Book 8, The Ten Thousand Kilometer Journey – Chapter 31, Concealed by the Night
There had been no trace of Linley in over three years. It was impossible for Heidens to connect this affair with Linley. What’s more, even if he did think of Linley, he wouldn’t think that Linley had the ability to kill six experts of the ninth rank.
Heidens didn’t know that Linley had grown, grown at a speed even faster than he had feared.
Within a secluded restaurant in the provincial capital of Basil.
Linley was seated by himself, with Bebe being his only companion. They occasionally were drinking.
“Come over here.” Linley called to the waiter.
“Is there something you need, sir?” That waiter was extremely courteous.
Linley casually tossed out three gold pieces. “Let me ask you a question. If I’m satisfied with your answer, these three gold pieces are yours.” This waiter’s yearly salary was only around four gold pieces. His eyes immediately lit up with greed.
“Sir, please ask. I know quite a few things in this province.” The servant said confidently.
In a place like this restaurant, all sorts of people would come and visit. The servant would overhear a great deal and know a great deal as well.
“I want to ask you, is there an old man named ‘Perry’ within this city of Basil? His hair is white, and he should appear rather dignified.” Linley whispered into the waiter’s ears.
The waiter immediately let out a confident laugh, and then, very conscientiously, lowered his voice in response. “You must be referring to Count Perry.”
Linley’s eyes lit up.
The waiter nodded. “In the provincial capital of Basil, there’s only one noble named Perry who is fairly well known. And this Perry is, indeed, an old man, so old that his hair is white. There’s no mistaking it.”
“Oh.” Linley nodded. “Do you know where Count Perry’s manor is?”
The servant nodded. “Of course. Count Perry lives on Huating Road, the third residence from the right.”
“If you come with me, I’ll add another three gold coins.” Linley said.
After all, Linley was worried that he might get lost by himself. It was better to bring the servant with him. This way, at least he wouldn’t get totally lost.
Watching Linley bring out another three gold coins, the servant immediately grew excited. “Alright. Sir, please wait a bit. I’ll go talk to the boss first.”
If he didn’t do anything that day, at worst he would be deducted a day’s pay. But by following Linley, he would be paid three gold coins.
The provincial capital of Basil. Huating Road.
Linley stared from afar an ancient looking manor. Judging from the decaying, ivy-wrapped walls, this manor was at least several centuries old.
“Count Perry, a very kind fellow?”
This ‘very kind fellow’ the waiter described was the supervisor of affairs for the Radiant Church in the Northwest Administrative Province. The O’Brien Empire was extremely antagonistic towards foreign religions. If Perry were to be discovered, he would definitely be found guilty of a serious crime, to be punished by having his belongings confiscated and his clan wiped out.
Memorizing the address, Linley immediately turned and left.
But what Linley didn’t notice was a man staring at him in astonishment from a distance. “Here? He actually showed up here?” The man was amazed.
“Mm. It’s been three years. I didn’t expect to discover him here. It looks like I’ll receive that reward of five thousand gold coins.” The man was very delighted.
Walking on the streets, Linley did not notice any of the ordinary commoners who weren’t particularly strong. Naturally, he wouldn’t have paid any attention to this ordinary warrior who was only of the third rank.
Within the courtyard of the residence behind his hotel.
Zassler was seated beneath a large tree in the courtyard. Seeing Linley enter, he laughed. “How did it go? Did you find that Perry fellow?”
“Found him. He’s even a Count. His position isn’t that low.” Linley said.
Someone capable of becoming the supervisor of affairs for a province definitely wasn’t an incapable person. He would either be a wealthy magnate or a powerful noble.
“Haha, wonderful. Then tonight, let us…pay a visit.” Zassler’s laughed sinisterly, his eyes emitting a hint of green light.
Linley nodded calmly.
“Rebecca, Leena.” Linley raised his head to look at the two twins who had just walked in from the main hall. “Tonight, the two of you need to stay here. Don’t go anywhere.”
