Book 20, The Crown’s Riddle – Chapter 16, A Tribulation
Linley secretly celebrated.
Fortunately, he had suspected Molde of plotting against him, and that this scheme shouldn’t be a simple one. Thus, from the very beginning, he had staunchly insisted on swearing an ‘Overgod oath’. And indeed, there were no problems with Linley’s oath to the Overgods; although he had the nine soul pearls, prior to this, he truly knew nothing whatsoever about the Overgod talismans.
But the Sovereign of Wind didn’t realize this.
This was because, according to that sheet of paper, Linley had acquired both the nine soul pearls as well as the Overgod decree. As Teresia, Sovereign of Wind, viewed it, if the information was true, then Linley should know what Overgod talismans are. But if the news was false, then Linley wouldn’t know.
By the looks of it, Linley truly didn’t know. That meant the news should be false!
This logic seemed flawless!
Actually, what the Sovereign of Wind didn’t realize was that Molde was a victim of his own cleverness. The news on that sheet of paper contained both truths and falsehoods! Molde’s actions were intended to make it so that even if Linley handed over the soul pearls, he would still be pursued by the Sovereigns. Since Linley wouldn’t be able to hand over the Overgod decree, then the Sovereign would probably kill Linley to ‘seize it’.
The information was partly true and partly false, so as to cause Linley’s death.
What he didn’t realize was that, precisely because the information was partly true and partly false, Linley actually managed to dodge this tribulation. It truly was a case where one was a victim of one’s own cleverness!
“It seems this information is probably false.” The silver-haired Sovereign, Teresia, said calmly.
“Only you would be so bored as to believe in it.” The Bloodridge Sovereign snickered.
Linley finally let out a mental sigh of relief.
But then, the corners of Teresia’s narrow eyes once more turned to Linley and the interspatial ring on his finger. Laughing calmly, he said, “However, Linley, given how confident you are in your innocence…fine, then. Hand over your interspatial ring to me and let me look through it. If there is nothing inside, then this news is clearly false…oh, and bring all of your divine clones out as well. Let me inspect all of their interspatial rings.”
Linley’s heart lurched.
Inspect his interspatial rings? Linley knew very well that those nine pearls were right inside his interspatial ring.
“If I hand over those nine soul pearls, he will be absolutely certain that the information he gained was real, and would definitely try to force me to hand over the Overgod decree. I won’t be able to hand it out, and this Sovereign will probably mercilessly kill me.” Linley understood this. By now, even though he had the nine soul pearls, he definitely couldn’t hand them over.
In addition, Overgod talismans…one could tell just from the name that these things would surely attract the attention of many Sovereigns.
If he were to admit having the soul pearls, even if this Sovereign of Wind didn’t kill him, most likely one of the other Sovereigns would. He would never again be able to live a peaceful life.
“Sovereign.” Linley had a look of anger and humiliation on his face. “I, Linley, have trained for so many years and finally become a Paragon! You are a Sovereign, yes, but even common mortals can grow angry…much less me, Linley! Faced with your repeated questions, Sovereign, I, Linley, provided you with repeated answers. I even swore an oath by the Overgod of Fate. What else do you want?”
The Sovereign of Wind was stunned.
Linley stood there in midair. He stared at the Sovereign of Wind, not shrinking back at the slightest. Instead, he started to laugh. “You want my divine clones to come out? Fine!” With a thought, Linley transformed into five different people as his other four divine clones all emerged.”
“Four divine clones!” The Sovereign of Wind, Teresia, was startled.
Generally speaking, most Deities trained in one type of Law, with a few who trained in two. There were very few who trained in three types of Laws, but Linley actually trained in four. This was indeed astonishing.
“You are quite wise.” Teresia said emotionlessly.
Linley and Teresia stared at each other. Linley showed no hint of subservience or humility as he said calmly, “Sovereign, my five clones have, in total, five interspatial rings! But I, Linley, feel that I have already demonstrated sufficient sincerity. I’ve even swore an oath by the Overgods, and yet you still want to investigate my interspatial rings? Fine then. Investigate away. The five interspatial rings are all there. However, pardon me, Linley, for not removing my binding from them. I, Linley, am a Highgod Paragon, not your slave. If you want to investigate my interspatial rings…then just go ahead and kill me!”
Linley stared at Teresia.
