Noon time. The blazing sun hung high in the western skies, baking Blackdirt City with its scorching rays. The garrison soldiers of Blackdirt City were lazily and casually strolling about within Blackdirt City, while a few poor guards were being baked by the sun while standing guard on the walls.
“This damn weather. It is unbearably hot during the day, and deathly cold at night!” A large man dressed in tattered armor cursed softly. Him and the nine companions by his side were one of the squads belonging to the city guard.
Whenever the common citizens of the city saw these soldiers, they immediately fled away, their faces full of fear.
Seeing this, another warrior cursed softly. “Now that I’m working under that greedy, fat pig, some of my elders are beginning to look down at me. That fat pig is too greedy!”
“That motherf*cker. If it weren’t for the fact that I have a wife and son to feed, I wouldn’t do this job.” Another warrior agreed.
In Blackdirt City, that fat city governor had an extremely poor reputation. These warriors who had joined the army for the sake of feeding their families all secretly cursed this vile city governor behind his back, but they didn’t dare to fight against him. This was because the city governor had an extremely powerful and despotic son, who was a peak-stage warrior of the seventh rank. That sort of power was more than enough for one to become a local tyrant in small cities such as this.
“Faster, faster!” From nearby, the hoof steps of a knight’s horse could be heard coming towards them at high speed. Seeing the soldiers from afar, the knight immediately cried out loudly, “Brothers, quick, come and pay your respects to the new city governor! That greedy, fat pig is dead! Quick, go pay your respects to the new city governor!”
The ten men in the squad were startled. They glanced at each other, then immediately began to laugh with excitement.
“Haha…quick, let’s go to the governor’s mansion.”
In the Anarchic Lands, the common citizens had virtually no sense of belonging. This month, they would be ruled by one city governor; next month, it might be a different one. The commoners didn’t ask for much; they only wanted to have enough to feed themselves and their families.
The governor’s mansion of Blackdirt City could be considered a city within a city.
Blackdirt City’s army was divided into two major battalions, with each battalion having 1800 people. One of the battalions was the city guard, while the other was the city governor’s personal guard. One could imagine how afraid of death the city governor was, to use half of his military force to protect his own mansion.
There were a large number of soldiers currently centered within the city governor’s mansion. All 3600 soldiers quickly assembled there.
The city governor’s mansion could easily fit in 1800 people. Atop a broad training field, Barker and his brothers stood in the center. Their rippling muscles and massive, powerful bodies made them look like gods of battle. Those terrifying black greataxes they carried on their back were especially frightening.
The soldiers all stood there, keeping quiet out of fear.
“Brothers.” A powerful man with short golden hair roared loudly, “That vile, fat pig and his son have already been chopped into meat paste by these five lords. These five lords are all mighty combatants of the ninth rank. Invincible combatants of the ninth rank!!!”
As soon as they heard the words, ‘combatants of the ninth rank’, all of the soldiers were stunned.
“Combatants of the ninth rank? Combatants of the ninth rank would come to a little city like ours?” Whispers could be heard circulating throughout the crowd.
“Bam!” Gates took a few steps forward, his demonically powerful aura causing the nearby soldiers to all take a step back. Gates laughed thunderously, “All of you, listen up. From today onwards, Blackdirt City belongs to we five brothers. My big brother, Barker, is the city governor!”
Gates drew out the greataxe from his back. Staring at the surrounding people, he said, “If any of you have any objections to my big brother, Barker, being the city governor, you are welcome to come compete with me!”
Who would dare compete against such a terrifying god of battle?
The city governor’s son, who had terrified Blackdirt City for so long, had been chopped to death by a single blow from Gates’ greataxe. Then again, most of the soldiers present hadn’t personally witnessed this themselves. The natural, violent atmosphere of the region caused some of the soldiers to stare at Gates questioningly. Just being physically big didn’t necessarily mean someone was very powerful!
“This greataxe of mine was made from countless precious materials. It weighs 5300 pounds!” Gates casually tossed his greataxe forward, and it soared agilely through the air, landing against a nearby boulder which the soldiers used for weight training.
