Master Longhaus could clearly tell that his disciple cared about Linley so much that she had lost her wits.
“Delia, it is fine. Don’t worry!” Linley laughed. Linley felt very moved at Delia’s obvious concern.
“Okay.” Delia nodded.
However, Delia was still worried. After all, the person dueling with Linley was reputedly the most powerful Saint alive; the Monolithic Sword Saint, Haydson.
Longhaus looked at Linley, then at Delia. Laughing, he said, “It’s been quite a while since you two classmates have met with each other. I won’t disturb you. Let me go for a walk. The two of you can have a nice chat. I imagine, after ten years, you have many things to say to each other.”
Delia cast a grateful glance at her teacher.
Clearly, Master Longhaus was giving her a chance to have some alone time with Linley.
As he spoke, Master Longhaus led his Worldbear away from that courtyard, leaving behind only Linley, Delia, Bebe, and Haeru.
Delia lowered her head, continuing to stroke Bebe’s fur. She was waiting for Linley to speak.
A beautiful woman, petting an adorable pet. This was a soul-stirring image…but Linley only felt awkward. If he was facing a Saint, Linley wouldn’t feel any fear at all, but facing Delia, Linley felt very complicated.
The female of his age group whom he was most familiar with was definitely Delia.
After all, they grew up together.
Linley wasn’t a dummy. He knew how Delia felt…and this was why Linley felt so awkward. Especially now that he was alone with her.
“These past few years, have you been well?” After a long silence, Linley finally managed to force out this rather blunt and graceless phrase.
Delia raised her head, glancing at Linley. She actually let out a chuckle. “Linley, you are already a Saint-level expert. Since when have you become so shy? I’ve been fairly well these years. With my clan and my teacher backing me up, who would dare to mistreat me?”
After hearing Delia’s words, Linley felt slightly more relaxed.
“What have you been up to these years?” Delia said softly.
“Not too much.” Linley seemed to once again think back to what had happened ten years ago. Ten years ago, after learning of his father’s death, he had given up everything and set his mind upon avenging his father.
He had walked farther and farther along the road to revenge, and in the end he had indeed killed Clayde. But due to the encirclement and battle with those six Special Executors of the Radiant Church, in the end, his most dearly beloved Grandpa Doehring had sacrificed his soul for him…
Three years of painstaking training in the Mountain Range of Magical Beasts, six years of quiet meditation in the O’Brien Empire.
That battle with Stehle, that battle with those six Angels, that sparring match with McKenzie…one scene after another appeared in his mind. As they did, without holding anything back, Linley began to tell Delia what had happened.
Delia stopped petting Bebe, intently listening to every single word Linley said.
Right now, Linley spoke in a very calm, simple manner, as though he were very relaxed. But Delia could totally imagine what Linley’s past ten years of life had been like. After finishing speaking, Linley couldn’t help but sigh repeatedly.
“Linley.” Delia suddenly reached out to take Linley by the hand, gripping it tightly!
Linley raised his head to stare at Delia in surprise. Delia was staring at him. “Linley, don’t let your life be so exhausting. You’ve done very well already.”
Delia’s hands were rather cold.
But Linley could feel the beat of Delia’s heart through her tight grip. It was beating very quietly. Linley felt a surge of warmth in his own heart, slowly thawing a small part of his frozen heart.
“Thank you.” Linley said softly.
“Don’t say thank you to me.” Delia shook her head, her scorching gaze on Linley’s face.
The air between the two of them grew warm. For some reason, Linley felt himself grow a bit muddle-headed. Scenes of himself and Alice would drift to his mind, but then they would be replaced by that kiss he had shared that night with Delia. His heartbeat sped up as well. Linley actually was growing a bit frantic.
“Bebe.” Linley looked at Bebe, then looked at Delia. “Delia, do you know how powerful Bebe has gotten?” Under that sort of atmosphere, the only thing the panicking Linley could do was immediately change the topic.
Linley didn’t know what he might end up doing if that atmosphere continued.
Thus, Linley decided to simply change the topic.
Delia secretly sighed to herself. She was skilled in negotiations, and thus she naturally was a student of psychology as well. When she had been at the Ernst Institute, she had already begun studying psychology. In fact, the reason she started psychology was to better understand Linley.
