Book 8, The Ten Thousand Kilometer Journey – Chapter 2, The Howling Worldwolf
The most basic underpinnings of training with the heavy sword lay in combining battle-qi along with physical strength in utilizing it.
Right after the adamantine heavy sword had been forged in the city of Hess, when Linley had used the adamantine heavy sword to attack the violet-robed Special Executors, he was not capable of combining his strength and his battle-qi to use the heavy sword in a meaningful way.
The heavy sword was not meant to be used with pure brute force.
It lay in conserving every little bit of strength to allow the heavy sword to reach its maximum possible velocity, while at the same time combining physical strength and battle-qi to reach the most optimal level possible.
After spending more than a year, Linley had finally become able to wield the adamantine heavy sword as easily as though it were his hands, without wasting any strength at all. Despite a limited amount of strength and battle-qi, he was able to raise the power of the adamantine heavy sword to an extremely high level.
But this was still just the basics.
Above this basic level was the second level, a different realm of possibilities. This was something Linley had suddenly awoken to when he saw the crashing waterfalls within the mountain grotto.
To wield something heavy as though it were light was easy to say, but hard to do.
In truth, it required one to be able to perfectly control one’s battle-qi and physical strength. And then, one could suddenly unleash all of one’s power, like the unending, cascading waters of the waterfall. The power that erupted from a blow such as this was extremely great.
This was the principle underneath Linley’s ‘Thunderbolt’ technique.
But this was easier said than done. It required an extremely solid grasp of the basics. If one didn’t have enough control over one’s strength and battle-qi, even after one understood the principles of this technique, one still wouldn’t be able to utilize it.
“As powerful as that? Boss, is this the most powerful way to use the heavy sword?” Bebe said in surprise.
Laughing, Linley shook his head. “Not even close. Based on the information contained within my clan’s records, the way of using heavy weapons can be described as having three levels. The first is to master and perfect the basics. The second is to be able to wield something heavy as though it were light. And the third is known as ‘impose’.”
“‘Impose’?” Bebe was a bit confused. “What is that?”
“I don’t know either.” Linley shook his head. “After all, my clan’s records, aside from the Secret Dragonblood Manual, primarily consists of general descriptions of the history of my clan and some stories of my ancestors. With regards to that ancestor who was able to ‘wield something heavy as though it were light’, there were only a few lines describing his power. That record also mentioned that the third level was ‘impose’, but what exactly ‘impose’ is, it didn’t describe in detail, so I don’t know either.”
Linley didn’t understand.
Could ‘impose’ be referring to an imposing manner?
But when wielding the adamantine heavy sword, how much could an imposing manner possibly add to attack power?
“I haven’t had that moment of enlightenment yet. No way to understand it.” Linley shook his head.
Linley knew very well that he had not yet in fact mastered this level of ‘using something heavy as though it were light’. Because the most important part of the ‘Thunderbolt’ technique was to suddenly release all of the power available at the last moment.
How would one further increase the power of this technique?
Right now, Linley was suddenly releasing all of his strength and battle-qi in a brute force manner, but Linley knew that this was a stupid, crude method.
“Pity that there’s no signposts on the path of training.” Linley chuckled, then ceased his idle speculations.
Deep autumn. The prime, virgin forests of the Mountain Range of Magical Beasts were covered with yellowing leaves.
This was the late autumn of year 10001 of the Yulan calendar. Linley had already entered the Mountain Range of Magical Beasts for more than a year and a half, but he had only travelled five or six thousand kilometers thus far.
He spent most of every day in training, progressing only a few dozen kilometers at most in his journey.
Late at night, not a sound could be heard. Within the central areas of the Mountain Range of Magical Beasts, beneath a giant tree which would take five or six men linking hands to embrace the trunks of, Linley was quietly sitting cross-legged in the meditative trance.
The skies began to brighten. Linley opened his eyes, a hint of a smile on his face.
The light, pure dawn wind was blowing. Several leaves slowly spun about and fell down. Watching these leaves fall, Linley was silent.
“Boss?” Bebe casually opened his eyes. Questioningly, he said, “You woke up? Why didn’t you wake me?”
Actually, every day, when Linley woke up, Bebe would wake up as well. But every day, Bebe would wait for Linley to wake him up before he would be willing to open his eyes. Today, though, Linley hadn’t called him.
“Bebe, I seem to have made a breakthrough.” Linley suddenly said mentally to Bebe.
