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In a study room inside the Zong Clan, a middle-aged man quietly sat, studying a scroll with his head lowered.
Not far away from him, the silhouette of a young man standing patiently could be seen. This young man was none other than Qin Wentian. Zong Qian made good on his promise and did the primary introductions, acquiring the chance for a meeting between Qin Wentian and the clan lord of the Zong Clan.
After several moments, the middle-aged man slowly inclined his head. There were streaks of white mixed with black in the hair on both sides of his temples. He exuded a reserved aura, yet within that tranquil and calm bearing, Qin Wentian could sense a terrifying sharpness hidden within.
A single glance from him seemed to be able to penetrate to the very depths of Qin Wentian’s soul.
“Zong Qian mentioned that you’d garnered some fame in Sword Reverence City recently. Comprehending the first level of the Mandate of Swords to the Perfection Boundary in just three months?” The clan lord of the Zong Clan was named Zong Yi. He calmly inquired, as he gazed casually at Qin Wentian.
“Mhm.” Qin Wentian nodded his head lightly, as a strange glow flashed past the clan lord’s eyes. “To be able to comprehend the Perfection Boundary of a first level Mandate in three months… Strange. Could it be that this is your fourth Astral Soul?”
“Senior is wise.” Qin Wentian smiled. As the sound of his voice faded, Zong Yi’s eyes flashed with sharpness. “You are already at the Heavenly Dipper Realm, what’s your name?”
Qin Wentian calmly stated, and an instant later, the sharpness in Zong Yi’s gaze heightened even further, resembling sword beams directed straight at Qin Wentian.
“A year ago, Qin Wentian, the first ranker of the Heavenly Fate Ranking, was still trapped within the Vermilion Bird Formation in Ginkou.” Zong Yi glared at Qin Wentian.
“I came to the Sword Reverence City around three months ago. By that time, I had already exited the formation world,” Qin Wentian calmly continued. Zong Yi suddenly stood up, his sharp gaze now filled with heaviness. Why had the first ranker of the Heavenly Fate Rankings come to his Zong Clan?
“Since you are Qin Wentian, do you not know the number of people who want your life? Are you not afraid that I will capture you instead?” Zong Yi stared at Qin Wentian intently, as a terrifying sword-might enveloped the study room.
“Sword users should follow their heart, and do what they want to do, holding their heads up high as they laugh arrogantly at the nine heavens. Clan lord has the entire Zong Clan keeping a low profile, not exhibiting their true power. I wonder, has the hot blood within your veins run cold?” Qin Wentian didn’t answer but instead chose to reply with another question. Zong Yi’s brows furrowed deeply. “What are you trying to say? What is your purpose here?”
“To take control of the sword that is the Zong Clan.” Qin Wentian looked straight into the eyes of the clan lord as a terrifying light glimmered within his own. He stretched his arms out, only to see an authority token clutched in his palms.
In that instant, Zong Yi’s body violently trembled, as though countless thunderbolts had struck down in his mind. The fearsome sword-might pressed down on Qin Wentian, yet Qin Wentian calmly continued to survey him, his face a mask of resolution.
“Bzzz!” A sword wind gusted, as the door to the study room slammed shut.
Zong Yi took a step forwards, his eyes glued to the authority token in Qin Wentian’s hands.
“And what if I kill you now?” Zong Yi’s aura surged upwards. Right now, if he truly held any malicious intentions, then Qin Wentian would die without a doubt.
“Does Clan Lord know the reason why I chose to participate in the Heavenly Fate Rankings?” Qin Wentian asked.
“No,” Zong Yi replied.
“Your clan isn’t the first hidden faction I came to. Before the Zong Clan, the first faction I found had the same thinking as Clan Lord. But afterward, we came to an agreement—as long as I obtained the third ranking in the Heavenly Fate Rankings, they would follow me unconditionally and listen to my every command. In fact, I was ranked first.”
Qin Wentian slowly spoke while Zong Yi’s gaze flickered, many thoughts appearing in his mind.
Although the Zong Clan resided in the Sword Reverence City, they still paid attention to the major events of Grand Xia. The scroll that he’d been reading contained the information report on the Heavenly Fate Rankings held a year ago. He knew that the recent ranking battle had one of the strongest batches of contestants. There was even the emergence of a mysterious power that had tried to slay some of the rankers of the Heavenly Fate Rankings.