Linley’s intentions were clear…
You are powerful! You are a Sovereign! But I’m not something that you can toy around with as you please. If you truly want to be shameless, fine, then. Come and kill me!
The Sovereign of Wind, Teresia, stared at Linley, puzzled, like a viper staring at his prey.
Sovereigns cared about face as well. Highgod Paragons were ‘emperors’ amongst Deities. They too cared about face. Given that Teresia wasn’t completely certain of the situation, for him to treat Linley in this manner, forcing him to swear an oath and then still insisting on checking all of his interspatial rings, was indeed rather excessive.
Most likely, a Paragon who had even a bit of a temper would rather die than suffer this sort of humiliation.
“Teresia!” The face of the Bloodridge Sovereign sank as he watched this happen. He said angrily, “Linley has already sworn an oath by the Overgods. In addition, the information you received came on a piece of ordinary paper, rather than through an Overgod decree. You intend to search through all five of his interspatial rings? Once word of this spreads, hmph!”
The Sovereign of Wind, Teresia, began to worry. “Although Linley said that he will let me search, he meant for me to kill him, then search. He’s clearly forcing my hand. It wouldn’t be an issue if I found those nine soul pearls; I would be proven right. But if I kill him and don’t find them…then I would have unjustly accused him! Once this news spreads out, I would truly lose face.”
Teresia was hesitating.
“Sovereign, if you want to investigate, then please do so. I, Linley, have something to attend to. I can’t accompany you any longer.” Linley said solemnly. “As for that ‘Molde’ you mentioned, Sovereigns, not long ago, I killed his most powerful divine clone! He clearly came up with this information so as to unjustly accuse me. If you don’t plan to investigate any further, Sovereign, then I’m going to go find Molde. Hmph, I didn’t ‘pull up grass by the roots’ and exterminate all his clones; I didn’t expect he would repay me by doing this.”
Right. In the palace of the Bloodridge Sovereign, he had learned that Linley had killed Molde’s most powerful divine clone.
The Bloodridge Sovereign sent secretly, “Teresia, you need to pay more attention to your status. You are a Sovereign! Given what has happened, are you still going to insist on investigating?”
“Boson, are you going to stop me? By the looks of things, it seems you are standing on Linley’s side.” Teresia sent back.
“I’m not the one stopping you. Let me tell you something. The Redbud Sovereign, she asked me to take good care of Linley.” The Bloodridge Sovereign sent back. “In addition, based on what I know, Linley was in the Planar Battlefield not long ago and just recently returned. Where would he have acquired an Overgod talisman from? This information is clearly false. Even if an Overgod talisman exists, Linley isn’t necessarily the one carrying it. And let’s say that there really is one, and Linley really is the one carrying it! What, do you want to try and fight over the Overgod talisman?”
“What, why can’t I?” Teresia sent back.
“I know that you are a Paragon in your Laws. But you are simply a Lesser Sovereign. Later, when the storm comes…you should know that in each of the past six missions, it was a Chief Sovereign who succeeded. Over the course of the Overgod mission, Sovereigns fell. You truly want to get involved?”
“In addition, this news is completely false.” The Bloodridge Sovereign sent. “If it was true, how could it be that there was no hint of it before this? How could there be such a coincidence, that we just so happened to be the first to learn of it? How could there be such a coincidence, that the news was sent over by Molde? Who just coincidentally happened to have had one of his clones killed by Linley? And Linley…he’s a Paragon, yet would rather die than hand it over? Do you really think this is possible? Overgod talismans are useless to him!”
Teresia was convinced.
“Linley has a relationship with the Redbud Sovereign?” Teresia sent back.
Teresia was just a Lesser Sovereign, while the Redbud Sovereign was an Intermediate Sovereign. More importantly, the Redbud Sovereign was birthed from the Amethyst Mountains, and was the first Amethyst Godbeast. She was countless times more powerful than Reisgem. Even Teresia was somewhat afraid of the Redbud Sovereign.
“Of course he does. You can ask around. Linley specializes in using her Amethyst Space. The Amethyst Space technique is the supreme technique of the Redbud Sovereign.” The Bloodridge Sovereign sent back.
The Bloodridge Sovereign was right there. There was no way Teresia would be allowed to act against Linley.
In addition, the preponderance of the evidence and facts available indicated that the news was false!
He, Teresia, had the exalted status of Sovereign. He couldn’t embarrass himself like this.
