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Qin Wentian beamed, the only ones that knew he was tasked to obtain one of the top three positions on the Heavenly Fate Rankings were naturally those from the White Deer Institute.
“Long time no see.” Qin Wentian glanced at Bailu Jing and Bailu Yi. It had already been a year, and neither of them had changed too much. They only thing that differed was that Bailu Yi was somewhat stronger compared to how she was a year ago.
“Seems like you’re doing quite well for yourself.”
Bailu Jing stared at the others at the side of Qin Wentian as he smiled.
Qin Wentian landed on the ground and approached Mustang. “Teacher, let me introduce you. This is Ouyang Kuangsheng from the Ouyang Aristocrat Clan and his fiancée Jiang Ting. And these two are from the White Deer Institute in Moon Continent, Bailu Jing and Bailu Yi.”
Appreciation flashed in Mustang’s eyes; although Qin Wentian’s level was already far beyond his, the moment his acquaintances had appeared, the first thing Qin Wentian did was worry that Mustang would feel neglected.
And just by seeing the friends at his side, it was obvious that this young man in front of him was no longer that somewhat gullible young man in Chu. Now, he already had his own piece of sky, for him to soar higher and further than he ever could before.
Everyone greeted Mustang respectfully, but he could only nod his head in response. Although all of them were his juniors, their individual strengths had already surpassed Mustang’s. Even that lazy Fan Le had stronger Astral Energy fluctuations from his body compared to him.
“The new replacing the old. Perhaps this is the scenario happening now.” Mustang lamented in his heart, yet he was also very happy that all his students could climb up to such a level today.
“Only the two of you are here?” Qin Wentian then turned his gaze onto Bailu Yi.
“Of course not. Don’t forget that we’re supposed to see if a certain someone can fulfill the criteria set, and also the fact that my brother is here to participate in the ranking battle as well.” Bailu Yi smiled, “Several members of the Institute have also arrived, wanna come with us and meet with them first?”
Evidently, the others didn’t understand Bailu Yi’s words, Qin Wentian was the only one who did. The ranking battle this time around would determine whether the White Deer Institute would give the full reigns of their command over to Qin Wentian. Even if Bailu Jing didn’t want to participate, they would still be here to spectate the proceedings as well.
“Sure.” Qin Wentian straightforwardly agreed. The White Deer Institute was different from the Ouyang Aristocrat Clan, there were too many grand figures within the Ouyang Clan and was too complicated. Other than Ouyang Kuangsheng who was his friend, he had no influence there. On the contrary, White Deer Institute was a place that would be his vassal in the future, and taking into account the bunch of cultivators sent there on Fairy Qingmei’s orders, even if he didn’t obtain the top three rankings, the Institute would still maintain a close relationship with him.
But naturally if that was the case, he wouldn’t be able to control the White Deer Institute entirely.
After bidding farewell to Ouyang Kuangsheng, Qin Wentian and the rest departed the area.
“What’s your current cultivation level?” Along the way, Bailu Yi’s beautiful eyes were staring at Qin Wentian, reflecting her curiosity.
“Seventh level of Yuanfu. I should be able to step into the eighth level before the ranking battle at the end of the year.” Qin Wentian replied. With the limit-break pellet, even if he didn’t step into the eighth level of Yuanfu by the end of the year, he could still depend on that to raise his level. With a cultivation base at the eighth level, only then would he be able to contend against the other monstrous cultivators also aiming for the top three positions of the Heavenly Fate Rankings.
However, Qin Wentian could faintly sense that the ranking battle this time around would definitely be many times more dangerous compared to previous years. He had to increase his strength as fast as possible in order to boost his chances.
“You are still as awesome as before.” Bailu Yi had joy and amazement painted on her face. Before she was acquainted with Qin Wentian, she was someone who could summon the wind and rains within her clan, she had always been told that her talent was outstanding compared to her peers. But after Qin Wentian entered the Institute, she discovered to her chagrin that at most, she could only be termed as above average.
Sometimes, she wondered if she should be blaming this fellow that kept smashing her confidence.
Back when Qin Wentian left the Moon Continent, he’d managed to kill Hua Xiaoyun and even take Shu Ruanyu hostage. If he truly stepped into the eighth level of Yuanfu, wouldn’t his combat prowess be even more terrifying?
