Within the living room.
“My deepest apologies, Director Maia,” Linley said humbly, “But for now, I really do not wish to put this sculpture on auction, nor do I wish to display it. But I can guarantee that if in the future I do desire to auction it off, or to put it on exhibit, I will beseech the Proulx Gallery to assist me.”
Leaning on his cane, Director Maia smiled at Linley. “Oh, that’s fine. This time, asking you to consider displaying your sculpture in our gallery was only a secondary purpose. My primary purpose was to come see this sculpting genius, the likes of whom we might see once in a trillion years.”
Just at this time, the manager of the hotel came over.
This manager humbly smiled towards Director Maia, then turned to Linley and Yale. “Young master Yale, young master Linley, representatives from the Rhine Empire are outside the hotel. They wish to meet with young master Linley.”
“Haha.” Laughing, Director Maia stood up. “Linley, seems like you’re quite busy nowadays. Then I won’t disturb you for now. I’ll take my leave.”
As he spoke, Director Maia led his attendants out of the hotel.
Linley looked at the hotel manager. “Please help me block them. Right now, I do not wish to meet with representatives of the Four Great Empires or the Dark Alliance.” Linley very bluntly refused to meet with any of the people who had come to see him. Linley knew very well that if he were to meet with representatives of the Four Great Empires or the Dark Alliance, that would cause great dissatisfaction with the Radiant Church.
After all, as soon as he met with them, even if he refused their offer in the end, the Radiant Church would still be suspicious of him, as they would have had no one present during the meeting.
And the Radiant Church had tremendous power throughout the Yulan continent. It was no weaker than any of the Four Great Empires. There was no need for Linley to join with the Four Great Empires or the Dark Alliance.
Three days later. Within a carriage headed towards Fenlai City were Linley and Yale, while Reynolds and George remained at the Institute.
“Third Bro. You are wise indeed. These past two or three days, representatives from the Dark Alliance and the Four Great Empires constantly tried to meet with you.” Yale laughed. The people who had come to meet with Linley were all people with some authority and influence within their respective organizations, albeit they were based in the Holy Union.
None of those people, however, were major figures. After all, the news of a seventeen year old dual-element magus of the seventh rank would take a fairly long period of time before making its way to the Four Great Empires and the Dark Alliance. This was because the distance was simply too far.
All of those people who attempted to meet with Linley had made the decision to contact him on their own authority.
Unfortunately, all of them were stopped at the door by Linley’s directive.
“Yale, that family which collected the ancestral heirloom of my clan, that “Lucas” [Lu’ka’si] clan…if I try to get back the ‘Slaughterer’ from them, is it really going to be that difficult?” Linley was heading off to Fenlai City for the express purpose of taking care of this affair.
Yale nodded. “Right. At first, I was so eager to share the news that I didn’t look any deeper into this clan. But now, it appears this Lucas clan is quite extraordinary.”
Linley nodded slightly.
A clan which had purchased his own clan’s ancestral heirloom hundreds of years ago clearly was not a recently established minor clan.
“The Lucas clan is also a fairly ancient clan, with about a thousand years of history. In the entire Kingdom of Fenlai, their wealth can only be considered middling, but in terms of influence amongst the nobility, they are quite powerful. Most importantly of all…the clan leader of the Lucas clan is an extremely obstinate old man, and a serious hoarder. That ancestral heirloom of your clan was the personal weapon of the very first Dragonblood Warrior. Although it’s been over a thousand years since a Dragonblood Warrior has appeared, this weapon is still something quite special. And what’s more, that weapon of your clan is worth at least a few hundred thousand gold coins.”
“But even if you had the money, based on the obstinate nature of the clan leader of the Lucas clan, you most likely will still find it hard to acquire it.”
Yale sighed as he spoke.
Some people couldn’t be moved by money alone.
“Linley, if my Second Uncle lends a hand and utilizes the connections that our Dawson Conglomerate has, giving that old geezer some pressure, then the level of difficulty would drop significantly.” Yale suggested.