“Understood.” Rebecca and Leena both nodded.
Zassler laughed in the direction of the twins. “Do as I have taught you, and enter the meditative trance. In a few days, I will begin to commence the ‘Necromantic Initiation Rites’ for both of you.”
After having been with them for a period of time, Zassler had made the determination that these two twins were highly suited for studying Necromantic Magic.
In truth, the normal seven elements of magic (earth, fire, water, wind, lightning, light, darkness) all had fairly high requirements with regards to spiritual energy. But the higher level arts of Oracular Magic, Life Magic, and Necromantic Magic, had terrifyingly high requirements when it came to souls.
Of these three types of magic, Necromantic Magic had the highest requirements with regards to spiritual purity and soul analysis. Comparatively speaking, it didn’t have much of a requirement with regards to elemental essence affinity.
“Necromantic Initiation Rites?”
Rebecca and Leena were both excited. This entire time, they had hoped they would be able to seek revenge for their parents, but they didn’t have any power. But after learning Necromantic Magic, they would have sufficient power.
“Haeru. Protect Rebecca and Leena.” Linley instructed.
To deal with a minor figure like Perry was an extremely simple task. Linley and Zassler would be more than enough. With Bebe present as well, there would be no chance of failure at all.
“Be careful.” Rebecca and Leena said.
Zassler laughed weirdly. “In Basil, aside from McKenzie, there’s no one whom I or Linley need to be concerned with.”
“Let’s go.” Linley said calmly.
Both dressed in black, Linley and Zassler very quickly slipped out of the courtyard. The black-furred Bebe also stealthily followed the two, with none the wiser.
In the dark night, Linley, Zassler, and Bebe were walking in an alleyway.
“Huating Road must be ahead.” Linley’s memory was very good. Despite having a very complicated layout, Linley was able to totally memorize the layout after having walked through the city once. Linley, Zassler, and Bebe directly passed through the small alleyway and arrived at the outskirts of the walls to Count Perry’s manor.
Staring at this ancient building, Zassler and Linley exchanged glances.
“Zassler, you need to be certain.” Linley had never seen Count Perry before.
“Don’t worry.” Zassler’s lips curled in a dark smile.
Linley led Zassler forward as they jumped directly past the wall. With regards to how residences were generally laid out, Linley and Zassler both had a good general idea. Usually in front was the main hall, while the second building in the back was where the owner would sleep.
But Zassler came to a stop in front of the second building as he began to mumble a magical incantation.
A short while later…
A grey smoke began to slowly drift towards the building. In a short while, the entire second building was covered by that grey fog. The fog continued to spread until it covered every single building in the residence. Watching this happen, Linley was puzzled.
Linley took a sniff of the grey fog. As he did, he felt momentarily dizzy, but then instantly recovered.
“What are you doing?” Linley said softly.
“I’m just putting the weaker people here to sleep. Upon reaching the seventh rank, a person can use battle-qi to counteract this fog. Perry is a warrior of the eighth rank.” Zassler knew exactly how strong Perry was.
“Who is it?!”
An angry roar could be heard, as an old man and three middle-aged men ran out from the room. The leader stared icily at Linley and Zassler. But because of the grey mist, as well as the fact that it was late at night, they could not make out Linley or Zassler’s appearance.
“Lord Count.” Three more voices rang out from the courtyard, as two more middle-aged men and a young man ran over.
The Count had seven experts at his residence; five of the seventh rank, two of the eighth rank.
“Who are you?” Count Perry barked.
“Heh heh heh. Oh, Perry. You’ve forgotten me?” Zassler slowly walked forward, while two powerful, golden-furred zombies materialized out of nowhere.
The mist began to thin, and Count Perry could now see him clearly.
“It’s you.” Count Perry’s eyes bulged from their sockets. He knew exactly how powerful Zassler was. Even five or six experts of the ninth rank wouldn’t be able to do anything to him.
