Establishing a Base in the Anarchic Lands
Transforming into his Dragonblood Warrior form, Linley began to trace from the Bonai River all the way to the border city of Neil, carefully scanning the surrounding areas. Every so often, he would have to rest to recover his spiritual energy.
He spent six full days and nights searching, and viewed all the nearby cities as well.
He didn’t find Reynolds.
“Master Linley, don’t worry. As soon as our Dawson Conglomerate discovers young master Reynolds, we will definitely make sure he safely makes it back home.”
A supervisor for the Dawson Conglomerate within one of the prefectural cities at the border of the Rohault Empire said respectfully to Linley.
Linley nodded slightly.
Right now, the only choice he had was to entrust this task to the Dawson Conglomerate. In his heart, Linley felt a bit puzzled. “Where did Fourth Bro run off to? Why didn’t he go to the Dawson Conglomerate’s branch headquarters? The Dawson Conglomerate has branches in each of the various prefectural cities.”
Actually, Linley didn’t understand.
Reynolds had been truly terrified by his time spent aboard that slaving vessel. Reynolds had decided that so long as he was within the borders of the Rohault Empire, no matter what, he would not enter any large cities. Although large cities had branch headquarters of the Dawson Conglomerate, it also had slaving organizations. If he were to be caught by slaving organizations, once he was discovered by them, he would be in dire straits.
“Any risk of being caught is too much risk. I’d rather take some side routes.” Reynolds was very firm in his decision.
Given his power, heading towards the Anarchic Lands via some cross country travelling wasn’t too hard. Once he reached the Anarchic Lands, he would then make contact with the Dawson Conglomerate. By then, he would be able to return safely.
By nightfall, in an ordinary courtyard within a prefectural city of the O’Brien Empire’s Southeast Administrative Province. Zassler, the Barker brothers, Rebecca, Leena, and Jenne were all here.
The sound of knocking could be heard. Carrying that massive greataxe on his back, Gates strode forward and threw the door open. In front of the door were three attendants, all pushing food carts.
“What took you so long?” Gates swept the three men with his ox-like stare, causing their hearts to tremble. In front of the massive Gates, the three of them were like small children.
Suddenly, a bestial roar could be heard from the courtyard. The three attendants turned towards the sound…
The Blackcloud Panther, Haeru, lazily padded his way over. The natural, baleful aura of a top-class magical beast such as the Blackcloud Panther was more than enough to set hearts trembling. Haeru glanced at the three with his dark, cold eyes, and then disdainfully turned his head and lay down on the ground.
The three attendants exchanged glances, not daring to make any sound.
They immediately put all the plates of food onto the table, then quickly left. When they walked out of the courtyard, they wiped the cold sweat from their foreheads.
“Who the hell are these guys? Those five men were enormous!”
“And those axes were so huge. They have to weigh at least a thousand pounds each.”
“And that old man. He looked like a skeleton. All he did was glance at me, and I felt fear. But those three ladies were certainly pretty. If I could marry such a beautiful girl, I’d be willing to have my lifespan shortened by a few dozen years.”
In the eyes of these hotel attendants, the guests in this courtyard were definitely extremely, terrifyingly powerful entities. While Zassler and the others ate, Bebe and Haeru remained within the courtyard. This was because they could sense…that Linley was heading back at high speed.
A short while later, Linley, dressed in a deep blue robe, landed from the skies.
“Lord Linley.” Barker and his brothers ran over to welcome him excitedly. Jenne, Rebbeca, and Leena all came over to welcome him as well.
“Linley, how did it go? Did you find Reynolds?” Zassler asked.
Linley shook his head. Right now, Linley was in a fairly good mood. Since the slave trading organization hadn’t found Reynolds, given Reynolds’ power as a magus of the seventh rank, as long as he didn’t anger someone powerful, he shouldn’t be in any danger.
“Fourth Bro has been a soldier for many years now, and the slave trading organization is no longer after him either…given the circumstances, he should have a 100% chance of escaping and returning.” Linley was very confident in his friend.