Linley knew that Yale spoke out of good intentions, but Linley truly did not wish for anyone else to assist in this matter.
“Let me try first. If I absolutely cannot convince him, then I’ll ask you, Boss Yale, to help out.” Linley laughed.
Suddenly, Linley felt a shudder next to him. And then, Bebe’s tiny form popped out from the side, staring sleepily at Linley and Yale. At the same time, Bebe mentally said to Linley, “Boss, this carriage is so slow. I’ve slept for a good while now, but we still aren’t at Fenlai City yet.”
Hugging Bebe, Linley said, “Alright, that’s enough. After a while, we’ll be there.”
“Aaaah!” A miserable scream. The carriage came to a sudden halt.
Seated with the carriage, Linley and Yale both felt the carriage suddenly shake. The look on Yale’s face changed. “Not good.”
“We would like to invite young masters Linley and Yale to step out.” A rather piercing voice emanated from outside.
Linley and Yale exchanged glances. For their opponent to be able to surround and stop them without them even knowing demonstrated that the opponent clearly was more powerful than them. Without any resistance, they stepped out of the carriage.
Right now, their two bodyguards of the seventh rank had both collapsed onto the ground, staining it with their blood. Even the carriage driver had collapsed. For a warrior of the seventh rank to be killed without even being able to react was a clear indication of their opponent’s strength.
“Young masters Linley and Yale, we come without any ill intentions. We just want to invite Linley to come be our guest for a little while. As far as you, young master Yale, naturally we won’t harm you.” Not far away, three men were standing in greenish-black clothes. Their leader, a man covered in knife scars, was the one who had spoken.
Yale was furious at the deaths of his bodyguards of the seventh rank, but he didn’t give vent to his rage. After all, he could tell how much stronger these opponents were.
The scarred man smiled towards Linley. “Linley, don’t resist. My subordinates can easily capture you, let alone myself. Right now, the only thing you have to do is to obediently follow us. Are you willing? Or must we use force.”
Linley glanced alongside at Yale. Linley really did not want to cause Yale any misfortune.
“Third Bro, don’t go with them.” Yale said frantically.
In his heart, Linley knew very well that these three combatants were either from the Dark Alliance or the Four Great Empires. Based on their strength, even if he and Bebe went all out to resist them, it most likely wouldn’t be enough. What’s more, the purpose of these people in seeking him out was to have him join them, so they probably wouldn’t go so far as to harm him.
“Alright, I’ll follow.” Linley nodded.
The knife-scarred man couldn’t help but grin. “That’s great to hear. Young master Yale, we hope you’ll forget all about what just happened here.” As he spoke, the knife-scarred man glanced at the two next to him. Those two instantly scurried at high speed next to Linley.
“Let’s go.” The knife-scarred man instructed.
Holding onto Bebe, Linley began heading southeast under the escort of those two men by his side.
“Boss, let’s kill these two guys. I’m confident in my ability to kill the two surrounding you. But as to that knife-scarred guy, I’m not so sure.” Bebe said mentally.
Linley knew that Bebe’s senses were usually extremely accurate.
He, too, was able to extrapolate that these two people by his side were most likely warriors of the eighth rank. And that knife-scarred leader of theirs was most likely a warrior of the ninth rank. An organization capable of sending out a warrior of the ninth rank and two warriors of the eighth rank was no ordinary organization.
“Bebe, don’t be rash.” Linley held him back.
“Where on earth did all these experts start popping out from?” Linley felt helpless.
Doehring Cowart appeared by his side, grinning as he glanced at Linley. “Right now, your status is different from the past. Naturally, the experts you encounter will now also be at a higher level. I told you long ago that only upon attaining the seventh rank will you be considered to have entered the countless ranks of the strong. In each and every one of the Four Great Empires, there might only be a few Saint-level combatants, but there will be at least a few dozen combatants of the ninth rank. Mobilizing one of them for the purpose of dealing with you is no big deal.”
An Empire or one of the major alliances would have hundreds of millions of citizens.
