AGM 178 - Travelling together
Within the grounds of the Emperor Star Academy, lay the corpse of Yue Qingfeng. The cause of his death was a long spear penetrating his throat, pinning and locking his body to the ground.
In front of his corpse, Yue Hanshan shuddered violently; he would never have believed, and was still unwilling to believe, that this trip to Chu would lead to the murder of his son, Yue Qingfeng.
His eyes reddened, and a towering aura of killing intent could be felt gushing forth from him. All those from the Emperor Star Academy fled upon witnessing this scene, their hearts involuntarily rejoicing in the face of Yue Hanshan's misfortune. After all, those from the Azure Emperor Palace were insufferably arrogant, as they ravaged through the entire Emperor Star Academy, turning everything upside down. This loss could be considered a punishment for them.
Surely, the reason behind Yue Qingfeng's death must be because he had offended someone. He had sowed seeds of vengeance everywhere, ultimately leading to his death.
"Investigate, INVESTIGATE EVERYTHING COMPLETELY!" Yue Hanshan howled in anger, his infuriated voice resounding throughout the Emperor Star Academy.
At that moment, Qin Wentian was sitting in the courtyard of his own residence with a map scroll in his hands. Upon hearing the howl of rage, Qin Wentian inclined his head, directing his gaze towards the commotion with an unperturbed expression.
If he didn't kill Yue Qingfeng, Mo Qingcheng would never be at ease in her heart. So, Yue Qingfeng must die.
That once childish young man had undergone too many baptisms under the cruelty of reality, to the point where his heart grew colder and colder. He had no qualms about transforming into a god of blood and slaughter, if a threat were made to the people around him.
Lowering his head, he turned his attention back to the map in his hands. Looking closely at it, Qin Wentian traced his finger to a random location on the map. Over it, there were traces of words inscribed.
"This place is the Demon Continent of the Grand Xia Empire. According to the map, the X marked there should be referring to a forested mountain range within it." Qin Wentian stared at the terrain; the continent's size was just too vast, with forests and mountain ranges even more expansive compared to some other countries outlined in the map. One such country was the Dark Forest of Chu, a forested region so vast that it even enveloped the entire Royal Capital of Chu within it. It didn't seem possible that anyone could determine for certain the secrets hidden within.
(Change of translation terms: State -> Continent e.g. Transcendent powers of the nine states → Transcendent powers of the nine continents)
The X-mark on the map, referred to an extremely huge region made up of an immense forested mountain range.
Qin Wentian studied that part of the map, noting that the X-mark was pointing to a random location within a small city. The map was so clear to the point where the X-mark referred to very specific locations within the city. He wondered what secret the Azure Emperor had hidden there.
"Wentian." At this moment, a voice drifted over. Qin Wentian turned his head towards the voice and saw Old Gu and Mo Qingcheng descending from the air.
"Old Gu, Qingcheng." Qin Wentian kept the map as he stood up in greeting.
"Yue Qingfeng died," Old Gu stated, staring intently at Qin Wentian. Upon seeing the unperturbed expression on Qin Wentian's face, he sighed silently in relief as he shifted topics. "We've also finally discovered the reason behind the Azure Emperor Palace's visit."
Naturally, the Emperor Star Academy wouldn't spend too much effort into investigating the culprit behind Yue Qingfeng's death.
"Why were they here?" Qin Wentian asked as his eyes flickered with curiosity.
"There are two great Factions within the Azure Emperor Palace. One of them - named the Azure Faction, were the direct descendants that share the same bloodline as the Azure Emperor. The Azure Faction and the Emperor Star Academy were linked in countless ways. Our current Headmaster Diyi is the representative from the Azure Faction, and those that came here to Chu are from the other Faction. From the side of the Azure Faction we received news that of a high probability the past Azure Emperor had hidden his life's greatest secret within the Emperor Star Academy. Xiao Lan of the Nine Mystical Palace came here because of this news, as well."
"The greatest secret of the Azure Emperor?" Qin Wentian's eyes shone.
"Yes, his greatest secret. In the past, the Azure Emperor was unmatched and peerless, regardless of whichever cultivation realm he was in. Easily obtaining victory, even when facing multiple opponents at the same level, he was said to be an invincible existence. The reason for this was because the Azure Emperor had broken the ironclad law of cultivation - he had more than one Yuanfu. After the secret was exposed, countless powerful experts from the Grand Xia Empire banded together to chase after the Azure Emperor for the sake of obtaining the secret. It was highly possible that before he disappeared, he came to Chu and founded the Emperor Star Academy."
"More than one Yuanfu?" Qin Wentian exclaimed in shock. According to what he knew, everyone could only cultivate a single Yuan Ocean within their bodies, this was an indisputable fact. After which, the Yuan Ocean would also be used to nurture their Astral Soul until their Astral Nova manifested.
"You are right, but there may be a heaven-defying innate technique to break that ironclad law. It's just that no one knew of the existence of it," Old Gu continued, as Qin Wentian's heart suddenly trembled as he thought of something.
Map. That map from the 9th level of the Heavenly Star Pavilion.
But if that map could really show the hiding place of the Azure Emperor's secret, shouldn't Headmaster Diyi be able to deduce it?
In these few thousand years, no one had stormed the door guarding the entrance of the 9th level. Was this the absolute order given by the Azure Emperor before his death?
"However, you need bother yourself no longer with this matter. In any case, Qingcheng wishes to go out for a walk, why don't you accompany her?" Old Gu sighed.
Qin Wentian glanced at Old Gu before shifting his eyes to Mo Qingcheng. How could he not understand Old Gu's intentions?
