A Missing Hand?
Bearing the adamantine heavy sword on his back, Linley quickly made his way through the streets. However, just from appearances, nobody could tell how heavy it truly was, and so Linley didn’t attract any notice from bystanders.
“Clayde finally came. I’ve waited so long!” Linley suppressed the excitement he felt. “Calm. This time, no matter what, I can’t make any mistakes again.”
The first time, he had thought he had a better than 90% chance of success, but unexpectedly, that Saint-level Fateguard had appeared out of nowhere and caused Linley’s plan to fail. This time, Linley didn’t want to make any mistakes.
“Linley.” Doehring Cowart’s slightly hoarse voice rang out. “Remember, you previously were together for a period of time with Shaq and his men. Upon Clayde’s return, Shaq might report that fact to him.”
Linley had thought of this possibility long ago. But for the sake of being able to find the place where Clayde would end up, he had to travel alongside Shaq, which resulted in them arriving together in Hess City. He definitely could not kill Shaq, because once Shaq and his group of men died, then Clayde perhaps wouldn’t show himself at all.
“I had to act in this way. But even if Clayde knew that I had travelled along with Shaq for a time, there’s nothing he can do, because…I already know his whereabouts. There’s no way he can escape.” Linley was totally confident. At the same time, Bebe, who was spiritually connected to him, was watching over Clayde and his men.
As they chatted, Linley arrived at Keyan Road.
In order to prevent himself from being seen by Clayde’s men, Linley immediately headed towards his residence via a series of back alleys.
A black blur suddenly travelled several dozen meters and leapt into Linley’s arms.
“Bebe.” Laughing, Linley looked at the little Shadowmouse in his arms.
Bebe’s eyes were gleaming as he delightedly conversed mentally, “Boss, I saw Clayde come here not too long ago. But I only caught a glimpse of half his face before he entered the manor. Boss, those two people you employed were too useless. They didn’t notice him at all.”
Linley was somewhat suspicious. He had ordered those two to stay on the lookout. Logically speaking, as soon as Clayde had appeared, they should have noticed him.
Ah Da and Ah Er ran over and said respectfully, “Milord, we just saw a large group of people enter that manor not too long ago.”
“A large group of people?” Linley immediately asked. “Was one of them missing a hand?”
Ah Er shook his head. “No, milord. Milord, you ordered us to pay attention to any groups of people entering the manor, and you also told us to watch for a man with a missing hand. But we didn’t see anyone with a missing hand in that group.”
“Impossible.” Linley said with certainty. “There definitely was a man with a missing hand.”
Bebe had already seen half of Clayde’s face, and given Bebe’s eyesight, he definitely wouldn’t have been mistaken. Since Bebe was certain he had seen him, then Clayde was definitely in that group.
“Definitely?” Hearing how certain Linley was, the man felt awkward. “Milord, perhaps…perhaps there were too many people in the group, so my elder brother and I didn’t see him.”
Too many people?
Originally, when he fought with Clayde’s squad at the palace, Linley and Bebe had killed quite a number, leaving only ten or so knights remaining. And given the number of magical beasts on the road here, it would be quite exceptional if all ten of Clayde’s men were still alive. How could this be considered ‘too many people’?
“Many people? How many?” Linley asked.
“Very many. At least seventy or eighty.” The man said haltingly, seemingly uncertain. “Regardless, there were very many. That group suddenly appeared and then entered the manor. We two brothers couldn’t clearly see every single person in the group. Perhaps there really was a man with a missing hand amongst them.”
Linley was confused.
Seventy or eighty people?
Even when he had attempted to kill Clayde in the palace, Clayde’s Wildthunder squad had only thirty or so people. What’s more, after having been reduced in numbers by himself and Bebe, how could so many more people have appeared out of nowhere?
Linley didn’t understand it.
“Boss, there really were a lot of people.” Bebe’s voice also sounded out now, in Linley’s mind. “By the time I noticed Clayde, he was just about to enter the manor. I only had the chance to catch a glimpse of half his face. But behind him there were at least fifty or so people. But as to how many people entered the manor before Clayde, I’m not too sure.”
Linley definitely trusted Bebe, of course.
“That many people?” Linley wondered to himself.
“Alright, you can go now. This is a reward for you and your brother. Keep watching for me.” Linley tossed the half-filled sack of gold, which had fifty coins in it.
Accepting the sack, he took a peek inside through the opening. The insides were filled with gleaming gold. This half-bag had to have near fifty coins in it! His heart began to be filled with excitement. When he had escaped here to Hess City, he hadn’t even been able to feed himself. Now, after only having worked for Linley for a few days, the man tossed him a sack with fifty gold coins? How could he not be wildly excited?
“Thank you, milord. Thank you, milord.” He made up his mind. He and his elder brother would consider keeping a close watch on the people inside the manor. He immediately departed, then ran to the top floor of the nearby restaurant where he and his elder brother kept watch.
Within the courtyard.
All alone, Linley was pondering what he should do next.
A white light shone out from the Coiling Dragon ring, transforming into the white-robed, white-haired, white-bearded Doehring Cowart. Doehring Cowart stroked his beard. Chuckling, he said, “Linley, what’s wrong? Are you in a bad mood?”
Linley lifted his head up to look at Doehring Cowart. Upon seeing his Grandpa Doehring, Linley felt his heart calm down a little. With such an experienced elder by his side, at least Linley wouldn’t grow frantic or feel unsure of himself.
“Grandpa Doehring. I’m wondering where that group of people with Clayde came from.” Linley said.
Doehring Cowart chuckled. “You are wasting your time wondering about this. Why don’t you act instead? Hide in a corner of a wall in their manor and take a look for yourself. By then, you will know exactly who these people with Clayde are.”
