Book 8, The Ten Thousand Kilometer Journey – Chapter 13, Persuasion
“Move, now!” That old servant, Lambert, reacted quickly as well, immediately urging them to leave.
Totally baffled and confused, Jenne and Keane were tugged by Lambert and Linley away from this area. After all, given that people had just been killed on the streets, the city guard would soon arrive.
Linley wasn’t afraid of the guards, but dealing with guards while also escorting Jenne was an extremely annoying task.
Aside from Linley and his group, many others around them were running away and fleeing wildly as well.
It was nightfall, and it should have been the most bustling time for this major road in Blackrock City, but in the blink of an eye, this part of the road became totally deserted. Nobody was within a hundred meters of those two corpses.
“Captain, what should we do?”
Seated next to a window within a private room in a hotel, two men were staring down at the scene below. One of them had long red hair, with a face that looked as though it had been carved with a knife. But right now, he had a sinister look on his face as he listened to the nearby subordinate query him.
“I didn’t expect these two country bumpkin siblings to have such a powerful helper.” The red-haired man said coldly.
“Captain, that man even has a black panther. Panthers are all high-class magical beasts. For the likes of us to deal with such a powerful combatant…will be difficult.” A burly, broad-chested man beside the captain said in a quiet voice.
The red-haired man was frustrated as well.
Per the orders of the senior madame, they came to kill these two bumpkin siblings. Per their intelligence, only the old servant with these two bumpkins posed any threat. But he was only a warrior of the sixth rank. In the O’Brien Empire, which was filled with experts, a combatant of the sixth rank was nothing.
Perhaps in some villages, a warrior of the sixth rank was powerful. But the leader of this squad which had been sent out per the senior madame’s orders was himself a warrior of the seventh rank.
“A black panther…why haven’t I ever seen this type of panther before?” The red-haired man was frowning. As an expert of the seventh level, he knew quite a bit about magical beasts.
Panther-type magical beasts included the Golden Tattooed Panther, the Blackstripe Panther, and others.
But this black panther with wavy black stripes was something he had never seen.
“That brown-haired man is clearly the master of this black panther. He is, at the very least, a combatant of the eighth rank.” The red-haired man thought back to the scene of Linley suddenly snatching the arrows out of the air, and as he did, he shivered.
Arrows moved at an extremely high speed.
To be able to react and immediately move in front of Jenne and Keane, and then snatch the two arrows out of the air was something even most warriors of the eighth rank couldn’t do.
“Captain?” The burly man next to him asked quietly.
The red-haired man turned to look at him. In a cold voice, he said, “Hmph. That brown-haired man is extremely powerful. For this mission, we can’t fight them head on. Arrange for some people to keep watch on them secretly. I refuse to believe that expert will neither eat nor sleep. He can’t always be together with those two siblings.”
“As soon as that brown-haired man and those two are separated, immediately have our men kill the two.” The red-haired man issued his order.
“Yes, Captain!” The burly man nodded and immediately left the room.
The red-haired man turned his head back, once more staring below through the window. Those two corpses still lay on the street with the arrows through their throats. The mounted city guards were just now rushing over.
On the second floor of an ordinary hotel in Blackstone City, Linley, Jenne, Keane, and Lambert were seated in a private room. Even Bebe had a seat of his own. As for Haeru, he was lying down on the ground, his eyes contentedly half-shut.
Right now, Jenne and Keane’s faces were both still rather pale.
“Just…just now, I was so scared.” Keane’s eyes were still filled with terror.
Ever since he was young, Keane had lived in a countryside village. The most violent struggles he had ever seen were just some of the young men getting into serious fights with each other. How could he ever have experienced something like what he just saw?
Although on the road here, they had suffered a bandit attack, the bandits were fighting against the mercenaries, and hadn’t harmed them yet. But this time, the opponents had come for his life and his sister’s life.
Jenne’s eyes were filled with a hint of terror as well.
“Jenne, Keane, don’t be afraid.” Linley laughed as he consoled them.