“A breakthrough?” Bebe immediately jumped to his feet. He asked with excitement, “What sort of breakthrough have you had?”
Linley laughed. “My spiritual energy has finally reached the level of a magus of the eighth rank.”
“A magus of the eighth rank?!” Bebe immediately yelped in surprise.
That winter, when he was sixteen years old, Linley had crafted the sculpture ‘Awakening From the Dream’, and the rapid improvement he had gained over those ten days and ten nights had resulted in Linley’s spiritual energy strengthening tenfold, arriving at the level of spiritual power possessed by a late-stage magus of the seventh rank.
He was sixteen years old that winter, and already at the late-stage seventh rank!
From then until now, three years had passed.
While he had been at Fenlai City, Linley’s spiritual energy hadn’t improved that fast, and based on that rate of improvement, Linley probably would’ve needed five or six years to advance from the late-stage of the seventh rank to the eighth rank. But this year in the Mountain Range of Magical Beasts, Linley had totally submerged himself into nature, and each time he had engaged in stonesculpting, he had been so natural and unrestrained.
His rate of improvement in spiritual energy was quite noticeable.
Linley’s spiritual energy finally reached the eighth rank as a magus.
“Boss, how powerful are spells of the eighth rank?” Bebe said curiously.
“You’ll find out if you are willing to give it a try.” A hint of a smile was on Linley’s face. Bebe stared at him, then said proudly, “Come. I, Bebe, am not afraid of magical beasts of the eighth rank, much less a spell of the eighth rank.”
Linley immediately begin to chant the words to a spell.
Shortly afterwards, a large amount of earth elemental essence began to rapidly solidify and condense near Linley. The mageforce in Linley’s body, as well, was beginning to rouse.
“Whoosh.” A wind suddenly arose in front of Linley, catching and tossing up all the fallen leaves around him. An angry howl could suddenly be heard, as an earth-colored, three-meter tall wolf suddenly appeared in front of Linley. This massive wolf was three meters tall and ten meters long. All the muscles on its body seemed as tough and gnarled as steel, and its four limbs were filled with power.
Earth-style spell of the eighth rank – the Howling Worldwolf!
The Howling Worldwolf let out an enraged snarl, then charged at Bebe, but Bebe only playfully stood there with confidence, staring at the Howling Worldwolf.
“Swish!” Suddenly, an Earthen Spear Array erupted from the ground beneath Bebe.
“Whoah!” Bebe let out a cry of surprise, leaping into the air.
The Earthen Spear Array hadn’t managed to hurt Bebe in the slightest, but at this time, the Howling Worldwolf had arrived next to him. Bebe immediately let out a shrill screech, and his body suddenly enlarged.
Fangs bared and maw bloody, the Howling Worldwolf bit down at Bebe, while Bebe also bit angrily at the Howling Worldwolf. With a ‘crunch’ sound, Bebe ripped apart the throat of the Howling Worldwolf.
But the Howling Worldwolf didn’t seem to be hurt at all as it slashed at Bebe with his fierce claws.
Bebe was knocked flying, smashing against the ground, creating a minor crater. Bebe immediately crawled out, staring angrily at the Howling Worldwolf. Just then, the Howling Worldwolf had carried a tremendous amount of power in its claws.
“Bebe, this Howling Worldwolf isn’t a magical beast. It’s an earth-element construct, totally composed of mageforce and elemental essence. It has no vital weak points.” Linley’s voice rang out playfully.
Bebe instantly understood.
To a construct created solely from mageforce and elemental essence, whether you bit it on the tail or at the throat, there really was no difference in terms of damage done.
Bebe was truly furious now. Transforming into a black blur, he flew at the Howling Worldwolf, which ripped towards Bebe with its fangs. But Bebe dodged its attack, and then raked the Howling Worldwolf with his claws. In the blink of an eye, Bebe had raked the Howling Worldwolf nearly a hundred times, forcibly bringing his opponent to the breaking point.
“Bam!” The Howling Worldwolf’s body suddenly began to grow brighter, and then the blink of an eye, it exploded.
Bebe was knocked flying by the force of the explosion, smashing hard against a nearby tree, snapping the tree in half, then falling to the ground.
“Bebe, what do you think?” Linley knew exactly how powerful Bebe was. This bit of offensive force wasn’t enough to hurt Bebe.
