AGM 471 - A Resolute Heart
Right now, since Qin Wentian's other self has already recovered, he naturally understood that his other incarnation Di Tian, who had stepped into the third dimension, was actually embroiled in a dreamscape created by the demons of his heart. Years passed in there, but in reality, only the time taken for a single thought to form had passed. It was just a dream, but also a lifetime.
Such a method or innate technique was inconceivably powerful.
"I once entered into a dreamscape created by a senior, but the dreamscape which my other true-self entered, wasn't created through the hands of others." Although he had a certain level of comprehension in the Mandate of Dreams, and knew that the illusions within were actually fuelled by the power of fears in his heart, he still had no way to extricate himself from it.
Qin Wentian frowned, the hardest path indeed. Even having two true-self, he had no way to awaken himself from it. Everything would have to depend on Di Tian himself, nobody could help him safe for he himself who was currently experiencing the dream.
This trial, if one was truly unable to awaken, there was a possibility that he would end up trapped in that nightmare for all eternity.
"You and him shared an innate connection. Can't he feel your existence?" Qing`er murmured in a low voice. Qin Wentian lightly nodded, "It's precisely why this is so terrifying. Despite the fact that that's my other true-self, that dreamscape dimension could even seal off even the flow of thoughts and senses between us. I wonder if this is a dream creation technique or an illusion technique."
Qing`er's eye lashes fluttered, she then turned her clean and pure gaze onto Qin Wentian. Qin Wentian felt a little puzzled, he involuntarily asked, "What's wrong?"
"Has that anything to do with you hugging me?" Qing`er innocently asked, her words causing a smile of extreme embarrassment to appear on Qin Wentian's face. He had wanted to shift the conversational topic away, yet who could have thought that Qing`er was so intelligent.
Staring into that eyes of innocence, Qin Wentian could only smile bitterly, "In Di Tian's nightmare, something... something horrifying happened, so..."
"Oh..." Qing`er interjected and directly turned her body, she didn't want Qin Wentian to notice the change of her expressions.
However, it didn't seemed that Qing`er was angry.
Turning his gaze towards the bamboo forest, Qin Wentian drew in a deep breath. Thinking of the anguish and despair Di Tian felt, he resolutely vowed in his heart, "I will never permit that to happen, ever."
As he thought of here, Qin Wentian clenched his fist. At this moment, his thoughts changed. He no longer felt any inclination to clash with the various transcendent powers like the Pill Emperor Hall. He could ignore his safety but he had to take into consideration the safety of his kin and friends. He didn't wish for anything unfortunate to befall him.
"Let every single thing, every bit of misfortune, fall entirely on me." Qin Wentian sighed. Although Jun Yu's strength wasn't that powerful, Fairy Qingmei has already introduced the strength of the Royal Sacred Sect as well as the relative strength of the three Grand Empires currently controlling this world to him. If things in reality happened according to that nightmare, Jun Yu led external powers over and hunted each of his companions down, so what of it even if he executed the Immortal Vanquishing Swordplay and slayed Jun Yu? He simply wasn't strong enough to withstand the fires of rage that would soon follow.
He would surely get revenge for Qingcheng, but he must never allow misfortune to fall on people around him.
"Qing`er, I plan to cultivate a little longer. After that, I will leave Grand Xia." Qin Wentian spoke. Di Tian's nightmare changed his mind and opened up many new paths of thought for him.
He needed to get out there, he needed to get even stronger. Only when he has sufficient power to stand unrivalled in Grand Xia, would he truly have the capabilities to protect those he needed to protect.
"Okay." Qing`er stated, she didn't have too great a reaction. Qin Wentian was already used to her personality.
"I will go with you as well." Qing`er added, her words causing a smile to appear on Qin Wentian's face. Although Qing`er was a woman of few words - she wouldn't even speak much with him, Qin Wentian had long treated her as one of his closest kin. Every time when he was in danger, she would always be standing in front of him protectively, always.
He could still remember back then when he was still in the form of the primordial great roc, Qing`er was there accompany him. She also told him that she didn't want him to stay a demon.
