Book 8, The Ten Thousand Kilometer Journey – Chapter 30, The Five Year Agreement
Keane, the governor of the prefectural city of Cerre, was just a fourteen year old child. Although he had his older sister Jenne helping him, in truth, how much did Jenne know herself? Most of the time, it was still up to their old servant, Lambert, to help out.
Lambert’s clothes were very sharp and creased. His combed hair was gleaming as he slowly strolled about in the interior of the castle, appearing every inch the noble.
“Why must the young miss always be thinking about Lord Ley?” Lambert was sighing to himself. Jenne wanted to go visit Linley, but after Linley had told her that he didn’t like being disturbed in the middle of his training, Jenne had no choice but to stay in the castle. Unfortunately, it had been a long time since Linley had come to the castle.
As he watched Jenne slowly grow thinner, Lambert felt very heartsick.
Hearing his name called, Lambert turned around and saw Linley walking in by himself, dressed in a light blue warrior’s outfit. Jenne and Keane had issued orders early on that if the castle guards were to see Linley, they were to let him in immediately without need for any notification.
“Lord Ley!” Lambert was extremely happy.
“Lord Ley, wait in the main hall for just a moment. I will immediately go inform the young master and the young miss.”
Within the main hall.
Linley was quietly sitting on a chair. This trip to the provincial capital of Basil he was going to make with Zassler, Leena, and her sister was most likely one where they would end up staying in the area around Basil.
After all, Linley had to be wary of the Radiant Church secretly sending Saint-level experts over. As the city of Basil had McKenzie, the Radiant Church wouldn’t dare to act too wildly.
“Big brother Ley.”
A surprised and happy voice rang out from the doorway. Linley turned his head and saw Jenne, her face flushed, rush in wearing a faint red dress. Her chest was rising and falling, and she was panting. As soon as she heard the news that Linley was back, Jenne had immediately ran over as fast as she could.
“Why’d you run so fast? Look at how out of breath you are. Have a seat.” Linley laughed.
“Okay.” Jenne very obediently sat down.
After a while, Keane and Lambert entered as well. Laughing, Keane complained, “Sis, you ran too fast. I couldn’t even keep up with you.”
Jenne was a bit embarrassed. She shot a vicious glare at Keane.
“Big brother Ley, it’s been a long time since you last came. How long do you plan to stay this time?” Keane said to Linley.
Linley shook his head. “This time, I’ve come to bid you farewell. I plan to leave the prefectural city of Cerre.”
Keane and Lambert were both startled. Simultaneously, they turned their heads to look at Jenne. Where before, her face had been flushed with excitement and shyness, a stunned look was now on Jenne’s face.
“Big brother Ley, where are you going?” Jenne was the first to ask.
“For now, I plan to go to the provincial capital of Basil.” Linley replied.
The provincial capital of Basil and the prefectural city of Cerre were fairly far apart. Normal people would need to spend two or three days by carriage to get there.
“Big brother Ley, I’ll go with you.” Jenne summoned her courage and said.
Linley sighed to himself. How could he not know what Jenne was thinking? But towards Jenne, Linley felt nothing more than the love he would feel towards a younger sister. This was a familial, platonic love.
“Enough, Jenne. I’m going on business. I might encounter danger. There’s no need for you to follow me.” Linley refused.
Jenne shook her head resolutely. “I’m not afraid.”
Looking at Jenne, Linley knew that if he didn’t refuse her very openly and firmly, she wouldn’t give up. Linley let out a long sigh. “Jenne, all I care about is training. Nothing else. Jenne, there’s no way I can take care of you.”
Linley spoke with tact, but how could Jenne not understand his meaning?
Jenne’s face was somewhat pale. Since she had been eight years old, she had lived in that countryside village. The life she had lived there was both peaceful as well as harsh. On this trip to the prefectural city of Cerre, Linley had protected them the entire time, which was the only reason her and her brother had survived the trip and took over the governorship.
“Big brother Ley, I don’t want to continue repressing my feelings. Big brother Ley, I know you don’t like me that way. I don’t want to ask too much. All I want to do is to ask that you allow me to accompany you. Big brother Ley, I’m willing to be your maidservant. As long as I can be by your side, I’ll be happy.” Jenne said hopefully.
Keane and Lambert were both silent.
Linley felt extremely anxious as well. Jenne really was an extremely kind girl, but…
“Jenne, there’s no need for you to follow me and expose yourself to danger. Right now, you are a noble lady. In the prefectural city of Cerre, there are definitely many outstanding young men who are pursuing you.” Linley said.
