Her Name Was Alice (part 1)
On the return journey, the magical beasts which Linley encountered grew progressively weaker. By the time Linley stepped into the outer regions, all of the monsters he encountered were of the third and fourth ranks. They posed no threat to him at all. But despite this, Linley didn’t dare to relax his vigilance.
Doehring Cowart travelled alongside Linley, but in his mind, Doehring Cowart was worrying. Right now, Linley carried within him a steady, stable presence, but when he made his move, he showed no mercy at all. His eyes also carried within them a cold, forbidding aura.
Doehring Cowart still remembered how, when he first entered the Mountain Range of Magical Beasts, Linley’s eyes were filled with sincerity. He was a very trusting person.
After hesitating for a while, Doehring Cowart mentally spoke to Linley. “Linley.”
Making his way through the mountains, Linley turned his head to look questioningly at Doehring Cowart. “Grandpa Doehring, what is it?”
Doehring Cowart nodded as he spoke seriously. “Linley, before entering the Mountain Range of Magical Beasts, I had warned you that people were not to be easily trusted, as people’s intentions are not easily understood. I told you to be wary of others, to have a cautious mind.”
Linley nodded. “Grandpa Doehring, your words were very correct. One really cannot easily trust others. If I had listened to Grandpa Doehring’s words early on, my chest most likely wouldn’t have this knife scar.”
Doehring Cowart shook his head. “Although one cannot easily trust others, one also cannot be over-cautious. The way you are currently, how will you be able to interact with people in the future? Remember, you can’t be too cold and callous towards others, even if you can’t be overly trusting either. Trust is something which is built up through a long period of time. Do not easily trust the words of others.”
Linley was very smart. Both at home and at the Ernst Institute, he had read many books. Upon hearing Doehring Cowart’s words, he somewhat understood. But the merciless life he had experienced over these past two months, the human cruelty he had witnessed and experienced, was something he had seen so clearly. For him to trust people again would be very hard.
“Doehring Cowart, I understand.” Linley nodded.
Doehring Cowart secretly sighed, but at the same time, he was also happy. “It’s a good thing that Linley has this little Shadowmouse, Bebe, for a companion, as well as those friends of his at the Ernst Institute. At least he shouldn’t become excessively unfeeling.”
Doehring Cowart could still remember how, thousands of years ago, when the Pouant Empire was still around, another Saint-level combatant of the Pouant Empire who also dressed in white. That white-robed man was a famous Sword Saint, and he was also an extremely proud, reclusive person.
“Grandpa Doehring, when father sees all of these magicite cores, what do you think his reaction will be?” Linley suddenly looked at Doehring Cowart, smiling as he asked the question. At this moment, Linley’s eyes were filled with eagerness for his father’s praise.
He looked just like a kid who had just performed stellarly on a test and was awaiting his father’s praise.
“Linley, are you planning to give all of this money to your father?” Doehring Cowart asked with a smile.
Linley nodded. “Of course. These magicite cores are worth around 70,000 gold coins. All I need is enough to feed myself. A few dozen coins each year is enough. But father needs to manage all of our clan’s affairs, and also provide for Wharton’s tuition. Of course I’ll give these magicite cores to father.”
Linley didn’t want to personally sell these magicite cores. After all, in terms of buying and selling, he had no experience at all. He probably wouldn’t even know if he got cheated.
“Haha, I trust your father will be so excited that he’ll be jumping up and down,” Doehring Cowart said, laughing loudly.
Linley couldn’t help but grin as well. He immediately sped up the pace on his journey back.
By now, Linley couldn’t even be bothered to kill magical beasts of the third and fourth ranks. He quickly made his way through the mountains. When he arrived next to a small creek, he paused as he heard the furious bellows of a magical beast, intermixed with the shouts of humans engaged in battle with it.
“Hrm? If they dare come to the Mountain Range of Magical Beasts, they must be at least combatants of the fifth rank. But in the surrounding areas, the local beasts are of the third or fourth ranks at most. How could the battle sound so prolonged and frenetic?” Linley was rather curious.
