Book 8, The Ten Thousand Kilometer Journey – Chapter 29, Investigation
The Northwest Administrative Province, one of the seven major provinces of the O’Brien Empire, was a vast place, with tens of millions of citizens living in it. The Northwest Administrative Province’s provincial capital, Basil, was the most developed of the province’s cities. Within the walls of Basil alone were over a million people.
Within Basil, there were many ancient clans as well.
Count Perry [Pi’li] was a relatively unassuming noble within Basil City. But amongst the ancient clans, he had quite a bit of influence. In addition, he was an extremely amiable person who never fought with others or struggled for influence. Virtually all of the nobles of the city were on good terms with him.
“Milord Count, you’ve returned.” The guard outside the gate to his mansion smiled and bowed.
Count Perry was two hundred years old, and all his hair had turned silvery-white. But his long beard was as resplendent as it had been when he was young. Count Perry nodded slightly towards the guard, laughing warmly, “Oh, you’ve gotten a haircut. This haircut suits you. Did you get it done at old Locke’s [Luo’ke] place?”
Hearing the words of praise, the guard was immediately all smiles. “Right. Mr. Locke is really quite skilled.”
Beaming, Count Perry entered his mansion.
“Count Perry really is a nice man.” The guard sighed to himself.
Count Perry really was a very kind person. This was the opinion of virtually everyone in the city of Basil. Count Perry didn’t like to kill people and didn’t like foul language. His every action totally demonstrated the ethics and nobility of a noble gentleman.
He entered the inner courtyard.
Count Perry’s face suddenly sank.
“What is going on? How could something like this happen multiple times?” Count Perry was very frustrated. Just a few days ago, he had received the news that Cardinal Lampson and his Ascetics and Special Executors had disappeared within the prefectural city of Cerre. And now, he had received the news that the squad that had been escorting those two girls had been killed, and the girls had vanished.
Count Perry, after becoming the person responsible for the affairs of the Radiant Church in the Northwest Administrative Province of the O’Brien Empire, hadn’t encountered such a thorny problem in a long time.
“I hope Lord Lampson hasn’t met with any trouble.”
Perry prayed silently.
If those two girls had been saved, then they had been saved. It wasn’t of major concern. But Lampson and the other five were all experts of the ninth rank, and the person they were escorting was an Arch Magus necromancer of the ninth rank. This affair was the most important affair he had ever encountered after taking on the responsibilities for the Northwest Administrative Province.
“Milord Count.” A hawk-nosed, tall and skinny man with curly hair walked in. Bowing respectfully, he said, “We’ve already completed our investigations regarding the missing lords.”
Perry immediately looked at him. “Speak, fast.”
“Based on our sympathizers’ reports in the province, the lords still have yet to appear in any other cities. In addition, we’ve activated our entire network of sympathizers within the prefectural city of Cerre, yet we still haven’t found anyone who saw the lords leaving the city.” The hawk-nosed man replied respectfully.
“What?” Perry’s heart, previously tense, genuinely began to quiver. “Lampson and the other lords couldn’t possibly have remained in the prefectural city of Cerre this entire time. And if they did stay in Cerre, there would be some trace of them. Lampson and the others must have been attacked. It is entirely possible that Lampson and the others could have exited the prefectural city of Cerre late at night by leaping past the city walls.”
“But even if that was the case, Lord Lampson should still have reappeared in a different city.”
Perry was starting to become truly worried.
He had an extremely bad premonition.
“Could it be possible that Lord Lampson encountered the attack of a powerful foe and was killed?” Perry didn’t dare to believe it. After all, Lampson and the others were all extremely powerful. To kill the six of them would require their opponents to number multiple experts of the ninth level, or a Saint-level combatant.
Perry suddenly looked at the hawk-nosed man. In a cold voice, he ordered, “Go at your fastest speed to find old Pori. Tell him to bring his three Bluewind Hawks to my study.”
“Yes, milord Count.” The hawk-nosed man knew exactly how important this situation was.
Perry hurriedly walked towards his study, and wrote three letters regarding Lampson’s squad’s affairs. Each copy was given to a different Bluewind Hawk and addressed to be delivered to the ‘Sacred Isle’.
Ever since the Holy Capital, Fenlai City, had been destroyed, the Radiant Church set up their new headquarters on an island not too far away from the Yulan continent. They publicly announced this place as being the ‘Sacred Isle’.
Within the secluded valley outside the prefectural city of Cerre.
Right now, there were four wooden rooms here. One was for Linley and Bebe, another was for Zassler, the third was for Rebecca and Leena, while the last one was for Haeru.