“Brother, soon you won’t be a match for him.” Bailu Yi laughed. Bailu Jing shook his head ruefully as he patted his sister’s shoulder, “Your brother is soon going to be surpassed and yet you can still be so happy?”
Upon seeing a smile that was not a smile on Bailu Jing’s face, Bailu Yi couldn’t help but to give a fierce punch to her brother.
The White Deer Institute had also booked an entire inn for their residence. Those from the Institute were already acquainted with Qin Wentian, and nodded to him in respect when they saw him. After all, with the Azure Emperor Token in his hands, Qin Wentian was qualified to control them, regardless if they were willing to be controlled by him or not. At the very least, they had to give Qin Wentian the respect he deserved.
Bailu Yi quickly arranged living quarters for Qin Wentian to stay in, and soon after, Qin Wentian and Mustang went alone to a separate courtyard. He knew that Mustang had something confidential to tell him, and had held back from bringing it up as it wouldn’t be an appropriate subject while they were travelling.
“Teacher, why are you here in Ginkou?” At this moment, only Qin Wentian and Mustang were present in the courtyard. Qin Wentian couldn’t help but ask, because if nothing was wrong, Mustang would most probably still be in the Emperor Star Academy giving his all to guide the new students. There was no way that he’d travel such a vast distance just to witness the Heavenly Fate Rankings battle, after all, to the small and remote country of Chu, none of them would have even heard about the Heavenly Fate Rankings before.
“The Nine Mystical Palace.” Mustang’s countenance grew heavy, as he stated to Qin Wentian. “Something happened to the Headmaster.”
Qin Wentian’s countenance instantly turned cold. Throughout these years, there was always this matter weighing on his heart. Senior Di Yi, the headmaster of Emperor Star Academy was captured by the Nine Mystical Palace for his sake. He had always intended to capture and interrogate a disciple from the Nine Mystical Palace during the ranking battle to find out Di Yi’s situation. Yet, who would have thought that the Nine Mystical Palace would make the first move?
“Luo Tianya from the Nine Mystical Palace paid another visit to our Emperor Star Academy, looking for me to get your location. Since I didn’t know, they brought me along with them and continued investigating. Eventually, they received news that you were in Ginkou, and just when they intended to move and capture you, they discovered that you were together with the Ouyang Aristocrat Clan. They didn’t dare to antagonize the Ouyang Clan and hence, sent me to look for you first, wanting me to pass on a message. They said, if you don’t seek them out, you should be prepared for the consequences.”
Mustang’s countenance was incredibly unsightly. The Nine Mystical Palace wanted Qin Wentian to hand himself over to them on a silver platter and if he refused, then Di Yi as well as the Emperor Star Academy could both be easily eradicated by the Nine Mystical Palace. They weren’t above employing sinister methods in the dark.
Qin Wentian also knew that although he killed Luo Qianqiu in the past, that grudge was purely between him and Luo Tianya. Back then, due to the presence of Qian Mengyu and Ouyang Kuangsheng, the Nine Mystical Palace hadn’t dared to stir up trouble over Luo Qianqiu’s death, as they would have faced going to war with two transcendent powers stronger than them. But now, everything was different.
The Nine Mystical Palace might have used some unknown methods to obtain the Azure Emperor’s Secret from Di Yi.
The reason why the Nine Mystical Palace were so relentless in their search for Qin Wentian was clearly because of the Azure Emperor’s inheritance.
As long as they obtained the Azure Emperor’s Token, they could easily find someone to impersonate the successor. The temptation of gaining control of the hidden remnants of power of the Azure Faction was simply too great.
“Throughout all this years, Senior Di Yi must have suffered tremendously in keeping this secret.”
Qin Wentian sighed in his heart. No wonder the Nine Mystical Palace didn’t dare to antagonize the Ouyang Aristocrat Clan. A secret of such import, the Nine Mystical Palace naturally didn’t want any of the other transcendent powers to know about it. They wanted the Azure Emperor Token for their own.
“Teacher, there’s no way I will surrender willingly to their schemes by throwing myself into their trap.”
