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Fan Le was the one that personally witnessed Leng Ning being forced step by step to her death by those from the Leng Clan and Yan Tie. It was a scene that he would remember for eternity.
"Boss. You’ve told me before, this Leng Mao was the person in charge that gave the order?" Fan Le’s eyes looked straight towards Qin Wentian, and in that moment, all traces of fun and laughter had completely faded from his countenance, leaving behind only determination and a terrifying madness.
"I’ve also received news that the Leng Clan has already punished Leng Jian and Leng Lin," Bailu Yi continued, "The upper echelons of the Leng Clan must have known that Leng Mao was the one that gave that order, which is why they wanted to personally pay a visit to apologize."
"Apologize?" Fan Le coldly laughed, "Back then when Leng Mao gave the order, he didn’t just want to force Leng Ning to her death, he also wanted to kill you, as well as me and Chu Mang, completely removing the roots of the matter. Back then you weren’t at the Leng Clan, which was why you managed to avoid that calamity. Whereas for me, if it weren’t for Leng Ning’s arrangements to sneak me out earlier, I would have already died there."
"Not only that, despite already knowing you were a third-ranked Grandmaster, Leng Mao spared nothing in his efforts to get you killed, all to please Yan Tie. If it weren’t for Leng Ning saying that you had a connection to the White Deer Institute, causing them to be apprehensive, Leng Mao would definitely have made a move and sent people after your lives. After which, Leng Ning… committed suicide."
Fan Le’s voice had grown hoarse, "Apologize? What good would apologizing do now? What can they give in return? Can they revive Leng Ning from the dead?"
"Hu…" Qin Wentian drew in a deep breath, the coldness that radiated forth from him became more intense by several degrees. The memories of Leng Ning were still fresh in his mind, how could she have died just like that? He might not have the qualifications to control the Leng Clan’s decisions, but Leng Ning was more than an acquaintance, she was a friend. Regardless, Qin Wentian would definitely make sure the ones responsible for her death, paid with death.
Moreover, Qin Wentian and his friends had no pre-existing grievances with the Leng Clan. The Leng Clan did all of this for one reason only—they wanted to gain Yan Tie’s favour. Now, did they really think that they could resolve this matter so easily with apologies and some gifts?
"What’s Leng Mao’s level of strength?" Qin Wentian asked Bailu Yi.
"Leng Mao is a disciplinary elder, his strength should have already broken through to the Heavenly Dipper Realm. The Leng Clan banished Leng Jian and Leng Lin because these two were not important in the grand scheme of things. But they still have use for a Heavenly Dipper-level elder. They won’t be sacrificing Leng Mao so easily, hence he was only made to pay a visit and personally apologize," Bailu Yi stated.
"Mhm." Qin Wentian nodded his head.
"I will wait here for them. Let the Leng Clan people gather together," Qin Wentian replied, but it was unknown what he was thinking. Bailu Yi glanced at him for a moment before nodding and departed to carry out his instructions.
Several moments later, Leng Mao and a few other members of the Leng Clan were moving towards Qin Wentian. When Leng Mao noticed Qin Wentian, he smiled and stated, "Grandmaster Qin is already so capable despite such a young age, stepping into the level of a fourth-ranked Inscriptionist before the age of twenty. Grandmaster Qin’s future appears to be boundless."
"Sit," Qin Wentian stated as he stretched out his hands and pointed to a patch of grass nearby.
Leng Mao walked towards a pavilion near Qin Wentian as he shook his head, "Today, I, Leng Mao, am here to apologise for the matter regarding Leng Ning. Our Leng Clan is filled with regret and sincerely hopes to resolve the grudge between us. We have already taken steps to severely punish the masterminds, Leng Jian and Leng Lin."
"In that case, I, Qin, really have to ‘thank’ Elder Leng Mao." Qin Wentian coldly laughed.
Qin Wentian’s sarcasm was thick in the air, Leng Mao bitterly smiled, "Back then, we were forced by the circumstances, and we truly hope to seek Grandmaster’s forgiveness and understanding for our previous actions. The contents within this interspatial ring represent us, the Leng Clan’s sincerity. Would Grandmaster Qin please accept this?"
Qin Wentian remained motionless, as the atmosphere grew more and more awkward, Leng Mao then added, "If Grandmaster Qin isn’t satisfied with this, you can let us know if you have any other requests and we will try our best to fulfil them. And other than Leng Ning, our Leng Clan has a few other females who are all just as attractive. If they are to Grandmaster Qin’s liking, we will immediately send them over for Grandmaster Qin’s pleasure."
They were trying this abominable method again, sacrificing one of the Leng Clan’s pitiable females. The females born in the Leng Clan were just tools used in exchange for benefits.
