The Cover-Up and the Truth
Linley returned to Count Wharton’s manor. When he did, he locked himself into his courtyard, forbidding anyone from entering. Although it was Wharton and Nina’s wedding, after learning that Reynolds had died in battle, Wharton knew how his big brother must be feeling right now.
Nobody in the Count’s estate dared to go disturb Linley.
The courtyard door remained firmly shut.
Linley sat at a stone table. There was a single flask of wine and two wine cups on the table. One wine cup was in front of Linley; the other was opposite of him. Only…nobody was sitting opposite of Linley.
Linley poured wine into both of the cups, then raised one of them in a toast.
“Fourth Bro…” Linley stared straight ahead, his gaze seeming to pierce through the walls of reality. His eyes, however, were red. “Have a good journey.”
Raising his head, Linley gulped the entire cup of wine down.
Fourth Bro had died.
Linley simply couldn’t accept this.
But first he had interrogated Emperor Johann, and then he had interrogated the people of the Dunstan clan. He had even carefully inspected the expressions on the faces of the Dunstan clan’s people. Linley had come to the conclusion…
That perhaps, his Fourth Bro truly had died a glorious death in battle. Perhaps it hadn’t been anyone’s fault at all.
But what Linley didn’t know was that only the three or four core members of the Dunstan clan knew the truth. Neon Dunstan knew that Linley would pay attention to their expressions, which is why he hadn’t told anyone else the truth.
There was one other person who knew the truth. Reynolds’ mother!
This was the so-called ‘Madame’ the guards had mentioned earlier. Reynolds’ mother was heartbroken. Neon knew very well that in front of Linley, Reynolds’ mother wouldn’t be able to dissemble at all, which is why no women were present at all in the main hall. Naturally, Reynolds’ mother hadn’t been there either.
“Fourth Bro, you were the smallest of us four bros. I didn’t expect that you would have been the first to depart.” Linley’s heart felt as though it had been stabbed by knives, and two trails of tears began to flow down uncontrollably.
Snatching the wine flask with his hands, Linley raised his head and began to drink.
“Cough, cough.” After drinking so fast, Linley began to cough. But after coughing two or three times, Linley once again raised his head high and drank it all down.
Bebe and Haeru stood in the corner of the courtyard, not daring to disturb Linley at all.
“This is the fourth time the Boss has been so heartbroken.” Bebe said to himself. The first time was when he had broken up with Alice. The second time was when he had learned of his father’s death. The third time was when Grandpa Doehring had passed away…
Family members. Friends. One after the other, they had left him.
Linley felt great pain, but Linley knew…he had to be strong. Because he had other family members and other friends. He had to be strong, both for the sake of the dead as well as for the sake of the living.
“Let me just wallow in my misery for three days, then.”
Linley painfully cracked his lips into a laugh. Then, without holding back at all, he cried as he wished, drank as he wished, laughed as he wished, mumbled as he wished, reminisced as he wished…or even spoke to Reynolds as though he were there.
Three days later!
“Creaaaak.” The door to the courtyard swung open. Delia had been waiting outside the courtyard the entire time for the past few days, and had asked a servant to bring a stone bench over. She had been sitting there, reading as she quietly awaited Linley.
Linley had shut himself in his courtyard for three days, and Delia had waited outside for three days.
Hearing the door creak open, Delia turned her head in surprised pleasure. Right now, Linley was dressed in a long, light blue robe. His back was still ramrod straight, and he didn’t look the slightest bit downtrodden.
“Linley…” Delighted, Delia immediately went over to welcome him.
Linley looked at Delia, and as he did, he felt a warm, thankful feeling in his heart. Given Linley’s current level, how could he have been unaware that Delia had been waiting outside for three full days?
Although he was inside the courtyard and was separated from Delia by a gate, Linley could sense Delia’s presence at all times.
Linley suddenly reached out and took Delia into his arms.
Delia was stunned.
Linley had never hugged her on his own accord before!
Holding Delia in his arms, Linley lowered his head. The tip of his nose brushed against Delia’s fragrant hair. The smell was so intoxicating. Smelling her scent, Linley felt his heart grow calmer.
