The Old Master
“Kill Linley?” Bernard looked at his son. “Kalan, why should we kill this Linley? He’s just a master sculptor. Will he impact the Debs clan somehow?”
The news of Linley becoming a magus of the seventh rank hadn’t been widely publicized in Fenlai City yet. In addition, recently Bernard had been absorbed in dealing with the frustrating affairs of his clan, which was why he didn’t know anything about Linley.
Kalan nodded. “Father, Linley is seventeen years old this year, but he’s already produced a Grandmaster-level sculpture. More importantly…he is currently the number one genius magus of the Yulan continent. Even looking back at all of history, he is still the number two genius magus of all time of the Yulan continent. Because he…is a seventeen year old dual-element magus of the seventh rank.”
“A seventeen year old dual-element magus of the seventh rank?”
Bernard sucked in a cold breath of air. His intuition was telling him that this Linley would be a threat to his clan.
“This Linley cannot be permitted to live.” Bernard immediately said.
Hearing these words from his father, Kalan couldn’t help but smile. But then, a heartbeat later, Bernard frowned. “Wait. The number two genius magus of all time will definitely be an extremely incredible person in the future. How could the Radiant Church, the Cult of Shadows, and the Four Great Empires possibly let someone like this slip through their fingers? It’s quite possible that Linley has already struck up a relationship with the Radiant Church.”
“Kalan, this Linley, cannot be killed by us.” Looking at Kalan, Bernard spoke in a serious tone.
“Father, he’s just a dual-element magus of the seventh rank.” Kalan’s face was a mask of urgency. Suddenly, he lowered his voice. “Father, we don’t need to necessarily dirty our own hands to get rid of Linley. We can spend some money to invite others to do the deed. Just like when we killed that Court Minister.”
Bernard was silent for a moment. “Kalan, you don’t need to interfere in this matter anymore. I will handle everything.”
Bernard wasn’t saying that he would kill Linley. This made Kalan extremely irritable and unable to be at ease.
The dark of the night. Bernard had arrived at a pre-reserved deluxe room within a hotel, and there was a white-haired old man there waiting for him.
“Mr. Bernard.” Upon seeing Bernard, that white-haired old man couldn’t help but grin at him.
Bernard nodded. “Mr. Bayonet. This time I have come to see you for the purpose of asking your assistance.”
“Speak, speak. You are an old customer.” The white-haired old man was still beaming.
Bernard spoke bluntly. “Two things. First, I hope you can destroy for me that ‘Awakening From the Dream’ sculpture currently on display within the Proulx Gallery.” Bernard was quite clear that actually spiriting this sculpture out of the Proulx Gallery was an impossibility.
But destroying it was a task of much lower complexity.
“Destroy the sculpture, ‘Awakening From the Dream’?” The white-haired old man said, startled.
“What, is your organization, ‘Saber’, not capable of carrying this mission out?” Bernard laughed lightly.
Of the four major assassin’s guilds of the Yulan continent, each was unique in their own way. This one, Saber, possessed an exceedingly strong force. As long as the price was enough, they would even dare to assassinate a Cardinal.
But of course, if the contract was to assassinate a Saint-level combatant, that was perhaps a level of difficulty that was a bit too high.
“Could it be that even you are afraid offending the Proulx Gallery?” Bernard was somewhat suspicious.
“No. Of course we don’t care about a branch of the Proulx Gallery. Go ahead and advise us as to your second requirement.” The white-haired old man suddenly said.
An assassin’s guild, by its very nature, was going to offend people. They even dared to offend the Radiant Church. Who wouldn’t they dare to offend?
Bernard suppressed the curiosity in his heart. “The second matter is, I hope that you can assassinate Linley.”
The white-haired old man finally laughed helplessly. Shaking his head, he said to Bernard, “Mr. Bernard, please forgive us, but we won’t be able to accept either of your two missions. My deepest regrets.”
“Unable to accept?” Bernard rose to his feet violently, staring at the white-haired old man in disbelief. “Mr. Bayonet, I know how much strength your organization has. Since when did you become unwilling to dare to accept a small mission such as this?” Bernard totally could not accept that this was the end result of his trip here.
