Book 19, Metamorphosis – Chapter 4, Redcliff Lord
Flamebone Region. Within an upstairs, private room in a restaurant.
“Enough. Unless we call for you, no need to enter.” Linley instructed.
The waiter carried the platter out of the room, shutting the door on the way out.
“Boss, hurry up and bring out those documents and those scryer recordings.” Bebe immediately urged. After acquiring the materials, Linley and Bebe had yet to carefully inspect them, as there had been no suitable place to read them. After all, they couldn’t just start flipping through them on the streets, right? “Don’t be impatient.” Linley laughed. With a thought, he made the large chest materialize, and it hovered above the table.
Linley moved the three dishes and the wine on the table to one side, then placed the thick stack of materials onto the table.
“So many.” Bebe stretched his hand out, grabbing the documents.
“Let’s not waste time. Bebe, you and I will each take half. Let’s all do a quick read-through of these documents and see which Tartarus Lord is suitable to be our target.” Linley said. While speaking, Linley began to flip through a large pile of documents, first reviewing the ones related to the rules of challenging the Lords of Tartarus.
If he was going to challenge a Lord, it would be very important for him to know the rules.
While reading, Bebe suddenly looked towards Linley and asked, “Boss, should you go challenge, or should I?”
Linley lifted his head to look at Bebe, then laughed. “Bebe, not just anyone can go challenge a Lord of Tartarus. The prerequisite is that you have to be a victor of a hundred battles in the arena, winning ten consecutive battles each day for ten days. Bebe…do you think you will find it easy to win ten battles in a row?”
“Of course. With my innate divine ability, ‘Godeater’, I refuse to believe anyone will be a match for me.” Bebe said confidently.
“What if you didn’t have access to the innate divine ability?” Linley laughed while asking.
Bebe was speechless.
If he didn’t have the innate divine ability ‘Godeater’, he, Bebe, simply had tough defense, but in terms of offense, the only thing he had to rely on was a godspark weapon. He would be able to use it to defeat ordinary Highgods, but not a single person who dared to participate in the Bloodbath Arena would be a weakling; weaklings would simply be going to their deaths. It would indeed be hard for Bebe to win.
“I…but I DO have my innate divine ability. Boss, your hypothetical is meaningless.” Bebe argued.
Linley wiped the smile from his face, then said solemnly, “Bebe, if you want to rely on your innate divine ability to win a hundred battles in a row, then first of all, your soul is only able to use it twice in succession; for the remaining battles, you’d have to rely on using amethysts and Golden Soul-Pearls to replenish your spiritual energy. It will be very taxing. And secondly!”
Bebe raised an eyebrow.
Linley continued, “Secondly, we are going to go challenge a Lord of Tartarus. Thus, it’s best if we don’t reveal our trump cards right away. Bebe, think about it. When you are at the Bloodbath Arena, if you reveal your innate divine ability, then…the Lord of Tartarus would definitely learn of it as well. By then, he would definitely come up with a way to deal with your ability!”
“Deal with my ability?” Bebe was stunned. “What sort of method could he come up with?”
“Preemptively kill you.” Linley said with a calm laugh.
“I’m not afraid.” Bebe said.
“If he isn’t confident in being able to kill you, perhaps that Lord of Tartarus would secretly leave the island, and then publicly say that he has gone out on an important matter. He would let you wait for a thousand years or ten thousand years. Are you able to wait that long?” Linley asked him. “My understanding is that challenges…can be deferred by up to ten thousand years.” Linley just saw this in the rules.
Bebe was speechless.
Indeed, issuing a challenge to a Lord of Tartarus wasn’t something which could be carried out immediately.
If the Lord of Tartarus wasn’t even in the Netherworld, even if you challenged him…you’d have to wait for him to return and receive word of the challenge before you could fight.
“Bebe, we can’t waste any time!” Linley said solemnly.
“Oh.” Bebe said helplessly.
If Bebe were to fight, what Linley feared was…the Lord of Tartarus, upon seeing Bebe use his innate divine ability, ‘Godeater’, would be so terrified that he wouldn’t even dare to fight, and would secretly slip away. This was actually quite normal. If a person knew that he had no chance of winning but still went to fight, that would be tantamount to suicide.
But just admitting defeat was very humiliating.
Thus, quite a few Lords of Tartarus would choose…to secretly slip away and delay by ten thousand years.