Bebe quickly ran over to him. In a wounded voice, he said, “Boss, that Howling Worldwolf’s offensive attacks weren’t lower than an ordinary magical beast of the eighth rank. And it doesn’t have any weaknesses either. What a freak. Even when it was about to die, it engaged in a suicidal explosion.”
When its body was about to collapse, a construct formed from mageforce and elemental essence would naturally explode.
A dual-element magus of the eighth rank. Now, even in human form, Linley would still be considered a truly formidable person. The power of eighth rank spells was very astonishing.
For example, the ‘Brutal Tornado’ wind-style spell. This Brutal Tornado spell could easily annihilate an army of thousands of soldiers. In truth, even the attack of the Howling Worldwolf would destroy most small armies. The Howling Worldwolf possessed astonishing defensive powers. Only a freak like Bebe would be capable of so easily penetrating the Howling Worldwolf’s defense.
The Howling Worldwolf was extremely fast and possessed astonishing defensive powers. And, it had no weak points.
One could imagine how much havoc it would wreak upon an army.
“To a kingdom, a magus of the eighth rank is more important than an army with 10,000 soldiers.” Linley understood this logic. And magi of the ninth rank, in turn, were more important than an army of 100,000 soldiers. As for Saint-level Grand Magi, they were more important than an army of a million soldiers.
By casting a single forbidden spell, ‘Annihilating Tempest’, an entire army of a million soldiers would instantly be destroyed.
Linley’s elemental essence affinity was exceptional. Naturally, he didn’t need too much time to refine more mageforce. Given the additional support provided by the Straight Chisel School of sculpting, Linley didn’t need to spend too much time training himself as a magus.
And since he could Dragonform now, the speed of his training as a warrior was many times faster than before as well.
His adamantine heavy sword in hand, Linley was walking atop a large mountain. He casually swung and chopped the adamantine heavy sword in every direction. Whap. Slap. Every movement was very natural and graceful.
But whenever the adamantine heavy sword touched any boulders, the boulders would immediately shatter.
Either they would shatter into dozens of pieces, or they would explode, or they would turn to dust…
Linley constantly tested himself and tested out how to have his ‘Thunderbolt’ technique release more power. How to, using the same amount of battle-qi, increase the effectiveness of his attacks.
“Whew.” Sensing that he had used up over half of his Dragonblood battle-qi, Linley immediately sheathed his adamantine heavy blade.
With a flip of his hand, Bloodviolet appeared in his grasp.
Linley immediately began to leap about, the Bloodviolet flexible sword in his hands flashing every which way gracefully. The strength of the Bloodviolet sword lay in its speed and its ability to attack unpredictably.
The Bloodviolet sword slashed in the direction of a small nearby tree. Halfway there, though, Bloodviolet suddenly curved like a serpent, and in a flash, it wrapped itself around the tree. With another violet flash, the tree was cut in half.
With a quiver, the Bloodviolet sword suddenly became straight again.
“Swish.” The Bloodviolet sword stabbed forward. Its sharp edge wreathed with a greenish-black light, the sword easily plunged straight into a nearby stone wall.
Linley suddenly frowned, pulling out Bloodviolet. He stared at the Bloodviolet sword suspiciously. “Inside the sword…what in the world…” Just then, Linley had been focusing his spiritual energy on Bloodviolet, controlling its fluctuations and contortions. As he had done so, he suddenly had discovered an aura that made his heart tremble with fear.
“Can it be that?” Linley’s heart suddenly clenched.
Previously, when he had been in that dangerous situation in the Radiant Temple, the Coiling Dragon ring had emitted a tremendously powerful burst of power. This Bloodviolet flexible sword was also a divine artifact, but it wasn’t as powerful as Linley had thought it would be. Linley had always been wondering if there was some secret contained within this Bloodviolet flexible sword.
Linley immediately focused his spiritual energy inside Bloodviolet, carefully probing it from within.
In the past, Linley also tried to do this before he had reached the eighth rank as a magus, but he hadn’t been able to find anything. But now, he was a magus of the eighth rank.
“Hrm?” Linley’s spiritual energy finally seemed to detect something.
A bloodthirsty, crazed aura suddenly came into contact with Linley’s spiritual energy. Linley suddenly seemed to see a boundless sea of blood. Countless corpses. An endless number of bones.
That crazed, bloodthirsty, violent aura directly invaded Linley’s spiritual energy, and then, as fast as lightning, it began to pervade Linley’s very soul…