At the borders of the Kingdom of Hess was an army numbering over 800,000 soldiers. On a vast expanse of ground, military camps dotted the land like a series of mountain ranges, limitless and without end. This enormous army was, however, quite organized.
But in front of the military camp, there was a vast expanse of empty land.
“Hey, Uncle Rand [Lan’te]. If the army of magical beasts attack, will we be able to hold?” An armored young man who looked to be in sixteen or seventeen said in a soft voice.
Next to him was a muscular, bearded man. Removing a small flagon of liquor from his pouch, he took a small swig, then laughed loudly. “Relax. This time, in addition to the elite troops of our Kingdom of Hess, the knights of the Radiant Temple have been sent by the Radiant Church, along with many lord magi. Don’t worry. The spells of magi are quite powerful.”
“Right.” This was the young man’s first battle. Hearing the words of the veteran, he felt slightly steadier.
But that muscular man was sighing to himself inside. Because he, in fact, had seen how vicious and powerful magical beasts were. If thousands or tens of thousands of magical beasts charged towards them, the only way humanity would be able to survive was by paying a price in blood.
Suddenly, a low growl could be heard coming from an extremely far distance.
“Uncle Rand, I think I heard something.” The young man was growing nervous.
“It’s fine.” Rand said loudly, but suddenly, Rand squinted and looked to the south. Atop that barren, empty plain, a countless number of thickly clustered dots could be seen.
“Magical beasts. A horde of magical beasts!”
From another part of the military camp, a shrill cry rang out. Instantly, the entire military camp began to move. From the highest ranking generals to the lowest level soldiers, everyone heightened their vigilance.
The entire 800,000 man army was preparing to do battle.
“So, so many!” Many human soldiers, upon seeing the horde of magical beasts off in the distance, couldn’t help but suck in a cold breath. From far away, countless Vampiric Iron Bulls had formed into a series of formation lines. Their muscles knotted, they were charging towards the humans at high speed.
There was well over ten thousand Vampiric Iron Bulls.
“Rumble, rumble.” The Vampiric Iron Bulls charged wildly, causing the very ground to shake. The eyes of each and every Vampiric Iron Bull had turned red, and their bodies were emitting flames. They looked like a sea of fire.
The shaking earth. The endless sea of flame.
“Swish!” “Swish!” “Swish!”
Suddenly, the sky became filled with many translucent, azure-colored javelins. These javelins fell down upon the Vampiric Iron Bulls like the rain.
“The lord magi!” Many human soldiers exulted.
“Puchiii!” Every single javelin possessed astonishing power. As one of the water-style’s pure water-element spells, they were extremely powerful against fire-type magical beasts.
These icy javelins descended, either piercing into the ground or into the bodies of the Vampiric Iron Bulls. “Puchiii!” Some of the icy javelins penetrated directly through the internal organs of the Vampiric Iron Bulls, who roared in fury, ran a few steps more, then collapsed.
One Vampiric Iron Bull after another died, but the vast majority of them continued to charge forward. Even if they had suffered some light injuries, they would only grow more furious.
Fresh blood stained the ground.
“Snooort!” The Vampiric Iron Bulls roared angrily.
“Archers! Ready…Fire!” The officers shouted loudly.
Instantly, the skies were filled with countless arrows. The thickly clustered arrows arced down from the heavens in a dense wave.
One sharp arrow after another struck the Vampiric Iron Bulls, but their tough, knotted muscles easily deflected many of the arrows.
The tactics which human armies used against other human armies wasn’t necessarily effective against magical beasts.
One heavily armored and thickly muscled warrior after another strode forward, all holding steel pikes. Assuming a defensive formation, they quietly awaited the onslaught of the Vampiric Iron Bulls. “Snooooort!” The red-eyed Vampiric Iron Bulls charged forward.
Countless steel pikes were there to welcome the Vampiric Iron Bulls, but the Vampiric Iron Bulls only lowered their horns and continued to charge forward while roaring. Like a solid flood, they slammed viciously against the pikes.
“Puchiiii!” The Vampiric Iron Bulls were skewered by those steel pikes.