To Linley, a small event like this couldn’t even impact his mood at all. In the Mountain Range of Magical Beasts, he was constantly on guard for magical beasts laying in ambush for him.
And thus, within the Mountain Range of Magical Beasts, Linley learned how to keep his heart as tranquil as water, come what may. How could a small event like this disturb him?
“Young master, young miss.” Lambert consoled as well. “We’re fine now. Don’t worry. Fortunately, we had Lord Ley with us today. Otherwise, things would have been terrible. Young master, young miss, you absolutely must offer your thanks to Lord Ley.”
Only now did Jenne and Keane recover from their panic.
“Big brother Ley, we really owe you our thanks this time.” Keane said gratefully, and his eyes were glowing. “Big brother Ley, just now, you waved your hand and snatched the two arrows out of the air, and then with another wave…those two guys were dead.” Keane was indeed a child. In his excitement, he had totally forgotten his fear.
Jenne looked gratefully at Linley as well. “Thank you, big brother Ley.”
Towards Linley, Jenne felt gratitude from the bottom of her heart.
That first time she had seen Linley, Jenne had felt that he was a mysterious, powerful expert, an amazing person who commanded a mighty magical beast as well.
In particular, when Linley had agreed to escort and protect them, he had only taken a single gold coin. Although Linley said that he would collect the other 9999 when Keane became the city governor, Jenne, being an eighteen year old adult, knew when someone was acting out of kindness.
“No need for thanks. I agreed to protect you. This is nothing more than what I’m supposed to do.” Linley frowned. “What’s going on though? As soon as you entered Blackrock City, people tried to assassinate you? Who exactly have you offended?”
Keane was instantly baffled.
Jenne was confused as well. “I…I haven’t offended anyone.”
“Then who has enmity with you two?” Linley continued to ask.
Jenne was quiet for a moment, then said, “Right, if we talk about enmity, perhaps the only one with enmity towards us is my aunt.” Right at this moment, the old servant, Lambert, immediately interrupted their conversation. Laughing towards Linley, he said, “We don’t have any enemies. Their aunt just has some disagreements with them, that’s all. Lord Ley, no need to worry about these annoying things. Let’s all eat.”
Linley glanced at Lambert, then laughed and nodded. “Fine, let’s all eat.”
In truth, ever since Keane had told Linley about himself and his sister, Linley had a rough idea as to what was going on. This assassination attempt showed that clearly, it was because the main wife of the departed city governor didn’t wish for Jenne and Keane to assume the position of city governor.
But Linley didn’t say these things openly.
That very night, the two siblings, Lambert, and Linley each retired to their own rooms. They had reserved a private, stand-alone villa.
Linley’s room was totally dark. Linley sat cross-legged on his bed, his heart totally calm as he quietly attuned with the throbbing pulse of the world and the flows of the wind.
Occasionally, when Linley had some insights, he would rise to his feet and casually swing his heavy sword.
“Squeak.” Dressed in her sleeping clothes and her long hair unbound, Jenne walked towards the room of her old servant, Lambert. “Grandpa Lambert, are you sleeping yet?”
The door opened very quickly.
“Miss, quick, come in.” Lambert immediately opened the door for Jenne, then closed it after Jenne entered his room.
“Miss, what is it?” Lambert asked.
Jenne stared at Lambert. “Grandpa Lambert, tell me. Why does someone want to kill me and my younger brother? Is it my aunt?”
“Why would you think such a thing?” Lambert’s heart trembled.
Jenne said stubbornly, “Grandpa Lambert, don’t treat me like a little kid. The day my younger brother and I left the village, I thought we would be making a joyful return as we went to assume the position of city governor. But now, I understand. Aunt and her people won’t allow us to take the position over. The people who tried to kill us just now definitely were acting on her behalf. I can’t think of anyone else.”
Lambert looked at Jenne and let out a long sigh.
“Fine, miss. I admit, your suspicions are correct.” Lambert said resignedly.
