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A few thousand li away from the outskirts of the Demon Capital, there was a vast forested region so huge that it seemed without boundaries, stretching across an inexhaustible expanse.
At dawn, atop this massive wilderness, there appeared a white crane.
Mounted on top of the crane, there was a fiendishly handsome young man as well as an extremely beautiful, pure-looking girl. The girl’s head rested gently against his shoulders, leaning her body lightly upon his.
The young man gradually opened his eyes, but remained motionless, afraid that his movements would disturb the girl.
These two were none other than Qin Wentian and Mo Qingcheng.
Mo Qingcheng’s eyelashes fluttered, as she slowly woke up. Her eyes were like crystals, sparkling with a pure glow and then flickered, her countenance reddening as she moved her head slowly away from him.
“You woke.” Qin Wentian gazed at the somewhat tired face of Mo Qingcheng, and a faint feeling of heartbreak flashed in his heart. On their journey to this place, they had gotten lost, taken many detours, and spent almost a month on the back of the white crane. Although the white crane’s flying speed was several times faster than theirs, it still had its limits as it was merely a 7th-level Demonic Beast after all.
“Mm…” Mo Qingcheng nodded lightly. A glow of fascination shone in her eyes, the mountain range was so vast that they couldn’t see its end. In comparison, the Dark Forest would at most only fill up a corner of this region.
Qin Wentian retrieved the map and studied it, after which he smiled to Mo Qingcheng. “We will arrive soon, help me guide the crane’s flying direction.”
“Okay.” Mo Qingcheng nodded in agreement as the white crane continued flying forwards. Despite knowing they were close, half a day passed and they still had yet to discover the location marked on the map.
“Maybe we are flying in the wrong direction.” Mo Qingcheng furrowed her brows lightly. In this huge expanse of land, there was a high probability they were flying off course by several degrees.
“I see people over there.” Qin Wentian pointed as he stared ahead at a group of cultivators, all of them mounted on flying demonic beasts.
The cultivators also noticed the white crane, and flew closer , gradually nearing it. As they took a better look at the two of them, their eyes couldn’t help but sparkle. A young man with devastating good looks and a breathtakingly stunning young woman, they couldn’t help but stare for several moments at the couple.
“Are you all heading to the Demon Mountain City?” Someone within the group directed the question to both of them.
“So there really is a Demon Mountain City,” Qin Wentian quietly mused as he stared at the map in his hands.
“Yes, how far are we from there?” Qin Wentian replied.
“You guys are already quite close to it already,” said a young man within the group as he stared at Mo Qingcheng. Her beauty far surpassed that of his other female travelling companions.
“We need to rush.” said the female cultivator beside him, furrowing her brows in displeasure. The female was tall and extremely beautiful, and elegantly wore a blue dress. However when compared to Mo Qingcheng, her radiance dimmed and could only serve as a backdrop to further enhance Mo Qingcheng’s beauty. Hence, seeing the expression in the eyes of her male travelling companions she was naturally unhappy.
“Fine.” A few of the males were more obedient, steering their mounts away from the white crane. Despite doing so, there was still some lingering attachment in the eyes of the young man from earlier.
Qin Wentian smiled wryly as he glanced at Mo Qingcheng. As the saying went, ‘femme fatale’ - women who are too beautiful would naturally attract the attention of others. He still didn’t know whether it was the right decision to bring her along.
“Are you unhappy?” Mo Qingcheng whispered, noticing his expression.
“I didn’t like the way they kept looking at you.” Qin Wentian shrugged and smiled. “But oh well, their eyes belong to them, I can only try to adapt.”
“Are you jealous?” Mo Qingcheng’s dazzling eyes twinkled. Qin Wentian said nothing, and she took his silence as acceptance, causing a feeling of sweetness to blossom in her heart.
“Did you bring a change of clothes?” Mo Qingcheng abruptly asked.
“Yeah.” Qin Wentian nodded his head.
“Show me your other set of clothes.” Mo Qingcheng smiled, and while he didn’t understand her intent, Qin Wentian still took out the other clothes he prepared for the trip. As he stared dumbfoundedly, Mo Qingcheng wrapped a piece of his clothing around her body, covering her gracefully exquisite figure. Tearing a strip of fabric off yet another set of clothing, she tied up her long hair and wrapped a strip as a bandana around her head. The overall look, appeared somewhat incongruous, yet with also a hint of masculinity.
“How do I look?” Mo Qingcheng spread her hands as she asked.
Qin Wentian contemplated her appearance; her bearing may have resembled the male form, but there was still no way to mask her jade-white skin and beautiful countenance. But in spite of this, her current oddly attired figure wasn’t as attention-drawing as before.
Humans would always love to make themselves look good, so the fact that Mo Qingcheng would choose to dress herself in this way moved Qin Wentian’s heart. Reaching out, he held onto the dainty hands of Mo Qingcheng.
Mo Qingcheng and Qin Wentian finally saw the Demon Mountain City as outlined in the map. As the white crane prepared to land, Mo Qingcheng gasped, an expression of wonder shone on her face.
The entire city was surrounded by towering stone peaks, as though it were a part of the mountains, it emanated an air of majesty like a divine work of nature.
The surrounding peaks were all too vast and gigantic, with the effect of diminishing the city’s appearance when looked at from the sky. In reality, this city wasn’t smaller than that of the Royal Capital of Chu. It was difficult to imagine such a lively city existed out in the middle of nowhere, with many people living within its walls.
