Book 17, Indigo Prefecture – Chapter 28, Freedom
In the past, Linley had known very little regarding Sovereign’s Might. Thus, he had taken it for an advanced form of ‘divine power’. But now, it seemed, it was completely different. Sovereign’s Might was actually capable of being used like spiritual energy.
“Sovereign’s Might also has one other benefit.” Gislason laughed. “When you use Sovereign’s Might, for a short moment, both your body and your soul will be uplifted.”
“Eh?” Linley was surprised.
“This is the truth.” Gislason sighed. “However, the amount of uplifting isn’t very great. If one was willing to be wasteful and consecutively use hundreds of drops of Sovereign’s Might, both the soul and the body will be tremendously transformed.”
“Hundreds of drops? Who has that many?” Linley laughed.
“Even if someone does have that many, they wouldn’t be willing to waste it like that.” Gislason said.
“Our Four Divine Beasts clan’s one and only advantage over the eight great clans is that we have quite a bit of Sovereign’s Might.” Gislason sighed. “By relying on Sovereign’s Might, we are able to be at the level where even when under group assault, we can still fight back. This is the only reason why we’ve been able to keep the death ratio at one-to-one.”
Linley nodded. After this recent experience, Linley realized how powerful the enemy was.
For example, Mosley’s innate divine ability truly was terrifying.
“Now that our ancestors have died, the more Sovereign’s Might we use up, the less we have.” Gislason warned. “Linley, you cannot waste this Sovereign’s Might. Unless the situation is critical, using it simply isn’t worth it.”
“Yes, Patriarch.” Linley replied.
Even the Four Divine Beasts clan had a dwindling stockpile of Sovereign’s Might.
“Enough. You can go back for now. In the upcoming period of time, my younger sister shouldn’t assign you any more missions. After all, after this experience, the eight great clans will be very much on their guard against you. In the future, it won’t be so easy for you to kill two Seven Star Fiends.” Gislason laughed.
Linley nodded, then immediately left.
Indigo Prefecture, the eastern borders. Four of the eight great clans were located here, amongst them the Barbary clan which had moved here from the Divine Water Plane.
Deep within a dark estate, a giant was standing within a flower garden.
He was 3.5 meters tall, and his face was covered with a green beard, each hair looking like a steel needle. He was dressed in a plain, unadorned set of armor, and on his shoulders, there was a black, serpent-patterned cloak attached. This person was staring directly at Cole, who was standing before him.
“Cole, you were killed without even being able to fight back?” The giant said, frowning.
“Patriarch, I, I didn’t expect…” Cole’s face was filled with rage. “He clearly was just a God, but who would have imagined that he was just hiding his aura? When he was very close to me, he suddenly ambushed me…I didn’t have any chance to react at all.”
Currently, Cole only had his divine wind clone remaining.
“Not just me. Even Mosley wasn’t able to detect that this person was hiding his aura.” Cole said hurriedly.
This Patriarch of the Barbary clan frowned even more deeply.
“Patriarch, based on what the clones of my subordinates told me, the person who killed me didn’t have an extremely powerful soul defense.” Cole said hurriedly.
The Barbary clan’s Patriarch couldn’t help but grow puzzled. He swept his gaze towards the outside of the garden, and instantly, a black shadow flitted in from outside, standing there respectfully.
“Quickly go investigate if there is a new Elder within the Azure Dragon clan who is skilled at hiding his power.” The Patriarch of the Barbary clan instructed.
The black shadow vanished once more.
After having completed the last mission, the Grand Elder wouldn’t possibly send Linley into battle once more in the near term. Thus, Linley rejoined Bebe, Delia, Cesar, and the others in the gorge, enjoying some rare, peaceful days.
More than two years had passed since the last assignment. In the past two years, not many things happened. On this day, Linley and Delia were currently eating some food together.
“Delia, she…seems to have something she wants to say.” Linley laughed to himself. Today, Delia was very absent-minded as she ate, as though she wanted to say something but didn’t.
“Linley.” Delia hesitated a long time, then finally spoke.
Linley chuckled. He had been waiting a long time for her to speak. “Delia, what is it?”
Delia paused a moment, then said, “Linley, we’ve been here in the Skyrite Mountains for quite some time. It’s been eighty years now, right?”
