Autumn Snow descended slowly, step by step, down the grandstand, as her headful of black hair danced about in the wind. That beautiful face emitted an aura of irrepressible charm that was capable of stirring the heartstrings of the crowd
Such a ravishing countenance, when combined with world-shaking talent…. “Unparalleled beauty indeed.” The hearts of many in the crowd were thinking.
“It’s said that even before Autumn Snow condensed her Astral Soul, she was already a genius that had already broken through to the 7th level of the Body Refinement Realm. Now, to think that she could condense an Astral Soul from the constellations from the 3rd Heavenly Layer on her first attempt… Such a peak level genius will bring glory to the Sky Harmony City. If I could be lucky enough to marry her, I could die with no regrets.”
They could only sigh ruefully, involuntarily comparing themselves with the rumored party, Ye WuQue, who was seeking a marriage engagement with Autumn Snow. Maybe, only with the status and talent of people like Ye WuQue, would they be comparable to Autumn Snow. That scrub from the Qin Clan, Qin Wentian, obviously didn’t know how tall the heavens were, or how thick the earth was. Such shameless people should indeed be humiliated. However, the Qin Clan this time round actually brought their troops along. Who knew what they were planning.
After a short moment, Autumn Snow had arrived in the centre of the training grounds, and purposefully stood there at will. It was as if all the splendour of today was focused on her alone. At this moment, in the training grounds, there were already a total of over 30 people.
The eyes of the various representatives, blazing like burning torches, focused only on Autumn Snow. As for the other examinees, it was as though the representatives didn’t have much interest in them at all. After all, Autumn Snow was the main reason they were here.
The only exception to this, was Mustang. His eyes, glimmered incessantly, as he spoke, “Is there still anyone who wishes to participate?.”
“That should be all.” Talon lightly replied. He had to get Autumn Snow to enroll in the Royal Academy at all costs.
However, at this moment, the shadow of a figure walked out from the crowd, as he made his way towards the training grounds. Looking at the features of this person, the crowd was stunned into silence.
“What the? Qin Wentian?” Many people in the crowd started muttering under their breath. To think that Qin Wentian actually came. Could it be that he didn’t know of the requirements to participate in the examination?
Bai Qingsong obviously had not anticipated the arrival of Qin Wentian. He coldly glanced at Qin Wentian, while shifting his gaze to Qin Chuan, before thinking in his heart, “The Qin Clan sent their men to rescue Qin Wentian in the middle of the night, but why would Qin Chuan permit Qin Wentian’s appearance today? But no matter. Since he is here, the proceedings of today should be even more beneficial for our Bai Clan.” It seemed as though Autumn Snow hadn’t spoken to Bai Qingsong about the happenings of that night.
After spotting Qin Wentian, the eyes of Mustang shined with brilliance as they narrowed into slits, filled with laughter. At the critical moment, he could give up on the enrolment of Autumn Snow. But regardless of the cost, he had to get Qin Wentian to enter the Emperor Star Academy!
Mustang involuntarily glanced at Talon, only to see that his face was filled with contempt. After which, almost immediately, Mustang felt as if flowers were blooming in his heart. He was imagining the scenario whereby which Qin Wentian finally unleashed his Astral Soul, and how fascinating the expressions on Talon’s face would be.
Atop the training grounds, Autumn Snow faced Qin Wentian directly, and as their gazes locked, Autumn Snow coldly stated, “Qin Wentian, you do not have the qualifications to stand on this stage — get down from here.”
Qin Wentian’s only reply, was to gaze at Autumn Snow, as his lips curled up into a slight smile, before turning his head away with no intention to answer her.
Looking at the reaction of Qin Wentian, Autumn Snow involuntarily furrowed her brows, as if unsatisfied about something, before again stating, “Qin Wentian, I know you feel unfairness in your heart, however, between you and me, there is a great divide that you will forever be unable to cross. It’s impossible for us to be together. Even if your heart still holds traces of unwillingness, you should stop your nonsense. This training ground is not the place for you to be. You better leave now.”