The ten-thousand pound boulder didn’t even move when struck. Many of the watching soldiers were stunned. “Could it be that this greataxe is made from wood, and it just has a layer of metallic dye on top of it?”
“Boom!” The boulder suddenly exploded and disintegrated into a storm of dust.
Wielding something heavy as though it were light!
All the onlookers stared with their mouths gaping open. These soldiers had heard of people being able to smash a ten-thousand pound boulder, but to cause it to instantly disintegrate into a pile of dust…this wasn’t something which could be accomplished just through brute strength. All the soldiers turned to look at Gates with adoration and worship in their eyes.
Gates delightedly let out a thunderous laugh. He had used this technique in the past in the Eighteen Northern Duchies as well. The Anarchic Lands and the Eighteen Northern Duchies were very similar; powerful experts were deeply venerated.
“Looks like there are no objections.” Gates said loudly. “Wonderful. From today forward, you are now the soldiers of my big brother. There’s a benefit to working for my big brother. In the future, your military pay will be triple that of your current military pay!”
Triple military pay?
The three thousand plus soldiers stared in shock, but then, they all let a thunderous, sky-shaking cry…
“Long live Lord Barker!”
What more could they ask for? These five experts possessed unbelievable power, and they gave a very high military pay. Naturally, they loved leaders like this!
The city of Blackdirt now had a new city governor. It was the mighty Barker and his four brothers, all of whom were powerful warriors of the ninth rank. Their weapons alone weighed 5300 pounds! Having such a powerful leader was something which all of the citizens of Blackdirt City celebrated over.
The most exciting thing was…
The Lord City Governor had declared that as long they were obedient and faithful, the citizens of Blackdirt City would be forever exempted from paying taxes!
Forever exempted from paying taxes! In the Anarchic Lands, this could be described as a miracle. After all, if there were no taxes, where would one have money to pay their soldiers? But this problem, to Linley, was no problem at all. He held the terrifying amount of wealth which the royal clan of the Kingdom of Fenlai had accumulated for thousands of years.
He could casually pull out a hundred million gold coins, and that would already be more than enough.
Powerful leaders and high salaries, combined with no taxes…given the above, the people here quickly gained the hope and desire to forever live under this administration. And because of the high military pay, many people now desired to join the army.
At the same time, when some of the commoners nearby Blackdirt City learned about this, they hurriedly immigrated to Blackdirt City.
Half a year after the change in leadership in Blackdirt City.
Within the city governor’s mansion. The newly selected housekeeper, Nemi [Nei’mi], was currently giving a detailed report to this mysterious ‘Lord Ley’. As the administrator for various matters in Blackdirt City, Nemi knew that although the city governor was nominally Barker, in truth, the highest authority here was that mysterious Lord Ley.
“Milord, the population of Blackdirt Town numbers nearly eighty thousand. If we add that number to the large number of surrounding villages, then in total…the population under Blackdirt City’s control is a total of around 700,000. Currently, our military is expanding as well. We now have a total of five battalions, all at full strength. The five battalions number a total of nine thousand soldiers.” Nemi said respectfully.
Linley, seated above him, nodded slightly upon hearing this.
“Enough, Nemi. You can retire now.” Barker glanced at him.
“Yes, Lord City Governor.” Nemi immediately left respectfully.
Right now, the people seated in the room were Linley and the other core members of the team. According to the decision which Zassler and Linley had originally made, to outsiders, they said that Lord Barker was the city governor. ‘Barker’ was a very ordinary name. Nobody else knew which ‘Barker’ this was.
“Lord, you really gave us a good scare when you casually brought out a magicrystal card with a hundred million gold in it.” Barker chortled.
Linley laughed. “Don’t worry about the financial side of things!” In the past, Linley had essentially stripped away thousands of years of accumulated wealth from the Kingdom of Fenlai.
