Book 20, The Crown’s Riddle – Chapter 4, The Clan’s Changes
The Bloodridge Continent. Indigo Prefecture. The Skyrite Mountains.
The Patriarch of the Azure Dragon clan, Gislason, was seated in his estate’s living room. Gislason was currently accompanying a skinny bald elder. They were chatting and laughing.
“Gislason, why be modest? Haha, back when we were in the Chaotic Sea, when you, me, and those several other fellows took on that Fiend mission to go kill that Valentine [Wa’lun’ding]. Me and the others, we were just there to serve as props. It was you, Gislason, who released your might and unleashed that innate divine ability of your Azure Dragon clan, as well as that supremely powerful material attack to slay Valentine in one blow. That memory has always stayed with me.” The bald elder said with a laugh.
“Haha, Bagleaf [Bai’ge’lei’fu], that was so many years ago.” Gislason said modestly, but his face was still covered with a smile.
“Yes, it was long ago. Still, you were so incredible all those years ago; I imagine that by now, Gislason, your strength is so great that I am no match for it.” The bald elder’s words clearly contained flattery within them.
However, flattery depended on the speaker.
If an ordinary Highgod were to say such things, Gislason would be annoyed just listening to it. But the current speaker was a supreme expert whose power was no less than Gislason’s, and one of Gislason’s older friends. Flattery from a person like this naturally made Gislason feel quite happy.
“Haha, don’t say that.” Gislason grinned widely.
The bald elder, Bagleaf, said with a sigh, “This time, I’ve come to visit you, old friend, partially because I want to visit that Paragon your Azure Dragon clan produced. It seems my luck is quite poor.”
Gislason, hearing this, immediately laughed. “Bagleaf, the Planar Wars concluded just a century ago. Linley probably hasn’t returned from the Netherworld yet. Don’t worry. After Linley returns, when you come visit, I will definitely introduce you to Linley. Linley…although he is a true genius of our Azure Dragon clan, he is quite a decent fellow and likes to make friends.” As he spoke, Gislason let out a sigh of approval.
The bald elder stood up, then laughed. “Fine, then I’ll wait for next time. I’ve disturbed you for so long…I should return as well. In the future, when I have time, I’ll definitely seek you out and we can reminisce together.”
“You are always welcome.” Gislason stood up as well, then escorted the bald elder away.
“No need to escort me away.” The bald elder smiled and nodded. Gislason stood there at the door to the hall, watching as the bald elder flew away.
Moments later, someone entered from outside. It was Elder Garvey.
“Patriarch, Commander Bagleaf left?” Garvey laughed as he walked in.
“Right.” Gislason smiled back.
Garvey couldn’t help but laugh. “Patriarch, this seems to be the ninth supreme expert who has come to visit in the past few decades.”
Soon after the Planar Wars concluded, commander-level experts began to come to the Four Divine Beasts clan to pay their respects. The person these experts truly wished to see was Linley. Even if they weren’t able to meet Linley, however, they still worked to improve their relationships with the four clan leaders of the Four Divine Beasts clan. The current Four Divine Beasts clan…now had a different status, in the eyes of these commanders.
“Hmph.” Gislason snickered. “Nine of them! These commanders all saw that our Four Divine Beasts clan produced a Paragon, and so all of them came to express their friendliness towards us. But when our Four Divine Beasts clan was in such dire straits and forced to flee and hide by the eight great clans, aside from Mr. Beirut, none of them came to help us!”
“That Bagleaf, just now.” Gislason snorted. “In the past, we had a good relationship, when our ancestor was alive. He would often come to visit. But after our clan fell, and when our Four Divine Beasts clan was forced by those eight great clans to the point of annihilation…I didn’t see Bagleaf appear. But now, he wants to talk about our past friendship?”
There were few who would come to send coal in the snow, but many who would add flowers to a wreath.
Now that the Four Divine Beasts clan had a Paragon, its status naturally was different.
Paragons represented true supremacy amongst Deities! For example, the eight great clans that had been attacking the Four Divine Beasts clan; although they were powerful, a Highgod Paragon was more than enough to slaughter all of the experts within their clan.
“This is understandable.” Garvey laughed. “Only…I still find it unbelievable that Linley has become a Paragon.”
