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Qin Wentian didn’t leave immediately. Instead, he sat down cross-legged and reviewed everything he had experienced in the past year. Although his cultivation level remained the same, the state of his heart had undergone a qualitative change. Also, especially for his second-level insights into the Mandate of Sword, the improvements was remarkable.
Qin Wentian sank his perception into the sword manual. As the streams of information imprinted themselves on his mind, he could only marvel at the intricacies and tyranny of this swordplay. The power it was capable of unleashing wouldn’t lose out to Heavenly Swordplay, one of the nine ultimate arts. In fact, it even exceeded it.
However, for some reason, the Seven Annihilations Swordplay wasn’t qualified on the same list as one of the nine ultimate arts—Heavenly Swordplay won that honor instead. Qin Wentian didn’t know the reason why, he only knew that unless the state of one’s sword heart had reached a certain level, it was impossible for the cultivator to even learn this particular sword art.
He had used an entire year to observe and achieve the state where he was one with the sword. That was an extremely marvelous state, and with a single thought he could control the entirety of the swords in the Sword Forest. This was the basic level of sword mastery one must reach before one can even comprehend the Seven Annihilations Swordplay. In addition, it was fortunate that his comprehension ability was much stronger compared to ordinary cultivators. Some could take a total of five years, or ten, or may even spend their entire lifetime in the forest, trapped until they met their demise.
Comprehension was something one was born with—it wasn’t strange that there were those who might not even be able to comprehend this state even after an entire lifetime attempting it. But the moment, someone managed to comprehend something, they could understand all the intricacies within with just a single thought.
And although the Seven Annihilations Swordplay was outside the ranks of the nine ultimate arts, it’s initial criteria was already so harsh that not many people would be able to cultivate it.
The Seven Annihilations Swordplay: Annihilation with a single step; annihilation with the stab of a single finger; annihilation with but a single thought. Even gods and demons would cower before it.
Qin Wentian closed his eyes and began to cultivate it. Right now, there wasn’t even the slightest hint of sword intent emanating from him. He had already reached a brand new realm, and when his sword-might exploded forth, it did so in an instant, thunderously packed with an overwhelming power.
Several days passed by silently, while Qin Wentian felt his cultivation level increasing bit by bit. The vortex of astral energy absorption in his sword-aligned Yuanfu rotated at a terrifying speed, leading his other Yuanfu along. His Kingly Sword Astral Nova grew increasingly corporeal, and he was now only a step away from a breakthrough.
Today, Qin Wentian halted his cultivation and climbed up the flight of stairs, entering into the next dimension.
In this dimension, demonic beasts were everywhere. A terrifying surge of demonic qi gushed over him.
Qin Wentian turned ashen—these demonic beasts were all at the second level of Heavenly Dipper at the very least. And he couldn’t even see the end of them at the edge of his vision. The endless amount of beasts caused this dimension to be fully packed, so even he were to slaughter them without cease, there would be no end to them. The endeavor would only serve to exhaust his strength completely.
“Roar!” A horrifying bellow rang out, before several demonic beasts lunged right at him. Qin Wentian paused for only a moment, before taking a single step forward, executing the Seven Annihilations Swordplay and directly slaying the demonic beasts that lunged over him. They were lacerated so completely that not even their bones remained behind. Yet even after witnessing this terrifying sight, the other demonic beasts surrounding him showed no signs of hesitation and continued rushing towards him.
“This…” Qin Wentian didn’t even have time to react. With an intention, four of his Astral Novas surrounded him, blasting outwards. Wherever they passed, a trail of blood and gore could be seen—the demonic beasts were utterly destroyed. Especially for his Kingly Sword, which was his strongest Astral Nova. Nothing could stand before it, the sharpness radiating forth effortlessly slaying any demonic beast who tried to get close to Qin Wentian. Qin Wentian slowly stepped forwards, and for every step that landed on the ground, demonic beasts would surely die.
Such blind slaughtering continued for a day, for two days… as though there were no end to it. Seven days later, Qin Wentian completely exhausted all his strength. He could only engrave protective Inscriptions and remain in his current position, making it impossible for the demonic beasts to approach. A feeling of weariness settled in his heart, his gaze at the boundless space as well as the endless demonic beasts. Was there really a way out of this dimension?
If it weren’t for the fact that he was proficient in Divine Inscriptions, he would have already fallen from exhaustion due to the never-ending hordes.
Outside the Royal Tomb, about a year’s worth of time had already passed.
In this year, Grand Xia had been relatively quiet. This was a total contrast to the life before the Heavenly Fate Ranking people. Every transcendent power was now preparing themselves for the storm that would hit Grand Xia.
