Book 20, The Crown’s Riddle – Chapter 24, Status
Ever since that trip to the Blacksand Castle, where Linley saw the fake ‘red caltrop diamond’ and ‘pentametal crown’, he had an additional goal in his mind. While adventuring through the Infernal Realm, every few years, Linley would make a trip to the Fiend Castle while in a city and investigate the intelligence reports regarding the Overgod talismans.
Each investigation cost him ten million inkstones.
This price seemed to be high, but generally speaking, only true experts would be interested in this sort of report, as well as a few powerful Highgod merchants. Ten million inkstones, to such powerful experts and such wealthy merchants, wasn’t a very high price.
Jadefloat Continent. Coldcalm Prefecture. Goodhope City.
Linley’s group was wandering the streets of Goodhope city. Linley laughed as he glanced at Bebe. “Bebe, Goodhope City is Nisse’s old home. Supposedly, her elder brother, Salomon, resides here within Goodhope City, and is in charge of managing the entire city’s administrative matters. Now that Nisse has taken Yina to go see Salomon, why don’t you go as well?”
“Hmph. Salomon? I can’t be bothered to go visit him.” Bebe said disdainfully.
“Are you still holding a grudge over what happened that year at the volcano range?” Delia laughed with a wry twist to her lips.
Salomon’s behavior back then did, indeed, cause Linley, Delia, and Bebe to cease considering Salomon a friend. Not long after Bebe and Nisse had wed, however, Bebe had accompanied her to meet Salomon.
“Last time I went to see Salomon, it was because I was worried that Nisse would feel unhappy. Unless it is necessary, I can’t be bothered to go see him. I look down on his sort of person.” Bebe said.
“That Salomon is indeed unworthy of befriending.” Yale spoke as well. Yale and Reynolds both knew of some things that had happened in the past.
“Let’s go. The Fiend Castle is up ahead.” Reynolds chuckled.
Everyone knew that upon entering a city, Linley would generally insist on going to the Fiend Castle.
The Fiend Castle was fairly empty, and even in the main hall on the first floor, there were few people present. Linley, in quite a familiar manner, headed straight to the stairway towards the third floor.
“Help me make an investigation into any news regarding the Overgod talismans.” Linley walked to a nearby counter on the third floor, then handed over his Fiend emblem. In the Fiend Castle, whether one wished to accept a mission or to engage in an investigation, one had to first be a Fiend. An ordinary person, even a rich one, wouldn’t be qualified.
“News regarding the Overgod talismans?” The skinny elder with short black hair who stood behind the counter raised his head, glancing sideways at Linley, then snickered, “One Star Fiend. ‘Linley’. You are a merchant?”
The short-haired elder had investigated and realized that Linley was a ‘One Star Fiend’. Naturally, he came to this conclusion.
“No need to concern yourself.” Linley laughed calmly.
“Kid, making a fake Overgod talisman to swindle others won’t be that easy.” The short-haired elder snickered, then pulled out a scroll. “This is the most up-to-date collection of information on the Overgod talismans in the entire Infernal Realm. The price to read it once is ten million inkstones.”
Linley casually tossed out ten fist-sized azurites.
These large azurites were equivalent to a million inkstones.
“When reading through this scroll, if you desire a scryer recording which pertains to something in the scroll, just tell me.” The short-haired elder was quite lazy; he didn’t even bring out the scryer recordings.
Linley didn’t mind, instead flipping through the scroll.
The scroll was divided into sections pertaining to the ‘pentametal crown’, the ‘nine soul pearls’, the ‘red caltrop diamond’, and the ‘Overgod decree’. They were arranged by date. Linley flipped directly to the section on the ‘red caltrop diamond’ and began to read, starting from the latter sections. After all, he had read much of the earlier parts previously.
“While holding the red caltrop diamond, this person’s wounds instantly healed? And there’s a scryer recording?”
