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Book 20, The Crown’s Riddle – Chapter 12, Not Dead

“Haha, you old fart, what makes you think you can act so arrogantly?” Bebe bent over in laughter, clutching at his belly.

As for the three subordinates of Molde, they turned their heads, staring, stunned, at the human-shaped hole in the distant mountainside. Their Lord Prefect had actually been knocked flying in an instant?

“Rumble…” The mountainside trembled, and rocks fell everywhere. A human figure flew out, emerging from the mountainside, then landed on the ground of the gorge.

Molde’s body wasn’t damaged at all. His focused gaze fell on Linley, and he said in a low voice, “I didn’t act against you, and yet you sneak-attacked me? Hmph…your speed isn’t bad. But your power is a bit weak.”

Power, weak?

Linley knew that Molde was just engaging in braggadocio, because the Sovereign artifact Molde was in possession of was a defensive Sovereign artifact. Naturally, Linley wouldn’t be able to kick him to death with one kick.

Molde knew very well that Linley’s kick was extremely powerful, but he believed that Linley sneak-attacked him because Linley wasn’t that much stronger than him. Even if Linley was a bit stronger, that was fine, because he was in possession of that miraculous bracelet. This bracelet filled him with boundless confidence.

“Let’s not waste any more time. Go ahead and attack.” Linley was still smiling calmly, not feeling the slightest bit of concern or nervousness.

Molde frowned, his eyebrows turning steely. He laughed coldly, “Since you want to die, I’ll grant you your wish.”

“Bang!” A surge of black light erupted out of Molde’s body, exploding forth. It was Destruction-type Sovereign’s Might! After using Sovereign power, Molde could sense power swelling in him, which made him feel all the more confident. Molde gave a confident, cold laugh, then suddenly moved.

He was like a bolt of black lightning…

“Haaargh!” Molde’s right leg viciously chopped down towards Linley like a hatchet.

“Riiiiip.” Space itself was ripped apart by this kick, and wherever Molde’s leg passed by, a terrifyingly large spatial tear appeared. Molde, being in possession of a defensive Sovereign artifact, could use his entire body as a weapon.

Linley just smiled, then charged forward, his body moving like an illusion.

“Die!” Molde’s kick pierced directly through Linley’s body, but in the instant that it did, Molde’s face suddenly changed. “Wait, that’s not his body!” Molde’s guess was correct; that was just an after-image Linley had left behind after moving.

Linley’s body was actually directly behind Molde.

Linley stretched out his hand, forming it into a claw as he grabbed directly at Molde’s left leg.

“No!” Molde felt a terrifying power suddenly constrict around the joints of his left leg, and his face couldn’t help but change.

“Your speed is too slow!” Linley’s voice echoed out within the gorge, and as it did, Linley grabbed Molde by his left leg, then, like snapping a whip, sent Molde smashing against the ground! He whipped Molde into the ground time and time again, smashing him down viciously.

“Bang!” “Bang!” “Bang!” “Bang!”

The floor of the valley trembled violently, as one giant, deep crater after another appeared. The collision force was so powerful that it even caused the rocky ground to transform into dust, down to a depth of ten meters or even deeper. Multiple enormous tears in the ground appeared, joining together and resulting in a terrifyingly deep crevice being formed.

“How can this be…” Linley’s power wasn’t held back at all. After having been whipped about lightning-fast like this, Molde was beginning to grow dizzy.

In an instant, Linley had smashed Molde into the ground more than a hundred times, and then, with a powerful sideways toss, he sent Molde flying, like a rock from a slingshot. Molde shot deep into the mountainside, creating yet another man-shaped hole.

The white-browed man and the other two watched, stupefied.

“Uncle Linley is so powerful.” Deia’s eyes were shining.

“He is indeed terrifyingly strong.” Olivier’s eyes were gleaming. He, too, was a person who sought perfection. Upon seeing the power that Linley had displayed, he too felt stunned.

“That, what’s his name, Molde? I’m puzzled. What the hell was he thinking? He dared to fight my Boss? Although my Boss didn’t reveal much of his power, the speed he displayed earlier should have made it so that Molde would’ve known to retreat.” Bebe mumbled. “He just has a defensive Sovereign artifact. What is there for him to be smug about?”

Bebe was puzzled by the fact that Molde hadn’t retreated.