“Right.” Linley nodded. “What of it?”
“Linley, we rushed all the way here to Indigo Prefecture, then entered the Skyrite Mountains. Right, we’ve returned to your clan, but…are we just going to stay in the Skyrite Mountains forever?” Delia asked him instead.
Linley couldn’t help but frown. “Delia, you want to leave? You want to depart from the Skyrite Mountains?” Linley felt this came out of nowhere.
“No, that’s not what I mean.” Delia said hurriedly. “Actually, I want to follow the forces of the clan to go on a trip to the cities.”
“No.” Linley refused decisively. “It’s too dangerous. No.”
“It’s not dangerous.” Delia said hurriedly. “In fact, it’s not just me. Bebe, Dylin, and the others all want to go on a trip outside. Linley, we’ve been in this same place without going anywhere else this entire time. It’s not as bad for you. You can train and you can go battle. But the rest of us are just here in this gorge every day. After a long period of time, we all feel rather stifled.”
Linley was stunned.
He understood what Delia meant. To be in a single place with no contact with the outside world…it wouldn’t be so bad at first, but after more time passed, one would feel terribly depressed. If a very long period of time passed…one would be accustomed to being depressed and lonely, at which point one’s very temperament would change.
Delia, in particular, had accompanied Linley on their long journey over here. Her heart, like his, was a free one, which couldn’t endure this sort of restrictions.
“Delia, I understand your feelings.” Linley nodded.
In the past, when he had entered the Mountain Range of Magical Beasts for training for three years, he only had Bebe by his side for those three years. That sort of solitary, lonely life was indeed quite stifling. He himself had only been able to hold on and persevere because of his hatred, which had let him endure it all.
“Delia, I’m sorry.” Linley reached out to take Delia’s hand.
At this moment, Linley came to a realization.
He had been too selfish!
He always thought of things from his own viewpoint. He wanted to return to his clan. He wanted to battle in Bloodbath Gorge for the clan. But he hadn’t considered the situation from Delia and Bebe’s viewpoints. He himself could live a very exciting life. But what about them?
Always in their little gorge, living a leisurely, dull life. Bebe was the lively sort, and Delia enjoyed her freedom as well. Linley himself liked an exciting, lively life. Nobody liked to live a flavorless, boring life. He had completely neglected Delia and Bebe.
Thinking of this, Linley couldn’t refrain from saying, “Delia, I truly am sorry.”
“Say no more.” Delia laughed and shook her head. “It’s fine. I just want to go for a slight change in atmosphere. Once I’m in a better mood, I’ll be fine.”
“I want you to go out and relax as well. Only, it really is very dangerous.” Linley said nervously.
“Linley, it really isn’t dangerous.” Delia said hurriedly. “Actually, the Azure Dragon clan has quite a few clansmen who often go to the nearby cities to go sightseeing and shopping. It truly isn’t dangerous.”
“It isn’t dangerous?” Linley didn’t understand.
“Linley, if you don’t believe me, you can ask the other Elders.” Delia immediately said.
“Oh?” Linley nodded. “How about this. Delia, you wait here. I’ll go ask the other Elders. If there really isn’t much danger, I’ll let you go.” Linley didn’t want his wife to be too stifled either.
Linley immediately flew up through Dragon Avenue, constantly pondering in his mind Delia’s words. The more he thought of it, the more he felt that he had neglected Delia, Bebe, and the others. They had all accompanied him to the Skyrite Mountains.
But in the end?
They had to stay in that gorge and didn’t dare to leave it at all. This sort of life, akin to living in a prison…was this what he had to offer for Delia and Bebe?
From afar, through the corner of his eyes, Linley saw a person flying in the air. It was the familiar figure of ‘Elder Garvey’. He hurriedly shouted, “Elder Garvey.”
Puzzled, Elder Garvey turned to look, then laughed and flew over. “Linley, what a coincidence.” Linley laughed, “Elder Garvey, there’s something important I want to ask you about. Come, let’s chat over there.”
Linley and Garvey flew together to a nearby location halfway up the mountain.
“Linley, what is it?” Garvey asked, puzzled.
“Our clan often has people who go to the cities?” Linley asked.