“So it really is…” Jenne murmured.
Jenne look at Lambert. “Grandpa Lambert, why didn’t you tell me and my younger brother from the start?”
“Sigh.” Lambert shook his head. “What would be the point? Even on her death’s bed, your mother couldn’t let go of this grievance. She insisted on having you and your little brother go take over the governor’s position. I know that given your temperament, you wouldn’t go against your mother’s dying wish.”
“Right. I’ll carry it out, even if it costs me my life.” Jenne nodded stubbornly.
“Since this is the case, it was better to let the two of you travel happily. In addition, I was trying to come up with ways to protect you two as well. If we hadn’t encountered Lord Ley, I would’ve come up with other ideas here in Blackrock City, so as to allow you two to safely reach Cerre City.” Lambert said honestly.
Living in the village, Jenne and Keane’s lives weren’t happy at all.
The nobles of the village all lusted after Jenne’s beauty, while Keane was often bullied as well. Even if Jenne and Keane had known how dangerous this journey would be, they still would’ve made this trip.
After all, once Keane assumed the governorship, his destiny would be totally transformed.
“Grandpa Lambert, will this trip be very dangerous?” Jenne had a very complex look on her face.
Lambert let out a deep sigh. “Originally, I didn’t think it would be too dangerous, but now, it seems as though that aunt of yours has really made up her mind to be vicious. She’s arranged for assassins as far away as Blackrock City. Most likely, the road to Cerre City will be very dangerous after all.”
“Then, Grandpa Lambert, why didn’t you explain clearly to big brother Ley?” Jenne stared at Lambert.
“We can’t.” Lambert shook his head. “After your father died, your aunt virtually took total control over Cerre City. She has quite a few experts under her control. If you openly ask your big brother Ley to fight against the power controlling a prefectural city, I’m afraid that he won’t do so for the sake of you and your brother. After all, it is extremely dangerous.”
The real power controlling a prefectural city possessed an astonishing amount of power.
Such a power should have several combatants of the eighth rank. Of course, combatants of the ninth rank weren’t very likely. Even one would be astonishing. After all, combatants of the ninth rank usually served the managing clan of an entire Administrative Province, or the Emperor himself. To serve a governor of a prefectural city…unlikely.
However, assassins didn’t have to rely solely on brute force. Poison, traps…all of these were possible.
“Very dangerous?” Jenne paused for a moment. “Grandpa Lambert, get some rest.” As she spoke, Jenne left Lambert’s room.
But after leaving Lambert’s room, Jenne didn’t immediately go back to her own. Rather…she headed for Linley’s.
“Knock, knock, knock.” Three raps on the door.
“Come in.” Linley’s voice rang out, while a lantern was lit inside the room.
Jenne pushed the door open and entered.
Linley left his bed and took a seat on his chair. Smiling, he said, “Miss Jenne, it’s very late. Is there something you need?”
“Big brother Ley.” Jenne sat down. Taking a deep breath, she mustered up all her courage and said to Linley, “Big brother Ley, I have to tell you something.”
“What is that?” Linley looked at Jenne.
Jenne said apologetically, “Actually, Keane and I have been living in a countryside village this entire time, and it has been a long time since we had seen our father. We aren’t familiar at all with Cerre City, and we might not be successful in our attempt to take over the governorship of the city.”
Jenne really was an extremely compassionate girl. Knowing how dangerous it was, she decided that she didn’t want Linley to suffer these risks alongside them.
“Oh.” Linley only said this in response.
But in his heart, Linley sighed to himself. This Jenne really was a pure, innocent girl.
Seeing Linley’s reaction, Jenne thought that Linley didn’t understand. She hurriedly explained, “Big brother Ley, originally, with regards to assuming the governorship, my thought was that either we would succeed, or we would fail and go home. But it looks like it won’t be that simple. There are people out to kill us, and most likely, they were sent by our aunt. In the future, she’ll probably use even more vicious means against us. If you stay by our side, it will be dangerous for you too.”