Agony flashed through Mustang’s eyes but naturally, he also understood Qin Wentian’s point. Currently, his heart was tangled like a pool of muddy water, he had no idea what he should do.
“If I go to the Nine Mystical Palace, only death awaits me. At the time, Senior Di Yi and teacher will probably be killed as well to eliminate any possible source of the secret leaking out.” Qin Wentian was very clear that once the Nine Mystical Palace obtained the Azure Emperor’s Token, the first thing they would do would be to remove any potential leaks.
“What should we do?” Mustang stared at Qin Wentian in a panic.
Qin Wentian furrowed his brows as contemplation flashed on his face. Now, there was only a single source of power that could help him.
Fairy Qingmei, Celestial Lake Palace.
Qin Wentian mumbled, he’d really missed that ephemeral Qing`er. She had always been by his side, silently protecting him, but after the matters at the Moon Continent, Qin Wentian had never once seen her again.
And just at this moment, Qin Wentian’s countenance abruptly changed as he coldly stated, “Who?”
As the sound of his voice faded, a silhouette drifted over across the air. She was as beautiful as ever, like a fairy untouched by mortal dust. Her countenance had no hints of any other expressions, nobody knew what she was thinking about.
Qing`er’s clear and melodic voice rang out, greatly startling Qin Wentian. A strange expression appeared on his face when he regarded Qing`er.
How was this possible? Qing`er had always been by his side? Yet with his current level of perception, how could he have missed sensing her presence?
“Qing`er, did you just arrive?” Qin Wentian was blown away by her appearance.
“I’ve always been here, it’s just that you didn’t meet any life-threatening situations,” Qing`er replied. Fairy Qingmei’s orders were exceptionally clear, as long as Qin Wentian was in no danger of dying, there was no need for her to appear. If he was injured to the point where he almost died, he should still be able to handle that on his own.
“Why are you suddenly here?” Qin Wentian smiled, his worried heart loosened somewhat when he saw Qing`er again.
“Aren’t you the one who called my name?” Qing`er gazed at Qin Wentian causing him to smile in disbelief. He then asked again, “How did you hide yourself so well to that extent that even my perception couldn’t discover your presence?”
As he looked at Qing`er, it felt that he could hold no secrets from her!
Qing`er quietly stared at him in silence. But seeing her celestial-like countenance, Qin Wentian could only smile resignedly yet again.
“Qing`er, I’ve an extremely important thing that I need your help with,” Qin Wentian spoke.
“Tell me and I will pass on your message to the Celestial Lake Palace,” Qing`er lightly replied.
“Mhm, help me inform the Celestial Lake Palace that the Nine Mystical Palace has already caught wind of the Azure Emperor’s secret. They want to use the Emperor Star Academy as well as Senior Di Yi’s safety to threaten me. For now, I need the Celestial Lake Palace to ensure that the Nine Mystical Palace won’t dare to make any reckless moves during this period of time.” Qin Wentian believed that the Celestial Lake Palace would definitely aid him in this, this wouldn’t be a difficult matter for them.
“Okay. I will ask them to do this.”
Qing`er nodded as she agreed, with a note of certainty in her voice.
Qin Wentian stared at Qing`er in gratitude, “Thank you, Qing`er.”
“Master said that you better have a good ranking on the Heavenly Fate Rankings after this year ends.” Qing`er looked at Qin Wentian as her beautiful lashes fluttered. After a moment, she added again, “I too, hope that you’ll obtain a good ranking.”
Qin Wentian smiled as he nodded heavily. “Fine, I promise you, I definitely will.”
Qing`er nodded as her silhouette abruptly flickered, vanishing from sight. Qin Wentian couldn’t help but shake his head helplessly, Qing`er had always been like this, appearing and disappearing so suddenly without a trace.
Mustang at this moment was completely dumbstruck. This fellow had so many peerless beauties by his side. Bailu Yi, Mo Qingcheng and now, a celestial-looking beauty like Qing`er.
“Teacher, I will go into closed-door seclusion and make final preparations for the ranking battle at the end of the year,” Qin Wentian announced, with a smile on his face. He had full confidence in Qing`er— if she promised to do something, then the matter would be done. He would wait till the ranking battle was over, before figuring out how to settle things with the Nine Mystical Palace once and for all.
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