AGM 181 - Entrance to the Celestial Lake
Yi Xiang stared at Qin Wentian as he stated, "Brother Qin, although the Ouyang Clan and the Azure Emperor Palace were both situated in the Azure Continent, their levels cannot be compared to each other. The Ouyang Clan's power can be ranked amongst the top few within the Nine Continents. Not only that, out of all the younger generations of the Ouyang Clan, Brother Ouyang could be considered one of their top talents, with both his astral souls condensed from the 4th Heavenly Layer."
Qin Wentian's heart thudded slightly as he cast a glance at Ouyang Kuangsheng. It was extremely rare for someone to condense both their Astral Souls from the 4th Heavenly Layer; the Nine Continents were indeed a place filled with crouching tigers and hidden dragons.
"Stop kissing my ass, look at my age, I've not even stepped into Yuanfu. There's nothing for me to boast about." Ouyang Kuangsheng laughed straightforwardly, as though he didn't give a damn.
Yi Xiang's lips trembled; his intention to fawn seemed obvious from his tone and choice of words.
"Brother Qin, although this time around there's no hope of you seizing the opportunity to dip into the celestial lake, you can still consider this to be a widening of your perspectives." Yi Xiang quickly shifted the conversation back to Qin Wentian, his tone sounding slightly boastful, as he felt gratified to see how seriously Qin Wentian listened to him.
After chatting for a while longer, Qin Wentian returned to his room with his heart involuntarily filled with worry regarding the storm in Chu.
Compared to those characters out there, the geniuses from Chu undoubtedly lost their splendor. And with his current strength, he was unable to be of any help regarding the chaotic tempest brewing in Chu. Although he had inherited the map of Dicang from the Azure Emperor, he was still totally clueless as to what he should do next. Qin Wentian could only take one step at a time now.
"What are you thinking about?" Mo Qingcheng entered the room. Upon seeing her incompatible attire, Qin Wentian couldn't help but laugh, causing Mo Qingcheng to glare at him.
"I'm thinking that if your clan members knew that I've kidnapped you to such a faraway place, would they go all out and fight me to the death?" Qin Wentian gently smiled.
"Pfft, in that case, you'd have to bear the responsibility." Mo Qingcheng laughed.
"Bear the responsibility?" A bright light shone in Qin Wentian's eyes, as he stared at Mo Qingcheng intently, causing the mischievous expression on Mo Qingcheng's face to turn into one of extreme shyness as she replied, "You rascal."
After which, Mo Qingcheng ran out of the room in a fluster, causing Qin Wentian to smile with fondness.
In the following days, there would be numerous people arriving daily. Qin Wentian glanced down from his balcony and saw two rows of silhouettes walking in a line. A cultivator leading one of the lines was a girl of extreme beauty and upon seeing her, Qin Wentian couldn't help but freeze slightly in surprise before he smiled and called out, "Hey, Qian Mengyu."
Qian Mengyu glanced upwards and at the sight of Qin Wentian, an expression of astonishment appeared on her face. Ever since that escapade in the Spirit Beasts Testing Grounds, she had sent people to investigate news of Qin Wentian. The information report returned stating that in one of the countries under the administrations of Nine Mystical Palace, there was indeed a person named Qin Wentian in Chu. It was also reported that he was exceptionally famous, but other than that, she didn't know anything else about him.
"What are you doing here?" Qian Mengyu smiled. So a small country like Chu also knew of the existence of the Celestial Lake Palace?
"The same reason as you." Qin Wentian laughed. Being able to meet here could also be counted as a form of fate, and thus Qin Wentian's attitude was much warmer now compared to back then in the Spirit Beasts Testing Grounds. After all, Qian Mengyu had aided him once, not to mention her sword technique, Nine Swords of Life, may indicate a possible connection to Gongyang Hong.
"Then, I will be staying there." Qian Mengyu pointed to a pavilion beside that of Qin Wentian, as she walked up to the second level.