“When holding the red caltrop diamond, this person was able to sense the Edicts of Fate and was able to immediately become a Highgod? There’s a scryer recording proving this as well?”
Linley, seeing these reports, couldn’t help but shake his head and laugh.
There were many fake stories.
For example, while holding a fake red caltrop diamond, one might swallow a pill concocted by an expert of the Edicts of Life, then allow others to attack one’s self. At the same time one was being injured, the effects of the pill would activate, and one’s wounds would naturally heal. From the scryer recording, however, it would appear as though it was being done by the fake red caltrop diamond.
“This one is interesting. While holding the red caltrop diamond, one would have an indestructible body. Only, there is no scryer recording.”
Linlgy glanced at the last one, then laughed. “This report is really ridiculous. While holding the red caltrop diamond, not only does one have an indestructible body, but anyone who touches him will die?” As Linley saw it, the Crown of Life should be a healing, curative item. After all, that was the type of energy held within the pentametal crown as well.
The nine soul pearls were also designed to save others. Linley thus came to the subconscious conclusion that the same was true for the red caltrop diamond.
But he had forgotten…
Experts of the Edicts of Life were able to save others, but also able to harm others. Since the Crown of Life was able to save others, of course it was able to harm others as well.
“Oh, and this doesn’t even have a scryer recording. This comes from the Muja Continent? A God who wielded this red caltrop diamond was able to kill a group of Gods and a Highgod? There isn’t even a scryer recording. Anyone can make this sort of story up, and there is no way to verify it. Not credible.” Linley’s gaze swept past it, then he continued to read the reports below.
Only if Linley felt a report to be credible would he bother to see the scryer recordings.
“Hey, are you done yet?” The short-haired elder said with a frown.
“Why are you rushing us?” Yale, not too far away from Linley, couldn’t help but snap back as he stared at the short-haired elder.
“I’m just asking you all to hurry up.” The short-haired elder glanced sideways at Yale. “Also, this is the Fiend Castle. Don’t make a fuss here.” The short-haired elder was a Highgod as well. Given that it was forbidden to fight within the castle, generally speaking, this elder didn’t treat customers with a great deal of courtesy.
Given that Linley was a One Star Fiend, he would be all the more looked down upon.
“Don’t be in a rush. Wait a while.” Linley glanced calmly at the short-haired elder, then continued to leaf through the intelligence reports.
Right at this moment, footsteps rang from upstairs, making their way down below.
“Oh, quite a few people have come to buy intelligence reports today.” A gentle voice rang out from far away. Linley turned his head to glance at the speaker, and in total there were three figures walking over. The leader was a gold-haired, blue-eyed middle-aged man, who had two green-robed women following behind him.
The short-haired elder behind the counter, upon seeing this person, was badly startled and hurriedly bowed. “Governor!”
“Sit.” The gold-haired, blue-eyed man laughed calmly. “Right. Give me a report and scryer recordings regarding the various challenges to the Lord Prefects the Infernal Realm has recently seen.” In the Infernal Realm, for Seven Star Fiends to challenge Lord Prefects was a commonplace event.
“Yes, Governor.” The short-haired elder was very meek.
The gold-haired, blue-eyed man glanced at Bebe, then frowned, somewhat puzzled. Then he walked to the counter and accepted the scroll that the short-haired elder handed him, along with the many scryer recording crystal balls that were now on the counter.
At this moment, Linley and the governor were reading shoulder-to-shoulder.
The gold-haired, blue-eyed man glanced at the nearby Linley out of the corner of his eyes. His face suddenly changed, and he cried out in surprise, “Are you Lord Linley?”
“Hrm?” Linley turned to glance at him. “Who are you?” Linley didn’t recognize this person at all.
“Governor…” The short-haired, skinny elder, upon seeing the governor act so respectfully towards Linley, couldn’t help but say hurriedly, “His name is Linley, but he is only a One Star Fiend.”
“Shut your mouth.” The gold-haired middle-aged man gave an icy glance to the short-haired elder.