Within the inner areas of the Mountain Range of Magical Beasts, where beasts of the fifth, sixth, and sometimes even the seventh rank would appear, there would often be many frantic battles. But in the outer areas, this was quite rare. Battles would generally end extremely quickly.
With a jump, Linley leapt 7-8 meters up. Landing on a tree, he began tree-walking his way towards the scene of the battle.
Upon arriving, Linley surveyed the battle from his position on the tree.
He saw that there were two young men and two young women engaged in a bloody battle with a Bloodthirsty Warpig. One of the youths, wearing a white armor, was shouting out loudly while directing the course of battle. “Second bro, don’t run around so wildly! Protect Alice [Ai’li’si]! I’ll draw this stupid pig’s attention away. Niya [Ni’ya], don’t panic, aim your arrows at its vitals!”
These four people clearly were very inexperienced. Upon encountering danger, they had panicked. Only the leader wearing the white armor seemed a bit more capable.”
“These four really have some guts. That youngster in white armor should be a warrior of the fifth rank, while the other three are just combatants of the fourth rank at best.” Linley shook his head. Those other three really were daring, to come here without even having reached the fifth rank.
A red-haired youngster began to shout frantically, “Big brother Kalan [Ka’lan], didn’t you say that the outer regions only had magical beasts of the third or fourth ranks? This is a magical beast of the fifth rank!”
The leader of the group of four, the fifth ranked warrior Kalan, also felt helpless. As a warrior of the fifth rank, it shouldn’t have been a dangerous affair for him to bring a number of friends to the outer regions of the Mountain Range of Magical Beasts. But he didn’t expect to run into a magical beast of the fifth rank.
“Whoosh!” More than ten earthen spears suddenly erupted from the ground beneath the Warpig, and three of them even pierced into the Warpig’s body, but they were all broken and shattered by the Warpig’s tough hide.
The Bloodthirsty Warpig immediately turned its enraged attention upon the only magus in the group, before charging forward at the magus rapidly. The Warpig’s charge was truly too fearsome, and what’s more, flicks of flame could be seen coming from its nostrils. Immediately, it caused the remaining youngster to panic.
“Run! Alice, quick, dodge!” Kalan shouted loudly.
The girl named Alice had a head full of long, golden hair and a pair of hazy eyes. Seeing the danger, Alice, too, tried to flee in panic, but the Bloodthirsty Warpig was a magical beast of the fifth rank, after all. Although it was not very intelligent, it was much smarter than a normal animal.
The Bloodthirsty Warpig chased after Alice.
Seeing the Warpig charge after her, Alice was going to flee, but as she did, she slipped and tripped on a vine and fell face-forward into the ground. Turning her head, she saw the furious eyes of the Warpig draw closer and closer to her. Based on Alice’s weak physical conditioning, the Bloodthirsty Warpig probably was capable of killing her with just one stomp.
Alice was struck dumb with terror.
The other two boys and the girl were also stupefied, not knowing what to do. There was no way they could rescue her in time.
“Alice!” The youngster called Kalan shouted loudly with anguish. Although he was a warrior of the fifth rank, he simply didn’t have enough experience.
Seven or eight sharp earthen spears suddenly jutted out of the ground. Although the Bloodthirsty Warpig, a magical beast of the fifth rank, did have thick skin, two of the spears still managed to penetrate its thick skin and into its flesh, causing fresh blood to flow from the wound.
The earthen spears only pierced its flesh. They didn’t actually cause any injury to its vitals or organs.
“Grrrrrrrrr!” The Bloodthirsty Warpig lifted its head up and bellowed in pain.
“Swish!” A black dagger suddenly fell down from above, piercing into the Warpig’s eye like a bolt of lightning. The Warpig’s eyeball exploded, and the black dagger penetrated directly into the Warpig’s brain. Agonized, the Warpig’s entire body shuddered as it collapsed. Shortly afterwards, it no longer moved.
Kalan, Niya, and Alice were all so terrified, their hearts almost leapt out of their bodies.
They watched as a powerfully built young warrior dressed in blue used the knife to extract the magicite core of the Warpig in a very practiced manner, and then turn to leave. But Kalan was the first amongst the four to recover, and he immediately shouted out, “Friend, please stay!”