Teresia swept Linley with his slitted gaze, then said calmly, “Since you’ve sworn an oath, I naturally believe you.” He swept his gaze past the interspatial rings belonging to Linley’s five clones, and then, with a flicker, he suddenly disappeared from Linley’s field of vision, his movements far faster than what a Paragon-level expert like Linley was capable of.
“Is this a Sovereign’s speed? No wonder it is said that a Paragon facing a Sovereign isn’t able to fight back at all.” Linley felt secretly astonished.
“Thank you, Sovereign.” Linley bowed towards the Bloodridge Sovereign in front of him, showing his gratitude.
“Heh heh…” The Bloodridge Sovereign let out a calm chuckle. “Linley, your Four Divine Beasts clan resides within my Bloodridge Continent, and Beirut is my Emissary. The relationship between you and Beirut is not a shallow one. And, you are in the right in this matter. Of course I should protect you. If you have some time in the future, you can pay a visit to my Bloodridge Island. Bloodridge Island is in the Cloudlink Mountains.”
“Yes, Sovereign.” Linley said gratefully.
“Are you planning to go kill Molde?” The Bloodridge Sovereign said.
“Yes.” Linley nodded. “This Molde tried to scheme against me. How can I spare him?”
It was Molde who had acquired an Overgod talisman. Molde hadn’t publicly announced that he had acquired it, and now, he was trying to use it to scheme against Linley, and even mentioned some ‘Overgod decree’. He was quite insidious.
“No need. You can head straight back to the Skyrite Mountains.” The Bloodridge Sovereign said.
Linley was stunned.
What? The Sovereign was going to stop him?
Based on Linley’s understanding, Sovereigns generally wouldn’t interfere in battles between Deities. Over the course of countless years, quite a large number of Sovereign’s Emissaries had perished.
“Given his current level of strength, Molde is no longer qualified to be my Emissary.” The Bloodridge Sovereign laughed calmly. “More importantly, it now seems as though Molde lied to me and deceived me. Hmph!” The Bloodridge Sovereign’s face sank. To deceive a Sovereign…that was punishable by death!
Within city of Lucliffe, close to the Skymount Mountains. Within a secluded courtyard.
“Everything has been prepared. All I need to do is wait for news of Linley’s death.” Molde sat there in the garden, quite anxious.
Although he felt 90% certain that Linley would die, he was still worried. Worried that somehow Linley would be lucky enough to survive this tribulation, then come for revenge. Thus, he no longer dared to return to his estate, instead coming to this city. Killing was forbidden within the limits of a city! This was the rule the Sovereigns had established! Even Paragons wouldn’t dare to violate it.
A terrifyingly powerful aura suddenly appeared within the garden, and then an inky black energy began to gather, forming into a silver-haired man.
“Sovereign.” Molde, seeing this, was terrified and instantly knelt down.
This was a body formed from energy into the shape of the Bloodridge Sovereign. The Bloodridge Sovereign’s own body was ten million kilometers away, but through divine sense, he was still able to form an energy clone. The energy clones of a Sovereign were more than enough to kill the vast majority of Highgods. But of course…it wasn’t enough to kill a Highgod Paragon.
This was the reason why that Sovereign of Wind, Teresia, had to make his true body hasten to Linley’s location.
“You dared to deceive me.” The Bloodridge Sovereign gave Molde a calm look.
“Swish!” A dark, red, illusory arrow suddenly shot out from the energy clone’s forehead.
“No, I…” Molde, seeing the situation, wanted to say something, but the dark red arrow shot into his body, and then his eyes grew dim. He fell, never to rise again.
“Clang!” The Sovereign artifact, that armor, fell out.
The energy clone picked up the Sovereign armor, then transformed into a ray of light, leaving the city.
Yes, it was forbidden to fight in cities.
But that was a rule made by the Sovereigns! Sovereigns weren’t prevented from killing people.
A black, sword-shaped metallic lifeform was flying at high speed within Indigo Prefecture.
“Boss, just now, I was worried to death.” Bebe began to laugh. “Right, Boss, what did the Sovereign want you for?”
Linley, hearing this, couldn’t help but think of those nine soul pearls.
There was no Sovereign nearby right now. With a thought, Linley sent his divine sense into the interspatial ring, in search of those nine soul pearls.
Within that lifeless region.
A faint green aura surrounded the crown, which was adorned with nine soul pearls.
“This…this…the nine soul pearls…that tattered crown…?” Linley was completely stupefied.