“Bastard!” A furious bellow rang out from the mountainside. “BANG!” Molde once more charged out. After having been thrown about earlier, Molde’s rage had risen to a breaking point. His eyes were scarlet, and he stared angrily at Linley while growling, “Punk, do you rely merely on speed alone? Hmph. That bit of attack power you have isn’t able to wound me at all!”

Molde was growing frantic, but up till now…he still believed that Linley was just relying on his speed.

Linley’s attacks weren’t necessarily stronger than his.

“Oh?” Linley’s face sank. “Since you want to die, don’t blame me.”

After reaching his current level of power, Linley would rarely act to kill ordinary commanders. This was because…for Linley to act against commanders would be an absolute massacre! It would be a form of abuse. Linley had simply wanted to teach Molde a lesson and have him f*ck off, but Molde seemed to be quite confident in his power. Linley couldn’t help but begin to grow angry.

“Haha…if you are able to kill me, then do so!” Molde laughed wildly, and then, launching himself from the ground, he charged towards Linley, carrying the power of a mountain.

Molde’s right hand was like a sword, piercing through space and shooting towards Linley.

“Whap!” Linley struck out, lightning-fast.

Fist against fist!

Molde was knocked flying back. After landing, he stared at Linley in disbelief. “You…how can you…you didn’t use Sovereign’s Might. How could you have blocked my punch?” Molde was very confident in his own strength, and he had also used a drop of Sovereign’s Might. And yet, he was actually knocked flying back by Linley.

“Your punch? Compared to Hemmers, you are quite lacking.” Linley said calmly.

“Hemmers?” Molde frowned, but then he seemed to think of something, as he began to laugh coldly. “Your power isn’t bad. Then taste my soul attack.”

Molde’s face turned solemn, and then he opened his mouth…

“Swish!” A translucent ripple, shaped like a blade of wind, shot at high speed towards Linley.

“Die, then!” Linley no longer showed any mercy, and he growled as he attacked.

A single Voidwave Sword ripple shot out from Linley’s body, the size of an ordinary longsword. It smashed onto that translucent wind blade, and with a ‘bang’, tore through it like rotting wood. The translucent wind blade disappeared, while Linley’s Voidwave Sword ripple just decreased a small bit in size.

Molde’s face changed dramatically. He seemed to want to say something, but it was too late.

The Voidwave Sword ripple silently and soundlessly entered Molde’s body. Linley’s most powerful type of attack was his soul attacks; even compared to a Paragon of Fate, he could be said to be on roughly the same level. How could an ordinary Lord Prefect possibly block Linley’s soul attack?

Molde’s body trembled, and then his gaze grew dim as he slowly collapsed.

“Lord Prefect…” The white-browed man and the other two were shocked. Their Lord Prefect…had died, just like that?

“This Molde didn’t know his own limits. He really was seeking death.” Bebe snorted.

Linley turned and walked towards Olivier and the others. Laughing calmly, he said, “Let’s go!”

“Linley!” Olivier’s face changed as he let out a cry of alarm, staring behind Linley, stunned.

“Hrm?” Linley turned his head, puzzled.

Lord Prefect Molde, who should have been dead, actually once more rose to his face. His eyes were flashing as he stared at Linley, stunned. “You…who are you?”

Linley looked back at him, also stunned. “You didn’t die?” Just now, he had clearly seen Molde be struck by his attack, and then collapse. His eyes had turned glassy and lifeless. How had he come back to life?

“Boss, this old fellow didn’t die. That’s odd.” Bebe called out.

It was indeed quite odd. If Molde had a soul-protecting Sovereign artifact, then he shouldn’t have reacted at all to Linley’s soul attack. But just now, Molde had clearly collapsed, and yet, moments later, he had completely recovered and was completely fine. This was indeed bizarre.

“His soul attack is this powerful…and his material attacks are so strong as well…and he is so fast…he has no weaknesses at all.” Molde was stunned.

“You are a Paragon? Which Paragon of the Infernal Realm…” Molde said. Aside from Paragons, Molde couldn’t think of any other possibilities. “You are Mr. Linley?” Molde actually guessed the truth right away.

Truthfully, that wasn’t surprising. There were only three individuals in the Infernal Realm who were suspected of being Paragons.

Molde had acquired information on the other two long ago. As for Linley, he had just risen to prominence two centuries ago after the Planar War. The Infernal Realm was simply too vast, and so in the past two centuries, news about him hadn’t spread everywhere just yet. Although Molde had run into an old friend who had informed about Linley, all Molde had learned was Linley’s name, and the fact that he was a member of the Azure Dragon clan who was capable of Dragonforming.