If he didn’t accept the challenge within ten thousand years, then the position of Tartarus Lord would immediately be transferred to the challenger.
This was a method by which the challenger would receive the position of Tartarus Lord, and the former incumbent would also be able to save a bit of face. Logically speaking, this was a win-win proposal, but to Linley, it was not, because he had to seize every minute of time so that he could enter the Planar Wars. The Planar Wars, however, only had eight hundred years remaining. He wasn’t able to wait that long!
“Right.” Bebe nodded slightly.
“Bebe, when I attack, I am capable of completely hiding my power. For example, if I don’t Dragonform and don’t use my innate divine ability! But of course, I still have to show one thing off slightly; my Blackstone Space! But I’ll weaken even the gravitational power of my Blackstone Space. It will be more than enough against those Five Star Fiends, Six Star Fiends, and Seven Star Fiends.” Linley said with a calm laugh.
He would lower the power of the Blackstone Space to the level at which it was at when he was just a God.
Linley’s full-force Blackstone Space was something which ordinary Seven Star Fiends might just barely be able to resist, even if they went all out, resulting in them being slaughtered at will.
If he only exerted a tenth of the power of the Blackstone Space, that was already enough as far as Linley was concerned.
“Just by showing a bit of my power, I’ll be strong enough to win a hundred consecutive battles. I trust the Lord of Tartarus wouldn’t be afraid to fight me just because I revealed a little bit of power. By then, when the time comes, I’ll use all my strength. Bebe, what you need to do is carefully look through the materials and see who amongst them has a supreme technique that is perfectly countered by me.” Linley said.
Bebe laughed and said, “Heh heh, Boss, you want to win in a back-handed way, eh? Fine, I’ll take a look and see whose strengths are countered by you.”
Linley began to carefully flip through the materials as well.
In total, there were eighty one Tartarus Lords, and of course, they couldn’t all be perfect, invincible experts with no weaknesses. Perhaps some of them would just so happen to be countered by Linley’s strengths.
“So powerful.” While flipping through the materials, Linley couldn’t help but suck in a cold breath. “The Lotuscliff Lord, the lord of the first island I arrived at, has actually not been challenged in countless years for his position. His supreme technique creates a translucent flame which kills anyone it touches, without exception?” Linley felt his heart turn cold as he read through the materials.
Each of the experts who dared to challenge a Tartarus Lord possessed confidence as well as their own supreme techniques.
But without exception, each of them touched by that translucent flame was killed.
“Boss, this Flamebone Lord is so powerful. In the past hundred million years, three people came to challenge him, all of whom were killed in a single blow.” Bebe called out in surprise as well.
“Bebe, these people have held their positions unshakably firm for countless years, and the challengers were all easily killed. For now, let’s put these especially strong Tartarus Lords off to one side.” Linley said immediately. Linley didn’t have confidence in being able to defeat those Tartarus Lords who had never had their positions threatened and who had never been forced to reveal too much of their power.
While reading through the many documents, Linley felt his blood beginning to stir.
So many experts. One challenge after another, one death after another. However, the Netherworld had countless experts in pursuit of perfection. In their hearts, becoming a Lord Prefect or a Tartarus Lord was their dream. For the sake of their dreams, they wouldn’t be afraid to sacrifice their lives.
Occasionally, some would succeed and become a new Lord of Tartarus!
“So indeed, amongst the Lords of Tartarus, there are a few who are monstrously powerful, but some who aren’t too terrifying.” Linley, when reading through the materials introducing some of the other Lords of Tartarus, felt slightly more relaxed. The eighty one Tartarus Lords did indeed have invincible figures akin to Beirut or Dunnington.
No one dared to challenge these people!
“Hm, this one isn’t bad.” Linley’s eyes lit up as he carefully read through some more documents. “Oh, an expert in the Laws of Water. Extremely strong spiritual defense. When he uses his divine power, his material defense can also reach a virtually undefeatable level. And his material attacks are extremely powerful as well!” Linley carefully read through this person’s description, and he began to feel a bit of confidence in his heart.
He was choosing an opponent!
Linley completely ignored the Tartarus Lords who were legendary for their soul attacks. Linley had some degree of confidence in his ability to deal with material attacks, and in addition, this Lord of Tartarus he had taken an interest in had developed a monstrously powerful defense through using ‘divine power’ in forming a constant, unbreakable layer of armor.