Hearing this, Gislason’s eyes lit up as well, and he laughed loudly. “You aren’t the only one. I find it inconceivable as well! Almost no one in our Four Divine Beasts clan dares to believe this news. When Linley left the clan, he was nothing more than a fairly powerful Seven Star Fiend, close to commander-level. But who would have imagined that a thousand years later, he would become a Paragon? If it hadn’t been for the fact that so many people came and said the same thing, and that they were all supreme experts who couldn’t possibly be lying, even I probably wouldn’t believe it.”
“A Paragon.” Garvey let out a sigh of amazement.
Ever since the news that Linley was a Paragon had spread, the various commander-level experts began to discuss this amongst themselves, and so quite a few had come to pay their respects to the Four Divine Beasts clan.
This naturally caused the members of the Four Divine Beasts clan to feel as though the status of their clan was rising!
They had given birth to a Paragon! The status of the Four Divine Beasts clan was now far greater than before. Aside from Sovereigns, nobody would dare to offend the Four Divine Beasts clan. As for Sovereigns…how could they possibly lower themselves to go deal against a clan?
“Garvey.” Gislason suddenly said.
“Patriarch?” Garvey looked towards him, puzzled.
Gislason said hurriedly, “Have the communications teams been assigned to the borders of the mountains?”
“They have all been assigned.” Garvey laughed. “Patriarch, don’t worry. If Linley returns from the Netherworld, as long as he reaches the borders of these mountains, the news will quickly be communicated to you and the other three clan leaders. All of the arrangements for Linley’s return have been made as well, including the construction of his mansion.”
“Very good.” Gislason laughed and nodded. “Nothing can go amiss! Linley came from the Yulan Plane, and so he never had an extremely strong sense of belonging here in the clan. After those things happened with Forhan and his son…although Linley still treats the clan quite well because of Baruch’s group, we still need to make up for the past!”
“I understand.” Garvey nodded.
As far as Gislason and the Grand Elder were concerned, the current Paragon-level Linley was even more important to them than Beirut!
Beirut was powerful, but he was still an outsider. If the clan were to face a crisis, Beirut might not necessarily intervene.
But Linley was one of their own!
Although in the past, there were some misunderstandings, in the end, he was still a member of the Azure Dragon clan. What needed to be done now…was to remove those misunderstandings in Linley’s heart and let Linley feel a true sense of belonging, here within the Four Divine Beasts clan.
Indigo Prefecture. An enormous dragon-shaped metallic lifeform was flying at high speed in the air above the mountains and forests.
Within the metallic lifeform was a rowdy scene of joy.
A group of youths surrounded Hogg, constantly discussing various matters. Hogg looked at his grandchildren, his face wreathed in smiles.
“Big Bro, look at how happily Father has been laughing.” Wharton and Linley were at the edges of the central room of this metallic lifeform. The two brothers were chatting amongst each other.
Linley glanced at his father, who was smiling calmly while accompanying his descendants, then nodded. “In the past, when we were young, our Baruch clan had already sunk to a very low point. In Father’s entire life, aside from Mother and the two of us, the only thing he cared about was the clan! Father cared deeply about the ability of the clan to thrive. Now that more generations have appeared in the clan…of course Father is happy.”
Right at this moment, three people walked over.
Yale, George, and Reynolds walked over. Reynolds had hurried over from the Yulan continent as well.
“Boss Yale, Second Bro, Fourth Bro. Come, sit over here.” Linley laughed as he pointed. Yale and the other two all sat down. Reynolds chortled, glancing outside the window and sighing in praise. “The Infernal Realm, one of the Higher Realms. This is my first time here. Indeed…the density of the elemental aura here is very great. Only, it is filled with constant slaughter.”
From within the metallic lifeform, they were able to see the constant battles going on below.
“That’s what the Infernal Realm is like.” Linley said with a calm laugh.
“It is the same in the Undead Realm. Experts live, experts die. Fourth Bro, I’m impressive, aren’t I? I survived in the Undead Realm for so many years.” Yale raised a smug eyebrow.
Seeing the look on Yale’s face, Reynolds, George, and Linley all felt very happy. This was the real Yale. After killing Odin, Yale no longer felt as heartsick as he previously had.
In the entire central room, there were more than a hundred people scattered about, idly chatting.
Seeing this scene, Linley couldn’t help but smile slightly.