After reading that scroll, Zong Yi sighed. If their Zong Clan had such a character, then even if it meant their collective deaths, they would still go all-out to support that person, aiding him to conquer Grand Xia.
And right now, that person was standing right in front of his eyes with the Azure Emperor Token in his hands.
Grand words indeed, had the hot blood in him run cold? Grand words indeed, to take control of the sword that was the Zong Clan.
“The Zong Clan has no need for your control.” A terrifying ancient sword appeared in Zong Yi’s hands and with a burst of movement, he closed the distance and pointed the tip of the sword directly at the center of Qin Wentian’s brows. Qin Wentian was an inch away from death yet the resoluteness etched on his face never wavered.
“Are you not afraid that I will kill you?” Zong Yi coldly stated.
“Does Clan Lord know of the Celestial Lake Palace?” Qin Wentian unperturbedly spoke.
“Fairy Qingmei.” Zong Yi’s countenance faltered for a moment. There were too many rumors about Fairy Qingmei and the Azure Emperor.
“If I die while inside the Zong Clan, the Zong Clan will definitely suffer an all-out annihilation.” Qin Wentian didn’t waste words. Zong Yi stared at him. “Are you saying that Fairy Qingmei is the protector of the successor?”
Qin Wentian didn’t comment; his eyes flickered as all three of his Astral Novas burst forth into being, trembling the void with their might.
“What powerful Astral Novas.” Zong Yi stared at the three Novas with a thunderstruck expression on his face. Following which, he saw Qin Wentian’s fourth astral soul appearing above Qin Wentian’s head. That terrifying pure golden corona surrounded a pitch dark sword, exuding an aura that made those who saw it immediately wish to submit.
“6th Heavenly Layer.” Zong Yi’s heart clenched. Such talent was almost unbelievable.
“If Clan Lord doesn’t want me to be the one to wield the Zong Clan, there are two more choices. First, you kill me, which will result in unknown consequences. Second, you let me go. And if I survive and unite the rest of the hidden factions in the future, I will definitely come back to clean the Zong Clan up.” Qin Wentian spoke slowly, the determination behind his words caused Zong Yi’s countenance to waver.
This was the first time he trembled when coming face to face with someone from the junior generation.
Zong Yi had never imagined that a young man would be capable of giving him such pressure.
“Bzz!” The sword was retracted as the sword-might enveloping the room dissipated completely.
Zong Yi stared at Qin Wentian, and a smile could be seen on his face. “Seems like the Azure Emperor has a true successor. Only… Wentian, although you have outstanding talent, but with your current prowess, to clash directly with the various powers would be like using an egg to smash a stone.”
“Does Clan Lord think that I am the hot-headed and reckless type?” Seeing the warm smile on Zong Yi’s face as well as sensing the dissolution of tension, Qin Wentian also laughed, as though he hadn’t been bothered by Zong Yi’s earlier actions.
In Zong Yi’s shoes, he probably would have done the same thing as well.
As the head of a clan, one had to shoulder the heavy responsibility of the member’s well-being. How could he let a mere authority token dictate the lives and fate of those under him? At the very least, the successor must have talent at a level high enough that he would be able to rest assured.
And if earlier, Qin Wentian had cowered before the face of death, how could Zong Yi even have the slightest amount of confidence in him?
Zong Yi waved his hands, and momentarily, a small sword floated in front of Qin Wentian. The ancient character of the word ‘Zong’ was engraved upon the body of the sword.
“Since the Azure Emperor has a successor, my Zong Clan will definitely aid in paving your path ahead. This sword is the symbol of a Sword Son of my Zong Clan. Other than elder-level characters, all members will have to follow your orders. Wentian, are you willing to accept it?” Zong Yi slowly spoke. Qin Wentian received the sword, as he nodded his head.
“I am.” Qin Wentian smiled. Zong Yi relaxed as he laughed, “Wentian, this matter must not be divulged until the time is right. In the future, you can just address me as Uncle Zong when we are out in the open, but if there’s no one around us, you can just refer to me as Zong Yi.”
“Uncle Zong must be joking. As a junior how could there be an incident whereby I refer to my seniors directly by their names?” Qin Wentian naturally understood how to act, and he retracted his Astral Soul and Astral Novas together with the small sword Zong Yi gave him.