For there to be a few dozen combatants of the ninth rank amongst hundreds of millions of people meant that for every ten million or so, there was one combatant of the ninth rank. In honesty, combatants of the ninth rank were still quite rare.
“Where are they heading to?” Linley stared questioningly at Doehring Cowart.
“If my guess is correct, these three should belong to the Dark Alliance. Most likely, they are trying to first enter the Mountain Range of Magical Beasts, and then change directions from within to go directly south, hurrying towards the border with the Dark Alliance.” Doehring Cowart said quite confidently.
Linley thought for a while, then agreed.
The Four Great Empires and the Dark Alliance both had stationed some military units in each other’s territory, but none in the Mountain Range of Magical Beasts. After all, to most magical beasts, the ordinary soldiers were nothing more than food.
To an ordinary warrior, the Mountain Range of Magical Beasts was extremely vicious.
But to a warrior of the ninth rank and two warriors of the eighth rank? It was a very easy path to traverse. As long as the three of them didn’t enter the central areas of the Mountain Range of Magical Beasts, there shouldn’t be any danger.
Where the battle had occurred just now, Yale remained, staring at the corpses of the three men. Letting out a long sigh, he began to head towards Fenlai City. But just as he left, a man dressed in black suddenly appeared. The man in black glanced in the direction where Linley had been taken, then immediately withdrew a vertical black flute from his clothes.
“Swiiiiish.” A strange, piercing sound emanated from the flute.
This sound was extremely strange. If four people in four different locations were to hear it, the one standing in the direction of Fenlai City would hear it a thousand times more loudly than the one standing on the opposite side, away from Fenlai City.
This flute seemed to concentrate all sound in one direction, and it in fact didn’t seem to rely on sound; rather, it relied on a unique vibratory mechanism.
Holding Bebe, Linley very obediently followed those three men. The knife-scarred man was very satisfied with Linley’s cooperativeness.
But once they reached a location approximately three kilometers away from the Mountain Range of Magical Beasts, the expression of the knife-scarred man changed.
“Huh.” The knife-scarred man instantly retreated to Linley’s side, and then icily stared at his surroundings. “Come out.”
Instantly, six men in tight black clothes. The knife-scarred man didn’t seem to care too much about these six men, as his gaze was fixed upon the distance, where an old man dressed in black and an old man dressed in burlap slowly were making their way over.
“Linley is a member of our Holy Union. You, a Judicator of the Dark Alliance, dare to seize a member of the Holy Union? Aren’t you disrespecting the Radiant Church just a little too much?” That old man dressed in black said icily.
The knife-scarred man chuckled. “I didn’t expect to draw your personal attention, Deputy Arbiter. Oh, and you’ve even invited an Ascetic to come as well. And several judicial Executors. Looks like you fellows really value this Linley very highly.”
The knife-scarred man was very clear as to the power of his opponent’s, but he didn’t seem frightened at all.
“All I wanted to do was invite Linley to come have some fun with us in the Dark Alliance, but since all of you have come to prevent that, then forget it.” The knife-scarred man looked at the black-robed elder. “Deputy Arbiter, I want you to agree to something. I’ll spare Linley, and you spare my two subordinates. What do you say?”
The black-robed man knew very well that the knife-scarred man in front of him was a Judicator of the Dark Alliance, someone with tremendous power which would be extremely hard to kill by himself. But this time, he had also invited an Ascetic of the Radiant Temple to come along with him. To kill this opponent wouldn’t be too hard.
But…Linley was in the opponent’s hands.
“Fine. I guarantee by my own personal honor that you and your subordinates will be permitted to leave. But Linley must stay behind.” The black-robed old man didn’t really want to get into a major fight with these opponents right now either.
“Fine. We’ll go.”
The knife-scarred man immediately turned to leave, while at the same time saying warmly to Linley, “Linley, if you have some free time and the opportunity, you can come visit us at the Dark Alliance whenever you wish. Haha…our Dark Alliance will always welcome you.”
After finishing these words, the knife-scarred man and his subordinates suddenly moved at high speed, transforming into three human-shaped blurs as they vanished.