“You truly overestimate yourself.” Qin Wentian calmly replied, as he stood to the side, with no intentions to converse further with Autumn Snow. This women — she was only 16 years of age — to think that her scheming abilities were already at such a high level. Qin Wentian felt sorry for his past self, spending all of his time and efforts, sincerely treating her as his kin. Everything was just an illusion, he was dancing to her machinations, merely there to be her stepping stone, a tool for her to use.
“My good nephew, Wentian.”
On the grandstand, the voice of Bai Qingsong drifted over. Qin Wentian turned his gaze to the direction of the voice, only to see Bai Qingsong wearing a smile on his face as he said, “My good nephew, Wentian, my daughter Autumn Snow, had a heart of gold. She pitied you for being unable to cultivate, and for the past few years, had expended all her efforts in teaching and guiding you, hoping for you to be able to finally cultivate again. Although her efforts were in vain, the backbreaking efforts she expended can not be neglected, and yet you were such a beast in human-clothing.”
“Autumn Snow guided me? Beast in human-clothing?” Qin Wentian’s expression turned frosty, and as he looked at the acts of the deceptively righteous Bai Qingsong, he couldn’t help but feel an evil chill creep into his heart. To think that the person he had once respected so much, was actually such a despicable hypocrite.
“Although you had a marriage engagement with Autumn Snow, but still, you were merely engaged and not yet married. To think that you wanted to taint my precious daughter Autumn Snow, and even have designs on my younger daughter Bai Qing… I’m truly disappointed and hurt. But taking into account of our past relations, I will not fault you the slightest, I only hope that after today, you will not appear again within my sights.”
Bai Qingsong’s voice was calm, but yet Qin Wentian had already seen his true colors. If Bai Qingsong wanted to break the marriage engagement, he could just do so. To think that he would be so despicable, and use such an underhanded method… It was just like the time in the past when he needed help — when he had no choice but to fawn over the Qin Clan. This man, after he achieved his objectives, would bury all past relations ruthlessly, changing faces in a second.
After hearing the words uttered by Bai Qingsong, many people in the crowd started to look at Qin Wentian with contempt in their eyes. The majority of the voices in the crowd began to rise up angrily, and unceasingly, viciously cursed Qin Wentian.
“Silence.” Talon faintly shouted indifferently, causing the crowd to quiet down. Looking at Qin Wentian, Talon continued coldly, “It’s nothing if you’re unable to cultivate. To think that you were a person with such vile character… even though the Bai Clan Master wouldn’t bear grudges, this is not a place where you can be so impudent. Scram.”
“Junior Brother…” At Talon’s side, a middle aged man with an elegant bearing, glanced at Talon. However, Talon quickly interjected “Senior, this person was born with crippled meridians. There’s no way he’d be able to cultivate. He was the one engaged to Autumn Snow, therefore it must’ve been hard for her to endure that for three years.”
After hearing Talon’s word, the elegantly dressed man instantly understood. Talon was trying to gain the favor of Autumn Snow — hoping to be able to form a good impression to aid their Royal Academy in the enrolment of Autumn Snow.
Qin Wentian’s expression got increasingly colder. The Royal Academy was one of the top prestigious academies in the Royal Capital, yet they actually acted in such a way just for the mere shadow of a hope that Autumn Snow would join them. How disappointing.
“I came up the stage because the four great academies were conducting an enrolment exercise, did I do something wrong? Elder, you are of the senior generation, which also hails from the prestigious Royal Academy. Even if you favor Autumn Snow, you should not be so blinded and foolish — humiliating and turning me away without even checking my qualifications. It’s truly lamentable, if this is how the respected Royal Academy usually acts.”
“Impudent!” Talon shouted in rage. “I personally inspected your meridians before. Are you telling me that I made a mistake?”
“If elder insists that to be so, Wentian has nothing to say.” Qin Wentian straightened his back, as he stood there dignified and imposing.
“The words of this little brother, does have some merit to them. Talon, don’t you think your behavior is a little too disgraceful?” Mustang couldn’t help but feel overjoyed in his heart when he saw the conflicts arising between Qin Wentian and Talon.