Linley began to laugh.
Right. Why was he wasting time?
“Carrying this heavy sword will still impact my speed.” Linley removed his adamantine heavy sword, then entered his bedroom and placed it under his bed, then grabbed his bedsheets.
Standing on Linley’s shoulders, Bebe stared curiously at the adamantine heavy sword. He mentally asked Linley, “Boss, is this heavy sword the treasure which you had created for you using that adamantine ore?”
Linley laughed and nodded.
“How heavy is this heavy sword?” Bebe asked curiously.
“3600 pounds.” Linley replied honestly.
Bebe rubbed his little nose with his paws in surprise, while his beady little eyes spun around in shock as well as he stared at the adamantine heavy sword.
“Enough. You’ll have plenty of time to look at it later.” Linley put down the bedsheets, hiding the heavy sword.
“Ah. Hey boss, I suddenly remember something. That Clayde probably already knows that you are right here.” Bebe looked at the interspatial ring on Linley’s finger and cried out in alarm.
“What? Why?” Linley was extremely shocked. “Boss, you personalized and bound your Bloodviolet Godsword using a drop of blood. I remember you saying that when you were imprisoned within the Radiant Temple, although Bloodviolet was confiscated, you could still sense where it was. Interspatial rings are also personalized through blood. Wouldn’t Clayde then be able to sense the location of his interspatial ring?” Bebe urgently transmitted his thoughts to Linley.
But hearing this, Linley only began to laugh.
“Haha.” Standing next to them, Doehring Cowart began to laugh as well. Only, Bebe wasn’t able to hear Doehring Cowart’s laughter.
Immediately upon leaving the city of Fenlai, Linley had already questioned Doehring Cowart regarding this interspatial ring he had taken.
“Bebe.” Linley laughed as he explained. “This interspatial ring is different from a divine artifact such as Bloodviolet. Technically speaking, an interspatial ring isn’t a divine artifact, just a very valuable magical item. Its basic underpinnings are quite similar to the magicrystal cards, which use fingerprints to personalize and recognize an owner, while interspatial rings use blood to do the same. Only the owner of an interspatial ring can open it and take out its contents. However, when a magical item is taken away, there’s no way for the owner of it to sense the exact location of his item. Do you think divine artifacts are that common? Even my adamantine heavy sword, Bladeless, isn’t at the level of divine artifacts.”
It was impossible for a divine artifact to be forged within this material plane, in the Yulan continent. Things such as the Coiling Dragon ring and the Bloodviolet sword were both very ancient items.
“The Coiling Dragon ring had suddenly emitted a terrifying burst of energy back at the Radiant Temple and saved me. What’s more, when using magic through it, it reduces the amount of mageforce and spiritual energy needed to a sixth of normal. Bloodviolet, in turn, can become flexible or straight as the wielder chooses, and is virtually indestructible.”
Linley had a certain theory.
It was already a fact that the Coiling Dragon ring had secrets hidden within that he hadn’t yet discovered. That terrifying burst of energy at the Radiant Temple was proof.
As for Bloodviolet?
For it to be used as a focusing seal for that mysterious magical formation meant that it definitely had special qualities to it as well. Only, right now Linley was still too weak and couldn’t discover what was so special about it.
“Bloodviolet.” Linley glanced at the sword at his waist which he was wearing like a belt. What was the real ability of this mysterious Bloodviolet flexible sword?
“Bebe, you stay here for now.” Linley instructed.
“Got it.” Bebe obediently remained within the courtyard, while Linley stealthily slipped out of his residence and headed quietly towards Clayde and Shaq’s manor.
Linley pressed himself against one of the walls of the manor which Shaq had purchased.
Linley’s sharp claws emerged. He easily cut a small opening into the wall, then transformed his hands back to normal as he peered inside through the opening.
That night Linley had stayed at the residence with Shaq, he had memorized the entire layout, including the manmade hill and which rooms were which. Linley had chosen to make his cut in a very particular location; through this cut, he was able to see into both the front courtyard and the back courtyard, without anything obstructing his vision.
“My royal father.”
Linley’s sensitive ears actually managed to pick up the conversation between Shaq and Clayde in the back courtyard. Linley carefully peered in that direction. Indeed, Clayde and Shaq were walking shoulder by shoulder within Linley’s area of vision.
“It’s Clayde.” Linley watched carefully.
But what he saw utterly stunned him. “Clayde’s hand…his hand…”
Right now, both of Clayde’s hands were in perfect condition. But Linley had clearly seen Clayde’s hand fall off after being cut. He had even stolen the interspatial ring from the hand. There definitely was no mistake.
“To regenerate a lost hand would require the services of a light-style Arch Magus of the ninth rank at least.” Linley was astonished.
When Clayde left, he didn’t have a single magus with him. How did he get mixed up with an Arch Magus of the ninth rank?
“Royal father, how did you end up encountering forces belonging to the Radiant Church? Those people are all so formidable.” Shaq said in a somewhat astonished voice.
Clayde nodded. “Of course they are. These people are amongst the most terrifying people the Radiant Church leads. The Ascetics led by Lord Fallen Leaf have many combatants of the ninth rank amongst them. Travelling by their side, we were quite safe the entire time.”
Clayde was speaking in a normal tone. Logically speaking, someone from the opposite side of a distant wall shouldn’t be able to hear him. But Linley, as a Dragonblood Warrior, possessed freakishly enhanced hearing, and heard every word clearly.
“A group of Ascetics? Led by Lord Fallen Leaf?” The look on Linley’s face changed.
Lord Fallen Leaf was a peak-stage Saint-level combatant. And he had with him a group of freakishly strong Ascetics, quite a few of whom had reached the ninth rank.