It was as though a lonely little boat had finally reached a harbor.
“Delia. Thank you.” Linley’s voice sounded out next to Delia’s ear.
Hugging Linley and resting her head against Linley’s chest, Delia felt happier than she ever had been. She had spent years in the Institute hoping for this, then ten more years waiting…now, it seemed as though her dreams were closer than ever before.
After the day Linley exited the courtyard, him and Delia had drawn a step closer. Sometimes, they could tell what the other was thinking from a mere glance. Only, Linley didn’t push past the final barriers between them, and Delia didn’t try to do so on her own accord either.
“How is his Lordship doing?”
Gates spoke softly to Wharton in the training courtyard of the manor.
A hint of a smile was on Wharton’s face. “After exiting his courtyard, my big brother’s been quite close with Ms. Delia. When I saw him just now, he was even smiling. Most likely, he’s feeling much better now.”
Gates nodded slightly. “When his Lordship didn’t leave for three days, it really was quite worrisome.”
“Fifth brother, do you think his Lordship is like you, so easily abandoning himself to despair?” Another terrifyingly large and powerful man nearby said with a laugh.
“Second brother, why are you criticizing me?” Gates said unhappily.
The Count’s estate was very peaceful. Linley continued to live a life of quiet training, while at the same time, making his preparations to head out to the Anarchic Lands.
“Your Imperial Majesty, Master Linley seems to be acting as he always has. He’s focused on his training. There are no abnormal activities. But of course, on the day of Lord Wharton’s wedding, Master Linley paid a visit to the Dunstan clan.” The palace attendant reported respectfully.
Emperor Johann’s face was covered with smiles.
“Wonderful. You can leave now.” Emperor Johann said calmly.
Knowing that Linley hadn’t acted out of the ordinary, Emperor Johann felt much relieved. “Fortunately. Fortunately, Linley really believed that what I said was the truth.”
“The Dunstan clan knew how to act as well.” Emperor Johann was very satisfied.
He knew that given the influence the Dunstan clan had in the military, they definitely knew the truth of the matter. Most likely, they had found out about it even before Emperor Johann himself had.
But clearly, Linley hadn’t learned anything from his trip to the Dunstan clan, and truly believed that Reynolds had died in battle, with the soldiers of Neil City unable to rescue him.
Delia stared at a letter in her hands, then stared at Linley. She had a miserable look on her face.
“Delia, what is it?” Linley looked questioningly at Delia.
Delia shook her head helplessly. “This is a letter from my parents. They say that my grandmother is seriously ill, and want me to go home immediately. My grandmother…” A worried, sad look was on Delia’s face.
Linley reached out to hold Delia’s hand. Staring at Delia, he consoled her, “Don’t worry. Your grandmother will be fine.”
“Linley, I have to rush home.” Delia looked helplessly at Linley. “I had planned to go with you to the Anarchic Lands, but now…”
Linley smiled and consoled her, “It is fine. You go home first. Given my squad’s abilities, we should be able to quickly set up a base in the Anarchic Lands. In the future, when you come looking for me, it will be easy to find me.”
Delia looked at Linley, unwilling to part from him.
But her grandmother was seriously ill. Her parents’ letter had made her extremely worried. There was nothing she could do…she could only choose to leave and return to the Yulan Empire.
The next morning, Delia mounted on the back of the Wildthunder Stormhawk and flew directly back to the Yulan Empire.
Within a prefectural city in the Central Administrative Province of the O’Brien Empire. Within a courtyard owned by a high, luxurious hotel. Yale was casually flipping through a number of letters he had received.
“Hrm? Something about Fourth Bro? What happened to Fourth Bro? Can it be that he rendered military merit and is about to be promoted?” A hint of a smile was on Yale’s face.
In the past, of the four bros, Yale and Reynolds were both the playboy types. They had chased after girls together. The two of them had acted degenerately together, while George and Linley had been rather self-controlled.
Opening the letter, Yale began to read.
And as he did…
Yale’s face immediately turned white. His body suddenly began to shake uncontrollably. Yale held his head in his hands and closed his eyes. After a long time…Yale finally opened his eyes.