After all, this organization dared to even assassinate senior ministers of the Four Great Empires and Cardinals of the Radiant Church. But they didn’t dare assassinate Linley?
“It isn’t that we don’t dare, it’s that we don’t wish to accept this mission. As for the reason why, our organization has no need to tell you, right?” The expression on the white-haired old man’s face had turned cold.
Bernard hurriedly smiled. “Forgive me, Mr. Bayonet. Since you are unwilling to accept this mission, then I must take my leave.”
The white-haired old man nodded.
After Bernard departed, the white-haired old man slowly rose to his feet, mumbling to himself, “This Bernard. Out of all the missions he could ask us for, why did he have to try and destroy a sculpture? And he even wants to assassinate Linley? I absolutely must report this affair to the Old Master. I imagine once the Old Master learns that we turned this mission down, he will be quite pleased.”
The white-haired old man was one of the founding elders of the Saber organization.
However, precisely because he was too old, he didn’t carry out any missions anymore. Most of his time, he spent his life enjoying everything this megacity, Fenlai City, had to offer. On occasion, he would receive visitors from some of the wealthier nobles.
But as for the ‘Old Master’ he was referring to…
Within the Saber organization, the Old Master was a person of legend. Even when the guild leader of Saber met the Old Master, he would very respectfully hail him as ‘Old Master’. In the entirety of this organization, there was perhaps no one who was more senior than this Old Master.
Within the Proulx Gallery. The fourth day of the exhibition of the sculpture, ‘Awakening From the Dream.’
In the middle of the hall of the masters, something quite bizarre was happening. Based on the usual rules of the Proulx Gallery, each visitor to the hall of the masters should only be allowed three minutes of viewing time per visit before leaving to allow someone else to come in. If they wanted to view the sculpture again, they would have to get in line again.
But within the hall of the masters, one particular guest had already been there for nearly two hours. This was totally against the rules!
This guest appeared to be thirty or forty years old. He wore a loose-fitting long robe, and his arms were hidden by the sleeves of the robes and crossed over his chest. That long, black robe was casually loosened, and he appeared to be very much absorbed in viewing the sculpture, ‘Awakening From the Dream.’
And right now, the several extremely powerful-looking guards standing in front of ‘Awakening From the Dream’ were all discussing this black-haired man in a low voice.
“What sort of relationship does this man have with Mr. Austoni? We were actually instructed not to shoo him away. For him to be here for such a long period of time in the hall of the masters is against the rules.”
“Don’t worry about it. Let’s just quietly protect the statue.”
“What are you afraid of? The Gallery has set up a magical defensive formation around the sculpture. It is totally impossible for someone to attempt to steal it, especially given how large it is. Who can possibly steal such a large sculpture out from under our eyes?”
The guards were all in a relatively relaxed mood.
After all, stealing this huge sculpture would be an extremely hard task, while damaging it was of no benefit to anybody. Who would do such a thing?
“Wow, what an excellent sculpture. It really has flavor.” The thirty to forty year old man knitted his brows as he carefully inspected the sculpture, ‘Awakening From the Dream’. And then, he glanced once more at the introduction. “A seventeen year old kid. I really anticipate his future progress.”
Time passed. One group of people after another entered the hall of the masters.
But this man continued to stand in that one spot, carefully viewing and enjoying the sight of this sculpture, ‘Awakening From the Dream’.
“What smoothly flowing lines and marks, so clean without any sign of hesitation.” A slightly enchanted look was on this man’s face. “How absolutely mesmerizing. And this girl! Her unique characteristics were completely drawn out by the sculptor, to the point of being more attractive than a real person.”
Within the hall, groups of visitors continued to arrive and depart.
Many of the visitors were lining up multiple times and viewing the sculpture multiple times. A Grandmaster-level sculpture such as this, to those genuine aficionados of sculpture, was something they could admire for an entire day without feeling bored.