As for the reason for this tranquility, was naturally due to the world-shaking war between transcendent powers that took place right after the conclusion of the Heavenly Fate Rankings.
During the course of that war, a total of three Celestial Phenomenon Ascendants had fallen. And they were all from the Great Solar Chen Clan, with a third level Celestial Phenomenon Ancestor thrown in the mix.
The Great Solar Chen Clan, who had ruled a part of Ginkou unchallenged for a time, had been utterly destroyed, becoming the second transcendent power to fall, following after the Nine Mystical Palace.
The war had sent a clear message to Grand Xia; that even transcendent powers could fall. And once they did, all future roots of trouble were completely eliminated by the victors.
For a period of time, the members and disciples of the younger generation from the transcendent powers became many times more low profile as compared to before. The Nine Mystical Palace and Great Solar Chen Clan were placed as examples right in front of their eyes: weren’t these two powers destroyed in the hands of a young man whom they once ridiculed even when he had yet to mature?
In this year, Jun Yu of the Pill Emperor Hall summoned a few Ascendants over from Grand Shang, and formed an alliance with the Hua Clan and Wang Clan, trying their best to seek traces of Qin Wentian as well as Fairy Qingmei. As long as Qin Wentian was still alive, the Pill Emperor Hall could never be at ease. Obviously, Qin Wentian was a ticking time bomb that would eventually explode on them in the future.
However, Qin Wentian and Fairy Qingmei, as well as the forces under them had long concealed away all traces of their presence. Even when their investigations reached the remote Celestial Lake Palace in the Demon Continent, they couldn’t find anyone. It was as though everything related to Qin Wentian had completely vanished into thin air.
Grand Xia was too vast, and so if someone were to intentionally seek to hide away, it would be almost impossible to find them.
And right now, the disciples from the Pill Emperor Hall were also naturally sent to guard over outside the Royal Tomb. Not merely the Pill Emperor Hall, several members from the various transcendent powers had also sent experts to guard it. Occasionally, they would send additional people inside, however, for those who entered, not one had ever returned. And thus, no news was available. Back then, Ouyang Kuangsheng and the others who entered within, they all seemed to have vanished without a trace.
Because of this, there were even Celestial Phenomenon Ascendants joining forces to attack the Royal Palace. However, they soon discovered that the imposing underground palaces were impervious to their attacks. External attacks were completely unable to affect them.
There were even some that speculated that those who entered the Royal Tomb, would never be able to exit.
Qin Wentian was still living the life of endless slaughter, he didn’t even know how many of these demonic beasts he had killed, and how many Yuan Meteor Stones he had consumed. He finally slaughtered his way past this region, only to discover that what awaited him was an endless amount of demonic beasts with cultivation bases at the third level of Heavenly Dipper. Without anywhere to go, he could only dive head in and continue slaughtering his way through.
Such torture almost made him crazy. However, he didn’t have a choice. He could only do his best and rush ahead, hoping against hope that there would be a way out of this dimension.
Qin Wentian was thinking that if it weren’t for the fact that he was proficient in Divine Inscription Formations, he would long be dead. Such a trial was truly brutal—it was simply too ruthless.
How long would this trial last? He had no idea, he could only continue to advance forward.
He had already forgotten the passing of time, Qin Wentian felt as though he had descended into a nightmare. And finally one day, he saw an imposing and majestic structure just in the distance. Qin Wentian felt immense joy, the ceaseless slaughter was about to come to an end. He killed his way over, entering the structure, only to discover that he was in the grand hall of the Royal Tomb once more, coming face-to-face with the Vermilion Bird.
“This…” Qin Wentian paled as he stared at the Vermilion Bird.
“This is the path you have chosen, the hardest path. Everything was an illusion, but what you’ve obtained was the experiences gained through the tempering of these years.” The Vermilion Bird stared at him and quietly added, “Everyone has long exited the Royal Tomb. However, your enemies are standing guard outside, it would be better if I sent you out.”
Qin Wentian’s countenance was extremely unsightly, the mind-numbing experiences of slaying one beast after another throughout all these years was all nothing but an illusion?
An immense power emanated forth from the Vermilion Bird, enveloping him within. Shortly after, he felt the energy of space begin to tremble and when he opened his eyes once again, he had already appeared in a place some distance away from the ancient kingdom in Ginkou. Upon seeing the number of guards arranged there by the various transcendent powers, Qin Wentian quietly sneaked away.
Qin Wentian’s silhouette flickered as he left with great speed. Because both of his true-bodies could share the same intent and thoughts, he already knew where Fairy Qingmei was currently located. A few days later, he arrived in Sky Harmony City, back in Chu. He saw Qin Chuan, as well as his elder sister, Qin Yao. The sight left him feeling joyful, and lessened some of the fatigue he felt.