“Oh. Yes, we do, actually.” Garvey laughed. “First of all, our clan needs to buy some things on occasion. Secondly, our clansmen are always trapped here within the Skyrite Mountains. Quite a few of them can’t stand this type of restriction, and so they’ll go out to improve their mood. However, each time, the number of people permitted to leave is limited.”
“Is it dangerous?” Linley asked.
“There’s not much danger.” Garvey laughed. “In the past ten thousand years, there hasn’t been a single incident.”
“Aren’t we in a state of war against the eight great clans? How can it be that our clansmen are in no danger when heading out?” Linley didn’t understand.
“Linley, think about how vast the Infernal Realm is. Do you think running into someone is a simple matter? The battles which occur between us and the eight great clans occur because both of us are consciously seeking them out. It’s only because they travel on predetermined routes and because we have intelligence agents constantly monitoring those routes that we are able to so easily run into them.”
“As for our clan, when a group of us ride a single metallic lifeform and go to a city, there’s no way we can be on a predetermined route.” Garvey said. “This world is incomparably vast, and we can go anywhere we please. In addition, on our way over, even if the eight great clans see a metallic lifeform, there’s no way they would know that it belongs to our Azure Dragon clan.”
Linley began to understand.
“More important, they can’t send Seven Star Fiends just running around randomly everywhere. Even if an intelligence agent of theirs discovers that we are aboard a metallic lifeform, the metallic lifeform will quickly fly off into the distance, and because the route is not predetermined, there’s no way the enemy can possibly guess where the metallic lifeform has flown to.” Garvey laughed.
Linley nodded to himself as well.
The chances of both being encountered as well as being recognized really was one in a hundred million.
“Most importantly of all…each time our clansmen go a group, an Elder will be the escort.” Garvey laughed. “This to guard against any unforeseen circumstances. If we really are so unlucky as to encounter an enemy Seven Star Fiend within this vast area, then we’ll just have to engage in battle.”
Linley, hearing this, felt relieved.
The chances of being encountered really were too low. It was virtually impossible, in fact. And even if there was an encounter…his side had a Seven Star Fiend on guard.
“What, do you have family or friends who want to go out and relax?” Garvey asked.
“Right.” Linley suddenly thought of the limitations Garvey had mentioned with respect to how many people could participate. “How many people can go each time?”
“Five hundred people per trip.” Garvey nodded. “Don’t worry. As an Elder, it will be very simple for you to arrange some family and friends to be included. In addition, if you really are worried, you can escort them yourself as well. If a problem occurred even when two Elders are escorting, that would truly be quite bizarre, wouldn’t it?”
Linley’s eyes lit up.
Linley himself was interested in accompanying Delia into the city for a nice stroll. “The Elders of Bloodbath Gorge are cyclically assigned to missions. I’m not doing anything right now anyhow.” Linley immediately flew back towards Bloodbath Gorge and asked to meet with the Grand Elder.
In the Azure Dragon Palace, the Grand Elder stared at Linley through her mask.
“What? You want to go out?” The Grand Elder said coldly.
“Grand Elder, I just want to accompany our clansmen on a trip to the city.” Linley said.
“I can’t permit it right now.” The Grand Elder shook her head. “Recently, the battle between us and the eight great clans has been fairly fierce. I might need to send you out on a mission at a moment’s notice. Linley, the clan is more important. After your thousand years are up and you retire from Bloodbath Gorge, you can go where you please.”
Linley was stunned.
He, too, knew that the battles had been very fierce, but he hadn’t been sent on a mission in the past two years, after all. Going to a city was a trip of just a few months.
“For now, stay within the Skyrite Mountains. Based on how our intelligence reports develop, I might have a mission for you very soon.” The Grand Elder said.
“Yes, Grand Elder.”
Linley didn’t particular want to go visit the city himself anyways. The only reason he wanted to go was to protect Delia better.
“It’s within an area of a trillion square kilometers…and why would a Seven Star Fiend be so bored as to just wander about randomly? And the chances of them recognizing that this was a group of our clansmen? And also being to defeat one of my clan’s Elders?” Linley considered it, then set his mind at ease.
The chances of something going wrong were virtually zero!