Jenne bit her lips, then resolutely shook her head. Her eyes were growing moist.
“Big brother Ley.” Keane said. “Please agree to my sister’s request. These past days when you haven’t been around, she’s had almost no appetite. She’s grown thinner now.”
Her eyes moist, Jenne looked at Linley with an appeal in her eyes.
In the end, Linley’s heart softened. “Five years. I will give you five years, and you give me five years as well. Five years from now, I’ll come meet you. If at that time you are still resolute in your decision, I’ll agree to let you accompany me.”
Time was the best medicine.
Five years from now, Jenne would have matured and her thoughts and beliefs would have changed as well. Linley believed that perhaps because Jenne didn’t have parents to take care of her when she was young, she had come to depend on and love him. In a few more years, when Jenne grew more mature, her mind would change. By then, Linley wouldn’t be under any pressure.
“Five years. Okay.” Hope appeared once more in Jenne’s eyes.
Linley looked at Jenne. “Before I go, I need to tell you something. My real name isn’t ‘Ley’. It is Linley Baruch.”
“Linley Baruch?” Jenne murmured.
“Linley? Lord Ley, you are that genius master sculptor?” Lambert cried out in surprise. Lambert had previously stayed in the Holy Union. In the Holy Union, Linley was extremely famous.
“I hope you won’t reveal my presence or my whereabouts. Farewell.”
Linley squeezed out a small smile, then turned and immediately strode out of the hall.
As she looked at Linley’s departing back, the tears finally began to fall from Jenne’s eyes. She balled her fists tightly, her nails piercing into her palm’s flesh.
On the streets of the prefectural city of Cerre.
Rebecca and Leena were seated on the Blackcloud Panther, Haeru. Bebe was comfortably resting in Leena’s arms, while Linley, dressed in his warrior’s outfit, was walking alongside Zassler, who was in a long magus robe.
They were travelling towards the provincial capital of Basil at high speed.
The provincial capital of Basil was a huge city that could be seen from far away.
And just like that, Linley’s squad drew close to and entered the provincial capital of Basil.
“No need to rush out and find that Perry right away. Let’s find a place to stay first.” Linley said.
Zassler nodded as well.
There were definitely quite a few people named Perry in the provincial capital. Most likely, finding the right one would take some time. Thus, Linley and Zassler went to a hotel and reserved an individual, stand-alone manor, where their party now stayed.
Two days after Linley’s party had arrived at the provincial capital of Basil, the Bluewind Hawks of Count Perry arrived at the Sacred Isle of the Radiant Church.
The Sacred Isle was a lonely place, located outside the Yulan continent.
The entire Sacred Isle was only a few dozen kilometers long. In truth, in the past, this was a secret base for the Radiant Church. Now, it had been directly converted into their main headquarters.
It had a Radiant Temple that was nine floors high.
This Radiant Temple wasn’t as huge as the Radiant Temple of Fenlai City, but it, too, had been painstakingly constructed by the Radiant Church, costing a great deal of effort.
On the ninth floor of the Radiant Temple.
Heidens was seated in front of a window. Through the window, he could see the boundless blue ocean waters beyond the island.
Recently, Heidens had been in fairly good mood. The squad of experts of the ninth rank he had sent out had already successfully captured the Arch Magus necromancer, Zassler. And two days ago, he had received another excellent news. In the Eighteen Northern Duchies, his forces had made a tremendous discovery – five potential vessels of the eighth rank.
Generally speaking, an ordinary person would be able to train their bodies to the sixth rank. That was the maximum limit.
Some geniuses could reach the seventh rank just by focusing on training their body.
But…in the Eighteen Northern Duchies, the forces of the Radiant Church had discovered five siblings, all exceedingly strong and durable. None of them had any battle-qi. But all of them had reached the eighth rank as warriors, just based on physical strength.
“Vessels of the eighth rank. That will definitely be enough to allow Seraphims, the Six-Winged Angels, to display their power.” Heidens couldn’t help but be excited. “Five bodies of the eighth rank. When the Angels possess them, they will definitely be able to transform into five peak-stage Saint-level combatants.”
Early-stage, middle-stage, and peak-stage Saint-level combatants were on totally different levels of power.
Currently, the entire Radiant Church only had five peak-stage Saint-level combatants. But once those five specimens of the eighth rank were brought over, the peak-stage Saint-level experts under the Radiant Church would instantly double!
“By then, would the Cult of Shadows still be able to stand against us?” Heidens face was covered in smiles.