Those from the Azure Emperor Palace thought his strength was merely at the 8th level of Arterial Circulation, and had even witnessed how Yue Qingfeng had injured him. Naturally, they would not suspect him. However, both Old Gu and Mo Qingcheng should have already guessed that he was the one who killed Yue Qingfeng. There was no absolute guarantee that his strength would remain hidden and thus they wished for him to leave temporarily, staying out of the line of sight of those from the Azure Emperor Palace.
And, when talking about leaving, it was about temporarily leaving Chu. Currently, Chu was embroiled in the chaotic struggles between the rebels and the Royal Clan, as well as the feud between both academies. In addition to that, both parties from the Nine Mystical Palace and Azure Emperor Palace had also arrived. In these troubled times, the academy wished for him to be far away from the conflict.
This was the only way so that Qin Wentian wouldn't be in danger.
After several moments, Qin Wentian nodded his head heavily as he replied, "Okay."
"Make your preparations, and leave immediately as soon as you're done." Old Gu patted Qin Wentian on his shoulders as he departed.
"Let me first say goodbye to my Father and Sister," Qin Wentian said to Mo Qingcheng.
"I'll wait for you here." Mo Qingcheng nodded.
Qin Wentian bid farewell to his family and close friends, instructing those who wished to leave that they must only do so under the protection of the Emperor Star Academy. After which, he met up once more with Mo Qingcheng, and together they sneaked quietly out of the academy, before flying away on Mo Qingcheng's white crane.
The white crane flew westwards. Qin Wentian stood on top it, casting his gaze at the gradually disappearing Royal Capital. In his eyes, there were traces of attachment and also of reluctance.
Qin Wentian agreed to Old Gu's suggestions because he clearly knew that in the current situation, he didn't even have the strength and qualification to battle. Thus, he chose to leave Chu for the time-being.
"I will be back soon. Very soon," Qin Wentian vowed in his heart. There were already too many people in the Royal Capital that he couldn't bear to part with.
He was truly reluctant to leave, but he needed to strengthen his power.
"What are you thinking about?" Mo Qingcheng asked in a low voice, standing at Qin Wentian's side.
"Qingcheng, thank you. We should part ways now, and you should return to the academy. I may need to journey somewhere extremely far away." Qin Wentian glanced at Mo Qingcheng, a gentle smile adorning his lips.
"But we agreed that you must accompany me for a walk." Mo Qingcheng pouted as she gazed at Qin Wentian with a hint of rebuke in her eyes.
Qin Wentian could only smile bitterly. As he placed his hands on Mo Qingcheng's shoulders he spoke with seriousness, "I really need to go to a faraway place, and it may be exceedingly dangerous. I don't want you to be at risk because of me."
Mo Qingcheng quietly gazed at Qin Wentian, not speaking a word. Her peerless, unmatched countenance of beauty, was so close to him. Her limpid eyes akin to Autumn water held traces of heartfelt worry in them, causing warm currents to fill Qin Wentian's heart.
Reaching out with his hands, his fingers moved towards Mo Qingcheng's visage. His heart was pounding madly; he had never been this nervous in his life before.
Finally, Qin Wentian's fingers touched her face, her smooth and gentle skin sent shivers down Qin Wentian spine, causing his heart to palpitate even wilder. He looked intently at Mo Qingcheng, as though afraid he had angered her.
"I'll go with you." Mo Qingcheng whispered, gazing back at him.
Qin Wentian smiled reluctantly, seeing the resolute expression in the eyes of Mo Qingcheng. The look was mixed with hidden bitterness, as though she was daring him to disagree, and so he could only nod his head in acquiescence.
"That's better." Mo Qingcheng smiled, causing Qin Wentian's heartbeat to quicken. This was the first time he'd seen her smiling at such close proximity. She was too stunning, too breathtaking.
"Have you not taken enough advantage yet?" Pouting, Mo Qingcheng glared at Qin Wentian. Stunned into realization, only now did Qin Wentian remove his trembling hands, as he sat back on the white crane, feeling a sweetness in his heart. Only with Mo Qingcheng would he experience these emotions that seemed a mixture of warmth and sweetness.
Mo Qingcheng sat down beside Qin Wentian, as the white crane increased its speed further. A fiendishly handsome young man sitting together with a celestial beauty, drifting through the clouds like a pair of immortals.
"Where are we going? Mo Qingcheng asked with a gentle smile on her face.
Qin Wentian retrieved the map, studying the X-mark before replying, "The Demon Continent, we will fly according to the path outlined on the map. I'm afraid we will still need a great deal of time before we arrive."
"Where did you get this map from?" Mo Qingcheng inquired, as puzzlement painted her face.
"9th level of the Heavenly Star Pavilion. This was left behind by the Azure Emperor, Dicang. When your grandpa told us the secret of the Azure Emperor, I guessed that it had an extremely high probability of being hidden in the location marked on the map." Qin Wentian pointed to the X-mark.
Mo Qingcheng trembled slightly as her expressions blanked, stunned by the trust Qin Wentian placed in her. Without reservation, Qin Wentian had actually told her the location of the Azure Emperor's secret.
As she thought of this, sweetness blossomed in her heart, and she smiled and nodded. She was extremely happy that Qin Wentian trusted her so much.
Gentle gusts of wind blew upon their bodies as Qin Wentian held the map. The white crane continued flying westwards, across mountains, rivers, towns and villages.
This place was the furthest Qin Wentian had been to, ever since he could form memories. Similarly, it was the same for Mo Qingcheng. She had never been so far away from Chu before.
Their hearts were filled with apprehension, but despite this, there was also warmth. This was because their travelling companion was none other than each other.
Within both their hearts, for the first time in their lives, the seeds of love began to germinate.