Above the mighty Liuyan River, a large ship was gliding its way through the waters, but not a single person was on the deck.
In the uppermost inner deck of the ship, however, experts were as numerous as the clouds.
Every single person within this massive inner deck was a Saint-level expert. Within the hall, there were nine chairs, divided into three sides.
Linley, Barker, and Zassler were seated on one side.
The Holy Emperor Heidens, Praetor Osenno, and Lord Fallen Leaf were seated on another side, while on the other side were the forces of the Cult of Shadows: Dark Patriarch Affleck [A’fu’lai’ke], Senior Judge O’Casey, Fallen Angel Leader Cramerson [Ke’lai’mo’sen].
Behind each of the two sides were a number of Angel Saints or Fallen Angel Saints.
Heidens and Affleck shared a glance, a strange feeling in their heart. The two of them were the leaders of two major religions, and they were enemies to each other.
But today, they were allies.
The reason for this bizarre transformation was Linley. An astonishing genius who had grown at rapid speed. Despite his youth, he had reached one of the utmost peaks of power amongst the experts of the continent. Even figures as exalted as the Holy Emperor and the Dark Patriarch had to lower their noble heads in front of Linley and speak soft words to negotiate with him.
“Heidens. Affleck.” Linley had a hint of a smile around his lips. “I don’t know why you have invited me to come here. What is this about?” Bebe rested on Linley’s thighs, his beady little eyes staring at the Holy Emperor and the Dark Patriarch.
The Dark Patriarch Affleck’s skin was as white and tender as that of a young girl’s. His voice was also very soft and gentle. “The reason why so many of us from the Cult of Shadows have come is primarily to ask you, Linley, to make a concession and have your rat wave army halt its attacks. I imagine Heidens has come for similar reasons. Heidens, am I right?”
Heidens nodded slightly, then looked at Linley, his gentle gaze giving off the impression of the spring wind. “Linley, would you be willing to make this concession?”
“Are you all dreaming?” Linley didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry.
Heidens laughed calmly. “Linley, as long as you are willing to make this concession, our Radiant Church is also willing to pay a high price. We will definitely make you satisfied.”
“The same with us. What we pay would definitely be enough to make you feel satisfied, Linley.” Affleck said.
Both of the leaders of the two religions were acting submissively towards Linley.
They didn’t want to fight against Linley head on. First of all, they had no excuse to do so. If they fought against Linley head on, they would be giving Desri’s side an excuse to intervene. And secondly, the Radiant Church, at least, had agreed that within these twenty years, they were not to attack Linley. The time limit wasn’t over.
“Linley, what do you think?” Heidens looked at Linley.
Linley felt deep hatred for the Radiant Church. Linley only harbored a dislike for cruel, savage people, but towards those who feigned benevolence, such as Heidens, and for those who pretended to be as kind as a father, but who in reality were merciless, cruel, and utterly pragmatic, Linley felt the utmost of revulsion.
The leaders of the Radiant Church and the Cult of Shadows looked at Linley.
Linley revealed a hint of a smile, but from his mouth, he spoke two words: “No way!”
The faces of both Heidens and Affleck instantly froze, while at the same time, the leader of the Fallen Angels, Cramerson, let out a cold sneer. “Linley, can it be that you rashly imagine that you can set yourself against both the Radiant Church and the Cult of Shadows?”
“Cramerson.” The Dark Patriarch, Affleck, immediately barked at him.
Linley looked at the leader of the Fallen Angels, Cramerson, and let out a light laugh. “Based on what I know, for an Angel to Descend, they require a powerful body. Mr. Cramerson, you are so powerful that this body must at least be of the seventh or eighth rank in power. Where did your Cult of Shadows procure such a powerful body?”
In the past, the five Barker brothers had reached the eighth rank just by physical training alone.
Linley knew very well that most people would only be able to reach the sixth rank through physical training. No matter how talented they were, the seventh rank was virtually impossible, with perhaps one appearing every millennia. Only the lineage of the Four Supreme Warriors was able to constantly produce such a miracle just based on physical training.