“If I were to use my innate divine ability, ‘Dragon Roar’, to change his flow of time…with time changed, the defense he controls with his divine power will definitely no longer be perfect, especially given that I’ll also be using powerful gravitational powers on him through my Blackstone Space.” Linley couldn’t help but begin to laugh, and he hurriedly began to review the documents regarding other details of this individual.
But then, his face froze, because he saw a line of words on the second page.
“What? He went to the Planar Battlefield?”
“Next one.” Linley had no choice but to do this.
There was nothing he could do…
The eighty one Tartarus Lords were almost all proficient in soul attacks. Even if they weren’t proficient, their soul defenses were generally quite strong. Linley’s soul defense was actually quite strong as well. Given his spiritual energy was at the Highgod level, that he had fused three profound mysteries, and that he had that innate azure glow surrounding his soul as well as the damaged soul-protecting Sovereign artifact, he was already beyond the level of most Seven Star Fiends.
But his opponents were the Lords of Tartarus, after all. Truly supreme experts.
“Boss, I have one here.” Bebe suddenly called out.
Linley raised his head and looked over. “Where is he? Not in the Planar Battlefield, I hope.”
“Nope. The intelligence report says that he is still within his realm.” Bebe said hurriedly.
“Tell me about him.” Linley’s eyes lit up.
“He’s the same as you, Boss. An expert of Earth.” Bebe laughed.
“Oh?” Linley’s eyes lit up. Linley actually preferred to deal with earth-type experts, because he had thoroughly analyzed the Laws of the Earth, and so it would be easier for him to deal with it.
Bebe continued, “This person’s soul defense is extremely strong. The recorded battles state that he didn’t seem to be impacted at all by any soul attacks. His soul defense is absolutely monstrous! But he isn’t specialized in soul attacks, nor has anyone ever seen him use any powerful soul attacks. The intelligence report hypothesizes that he probably has a soul-protecting Sovereign artifact.”
Linley nodded slightly.
Although the ‘Throbbing Pulse of the World’ was related to the soul, the Laws of the Earth still weren’t that strong in soul-related matters.
It was the Edicts of Life, the Edicts of Death, the Edicts of Fate, and the Elemental Laws of Fire which were strongest in the soul.
“His strength is material attacks. He is able to easily break apart Highgod artifacts with one blow! His fists and his warblade are exceedingly, terrifyingly powerful. Also…he specializes in speed. He is monstrously fast! On quite a few occasions, those who challenged him were sent smashing backwards by his fist before even touching him. They admitted defeat.” Bebe explained.
Linley began to laugh.
Speed? Material attacks?
No matter how fast a person was, within Linley’s full-force Blackstone Space, how fast could he be?
In Dragonform, when using the godspark weapon Mirage in executing the ‘Firmament Splitter’, Linley wagered that the power of his sword blows shouldn’t be much weaker.
“And I also have my innate divine ability, ‘Dragon Roar’.” Linley laughed.
“Boss, I’ve gone through this entire pile of documents. I feel that this particular Lord of Tartarus just so happens to be countered by your strengths. You should have a better than 80% chance of victory. Only, I’m not sure…if this Lord of Tartarus was hiding anything in reserve.” Bebe said resignedly.
Hiding something in reserve?
Someone who trained in the Laws of the Earth, even one who understood spiritual attacks well, wouldn’t possibly be as powerful in that aspect as someone who trained in the Edicts of Death or Laws of Fire. After all, much of the Edicts of Death pertained to the soul, and the Edicts of Fate were almost completely linked to the soul.
“Anybody is capable of holding something in reserve. However, since he is of the Laws of the Earth, I have some confidence in dealing with him.”
“Let me look.” Linley immediately received the materials, taking it over from Bebe.
He began to carefully review these materials. While reviewing the battles undergone by this Tartarus Lord, Linley began to feel more confident. The specialty of this Lord of Tartarus was his ‘speed’ and his material attacks. The two synergized well, making him almost invincible. Unfortunately…he just so happened to be countered by Linley.
Perhaps this Lord of Tartarus would be able to easily defeat supreme experts who specialized in soul attacks, but upon encountering Linley…
“Redcliff Region, eh?”
Linley nodded slightly. “Him it is!”