“One Star Fiend?” A look of surprise flashed through the gold-haired man’s eyes, then he looked at the Fiend emblem in the short-haired elder’s hands. “Seiya [Sha’ya], hurry up and go exchange that Fiend emblem for a Seven Star Fiend emblem!”
The short-haired elder was shocked.
A One Star Fiend…had just become a Seven Star Fiend?
Based on the rules of the Fiend Castle, one could only be promoted through taking on missions. How could it be changed by a whim?
“Governor…” The green-robed woman behind him, ‘Seiya’, couldn’t help but feel puzzled. The governor of a city’s Fiend Castle was exceedingly strong, true, and an individual at the Seven Star Fiend Level. But that didn’t mean he was qualified to directly hand out Seven Star Fiend emblems.
“Don’t worry. If even the Paragon-level expert, ‘Lord Linley’, isn’t qualified to be a Seven Star Fiend, who in the Infernal Realm would be?” The gold-haired man laughed.
“Oh, you recognize me?” Linley gave him a surprised glance.
The gold-haired man smiled. “Information regarding supreme experts such as Paragons are under the personal control of the governors of the Fiend Castles. I even have detailed information regarding the events of the Planar Wars, and I even have scryer recordings of the several battles you engaged in, Lord Linley, before you became a Paragon. More importantly, I myself participated in that Planar War, and I saw you, Lord Linley.”
Linley was startled.
“But of course, a Seven Star Fiend like myself was nothing more than a captain in the armies. Lord Linley, when you and Lord Magnus were engaging in that great battle, we were all watching. It is only normal for me to recognize you but for you not to recognize me, Lord Linley.” The governor laughed.
In the Planar Battlefield, he was nothing more than a simple soldier.
“Just now, when I first saw Lord Bebe, I was startled and felt he looked familiar, but I didn’t react in time. I didn’t even dare imagine that you, Lord Linley, would be here. But upon seeing you in person, Lord Linley, I came to my senses.” The governor laughed while speaking.
Linley couldn’t help but chuckle as well.
Intelligence reports were divided into levels. Although Overgod missions sounded important, and should be ranked as top-grade intelligence reports, in reality, there were simply too many fake reports, and so they would naturally be ranked lowly and be managed by ordinary Highgods.
Information regarding Paragons or Sovereigns, or regarding some ancient secrets, however, weren’t purchasable with money alone.
“Pa, Paragon?” The short-haired elder stared nervously at Linley.
A One Star Fiend? Was actually one of the legendary, invincible Paragons?
Linley and the governor chatted for a while, then Linley took his Fiend emblem and left. By now, however, he had a new Seven Star Fiend emblem.
“What a pity. There is too much fake information. A few sounded plausible, but they didn’t even have scryer recordings.” Linley left regretfully.
After Brodie had acquired the red caltrop diamond, given how completely destitute he was, he naturally had taken the interspatial rings of the bandits and their divine sparks as he left. After countless trials, Brodie discovered that as his spiritual energy grew more powerful, the amount of that unique energy he could summon from the red caltrop diamond increased as well.
Thus, Brodie decided to fuse with a divine spark.
He had two divine clones. In order to gain revenge, he was willing to allow one of them to fuse with a divine spark! Rising from God to Highgod, even through fusing with divine sparks, meant that the soul would skyrocket in power.
The Muja Continent. An ordinary tribe. The Lotte tribe!
“Allott, come out!” This bellow echoed throughout the air above the Lotte tribe.
The warriors of the Lotte tribe stared in surprise and terror at the fiendish, godlike figure who stood there in the air. That formerly weak ‘Brodie’ had become so powerful and terrifying upon his return! The corpses currently littering the ground were the results of the earlier battle against him! No one was able to touch Brodie and survive!
“Brodie, you became a Highgod so quickly? I imagine you fused with a divine spark. You didn’t run far away, but instead dared to return? You really are looking for death.”