Zassler said, “Linley, the reason we are being so generous to the citizens of Blackdirt City is because we want Blackdirt City to become our strongest, most resilient base, and to make sure that the people here are absolutely loyal to us! It is enough that we exempt this city from paying taxes. In the future, at most, we can just lower the tax rate in our cities. In addition, in order to function well, a nation needs to be able to be self-sufficient. It can’t always rely on outside money. It has to be self-sustaining!”
“I don’t know much about managing a country. I’ll let Zassler and Jenne handle these matters.” Linley laughed as he glanced at Jenne. Zassler had controlled a Duchy before in the Anarchic Lands, while Jenne had helped her little brother administrate the affairs of the prefectural city of Cerre for multiple years. Both of them knew much more about city management than Linley did.
Jenne nodded and laughed. “Big brother Linley, the most important part of being a leader is knowing who to use. Just let me handle it.”
Zassler concurred. “Jenne is right. Linley…you are our standard-bearer. In the Anarchic Lands, an ultimate expert has a great deal of influence. Look at the War God. The War God always stays on War God Mountain and never gets personally involved in anything, but everyone understands that so long as the War God is alive, then the O’Brien Empire will never collapse.”
“Lord, in the future, your relationship to our nation will be the same as the War God’s relationship to the O’Brien Empire.” Barker agreed.
Linley nodded slightly. “I understand your reasoning. Oh, right. Yesterday, I took a stroll around Blackdirt City. I saw that a few dozen kilometers northeast of Blackdirt City, there is a small mountain known as Mt. Blackraven. I plan to train there.”
Linley could sense the vastness of both the Laws of the Earth and the Laws of the Wind. Linley wished to spend a large amount of time subsuming himself in them, and spend some time attuning to them and understanding them.
In the central-southern part of the Anarchic Lands, there was a prefectural city with hundreds of thousands of citizens. Within a room on the fifth floor of a five story tall hotel, an old man with white-streaked hair opened a letter, carefully reading its contents.
“What I feared the most has come to pass!” The old man began to frown. “The Emperor ordered us not to act against Linley and just observe him. A while ago, we learned that Linley’s group had entered the Anarchic Lands. At that time, we thought he was just engaging in tourism. Who would’ve thought that they’d take over a city? What exactly are they planning?”
The old man had a bad feeling.
Linley was a major foe of the Radiant Church. A foe which they didn’t want to have to fight.
“I hope Linley is just messing around and having fun in the Anarchic Lands.” The old man was frowning. What he feared the most was…that Linley had come to the Anarchic Lands expressly to deal with the Radiant Church. “We don’t want to stir up trouble with him, but if he insists on stirring up trouble with us, we’ll have to act.”
The old man was a high level manager for the Radiant Church in the Anarchic Lands. He knew exactly how powerful Linley’s side was.
“As for now…let’s just watch. Let’s see what Linley plans to do.”
Outside of Blackdirt City, in a small mountain roughly a thousand meters tall which was located in the direction of the Forest of Darkness, Linley was seated in the meditative position on the top of a large tree. The treetop swayed along with the blowing wind, and Linley swayed along with it, as gently and as agilely as a leaf.
He was carrying a 3600 pounds adamantine heavy sword, and yet he was seated on the crown of a tree. Linley had indeed reached a very high level in his ability to control the wind.
“Slow. Fast. It isn’t that simple…” Linley was constantly pondering his ‘Tempos of the Wind’ technique. The Tempos of the Wind was actually utilizing two contradictory aspects of the wind in perfect harmony, with the clash between these two aspects creating a terrifyingly sharp blade of air.
But Linley was discovering that as he continued to study the individual aspects of ‘Slow’ and ‘Fast’, these aspects had additional astonishing secrets that had yet to be revealed to him.
“The limits to the Profound Truths of Slowness…the limits to the Analytics of Hyperspeed…” Linley was totally absorbed in his meditations on the Elemental Laws. This sort of meditation relied entirely on a single sudden spark of insight. Perhaps Linley would suddenly gain an insight onto the Laws of the Earth, at which point Linley would begin to analyze the Laws of the Earth. If he suddenly gained insight into the Laws of the Wind, he would go study that instead.
Those days he spent in training on Mt. Blackraven passed very quickly….