The people capable of wielding steel pikes were all at least warriors of the third rank. In addition, all of the pikemen were mutually supporting each other in their bristling pike formation, borrowing and lending strength as needed.
The first wave of Vampiric Iron Bulls were not able to break this defensive line. But behind them, more Vampiric Iron Bulls continued to charge.
The battle between the army of magical beasts and the army of men was extremely fierce. The army of beasts was composed of more than just Vampiric Iron Bulls. There were also packs of Windwolves, and also elite prides of the even more terrifying Fire Lions. There were also Landwyrms, Velocidragons, and more…
But the human army wasn’t weak either. In addition to the ordinary common soldiers, they also possessed some truly powerful magi who hadn’t yet made their moves. In addition, the Radiant Church had also sent a number of magi of the seventh, eighth, and even ninth ranks. There was also a division of elite Knights of the Radiant Temple…
The battle raged for three days, and in the end, the human army was forced to retreat. In just three days, the human side had lost over 300,000 soldiers, and the number of wounded was even more staggering. But the magical beast’s army had suffered high casualties as well.
However, both armies seemed to have a tacit understanding, as neither side made use of their Saint-level combatants. The Saint-level combatants only watched from afar, and didn’t act.
Hess City was in a state of chaos.
This battle at the border had resulted in the human army retreating a hundred kilometers at once. They were now extremely close to Hess City, and many of the people within Hess City had made the decision to evacuate.
Hess City. The quiet manor where Linley was residing.
“Yale, we’re leaving immediately. Quick. Don’t waste any more time.” Monroe Dawson shouted. “I expect that the human army won’t be able to hold for many more days. The flames of war are about to engulf Hess City.”
Yale nodded. “Understood, father.”
“But Third Bro, he…” Yale was still concerned about Linley. George and Reynolds, by Yale’s side, were both worried as well.
Monroe Dawson frowned. “How about this. You go try to persuade him one final time. No matter what though, we must leave tonight.” After he spoke, Monroe Dawson turned and left.
Yale, George, and Reynolds looked at each other.
Finally, the three of them headed in the direction of Linley’s room. As soon as they entered the rear courtyard, they saw Linley sitting on a chair next to a stone table, calmly staring at the straight chisel in his hand. Seeing this, Yale, George, and Reynolds didn’t feel happy or excited at all.
For the sake of wanting to help Linley wake up, they would often place the straight chisel there, along with sculptures. But Linley didn’t seem to have any desire at all to sculpt. Each time he saw the chisel, he would think back to how Grandpa Doehring had painstakingly trained him to sculpt.
He could still remember how proud and majestic Grandpa Doehring had looked when he had first imparted to Linley the secrets of the Straight Chisel school. At that moment, Grandpa Doehring really had the regal bearing of a grandmaster.
“Third Bro.” Yale walked directly over to him.
Linley raised his head to look at Yale. A smile formed on his face, but he said nothing.
“Third Bro, the army of magical beasts is about to break through the borders. The human side has already been forced to retreat a hundred kilometers. It’s only a matter of time before they break into Hess City. We have to leave.” Yale said solemnly. “Leave?” Linley was briefly startled. “Oh. Got it.”
Seeing how Linley was acting, Reynolds, the most hot-tempered of the four, grabbed Linley by his clothes. Staring straight into Linley’s eyes, he angrily shouted, “Third Bro, what the hell is wrong with you? Speak! Why have you become like this? The person whom I, Reynolds, admire most in this world is you. I often brag to others about you. But now? Look at yourself! Look at what you have become!”
“Admire me?” Linley said self-mockingly. “Admire what?”
“I heard Boss Yale say that because of the enmity between you and Clayde, you were willing to throw away everything to be able to kill him. You dared to act and you dared to accept the consequences. As your brother, I admired you! But now? You killed Clayde, then you killed six Special Executors of the Radiant Church. Isn’t this something you should be proud of? Why have you become like this?” Reynolds was truly furious now.
Next to him, George frowned.
“Third Bro.” George suddenly shouted at Linley.
Reynolds and Yale both turned to look at George. Linley looked at him as well.
“Third Bro, why did you kill those six Special Executors?” George asked with a shout. George suddenly realized…even if Linley were to kill Clayde, there was no reason for Special Executors of the Radiant Church to try and kill Linley.