Fairy Qingmei and Qing`er were here as well.
“Damn.” At this moment, Fairy Qingmei sensed something was off. After which, Qin Wentian inclined his head—he had felt a terrifying aura descending on them from far away. An instant later, Jun Yu—as well as an army of Celestial Phenomenon Ascendants and Heavenly Dipper Sovereigns—flew over to their position, unleashing their constellations and Astral Novas, enveloping the entire sky.
“I was followed.” Qin Wentian’s heart pounded rapidly, his countenance as pale as paper. Only to hear Jun Yu speaking, “To think that all of you actually chose to hide away in such a small city so far away. However, since we’ve now found you, all of you shall die here today.”
As the sound of his voice faded, astral light flashed, and Qin Chuan and Qin Yao let out miserable screams, before they both fell over dead.
“NO!” Qin Wentian howled in rage, his eyes crimson from his emotions. Immediately after, the numerous Ascendants all surrounded Fairy Qingmei.
“RUN!” Fairy Qingmei screamed at him. Yet Qin Wentian remained motionless, his mind reeling from the tragedy that he had unwittingly wrought. It was unknown when, but Qing`er finally appeared, standing in front of him protectively. It seemed as though she had been doing so since time immemorial.
The Qin Clan of the Sky Harmony City were wiped out completely. And under the siege of so many powerhouses of the same level, Fairy Qingmei let out a voice filled with complete despair as she too, was slain.
Blood seeped out of Qin Wentian’s palm from his nails digging in too deeply. He unleashed the Demonic Divinity Sacrificial Transformation once more, and turned into a demon. However this time around, he was instantly suppressed by the number of Celestial Phenomenon Ascendants, their terrifying attacks wounding him grievously—he didn’t even have the chance to fight back.
“LEAVE!” Qing`er waved her hands as a light screen made from spatial energy enveloped him within.
Instantly, space started to warp as he could feel himself being transported to another place. Qing`er stood there silently, staring at him as he departed. Those ice-cold eyes of hers finally melted, blooming with the warmth of a smile. But soon after, the joint attacks from the Ascendants disintegrated her completely, reducing her into nothing but dust drifting about, dispersed by the merciless wind.
That smile was branded into his mind. Qin Wentian howled in total anguish and when he reappeared again, he had already been sent to a location outside of Chu. He stared blankly at his surroundings, and his heart felt as though it had already been sliced into pieces—he wanted nothing more than to join them in death.
They died, all of them died! Because of his carelessness, his foster father, Qin Chuan, as well as his elder sister, Qin Yao, both had been slain. And because of him… Fairy Qingmei and Qing`er had died as well. In a desolate daze, akin to a mad man, his consciousness started to blur as indescribable pain flooded his heart. He wanted nothing more than to die. He wasn’t willing to face reality, he wanted an escape.
Was this his fate? Why was it like this? He wanted to ask the Heavens, what had he done to deserve this?
At this moment, in a bamboo hut inside a forest a thousand miles away from the Spirit Continent, Qing`er quietly stood there, her eyes staring over the horizon.
Behind her, lay Qin Wentian’s other true body. A year had already passed and with it came Qin Wentian’s gradual recovery. Even though he was unconscious, he could still cultivate in his dreamscape, absorbing astral energy which aided him in his recovery.
At this moment, a shout broke the silence of the bamboo hut. Qing`er turned, a look of puzzlement could be seen on her face as she stared at Qin Wentian. She saw only a silhouette dashing over, embracing her into a hug. Qing`er immediately stiffened, she didn’t know how to react. The bamboo flute she was holding in her hands fell straight to the ground, as her heart was overwhelmed by what was happening.
Her head was lying on Qin Wentian’s shoulder, her eyes staring blankly ahead. An instant later, she blinked, as her countenance flashed with an emotion that had never once appeared on her face before.
“You are hurting me… ” Qing`er softly stated. Qin Wentian had used too much strength in that embrace.
The melodious sound of her voice woke Qin Wentian up. He relinquished his hold and stepped back, heaving only a sigh of relief when he saw Qing`er standing safe and sound in front of him. Luckily, that was just a nightmare. How terrifying.
“What happened?” Qing`er voice was cold, yet there was a melodic tilt to it, extremely pleasing to the ear. She saw that right now, Qin Wentian’s brows were tightly creased with worry.
“My other body has descended into an unending nightmare. In it, I’ve entered into a dimension that seemed to be an extremely fearsome dreamscape created by the demons in my heart.” Qin Wentian then continued, “Him and I share an innate connection, yet I have no way to awaken him from it,” Qin Wentian spoke in a low voice. Because of that connection, he knew everything that his other body had gone through. He too, knew how utterly terrifying it was to experience that dreamscape!
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