“Enter.” Heidens face regained its usual calm.
A Vicar walked in, respectfully presenting a letter to the Holy Emperor. “Your Holiness, this is a secret message from our supervisor in the O’Brien Empire’s Northwest Administrative Province.”
“Oh?” Heidens raised an eyebrow.
The supervisors in the outside areas, aside from their annual reports, would almost never send secret messages. If a secret message was sent out, then it meant that something major has occurred.
“Could it be that…?” Heidens suddenly remembered that not too long ago, Lampson and his men had just escorted that Arch Magus necromancer into the Northwest Administrative Province.
Heidens immediately accepted the letter, opening the envelope.
As soon as he saw its contents, Heidens’ face sank down. “Have Lord Stehle [Shi’te’lei] come see me.”
“Lord Stehle?” The Vicar was surprised.
In the Radiant Church, the leader of the Ascetics was Lord Fallen Leaf. As for the Special Executors of the Ecclesiastical Tribunal, their leader was Stehle.
Lord Stehle was only a Special Executor.
But in terms of power, he was on par with the leader of the Ecclesiastical Tribunal, Praetor Osenno. Both were peak-stage Saint-level combatants. In times of peace, the Radiant Church rarely sent peak-stage Saint-level combatants out on missions.
“Hurry.” Heidens barked.
The Vicar immediately came to his senses and hurriedly said, “Yes, Your Holiness.”
Watching the Vicar depart, Heidens began to frown. “So it seems Lampson’s squad had arrived half a month ago in the Northwest Administrative Province. But there has been no news from our borders informing me of their return to the Holy Union. It seems…they really have been killed.”
Lampson and ten other experts of the ninth rank had all died.
This setback was not a small one, but Heidens was able to maintain his calm.
After all, what the Radiant Church truly relied on was Saint-level combatants. As long as their Saint-level combatants remained, the Radiant Church wouldn’t be threatened at its core.
“Lampson and the other five were escorting Zassler. Given their ability, one or two combatants of the ninth rank wouldn’t be able to deal with them.” Heidens frowned. “Could it have been a Saint-level combatant? The McKenzie of the Northwest Administrative Province?”
Heidens couldn’t think of any other possibilities besides McKenzie.
“McKenzie!” Heidens was filled with a murderous intent.
To Heidens, those eleven combatants of the ninth rank put together weren’t as valuable as a single Zassler. Zassler’s true value lay not in the man himself, but rather in the training method for Necromantic Magic. As a type of magic on par with Oracular Magic, it was naturally extremely powerful.
It included maledictive spells, poison gases, plague spells, undead slaves, and the Wraith Call ability. These were all extremely powerful.
The Radiant Church didn’t reject necromancers from their ranks.
So long as a necromancer was willing to serve them, they would totally be willing to give this necromancer the title of Special Executor. The dark underbelly of the Radiant Church that was the Ecclesiastical Tribunal possessed experts of all types and places.
Heidens didn’t know that the person who had killed Lampson and his men was Linley. If he had known, Heidens would probably be so angry that he would jump up and down.
“Your Holiness.” An ice-cold voice rang out.
“Stehle. Come in.” Heidens said warmly.
Stehle was only 1.7 meters tall. In the Yulan continent, he would be considered a fairly small and skinny person. He had short white hair, and his eyes were as sharp as knife blades. Judging from his appearance, he seemed to be a middle-aged man.
“Your Holiness, is there something you need?” Stehle asked directly.
Heidens was very direct as well. “According to our reports, Lampson and his men are most likely all dead. There is a high chance that the killer is a Saint-level combatant of the O’Brien Empire.”
Stehle remained silent.
“I am going to send you to the North Sea Administrative Province of the O’Brien Empire. When you get there, you will meet with another group which is escorting a number of prisoners. No matter what happens, you must ensure that those five siblings are brought back to the Sacred Isle.”
“And if I encounter Saint-level combatants of the O’Brien Empire?” Stehle asked.
“Kill them, and then fly back with those five at maximum speed.” Heidens said emotionlessly.
Once they used those five bodies of the eighth rank as vessels for Angels to descend into, the Radiant Church would have produced five peak-stage Saint-level combatants. For the sake of that, it would be worth it if they had to offend the O’Brien Empire. After all, even if they offended the O’Brien Empire, at worst the Holy Empire would just have to give the O’Brien Empire some sort of compensation.
“Alright. I immediately will head out tonight, at nightfall.” Stehle said indifferently.