After all, Clayde was no longer one of their kings. “They wanted to kill me.” Linley said in a low voice.
“Why did they want to kill you?” George had a feeling that he had touched upon the reason behind Linley’s depression.
“Because it was the Radiant Church who killed my mother.” Linley said calmly.
Standing next to Linley, both Yale and Reynolds were both surprised, but a flash of insight suddenly appeared within George’s mind. He immediately roared, “The Radiant Church killed your mother? But you, Third Bro, aren’t going to seek revenge? What, are you afraid?”
“Not seek revenge?”
Those three words seemed to have struck Linley like a lightning bolt.
“Right. It was the Radiant Church.” Linley’s dull eyes slowly began to sharpen.
“If it wasn’t for the Radiant Church constantly searching for pure souls to offer to the Radiant Sovereign, then Clayde wouldn’t have given my mother to the Radiant Church, resulting in my mother’s death.”
“If it wasn’t for my mother’s death, my father wouldn’t have died.”
“If my father was alive, why would I go seek revenge? How could Grandpa Doehring have died as a result? What’s more, Grandpa Doehring died as a result of helping me against those six Special Executors.”
Linley began to feel hatred in his heart.
“This was all due to the Radiant Church!!! Radiant, radiant, haha! The Radiant Church is radiant? If it was radiant, then why would they murder people with pure, innocent souls and offer them to the Radiant Sovereign?” Linley’s heart began to beat with hatred.
The Radiant Temple’s actions were really too vicious.
Because of their viciousness, a series of tragedies had occurred, and his own life was one of those tragedies.
“Boss.” Bebe saw that Linley’s face was growing firm. He was worried that Linley would be rash. He mentally said, “Boss, the last words that Grandpa Doehring said to you were that he hoped you would live well.”
Linley’s heart trembled. How could Linley forget the final words which Grandpa Doehring’s had said just before his soul had dissipated.
“Bebe, don’t worry. I will never act rashly again. I will endure…the entity I will act against is the Radiant Church, rather than one specific individual. I know my own limits.” Linley’s eyes had grown firm and hard.
Seeing the changes in Linley’s eyes and expression, Yale, George, and Reynolds couldn’t help but feel ecstatic.
In recent days, Linley had always seemed so lost, so distant. He had never looked as resolved as he now did, and his eyes had never been so firm.
“Boss Yale. Second Bro. Fourth Bro. I’ve decided to leave.” Linley made his decision.
“Third Bro, you…” Yale and the others were surprised.
“Don’t worry. I’m fine.” Linley laughed, giving each of his three bros a punch to the chest. Yale and the others began to laugh as well. Seeing Linley like this, they felt much more relieved.
Wearing a warrior’s uniform, carrying the adamantine heavy sword on his back, and with Bebe on his shoulders, Linley left by himself.
After leaving the chaotic city of Hess, Linley headed towards the east. After half a day, Linley arrived at the border to the outer regions of the Mountain Range of Magical Beasts. Seeing the boundless Mountain Range of Magical Beasts, a hint of a smile appeared on Linley’s face.
“Radiant Church, just wait. There will come a day when I will pull you out by the roots.” Linley’s gaze was extremely firm.
He lost his father. He had lost his mother. He had lost Grandpa Doehring.
The only one Linley could now rely on was himself.
“Boss, are we going to cut through the Mountain Range of Magical Beasts?” Bebe was confused.
Linley laughed, shaking his head. “No. First, we go to the core regions of the Mountain Range of Magical Beasts, and then we’ll head straight north, until we reach the very end.” “That’s a distance of ten thousand kilometers!” Bebe was somewhat stunned. “And the core regions have a lot of extremely powerful magical beasts.” Bebe was absolutely shocked that Linley wanted to travel in the core region of the Mountain Range of Magical Beasts for ten thousand kilometers.
“If not, how shall I train? I haven’t yet mastered the correct way to use the heavy sword. If I can’t even master the heavy sword and use it properly, how will I deal with the Radiant Church?”
Linley immediately strode forward, entering the Mountain Range of Magical Beasts. And with this, Linley began the longest period of training in his entire life…