Delia understood Linley very well.
Delia knew that, after having experienced what he had with Alice, although Linley had seemingly already forgotten about her, in truth…the after-effects of that relationship were not something which Linley could simply forget about as easily as that.
First love was actually very fragile.
Especially for a stubborn person such as Linley. Once he truly loved someone, then he would place an even higher value on that first love than normal people. The failure of that first love would unconsciously cause Linley to have somewhat of a phobia towards love.
Even if other females tried to approach him, Linley would naturally recoil.
Delia understood that a layer of ice had already covered Linley’s heart. If one wished to melt that layer of ice, one couldn’t be too hasty. It would have to be melted one step at a time.
Delia deeply loved Linley, and in her heart, she felt pain on Linley’s behalf.
Linley had suffered so much. One loved one after another had left him. True, he was extremely accomplished, having become a peak-stage Saint at the age of twenty seven. But how much bitterness and suffering had occurred on the path he had taken?
Delia truly didn’t wish for Linley to continue exhausting himself. For Linley’s sake, Delia had already made up her mind to spend as much time as would be needed. As long as she could help Linley be a bit more relaxed and a bit happier, she would be very satisfied.
“Delia, what are you thinking about?” Linley saw that Delia seemed to have gone daydreaming.
Delia immediately snapped out of it and laughed, “What am I thinking about? I’m thinking about you.” Linley couldn’t help but be stunned. Seeing the look on Linley’s face, Delia laughed. “I’m joking.”
Linley laughed as well.
“What did you want to say about Bebe just now?” Delia laughed.
“Bebe, want to say a few things to Delia?” Linley laughed as he looked at Bebe.
“Say a few things?” Delia looked at Bebe in surprise. That ordinary little Shadowmouse she had seen at the Ernst Institute could speak? All magical beasts capable of speech were at the Saint-level.
Bebe jumped to his feet, clambering onto the stone table. Standing tall, Bebe raised his little head proudly and said in a loud voice, “Ms. Delia, let me tell you a secret. When the Boss and I were in the Mountain Range of Magical Beasts, the Boss would often talk to me about you. He even said that you had forcibly kissed him once!”
“Whap!” Linley immediately slapped towards Bebe, but Linley’s palm passed straight through ‘Bebe’. It was nothing more than Bebe’s after-image!
Bebe was standing in mid-air, laughing at Linley delighted.
“Bebe, you little rascal.” Linley didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
He had never said such a thing before. Bebe actually made that all up.
“Bebe, be good, come over to me.” Delia stretched her hand out, and Bebe immediately hopped into Delia’s bosom again. In Delia’s warm embrace, he seemed to feel very comfortable, and even winked a few times at Linley.
Thanks to Bebe’s intentional ‘teasing’, Linley and Delia were both laughing constantly. Time flew by very quickly, and soon, the sky gradually began to darken.
Seeing how the sky was darkening, Delia suddenly remembered that tonight, Emperor Johann had arranged a major welcome banquet for her.
“Linley, it’s getting late. I need to leave for now. Tonight, Emperor Johann has arranged a dinner banquet for me. I have to attend.” Delia said apologetically.
Linley nodded slightly. “Then I won’t keep you any longer.”
“Will you go tonight?” Delia suddenly asked.
“Me?” Linley laughed. “Emperor Johann didn’t invite me, and I don’t like dinner banquets. Forget it.”
Delia nodded slightly.
Actually, how could Emperor Johann not have invited Linley? Only, Wharton had already refused on his older brother’s behalf. He knew that Linley didn’t like banquets, and also didn’t like dealing with those nobles.
“Farewell.” Delia said softly.
“Farewell.” Linley looked at Delia.
Delia stood there for a moment before slowly leaving the courtyard. After she walked outside, she turned to look back at Linley. It was already growing dark, and there wasn’t much light. As Delia turned to look at Linley, her hair was swept up by the night wind.
A dazzling smile, and then she left.
Watching this beauty depart into the night, Linley stood there without moving, thinking who knows what.
“Big bro, what are you looking at?” Wharton walked over, laughing. “It is time for dinner.”