After all in this world, for the majority of females, their status wasn’t comparable to that of males. Generally, the talent of males were higher, and they would eventually end up in leadership positions inside their clan or sect, while females were mostly used for marriage alliances. The only exception was when a female truly had exceedingly outstanding talent. In that case, their sect or clan would then arrange for the male party to be married into their clan, instead of the female marrying out.
Within the major powers, many women belonged to the former category, sacrificial tools to be used for marriage. And in the perspective of such a talented and young fourth-ranked Grandmaster like Qin Wentian, almost any of the major powers in Grand Xia would be happy to make the trade—forming a relationship with him through marriage. It was extremely worth it.
"I have but one request, I wonder if Elder Leng Mao would agree?" Qin Wentian coldly laughed. Leng Mao smiled, "Of course, Grandmaster Qin, anything."
"I want your death." As the sound of Qin Wentian’s voice faded, the entire ground lighted up as the terrifying glow from the Divine Inscriptions he had inscribed all burst into resplendent brilliance. Qin Wentian floated up in the air, the boundless gushing Sword Qi from the ‘Tempest of Sword Qi’ Divine Inscription enveloped him.
Those standing behind Leng Mao immediately turned ashen. Leng Mao icily glanced at Qin Wentian, "You have really reached the level of a fourth-ranked Grandmaster, this Divine Inscription is truly powerful indeed. But if the White Deer Institute truly wants to kill me, Leng Mao, wouldn’t this be a little inappropriate?"
A fourth-ranked Divine Inscription would be extremely troublesome to deal with, but Leng Mao was using reverse psychology. He was bringing the White Deer Institute into the picture only because he was confident that as long as the White Deer Institute didn’t make a move, he wouldn’t have any trouble handling Qin Wentian.
With a wave of Qin Wentian’s hands, two of his fourth-ranked Puppets, and five peak-tier third-ranked Puppets, all appeared in front of him, floating in the air. In an instant, they moved to the space above Leng Mao, their eyes glancing at him so coldly that they made the onlookers’ scalps tingle.
"Don’t worry, this matter has nothing to do with the White Deer Institute. In any case, the people you brought here will report back as such." The killing intent in Qin Wentian’s voice intensified. "You were the one who gave that order. Do you think I would spare you? DIE!"
As Qin Wentian’s roar resounded, his Puppets all simultaneously smashed downwards. These Puppets were from his spoils of victory, and he had already refined them and branded his consciousness within.
With a flick of his fingers, the tornado of Sword Qi gushed towards Leng Mao.
Leng Mao turned pale, he didn’t expect that even without the assistance of the White Deer Institute, Qin Wentian’s combat prowess would be at such a high level. In fact, just two fourth-ranked Puppets were more than enough to render Leng Mao defenseless, allowing Qin Wentian to attack at his leisure.
"Grandmaster Qin, let’s end this peacefully," Leng Mao frantically called out when he saw that his Astral Nova was being totally suppressed after colliding directly with the fourth-ranked bladed Puppet. After all, he had only condensed a single Astral Nova.
A golden beam of light erupted forth from the golden-armored Puppet, blasting towards Leng Mao, while the other peak-tier, third-ranked Puppets also began their own attacks. In addition to the Sword Qi tornado, Leng Mao was practically dead meat.
Fan Le raged, he was standing outside the formation, as the flame in his eyes flickered incessantly. "Leng Mao, maybe back when you made that decision, you didn’t even care whether Leng Ning lived or died. An order was just an order, her life had no value. But I care. You shall accompany her in death."
A bloodcurdling scream rang out. In order to defend against the attacks of the Puppets, Leng Mao could only allow what he believed was the lesser of two evils—the Sword Qi tornado—to blast into him. His body was directly pierced through as he roared in agony, "SPARE ME PLEASE!"
Yet how could Qin Wentian show mercy? Did anyone even show the slightest bit of mercy to Leng Ning back then?
The golden-armored Puppet slammed its palm right onto Leng Mao’s chest, the power of that strike causing his internal organs to rupture and collapse, while the terrifying Sword Qi coalesced into a gigantic sword that cleaved downwards, splitting Leng Mao into two. The Heavenly Dipper Sovereign, Leng Mao, was no more.
The Leng Clan’s members trembled where they stood as they watched with trepidation. A Heavenly Dipper Sovereign had fallen to a Yuanfu cultivator? The disciplinary elder Leng Mao had died!
This terrifying fourth-ranked Grandmaster was too powerful, he could probably kill them all with a thought.
And just at this moment, Qin Wentian’s Puppets appeared right on top of the space above them, causing the hearts of the Leng Clan’s members to palpitate in terror.
Only to see Qin Wentian leisurely walking over before stopping in front of them. With a wave of his hands, a list of names appeared in their hands.
