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A lie that is repeated often enough, would be accepted as the truth. Now that several members in the Zong Clan had started discussing Qin Wentian’s lousy character and conduct, gradually the others all started to believe it too.
Regarding Zong Hong, the others were all quite clear about his character. Although he might be somewhat arrogant, his character wasn’t vile. Since he’d said that he’d paid a visit to the Sword Son Qin Wen, then it shouldn’t be a lie.
Zong Hong went to pay Qin Wen a visit, seeking guidance while begging for forgiveness. Yet the Sword Son, Qin Wen, as the leading figure among the younger generation, had acted in such a manner, casually brushing him off with a few words of ‘common sense’ advice. Apparently, Qin Wen’s character was truly unbecoming for a Sword Son.
And gradually, even some elder-level characters started to dislike Qin Wentian.
Especially one among them—Zong Hong’s uncle. He had personally gone to speak with the clan lord requesting to strip Qin Wentian of his title of Sword Son, yet he was harshly rebuffed instead. He then went to speak to the Doyen-level figures of the clan, only to receive the same treatment from them as he did from the clan lord.
Qin Wentian naturally didn’t know of all this. These past few days, he was completely immersed in condensing his Astral Nova.
Another night passed, and the skies above the Zong Clan’s location suddenly flashed with sword light, as columns of sword-shaped astral light cascaded down from the Heavens. Abruptly, an exceedingly terrifying sword-might enveloped the entire Zong Clan.
Several people in the Zong Clan stared at the resplendent astral light from the skies, their hearts all trembling with terror when they sensed the domineering sword-might.
“This sword intent actually contains a kingly aura within it,” somebody murmured. Who exactly did this intent belong to?
Naturally, cultivators of the Zong Clan were extremely sensitive to sword intent. Many of them wondered who had produced such an intent—only clan lord Zong Yi knew that Qin Wentian’s fourth Astral Nova had just been birthed.
Many stretched out their perception, causing their senses to follow the sword intent. Yet suddenly, that sword intent vanished completely. Their perception led them to a courtyard, and inside there, Qin Wentian sat on the ground, staring up at the heavens with a faint smile etched on his face.
“Hmm? What’s going on?” At this moment, Qin Wentian spoke. Naturally, he could feel the perception of many currently being concentrated on him.
The streams of perception faded away like the ebbing tide, and they all felt extremely puzzled in their hearts. Why was Qin Wen here? Was he cultivating here earlier?
Earlier, that sword-might that contained within it a kingly aura, where did it originate from?
Sensing the streams of perception fading away, Qin Wentian closed his eyes again. There was now a sword-shaped Astral Nova sitting in his fourth Yuanfu. His fourth Yuanfu receptacle was gradually undergoing a transformation, expanding further in size as the quality of the astral energy within it substantially improved. This, was a qualitative evolution.
His four Yuanfu connected and the resplendent astral energy within each of them formed a bridge, as the astral energy circulated fiercely within his body, causing an exceedingly powerful aura to gush forth from him.
That, was the aura of a Heavenly Dipper Sovereign.
All four of his Astral Novas had been condensed. Finally, Qin Wentian had officially stepped into the Heavenly Dipper Realm.
Not only that, he had four Yuanfu and was already a terrifying existence that had condensed four Astral Novas before stepping into the Heavenly Dipper Realm. For others, even if they had more Astral Novas, their novas would all be situated in a single Yuanfu. As a cultivator of the Art of the Nine Astrariums, he was markedly different from the others.
By then, darkness gradually faded away, and a ray of light shone from the eastern horizon—the people from the Zong Clan were starting a new day.
The night was for resting, for meditation, as well as for sleeping, while the morning was best for stretching one’s limbs and tendons, cultivating one's innate arts and techniques or sparring against each other in terms of swordplay.
Qin Wentian stretched himself, before slowly walking out of the courtyard. He had fully concentrated on condensing his fourth Astral Nova these past few days, and never had a chance to properly relax. Right now the morning air was extremely cool and refreshing, and taking a stroll around the Zong Clan seemed like a pleasant activity.