“Good.” Zong Yi patted Qin Wentian on his shoulders before seriously replying, “Sword users should follow their heart, doing what they want to do, holding their heads up high as they laugh arrogantly at the nine heavens. The blood of the Zong Clan still runs hot!”
“Let’s go; I will accompany you around.” Zong Yi stepped out. Qin Wentian nodded with a smile on his face.
The Zong Clan was different from the White Deer Institute. According to Zong Qian, the clan lord Zong Yi was able to dictate all matters without the need to consult the other elders. Since the clan lord supported him, this meant that Qin Wentian’s mission at the Sword Reverence City was successful. At the very least, it was much smoother sailing compared to back then when he went to the White Deer Institute.
With the White Deer Institute, he currently had two factions under his control. However, although these two clans had hidden themselves well and were pretty powerful in their own right, they still needed to be nurtured for a period of time. If not, it was basically impossible to stand against the other transcendent powers in Grand Xia.
Afterward, the Zong Clan released the news that the clan lord had personally selected a candidate to become the Sword Son of Zong Clan. This person was named Qin Wentian.
The previous generation’s Sword Son had already become an elder-level character. For this generation, the clan lord initially still hadn’t made a decision, with seven members of the younger generation contesting for it. But now, he had chosen Qin Wentian.
This matter spread quickly throughout the Zong Clan, causing a huge wave of commotion. In the history of the Zong Clan, this was the first time the title of ‘Sword Son’ had gone to an outsider. This was no small matter.
Many wanted to see what sort of person this Qin Wentian was, and there were several from the younger generation that wanted to challenge him. How had this person managed to gain this title?
But strangely, not one elder-level figure went ahead to seek out Qin Wentian. Most likely after the clan lord selected Qin Wentian, he’d conveyed special instructions to the elders. After all, the matter of the Azure Emperor was extremely important, and even though Zong Yi could dictate what happened in the Zong Clan and the future direction they should take, he still needed the silent cooperation of the other elders.
After Zong Qian knew of this matter, he was left dumbstruck. At this moment, the gaze he used to stare at Qin Wentian with, was filled with bizarreness. “Brother Qin, you used merely three months to comprehend the Mandate of Sword. Your comprehension level is off the charts, but I never imagined that you would become the Sword Son of my Zong Clan. I truly envy you.”
Zong Qian was merely one of the seven nominees fighting to gain the title of ‘Sword Son’. Sadly, the seven of them still hadn’t managed to gain the approval of the clan lord.
Currently, Zong Qian was extremely curious, and he wondered what had happened during the meeting with Qin Wentian and the clan lord.
“What did you and the clan lord talk about?” Zong Qian involuntarily inquired.
“About the matters of obtaining the rights to the sword range.” Qin Wentian laughed. The matter of the Azure Emperor was too confidential, and naturally, he would refrain from mouthing off to others.
“Seems like the clan lord wants to use your power to aid us, so he must be quite confident in your abilities. However, in the contest between the three powers, each of them will be represented by three members. Since the clan lord personally selected you to be one of the three, I believe you have the capability of winning your own battle. However, I have no confidence we will win the other two, especially for the Heavenly Dipper-level battle—that fight will most likely end in our loss… I don’t hold much hope that we’ll come out victorious this time.”
Zong Qian sighed. He didn’t feel too good about the Zong Clan’s prospects in gaining the rights to the sword range.
The two of them walked around the Zong Residence, but right at that moment, several people headed over, advancing towards their direction as a surge of sharpness bore down on Qin Wentian.
Zong Qian’s gaze abruptly shifted over to these people. He frowned as he stated, “Zong Hong, what are you guys trying to do?”
“Not long ago, I heard that those from the Li Clan were saying that you brought an outsider back here, wanting to invite him to fight for our clan. But this person was so cowardly that he didn’t even dare to accept Li Nian’s challenge, and yet today, he has been conferred the title of ‘Sword Son’. I, Zong Hong, would really like to see how talented this guy is to gain the qualifications to become a Sword Son of my Zong Clan.”
As the sound of Zong Hong’s voice faded, he stepped out and pointed his sword straight at Qin Wentian.
“Zong Hong, Brother Qin is a Sword Son selected by the clan lord himself,” Zong Qian berated.
“So what of it? If he doesn't dare to battle, he isn’t qualified to be a Sword Son.” Zong Hong tyrannically snorted, staring at Qin Wentian with disdain. “Don’t worry, since the clan lord himself has personally selected you, I won’t take your life.”
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