"This time around, Greencloud Pavilion sent out many disciples. The tests of the Celestial Lake Palace are exceedingly dangerous, so why don't you join us? At the very least, we can keep a look out for each other," Qian Mengyu remarked. In her heart, she wanted to help Qin Wentian. This fellow didn't have any kind of powerful background to speak of, he must have faced countless dangers before making his way here. Since they had crossed paths, it was natural for her to extend a helping hand to him.
"Right." Qin Wentian nodded his head, not thinking too deeply into it as he asked, "Can I ask you something? Is the Nine Swords of Life a unique sword-type innate technique belonging to your Greencloud Pavilion?"
"It can be considered so." Qian Mengyu nodded, continuing, "This set of sword techniques contain many transformations, and an undying will. For me, my mastery level is only at the tip of the iceberg, however back then my aunt had cultivated this sword technique to an incredible heights. She was able to manifest the sword energy of this technique to attack using a sword-type divine imprint, further enhancing its might."
"Aunt?" Qin Wentian's heart pounded. Could her aunt be the woman Gongyang Hong loved?
To be precise, weren't the four human-type Divine Inscription Paintings inscribed by the woman Gongyang Hong loved?!
"Why do you ask? Do you train in sword techniques as well?" Qian Mengyu laughed.
"No, just casually asking. Your aunt must be very powerful," Qin Wentian remarked.
"Yeah! Not only is my aunt extremely beautiful, her talent in cultivation is exceedingly high as well. There are many others out to pursue her but sadly, she's trapped by matters of the heart." Qian Mengyu sighed, before stiffening. Why was she talking to Qin Wentian about such things.
Seeing the warm smile on Qin Wentian's gentle countenance, Qian Mengyu could only laugh bitterly in her heart before abruptly turning away. Although this young man's talent wasn't unacceptable, if he were to truly fall in love with her, she would certainly reject him. She was only helping him out because of their coincidental meeting.
Qin Wentian was unaware of the mistaken thoughts running through Qian Mengyu's mind. Seeing that she had no more interest in continuing the conversation, he too turned to walk back into his room as he saw Mo Qingcheng quietly sitting there.
"I once had a chance meeting with her, and there's a high probability that she has some connection with Senior Gongyang," Qin Wentian explained. Mo Qingcheng gazed at him as she nodded and laughed; the sound of her laughter was extremely endearing.
Qin Wentian retrieved one of the four paintings gifted by Gongyang Hong. This painting was none other than the Divine Inscription Painting of the Nine Swords of Life, however, the inscriptions etched in the painting only contained a kind of concept; there was no way to use it for attacking purposes. Qin Wentian had once received memories of divine imprints before. If he could utilise some of the complicated 3rd-level imprints stored in his memory, how tyrannical would his attacks be then?
Qin Wentian had already established in the past that divine imprints and innate techniques shared the same roots.
His eyes gradually brightened, but his excitement was soon replaced by a look of unease. If he wanted to use 3rd-level divine imprints as a direct attack, the power behind such a move would be extremely dominating. The downside was that it would require him to exhaust a large amount of his Divine Yuan Energy. Before stepping into Yuanfu, he would only be able to execute this kind of attack a couple of times at the most, before running dry of energy.
A gentle smile appeared on Mo Qingcheng's face as she saw the serious look of contemplation on Qin Wentian's countenance. What was this fellow thinking of to be so engrossed within his thoughts?
"At the Astral River Hall, after seeing the attack of the multitude of fist-lights, I comprehended the concept of the second stance of the Great Dream Halberd Art - Fallen Star. However, if I were to use a sword-type Divine Yuan to amplify my attacks..." A sharp glint of light flashed in Qin Wentian's eyes; if what he imagined was reality, Yuanfu realm opponents may not be undefeatable after all.
Inclining his head, Qin Wentian saw Mo Qingcheng smiling at him with a tender look of gentleness in her eyes. Warmth filled his heart, and a sudden impulse overtook him.
"What are you thinking about?" Mo Qingcheng still hadn't noticed the peculiar look on Qin Wentian's face. As the sound of her voice faded, Qin Wentian had already enveloped her into a hug, gently kissing her on the cheek, causing her to be stunned as though struck by a bolt of lightning.
