AGM 231 - Hidden Within
The White Deer Institute could be considered an exceptionally famous power in the Moon Continent. Although it wasn't on the level of a transcendent power, its total strength only lost out slightly in comparison.
Not only that, the White Deer Institute almost never got into conflict with the other powers. No one knew how strong the White Deer Institute was exactly, but many people guessed that there may be several powerful characters hiding within it. Naturally, this was only guesswork on their part. Since the White Deer Institute rarely clashed with others, there would be no reason for the other powers to make a move to deal with the White Deer Institute either.
Not only that, the Institute's reputation had always been good. They focused on the teachings of powerful Divine Inscriptions that, once inscribed, granted Divine Weapons unimaginable effects. Yet, they only taught Divine Inscriptions and didn't forge weapons. If one wanted to learn, naturally they would have to pay a certain amount of Yuan Meteor Stones.
One had to say that the White Deer Institute had a variety of ways to generate income. Based only on their expertise with Divine Inscriptions, the school fees they collected from the students were already sufficient to fund the entire institute, not to mention their other sources of income. Hence, the position of the White Deer Institute was extremely important and not many would go against them.
Through some minor investigation, Qin Wentian easily obtained information regarding what sort of place the White Deer Institute was. Yet, he couldn't help but sigh in his heart.
As the saying went: Small-time hermits hide in remote places, while true hermits wouldn't mind attention. This was so true for the White Deer Institute; there should be no one who remembered that a branch of the 'hidden' Azure Faction from back then, had actually become the famous White Deer Institute of today.
Qin Wentian and co. arrived outside the Institute. It gave off an elegant feeling, and there were already a line of people queueing outside.
"Hey, you are here as well?" Fan Le's eyes brightened. In front of them stood the young woman wearing the jade-green dress from earlier.
She frowned as she noticed Fan Le, she was starting to suspect Fan Le's motives.
"Are you here to study Divine Inscriptions as well?" Qin Wentian asked, causing the suspicions in the young woman's heart to lessen as she nodded.
"Wow, so coincidental? Hihi, my name is Fan Le. What's yours, pretty lady?" Fatty stretched his hands out, which were then conveniently ignored.
Qin Wentian smiled as he nodded towards the young woman.
"Leng Ning," the young woman replied, "Is the little puppy in your arms a demonic beast? It's so pretty."
Little Rascal's head poked out of Qin Wentian's embrace as it stared at Leng Ning. After which, its eyes brightened as it leapt out of Qin Wentian's arms, jumping towards Leng Ning.
Before anyone could react, Little Rascal had already snuggled its head between the twin peaks of Leng Ning. It rubbed its head in contentment while letting out barks of excitement before settling down, lying there looking extremely comfortable.
"What an adorable little fellow." Leng Ning's originally cold countenance had immediately melted as she gently stroked Little Rascal's fur.
Seeing the look of contentment on Little Rascal's face, Fan Le could only stick his arms on his hips while muttering ominously. What a lecherous puppy.
"There's quite a lot of people here, do they all wish to join the Institute to research more on Divine Inscriptions?" Qin Wentian swept a glance at the surroundings as he asked Leng Ning.
"Are you a visitor from the other continents?" Leng Ning glanced at Qin Wentian.
"Yes, we've come from a place very far away," Qin Wentian replied.
"No wonder, the White Deer Institute only recruits new blood once every month. Your luck is really good, your arrival coincided with the recruitment period. They will guide you for one month, and if your performance in the Dao of Divine Inscriptions showcases your talents, you can continue cultivating here. If not, the White Deer Institute won't waste your time. Of course, if your attainments with Divine Inscriptions reach an extremely high level, the White Deer Institute may offer you to join them as a guest elder.
Leng Ning had a pretty good first impression of Qin Wentian, thus she patiently explained all this to him.
"Oh yeah, how are your attainments in the Dao of Divine Inscriptions? If you don't have the talent, there's no need to waste Yuan Meteor Stones," Leng Ning added. It wasn't that she looked down on Qin Wentian but instead, she was sincerely advising him.