Qin Wentian met quite a few people during his stroll. All of them intentionally averted their gazes when they glanced in his direction, causing Qin Wentian to wear a bitter smile on his face. Was it truly so hard for an outsider selected as the Sword Son to gain approval from the masses?
As he continued walking, Qin Wentian arrived at the training field in the Zong Clan, where many younger disciples were currently practicing their swordplay. The majority of these disciples were all at the Yuanfu Realm, with people ranging from the first level of Yuanfu to the ninth level. Heavenly Dipper Sovereigns were all considered important characters to the Zong Clan. For Heavenly Dipper Sovereigns at the third level and above, they would be able to elevate their status, taking on the roles and responsibilities of an elder. For Heavenly Dipper Sovereigns at the sixth level and above, they would be able to become Doyen-level characters.
A smile appeared on Qin Wentian’s face as he gazed upon the various silhouettes brimming with youthful energy. Although he’d only spent a short span of five years in cultivation, he had been through countless trials and was tempered by his experiences. He currently exhibited a seriousness rarely seen from someone his age, projecting a presence totally different compared to the other cultivators from the younger generation.
Maybe it was a result of what he had personally experienced or maybe it was a result of his higher cultivation realm.
However, Qin Wentian’s acute perception quickly told him that these youths from the Zong Clan all had feelings of animosity and unfriendliness towards him.
He might be someone with a different surname, but surely they didn’t need to behave like that, right?
At this moment, a young girl of around 15 to 16 years of age walked up to Qin Wentian. This young girl had exquisite features that still contained hints of childishness in them. She walked to the side of Qin Wentian, adopting a pointedly reserved manner. To her, Qin Wentian felt extremely powerful, the exhibition of his might that day—even before his sword was totally unsheathed—Zong Hong and the others didn’t even have a chance to fight back.
“Qin Wen, did you really brush Zong Hong away when he went to seek you out for guidance?” That young girl asked in a light tone of voice, her words causing Qin Wentian’s brows to furrow. He then puzzledly inquired, “Did Zong Hong say something?”
The young girl’s lips slightly twitched before looking at Qin Wentian and replied, “Qin Wen, although you are very powerful, as the Sword Son, you shouldn’t be doing this, oh. Since Zong Hong went to seek you out for guidance, that means he’d already intended to apologize. You should be guiding him properly, instead!”
Noting the clear gaze of the young girl before him, Qin Wentian could tell that the young girl before him had a simple and straight-forward temperament. But the gazes of others in the training field all seemed to be silently cursing him in their hearts.
“Gossip is truly a fearful thing.” Qin Wentian silently mused. After which, he smiled at the young girl, “What’s your name?”
“Zong Lian,” the young girl replied lightly.
“Cultivation is a path that solely belongs to oneself. Everyone takes a different path, has different levels of talent, different experiences and naturally different comprehensions. When you cultivate in the future, do not ever blindly follow the path of others because you feel that he is strong. What you have to do is to find the path most suited to you. At most, you can take another’s comprehensions as a slight reference, but do not let it direct your path. Comprehend that which you’d like, and only then will the path you tread be the most suited for yourself.”
Qin Wentian smiled as he continued, “Cultivation has to follow one’s heart. If your heart isn’t even sure of the path you want, how can your cultivation be smooth? This is my understanding, so listen well. I won’t explain in detail my comprehensions to you, imposing onto you a concept that might do more harm than good.”
Zong Lian was deep in contemplation before she nodded her head lightly, a smile could be seen on her face. “In that case, it wasn’t that you were unwilling to guide Zong Hong but rather, you wanted him not to be overly influenced by you?”
“Zong Lian, come here.” At that moment a cold voice echoed out. Zong Lian inclined her head, staring in the direction of the voice. The owner of this voice was a young man who had an extremely cold look in his eyes.
Zong Lian stuck out her tongue before sneaking a glance back at Qin Wentian as she whispered, “I’m leaving first.”
Qin Wentian shifted his gaze over in the man’s direction, only to see the silhouettes of Zong Peng and Zong Hong appear behind that young man. They were also similarly staring in Qin Wentian’s direction.