And because of that one simple wish of hers, Qin Wentian didn't even know exactly what was the price she paid to obtain the Great Nirvana Immortal Art.
More than once, he had asked Qing`er about it but she just didn't want to reveal it. However Qin Wentian was still adamant on wanting to know. How could such an incredible, heaven-defying art like the Great Nirvana Art be so easy to obtain?
Forming another body that shares the same talent, same bloodline, same power and even same soul. If it was an extremely powerful but evil cultivator who had obtained this, thereby directly increasing his strength by two fold, the implications would be too horrifying to imagine. If news of this art was leaked, Grand Xia would definitely erupt in total chaos. And leaving Grand Xia aside, even the Royal Sacred Sect in Grand Shang would definitely spare no expenses, causing storms of blood in their quest to obtain it. This was why Qing`er forbade him from revealing it. This was also why, in accordance to his promise, Qin Wentian didn't even speak of this to Fan Le and the others.
Qin Wentian then went and focused on his cultivation. Di Tian's experiences had been shared to him. His original body also had a breakthrough in boundary regarding his Mandate of Swords. Qin Wentian had to take some time to consolidate the foundations in his original body and also to cultivate the Seven Annihilation Swordplay.
As for Di Tian, because he couldn't sense Qin Wentian in this dimension, he was still struggling amidst the endless agony and pain.
In that dimension, Qin Wentian was still in the Dark Forest of Chu and was currently madly running away. Right now, he was in a crazed state, he wanted nothing more than to escape from this reality.
Dead, they were all dead. Qing`er used her last breath of life to send him away. Even when facing death, she still did so with a smile. He would never be able to forget that image of her before her death. It has already been branded into his mind, and every time he closed his eyes and saw her once more, his heart felt as though it was on the verge of breaking apart.
He didn't dare to face it, he didn't want to think about it, he hated himself.
Why? Why was this happening?
Qin Wentian lifted his head and howled, he ran and ran, tt was unknown how long he ran for. Finally, he fainted halfway while running and when he awoke, he was groggy and muddle-headed. His hair was dishevelled, he looked akin to a mad man.
He didn't know that he was in a nightmare, to him, this was reality. It felt like a cycle of samsara, a true life time. He didn't even have the concept that this was still part of the test and that he was still in the third dimension.
As someone who experienced heart-wrenching pain of seeing those companions closest to him dying one after another, how could he even question that what he was witnessing was false?
Obviously, that was impossible!
Self-reproach, hatred and regrets swirled about unceasingly in his heart.
Qin Wentian continued running on and on, and after an unknown amount of time passed, he came to a small village that was situated in Chu.
The people in the village only knew of the simplest cultivation techniques. In fact, they couldn't even be considered Stellar Martial Cultivators, they were absorbing the Yuan Qi of the Heavens and Earth, cultivating normal martial techniques. Although their strength was at the lowest rung from the perspective of any cultivators, the lives they led were quiet and peace-filled.
Involuntarily, he started to envy the lifestyle of people living in the village. If Qing`er didn't die to protect him, how good would it be if they could live the rest of their lives here, ignoring the strife from the outside world, remaining free from all worries?
Suddenly, Qin Wentian felt very tired. His heart was already extremely weary. He wanted to rest.
When living in the village, he came across a young maiden. With just a single glance, Qin Wentian felt his breath being stolen away. This young maiden exuded an air extremely similar to Mo Qingcheng, her pure and flawless beauty moving the hearts of the crowd. She was like the most beautiful flower in this world, exuding sunlight to others.
Upon seeing that he was injured, the young maiden ran to him and aided him in recovery. Gradually, the two of them got acquainted and would often pass the time by chatting and doing little things together. Gradually, it was unknown when, but Qin Wentian started to fall in love with the lifestyle in this village. He was unwilling to venture out, unwilling to return to his previous lifestyle, a life that seemed a lifetime ago.
It was as though he wanted to escape from something.
He was afraid to even recall that nightmare once again. Every time Qing`er face flashes in his thoughts, his heart felt as though it was about to be shredded apart. Even the pain of a thousand arrows thundering into his heart couldn't be comparable to the anguish and regret he felt.
Gradually, he chose to forget everything that happened. In this way, he would no longer have to face his past again.