Thus, this body of Cramerson’s most likely belonged to one of the Four Supreme Warriors.
“Right. Where did that body come from?” Barker stared coldly at the Cult of Shadow’s side.
Back then, him and his four brothers had nearly died and had their bodies transformed into vessels for Angels. Thus, this was a very sensitive topic for him.
“That’s a secret of our Cult of Shadows.” Cramerson smiled. “Enough, Linley. Let’s return to the previous topic. Are you truly unwilling to make any concession at all? If you are willing to make this concession, you will win the eternal gratitude of our Cult of Shadows.”
Linley, Zassler, Barker, and even Bebe immediately began to laugh loudly, holding their stomachs.
“Linley, you’d best consider it.” Heidens looked at Linley as well.
Linley’s laughter faded, and his face grew solemn. He swept the people in front of him with his gaze and said seriously, “Heidens. Affleck. Listen well. I, Linley, will say this to you plainly. No matter what, I will not withdraw my armies. The unification of the Anarchic Lands is going to happen, and there is nothing that can stop it!”
“Linley, don’t go too far.” Osenno sneered coldly.
In terms of his ability to ‘endure’, Osenno clearly was inferior to Heidens and Lord Fallen Leaf.
“Too far?” Linley frowned, his gaze shooting towards Osenno like cold knives. “Osenno, don’t put on airs in front of me. I’ve already spoken very plainly today. If you want me to withdraw my armies, that’s not going to happen.”
The aura in the cabin of the boat immediately became extremely tense.
“Is there anything else? Speak.” Linley was quite casual.
Bebe added, “Right, if there’s anything you want, hurry up and talk. I’m about to go lead my rat wave army to go take over a huge swathe of land.”
Zassler’s cold, gloomy gaze swept towards the people in the room. He let out a few insidious chuckles, but didn’t speak.
The cabin was silent for a while.
“Fine then.” Heidens sighed. “Our Radiant Church can make one final concession. We can offer the land which we control to your Baruch Kingdom and let you administer it.”
“Oh?” Linley was a bit surprised.
What was Heidens intending? Why was he allowing Linley to take over the entire Anarchic Lands?
“We are willing to do this as well.” Affleck said.
Linley glanced at Heidens, then at Affleck. He mused to himself, “What are these two church leaders planning?”
Heidens looked at Linley. “Our request is very simple. As long as you are willing to agree to allow our Radiant Church to preach openly throughout your empire and won’t suppress our religion at all, we’ll be satisfied.”
“Preach? Not suppress them at all?” Linley frowned.
Affleck nodded as well. “Our request is the same. Allow our Cult of Shadows to openly preach, and do not suppress it at all.”
He now understood their intentions. The Cult of Shadows and the Radiant Church greatly valued the power of faith. Compared to that, they didn’t care too much about who ruled over a particular territory.
What was truly the most important was that the faith power had to be maintained.
“Linley, the spread of our religions in your empire in the Anarchic Lands won’t affect your governance much. You should be able to accept this, right?” Affleck said persuasively.
Heidens just quietly watched Linley, waiting for Linley’s answer.
“You’ll allow me to unify it, and you’ll just proselytize?” Linley looked at the two.
“Right.” Heidens immediately nodded. “This is the greatest concession we can make. Linley, if you are willing to agree, then our two sides can become friends, and we can forget about everything which has happened in the past.”
If Linley were to agree, then the Radiant Church and the Cult of Shadows would definitely have to give Linley face in the future. In the future, Linley would be as free and unrestrained in the Yulan continent as a fish in water.
They had forgotten that Linley didn’t care about dominance. In his heart, the only thing he had was the self-confidence and desire to reach the pinnacle of training, his love towards his family and friends, and an oath he had etched into his heart.
The oath he had sworn when Grandpa Doehring had died, and he had left the city of Hess!
The oath that he would destroy the Radiant Church entirely, and pull it up by its roots!
His father had died. His mother had died. Grandpa Doehring had died!