Seeing Zassler appear, Perry understood that most likely, Lampson and his men had indeed met a violent end.
“And you are?” Count Perry looked at Linley. Suddenly, he started.
Linley’s appearance had long ago been distributed to every single one of the Radiant Church’s supervisors in foreign locations. Compared to three years ago, Linley’s hair was now a bit longer, yes, but his face hadn’t changed much.
“You are Linley?” Perry was somewhat shocked.
Linley smiled and nodded. “Count Perry, good eyesight. Zassler and I have quite a few things we’d like to discuss with you on this lovely night. Zassler, let’s move.”
“Kill.” Zassler immediately barked.
The two golden-furred zombies suddenly transformed into rays of golden light, charging at those other six men. Sudden screams of agony could be heard, as the zombies killed three of them in a blink of an eye, causing the other three to turn pale with fear.
“Clang.” That young man chopped down with his sabre on the body of the golden-furred zombie, but the only effect was that his hand broke from the impact. Golden-furred zombies prided themselves on their defensive abilities.
“Groooooowl.” With a low growl, the golden-furred zombie caved the young man’s head in with a single blow.
A middle-aged man kicked viciously at a nearby boulder, sending enormous pieces of rock smashing towards the golden-furred zombie. But the zombie only charged at him, fast as lightning. Those pieces of rocks continued to fly at high speed at the zombie. “Bang!” “Bang!” “Bang!” One rock after another smashed against the golden-furred zombie, and it didn’t block at all.
Each rock contained thousands of pounds of force, but unfortunately, they did nothing to the golden-furred zombies.
A black blur flashed by, and that middle-aged man fell to the floor in astonishment.
“You’re too slow, you big oaf.” Bebe growled towards the golden-furred zombie, then jumped back onto Linley’s shoulders.
The golden-furred zombie’s speed could be considered the speed of a normal combatant of the ninth rank. But compared to Bebe, there was a huge difference. After all, Bebe and Haeru were magical beasts of the ninth rank which specialized in speed.
The six of them had been killed by the two golden-furred zombies and Bebe in the blink of an eye. Those zombies were, after all, undead of the ninth rank. Those people didn’t have a chance against them.
Perry had silently maintained his composure the entire time.
When he had been selected as the supervisor for this region by the Radiant Church, he had mentally prepared for such a day. Only, what he had expected was that he would be killed by the O’Brien Empire’s men. He didn’t expect that it would be Linley and Zassler who killed him.
“Linley, it was you who killed Lampson’s men and rescued Zassler?” Perry questioned. Before dying, Perry wanted to indulge his curiosity.
“Indeed.” Linley replied succinctly.
Perry nodded and laughed. “You truly do live up to the name of being one of the descendants of the Dragonblood Warrior clan. In three years, your power has grown so much. I hope you don’t expect to get anything out of me, however. I won’t answer your questions.” A hint of a holy light had appeared on Perry’s face.
“Do you think that will do you any good?” Zassler sneered.
“Seize him.” Zassler ordered coldly.
The two golden-furred zombies charged at Perry at high speed, seizing him without giving him a chance to avoid.
“Linley, help me stay on watch for a while. I am about to ‘Soulscour’ him. Zassler instructed Linley.
Soulscour? Linley had never heard of anyone being able to ‘Soulscour’ someone. Even the Radiant Church didn’t have the ability to search and scour a person’s soul. But necromancers, as practitioners of the type of magic that involved souls the most, naturally knew far more about souls than all other types of magi.
“Soulscour?” Hearing this word, Perry was shocked as well. “Impossible.” He had never heard of a ‘Soulscour’ technique.
“Haha. Even if you were to die right now, it would be too late.”
Zassler walked in front of Perry. The five fingers of his wizened, chicken-claw like hand grabbed Perry’s head, while at the same time, Zassler’s eyes suddenly turned a deep green color.
“Uhhhh…ahhhhh….” Perry’s body began to tremble violently, while at the same time, he began to let out agonized moans.