“If Reynolds isn’t able to make it back safely under such favorable conditions, he wouldn’t be worthy of being your bro, Lord. The Rohault Empire is usually very stable and very safe.” Gates said loudly. “In the past, when we brothers were just warriors of the seventh rank, we lived a wonderful life in the Eighteen Northern Duchies.”
He entered the room with the others and began to eat dinner.
“Linley.” Zassler put down his utensils, then asked, “We are about to head off to the Anarchic Lands. What are your plans?”
Linley knew that Zassler was the most experienced member of his team. With an eight hundred year old man by his side, many things would be much easier to accomplish.
“Zassler, what do you feel we should do?” Linley asked.
Barker said, “Lord Linley, actually, I imagine that the Anarchic Lands must be very similar to our Eighteen Northern Duchies. You do all your talking with your fists. Given our tremendous power, we definitely would be able to quickly establish a mighty force.”
Zassler nodded. “What Barker just described is one type of method, yes. Linley…I believe we have two options right now. The first is what Barker just said. Using our reputation as Saints, we can quickly dominate a very wide swathe of territory. In the Anarchic Lands, the rally call of a Saint is very effective.”
Linley nodded slightly.
The Anarchic Lands were often in a state of chaos and warfare. The citizens caught in these chaotic battles desperately hoped for their leader to be a powerful figure. If he publicly announced himself as a Saint, there would definitely be many people willing to follow Linley.
After all, Saints would be able to provide their followers with a good deal of safety and security.
“The second method is to, at least at first, not announce your status, Linley. We’ll start in the smaller regions. First, we’ll find an ordinary little city where the lives of the commoners are unbearably bad. Even if I were to act by myself, I could easily take over such a small city. And then, we will slowly expand to larger cities, then erect our own Duchy. And then, we continue, one step at a time. In the past…I was a Grand Duke in the Anarchic Lands, myself.” Zassler laughed.
The second method was the method which many ambitious people used.
After all, the first method could only be used by powerful experts with overwhelming force.
“Milord, what method do you wish to use?” Zassler looked at Linley. “The benefit to the first method is that it is fast. Within a year, we can easily take over countless Duchies in the Anarchic Lands. The second method is slower, but it allows us to have a more stable foundation.”
Jenne, the other two girls, Barker, and his brothers all stared at Linley, waiting for his decision.
“Zassler, we’ll carry out the second method.” Linley made his decision after pondering for a while.
“Our target is the Radiant Church, and the Radiant Church is very skilled at seducing the masses. We need to move slowly, one step at a time, and let the commoners be fully willing to follow our orders. We need to give them a strong sense of belonging. Otherwise…even if we take over a large amount of territory, when we fight against the Radiant Church, we will have many traitors and riots.” Linley said.
Zassler laughed and nodded.
“Very well then. We’ll secretly expand. We won’t attract any attention. Otherwise, if we start raising Linley’s banner from the start, we will attract a great deal of hostility from many areas.”
Zassler was quiet for a moment, then continued. “Linley, the Radiant Church and the Cult of Shadows both have tremendous influence in the Anarchic Lands. If you wish to expand there, I think…the first step would be to begin closer to the Forest of Darkness. In other words, the northernmost area of the Anarchic Lands.”
Linley raised an eyebrow. “The northern part of the Anarchic Lands?”
“Right. The area near the Forest of Darkness. Because it often suffers attacks from the magical beasts of the Forest of Darkness, the people of that area are extremely sturdy and very violent. Few of the citizens of that area have much faith in the Radiant Church. They worship the strong. In addition, given our power, we don’t need to fear those low-rank and medium-rank magical beasts at all.” Zassler smiled.
Hearing Zassler’s words, Linley agreed in his mind.
“From the east edge to the west edge of the northern part of the Anarchic Lands is roughly a thousand miles. There are many small cities with only a few tens of thousands of citizens in them. There will be plenty of options for us.”