"I think I could be considered pretty good," Qin Wentian mumbled. In reality, considering his attainments in the Dao of Divine Inscriptions, he could already become an instructor for the students. Not that he would boast about it.
"I believe that you are truly from a very faraway place." Leng Ning rolled her eyes. Pretty good? Regarding their attainments in the Dao of Divine Inscriptions, not many people would dare to say that they are 'pretty good'. Although this fellow was quite good-looking, his words were slightly too boastful. Maybe he didn't know that some students of the White Deer Institute had already achieved terrifying attainments in the Dao of Divine Inscriptions.
"If you want to register for the examination, as well as remain here for a month to receive their guidance, you will have to pay a total of ten third-layer Yuan Meteor Stones," Leng Ning informed them, out of the kindness of her heart.
"That expensive?" Qin Wentian perspired. If they were in Chu, ten third-layer Yuan Meteor Stones would already be considered a staggering fortune. Most people would find it almost impossible to gather this much wealth, even if they were to risk their lives in the Dark Forest over and over again.
Seeing Qin Wentian's astonishment further affirmed Leng Ning's suspicions. This fellow was like a big fish in a small pond and didn't know how huge the outside world really was.
"Yeah, but as long as you have sufficient talent and achieve a high attainment in the Dao of Divine Inscriptions, by then you could just inscribe them onto Divine Weapons and sell them away. Why would you need to worry about not earning back your initial investment?" Leng Ning glanced at Qin Wentian before she continued, "Moreover, Divine Inscriptions are the basis of the Dao of Formations. For a powerful Divine Inscriptionist, not only can he be an expert weaponsmith, after one achieves a high enough attainment, he can also set up powerful formations. How could ten third-layer Yuan Meteor Stones be considered a hefty price?"
"Oh, I see." Qin Wentian nodded. He had never even heard of Formations back in Chu. Chu was indeed too small a place.
"Does the White Deer Institute have a very high level of attainment regarding Divine Inscriptions?" QIn Wentian asked again, he really wanted to know concrete details on how strong exactly this branch of the 'hidden' Azure Faction might be.
Leng Ning was completely speechless. She rolled her eyes and didn't reply, causing Qin Wentian to laugh awkwardly.
"Everyone." After a short while, an old man appeared from the White Deer Institute, looking at the crowd and smiling. "Follow me in."
The crowd nodded and followed the old man into the institute.
In actuality, the White Deer Institute was the Bailu Clan. However, they liked the name of 'Institute' more. Within the Institute were pavilions and buildings, with little bridges built across flowing waters, projecting an air of lushness and tranquility.
The old man brought the crowd to a stone wall. On this stone wall, many outlines of Divine Inscriptions could be seen engraved upon it, giving people a sense of sharpness, yet their eyes still involuntarily shifted over, taking in the wall's markings.
The power in Divine Inscriptions comes from a mysterious source. Miraculous effects occur only when lines of runic Inscriptions intersect and weave about, forming a complete picture of a Divine Inscription.
Qin Wentian could tell with a single glance that the Divine Inscriptions on the stone wall were all second-ranked inscriptions, and the person who inscribed it should also be at the master level. Each stroke of each outline was almost perfect and even if Qin Wentian himself were the one to perform the engravings, he could only improve upon it slightly.
"If the outlines were slightly more graceful, with a twirl at the end of the curl at that final point of intersection, it would be even more perfect. What a pity," Qin Wentian murmured, causing Leng Ning, standing by the side, to freeze. To her, the inscriptions on the stone wall were already incomparably exquisite, this was something she wouldn't be able to do. But from Qin Wentian's words... this fellow was truly a braggart. Especially the expression on his face, as though he truly believed what he said was right, which caused Leng Ning to be speechless.
"What big words." A mocking voice drifted over. Qin Wentian shifted his gaze as he saw a young man clad in yellow robes looking at him, while laughing coldly. "This Divine Inscription has already reached the pinnacle of perfection, each and every stroke of its outline interweave perfectly to form a complete picture without flaw. But in your perspective, there's still room for improvement?"