As for Linley’s appearance, he had no idea.

“Yes, I am Linley.” Linley laughed calmly.

“Paragon Linley?” Molde’s three subordinates were utterly terrified as well. Their Lord Prefect had actually attempted to take revenge upon a Paragon. Wasn’t this suicide? They were stunned, but Molde was both stunned and enraged.

“That punk, Bonin, is just a Six Star Fiend. No matter how much trouble he causes, how could he have gotten a Paragon involved?” Molde was incomprehensibly angry and shocked. He knew that the enemy was fairly powerful, but Bonin was just a Six Star Fiend, after all. Molde believed…that at most, the enemy would be a Lord Prefect level expert. A Paragon? Using a Paragon to deal with his son was a waste of talent.

How few Paragons did the entire Infernal Realm have? Just three, and that was including Linley! How could there be such a coincidence?

If it had been Dunnington or the other one, Molde would have immediately recognized him and given up. Unfortunately, it just so happened to be Linley. Linley was a Paragon who had just recently risen to sudden prominence ,and he didn’t have any accurate information about Linley at all.

His son had actually managed to offend a Paragon. Molde’s luck really was quite terrible.

“This…Mr. Linley…I apologize.” Molde forced out a smile. “Since it is you, Mr. Linley, then I’ll leave now.”

“Leave now? If my Boss was weak, he would’ve been killed by you, and the rest of us would have as well, right?” Bebe barked. “It’s too late for you to leave now!”

“I am quite curious. How is it that you were hit by my technique but didn’t die?” Linley looked at this Lord Prefect, Molde.

Molde’s face changed dramatically. Not hesitating at all, with a ‘swish’, he rose into the skies, intending to flee! Against a Paragon like Linley, even if Linley wasn’t able to kill him, he would be able to control a spatial tear and shove Molde into it. Molde didn’t believe that his Sovereign would waste any time or effort in entering chaotic space to save him.

Linley blinked, and two Voidwave Sword ripples shot towards Molde, who was in mid-flight.

No matter how fast he moved, how could he move faster than a soul attack?

The two Voidwave Sword ripples entered Molde’s body, and instantly, Molde’s formerly flying body became powerless. He once more fell down from the skies, smashing onto the ground. But just an instant later, Molde actually once more flipped to his feet.

“Queer. How queer.” Linley began to laugh. “If you have a soul-protecting Sovereign artifact, you shouldn’t feel a thing from my soul attack. But clearly, you don’t have one. But if you don’t have one, how could it be that you are able to survive repeated soul attacks from me?”

Linley didn’t understand.

“Mr. Linley, no, Lord Linley!” Molde’s face changed dramatically. He was confident in his ability to escape anyone besides a Paragon, but Paragons…they were strong in every aspect, without any flaws.

“It really is strange.” Linley frowned, puzzled.

“Swish!” “Swish!”

Two more Voidwave Sword ripples shot out, once more entering Molde’s body. Molde’s eyes immediately became lifeless, and he once more fell onto the ground. This time, Linley used his divine sense to keep a close watch on Molde, carefully inspecting Molde for any changes. Linley’s divine sense thoroughly filled every single part of Molde’s body; it was extremely forceful and dominating.

Molde’s eyes opened, and he once more regained consciousness.

“So that’s how it is.” Linley finally discovered where the secret lay.

“Lord Prefect…” The white-browed man and the other two, seeing the situation was turning grim, hurriedly fled, leaving behind only Molde himself.

After regaining consciousness, the first thing Molde saw was Linley walking towards him. His face changed dramatically, and he suddenly tunneled underground.

“Haha, you won’t be able to escape.”

Linley laughed loudly, and then his body suddenly appeared next to Molde, and he grabbed Molde by the shoulders.

Linley’s other hand then grabbed at Molde’s ‘bracelet’. “No!” Feeling Linley grab the bracelet, the Lord Prefect of Skymount instantly grew frantic, but Linley gave his left hand a forceful tug, and with a ‘crack’, the bracelet shattered as the nine green pearls flew into Linley’s hand.

“The reason why you were able to survive despite being hit by me multiple times has something to do with these nine soul pearls, yes?” Linley glanced at him.

Seeing that Linley held the soul pearls in his hand, the Lord Prefect’s face instantly turned ashen.

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