Dawn. The valley was very quiet and peaceful.
A pair of twin beauties, so lovely they seemed to be an illusion, were chatting and laughing while washing some clothes. These clothes belonged to them, Linley, and Zassler. Within the valley, they handled all the cooking and cleaning.
“Big sis. Do you think Grandpa Zassler gets tired from spending all his time in that room training?” Rebecca asked Leena quietly.
Zassler’s wooden room was totally shrouded by a black, deathly aura. That dense, black, deathly aura made Rebecca and Leena scared to even approach it.
Leena wrinkled her nose in a frown, an adorable sight. She said consideringly, “Perhaps powerful experts all have to train very hard like that. However, I still feel more comfortable watching big brother Linley train.” As she spoke, she turned to look at the distant blue pond, and Rebecca turned to look as well.
In the center of the pond, Linley was standing on the water, not sinking at all.
The water beneath Linley’s feet were a few centimeters lower than the water around him, because Linley was constantly releasing battle-qi from his feet, creating small waves in the middle of the pond.
Linley was wielding the adamantine heavy sword in his right hand. Occasionally, he would chop with it, while other times, he would just thrust. Every movement would cause the nearby air to tremble. It was as though the air was made of mud, and when the adamantine heavy sword chopped through it, there was a sense that it was breaking through space itself.
“This ‘Profound Truths of the Earth’ technique sometimes works, but sometimes doesn’t work.”
Linley’s forehead was furrowed.
When he had killed Lampson, although Linley had slashed Lampson with his sword, the outside of Lampson’s body hadn’t been injured on the slightest. His internal organs, however, had all been disintegrated.
As Linley viewed it, the third level of using the adamantine heavy sword was the ‘impose’ level. But the fourth level, was the ‘Profound Truths of the Earth’.
Through using this heavy weapon, the adamantine heavy sword, Linley was now capable of unleashing the portion of the Laws of the Earth he had come to understand. This sort of attack could, in the blink of an eye, transform all the attacking power into vibrations which would enter the opponent’s body.
This sort of vibrational attack, when fully mastered, could all but ignore an opponent’s defense.
After all, the throbbing pulse of the world was something which had existed since the heavens and the earth had been formed. The secrets it contained within it were extremely deep and profound.
The principles of the ‘Profound Truths of the Earth’ was this:
Totally convert one’s attacking power into the same sort of vibrations as the throbbing pulse of the world itself. When these vibrations entered the opponent’s body, the opponent’s internals would also begin to resonate. The resonance would be very powerful; after all, it had been created through Linley’s attack power.
The body’s internal organs weren’t nearly as durable as a person’s external defenses.
This sort of resonance could easily annihilate the opponent’s internal organs, shaking them into tiny pieces.
“However, it is incredibly difficult to transform attack power into resonating vibrations.” Linley understood that the battle-qi and strength he normally used was a totally different sort of attack, compared to this sort of ‘resonance wave’ attack.
Only by relying on his partial understanding of the Laws of the Earth was Linley able to convert his normal attacks into this sort of ‘resonance wave’ attack.
Per Linley’s line of thought, the more ‘resonance waves’ were created, the more successful the power transformation had been.
“Sometimes, I can create over ten tremors in the blink of an eye, but other times, I can’t even create one.” Linley’s head hurt.
Linley understood that once his skill in using the heavy sword had reached this sort of level, he could already be considered as having entered the realm of using the ‘Laws of the Earth’.
But Linley wasn’t totally able to grasp it.
“I can’t be too greedy. Right now, I shouldn’t focus too much on creating as many vibrations as possible. I should focus on just one resonance wave at a time.” Wielding the adamantine heavy sword in one hand, Linley’s face was very solemn.
The adamantine heavy sword seemed to tear the air apart as it chopped down against the lake.
The strange thing was, not a single ripple was created on the surface of the lake. But suddenly, the entire lake began to emit a strange gurgling sound…and then, as though it had been lifted by a giant, the entire surface of the lake suddenly rose up, forming a one-meter high wall of water.
“I succeeded again this time.”
Linley actually wasn’t too excited. He sometimes succeeded and sometimes failed when training with this ‘Profound Truths of the Earth’. He wasn’t able to reproduce the results with any regularity.
“Big brother Linley, time to eat.” Leena stood at the not-too-distant shore, laughing as she called out to him.
“Grandpa Zassler, time to eat! Stop training!” Rebecca began calling out from outside of Zassler’s wooden room.