A figure suddenly floated up into the air above the castle. Dressed completely in black armor, this man’s entire body, including face, was covered. Only a pair of golden yellow eyes could be seen. This was the number one expert of the Lotte tribe, the leader of the tribe…Allott!
“Barriman [Ba’li’man], let’s continue our discussions on cooperating later. I’ll go deal with this punk first.” Allott lowered his head and smiled towards an old man with curly brown hair.
“Chief Allott, feel free to go take care of your internal matters. I’m in no rush.” Old man Barriman laughed calmly.
Allott was very confident, because he was a Six Star Fiend level expert. As he saw it, although Brodie was able to kill many warriors, the reason was primarily because he was a Highgod, and also because…he had probably come up with some sort of unusual attack. But Allott didn’t care about that, because as he saw it, the difference in power between them was too great. There were no tricks Brodie could use.
In battle, one had to rely on true ability. If he, a Six Star Fiend, was unable to kill a Highgod who had just fused with a divine spark, that would be quite bizarre.
“My wife?” Brodie growled.
“Your wife?” Allott laughed. “Your wife is pretty obstinate. She’d rather die than submit. Still, I’m in no rush…I’ll slowly train her. And now…I’ll kill you first.” Allott waved his hand, and a two meter long blood-red giant sickle appeared.
The Six Star Fiend, Allott. The Highgod who had become one through usage of a divine spark, Brodie. They stared at each other in midair.
“I should be able to see Allott’s power in this battle.” The old man with the curly brown hair looked at the two men above the castle, smiling while using the ‘scryer technique’ to record this battle.
Actually, not just him; many of the tribal experts who trained in the Laws of Water were all recording this battle.
“Feel honored to die beneath my supreme technique.” Allott let out a calm laugh, and then his body flashed out in a red arc as that giant red sickle slashed down…
A giant spatial rift appeared. For a Six Star Fiend to be able to tear a hole in space represented that the strength of his attack power was fairly high amongst Six Star Fiends.
“Hmph.” Brodie just used his black dagger to block it.
The black dagger was actually shattered.
“Too weak.” Allott laughed disdainfully as the red sickle in his hands chopped towards Brodie’s skull.
As the red sickle chopped into Brodie’s skull, Allott suddenly felt his blow become powerless, because the damaged head was actually healing at a rate so rapid that the red sickle wasn’t able to chop any further.
“What, what is going on?” Allott was shocked.
“Die.” Brodie discarded the dagger in his hand, then stretched his hand out, snatching at Allott’s sickle-wielding right hand.
As their hands touched…
“Eh?” Allott felt a terrifying powerful energy ravenously devour at his soul. The devouring power was simply too strong.
“Im…impossible?” Allott frantically tried to resist. “Die.” Allott wildly chopped at Brodie with his sickle, but each blade was only able to leave a scar on Brodie’s body and go no further in. In the blink of an eye, though, even the scar would disappear. It could be said that Brodie…
Had an indestructible body!
“Impossible? Completely impossible?” Allott had never heard of something like this before.
“You are actually able to endure.” Brodie’s face changed. “This is because my soul is too weak, so the amount of energy I am able to control is too low…”
“Rumble…” The red caltrop diamond emitted a trembling sound, and a bizarre, icy cold green light surged forth, filling Allott’s body. As this surge of icy energy joined as well, Allott was no longer able to resist, and his soul was instantly devoured.
The many tribal warriors below were all stunned.
They just saw a green light flash, and then, Allott died!
The face of the curly brown-haired elder, ‘Barriman’ changed. He was an expert on par with Allott, and his divine sense discovered…that the green light was emanating from a red caltrop diamond. “A red caltrop diamond? Can it be…?” Barriman suddenly thought of something he had once heard of. He couldn’t help but feel shocked.
“Swoosh.” Barriman didn’t stay in the tribe any further, immediately, stealthily fleeing.
“Vidonica!” Brodie grew agitated as he excitedly flew towards the castle.