Talon coldly glanced at Mustang, as he replied, “To think that Brother Mustang actually had the intention to protect this person. If that is so, I shall of course, give face to Brother Mustang. However, don’t blame me for not holding back when his lack of qualifications are revealed later on in the examination.”
“Let the examination begin.”
As the representatives of the four great academies spoke, very swiftly, two stone mirrors were erected on to the training stage. These two mirrors looked extremely mystifying. For each of the mirror, from top to bottom, there were 9 darkened light orbs located on them. Despite the similar appearances between them, the effect of each of these two mirrors differed greatly. The one on the left seemed to emanate a faint trace of Heaven and Earth Yuan Energy, while the mirror on the right, emitted a faint trace of Astral Qi fluctuation..
“The first round of the examination, is to determine your level of talent for sensing the Yuan Qi from Heaven and Earth, as well as sensing the Astral Qi from the constellations. We will start by examining each of you individually.”
After which, someone murmured, “This type of stone mirror is known as the Yuan Observing Mirror and the Astral Observing Mirror. One of the advantages it possesses, is to test for the level of talent.”
Everyone from the Province of the Nine Skies would at least have the grade of a 1-star rating regarding talent in sensing both the Yuan Qi from Heaven and Earth and Astral Qi from the Constellations. And thus, would certainly be able to ignite the lowest light orb placement of both stone mirrors. And as long as one had the talent of a 1-star rating, it would be sufficient for the person to cultivate as a Martial Cultivator, absorbing the Yuan Qi of Heaven and Earth. However, if one wanted to become a Stellar Martial Cultivator, one’s talent would need to be at the grade of a three-star rating, and ignite at least three light orbs of the Astral Observing Mirror, before they could do so.
Hence, it’s simple for people of the Province of the Nine Skies to cultivate as a Martial Cultivator. But, to become a Stellar Martial Cultivator? It was extremely tough.
As for the reason behind this, many people speculated that since the birth of the human race, the world was already saturated with the Yuan Qi of Heaven and Earth, so it was naturally much easier to absorb the Yuan Qi for cultivation purposes. In comparison, the Astral Qi from the constellations only existed far beyond the skies, in the galaxies of the Astral Rivers, in the nine layers of Heaven. It would be comparatively harder for cultivators to be able to sense the Qi for absorption, for cultivation purposes.
Naturally, no matter the affinity for both Heaven and Earth Yuan Qi, and the Astral Qi from the Constellations, one could increase their sensory abilities and affinity for them through Houtian practices like meditation. The greater your affinity grew, the higher graded your talent would be. In the Province of the Nine Skies, the majority of those with strong affinity with the Astral Constellations would delay their condensing of their Astral Souls as they hoped to increase their sensory abilities to the peak with the aid of meditation, before attempting to form an innate link with a Astral Constellation from an even higher heavenly layer.
At this moment, there was already someone walking towards the stone mirror on the left, and placing his palm in the specially designed groove in the shape of a “凹”. After a moment, from the bottom to top, the orbs glowed with light, instantaneously lighting up three of the darkened light orbs.
“Talent rating for Yuan Qi of Heaven and Earth, 3-Star”
After which, the same person walked to the stone mirror on the right, to the front of the Astral Observing Mirror, and placed his palm in the groove again. However, this time around, only two of the darkened light orbs lit up, causing the representatives of the four great academies to shake their heads. Failure.
“You can go back now.” That youth standing on the stage, was rejected by the representatives. He couldn’t help feeling traces of unwillingness in his heart, as depression was apparent on his face. The first round of the examination had been over for him just like that.
The second person had a 4-star rating for the Yuan Qi of Heaven and Earth, and a 2-star rating for Astral Qi from the constellations. Although this signified that he would easily be able to cultivate as a Martial Cultivator, that probably was his limit. Wanting to step into the ranks of Stellar Martial Cultivators was highly improbable for him, and as such, he was rejected by the representatives as well.
Swiftly, four more person were eliminated from the examination, causing the atmosphere to be tinged with a feeling of nervousness. The passing rate for the first round of examination was so low… The four great academies were indeed truly worthy of their name and prestige.