he was qualified to seek the guidances of these elite seniors.
"Junior Brother is too modest, using only a year to step into the 6th level of Arterial Circulation from Body Refinement, this is a feat that is incredibly difficult to accomplish. And what's more, the most impressive thing is that your comprehension in the field of Divine Inscriptions has reached such a terrifying level. Everyone knows that mastering the art of weapon forging requires an exceptionally long period of time, but yet you still managed to reach such a high level. Obviously, Junior Brother is a talent in both cultivation and the field of Divine Inscriptions. You are too overly modest."
Qiu Mo smiled as he spoke, adopting a elegant demeanour.
"I guess that's because the first Astral Soul I condensed was a forging-type Astral Soul, and thus I have some advantages when it comes to the inscription of Divine Imprints. In addition, I was also lucky, that's how it came to be." Qin Wentian calmly replied.
"I see, but I still have to warn Junior Brother that cultivation isn't that easy. After all, this is still a cultivation-oriented world. Absolute strength is the only guarantee of true power. Divine Inscriptions are important, but they will take up too much of your cultivation time. And if you immerse yourself too deeply in it, your martial heart will not be pure and you may go astray from your intended path."
Qiu Mo slowly continued, "After all, on the path of cultivation, there have been countless fallen geniuses. Not only that, there were also many who met a bottleneck after they broke through and were unable to advance any further in their entire lives. Naturally, there were also others who seemed to cultivate at an extremely quick pace, only to slowly became ordinary because their martial hearts were not resolute enough."
The tone of Qiu Mo was akin to a guiding lecture from a senior to a junior, but many felt that there was something amiss. Qiu Mo should be praising Qin Wentian's outstanding talent instead. Despite his reminder to Qin Wentian about the pit holes of cultivation, there were many hidden meanings in his words, it was as though he was saying that Qin Wentian would become a fallen genius.
The words of Qiu Mo, be it intentional or not, seemed to contain traces of being against Qin Wentian. It was just extremely well hidden in his honeyed words.
Qin Wentian was not an idiot, naturally, he also felt that something was amiss. However, he didn't quite understand why Qiu Mo would be against him. He had never interacted with Qiu Mo before, how could there be any misunderstandings between them?
However, he wouldn't choose to express his anger in front of so many, so he casually replied with a laugh, "Thank you for the reminder Senior."
"It would naturally be excellent if you could listen to my advice." Qiu Mo nodded his head at Qin Wentian as he continued, "A 17 year old Divine Inscriptionist, you are the first in our Chu Country. You should have met with some fortuitous encounter and been able to obtain several 3rd level Divine Imprints, which eventually led to your accomplishments today. However, on the pathway of cultivation, one shouldn't depend too much on fortuitous encounters, but focus on one's hard work instead."
If one were to say that the traces of Qiu Mo being against Qin Wentian were extremely well hidden in his first statement, there was no mistaking his intent now after he made the second statement.
Within the honey-sounding words of Qiu Mo, to put it lightly, he was suspecting the qualifications of Qin Wentian. Firstly, he said that there was no other 17 year old 3rd level Divine Inscriptionist in the history of Chu, and after which, he said that Qin Wentian met with a fortuitous encounter, and even had many 3rd level Divine Imprints with him that others did not have. Wasn't this openly hinting that the 3rd level imprints in that painting weren't created by him but were instead something which he had already obtained from before?
To put it heavily, this wasn't merely suspecting the qualifications of Qin Wentian, but was also extremely venomous.
The heaven-defying 3rd level Divine Inscription painting that contained a never seen before human-type Divine Imprint. How many types of Divine Imprints did Qin Wentian obtain from his fortuitous encounter?
Within the academy, it was still not too bad. But if news of this was to leak out of the academy, how many powers would want to take action against Qin Wentian for the sake of obtaining those Divine Imprints?
Qin Wentian's eyebrows were furrowed intensely. And Luo Huan beside him also had an unsightly countenance. The intent behind Qiu Mo's words was too insidious!