“Your big bro feels the stirrings of spring!” Bebe’s little head popped up from behind Linley.
Night descended, but the entire imperial capital was filled with lights. Right now, in the imperial palace, a huge banquet had been prepared, and the palace musicians were performing beautiful songs. Men and women were displaying their graceful dance steps in the middle of the hall.
Delia was seated in a seat next to a wall of the main hall. Next to her was the Wildthunder Stormhawk. She was the guest of honor today. After all, this banquet was for the sake of welcoming her.
But aside from exchanging a few polite words with Emperor Johann, and singing a few words to a beautiful song, Delia claimed that she wasn’t feeling well and went off to one side to rest.
A handsome young noble walked over to Delia, a smile that he probably thought was friendly on his face. Bowing slightly, he said, “Beautiful Ms. Delia, might I have the honor of asking you to a dance?”
“I’m sorry, I’m not feeling very well.” Delia shook her head.
The young noble left regretfully. Not feeling well? Who was she trying to fool? Many girls who didn’t want to accept an offer to dance would say this. What’s more, Delia was a magus of the seventh rank. How could she so easily become ill?
From afar, quite a few young nobles were staring at Delia.
“What number is he?” Scott laughed towards a nearby young noble.
“The eighth.” The young noble laughed.
“The eighth what?” Marquis Jeff, who had just finished a dance, laughed as he walked over. Right now, Marquis Jeff was in a splendid mood.
Indeed, as Marquis Jeff was the son of Prince Julin. As his heir, Marquis Jeff would one day be the controller of the entire Southeast Administrative Province! His status was very high, even higher than a prince who wasn’t in line for the imperial throne. Naturally, many young noble ladies were desirous of becoming his wife.
Unfortunately, although many young noble ladies had been bedded by Marquis Jeff, none of them had gotten anything.
“I was talking with his Imperial Highness regarding Ms. Delia. This is already the eighth person to ask Ms. Delia to dance, only to be refused. It seems the others have lost confidence. No one else dares to go invite her.” The young noble laughed.
Scott laughingly looked at Marquis Jeff. “What, cousin Jeff, do you wish to try?”
Marquis Jeff nodded confidently. “It’s just a dance, right? Watch me.” Marquis Jeff smiled as he walked over towards Delia, smiled quite brightly.
“Ms. Delia.” Marquis Jeff walked in front of her. “Might I have the honor of asking you to a dance?”
“I’m sorry. I’m not feeling well.” Delia gave the same response.
Marquis Jeff very naturally sat down next to her, maintaining a practiced degree of distance between the two of them. Although the distance between the two wasn’t very far, it wasn’t so close as to be threatening.
“If you aren’t feeling well, you should rest.” Marquis Jeff, being quite experienced, knew exactly how he should approach this sort of situation. If one was able to get into physical contact with a girl, it would be easier for the two to feel more intimate with each other.
As to how to get into physical contact…
“Oh, Ms. Delia, your shoulder has some…” As he spoke, Marquis Jeff reached out with his hand towards Delia’s shoulder.
But before he could get the word ‘dust’ out of his mouth…
“Ah!!!” Marquis Jeff let out an agonized scream. That scream stunned the main hall, and everyone turned to look at him. Even the distant Emperor Johann, who was chatting with the Imperial Left Premier, had their attention drawn to them.
“What just happened?” Emperor Johann immediately walked over.
“My hand! My hand!” Marquis Jeff was almost crying. A large wound had appeared on his hand, and a large chunk of flesh was missing. Blood was flowing nonstop, staining the floor.
Delia hurriedly stood up. “Emperor Johann, my apologies. Teacher instructed his Wildthunder Stormhawk to protect me. The Wildthunder Stormhawk will attack anything which touches my body in a manner it deems threatening. Before I even had a chance to react, the Wildthunder Stormhawk immediately pecked at him.”
Everyone looked at the Wildthunder Stormhawk.
The Wildthunder Stormhawk was dangling a chunk of flesh off its beak, which was stained with blood. The Wildthunder Stormhawk swallowed that chunk of flesh in one gulp, then stared death at Marquis Jeff with its two golden hawk eyes.