After speaking, his gaze turned to Leng Ning as he laughed. "Leng Ning, is this a friend of yours?"
Leng Ning furrowed her brows, this fellow was here as well. He purposely came over to find trouble when he noticed that she was with Qin Wentian and his group. Although this Divine Inscription looked very complete, she could still see it was a little distance away from perfection. The yellow-clad youth should be able to tell so as well, yet his words said otherwise, indicating that he was obviously here to create trouble.
"Yan Kong, what does it have to do with you?" Leng Ning coldly replied.
"Indeed, this has nothing to do with me. I'm only worried that your good nature might be taken advantage of by strangers. What a bunch of braggarts." Yan Kong laughed loudly, causing many in the crowd to focus their attention over to them.
Fan Le narrowed his eyes as he stared at Yan Kong. With a cultivation base only at the third level of Yuanfu? He would be squashed like an insect the moment Chu Mang slapped him. How was it that he dared to be this arrogant.
"Hey baby, who is this retard?" Fan Le asked Leng Ning, causing her to be slightly stunned. "Retard?"
"Since he already knows that this has nothing to do with him, why is he still standing here spouting crap? If he is not a retard, then what is he?" Hints of sympathy could be seen in Fan Le's gaze as he looked at Yan Kong. This caused Yan Kong's countenance to stiffen as he glared at Fan Le, a cold light glimmering in his eyes.
"Haaaa-" Leng Ning tried to cover her mouth, but her laughter still resounded. She realised that this fatty wasn't as irksome as she thought he was.
"Leng Ning, you are so beautiful, you know?" Fan Le smiled. Upon hearing the sound of Leng Ning's radiant laughter, he swept his gaze over her figure again.
The gazes of the crowd momentarily froze as they perspired. This fellow... even if he wanted to make a move on the girl, he needn't be so direct, right?
Qin Wentian immediately turned and left, pretending he didn't know this shameless fellow.
"Idiot." Yan Kong coldly stared at Fan Le. After which, he shifted his stare towards Leng Ning as he continued, "Leng Ning, I have to commend you on your 'taste'."
Leng Ning didn't expect that Fan Le would be so corny, at this moment she was at a loss for words.
"Quiet down." At that moment, the old man leading the way spoke out. The clamor died as the crowd directed their attention towards him. Soon after, a young lady appeared beside the old man, wearing a body-hugging, contour-accentuating, long, black-colored robe. Her curves were all visibly outlined, and that smoking-hot body didn't lose out in the slightest when compared to Leng Ning. Her chest appeared even fuller and her exquisite, white neck resembled a heavenly crane. Her appearance was so outstanding that no one wanted to look away from her.
Not only did she have a devilish figure, her face was the face of an angel. It radiated purity, giving people a strong sense of delightful contrast.
Fan Le's eyes lit up, he loved the Moon Continent so, so, so, so much. Beautiful ladies were as common as the clouds and they were all of extremely high quality. Fatty's spring days were coming!
"Bailu Yi, the White Deer Institutes' greatest Divine Inscriptionist from the younger generations. Not only was she able to inscribe third-ranked Inscriptions, the outlines were all incomparably intricate. In addition, her suitors were all extraordinary characters, you guys have no hope at all," Leng Ning explained in a low voice, after seeing the look in Fatty's eyes.
Qin Wentian contemplated Bailu Yi, indeed she was a woman that exuded charm, and just looking at her would cause people to be unable to forget her appearance. And what's more astonishing was that she could actually inscribe third-ranked Divine Inscriptions at such a young age. He himself knew how difficult it was to comprehend and inscribe third-ranked Inscriptions.
"Not bad indeed," Qin Wentian lightly commented, causing Leng Ning to be utterly dumbfounded. The ability to inscribe third-ranked Inscriptions only earned a commendation of 'not bad'? She should already be considered a 'monster'.
This handsome fellow in front of her, boasted with such a straight face, and with no hints of shame. It was as though his words were decidedly correct and a matter of course.