Time flowed by, he started to have a new life of his own. An ordinary man, living in quiet and peace. He wanted nothing more than to continue living like this forever.
However his perfect lifestyle was soon broken apart again. Jun Yu and the others discovered this place and attacked just when he away from the village. Qin Wentian stood at the peak of the mountains nearby and personally witnessed them destroying the village. He witnessed the Celestial Phenomenon Ascendants as complete waves of devastation swept over everything. Even children and women weren't spared. Qin Wentian hated himself immensely, he hated the fact that he was too weak, he hated the fact that he wanted to run again.
"NO!" A hoarse sounding scream echoed out from his throat. That clouded eyes of his, now radiated with a gleam of sharpness as he stared at the skies.
"Qing`er didn't die, foster father Qin Chuan and his elder sister Qin Yao is alive as well. THIS REALITY IS FALSE! EVERYTHING IS FALSE!!" Qin Wentian howled like a mad demon, refuting the scene before him. At long last, he could finally sense a hint of mysterious energy permeating this reality. That mysterious energy had laid out events after events before him, drawing him closer and close to the centre of this reality, driving him mad, breaking his will, consigning him to a place of eternal damnation.
"I will never run again." Qin Wentian sat atop the mountain peak, his gaze filled with an incomparable resolution.
As the sound of his voice faded, with an intention of his will, a sword appeared in front of him.
Qin Wentian held the sword in his hands. With no hesitation at all, he directly pierced the sword right into his chest. A bout of rending pain flooded through him, Qin Wentian lowered his head, staring at his wound, looking at the flowing blood. How could this be false? This pain, was real. This was his life, this was reality!
"If this life is real, and I, Qin, am such a coward, what right do I even have to live in this world?" Qin Wentian laughed, after so long, a care-free look finally appeared on his face. His spirit felt liberated, he had seen through the vicissitudes of life and death.
"This reality might be true, or it might be false. Even if I have to suffer the pain of ten thousand knives slashing at my heart, I want this life to end, regardless of it's real or not."
As the sound of his voice faded, he pulled the sword out from his chest and pierced it in once again, this time into his heart. This pain, threatened to knock him unconscious.
However Qin Wentian was actually smiling. He roared to the heavens, "If I do this, can you stop me from ending it? Who are you exactly? How can you drive such a mighty power that could trap people within a life of their own making for an eternity?"
While speaking, countless number of sharp swords floated up in the air. Qin Wentian closed his eyes and roared in defiance. In an instant, the endless swords all zoomed towards him, piercing right into his body. The pain of millions upon millions of sword penetrating his heart made him felt an agony even worse than death. However he had no regrets, this was his conviction, he wanted to end this life, end this reality. How could the life of he, Qin Wentian, be so lowly and cowardly?
If this life was a reality, he would choose death.
As the endless waves of swords penetrate through his body, Qin Wentian's eyes slowly shut.
At this very instant, everything in this space disappeared completely in an instant, only leaving behind silence.
A figure quietly lied there in the middle of the air. This was none other than Qin Wentian. His eyelashes fluttered as he opened his eyes that were filled with an iron will as well as an unbendable conviction.
"This unworthy life, even if it's but a dream, I still want it to end." Qin Wentian murmured as he sat up. Indeed, surrounding him was emptiness, the third trial was born out of his own heart.
"Was this the trial in the third dimension?" Qin Wentian felt frustration and disappointment, with no hint of happiness that he transcended it. That was a dream, but also a life which he engraved deep inside his heart. Although he knew it wasn't a reality, it was still hard for him to forget it.
It was too real, to real to the point where somehow somewhere, he truly believed that deep inside his heart, that was his life. So real to the point where even the pain of a single sword piercing his heart had no way to awaken him out from that reality.
That, was the trial with the highest difficulty!
The first trial was combat, it was the easiest.
The second trial, the difficulty skyrocketed, it tested his ability of comprehension.
While the third trial, tested the strength of one's conviction. This trial was too terrifying, too terrifying to the extent that even after he awoke, Qin Wentian's blood was still cold and his hair still stood to an end. Luckily, all of that was over.