Zong Hong’s countenance was cold as he spoke, “If I can defeat you, please strip yourself from the title of ‘Sword Son’.”
Qin Wentian stared at him as he shook his head in disappointment. He then sternly commented, “Sword users should have an upright heart, only then can they master their sword. Earlier, you used language to provoke and humiliate me, yet I held no quarrel with you. When you came to me in apology, I told you to comprehend your own path yet you smeared my name behind my back in an attempt to destroy my reputation. With such a character, how can you be fit to cultivate the sword?”
As the sound of his voice faded, Qin Wentian took a step forwards as a surge of sword-might gushed forth. His eyes were as sharp as swords and the instant their gazes locked, Zong Hong felt his body involuntarily trembling. Qin Wentian’s words struck him to his very soul, it felt as though Qin Wentian wanted to break his sword heart.
“As a sword cultivator, your heart should be fully committed to your sword. The stronger your sword heart, the stronger your sword Dao. The identity as a swordsman is not essential, so what’s the use of calling yourself one? You know what you are. But in your case, you’ve already sunk. Zong Hong, just ask yourself this, how can you be worthy of the sword you hold in your hands?” Qin Wentian coldly spoke, his gaze turning even sharper, and his words causing Zong Hong’s heart to tremble.
A sound of beratement echoed out, only to see sword intent gushing forth from a middle-aged figure towards Qin Wentian, enveloping him within.
That person’s anger surged upwards as he stared at Qin Wentian, stating in an icy voice, “As the Sword Son, do you feel proud humiliating Zong Hong like this?”
“Elder.” The surrounding people gazed at the middle-aged figure who spoke, as they all dipped into a slight bow.
This elder was none other than Zong Hong’s uncle. It was precisely him who’d gone to complain to the clan lord, seeking to strip Qin Wentian of his Sword Son’s title.
Qin Wentian turned his gaze onto the speaker. The cultivation level of this person was at the third level of Heavenly Dipper.
“As the Sword Son, using your strength to bully the weak. When Zong Hong personally sought you out to consult you for advice, you brushed him off like a fool. How could the clan lord bestow the title of Sword Son to someone like you?” That elder slowly stepped out, as his terrifying sword intent whistled through the air, boring down upon Qin Wentian.
Qin Wentian continued to stand there calmly, with no fluctuations to his expressions as he stared at the elder.
“The title ‘Sword Son?” Qin Wentian shook his head. “How hopelessly idiotic can you be?”
“What did you say?” That elder’s voice turned even colder. Qin Wentian actually dared to throw back a rebuttal.
“Qin Wen, you have gone too far.” At this moment, Zong Peng, who had remained silent up till now, finally spoke. His gaze was fixated on Qin Wentian as he coldly stated, “We can set aside you using your strength to bully the weak, but today, you even dared argue against an elder. You are unfit to be the Sword Son, your title incites public wrath. I, Zong Peng, initially wanted to strip you of your title after the sword range battle was over. But now, since you have proven to be so impudent, I have no choice but to act now.”
As the sound of his voice faded, Zong Peng stepped out. Sword intent similarly gushed forth from him as he stared right into Qin Wentian’s eyes. “I, Zong Peng, challenge you to a battle. If I win, I will not make things difficult for you, but you must hand over the position of Sword Son. You, are unqualified.”
Qin Wentian turned his gaze onto Zong Peng, before shifting it onto Zong Hong beside him.
Zong Hong’s gaze was flickering in deep contemplation, apparently the words spoken earlier by Qin Wentian had somewhat reached Zong Hong. Although this person was proud and arrogant, he didn’t seem like someone despicable.
Turning his gaze back onto Zong Peng, whose face was painted with false justice, Qin Wentian felt that he was looking at a hypocrite.
“You, are unqualified,” Qin Wentian softly spoke, his words causing everyone to be stunned.
What a brazen fellow. Before Qin Wentian appeared, Zong Peng was one of the few that truly had the power to fight for the title ‘Sword Son’. Yet now, when he’d issued a challenge to him, Qin Wentian said that he wasn’t qualified.
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