"Leng Ning was from the Leng Clan, maybe you guys are acquainted with her. She was forced to her death because of Leng Mao’s order. Since the Leng Clan refused to slay the true culprit behind her death, I've taken matters into my own hands. As for the list of names in your hands, other than Leng Jian and Leng Lin, these are the names of the others that caused Leng Ning’s death. If the Leng Clan truly wishes to resolve this grudge, they should know what to do."
Qin Wentian indifferently added, "You guys can live. Go and relay my words."
The Leng Clan members reacted as though they were suddenly released from a state of paralysis, frenziedly retreating as they rushed back towards the Leng Clan.
After they left, Qin Wentian sighed as he lifted his heads and stared at the drifting clouds. "Leng Ning, I believe that you, who were filled with so much kindness, definitely wouldn't have wanted to witness the death of these innocents. Every wrong has a source, every debt has a creditor, I will definitely make those responsible for your death pay with their lives. But if the Leng Clan still wants to blindly obstruct my path, don’t blame me then, I shall become the instrument of their annihilation." A terrifying glint of coldness flashed past Qin Wentian’s eyes as he murmured softly.
Fan Le also stared at the skies, praying for Leng Ning to be at peace.
"Let’s go, I’ll meet with the representatives from the Star River Association next," Qin Wentian spoke to Bailu Yi. How mysterious was the Star River Association exactly? How deep and far have their power infiltrated? Qin Wentian totally had no idea, hence he was interested to see what the Star River Association wanted with him
"Right." Bailu Yi nodded and led Qin Wentian away. After which, they soon came to another courtyard which was the arranged resting place for the representatives from the Star River Association.
"Junior was held up because of some matters, and humbly seeks forgiveness." When Qin Wentian arrived at the courtyard, he saw several people within it. Very quickly, he soon noticed a middle-aged man who sat upon one of the stone benches. The air exuded by this middle-aged man was calm and unflustered, yet his eyes flashed with an instant of sharpness before quickly fading back to normal the moment he noticed Qin Wentian’s probing gaze. Qin Wentian knew then, this must be the main representative sent by the Star River Association. Knowing that Qin Wentian had already discovered his identity, the middle-aged man smiled and replied, "Grandmaster Qin is too courteous, and you are indeed as young as the rumors have stated. Stepping into the fourth-ranked so young? You are a genius, most definitely a monstrous genius."
"Senior thinks too highly of me." Qin Wentian smiled as he too sat on a stone bench. "Is there anything Senior needs my help with?"
"Since Grandmaster Qin is so direct, I shall not beat around the bush then." The middle-aged man laughed, "I am the Moon Continent’s Star River Association Branch’s president for the forging division. Our Star River Association has long heard of Grandmaster Qin’s great name and have come here to sincerely extend our invitation to Grandmaster Qin to join our forging division. If you agree to our offer, it is within my power to immediately confer upon you the position of vice-president of the forging division."
Qin Wentian immediately knew that the designation of power around the various branches of the Star River Association was all the same. The Star River Association here had a forging division as well and this position of vice-president was undoubtedly because of his potential.
"Junior is truly thankful for Senior’s gracious invitation. However, Junior doesn’t really have much interest regarding the forging of Divine Weapons. Hence, Junior can only apologize." Qin Wentian smiled. The Star River Association had an unknown origin and was cloaked in so many layers of mystery, he naturally didn’t want to be bound to them.
And as the Star River Association was such a major power, it wouldn’t be too appropriate if he didn’t even show face when they personally came all this way. Hence, he could only meet them first before diplomatically rejecting them.
"Would Grandmaster Qin please consider? The position of vice-president is something that many fourth-ranked Grandmasters wouldn’t be able to obtain even if they wished to. Considering the fact that Grandmaster Qin just stepped into the level of the fourth-ranked, our Star River Association is offering you such a high position to show how much we value you," persuaded another old-looking Inscriptionist standing by the side.
"I, Qin, would never force myself to do something I don’t want to do, I can only thank the Star River Association profusely for this trust they’ve placed in me," Qin Wentian continued to tactfully decline.
The middle-aged man could only laugh helplessly when he saw how Qin Wentian directly rejected them with no further consideration. "Then, would Grandmaster Qin consider being a guest elder of our Association? There would also be substantial benefits to enjoy if Grandmaster Qin agrees."
"Guest elder again!" Qin Wentian was involuntarily reminded of Murin’s lies back then. This position of guest elder held no meaning to him and he didn’t want to entangle himself with the Star River Association if he could help it. He could only reply, "Junior’s character prefers freedom, the freedom to do as I want, without being bound by other obligations. I have to thank Senior profusely for this amazing offer, but I will have to reject it once again."
After receiving so many rejections, how could those from the Star River Association still be unaware of Qin Wentian’s meaning? The middle-aged man could only sigh, "If that’s the case, we thank Grandmaster Qin for the meeting. Farewell."
"Seniors, please take care." Qin Wentian smiled as he stood up to clasp his hands together, bidding goodbye to the representatives of the Star River Association.
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