Linley enjoyed this happy, content feeling.
“This world…in many cases, it is power which speaks loudest!” Linley looked at the warm scene, and he spoke softly to himself. “I worked hard to train. Only because my power reached a certain level is my father, my friends, and family able to reunite once more. I’m able to bring the entire clan over from the material plane!”
By now, Linley finally had the feeling…
That the bitter efforts he had put into his training over these years had been rewarded.
After flying for a period of time.
“We are about to arrive at the Four Divine Beasts clan.” Bebe was within the main room inside the metallic lifeform, and he spoke out in a clear, laughing voice. “Everyone, make your preparations. Right, Uncle.” Bebe looked at Hogg. “The ancestors of your Baruch clan are there, Uncle. Baruch, Ryan, the others…”
“The ancestors of the Baruch clan…” Hogg stood up, rather excited. He walked to the sides of the windows, staring through the translucent metal ‘windows’ to the outside.
He could already vaguely make out the Skyrite Mountains.
“The ancestors of the clan!”
Taylor, Sasha, and the other members of the clan all began to chatter about this. Ever since they were young, they were always, repeatedly reminded that they were members of the ‘Baruch clan’. They were filled with great veneration towards the legendary figures of the clan, but didn’t actually feel much towards the Four Divine Beasts clan.
“It’s right up ahead.” Linley said with a calm laugh.
The metallic lifeform instantly vanished, while Linley and more than a hundred people hovered there in midair, flying towards the Azure Dragon clan’s location within the Skyrite Mountains.
“What a long carving. I can’t even see the end of it.” The sturdy Arnold sighed in praise.
Linley laughed. “That’s not a carving. That’s Dragon Avenue! It passes through almost a fourth of the Skyrite Mountains and is more than ten thousand kilometers long. It is the primary avenue which the soldiers of the clan guard.”
Linley’s group of more than a hundred flew over. The soldiers below naturally saw it, and the communications personnel, prepared long ago for this eventuality, were overjoyed. “Elder Linley is returning!” These communications personnel had divine clones stationed elsewhere, and many of them instantly relied on their divine clones to provide this news to various locations within the Four Divine Beasts clan.
“Patriarch, Elder Linley has returned.”
“Oh, Linley returned?” Gislason instantly flew out.
Not just Gislason; the other three clan leaders, along with many other Elders, who had received this news hurried over as well.
Linley and his group of more than a hundred flew over, and as they did, the warriors of the clan all saluted.
“Elder Linley.” The warriors were very respectful.
Linley smiled and nodded, then led his group towards the Dragon Avenue of the Skyrite Mountains. At the same time, he introduced the place to Wharton and the others. “The rules of the clan are fairly strict. You have just arrived. In a bit, I’ll acquire identity badges for you all. Eh?” Linley suddenly frowned, staring into the distant.
“What’s going on?” Bebe glanced at him.
Delia, Nisse, Yale, and the others all looked into the distance. From afar, a large, impressive group of people was flying, with the leader being Gislason, the Black Tortoise Patriarch, and the other two. Behind them was the Grand Elder and other figures.
“Why are all the high level, important members of the clan coming?” Linley was startled. “Even the Vermillion Bird Matriarch is coming. If they flew over from their residences, it should take quite a while. How were they so fast?”
The reaction time of the clan was simply too fast.
As soon as he had arrived, and just as he had reached Dragon Avenue, this large group had arrived as well. Even when Beirut came, only the clan leaders and the Grand Elder would go welcome him.
“Haha, Linley!” Gislason laughed loudly as he flew over.
“Patriarch.” Although Linley was somewhat confused, he still went to greet him.
Linley swept the group with his gaze. The Black Tortoise Patriarch, Vermillion Bird Matriarch, and others, including even the Grand Elder who held a grudge for him…their faces were all smiles. They seemed so warm and friendly.
“Although we are in Indigo Prefecture, we’ve heard long ago of your exploits in the Planar Battlefield. Haha…our Four Divine Beasts clan has produced a Paragon. This is worth us organizing a banquet, to celebrate this joyous event.” Gislason seemed quite pleased and excited. “The banquet is already prepared. We’ve been waiting for you. Haha, Bebe…and oh, these must be Linley’s friends. Come, all of you you! Haha.”