His face was totally ashen. Not a hint of blood could be seen.
Moisture could be seen in Yale’s eyes. Soon, they turned red. Forcibly swallowing the grief in his heart, Yale continued to read.
“Fourth Bro!!!!” Yale’s tears began to flow.
If one was to ask Yale who were the people that he cared the most about? It definitely wouldn’t be his older biological brother. The relationship between them was relatively cold. After all, within the Dawson Conglomerate…there were many struggles and much infighting.
In the ten years after leaving the Ernst Institute, although Yale had come to trust some people, he hadn’t truly treated any of them as lifelong friends. In his heart, there were only three lifelong friends. The three he had made in his youth.
George. Linley. Reynolds!
Yale stood there, his entire body shaking uncontrollably. Suddenly, a flash of electricity appeared in his hands, turning the letter into ash.
Yale was a lightning-style magus. He was the weakest of the four bros, having only reached the level of magus of the sixth rank.
“Prince…Julin?” Yale ground his teeth, his entire body still shaking.
“You actually just stood there and watched, and let my brother die!!! I don’t care who you are. I will make sure you die!” Yale took a deep breath, closing his eyes.
He forced himself to calm down.
The Dawson Conglomerate was very influential amongst the common-folk, and border cities such as Neil City were cities which the Dawson Conglomerate viewed as being of great importance. The merchants and nobles there had many dealings with the Dawson Conglomerate.
Perhaps this secret could be kept from Linley, but there was no way they could keep this secret from the pervasive, world-spanning Dawson Conglomerate!
“There is no way that father would mobilize the forces of the Conglomerate to deal with a prince for my sake. In addition, even if he tried to, he wouldn’t necessarily be successful.” Yale understood this.
Prince Julin was the administrator for the Southeast Administrative Province. He controlled a huge number of soldiers. How could the Dawson Conglomerate fight against him?
“Third Bro!” Suddenly, Linley came to Yale’s mind, unbidden.
“Third Bro hasn’t avenged Fourth Bro yet?” Yale knew very well how much each of the four of them cared about the others. He was certain that if Linley knew why Reynolds had died, he would definitely go seek revenge. “It must be that Prince Julin and that Emperor-whatever hid this from him. Third Bro doesn’t have an intelligence network.”
Whenever Yale thought of that adorable youngster who had followed him around and drank and dallied alongside him at the Jade Water Paradise, he felt bitter pain in his heart.
“Fourth Bro, I promise you, Third Bro and I will definitely avenge you.” Yale murmured to himself.
Suddenly, Yale roared loudly. “Attend me! Make preparations for me immediately. I am going to the imperial capital right now. Quick! I am going immediately!”
In just five short minutes, Yale was mounted atop a fine stallion, with two guards by his side. He rushed towards the imperial capital at full gallop. On the way, Yale stopped for nothing, travelling day and night, neither eating nor drinking.
On the way to the imperial capital, he switched horses at several cities, continuing to make haste towards the imperial capital at full gallop.
After two days and one night, Yale and his men managed to arrive at the imperial capital. Due to his high speed journey, both of Yale’s eyes were bloodshot, and his face was so ashen and pale that it looked like the face of someone who was seriously ill.
From far away, Yale saw Count Wharton’s manor. After two days and a night of travelling, Yale finally felt a glimmer of hope.
“Lord Yale?” The guards at the manor naturally recognized Yale. In the past, Yale had often come to visit Linley. There was no need for them to make any report before letting Yale enter. Only, the two guards were puzzled as to why Yale looked so haggard.
Yale charged into the manor, then began shouting at the top of his lungs, “Third Bro, come out! Third Bro, quick, come out!!!” As soon as Linley heard Yale’s first shout, he immediately ran at high speed out of his courtyard.
Seeing the distant Yale, Linley was stunned.
Right now, Yale’s face was extremely pale, and his hair was an absolute mess. Was this the impeccably dressed, handsome, and cheerful Boss Yale?
Seeing Linley, Yale immediately ran over, grabbing Linley by the shoulders. His bloodshot eyes stared at Linley, and he said in a sobbing voice, “Third Bro, you absolutely must get revenge for Fourth Bro!”