“Become friends? Become friends with the Radiant Church?” Linley laughed coldly in his heart. “The Anarchic Lands? If I could have my father, mother, and Grandpa Doehring come back to life, I’d be willing to give up the entire Anarchic Lands, and even all of my own power!!!!”
Linley’s emotions began to swell.
“Become friends? Let you continue to preach?” The rage in Linley’s heart was rising, but his face remained as calm as ever.
Within the quiet cabin, everyone stared at Linley, waiting for Linley’s reply.
Allowing Linley to unify the Anarchic Lands while the two churches continued to preach was the bottom line for these two churches. If Linley was to refuse, then he really would have infuriated these two churches.
The Saints of the Radiant Church and the Cult of Shadows all looked expectantly. Linley’s lips curved upwards slightly. “In my domains, all religions shall be forbidden. If I find one, I’ll destroy one!”
The faces of Heidens, Affleck, Fallen Leaf, O’Casey, and the others instantly changed.
“Did you hear me clearly enough?” Linley looked at them. “That is my response!”
“Hmph!” Praetor Osenno and the leader of the Fallen Angels, Cramerson, suddenly rose to their feet, staring coldly at Linley.
This time, Heidens and Affleck didn’t stop them.
“Linley, this is the bottom line of our Church, and is the bottom line of the Lord. Do you know…what the result will be if you challenge our Lord’s bottom line?” Heidens’ face was calm.
Affleck also looked coldly at Linley.
Instantly, the temperature in the cabin dropped by dozens of degrees. The tension was so thick, it had congealed. Most likely, if anyone not at the Saint level were to come over, they wouldn’t be able to even breathe.
“Bang!” Linley slapped the armrest on his chair, his eyes cold as he swept the people present. “What, you want to threaten me?”
The Saints of the Radiant Church and the Cult of Shadows were silent, but their intentions were clear.
They were indeed threatening him.
“Heidens, have you forgotten the agreement we made twelve years ago?” Linley stared coldly at the two sides.
According to their agreement, Saints were not permitted to engage in worldly battles. But if Saints did not get involved, there was no way they would be able to stop the rat swarms. Thus, once they shed all pretense of cordiality, the Radiant Church and the Cult of Shadows would definitely send Saints to stop the rat swarms.
Another part of the agreement was that within twenty years, the Radiant Church was not permitted to actively attack Linley.
“Linley, you go too far.” Heidens said in a low voice.
Affleck also said, “Linley, a man should know when to take a step back.”
“Shameless. Shameless!” Linley stood up, laughing while shaking his head. “I’ve never seen people as shameless as you lot. When your armies attacked my territory, you charged all the way to the magicite mines, but I didn’t interfere, because I held to our agreement.”
Linley’s mocking gaze swept the Holy Emperor and the Dark Patriarch. “You people are the leaders of two major religions. As soon as the battle starts and you know you are about to lose, you are immediately going to interfere. And you say that I go too far? As far as I can see, you people are utterly shameless, shameless!”
Linley’s words made the expressions on the faces of both the Saints of the Radiant Church and the Cult of Shadows turn exceedingly ugly. They were all people of high status. Naturally, they wouldn’t be able to take Linley’s satirizing mockery well.
“Watch your mouth.” Osenno sneered.
Linley’s eyes flashed with cold light. The entire hall was suddenly filled with violet light, and Osenno was so terrified that he instantly transformed into four doppelgangers and retreated at high speed.
“Ah!” “Ah!” Two successive, agonized screams.
The bodies of the two Four-Winged Angels who were standing behind Osenno suddenly were simultaneously sliced into two pieces. Their bodies collapsed, staining the floor with their blood.
The second level of the ‘Tempos of the Wind’ attack: the combination of the ‘Spatial Freezing’ and the ‘Spatial Folding’ concepts!
Osenno clutched his chest, staring at Linley in astonishment.
“Osenno, with the little bit of power that you have, don’t yammer and shout in front of me.” Linley locked onto Osenno with his cold gaze. “I don’t even need to transform to kill someone like you!”