“Time’s up! Next group!” The employee of the Proulx Gallery called out loudly. Instantly, a large group of people began heading for the exit obediently, while the next group of people began to come in. But just at this disorderly moment…
“Boom!” “Boom!” “Boom!”
Several explosive sounds could be heard, and suddenly, the hall of the masters was covered with a layer of thick fog. The previous guests totally began to run wild, screaming in fear or cursing angrily. The air was filled with noise.
At this time, the guards charged with protecting the sculpture also grew nervous.
“Not good.” Seeing this spectacle, the guards knew that something was happening.
The man dressed in a loose robe frowned, cursing in an annoyed manner. His previously drowsy eyes cleared and scanned forwards. At this time, four blurs suddenly charged towards that sculpture, ‘Awakening From the Dream’.
When these four blurs made their charge, the guards had already drawn their weapons, while at the same time, many experts of the Proulx Gallery hidden around the area came charging forward as well. If the sculpture currently on display within the Proulx Gallery was destroyed, then this would be an unmitigated disaster!
One of the four blurs, a white blur, moved in an extremely bizarre manner. Like a piece of white paper, he floated about, easily dodging past the attempted blockade by the guards. At the same time, he stretched out with his black dagger, aiming a stab at the sculpture.
Based on his attack power, with this stab, the entire sculpture would be shattered.
“Thud!” ‘Awakening From the Dream’ suddenly glowed. The dagger landed on the glow surrounding the sculpture, but did not damage it.
“Lightguard?” The white blur muttered. The dagger in his hand suddenly flushed with a layer of blood-red color, and he stabbed at the sculpture with it once more. Instantly, a clear ringing sound could be heard as the Lightguard spell was totally shattered.
“Not good.” The four guards were getting desperate. Even the protective magic set up by a light-style magus of the seventh rank had been so easily broken. And, because the situation was too chaotic, many of the Gallery’s experts were not able to reach or block in time.
But these guards next to the sculpture were being blocked in turn by the other three blurs.
That man in a loose-fitting robe who hadn’t moved this entire time, suddenly radiated a fierce look from his previously drowsy-looking eyes.
A very soft noise could be heard, while at the same time, the white colored blur suddenly twitched. Then, with a ‘rip’ sound, he suddenly split into two pieces, and fresh blood spurted out from his bifurcated body. Even the three people entangling the bodyguards suddenly split into two pieces. All of them were as dead as dead can be.
Shortly afterwards, the Proulx Gallery returned to normal, while that man in a loose robe slowly departed from the Proulx Gallery. Outside the Proulx Gallery, there was a carriage waiting for him, and another person as well.
It was the person whom Kalan’s father, Bernard, had addressed as ‘Mr. Bayonet’.
Upon seeing this thirty or forty year old man come towards him, the elder immediately said in a voice of respect, “Old Master.”
“Mm. You did a good job this time.” The thirty or forty year old man laughed as he praised. But then, he said in an unhappy voice, “I didn’t expect that the Bloodrose organization would sink to such depths. Could it be that they don’t know what a huge sin it is to attempt to destroy such a precious work of art?”
The Bloodrose organization, like the Saber organization, was one of the four primary assassin’s guilds.
“Old Master, where should head to, today?” That Mr. Bayonet asked.
The man thought for a while, then said, “It’s been a year or two since I’ve visited the Jade Water Paradise. In the past, I’ve always had those girls come out to my place instead. This time…I shall visit the Jade Water Paradise in person. Only when I spend some time with young ladies will I, as well, feel young at heart. Haha…” He began to laugh loudly.
“Yes, Old Master.” The white-haired old man said courteously. In Mr. Bayonet’s heart, he actually was always curious about one thing; how old, exactly, this middle-aged man was. This was because, amongst all the assassins produced by the Saber organization, he himself was in the final group of assassins to be personally trained by the Old Master himself.
As for the very first group of assassins trained by the Old Master, either they had all been killed, or they had died of old age!
“What are you thinking about? Move it!” From within the carriage came the sound of the man’s voice.
Mr. Bayonet immediately began to drive the carriage forward, heading towards the Jade Water Paradise.