“Let’s dismount,” Qin Wentian said in a low voice, as the white crane landed within the Demon Mountain City. Aside from signs of many humans living within the city, there were also crowds of demonic beasts roaming about. These beasts were not like those that were controlled by humans, but rather, they moved about of their own volition, actually living in harmony with the humans. What a strange place, and how aptly named. It was no wonder they called it the Demon Mountain City.
Qin Wentian retrieved the map once again; the mark indicated a palace of immense size located in the middle of the Demon Mountain City.
“The Azure Emperor’s secret wasn’t hidden in the Emperor Star Academy. Instead, there was only this map. “If this palace really hides a heaven-defying cultivation art allowing one to have multiple Yuanfus, what sort of tests would be waiting for me?” Qin Wentian thought to himself, as he and Mo Qingcheng strolled about the city.
Suddenly, the earth shuddered. Tremors could be felt as a berserk demonic beast galloped on the pathway, causing the crowd to give way to it.
Qin Wentian and Mo Qingcheng turned around in time to see an extremely savage looking Hawk-eye Lion dashing towards them. Immense power could be felt in its steps, and a youth mounted on the lion roared to the crowd ahead, “Get lost!”
They moved to the side of the streets as the Hawk-eye Lion rushed over. The youth mounted on the back of the demonic lion possessed eagle-like eyes , sharp and imposing. He swept a glance over to Qin Wentian and Mo Qingcheng, and upon seeing the incomparably elegant face of Mo Qingcheng clad in a male’s robes, he opened his mouth and spat out flames. The intense flames gushed towards the pair as they both retreated backwards, frowns lining their faces.
A demon-like smile painted the youth’s countenance, as he gazed at Mo Qingcheng. “If this is a woman, her beauty is definitely of a higher quality than those from the Celestial Lake Palace.”
After which, he laughed uproariously and departed.
Upon hearing his words, the crowd swept their gazes over to Mo Qingcheng. Indeed, although dressed in the robes of a male, anyone could tell that she was a peerless beauty just by looking at her.
Qin Wentian frowned, only to see Mo Qingcheng pulling his hands along. “Let’s hurry to our destination.”
Mo Qingcheng understood that since they were outsiders, it was better to keep a low profile. Over here, experts were as common as clouds, unlike the small country of Chu. It was always better to be safe than sorry.
“I apologise…” Qin Wentian sighed, blaming himself for his lack of strength. Mo Qingcheng wouldn’t have to put up with any of this if he had more power.
“If you are sorry, all the more reason for you to hurry up and get stronger.” Mo Qingcheng laughed. They hastened their steps, and as they finally arrived at the map’s marked location, their eyes beheld a palace of immense size in front of them. Above the palace gate, was a huge arch inscribed with three gigantic words - Celestial Lake Palace.
This was none other than the Celestial Lake Palace mentioned by the arrogant youth mounted on the demonic lion earlier. This was also the place indicated in the Azure Emperor’s map.
“Ai,” a voice exclaimed in surprise, coming from a group of cultivators walking in the direction of Qin Wentian and Mo Qingcheng. Accompanying these people, were none other than the young man and woman they had met as they flew here.
“Seems like we have a predestined affinity, do you guys also wish to visit the celestial lake?” the young man inquired. He was extremely happy to see Mo Qingcheng again.
“What kind of place is the celestial lake?” Qin Wentian asked curiously. He wanted to be clear on the exact reason the map of Dicang (Azure Emperor) had marked this place.
“The Celestial Lake Palace is the symbol of the Demon Mountain City, founded by the Demonic Fairy Qingmei 3,000 years ago. With 3,000 years of time, the city gradually developed to what it was today. In the past, this place was a land of desolation, only inhabited by the demonic beasts, but look at how bustling the atmosphere of this place is today. Not only that, there are many celestial beauties within the Celestial Lake Palace, all of them exceptionally beautiful.
The young man laughed as he continued, “Naturally, if those beauties of the Celestial Lake Palace were to compare themselves to her, she would still come out superior.”
After which, he swept his gaze over to Mo Qingcheng again, an inscrutable expression marking his eyes.
“3,000 years ago,” Qin Wentian mumbled. In that case, she was of the same era as the Azure Emperor. But why was she called the Demonic Fairy Qingmei? Could she be a demonic beast that had eventually taken on the form of a human?
“Since the Celestial Lake Palace only accepts female disciples, why are there so many people coming here?” Qin Wentian inquired again.
“Yeah, Fairy Qingmei only accepts females as her disciples, and they must all be extremely beautiful. To understand her reasons for not accepting male disciples, we must first talk about the legends relating to the Azure Emperor and Fairy Qingmei. In the past, the Azure Emperor was ranked first out of the 36 starlords. Do you understand how awe-inspiring that was? Despite the admiration and love of countless women, he rejected them all for a single woman. A beautiful story about the love between a human and a demon, it touched the hearts of a few but incurred the scorn and hatred of many others. In the end, for reasons unknown, the Azure Emperor abandoned Fairy Qingmei, causing her love for him to turn into hate, to the point where it was rumored she pursued the Azure Emperor, seeking his death. And when the Azure Emperor abruptly disappeared, the Fairy Qingmei could only return to the Demon Mountain City, living in seclusion.”
The young man seemed to be in extremely high spirits, speaking with assurance, as though he intentionally wanted to show off his knowledge. “This humble me is named Yi Xiang, and I come from the Demon Continent. I wonder, how should I address the two of you?”
“I’m Qin Wentian, and this is my girlfriend,” Qin Wentian replied indifferently, but his heart shivered with excitement.
If the Fairy Qingmei really did have a relationship with the Azure Emperor in the past, this meant that he was in the right place. There was no mistake; this palace was the very spot marked on the map of Dicang.
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