Zassler said confidently.
As Zassler saw it, occupying and taking over a city in the Anarchic Lands which had a population of just a few tens of thousands was as easy as breathing. Either Zassler or the Barker brothers could easily erect a Dukedom in the Anarchic Lands, all by themselves, much less occupy a small city.
Linley’s team was truly powerful.
He had a whole group of Saints, and Linley, Bebe, and Haeru were peak-stage Saints. Most likely, even the powerful hidden force the Radiant Church had within the Anarchic Lands couldn’t match Linley for power.
For such a team, building a base in the Anarchic Lands was incomparably easy.
The Anarchic Lands was more than half the size of the O’Brien Empire, and was definitely on par with the size of the current Radiant Church, Rohault Empire, and Rhine Empire.
Long ago, when a calculation had been run on the Anarchic Lands, it was found that the 48 Duchies had a total population of over three hundred million. Such an enormous population wasn’t much lower than the population of the Rhine Empire and the Rohault Empire. The countless years of chaotic battles hadn’t lowered the population all that much. Instead, all it had done was make the people of that area even more vicious and violent.
This sort of chaotic region was a veritable playground for powerful experts!
After passing the border, Linley and his team entered the Anarchic Lands. Upon entering the their very first city in the Anarchic Lands, Linley could sense what a state of frenzy and chaos the people here were in.
“Long years of warfare have caused food to become extremely expensive in the Anarchic Lands. Although some Duchies have worked hard to try to bring an end to warfare during the harvest seasons, sometimes, they are still forced to do battle…” Zassler sighed.
The Anarchic Lands were totally different from the Holy Union and the O’Brien Empire.
In the cities of the Holy Union and the O’Brien Empire, one could sense a peaceful, amiable aura. Noble madams and young noble ladies there all wore lavish clothes and casually strolled about the streets.
But in the Anarchic Lands, heavily armored warriors could be seen everywhere, and the cities were filled with a ferocious aura, giving the sense that a single wrong word could result in murder. This was the norm, here.
Linley’s team continued to travel towards the north. As they travelled, they carefully observed the local areas, gaining a better understanding of the Anarchic Lands.
“A priest?” Linley saw from afar someone dressed as a priest. “Damn the Radiant Church. Chapels can be seen everywhere in the Anarchic Lands, and all of them openly preach and proselytize for the Radiant Church…”
As they continued to travel, Linley’s heart grew heavy.
The Radiant Church’s influence here was indeed tremendous.
Linley’s team moved quite quickly. After journeying for roughly ten days, they arrived at the northern part of the Anarchic Lands. Linley and his people entered a small city known as ‘Blackdirt City’.
It was noon.
Within a private room in an ordinary hotel, Zassler said to Linley, “Based on my investigations from earlier this morning, the city governor of this place, Blackdirt City, is a classic example of all brawns, no brains. All he wants to do is be the ruler of a small city and enjoy the life of a local tyrant. He is extremely tyrannical and oppressive to the common folk…I think that this should be quite suitable for us to take over as our first little city.”
“But this is only the first city we’ve considered!” Linley was rather surprised.
Zassler laughed. “This is normal. In the Anarchic Lands, aside from a very few Duchies, most rulers are extremely oppressive towards their citizens. After all, war could break out at any time and they might lose their power. Naturally, they’ll want to enjoy it while they can.”
Linley nodded slightly.
“Fine. Then let’s start with this Blackdirt City.” Linley immediately decided.
The eyes of the nearby Barker brothers lit up. Gates was the first to say excitedly, “Lord, don’t worry. You don’t need to do a thing. We’ll just head on over and kill that leader, and then terrify those few thousand soldiers into submission. There’ll be nothing difficult at all about it.”
The five Barker brothers had led armies to war in the Eighteen Northern Duchies. They very much loved that sort of blood-pumping life.
“Lord, don’t worry. Tonight, you’ll be living inside the governor’s mansion of Blackdirt City.” Barker slapped his chest as he spoke.