With a flip of his hand, Linley sent the adamantine heavy sword flying into the air. When it landed, it landed neatly into its sheath. Linley had already totally mastered the ‘impose’ level, and the weight of the adamantine heavy sword didn’t impede Linley in the slightest.
On the grass, a rectangular table had been laid out.
Linley, Zassler, Rebecca, and Leena were seated around the table.
“Linley, what are you training on? I saw that bizarre training method you were working on. I’ve never seen a warrior train in such a manner.” Zassler said with curiosity.
Zassler had an extremely broad array of knowledge, but comparatively speaking, he didn’t know much about warrior training methods.
In truth, the most important thing for peak-stage experts of the ninth rank to enter the Saint-level was to advance to a higher level of understanding. And for Saint-levels to advance to the Deity-level, they also needed to understand the various Laws of heaven and earth before they could attain a divine spark.
“I am training to gain a greater understanding. It is similar to a magus’ attempts to gain insights in the nature of the elemental essences.” Linley said casually.
Zassler immediately understood.
As an Arch Magus necromancer of the ninth rank, Zassler would often envelop himself with the boundless deathly aura from the undead realm to try and understand the elusive and illusory Laws of Death.
“Zassler, we killed Lampson and their men. Do you think the Radiant Church will be able to swallow their rage?” Linley was still concerned about this affair.
Zassler laughed very confidently. “Don’t worry. Let me tell you, the O’Brien Empire and the Radiant Church are very far apart. Even if they used flying magical beasts to send messages, they would need ten days or half a month. And if they were to send experts over, it would still take quite a while.”
“But if Saint-level experts were to fly here, they would be able to travel extremely fast.” Linley said solemnly.
After having killed so many of the Radiant Church’s men, it was very possible that the Radiant Church would send over Saint-level experts.
“Haha, don’t worry. They don’t dare send any Saint-level experts. Think about it. Why didn’t they send Saint-level experts to capture me, and instead send combatants of the ninth rank?” Zassler laughed loudly in delight.
Linley was curious about this as well.
If Saint-level experts had been sent after Zassler, capturing him would be very easy.
“Linley, you must understand, the O’Brien Empire is overseen by the War God. Long ago, the War God decreed that the Saint-level combatants of other nations would not be permitted to act wildly within the boundaries of the O’Brien Empire. If they came for the purpose of pleasure, that was fine, but if they were discovered engaging in acts of violence, the repercussions would be very severe.”
Zassler laughed coldly. “Even if the Radiant Church had ten times the courage, they wouldn’t dare go against the War God’s edict.”
The prestige of the War God could not be violated.
Linley shook his head. “Didn’t you just say it? ‘If they were discovered engaging in acts of violence.’ But what if they weren’t discovered? Remember, the prefectural city of Cerre doesn’t have any experts, and the War God is far away, in the imperial capital. If a Saint-level combatant suddenly appears in the prefectural city of Cerre, he wouldn’t necessarily know.”
Zassler was startled.
“The Radiant Church wouldn’t be that insane, right?” Zassler was a bit uncertain.
“Hard to say. After all, we killed six of the combatants of the ninth rank in one breath, this time. And when they were trying to capture you, you killed several of them as well. The Radiant Church won’t easily take this lying down, without a fight.” Linley said solemnly.
Zassler considered this for a while, then laughed. “It’s fine. Although the prefectural city of Cerre doesn’t have any Saint-level combatants, Basil City does have one. McKenzie. If Saint-level experts of the Radiant Church are sent here to fight with us, McKenzie would definitely notice it. McKenzie definitely wouldn’t permit the forces of the Radiant Church to act in such an unbridled manner on his turf. By then, with two Saint-level experts engaged in battle here, the War God would definitely find out.”
“True.” Linley began to laugh as well.
If he was able to incite the Radiant Church into a battle against the O’Brien Empire, the Radiant Church would truly have bitten off more than it could chew.
“Linley, when I was under armed escort by Lampson and the others in the Northwest Administrative Province, the people whom the Radiant Church secretly placed within the Northwest Administrative Province went to go welcome them. I remember one of them was an old man named ‘Perry’, who was responsible for their affairs in the province. Judging from their conversation, that Perry should belong to the provincial capital of Basil.
Zassler laughed sinisterly. “Since we’re going to go to Basil anyways, we might as well dispose of that Perry fellow. Perhaps we might even discover some more secrets of the Radiant Church.”
“The manager for their affairs in the Northwest Administrative Province?” Linley’s eyes lit up. “Alright. We’ll head out tomorrow.”