Abruptly, Qin Wentian stood up and ran away. Only then did Mo Qingcheng come back to her senses. Her face instantly flushed with redness, giggling as she stared at Qin Wentian running away. She couldn't imagine a moment more beautiful than this.
Qin Wentian didn't come out from his room after that. Mo Qingcheng occasionally peeked in on him, only to see him silently meditating with Yuan Meteor Stones clutched in his hands.
Currently, Astral Energy was unceasingly being gathered within Qin Wentian's body, condensing into sword-type Divine Yuan Energy, as an aura of unparalleled sharpness emanated out from him.
All sword attacks were incredibly sharp, and if he were to augment his existing attacks with his present sword-type, Divine Yuan Energy, the power of his attacks would undoubtedly rise to another level. However, to forcibly convert all his Astral Energy into Divine Yuan Energy would exhaust a great amount of Yuan Meteor Stones. Luckily, the current him wasn't lacking in cultivation resources.
Apart from this, he could create a dreamscape, to observe whether his idea was correct.
The next day, people from the Celestial Lake Palace arrived to extend an invitation to them. Everyone left their pavilions and stepped into the long hallway, walking in the direction of the Celestial Lake Palace.
"So many people." Qin Wentian cast a glance at the long hallway swamped with people. There was at least several hundreds in the crowd.
"This amount can't be considered many. The Grand Xia Empire is too vast, and the celestial lake is of paramount importance to cultivators at the 9th level of Arterial Circulation. Even young elites belonging to powerful clans and factions will make the trip to here. Firstly, they can immerse themselves in the waters of the celestial lake. Secondly, they can use the opportunity to temper themselves through the dangers faced on their journey over here," Qian Mengyu explained in a low voice.
"This place is open to all? Doesn't the Celestial Lake Palace reject anyone?" Qin Wentian asked, curiosity evident in his voice.
"Yup, this was the promise Fairy Qingmei made back then. Also, she had no need to obstruct those who came, because the weaker ones wouldn't even see their deaths coming until too late," Qian Mengyu explained.
The current Mo Qingcheng was dressed up as a man to avoid unnecessary trouble. She had also smeared something on her face, causing her to look even more unusual, but fortunately it completely masked her stunning countenance.
Qian Mengyu and the girl beside Ouyang Kuangsheng were also extremely beautiful. Although their beauty was just half a step inferior to Mo Qingcheng's, they had no need to conceal their features because they were not afraid of trouble.
The Celestial Lake Palace representatives led the crowd towards a great hall. The interior was decorated extravagantly: gigantic stone pillars stood erect, and the outer edges of the hall was designed to look like the starry skies.
All the girls in the great hall were peerless in their beauty.
The crowd gathered within, and directly facing them was a pool of Astral Lake Water. This pool was extremely beautiful to gaze upon, reflecting a dazzling, radiant sheen of starlight.
"This is the entrance to the Celestial Lake. Indeed, it is a mystical place. The waters of the celestial lake are completely filled with inconceivable amounts of Astral Energy." Many people gasped in shock.
Ahead of the great hall, a beautiful woman sat atop an Astral Throne, smiling at the crowd.
"We greet the Palace Mistress." The crowd bowed to show their respect. A majority of the crowd snuck glances at the girls that stood to the side of the beautiful woman, expressions of unconcealed admiration evident in their eyes.
Too breathtakingly beautiful, they were akin to fireworks in the mortal world. Just merely standing there caused people in the crowd to feel ashamed of their own inferiority.
The majority of females within the crowd seemed to have lost their splendor, and even Mo Qingcheng's eyes flickered as she commented, "They are all so beautiful."
"We've finally found a female whose looks are comparable to yours." Qin Wentian nudged Mo Qingcheng, whispering into her ears, causing her to roll her eyes at him.
"Yeah, but doesn't her demeanor seem a bit cold?"
"Right." Qin Wentian nodded lightly, the woman facing them gave people a feeling of being as cold as ice and indifferent to all; by her appearance it seemed impossible to approach her.